Categories
cinema:tamil FRS

FRS: Darbar (2020)

So you all know what an FRS is right? Right? 

Editor’s note: why do you guys keep saying this? I don’t like it, Chumma kizhi this line; add something like Happy New Year buddies or some such thing. 

+5: Movie has no narration, this simply means that it will try and use the simple visual medium and not over indulgent voice overs to simply tell a story. Kudos. 

+2: Movie begins with suspense type character killing rowdy boys here and there, face not shown. Immediate suspense buildup. 

-2: Next moment itself, newspaper tells that this is actually done by Mumbai police commissioner Aaditya Arunasalam. So much for immediate buildup which is immediately spoiled, newspaper headlines also are quite lol worthy. 

+5: Mumbai Police have a lot of Tamil speakers on the force, this is considerably more than the number of tamil speaking doctors in Srinagar (wink! Wink! Nudge! Nudge! We made a Kaatru Veliyiday reference) 

+6.7: ARM’s Durbar is truly a bilingual in a different sense, as in people are speaking in one language and dubbing is happening in another and of course there is no sync, which is intentional we believe. 

-50: Small time crook releases video asking hero to ‘encounter’ him within a day. Bad move nanba. 

-21: Not enough pistol training for all the rowdy boys in the movie because there are at least 100 of them and when they fire at Rajni, not even one bullet even causes a flesh wound. #RowdyBoysNeedSkillDevelopment

+5.34: Rajni is introduced by showing the impression his boots make on the ceiling of the building he is raiding, much like in a monster movie. Just saying. 

Editor’s note: don’t proceed with this imagery, our offices might get hit. Chumma Kizhi. 

-11: Rajni literalises an idiom by really bringing a knife to a gunfight, of course wins 

-34: Ok ok, now we know that our hero is indeed a mad cop, all we need is a sympathetic human rights activist to tell us the backstory as to why he became the mad cop. Waiddaminit, this movie has confusing timelines! 

+7.2: SPB goes into his golden age raspy voice for one second in the opening song, that reminded us of many things. 

Editor’s note: Stop it right there. 

-21: Hero’s daughter randomly points to one girl in the whole of Mumbai city and she happens to be heroine, needless to say that the heroine is single (although never stated) etc. Convenient relationship status is extremely convenient. 

-53.2: Now hero is tasked with “okaying” heroine. Following scenes seem to have been taken from some national film archives which somehow safeguards these 80s type coffee type romance.

+22: Rajni makes a clear stand. He likes only filter coffee. Instant powder coffee down down. 

+23: Rajni makes an even more clear stand. Coffee shop sell overpriced coffee that don’t taste so good. 

Editor’s Note: We should avoid such snide social commentary like these in our reviews, coffee shops are modern places  where minds can meet and discuss…stuff, in essence as many business books written by professors inform me that really we are not paying only for the coffee but for the ‘experience’. Much like how in movie theatres we are not paying for the movie alone but for the ‘experience’. 

<Hand Baby (Kai Kuzhandai) in audience goes Kua Kua Kua incessantly, FRS writers record this as part of ‘experience’> 

+12: Movie suddenly becomes serious and wants us to care about human trafficking 

+13: Movie suddenly becomes more serious (of course in between Yogi Babu comedy track is there) and wants us to care about drug menace

Remind us to cut points when movie later will completely forget these issues. 

-67: Movie suddenly then becomes about Mumbai Police finding their respect among the citizenry which was lost because of an old incident. 

-23: Heroine akka simply calls Hero to some random marriage because one girl has lost her chain. The reason for calling is because hero is Police Commissioner. After this, there is the dreaded marriage song, where hero goes and gives advice to marriage couple without knowing who they are, even other relatives don’t know who this person is, although no issue is made of the same

-34: All songs whenever and wherever, even BGM is fully with words like Thalaiva and Superstar with percussion….we mean..what is this? 

+6: Nothing really happens for a while then director decides to introduce the main villain, who will always be an international gangster. 

+11: Said villain has been elected as the head of all gangsters, seems like a quasi democratic process too! Long live gangster democracy! 

Editor’s Note: kindly remove gangster democracy. Chumma Kizhi. Take this out I say. 

-23: Movie bounces here and there, like Rajni’s hair before making it another hero vs villain fight which we know hero will win

-40.9: Movie thinks it is actually putting obstacles in the way of the hero, but then we never really feel anything, to make a show of it, movie decides to suspend Aaditya Arunachalam and then before you put your hands to scrape the bottom of the popcorn box, he is reinstated. So much for the show. 

But that suspension scene reminded us of THAT scene from Thangapadakkam (watch from 6:00 mins)

-7: Useless villain, when he has the opportunity to escape and come back with a better plan, decides to stay back and get hit by hero. 

