Posted in Movies - General, Uncategorized

24 – The Movie

24

I watched this movie in a theater with a really awful sound system. Even though I had vouched that I wouldn’t come back to this theater to watch a Tamil movie again (after I watched Kadal a few years ago), today, I had to make a choice largely due to some traffic congestion issues.

12 points on 24

  1. I really wish Vikram Kumar or his team had done a final edit of the movie after watching it with 100% “audience hat” on, without any emotional connect. I am sure they would agree with me if I told them that the movie felt a tad too long.
  2. Not necessarily an entirely novel concept to moviegoers in general with time travel and all. But for Tamil audience, an absolutely original storyline with a very familiar twin brothers backdrop.
  3. Vikram Kumar has done an extremely good job with his script to make it very refreshing and very engaging.
  4. The movie starts off in 1990. I can’t recall science labs and scientific gears resemble anything like what they have used in the movie, but I have to admit that I fell in love with the props and everything else. The art directors Amit Ray and Subrata Chakraborty deserve multiple high-fives. The props and scientist gear took me back by a century at least if not more, but the coloring and the overall texture of the scenes made sure this aspect blended well with the movie. So much so that they became a highlight of the movie.
  5. Cinematography by Thiru is top notch. The train chase sequence, The estate and its surroundings (which were shot in Poland) have come out beautifully on screen and the overall skin color of the movie is simply outstanding. I can’t say enough about how visually appealing the whole movie is.
  6. Music by AR Rahman. Enough said. My biggest regret is that I couldn’t watch the movie in a better theater.
  7. Suriya has played all the three roles with aplomb. Minute variations in body language to tonal differences, etc.
  8. The whole sequence around Saranya’s family reunion towards the end could have been chopped off – At least a bulk of it.
  9. The chemistry between Suriya and Saranya, as son and mother is awesome on screen.
  10. Am a fan of Nithya. And she can do wonders on screen. In this movie she had to play a pivotal but short role and she has knocked it out of the park.
  11. Samantha – She does what she has been doing of late. Brilliant work in a very repetitive character that she has been getting to play of late.
  12. Overall, Vikram has done a very decent job to make 24 the movie, a very engaging movie. He has worked very hard to write a script that would cater to multiple age groups. The only challenge here is when you do something like this, you tend to overdo sequences, lines or certain sentiments and I felt that team behind 24 may have fallen into that trap here and there throughout the script. But nothing to take away from what a gigantic achievement this movie is for the team. Really hope this paves the way for many more moviemakers to dream of making more fantasy thrillers and I also hope that the Tamil movie audience shows their support to movies like these.
Posted in Humor - General, Movies - General, Uncategorized

Chris Rock’s morning at the Oscars

Oscars

[Where I imagine how Chris Rock’s morning would have been, as he was getting ready to host Oscars 2016.]

Meanwhile, somewhere inside the dark chambers of the 7th floor, in a corner meant for Jack Nicholson’s drinks and Mel Gibson’s Bible & his anti-semite rantbook, the marksman is oiling his bows and applying lacquer on his arrows (or the other way around..one could never tell in that darkness), while sharpening his nails at the same time. He looks a bit jittery as he works on his eyes. It is very evident that he is training hard and is preparing to take shots at those seldomly used dummy targets there in the corner. The tall building that is housing these targets is swaying quite violently in the storm that is passing through that morning, while the electricity supply has been erratic for the past 7–8 hours. The LED sign outside the building should have read “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.”, but the storm had done some damage and at this moment, it reads “Nope. A Sad Discriminatory Team”.

In case you don’t know what AMPAS (short for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) is, here you go:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is a self-applauding professional honorary organization, consisting of mostly white men over 50 years old, with the stated illusion of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy’s corporate management and general policies are overseen by a highly self-serving Board of Governors, again mostly mostly men and may be mostly white. The board includes representatives who are picked based on their lobbying power from each of the craft branches.

The roster of the Academy’s approximately 6,000 motion picture professionals is a “closely guarded secret.” And it is not hard to understand why. While the great majority of its members are based in the United States, membership is open to qualified filmmakers around the world. Please note the phrase “it is open”, because all it means is that there is no mandate that the academy should have professionals from outside the US.

