Asuran (2019 film)

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Asuran movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byVetrimaaran
Produced byKalaippuli S. Thanu
Written bySuKa (dialogues)
Screenplay byVetrimaaran
Based onVekkai
by Poomani
Manju Warrier
Music byG. V. Prakash Kumar
Edited byR. Ramar
Release date
  • 4 October 2019 (2019-10-04)[1]
Running time
139 minutes
Box officeSee Finance section.

Asuran (transl. Demon) is a 2019 Indian Tamil-language action drama film written and directed by Vetrimaaran and produced by Kalaipuli S. Thanu under his production banner V Creations.[citation needed] The film is based on Poomani's novel Vekkai ("Heat"). The film stars Dhanush and Manju Warrier, where the latter makes her Tamil debut. G. V. Prakash Kumar scored the music for the film, renewing his collaboration with Vetrimaaran.[2] The cinematography was performed by Velraj, with editing by R. Ramar. Asuran was released on 4 October 2019.[1] The film's plot is influenced by the real-life Kilvenmani massacre that occurred in 1968.[3] The film was a commercial success.[4]


In the 1980s Tirunelveli, a man and a boy are trekking across a river, carrying homemade bombs. In another part of the village, a woman, a man, and a young girl are also hiding from the police.

A narrator reveals in a flashback that the man is Sivasaami and the boy is his son Chidambaram, while the woman, man, and child are Sivasaami's wife Pachaiyamma, her brother Murugesan and daughter Lakshmi. They also had an older son called Velmurugan. They are a family of farmers living in Thekkoor (lit. southern village). Sivasaami has a close relationship with his older son but is distant, almost abusive with Chidambaram. Sivasami's family, along with most residents of Thekkoor, are Dalits.

Narasimhan is an upper-caste landlord from Vadakoor (lit. northern village), who needs Sivasaami's 3 acres of land for a factory, to which the family is against selling, especially Velmurugan. One day Pachaiyamma is attacked by one of Narasimhan's sons, to which Velmurugan retaliates by severely injuring him and his men. He is arrested, and Sivasaami must touch the feet of every male of the landlord's village to get him released. When Velmurugan hears of his father's humiliation, he beats Narasimhan with a slipper. In revenge, Narasimhan's henchmen, led by a hunter Kariyan, behead Velmurugan. Pachaiyamma is broken, and after a year, Chidambaram is compelled to kill Narasimhan in revenge. Sivasami sees the killing, cuts the lights there, tells the family, and flees with Chidambaram. The film switches back to the present.

Kariyan is asked to find the pair, tracks them down, and almost kills Chidambaram. Sivasami defeats them all but kills none. While the two recovers, Sivasaami explains why he spared their lives.

Twenty years back, he was a village-famous moonshine brewer and trusted servant to Viswanathan, a landlord. One day, he convinces his boss to employ Pandiyan (Nitish Veera), Viswanathan's distant relative, as an accountant. Sivasaami's brother Murugan and Venugopal Seshadri, a Brahmin Communist lawyer, are attempting to regain their community's Panchami land from landlords who had seized it illegally. He falls in love with his relative Mariyamma. When Sivasaami gives her sandals, Pandiyan forces her to walk through the village with the sandals on her head.[a] Sivasaami retaliates by hitting him with sandals but is reprimanded by Vishwanathan. One night, before a meeting was conducted by Seshadri and Murugan with the other labourers, news arrives that Seshadri was arrested and Sivasaami is sent to get the documents authorising the meeting. When he returns, Murugan and the others have been killed by Pandiyan and his men, while Sivasami's family (including Mariyamma), along with many others, were burned alive in their huts.[b] Enraged, Sivasami kills Vishwanathan, Pandiyan and their men.

