Friday, February 22, 2008

Movie review - Anjathe

What would you call a movie that is 25% a love story, 15% a family melodrama, 20% a psycho thriller and 40% a movie about friendship? "Anjathe"? Is the director talking about his frame of mind while making the movie? Once when I visited a hotel, there was this waiter who told suggested a dish and said "Paravailla bhayapdama sapdunga... onnum aagadhu". I avoided that suggested dish with a vengeance everytime I visited that place. Maybe the director was like that waiter... warning me.. "Paravailla Bhayapdama Paarunga". I should have avoided this movie with a vengeance too.

What is pitiful is that Anjathe, has a decent story. that is something out of the ordinary fare. (Some people liken it to Mystic river... I fail to get the connection). But what screws that story completely is inept directing, some partisan acting and a script which rambles like a lunatic on speed. There is no one controling the script... there are ever so many scenes that make you sit up and scream.. "What exactly is the director trying to do ?". (if you think the scene at the hospital where the killers come in one by one to get beaten up is nice.. i have no words for you). The script jumps in a single frame from a movie about friendhsip gone wrong to a serial kidnapper/killer story, and suddenly switches back to being a love story only to go on to being a family drama. Throw in a few psycho characters and you have got "Anjathe".

It is not only that coherance is lacking, but presentation is half assed too. The main actors go through their routines like school kids. Naren can emote to an extent, but his friend is just a stone in all the scenes ecxept one where he laments and makes us laugh. Vijayalakshmi, as the sister / love interest fails to impress. She was good in Chennai 600028 but then she never had to utter a word in the entire movie.

The director also resorts to some cheap thrills like never showing the face of one of the villains (purportedly that kind of movie making falls under the 'slick' category). Using the handicapped person the way he was too was too cheap a gimmick. Why does he have to wave his stump like a flag everytime he talks? And please someone tell me who chose that wig for Prasanna !!! His wig would have made even Asha Parekh or Sharmila Tagore flinch. Prasanna cannot be a convincing villain. He could probably go back to playing the chocolate sweet hero in Prakash Raj movies. His mannerisms and his choice of get-up alone was proof enough that he is not a versatile actor. A sham. Naren is better, but his frog eyes might not make him the most handsome guy around. But at least he is not pretentious. I wonder how his hair never messes even during fight sequences.

The movie has also been shot on a nylon shoe lace budget. Perhaps the only movie to shoot the dream love sequence, in the same kind of set the villains have their hide-out. Most of the actors are either new faces or struggling ones, and there are no big budget fight sequences. Just scuffles on the road, and in a sugarcane field. The climax even though has been shot differently was long drawn out and slightly pretentious. On the whole, this is a very confused movie, which cannot be classified into any particular bucket... excepting maybe the "do not watch" bucket.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Movie Review - Jodha Akbar

Are you a Tamilian, who did not take the time off to learn Urdu properly ? Are you a Tamilian.. whose last Hindi movie had people in blonde wigs and bell bottoms fighting each other, and the movie ended with the police rushing in in that smoke grey jeep ? Chances are that you might not like Jodha Akbar.

For the others, I feel this is a very good Hindi movie, replete with a hero, who has just seen Pirivom Sandhippom, Thangachi sentiment, Thambi Sentiment, Amma Sentiment, Periamma sentiment, a few one on one fights and the obligatory sex song. What seems even more obligatory is Amitabh's voice at the begining and the end of the movie.

And for Hritik Roshan... or Rithik Saar as we thamizh brethen like to call him... not enough words of praise. The fight sequence with the elephant alone is worth the DVD buy. Ofcourse the elephant foot and the trunk are prosthetics, but the long shots of the fight was worth the money. I have not seen anything like that so far in any kind of cinema.

Initially, the underlying tensions and politics in a harem run by the periamma of 'Jalal' (Akbar), is what kept me interested in the movie The biggest disappointment in the movie, was that those tensions and character generation, just whithers away like any common Indian movie in the second half. What I mean is that even though complicated characters are developed, the way each problem is addressed and resolved has been seen in any one of 3000 other movies. For example, the 'soozhchi' of the periamma, and the way it is unravelled is just too hackeneyed. None of the other sequences barring the elephant fight seem to have anything 'new' in it.

The tension between Jodha and Akbar, the purported highlight of the movie, too seems trivial. I feel he chases her only because she does not offer sex. If you are going to dismiss this as a 'Freudian oversimplification'... just get the hell out of my blog. But frankly, imagine this... There is this young guy, who wants only one thing... to rule 'Hindoostan'. He marries a girl... and wonder of wonders she refuses to put out for him. What is he going to do ? Run after the girl trying to 'earn the love' ? Or does he just go ahead and try capturing more territories from Rana Pratap and Sher Shah Suri? What was he doing anyway trying to please her... reducing travel tax on "Theerth yatr"?

Frankly, AG's Akbar seems to be far too sensitive and understanding to be an uneducated emperor who fought more wars than both his illustrious ancestors combined. All those dialogues about 'secular society', and a unified hindustan spoken by Akbar just increases the feeling of incredulity. Finally, if you encounter any Rajput who thinks that the movie is slander on their community, shoot them down. Rajputs are presented in better light than the Muslims in the movie.

