Nov 24, 2007

Movie Review: Azhagiya Tamizh Magan – Good concept; well spoilt !

Before getting into the theatre to watch the recent Vijay Starrer ATM, it would be better if you could get two aspirins for urself. Headache is the only feeling you would take back home once you get out of the hall. Debutante director Bharathan had some of the best technicians in the industry to work with him, a renowned producer and the rising superstar of the Tamil industry, and yet he could deliver only a below mediocre product. The concept- Extra Sensory Perception(ESP) is still not tried by many in the industry; but the flimsy screenplay tampers it big time. Its sad to realize that this concept cannot be made use of in a better way in another tamil movie atleast for a couple of years as it would lead to comparisons.

Guru(Vijay) is a MBA student with a special power to foresee the future(why is it that the power here for him is only to foresee bad incidents?) and a
psychologist diagnoses it as ESP. One fine day, he meets his lady love Abhinaya aka Abhi(Shreya), and wins both her and her dads heart in the most illogical way ever. However, when Guru comes to realize through his gifted power that he is responsible for Abhis death, he leaves the city and reaches Mumbai. He meets his look alike there on the streets of Mumbai and immediately ends up in an accident. The torture begins now as the second Vijay makes his entry. The look alike; Prasad is an exact replica; the hair style and even the stuble is no different! It would have been a little convincing if those were made to look the same as the movie progressed. We reach the interval at this point and its time to take one of your aspirins. Prasad is a bank employee cum fraud cum womanizer cum man with a sad past. He impersonates as Guru, thanks to Abhi, and creates havoc in Gurus love life. The rest of the movie is how Guru proves his identity and wins everyone back. Get prepared to have your second aspirin now as you are going to experience the worst ever climax scene in the history of Indian cinema.Phew!

Vijay as Guru is at his usual, but as Prasad, he gets on our nerves with his histrionics and over the top performance; but the villain here has all the punch dialogues and the comic one-liners. His performance as the bad guy is highly unconvincing and unimpressive. He looks completely exhausted and uninterested throughout the movie; probably he knew what went wrong midway. Shreya looks as if she came right from the sets of Sivaji, especially in her intro scene and in the Valayapatti song. But she has a meaty role (underperformed) and is present throughout the movie; something rare in a Vijay movie. The rest of the entire cast is wasted in their inconsequential roles. Namitha comes as a special appearance just to pull in some perverts and it is nothing but cruelty when she is compared to Merlyn Monroe and Jennifer Lopez in a song !!!

Music by A.R.Rahman is just average and the fate of the movie is definitely going to let the music down in the charts. The graphics department (god knows who all) had no idea of what they were doing. One could see better double role graphics in the movies of 80’s and 90’s where in they use to cut and paste both the frames. It’s the direction, screenplay and dialogues that are responsible for this dismal state of the movie, all the departments single handedly taken care by Bharathan. It should have been the story alone(S.K.Jeeva) that might have made Vijay, Appachan (the poor producer) and A.R.Rahman to accept this project. The screenplay is filled with flaws and loop holes.The ESP concept is not effectively utilised and is shown only in the first half. Guess with Gurus accident in Mumbai, his power to foresee is lost; but the screenplay doesn’t show any traces of how he acquires this power too.

It is very obvious that this movie was made in haste, taking into consideration the aweful graphics, the abrupt ending and the replacement of ARR with Sabesh-Murali for the BGM’s(which btw is nothing but the instrument version of the movies’ songs). Probably, they wanted it to release it well before its actual dates to avoid competition from the Ajith starrer Billa which is scheduled to hit the screens very soon. Or it could be the craving of Vijay and Bharathan to simply have their movie released during the festival season. Bad Extra Sensory Perception Guys !!!

Nov 13, 2007

Movie Review : Chocolate - Strictly for youngsters.

History repeats. Last year, if Prithviraj had Classmates, this year he has got Chocolate. Though the success of the Classmates belonged to lot of aspects like the script, songs, cast etc,; Chocolate owes its success only because of his presence. Director Shafi, who had a successful track record with his movies is back again with his brand of film making – comedy.

The movie has a very thin story and is very predictable. Our hero here is no good guy
. He drinks, fights and has a track record of 7 police cases and 9 suspensions from his college. Worried about his future, his mom succeeds in getting an admission for him in a womans college, where she is a lecturer, so that she could have a constant watch on him. Motivated by his group of friends headed by a middle aged loud mouth, he joins the college. Equally notorious is our heroine and her gang who is a part of that college and who is against guys entering their campus. They are hell bent on making our hero’s life miserable right from the day he joins, and the first half of the movie is all about this. In the second half, love blossoms, obviously between the once arch rivals. But their love is not revealed to each other due to their egos but relax, you know what is going to happen in the end. The climax is however very unique and once the movie ends, its all smiles again.