Sivasaami then reveals that he had left his village and was found by Murugesan, who taught him farming. He's also introduced to Pachaiyamma, who is not getting marriage proposals. He narrates his story, and Pachaiyamma admires what he did for his family. He surrenders to the court and is given a light sentence. Afterward, he marries Pachaiyamma. Chidambaram is amazed at his father's past and starts to admire him. Sivasaami reconciles with his wife and daughter briefly, and he and his son go to Seshadri for help. Seshadri agrees to help them as long as they turn up to court the next day.

The next day, the two get into the court premises but are forced to flee after Narasimhan's men ambush them. Sivasaami reluctantly sells his land to prevent Narasimhan's men from targeting his family. However, Chidambaram is abducted and tortured, in direct violation of the agreement. Sivasami kills many of the henchmen and Narasimhan's family members, but he and Chidambaram sustain serious injuries. Murugesan and their village people arrive armed and defuse the situation.

In the end, it's revealed that the two villages agreed that the conflict should end and prevented a caste clash. Sivasaami's family has gathered in the court and he has agreed to go to jail instead of Chidambaram if necessary. He tells his son to study hard, and that unlike farmland and money, the landlords can't seize their education. The film ends with Sivasaami smiling at his family as he enters the court.




Post the success of Vada Chennai (2018), Vetrimaaran announced about the plans for making the film's sequel, with Dhanush reprising his role from the original. However, Vetrimaaran and Dhanush agreed to do another film before working with the sequel of Vada Chennai.[6] On 21 December 2018, Dhanush announced the film's title as Asuran, with a poster release,[7] and makers planned to kickstart the shoot in January 2019. Later, G. V. Prakash Kumar was signed in to compose the film's soundtrack, collaborating with the director and actor, after Polladhavan (2007) and Aadukalam (2011), except Vada Chennai which was composed by Santhosh Narayanan.[8] The film was reported to be set in the period of 1960s to 1980s, with Dhanush playing a man of his mid-40s.[9]


Malayalam actress Manju Warrier was selected as the film's female lead,[10] which marked her acting debut in Tamil.[11] Ken Karunas, son of actor Karunas and singer Teejay Arunachalam was roped into essay the role of Dhanush's sons in the film, with the latter marking his acting debut.[12] Director Balaji Sakthivel, also made his acting debut, essaying an important role in the film.[13] Actor Pasupathy, was also cast in the film as a supporting role, where he joined the sets in February 2019.[14] Later, Aadukalam Naren and Pawan were also cast in the film.[15]


The principal photography of the film began on 26 January 2019,[16] with the first schedule of the shoot being held at Tirunelveli.[17][18] Dhanush was reported to play a dual role of father and son in the film as per sources.[9] Initially, the actor was reported to play a dual role in another film directed by R. S. Durai Senthilkumar, which was titled Pattas (2020). While the film's shoot was progressing in full swing, Dhanush was reported to kick start his shoot for Pattas, later he took a break and resumed shooting for the film in April 2019. The final schedule of the film began in May 2019.[citation needed] It was revealed that the makers planned to wrap the film's shoot within June 2019.[19]


Soundtrack album by
Released2 September 2019
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelKalaippuli Audio
ProducerG. V. Prakash Kumar
G. V. Prakash Kumar chronology
100% Kadhal
Soorarai Pottru

The soundtrack album and background score is composed by G. V. Prakash Kumar, collaborating with Dhanush and Vetrimaaran for the third time after Polladhavan and Aadukalam. The soundtrack album consists of seven songs, with lyrics written by Ekadesi, Yugabharathi, Eknath, and Arunraja Kamaraj. During the pre-production phase of the film, G. V. Prakash Kumar has been working on the music composition of the film, along with Suriya-starrer Soorarai Pottru (2020), directed by Sudha Kongara.

In an interview with The Times of India, composer Prakash stated "Asuran's music will be rooted, with raw folk being the dominant element, with earthy songs. But the approach is international. The thought process was about mixing folk and world music; the voices will be folk, but the instrumentation will have an international flavor, like using an electric guitar with this raw folk. I have treated it like a Coke Studio project, which will be exciting for fans and listeners."[20] Dhanush had crooned two songs for this film, one of the song was titled as a soothing raw number.

