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
24 Review – 24 is a Tamil science fiction thriller released in 2016. A scientist named Sethuraman invents a time travel watch. His twin brother Athreya after the watch and kills him. But before he dies Sethuraman sends his infant son and the watch in a train. Was Athreya able to get his watch back? what happened to Sethuraman’s son?… is the rest of the story.
The plot had a very interesting premise that has not been handled in Tamil cinema so much. The biggest positive of the movie is the plot and the belief of the makers in making this into a full-length movie. The production quality is very good. The visuals and frame construction are well done. The character of Athreya has come out well and Suriya has done it well. There are brilliant moments in the movie. The initial chase sequence, the interval block and the sequence in which Mani (Sethuraman’s son) learns the capabilities of the watch.
The biggest weak point in the movie is the screenplay. It is a big let down. But for 45 minutes the movie seizes to be a Sci-Fi thriller and sets its course to become a romantic comedy movie. I felt I was watching a totally different movie. The entire angle of Samantha and her family seem to be force fitted into the screenplay to let the movie go forward. An ensemble of actors in Samantha’s family was largely underutilized including Girish Karnad. The second weak point is the dialogue. Seems like the makers were too carried away to make Athreya’s dialogues perfect that they did not have time to polish other’s dialogues. There are a lot of sequences where the same dialogue is repeated too often and causes displeasure. In particular, the romance portion between Samantha and Suriya the dialogues are way too off.
High Points: The plot involving time travel, Production quality, costumes and Art design. The initial chase sequence. Suriya’s performance. The sequence where Suriya learns about the capabilities of the watch. A R Rahman’s score makes it very pleasant.
Low Points: Screenplay is a big let down. Repeated dialogues make it uninteresting. Weak characterization as only time has been spent on building Athreya’s character. Overload of characters without much screentime. Very less time spent on Sci-Fi genre.
Overall 24 ends up to be a wanna be Sci-Fi thriller that only entices in parts. If I had the watch I would go back in time and not book the tickets for the movie rather wait for it to be screened on TV.
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
10 Endrathukulla Review – 10 Endrathukulla is a Tamil action thriller released in 2015. A skillful car thief gets involved in the kidnapping of a woman without his knowledge. How he comes through the situation is the plot of 10 Endrathukulla.
Director Vijay Milton had aspirations of creating a racy movie with some high voltage action sequences. He has achieved the output he had expected but missed the story by a mile. The situations are very disconnected, this has been mainly due to the fact that the screenplay has been designed to maintain suspense till the end. This has not been successful as the movie does not connect with the audience at all as they fail to connect with the purpose of the protagonist.
Vikram’s performance could not save the engaging factor of the movie. There are enough heroes who are dependent on mass intro sequences, this is not needed for Vikram as he has extraordinary acting skills and dedication that would woo the audience. There is no strong villain in the movie, there are three of them who try to leave the responsibility to the other and in the end it is so fragmented. Retaining the suspense to the very end has caused the screenplay to slow down to a great extent and in many places they have used cliched double meaning dialogues to push it further. Samantha has some solid role to play during the last twenty minutes in the movie which she has done well.
High Points: The stunt sequences have been choreographed very well. There is nothing much apart from this in the movie.
Low Points: The screenplay is predominantly not engaging. Absence of a strong villain.
Overall 10 Endrathukulla is like a sweet cherry fruit dipped in a spicy sambar. Cherry might be delicious but doesn’t go well with the combination. So is the brilliant action sequences built on a below average storyline.
Can Skip it
Anjaan – is a Tamil action drama released in 2014. A Mumbai gangster seeks out revenge against a rival for the murder of his close friend.
By now many of you have read reviews about Anjaan. I had a very low expectation when I went to watch it. The core plot of the movie has some substance for it to become a blockbuster. A gangster’s revenge saga would heavily depend upon screenplay and build-up of characters but the movie totally failed in this department. There is a 20 minute block in the middle of the script which you might find engaging but the rest is so disconnected and far from the plot that it spoils the entire product. Director Lingusamy should start working with new screenwriters for fresh thoughts. He is still sticking to sequences like introducing an innocent guy and later reveals he is a violent guy when he starts bashing up all villains closing the gate. The whole unit seemed to have banked on the charismatic presence of Suriya and never bothered to shape up any other character including the supposedly treacherous villain Manoj Bajpayee who barely gets 3 sequences in the entire movie, he doesn’t look treacherous at all. Samantha who is not significant for the movie plot gets more screen time than Vidyut Jamwal and Manoj Bajpayee. The dialogues writing department has run out of creative ideas and the dialogues in the first half reminded me of those dubbed Hindi soap serials running on TV. Suriya has performed well as Raju Bhai, he looks stylish but as Krishna he is not even half convincing.
Overall this would be a movie Suriya and Lingusamy would have to forget and move on.
Can skip it