Sep 12 2017

Jab Harry Met Sejal

Published by under Hindi Cinema

Jab-Harry-Met-Sejal

What is it about the pairing of Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka that drives directors to dream up their most moronic scripts? First there was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, where both of them played characters who were mean, selfish and unlikable. I don’t remember much about Jab Tak Hai Jaan but I do remember there was a scene where the two of them talk about love when he is dismantling a bomb. Those were both movies by reputed directors. The former was from Aditya Chopra who gave us DDLJ and the latter from Yash Chopra, who has delivered several romantic hits. Now Imtiaz Ali, the man behind films like Jab We Met and Rockstar, delivers another clunker with the same pair.

We’ve had movies where girls who are engaged fall for someone else. But for the storyline to work, the girl’s change of heart needs to be convincing with the sense that she tried to resist falling for the hero but couldn’t. That’s not how it is here. Anushka plays Sejal, who is engaged to be married. On a group tour of Europe, she loses her engagement ring and with no idea where she lost it, she wants to visit the places she could’ve lost the ring in and asks Harry(SRK), the tour guide, to accompany her on the quest.

We’ve had worse setups for romances but its Sejal’s characterization that’s the main issue here. None of her actions make any sense. There is no clear reason for why she wants to hang out with Harry even after he lays out the risks and suggests a safer option. And when she is with him she goes to bars against his advice, she flirts with him, cuddles up to him and asks him to think of her as his girlfriend(because he is lonely!). All this while talking lovingly with her fiance and proudly declaring that she will leave Harry with no emotions whatsoever the moment the ring is found. So at any given point  in the film she is comes across as being an idiot(the biggest moment being when she finds the ring), completely heartless, a flirt or a tease.

Harry comes across as more real. He misses home and jumps from girlfriend to girlfriend trying to fill the void in his life. So his character arc is more convincing as he slowly falls for Sejal and alternates between warning her, pulling away from her and getting closer to her. SRK delivers a mature performance though he has the advantage that Harry gains sympathy just by way of having to put up with Sejal’s actions.

The film takes us to several spots in Europe as the two go ring hunting but there are really no places or shots that make us go “Wow!”. And the film is proof that a bigger budget cannot get you foreign actors who act well. Radha… and Beech Beech Mein… are picturized with energy and are bright spots.

6 responses so far

Sep 07 2017

Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

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With films like Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya and Vaanam a few years ago, Simbhu seemed to have made a positive change in his career with some meaningful films mixed in with the usual fan-targeted, mass masala films(like Osthi). Our hopes were dashed a teeny bit with each new film he acted in but with his latest film Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan, those meaningful films are now little more than a distant memory.

Director Adhik Ravichandran must be a really big fan of Simbhu or have an inflated idea about the size of the actor’s fan base. Almost every scene of Simbhu in the film is fashioned like a hero intro scene with slo-mo shots and people extolling his virtues before he makes an appearance. It doesn’t matter if he is simply sitting at a tea stall waiting to talk with his lover, walking away after talking to his boss or walking into a house to help his friend. His appearance is always accompanied by loud music and slo-mo shots.

For his part, Simbhu himself looks like he really enjoys all the attention. He sings songs praising his fans, swishes his fingers, refers to his old – and upcoming – movies, makes comments about his personal life, spouts philosophies and periodically utters the punch word Sirappu, an obvious rip-off of Kabali‘s Magizchi. It doesn’t take long for this hero worship to become intolerable.

After a small, amateurish segment in Dubai that sees an agent Ruby(Kasturi) take down a drug mafia boss, the story moves to 80s Madurai, where Michael(Simbhu) is a feared gangster working for Senthamarai. The 80s setting with the associated getups(unruly hair, beards, patterned shirts  and flared pants) remind us of Subramaniapuram but that’s where the comparison ends. AAA gives us a moronic romance which sees Michael, who is in love with Selvi(Shriya), locks lips with her dad(Y.G.Mahendran) more than with her(since the dad keeps getting electrocuted and has to to be revived with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation). The segment is little more than bad jokes(a given considering Simbhu’s friend is played by VTV Ganesh) interspersed with spiels about friendship.