The official track list of the film featured seven songs in the film, while composer G. V. Prakash revealed that there are four songs in the album. One of the song is a reprised version sung by Prakash Kumar. The film's album was launched on 2 September 2019, coinciding with the occasion of Ganesh Chathurthi at a launch event held at Prasad Studios in Chennai, where Dhanush, Manju Warrier, Ammu Abirami, Ken Karunas, singer-turned-actor Teejay Arunachalam director Vetrimaaran, composer G. V. Prakash Kumar, and producer S. Thanu were in attendance,[21][22] and the album was released in all streaming platforms and on YouTube, the same day.[23]

The film's music, including the background score, received positive responses from both audiences as well as critics, with songs "Kathari Poovazhagi", "Yen Minukki" and "Ellu Vaya Pookalaye" were well received by audiences, benefiting to the success of the film.[24] A reviewer from Moviecrow rated 3.5 out of 5 to the soundtrack stating "Vetri Maaran's, Asuran's soundtrack composed by G. V. Prakash, is intense, cinematic and drives the listener to witness the rawness of the lands and times where the story is set in!"[25]

No.TitleLyricsSinger (s)Length
1."Kathari Poovazhagi"EkadesiVelmurugan, Rajalakshmi, Napolia3:45
2."Polladha Bhoomi"YugabharathiDhanush, G. V. Prakash Kumar, Ken Karunas, Teejay Arunachalam3:58
3."Yen Minukki"EknathChinmayi, Teejay Arunachalam4:32
4."Blood Bath"Arunraja KamarajArunraja Kamaraj4:02
5."Ellu Vaya Pookalaye"YugabharathiSaindhavi5.58
6."Yen Minukki" (Reprise)EknathChinmayi, G. V. Prakash Kumar4:32
7."Kannazhagu Raththinamey"YugabharathiDhanush1:38
Total length:28:20


The film was originally planned to be released on 2 October 2019, coinciding with the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and the weekend of the Vijayadashami festival in India.[26] On 8 August, the makers advanced the release date by one day to 4 October.[27]


Critical reception[edit]

The Times of India, rated 3.5 out of 5 stars, stating that "Vetri Maaran delivers yet another solid action drama that keeps us engrossed from start to finish."[28]

Behindwoods rated 3.25/5, stating that "Asuran is an engaging watch with strong performances, interesting plot and an amazing emotional connect with the audience throughout."[29]

S. Subhakeerthana from The Indian Express rated the film 4 out of 5 and reviewed it as "With this Dhanush starrer, Vetrimaaran proves he's one of the finest directors in Indian cinema, yet again. Only a few filmmakers like him can pull off a mainstream cinema, balancing ‘realism’ and commercial elements."[30]

Sify rated the film 4.5 out of 5, summarising that "Asuran is a must-watch. Dhanush-Vetrimaaran combo who has once again delivered a raw, rustic, and riveting revenge drama. Don't miss this one!"[31]

Janani K from India Today, rated the film 3.5 out of 5 and stated that "Director Vetri Maaran’s Asuran is a thrilling revenge drama of an oppressed family in a village. With solid writing backed by brilliant performances, Asuran is a classic film."[32]

Sreedhar Pillai from Firstpost rated the film 4 out of 5 and posted a verdict " Asuran is one of the best films of the year and a must-watch. Vetrimaran keeps the flag of good cinema flying high."[33]

Krupa Ge from Silverscreen said, "Asuran is a bloody revenge saga, that’s also weirdly enough about the futility of violence... Watching the film, after reading the book [Vekkai], feels like dipping in and out of the novel, to wander off to the sides of the pages, filled with detours and notes. It starts where the novel starts, but goes back and forth, imagining what could have been."[34]

Gauthaman Baskaran from News18, gave contrary reviews by rating the film 2 out of 5, stating that "Coming at a time when graphic and lurid on-screen violence is being questioned and even condemned, Asuran would appear needlessly falling back to the old formula."[35]

