Director: Anand Shankar
Cast: Vikram, Nayantara and Nithya Menen
Drugs seem to be the hot subject among filmmakers this year. First came the controversial Udta Punjab, which locked horns with the censor board. The Vikram-Nayantara starrer Iru Mugan follows in the same genre, attempting to tell a story about a drug of a completely different kind.
The story begins with an elderly man who walks into an Indian Embassy in Malaysia before thrashing all the guards - he has a mysterious heart-shaped tattoo, the symbol of love. Over the course of the next two and half hours, the audience is taken on a roller-coaster ride about a man called Love (Vikram) who ran a drug business in Kashmir. His business is destroyed by secret agents Akhilan (also Vikram) and his lover (Meera). An incensed Love kills off Meera and dies at the hands of Akhilan, who ends the drug empire - or so he thinks.
Iru Mugan suffers from all kinds of commercial trappings -- jarring songs, forced comic scenes and action sequences involving Vikram’s trademark quick costume changes. None of the songs by Harris Jayaraj sound refreshing and are painful hacks of his previous compositions.
The movie is riddled with logical loopholes as well. For instance, in the first half of the movie, we are told that anyone taking the drug ‘Speed’ will be able to fight like a superhero. However, this ability lasts for only five minutes. This seems to hold true for all characters except Love and the movie really doesn’t explain the reason behind this.
However, Iru Mugan does manage to steer clear of some masala moments. For instance, Akhilan does not have a grand introduction scene and is beaten up by someone in his opening sequence. Also, the movie and director Anand Shankar stand out for their sheer willingness to portray two women as R&AW agents, a first in the Tamil cinema.
Nayantara doesn’t entirely seem convincing as an R&AW agent, but Tamil audiences are so starved for interesting, women-centric films that it is refreshing to just see her as a skillful computer hacker/data analyst - a field in India that has not always encouraged women to be a part of it.
The movie also thankfully spares the audience of the love story between Akhilan and Meera. They are just depicted as two people in love.
Despite its commercial constraints, Iru Mugan turns out to be a fast-paced, no-nonsense movie laced with chemistry and history lessons on drugs. If you are a hardcore Vikram/Nayantara fan, this movie might just give the high that you wanted.
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