Iru Mugan

Vampire Owl: I have heard that two-faced humans are really dangerous.

Vampire Bat: But this movie just has Vikram playing two different characters, and it is about the two faces of the actor as two different people.

Vampire Owl: That wouldn’t justify the title from within the movie.

Vampire Bat: Well, movies have become more about actors these days rather than being about itself.

Vampire Owl: It only gets worse when a movie is so bad and a superstar is acting in it.

Vampire Bat: And in some cases, movies just get the hype and rise above everything else – over-hyped movies are no lesser evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have heard that the fans of such over-hyped movies have been abusing people for not liking the movie, and even for not watching the flick.

Vampire Bat: You see why we can’t take over the human world – they are just too evil; they do this with just some overrated movie. It is so hard to believe as movies are just for entertainment for the viewers and for the makers to make money.

Vampire Owl: According them, one particular flick is the greatest movie of all-time, and there will be another “greatest” later.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the idiots don’t even know that there is a thing called opinion, and their greatest movie could be just third rate nonsense in someone else’s eyes.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In a strange turn of events, an unknown old man goes out of control and kills many officers unleashing an attack at the Indian embassy at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A criminal scientist codenamed Love is figured out to be behind the attack, and this psychotic lover of science is known to have created a terrible mess before he was declared dead years ago. Now, as the unpredictable science terrorist threatens to unleash himself out of the dead, it is Akhilan Vinod (Vikram), a former RAW agent who was responsible for messing up the terror plans and killing Love who is entrusted with the task to bring the dead man to justice. But he has been living a life outside the grid after his wife, RAW’s senior computer analysist Meera George (Nayantara) was killed by Love at the time of that operation. The RAW chief Malik (Nassar) has a feeling that something bigger is coming up, and they need this expert officer’s service.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Malik finds Akhilan and by telling him about the return of his old nemesis and convinces him that he has to be of service again. He is to work with a junior RAW agent Aayushi (Nithya Menen), who is in charge of the case, and the two of them leave for Kuala Lumpur to go further with the strange case at the Indian embassy. There they are helped by a Malaysian police inspector of Tamil origin, Muthaiah (Thambi Ramaiah) who remains rather scared of what is to happen next. More of investigations lead them to Peter (Karunakaran), a scientist who is working under the instructions of the evil mastermind, but decides to help the police. He tells them that the man who was thought to be dead is very much alive, and is responsible for the embassy attack, which was only the beginning. They are actually manufacturing a drug, which has the ability to create chaos and destruction by hiding them inside asthma inhalers.

The defence of Iru Mugan :: Iru Mugan can be listed among those movies which have tried to be different, and has tried something which can’t be done with ease – you see everything including the settings, they are all so good. If some other movies which are termed as the greatest could be that, just because they have brought something which hasn’t been seen before, this movie here has done the same too, without that much of ridiculous hype; well, it is the lack of confidence on a movie that brings the need for this extra hype, and if one particular movie was that great, it would have come and fought the battle without boasting and abusing. This is where Iru Mugan becomes everyone’s movie as the silent assassin, being a more righteous choice than those which claim to be among the greatest. There is so much of a stylish making here, and we see a lot of beauty of the place right on the screen. This quality is something which we can cherish for long. It even reminded me of the game Half-life, and its levels visually.

Claws of flaw :: There is the lack of attention right here, in how the movie has gone forward as a science fiction tale, with more seemingly spent on style and action than anything else. There was so much else that this movie could have done within one specific genre. There was a grand award to be taken here, as one of the best scienc fiction movies in Indian cinema, but that is not taken at all. There might be the feeling of knowing similar stories otherwise, but these days people just find a movie to claim that it is the greatest movie in the history of Indian cinema; so Iru Mugan, without such overdose of claims and third rate hype, is certainly there as a fine one. Then there is that “mass” effect, which should have been reduced to minimum, even though there is certain control in this movie. Also the name of the movie does little justice to the main character unlike what was expected, as there are just two characters.

