Tuesday, May 25

Geust Blog -1 , Lazygeek's Aayitha Eluthu - Movie Review

This was a mirage of my thoughts about the film.

As you stroll down the dark cinema hall to watch Aayitha Ezhuthu and if you are a few minutes late, you might assume that the climax is around. So begins the latest Mani Ratnam flick Aayitha Ezhuthu. And hey, you needn't worry for there is lot more to come and even if you miss this first scene, the scene repeats more number of times than the cost of your popcorn. Aayitha Ezhuthu is about serious cinema and not just for the popcorn eating cinema commoner.

Aayitha Ezhuthu's premise is all about the rare species of progressive youths who are not opportunists and escapists from stamp paper scams and water-scarce society of the modern day India. It is Mani Ratnam's expression of the angst against the middle class escapist mentality of the country and his endeavor to handover the country to such modern, intellectually progressive youth.

While conveying this Mani Ratnam chooses to adopt a style of film-making which is still in its experimental state, at least in India. The basic rule for the screenplay is that there no rules. There are only directives. Playing with this fact, Mani Ratnam has taken liberties to play with the style of film making. While he has adopted the classic structure that demands to introduce the characters, create the conflict and give an ending, he has just meddled with the timing of each the above mentioned components. Though I haven't seen any of the movies they say has inspired Aayitha Ezhuthu like Ameros Perros, City of God or Kurasowa's Rashomon, I personally think they might have had little to do with this film. As reported Aayitha Ezhuthu doesn't sport overlapping events or even points of view. The movie, if observed meticulously, is told from a third person's point-of-view.

In Mani Ratnam's earlier super hit Alai Payuthey, the movie oscillates from the past to present and in one point the flashback merges with the present event. This same thing if you deploy as three flashbacks which gets merged with the present through a common incident, you get Aayitha Ezhuthu.

Pity the media as it reports the highlight lies in this connection of three stories to one point. It merely takes a pulp-fiction writer to manufacture such stories. The 'Maathiyosi'(think different) lies in shaping these characters and using them to unfold the story in the later half. But in Aayitha Ezhuthu, the character build-up occupies for more than two thirds of the movie. The reason being all the three characters form the core of the movie and the movie details up their lives and their view of life. So every character's story is detailed until which the other characters wait for their chance.

The risk involved in having such a story-telling style is that, relating to a character becomes tougher as there is no one central character that gets focused. It is only finally when the repercussion of that common incident gets focus, we clearly see the main theme and the protagonist of the movie. Despite these risks and shortcomings, it's Mani Ratnam's sheer ability to keep up the interest of the viewer with his character sketching. But after the two flashbacks and one common incident, one will tend to feel what the director wants to convey. Well, there is a long dense second half to come. But patience waits for none and you tend to loose it by the first half.

Madhavan as Inba Sekhar fails poorly to portray 'the guy from streets'. Just because of Writer Sujatha's Chennai slang the character of Inba Sekhar escapes without a curse. His Chocolate boy image and his intonations bring out the urban actor in him. With the kind of character that Mani Ratnam and Sujatha has etched out, one would expect a splendid and powerful performance from Madhavan. Though by his characterization Madhavan would tend to get noticed it is one of Mani Ratnam's biggest mistake is to cast Madhavan for this role.

Surya as Michael Vasant, a child prodigy who comes from a middle class Christian family. Mike is rigidly violent and a genius of his own kind. Be it the way he rigs the politician or the way he proves that the universe is made of dense matter with a single equation, the character of Michael Vasant is here to stay with us. Surya has played his role very subtly like Kakkha Kakkha and gets full points for his perfect body language. Surya enters the flashback with the same walk into a mall just like Karthik in Mouna Ragam. The strength of his character doesn't lie in all the powerful stunts he does with Madhavan but by the intelligent dialogue delivering skills of Surya.

