In Thani Oruvan, Jayam Ravi and Arvind Swami indulged in a cat-and-mouse game that was thrilling to watch. In Bogan, director Lakshman, who made the preposterous romance Romeo Juliet, play this game once again, but the difference here is that he provides both the actors an opportunity to let loose their wild side. He lifts the premise of John’s Woo’s Hollywood thriller Face/Off, of a cop and criminal switching places, but adds some Indian masala in the form of mystic mumbo-jumbo (there’s also a bit of ‘inspiration’ from The Bourne Ultimatum), and gives us a thriller that begins well and is engaging for the most part, before losing some intensity towards the end.
The plot revolves around Aditya (Arvind Swami), who has stumbled onto the secret of body swapping (a power that once belonged to the saint, Bogar). He uses it to get rich quick. His modus operandi involves swapping his body for a patsy and robbing a jewellery shop or a bank, all the while ensuring that the video evidence is against his victim. But Vikram (Jayam Ravi), an assistant commissioner, is on to him after Aditya uses his trick on the cop’s father (Aadukalam Naren). Vikram manages to nab Aditya, but to get his revenge, the latter switches his body with former’s. And now, Vikram has to save himself and stop Aditya before he can do more damage.
Just like Thani Oruvan, Bogan is a celebration of the antagonist, and once again, Arvind Swami rocks in the role of a charismatic villain. This is a much looser performance than the one he gave in Thani Oruvan. Earlier, you could sense the actor holding back but now, he seems more relaxed and comfortable and is performing these roles with relish. This is also why Ravi’s performance feels underwhelming. The actor feels miscast in a role that needs someone who can chew scenery. But he is like a tightly wound spring (this worked wonderfully in Thani Oruvan), so we never get the over-the-top villainy that he character deserves in the second half, which doesn’t generate the sparks that we expect after the excellent interval block.
Then there is the romance, between Vikram and Mahalakshmi (Hansika, in yet another woman-child role), that takes up a lot more screen time than it should. The ending is also rushed and promising characters like that of Vikram’s cop friends and Nasser, who plays an archaeologist, remain underdeveloped. However, there is an inherent thrill in the fantastic premise, and that helps us overlook these failings to an extent.
Cast: Jayam Ravi, Arvind Swami, Hansika, Nasser, Ponvannan, Akshara Gowda, Nagendra Prasad, Varun, Aadukalam naren
Running time: 2 hours 28 minutes
The Times of India