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Mersal (film)

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Mersal
Mersal Theatrical Release Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAtlee
Produced byN. Ramasamy
Hema Rukmani
H. Murali
Screenplay byAtlee
K. V. Vijayendra Prasad
S. Ramana Girivasan
Story byAtlee
StarringVijay
S. J. Surya
Nithya Menen
Samantha
Kajal Aggarwal
Vadivelu
Sathyaraj
Music bySongs:
A. R. Rahman
Score:
A. R. Rahman
Qutub-E-Kripa
CinematographyG.K.Vishnu
Edited byRuben
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • 18 October 2017 (2017-10-18) (Worldwide)[1]
Running time
169 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageTamil
Budget120 crore[2]
Box officeest.260 crore[3][4](see below)

Mersal (transl. zapped) is a 2017 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film[5] directed by Atlee and co-written by Atlee, K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and S. Ramana Girivasan (dialogues). The film stars Vijay in a triple role as a father and his two sons alongside Nithya Menen, Samantha, and Kajal Aggarwal. The background score and soundtrack were composed by A. R. Rahman, while the cinematography was done by G. K. Vishnu and edited by Ruben. The story revolves around two twin brothers in which one is a magician avenging for his father's death and medical crimes. The other one is a reputed doctor who charges meagre amounts from his patients.

The film began production in February 2017 with actors S. J. Surya, Vadivelu, and Sathyaraj, amongst others, in supporting roles. It is also the 100th production of Thenandal Studios. The film was released worldwide on 18 October 2017, coinciding with Diwali.

The film opened to positive reviews with critics praising the performance of Vijay, A. R. Rahman's soundtrack, the cinematography, the social message and Atlee's direction, but criticized the cliché plot and excessive length. The film was a commercial success, grossing ₹260 crore (US$40 million) worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest grossing Indian Tamil film and Vijay's highest-grossing film in his career. The film completed 100-day theatrical run on 25 January 2018.[4][6] [7] The film will be released in China by HGC Entertainment.[8] Due to demand, the film was screened at the largest cinema theatre in Europe Grand Rex, France.[9] The film was screened at the Hainan International Film Festival China[10] and Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival South Korea.[11]

Plot

An ambulance driver, a broker, a hospital human resources worker, and a surgeon are abducted under mysterious circumstances at dawn. The abductions are traced to Dr. Maaran, a world-famous doctor from Chennai known for providing 5 treatment to patients of all sections of society. Maaran is arrested and interrogated by Ratnavel "Randy", a police officer who is assigned the abduction case. Maaran explains his motive for the abductions; the four were responsible for the death of an auto driver's school-going daughter and his wife due to their greed for money in the name of providing proper healthcare. He adds that he had also killed all of them while they were in his captivity.

At this juncture, Maaran reveals that he is not Maaran but is his doppelgänger Vetri, a magician who was responsible for the death of Dr. Arjun Zachariah, a corrupt doctor who was killed during a stage performance in Paris two years earlier. Vetri further adds that he had saved Maaran from getting killed by the henchmen of Dr. Daniel Arockiyaraj, another corrupt doctor who had been associated with Arjun and sees Maaran's inexpensive healthcare as a threat to his flourishing hospital business, and had kept him safely in his hideout while taking his place and willingly getting himself arrested. Maaran is rescued, while Vetri, with the help of his magic tricks, manages to escape from Randy.

Later, Maaran confronts Vetri and fights him, believing him to be the cause of all his problems with the law as well as with Daniel, who had threatened Maaran to reveal the location of Vetri while keeping his mother Sarala and fiancée Tara hostage. Vadivu, Maaran's compounder and also Vetri's assistant, intervenes in their fight and explains to Maaran why Vetri is targeting doctors indulging in corrupt medical practices in general and Daniel and Arjun in particular.

