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cinema cinema:tamil

2.0: Hollow Spectacle

2point0

 

Shankar’s sci-fi sequel begins in twilight.  A wonderfully constructed suicide; it could very well be a testimony to the director himself.

 

Is the Shankar sun really setting?

 

If it is, then it really wants us all to remember the previous glory.

2.0 is an oddly stitched together film of mostly “Shankar elements”, who knows this movie can give rise to an ‘Ultimate Shankar Movie Checklist’

 

Here goes an initial draft:

Shankar’s main vigilante will want to kill people to make things right because no one listens to him- Check

He might use some ancient text/symbol/martial art to justify/aid his killing- Check

Vigilante will compete himself & previous Shankar films in devising improbable deaths- Check

Using common folk to convey the confusion about what is happening on the ground or “public pulse” shots- Check

A set piece in a stadium- Check

Amy Jackson’s ….never mind – Check

Corrupt businessmen and politicians- Check

 

Ok, yes there is a lot more which we left out including the minister’s secretary wearing safari suit (Check).

Directors tend to repeat themselves, happens all the time man.

We understand that people can run out of ideas and would very much recycle existing works; marketing has a fancy name for this called “re-purposed content”.

The beauty of such content is in making it feel like a whole new experience, in 2.0 the opposite happens and the regular stream of Shankar references also do not help.

The film reaches fantastical levels of unconvincing-ness when Akshay Kumar turns up as prosthetic Pakshirajan or bird-man who somehow has summoned the dead spirits of sparrows to take away cell phones from humans. He believes that humans+cell phones have caused the caused the sparrow deaths and they must be punished. He also believes in wearing a sweater in Thirukazhukundram (70 Km from Chennai).

Dr. Vaseegaran on the other hand believes no man is match for bird-man and summons up Chitti ( The robot from Endhiran). Yep, that’s it; very simple.

Shankar and his team of writers (including Jeyamohan who is writing the Mahabharata in modern form) have gone to the Keep It Simple School of Screenwriting.

If there is a problem, then there is an immediate solution and the protagonist knows what it really and exactly is and hence there is no real tension. Even when a gigantic metallic bird threatens to destroy the city.

Let alone the story, 2.0 refuses to engage in complexities in its science too; everything is reduced to positive and negative. This reductive science approach undertaken to cater to the breadth of the audience ends up hurting the film which after a while feels like a hollow assemblage of well rendered visual effects.

Immediate wow-factor not withstanding 2.0 also overstays its welcome, so eager it is to show us this spectacle that it forgets that the film is pretty much over before the titular 2.0 appears.

2.0 is again Rajnikanth who in the absence of good writing and an effective BGM makes those scenes work with ‘that’ trademark laugh and quips, but by this time it is difficult for humans to really feel connected for the final forty minute action display.

Very early on in the film, an engineering student falls ‘immediately’ in love over the immaculate beauty that is Nila (Amy Jackson) only to fall immediately out of love when he comes to know that Nila is in fact a humanoid robot.

Good to look at, but nothing much beyond that.

Oh wait, that’s the movie too.

 

Categories
cinema cinema:tamil reviews

APPEARANCES ARE DEFECTIVE: THE ‘I’ REVIEW

i-movie-poster_141075512910 WARNING IF YOU DO NOT LIKE READING IN PARAGRAPHS, PLEASE SCROLL  TO JUST BEFORE THE ENDING, WE HAVE GIVEN EVERYTHING IN POINTS, READERS MUST NOTE THAT THIS IS THE ANNA UNIVERSITY METHOD OF WRITING, OTHERS CAN READ FROM HERE Caustic Kumar sat at the edge of his assigned seat, somewhere at the back of the auditorium which played host to the Annual Movie Reviewers award, the announcer: a really short man who looked shorter in his borrowed suit began to announce the nominees for the “third best movie reviewer-male” category. Caustic Kumar unhinged himself from his removed self and showed some expectation in the names that were being announced, the organisers had the good sense to arrange for an LED screen which had live footage of those who had been nominated, in the right bottom was the smiling face of Moderate Manohar. It was those rare occasions in life when the world actually favoured fairness against flamboyance, fake-ness and flowery-ness, Mod Manohar had actually won the award. Amidst chattering crowd who unconsciously clapped without care or knowledge as to who had won, Moderate Manohar began his now epic acceptance speech. <Cut to the cell phone screen of Caustic Kumar> <Incoming Message noise, Ping or Ting> “Caustic, need urgent review of Shankar’s I, we have a lot of space for tomorrow’s edition because the Bollywood editor has gone on leave. Write something like ’25 things that we learned from I’ would be ideal for digital edition, repeat urgent” Editor in Chief (non-Bollywood Segment-special charge) <Cut to Caustic’s face>

Caustic: Shit

Meanwhile… Moderate: “I would also like to dedicate this award…um…dedicate not the right word…I would like to share this award with my partner in reviews…who is sitting there looking bewildered for not getting nominated this year…Mr. Caustic Kumar!!!” <Yaay! Mod shouts in the mike meekly like an elementary school kid>

Chattering uncaring crowd goes silent over the mention of the name Caustic Kumar. Announcer has no other option, but to signal Caustic on to the stage. A senior reviewer who was three years old when Gone with the Wind was released was not impressed and started to walk out of the auditorium, while the live video feed captures the whole response.

