If cinema is all about heroism, muscle flexing, masculinity, and glamour, then Captain Miller does not fit the bill. The men and women in Arun Matheswaran’s Captain Miller fight oppression, not in the Gandhian way, but with guns and fire. Captain Miller is filled with action from the start to the end.
Set in the pre-Independence era, Dhanush plays Analeesan, a man who wants to fight oppression by the landed gentry in his village. Analeesan, his mother, and the others in his village are victims of oppression. The local king bars them from entering into a temple they built. His brother Sengolan (played by Shiva Rajkumar) arrives for a village festival and his mother gets killed in an attack by the upper caste. He then decides to join the army led by the British and believes that they will give him more respect than the local king. He gets rechristened as Miller and wants to be called Captain Miller.
When Miller is asked to shoot the non-violent protesters fighting for freedom, he shivers and shakes, realises his mistakes, and returns to the village. But the villagers shoo him away saying his brother Sengolan was also part of the non-violent protesters. What happens next forms the rest of the story.
If you are a fan of Dhanush’s Asuran and Karnan, then Captain Miller is truly a treat. Dhanush truly stands out, in every frame - when he walks in the military attire as a soldier, when he sports a long beard, when he fires at the British, or when he holds the hands of Priyanka Arul Mohan's Velmathi showing her the way to exit from the temple as a young man. You just cannot take your eyes off him. Dhanush makes the audience feel his anger and anguish.
At one point in the film, Analeesan believes that the British gave the people respect, dignity and food. Director Arun Matheswaran comes up with some pertinent questions when Analeesan confronts Sengolan: “Who are you fighting against? After we get Independence from the British, do you think they will allow us to enter the temple's sanctum sanctorum? You are fighting for the freedom of the landed gentry?” Matheswaran’s thoughts on women too stand out. His women characters are not feeble or subservient to men. The two women characters—played by Priyanka Mohan as a freedom fighter-doctor and Niveditha Sathish as a dacoit and a rebel—are well written.
While Matheswaran had recently said the film was based on the real-life story of the first-ever black tiger of the LTTE, the film revolves around the story of a man in Tamil Nadu, set in a different time period. Vallipuram Vasanthan aka Captain Miller was the first black tiger of the LTTE and there is a statue of him at Nelliyadi in Jaffna. The Tamils in Sri Lanka still celebrate him.
The film is split into six chapters. The interval block chase, action sequences, and the terrific climax are visual treats. In the end, Captain Miller promises a sequel, leaving the audience to keep guessing.
G.V. Prakash rocks with his background score and 'The Killer Killer' song is a musical treat.
On the flip side, the film is a tad long, running more than two hours, and filled with guns, gunpowder, fire and bloodshed from the beginning till the end. Sometimes, it gets a little boring to watch the long chasing scenes.
Film: Captain Miller
Directer by: Arun Matheswaran
Starring: Dhanush, Shiva Rajkumar, Priyanka Arul Mohan, Aditi Balan