Missing the appetite

hunger games

I’m not a targeted viewer for the Hunger Games movie. Yet I decided to watch it on the opening weekend and it was as expected, not very interesting. Having read a couple of similar game-of-death books and even watched a very comparable movie back in the day, to me, hunger games is a missed opportunity. It is very obvious that the producers decided to reduce a violent hungry movie into a PG 13 to laugh their way to the bank and it seems like ‘the odds are ever in their favor’. In that process they killed the possibility to make it into a spine-chilling thriller.

Here is how the screenwriter’s palette looked like – a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, an emotional family sub-plot, worker class revolution, gothic political rulers, game-of-death, a forest where every inch is monitored through video cameras and ofcouse designed-on-demand AutoCAD wild animals. The movie’s payback does not match the build-up to it. Mel Gibson would have aced through a story like this, just like how he managed to pull-off an apocalypto.

I was actually bought into the movie during the first 20 minutes and then as they delayed and delayed the start of the game, it seemed to me like they were going in for a kill but what do I know, just read the first line of the post again.

Delusions Galore!

mayakkam enna dhanush selvaraghavan

Mayakkam enna was a wasted effort, devoid of substance and class. It didn’t engage me as a viewer, didn’t bother to develop its rather cardboard characters and never stopped to pretend that it was a raw but class movie. All this I never wanted to say about a Selvaraghavan film but I do now. Given that I’m a huge fan of Selva’s films, I wanted to enjoy Mayakkam Enna and was already sold on the film although with just normal expectations.

The whole dating, fraaandship piece was artificial and the friends didn’t seem to belong together at all. Without dwelling scene-by-scene on why I was irritated, I guess the story wasn’t rich, its characters very superfluous without much of character, the very pretentious music that tends to cover up the nagging screenplay and of course some really bad acting. The so called ‘genius’ angst was badly expressed and its lead character gets a handful of accents that it confuses the heck out of a viewer.

The plot shifts rather swiftly from what it was trying to detail to a completely different dimension. Although it’s not uncommon for a selva film, this jump cut was crazy. How much ever one wanted to submit to the director’s thinking, he doesn’t support the shift with good reasons. If the ‘irumbu manushi’ issue was the point of the premise then the first half was totally wasted and if it was the ‘genius’ angst of the antagonist that formed the crux of the premise then the whole movie never wrapped around it clearly.

Simply put, its a movie to avoid even if you are Selvarghavan fan. I wish this is the last time I get to write such a review for a Selvaraghavan film.

Related Posts: Nasty Dynasty, Why I like/dislike Selvaraghavan?

you attract me towards you!

The leading scene to the song Mannippaaya is probably the only contribution of Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya to Tamil Cinema. And a very good one. It isn’t different but a very clichéd one. The way it was passionately shot made all the difference. With such a well rendered song from Rahman and Shreya, Gautam had only one choice, to build it up very well. The whole song was ecstatically sung and a major part of the song was picturized in the same way. Especially when Simbhu sings animatedly when driving a bike, been there done that.

The Alleppey night, the boat, the lyrics, the love struck Simbhu and Trisha, the choreography and even the graphically falling star all support Mannippaaya’s heat. One would wish if the whole song never moved from that place. As the song divulges into other dreamy sequences and montages, it looses the passion of the night where it starts. Nevertheless it was the only scene I loved in the film. And ofcourse, some parts of Aaromale.

Gautam sticking to Simbhu’s point of view and not showing an extra scene of Trisha when Simbhu not being present is good screen-writing but his biggest problem are the dialogues. He should probably take help from someone else or stop repeating the, “I want to make love to you” lines. Seems super artificial when squeezed into real-life situations.

P.S: The Thirukural harmony in Mannippaaya sounded unrefined.

Nasty Dynasty

aayirathil orvan selvaraghavan

First, a pedestal for Selvaraghavan’s Aayirathil Oruvan just like the one put up here for Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Fantasy genre is a very special one. Just like Harry Potter lineup, if you don’t get into the movie, your brain starts questioning how Harry Potter didn’t hit on the brick wall when trying to walk through a pillar in the train station. Not all of us are hardwired for such instant leap of faith. Cutting down such crap with which reviews usually begin and starts to bore us with such psychological theories that the reviewer referred to before writing the review, Aayirathil Oruvan is a kickass film that should be enjoyed in a full screen without uttering a single word to the next seater. All you might know, he might have already taken the leap of faith and immersed in the movie and you are just thinking, how the hell can lightning strike on karthi while being blessed.

In any case, AO has stupendous writing, great pace, wonderful camera, immaculate art and costumes and ofcourse an apt finish to the neat start. The movie hasnt been pulled off just by the different landscape or thoughtful subtexts in screenplay but by the actors who have made us believe that the movie could be a true story.

And yes, the critics say that it has tinges of Gladiator and every other historical fantasy they have seen so far. Sure. For that matter, King Kong had big influences from Titanic and Jurassic Park. It was still considered as a herculean effort. And Selvaraghavan needs to be lauded for pulling it off with limited resources.

Above all that the movie kept me glued to the screen throughout the length of the movie. It was paisa vasool and I felt I should have paid a few more bucks for entertaining me thoroughly. Not a single movie after Virumandi had me tied up so badly. If you are crazy enough, you would love Aayirathil Oruvan. I pity the ones who hated it. You just missed an interesting piece of Tamil Cinema for who knows how long you would have to wait for another movie as gripping as this. SORRY!

