Director: Atlee
Cast: Vijay, Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen, Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Mersal Arasan vanthutan! One of the most awaited films of the year, Mersal is here and boy, has it been a ride. Unlike Theri where the storyline was wafer-thin, Atlee has opted for a much serious subject in the form of medical mafia and thanks to Vijayendra Prasad of Baahubali fame, the story, on its own, can be called as the best from the tiny filmography list of the young director.

In a recent interview, the film’s producer stated that Vijay has done a few things for Mersal which he hasn’t done in other films. While I was under the impression that it was just another marketing gimmick, now I realise how wrong I am. Yes, Vijay looks younger than ever and if his muscular look isn’t enough to justify the statement, you should see him dance. The dancer we love in Vijay is back and Mersal Arasan track is a treat to our eyes thanks to his steps. He has also opted for a much needed get up change for the flashback portions and in the crisp shirt and veshti combo along with that salt and pepper beard, he looks splendid.

Usually, in a film with flashback portions, the heroine in those scenes wouldn’t have much screen space as the female leads who are paired up with the current timeline’s stars. But as far as Mersal is concerned, out of the three heroines, Nithya Menen gets the bigger piece of the cake leaving Kajal and Samantha as characters who the film could’ve have done without. Of course, the attempts to somehow bring into the story is visible and the love tracks of them don’t leave a lasting impression on us. After an excellent performance in Sypder, SJ Suryah doesn’t have the scope to show his prowess but whatever he speaks about the current condition of us, it receives applause.

The mother-son track in Theri worked tremendously well and the crew has tried to replicate the charm but due to a hurried screenplay, it doesn’t leave a mark. Vadivelu is seen almost throughout the film and he even gets to try his hand with sentiments which does the trick. The rest of the cast has also done a decent job with special mentions for Kaali Venkat and Hareesh Peradi while there could’ve used more of seasoned actors such as Sathyaraj and Kovai Sarala.

Despite having shades of other films, Atlee scores in the way he has shot the film. There’s a sense of suave and swag in the scenes and with a good amount of portion shot abroad, the output looks stupendous. Looks like he’s following the steps of his mentor, Director Shankar as the look and feel gives a rich appeal and also shows that no stones were left unturned in order to make it look so. Kudos to the producers for it.

The technical team is Mersal’s biggest plus. The song by AR Rahman are already chartbusters. The background scores are also mass but subtly used. Cinematography by GK Vishnu is excellent and his participation, especially in the fight sequences, must have been huge. Editing too is good and the fast action sequences don’t really bore you.

Where the film doesn’t work are the inconsistent pace the story moves in. The plot takes a while to unfold and it builds up momentum which leads to one of the best interval blocks this year. The second half–despite having the much-expected flashback portions, feel a bit long and all of a sudden they cut to climax. Had the second half been more racy, the film would’ve been even better.

Overall, Mersal is yet another golden opportunity received by Atlee that he has used fruitfully to deliver a film that’s sure to satisfy the majority. Watch out for the Vijay you missed in the recent years!

My Rating: 3.5/5


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