-502: To Mumbai City planners, a ghastly fire accident has happened some 20 years back and you guys have not pulled down the potentially unsafe building but have actually made it into a memorial. What is this? 

+303: Hero inspires kid to wear police uniform. Now whole city respects the cops, drug problem is solved, human trafficking is reduced. All problems solved. All is well. Go and sleep peacefully. 

Editor’s Note: This is not very funny. Happy New Year. Include go and sleep peacefully as the last line. Thanks. 

All numbers are incidental and arbitrary, except the facts provided by our data analytics team

Subam

Team FRS

Categories
cinema:tamil

Kaithi (2019)

Lokesh Kanakaraj is in a hurry.

In 15 mins, I get to know there is a child waiting for an unknown guest somewhere, a group of students are detained at the police commissioner’s office for drunken behavior, a bloody operation results in 900kg of cocaine being seized, a high ranking official sets up what seems like his farewell party and a gang leader puts out a hit job task to his henchmen. 

All this before the credits.

But with characters and dialogue, not with narration and flash forwards. So when a police constable says that the current colonial building is being vacated for a new headquarters, it means a lot and at different points in time. 

You would notice that all of these events correspond to groups. Kaithi to my memory has the most number of memorable characters in recent times, which is not easy to do, most movies use a good one third of their time in set-up and hardly achieve memorable status apart from the leads. 

Lokesh does this is in a “look, I don’t have time, but this is what you have to know, come along and you will figure it out” kind of way. 

The seized cocaine is what gets things rolling(literally the truck), but this is not a story about how different groups are in the race to get back what they lost; in fact every set here wants something else- the IG wants a respectable retirement, certain henchmen just want money, a brother is in need of another, Kamatchi just wants his truck in one piece and Dilli (Karthi is brilliant) just wants to see his daughter (or does he?) and so on. 

Which is why Kaithi is such a constrained title, it brings back focus to one of the characters, but that is when the movie begins to adopt a one-man-against-the-world-hollywood-actioner aesthetic, and most of it works when set within context, although I fear that some of it, like the bullet ridden climax, is set well outside. 

But not all out of context things are bad, especially when Jumbalaka Jumbalaka and Metro Channel  starts playing to drown out voices in a lock-up. Fantastic!

Kaithi is blockbuster material when it stays on the road and wants to go from point A to B, I would have never imagined our rural roads, forests, quarries and  hills to lend themselves to this type of actioner, but I realize things are what they are, only because of the ways we see it in. Lokesh saw it differently

Kaithi is now streaming on Hotstar.

Categories
cinema cinema:tamil

Enai Noki Paayum Thota

It’s been a week since I saw Gautam Menon’s latest film. I remember almost nothing of it. I take home images of a movie and only then, do I begin to form opinions on it (unlike whatever you might think). 

With ENPT, I can only recollect Dhanush dancing on the edge of the salt pans somewhere on the ECR. I know for sure that this does not directly concern the story- something like Sunaina’s character ( whose name I have to Google), but I guess one of the bad guys described her “gummunu irukka” (not translating due to lack of appropriate word) somewhere in the movie . 

It’s just me, I am getting old. I need to seek help to get this ENPT blog post out. ENPT blog out and ENPT out of my system, so we can really plan what to see and discuss in the coming year. Get the blog out!

So I decided to call up the buddies who put together the FRS, they of course had a good memory, but they said since we have already written the FRS of Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada or AYM, the points would hold good for ENPT. 

The writers were also very smart, they said that if I badly wanted a blog post about ENPT then I could just replace AYM with ENPT, Dhanush with STR, Megha with Manjima and voila, ready. 

Sometimes, I wonder how such smart people write for us. Mostly, I forget that these people are smart people. It’s just me. I am getting old. 

Next I look to the internet, which is a rich in opinion and low on insights medium. Maybe these opinions could help me remember what the movie was all about. After all, I needed to have a memory to form opinions, this seemed a logical option. I had to do it, I had to get into death wish mode and complete this blog post. 

But mostly the internet was talking about how ENPT had a lot of voice overs, hmm they were right, but also this was a Gautham Menon movie, what were they expecting? Maybe they were expecting smart voice-overs. But then again, this is a Gautam Menon film. 

Ah, now I remember; Dhanush’s college senior is Sunaina. But I know for a fact that Dhanush is much older than Sunaina, so maybe I should write about actors playing their appropriate age, that will surely resonate on social media. It is fairly an easy piece to write, almost a low hanging fruit, even our data analytics team in Pune said it would do good for overall website traffic. I rejected the idea, low hanging fruits don’t appeal to me. That’s why I didn’t write about a 30 years old actress playing a 26 year old. 

Another section spoke about how voice overs (i.e VOs) is the modus operandi (i.e MO) of Gautam Menon, they even said like if ‘we’ don’t question shadows in a Hitchcock film, then ‘we’ shouldn’t question GVM too. On the face of it, this seems like a very intelligent argument, our data analytics team also saw such arguments get the much needed traction. 

