Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram - awsome !!

Before starting the review, I wanna tell something. I saw this movie on sat morning, and again I went to Mayajaal in the night to see this one ! That too, in pouring rain - 22 kilo meters !! It's worth the effort!!

We entered Abirami mall on sat the 15th Nov 2008, to watch a charity show of Vaaranam Aayiram, at 8:30 AM. The theatre was filled, as expected, and people – all are youngsters, were throbbing at the entrance, waiting for the gates to open. As me and my friend entered in to the mall, we were showed the way, and we went in to the screen. The tickets were Rs. 70/- but since this goes for charity, they were placed at Rs.150/- each. Once we entered, we found that our seats were in the third row from the screen! My friend was totally annoyed, and he was complaining that this is the first ever time he has sat in such a close proximity to the screen. To me, I have sat in the first row, forget about the third, numerous number of times. Hence, I didn’t find it a problem. We settled there, waiting for the film to begin.
Exactly at 8:30 AM, the censor certificate flashed on the big screen. Now, I want to mention about something which gives an excitement to me. Every time I go to a movie, I’ll observe the number of reels. Then, I’ll calculate the running time of a movie based on the number. Initially, during my college days, one reel equaled 15 minutes. Hence, the duration will roughly be the total number of reels x 15. But now it has changed. Now I think one reel equals 20 min. As soon as the censor certificate was shown, I immediately looked at the right lower corner of the screen, to find the number of reels as 9. This gives me a joy every time I see a film.
The film began. The thanks cards were shown first, and then the title began. A record, revolving in the record player was shown in tight close-up, as guitar music slowly started at the background. An old Hindi song - 'hai apna dil to aawara, na jaane kis pe aayega' ( from the movie Solva saal) was sung, accompanied by the melodious guitar music as the titles were displayed. The tamil song 'uravugal thodarkadhai.. Unarvugal sirukadhai' followed. The entire title display was very creative, as it gave the momentum so as to what to expect in the movie. I loved the title credit piece.
The first shot of the film is on a house, which bears the name Malini. We see an old guy, walking slowly, emerging out of the house. He has a French beard, and a casual haircut. As he crosses the car parked at the gate, the security runs to the guy, asking him to take the car, but he refuses and says in a muffled voice that he’ll walk. Then he continues his slow stroll.
The next shot, he’s getting a haircut. Once it finishes, he walks to home, and his wife greets him, saying it’s a nice cut. He walks to the small boy sleeping in the bed, places a chocolate bar near him and walks to the bathroom. In the bathroom, suddenly he holds his head with both his hands. He seems to be in unbearable pain, as he pukes blood in the basin. He calls for help in his subdued tone, and his wife and daughter rush in, place him in bed and call for a doctor. The doctor says, he will pass away soon, as his cancer has eaten him up. In the bed, he keeps calling for ‘Surya’ and his wife rushes to the phone. The old man stops calling, and raises his hand. He seems to be smiling, and with this expression, passes away.
Surya, his son, is a major in the army, and he is on his way for a rescue mission, with his team. He is in a chopper, when the news of his father’s expiry is conveyed to him. He sits still, with tears flowing down his eyes, as he slowly thinks about his moments all his life so far with his beloved father. This forms the basis for Vaaranam Aayiram.
He first thinks about his mother, telling him how his father swept her off her feet and married her. Then, Suriya is born. Then his teen age school incidents are shown, then his college, his career, how he falls in love at the instant he sees a girl in a train, pursues her to America, woos her, makes her to love him, and then, how the gal dies in a tragic bomb blast, his return to India, the suffering and torture he undergoes, being unable to forget the girl, how he moves to Kashmir to recover from the disaster, how he regains his confidence back by rescuing a child from it’s kidnappers, his joining in the army, then marrying a friend of him whom was loving him from the childhood, followed finally by his father’s demise.
All these incidents are fantastically shown in the film. They all are realistic, like we are witnessing the happenings in a beautiful family. The father is a very lively, kind, passionate guy who wants his kid to be a practical person. The boy loves his father like anything, and his inspiration is the father. The relationship between them both is portrayed in a beautiful way. The mother and the father are madly in love even at the old age, and they always support each other. The boy grows in admiration of his parents, and everything he does, stands to be something his father has done before.
The acting is flawless. Suriya dons both the roles of the father and son effortlessly. I was amazed when he came as a school kid, singing the Hindi song and playing his guitar (he sings Kisi ki muskuraahaton pe ho nisaar' from the movie Anari and 'Paadatha paattellam paada vandhai'). WOW! He is of the same age as Vijay, and even then, has played the role of a teenage school boy. He looks exactly like a school student!
Gowtham Menon has clearly surpassed all of his previous films with this one (according to me). The dialogues are short, witty and has a lot of hidden meaning. All the romantic scenes were great, with a lot of reality. This is how things will happen if there is a father as kind as the father Krishnan, and if there is a son, who has grown in awe of his father.
Harris Jeyaraj has done a commendable work at the background. Usually, he tends to be jarring at times. Here, the music is mainly guitar and flute. I loved the ‘annul mele’ whistle playing at the background all through the final 45 minutes of the movie.
All the songs are good. Especially ‘Annul mele’, ‘Mundinam’ and ‘Oh shanthi shanthi’. The choreography is excellent.
There are a lot of funny moments, like when the son is playing the tune of ‘vennilave velli velli nilave’ from vettaiyadu vilayadu and saying to the father that it is his own composition, which will be a hit 15 years later (the period shown in the movie is 1993 – 15 years before V.V was released!).
Overall, a fantastic film. I saw the film in the morning, and immediately went to see it again at mayajaal in the night. Saw it twice in the same day. I’ll see it again next weekend in my home town (Cbe). Well done Gowtham ! You have surpassed your own work! Hats off for making such a wonderful flick!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantum of what ???

