Shankar’s films have always been known for extravagance and visuals. To some of Shankar’s films may be in your face and loud, but for those who are familiar with his work, it is known that they are up for a magical ride of three hours. Shankar and Rajamouli are two of the last showmen in the Indian film Industry. I feel that the last showman in Bollywood was Mukul Anand.Continue reading “2.0 Movie Review: Shankar’s Sci-fi Extravaganza”
There are 2 Gautam Menons (GVM from hereon) all movie viewers are familiar with. The first is an auteur, with full control of his craft. Each and every frame in his film looks like it’s been meticulously planned out, every line crackles with a chemistry one wishes to experience in reality, and there is a certain pleasure to be derived from watching the plot unfold at its own pace, and to be stunned into silence by a plot twist, or to gasp in awe and how a certain plot thread plays out. And then there is the another GVM, who in his zeal to try something out of his comfort zone, mixes things up and creates something that’s neither here or there, in a manner of speaking. The question one comes across before watching Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada (AYM from here on), which of these GVMs was at the helm?Continue reading “Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada Movie Review: A Mish of Mashes”
Language : Tamil | Running Time : 176 Minutes | Director : Gautham Vasudev Menon
A Gautham Vasudev Menon film. It isn’t a phrase that makes me go gaga but I look forward for this man’s films. I look forward because there is almost no other filmmaker who caters to the urban middle class youth like he does with his self portrait of a hero who remains courteous to women, walks beside them with his hands in his pocket, shuffles like a 17 year old crushing on the hottest girl in school when he finds the love of his life, has the sentimental attachment to a scooter his dad used and takes his kid on it, be this man of honor and sensibility that makes you smile and feel like it might be a reflection of you. But more importantly, I look forward to his portrayal of the heroine.Continue reading “Yennai Arindhaal (2015) Movie Review: Well, The Same Old Menon World”
The defining moment of every celluloid love story is the stretch where the lead couple meet. Or so they say.
But watch out; if its an Indian movie featuring a star with a huge fan following among the masses, the tropes and templates are pretty much simple. No breaking the head for scriptwriters here. The following are fitted in using various permutations and combinations.
1. The dashing lady develops a liking for the loafer with a golden heart, while he is busy stalking her on the street and passing lewd comments about her to his friends.
2. She ogles over his manliness and decides her partner for life while he is giving her some life-lessons on how it is so ‘un-girly‘ to have brains of her own.
3. She falls head over heals in love with his raw energy while he instructs her on the supposed ‘divinity’ of womanhood, only to romance her wearing a (decent!) bikini the next sequence.
4. She gets to look pretty and coy while letting the coffee mug slip when the guy’s fingers touches hers, in an expression of utmost femininity.
5. She is humiliated repeatedly (physically and mentally) until she realizes that the lead man is indeed her savior (of life and chastity), and she is a ‘nothing’ without him
I have a few issues with Yennai Arindhaal. It is close to three hours long and the second act drags a bit. It resembles Vettaiyadu Vilayaadu to some extent in the first half. The BGM is too loud. Okay, now that we have gotten this out of the way, let us settle down and come to the enjoyable parts.Continue reading “Yennai Arindhaal Movie Review: Sathya Dev Jayate”
A young filmmaker way back in the early nineties had the gall to tell the story of a seemingly grey-shaded protagonist who accuses the top government official of the state after looting crores of government money, for his debut film. As if he thought that it was way too much for the audience then to handle, he decided to masquerade it amid-st the rollicking fun of ‘Chikku Bukku’, Gounder’s crude antics, beautifully choreographed yet overtly long action sequences and sadly a cliched heroine’s sister character. The film which was made at a budget of more than five crores for the first time in the South raked in 22 crores at the box-office and shot the young director to instant limelight.
And thus started the journey of a maker who chose to think ‘large’ (read ‘expensive’) and brand ‘Shankar’ was born. We loved him for what he seemed to be best at – narrating a compelling (though at times flimsy) conflict in the commercial space, while making mainstream cinema seem a lot richer and grandiose than it used to be. He proved this without doubt quite recently in his dream project with the Superstar, when he didn’t sacrifice his story-telling even for satisfying Rajni’s mass appeal, in the process giving us a sincere film that still managed to send the fans into raptures.
Today after seeing his two and half-year old year old mammoth project ‘I’, I had a nagging doubt if Enthiran was only an exception. Had Shankar unknowingly or knowingly reversed his formula yet again? With I, Shankar seems to have taken extraordinary pains to make the final product on-screen look technically astounding, aesthetically stunning, ornament-ally rich and visually exquisite, but has he narrated a compelling conflict in an engaging way? The answer to that would be a more emphatic ‘NO‘ and a less resounding ‘Partly’.
Nevertheless, I have to admit that Shankar is indeed a magician, if not any thing else. It takes a special set of skills and lots of guts to even attempt to visualize and pan out a ‘beaten to death’ linear story of such monotony (believe me when I say that I’s script actually qualifies for a brilliant ten minute short film) into a seeming complex maze of convolutions and grandeur, that we, at times, actually give in to the audiovisual sorcery that is being played on us. Given the discernible illusion of brilliance that Shankar nonchalantly brings to screen, our visual signals to the brain on many occasions trick us into forgetting that the film is dangerously pretentious and shallow. But not for long. Soon reason takes over, and we start questioning the tiresome length and painful predictability. With the film lagging with reference to the key ingredient of good cinema, the I experience turns out to be less wholesome than expected, with visual stupefaction and narrative disappointment constantly at loggerheads.
