Mersal review: Twin it to win it

There’s no escaping a feeling of deja vu when you watch an Atlee film. But that feeling has never been as strong as when one watches Mersal. The director must really have been Shankar’s most diligent assistant.

Ten minutes into Mersal and all you see is Shankar, not just in terms of treatment, even in the tropes and plot points. Even so, Mersal is a Shankar film the man himself can be proud of.

That’s not necessarily a good thing for a director as young as Atlee (Mersal is just his third film). Sure, he can easily pull of a ‘massive’ film with a gargantuan budget but he seems to have already run out of ideas.

As you watch the film, it’s like you’re playing ‘Spot the Original’. So when Maaran (Vijay in great form) is taken away to jail to the sounds of a wailing crowd, you’re thinking Sivaji. And when Vetri (another Vijay) goes into flashback mode, about how a young girl dies due to the result of a corrupt system, you’re thinking Anniyan. And again, when Thalapathy (Vijay one more time) pulls down a water tanker to douse a major fire, you’re thinking Baahubali or any Vijaykanth movie.

But the film you keep going back to most is perhaps, Aboorva Sagodhargal. How different can you make a film about two siblings avenging their father’s murder.

In a sense, it feels like a compilation of sequences from earlier blockbusters. But that doesn’t make the film dislikable; in fact, it’s quite enjoyable.

  • Director: Atlee
  • Cast: Vijay, SJ Suryah, Nithya Menen
  • Storyline: A man’s effort to cure the ills in the medical profession

A lot of that has to do with the theme Atlee has picked. Though revenge, predictably, seems to be the narrative motor, it’s the emphasis on corruption in the medical profession that holds the film together. While Shankar obsesses over corrupt medical college admission processes, his student Atlee seems to prefer how those corrupt students turn a ‘service’ into a business.

The supporting cast, barring a wonderful Nithya Menen, have nothing much to do in this film. Even SJ Suryah, who rocked the villain role in Spyder, seems to have surprisingly little to do here.

Technically though, Mersal scores on most fronts. The visuals (by GK Vishnu) are terrific and AR Rahman’s music chips in to make the overall ‘product’ worthy of a big festival release.

For now, Atlee has extended his golden run into his third film. I guess he can afford to do so as long as there are older blockbusters he can remix. Even with the wine being so old, there’s still a lot of fun in admiring the bottle.

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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 4:42:03 AM |

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