Veeram

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Ask the magic mirror :: “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?” – now here is the answer which naturally comes to any mirror which has been taken into a theatre to watch Veeram; and it is Tamannah Bhatia. Unless that mirror prefers Kristen Stewart more than Charlize Theron, and as long as the question is not about being the “palest”, it is indeed a magic mirror which can be trusted. The first thing one notices in the movie is not our leading lady, that is for sure, but as far as being fair is considered, there is only person on the screen who takes that to another level. Whenever she is around, everyone else looks darker – no that is no measure of beauty even as Tamannah is indeed the more beautiful and the cute one around, and thanks to those beautiful locations during the songs, there is the snow to give that much needed competition; being the ice princess or the snow queen has never been this easy with anybody else.

What is it about? :: This is the story of Vinayakam (Ajith Kumar), the one-man army with a possible extension to five with his four brothers, and even to an army of six if their lawyer is included in the gang. The man has become more of a landlord who takes care of his people and is extremely caring about his brothers. He is a stern businessman and a reputed man of his area. He has weakness for the name Kopperundevi (Tamannaah Bhatia) and as a lady comes up with the same name, thanks to the work of his brothers and the adopted brother lawyer, he falls in love with her, and with the good guy impression created by the brothers, she also falls for him and takes the decision to take him to meet her family. But later she comes to know that he is the rough and tough guy who beats up people whenever he sees something wrong. As she wants a more peace loving person so that he can be approved by her father, he decides to become one. But the need for fight doesn’t leave him, or does it?

The defence of Veeram :: Translated into English as “Valour”, the movie is a action masala movie, and that basically forgives most of the troubles of the movie. Another thing is that this is the movie of Ajith, or rather by Ajith, about which there is lot more to talk about. Meanwhile, the movie has immense style, and it is reflected not only in the display of the same, but also in the narrative. The use of rain, thunder and lightning along with the clouds adds such a strength to the movie that this use is nothing less than deserving applause. The locations are beautiful and those of the songs are breathtaking. The mixing of action, sentiments and humour is intelligent, and it makes up for what is lost in the old plot. Even with so much lacking in innovation as far as the story is concerned, there is a lot working out well in the other departments. There are many mass scenes and even as the action gets repetitive, the sequences are powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is all about Ajith’s character, and the rest are kept in the shadows most of the times, and their existence is more to make our hero better rather than for themselves, as our leading lady exists so that he could fall in love and dance with her, and a villain to be afraid of him and another to be beaten up and killed by him. The purpose of brothers is more to show that he is superior, but that is understandable as this is more of a movie for the fans; and our hero is that awesome indeed, thanks to a powerful portrayal. The romantic side is weak, mostly due to the fact that it is forced and not rightly fit in the movie. The action scenes repeat as if put in a loop, and it could have been better if some shots of beating up villains were cut. The sentiments also go in a strange way, and the lack of logic is right there in the centre. The story should also be older than most of the actors in the movie, and its similarities to many other Tamil and Malayalam movies can be noted down.

Performers of the soul :: Ajith’s movie as one would expect, as he outperforms everyone with such an ease that what exists there is mostly a one-man show. From his entry, he keeps scoring, and his looks are perfect for this role. It does remind one about Mammootty in the 2000 Malayalam movie Valyettan, but to a small extent; with the romantic side of the brothers slightly resembling the 1991 Malayalam film Godfather. Tamannaah is dazzling, and you can often take that literally. This is the first time I am watching a movie starring her, and I am glad I finally did that; had to leave the Kajal Aggarwal starrer behind even as it was running in the same theatre at the same time, but no beauty lost in the end. Its good to see Bala too, as its been a long time since I watched one of his movies, and he plays a character with the same name which made him famous in the 2007 Malayalam movie Big B, which might once again be a luck factor. Santhanam comes up with lots of funny moments to make sure that the comic side doesn’t go weak. Nassar and Atul Kulkarni also comes up with strong performances.

Soul exploration :: The most shocking thing to the soul was the name of the heroine, especially when her nickname was revealed to be Kopu. But what’s interesting to the soul is its assertion of family values and putting one’s people over everything else. It starts off with the brothers and later extends to the family of his lover, our hero becomes a model brother and son in no time. He sacrifices his happiness to see the family happy, and keeps them away from all the problems as well as their knowledge of their troubles. We have known Jeffrey Nero Hardy as the charismatic enigma, but our hero here is nothing less throughout the movie. Another thing is the significance of “tea” as a symbol in the movie; it not only becomes a symbol of his simplicity, but also his hard-work as well as love for his brothers and family. How often do you see a movie poster with the hero happily drinking tea in it? Now that is a plus for the soul and the Vampire Bat loves it.

