Asura Guru begins with a dark frame, set in starless night, a setting which is perfect for the film's protagonist Sakthi (Vikram Prabhu) to carry out a daring heist. He tumbles on to a moving train and runs across its length, avoiding electric wiring to steal money that is being transported, before cleverly slipping away unnoticed.
But unfortunately for both the actor and audience, this daring feat is the only thrilling sequence in the two-and-a-half hour heist film directed by A Rajhdeep.
As expected, Sakthi has a regular and unsuspicious day job, where he works as a delivery person at a courier company and carries out these robberies in his (frankly excess) free time. For the most part, he targets only businessmen and criminals who have earned money illegally and is aided by his cop friend who is played by Jagan. Trouble arrives for the protagonist in the form of actor Subburaju who essays the role of a police officer specially appointed to track down the criminal responsible for the train heist.
Even as he begins investigations, another private detective, Dia (Mahima Nambiar) is also hot on the trail of Sakthi, after a man he robbed from approaches her agency to help track him down. What follows next is multiple efforts to track down the protagonist, even as he continues to commit one heist after another.
But here is the problem - none of his heists are even executed smarty or explained convincingly. He barely makes the effort (except for the first heist) to hide his identity, and it is almost as if he wants to get caught. For instance, Sakthi just walks into a flower market to steal money from a counterfeiter, and as opposed to cleverly making his way out of there, resorts to beating up everyone in his sight.
You yearn for a smartly written screenplay where technology and brain (not brawn) are showcased on screen. Instead, you are forced to endure a tepid plot with a pace which barely makes you even sit up in your seat.
In addition to this, the hero gets these sudden headaches where his eyes turn red (cue Rakshagan), with flashes from his past appearing in black and white, before every heist. The director does offer you a flashback which is supposed to help tie loose ends and explain Sakthi's motivation in the second half. But while this steers the film away from the traditional Robin Hood storyline, it still borders on the bizarre and exposes his lack of understanding of a psychological disorder.
A character worth mentioning in the film however is Mahima, who plays a strong, independent and clever detective. For once, the heroine on screen is actually seen doing work and she manages to make good progress in the case. But of course, since she has a job that requires her to think and does not seem to need help crossing roads, her character is 'balanced' by giving her a motorbike to ride and a black cigarette to smoke. I mean, come on, she can't be smart and feminine!
But that aside, her role was quite fleshed out and she was infinitely more interesting than Vikram Prabhu, who manages to barely hold an emotion on his face. Their love sequence, while inevitable, was terribly placed in the film. At a time when the police are on the lookout for the duo, they can be seen strolling beaches, sharing coffee and generally behaving like Sakthi is in fact not a criminal.
Yogi Babu too appears in the film as a tea seller. But except for some feeble jokes about the Aadhaar card, the Prime Minister and Tamil Nadu's Deputy Chief Minister, his role only extends the film's runtime.
The action sequences though choreographed well, do not look impressive on screen because they completely undermine the point of it being a 'heist' film. Subburaju with his impressive physique carries off the role of a police officer quite well but a lacklustre screenplay and an illogical plot fail the characters in this film.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.