Miruthan: A Bullet Point Review

by Mani Prabhu
  • Shakti Soundar Rajan, the man who had finally woken up the dead in Kollywood, wants to try something different in Miruthan.  Different in the sense, he wants to fill the ‘commercial action’ movie mould with ‘zombie thriller’ clay to get a hybrid figurine. And to be frank, the results are middling.
  • The prologue, which sets up the ‘zombie conflict’ for the next ninety minutes, is interestingly shot, provided you chose to ignore the hint of pervading clumsiness in the staging. And also at this time, you have the luxury of believing that things will get better as you warm up to seeing brown-skinned zombies!
  • But soon enough, the curious case of the indispensable romantic subplot strikes for the umpteenth time in the last few months. Shakti wants to stage a cute little love angle for the protagonist, which eats up almost half an hour of the screen-time. Thankfully, it’s not about stalking and ‘love at first sight’ this time, and given the sad state of our mainstream on-screen romances, it’s not bad. Some effort seems to have gone in for maintaining sensibility. We are not bored. And more importantly, the time spent here is put to good use later
  • Do directors look no further than Lakshmi Menon if the female lead needs to look all ‘learned’ and ‘dignified’? Agreed, it’s a lot better than seeing her in suicidal rural typecasts, but the actress simply doesn’t emote here. Not that she is a misfit, but in many instances, she appears to have lost her way into the shoot.
  • And why is baby Anikha playing Ravi’s sister? Neither of them passes off as siblings. It’s awkward. It could have much better if Ravi was instead playing Anikha’s single parent. That way, the subsequent courtship between Ravi and Lakshmi Menon could have come across as stronger and more matured. Was this considered?
  • But once this romance track is sidelined, the film takes off with some decently staged action sequences. Shakti is nothing if not ambitious in setting up never-ending encounters with virus affected zombies, and some of these do build up some tension. But before that, he fails to make us invest in the plight of those infected and those under threat. With literally nothing at stake, we are forced to watch Ravi go on a shooting spree on randomly growling weirdos, for almost an hour.
  • Yes, it’s real tough to buy into the group of doctors trying to flee the town for developing a vaccine overnight, simply because they neither look nor act like scientists. The gravity of the situation and the utmost need to look for solutions never translate on-screen. If Shakti had made the audience connect with the scientific repercussions and emotional turmoil of the infestation, at least  with a few quick brushstrokes, we could have easily rooted for Ravi and his team.
  • Keeping in tone with the genre conventions, Shakti attempts to inject some dark humour into the proceedings. While a few jokes succeed in eliciting that feverish chuckle, many more appear stupid, sticking out like a sore thumb.
  • The climactic showdown starts off with promise, but soon boils down into repetitive, pointless mayhem. And why do these zombies come across as unintentionally funny in such a key sequence? The way, they gather around Ravi and start behaving like meme-artists playing kabaddi, is purely the stuff of a zombie spoof comedy.
  • But beyond all that, Mirudhan is more to do with Adrenalin bursts. And they come by in regular intervals. Despite the lingering amateurish feel about the actors playing the victims, the experience of seeing such uninhibited madness on-screen does pay off.  But only, occasionally. If only, the director had thought of more engaging sub-conflicts and resolutions to keep us engaged on an emotional level, we could have had a nail-biting thriller. If only!