How it finishes :: There was always going to be a doubt about which movie to watch, with Jilla running on the other screen, and choosing this was a risk, but nothing regrettable happened in the end. It was nothing strange to see that the viewers for both movies were almost equal, and with only a few vehicles in the yard, with not even one mediocre Malayalam movie release in the same week, and both the Hollywood and Bollywood side being weak in comparison as far as normal people are concerned – shortage of big movies (Drishyam and Oru Indian Pranaya Katha are still there along with many English movies from much earlier, still in the multiplexes). The movie is reckless and violent in its action, and the use of sharp weapons cloud the movie like nothing else – if that is a positive or a negative is for the audience to decide, as it doesn’t go beyond a level. The opinion is divided about the movie, but I would say that this one deserves a check as it keeps the interest high even as it might be too long for one’s liking.

Release date: 10th January 2014
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Siva
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vidharth, Bala, Santhanam, Ramesh Khanna, Atul Kulkarni, Nassar, Abhinaya, Pradeep Rawat, Munish, Manochitra

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Arrambam

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✠ Before I go on with this one, I have to tell you that October was the month with the most visits for this blog, for which I wish to thank each one of you. My other two blogs also had a fantastic beginning to the month of November, even as I can’t say the same about this one. I also wish all of my readers a very Happy Deepavali (Diwali) and a belated Kerala Piravi Day and a very belated Happy Halloween. I should have wished with the earlier post, but it was written a lot earlier and I didn’t want to mess up with it. I hope you had three wonderful days, October 31st, November 1st, and yesterday the 2nd. Coming back to this week’s choices of movies, this really is a dull week, with no Hollywood releases coming this way and no Malayalam movie releases at all. With that sadness concerning the beginning of a month which didn’t have a good start as Ender’s Game didn’t come this way as expected, I have to take you back to the legendary vampire after my journey to the local theatre to watch another movie, this time a Tamil action thriller flick.

Count Dracula: So you are back. I had checked and found no good English movies this weekend. Did you watch that guy who flies like Superman and acts like Man of Steel and fights an army of mutants including a Professor X – Magneto hybrid, Mystique, Miss Wolverine, Juggernaut, Toad etc? Did you enjoy that movie which should rather be titled as Superman vs X-Men?

Vampire Bat: No, why would you think so? I had seen the trailer and observed its inability right there. I am not a Hritik Roshan fan, a little kid or someone with no other option. Neither do I get free tickets for any movie. It showed that it had no potential from its poor trailer with some graphics which is inferior to Arrambam, a movie which doesn’t need CGI support at all.

Count Dracula: I heard that Koi Mil Gaya is a shameless copy of E.T. and Krrish is just a pathetic excuse to cash in the power of a man who has given us so many better roles. At a time when actors like Arshad Warsi and John Abraham are choosing the right movies, it is a shame that one of the best looking actors had to go with this one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after watching Besharam, I had decided that I shall not be part of such shamelessness For the same reason, I didn’t watch Boss which was the remake of one of the most pathetic movies in Malayalam. Some bad movies do teach us lessons. Arrambam is the good result of that lesson which was provided with the pain which was Besharam, and I guess I am looking forward to a few more Tamil movies soon.

Count Dracula: So what has it got? You rarely watch a Tamil movie. Anniyan was your favourite, and you watched ony two this year; David and Maryan – see my memory? I never get to use it these days and its nice you keep it working by coming here and talking about these movies of the soul.

Vampire Bat: Let the brain of blood work, as the story revolves around Ashok Kumar (Ajith), a former member of anti-terrorist squad, who is on a mission to avenge the death of his friend due to faulty bullet proof jackets which are provided to security forces – but he was imprisoned and left for dead along with his friends and family. He is supported by his lover Maya (Nayanthara) and a smart, but reluctant computer hacker Arjun (Arya). When the latter feels that he is doing something very bad, and is left with no choice as they keep his lover Anitha (Taapsee Pannu) at gunpoint, he lets the police know and Ashok is arrested after a bomb blast and a car chase. The remaining story deals with him taking revenge on the corrupt Home Minister (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his supporter and the senior police officer (Atul Kulkarni) who were involved in the scam.

