Saturday, October 17, 2009

Before getting into categorizing Peranmai to one among half-baked or good or very good, one has to praise and thank its makers Ayngaran international to have invested on a script that is singular and gutsy. Praises now to the director SP Jananathan for not making a film for an Action hero and instead, making an action film with a rugged and toned Jayam Ravi. To still keep addressing him Jayam Ravi is gross.He has given better films already than his debut flick Jayam.

Peranmai is all about the unforeseen challenge of ruining the plans of a foreign intrusion to thwart an Indian satellite of pivotal importance to Indian Aerospace growth faced by forest ranger Dhuruvan, along with 5 other NCC trainees and how they succeed is dealt with in the climax.

All that I have said above is covered in the second half of the film in a never-before-seen-in tamil films format. The first half has been used by the director to introduce the characters and with their attitude, he tries to throw light on the travails of someone belonging to a low class stratum in the society- a scheduled tribe to be particular.

SP Jananathan drew attention when his first film Iyarkai got regional film honours from the national award jury.He took up a different premise in his ‘E’ which was slightly different from the mundane and got commercial success with it. In Peranmai he scores for:

  1. Giving us a film on a subject untouched.
  2. Giving it in a gutsy manner that didn’t look incorrigibly illogical.
  3. Showing the hero as a sensible brain/brawn material.
  4. Not trying to show him a Superhero although the setup would ve tempted him to do so.
  5. Showing the foreign intruders just as they are. Not as people who would have fluency in regional languages.
  6. Showing the brutal killings in a not-so-brutal, not so artificial, yet an intelligent way.

On the flip side, he has to bear my brick bats(that is definitely a harsh term to use,I couldn t find the right word) for:

  1. Showing too much focus on the caste/status issue that is irrelevant to the subject.
  2. Exaggerated sequences to force the above issue. The muted scenes and the scene where Ponvannan evacuates the tribes elucidate the case in point.
  3. The sequences showing the mischievous nature of the girls. It got to irritable proportions.

Anyway when I do the plus/minus calculation, I end up getting a big positive number and so all my accolades to him for this film. His dialogues are a big plus to the film-Smart,crisp intelligent dialogues. An example - When the girls apologise to dhruvan,he says “Sorry kekara nerama idhu”.

Ravi,as Dhruvan is simply an epitome of dedication and hardwork.He has improved in every way imaginable. Full marks to him for making full use of this meaty role and not trying to forcibly add heroism into it. His dialog delivery-one of his biggest minuses thus far- is way good in this film. Hope this film breaks the ‘Remake hero’ tag off him.

The five girls,one among them looks familiar(has come in vattaram,jeyamkondaan) irritate with their antics in the first half but when the film gets into the serious mode, they are on par with Ravi and have done some commendable stunts.

Roland Kickinger and his bunch of foreign actors perform effectively. Kickinger,with his rugged facial expressions, Predator Arnold like body and ‘I mean business’ look deserves special praise. He shows ruthlessness when he kills of one of his own men who is in a hapless state and when he directs one of the girls towards him with his ‘ku koo’ signal.

Oorvasi is her usual self while Vadivel s limited role is a relief after his disjoint and failed rib tickling fiasco in Kandhasamy.

The cinematographer is the next big plus for this film. The scene where Ravi and Co spot the intruders on the other side of the lake looks grand. The locations add value to the cinematography. The lake where one girl gets caught in quick sand looks majestic and all the scenes in the rain forests of TN-Kerala border add realism to the proceedings.

Vidhyasagar has given passable songs and an adequate background score that complements the action sequences.

The way the film moves makes me want to shower some praise and no complaints at the editor.

In all, I would call this not a path breaking film.Instead, I would call this a gutsy film with a first half that is a bit irritating and exaggerated.But a kickass second half mends everything and makes me put this in the ‘Good’ category.We must encourage this film, and Jananathan adds himself to my list of promising film makers of this gen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"I know he is very much capable of making this piece of blog and its calculations a gross blunder.And I would be very happy to see that happen! "
- The last words of my previous blog.
That,precisely,is what he-Roger Federer has done!Congrats Roger for completing the Grand Slam and strongly emphasising your case in the GoAT debate!