Baradwaj Rangan of Film Companion South wrote "None of the characters feel fully formed because the timelines feel rushed. We don’t feel time and lives weigh down on us the way it did in Vada Chennai or Visaranai. Maybe it’s the on/off voiceovers, which feel like hastily applied band-aids over sore spots in the storytelling. But the bigger absence is the lack of set pieces. Vetri Maaran seems to be holding back almost deliberately, as though mirroring his leading man".[36]


Asuran grossed approximately 16 crore in Tamil Nadu in its first weekend.[37] The film collected 3.35 crore (US$522,198.1) in Kerala in 10 days.[38] The film grossed around 50 crore worldwide according to Firstpost.[39] The film has crossed ₹100 crore revenue which includes theatrical gross and non-theatrical revenue such as satellite, digital and music rights.[40]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Date of ceremony Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
8 December 2019 Behindwoods Gold Medal Best Director Vetrimaaran Won [41]
Best Actor Dhanush Won
Best Actress - Special Mention Manju Warrier Won
Find of the year Ken Karunas Won
4 January 2020 Zee Cine Awards Tamil Best Director Vetrimaaran Won [42][43]
Best Actor Dhanush Won
Best Background Score G. V. Prakash Kumar Won
Best Costume Designer Perumal Selvam Won
Best Female Playback Singer Saindhavi Nominated
Find of the Year Ken Karunas Won
11 January 2020 Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards Best Director Vetrimaaran Won [44]
Best Actor - Male Dhanush Won
Best Art Direction Jacki Won
Best Playback Singer – Female Saindhavi Won
Best Lyricist Yugabharathi Won
Best Makeup Artist Banu
Nellai V. Shanmugam
K. Velmurugan
15 January 2020 Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards Best Film Kalaipuli S. Thanu Won [45]
Best Director Vetrimaaran Won
Best Playback Singer – Female Saindhavi Won
Best Stunt Choreography Peter Hein Won
14 March 2020 JFW Movie Awards 2020 Best Actress in a Leading Role Manju Warrier Won [46]
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Ammu Abhirami Won


It is being remade in Telugu as Naarappa starring Venkatesh and directed by Srikanth Addala. Kalaipuli S. Thanu returns as the producer of the film along with Daggubati Suresh Babu under their banners V. Creations and Suresh Productions.[47]


  1. ^ This incident was based on many real-life incidents where upper castes forced Dalit children to wear footwear on their heads, seeing it as "insulting"[5]
  2. ^ This series of events is similar to what happened during the Kilvenmani massacre in 1968


