Let me begin by saying I have an issue with the Part 1-Part 2 releasing strategy of some of the Hotstar specials. The problem is that it almost feels like the projector got damaged at the interval of a seemingly exciting thriller, and you will have to wait for months to know what happened after that. Mathagam, the new Hotstar original directed by Prasath Murugesan, looks somewhat exciting as it maintains an element of curiosity around the central event. But the abrupt Part 1 ending is, in a way ruining the possible joy of watching this as one binge-watch-worthy content.
During one of his patrolling checks, DCP Ashwath gets to know about a party of gangsters that is being conducted by a notorious criminal named Padalam Sekar. Sekar was believed to be dead, and his sudden resurrection makes Ashwath think that the whole party thing has a connection with something more significant. What we see in Mathagam Part 1 is the efforts made by Ashwath to find Sekar and the intention behind the party.
Like almost all the other series, Prasath Murugesan tries to make the characters more detailed by giving us information about things happening in their lives. But the dividing of the series is done so callously that almost all such tracks that divulge into a possible backstory feel insignificant. Because the main thriller element is rarely getting affected by these sidetracks, and for a thriller like this, to have some novelty, a clever blending of side tracks with the main arc is essential.
The writing is interested in detailing each character to make this party event a junction of many subplots we see till that point. Even though it doesn’t have that filmy eccentricity, the tone is pretty generic, and there are no significant surprises here that make the narrative exciting. And like I said, the ending of Part 1 is such that it doesn’t have any high points that usually satisfy you at the end of a season of any series.
The relationship dynamic between Ashwath and his wife, the commissioner’s family track, the love story of Padalam Sekar, etc., feels more like episodes they created out of series format obligation rather than a genuine requirement. The cinematography uses lights and shadows smartly to convey the mood of the scenes, and I really loved the shadow play in the final episode that marked the dominance of Sekar.
Atharvaa, as DCP Ashwath, has the body language and attitude of that new-to-the-job, high-on-energy young cop. But when his character says something like he and Sekar are very similar, I genuinely couldn’t feel that equality between them as Manikandan’s portrayal of Sekar had better command over the character. Manikandan performs the multiple shades of the character of Padalam Sekar with subtle variations in expressions and voice modulation. Dilnaz Irani, as the supportive commissioner, has actually got a weakly written character whose smart moves are predictable and a little bit old school. Ilavarasu, as the snooty politician, was convincing. Prominent names like Gautham Vasudev Menon, Nikhila Vimal, and Dhivyadarshini are in the star cast. Hopefully, Part 2 will give us an idea of why they were essential for those characters.
Mathagam Part 1 is a mixed bag with some discrete moments of promise. The way they have taken the series toward that party finale is somewhat interesting, and I was actually hoping for an ending that would leave us anticipating possibilities. But that lack of intrigue is pretty much making it that okayish thriller. If you have watched the two-part series The Night Manager in a single stretch and found it enjoyable, I recommend watching Mathagam after Part 2 releases.
The abrupt Part 1 ending is, in a way ruining the possible joy of watching this as one binge-watch-worthy content.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended