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Mersal (English: Zapped) is a 2017 Indian Tamil-language action thriller film[6] directed by Atlee and co-written by Atlee, K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and S. Ramana Girivasan (dialogues). The film stars Vijay portraying three roles alongside Nithya Menen, Samantha Akkineni 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.

Mersal
Mersal Theatrical Release Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Atlee
Produced by N. Ramasamy
Hema Rukmani
H. Murali
Screenplay by Atlee
K. V. Vijayendra Prasad
S. Ramana Girivasan
Story by Atlee
Starring Vijay
Nithya Menen
S. J. Surya
Samantha Akkineni
Kajal Agarwal
Vadivelu
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography G. K. Vishnu
Edited by Ruben
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
  • 18 October 2017 (2017-10-18) (Worldwide)[1]
Running time
169 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil
Budget 1.20 billion[2]
Box office est.2.51 billion[3][4][5][3]

The film began production in February 2017 with actors Sathyaraj, S. J. Surya and Vadivelu amongst others in supporting roles. It is also the 100th production of Thenandal Studios Limited. The film was released worldwide on 18 October 2017, coinciding with Diwali. The Telugu version Adirindhi (also Adirindi) was released on 9 November 2017.[7][8] The Hindi version will be released by Goldmines Telefilms.[9]

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 ₹251 crore (US$39.5 million) worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest grossing Tamil film and Vijay's highest-grossing film in his career. This movie is also the fifth highest grossing South Indian film of all time. The film completed 100-day theatrical run on 25 January 2018.[3] The film will be released in China by HGC Entertainment.[10]

Contents

Plot

An ambulance driver, a medical-broker, a hospital HR and a surgeon, were mysteriously abducted at dawn. Alerted by the incidents, Ratnavel, a police officer with Tamil Nadu Police nabs the suspect. As the interrogation begins the suspect explains his motive. Maaran, popularly known as 5 doctor, as he charges the same amount for treatment from everyone, arrives for a medical seminar at Paris with his compounder Vadivu only to be mistaken at Paris Airport due to his cultural identity. After the seminar, Maaran displeases Arjun Zachariah, another doctor from Chennai, and his offer to team up with him, but develops mutual romantic feelings with his assistant, Anu Pallavi. He invites Anu and Zachariah to his magic show, where Zachariah is killed under the pretense of performing a trick with him as a volunteer, shocking his friend and fellow doctor, Daniel Arockiyaraj.

After arriving back to Chennai, Maaran falls in love with Tara, a media anchor. When an auto-driver's daughter meets with an accident, the treatment is delayed deliberately by the doctors and staff for greed resulting in her death and suicide of her mother. The people behind the incident were abducted, tortured and killed. Deducing the events, Daniel's henchmen traps Maaran, but gets beaten up by his brother Vetri, who switches places with an unconscious Maaran and gets caught by the police. He reveals himself as the magician who killed Zachariah in Paris for the inhumane approach to his profession. Vetri then escapes and convinces Anu of his killing Zachariah. As Daniel reaches out to Maaran, holding Tara and Sarala as hostage to find Vetri's location, the latter traces Vadivu and confronts Vetri. Vadivu then narrates how the two are linked.

In the late 1970s, Vetrimaaran, a village wrestler married to Aishwarya, a Punjabi, lived in Manoor (Madurai district) with their newborn son, Maaran. He successfully chased out people who wish to build industries and decided for a temple only to be thwarted by a fire accident resulting in death of kids due to the absence of a hospital in the village. When Vetrimaaran, Aishwarya and the villagers finally decided to build a hospital, Daniel and Zachariah were made as its chief doctors of the hospital and the ownership was also transferred to them. The hospital soon became famous for its free medical treatment to all. However, it turned out that Daniel and Zachariah were greedy crooks. They performed a caesarean section on Aishwarya when she was in labour with her second child, Vetri with the intention of extracting more money from Vetrimaaran, even though she could deliver the child normally. After the child was declared stillborn, Aishwarya dies due to blood loss and overdose of anaesthetics, but not before revealing to Vetrimaaran the truth about Daniel and Zachariah. Determined, Vetrimaaran tried to kill them both but was beaten to death by Daniel and his henchman Kasi, who also shatter a glass bottle on Maaran's head, due to which he is unable to remember what happened in his childhood. Vadivu saved Maaran and placed him in a lorry bound for Chennai.

