Monday, June 20, 2011

Avan Ivan review: "Brilliant performances but sloppy storyline!!!"

In the last few years, the Tamil film industry has been carving a niche for itself in terms of meaningful, hard hitting realistic movies. There has never been a dearth of performers in their industry with audience lapping up the daredevilry of their demi-gods. However, with time the audience has showed signs of being responsive to more meaningful cinema which led to the rise of a new set of directors & technicians. Prominent among them being  director Bala, who is said to have revolutionised Tamil industry with his brand of films like "Sethu",  "Pithamagan" etc. So naturally there has been a lot of anticipation & expectations surrounding his latest release "Avan Ivan". The question now is whether he will be able to maintain his lofty standards...


Bala's movies has always dealt with the most obscure of characters that one would come across in society. Here too, the trend isnt different as he has created two half brothers, as different as chalk & cheese. The story happens in the landscape of Theni, where these two siblings hails from a family notorious for being thieves. The two siblings are always at loggerheads & trying to outdo the other with encouragement from their foul mouthed mothers. Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal) is the squint eyed who detests robbery along with being absolute crap at it but harbours the dream of becoming an actor. His half brother, Kumbudren Samy (Arya) though is street smart & humorous, with a panache for the family trade. Inspite of their lineage, they were the dear ones of the zamindar (G.M Kumar) popularly referred to as the Highness by the community for his support & concern for the people. The film basically tracks the relationship between these three characters & what all events unfolds in the two hours.

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The USP of Bala's movies has always been its strong storyline backed up with some brilliant characters. However, the same couldnt be told in this, as the biggest bane here is the lack of a credible storyline. The movies basically lingers around for the whole time with hardly any events happening except for one right at the very end which culminates in a very predictable but stunning climax. There are however a few positives as well with the main point being the protagonists having well etched characters giving them ample scope for performance. As opposed to previous ventures, Bala has chosen to tackle the comedy genre & has been successful to a extent also. Coming to other technical aspects, the visuals by Arthur Wilson were awesome backed up with some equally proficient editing by Suresh. Another major plus point has been the impressive BGM by Yuvan Shankar Raja which was completely in contrast to what he has created until now. 

It's common knowledge that Vikram, Surya & Arya all came into prominence after their performances in Bala's films. This time around, the dice fell upon Vishal & he has given a killer performance. Its his best performance to date with all likelihood of getting an award as well. Arya, though not given as much scope as Vishal has been more than capable to meet shoulder to shoulder with him. G.M Kumar also deserves praise for his performance. As for the remaining cast, the female leads had poorly etched characters & didnt impart much to the story.

Verdict: Bala's track record & the star power of Vishal- Arya will ensure an outstanding initial for the movie, which will go a long way in making it a hit. However, the lack of a credible story might deny it to have a sustained run. In short, its Bala's weakest movie to date with a very sloppy story, however there are some brilliant performances due to which I feel you guys should give it a try!!!

Regards...Ben



Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rathinirvedham review: "Focusses more on titillation than subject!!!"

"Old is Gold" is one of the most oft used proverb especially in the film industry. This proverb seems to have attained a status of being colloquial in the past few years, with the industry being flooded with sequels, prequels & remakes.  Invariably, this trend creates a great deal of responsibility & pressure on the shoulders of the younger generation who tries to live upto the standards set by the yester year greats. Incidentally, this week witnessed the release of "Rathinirvedham", which is the remake of the cult classic by the same name made by the legendary duo of Bharathan & Padmarajan. So will the remake be able to do justice to the classic???


The original was released around 30 years back when the society looked upon many sexual issues as taboo & having a relationship with a older female was one of them. In those days, it was definitely a path breaking subject; but with time it has become acceptable & much in vogue also nowadays. It might be due to this very same fact, that T.K Rajeev Kumar has based this movie in 1978. Pappu (Sreejith Vijay) is on the doorstep of adulthood & awaiting his pre-degree results. Just like any youngster, his raging hormones entices him to explore his sexuality. This eventually leads him to be infatuated with his sensuous yet older neighbour, Rathi (Shweta Menon). The plot then basically goes on to explore his advances & her corresponding response.

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Padmarajan's script is no less than a master-piece as he had touched upon a topic at a time when it was cringed upon by the society. With a equally brilliant companion in Bharathan who expertly portrayed it onto the celluloid, it finally developed into one of the greatest movies of all time. Without doubt, T.K Rajeev Kumar who himself has some decent credentials with efforts like "Chanakyan", "Pavithram" etc., has taken upon a huge risk of remaking it. Frankly speaking, I wont deem his effort as worthless but nevertheless it wasnt able to capture the essence of the story also. The first half of the movie seemed to be more like a soft porn with the camera seemingly interested only on capturing the sensuous parts. As opposed to the original, where the scenes seemed to be more natural & in sync with the plot; here it seems the scenes were created first & accordingly the plot was lazily laced onto it. However, the second half could be considered to be a worthy comparison to the classic; with the climax from my perspective being much more impactful.

