Suspension of Disbelief: When a film maker convinces you to disregard logic and believe in the unbelievable.
It is in the hands of the filmmaker, to gently push the audience over that line. But as I was sitting there in the morning of Diwali, ten minutes into Mersal FDFS, I could already feel belittled by the fact that a director thought he could serve me that for 350 Rs and get away with applause.
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Our hero is checking in at the London airport and a bunch of Airport security harass him, strip him and call him a terrorist, because that would light some flame in our Tamilian hearts no? next up, our hero sitting in the interrogation room spots a woman choking and hitting the floor, decides to save the day by beating up airport security in a foreign international airport and after a montage of random parlour shots and unnecessary slow motion leaping, he performs an Emergency Tracheotomy ( 90s kids would remember it from “Anaconda” ) on her and all the security officials he just beat up gather around to salute the “Veera Tamizhan”. If this wasn’t enough, Hero goes on to say a couple punch dialogues about Tamil pride to a white guy in Tamil, and a girl speaking in an obvious Srilankan Tamilian accent chips in to add to the sentiments. Now let’s imagine this incident happening in a real life scenario and then figure out at what point the airport security would have tazed the brown guy and deported him.
After establishing our hero, Maaran, as the best surgeon in the world and Tamil as the best language in the world, we are introduced to the brand new concept of an antagonist – An envious competitor in the same field who wants to corrupt the Protagonist. Insert Punch dialogue from hero.
Next we are shown the magician double life of Maaran. A special kind of magician who does magic without any skill, technique or flair but with the help of Post Production CGI. A grand master who can flick real life balls out of an iPad game and pull out a spear from a handbag ( you can’t make this up) among his many other “magic” moves during the fight scene, which is only there so that Kajal Agarwal can fall in love with Maaran in the same scene she is introduced. Fast times.
Magician Maaran proceeds to commit murder on stage in a packed amphitheatre, and vanishes without any witness or police intervention. Because magic okay? Meanwhile doctor Maaran is established as the “5 rupees doctor” who charges only that much for all high end surgeries. But NO, you are not allowed to question how he manages to afford all the medical equipment and then have a well-furnished house along with a fashionable wardrobe despite giving all the extra money for charity.
Samantha is then introduced, after Kajal Agarwal’s quota of dancing for a song is done with. After a brief Sanjay Ramasamy situation with the doctor Maaran, she interviews him on TV, where the motives of the character is revealed. By proposing overly simplified emotional crowd pleasing solutions to an extremely complicated problem lying deep in the field of medicine. And then Insert sudden tonal shift to Samantha’s quota for a song.
After a first half of choppy scenes jumping here and there in the space time continuum and mind numbing logic, comes the biggest plot twist nobody expected. If you thought that Maaran who is the best surgeon in the world, is also leading a homicidal double life where he is a couple different characters from the X-men, THEN YOU ARE WRONG, GOTCHA. They are two completely different individuals who happen to look the exact same, one of them is a badass and the other is a good guy. Diwali 2014 FDFS Deja Vu.
And then the movie takes us back to the 1980s, where the third avatar of our hero is revealed, a guardian of tamil pride (surprise). Insert “Aalaporan Tamizhan”. A song about Tamil pride, where thalapathy is dancing with a group of north Indians in Punjab and playing with holi powder. DOESN’T MATTER, LOOKED COOL.
As the story progresses we find out that Vettri and Maaran are sons of Thalapathy. So they are siblings, who aren’t twins, but identical. Also, identical to their dad. Thalapathy managed to have two exact genetic clones of himself. His wife is A Punjabi girl with Sikh parents in Punjab, who studied in a village in Madurai, because apparently there are no colleges or villages in Punjab. But it was convenient for Thalapathy to run into her, so it’s fine. Also convenient is how Nithya Menon played the role of a Punjabi who speaks pure Madurai Tamil with no Hindi accent, but speaks Hindi with a south Indian accent.
Later on we see Thalapathy pulling down a giant ferris wheel all by himself, while rest of the village just watches in awe. Really, not even like one other guy stepped up to help. BECAUSE HE IS THALAPATHY, HE DOESN’T NEED OUR HELP. He topples it over a water tank which tips into a burning shed, all arranged conveniently in a straight line. But the fire isn’t doused, Thalapathy is the only man in the village to run into a burning building to save children. But again, only he can walk into a flaming firework shed and walk out without even a sunburn, He’s got the director’s plot armour.
By this point in the movie I had switched off my brain because I couldn’t bear all the noise in my head trying to comprehend what is happening on screen.