The Academy is known around the world for its annual Academy Awards, officially known as The “Oscars”, but more popularly known as The “Mery Streep Awards”.

Chris Rock, this year’s marksman, has everything going for him. He is funny, He is from New York and He is Black. Ok, not excatly everything going for him..But, you get the picture.

He continues to take aim at his dummy targets, without really being sure if Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the President of AMPAS, could overhear his whispering joke venoms attached to those arrows. In a conference room not too far from where Chris is, Cheryl is giving finishing touches to the list of presenters and performers for the evening, while her assistant is using her mobile phone as a source of light for Cheryl.

“Priyanka Chop..who?”, Cheryl wasn’t entirely sure who this was.
That girl from Quantico..”, her assistant yowls from her side.
Cheryl nods her head in acknowledgement. And a smile creeps in.

“You got that Chris..? Another non-white in the list..”, Cheryl yells from inside, hoping Chris could hear her.
“Now, enough with those #OscarsSoWhite jokes!”.

Chris shakes his head, takes some quick notes and starts talking to himself.

“Sofia, Priyanka, Dev, Benicio, Quincy, John Legend, Pharrell, Kerry, Byung-hun, Olivia Munn and Lady Gaga..Isn’t that such a diversified list we have this year?. Wow…Don’t think we have had a show full of so many diversified talent..err..from around the world..”.
The tone in the voice quite clearly underlines how proud Cheryl is with her almost final list.

“Olivia and Gaga in your diversity list?. Gotto be kidding me..”, Chris can’t take it. But, he looks completely helpless at this point.
“Cheryl, Do you remember that Trump-Black Panther joke? Is it in or out?..”, Chris yells back.

“Told ya..Stop calling Beyonce for hosting tips..”, Cheryl.
“So, that’s means it’s out..”, Chris strikes off one more in his list.
“At this rate, you might as well call Billy Crystal to host the show..!!”, a visibly displeased Chris.

A mobile phone rings.

“Hey Chris, This is Jada..Want to let you know how disappointed I am — we are.. actually… with you this year. You couldn’t even..”.

Chris goes back to the corner and takes a sip from a glass that resembles the ones they serve at Mos Eisley Cantina in Planet Tatooine and just then the power supply comes back on. Cheryl gets up from her chair, completely content with her list..and she starts walking out of the conference room, taking a quick glance at her list.

“Hmm, may be just to mix things up a bit, we should add Morgan Freeman and Reese Witherspoon to the list. What do you say Chris?”..

“..Of course. G-R-E-A-T Idea Cheryl. See you in the evening!!”.
“Chris, sweetie, no surprises this evening…Alright..?”

Chris Rock, now in a complete state of despair reaches into his pocket and picks up his phone.
“Ricky, My man!! Need your help…”.

 

Posted in Movies - General, Uncategorized

Jil Jung Juk

953471010Jil_Jung_Juk_Official_Teaser

Three ring leaders. Two of them are into drug trafficking. The third one specializes in kidnapping and oil gouging. They all need to survive by cashing out, as the socioeconomics of the world around them is pushing them to their brinks, because such is the time in future they live in. In short, theirs is a Kokkumaakkaana Ulagam . Then there is a chemist/pharmacist, who is capable of disguising drugs in the form of everyday objects through his magical scientific inventions. And, that is enough reason for the first drug don to hire him. This don has a driver and a yes-man assistant to travel with, even though the latter decides to betray his boss by colluding with the second drug traffic crime leader. Remember, all three crime leaders have their own battalions of henchmen, who all are also trying to survive in this kokkumaakkaana ulagam. The oil gouging specialist, in the meantime, gets a whiff of that last hurrah of a drug peddling heist that his arch enemy, aka, the first drug smuggling kingpin, decides to indulge in, before law enforcement & all things apocalyptic in the world catch up with him. How does he get a whiff of it? Through a series of unfortunate events set in motion by three small time crooks, who were hired by the first drug smuggling kingpin. Now, these three crooks are neither trying to mastermind a hijack of the heist of their lifetime, in their favor, nor are they trying to show off their heroics, but they are simply being caught in the moment, as they heuristically try to come out of dire life threatening situations, they are made to encounter one after another, as a result of their continuous incompetent & comical errors.