Count Dracula: That should remind you of Kamal Haasan’s best Malayalam movie, Chanakyan. Wasn’t that the day you said Urmila Matondkar is the best looking actress of the time after watching that in a VCR? It dealt with one man taking revenge on the politician who destroyed his family, using electronic gadgets and a reluctant helper.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is different in a number of ways. The first thing is that there is that relevant social message at the time of scams and corruption, but not something that would inspire you to the horizon. Then we have Ajith Kumar at his best. This is the first time I watch his movie in the theatre, and I can say the same about Arya. Chanakyan was undoubtedly the intellectually superior movie and it was an extraordinary performance from our legendary actor. This one is more of the entertainer type.

Count Dracula: Well, I love that actor – see how he never seems to get too old; the only other person who doesn’t seem to get old at all is Vijay. How does he manage to stay as a young man wonders me. That reminds me that I have to watch Thuppakki, as some gypsies had told me that it is awesome. Get me a DVD some day.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if I decide to watch that. One has to admire Arya’s performance too, as he provides a lot of fun and lighter moments, even as some of them doesn’t work. But, without him this might not have worked this well. One can’t resist liking Taapsee Pannu, being the cute drama queen of the movie, even as there is the doubt if there was some overdose, and if there was the need to explore that drama in another way. Nayantara is there perfectly suited for the role that she plays. The cast saves the movie, and so does the style.

Count Dracula: So there is style too. I have seen that photo of Ajith riding Ducati, and I have my own reasons to believe that there were cooling glasses, bikes and slow motion. I am pretty good at this stuff, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is a treat for Ajith fans, and none of them should miss this movie. There is the abundance of cooling glass, and there is only one bike, plus the slow motion is comparatively less considering what we see these days. The songs are pretty good too. To add it, Arya doesn’t do his BA Romantics like Ranbir Kapoor did in Besharam for horror, as even in the exaggeration, he keeps his cool, and Taapsee Pannu has a good chemistry with him, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So tell me what works other than the cast and style. Also tell me what doesn’t work other than the overdose of cooling glass and a little exaggeration.

Vampire Bat: Did I forget Kishore who is strong throughout? Did I forget the good performances of the villains? Add them to the list of positives too. The story starts off well with bomb blasts and a flashback which is romantic to the core, and also funny. The movie has a climax which can give positive or negative feedbacks, but for me, it is slightly on the positive. The first half is undoubtedly better than the second. The flashback story of our main hero is less interesting, and one has to wonder why one has to put a festival into every song – is that because the world is running out of ideas? ninety five percent of the time, it is Holi too.

Count Dracula: I see there is too many things mixed about it. But considering the fact that there has been so many bad superstar masala movies in your own language from Lokpaal, Kammath and Kammath and Sound Thoma to the recently depressing Sringaravelan, I guess this can prove as a lesson about how entertainers can be well made.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there will still be movies like Besharam, and the shame shall continue in this world of humans, but your universe shall live forever as you don’t have to watch such things. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): This is not a perfect movie, but there is no reason why one shouldn’t watch this movie this weekend, even while claiming that it is nothing new or innovative. This is a wonderful Deepavali gift for the fans of Ajith, and I welcome everyone to the theatres to choose this one over Krrish 3. Still, one question remains about Bollywood movies. Why is it that movies like Shahid and The Lunchbox doesn’t release in local theatres, but those like Besharam, Krrish 3 and Chennai Express does? We are so profit-oriented and the common man needs better brains; hope some zombie gives one to them instead of eating – a much needed sacrifice.

✠ In this battle of heavyweights, Arrambam clearly outweighs as well as outsmarts Krrish 3 with its theme, and it is evident from the kind of audience who are going to watch both movies. But in the box-office, both will be winners, as this is Deepavali and there are no Hollywood movies gaining entrance, and Malayalam movies have kept away. This is my third Tamil movie of the year in the theatres, after David and Maryan – I have to say that there has not been much disappointment related to them, they were all good enough to be watched with one kind of mood or the other. I shall wait for Thor: The Dark World for now, and until then, if you face two choices at once, you know which movie to go for. No, this doesn’t come from an Ajith fan, and for fans this should be a movie which is not to be missed at any cost; for others, this is an entertainer fulled by performances and style; learn from it dear self-proclaimed mass entertainers and masala action flicks, for this movie can teach you many things.

Release date: 31st October 2013
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Arya, Nayantara, Taapsee Pannu, Kishore, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni, Suman Ranganathan, Akshara Gowda

arrambam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.