In one way, Iru Mugan is a reminder of Vikram’s Anniyan, but not an afterthought. The ‘something-that-happens-in-your-brain’ graphics, two versions of Vikram, and the presence of music director Harris Jayaraj might bolster the idea. What’s interesting is, how allegiances change here; if Anniyan was purely Shankar’s area of wiping out the corrupt, Iru Mugan is laid out on a larger scale, where, much like the country-in-danger movies manufactured by America, the RAW agents in New Delhi (All Tamilians, mind it) are out to catch hold of the culprit in Malaysia (Also Tamil) who endorses terrorism in the country.
Director Anand Shankar scraped off some interesting scientific data, interlocked it with history and then put them both in a glittery box, shook it well, and out came Iru Mugan. Let’s first tick off the cliché checklist-
1. Talented RAW agent with a harrowing past who isn’t an agent anymore
2. His arch-rival is back in action, so he has to make his comeback
3. A sneak-peek into his past (read derailed by songs)
However, the first half has its interesting elements too. To start with, the bit on science involving Hitler’s reign and the drug called ‘Speed’. It’s indeed a relief that not too much time is wasted on comic sidetracks and the film rolls out the action plan immediately and carries it through.
The anti-thesis of contemporary villain characters, Love, makes his entry right before the second half, adding a nice twist to the story which hikes expectations for the second half.
The second half though dismantles it all, takes sides with predictability, throws in too many technical jargons and packs in a series of events that lead to the expected final showdown dissolving the punch altogether.
While it’s a relief that Nithya Menen isn’t just a tag-along, but has more voice, it’s quite a loss that neither she nor Nayanthara got to break a few limbs. Nayanthara makes for a stylish stiletto stomping ear-cuff wearing hacker/data analyst and Vikram proves that looking good is an attitude.
The best part although is, Love. While his identity is still a question that the director leaves blank, he behaves more like a cross-dressing homosexual who has more to do in terms of brain-work than the hero. While Akilan Vinod (Vikram, the RAW agent) chooses to strike out more with muscles, Love (Vikram, the villain) is pure theater. There’s a certain amount of exaggeration that was required for this character which Vikram executes in style. Love is probably the only character that remained unpredictable; one cannot be sure whether he’ll remain sinister or buck down at the end. The expletive that RAW agent Vikram belts out at Love when the latter makes a proposal wasn’t so becoming, considering the applause that the scene was banking on at the cost of boosting homophobia.
There’s always the going overboard part about the sci-fi genre, and we see plenty of that here as well. Inching towards the end a whole load of dramatic is sprinkled over the events that lay scattered with little connection. Going back to that comparison with Anniyan, what lacked in Iru Mugan is an absolute failure to touch base with any emotion—neither the love, nor the villainy. The overpowering tech-talk brings on a robotic end to the grand finale, where winning over the evil doesn’t seem to be a game won without the testimony.
While sharper edits would have helped trimming the chaos, Iru Mugan would remain every bit the larger-than-life Vikram film that it started out to be. And if two of his faces couldn’t help with that, then what really can!
Onmanorama Rating: 2.5/5