That pretty much is the plot of “Jil Jung Juk”, where Deeraj Vaidy (Note: No H in his name) tries to go Guy Ritchie and in the process brings out a completely original and a localized shade of Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrels to Thamizh cinema. An absolute refresher of a movie and a thoroughly enjoyable ride this one, where Deeraj follows these three crooks, played deftly by Siddharth (Jil), Avinash (Jung) and Sanath (Juk), as they try to disentangle the knot, they messily made in the first place.

The screenplay is taut but not very crisp. Radharavi’s and Nasser’s roles stand out, while the direction is above par for a debutante. However, what make the ‘Jil Jung Juk’ experience unique are the graphics/art, the choice of ‘color’ for the movie, editing and music in that order. Dialogues, in particular are likely to keep the younger audience alive & laughing in the movie halls, while the plot itself may keep some audience away from the movie halls, simply because of how dark the screenplay is, albeit in a comical way. As much as it is a comedy, it is not your run of the mill slapstick humor, so Deeraj forces you to pay attention to the lines, which is good and bad. Many subtle funny one-liners may go unnoticed, but that’s mostly due to how dialogue rich this movie is. I wonder if less dialogues would have worked better to keep the humor tight.

By setting the story in future, Deeraj and his creative team have done a great job of avoiding any lavish sets. I guess the art director had to work on only two big outdoor sets – one being the ‘movie set’ and the other being Rawther’s oil silo storage. Rest of the outdoor shots are quiet cleverly shot in barren lands and roads, while the indoor sets for a pharmacy, bar, the second drug lord’s den were adequately done. Again, the cinematographer’s brilliance and the lighting ensured that a totally unseen futuristic time is brought in front of our eyes. But I wonder, why not set this story a little far away in future? Like 2030 or 2040? 2020 seems too close to us from 2016 that the kokkumaakkana ulagam Deeraj wanted to project seems a little hard to relate to, only because it is 2020 – only 4 years ahead.

This energetic team deserves a pat on their backs for taking a road, not taken before. And they have done that with a whacky, dark sense of humor and abundance of original creativity, which has been evident right throughout the pre-release promotion time.

PS:  Wish Deeraj had stayed away from using that ‘dark skinned African’ refrain, when he hilariously wrote that Uganda bit. The Uganda humor bit worked, but this refrain left a slight bad taste in me.

Posted in Movies - General, Uncategorized

Irudhi Suttru (Saala Khadoos)

irudhi-suttru

If the hinted substories evoke just enough curiosity, while the viewer in you continues to focus on the main plot as it unfolds, only to go back home to eschew on those incomplete substories and imagine the many layers of these stories based on several subtexts and untied knots thrown at you, then you know the director and the scriptwriter have done a fantastic job of creating a classic movie. “Irudhi Suttru” falls into this category and that’s exactly why I loved “Irudhi Suttru” by Sudha Kongara.

Sudha manages to touch upon several substories that could have taken their own forms, diverting the viewer’s attention from the main plot, while also giving additional dramatization scope for her to make the movie more meandering & more of an emotional rollercoaster. Instead, she chooses to leave all of them unexplored – the substories or subtexts or social issues I mean, leaving the viewer with a more difficult job of choosing to build on them, if needed and as needed.

Here is a list:
1) sexual harassment 2) sports infrastructure in India 3) general favoritism, political influences and overall corruption that ail sports administration in India 4) poverty and proselytization 5) sibling rivalry 6) women empowerment 7) the really heartwarming relationship between Radharavi and Madhavan, about which you have no clue till the last 10 minutes or so, and that too you get a whiff of it through a lighthearted one line exchange 8) Indian women boxers & what motivates them 9) etc. etc.

And no, none of the above is elaborated in the movie. They all are for the viewers to infer and build upon. To some extent, that is as much of a respect Sudha places on her viewers, as it is about her own conviction that the movie would work better if she takes a high road.

But, the movie is really about 2 characters. The story is as predictable as any sports movie, specially one that involves a passionate coach spotting a talent from the crowd, who is completely unaware of anything related to the sport that he/she has been spotted for. Madhavan as Prabhu, a retired boxer, but a passionate coach, is known for straight talk and for blowing his fuse off when confronted or put in dishonest situations. He prefers telling the truth & speaking his mind out in all circumstances – not giving a s**t to anyone or in any situation and he continues to dare his politically motivated fellow boxing federation officials, including the chief. Prabhu gets transferred to Chennai from Hissar due to a past rivalry between him and the federation chief and one which now has manifested into more of a “me or him ego clash” for the chief.