Sidharth, the rascally flirtatious young man comes as a relief to the rather serious movie and his flashback just after the second half of the movie reminds us the romantic yester-year Mani Ratnam. For Sidharth is very natural and he portrays the present day $ dreaming yuppie youth. Actually it is Sidharth's life that get entirely changed by the Napier Bridge incident and not the other two.

Bharathi Raja as Selvanayakam is convincing and does his role better than expected. A great find. Meera Jasmine who pairs Madhavan has done an appreciable job and it is her character that earns all the sympathy. Easha Deol's character could be easily avoided because she does nothing more than just appearing on-screen. Trisha is also convincing as Meera.

Writer Sujatha again steals the show with his appropriate dialogues for the three characters. The difference he has shown in the dialogues of each character shows the genius he is.

Ravi K Chandran excels with his camera techniques, as expected. The kind of hand-in-hand exercise Ravi K Chandran, Editor Sreekar Prasad and Stuntman Vikram Dharma has done makes the stunts very remarkable.

Art Director Sabu Cyril is certainly a let down. His sets for Madhavan's house, near the Chennai port is very artificial. The streets and roads leading to Madhavan's house is clearly noticed as sets. We all know that each character gets a color. If only it was subtle, it would have won the praise. But these contrasting colors is so evident even in the sets and costumes. Madhavan's neighborhood is fully painted red which makes it very artificial. For Surya, even the prison walls also are in Green. And the worst thing is for Sidharth, from the discotheque, his basketball walls and his bike, all feature blue. Even Trisha is forced to wear blue costumes to pair Sidharth. Not the kind of color thrust that we expect from a Mani Ratnam film.

Not all songs are picturised like typical Indian film songs. That's however a relief. But Fanah and Hey Goodbye Nanba songs fill up that gap. A R Rahman also scores very subtly for Aayitha Ezhuthu. The extra bit song for Surya-Easha Deol in pallavan bus is a surprise. Mani Ratnam - A R Rahman deliver this surprise every time. Each character gets a theme of music and the music flows throughout the flash back for all the three characters. This background score is however very subdued and the difference can be heard only in a theatre. Having said that, this is certainly not the best of Mani Ratnam - ARR combo.

It is a fact that time pass films de-humanize the viewers and give a superman image to the heroes. Mani Ratnam has always tried to portray his heroes as practical humans. So he does that with class in Aayitha Ezhuthu too. Mani Ratnam spontaneously evolves towards the leftist line of thinking as his protagonist believes the change should not only be made in urbanized cities but also from villages like Neikaaranpatti.

Just like how Shakespeare's Macbeth starts very sensationally with the introduction of the three witches, Aayitha Ezhuthu story starts right from the first second of the movie. It is just that Mani Ratnam takes time to set the dramatic need to the characters; the movie looses the chance to find a place in the viewer's heart. If the movie fails it is because of this experiment that he has chosen to make. Though this effort may prove costly for him, Indian Cinema would go a long way because of such pioneering efforts. Mani Ratnam proves again that good film-making is an exercise in style.

Thursday, May 20

Oh Yuva Yuva !!!!

The most awaited movie of the year is going to be released tomorrow. I think I'll be going to Detroit to watch the movie. I'm intrigued. I'm sure Mani will as usual prove his expertise yet again. This time he has taken up completely a youth subject. For a nation which is ideologically doddering but still youthful, with more than 50% of the population from 25-30, this movie will prove something great. From the rumors and after hearing the Jana Gana Mana, I suppose that he has taken up a social subject. A right time, since Bollywood is coming out with all adultery subjects, this movie will really be a benchmark. The second version of the trailers show that Madhavan is playing an important role. He surely is a lucky chap, acting in 3 continuous films from Mani. I'm waiting to see the picturization of ARR's songs and I hope he surely would have done justice to the background like alaipayuthe and Ka Mu. Ravi K Chandran's camera and Sujatha's dialogues will also be the things to be noted.

I was very happy to read the interview of Mani in THE HINDU.
the question was "You initially did not want songs in the film? "

Yes, when we started out, we didn't want songs in the film. But we just wanted songs for the album. When I told Rahman that, he just smiled. And once he records a song, it is very difficult not to use it in the film. Once he gave us a track, we had no choice but to do reasonable justice.

