Archive for May, 2007|Monthly archive page

Unnale Unnale – The painful reminder

Half way through unnale unnale you get this uneasy feeling that the director/scriptwriter got an idea for a film and then cut the whole cast and crew loose, gave them a free hand to do what ever they felt like. Read the plot of the movie on its wiki page and will someone please help me understand what the hell the following lines mean?

“She falls in love with Karthik but tries to bring Jhansi and Karthik together, confident that she will win Karthik in the end.”

With a storyline like that, the movie meanders around aimlessly like a lost male driving in circles refusing to ask for directions bringing the car to a halt abruptly. Unnale Unnalle disappoints, not because it plays to the gallery but because it refuses to play at all.

There is plenty thats wrong with the movie. For starters, the movie starts with a strange sequence with a couple taking turns, talking directly to the audience about the differences between “men and women” when it comes to matters of love and life in general and then a voice over, presumably the director, proceeds to lay the foundation of what the flick is all about – “whats the secret in getting along”? There is a suggestion that “patience is a virtue” and those who hurry in matters of the heart get hurt – symbolically shows a schoolboy knocked down by a passing vehicle. This technique, if used inventively, has a very slick effect, but in the hands of a lesser director reeks of patronizing, self-gratifying, ain’t-I-cool ego massage.In other words, a lot of hot air.

The characters, their motives and actions are so unbelievable, that we wonder that even if the cast was more capable, the likes of Madhavan or Vikram and Jyothika, they would have failed to impress. For instance, Karthik, is supposedly a serial-flirt, who is a few notches above the average Indian male in finding relief to his sexual strokes by ‘enjoying with ponnuga’. According to him its just harmless fun that needs to be taken lightly- even something to the effect of meeting some strange woman in a dark theater on his birthday and deciding to have a coffee with her all the while lying to his girl friend, who is not with him on this special occasion. Jhansi, on the other hand, is a Dworkin-incarnate gone horribly wrong- who believes that ‘ponnuga oodu prachnai pasanga thaan’ – For the lesser informed, it means the problems for girls are only guys. There are times I wished I never knew Tamil so that I could avoid witnessing a butchering of such a classical language. Then we have Deepika, hot-chick who blows-cool when she is down under(pun totally intended), just released from the hells of a prudish family and whose raging hormones only help her in making fast friendship with pasanaga. A female spectral balance for all those male trolls who surf around Orkut asking “only” for friendship from unknown women. Hormones Galore. Then there are a few thrown in to provide comic relief- but the comedy(at least in the second half) is so contrived and disgusting that one feels its sole purpose was to distract you from the fact that the movie had no point.

Even if we made allowances for the characters, we find that they are never true to themselves(actor performance is another story). Nothing that happens in the movie makes sense neither does what any of the characters talk or feel- and do they talk and feel a lot or what? It is not clear why a guy like Karthik is interested in a girl like Jahnsi in the first place. Lets assume that he finds her a challenge worth pursuing as the movie makes it increasingly clear after their initial break up, Karthik does not miss her a single bit. It gets ludicrous when Karthik can’t fathom why Jhansi is so insecure and suspicious after a bride runs away from her broom-to-be(typo intentional) in midst wedding to plant a wet one on his cheeks. The explanation- he is a jolly guy who will never get serious. Finally we are exasperated when he begins to pursue her again in Australia where their paths cross conveniently during their “contractual obligations”. Jhansi, whose sole purpose is to act eternally scorned, constantly reminds Deepika that she is there on a contract, never really makes any effort to curb either Karthik’s advances or Deepika’s foolhardy behaviour. There is a brief altercation between the love-birds and suddenly we find Jhansi vying for Karthik’s attention. At this point we are interested to see how things peter out, but are treated with some holier-than-thou puritanical bullshit, where Deepika and Karthik exchange what the movie was all about. Girls should love the fact that guys like to fool around with other women and lie about it. With dialogues ringing “I like that ya” immediately followed by “I also like that ya”, the movie is a tiring three hour marathon of repetitive nonsense. The climax, although something we did not expect, gave us no closure and does not save the movie.

My biggest gripe is that the movie had the goods that could have made for an interesting watch if it had only stuck with certain stereotypes, like Minnale did so brilliantly, instead of trying to be different. A more intelligent treatment of the issue with a tad bit better acting and we would have had a decent movie worth the money and time. For instance we aren’t given any insight into Jhansi’s mind. Why is she so suspicious? A little narration of some incident in the past would have helped us at least understand if not empathize with her. We are left with two choices one in Jhansi and the other in Deepika- neither of whom(at least for me) are the least bit attractive, solely because we have no idea where they are coming from. Finally there is Karthik, who thinks looking like eye candy, makes up for substance. In the end, even though there is a lot going for it- a fresh cast, nice cinematography and visuals, above average music and an interesting theme- we leave the film disappointed because it never takes off, like a flight cricling the runway till it runs out of fuel. And thats one angry passenger reporting.