So, Madhavan rides his bike to Chennai where he spots Madhi, a fisherwoman girl, who he believes has all that it takes to become a champion. However, she (Ritika Singh) is boisterous, unruly and completely disrespectful of authority, while her sister is the one who is more focused on building a boxing career just to enable her find a police job (her only life aspiration). Once the backdrops of these two characters are established, it is very easy for the viewer to imagine how the story pretty much ends – sort of. Right? And the director definitely doesn’t want to deprive you of a chance to feel good about yourself at the end of the movie. So, in may ways, this is not a new story. At least the flavor of it.

Yet, it is a completely new movie, because of all the wonderful characters that come together to make up so many unique incidents that build one upon on another and follow a sequence organically, to transport the viewer a climax, which brought me a lump or two.

Madhavan couldn’t have found a better role to announce the breaking of his hiatus. He lives the character of an occasionally drunk, irreverent boxing coach, who doesn’t give two hoots about political corruption that ails the boxing federation. In fact, he tries to face these issues head on in his own rude & ruffled way by giving counterpunches.

Ritika Singh, a debutante, makes you travel with her right from the first moment you see her on screen. It’s not necessarily her beauty or cuteness, but the “life” she manages to bring onto screen. Her character is so alive, and so lovely & she makes everything about Madhi likable (North Madras slang included).

Nasser plays a junior coach and I don’t know if anyone else could have played that part better. All the other supporting cast members proved their worth all around.

Santhosh Narayanan’s OST worked big time in this movie and I thought his music alone moved many scenes very coherently. Needless to add, the songs had already become popular before the release of the movie and that again is largely due to the rugged, unfurled style he decided to adopt for this movie. Hats off to him.

In the end, Irudhi Suttru/Saala Khadoos is all about zeal, love and respect.

I highly recommend the movie, not for feminist reasons (which are also good enough reasons to go watch), but more for the sheer brilliance of the director, her vision of the script and for some top of the line casting.

Don’t hold any punches when it comes to making this movie an undisputed champion in the box office.

Note: It probably should be spelled “Irudhichchutru” to be precise..but I decided to refer to the movie as “Irudhi Suttru” because that seems to be the filmmakers’ preferred way of spelling it.

 

 

Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General, Uncategorized

Tamasha – Don’t let go of that child in you!

tamashaImtiaz Ali’s scripts can be regressive, if you are not attuned to his skillsmanship of dealing with romance in his movies. In all his movies, except Highway (which till date remains my favorite from his lot), he has a reflexive nature to look at love between a man and a woman through a broken prism. His love stories have always been only about love. And I don’t mean that in  a less than complimentary manner. If Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal were more about struggling souls finding true love, Rockstar perhaps was the first shift in gear from the Ali stable, which really drove the search for true love through a deeply disturbed psyche which went looking for a broken heart, all in a quest to create good music. Now in Tamasha,  Ali returns to a similar terrain, one that of a disturbed soul looking for true love, but only this time he carefully maneuvers the search and transforms his story into a simpler and perhaps a much more relatable/accessible version of what that disturbed mind is looking for.

The problem with Ali’s transition from being a simple romantic storyteller in Jab we Met to a more intricate and a complex one, the one we get to see in Rockstar and now in Tamasha is that, you either get on with the journey or not. It depends on where as a movie watcher you are able to connect with the characters or with the plot. If you missed the connection early enough, Rockstar and  Tamasha are two rides that could end up spinning you down through a tube with bumpy stops, thus putting you through an ordeal, you otherwise wished you had avoided. But if you catch on to the angle that Ali wants us to see through his characters, then, notwithstanding a few slightly stretched out scenes or overdoing of a theme or two during the course of the journey, Imtiaz Ali simply stuns you with his nuanced characterizations and dialogues. And I think that’s where Imtiaz Ali scores big with Tamasha. The characters and the way Ali makes you connect with them, fall for them and feel for them – that is if you get on with the journey early enough.

Why always the same story? 

