Iru Mugan

Vampire Owl: I have heard that two-faced humans are really dangerous.

Vampire Bat: But this movie just has Vikram playing two different characters, and it is about the two faces of the actor as two different people.

Vampire Owl: That wouldn’t justify the title from within the movie.

Vampire Bat: Well, movies have become more about actors these days rather than being about itself.

Vampire Owl: It only gets worse when a movie is so bad and a superstar is acting in it.

Vampire Bat: And in some cases, movies just get the hype and rise above everything else – over-hyped movies are no lesser evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have heard that the fans of such over-hyped movies have been abusing people for not liking the movie, and even for not watching the flick.

Vampire Bat: You see why we can’t take over the human world – they are just too evil; they do this with just some overrated movie. It is so hard to believe as movies are just for entertainment for the viewers and for the makers to make money.

Vampire Owl: According them, one particular flick is the greatest movie of all-time, and there will be another “greatest” later.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the idiots don’t even know that there is a thing called opinion, and their greatest movie could be just third rate nonsense in someone else’s eyes.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In a strange turn of events, an unknown old man goes out of control and kills many officers unleashing an attack at the Indian embassy at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A criminal scientist codenamed Love is figured out to be behind the attack, and this psychotic lover of science is known to have created a terrible mess before he was declared dead years ago. Now, as the unpredictable science terrorist threatens to unleash himself out of the dead, it is Akhilan Vinod (Vikram), a former RAW agent who was responsible for messing up the terror plans and killing Love who is entrusted with the task to bring the dead man to justice. But he has been living a life outside the grid after his wife, RAW’s senior computer analysist Meera George (Nayantara) was killed by Love at the time of that operation. The RAW chief Malik (Nassar) has a feeling that something bigger is coming up, and they need this expert officer’s service.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Malik finds Akhilan and by telling him about the return of his old nemesis and convinces him that he has to be of service again. He is to work with a junior RAW agent Aayushi (Nithya Menen), who is in charge of the case, and the two of them leave for Kuala Lumpur to go further with the strange case at the Indian embassy. There they are helped by a Malaysian police inspector of Tamil origin, Muthaiah (Thambi Ramaiah) who remains rather scared of what is to happen next. More of investigations lead them to Peter (Karunakaran), a scientist who is working under the instructions of the evil mastermind, but decides to help the police. He tells them that the man who was thought to be dead is very much alive, and is responsible for the embassy attack, which was only the beginning. They are actually manufacturing a drug, which has the ability to create chaos and destruction by hiding them inside asthma inhalers.

The defence of Iru Mugan :: Iru Mugan can be listed among those movies which have tried to be different, and has tried something which can’t be done with ease – you see everything including the settings, they are all so good. If some other movies which are termed as the greatest could be that, just because they have brought something which hasn’t been seen before, this movie here has done the same too, without that much of ridiculous hype; well, it is the lack of confidence on a movie that brings the need for this extra hype, and if one particular movie was that great, it would have come and fought the battle without boasting and abusing. This is where Iru Mugan becomes everyone’s movie as the silent assassin, being a more righteous choice than those which claim to be among the greatest. There is so much of a stylish making here, and we see a lot of beauty of the place right on the screen. This quality is something which we can cherish for long. It even reminded me of the game Half-life, and its levels visually.

Claws of flaw :: There is the lack of attention right here, in how the movie has gone forward as a science fiction tale, with more seemingly spent on style and action than anything else. There was so much else that this movie could have done within one specific genre. There was a grand award to be taken here, as one of the best scienc fiction movies in Indian cinema, but that is not taken at all. There might be the feeling of knowing similar stories otherwise, but these days people just find a movie to claim that it is the greatest movie in the history of Indian cinema; so Iru Mugan, without such overdose of claims and third rate hype, is certainly there as a fine one. Then there is that “mass” effect, which should have been reduced to minimum, even though there is certain control in this movie. Also the name of the movie does little justice to the main character unlike what was expected, as there are just two characters.

Performers of the soul :: Here is another Vikram movie which depends on him more than anything or anybody else to do what he does the best on the big screen, as he once again comes up with the grand performance, and it is once more in more than one role. We had him in three different looks for one character in I, and here we have him in two different looks for two different characters, and once again, he is at the top of the game, and you remember Anniyan too which had him playing the character with three different personalities. It is his movies that I have always trusted to watched without second thoughts, and so despite missing this at the theatres due to the month of September last year being extremely busy, I managed to watch this on Mazhavil Manorama – that was more like a twist, and it is the one that I am glad about. He is there to bring both roles to the maximum effect. Nayanthara shines in her stylish avatar and Nithya Menen’s shortened stay was okay.

How it finishes :: There are only a few movies which you watch with the whole family, and everyone ends up liking it – Iru Mugan is that kind of a movie that has come up at such a safe position; this also reminds me to watch another missed science fiction thriller the Suriya movie, 24. We have a situation when it is impossible not to cheer for Vikram at each and every moment; and there is not just one, but there is two. There is also the great chemistry that work out between Vikram and Nayanthara, whether it is with the action sequences or with those song scenes. This surely wasn’t a movie with that much critical appreciation or hype as expected though. But with the bigger hyped movies, why would the one who know that the movie is so good keep talking about it all around the social media, mostly with fake profiles and abuse everyone? Thankfully, Iru Murugan never seemed to have such pathetic fans, which is why I decided to go for it despite having other things to do. I agree that we need all kinds of movies; but we need movies which doesn’t boast all the time, and those which don’t have their base and pillars built on hype, abuse and hatred – we need those which support free opinion, and unite us in difference rather than divide us. The fans of a movie are also a reflection of what a movie is, as superstar fans also symbolise their heroes. So, definitely choose to watch Iru Murugan, an amazingly stylish thriller with beautiful songs, even though its science fiction side needed some revival and the “mass” needed to go a bit down.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Anand Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Nayanthara, Nithya Menen, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Karunakaran, Riythvika, Jasper, Karthik Nagarajan, Balaji Venugopal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