Maaran was the elder son of Vetrimaaran, a village wrestler who had established a hospital with the help of Daniel and Arjun in his village Manoor in Madurai district 30 years earlier as there was no hospital in his village because of which all the villagers had to go to Madurai to seek treatment. Daniel and Arjun were also made as the chief doctors of the hospital.

However, it soon turns out that Daniel and Arjun were money-minded crooks and performed a Caesarean section on Vetrimaaran's wife Aishwarya "Ice" when she was in labour with her second child, with the intention of extracting more money from Vetrimaaran, even though she could deliver the child normally. Ice lost a lot of blood during the operation, and that, along with an overdose of anesthesia, led to her death, while the child was declared stillborn. When Vetrimaaran found out how Ice had died, he went to confront Daniel, but he and Maaran were attacked by Daniel's henchmen. Vetrimaaran was stabbed to death by one of Daniel's henchmen, but just before he died, he placed an unconscious Maaran (who had been struck on the head with a glass bottle by Daniel's henchman) safely on a Chennai-bound lorry. Due to the impact the glass bottle had on his head, Maaran lost his memory and is unable to recollect anything that happened before he was hit on the head.

Meanwhile, Vetrimaaran's second child did not turn out to be stillborn, and this child was none other than Vetri. Vetri was adopted by a famous magician named Salim Ghosh, and it was from him that Vetri learnt all his magic tricks. On hearing Vadivu's story, Maaran reconciles with Vetri and takes his place when police come to arrest Vetri. With Vetri (who is actually Maaran) seemingly in custody, Daniel tries to make a deal with Maaran (who is actually Vetri) to shut down his practice. However, when he finds out the truth, he rushes to Vetri's hideout, bringing with him an unconscious Maaran, who had met with an accident orchestrated by Daniel while he was being taken to court, with the intention of killing both Vetri and Maaran. However, Vetri and Maaran, with the help of their respective professional skills, team up to kill Daniel.

Later, however, Vetri is arrested for his role in the murders of Daniel and Arjun as well as the four people killed earlier in the film and is sentenced to prison for an unspecified period of time. Before going to jail, he gives a press conference justifying his actions and adds that he would continue with the murders until all doctors and hospital staff indulging in corrupt practices are eliminated. In prison, Vetri watches a news report in which a young girl in Odisha had died due to negligent medical treatment. On hearing this, Vetri escapes with the help of his magic tricks, thus continuing his mission. In a mid-credits scene, Maaran is conferred a statewide recognised medical counsellor post, which he accepts.

Cast

  • Vijay in a triple role as
    • Vetrimaaran, a village wrestler, commonly referred by the people as "Thalapathy" and who gets killed by Daniel and Kasi
    • Dr. Maaran, Vetrimaaran's first son, a doctor who serves people for just 5 rupees and gets conferred a statewide medical counsellor post
    • Vetri, Vetrimaaran's second son, a magician and Maaran's younger brother who gets arrested for his role in the murders
  • Kajal Aggarwal as Anu Pallavi, Vetri's love interest, doctor and Arjun's assistant
  • Nithya Menen as Aishwarya "Ice" Vetrimaaran, Vetrimaaran's wife who dies in a hospital due to blood loss and overdose of anaesthesia
  • S. J. Surya as Daniel Arockiyaraj, a greedy and corrupt doctor who kills Vetrimaaran
  • Samantha as Thara, a media anchor and Maaran's love interest who gets taken hostage by Daniel
  • Vadivelu as Vadivu, Maaran's compounder and Vetri's assistant
  • Sathyaraj as DC Rathnavel "Randy", a police officer with Tamil Nadu Police
  • Kovai Sarala as Sarala, Maaran's adoptive mother who gets taken hostage by Daniel
  • Hareesh Peradi as Arjun Zachariah, Daniel's friend and another doctor who gets killed while performing a magic trick
  • Rajendran as Minister of Health
  • Sathyan as Maniya, Rathnavel's assistant
  • Yogi Babu as Nolan, Tara's friend
  • Misha Ghoshal as Tara's friend
  • Mamilla Shailaja Priya as Tara's mother
  • Sangili Murugan as Salim Ghosh, a magician who taught magic to Vetri
  • Kaali Venkat as the auto driver whose daughter meets with an accident and whose wife commits suicide
  • Devadarshini as Nurse
  • Surekha Vani as Nurse

