Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Ithaca Fantastik ’16: Miruthan

How about a zombie movie for all the New Yorkers staggering around dazed and confused? We can make it a Tamil one, for extra added un-Trump-ness. Ooty is about to be over-run by the shuffling hordes and they’re not staying put in Shakti Soundar Rajan’s Miruthan (trailer here), which screens during the 2016 Ithaca Fantastik film festival.

Karthik could have been a super cop, but since he is the sole support of his beloved kid sister Vidhya, he transferred to traffic to stay safe. Yet, somehow he managed to show-up the local political boss, while falling hard for his doctor daughter, Renuka. As a form of ill-timed payment, the pol’s followers kidnap Vidhya, just as the zombie apocalypse hits.

This makes things a little awkward when Renuka asked for assistance getting to the Indian CDC in Coimbatore. However, Karthik agrees once Vidhya is safely rescued. Actually, “safe” really isn’t the right word in the context of a zombie uprising.

There is no getting around the broad, schticky humor of the first half hour. Let’s just say Karthik has a portly, incompetent partner and man oh man, can he ever mug. However, when the film settles down the run-and-shoot zombie business, it gets pretty good. These are definitely fast zombies and they are decidedly fierce. They also have a cat-like aversion to water, which gives rise to a cool scene with a fire hose.

Jayam Ravi and Lakshmi Menon have decent star-crossed chemistry as Karthik and Renuka. Anikha Surendran is also rather poised as young Vidhya. However, Kaali Venkat and Sriman wage a pitched battle to see who can be the more annoying goofball, Karthik’s partner Malai or the mall rent-a-cop they pick up along the way.

So, have they called Michigan or Wisconsin yet? Miruthan might be the kind of brainless, brain-eating entertainment New Yorkers could use about now. Still, it pales in comparison to Train to Busan, the new gold standard for zombie cinema. Recommended as some meathead fun, Miruthan screens this Saturday (11/12), as part of this year’s Ithaca Fantastik.