There’s a reason we don’t really need superhero films in Tamil – our leading men are already superheroes. They defy gravity in the action sequences, slip in and out of several costumes during songs, and possess at least enough X-ray vision to peek into the heroine’s mind and realise she’s really saying ‘yes’ even though her mouth forms the word ‘no’. But seriously, why do we need a Kandasamy when we already have a Rajinikanth? That’s the reason Shakti Soundar Rajan’s Miruthan – “Tamil cinema’s first zombie movie” – doesn’t feel all that revolutionary. We’ve seen these vampiric creatures before – as ratha kaatteris, for instance. And because audiences, today, like their horror served with super-sized sides of comedy, we get Sriman, in the middle of a crisis, munching on chips. “Lesa pasichudhu… adhaan Lays saapten.” The film ends with the promise of a sequel. Here’s a free line. “Marundhu kedakkala… adhaan Mirinda kudichen.”
Miruthan, which has Jayam Ravi and Lakshmi Menon as the leads, is plagued with the usual Tamil-cinema problem – a good concept, but let down by bad writing, worse craft and a general lack of resources. The zombies are supposedly allergic to water. Instead of making this a surprise discovery, the film plunges us into the scene where the creatures surround a girl in a swimming pool, making threatening noises but unable to get to her. It’s not enough to just think up “zombies are allergic to water.” You have to follow up with “now, how do I transform this fact into an exciting stretch on screen?” The action has no variety, and the zombies are hilarious – they keep pawing the air, as though scratching the Invisible Man’s back. It’s a good idea to combine a song sequence with an action-sequence – romance plus danger – but compare the music video here to Raabta, from Agent Vinod, and you’ll know the amateurs from the pros. But we do get an outstanding hard-rock soundtrack, from Imman. You close your eyes in horror films because you’re scared, but here, you might want to do so just so the movie doesn’t come in the way of enjoying the music.
- Miruthan = half-man, half-animal
- ratha kaatteri = vampire
- Lesa pasichudhu… adhaan Lays saapten = seriously not worth translating.
- Marundhu kedakkala… adhaan Mirinda kudichen = see above
- Raabta, from Agent Vinod = see here
Copyright ©2016 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.