This is not to say that the writing (by Shankar and Suba) is downright uniformly bad or soul-less. I has its moments of cheer, vibrant energy and some really heart-wrenching poignancy that are lifted by the acting performances, but they are very few and far apart. The treatment falters big time, in the way things pan out in a totally expected manner, with no sight of the thrill factor in a purported romantic thriller. The dialogues at many instances are uninspiring, and fall flat, no way measuring up to the gravity of the situation.The antagonists are all weak unlike earlier Shankar ventures, and they mostly come across as a bunch of jokers.
Another issue with I is the way Shankar seems to go on and on with sequences that literally don’t seem to have any say on the proceedings. And its appalling to see a man of Shankar’s caliber resorting to demean a character by her looks and the consequent stereotyping that happens is all in bad taste (for the reason that she seemingly looks like a transgender). The film’s last forty minutes didn’t work for me totally, and was more a mockery of agonising human suffering. It’s highly unbecoming of the writers to deal with life disasters like fatal disease and burns with such insensitivity, in whatever justified circumstances they are depicted in.
To put things in the right perspective, if at all you decide to see I, it’s for two people who have worked their asses off (for lost causes?) and probably given their career best. No prizes for guessing that they are Vikram and PC. Sreeram. Vikram to me, is more of a hard worker and non-quitter than a naturally gifted actor, and he proves it yet again with tons of conviction in I. The grueling torture that he has willingly submitted his body and psyche to, for slipping naturally into the multiple looks catches us literally gaping and dumbfounded. The more you see his inhumane efforts, the more you doubt the ability of this screenplay to tap it to the maximum potential.
Nevertheless this man, Kenny, gives every scene his two hundred percent and makes the film his own to the extent that if you remove him from the equation, it seems like the film (for whatever its worthy of) is non-existent. Here he takes up the quintessential ‘revenge drama’ script and makes it at-least watchable with his drool-worthy body, electrifying screen presence and stylish charm. As the ghastly kyphotic victim, he comes across more than convincing, managing to communicate with his sharp eyes even with at that heavy prosthetic make-up. But how much of all these can save an average script?! Amy Jackson looks a million dollars and slips into the skimpiest of costumes without seeming lewd or inappropriate. Surprisingly she emotes well too, utilizing her meaty role to the fullest. Suresh Gopi has been wasted in an insignificant role.
PC. Sreeram deserves a handful of awards for redefining ‘cinematic elegance’ and setting a benchmark in cinematography in I. Be it the action sequences or the magnificently shot songs, he essentially makes the film what it is. The ‘Ladio’ and ‘Aila’ tracks scream of world-class visuals, keeping our eyes glued to the screen, as we involuntarily forget to blink. The VFX by Weta Workshop in the ‘Mersalayitten’ number is top-notch and the pristine beauty of China in the ‘Pookale’ track is a sight to behold. Art director Muthuraj deserves special mention for creatively designing the beast’s abode in the ‘Unnodu’ song. Despite the fact that I is more about painstakingly conceived and splendidly executed songs, its also true that their abundance make a coherent narrative totally impossible. A.R. Rahman scores well with his vivacious numbers and a highly relevant background score. The costume design, stunt choreography and makeup are all bloody brilliant, making it probably the strongest technical film to come out in a long time,
Shankar with I proves that he is more of a visual sculptor than any kind of story-teller. His weakest script till date, is made occasionally engaging and watchable by Vikram’s sincerity and PC’s insanely lovely frames. I walked out of the theater with this thought eating my mind, “Didn’t Vikram deserve better?”
Gautham Vasudev Menon is now back, trying to recreate past glory with Yennai Arindhaal (If you know me). This is his third cop film (after Kaakha Kaakha (2003) and Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu and his first film with Ajith. The film has Anushka Shetty and Trisha Krishnan playing the female leads and Arun Vijay plays the antagonist. Parvathy Nair, Vivek and Thalaivasal Vijay are also in the film. Shridhar Raghavan and Thiagarajan Kumararaja (director of Aaranya Kaandam) have written the film along with Gautham Menon. Produced by A.M.Rathnam and S.Aishwarya, Yennai Arindhaal has music by Harris Jayaraj while Dan McArthur from Australia is the DOP and Anthony is the editor.Continue reading “Yennai Arindhaal: Official Trailer”
Karthik G.Krish who had apprenticed under filmmaker Shankar in Enthiran (2010) now makes his debut with the Tamil comedy film, Kappal (Ship). Produced by I Studios Entertainment, the film is being presented by Shankar, which makes the film quite an exciting prospect for the trade. Kappal features Vaibhav Reddy in the lead and introduces Sonam Bajwa as the heroine. The rest of the star cast includes VTV Ganesh, Karunakaran, Arjunan etc. The music is by Natarajan Sankaran while Dinesh Krishnan is the DOP and Anthony is the editor. Continue reading “Kappal: Trailer”
A National holiday or festival is the ideal occasion for a big ticket film release. A potential blockbuster with a leading star who can draw in the crowds and make it work, irrespective of how good or bad the film would be, is more than often deemed to be that perfect festival or national holiday release. Over the years, such star vehicles or films have become an indispensable part of the lives of the movie goers.Continue reading “Ten Reasons Why You Should Skip ‘Anjaan’”