  1. ^ a b "Dhanush starrer Asuran to release on October 4". The Indian Express. 8 August 2019.
  2. ^ "GV Prakash to compose music for Asuran Vetrimaaran Dhanush". Behindwoods. 24 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Dhanush's 'Asuran' And The Film's Dalit Hero Are Not Worth Celebrating". HuffPost India. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  4. ^ "With the success of Asuran, Dhanush proves he's a rare Tamil star who strikes the balance between scale and substance - Entertainment News , Firstpost". Firstpost. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  5. ^ "The success of 'Asuran' and what it means for cinema with Dalit protagonists". Retrieved 22 August 2020.
  6. ^ "Dhanush Confirms Asuran With Vetrimaaran". 24 December 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Dhanush's next is 'Asuran' with Vetrimaaran – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  8. ^ Penbugs (8 September 2019). "Asuran trailer: Dhanush-Vetrimaaran promises something big". Penbugs. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Dhanush plays his father in 'Asuran'! - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Manju Warrier to play the female lead in Dhanush's 'Asuran' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Manju Warrier to make her Tamil debut in Dhanush's 'Asuran'". 22 January 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Karunas's son Ken roped in for Dhanush's Asuran - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Director Balaji Sakthivel acting debut in Dhanush's 'Asuran'? - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Pasupathi joins the sets of Asuran - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Naren and Pawan join the sets of Dhanush's 'Asuran' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Dhanush-Vetrimaaran's 'Asuran' to start on Jan 26 - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Dhanush-Vetri Maaran film to kick-start in Tirunelveli - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Dhanush starts shooting for Asuran". Cinema Express. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Dhanush to wrap up the shooting of 'Asuran' by end of June - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  20. ^ "I've treated Asuran like a Coke Studio project: GV Prakash - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Asuran audio launched". Sify. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Dhanush, Vetri Maaran & Manju Warrier at the audio launch of Asuran". Pink Villa. 2 September 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  23. ^ Lahari Music (2 September 2019). "Asuran - Official Jukebox | Dhanush | Vetri Maaran | G. V. Prakash Kumar | Kalaippuli S Thanu". YouTube. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  24. ^ "Tracing how music is still a big commercial pull in Tamil cinema". Firstpost. 20 January 2020. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  25. ^ "Asuran Songs - Music Review". Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Dhanush's 'Asuran' to hit the screens on 2nd October? - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  27. ^ "Dhanush's 'Asuran' to release on THIS date. - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  28. ^ Asuran Movie Review {3.5/5}: Dhanush and Manju Warrier starrer is a compelling action drama on caste and class, retrieved 5 October 2019
  29. ^ "Asuran (aka) Asuraan review". Behindwoods. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  30. ^ "Asuran movie review: Dhanush is terrific in this well-made revenge drama". The Indian Express. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  31. ^ "Review : Asuran review: Solid in both, its craft and storytelling! (2019)". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  32. ^ Janaki K. (4 October 2019). "Asuran Movie Review: Dhanush and Vetri Maaran gift another solid revenge drama". India Today. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  33. ^ "Asuran movie review: Dhanush, Manju Warrier deliver intense performances in Vetrimaran's riveting drama- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Asuran Movie Review: A Commentary On Caste And Violence Told As A Bloody Revenge Saga". Silverscreen. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Asuran Movie Review: Dhanush Shines in Vetri Maaran's Violent Film". News18. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  36. ^ "Asuran Movie Review: Not Up To Vetri Maaran/Dhanush's Earlier Work, But Still Quite Good". FilmCompanion. 4 October 2019.
  37. ^ "Asuran box office collection: Dhanush starrer mints Rs 16 crore in Tamil Nadu in opening weekend". Hindustan Times. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  38. ^ Pillai, Sreedhar (15 October 2019). "Why Dhanush's latest 'Asuran' is clicking at the box office". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  39. ^ Sekar, Raja (6 November 2019). "Bigil, Kaithi, Asuran, Nerkonda Paarvai, Petta show Tamil cinema is heading towards a content-oriented approach". Firstpost. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  40. ^ "Asuran: Dhanush's film enters Rs 100 core club". The Times of India. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  41. ^ "7TH BEHINDWOODS GOLD MEDALS 2019 - WINNERS!". behindwoods. 9 December 2019.
  42. ^ "Zee Cine Awards Tamil 2020 winners list: Ajith, Kamal Haasan, Dhanush won these honours". International Business Times. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  43. ^ "Zee Cine Awards Tamil 2020: Dhanush bags Best Actor award, 'Pernabu' wins Best Film". The News Minute. 5 January 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  44. ^ "Vikatan Awards 2019: Taapsee Pannu wins 'Best Actor' for Game Over, shares surreal moment with Dhanush and Vetrimaaran". The Statesman. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  45. ^ "11th NTFF 2020 – Winners list of Awardees – Tamilar Viruthu – Tamil Nadu". 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  46. ^ "JFW Movie Awards 2020 – Winners list of Awardees – Chennai Trade Center – Tamil Nadu". 14 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  47. ^ "Asuran is Naarappa in Telugu: Venkatesh looks fierce in Srikanth Addala's film". India Today. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 22 January 2020.

External links[edit]