Final STRETCH to Immortality

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two,Three and Four

The stage is set. The three men are next only to the World No.1 Rafael Nadal.The media needs to talk on the favorite for Runner-up slot at RG.The winner is already there,adjusting his trousers,the locks of his hair and practising how to stare disdainfully at the pitiable person who would stand at the other side of the net wondering how soon the time would pass.
It is not such a bad thing being behind Rafa.Infact – Let us be practical here -they can climb only that higher when the Nadal thunderbolt is rocking the way he is. Over to the three of them now.

At No.4,he stands the best example to the cliché “Numbers don’t always tell the true story”. At present,and the present has been present with him since Cinci 08, Andy Murray stands the second best in the world.With his counter attacking game and execution of smart game plans against most of the top ten players,he has won many a heart than the matches he has won in this period. His isn’t the most attractive game but can be the best example of the virtues that staying in a point and not giving it up for a winner can offer. With victories in Cincinatti and Madrid Masters’ he completed 08 consolidating his position at the tail of the top Four. The year 09 began in the best possible way – He defeated Federer and Nadal at Doha Exhibition and was a strong media favorite to win the Norman Brookes trophy at Melbourne – Yes.Djokovic and Federer wouldn’t agree though! His only blemish came when he suffered at the hands of an enraged Verdasco in the 4th round of the year’s first grand slam. He followed that up with wins in Amsterdam(defeated Nadal) and Miami(Defeated Djokovic). He has started the clay season in the best possible fashion,reaching the Semis at Monte Carlo. He was nowhere near being a threat in clay ,sametime last year.But now,he would be in the semis consistently. Thanks to his poor clay season 08, he is lucky defending the least points among the three in context and will probably pile up the most,taking current form into account.So, by the time he heads to the lawns of Wimbledon ,he might have the No.2 by his side.Likelihood – 45%

World No.3 for somewhere close to two years now,Novak Djokovic would be the most tempted man to snatch the coveted No.2 spot (Coveted because Nadal is No.1 and it would do good forgetting that spot than longing for it! ).
What would be more frustrating is the fact that he came so close to getting there,once each when Nadal and Federer were there.He came as close as being two points away from Federer and what did he do? He messed it up with a loss against Verdasco in Brisbane.In retrospection,the Djoker’s game has seen more ups and downs than -well ,as they always say..yes,- the BSE.He was runner up to Murray at Cinci but didn’t show great touch till the TMC where he won in a field that was deprived of Rafa.He didn’t face Murray too there.Things got worse when he continued his dubious distinction of never defending a title in his career at the Aus Open where he lost to Roddick-No,I wouldn’t mention he retired. Frustrations started looming large when he lost to Tsonga 4 times in a row.And when everyone thought Djokovi was not up there,he came up with Runner-up efforts against Murray(Miami) and Rafa(Monte Carlo). Winning a set off Rafa in the dirt is worth a special mention and that puts him the first threat for Rafa on clay – As they say,Probability is always right and Rafa has to lose someday. He had won at Rome last year and was a semi-finalist at Hamburg.So,he would be losing a lot of points.We will have to keep our fingers crossed to see if he can compensate and win a lot of points to go No.2 and set up an ideal draw that would pit him against Rafael Nadal in a dream final at SW19.Likelihood – 35%
So,all this sets up an intriguing phase of contest for tennis lovers before the Queen of Grand Slams begins at Wimbledon on June 22.
Let's wait and watch.
What?!What else are you looking for!Did I miss something??
Oh.Yeah..Didn’t you see. 45 and 35 add up to 80.So,the remaining 20% is for him.

Not just because he is the shadow of Roger Federer,smashing racquets,netting backhands,hitting long forehands,the winner of 8 hard court grand slam singles’ titles who says “Thank god!The hard court season is over”.He had won at Hamburg,was a quarter finalist at Rome and a finalist at RG(Ya..That was him and that still is him!).With defeats at the hands of Blake,Karlovic,Simon(twice) and Murray(5 times in a row) over the period in discussion,he definitely doesn’t look as threatening as the other two.The loss to Wawrinka isn’t to be taken too seriously as he was trying out a few new things and was under prepared.The Madrid and Rome Masters will expose his current form ahead of RG.
I know he is very much capable of making this piece of blog and its calculations a gross blunder.And I would be very happy to see that happen!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Naan Kadavul - Review

Naan Kadavul-one of the most expected movies for various reasons is finally out now and here’s a review.

Let me begin with the expectations of me that it didn’t live up to.

1. I thought it was going to be Arya in Kasi all the way.That was not to be.While the Arya part of this expectation did not suffer too much,the Kasi part definitely did.

