In recent times, there has been no other film that has created as much hype as Shankar's "I". For a movie which has been in the making for more than 2 years, the expectations are kinda understandable especially when Shankar is at the helm of things. Over the years, the auspicious occasion of Pongal has played host to many big budget films; but I doubt whether there has been any as grand as "I". So the question is whether it would live upto the gargantuan presumptions???
The films unfolds with a grotesque faced hunchback kidnapping Diya (Amy Jackson), a super model on her wedding. As the hunchback takes the victim to his abode, the audience is provided an insight as to what had subjected him to this horrific state. A year back, he was a hunk by the name of Lingesan (Vikram) who idolized Arnold & whose long hours at the gym earned him the title of "Mr. Tamil Nadu" ; a step closer to his "Mr India" dream. However underneath that bulky frame, he had a heart that fluttered at the very sight of Diya, the numero uno in the modelling world. As fate might have it, Diya seeks the help of Lingesan for a modelling assignment which capitulates him to the top & in the process ruffles quite a few feathers. What subsequently happens is a predictable tale of revenge.
Shankar's movies has always been larger than life made at a lavish scale that we are invariably left dumbstruck when we see it on the 70mm screen. The tale is pretty much the same here as well, however his script turns out to be inferior to the ones that he had churned out previously. The script is damn predictable & doesn't offer any sort of twists that would blow your socks off. In addition, I felt that there was an overdosage of comedy which should have been more subtle due to which the so called antagonists seemed more comical than threatening.
As to the technical aspects, everything were just "WOW"; right from P.C Sreeram's exquisite visuals for almost all the songs to the mass stunt sequences choreographed by Arasu & Yuen Wing Poo. Hats off to the team from Weat Workshop for their brilliant make-up & prosthetics which played a significant role towards the overall impact. T. Muthuraj also deserves a pat on his back for his praise worthy art direction though I felt Llewyn Antony could have made the film a bit crisper. Last but the least, A.R Rahman's music was top notch as some of the tracks were just splendid with "Mersaalyitten", "Ladio" & "Ennodu Nee Irundhaal" being my personal favourites.
What do I say about Vikram??? he is the heart & soul of this movie..words wont suffice the amount of dedication he has shown. He was absolutely marvelous in all the forms that he appeared right from the 85 kg hunk to the 50 kg hunchback & effectively conveys his reactions through his eyes inspite of all those prosthetics. Amy Jackson seemed quite an apt choice for the supermodel & did her best, though the lip sync could have been better. Santhanam provides the comic relief throughout & was in his elements. Suresh Gopi had a meaty role & did justice to it in his own subtle manner. As for the rest, they were average as Upen Patel could have been replaced by someone else while Ojas Ramani & Ramkumar Ganesan's characters had uncanny similarities to real life personalities.
Verdict: It's definitely a one time must watch solely for Vikram's dedication & that too in the big screen, to appreciate the hard work that the whole team has vested into this movie. So does it live upto expectations??? well the script is definitely a let down as it's damn predictable but it has all the makings of a blockbuster. In short, watch it without much expectations & you would enjoy it!!!
Rating: 3.5/5 (but for Vikram: 5/5, even adukkum mele is justified)