Miruthan: An inconsistent ‘zombie’ film with excessive melodrama

Published - February 19, 2016 04:18 pm IST

From the director of  Naaigal Jaakirathai  comes  Miruthan , or well,  Peigal Jaakirathai . They are not really  peigal , or for that matter zombies, as the makers eagerly mentioned during the promotions, but simply “patients”, as doctor Renu (Lakshmi Menon) delicately puts it. You see, these are not undead people, like in zombie films, but simply citizens of Ooty, and later, Coimbatore, who have been infected by some sort of toxic chemical waste which causes the amplification of the ‘animal instincts in man’ that “exist here”, says a doctor, pointing to the back of his skull. If they were actually zombies, landing headshots would be a no-brainer,  and  a guilt-free exercise, but as they’re just infected people, Renu, who in an earlier scene is shown undertaking the Hippocratic oath (and with a clenched fist, no less), gets furious when traffic policeman Karthik (Jayam Ravi) guns them down, like balloons at a beach (which incidentally is a scene by itself in a love song). Her ethics hold good until she’s at the receiving end of an attack, when she almost implores Karthik to shoot the patient down. I’m sorry, but was that the hippocratic oath, or the hypocritical oath?


Genre: Action Horror Director: Shakti Soudar Rajan Cast: Jayam Ravi, Lakshmi Menon Storyline: A traffic policeman has to help find a cure to the new disease in town


You know how zombies function. You know they can’t run and simply totter about, you know their main mode of attack is to bite, you know that the way to destroy them is to destroy their brain… but with the patients in  Miruthan , you aren’t really sure. They seem to punch and kick. They seem to be able to sprint. They make extraordinary leaps. Some even seem to suddenly burst with super-human power, as if possessed by a demon. In that sense, you have to wonder if  Miruthan  is just your average ghost movie pretending to be something far fancier. It definitely has the sort of jokes you’d expect in  Aranmanai -esque films. In one scene, a rather unfunny politician stares at hundreds of infected people, and says, “ Ennama ipdi panringale ma ”. In another, a man is shown eating Lays during a tense scene, and explains, “ Laysaa pasichidhu, adhaan  Lays.” It suddenly made me realise that there are things far worse than a zombie bite. Like that joke.


Nevertheless, I quite liked some of the action set-pieces, especially the one with Karthik driving a tempo, with dozens of infected people clinging to it à la the famous Fevicol ad. I wondered if Shakti Soundar Rajan would have taken the easy way out and not bothered with applying ‘zombie’ make-up on  all  of them, but I couldn’t quite spot any aberrations. The real aberration in  Miruthan  is the lack of consistency in treatment. In some scenes, like when an infected person clings to Renu from outside a car, the film treats the disease light-heartedly. In some others, like in that climactic song the mood of picturisation was a bit reminiscent of  I ’s ‘Ennodu Nee Irundhaal’, the tragedy of the whole situation is severely milked. You don’t quite care deeply for Kathik’s love story; so, all the melodrama isn’t really affecting.


At 106 minutes, there’s time for such love tracks, but there isn’t enough to do any justice to the science of the illness. The infected, for some reason, are allergic to water; though you’re shown some scientists who somehow seem to know how to create a vaccine overnight with limited medical supplies for this exotic disease, you’re not even given half-baked mumbo jumbo for why the infected are repelled by water. I only wish they’d treated the whole film either as a serious thriller, or tried to have a lot of fun. Like the scene in which the police stand guard at the border to stop people from leaving the town, but a politician with clout makes it out anyway. That’s native, organic humour, but there isn’t a lot of that in  Miruthan , which suffers from the same malady that afflict many bad Tamil films: needless, forced melodrama, and a distinct lack of subtlety. I think it’s safe to say that we still don’t have our first zombie film.

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