See ARR is the best. I'm all excited about the film. Wish I was in Madras now!!!!

Monday, May 17

Biggest "loser" of poll '04

Guess who is the biggest looser in this election ? He is the man who is considered as an icon and a supreme power by the youth in Tamilnadu. Many of them are ready to do anything for him. He was both a best bet and also a nightmare to politicians in TN. Yeah you guessed right! It is none other than nallavanukku nallavan Superstar Rajinikanth.

According to me he is the biggest loser of Indian poll ’04. Number 13 proved to be a bad omen for him. Although many thought that this election would be the entry of Rajini and it cannot get any better, with fans compelling him as never before and also PMK kept on giving problems for him, the verdict by the people of India and Tamilnadu proved it wrong. First of all I would say he got real unfortunate, with confused alliance in TN. The reason is that PMK joined with DMK for whom he was supporting or seemed to be supporting all these days and the BJP, which was very powerful to begin with, joined AIADMK. So he was really caught in a trap. So he opted for the best choice i.e., to oppose the PMK especially for the sake of his fans who were mishandled by PMK cadres and PMK chief himself. This worked out to be the worst decision of his life on the 13th of May when PMK won with very high margin of votes in all its 6 constituencies, in spite of having a stronghold only in two or three of them.

Let me tell you what went wrong for him. The foremost reason was the anger of the people over Jayalalitha and her dictating government. On top of it they were fed up without knowing whether Rajini really is coming to politics or not. The worst thing was Rajini himself telling that his vote is for BJP and his fans and the people can vote for any party they want. This is totally idiotic. People and his fans were totally believing him and when he said that, he has surely taken his interest primarily rather than the interests of the people and his fans. All his words and deeds showed a sign of selfishness and were mostly concentrating on him rather than the people. According to me, Rajini announcing that he voted for AIADMK after coming out of the polling booth was a mere stupidity.

He should have kept quite, knowing that he is going to enter into a Chakravyuga of politics. He entered into it without knowing how to come out of it and that proved to be really a major setback for his name and power. I think in future no politician will give a damn about him. I never wanted this to happen. I strongly oppose Rajini coming into politics. I’m a big fan of him. I always want him to be our superstar.

Thursday, May 13

Amma gone summa!!!

When I woke up this morning I was really surprised to see the election results. One can never tell anything about the people and their mind. The true color of democracy was evident. They have made all the exit polls go wrong. In January soon after the assembly polls in three states, everyone including me was confident that NDA will form government without any hassle. Though, there were signs of slides after the first phase and then more after the second phase, and the exit polls almost went for a hung parliament afetr the third phase , I was very much confident on NDA retaining the power. But the results came out to be surprise to everyone in India. Even congress would have never thought about it. I’m not going to debate on what went wrong, the main reason i think was the state factor. . The revitalization of INC by Rahul and Priyanka was a flash on the pan, according to me. Another main reason is most of the youth and the educated class never votes. For the rest, its just water, food and clothing. If one party doesn’t provide them, they go for the other thinking that they will be able to do it. Prolonged drought has also played a major rule here.

Personally I did not want this to happen. I don’t think congress will be good government at this stage. They are operated by too many biggies that internal factions arise very often. Lets wait and see what Sonia and gang are going to offer. After all that’s what we can do. My biggest worry right now is about the peace talks with Pakistan and the golden quadrilateral project. These were handled very well by vajpayee government.

Coming to Amma, she has had the worst ever humiliation in her life. Losing in all 40 seats is a big set back to her, people have taught her a good lesson. I’m sure that she would have spent millions in getting things together, but in vain. Let’s hope the same continues in assembly elections two years from now. . I still could not comprehend why people went against NDA. Though BJP was projected to have a convincing victory in Karnataka assembly elections, poll verdict have made them wrong and the party has come with just 15-20 seats more than INC.

