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Mugamoodi is touted as Tamil cinema’s first superhero movie. Tamil audiences have long been enthralled by the Spiderman, Batman and Superman franchises. Yet no filmmaker has attempted to carve his own niche with superheroes. That being said, we still did portray everyday heroes. There were individuals who embraced bravery in times of great sorrow. From Sathya to Nayakan, Kandasamy to Anniyan, Shivaji to Velayudham - heroes were born every year. Some wore masks and some were nocturnal, some were dons and some were peasants. But they all fought for justice, stood by the poor and restored peace.

Tracing back, making a movie on the scale of Mugamoodi was almost impossible a decade ago. Not only did Tamil cinema lack the technological prowess of the west, we could not afford the graphics and were novice in our stunts. When Neo in Matrix redefined action sequences, our heroes were jumping from rooftops rather awkwardly. But Chiti in Endhiran changed all that for Tamil cinema. Not only were the graphics astounding, the science fiction genre had finally found its standing. (Endhiran had Thalaivar who was super hero enough.)

 What makes Mugamoodi different from the earlier attempts is that it takes itself rather seriously. Therefore, we don’t expect a masked man saving the city just by sashaying his cape.  Tamil audiences have grown up from accepting a mole on the cheek as disguise enough. Mugamoodi has a suit, a mask, a director with a Midas touch and a hero eager to dare the ride. Not only is the superhero enough fodder for the multiplex audiences, we are always wistful for one man armies that save us from the wrath of the sinister antagonists.

What also works for Mugamoodi is that it steers clear of certain bumps. Mysskin is a director who promises to be different and his work is proof for this tall claim. The antagonist does not try to exploit the poor just so the hero can deliver some punch lines while jumping off buildings. The sister does not get brutally assaulted to stir the beast in the brother. The movie banks on veteran actors for crucial plot points and they have delivered.

Despite its merits, Mugamoodi does fall prey to a certain stereotypes. We have had enough fathers who abuse their sons. They are oblivious to their son’s strengths and drive them up the wall with their caustic remarks. The friend of the hero always has die to instigate him to don the mask. Why does the villain attempt to speak in drawls to get his point across?  A crisper narrative from Narain would have worked wonders. And why oh why is there a need for the couple to have a romantic interlude set in the Alps? Is it a prerequisite aimed at emptying the producer’s bank balance than finding relevance in the script? When directors are anxious to break their backs for stunts and costumes, why not spend a few more minutes to get a better diction from the heroine? Why are they treated as mere eye candy? Finally why does Mysskin cling to yellow?

Despite all this Mugamoodi works. Jiiva as a hero is probably in the best curve of his career graph. Not only does he not shy away from multistarrers but has a variety of projects with varied storylines in his kitty. He made us sit up and take notice of him in Ko and Nanban further accentuated him. With Mugamoodi he is attempting a route that no other hero has dared to go. Mysskin believes in quality cinema and that is a treat for the viewers. His reputation precedes him and we expect a tall order. Mugamoodi crosses the finish line in style but a better storyline would have made it legendary. Nevertheless, let the mask rule the city and the box office.

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