Naan 'Boring' Kadavul

Naan Kadavul didn’t strike a chord in me. It was a typical Bala movie aimed at making wet hankies over a hyped and pointless story. The whole concept of Aham Brahmasmi was wrongly used and preached. The only saving grace was the clandestine black humor in Jeyamohan’s dialogues and the amazing ‘acting’ of the ‘real’ mendicants.

Aarya was terribly artificial. Ajith would have been a worst choice. It’s time Bala starts making real movies instead of hashing out the same sethu-type characters and Pithamahan type storylines.

Just like Sethu, Subramaniyapuram and ParuthiVeeran where the directors bagged on capitalizing the viewer by making him cry, Naan Kadavul uses the beggar underworld. The beggar world is certainly a revelation and this subplot could have impacted millions had it been made into a full fledged movie or even a documentary.

And if you think I’m wrong for the first time, I’m not. I’ve committed this mistake of starting a bala flame war earlier, although unintentionally. Head here for more.

Ten Questions ?

dasavathaaram kamalhassan

Was it good?
Actually, It was better than good. It wasn’t just right there but this is probably what could be done, given the frantic screenplay.

Story?
Watch it, to believe it.

Screenplay?
Neat effort. Could have been better given that most of us have watched non-linear screenplays like Crash and Babel, firsthand from Hollywood. Nevertheless, a cool effort. Sujatha’s dramatic touches at various places.

Music?
uuuvey !!

Peformance?
Thoda 🙂 It’s a Kamalhassan film.

Favorite Performance ?

In the order of favorites- The CBI officer(amazing slang), Mottai Paati, Annaachi, Fletcher and so on until Avtaar Singh.

Dialogues ?
Brilliant at times, Egotripping at times. Could find traces of Sujatha and Crazy Mohan. I’m sure they have their contribution all over the place.

Worst ?
Kamal’s make-up fetish.

Best ?
Kamal playing the paati’s role with atmost ease, Poovaraagan’s Thirunelveli slang, Fletcher’s perfect American slang, screenplay and overall execution.

Anything else ?
Don’t decide about the movie right after watching it. Sleep over it. With a complex, sometimes confusing and not-to-so-logically exciting screenplay, to make a decision immediately wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

What the heck, let me say it, I liked it !!

Borudi Nee Mohini

yaaradi_nee_mohini.jpg

Just like Santhosh Subramaniam, I haven’t seen the original Telugu version. But I couldn’t believe that Selvaraghavan can get so damn boring with his screenplays.

The first half of YNM literally begs for a good screenplay writer. It just drags and drags and starts to sleep midway. The second half of this family-romance is where they teach audience the proven effective ways of kaalai kadan.

The trio, Dhanush, Karthik Kumar and Nayan are boring thanks to their bad characterization and pathetic dialogues. Udit Narayan’s rendering of Yengeyo Paartha Nyabhagam and Nenjai Kasakki is sprinkled with bad Tamil pronunciation, though the songs are very tuneful.

The only good thing about the movie is that is starts very naturally and ends in a similar fashion. Everything in-between is a huge heap of mess. Tamil Cinema still awaits a realistic portrayal of a software engineer’s life.

Pollathavan

pollathavan.jpg

Original script wins. Pollathavan too. Except for a bad unrelated title(just to get some more rajinikanth fans to watch it) and some teeny weeny issues in screenplay, Pollathavan is one of the best scripts of the year. Like Gilli, it had a simple so-called-knot and no big missions to complete. Hence the screenplay moves seamlessly. Hats off to Vetrimaran(whoever he is), the director of this film.

The movie makes me believe that first-person narration is the most easy way to grip audience. Kakka Kakka proved it for the first time. And even more, Vetri Maran plays with two first person narratives in this flick. The narration juggles between protagonist and the villain, again seamlessly, in a interesting fashion. Loved every bit of it.

Unassuming cast, actual shooting spots (no sets), down-to-earth slang in dialogues, a well made climax stunt(after a long long time in tamil cinema) are the biggest strengths. Dhanush does a cake-walk. Except for some cliched expressions, Dhanush does a Kathal Konden again.

One of the best films of this year, don’t afford to miss it. Good luck to Vetrimaran !!

Perfumaniac

perfume_movie.jpg

Perfume is passionately made, vividly colorful, sinfully sensuous but slightly slow and terribly long. An authentic book-to-screen story, directed by Tom Tykwer(Run Lola Run) and originally written as a hugely popular novel[Das Parfum] by Patrick Suskind.

It talks about a French orphan boy with a superhuman sense for smell. As he grows, he meets a perfume maker, displays his sense of smell talent, learns the art of perfume making but unfortunately turns into a schizophrenic. The ending has to be seen to be enjoyed.

The whole movie is crowded with amazing frame compositions, great cinematography and lovely BGMs. But what’s more attractive is the acute talent of the director to bring the sense of smell into the movie and still make the audience relate to it.

Ben Wishaw as Genouille, the passionate perfume maker is every man’s dream of following ones passion. Passionate enough to even turn into a solid schizo. As he runs behind the chariot in the final scenes, with a handful of “special” perfumes, one would understand his perfume passion. A career high role for Ben and he has done an amazing job of making the best of it.

Dustin Hoffman does a cameo as the perfume master. I wish someone else played the role. It didn’t fit him too well.

Even as the movie starts with the story ending, you know that it isn’t going to be the actual one. After a long wait of 2 hours and 15 minutes, the final scenes arrive and they are totally unbelievable, conceived and captured on camera extremely well. The whole movie rests in that final sequence and you can clearly see, a normal psycho movie turning into a beautiful one right at that moment. Good Experience.