Through Ved (Ranbir Kapoor), the boy who would steal money from his father’s wallet just to listen to stories narrated by this small town storyteller, Imtiaz Ali intricately layers his script (and you) with a well conceived screenplay & images of how epics from all around the world, including India’s own are pretty much woven around the same story. The beautiful overlay of Chali Kahani with this background at the beginning of the movie, pretty much sets the tone for what the viewer should expect in terms of narration for the rest of the movie. Very little has been said about Tara’s background (Deepika Padrone) in the script and I guess that’s because Ali didn’t think that was necessary because his protagonist is Ved. And the broken prism through his narration happens is the one Ved holds.

After setting the backdrop for his protagonist, Ali quickly switches to Corsica, where probably the movie’s breeziest few minutes take place. Even if you end up not liking the movie as a whole, those 15-20 minutes of the movie set in Corsica alone is worth your trip to the movie theater. Be it Rahman’s brilliance in Parade de La Bastille which smoothly transitions to Matargasthi, or Ali’s brilliance in etching out the carefree moments that  Ved and Tara need to be in their ‘role-played characters’, I can’t but imagine how every guy wanted to be that Ved for a few minutes and every girl wanted to be that Tara for those few minutes, Corsica or not. Yes, it may have gotten a bit stretched out – those role playing moments, but if you simply gave into the flow, which is exactly Ved wants to do, one would understand how those moments in Corsica build up Tara’s expectations for what were to follow.

As Tara lands in Kolkata, the song Heer to badi sad hai (with some enjoyable lighthearted lyrics by Irshad Kamil) is played. Much like Wat Wat that comes later on during Ved’s epiphany sort of a moment, I couldn’t quite connect the jazzy or loud juxtaposition of these songs, although I loved the total abstractness of the same. Tara’s persistence eventually leads her to Delhi where she tracks down Ved, who contrary to what Tara was imagining, is caught in his own spiral downfall of living his life, playing by the rules set by others on how life should be lived. This is when Ali tries too hard to have his audience connect with Ved and his internal struggle to come to terms with the distance between his heart and the world. Ved takes time to realize why Tara is in love with him and what he needs to do. But those moments of epiphany, both when he talks to his dad about it and when he randomly connects with that auto driver and his roadside restaurant pedestrians through Wat Wat, somehow didn’t stand out when compared to those simple flashback images of his childhood.

In Ali, Rahman has a reliable ally, a filmmaker who respects his music and weaves his scenes around his music. Ali has so much reverence for his movie’s music and what Rahman does for him. It was evident in Rockstar (of course), but in Highway and Tamasha, Ali takes the most difficult path to show his reverence for Rahman. Except Matargasthi, none of the other songs have a true bollywood setting and yet, they all fit in perfectly. As if the songs were fit in first before Ali wrote his script. Chali Kahani and Tu Koyi Aur Hai were very artistically spliced to spruce up Ali’s narration and they worked so well. I hope Rahman continues to derive creative satisfaction doing projects like these because there aren’t too many filmmakers like this anymore who can stay current with the trends in moviemaking and yet, stay true to their beliefs on songs being an integral part of movies.

With Tamasha, Imtiaz Ali once again tells the  same story. The story of a disturbed male protagonist getting lost in a maze of love and his struggle to reach his lover, who makes him realize who he really is.

The last few seconds (when both the lead characters are shown listening to music with their headphones on, while we don’t get to hear anything) just underscores that as much of a heavy romantic story this is, in the end, Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha is all about not letting go of the child in you.

Posted in Movies - General

Birthday with a message – Kamal Haasan

One has to listen to Kamal Haasan’s birthday celebration speeches at these events organized by his socially conscious welfare associations to get to read the real man, his angst for society (not just local but global), his quest for knowledge, his rationalism, etc. Because these speeches are delivered for an audience who almost in a self-questioningly silly & an ironic way, idolize him. So he delivers these speeches not in a “preachy lectorial” manner, not in a rousing demagoguery manner to stir up emotions, not in a “Holier than Thou Spiritual Guru” sermonic manner..but in a “good friend who takes liberty to admonish you and advise you” kind of manner. So you could feel the anger, disappointment, embarrassment and guilt, all with a heavy dose of optimism for future.

This year’s speech was no exception.

