Bogan review: This average film belongs wholeheartedly to Arvind Swamy

Sujatha Narayanan

Feb,02 2017 17:04 36 IST

3/5

It's always juicier to play the bad guy and both Arvind Swamy and Jayam Ravi get to do that in turns in Lakshman’s second film Bogan.

The title Bogan is also an Australian slang for “an uncouth or unsophisticated person regarded as being of low social status”. The trailer showed both Ravi and Arvind in a heady exchange of such brashness, but Bogan belongs to Arvind Swamy’s Aditya, undoubtedly.

In Bogan, Jayam Ravi plays a cop, with Aravind Swamy the bad guy. The film is rumoured to be a rip-off of Face Off, but Ravi denied that to Firstpost. Swamy is an assistant to an archeology professor and during his research, finds some scriptures that contain some secret information about body-swapping. Ravi is the quintessential honest cop, and a stark opposite to Swamy's character. While the first half is more about establishing the setting, the second half deals with what happens when the two meet.

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A still from Bogan. Image from Twitter.

Aditya’s opening scene is quite whisle-worthy, as it was staged like the grand party from The Wolf of Wall Street. Ravi’s dubsmash-like intro song is quite intersting, where every Tamil film hero’s punch-line gets ‘dubsmashed’ by a female dancer. Lakshman does sprinkle his film with these new-age, next-gen and popcorn-thriller moments.

A shriek of a heroine without a shred of common sense — Hansika dodges her bubbly image in her first drunken scene act in Bogan, but in the end lands up being the cliche ‘thamizh ponnu’ (tamil girl), who despite living in the hero’s house doesn’t live-in with him (figure that one out please).

Some good scenes and dialogues show Ravi in top form too but somehow the edge belongs to Arvind Swamy, whose swagger and ease at mouthing those loud lines come off as an applause-worthy surprise to his otherwise ‘good guy’ image — one that changed with Thani Oruvan.

What a ball he has had here playing the baddie! Arvind’s song 'Bogan Bogan' which has lines like 'Naan muththam thuppum dragon (I’m a kiss-spouting dragon)' also has the word Bougainvillea in the lyric and it made me wonder whether the flower was added there for its features or simply because it phonetically matched the title.

Been-there-done-that elements are strewn in a film — for example the one where Hansika mistakes Ravi to be a guy she’s staged to mess-up an alliance her father has arranged, but Ravi turns out to be the groom himself (duh).

The thrills in this fantasy-tale arrives post interval, which races into a chase-to-finish. The convenient archaeological (read Chandamama style folklore) explanation for how Aditya (Swamy) lures his victims and makes them do his bidding could’ve have had a better footing. Logic of course takes a backseat and despite that if your attention is still on the screen and not on your Whatsapp, it is because of how Arvind Swamy looks and how Arvind Swamy acts.

Aditya’s crime of stealing cash and living a grand life seem too puerile a reason for someone who looks as intelligent as Arvind Swamy, until he starts killing people at will. He comes into the hero’s radar very conveniently. Watching a bad guy win is an edge-of-your-seat thrill and Arvind makes his character Aditya worthy of all the small wonders.

D Imaan’s music is a lament in the background score and the songs aren't noteworthy either. The climax is one of brawn, when the whole film hinges on the brain or mind to be precise. Nasser and Ponnvannan have their tailor-made roles. However, for the life of me I can't understand why almost all the hero’s colleagues get either maligned/killed by Aditya? He has the power to exchange souls with the President of America (do I hear NRIs ‘aye aye’ to that one?) but in order to end the film he chooses to get into a choreographed fight with the hero.

Visuals are pleasing, and so are Hansika’s and Arvind’s costumes. What saves the dough is Bogan’s concept and a stellar, entertaining, absorbing and cant-take-your-eyes-off-him Arvind Swamy.