I

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*** I is not just another movie as some critics have judged in the form of the random revenge thing coming to the viewers again. We all know that it has received mixed responses from the audience and critics alike, but let’s not fall into that trap to think twice about watching the movie. I might not be as good as some other movies from Shankar, but it is different, and deserves to be seen and treated with respect that it deserves. It is nothing like we see in Indian Cinema, and the way in this one entertains is different and effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes on to become the highest grossing Tamil movie in Kerala, considering the number of theatres where it has released and the number of shows present in each of the multiplexes.

✠ I has got its plus points:
The awesomeness of Vikram: You are introduced into a pure Vikram show here, and personally I feel that I might never see another actor like him in Indian cinema during my age. Even as this is an entertainer with those masala elements, one can’t stop admiring how great a performer he is, in all roles – he keeps making us feel for his character even when the hero is more than a normal man, beating up too many people. Like the most common words which are used in this movie, one has to wonder what stands above everything; a long way above this movie – and it is Vikram. It is this one actor who raises the level of the movie along with himself, and imagining someone else in this role is nothing less than a crime and a sin of the highest level.

The beauty that is Amy Jackson: This lady makes an impression in her way, and there are times when the Magic Mirror chooses a less expected person as the fairest of them all (Tamannaah Bhatia is the one who comes to my mind whenever I hear that) – here it is Amy Jackson who is stunningly beautiful and even cute at times, redefining most of those occasions when the same words were used in the case of a few other actors. She gives aesthetics a new meaning. This is indeed a big role for her, and amazingly suitable; something that we realize very early. There is nothing special for her to do though, and that is understandable considering the nature of the movie and how much it is dependent on Vikram. Lets give some applause to Suresh Gopi too, who also has his moments.

The stunning visuals: The visuals of China’s outskirts are mesmerizing here, and almost everything happens in relation with the natural beauty during those shoots, and it is a big boost to the movie. This is even better with the visuals of songs. It is like another special world for the viewers brought with big splendour. The graphics are also advanced, and the make-up and costumes can be considered as an even bigger boost – they are so good that you will raise your expectation a lot for any other movie. The definition of an entertainer changes here, and you are are surely going to ask for more after this, instead of deciding to watch some random action and romance. These visuals on the screen increases the need to watch this on the big screen even more. The background score nicely supports the visuals.

Fairy tale and its narrative: The way of narrative is something that I enjoyed a lot. I have always enjoyed these non-linear narratives, and it rightly suits the movie here, even as I doubt how the usual audience would take it. The fairy tale elements also has the charm, and there is the song which seems to a clear tribute to The Beauty and the Beast, even as in totality, our hero is no beast, but someone deformed. That is one awesome song on the screen, just like the one in China. There is the certainty of love thriving against all adversities, and that bad guys getting their due as part of that poetic justice. I is that kind of a revenge-seeking fairy tale with its dark side, as you might be familiar with if you have watched Maleficent. It also has its hunchback of Victor Hugo who deserved to be treated better and in another way, its Frankenstein monster – another deformed person who looks for love.

✠ Where it misses:
It misses out in the second part of the first half, and once our hero and heroine reaches China and finishes their first song, it drags and goes on and on with the usual stuff. Yes, the plot itself is a revenge story, but the latter part of the first half can’t even present things in an interesting manner. Couldn’t some elements be less predictable? The movie is too long too, and they should have cut the romance a bit. There are also too many advertisements shown in the movie – yes, there was the need for a few, but here we see too many; still enjoyable ones there. The beast is also limited to the song, but then the question remains where it could come in when the movie plot is considered. But I had expected a lot more from the beast. The action scenes should have been lesser in number along with the songs. But this movie is beyond all these limitations, as the positives that I mentioned runs through with extraordinary power.

*** The movie becomes a very good lesson on how an entertainer can be made without being dumb and ridiculous. Bollywood can use this for ideas, and learn how not to make a Krrish 4 and Dhoom 4. Anniyan actually managed to be better, years ago, and therefore, I wouldn’t consider this movie as something which changes anything. But I is a movie that could be watched for great entertainment, as well as the great performance that Vikram has put into the movie here. The humour also works and there is a powerful emotional connection that is maintained, which strives to focus on the power of true love that is beyond appearance and money. Don’t go with the reviews, but go with Vikram on this one. Here is a big salute to the actor on how well he has tried and made his transformation, and how much strength he has brought to an ordinary revenge plot. I have given the movie a rating, but I cannot be judged by ratings, and the right method is to watch it in the theatres.

Release date: 14th January 2015.
Running time: 189 minutes
Directed by: Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel, Santhanam, Ramkumar Ganesan, Mohan Kapoor

I

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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

veeram copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.