In the second half, the film fast forwards to 2017 with Michael now transformed into a grayed but otherwise completely youthful Ashwin thatha. We are told that this transformation happened in Dubai where he became a dreaded don but there is not a single moment spent on how this happened. Its like this big hole in the story that was left out either because the director couldn’t come up with a plausible scenario(unlikely since that didn’t stop him from making the rest of the movie), they didn’t have the budget to shoot in Dubai or they just didn’t care. My money is on the third choice.

There is no hint of Ashwin’s gangster past after that either and the film once again follows the romantic route. This time Ashwin falls for Ramya(Tamannah), who works at an old age home. The film continues with the cheap comedy as Ashwin tries to impress Ramya and one of the old women(played, predictably, by Kovai Sarala) make the moves on him. A final twist leads to many things – a chance for Simbhu to play a different character, an opportunity for him to indulge in some villainy and a cameo by G.V.Prakash(the hero of Adhik’s previous film Trisha Illana Nayanthara). But the scariest consequence ends up being the promise of a sequel.

11 responses so far

Aug 29 2017

Vivegam

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

vivegam

After Veeram and Vedhalam, Ajith teams up with director Siva for the 3rd time in Vivegam. Thankfully the duo haven’t settled for another mass masala movie and have given us an action thriller on an international canvas.

Ajith plays Ajay Kumar or AK, a member of a counter terrorist squad. The film is modeled along the lines of an entry in the  James Bond or Mission Impossible series as it moves from one action set piece to the next with some down time for exposition between them. These action blocks which drive the film are varied and mostly done well. A bike chase, a short shoot-out on a road and a duel between AK and two others beside railway tracks are all staged well and the sequence where a badly battered AK trains his way back to strength, with Anirudh’s fast-paced Thalai Vidhuthalai… blasting in the background, is inspiring.

There is hardly any romance between AK and Yazhini(Kajal Agarwal) with only a scene at a hotel she owns and a song(the lovely Kaadhalaada…) struggling to show the non-existent chemistry between them. Once the action begins, she becomes the typical damsel in distress though she does get to actually help AK a little. Her knowledge of Morse code comes in handy at a crucial time and in a scene reminiscent of Tom Cruise and the precog escaping in Minority Report, she helps AK infiltrate the counter terrorist squad headquarters.

The film is really techno-heavy as a lot of high-tech gadgetry is employed throughout. With the foreign setting, these don’t seem out of place and in many places, are used sensibly(even if the implementation seems too futuristic, as with the hologram generator or the way the bad guy hones in on Yazhini in the train through webcams). The director also tries to add some urgency to the proceedings by attaching a time limit to most events. The urgency is rarely felt in the actions of the characters as they race against time but a countdown, whether its the time before a bomb explodes or the time AK has to disable some power systems while Yazhini is stashed in a train, keeps things moving.

But when the movie goes over the top, it really goes over the top. Oddly enough, the worst of these occur at the start and the end of the film. The opening action block gives a good intro to Ajith but then turns ridiculous when he falls backward from a bridge, manages to evade bullets from multiple shooters while shooting and killing many among them, plunges into the water with his sunglasses intact and survives. The climactic fight, while taking place in a good setting, loses all seriousness with Yazhini launching into a song with gusto while being tied up and AK ripping off his shirt and posing like a contestant in the Mr. Universe competition before fighting.

The screenplay that ties the action pieces together doesn’t do the job well. It feels too shallow and superficial with a lot of the narrative turns happening due to AK’s intuition and hunches. The seriousness of the damage that could be caused by whatever AK is after never comes across well and the bad guy is a joke. So AK’s chase lacks the suspense and tension that drives such thrillers.