No use talking about this anymore. Now all we can do is sit and watch what Sonia has got to do for us. She carries a Herculean task of keeping the allies firmly together on her shoulders. I wish her all the very best.

Tuesday, May 4

I have got 'Google' mail

I'm now one of the previliged few to get a gmail ID. Luckily no one by name Amarnath have subscribed for one, so I got a gmail account in my name. So from now if you want to send me an email send it to amarnath@gmail.com. Gmail is really cool, offering 1GB space, you do not need to delete any messages, text advertisements, grouping the mails as conversations are some interesting features of GMail. For those who were wondering whats the use of writing a blog, I got one reason. Yeah it was because of blogger, I got a Gmail account. So wait till Google releases the full version, if you need a Gmail account.

Monday, May 3

Jaggubhai ------------Ahhhhhhhhh!!!

Today tamil people have woke up for a big surprise from Thalaivar, yes you are right, he has announced his next movie. The name is quite strange, JAGGUBHAI. I am not able to understand what this is, but was confused after seeing the poster of the movie. Rajini with a strange dress and makeup. His costume symbolises unity between Hindu and Muslim.

But the most happiest news for me is that he finally announced to do a movie. I hope it should be like Baasha or Thalapthi. The crew includes K S Ravikumar, A R Rehman for music, Vairamthu and Jeeva.

Look at the poster. You will be really surprised.

Sunday, May 2

ARUL - movie review

Another action flick from director Hari. Though ARUL can be said as a replica of Sami and Kovil, the movie was neatly taken in a very good pace. Kudos to the screenplay by Hari. The story is a usual mass hero subject, nothing special about it. Arul (vikram) is the son of a goldsmith in coimbatore. Angry father, caring mother, silent brothers and loving girl next door(Jothika), arrogant villan brothers as usual.The first half of the movie mainly concentrates on introducing all these characters. So it is not that fast or worth describing. But the way Hari has handled thse many characters must really be appreciated. This reminds me of Rajini movies, only where a lot of characters involve. Unlike the latter the characters have been handled properly in ARUL. The movie actually starts its pace in the second half and keeps the viewers on top of the seat.

First we will see about the actors. Vikram, the hero of the movie carries the character very well. His hairstyle and clouts where not very good. After rajinikanth, only vikram can be a success in a mass movie like this. Especially the liners like “ Anyayam panna aandavanukku pudikaadhu , asingama pesana Arulukku pudikadhu” suited well for him. Compared to those by simbu and other people. But vikram should have stopped with that “enna paathu sollu en kanna paathu sollu” was konjum over. He gets full mark for his performance especially in the last hour of the film. . The sequences with Ponnambalam and Pasupathy was really good.This movie will surely win him a lot of mass. But he should better stop this before getting monotonous. Next to Vikram, K S Ravikumar has done a good role in this movie. Though he was over acting at some places, on the whole his performance was worth talking about. I was surprised to see Jhotika. She has lost more weight and has become really thin. There is a good improvement in her acting too. The rest have done the best they can for the given roles. Vinu chakravarthi’s role was irritating especially when he keeps on shouting Vikram. Vijayakumar would have suited this role more than Vinu. Vadivelu’s comedy, hopeless.

Next we will see about the technical aspects. First the screenplay. Hari gets maximum marks for this. The new trend of hero taking revenge on the bad guys by using both his muscle and brain was nicely carried by Hari. Then cinematography, by Priyan. He has done a good job, especially in the song sequences and the scenes in which Vikram makes the Thali. I don’t know how they find the locations for the songs, they were really good except the sets for the song 'odiyanam senji thaarean'. Coming to music, Harris Jayaraj’s work is not worthy enough. He is going bad as he starts scoring for lot of movies now. The tracks sounded pretty much like Saami. Especially the song 'punaaku' was a replica of vepamaram puliyamaram from Saami.

If you expect a class movie, then better not watch it. But if you are looking for an entertainer surely do.

Plus – Vikram’s performance, Hari’s screenplay, Action.

Minus – Harris jayaraj’s music, boring first half, comedy.