On surface level, Mugamoodi (Mask), from the acclaimed director Myskkin, sure poses as a bland name for a superhero movie.
Anand (a) Lee (Jiiva) the man, who would adorn the coveted mask in the movie, is a loafer to his father’s eyes & the world which consists of his eye candy girl. But according to him, he is a dreamer who wants to make it big in the world by doing something that would require his complete soul to be involved & not just 9~5 of his time. Ironically his only defense against the society is his love for Kung Fu. When his Master, who he reveres, abstains him from showcasing his talents, all he could do is wear a scarf around his face and break the knuckles of his unworthy opponents. These righteous acts lead him to Gaurav (Nasser) a police officer, one among the many perplex characters in the film. On his trial for safecrackers, Gaurav fills the screen with seriousness and it does feels right when people fear him. Yet, the veteran, who is addressed as a commissioner at times, still has to answers a bunch of younger officers who seem to have more authority than him. The antagonist who is the head of safecracker’s team has an odd characterization as well. He breaks into houses with allegedly hi-tech gadgetry, wearing a mask, only to unmask it in front of his victims, as though it is his real face that they should fear. But the strangest of them all is the Kung Fu master Chandru (Selvaah). He does fit well for a man with an untold past, but whenever he is asked to take the mantle of a Kung Fu master, it feels as though that is his fake identity – one that keeps him functioning in this world.
From these characters and the other unlikely ones (especially Anand’s grandfather scientist), one could sense a pattern of sorts emerge from the way they behave. It is as though when Myskkin wanted to make a super-hero flick, his dystopian characters (the ones that we associate him with in his earlier ventures) decided to wear a mask and fill in for the requisite roles of a super-hero flick. This could well be the real purpose of naming the movie as ‘Mugamoodi’, the mask that Myskkin’s world wears to enter the super-hero world; the point being so extensively explained in the song 'vaayamoodi summa iruda'. As Anand's friends start to sing the song which would advise about his dazed state of mind after love at first sight, Myskkin just lets his hero jump into Swiss alps, ripping away from his roots and make it into a mere romantic number. Unfortunately, though he stands in a picturisque location, his heart still thinks and talks in a way only people in his world do.
For a super-hero movie to stay in our mind, it needs that extra special writing, which Myskkin somehow managed in the first half by borrowing elements from his Hollywood counterparts. Albeit being able to accustom to the 'what if Myskkin's brand of characters were set in a super-hero plot', as the movie moved-on from the build-up phase and stepped into serious 'super-hero' action, I couldn’t stand the travesty. From being an inspired effort, the film became a spoof of the American heroes; especially at the fag-end of the tale where we are confused whether to laugh or shout with anger over the happenings on the screen. Looking back, the warning which Anand’s friends gave him during the 'vaayamoodi summa iruda' song, could actually be for Myskkin, who intentionally deviated from his roots, then on, into a field he couldn’t penetrate.