Meanwhile, Vetri did not turn out to be stillborn. He was adopted by Salim Ghosh, who taught him magic. As Maaran reconciles with Vetri, the police arrive and arrest Vetri. However, when Daniel confronts Vetri in prison, it's revealed that he's actually Maaran, as the brothers switched places before the police arrived. Daniel goes to confront Vetri, who gets hit by Kasi. Maaran arrives and fights Daniel and Kasi while Vetri recovers from the latter's blow. The duo then kill Kasi and Daniel. Vetri is then arrested for his role in the murders and sentenced to prison. Before going to jail, he declares that he would continue with the "cleansing process" of all corrupt doctors and hospital staff. In prison, Vetri contemplates a television news report in which a young girl dies due to negligent medical treatment, before vanishing. In a mid-credits scene, Maaran is conferred a statewide recognised medical counsellor post, which he accepts.

Cast

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.[11][12] 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.[13] 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 fails due to clash with his other project. G. K. Vishnu was signed later on making his debut in this film.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16] The role went to Nithya Menon.[17]Actors S. J. Suryah and Sathyaraj also joined the cast as supporting actors, with comedians Vadivelu, Kovai Sarala, Sathyan and Rajendran.[18] S. J. Suryah is playing villainous role with two looks in the movie.[19] 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.[20][21]

Filming

 
The city of Gdańsk, Poland, served as Paris for the film.[22]

A launch event for the film was held at Adityaram Studios in Chennai on 1 February 2017, with production beginning thereafter.[23][24] The team has decided to shoot a song in Jaisalmer during the summer despite the hot weather.[25] The steam engine named 7161WP AKBAR was used in this movie while shooting in Rajasthan.[26][27] Some of the filming was conducted in Poland (Gdańsk, Poznań[28] and Rzeszów's airport[29]), as well as in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.[30] The shooting was held in Chennai, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan and Konaseema in Andhra Pradesh, while the songs were filmed overseas. It's 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.[31]

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 20 August 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.[32][33][34][35][36][37] The soundtrack crossed 100 million streams within ten days, setting a streaming record for a Tamil album.[38]

Release

The film was released on 18 October 2017, Diwali day.[39][40]

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 USA.[41] The first look poster was released on 21 June 2017, revealing the title as Mersal with Vijay in a Jallikattu attire.[42][43] The name was derived from "Mersal Aayiten", a song composed by Rahman for I (2015).[44]

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.[45] The film has become first South-Indian film to get a Twitter emoji of its first look.[46][47]

Home media

The television broadcast rights were sold to Zee Tamizh for 30 Crore in July 2017.[48] The film had its global television premiere on 14 January 2018 at 4:00 P.M. IST, on occasion of the Thai Pongal Festival.[49][50][51]

Reception

Box office

In its five-day opening weekend, the film collected 140 crore worldwide[52]and 170 crore worldwide in its first week.[53] 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.[54] 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.[55]

Critical response

Mersal opened to positive reviews from critics[56]. 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. [57].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?" [58]. 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.[59].

