My Thoughts On ‘Mersal’, The Film That Questioned GST And The BJP

Posted by Vijay Srinivas in Culture-Vulture
October 29, 2017

Amidst all the unrest and sloganeering, I somehow managed to watch “Mersal” – the controversial movie of the Tamil superstar Vijay.

To be very frank, the film would not have attained this attention if it were not for Tamil Nadu BJP leaders Tamilisai Soudarajan and H. Raja commenting on it.

The film deals with exposing unethical medical practices in the country. It opens with Vijay doing push ups followed by his Vanakkam in traditional Tamil attire, with his hands cuffed amidst the crowd. The film also shows Vijay and MGR together in a frame, indirectly trying to portray Vijay’s political interests.

He plays three different roles in the move. In the first half he plays Dr Maran (or ‘five rupees doctor’, as he is fondly called). He treats his patients for just ₹5. His next role is that of a magician, Vetri. The Paris magic show shown in the film is a sequence that is a visual treat to his fans. However, it is the flashback scenes that grip the audience the most.

It seems like the fans have promoted Vijay from Ilayathalapathy (Sub-Commander) to Thalapathy (Commander) in Mersal. The audience could not stop cheering when they could see their thalaiva (leader) lash out at politicians for giving freebies.

In his third role, with holy ash on his forehead, he drops the idea of building a temple in order to build a hospital, even though his character was a Hindu. I really wonder what was communal about this sequence. The film deals with scams in private hospitals and showcases the lack of healthcare facilities in government hospitals.

Vijay delivers a lengthy dialogue in one of his scenes, where he claims that India is not able to provide proper healthcare despite 28%  GST , while Singapore is able to do with just 7%. He also spoke about no taxation on liquor and this lengthy dialogue in particular, has certainly made the BJP upset.

In another scene, comedian Vadivelu shows his empty pocket to burglars in Paris and says he doesn’t have money as he comes up from a digitised India. This shows that perhaps, the filmmaker Atlee is a keen follower of memes on social media. There’s no doubt that “Mersal” questioned the BJP enough.

‘Mersal’ is a usual commercial film that adds some political masala to it. However, it now seems to spill the beans that maybe Vijay would take the political plunge in subsequent years.

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