Tamil Cinema and Tamilnadu politics are pretty interconnected. The heroes there pitch their political stand through the character they play and that’s why we have seen many heroes playing the same old savior of the public kind of roles in all the main stream masala films. Mersal directed by Atlee also falls in the same league of hero worshipping commercial cinema. The packaging is probably the only thing that decided whether this film would work as an entertainer, and in my opinion following the mould of films like Katthi and Thuppakki, this Deepavali release is a cleverly designed social preach in the attire of a festival cinema.
Maaran is a doctor who treats the patients in his clinic for a fee of Rs 5. He gets global recognition for the service mentality and humanity. Obviously the other medical tycoons weren’t that pleased with this growth of Maaran. The part time Magician/ full time doctor Maaran gets involved in an unfortunate incident during one such global conference and the movie Mersal shows us the reasons, repercussions and back stories behind that incident.
Mersal is not a flawless film. The sudden popping out of romantic songs and the cliché revenge theme is something that I don’t really like in mainstream commercial Tamil cinema. Those elements are here there for sure. In fact the two heroines Kajal Aggarwal and Samantha has very little relevance and space in the whole film. The “Tamil” sentiment is used for the benefit of the political agenda I mentioned in the beginning. The above mentioned are the demerits and compromises one can clearly see. But still it manages to keep you interested in its content. That is because Atlee knows how to keep the masala in the correct level. In its 3 hour long duration, we don’t really get restless.
Atlee at regular intervals gives the movie the much needed push. Whenever the unavoidable clichés come up, he gives it a little bit of tweak to make it look slightly different. In the romantic tracks featuring the characters played by Samantha and Nithya Menen, we can see that cheerfulness we have seen in Theri. The duration of the film is a mammoth 170 minutes, and I feel that’s because a lot of songs and romantic episodes were there which were unnecessary. K V Vijayendra Prasad has been credited for the story and screenplay here along with Atlee. His usual story elements like son’s revenge for father’s death, the value system etc is there in the story. The film addresses the foul plays in Hospital services, with the same intensity with which Katthi addressed the farmer suicide issue. Cinematography was good and the production design was even better. More than the music, I think it’s the background score of A R Rahman that has helped Mersal. The cuts at certain points went like an awkward censor cut.
Vijay is in his comfort zone and the variety of characters he portrays on screen in this movie is something we have seen in other movies. The typical style we see in his depiction of anger, romance and swag is the same here and as the mixing of it is in an appropriate proportion you won’t get bored. Like I said in the beginning, Kajal Aggarwal and Samantha have roles that don’t have much significance. The best performer for me was Nithya Menen who got a credible character and delivered it with conviction – the scene where they decide to build hospital, Nithya plays the part gracefully. S J Surya is very convincing as the rude villain. It was good to see Vadivelu getting a slightly more serious character in this comeback phase. Hareesh Peradi and Sathyaraj are also there as important characters.
Atlee’s impressive packaging of a seemingly preachy usual revenge drama makes Mersal an enjoyable Deepavali entertainer. It has negatives for sure. But the wholesome entertainment we get at the end won’t make us dig in to all that.
Mersal has negatives for sure. But the wholesome entertainment we get at the end won’t make us dig in to all that.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended