***** SPOILER WARNING *****
While this article won’t reveal the story of the film, it would be fathomed in a better fashion if you had watched the film.
That spoiler warning shouldn’t affect many folks considering the fact that unless you’ve been living under a rock, the chances of you not catching the Vijay starrer Mersal is very slim. After piruchu menjufying Kaatru Veliyidai in the name of decoding, I’ve tried to do the same with Mersal, which has gone on to become one of the biggest hits of the industry. Suggestions, criticism, comments such as ‘dei I knew this already’, are all welcome 🙂
Despite a few cons, I loved Mersal, so much that I saw it twice in theatres (here’s my take on the film). What I also managed to notice were a few intricately added details that separate the three characters played by Vijay which might’ve missed the sight of many. This intrigued me as such things aren’t common to come across in a commercial flick, that too starring one of the biggest stars. So here are such intricacies that I’ve noticed.
Starting with the least favourite character of mine amongst the three, Doc Maaran’s big scene comes at the very beginning of the film. While being presented the Best Humanitarian award, Doctor Maaran lights up the stage (and the screen) with a simple green shirt and a veshti. Why Green? It’s the colour of prosperity.
The colour green is subtly used in many of his scenes. Even his house is painted green while his clinic has a lot of scopes to use the green colour. A bonus is that Yogi Babu’s character wears green in the ‘rose milk’ scene.
The TV interview scene too shows a green touch on a white background. Following that scene, even the Neethane songs have greeneries as the backdrop while his green shirt makes another appearance in the song.
When it’s not green, other light and subtle colours come to his favour. It’s quite a brilliant move to make this character wear blue at times when he’s helpless and in trouble. Maaran is seen in blue when he’s beaten to a pulp in the pre-interval fight and also in another one post-intermission when Doctor Daniel Arockiyaraj (SJ Suryah) comes to his house to warn him while having his mother and girlfriend under his control.
Another sweet touch is the fact that Maaran’s childhood character is also seen wearing green on two occasions. One is during the hospital inauguration scene along with his parents, as well as the scene in which his father gets killed – interestingly, in both the moments he shares screen space with the villain Daniel and both happen in the hospital.
The magician character is quite an intriguing one. For starters, he’s the only character apart from that of Vadivu (Vadivelu) who knows the entire happenings of the story. So, obviously, he’s in revenge mode right from the first shot. All of Vetri’s scenes will have black with shades of red in them as what better colour can there be to denote revenge. Noting this alone would easily help in differentiating this character from that of Maaran. It starts way too early in the film. Even the title scene, shows Vetri wearing black in his hideout that’s completely filled with red props. The tables, chairs, candle, bottle, curtains, luggage, the rose he magically brings up, even the cloth that covers the tiger’s cage is red.
In the introduction scene before the titles play, when he gets arrested by the cop Rathnavel (Sathyaraj), Vetri, who is the place of Maaran, is seen exercising with a black vest on (similar to his father, Vetrimaaran’s introduction scene). I couldn’t help but notice that red shirt in the background while he gets arrested.
The same colour is used in the coffee shop fight scene where Vijay is wearing black. Once again, it’s the roses, curtains, chairs and carpet that carry the red shade. Including the coffee machine and even the long Vel he picks up from Kajal’s handbag has a pinch of red in them.
Remember the black hoodie scene where he follows Doctor Arjun Zachariah (Hareesh Peradi)? The cross on his chain would be bright red in colour.
And the magic show scene where the famous “Nee patra veitha neruppu ondru” line comes up… That’s filled with black and red. The stage, the lights used, even that kid who comes on stage with a tiger doll wears a red and black checked dress. The flash of red lights while Vijay speaks the lines is the cherry on top of the cake (wait, even cherries are red!).
The pre-interval fight scene, where we finally get to know that there are two Vijays in the current timeline, Vetri would once again be sporting a black dress. But look out for a streak of red in this shirt button line, shoes and coolers frame.
This colour coordination even seeps into the Maacho song where shades of black and red would still be used. The brighter colours take the majority considering it’s a happy love song, but the two colours are still persistent making it obvious what his motives are. During the song, in one scene, he talks to Doctor Arjun’s girlfriend. In that, he’ll be wearing a black tee below a red shirt to show. Even in a song, as it’s a particularly serious scene, the two main colours get the prominence.
Even in the scene in which he switches place with Maaran (when Maaran gets arrested by those who think he’s Vetri and Daniel visits him in the prison), he wears a red shirt and a black trouser – something he carries to the climax as well. An interesting aspect is that post the climax, while addressing the press, he’s seen wearing white – probably to denote that he’s done with revenge and is pure now (something he explains to Kajal’s character in one of the deleted scene).
My favourite scene will be the one in the flashback when the baby Vetri, in the garbage, raises his hand similar to how his father does miles away while he’s dying. There’s even a red piece of trash in that scene. Talk about attention to details.
And oh, here comes the best part. I’m sure the Thalapathy character must be the pick for most of us and I’m no different. I wondered for a while on why the film’s first look, showing Vetrimaaran, had him clad in a black vest. He does look dope in it but considering it’s a flashback portion and considering coloured vests are more of recent fashion fad, I found it to be a minor sore of an inaccuracy. But then I realised why the colour scheme behind this.
As you would’ve noticed, the two characters’ names in the current timeline, Vetri and Maaran together make Vetrimaaran, the father character which appears in the flashback. Similarly, this character is a culmination of both the characters when it comes to the colour tones as well.
Whenever he’s in a fight, Vetrimaaran is seen in dark colours – black or red. That’s why his introduction scene sees him wearing a black vest and the theatre fight has him in red. Red denotes anger and a fight is the best place to showcase that colour.
Be it the lighter moments, or songs, he’s seen wearing bright colours such as yellow and green (hospital opening scene). The latter is even more fascinating considering the Maaran character who adores green is a guy who’s related to hospitals.
What I also noticed was Vetrimaaran is never seen wearing blue. It could probably be because that colour has been established as a sign of helpnessness and the Vetrimaaran character has never been so. That said, whenever he wears white, though it starts off well, the scene doesn’t turn up positively in the end. He does it once in the carnival scenes which ends up in smokes and the final hospital scene which ends up pretty terribly.
The Director’s touch!
Director touches are pure cinematic bliss and our version of easter eggs. Director Atlee made some subtle references to his own film Theri in which he worked with Vijay for the first time. In Theri Vijaykumar (Vijay’s character) calls Mithra (Samantha) as ‘pappa‘ and in Mersal, Tara (Samantha) calls Maaran as ‘thambi‘. Quite a cute connect!
Atlee also added a small reference, more of a homage, to the mass-ness in Vijay by using the famous ‘yaar adicha’ dialogue from Pokkiri with a twist. There’s also the signature ‘camera click’.
Mottai Rajendran makes a brief appearance that’s worth mentioning here because the lines he speaks in that one sequence is nothing but the same lines Rajendran would’ve conversed with Vijay. Just that whatever lines the two spoke in Theri are swapped over now.
Another easter egg in the above video – Vijay calls Samantha as ‘excess azhagu‘, something he’d say again Mersal!
So there you go folks. These were some of the references I managed to find in this blockbuster. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there might be a few which everyone would’ve realised, a few that might be new to you, a few which I would’ve imagined it to be something else than what it actually means and obviously, many that I might’ve missed. If you do know of such a scene that I’ve missed, do comment and let me know, I’d be more than happy to edit the post. Let’s hope that more such stars opt for films with so many references that those like me and fans can savour.