And this movie is far too long... more than 3 hours. Infact, I spent quite a lot of time playing games on my cell phone.. especially when the Periamma and the step brother of Akbar conspire and conspire to conspire. THis movie is a definte watch, if not for the action, atleast for the music which, as usual is exemplary. But the over reaction by Akbar at the end of 'Khwaja'... is definitely not warranted though.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Movie Review - Indralogathil na Alagappa

The last decade of my life, I would have probably watched 300 - 400 a year. During this time, I always keep tabs on the worst movies I have watched each year. Last year, it was Veerasamy, and the year before that was Perarasu. And frankly, each year, the worst movie is usually decided in the latter half of the year. But I Na Al takes that dubious distinction even in the first week of February. I am sure this would be the worst movie of this year... maybe this decade. It would take T Rajendar, Rob Schneider and Sam Anderson here to make a worse movie. I am sure it is not going to happen this year.

Vadivelu, seems to be too high on himself. I wonder what he is taking, but his perceived self worth seems to be skyrocketing. Statements like..."Naan kuduthathaidaan Ketkiten..... adhil enna thapu irukkiradhu ? And sila maanidar kadanai vaangikondu sandoshamaga irundhuvittu, thiruppi kudukka thuppu illamal tharkolai segiraar. adharku naana kaaranam?" seem tobe targeted only at Vadivelu's personal life.

This movie is definitely not like "Imsai arasan". IA had topical humour, great political commentary and a half decent storyline. The storyline in I Na AL seems to be straight out of a skinimax movie. Most characters seem to be outlined only to satisfy our perverse senses. Be it the female leads or the various characters donned by Vadivelu, the humour borders on the distasteful, and the theme on the idiotic. The director has gone out of his way to impress you with seemingly interesting stuff, and dishes out a Vittalacharya plot coated with Jayamalini like dances and some really cheap computer graphics. He tries to increase interest by infusing a moral dilemma about death, but it is worse than a kindergarten picture book. Plus, he gives Vadivelu a chance to show his emotive powers.. at the end of the movie, and we get a cheap imitation of Thiruvarutchelvar.

This movie is a sure avoid.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Movie Review - Thangam

A eulogy to a great comedian

I think Goundamani is to comedy what Sachin is to cricket. Gounds has cured me from fevers, heart attacks and gastro problems. Sachin usually does only fevers but he is good too. Coming back to Gounds, I was excited just to think that he was going to make a comeback... with Sathyaraaj... (after the forgettable Manmadhan sequence) in Suyetchi M.L.A... I do not know what happened to the project, but I could not even find clippings on the net. Then news came in that they were pairing again in Thangam. Scenes from Pangali, Maaman Magal and Nadigan.... came to mind. Gounds saying "Paper Roast Sapdunga.. Liver ku romba Nalladhu"... Gounds in front of Meena's house in Maaman Magal... I could go on. But, 'Thangam' pales... infact is 'extremely' anaemic... when compared to all those earlier great moments in world cinema.

Think about this. Vadivelu has now become the king of 'udhaar'. Vivek thinks he is a new age NSK... with all those idiotic messages. Ada Paavigala!!! and speaking like M.R. Radha. Gounds cut his own path. Most people remember Gounds for all those 'Thenga Thalaya' and 'Manga Mandaya' dialogues. Those are the kind people I carefully avoid. They are shallow, peripherial and self centred people. They do not enjoy Gounds saying 'take the tonty faiow'... or "I three love you" to My deeyar Dia. They only see him kicking Sendhil in the butt and equate it to physical humour. Those people are boring. They cannot udnerstand nakkal. What is the use of talking to such people?

Nakkal. Gounds revived the age old art of Nakkal in thamizh cinema. The one and only king of Nakkal... who with just a sentence... like "Seri edu po" to the "Kosu"... Oma kuchi Narasimhan in Sooriyan could keep us in splits for almost 30 seconds. Someone who could nonchalantly say.. "Idhellam sarithrathla ezhuduvanga... Pasanga laam notes eduthupanga..." when he was just being invited for questioning in Sooriyan. The sheer thenavattu of our thalaivar which was projected strongly in each of his roles, has never been replicated by any other comedian so far. I am not sure whether anyone else willl in the future either.

Coming back to "Thangam", what can I say ? I only went to watch Gounds. he disappoints. He takes a few punches at Simbhu.. for his Kaalai and Rajini's Chandramukhi, and makes one half decent joke. He calls an ara mandayan (who was stealing river sand) ... and says enna da thalay kooda vaara mudiyadhu.. nee Mannu vaaraporiya ?? PODA. He takes pot shots at Vijay and Ajith too which are too idiotic to mention here. He tries to remix some of his old jokes, and he references the stupid vazhaipazha joke in one sequence. All these point to only one thing. Our dear Gounds has lost confidence in himself.

I only hope, Gounds gets his confidence back, and comes up with a stellar role in his next movie. I will not give up hope on him.