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
Iru Mugan Review – Iru Mugan is a Tamil action thriller released in 2016. Akhilan is a former RAW agent who has lost his wife Meera during one of the undercover operation to nail down a terrorist known by name Love. Years later when an old man attacks the Indian Embassy in Malaysia, Akhilan had to be called back to investigate as the tattoo on the old man’s neck indicates that Love might be alive.
Director Anand Shankar comes up with another thriller after his first outing with Vikram Prabhu in Arima Nambi. This time, he has Vikram playing the protagonist. Vikram has scope to exhibit his acting skills playing both the angel and the devil of the script. In particular, he has played the role of Love very well. If you are a fan of Vikram then you have a lot to cheer about this movie. The only other notable performance is from Thambi Ramiah as some of his dialogues are rib tickler. Apart from Vikram’s acting performance, there is much less to look forward in the movie.
The movie claims to be of the Sci-Fi genre and still uses sequences like people laughing uncontrollably when inhaling Nitrous Oxide is a mockery. Malaysian police take the brunt which usually is borne by the Tamil Nadu police of making the dumbest moves. It is high time Tamil films move out of such tactics and build something that is much more comprehensible.
Nayantara and Nithya Menen are not just eye candy and have a much larger role to play. But again their characters lack depth. The way Nithya Menen discover clues appear amateurish.
High Points: Vikram’s performance as Love, Thambi Ramiah’s comedy
Low Points: Very superfluous screenplay, use of some illogical stuff like the laughing gas sequence in a film that claims to be in Sci-Fi genre, the sequence of Peter’s factory
Overall Iru Mugan doesn’t make you bored nor does it sweep you off your feet. If you are able to forget and forgive the lack of depth in the screenplay you would like this. You can watch this when played on TV.
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
Rudhramadevi Review – Rudhramadevi is a historical film released in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi in 2015. The movie is based on the life of the warrior queen Rudhramadevi who ruled the Kakatiya dynasty during the 13th century.
First of all kudos to the film crew for taking up a historical subject on woman warrior and bringing it to the silver screen. The magnanimous Baahubali had raised the expectations of film audience so high that anything less than that does not appeal anymore. Rudhramadevi also falls as a prey for this.
In the effort of making a visual grandeur in a limited budget, the filmmakers have lost the viewing pleasure. The visual effects look very amateurish compared to the standards we see today. The only thing that keeps your interest going is the story itself. The story has inspirational parts to it and some good war stories. However, the scriptwriters have failed to capitalize on this one and tailor to the movie format. In the end, it ends up looking like a TV show.
Anushka’s performance is a big strength to the movie. She has literally transformed himself as she plays the warrior. The only other character that had turned out well is Gona Ganna Reddy played by Allu Arjun. Rana Daggupati’s character is weakly portrayed. The climax war sequence is the weakest part of the movie. In the effort of making it visually spectacular they have lost preparing the audience for it. Most of the times you are confused about who is fighting whom. In the end, it looks too easy to defeat the villain.
High Points: Anushka’s performance, Gona Ganna Reddy’s characterization and Allu Arjun’s performance, The story of a warrior queen.
Low Points: Ambiguous war sequence in the climax, Amateurish visual effects, Lack of character build up for other characters.
Overall Rudhramadevi ends up being a tale better made for the small screen than for the big screen audience.
Wait for DVD/TV
O Kadhal Kanmani Review – O Kadhal Kanmani is a Tamil romantic drama released in 2015. Aditya and Thara move into a live-in relationship without any commitment to marriage. The plot revolves around their lives.
Director Maniratnam has yet again narrated a light hearted romantic tale in O Kadhal Kanmani. The movie has most of the Mani’s signature style shots like the lead pair cuddling near the door passage on the train, travelling in public bus, short and sweet dialogues. Yet the movie is fresh and sees the world through the eyes of the newer generation. The plot is not new as it has already been explored in Bollywood in movies like Love Aaj Kal and Shuddh Desi Romance. Maniratnam has his signature touch to the plot which makes it very enjoyable watch. If you are deeply looking for a very intense storyline then there is nothing much in this, but the movie is a mere exploration of love in the present era. Cinematographer PC Sreeram and Maniratnam can create magic on the screen. The visuals are stunning. Once the hero, a video game designer and the heroine, an architect are introduced; their first outing Mental Manadhil song is a motorbike ride across Mumbai going through all beautiful architectures across the city and the visuals are like that in a video game. The treatment is absolutely stunning. The characters of Ganapathy sir and his wife Bhavani played by Prakash raj and Leela Samson adds a much interesting layer to the story. Within the walls of a small apartment in Mumbai, Maniratnam has painted the difference between the love of yesteryear and the love of the present times. The movie slows down a bit post the first half and then gets back on track during the climax. This is a point where the director seems to have struggled pushing the narration which is not based on a strong story line. Choice of Dulquer Salman and Nithya Menen is a good one. This would be a very memorable performance for Nithya as she has carried of the chirpy, bubbly character very well. Her mannerism for smiling for everything is a very intelligent representation of how she takes life casually.
High Points: Maniratnam’s direction, A R Rahman’s music, PC Sreeram’s cinematography, Casting of the characters.
Low Points: The movie does not have a strong plot, the use of disconnected narration to keep the element of surprise might not engage everyone
Overall O Kadhal Kanmani may not be the best of Maniratnam’s movies but still an enjoyable watch for the entertaining narration and stunning visuals.