How many times do you watch the politician-underworld nexus and the odds of an upright policeman? And interspersed with these are two jobless heroines, whose only avocation is prancing around for a duet or two, presumably to provide relief! Heroes and filmmakers may not tire going on in the same vein for eons on end, but it's unfair to expect the viewer to find it palatable forever. The predictability of the storyline of Maasi (U/A) puts you off straightway. Bearded goons with tousled hair complete with grimy looks, the hero chasing them or vice versa, the families of the good or the bad being kidnapped and the loud and powerful politician making himself a sitting duck … Don't you want to scream? The only thing missing is the item number. Thank god for that!

An actor, who has been associated with sensible, engaging actioners such as Gentleman, Mudhalvan, Kurudhi Punal and more recently Mankaatha, travelling on a weather-beaten track is surprising. Doesn't Arjun know that he has transcended this genre of sheer mindless mayhem in the name of mass appeal? And song sequences with girls who look too young for the hero don't help either. But Arjun's well-toned physique, incredible agility and subdued performance in the sentimental scenes show that his mettle as an actor and action hero is intact.

The heroines, Hema and Archana, are forgettable — director Kichcha makes them enter and exit in a jiffy. One gets killed and the other vamooses, though only after a song and dance each with Arjun. But evil folks are in abundance. From Pradeep Rawat and Ponnambalam to Kotta Srinivasa Rao and Dhool Sakuntala, they are innumerable. Henchmen get killed in dozens, and the viewer is bored to death! Amidst all this typical hue and cry two actors stand out — Mayilsamy for his short and decent comedy track and Gautham for his underplayed role of a righteous policeman and subordinate of Maasi (Arjun). Wonder why Gautham isn't seen often on screen!

Composer Dhina's ‘Singa Nadai' revs up the listener. The montages in the sequence are effective.

Maasi's conjugal bliss is cruelly cut short when his innocent wife gets killed in the melee between two rival underworld groups. Not that our hero grieves for long. He meets another girl and falls in love again without even a thought about the dead wife! But even this girl vanishes very soon. Meanwhile Maasi goes all out to bring the gang leaders to book for the various heinous crimes they have committed, including the kingpin who operates from Mumbai. Of course, it isn't going to be easy.

The opening scene that has Arjun in a serious condition in hospital, with scenes from his past running through his mind at random is promising. But that's it. Soon you recognise the familiar run-of-the-mill stuff that is being churned out all over again.

The action king doesn't need a Maasi to live up to the sobriquet. You can afford to be choosy, Arjun.


Genre: Action (What else?)

Director: G. Kichcha

Cast: Arjun, Hema, Archana, Pradeep Rawat, Kota Srinivasa Rao

Storyline: The sorrows of being straightforward!

Bottomline: ‘For Mass' is the confounding two-word tagline! Mass of what?