Mersal Review – Mersal is a Tamil action drama released in 2017. Maaran a doctor who charges just 5 rupees for treating patients is suspected to be on a spree to kill people in the medical profession.
I watched Mersal after much of the hype around it settled down. There has been a huge expectation on the movie after the success of Theri at the box office. Director Atlee has stuck to only commercial elements that work for any mass hero movies to create Mersal. Vijay has a triple role to play this time. Evaluating this movie from a commercial mass masala film genre, it falls short of engaging throughout. The story is based on some superficial philosophy and wherever the screenplay drags Atlee has used the dialogues around the glorification of Tamil and Tamilan to appease the audience. However, this does not fit the tale. Too many characters with 3 heroines and 3 Vijay there is very less time on the screen to complete their introduction and get to the story. Although Vijay tells he needs 15 minutes of time to explain the flashback, it actually runs for 45+ minutes and slows down the movie even further. Using the same structure of a 3 act play for the flashback was a bad idea. If this has been inspired by Aboorva Sagodharargal they could have taken a leaf out of the movie to keep the flashback short and quick.
Like I said before the screenplay is inspired by many mass commercial movies. Satyaraj himself says after hearing Vijay’s story that it feels like a Shankar film’s story. Throughout the movie, Satyaraj’s role is to listen to stories and flashback. They could have avoided this patchy non-linear screenplay altogether. SJ Surya’s role as the villain is a treat to watch.
High Points: Vijay’s screen presence, AR Rahman’s background score, SJ Suryah’s role as villain
Low Points: Too many plot holes, Dragging screenplay, Cliched done and dusted scenes.
Overall Mersal is a mixture of Shankar, Murugadoss and Vijayakanth movies put together. If you are an ardent fan of Vijay then there are many fan moments to enjoy in the first half. However, when reviewed as a wholesome product it fails to cross the line.
Wait for DVD/TV
Theri Review – Theri is a Tamil action film released in 2016. Joseph Kuruvilla lives with his daughter in a remote Kerala Village. He always stays away from fights or disputes. But circumstances lead him to pick up a tiff with the local don and in the course his original identity Vijaykumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police is exposed.
Vijay has gone back to his comfort zone after his experimentation with fantasy adventure Puli. This time, he has joined hands with director Atlee after his successful first venture Raja Rani. When a successful filmmaker gets to direct a successful mass hero there is a huge burden to please the fans of the star. Only a few directors like Shankar, Mani Ratnam have been able to stay focused on the script and deliver an appealing product both to the fans and general audience. Atlee doesn’t fall into that category. He has struggled to find his story in the commercial entertainer. In the end, it happens to be an out and out Vijay’s mass masala movie which has all the minimum guarantee elements for success but would be a forgettable one in the long run.
The movie reminds one of many blockbusters in Kollywood and Hollywood. It has influence from Baasha. Baasha seems to be a milestone for Kollywood like how The Godfather is for Hollywood. It is still inspiring movie makers. Then there are influences from Yennai Arindhal and the directors own Raja Rani and finally, there are glimpses of The Dark Knight Trilogy. In the scenes which mimic the dark knight movies, you will find Vijay modulating his voice as well like Batman :). If you have seen all these movies and is not a Vijay fan then you won’t find anything appealing in the movie. If you are an ardent Vijay fan then there are more opportunities for you to whistle throughout.
For me, the best part of the movie is the romance portion between Vijay and Samantha. It does bring a different face of Vijay which we don’t get to see much. He tries to be a hero who can also cry just out of emotion. That’s new for a mass hero movie. The comedy during these portions has also turned out well. Where he describes the outcome of the fight before fighting is definitely enjoyable. Atlee’s core strength is in this area which he had utilized well in Raja Rani. Mottai Rajendran has a new role of being a sidekick to the heroes previously in Vedalam and now in Theri. I personally would like to see him as a fearsome Villain or in comic roles like Ghost Gopal Varma than seeing him flattering the hero. The biggest surprise of the movie is Director Mahendran donning the role of the Villain. Years of experience is seen in his acting. I would have loved a build-up portion for the villain rather than him just jumping in and only targeting Vijay.
High Points: The romance portion between Vijay and Samantha, Visuals and production quality, Comedy sequences in the flashback, Director Mahendran playing Villain.
Low Points: The overall movie might only appeal to hardcore Vijay fans as they have been generous in creating masala elements.
Overall Theri is created to appeal to the Vijay fans worldwide. It just increases Vijay’s mass masala template movies by one rather than standing out. If you are not a Vijay fan then you can watch it when played on TV.
Wait for DVD/TV
Raja Rani – a Tamil Romance film released in 2013. John and Regina enter a married life unwillingly for the sake of their family to only make their everyday life a hell. It is later revealed that the reason for their unwillingness and detachment is that they are not able to come out of their past love failure and loss from it. Do they realize that there is life after breakup which could be better is the rest of the plot.
Atlee coming from Shankar’s school has done a very neat job for a debut director. He has tried to recreate the magic Mouna Raagam after 27 years and has been fairly successful in his attempt. Though the story is a old school romantic drama template the screenplay makes it look still fresh. Atlee should be given credit for the using innovative sequences to move the story that has been told many a times. The movie is thoroughly enjoyable.. it will make you laugh and cry as the characters go through the roller coaster of situations in their life. GV Prakash has done a neat job with the background score. Couple of shortfalls – One, at times they have taken creative liberty to move the story to a desired sequence and other the message of good life existing beyond break ups have been repeated by almost every character which could have been avoided. If you are willing to ignore such minor glitches you will enjoy Raja Rani.
Must Watch – for all those who love Romantic drama!