Maharaja Review: A gripping thriller!

Maharaja Review

What’s about?

Maharaja (Vijay Sethupathi) works as a barber. Following the tragic demise of his wife in an accident, he has assumed sole responsibility for raising his daughter and has centred his entire life around her. His daughter goes to a different city to participate in a sports event, accompanied by other students under the supervision of the physical education teacher (Mamta Mohandas) for one week. Both the Maharaja and his daughter have a strong liking for an iron dustbin, which they have named Laxmi.


During this time, three burglars attack him as he returns home one night. He goes to the police station and requests that they find the stolen dustbin. Initially, the police officers dismiss him, but when Maharaja offers a bribe of Rs 5 lakhs in exchange for finding ‘Laxmi’, they suspect that he may be concealing something and believe they can obtain more money from Maharaja if they find the dustbin. So, they begin their investigation.

Why is Maharaja so concerned with locating a dustbin? What is his connection to the thieves? What’s his true motivation behind all of this?


“Maharaja,” the 50th film in Vijay Sethupathi’s successful career, is directed by upcoming Tamil filmmaker Nithilan Swaminathan. The plot begins with an accident in which Vijay Sethupathi’s character loses his wife, as the credits appear on screen. The story then jumps ahead 15 years, to the protagonist’s middle age and his daughter’s teenage.

The narrative subsequently centers on Vijay Sethupathi’s unwavering approach to compel the police to locate a stolen dustbin from his residence. In addition, there are several characters present, including police officers, Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter who seeks guidance from her teacher, a gang of burglars led by Anurag Kashyap, and a local politician. These characters are part of various threads that initially appear unrelated.

Despite the lack of a clear direction in the film, it successfully captivates our attention and keeps us engaged. It is only during the intermission that we come to realize that the protagonist is actually on a mission of revenge, and all the characters and incidents are intricately connected.

In the latter part, the reasons behind Maharaja’s unwavering determination to locate Lakshmi become evident. And the final act when the actual shocking truth is revealed is totally gripping.

The film is a slow-burner. The director skillfully constructs a captivating screenplay with a non-linear narrative that effectively holds our attention until the end. “Maharaja” has familiar features and revolves around the main theme of revenge, and some of its twists appear too convenient and contrived rather than naturally occurring. However, the film maintains a firm hold on its audience throughout. The film’s primary strength lies in its ability to captivate and maintain our interest, while effectively sustaining the element of suspense. The performances are an additional advantage.

Vijay Sethupathi once again delivered a nuanced and powerful performance. He appears raw and strong at times, but vulnerable at others, always displaying the pain of a father. He completely carries the film. Anurag Kashyap, a Bollywood filmmaker, also does well as an actor. Despite his lip-syncing and initial unease in finding his footing, he surprises us later in the film. He plays a shockingly negative role.

Natty’s performance as a police inspector is equally impressive. Abhirami performs well as Kashyap’s wife. Sachana Namidass, who plays Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter, also has an impact in her limited screen time. Mamta Mohandas plays no significant role in the story.

Director Nithilan Saminathan’s fantastic screenplay writing skills receive full marks.

Bottom line: “Maharaja” is a slow-burner with a gripping screenplay that keeps you engaged till the end. It is also a well-intended film about a societal subject. Despite the convenient writing, “Maharaja” is both captivating and emotional.

Rating: 2.75/5

Film: Maharaja (dubbed version)
Cast: Vijay Sethupathi, Anurag Kashyap, Natty (Natraj), Abhirami, Mamta Mohandas, Sachana Namidass and others
Dialogues: Vasanth
Music: B Ajaneesh Loknath
DOP: Dinesh Purushothaman
Editor: Kodati Pavan Kalyan
Production Designer: V. Selvakumar
Producers: Sudhan Sundaram, Jagadish Palanisamy
Written and Directed by: Nithilan Saminathan
Release Date: June 14, 2024



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