Whenever the characters opens their mouth, the film lays bare its crude mass masala sensibilities. It starts right from Ajith, who seems to have replaced punchlines with punch paragraphs(probably from the time the en vaazhkai… dialog from Billa 2 became popular)! Instead of pithy comebacks or snappy one-liners, he utters these long, philosophical lines and labors over them for so long that he seems to be talking in slow motion. These sound ridiculous in many places, like the opening sequence where he starts talking with a whole police force facing him and probably would’ve been riddled with bullets before got the first word out. As is the case in our hero-centric films, we also have everyone singing the hero’s praises every chance they get and it sounds silly when even the bad guy gets into the act.

13 responses so far

Aug 24 2017

Velai Illa Pattadhari 2

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

vip2

Velai Illa Pattadhari was great masala film with a near-perfect mix of humor, sentiments, romance and action. It was well-made but its biggest strength was that all these aspects were subtle and low-key, which added a dash of realism to the proceedings and made us forget that we were watching a star-driven masala film, which it undoubtedly was. It is the low-key touch that is missing from the sequel Velai Illa Pattadhari 2, which sees Soundarya Rajnikanth take over directing duties.

Velai Illa Pattadhari 2 is a true sequel in that it continues the story with the same characters(the only change is that Anitha, who was played by Surabhi in the first part is now played by Ritu Verma). Its a couple of years after the events in the first part. Raghuvaran(Dhanush), no longer a VIP, is still working for Anitha Constructions while holding on to the dream of launching his own construction company with the other VIPs who helped him successfully complete the project in the first film.

He is now married to Shalini(Amala Paul) and the relationship between them is one of the casualties of the film’s loud approach. The independent, understanding Shalini from the first film is now the kind of wife who inspires all those Whatsapp jokes about terrorizing wives and meek husbands. She has even given up her dental clinic job to take care of things at home and is constantly shouting at Raghuvaran. Raghuvaran’s father(Samuthirakani) is reduced to a bystander in this relationship, making jokes about Raghuvaran’s situation and sympathizing with him. The film doesn’t characterize her as a heartless shrew since there is always an underpinning of affection in her anger but the broad and familiar comedy does make us miss the gentle humor that marked the romance before(it is brought up in a conversation Raghuvaran has with his mother-in-law, another character who has been forced to change for the sake of laughs).

Surprisingly the track with Vivek, Cell Murugan and Vivek’s unseen wife Thangapushpam, which was the source of broad comedy in the first part, has been sidetracked here with only a couple of references.

This time around Raghuvaran butts heads with Vasundhara(Kajol), the head of Vasundhara Constructions, one of the largest construction companies in South India. When he first insults her(by saying no to a job offer) and then steals a prestigious project from right under her nose, she gets Anitha Constructions’ projects cancelled, which forces Raghuvaran to quit his job and become a VIP again. But the fight between Raghuvaran and Vasundhara doesn’t generate any sparks. With Vasundhara always stopping him before he can do anything substantial, their war never goes beyond threats issued by her and punch dialogs uttered by him. Unlike the first part, where he actually had to deal with strong issues while executing his project, Raghuvaran never actually overcomes anything here. He is still the underdog but doesn’t give us many opportunities to cheer for him.

The goodwill earned by VIP has been exploited well and stands the sequel in good stead in many areas. References to events from the film and the return of Raghuvaran’s mother(Saranya) as a figment of his imagination evoke strong reactions mainly because everything in the first film was so well-liked. Anirudh’s music is also sorely missed(Sean Roldan isn’t able to match up to him), as is evident in the times when the music from the first part is played.

Eventually its the quiet moments that make the film work. The way Shalini brings up the subject of returning to work or Raghuvaran’s father’s reaction when he wants to use the house as collateral are some of these moments that are effective because of their quietness and the lack of drama. The climax too could fall under that category. It goes on for a bit too long but is very different from the usual action climaxes. It is probably the only part where the film that fares better than its predecessor.

