‘Thalapathy’ Vijay’s Mersal is about ‘malpractices’ in Medical Sector

Vijay’s latest movie, “Mersal,” directed by Atlee, is breaking several box office records. The film has collected a whopping 157 Cr in its first five days. This includes 78.3 Cr from Tamil Nadu and 53 Cr from Overseas alone. “Mersal” addresses malpractices and greed in the medical sector. However, controversy surrounds the movie due to its reference to GST in one of the scenes. The local unit of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party demanded the removal of dialogues related to GST and Digital India, which has increased the film’s popularity around the globe.

Tamil Nadu BJP leaders Tamilisai Soundarajan and H Raja have taken offense to some scenes in Vijay’s latest movie, “Mersal.” Tamilisai Soundarrajan accused Vijay of spreading false information because he wants to enter politics. In one of the scenes, Vijay’s character compares India to Singapore, discussing the tax rates and medical coverage in the two countries.

Politicians and Mersal

The anti-Modi or anti-BJP sentiment is notably strong in South India, particularly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The support that “Mersal” and Vijay are receiving is not a one-time occurrence; it has been consistent since the last election. Even in Kerala, where films critical of the LEFT used to face severe criticism, “Mersal” is receiving significant support from the LEFT. The movie is being utilized by politicians against the BJP. For instance, the Malayalam film “TP 51 Vettu,” based on the notorious murder of Revolutionary Marxist party leader T P Chandrasekharan, is struggling to secure a proper release and has been allowed in only six government-owned theaters. Another example is “Left Right Left.”

“Mersal” addresses malpractices and greed in the medical sector. However, the actual message or topic discussed in the film is often overshadowed by politicians from both sides.

While the dialogue about GST in the film may not be entirely factual, it conveys several noteworthy points. Personally, I’m not impressed with the GST dialogue, but it does have a powerful impact on screen.

This is not a new trend for Vijay, as his recent movies have delved into various societal issues. One of the most powerful instances was in “Kaththi,” directed by AR Murugadoss. It’s worth noting that Vijay’s next film after “Mersal” is with AR Murugadoss.


Political Blunders and Religious Controversy in Mersal Debate

The entire issue and support do not revolve solely around GST. TN BJP Leader H Raja’s tweet against Mersal, where he mentioned ‘Joseph Vijay’ instead of the commonly used ‘Vijay,’ shifted the focus. This altered the discussion unnecessarily by introducing a ‘religious’ aspect, a move that historically hasn’t worked in Tamil Nadu or Kerala. Vijay, with a massive fan following in these states, has never concealed his identity, as evident in H Raja’s tweet featuring Vijay’s letterhead. H Raja’s actions have significantly harmed BJP’s standing in Tamil Nadu.

Bringing an actor or director’s religion into a movie debate is not a new phenomenon. Unlike the art-friendly 1950s/60s, the current era is more sensitive, with media often amplifying religious tensions. The release of Lijo Jose’s Angamaly Diaries in Kerala witnessed a BJP-friendly channel and a pro-left channel reporter engaging in similar tactics. While not denying the existence of films with propaganda, these instances do not fit that category.

Addressing Propaganda in Films and Impact in South India

Dr. Girdhar J. Gyani highlights that 5.2 million medical errors occur in India annually. Propaganda films aim to convince audiences of specific political points, influencing opinions or behavior. Hollywood has produced numerous propaganda films, some impactful and others misleading. Many significant films have wielded considerable influence due to their propaganda nature.

In South India, actors often use films as a medium to communicate with their fan base. MGR and Rajinikanth conveyed messages through films, followed by Vijay, Ajith, and others. While some instances may be perceived as marketing gimmicks for entertainment, few films, like S. Shankar’s, repeatedly convey messages against ‘capitation,’ ‘corruption,’ and ‘bribery.’

Now, the actual message or topic discussed in Mersal is overshadowed by political controversies from both sides. Despite this, the director and actor deserve appreciation for tackling such a strong and relevant topic for discussion.

Medical Sector

As mentioned earlier, “Mersal” addresses malpractices and greed in the medical sector. This topic, while common among ordinary people, is rarely explored in movies. S.P. Jananathan’s “E” stands out as an excellent film in that regard, offering a compelling exploration of the subject. Another notable film with a similar theme is KV Anand’s “Maattraan.” “Mersal” adds to this list, contributing to the cinematic portrayal of issues within the medical sector.

Dr Girdhar J. Gyani, Director General, Association of Healthcare Providers (India), during his interview with ETHealthworld about the issues and challenges that exist in the current Indian healthcare system, said “5.2 million medical errors are happening in India annually”

-> A News: More than 100 children have died at a public hospital in northern India amid allegations that the oxygen supply was cut over unpaid bills. Authorities continue to deny the charge.
-> Third case of child birth outside govt hospital reported – News
-> Neonatal deaths: NHRC issues notice to Maharashtra govt
-> In another incident: 10-month baby dies in UP after mother fails to pay Rs 20 bribe for injection
-> 8 newborns die in less than 24 hours in Assam govt hospital
-> The Supreme Court has stayed National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s order bringing free medical services provided by government hospitals within the ambit of Consumer Protection Act to make doctors and hospital liable to pay compensation for any kind of negligence.

I wonder why neither the BJP nor the opposition parties, nor the fans supporting Mersal, are discussing the fundamental point of the movie—the central theme that the entire film revolves around. It’s intriguing to note that the focus from both political factions remains solely on one or two lines of dialogue from the movie. Despite the political controversy, Mersal has gained substantial popularity, reaching a broader audience and effectively conveying its messages about the issues within the medical sector to viewers.

DYFI protesting against BJP over Mersal issue

The growth of Vijay from Ilayathalapathy to Thalapathy

The support for Vijay and Mersal is tremendous, coming from fans, actors, Congress, DMK, and more. National media has extensively covered discussions favoring the film and the actor. Opposition parties have seized ‘the issue’ as a weapon against Prime Minister Modi and the BJP. Interestingly, these developments have only heightened Vijay’s popularity, with the film gaining more support each time it faces opposition. Such events are likely to significantly benefit Vijay in his upcoming movies and potentially in his political career, should he pursue one.

Coincidentally, Vijay’s poster and a popular mass song are featured in the latest Bollywood release, Golmaal, starring Ajay Devgn. The film was released just a couple of days after Mersal. This serves as a testament to Vijay’s superstar status, making a significant impact across different film industries.

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About the Author

PS Arjun
Cinephile. Learning the art of filmmaking. Writer. Filmmaker.

1 Comment on "‘Thalapathy’ Vijay’s Mersal is about ‘malpractices’ in Medical Sector"

  1. never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man,Keep it up.

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