Another senior reviewer, also the member of the awards committee and not surprisingly winner of the awards a great number of times (double digits) scathingly remarked as Caustic got to the stage, “Put on a smile Caustic, you know only the best get nominated”

Caustic: “Thanks Chandru, I would have been nominated a hundred times, if only there had been a category called Honest Movie Reviewer of the Year” Mod laughs uncontrollably

<CROWD ERUPTS IN ANGER>

It is to be noted here that the crowd here consisted of past winners and their intimate families and like-minded friends, only Caustic had dragged himself to the event to see his friend be nominated. <AS EXPECTED THEY THROW CAUSTIC AND MOD OUT>

Caustic: Let’s just get on with this, before someone comes out and starts hitting us. Mod: I had one good moment in life and even before it could be photographed, you ruined it,

Caustic: Come on now, you are not the third best reviewer in town, in fact there is no difference between you and the other guys, I mean the winners…you all say the same THING!!!

Mod: You are jealous that you have never won any award.

Caustic: That I am never going to win, but at least I need to get paid at the end of this month, we need to do this I review thing, I already made a few points, let’s call it “Appearances are Defective”

Mod<going into Mod mode>: See the thing is, Shankar had a concept, to show that beauty is not skin deep… to show that models were humans also.. Caustic: Bull only…I can see that there has been no clear thinking on the side of production, at least no clear thinking, all the people who live in this Model universe are as plastic as the pearlpet jars that these guys gave you as an award here…

Mod<points to the award in his hand>: This is not pearl pet

Caustic: ok, shripet. That is not the point, however when the hero does fall in love for here, which begins as admiration to a celebrity and blossoms into love when he sees her in bikini, that I think is the lowest point.

Mod: Come on now, we can this is an admission on the part of the writer and also the heroine turns out to be more than her looks, further in the movie.

Caustic: This is why they give you awards, I mean all of you, you just say the same thing which everyone expects in a movie, and you can absolutely say what will be printed in tomorrow’s paper.

Mod: My win has really affected you, we are balanced and unbiased and even in a bad movie we try to look at the good things and not take pot shots, and we encourage new talents, as it is too many restrictions in filmmaking

Caustic: WHY SHOULD MOVIE REVIEWERS BE NEUTRAL????<Shouts> we are not part of the judicial system, we are also not diplomats and so there is no reason for us to be…wait for it….diplomatic!

Mod: You are taking this too personally I guess, I try you guess what my review of I would be

Caustic: Easy work, I- so much hard work by Vikram, stunning visuals, imaginative song and fight sequences and second half would have been shorter or some such things….

Mod: Well…. I mean…how much can you really say? Is it not good to see the good things in the whole?

Caustic: I’m saying this now, there can be no two ways about it, you like it or not, it is only when you sit and substantiate on how much effort they have put etc, but it is to those first impressions that act as instigators to you real opinon.

Mod: SO you’re saying that “all this hardwork by Vikram” phrase should not be used at all

Caustic: I’m saying it should not be used at all, it is after all an actor’s sworn duty to bring the character on screen, why give extra points for that and does it mean that in other movies this much effort is not being put in?

Mod: It means that other movies might not require that much work

Caustic: Exactly, movies must require a LOT of work!!! Here in this case it is the story, this is basically a Aboorva Sagodarargal template (which by itself is a culmination of early revenge films), but this is an Aboorva Sago without the goodness, without the interesting characters….

Mod: You cannot compare….

Caustic: Let me finish…AS begins with pain, Srividya getting poisoned, Kamal getting killed, Appu doesn’t know it but we the audience do, we fell for them, and then later when Appu comes to know of his past, we feel even more, we want to be there when the Tiger rips off Nasser’s head and share a similar look to that of Appu, which is quote scary. Even if you consider the character of Appu as a gimmick, the weight of the story and how the screenplay is constructed makes all the difference, here in Shankar’s I the Koonan character is nothing but a fancy dress item, I really couldn’t feel for him because his greatest motivation is good looks and god awful villains who really put planning to shame.