Production

Development

Following the release of Atlee's Theri, in which Vijay starred, the pair was signed by Sri Thenandal Films for another project together in September 2016.[12][13] Safwan Saleem, the chief executive officer of the production house, revealed that the film would be written by writer K. V. Vijayendra Prasad, who had earlier worked in films like the Baahubali series and Bajrangi Bhaijaan.[14] The action sequences of the film are directed by Anal Arasu. Atlee's usual cinematographer George C. Williams whom worked for Raja Rani and Theri, was supposed to work in this film too, but failed due to clash with his other project. G. K. Vishnu was signed later on making his debut in this film.[15] Vijay learnt a few magic tricks in preparation for his role as the magician. He learnt the magic tricks from three magicians: Gogo Requiem from the Republic of Macedonia, Raman Sharma from Canada, and Dani Belev from Bulgaria.[16]

Casting

The producers announced in January 2017 that three lead actresses – Jyothika, Kajal Aggarwal and Samantha Akkineni would portray the female lead-roles in the film. The production team later revealed that due to some unavoidable reasons actress Jyothika opted out of the film.[17] The role went to Nithya Menon.[18] Actors S. J. Suryah and Sathyaraj also joined the cast as supporting actors, with comedians Vadivelu, Kovai Sarala, Sathyan and Rajendran.[19] Suryah is playing villainous role with two looks in the movie.[20] Composer A. R. Rahman, editor Ruben, costume designer Neeraja Kona and debutant cinematographer G. K. Vishnu, an erstwhile assistant of Richard M. Nathan were also a part to the technical team.[21][22]

Costume designs

Atlee suggested that S. J. Surya change his hairstyle to represent a classy villain by tying his long hair back into a ponytail and increasing the length of his sideburns.[23]

Filming

The city of Gdańsk, Poland, served as Paris for the film.[24]

A launch event for the film was held at Adityaram Studios in Chennai on 1 February 2017, with production beginning thereafter.[25][26] The team has decided to shoot a song in Jaisalmer during the summer despite the hot weather.[27] The steam engine named 7161WP AKBAR was used in this movie while shooting in Rajasthan.[28][29] Some of the filming was conducted in Poland (Gdańsk, Poznań[30] and Rzeszów's airport[31]), as well as in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.[32] The shooting was held in Chennai, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and Konaseema in Andhra Pradesh, while the songs were filmed overseas. It is reported that, due to indefinite strike announced by Film Employees Federation of South India, Mersal team were waiting to film few portions of the movie, which has now been completed.[33]

Soundtrack

The musical score and songs featured in the film are composed by A. R. Rahman. Lyrics for the songs were penned by Vivek. The audio launch event was held on 1 September 2017 by Sony Music, with a live telecast aired on Sun TV and also on several social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.[34][35][36][37][38][39] The soundtrack crossed 100 million streams within ten days, setting a streaming record for a Tamil album.[40]

Release

The film was released on 18 October 2017, Diwali day.[41][42]

The Telugu version Adirindhi (also Adirindi) was released on 9 November 2017.[43][44]

Distribution

North Star Entertainment along with SN Techs Film Distribution Company have secured the distribution rights for the film in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Global United Media has secured the distribution for the film in Kerala, MKS Talkies has secured the distribution rights for the film in Australia and New Zealand, ATMUS Entertainment has secured the distribution rights for the film in US.[45] The first look poster was released on 21 June 2017, revealing the title as Mersal with Vijay in a Jallikattu attire.[46][47] The name was derived from "Mersal Aayiten", a song composed by Rahman for I (2015).[48]