5 responses so far

Aug 17 2017

Gemini Ganesanum Surulirajanum

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

ggsr

Combining the names of a yesteryear romantic hero and a comedian(from a different era) who is fondly remembered for his unique and distinctive style does lead to a catchy title that is suitable for a romantic comedy. But director Ilavarasu Odam apparently used up all his creative energy in coming up with the title for his film since beyond the title, there is very little creativity in evidence in either the romance or the comedy in his film Gemini Ganesanum Surulirajanum.

The film is an attempt to do a rom-com take on Cheran’s Autograph(the film is explicitly referenced at a few places). It starts off with Gemini Ganesan(Atharva) showing up at self-styled don Suruli’s house. Soori plays Suruli and with the cops looking for him, and his name occupying half the title, it initially looks like he would get a track of his own. But he is then relegated to the usual sidekick role of accompanying Ganesan and delivering reaction shots to his story. But he fares a lot better than Rajendran who gets the even more thankless role of a driver who simply drives Gemini and Suruli around.

Gemini is looking for Lavanya, who was a tenant at the house, to give her his wedding invitation. He and Suruli head out to locate her and during the journey, Suruli learns about the exploits of Gemini, who was a commitment-phobic serial lover. Aside from Lavanya(Regina Cassandra), Atharva also had brief romances with Saroja(Aaditi), Priya(Pranitha) and Pooja(Aishwarya Rajesh).

The problem is that none of these romances are likeable or believable. The need to fit 4 romances into the running time leads to all of them being quick and very superficial. The girls(Pooja fares a little better than the other 3) uniformly come across as silly and naive as they fall for Gemini for no obvious reason and he indulges in some meaningless acts(the silliest one sees him pick a random foreigner begging on the street and give him a shave!) to impress them. And after such brief romances, it sounds ridiculous when the girls get all serious and talk about marriage.

The comedy is supposed to come from the timing of these romances as Gemini surprises Suruli – and us – with how he managed to carry on more than one romance at the same time. But showing us how Gemini two-timed women multiple times doesn’t really count as comedy even if Atharva tries to act all cute and his behavior is later given a ridiculous back story(it involves Gemini Ganesan and his on-screen image). The only good laughs come near the end as a sudden, out-of-place sentimental scene is used nicely and is later followed by a funny twist that involves Suruli.

One response so far

Aug 15 2017

Meesaya Murukku

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

meesaya-murukku

Meesaya Murukku is the semi-autobiographical tale of Hiphop Tamizha, the musical duo of Adhi and Jeeva that pioneered hiphop music in Tamil. The group initially had a small, niche audience before one of their tracks went viral and its popularity eventually led to full albums and then film music composing gigs. This path is traced in the film with the duo assuming responsibility for all departments like story, screenplay, music, lyrics and direction, aside from Adhi himself playing the lead role.

Adhi(Adhi) joins an engineering college though his real passion lies in music. But this doesn’t happen after some big argument with his father(Vivek). The dad’s arguments are sensible and convincing and Adhi takes them to heart. This father-son relationship is at the heart of the film and differs from usual dad-son portrayals that sees them at loggerheads(with the mom on the son’s side while trying to keep peace). The conversations the two of them have, like when Adhi’s romance runs into problems or when he sets out to pursue his passion, are a good mix of practicality and affection and the film doesn’t play favorites between them.

The college vibe in Meesaya Murukku feels quite real. There is neither the rich, futuristic feel of films like Kaadhal Desam(which gets referenced in one of the jokes) nor the crude, cheap feel of many other films that used the college setting just to ridicule the teachers. Though we don’t see Adhi attend many classes here either, his voice over about his experiences, his interactions with his friends and seniors and the atmosphere during the cultural programs all give off some realistic college vibes without the extremes that inhabit the portrayal of college life in most of our films. Some ridiculous scenarios like an old rival becoming the HOD damage the realism for the sake of comedy and Adhi gets a mass hero moment in the canteen but the film does a good job in portraying college life for the most part.

