Tag: nitya menen

Parking Lot Notes: Psycho (2020)

Mysskin’s Thupparivaalan sowed in me the fears that the director is not really interested in genre but more interested in using the genre to speak about larger themes, something I should have feared even earlier, when he released his reimagining of a ghost story in”Pisasu”. Sometimes I am late to these insightful fears and that hurts when I am sitting inside a theatre watching the movie unfold. 

Psycho is a continuation, it is really a different take on the serial killer or slasher sub genre, to the extent that it is devoid of any suspense and does not evoke any fear ( apart from my fear of this not being a true genre film). It does not even pierce into the psyche of the psycho and it is nowhere close to being a serious police investigation film. 

It paints a generic picture,oversells humanity. So now you see how far Mysskin has come away from the genre.There are still instruments from his flourish box- the calmness in the dark, the rustling of the trees (oh I wish there were more of this) but very little more. 

To understand my pain,then let’s start at the beginning. There is a serial killer on the loose in Coimbatore, he stalks, kidnaps and before our characters could enter, has killed 13 women.Our characters are introduced via a radio show discussing the recent spate of murders-one is Dahini played by Aditi Rao Hydari who somehow has the knack of finding herself in angelic roles in boring films, the other is of course Gautham played by Udhayanidhi Stalin who is introduced as her blind stalker but goes on to become the detective who solves this case. After a point, the movie becomes less and less about solving the murder and more about hero finding the heroine. 

In his efforts to paint a hyper unreal love story- Mysskin just drops the aforementioned 13 murders of women-just like that- it leaves a bad taste when the serial killer is almost portrayed as a saint by the end of the film. (breathe in deeply, hold, breathe out) 

I always return to my musings on genre, because that is what constitutes overwhelmingly to how I receive a film (also the mood) and I am amazed how uniquely Mysskin manages to make my favourite type of films dull and completely devoid of excitement. 

He did it to the detective thriller before with Thupparivalan, but Mysskin was not like this, he used to understand how important a thread is, a line of thought is, what is it to uncover a clue and how one thing leads to another- for that I should have just stayed home and watched Yuddham Sei. 

That film too had an underlying social message, but the movie by itself worked because of the right push given to these genre elements including one of Tamil cinema’s best portrayal of the obsessive detective (by Cheran). 

But am I really doing a disservice to Psycho by comparing it with other films and pushing it down by my own expectations of genre elements? Maybe I do not have the maturity to accept “subversion” in genre. 

Maybe I have begun to realize that I watch movies from the experience of watching other movies.

(Pause for reflection). 

True. There could be many reasons why the movie did not work for me at all, maybe that’s why I waited with ‘this’ languishing in the drafts for 15 days before putting out a Parking Lot Note (usually these are quick, I mean relatively). 

Honestly, I felt nothing really happens on the screen and with great difficulty I tried to keep my attention on the screen- even the later attempts at a horror thriller did not evoke my required response and I was asking myself again and again, why is it important for this director to sell this concept of “humanity” again at the cost of the story itself? So boring. 

That’s when I try to disassociate myself from the character and look for breaks in the story thread or logical holes. I couldn’t help myself but. 

But what really worked me up was that this thrill-less movie begins with the lines that they say that it is a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, it was like dedicating a movie without dialogues to Visu.  

Fin. 

FRS: 24

A note on the Fawlty Rating System (FRS)

*Initially thought about in 1934, it came to fruition only in the late 2000s.

*It is the only movie rating system in the universe to be based on a Buddhist scroll that was actually written by an Irish traveller who had been an assistant director in the movie “Birth of a nation”, the scroll was curiously titled “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari to make a Baahubali”

*The rating system is now named after the Irish Traveller, a small portion of the proceeds from this review will go to a bhel puri vendor in an undisclosed street corner for secret reasons.

*All numbers and words are arbitrary, mostly imaginary. They do not mean anything

A note on the Fawlty Rating System Ends

suriya_24_20012016_m

Let’s just get this straight, this is not an A for Attempt, E for Effort kind of review.

+89: The watch.

So this is a concept, the watch makes you go forward and backward in time, we like it; honestly we love it, there are immense possibilities that one can do with time travel, like say unite lost lovers, prevent wars or do something like Netru Indru Nalai. (which had a full blown time machine).

We like good concepts, so what do you do when you can control the uncontrollable viz. time?

The watch is also well designed, in fact that would be the next rating

+22: Attention to detail

Right so everything from the watch, the lab of Sethuraman which looks like one imagined by an author of steam-punk novels.