Performers of the soul :: Here is another Vikram movie which depends on him more than anything or anybody else to do what he does the best on the big screen, as he once again comes up with the grand performance, and it is once more in more than one role. We had him in three different looks for one character in I, and here we have him in two different looks for two different characters, and once again, he is at the top of the game, and you remember Anniyan too which had him playing the character with three different personalities. It is his movies that I have always trusted to watched without second thoughts, and so despite missing this at the theatres due to the month of September last year being extremely busy, I managed to watch this on Mazhavil Manorama – that was more like a twist, and it is the one that I am glad about. He is there to bring both roles to the maximum effect. Nayanthara shines in her stylish avatar and Nithya Menen’s shortened stay was okay.

How it finishes :: There are only a few movies which you watch with the whole family, and everyone ends up liking it – Iru Mugan is that kind of a movie that has come up at such a safe position; this also reminds me to watch another missed science fiction thriller the Suriya movie, 24. We have a situation when it is impossible not to cheer for Vikram at each and every moment; and there is not just one, but there is two. There is also the great chemistry that work out between Vikram and Nayanthara, whether it is with the action sequences or with those song scenes. This surely wasn’t a movie with that much critical appreciation or hype as expected though. But with the bigger hyped movies, why would the one who know that the movie is so good keep talking about it all around the social media, mostly with fake profiles and abuse everyone? Thankfully, Iru Murugan never seemed to have such pathetic fans, which is why I decided to go for it despite having other things to do. I agree that we need all kinds of movies; but we need movies which doesn’t boast all the time, and those which don’t have their base and pillars built on hype, abuse and hatred – we need those which support free opinion, and unite us in difference rather than divide us. The fans of a movie are also a reflection of what a movie is, as superstar fans also symbolise their heroes. So, definitely choose to watch Iru Murugan, an amazingly stylish thriller with beautiful songs, even though its science fiction side needed some revival and the “mass” needed to go a bit down.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Anand Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Nayanthara, Nithya Menen, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Karunakaran, Riythvika, Jasper, Karthik Nagarajan, Balaji Venugopal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madras Cafe

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It is not that often that we see spy movies which keep close enough to reality rather than the James Bond model with stylish action and a display of superior skills and strange, unbelievable gadgets. In that case, this movie has successfully resisted its temptation to be another Ek Tha Tiger or Agent Vinod with all the super-stylish espionage with a romance tone always ringing a bell in the background. A few people might find it difficult to keep away from the usual pattern, but not Shoojit Sircar who continues his success of Vicky Donor. This was actually a week which was plagued by the absence of good English or Malayalam movies, and therefore the choice had to be Madras Cafe, but not before suffering from the Malayalam movie Olipporu. What came to my mind when I heard about this title was Kerala Cafe, the 2009 Malayalam movie which was quite a landmark, and such a matching title is nothing less than inspiring enough to watch the movie, not only the positive reviews and the good personal opinions which has been gathered by this movie so far.  Its message is simple – that in the case of each and every war, it is the civilians who suffers the worst on both sides, and it is the terrible loss of human life and property that is the ultimate truth.

The movie is set mainly in India and Sri Lanka, and the action also shifts to the United Kingdom, Singapore and Thailand on occasions. So the movie is a political thriller as well as an espionage action flick with all the eyes on that defining moment in Indian history. It is the story of Vikram Singh (John Abraham), an Indian Army special officer in the backdrop of the Sri Lanka Civil War. He is appointed by the Indian intelligence agency to lead the covert operations in Jaffna just after the Indian intervention there didn’t really work out. He travels to Sri Lanka leaving his wife Ruby Singh (Rashi Khanna) at his abode at Cochin, and comes across Jaya Sahni (Nargis Fakhri), a British journalist of Indian origins. As she is there for humanitarian concers, Vikram is there for the Indian causes, and their paths meet consistently. But their world is still not that apart and their objectives are not that different in the end. The result is not just the uncovering of all the conspiracies which runs behind the scenes, but also finding all those people who work for the other side, and finally discovering a plot to assassinate a former Prime Minister of India.