From politics to Dawkins to the beef controversy to the science behind eating insects to the ‘in vougue tolerance’ debate (and of course a sly dig at the AwardWapsi movement and the silliness of it all), he covers it all with an underlying powerful rationalistic theme – delivered in a simplistic way, so his audience could get the core message. His mastery of the language ensures that if you don’t follow the speech careful enough, you would miss several gems (some hidden).

Part 1:

Part 2:

Posted in Movies - General

Baahubali – The Beginning – A Spin that’s worth taking

bahubali
Emagine Theater, Novi, MI

First things First – How do you spell this name in English? Is it Baahubali? or Bahubali? or as the poster says, “a” with an accent? I am going with Baahubali as it seems closer to what the poster says. I had an opportunity to the catch the premiere show of Baahubali in Telugu in the Metro Detroit area.

Let me start off by saying that this is not a movie review and I am not going to provide a star rating, as I have always found the rating system completely subjective.

“Go watch Baahubali. Preferably in theaters or if it is just impossible to find a theater near you which is playing the movie, you may wait for the original DVDs to release so that you could get a copy of a Blu-Ray disc and watch it in a good home theater system…”

Phew. Now that’s out of my way.

When the director decides to take up a story of extraordinary valor, vengeance, betrayal of brethren, love and maternal affection, set in a fictitious & mystical land, just like what many Amar Chitra Katha stories and the likes have told us, there is really not a whole lot of novelty in the content he gets to work with. That, unfortunately is an aspect of Baahubali that I was simply not happy about.
Rajamouli claimed in one of his recent interviews on Indiaglitz, that he is an average film-maker but a very good story teller. What he meant by that was perhaps that he could take any story and present it in an engaging way to the audience.

When a movie relies a lot on visual effects and computer generated images (CGI) & animation, then the success of the movie is typically measured by what the audience remembers of it when they walk away from the theaters. If tacky & sub-par CGI work dominates the movie, then the audience is likely to remember the jarring mess more than anything else, no matter what the director manages to pull off in other departments. In Baahubali, none of that seems to be an issue. If there was any tacky CGI work or animated shot, it largely goes unnoticed and you are likely to ignore those aspects. Rajamouli is the sole reason for such a splendid execution of his vision and full credits to him.

The enormously huge waterfalls that goes beyond the clouds forms the backdrop of the first half the movie and plays a visually more impactful character than the main protagonist, Prabhas’s Shivudu character himself. And even though they may have shot the movie at Athirapally falls just to give a live setting to the artistes as opposed to enacting those water scenes in front of a green screen, the simple grandeur of CGI created nature  is at its best every time you get to see the waterfalls, the mist, and the splashing of water on the moist rocks. You are literally transported to a new world and the mountain & water fall crazy person I am, I just loved every minute of that setting.

If the waterfalls played such a crucial role in the first half, it is the kingdom of Mahishmati that plays a similarly impactful role in the second half. But then, this is also the part where the CGI comes across half-botched at certain places. Don’t misunderstand me when I say that – You still walk away in awe of this kingdom & every single attention to details (the carvings on the pillars, the walls, the thrones that the ministers & kings occupy, their ornaments, etc.). To top it all, to me the CGI created animals were totally mind boggling. Almost to the point that if someone showed me a picture of a live animal and a Baahubali CGI one, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference..So, again, props to Rajamouli and his technical crew for imagining/visualizing & creating these animals & bringing them to life on screen. While I am ravishingly praising the tech crew, let me also add that the battle sequence towards the end of the movie was on par with any similar battle sequences you may have witnessed in 300, Gladiator and the likes. To Rajamouli’s credit, he also adds his own innovation – like the rotary blade in front of the chariot and the fueled canopy propelled by rocks to entrap a group of enemy soldiers at a time and engulf them in flames are a couple of such innovations that come to my mind to cite as an example.

My pet topic – the music. As much as a fan I am of Keeravani, I felt he didn’t do justice to an epic & a grandiose movie like Baahubali. No doubt, he has put in a massive effort. And his score worked in some emotional scenes, in those minimalistic melodious songs and to some extent in the battle sequence. But overall, the OST was a huge let down.