Quantum of Solace – The sequel to Casino Royale. When you find an estranged Bond, angry and dark, on the route of avenging his dead girlfriend (Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale), you naturally expect the story and the screenplay to be taut, with no loopholes and a neat script which pulls the audience in to the movie. Well, what we see in the screen, though, is a cropper.

There is nothing to tell about the movie, except that Bond travels to various locations, tracking a trail of suspects whom he kills later. Finally, there is the climax, and then the end.

I know the producers and the director are trying to take Bond to the new age – gone are the days of the enjoying, Casanova type of Bond flicks and in these two movies, the more sinister, dark Bond is portrayed. All said and done, this movie lacks the thrill that Casino Royale provided. Casino was a treat to watch with a fast screenplay and more interesting story. Here, as I said, nothing is interesting, from the beginning to the end. It’s boring, frankly. I’ve never seen a totally boring initial Bond sequence, like this one. May be the makers are moving Bond to the new era, but excuse me – certain features of a Bond flick are expected by people and they should never be shut off. Also, the villain is a totally out of place guy who looks like he is going to doze off any time with an irritating accent.

And, boss, where is the Bond theme ? If I'm not wrong, the first time I heard the theme is at the end credits ! Also, the famous bond title sequence came only after the movie ! If the makers thought this is creativity, then, well I know what can I tell them, but I can't express it in a public blog!

The editing - too irritating, coz at some shots, was not able to figure out what's happening. too much fast paced camera work and editing spoils the fun totally. Also the title song is a bore (how many 'bores' in this review !) with a slow and disappointing title credits. Oops - there is nothing interesting to be praised off !

The end leads towards a third installment to the story – a sequel, with both Mr. White (the one Bond catches at the final seconds of Casino Royale) and the secret organization ‘Quantum’ are on the loose. Bond has to track down both in the third movie. Hopefully, let it be as interesting as casino Royale.

Finally, my personal view about the film – It’s totally shaken and stirred up, and I definitely will compare it with ‘Never say never again’ – the infamous unofficial Bond movie starring Sean Connery. I was thinking so far that it’s the most boring of all the Bond flicks, and now there is Quantum of Solace, to overtake it! Better luck next time, for the producers.

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