Mod: You just run over the film like a train, not staying on things, this as I had first said; is about how love is not about appearances, like how Diya…

Caustic: They should have called her Barbie

Mod: Shhh… Diya the model, loves Lingesh even when he becomes Koonan, to show that love is all conquering

Caustic: In that case I would have liked to see the love child of Koonan and Diya, not see Koonan become Lingesh again; but one thing I do agree is that they have used fairy tales as basis for this whole film. (see Ennodu Nee Irundhaal)

Mod: You absolutely hate this film, I get it, but there is no point going into such details, sit back, enjoy the China landscape and PC’s camera…

Caustic: Oh my God, don’t remind me, that China valley replica had the most irritating Advertisement like house setting ever, this is the point, let us just say that this film is about how ads are soul-less and those who act in them are angels on earth, ok not all but only those who play the leads in this film.

<Mod starts to say something…then decides not to>

Caustic: If you want, we can say that this is a cleverly disguised attack on consumer capitalism and exploitation, we can also use phrases like seduction of the innocent, like how the lead character never wavers from his child-like innocence even though his really bad Madras bashai blossoms into an accent worthy of a super model.  You can also use your favourite phrase “for a tamil film, this had good graphics” line.

Mod: Oh, I’m fed up of writing it, I really do hope that there is a method to look beyond the graphics, all those bulbous villains in the end, but the effort they have put makes me want to encourage…

Caustic: This is not some newcomer you need to encourage…that brings us to Shankar, on the weakest script he has taken up in his career, this movie seems to have been directed on auto pilot or sleep mode.

Mod: That brings us to the primal question, “ Are we getting better, or are the movies getting dumber?”

Both walk into the darkness, while a PING sound is heard, it must be the editor.

THE ‘I’ REVIEW FOR ALL THOSE WHO SCROLLED TO THE END, ALMOST Story=Aboorva Sago minus Kamal minus Ilayaraaja minus Screenplay and of course minus sense Countries you can visit by watching this movie: China, flower valley, song worthy Special Song: Beauty meets beast meets musical type extravaganza. Special mention: none whatsoever MOVIE  FAST FACTS/IMPRESSIONS

  • Vikram lost and regained weight, or regained and lost weight
  • Amy Jackson who plays a model in this film, is actually a model (wonder casting!)
  • Police dogs lose scent on railway tracks, because….convenience
  • Hero will fall in love with body parts.
  • Influenza Virus is deadly
  • Models are popular enough to be movie stars, but will not act in movies (I dunno why)
  • Heroine’s mother will go into coma if heroine does not marry
  • Heroine’s mother shares an interesting relationship with one doctor, although nothing is shown, something is hinted. (This was the only thing that interested us in the movie)
  • Chennai villain model has influence to call up 2500 chinese goons in china on bicycles to kill hero model, hero model of course kills them all.
  • If you shoot a romantic song in china, you can float in air over water, because no gravity in china.
  • Advertisement director gets more pissed than audience on heroine;s acting.
  • Cola barons will look like Vijay Mallya
  • Hero’s parents will always vanish at a point in the movie when the writers thinks that they are no longer required. Henceforth to be called I’s rule.
  • Before important movie event, all villains will gather in one room, so that hero can be explained what the audience knew 25 mins back.

(SPOILERS) Senior but not so popular now (or) other state actor doing side role in earlier part of the movie can mean only one thing: <wait for it…>he is the main villain. In the end everyone is beautiful again. <This movie review was written with all respect to the hard work the makers of the movie had put in, this review was written without much hard work but with almost near death anger on how the movie turned out>

Categories
Music

What’s Music Doc? #1- Drums at Midnight

Indian

I have had the misfortune of not able to recount the events that happened during the stroke of the midnight hour on the day of our Independence, simply because I wasn’t available, yet. But I have had the good fortune of listening to quite a few first hand accounts of the last hours that the British had in our country. Most of them recall the radio broadcasts, few local peaceful processions and unscheduled gatherings, but what does it really feel to be on the night of Independence? Relief? Well as one’s feeling is one’s own and hardly be transported to another.<Sigh>

But there are ways.

There have been numerous movies on the Independence struggle, but few have captured that night with flamboyance as Shankar did with “Kappalyeri Poyyachu” from Indian, that is the closest i have been to Aug 15th 1947, whether we laid down a monstrous effigy of John Company and danced around in clothing whose sources can be traced to all the states that were yet to be born <yikes!> remains to be seen, but then if we hadn’t danced like that on the ramparts of Gingee fort then what use of this Independence?

Cinema has a perpetual license to romanticize historical events, the song also helps the film by establishing the pain and struggle gone into getting the struggle, thus building a wall of impact for future events of country gone bad which ‘Indian’ discusses. Maybe they all sang in SPB’s voice from the fort walls looking proudly at outgoing Union Jacks, they surely should have. For many years i believed they did.

<pause and listen to how SPB pauses beautifully between “namma vaasal thedi…”>

Now no one is going to take this song as a historical document, but Shankar’s and Rahman’s imagination <choreography: Raju Sundaram, lyrics: Valee > will remain as one the best independence day celebrations.

And they say there is no use for song in films.

<What’s music doc? is an occasional short column to be put together on the influence of film music or the inability to explain the influence of film music or some such thing>