In terms of cast, both Prabhas and Rana were mighty impressive as the “hulky” warriors. Sathyaraj, Ramya and Nasser delivered their punches (Nassers’s polio struck left arm was another example of how much attention has been paid to prosthetic make-up, although I did find an inconsistency in the first sequence when he was shown and the CGI didn’t work well). The rest of the cast did its part. I know some reviewers were not impressed with Tamannah but I thought she did her part as a disturbed damsel well. A lot can be questioned about the sudden transformation in her character, which I thought was more of a flaw in the characterization itself & not so much of a failure of her acting skills.

For all the pomp and splendor the movie displays, why I feel Rajamouli cannot showcase himself as a bold film-maker just as yet and just because he made a movie like Baahubali is because, even an amazingly larger than life canvas like Baahubali that he successfully created & managed to inspire so many other people, showed, how wrongfully even a visionary like like him can yield to the masala elements that drive the perception of box-office success.

  • Objectifying the heroine (Tamannah as Avanthika) – Why so many glaringly obvious shots of the heroine’s bare mid-region and her navel?
  • Why an out-of-the-blue item song in an Arab market/harem setting with 3 skinny foreign looking models when none of those ever made sense – at – all??
  • And finally, the whole creepy romance sequences between Shivudu and Avanthika. Why? Why?? In any other circumstance, what Prabhas’s character did (like stalking Tamannah, tattooing her arm & shoulder while she is subconsciously unaware and most disturbingly, disrobing her using his sword in a forceful way only to seduce her and eventually have sex with her) may qualify as soft rape..Not that this sort of an approach is uncommon in Indian movies. But in this movie, in the context of everything else we are supposed to get carried away by, I guess Rajamouli expects us not to give these things a serious thought. And yes, based on the reactions till now of all the general audience, I guess his expectations will be met.

Closing thoughts:

For all the flaws, Baahubali is like a racy spin you get to take on a Ferrari. So what if the roads are a bit bumpy? This sort of an experience is a rarity in Indian movies and as a movie lover, one got to latch onto the opportunity when it presents itself.

Go catch the ride while it lasts. Lest, you will regret missing the opportunity – Watching it on TV may still be ok – but it won’t be a Ferrari ride. Remember that.

Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General, Uncategorized

The Reznor Parallel – OK Kanmani OST 

It is hard to describe this. This experience that I am going through as I attempt to understand the OST of OK Kanmani. I don’t think I have felt like this for any AR Rahman soundtrack/album since Iruvar, which also happens to be a Mani Ratnam movie.
Well. Actually there was one more OST – 127 Hours.

All of a sudden, it dawned on me. A parallel that somehow makes sense to me when I think of what AR Rahman has done for OK Kanmani. May be I am trying too hard to draw this parallel, but it makes perfect sense to me.

Trent Reznor. A record producer and a music composer who is sort of an enigma not necessarily for his personality but more for his music. Industrial rock for which he got famous for may be a tag he will have to live with for a long time. But before he got famous for scoring OST in movies, he started associating himself with Video Games. I am not a gamer myself but a few years ago when Reznor shot to fame with ‘The Social Network’, I started following his music even though I had heard of ‘Nine Inch Nails’ long before. Some of the soundtracks he had done for video games from as early as 1996 (Quake) to the latest Call of Duty Black Ops 2 are simply mind boggling and path breaking in their own right.

Without getting into a track by track analysis of OK Kanmani and comparing them with Reznor’s OST from these video games or from the movies he has done (including the latest OST from “The Gone Girl”, which I devoured), I just want to point out this parallel that dawned on me.

OK Kanmani is a classic example of how a movie maker can get a music composer involved with the project right from the beginning stages and have him contribute heavily in building the narrative of the story to the extent that certain moods of the scenes and that of the characters could actually be filmed just because of how the OST is done. I am pretty sure Mani Ratnam conceived many scenes in OK Kanmani based on Rahman’s music. 

To me that’s the beauty of this soundtrack. This OST has a flow and has a life of its own – not just as standalone song pieces which can be enjoyed on their own but more as a continuum. Rahman’s music in OK Kanmani has a loud voice – one that tells a story. It’s like if I listen to the OST, there is a story that I can form in my mind even if I didn’t see how Mani Ratnam conceived his scenes for the music. 

And as for the Reznor parallel, the fact that the lead character in OK Kanmani is a video game designer and how the game he develops forms a thin backdrop to the whole story may just have been a trigger for me to draw the parallel.