Among the present lot, in recent times Shweta Menon has come up with some laudable performances in "Palerimanikyam", "City of God" etc. & without doubt one of the boldest actresses as well. Considering these two aspects, there could be no argument that she was the rightful choice for essaying the title role. She has definitely performed well though in the initial sequences she seemed to be rather amateurish. To add to that being blessed with a voluptuous figure, Shweta Menon has used it to good effect & has overshadowed Jayabharathi's act to a certain extent. As for Sreejith Vijayan, who had a forgetful debut in Fazil's "Living Together", has done a decent job but wasnt able to impart the innocence & insecurity to the character as much as Krishnachandran. Coming to other technical aspects, the music by Jayachandran was note worthy though the choreography was suspect at times. The visuals by Manoj Pillai is going to create ripples in the theatres with his liberal focus on skin.

Verdict: Having created a huge hype, the film is going to have a thunderous opening at all centers with even the rains also unlikely to create a dent in the collections. With no huge stars & lots of oomph, this is going to be a run away hit within this weekend itself. In short, if you havent watched the original & like some titillation, then give it a try!!!

Regards...Ben

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shaitan review: " The Dark & Reckless Generation Next!!!"

With changing times, its really encouraging to notice that the new age directors are showing the guts to try out something different from the staple Bollywood pattern. Though it's true that it might not exactly rake in the moolah always, but still it exposes the audience to diverse genres making them yearn for films of substance. Now coming to think of it, Anurag Kashyap is one such film maker who has always gripped the fascination of the audience & critics alike be it for his script in "Satya", "Kaun" etc., or direction in "Black Friday", "Dev D" etc. This time around, he has come up with "Shaitan", which is under his production & directed by debutant Bejoy Nambiar. So will this latest venture garner the applause of one & all???


It goes without saying that the first impression that we get on reading the title "Shaitan", is that it's a dark movie just like his previous ventures. As a matter of fact, the film talks about the reckless lifestyle of the present age teenagers whose ultimate aim in life is pleasure with utter disregard for morals. Amy (Kalki), Dash (Gulshan), Zubin (Neil), Tanya (Kirti) & KC (Shiv) are the modern day, cool & hip youngsters who relishes anything that gives them a high be it drugs, sex or speed. On one such wild night, they mow down a couple of people on the roadside with their Hummer & what then follows is the decisions that they make to cover up their actions. As one would expect, one crime leads to another & it eventually spirals out of control. To take toll of the situation arrives the no-nonsense upright Inspector Mathur (Rajeev Khandelwala), who himself is in turmoil with a suspension & a failed marriage. So how does Mathur go about his duty & is there no path for redemption for the youngsters???

Just as in the case of any good movie, the kudos for the decent effort definitely goes to the script writer duo of Megha Rangaswamy & Bejoy Nambiar. Inspite of being a debutant, Bejoy Nambiar has been successful in creating a sense of flutter in the minds of the audience as the events pan out. The film doesnt take much time to get into the plot but rather than the situations been created, its more of how & why the erratic young minds works out those situations. There are a couple of sequences in the second half involving the escape of the youngsters & a shootout between the police & gangsters which are shot pretty exquisitely & will get the pulse racing. However, since we are used to seeing some goodness in movies, the persistent negative shade is likely to create a sense of uneasiness & at times boredom.

Coming to performances, Rajeev Khandelwala who is one of the well known actors of the silver screen has come up with a fantastic performance as the Officer who is forced to carry out his responsibilities while fighting with his inner demons. Kalki was equally proficient with her enactment of Amy who looks for sources of pleasure outside her estranged family. The remaining cast were equally apt in their roles as well. Another major plus point has been the excellent cinematography by Madhie & an awesome background score by Ranjit Barot which is completely in sync with the mood of the movie.

Verdict: Without doubt "Shaitan" deserves a word of praise for a different take on the life of youngsters, which is hard hitting & disturbing at the same time. It will have the critics singing praises for attempting something different. However, I do have my reservations regarding the audience response, as I believe its meant only for the Multiplexes. In short, its dark & different but unlikely to be palatable for many!!!

Regards...Ben




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ready review: "Salman...the name says it all!!!"

Since the last two decades, the Khans has been ruling the industry, be it SRK, Aamir or Salman with occasional hits from Big B & Akki. But if there is one star who is the darling of the masses, its undoubtedly the favourite poster boy of India, the one & only SALMAN. Whether you like him or not, you cant definitely ignore him & his mass appeal blockbusters are testimony to that. His movies are eagerly awaited by all sections of society, except for the connoisseurs of meaningful cinema as his movies are high on entertainment but low on content. To add to this list arrives Anees Bazmee's "Ready". Hmm...now lets see how would this fare???