But is it not about using a method of storytelling but how well it is used and what impact it creates on the audience, the “we” in this case. Of course, if “we” say this, the response would be like, impact is subjective etc. Don’t ask me what I thought about the voice overs, I barely remember this film. It had voice overs. 

Ah! Now I remember, Sunaina’s character name is Mythili and she works in Mumbai. 

With only these minor memories, I was again faced with the question, should I even write about this film? The options before me were clear and they all pointed to one way to escape this misery, I had to. 

Don’t ask me why, you don’t have the right, because you did not ask when Scorsese used voice-overs or when Hitchcock used shadows. 

I should probably make up sentences like “first half was breezy-romantic, second half was action packed” , but honestly, I don’t know what breezy romantic is. But I should write these things, it’s probably what the ‘we’ felt in the theatres according to some critics. 

I know this blogpost will not add anything to discourse, much like Dhanush’s sister character in the movie, much like all GVM’s sister characters. 

So I should just put it out there, get ENPT out of the way and move on. Maybe I should go to Mumbai too, just to think about this movie in detail. But that would be a costly thing to do and my life might cross with gangsters and arms dealers. But I can always stay in Mythili’s place. Damn! I should just publish this blogpost.

“Do it. Do a spelling and grammar check. Now hit publish!” a voice in my head tells.

Don’t ask me why. 

Even if it is mediocre, some critic in the future might compare it to a blog post about a Hitchcock film. 

Categories
cinema cinema:tamil FRS

FRS: Bigil


So you all know what an FRS is right? Right? 

+2: Movie is without narration. Always a good sign (or so we thought). 

+5: Movie puts itself into porali category immediately as it begins with students protesting against change of the college building from a heritage building to a new building outside the city. (actually in Arakonam).

We feel the government is in the right here, since in-city colleges and their buses actually contribute a lot to city traffic. But of course it is not a Tamil movie, unless it opposes the government.

Even heritage buildings will breathe better without the trouble of students <umm…where are we going with this>

Heil Democracy and all that. 

-41: Predictably politician character is played as a mixture of being clueless and ruthless. Politico uncle orders a riot on protesting students, of course this is what is going to set-up the hero introduction sequence. 

+5: Hero has mastered the art of throwing bijli vedi in a manner that it explodes just before the thug’s face. Also this is a way to wish the audience “Happy Diwali Nanba”

-5: Hero hits at least 20 people within the first 20 % of the movie, means ki you can comfortably say that for the remaining 80 % of the movie any such hitting will be surely tiring and you will not experience any exhilaration. 

-2: If hero is from gully, then surely he must be the most popular guy with all the thaaymaargal’s and kutties love and affection. We will never understand why this is so, apart from the fact that he is the hero.. 

-11: Since it is written in the Kollywood Shaastram, that the  best way to end a semi-comedic intro fight would be to convert into an intro song. We now have an opening song which is shot in all shades of red available. 

-24.5: Yogi Babu is in this movie, that means a “moonji” joke is always around the corner. We have to face it. <We mean…>

+6: It’s not a big hero tamil movie, if it does not have a chief minister reference; althought this seems to be a new virus; such a thing was never said in the Kollywood Shaahstram

-90: Kollywood continues to exploit gansgterism without even for once explaining the mechanics of it. 

-91: Kollywood heroes continue to exploit cooling glasses by wearing them for 90% of the movie, so we can never see them act. 

#ItsNotCoolToWearCoolersAlways

-12: When in hospital, supporting characters will regain consciousness only to reveal entire back story of character. 

-30.8: Surprise! Father of gangster hero is also gangster, but with white hair and all. That’s about it. All pazhaya scenes only. 

+30.8: But he is well meaning gangster, because of course he is played by hero only. 

<Pause for reflection> 

Rayappan believes that his son becoming a national football player will encourage more people to move out of their gully by taking up football. 

While this is an inspiring thought, since there is always only a limited number of people who can be part of a national football side, the idea itself might not scale. 

There is a possibility that those who don’t make it to the national side either return to their rowdy roots or become sports followers on twitter who tweet GOALLLLL while following matches. 

Neither will help the overall ecosystem. 

Rayappan should have thought better. Won’t scale. 

</Pause for reflection> 

-05: No girl in the football team had the slightest doubt that Michael indeed looked like ex Tamilnadu captain Bigil. Because….hmm…

+11: Nayanthara is playing an empowered heroine in a movie about woman empowerment

-11: Empowered heroine does not tell father that she is not interested in marriage right now, this would have cut some 20 minutes of attempts at a comical church wedding. 

-3: Convenient team physiotherapist is extremely convenient (for hero)

-24: When movie transforms into sports movie, so all sports officials transform into villains and hero can become coach. 

