Cast: Vijay, Samantha, Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menon, S J Suryah, Vadivelu, Kaali Venkat, Yogi Babu and others
Music: A R Rahman
Cinematography: G K Vishnu
Director Atlee seems to have mastered the art of customising entertainers according to the requirement of fans and Mersal is no exception.
The film might have the often repeated storyline of sons avenging their dad as its plot but the manner in which Atlee narrates the story is what makes it interesting.
The story begins with a series of people associated with the medical profession being kidnapped in the city. The police, led by Rathinavel (Sathyaraj), arrests a suspect (Vijay). Subsequently, the story moves to Paris where we learn that Dr Maran (Vijay), one of the world’s most renowned surgeons, is there to receive an award for his humanitarian nature. The French, we are told, are rewarding Dr Maran for treating, curing and saving the lives of scores of patients for a nominal sum of just Rs 5 each.
An Indian doctor, Arjun Zachariah, presents the award to Dr Maran. However, during the party that follows the award ceremony, he compels Maran to join his hospital. Maran refuses and Zachariah threatens, compelling Maran to show Zachariah that he is no push-over. The matter ends there.
Zachariah, we realise, is in Paris with his assistants — two young female doctors. One of them, Dr Pallavi (Kajal Aggarwal), is impressed by a young Indian magician (Vijay) from Chennai after he saves her from a gang that is looking to rob the cafe they are seated in, having a conversation.
After getting to know each other over a period of two to three days, the magician invites Pallavi to a show of his that is to be staged the next day. He cleverly convinces her to get her boss, Dr Zachariah too to come to the show.
During the show, he invites Dr Zacharaiah to come on stage to participate in a fun activity and eventually, uses it to murder him on stage.
Up and until this point, the audience is led to believe that it is Dr Maran who is also posing as the Magician. However, at this point, we are let into the secret that the magician is not Dr Maran but his twin brother, Vetri. But why did Vetri kill Dr Zachariah? Why were those who were kidnapped in Chennai all killed? As answers to these questions arrive, the plot begins to unfold…
Atlee seems to have cut down on risks by opting for a tried and tested plot as his film’s storyline. He has cleverly combined a simple story of sons avenging their father with the common man’s issue of finding affordable and dependable healthcare in the country. The net result is you have an entertaining film that immediately strikes a chord with the masses, who have for long harboured the opinion that they are often being taken for a ride by most private hospitals.
When Vijay plays Dr Maran, he appears classy and elegant. When he plays Vetri, he comes across as being cheeky and flamboyant and when he plays Thalapathy, the father of the two boys, he comes across as being majestic. On the whole, he seems to have had a cakewalk playing all three roles. One of the prime reasons Vijay scores high in all three roles is because of his costumes that work big time. The costumes that Vijay had sported in his last film, Bairavaa, had let him down big time. However, this time, he seems to have got it spot on with one of the industry’s best costume designers, Neeraja Kona, deciding his outfits.
That apart, Vijay seems to have a clear understanding of the innate qualities of each character, thereby enabling him to bring out their different shades. The actor has also used the film to take potshots at those in power. For instance, he raises questions on GST, including one on why a state that charges a GST of 28% is unable to provide free and quality medical care to its citizens while a small country like Singapore, which charges a GST of a mere 7% is able to do so for its citizens. The film’s dialogues give enough indication to suggest that Vijay too might enter politics.
All three actresses Samantha, Kajal Aggarwal and Nithya Menon, play their parts well. Kajal Aggarwal has lost a lot of weight and that makes her look a little anorexic. Nithya Menon has only a brief role as Aishwarya, the wife of Thalapathy but she does it convincingly. Samantha is easily the pick of the lot with her classy look and her characteristic mischievous smile. She plays Tara, a television journalist, who falls in love with Dr Maran.
Vadivelu has made a strong comeback with this film, if one is to go by the reaction of the audiences. However, one finds his humour to be only just about okay. Yogi Babu, however, is as good as ever, evoking laughter among the masses.
One song of A R Rahman, Aazhaporan, is catchy and works big time. The visualisation adding to the beauty of the fast-paced, peppy number. If there is one aspect of the film that stands out big time, it cinematographer G K Vishnu’s visuals. Certain sequences that he has shot can be best described as stunning. In fact, in one of the song sequences, the manner in which Vishnu has captured visuals in a stadium is just 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.