Frankly speaking, its actually pointless to even discuss about the storyline, as Anees Bazmee's movies are always a mish mash of rocking music, insane comedy & a wafer thin outrageous plot. However, I will try to make sense of this tale. Prem (Salman Khan..hmm, its almost the 15th time since he has used this onscreen name) is the son of a rich business man, Ram Kapoor (Mahesh Manjrekar), whose only job seems to be helping lovers in distress. His parents contemplates on getting a suitable bride for him & that's when Sanjana (Asin) turns up in their family on the pretext of mistaken identity. In due course of time, Prem falls for Sanjana & comes to realise that her two uncles wants to usurp her fortune by getting her married to their brother in laws. The latter part then basically focuses on what all Prem does to resolve the problem amicably.
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In comparison with Anees Bazmee's no brainers such as "Thank you", "No Problem" etc., this one was far far better. It might be due to the fact that it is the remake of the Telugu hit by the same name "Ready" starring Ram & Genelia & later on remade in Tamil as "Uthamaputhran" with Dhanush & Genelia as the leads. It's loud & liberally sprinkled with slap stick comedy. But the show is totally focused on the antics of Salman, which I am sure the masses will lap it up. The biggest highlight of the movie other than Salman is the awesome music by Pritam & Devi Sri Prasad with "Deela character" & "Dhinka Chinka" already being chart busters.

 










Coming to performances, its trademark Salman all the while & he plays it totally to the audience. His comedy, characteristic dance steps, style, stardom & finally the shirtless torso...you name it & he gives it in ample measure. As for the remaining cast, Paresh Rawaal supports him well while Asin just had to look good. The rest were more or less for the numbers as the eyeballs were inevitably always on Salman.

Verdict: There is no doubt that the movie is going to be the first blockbuster of the year. Though virtually devoid of anything called script, the masses are gonna create a ruckus in theatres with his brand of style & humour. In short, if you are a hard core Salman fan, dont miss it!!!

Regards...Ben


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Janapriyan review: "Bland yet enjoyable story of an endearing simpleton!!!"

Just as it has been the trend since the last few years, more & more people are coming forward to display their craft in movie making. So to add to this list, arrives director Boban Samuel who is quite an household name for his TV serials. To aid him in his debut venture "Janapriyan", he has sorted the help of script writer Krishna Poojapura who has quite a good track record of three hits except for his last venture "Four Friends", which was a debacle. Hmm, so will the debutant taste success or will it be a sour pill to swallow???


Just as the title states, the film talks about the story of a simpleton, Priyadarshan (Jayasurya) who is a jack of all trades but with a heart of gold for his fellow beings. Vaishakan (Manoj K Jayan) is an employee of a Taluk Office who nurtures the  dream of making it big in the film industry & repeatedly make futile efforts with utter disregard for his job. This eventually forces him to take leave at the behest of his superior to pursue his dream. It is at this juncture that Priyan takes up the vacated post & in due course of time his selfless hard working nature makes him the darling of all those he comes in contact with. At the same time, he falls in love with Meera (Bhama) mistaking her to be the servant of his rich neighbor. Things seems to be working out fine until Vaishakan call it quits & decides to rejoin the job while Meera's folks starts searching proposals for her. So how is Priyan going to tackle both these issues???

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Krishna Poojapura has definitely risen up from the debacle of "Four Friends" & has come up with a simple feel good movie. Though there is hardly any twists & turns, the endearing character of Priyan makes the movie for an enjoyable watch. Another positive is the clean situational comedy which is in complete contrast to the double meaning vulgar comedies which is in vogue nowadays.  However, I do have to concede that the movie doesnt offer anything new & Priyan's nature at times has a striking similarity with Mammootty's in "Loudspeaker". Boban Samuel's direction has definitely not done any harm to his nascent reputation. As for other aspects, the music by Gautham was hummable while the visuals by Pradeep Nair was commendable.

In the performance department, Jayasurya as always has done total justice to his character. Its common knowledge that he is always willing to go that extra yard in terms of diction or appearance to make his performance count & it very well reflects here also. Manoj K Jayan seems to be enjoying his newly attained status of a comedian & continues his act here in a much more convincing manner. Bhama has done a decent job along with ample support from Jagathy & Lalu Alex.

Verdict: The movie doesnt have anything new to offer but the endearing portrayal of Priyan by Jayasurya should keep the audiences interested. With hardly any twists or turns coupled with some clean hilarious situations, it should be able to get a decent return on its investment. In short, it would certainly wont hurt if you give it a try!!!

Regards...Ben