+33: For a few minutes we actually thought this would be a women’s empowerment film, points for those minutes.

When issues are watered down so that the hero can take a stand on it, then ultimately the issue only suffers. 

Here in Bigil, while women empowerment is treated with allowable care; director offers no apology for violence and rowdyism.There are at least 300 people being thrown here and there by the hero. 

That rowdyism itself is a threat to women’s safety never occurred to the director. 

Hmm of course, hero is rowdy because rowdy is cool/wants to be etc. 

-33: For a full second half which is supposed to be about the girls, barely their names registered and most don’t have any role or character. 

+6: Director firmly believes that scoring goals is the only aspect of football he will concentrate on. 

-78: Movie relies heavily on stereotypes, but also does some baavla in the name of dismantling them. 

-101: Movie is not over yet. 2 more football matches to go. 

+3: One police station sequence which seems was directed by ARM during Darbar break. 

-5: Director sneaks in outtakes from Adidas ads for SIngapennay song, we hope people found it inspiring, or atleast to do some Diwali sports shoe shopping

<Use code BIGIL50, wherever you want, you never know> 

+5: Everyone in football team is wearing Bigil jersey, but we expected them to turn to camera and say “I am Bigil” like “I am spartacus” , no such luck.

-41.8: A team in full form will suddenly play like they have never played together before in THE FINALS of the tournament, just so our hero can go to locker room and motivate them. 

+11: Hero fulfills everyone’s wishes, including the wishes of his dead father and his father and their friends and their uncles and their gullies and the whole world. 

+32: Hero gets credit for everything by NOT getting credit for everything, wow well played. 

Hmm but..

Haters can hate, because Peace is the answer. Everyone becomes good. Society is happy. World is happy. Sleep well. 

All numbers are incidental and arbitrary, except the facts provided by our data analytics team

Happy Deepavali Nanba.

Subam

Team FRS

Categories
cinema cinema:tamil Parking Lot Notes

Parking Lot Notes: Nerkonda Paarvai

It is difficult for me to see Nerkonda Paarvai without making comparisons to Pink, at the same time it is also difficult for me to accept that an EDM festival in such a large scale would be held near Mamallapuram.

Yes, that is how H Vinoth’s Nerkonda Paarvai begins. 

If this had been an FRS we would have cut points for disbelief, but this is no FRS. 

Even with some years behind since its release Pink had something going for me, its absolute lack of heroism itself was heroic, the smooth transitions between the scenes which were not wanting to create dramatic tensions when they did not exist. 

When Amitabh Bachchan stands up to say “No” there is but a ticking clock (presumably of the court) which keeps him company, there is no other score. 

Just a lawyer delivering the closing arguments of his case. 

There has been many a column dedicated to how bold it is for a hero like Ajith Kumar to take up such a subject.But many columns need to be written on how the film making differs and the additions that Vinoth has added only hamper the classic and on point film making of Pink. Hopefully this is a start. 

Nerkonda Paarvai is in all ways an inferior remake of Pink. Let’s start with the characterisation. 

Deepak Sehgal is a disturbed ageing lawyer, his illness is mentioned but not explained, we know it is an impediment when he mixes up words when fighting for the girls. These impediments make the fight difficult, they add one more layer when the wronged girls go against the powerful boys. 

In the Tamil remake, the worst I had feared had happened; Bharath Subramaniam has a mental condition- bi polar, stress and anger issues etc but this is hardly an obstacle, in fact this mental condition gives Ajith a superpower to bash goons- again typical nondescript goons. There is no obstacle, in fact here they fear the hero. 

I loved Viswasam, I almost felt it was a clever Tamil reworking of Logan- Ajith even sports the same tired look of Hugh Jackman (this for another blog post). In Nerkonda Paarvai, his association with super heroes continue and Bharath Subramanium is nothing but a Bruce Banner/Hulk as realized by Ajith. 

Nothing wrong with that, except that this characterisation is in the wrong movie. 

I am not sure if the Pink remake needed a heroic backstory for its hero, but it surely did not require the utterly unconvincing Vidya Balan flashback. Oh and a loud Yuvan background score. 

And of the other actors only Rangaraj Pandey seems to be having fun, playing a version of himself- one of the most confident debuts in recent times. 

At the Laureate we do not celebrate movies just because of the themes that they take up- but hey many liked this film- why such negative notes? 

Maybe it is me, I should have given more time between viewing these films. 

In that case I would have forgotten about how beautifully absent of background music Pink was.

I would have forgotten the biting sarcasm that Sehgal brought about in his ‘guide to the modern Indian woman’.

I would have forgotten that Amitabh was just a player ( an able one at that) in the movie which was more focussed on the girls. 

I would have forgotten all about how the original treats people as people and not playing them as heroes and villains, the remake does this constantly by close-ups and ominous music. 

Maybe it is not them, it is me.