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 [60] . Hindustan Times said "For Vijay and his fans, Atlee has delivered a celebratory film" and gave the film 3 out of 5 stars.[61] 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.[62]

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,[63][64] and also a scene in which a character ridicules Digital India, an initiative promoted by the BJP.[65] The party demanded that those scenes be cut from the film for future viewership.[66] These acts were seen as an attack on freedom of expression by opposing political parties and various other celebrities working in Tamil cinema.[67][68]

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.[69] 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.[70]

Awards and nominations

Award Date of ceremony[a] Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards 10 January 2018 Best Actor Vijay Won [71]
[72]
Best Music Director A. R. Rahman[b] Won
Best Playback Singer — Female Shreya Ghoshal for "Neethane"[c] Won
Best Costume Designer Neeraja Kona, Archa Mehta, Komal Shahani, Pallavi Singh, Jayalakshmi Sundaresan Won
Talk of the Town Mersal Won
Edison Awards 26 February 2018 Best Director Atlee Kumar Won [73]
Best Villain S. J. Suryah[d] Won
Best Male Playback Singer Sathyaprakash for "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Won
Best Lyricist Vivek Won
Best Choreographer Shobi Won
Best Cinematographer G. K. Vishnu Won
Best Art Director T. Muthuraj Won
Filmfare Awards South 16 June 2018 Best Director – Tamil Atlee Kumar Nominated [74]
[75]
Best Actor – Tamil Vijay Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Tamil S. J. Suryah Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Tamil Nithya Menen Won
Best Music Director – Tamil A. R. Rahman Won
Best Male Playback Singer – Tamil A. R. Rahman for "Neethane" Nominated
Sid Sriram for "Macho" Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer – Tamil Shreya Ghoshal for "Neethane" Nominated
Shweta Mohan for "Macho" Nominated
Best Lyricist – Tamil Vivek for "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Nominated
Vivek for "Neethane" Nominated
National Film Awards UK 28 March 2018 Best Foreign Film H. Murali, N. Ramasamy, Hema Rukmani Won [76]
[77]
Best Supporting Actor Vijay Nominated
Norway Tamil Film Festival Awards 26 January 2018 Best Lyricist Vivek Won [78]
[79]
Best Playback Singer – Female Shreya Ghoshal for "Neethane" Won
South Indian International Movie Awards 14 – 15 September 2018 Best Film H. Murali, N. Ramasamy, Hema Rukmani Nominated [80]
[81]
Best Director Atlee Kumar Won
Best Actor Vijay Nominated
Best Actress Nithya Menen Nominated
Best Actor in a Negative Role S. J. Suryah[d] Won
Best Music Director A. R. Rahman[b] Won
Best Lyricist Vivek for "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Won
Best Male Playback Singer A. R. Rahman for "Neethane" Nominated
Sid Sriram for "Macho" Won
Best Female Playback Singer Shreya Ghoshal for "Neethane" Nominated
Best Comedian Yogi Babu Nominated
Best Cinematographer G. K. Vishnu Nominated
Techofes Awards 19 February 2018 Best Film H. Murali, N. Ramasamy, Hema Rukmani Won [82]
[83]
[84]
Best Director Atlee Kumar Won
Best Actor Vijay Won
Best Villain S. J. Suryah Won
Best Male Playback Singer Sathyaprakash for "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Won
Best Female Playback Singer Pooja Vaidyanath for "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Won
Best Lyricist Vivek Won
Best Choreographer Shobi Won
Best Cinematographer G. K. Vishnu Won
Best Art Director T. Muthuraj Won
Vijay Awards 3 June 2018 Best Dialogue Atlee Kumar, S. Ramana Girivasan Nominated [85]
[86]
[87]
Best Male Playback Singer A. R. Rahman for "Neethane" Nominated
Best Female Playback Singer Shreya Ghoshal for "Neethane" Nominated
Best Lyricist Vivek for "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Nominated
Best Cinematographer G. K. Vishnu Nominated
Favourite Film H. Murali, N. Ramasamy, Hema Rukmani Won
Favourite Director Atlee Kumar Won
Favourite Song "Aalaporaan Thamizhan" Won

Notes

  1. ^ Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
  2. ^ a b Also for Kaatru Veliyidai.
  3. ^ Also for "Mazhaikulle" from Puriyatha Puthir.
  4. ^ a b Also for Spyder.

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