I

i (2)

*** 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.

David

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The Vampire Bat was re-introduced into this world, but he is struggling to be a movie-watcher with so many horrible movies around. David was a relief, and therefore he shall write about it, but considering the fact that only seven of the fourteen movies he watched in the last thirty days managed to be satisfactory, he surely wishes to sleep for a century and wait for that day when no movies are made. There should be discount for tickets for the Vampire Bat, for he saves so many movies of the world from being left unwatched. He is doing a great service, for which even free tickets might be not enough. May be free tea with tickets would do. The Vampire Bat shall look towards the firmament for now and wait for that moment when it starts raining movie tickets.

Why wouldn’t the Vampire Bat be disapponted. He had to watch Race 2 – old wine in an old bottle, while Kammath and Kammath and Lokpal were old wine in older leaking bottle. Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla was more like fish out of water gasping for air. While Da Thadiya had fish evolved with legs and thus made good contact with the people of the land, this little fish could make not keep people of the land or a flying Vampire Bat interested. Midnight’s Children had already lost its battle in a comparison to the novel. The Vampire Bat has been digging his own grave so that he could be buried in there forever, until something called David came to his attention. Then he went to watch it in Hindi and ended up watching it in Tamil. But it is not something he complained about, as he enjoyed the movie and considered it the best Indian movie he watched so far this year even as there is a long way to go.

What do we know about David in movies? There was the 1988 Malayalam movie David David Mr. David starring Balachandra Menon and Sumalata. But that would be totally unrelated to this one. Then there was King David of Bible, the ruler of Israel. The righteous king even with all his flaws, the warrior poet was mostly responsible for the Book of Psalms. But that was never the beginning, as the story of David and Goliath might be of more popularity. How it would relate to the upcoming Malayalam movie of the same name will be another story. Back to the original story, there stood Goliath, the strongest and the tallest of all, and there was young David with his sling and stones. Then fell the strongest; and the weak became strong. This has been repeated in the history with the rise and fall of huge empires all around the world.

The Hindi version has three Davids, but here there are only two to deal with. The first one belongs to 1999 Mumbai. He is a musician just like the Biblical figure. But his peaceful life is disrupted when his father, a priest is attacked by an anti-Christian group as part of communal politics. The second one belongs to 2010 Goa, a fisherman leading a happy life. He falls in love with a deaf and dumb girl who is soon to be married to his good friend. Both of them have to make decisions which will change their lives forever – one of them seeking revenge while the second one seeking love. But both of them would be committing their own acts of evil which they might repent for the rest of their lives. The battle is between the conscience and desire – between goodness and the basic desires. The world around plays a major part in dragging them to both sides. But eventually what triumphs forms the central point of the story.

Both Davids have to face their own inner demons which take the form of Goliaths – one of revenge and the other of lust (the one-sided infatuation based on looks could never be termed as love, but as sin – for King David himself had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and later married her). The same David had killed her husband, a murder which one of our Davids would have also committed. Even as the external opponents, the minions who are responsible for this situation of revenge to be created – they look stronger in the case of the musician, but the internal demon would work better in the case of other. The ultimate result of the battle against the two demons occur only in the end, even as the scene is shown to be set right at the beginning of the movie. It is the battle of the two Davids against two Goliaths, both internally and externally. This is a battle which is fought both physically and mentally, but is finally won in the mind.

Vikram has once again proved that he is such a versatile actor. Even as he is shown mostly as an alcoholiac, his character is never boring or withour passion. Jiiva has come up with a strong performance too. There are moments of pure awesomeness in the movie. The rest of the cast has successfully supported these two, on whom the stories are based on. It might not still be found an entertainer but I never found it boring at any moment. The transition between the stories are quite well done, and as both of them keeps the interest-level high, there is not much of a confusion in the change. Last year, we had Cloud Atlas which had too many stories to deal with. After that experience, one couldn’t be blamed of being confused and left in a slough of strange thoughts. This one has just two – both of them simple and never leaving the audience in an abyss. This is an inner journey of twins of the situation who never meet.

There are the messages of morality, making it nothing less than a morality play indirectly transformed to suit the modern world. There is good and there is evil – but as said in Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire: “Evil is always possible, and goodness is eternally difficult”. In the same book, Vampire Lestat had also added that “Evil is a point of view”. As the movie agrees with the first, I wouldn’t say the same with the second. If there was something like a point of view involved in it, the first choices would have been to succumb to revenge and lust. The first one would have been righteous payback and the second one irresistible eternal love. Some of the jokes are too foolish to suit the philosophy of the movie, but the rest add to the lighter side and throughout the movie, there is this eternal battle and the question “to be or not to be”. But our musician is no Hamlet and the man you saw at the beach is no selfish lover. There is a warning though – if you are allergic to moral advice and preachy tone can give you head ache, this movie might create no waves in your head filled with that “point of view”.

Release date: 1st February 2013
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Vikram, Jiiva, Isha Sharvani, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Sheetal Menon, Nishan, Nassar, John Vijay, Shweta Pandit

david copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.