The four-films old Karthik Subbaraj is one of the most promising young Indian filmmakers. He was recently in the news for the announcement of his fifth film, with none other than Superstar Rajinikanth.
In each film, Karthik has tried different genres and with the upcoming Mercury, he has taken his most audacious step yet. Emulating what Kamal Haasan did (with Pesum Padam / Pushpak in 1987), Karthik has made a silent film in the horror-thriller genre (with a possible zombie angle). The film will fittingly release on Friday the 13th, in April.
Mercury’s cast comprises Prabhu Deva, Indhuja (Meyaadha Maan) and Sananth Reddy (Demonte Colony). We all know about dancing sensation Prabhu Deva’s unique comedy sense. Here in Mercury, he has to emote through his eyes and body language; one can be confident that Karthik would have extracted a different dimension from this ‘bubblegum body’ (borrowing a catchy term from Prabhu’s recent superhit song ‘Guleba’). Indhuja created a big impact in the enjoyable Meyaadha Maan, enacting the boisterous sister’s role. Her dialogue delivery and earthy looks endeared her to the Tamil masses. Her frightened expressions in the Mercury teaser are chilling.
Coming to Mercury’s plot, the teaser hints that the film is set in a haunted hilly town where mercury poisoning led to the death of 84 people in the year 1992. It looks like a group of youngsters, who are out on an adventurous vacation, are trapped in this town. For any thriller to work, the atmospherics and the setting have to be spot on. With ace technicians like DoP Tirru and composer Santhosh Narayanan on board, Karthik has able hands to hold on to. The vertical panning shot which then takes us through a key-shaped tombstone (also seen in the film’s title logo), to introduce five characters to us, is brilliant. Santhosh Narayanan again shows his liking for the whistle sounds; the rhythmic hook that he sets for the teaser is quite addictive. The sound design and sound mixing teams have a major part in a film such as this. With a self-assured person like Karthik at the helm, Mercury is in safe hands.
And finally, “a no language film which will release in all languages” is quite a killer line to sell a silent film. Kudos to whoever that came up with this. Mercury promises a lot!