-231.455: Mismatch

I really get it that the writers and the director have re-imagined 1990 Tamil Nadu, which has an English castle, harry potter train and maple trees and Mad Max type bike racer henchmen, but the 2016 of Tamil Nadu is just like how it is now? Dei, i mean, dei!!!What happened to the Harry potter train?

-18: Suriya

Like OK, we realise we will mostly be killed by fans after this, but FRS committee has always held the view that there are limited characters that this actor can pull off, we know that we could be wrong entirely but consider us for one moment.

Suriya plays three characters

  1. Mani: ok this is the ‘normal’ guy we are supposed to identify with, he is exactly the same as ‘Ayan’ Suriya or the non Bodhidharmar ‘7am’ Suriya, in fact..never mind…what we are saying is…ok…not working…see there is a difference the way Kamal played PP Raja from ‘Savaal’, Raja from ‘AS’ and PKS from ‘PKS’ all three speak the same dialect but….ok..not going to go further on this point. Just saying Suriya plays the same guy, hence limiting.
  2. Sethuraman: this is the old Suriya from Varanam Aayiram who didn’t die but borrowed Stephen Hawking’s wheel chair.
  3. Athreya: coming to the much talked about character, who himself proclaims that he is a hard core villain, so that ends there.

That’s it not saying anything more about characters and all.

-20: Naming

Ok so, this Inventor Sethuraman has a brother named Athreya??

Like mean they seem to have been born in a royal type family(they have castle in the woods) which consults extensive naming books before naming twins like for example (Arpan-Darpan), this Sethuraman-Athreya naming convention, we dunno not working that’s all.

Another character named Mani, to drive in the ‘Time’ theme of the movie.

-58: Saravana Stores on my mind

Product placement!!! And whenever Suriya smiles it looks exactly like the one where he invites all our family members to visit the store.

 

-25: Ladies

This is in line with existing traditions only, mothers will be sacrificing and will only be worried about getting their sons married.

Girls will believe whatever hero says, especially in the time of google-android-shizz at your fingertips, like if the hero tells that there is disease you are suffering from, girl will believe, no questions asked; yeah yeah it is very cute and all.

And they fall in love.

-5: Poovum, Pottum (flowers and bindi)

Again concept, girl becomes divine with this and all heroes will force this on all heroines so that they become divine. Later they will rise to heaven.

+78: Malinga made fun of.

-300.9: Watch-mechanic as a lucrative career option

Like sir, what’s the time?

Man takes mobile phone and tells us the time, see NO WATCH. So in these no-watch times, the protagonist runs what seems to be a really successful enterprise here and he also rides a Royal Enfield Cafe Rider, also more points would be deducted for not even mentioning that it was bought on loan(was it?).

Think about the EMI, guys.

-100: Every time hero mentions one phrase, full theatre resorted to collective sighs, the air released during these sighs caused more suffocation and a near death experience

-40.9: Generic songs, generic bgm disappointing when visually the movie has so much to show, the music does little to heighten the experience.

Even more so on the supporting actors, they have little or no space to play.

+120.003: But wait! It ain’t that kind of movie!

No it isn’t, we are nitpickers.

24 is bang on track when it keeps to its time travel concept. The interval and the initial portions are absolutely well done, which kept us guessing on what could be the next move, similar scenes were observed in the second half as well; but then the deviations were too in the face to ignore,for example the whole love and family track.

Like if you think an entire family going on ‘moun vrat’ for a single day is cute, then you can erase all the minus ratings that we have put out.

Also if you are irritated, think that this is not film criticism, we suggest you to scroll up to read a short note on FRS.

Thank you.

 

 

WHAT THEY DO UNDER THE BLANKETS

CK AND MM AT THE MOVIES: O KADHAL KANMANI

Okay_Kanmani_film_poster

Moderate Manohar approached the end of the corridor with much hesitation, in his hands was an envelope, the fine-ness of it indicated its foreign nature. As the door creaked to an open, he could see Caustic head down on the table, the room only filled with the soft electronic buzz of an unsaved word document.

“CK, the appointment has come….” Began Mod quite loudly.

MM: CK, the appointment has come!

CK: huh…what?

MM: the appointment from Chicago Sun Times, it came in the mail just now.

CK< widens smile>: IS it? Wow when are we leaving?

MM: Not we.

CK: huh?

MM: It’s only me they want, as in…they can only accommodate me right now.

