Chennai, 19 Oct 2017 20:00 IST
Mersal is old wine in a new bottle, but it works because of the interesting narration.
Director Atlee Kumar seems to have a clear understanding of what the fans of stars like Vijay expect. And he has delivered just what they wanted in Mersal.
Despite the film having a very predictable story — sons avenging their murdered dad — Atlee Kumar is assured of a hit as he narrates it in a very interesting fashion.
The story begins with a number of medical professionals being abducted in the city. Led by Rathinavel (Sathyaraj), the police arrest a suspect (Vijay). Even as their investigation begins, the story moves to Paris where Dr Maran (Vijay), one of the world's most renowned surgeons, is being honoured with an award for his humanitarian services. The French, we are told, are rewarding Dr Maran for saving the lives of scores of patients for a nominal sum of just Rs 5 each. As audiences, we are now convinced that Dr Maran is an honourable, skilful, law-abiding citizen with a generous heart and a brilliant mind.
Even as these developments keep happening, we see Vijay flirting with Dr Pallavi (Kajal Aggarwal), one of the assistants of Dr Arjun Zachariah, the man who is called upon to present the humanitarian award to Dr Maran. This flirtatious Vijay is ebullient, cheeky and a skilled magician and we learn that he is not Dr Maran but his long-lost younger brother Vetri.
Vetri invites Pallavi to a show of his and gets her to bring her boss, Dr Zachariah, too. There, he invites Dr Zachariah on stage and eventually kills him in the presence of the audience. Why does Vetri kill Zachariah? Why are the four other abducted medical professionals also killed? As answers to these questions begin to arrive, the plot begins to unfold.
Atlee Kumar has shown his prudence by opting for a tried and tested plot. He has smartly combined a simple story of sons avenging their father with one of the most pertinent problems of the day — the issue of finding affordable and dependable healthcare. The net result is that you have an entertaining film that immediately strikes a chord with the masses, who have for long now felt that they are being taken for a ride by most private hospitals.
Vijay is at ease playing all three characters. When he is Dr Maran, Vijay sports a classy and elegant look. When he is Vetri, he turns cheeky to the point of being arrogant. And when he plays Thalapathy, the father of the two boys, he comes across as majestic. One of the prime reasons Vijay scores high in all three roles is because of his costumes. The costumes that Vijay had sported in his last film, Bairavaa (2017), had let him down badly. However, this time, he seems to have got them spot on with one of the industry's best costume designers, Neeraja Kona, deciding his outfits.
One other factor that has helped Vijay play all three characters well is his clear understanding of the innate qualities of each character. The actor has also used the film to take potshots at the government. For instance, he raises questions on GST, including one on why a state that charges 28% GST is unable to provide free and quality medical care to its citizens while a small country like Singapore, which charges a mere 7%, is able to do so. The film's dialogues give enough indication that Vijay, too, might enter politics.
All three actresses, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal and Nithya Menon, play their parts well. Nithya Menon has only a brief role as Aishwarya, the wife of Thalapathy, but she does it convincingly. Samantha Ruth Prabhu is easily the pick of the lot with her classy look and characteristic mischievous smile. She plays Tara, a television journalist who falls in love with Dr Maran.
Vadivelu makes a strong comeback with this film, if one is to go by the reaction of the audience. However, one finds his humour just about okay. Yogi Babu, however, is as good as ever, evoking laughter among the masses.
One song of AR Rahman, 'Aazhaporan', is catchy and works well with the visualization adding to the beauty of the fast-paced, peppy number. If there is one aspect of the film that stands out, it is cinematographer GK Vishnu's visuals. Certain sequences that he has shot can only be described as stunning. In fact, in one of the song sequences, the manner in which Vishnu has captured the visuals in a stadium is fantastic. The angle of his shots, his sense of colour and lighting all add greatly to the film's value.
On the whole, Mersal is bound to leave Vijay's fans overjoyed and the common audience satisfied.