An elderly Chinese man enters Indian embassy in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), stares into the security camera, takes out an inhaler for few deep breaths and then freezes in place; When a security guard approaches and wakes him up, the old man beats the hell out of him and all the other guards, ransacks the whole place before falling down dead. As the scene ends we are shown a close-up of a “love” symbol tattoo behind his neck. Expecting a thriller we come to the edge of our seats not knowing this will be the only scene where we will be there.

The response to the attack from Indian government turns out to be a routine meeting in RAW agency headquarters headed by Malik (Nassar) where an intern Aayushi (Nithya Menon) suggests the agency hands over the case to a suspended agent Akhilan (Vikram). He is best suited for it as he has in the past handled the case of international peddler “Love” who could be the one indicated by the tattoo. What’s puzzling for everyone in the room is that Love is long dead, killed by Akhilan in an attack after which Akhilan’s wife Meera (Nayantara) was murdered. I couldn’t help but being reminded of Kamal Haasan‘s Vikram (1986),  Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu (2006)  and countless other super-cop movies. That pretty much sums Iru Mugan (2016).

The antagonist “Love” as seen in the movie stills is also played by Vikram who has brought out wide variations between his two roles, changing from his body language to dialogue delivery, excellent performance from him as “Love”. Though both the female leads Nayantara and Nithya Menon are portrayed as RAW agents they play purely cosmetic role leaving all the action and fighting to their male counterpart. It’s unfortunate Director Anand Shankar has stuck to a patriarchal narration.

The song “Halena” is a peppy one from Harris Jayaraj,  a danceable tune that keeps ringing in your ear long after it ends.  The foreign locations are shown well by Cinematographer R. D. Rajasekhar. I liked the scene where Karunakaran plays cool when he asks Thambi Ramaiah and Malaysian police why you came breaking glass windows even before asking me to open the door – it was a careless dialogue delivery that was memorable.  Thambi Ramaiah and Karunakaran were supposed to be providing comedy relief, instead the entire Malaysian Police department is shown playing the role. The Director should have handled this better considering the story has nothing specific to Malaysia other than being the location of the crime.

Lastly to Directors everywhere, please stop showing of Air Condition air ducts being used to access heavily guarded rooms – it’s highly impractical and overused in films.

I kept trying hard to like Iru Mugan but I got no support from the screenplay.


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