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Merry Christmas Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Friday, January 12, 2024 • Kannada ]
Merry Christmas Review
Matchbox Pictures, Tips Industries
Katrina Kaif, Makkal Selvan Vijay Sethupathi, Tinnu Raaj Anand, Sanjay Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Pratima Kannan, Radhika Apte, Ashwini Kalsekar
Sriram Raghavan
Ramesh Taurani, Sanjay Routray, Jaya Taurani and Kewal Garg

Merry Christmas Review - Vijay Sethupathi and Katrina Kaif jingle all the way in Sriram Raghavan's delightful dark comedy

'Merry Christmas' marks Vijay Sethupathi's first film as the leading man in Hindi cinema opposite Katrina Kaif. This casting coup has been pulled off by the 'Andhadhun' maker Sriram Raghavan raising the bar a few notches higher.  With so much going for it, has the film delivered on its promise? You bet and some more!.

The film is set on Christmas eve in a time period before 1995 and Albert (Vijay Sethupathi) returns from Dubai after seven years to his house in Bombay.  His mother has passed away and feeling quite lonely he ventures out to have dinner at a pub.  At the restroom there a man asks Albert to pass on the message to a mother with a little daughter (Katrina Kaif) that he had to leave urgently.   Albert after giving the message is drawn towards the woman and soon he starts stalking her and follows her into a movie theater.  There he strikes a friendship with her and later is walking her home.  The woman Maria invites him to her home and offers him a drink.  Later after the mute child is asleep she asks him to take her for a walk and shares to him that her husband is womanizer and is with his paramour leaving her and her child alone on Christmas.  When the duo return back to her house they both are shocked to find Maria's husband dead with a gun in his hand in an apparent suicide.  What follows this is a gripping screenplay of several twists and turns that project each of the protagonists as a villain and finally reaches an astounding climax.

A dapper looking Vijay Sethupathi seems to be reborn as the charming Albert who not only finds his way into Maria's heart but also the audiences.  The Makkal Selvan is a treat to watch as various shades of his character emerge from time to time through his impeccable facial expressions and body language.  His silent acting in the tense climax is the crowning moment of his brilliant characterization.  Katrina Kaif has delivered her career best performance as Maria whose sad eyes express the hideous monster that may lurk inside waiting to burst out.  And finally when it does erupt you are treated to a joyful display of liberated villainy of the cuteness overloaded kind that you can't have enough of.  Kavin Jay Babu as Ronnie in the Tamil version brings the house down with his hilarious portrayal of a wimpy womanizer.  Radhika Sarathkumar and Shanmugharajan excel as the cops who are handling the case with cruel precision in doing injustice to the unjust.  Radhika Apte, S. Gayathrie and 

What works best in 'Merry Christmas' is a lot right from setting up the mood of Christmas eve to peeling off the layers in both the characterizations and the screenplay at a slow but engrossing pace.  The romance between the shady lead characters is devilishly charming.  Sriram Raghavan sets the tone right at the beginning on a split screen showing two mixies grinding, one filled strangely with tablets and the other containing a ring amidst the chillies.  The meaning of both becomes clear only at the very end when all the dots are connected.  The humour quotient is pretty high making the proceedings all the more delectable.  

On the downside the method used to commit the crime and doctor the crime scene seems a little far fetched. The pacing could be a problem to the "Instagram reels ingesting" generation of viewers.  There are few wow factors that fans of  'Andhadhun' would expect.  The Thiagarajan Kumaraja inspired "forest animal stories" have lost their novelty and seem out of place in this sophisticated setting.

Daniel B. George, with loads of enthralling visuals to play with has provided a lilting X'mas based background score that lingers on the mind.  Pritam's songs are also mellifluous, accentuating the lead characters. Madhu Neelakandan's choice lighting and subtle camera moments creates an air pregnant with tension throughout the film.  Pen Media and UFO Filmz have jointly produced the film based on the French novel 'Le Monte-Charge' by Frédéric Dard.  Sriram Raghavan has masterfully adapted the novel into a gripping screenplay laced with a generous sprinkling of humour with climax shining as the icing on the cake.  The result is a breezy film that demands attention that is all offbeat and entertaining at the same time.

Verdict : Go for this gripping and entertaining dark comedy with brilliant performances from Vijay Sethupathi and Katrina. 

Rating: 4 / 5.0

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