Marketing

The title Mersal has been trademarked. This means if any group or company would like to use the title Mersal for any commercial purposes would have to pay a royalty fee to Mersal team. This is also something new for a South Indian film. The teaser of this movie was released on 21 September 2017.[49] The film has become first South-Indian film to get a Twitter emoji of its first look.[50][51]

Home media

The television broadcast rights were sold to Zee Tamizh for 30 crore in July 2017.[52] The film had its global television premiere on 14 January 2018 on occasion of the Thai Pongal Festival.[53][54][55]

Reception

Box office

In its five-day opening weekend, the film collected 140 crore worldwide[56] and 170 crore worldwide in its first week.[57] In 12 days, the film grossed 200 crore worldwide, including 130 crore domestically in India and 70 crore in overseas markets, including Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the United States, and United Kingdom. It has become the highest-grossing film of Vijay's career, becoming his first film to join the 200 crore club.[58] At the end of its fifth week the film has reportedly collected about 120 crore in Tamil Nadu alone, 16 crore in Kerala, 13 crore in Karnataka and 15 crore from the rest of India tallying 164 crore domestically and totalling up to 250 crore worldwide.[59]

Critical response

Mersal opened to positive reviews from critics[60]. Indianmoviebiz.com rated the film 4 out of 5 stars and said " Mersal highlights are huge action sequences and ultimate performance of Vijay in different roles.[61]The Times of India rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and said "With Mersal, we have got this year's most engaging mass masala movie. When you have a mass hero in full form like Vijay is in the film, how can things go wrong?".[62] The Indian Express gave 3.5 out of 5 stars stating: "Atlee has not just exploited Vijay's stardom to deliver a flamboyant crowd-pleaser (which he did in Theri already) but has fleshed out an interesting script that plays up the best onscreen traits of the actor.[63].

Sify also rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars and said " Mersal belongs to Vijay and he totally steals the show with his comic timing, mass dialogue delivery, powerful screen presence and racy moves. The magician will be loved by kids while the rebel dad will be embraced by the ardent fans of the actor. Thalapathy is easily the best mass character written for Vijay and he totally nails it, the 'Madurai' slang adds to that extra swag. Doctor Maaran has nothing much to do, but join the party in climax. Daniel Thimayya of New Indian Express gave the film 3.5 of 5 and wrote: " In comparison to the horrendous Bairavaa, this is gold dust for Vijay. Triple action. Check.Three fights. Check. An emotion-fuelled crusade. Check. Four songs. Drawn-out check. Three heroines. Triple check. Whistle-inducing dialogues that take digs at everything from veshti to Tamil pride to Jallikattu to demonisation. Check. Seeing how Vijay has carried himself through Mersal, moderating between reserved, goofy and flamboyant in necessary measures, one cannot but hope that he sticks to making this kind of cinema with directors who seem to know what his limitations are. He leaves very little wanting as Vetri and Maaran, though he could have gotten a better wig as Vetrimaaran [64] . Hindustan Times said "For Vijay and his fans, Atlee has delivered a celebratory film" and gave the film 3 out of 5 stars.[65] Behindwoods.com stated there are triple Vijay in the movie and it had created triple positive impact and rated it 2.75 out of 5 stars.[66]

Social reaction

Upon release, several notions expressed in the film were opposed by various organisations. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling political party of Government of India, had objected to scenes in which the protagonist, played by Vijay, criticises the recently introduced Goods and Services Tax,[67][68] and also a scene in which a character ridicules Digital India, an initiative promoted by the BJP.[69] The party demanded that those scenes be cut from the film for future viewership.[70] These acts were seen as an attack on freedom of expression by opposing political parties and various other celebrities working in Tamil cinema.[71][72]

Several medical associations such as the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors’ Association, condemned the film for the alleged cynical portrayal of doctors working in government-operated hospitals.[73] Doctors working with the Indian Medical Association, shared links of the film on pirated websites online, in the hope that it would cause monetary losses to the makers of the film.[74]

Awards and nominations

References

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External links