It wasn’t all that long ago when during a discussion with my mother, who has this uncanny knack of watching films on the cable network, I most humbly asked her how she could tolerate watching a film with so many commercial breaks as is customary for even the most unpopular of films. She explained with a gentle smile that you can always switch channels between the advertisements and come back to the film when they are done with the advertisements. I didn’t understand this concept then but now I believe I have a firm grasp of what she meant. I have been travelling for a greater part of the last few weeks and have been to places that have no cinema halls and the net speed varies between 2G and nothing. Thus the only mode of catching a film in these parts is the cable TV. After the initial intolerance, I settled pretty well with the idea of watching films on a smaller screen and with commercials. And wonder of wonders I am writing my first review of a film that I watched as a premier on national TV.
Iru Mugan also known as International Rowdy in its Hindi dubbed version is the story of a RAW agent Akhilan (Vikram). He has been a successful agent but after destroying a major syndicate, he lost his wife who also happened to be an agent and settled into oblivion fighting for money. However, an old enemy that he thought was dead comes back to haunt him and he gets back into RAW for what seems to be his last assignment and also that case which he had presumably forgotten to tie the knots off. As Akhilan travels to the underbelly of Malaysia looking for the illusive “Love” he finds more than what he had come for.
Iru Mugan is a perfectly enjoyable fare that has two USPs. Vikram over the years has metamorphed into a man who can almost single handedly pull a film through the duration of its runtime. He proves that yet again here as he toggles seamlessly between playing the hardnut Akhilan and the seemingly sadistic but hilariously metro-sexual villain Love. While Akhilan is all that a man could ever ask to be, Love is repulsive and is laden with every cliché that you can associate with a character like this especially in Indian Cinema. Vikram brings and unprecedented amount of physicality to the role which is really a good thing for the film as a whole. Every punch that he delivers feels real, effective and packed with gusto.
The second USP of the film is its action sequences. It would be necessary to mention that the action sequences involving the control substance speed adds something unique to the characters. It is this substance that makes super heroes out of common men albeit only for five minutes. The first action sequence involving a seemingly harmless old man who then ends up killing many defense personnel was a shocker. The action sequences are designed very well here. One cannot say that they are exactly realistic but they are very good to look at. The sequences are well conceived, edited, shot and lit. It doesn’t get much better than this in Indian cinema.
Apart from these two USPs, the film is predictable, unnecessarily funny at times and bizarrely over the top. I believe that’s how commercial Tamil films are but they could be better. There is no reason for the hero and the villain to look so similar. There is never a reason given for that fact. Probably the idea was to convey a surrealistic meaning of having the good and bad as the two sides of a same coin but in this case, I don’t think it worked. No matter how charming Vikram’s act may have been, it cannot take away your attention from the gaping holes. Nayantara plays Vikram’s wife and she does exactly what she does every time. She literally sleepwalks through her role.
The film has no novelty about it. Neither does it take itself seriously. Apart from Vikram none of the other character does anything to win your heart or for that matter affect you. Thus even when major characters die, you don’t feel a thing. That is never a good thing for a film like this. However, I believe that the idea of the film was to entertain and entertain alone and it does so. You will not be bored by this film and it was able to hold on to my attention even through the multiple breaks that the commercials brought to it. If you are looking for some mindless fun, some superb action and if you are a Vikram fan like I am, Iru Mugan will be a decent watch for you. For all the others, it may not be an essential view.
Rating : 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)