Cast: Suriya, Nayanthara, Pranitha, Premji, Parthiban
Direction: Venkat Prabhu
Rating: **1/2 stars
Masss aka Massu Engira Masilamani drives up to an intersection where one sign says “horror” and another, “entertainment,” and firmly decides on the latter while paying just a passing reference to the former. Directed by Venkat Prabhu and with Suriya playing the morally deficient lead, the film has engaging values and pleasing choreography, but those victories come at a major price.
Masss (Suriya) and his buddy, Premji who dubs himself as ‘Jet’ kick off the movie in style with their believable impersonation. They impersonate various situations and at places where they can steal money and get away with their ‘heist.’ Masss was born into acute poverty and he lusts for money. He’d do anything to gain a bundle of notes, and along with Jet, they steal a whole chunk of cash and are just returning home in a stolen vehicle when a fatal accident leaves Jet dead and Masss just about alive and recovering a week later in the hospital.
Spooky things begin to happen at this juncture. Masss, through powers that are inexplicable, can see and interact with Jet’s spirit. The spirit looks exactly the same as he was the moment before his death. And what more, Masss could now see a number of other spirits and interact with them as well – some of whom are directly related to his timeline, and others are there to seek some peace and restitution via Masss. By now, the movie has moved into the territory of mass entertainer, and is laced with some elements of comedy and maybe a tinge of horror. A little earlier, a love interest of Masss, Malini (Nayanthara) is introduced. And a little later, Suriya dons another role and appears as a spirit that looks suspiciously like an older version of Masss. This new spirit manipulates Masss to take revenge of a few individuals. And Masss is their only voice to the outside world. After much fist fights, anger tantrums, self-absorbed behavior, and comedy nights with Jet, a few questions still linger: does he regain his moral compass? Will he ever acquire any peace and a sense of identity from his restlessness? And who is this older spirit who looks like the original Masss 1.0 (and whose point of reference is that of a ‘Sri Lankan Tamil’)? Although these questions become very quickly apparent once the movie stars, such minor episodes of suspense and comedy are what makes this flick watchable.
Masss suffers from a mismatch of elements and a misleading course it had taken. The former involves the flamboyance of Suriya, but in a very 2-dimensional character and with a plot that is thin and is found wanting in taste and depth. The latter goes back to the path not trodden: choosing entertainment while wanting to have both, horror and comedy. The end result is that it excels in none. Yet, Suriya still shines and has a very lively presence. Premji as his sidekick is hit and miss: hilarious in parts, especially during his spirit form. The ladies in this movie Nayan and Pranitha have hardly been given any presence at all. They are there to serve the purpose of ‘love interest’ and emotional satisfaction of their male companions. Parthiban as a corrupt and comedy policeman appeals in a limited scope. And couple of other incomplete parts (such as the Sri Lankan Tamil element) conspires to take away the weight in Masss and strip any apparent virtues that it may have had.
Visuals are nice due to some excellent camerawork by RD Rajashekar, choreography and a couple of stunt sequences. Yuvan’s background score warrants mention. The CGI is a bit of a downer as the spirits disappear with a gold speckle that feels like a jewellery advertisement. Overall, Masss is certainly watchable, but a lingering feeling doesn’t seem to go away: what’s with this revenge and reckoning?...