Review: Mersal

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One actor playing multiple roles has long been the forte of Indian cinema. Even in the South Indian film industry, we have seen so many movies such as Moondru Mugam (1982), Apporva Sagodharargal (1989), Rajadhi Raja (1989), and so on, where-in double roles, triple roles, and so on, were essential for the plot of the movie.

Then, there are movies where vigilantes serve social justice by kidnapping and murdering those responsible for a corrupt system in the society. These are movies such as Indian (1996), Ramanaa (2002), Anniyan (2005), and so on.

So, when I watched “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay’s Mersal, many scenes brought back memories of those movies I have seen in the past. Mersal in short, is a movie that borrows a lot from all the movies I have mentioned above, and tries to put all of that in a new package.

Mersal is an out and out revenge movie, a plot that has been so overdone in the Indian film industry. It’s about a magician Vetri, and a doctor Maran, who are brothers. They were separated in the past and have now reunited to avenge their father’s death.

The overall execution is good, but not great. With Director Atlee at the helm, I was expecting a lot from the movie. The screenplay needed a lot more development to fill up holes you would easily point out when watching Mersal.

The movie does not even shine in the music department. A. R. Rahman is a name that literally screams “beautiful music”. However, after listening to the OST of Mersal, you cannot help but wonder, why the music feels so dated and uninspiring.

From start to finish, Mersal is a Vijay movie. All the other characters seem to have been given lesser importance. I loved S.J. Suryah’s performance as the villain. However, the way he is eliminated feels kind of illogical. Also, he is not given enough screen time and thus his potential is wasted.

There are many more big names in the movie such as Sathyaraj, Kovai Sarala, Kajal Aggarwal, Samantha, and so on. But then, if we put their screen time together, you will possibly end up with just 40 mins out of the 2 hours and 50 minutes run time of the movie. The balance of character representation is totally missing.

Many scenes in the movie are simply idiotic. One of Vijay’s characters plays a magician in the movie. We all know magic is all about illusion. Using magic as part of the comedy track is understood. However, in a serious sequence, you cannot really use magic and defy reality.

I am talking about a scene wherein the magician Vijay has been arrested and is handcuffed to the interrogation room table. Sathyaraj, who plays a police officer with the Tamil Nadu Police, is interrogating him. Suddenly, magician Vijay waves his hands in the air and the handcuffs are placed securely onto Sathyaraj’s hand.

Having said all of that, Mersal is a beautifully shot movie. The entire movie has stunning visuals. From the beautiful imagery of Neethane, to the shots of the magic show performed at a theatre in Paris, they are all beautiful to look at.

When you walk out of the theater, you realize that Mersal is not about the story at all. It’s more about the way it is delivered. A revenge drama that concentrates on cleaning up corruption in the medical system, but is also delivered in the most amazing way as possible. At the end of the day, Mersal is a masala entertainer that will easily satisfy a hardcore Vijay fan.