Tag: 2019

FRS: Mr. Local

So we all know what FRS is right? Good that would save us an introduction.

A romantic comedy that tears your heart apart

-12: Narration, the whole movie is a narration between Manohar (SK) and his french prison guard. Hate narration in movies, hate them, except of course when done well. This isn’t one.

-10: In the inmates vs prison guards match, SK is the only person who scores a goal; do note that this match happens in Paris.

-2:Sun rays will exactly light up in a way that it illuminates SK’s head perfectly before his introduction.

+11: French prison guards are considerate and listen to entire sob stories of their inmates.

<Debate topic, should TN audience be as considerate as the prison guards from France?>

+13: SK saves Tamil Nadu culture from ‘external forces’ who want to ban the celebration of Ayudha Poojai; ‘external force’ is name Rita so that it rhymes with PETA and thus slides in the usual jallikattu reference.

Most humor based are some current event reference or involves Robo Shankar trying to talk in English

-40.9: SK’s habit of calling his friends as Baby and Darling, if this trend catches on, you know who started the fire.

+2: SK is actually working in this movie  ( as a car salesman) and the companies he switch to are also in the same industry (automotive); so yes there are things that Rajesh got right.

+5: SK’s cute family is a good addition to Tamil cinema’s long history cute families; in fact the triumvirate of funny mother-crazy sister and dutiful yet ‘fun’ son is a M.Rajesh favourite.

+57: Radhika is absolutely amazing in this film, in fact we could say the only good thing in this film; she switches from funny to sentimental and back just like that. Add more points for the meta in-joke of Radhika playing a TV serial obsessed mom whose life’s aim is to have a selfie with a TV heroine.

M. Rajesh stands Meta Rajesh?

-45: Hero (SK, we will use interchangeably) meets heroine by road accident cliche

-26.78: Rest of movie is about how they will not apologize for the above said road accident, because reasons.

-20: Keerthana Vasudevan (Lady Superstar Nayanthara)  runs KV productions- a tamil tv serial production house that is housed in an entire flashy skyscraper (some 20 floors); the rent for which would take up much of the finances of the production house- a good CEO would first be looking to use resources better…never mind, I don’t think M. Rajesh really thought about the heroine’s profession, he just wanted a CEO.

Thanos Tamizhachi: The Snap That Was Heard Across Kodambakkam

+1: Surprisingly for a movie about local vs global, no IT employees were made fun of in this movie.

-45: The only strategy that Keerthana Vasudevan (which is mentioned as trendy name, so 20 years down the lane you see a number of KVs then you know who started the fire) displays is her emotion less ability to sack people. (again and again)

So she goes and sacks the lead star of her popular production but does not get the HR involved and that too under frivolous reasons? I mean…oh please just get on with it.

Maybe they should have made the movie about how KV started KV productions; that would give more insight.

+12: SK’s football capabilities in France are explained by means of a local football match

-12: Although his action capabilities are never established, we just have to assume that all heroes like SK are blessed with fighting capabilities that can knock down 20 goons minimum

-34: SK also has only one strategy, that is to capture the heart of the heroine by irritating her.

-50: Hero calls heroine Dora Bujji, heroine’s recognition of this nickname (later) apparently cements the fact that heroine has love somewhere inside for irritating hero.

-78: Hero realizes he is in fact really in love with the heroine even while irritating her; this is achieved by means of a “who will be the mother of my child type” emo-futuristic psychological game played by hero’s sister.

Hero’s sister plays the same game with heroine too. Crazy sister.

This movie is a horror movie. Really because it creates fear among those who think about love, also love is not clearly defined in this movie, just like SK’s fighting skills.

-33: All songs whenever, wherever, even in Paris; it also seems like they went to Paris for songs and then decided to shoot remaining part of the movie there.

-3: the inevitable Parrys-Paris ‘joke’ Come on boys! Time to write proper jokes for a comedy film. Like I mean…

-22: Hero is not very understanding and always wants to have the last word, nothing really matters in SK’s universe even if you are a CEO who has fought your way up, the last words always belong to SK.

Last Word Freak

-411: Sad state for KV, with all the irritations that SK is creating, the TRP of  her TV shows are now plummeting.

-101: Later, but not so later, heroine actually falls (in love) for the hero and maybe (although it is implied only) she thinks that these irritations are actually ‘cute and harmless’. Hmm does this mean..like…..