This is undoubtedly one of the best roles of John Abraham so far. The most significant thing about this role is that our hero is completely out of his comfort zone except for those shooting scenes which comes quite often. He is still there to fit in, as the perfectionist covert operations officer, the loving husband to a lovely wife and a true patriot whom his department deserves rather than the other way around. He is tactically superior to almost everyone around even as his impact is limited due to the huge amount of backstabbing and treachery which is involved among his own people. Still, he is perfectly human and doesn’t come up with the typical John Abraham show as one would expect from the hunk. But this one is a more realistic, and the much need performance from him, a lot above what was expected. He has taken over his role as the leading actor with what was needed just like his role as the producer. There might surely be the people who are to find it difficult to agree to that statement, but it is proven, and John Abraham is back.

Nargis Fakhri’s Jaya Sahni, a British journalist and foreign war correspondant in Jaffna has a significant role in the totality of investigation, but not that much of an imposing screen presence. She looks beautiful, determined and adamant throughout the movie as a character who might have almost worked a miracle on the events. She is the daredevil, the exact opposite of Rashi Khanna’s Ruby Singh – the worried housewife who is troubled by the absence of her husband who disappears in Sri Lanka and is later consistently under threat. She still has a lovely debut though, opposite one of the most stylish actors in Bollywood, and does her part well. Siddharth Basu’s Robin Dutt is an outstanding performance which adds to the rating of the movie by a good margin. The others have also done well making this movie a very good combined effort which is brought together by its working of the plot, the narrative style and the effort of the director.

How often do we get such good political thrillers? The Malayalam movie Left Right Left was one of those political flicks which seemed to make a powerful impact. Well, this one is clearer in its vision, as it takes no sides and passes absolutely no real judgement. Its viewpoint is the same as that of any neutral person watching the movie. To add to it, this time there is the espionage element – it is present at the right dose, and not at all glorified or exaggerated. Nobody is killed in slow motion and no hero takes on a large group and throws bodies in all directions like a freak of nature. There are also no bloody songs or retarded emotional nonsense of dumb romance, as this one keeps its world alive in reality rather than in a romanticized pandemonium. But people might still prefer the wrong movies which makes absolutely no sense and at the same time, has not even that ability to inject nonsense at the right dose. What would happen to the real good movies then? That is a question which can be answered only by the statistics which show more of a world deserving depression.

3 Idiots, Chennai Express, Ek Tha Tiger, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Dabangg 2, Bodyguard, Dabangg, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Don 2 and Ra One are the highest grossing Bollywood movies according to Wikipedia. This clearly leads to the loss of faith in humanity and the need for the end of the world is asserted in a brutal manner. Unless movies like Madras Cafe, Go Goa Gone, Table No. 21 and a few similar ones have some spot in that list, there would no justice served. Well, they can add Malayalam movies like China Town and Maya Mohini to that list of pure nonsense which grossed the highest. Rowdy Rathore, Ready and Agneepath follows in the high-grossing list, and that adds to the need for a quick destruction of the world. The restoration of hope in this generation and the movie-watching people of this world can happen only after having a look at the final collections of Madras Cafe, something which could be fine, but nothing exceptional.

The movie is still slow, and that might be a bad thing for some – but the slow rhythm of the movie still can conquer some other hearts. There was so much of details and information being showered upon the audience and this slower pace might have helped it to blossom – come with the brains this time, for you have watched too many mindless movies which made no sense and scared the world’s best nonstop nonsense. We already had successful slow thrillers in the form of Memories and Mumbai Police, and it is time a slow political thriller takes its place among the best movies of 2013. It took me some time to watch this one only because of the horrible attack of the movie Olipporu and my fears on being not able to understand the political scenario in Hindi. But that went really smooth, and the whole thing was very impressive, ending with Rabindranath Tagore’s lines “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high…Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”

Release date: 23rd August 2013
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Shoojit Sircar
Starring: John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri, Rashi Khanna, Siddharth Basu, Ajay Rathnam, Prakash Belawadi, Tinu Menachery, Agnello Dias, Piyush Pandey

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.