We get glimpses of Adhi’s talent at a couple of places as during his college life but this is balanced out by him freezing up when given the chance to showcase that talent. The rest of his college life is occupied by a very banal romance with Nila(Aathmika). Starting out with a big coincidence(she was his friend from school and ends up in the same college as him), there is neither cuteness nor drama in the track which is filled with familiar cliches like arguments with another suitor, minor misunderstandings, secret meetings and opposition from her family. The fun songs(like Maattikiche… and Sakkarakatti…)  turn out to be the only energetic portions of the romance.

The film sticks to being realistic even after Adhi finishes college and doesn’t turn into a fairy tale, rags to riches story. Tonally, the film actually has a lot in common with Mugavari after this point since success doesn’t come easily and a momentary success doesn’t automatically lead to immediate fame and wealth. Considering the generally light-hearted tone, the route the film takes surprises us on a few counts. But it does manage to leave us with a smile on our lips with a very funny closing scene featuring 2 short cameos.

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Aug 08 2017

Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

sangili-bungili

When I wrote about Maragadha Naanayam, I said that most horror comedies in Tamil cinema followed a standard template with stock elements like a haunted mansion, ghostly apparitions making sudden appearances and a group of comedians evoking laughs by being frightened by the scary images. I might have as well been talking about Sangili Bungili Kadhava Thorae since those elements are exactly what the film has in store for us.

The film opens with an NRI couple(Jai has a cameo here as the husband) being scared by the happenings in a palatial mansion they just bought(the background to this episode is a nice twist). Vasu(Jiiva), a house broker with a dream of owning his own home, is the new owner of the house but he discovers that another family has already taken up residence in the house and refuses to move out.

With these steps, the films quickly sets things in place for the horror-comedy genre. While the prologue sets up the haunted mansion for horror, the comedy aspect is more than clear from the cast. Vasu’s friend Sooranam is played by Soori while Jambulingam and his wife, the couple in the family claiming ownership of the house, are played by horror-comedy regulars Thambi Ramiah and Devadarshini  (the only surprise is that the wife is not played by the other genre regular Kovai Sarala but she does make an appearance later as an exorcist).

SBKT feels like a comedy most of the time. The episode where Vasu sells a house by giving it a religious touch is a bit satirical(it also sets up his romance with Shwetha(Sridivya), which then continues when she turns out to be Jambulingam’s daughter) and later, there is a running joke with Jambulingam using doing the laundry as a code for sex(the ploy was used in the American sitcom Friends before).

But as is common in the genre, most of the laughs rely on Jambulingam and Sooranam getting scared. For these, there are a couple of real ghostly happenings but most of the scares(like a ghostly figure in the garden or somebody getting grabbed and pulled away into the darkness) turn out to have simple, human-based explanations. These are sometimes meant to be a surprise and sometimes planned as Vasu and Sooranam play some pranks to scare Jambulingam and drive him out of the house. But these mini scares get tiring after a few few times since the story makes no progress.

The obligatory flashback explains the history of the haunted house(yesteryear actress Kausalya has a cameo here). The flashback by itself doesn’t do anything new but its nice the way the core idea in it(a man being betrayed by members of his family) is then used in the present to give the story some direction(bringing people together). This direction is set up in a rather clumsy manner(the way Vasu’s mother(Radhika) walks out with no attempts by him to persuade her to stay, is one example) and slapstick comedy takes the upper hand during these portions but it is finally nice to see some goal instead of more random scenes of characters getting scared.

5 responses so far

Aug 01 2017

Nibunan

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

nibunan

After the thriller Achamundu Achamundu, director Arun Vaidyanathan switched both language and genre as he made the Malayalam political comedy Peruchazhi. Now he’s back in Tamil with another thriller. The tropes of the serial killer genre are done quite well to make the film entertaining but a few more twists would’ve made it rise about the few other serial killer thrillers we’ve had in Tamil cinema.