-25.4: The guy KV choses to marry is maybe not a guy after all and this is supposed to be joke and of course KV now runs back to SK, all opponents to SK will be no match for him. Although SK himself is your friendly neighborhood rowdy baby with cutesy family.

Unga Veetu Pillai Types

-97: KV points out that SK’s middle class fantasy involves having her leaving her job, making babies and looking after families and their crazy sister married; while he somehow now gets to run her company.

Although this is just a fantasy, we at the FRS believe that KV production at the moment needs a wartime CEO who would cut costs and focus on select things that they should focus.

We also would like to point out that KV Productions suddenly becomes KV enterprises and Nayanthara starts buying car dealerships so that she can fire SK again and again( which is her only strategy). I mean this sort of unwanted recklessness will never pass a sitting board.

I mean does Kollywood even care? No, corporates and companies are easy targets and thus make convenient villains.

Also readers must realize that corporates only want to make profit, while Kollywood donates all the money they make to charitable causes.

-41: For any film with Thambi Ramiah, yes we are being unreasonable like that, so for a movie feature to get positive points even after casting Thambi Ramiah would have to involve him doing exceptional work (highly unlikely) or like just don’t put him in movies and expect us to give positive points etc.

Yes sometimes we have to be unreasonable.

-2.5: For a movie billed as a romantic comedy, this is neither romantic or comedic; except for a chuckle here and there.

Audience is expected to feel romance just because they have listed Sid Sriram as the singer of one of the songs etc.

So what’s the current Kollywood guidance value for a movie to be called comedy?

One joke for every hour of runtime is what our extensive studies say, so 2.5 jokes in this movie.

Good job.

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

Subam

Team FRS


What Kamal Could Do Next? Episode 1

Series Introduction

Late careers are definitely problematic. Especially if you have had a long filmography that carried much prestige, you really can’t take any movie that comes your way. But that has been done too, great actors have taken up roles just to collect the paycheck. Readers of the Lowly Laureate are well aware that we are a publication that cares about the career of this actor called Kamal Haasan.

We don’t really know politics and this might seem like much of a wish-list (trust us it isn’t), but Kamal surely will not abandon films. Yes, we are also aware that Kamal does not really need career advice. He has done well for himself in the fifty odd years.

This is not a wish-list, this is not a late-career planning crash course, this is just a way to shoe horn Kamal Haasan, the greatest living Indian actor into films that we get to watch from time to time. We enjoyed writing this series (otherwise we wouldn’t be writing it); hope you enjoy it too. Rephrasing Dasavatharam’s KH, these are not movies done by Kamal, but if he could have done it, it would have been nice.

Episode 1: A New Leaf (1971)

A popular comment for this movie on Letterboxd, the social network for movie lovers goes as thus : ” if i ever read a bad review of this, i’ll probably set myself on fire”; we wholly subscribe to this observation but although we would not take the extreme step of immolating ourselves, we have got a blog company to run. But, God knows it is true that this is one of the most perfect movies ever made. Heavens!

Walter Matthau plays mean millionaire Henry Graham, who has spent away his considerable fortune and has six weeks to find a rich wife because he cannot see himself become poor and doesn’t want to stop at just that. Prepared for every trick, Henry is a true gentleman villain.

Elaine May, the writer-director of this piece plays the innocent object of his desire-a luxurious solution to all his life’s problems-a fumbling fern focused botanist Dr. Henrietta Lowell.

Scenes move with the breeze of a page turn and the dialogue is genuinely funny; a modulated dark screwball comedy for the 70s mixed with the kindness that could be found even in the darkest of hearts. Heavens! This is a great movie! Don’t worry we won’t say more. Heavens!

How Would Kamal Do It?

Oh! KH is perfect to play the currency focused curmudgeon. This is actually a cheat, as through this series you will see that we will say that Kamal can play any role (but then he really can). Also it’s been a while since he has played a mean character, wasn’t Michael from MMKR the last one?

Do not forget that the dialogue heavy comedy is one of the well oiled arrows in RKFI’s quiver (Raj Kamal Films International) . Nasser (of course, but who else) could essay Henry Graham’s butler turned conscience keeper, although we are missing Nagesh on this one. Kamal-Crazy (our own Wilder-Diamond) can co-write and it would be welcoming to see Singeetham Srinivasa Rao direct. Damn, now this is seeming like a wish-list (but it really isn’t).