2. I had taken for granted that this film was going to revolve around the evolution of a person into an Agora-That is what the title and the pre release hype too suggested. But, the entire span of happenings in the film is about 1/100 th of the days taken for shooting it.

Now,the review.

Naan kadavul is all about a beggar faction and the anguish they suffer at the hands of a merciless businessman – if you could call him that and an agora who can do anything to slaughter the Dhushtan. The philosophy of Rudran’(Arya) s clan is that it has the right,infact responsibility to eradicate the sinners and also to help helpless souls from living a meaningless life. Rudran does exactly that when he is presented with such an opportunity in his hometown when he is brought back forcefully from his Kasi Agora camp.

There has been tremendous research made by the Bala contingent and it shows in the characters and the locations shown in the film. There has not been a film that has showcased beggars to an extent that this film has. The same could be said of the agori lifestyle at Kasi. The sequences shown in the Om Sivom song send shivers down one’s spine. It is a case of surreal realism that exists in the sacred mecca of Hinduism.

The fact that Bala has the uncanny flair to get both commercial and critical acclaim for his films is evident here too – with a few one liners where the audience react in unison. The scene where Rudran says ‘Ayushmaan bhava’ to the police is an elucidation to this point. The characters in the film too have a lot of realism about them that you don’t feel unconnected even though you are being treated by an entirely new subject.

Where he fails to score is the over exposure of the beggars to quench the thirst of slapstick lovers. The template – Use a character for comedy, brutalize the character in the end,create an emotional connection with the audience- which helped him in Pithamagan has failed to repeat the same here. You don’t get an emotional impact when the beggars are taken by the miscreants to Kerala. If that had been there, the rudra thaandavam that Rudran plays over the Malayalam speaking Villain would have enthralled one in an even bigger scale- Not that it didn’t. Anyway, when the same treatment is meted out to Amsavalli, your emotions come in and it is a treat to watch Rudran maul the main Villain.

One must feel for the villain after Pithamagan and Naan Kadavul-How many more times is he going to be mangled up in Bala’s films!!Anyway he needn’t care when he gets such meaty roles.

The climax was poetic in the manner that it brought out the philosophies of Rudran into action through the main character in the film-Amsavalli.Then,Rudran leaves back to his beloved institution and the frame freezes showing Arya in the background and his Guru in the foreground-Perfect end!

Now to the individual honours.Arya-By far the least luckiest of the current crop of actors(Not recognized even after a few good films that failed to click) seems to have got it his way this time. He has done a lot to his looks and body language and portrays Rudran at ease. It is vital to note that the film has been in the maing for 2 years but still his look in the film doesn’t change much-contrary to that of a few other actors.He does not have much dialogues to mouth.He has done a commendable job with a good dubbing modulation.The scene where the police officer jumps out of his cave when he shouts is an example.

Pooja as the beggar Amsavalli looks the part. It takes so much courage for a heroine to come out of the damsel image to do such a rusty role.She saves her best for the climax where she comes out with an extra ordinary performance and dubbing- The make up in the climax was very realistic and that has helped her cause.

All the other characters carry the Bala stamp and some of the wits that the beggars crack are enjoyable.Bala always seems to have a grudge on a particular caste that he never fails to show off in his films- The judge being the case in point here.

The stunts of Super Subbarayan are riveting – as they usually are in Bala’s films.

There are two behind the screen heroes in this film. The Director of Photography Arthur Wilson is one. He does everything to show Kasi as Kasi is. Also the locales and the angles used were breathtaking and pleasing. The darker scenes were captured in the dark and most of the comical scenes involving the beggars were shot outdoor-Sensible and neat work!

Now I come to the man behind Naan Kadavul.He lives throughout the film.He has done a 1000 films and still people doubt his longevity. Here he answers one and all. He adds soul to the proceedings right from where he comes up with the Sanskrit song in the initial credits. The songs ‘Om Sivom’ and ‘Pichai paathiram’ get the emotions out of you to praise the composer. It is so unfortunate that the songs ‘Amma un pillai’ and ‘Kannil Paarvai’ haven’t been picturised. The background music is even more mesmerizing and sends you to a state of ecstasy -I am not sure if these adjectives are enough. The music elevates the scenes- each and every one- to a higher pedestal.Well, he is a genius and let me stop here.His name is Ilaiyaraja! That’s that!

Verdict: Watch Naan Kadavul,praise the efforts–Definitely one of its kind.