DSP Ranjith Kalidoss(Arjun) and his team consisting of Joseph(Prasanna) and Vandana(Varu Sarathkumar) receive a rather strange doll in the mail. They understand the seriousness when a social activist is murdered and his body is staged in a manner similar to the doll they received. The murders are suitably grisly with enough clues attached to them to keep us wondering about the meanings of the clues and the motives of the murderer. The way Ranjith decodes the clues are somewhat random(particularly the part that includes some “division”) but its fun to see how the answers help him and his team pursue the case.

Ranjith is somewhat humanized with the time he spends with his family. He has some cute scenes with his wife(Sruthi Hariharan), sighs about his daughter’s school work and bonds with his brother Sandeep(Vaibhav). Aside from humanizing him, these scenes also offer some downtime from the intensity of the main serial killer track. But after setting the family in place, its a little disappointing that they play no part in the main track. The track could’ve use some emotional heft by involving Ranjith’s family. Ranjith is also afflicted with a disease but its used in a gimmicky manner as it affects him at some key points but he is able to overcome it exactly when needed.

The serial killer genre lends itself to twists and Nibunan also stokes our curiosity by keeping the killer’s face concealed the few times that he is seen. From the point of view, the big reveal is a disappointment. Once the backstory(this has more than a passing resemblance to the Aarushi Talwar case, which was seen in Talvar) is narrated, he is identified and the film sticks to this without any further twists, red herrings or multiple suspects. The only surprise comes from the actor playing the role.

5 responses so far

Jul 27 2017

Vikram Vedha

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

vikram-vedha

Cops and gangsters have long been two of the most popular and dependable roles for our heroes to play because these roles offer an easy way to package all the necessary ingredients – heroism, action, romance, sentiments, comedy – needed for a well-rounded masala movie. You can pick any  of our leading stars and they will have played at least one cop or gangster in their last few roles (Rajni and Ajith played gangsters in Kabali and Vedhalam while Vijay, Suriya and Vikram were cops in Theri, Singam 3 and Irumugan respectively). But because of their star wattage, these actors played straightforward characters with no shades of grey, they were pitted against one-dimensional villains and the movies left us in no doubt about who to root for in the battle between them.

Vikram Vedha pits a cop and gangster against each other. Madhavan plays the cop Vikram. He is honest but at the same time, not averse to fudging things as long as he gets the bad guys. Vijay Sethupathi is Vedha, a gangster with a string of murders to his name. While the roles are familiar, the characters are interesting enough to avoid the pitfalls of the genre movies that feature either of those characters. That, along with perfect casting(both Madhavan and VS do a fantastic job though VS steals the whistles and claps with several crowd-pleasing lines delivered in a nonchalant way. He also gets a fantastic bgm score), an intelligent script and a smart screenplay, makes the battle between them feel fresh and entertaining.

The film begins with the famous King Vikram-Vedhalam folklore which has the king seek and find the spirit only to have it climb onto his back. We know the rest of the story – the spirit narrates stories with questions at the end and would fly back to the tree if the wrong answer was given by the king. That tale is is ingeniously used to structure the film. So Vedha surrenders to Vikram, narrates incidents in his life and poses questions that make Vikram think. The questions are clever and not letdowns. While the answer to the first tells Vikram how similar he and Vedha think, the second leads to a particularly potent moment as Vikram blurts out a key piece of information.

When the film begins, Vikram and Vedha are completely different. Vikram is educated, married and on the right side of the law while Vedha is uneducated, single and pursued by the cops (in a way, the difference is announced even before the movie starts. The anti-smoking and drinking slide has Madhavan reading the English warning while Vijay Sethupathi reads the Tamil translation). But by the time the movie ends, they have both changed in each other’s – and our – eyes. In this the film is a little bit like Raavanan. The transformations the characters go through aren’t that drastic and the underlying mythical story isn’t interleaved as cleverly but the 2 primary characters do undergo a similar journey that changes them, their view of the world and our view of  them.