Prithviraj,as the spoiled brat suites the character to the T. He simply rocks in the movie. Be it comedy, emotional or the fight scenes, he does it with such confidence. The entire movie rests on his shoulders and there is absolutely no one in the industry today to perform the role this way. Roma, who plays opposite Prithviraj has also done a commendable job when compared to her previous dismal, ‘July 4’. What Joshiey couldn’t do, Shafi did - make Roma emote! The movie also has stars like Jayasurya, Samrutha, Ramya, Salim Kumar, Shaari, Rajan P Dev, Lalu Alex, Bindu Panicker and each of them does their part perfectly. Salim Kumar is simply brilliant as the matured friend of the hero. He has the best one- liners in the movie although his tone and dialogue delivery is now getting monotonous and equally predictable.

The songs of the movie should have been taken care as it’s a complete youth entertainer. The script and dialogues, by debutante Sachi-Sethu is good. Check out those one-liners by Shaari; though delivered on a serious tone, it would make you smile for sure. However, some of the dialogues in the movie are vulgar and double standard which probably only the young crowd could digest. Also, in the second half, there is a misunderstanding plot between the lead characters which only adds to the length of the movie. But guess what, right from Shafi’s debut, ‘One Man Show’, his movies revolved only around misunderstandings in the second half and so such a plot was predicted.

The screenplay has its own share of flaws too. The script doesn’t show us as to when cupid struck Samrutha. Also, towards the end, why does Samrutha have to panic so much to find Prithviraj? Theres always a mobile phone for emergency, and also the hotel in which he stayed would have definitely had a phone. There are a few messages in the movie too, but they are completely overshadowed by the comedy elements.

Totally, the movie, minus the double standard dialogues, the flaws and the dragging second half manages to make the audience split with laughter in parts. This attempt of Shafi is definitely not for the old hearted. But if you had a terrific college life, some of the scenes would make you atleast nostalgic. And also watch the flick for Prithviraj, the next superstar in the Malayalam film industry !!!

Nov 11, 2007

My View :Om Shanti Om-"DARD - hEi - MUJKKO"

The first time Farah Khan held the megaphone for Main Hoon Na, she had made a statement to defend her films quality. Two years later when she came up with Om Shanti Om, she still has the same words – a tribute to the movies made in the 70’s. How long is Ms.Khan going to penalize the audience with such an excuse for not having better scripts? A similar tribute (70’s movies) was released a few months back; Sriram Raghavans’ Johnny Gaddar and what a movie that was! I know I should not expect a quality movie from such a camp; but this kind of film making is absurd and is a bad example of entertainment. OSO is strictly for people who have nothing better to do in life and this should have been included as a statutory warning during their extravagant marketing campaign. The movie is a blockbuster, no doubt, but deserves only to be an average grosser.

The movie is completely based on two words- Reincarnation and Revenge; and of course a couple of spoofs about the film industry thrown in here and there. The lighter moments in the movie, of course, makes us smile. But there are certain scenes , for example the moments where Shah Rukh appears as the South Indian Super star and a Superhero, which looks awkward and equally boring. Not revealing the ‘story’ here; its what we all had guessed before the release of the movie. The first half is good and refreshing, but the second half except for the star studded song disappoints and draaaaaags.

Shah Rukh (as both Om’s) looks charming and it is very obvious that the film was originated keeping only him in mind. He does his best and the role is a cake walk for him. Infact, poor fella can not do anything more than this in the name of acting. However, anyone would still love him in his old avatar without the packs and would wish him to come back with his normal body and also most importantly with his face (he looks as if he has got a lot of dimples on his face). Deepika (as Shanti and Sandhya) has all the potentials to emerge as the next star in bollywood; all those kareenas and eshas, make way for this gorgeous as well as talented lady. But she is under utilized and could have had more scenes in the second half. Shreyas Talpade (as Pappu) is sweet , but again a gifted actor like him has very little to do. It is Arjun Rampal ( Mukesh aka Mike) in the negative shades who deserves all the accolades; a surprisingly good performance. Kiron Kher as the over the top mother is also good. Special appearances from Akshay and Abhishek evoke laughter.

The movie complement the songs and the hyped star studded and six packed song is completely forced in the movie, an attempt just to pull in the crowds. Nevertheless, the star studded song was a treat to watch especially when Kajol appears on screen with Shah Rukh; but what was Aftab, Dino,Tusshar and Arbaaz doing in such a song. The sets by Sabu Cyril deserve a mention. The creative attempts especially when the credits roll in the beginning and the end would also leave an impression. The dialogues are just ok and some of them comes repeated more than thrice which gets onto your nerves. The movie lacks continuity too; Shah Rukhs hair is long and short in continuous cenes. Also the song “Main Agar Kahoon” was obviously filmed after he had developed the six packs but the song appears in the first half and the pack avatar of Shah Rukh comes only in the second half.

