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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 in triple roles with Samantha, Nithya Menen, 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
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]

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.

The film opened to positive reviews with critics praising Vijay's performance, the cinematography, A.R. Rahman's soundtrack, 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. The film completed 100-day theatrical run on 25 January 2018.[3] The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Vijay for the Best Supporting Actor in National Film Awards UK.[9]

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 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 Pallavi and her nagging boss to his magic show, where Zachariah is killed deliberately under the pretence 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 school-going daughter meets with an accident, the treatment is delayed deliberately by the doctors an staff for greed resulting in her death and suicide of her mother. With the help of Vadivu, the people behind this incident were abducted, tortured and killed. Deducing the events, Daniel's henchmen traps Maaran, but gets beaten up by his brother Vetri, who body swaps Maaran and thus gets caught to the police and reveals himself as the magician who killed Zachariah in Paris, for his inhumanely approach in medical profession. Vetri then escapes and convinces Anu Pallavi of his killing Zachariah. As Daniel reaches out to Maaran, holding Tara and Sarala as hostage to find the whereabouts of Vetri, the latter traces Vadivu and confronts Vetri. Vadivu then narrates how the two are linked.

In the late 1970s, Vetrimaaran, a village wrestler marries Aishwarya, a Punjabi and comes back to his native place, Manoor (Madurai district) with his newborn kid, Maaran. He successfully chases out people who wish to build industry, and decides for a temple only to be thwarted by a fire accident resulting in death of kids due to lack of hospital. When Vetrimaaran, Aishwarya and the villagers, finally decide 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 becomes famous for its free medical treatment to all. However, it soon turns out that Daniel and Zachariah were crooks who were after money, and they perform 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 loss of blood and along with an overdose of anaesthetics, but not before revealing to Vetrimaaran the truth about Daniel and Zachariah. Determined, Vetrimaaran tried to kill Daniel and Zachariah but was beaten to death by Daniel and his henchmen, who also shatter a glass bottle on his son’s head, due to which Maaran is unable to remember what happened in his childhood before he was hit on head; he was safely placed into a lorry bound for Chennai before Vetrimaaran's death.

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 presumably 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, Daniel's henchman who killed Vetrimaaran. 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 off.

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.[10][11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

Casting

The producers announced in January 2017 that three lead actresses – Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menon and Samantha Ruth Prabhu would portray the female lead-roles in the film. Actors S. J. Suryah and Sathyaraj also joined the cast as supporting actors, with comedians Vadivelu, Kovai Sarala, Sathyan and Rajendran.[15] S. J. Suryah is playing villainous role with two looks in the movie.[16] 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.[17][18] The production team later revealed that due to some unavoidable reasons actress Jyothika opted out of the film. The role went to Nithya Menon.

Filming

 
The city of Gdańsk, Poland, served as Paris for the film.[19]

A launch event for the film was held at Adityaram Studios in Chennai on 1 February 2017, with production beginning thereafter.[20][21] The team has decided to shoot a song in Jaisalmer during the summer despite the hot weather.[22] The steam engine named 7161WP AKBAR was used in this movie while shooting in Rajasthan.[23][24] Some of the filming was conducted in Poland (Gdańsk, Poznań[25] and Rzeszów's airport[26]), as well as in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29][30][31][32][33][34] The soundtrack crossed 100 million streams within ten days, setting a streaming record for a Tamil album.[35]

Release

The film was released on 18 October 2017, Diwali day.[36][37]

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.[38] The first look poster was released on 21 June 2017, revealing the title as Mersal with Vijay in a Jallikattu attire.[39][40]

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.[41] The film has become first South-Indian film to get a Twitter emoji of its first look.[42][43]

Home media

The television broadcast rights were sold to Zee Tamizh for 30 Crore in July 2017.[44] The film had its global television premiere on 14 January 2018 at 4:00 P.M. IST, on occasion of the Thai Pongal Festival.[45][46][47]

Reception

Box office

In its first week, the film collected 170 crore worldwide.[48] 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.[49] At the end of its third week the film has reportedly collected about 115.10 crore in Tamil Nadu alone, 15 crore in Kerala, 12.60 crore in Karnataka and 3 crore from the rest of India tallying 145.7 crore domestically apart from 74.4 crore from the overseas territories, consolidating up to 220.01 crore.[50]

Critical reception

The film opened to positive reviews from critics.[51] Hindustan Times rated the film 3 out of 5 stars.[52] The Times of India rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars.[53] 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.[54] Sify also rated the film 3.5 out of 5 stars.[55] The Indian Express rated the film 3 out of 5 stars.[56]

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,[57][58] and also a scene in which a character ridicules Digital India, an initiative promoted by the BJP.[59] The party demanded that those scenes be cut from the film for future viewership.[60] These acts were seen as an attack on freedom of expression by opposing political parties and various other celebrities working in Tamil cinema.[61][62]

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.[63] 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.[64]

Accolades

Award Date of ceremony[a] Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Ananda Vikatan Cinema Awards 10 January 2018 Best Actor Vijay Won [65]
[66]
Best Music Director A. R. Rahman Won[b]
Best Playback Singer — Female Shreya Ghoshal for "Neethane Neethane" Won[c]
Best Costume Designer Neeraja Kona, Archa Mehta, Komal Shahani, Pallavi Singh, Jayalakshmi Sundaresan Won
Talk of the Town Mersal Won
National Film Awards UK 28 March 2018 Best Foreign Film H. Murali, N. Ramasamy, Hema Rukmani Won [67]
[68]
Best Supporting Actor Vijay Nominated
Techofes Awards 19 February 2018 Best Film H. Murali, N. Ramasamy, Hema Rukmani Won [69]
[70]
[71]
Best Director Atlee Kumar Won
Best Actor Vijay Won
Best Villain S. J. Suryah Won
Best Male Playback Singer Sathyaprakash Won
Best Female Playback Singer Pooja Vaidyanath Won
Best Lyricist Vivek Won
Best Choreographer Shobi Won
Best Cinematographer G. K. Vishnu Won
Best Art Director T. Muthuraj Won

Notes

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

References

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  4. ^ "Ilayathalapathy Vijay's Mersal creates history; breaches Rs 250 crore mark". 
  5. ^ "Vijay: Habitual hit maker | Forbes India". Forbes India. Retrieved 2017-12-31. 
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  8. ^ "Adirindi Movie Review: Go watch this film if you're thirsting for some good ol' entertainment injected with a massive dose of reality". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-12-17. 
  9. ^ Awards, National Film (1:40 AM - 15 Jan 2018). "Congratulations to @actorvijay nominated for #BestSupportingActor at the #NationalFilmAwardsUK for his role on the film @MersalFilm Vote now @ http://www.nationalfilmawards.org/voting #NationalFilmAwardsUKpic.twitter.com/VhS8hRrSql". @NATFilmAwards. Retrieved 2018-01-16.  Check date values in: |date= (help); External link in |title= (help)
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External links