The film is careful not to undermine other relationships while depicting the fight between the protagonists. Vikram’s relationship with his wife Priya(Shraddha Srinath), a lawyer, is an example of this. Initially its all fun and games as they are a young couple in love. But once she is pulled into the game(Vedha hires her as his lawyer), the husband-wife relationship undergoes a change because of the cop-lawyer dynamics. Brought out nicely in a scene where she alternates between taking care of his wound and fighting with him for the way he used her, it adds another layer to the main conflict between Vikram and Vedha. On Vedha’s side, the care and affection he has for his brother Pulli(Kathir) and the relationship between Pulli and his lover Chandra(Varu Sarathkumar) are both depicted well.

Though the film is character-driven, it functions well as a thriller too. The reason behind Vedha surrendering, which Vikram is tasked with finding out, drives the plot forward. As Vedha’s flashbacks fill in the story, the screenplay flows smoothly towards this answer. There are the requisite twists, some of which are good surprises. Particularly clever are the way many casual events and conversations from the past, both in Vedha’s stories and Vikram’s daily life, have a direct bearing on how the story proceeds. The climax is one place where Vedha’s casual tone feels somewhat overdone but the final shot is perfect.

12 responses so far

Jul 24 2017

Ivan Thanthiran

Published by under Review,Tamil Cinema

ivan-thanthiran

So far this year, the problems in TN’s college education system seem to be providing the most fodder for our filmmakers. After Bairavaa and Yeidhavan, Kannan’s Ivan Thanthiran also deals with the same subject.

Shakthi(Gautham Karthik), who owns an electronics store, is also a ‘reverse engineer’ – he reverse engineers expensive gadgets and builds cheaper versions. This helps kickstart his romance with Asha(Shraddha Srinath), a college student, when he sells her a laptop she claims was defective. But the fact that he is an electronics whiz is used throughout the film as he builds and employs many things like a “bug” camera, a tracker chip and an x-ray scanner. RJ Balaji plays his friend and gets a lots of quips in in his usual fast-talking style though the 2 monologues he delivers, one criticizing engineers and another sympathizing with them, are most likely to win him some loud cheers.

HRD minister Devaraj shuts down many colleges for poor infrastructure but its just a ruse to milk more money from the college administrators. Shakthi is hired to install security cameras at the minister’s office but gets cheated out of his payment and that kicks off his beef with the minister. But he gets more involved emotionally when he sees the consequences of the minister’s action and vows to bring him down.

Shakthi employs a lot of technology to implicate the minister and thankfully the minister responds in kind. So there is nice suspense as he tries to track Shakthi down(Shakthi’s pet dog gets to play a role the chase too in a crowd-pleasing scene). The way the minister gets out of a sticky situation is also clever and so he proves to be a strong adversary, which is necessary to make the fight interesting.

The film adds Asha into the mix to make the climax more suspenseful. That by itself is a good idea but the same cannot be said about the way she is brought into the picture. Though she doesn’t have much to do, she had some across as a focused, sensible girl in an earlier scene where her response to Shakthi’s proposal is delivered just right(his reaction is also subtle but effective). But all that is forgotten in an interview scene where, in his wish to get her back for the climax, the director makes her act in a way that is silly and regressive and nullifies the respect she gained until then.

Aside from the bad way Asha is brought in, the climax delivers a good mix of suspense, thrills and surprises. Shakthi’s situation is pretty dire(the film actually starts with this scene) and his recovery is a bit too fast and unbelievable. But his plan, when revealed, contains some nice surprises. One aspect of his plan is easily guessed since it is pretty old-fashioned but the other things put in place to lead to it(like the part with the road speed bumps) are clever and come as neat surprises.

7 responses so far

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