<A little background here, CK and MM quite fed up with their lives in Chennai had applied for the post of resident movie reviewers in Chicago, although CK was sceptical about working abroad, he finally realised its importance and was quite looking forward to it, now everything had just fallen flat for him>

CK took a moment, or maybe even shorter than that to recover and went ahead and patted MM on the shoulder.

CK: “Great, you are taking this up right?”

The room was again filled with MM’s hesitation and the soft electronic buzz.

Some higher power intervened in the form of the editor who barged in unannounced like he owned the place, in fact he did.

Aye Sinamika Tamil Lyrics – OK Kanmani

“CK!MM!, OKK review on my table, fifteen minutes, already every major media and everyone with a Facebook account has already written a lot about it. We shouldn’t miss out.” The editor walked out with the same pace.

MM: Let’s discuss the movie first, later perhaps…

CK: Nevermind…whenever it suits you.

MM: Should we start with the bit about how bold Mani Ratnam is, making a film on live-in relationships?

CK: No….this isn’t about that, I mean at least I feel so, it isn’t.

MM: Should I wait for you to tell what’s it about?

CK: It is about validation of love, this whole live in relationship thing is to keep it all contemporary and all that… you know like that skype call and the iPad song

MM: So contemporary that they have T.M Krishna’s latest book “A Southern Music” in the shelf somewhere in PrakashRaj’s house

CK: Understandable, considering the fact that Leela Samson plays an Alzheimer’s affected Carnatic singer, oh my god their walls are the same colour as the zari of the Kanchipuram sarees that these singers wear for concerts, so much richness. Also Thanjavur painting, it is the stuff upper middle class dreams are made of

MM: let’s come to the production design bits later, let us get back to the validation of love part, I think that this is a new concept, the exploration of live-ins

CK: No..no ..Mod, that’s what the director wants you to believe, to linger on the surface, the whole movie is about Tara and nobody else. Tara is the updated version of the Mouna Raagam Revathy.

MM: hmm..wild, willing to break rules and attracted to rash lover boy types and bored with domesticity etc…

CK: exactly, but she is also in a way the Agni Nakshatram Nirosha, not giving a damn because of a troubled past. Tara here hates marriage because her parent’s divorce affects her even now.

MM: But she falls for Aadi….they both fall for each other.

CK: Yes, but she never thinks much of him, atleast he is thankfully never full of himself, he just says “he will become rich like Gates etc”, she doesn’t think much of his game development career also when compared to her overtly passion filled love for architecture, she really doesn’t want anything serious.

MM: so when she really does realise she loves him anyway, he is about to go and he has already done something, but still she will only want him to say it. < “Marriage”>

CK: Yes enough instances to prove that this is a Tara fuelled relationship and not a flirty boy meets serious girl cute love story. First call back, first kiss even, all initiated by Tara.

MM: I see…where this is going, but what about Bhavani and Ganapathy, where do they actually fit in?

CK: they are clear examples for Tara to believe that a traditional relationship can work, she seems to be the one who is most affected by the happenings in their lives. Again a validation that she requires for secure love, in the end she isn’t clear about her career.

MM: So this is how is it going to be written? I mean this line of thought?

CK: What other is there? Isn’t this plain as daylight?

MM: No…no…what about the actors? The setting…the music and PC’s camera work, he seems to have let out this beast of a camera on this couple and the writing itself?

CK: Isn’t it what the others will also be saying? Mumbai trains and rains, mornings with pigeons flying, tastefully lighted blanket interiors and characters who alternate between sophistication and words of yore (“ummanamoonji! Kadavul”), the director’s insistence that friends of protagonists be as beautiful as them, etc, isn’t it what the others will also be writing or already written? OK we can write such stuff as well.

MM: Hmm..yes I think, I haven’t read any of them…in totality I liked the film, even from this love-validation-security angle you are coming from

CK: that’s the only angle I like the film from, and also Nitya Menen’s eyes.

MM: Surely we will throw in a bit about Nitya Menen’s eyes and what about Mani Ratnam’s comeback?

CK: What about it?

The editor walked in again, looked at the manuscript and said, “Throw in a few words about Nitya Menen’s eyes and about Mani Ratnam’s comeback, also meet-cute love story of our times etc”

MM: Yes sir, it’s there

Editor: Good, good Manohar, so this will be your final filing for my magazine…congrats on your appointment in Chicago. As for you CK, you are stuck with me for life.

CK: That, I am, sir.

CK went back to his table to file the final copy, but in the ruckus that the foreign appointment had created, he forgot to mention that the video game within the movie had a more interesting storyline than the movie itself and about The Shining reference he had caught in the film.

It was at this time MM said, “We need to talk”