Although the story is driven from Henry’s POV; the movie is successful because Elaine May makes Henrietta outrageous yet grounded and the gags are excellent; we would like exercise caution before we suggest a lead actress. Maybe you could do better, after watching ‘A New Leaf’; if an Indian actress name pops in your head, do let us know.

Yes yes, by this time we hear your collective groans on why a remake? Firstly, original thoughts (and hence scripts) are exceedingly rare and most work is inspired. Secondly, we believe that KH would add a lot more to it- although the movie also features one of his favorite ways to end a film: jump into the water.

And to repeat ourselves, these are not movies done by Kamal, but if he could have done it, it would have been nice. He still can.

PS

For a umm rather dramatic and troubling Kamal Haasan film about a man losing all his riches and supported by a butler type person, see Uyarndha Ullam.

For a different story featuring a rich man losing all his riches and trying to reclaim it, see Sivaji Ganesan’ Enga Ooru Raja

How I chanced about A New Leaf you ask? Ok, here goes

Viswasam: Run Swetha Run!

As the swivel chair spins # 2

All things logical, it shouldn’t work; but it does, big time.

A masala film is often misconstrued as a product that has something for everyone. Which is to put in a bit of action, comedy,romance and sentiment into the mix and hope for fans of these separate ingredients to savour their allotted time.

The mass masala film is the one that has the mass hero as the main ingredient and aforementioned masala components in varying quantities based on what the fans of the mass hero want and what the mass hero can actually do.

Enough of recipe type definition, boys! For the masala to work it must be cooked well and harmonize (oh how I’ve been wanting to use this word) so as to not to seem as separate elements. Yes, including our hero too.

I turned on my telly to watch Siva’s Viswasam; knowing fully what history I had with Vivegam, I did not harbour a lot of expectations but what I did have, was some Veeram to sit tight for the next adventure that Siva will take Ajith (and me) along.

This is the their best adventure yet!

Siva does very little to raise my hopes immediately, a series of drone shots establish the village setting; the hero opening or the “change-scattering” shot as it is known did not create any impact.

Yes yes, we know hero is the biggest mass in his village and everyone fears him etc. Maybe this was a job for our FRS writers after all, but wait.

Behind the thick white beard is Thooku Durai’s(Ajith Kumar) majestic smile, but even further behind the smile is a sad secret. While he goes about in slow motion solving the day to day of his near and dear, only a few know of his colourful (literal) past.

Good all this fine, get on with it! Yes yes if hero is serious in present he must have been a playful fellow in his past; this is unwritten rule.

Thankfully this flashback and bits of hero pandering that comes with it is over quicker than expected and now all we have with us is dour Thooku Durai.

We join him on a trip to Mumbai and how the movie changes gears!

<We would like to add that this is one of the  very few Tamil films featuring Mumbai that does not have any underworld don connection to it. Kudos.>

Vivegam ended up with a lot of unintended humor because of spinning a story for a mass hero outside of his milieu (yes! I used milieu!) but then how else to make an international spy thriller?

This is an eternal question, how to integrate the best of the formulas of the west and the east? It’s a question that Kamal would have asked during the making of Vikram (1986).

In Viswasam, Siva seems to have understood Vivegam’s problems and tried to keep the best of both. A sequence driven action extravaganza spearheaded by a veshti wearing valorous man.

An action set-piece around a merry go round-a horror movie invocation in the form of a bathroom fight-a cage fight-multiple chases and what not; Thooku Durai tackles them all.

Tackles them all, but not in an overpowering mass hero way. In fact the stakes keep rising with every scene for Thooku Durai, making it difficult for him to succeed.

His wife hates him. His child, Swetha doesn’t know who he is. He promises not to reveal his identity because of honour. Gets run down by a car and almost faces death and also has to keep a promise. Phew! All these have consequences in the movie.

Totally impressed as to how challenging the writing makes the movie actually worthy of a mass hero.

Not to forget, other characters are treated with respect and given something to work with and not just sing the praises of lord mass hero, the ‘villain’ and his motivations too are not paper thin.

The writing does not belittle anyone to make the hero look taller or smarter than the rest.

I’m not saying that the songs are not a problem. I’m not saying that all the comedy really works; no I won’t tell such things because I’m pretty surprised by the rest of the movie to look and comment at all of this.

I’m just saying that most of the masala mixed well!

Viswasam is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and running in select theatres.

As the Swivel Chair Spins is a column about watching movies from home, yes that simple.