If it was Sivaji, this year, in the south for the over hype and no substance, it is OSO in the north. The movie would please the hard core fans of Shah Rukh as he is present in almost all the frames. It would also please the junta who are looking for an excuse in the form of an entertainment. Dvd’s of Ms.Khans so called 70’s inspired movies and a recent filmfare award function would entertain me in a much better way.

Nov 9, 2007

Current Favs (Oct 16 - Nov 5)

4 new entries this fortnight, A.R.Rahman’s Azhagiya Tamizh Magan, which has the usual Rahmanish ‘hate to love’ formula, Rameswaram which is still a surprise for me with the kind of melodies in almost all the songs, and Dus Kahaaniyaan which has an impressive title track and the most awaited SEL’s Taare Zameen Par, a very unique album. Yet, no Malayalam entries, waiting for the release of Vidyasagars Rock n Roll.

1 Daras bina from Saawariya (Hindi)
2 Nee marlyn monroe from Azhagiya Tamizh Magan (Tamil)
3 Mere dholna from Bhool Bhulaiyaa (Hindi)
4 Maa from Tare Zameen Par(Hindi)
5 Alaigalin oli from Rameswaram (Tamil)
6 Dus from Dus Kahaaniyaan (Hindi)
7 Jab bhi-female version from No Smoking (Hindi)
8 Move your body-Phatt Mix from Johnny Ghaddar (Hindi)
9 Tum se hi from Jab We Met (Hindi)
10 Laaga chunari mein daag from Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (Hindi)

Nov 8, 2007

When did....???

Grown up- A fully developed person from maturity onward. Atleast that’s the meaning, I found in the dictionary. It’s something everybody would have their own opinion on, but I don’t think there is a proper definition to this. Some say they had become grown ups at an early stage in their life because of their responsibilities and blah bhah and some like me, regardless of the age and the wrinkles, say they are 18 till they die. When asked, most of the male species come up with their age while the female species ask a question back with a displeasing smile” Don’t u think it is inappropriate to ask a girl her age?” Please note that the usage ‘girl’ itself is misleading. But nowadays, even the guys have adopted a safety step. Like their female counterparts, even they retaliate - “ How much do you think I look?” and their answer on the age would be based on that. But we all have to admit the fact that, this fear of growing old creeps into every human mind year after year.

So when would have been our first realization about our growing up? During our school days, we used to crib a lot about our teachers and exams and wished to be like our fathers -going to work, earning money and spending it on what we like. Situations don’t change in the later part of our life too, teachers take the form of bosses and the exams become our appraisals. And as we grow up, we end up spending lesser and lesser each day with a justification that the economy is down, prices have shot up and the standard of living has increased. Little did we know during then, that age is going to let you down physically and emotionally once you know that you are growing up. Like all the other guys, I first realized it during my high school and since everything was new, I was too excited to be a part of the growing up band. I had no clue about the consequences of growing up then. At a later stage, I had to speak to my parents about something special, and I knew there would be a lot of hiccups, but the only thing that ran to my mind was “So what, I am a grown up now and I shouldn’t be afraid to express whats in my mind.”. Slowly, responsibilities stood in front of me too with open arms and I had no other way than to put them on my shoulders and walk forward. Well, I guess I never grew up till I realized what I need to do in life. Parallel to this whole growing up syndrome, we even tend to look mature and old. However, in my case, till about a year back, people kept asking me the college I was in or the post graduation course I am doing, which made me feel a lot happier. I used to get elevated with joy seeing a weird expression after I tell them that I am working. “So what if I am growing up, people still think that I am young.”—I gradually became a narcissist spending too much of my time in front of the mirror.

But every good thing needs to have an end. Things changed all of a sudden (I donno y and how)and the kids in the neighbourhood now call me ‘uncle’. The word ‘uncle’ hit my ego so badly on the very first day itself and they still do it inspite of repeatedly reminding them to call me ‘anna’(which btw means brother). Each time they do it, it gets onto my nerves --“Uncle, could you get us that ball? Uncle, could you park your bike here? Uncle….?Uncle…?Uncle…”.Aaargh, I hate kids when they don’t listen. All I asked them was to call me with a simpler word which would make me happy. But who am I kidding? Of course, I am getting old each day and gone are the days when nature used to help me hide my age. Guess what, I avoid attending marriages these days just because I hate answering, “When’s yours?” and then I keep mumbling, “Why do they keep asking this to me and when exactly did I grow so old to get married?”.

This is what happens when my mind wanders and often I don’t get satisfied with the answers I arrive at. Well, its not a big deal if I am growing old. Atleast I am younger to my bro and a lot younger to my dad. To quote a dialogue from the FRIENDS series, “Thirty is not that old an age. Do you know how old the earth is?” We all would have wished for more birthdays in our childhood before blowing the candles on the cake; probably if I had wished less, I wouldn’t have grownup so fast !!!