Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

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.

Let The Fireworks Begin

Boiling Point
OK, I’m angry! OK, I’m not angry right now, which is probably good thing considering that I might write something that I’d later regret and end up having to apologize for. I was angry yesterday night after a First Day Third Show of Ilaya Thalapathy’s Diwali release ‘Sivakasi’. I have, in an earlier post, illustrated why, according to me, crappy movies are made. But this time, its personal. Its one thing to go for a stupid movie with family when you have nothing better to do, but its a whole new ballpark when you find yourself driving twenty miles out of the city, in a road full of assholes who think its not only cool to drink and drive but its too cool to drive while drinking(or the other way around if you must), pay 50 bucks for toll, 20 bucks for parking that’s 200 meters away from the building and find yourself waiting 30 minutes because of a show running late for a movie that smells like a 10 pound bag stuffed with 50 pounds of shit in a theatre that charges you 150 bucks for a ticket only to cut off the air conditioning half way through the movie. But all this would not be a problem had the movie been as bad as ‘Chandramukhi’ and the day you decided to treat yourself with a heap of rotting rubbish was not Diwali. My disillusioned and cynical-but-not-yet-bitter self has come to terms with reality, limitations of reason and the role illusions play in lifting the human shit- I meant human spit – no no I mean human spirit. And I told you I was angry yesterday!!!

It’s Just a Movie Right?
How offensive, crude, vulgar and non-sensical can a movie get? Watch ‘Sivakasi’ and you will get an idea as to how badly your estimation can go wrong. I will come out and say it! I don’t like Vijay whatever-his-last-name-is. But this is not about him or the movie. Forget that the story sucks, forget that the action sequences break every law of physics, forget that the dialogue and comedy are worse than any ‘Kadi’ joke you have ever heard and forget that every character in the movie is as close to reality as aliens paying us a visit. Lets forget all that. That’s part and parcel of entertainment, people get what they ask for. This ranting is also not about a few wasted bucks and time(though they add fuel to the fire). This is about the movie goers, the fans, the ‘thondargal’s. The people who want to watch these kinds of movies, cheer it, enjoy it and feel great after it.

Castings
First and foremost, what is this obsession Tamil movie goers have with this Iyyer or Iyyengar Atthu Ponnunga? No seriously!!! I spend most of my time with these ‘Brahmin’ girls and take it from me, they are not all that they are cracked up to be. Or is this some kind of forbidden fruit that all you Sc’s and Mbc’s and how many ever Non/Anti-OC castes that are out there want to taste??? Not content with taking all the seats in every freaking professional college this messed up education system offers and occupying every post in the institution that we try to pass as a Government, you guys are now casting your eyes on our ladies eh??? People, if getting it on with an Iyyer babe is your idea of a wild night out in the hay stack, just come out and say so. Cause then we can pass a bill for some kind of reservation. You know 69% of OC babes having to sleep with all you Anti/Non OC guys so that you don’t feel left out of all the fun in the sun.OC here has nothing to do with the Television Serial ‘The OC’, but Other Castes or as we fondly refer to as Out Casts.

A Class Apart
Secondly, why is every movie of Vijay whatever-his-last-name-is always about ‘High Class’ villains and ‘Low Class’ heroes. You know with the ‘Four legs good, two legs bad’ and ‘All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than other’ theme. ‘Low Class’ people are happier, hippier and whatever-more than ‘High Class’ people. Really??? That’s why half the songs in his movies are anglicised with ‘hey baby’s and ‘ooh mama’s(the mama here not being a mother but her brother). Maybe that’s why we find him dancing around in Ray Bans, Ralpf Lauren and Armani driving 350cc Yamahas that his ‘Low Class’ ass afforded him. Is that another illusion you ‘Low Class’ people entertain??? Wearing designer clothes, driving high-end motorbikes but staying simple and good at heart and giving philosophical insight to narrow minded, selfish, evil ‘High Class’ people and proving your righteousness by wooing away their ‘High Class’, rich bred, university educated, hot and horny but sensitive and moral babes for pure un-Adult-erated loving??? Wake up fuck-faces!!! You might want to give the whistlings and the cat callings a rest and take a long and hard look at the fuck-face staring back at you in the mirror. And by the way, who the fuck is ‘Low Class’ in a theatre that forces you to drive in your own vehicle and costs 150 bucks per head to enter??? So maybe ‘Low Class’ is not about money!!! It is probably about manner less, gutless, sexually repressed freaks trying to prove that they are not manner less, gutless and sexually repressed!!! Go get some free porn you stupid fucks!!!
And I said that I did not want to write something that I would later regret and end up having to apologize for!!!

Bad Tamil Movie

Well, I have decided to break my silence and typically, its for fleeting reasons than anything substantial. I was hoping against hope that I would actually come around to finishing my essays on Orwell’s Views on Gandhi, Thomas Kuhn’s Scientific Revolutions and Influence of Games on kids, but this right now is more compelling than any of the above. Let me get to the point. The term Bad Tamil Movie (or Hindi for that matter) is an oxymoron. By nature most Tamil blockbusters are brainbusters in the sense that you leave the film wondering how the whole process came to be without the interference of any intelligent life. No , this is not the peteru in me talking, although with less restraint on my part, he would come out slashing with a vengeance known to only a few. For the moment, my emotions are solely influenced by ‘Chandramukhi’. That’s right folks, he’s back and meaner than ever.

While I actually left ‘Chandramukhi’ in extremely high spirits, reasons having nothing to do with the movie, I felt a pressing need to address the issue as to how such movies come to being. A vintage scene from the movie involves the two protagonists (no naming names in this piece). Protagonist1 says something vaguely comprehensible coupled with extremely loud, jarring and sad music, necessarily in that order, to Protagonist2, who immediately mumbles something and bursts into tears for mystifying reasons. Probably he did not understand what No1 was saying and was reminded of his incompetence that has forced his career into a brick wall or maybe he was just overwhelmed by the fact No1 was such a gas bag an yet so successful in an industry where face value is supposed to mean everything. Soon No1 and No2 are in a perilously close huddle, hugging each other and crying. Maybe the director let two cats loose on their crotches. ‘Chandramukhi’ is a remake of a pretty good Malayalam film called Mani Chitra Thayvu, I’m not particularly good on the spelling front let alone translation. Directed by P. Vasu, its a typical Rajini movie with non-stop nonsense. Yes, the whole movie is complete nonsense. Watching this movie, one could come to the following conclusion. Idiot number one has an idea and takes it to Idiot number two who has a lot of money and apparently no brains (the idiot conveys that I suppose). Now these two idiots hunt for other idiots who will take part in the farce of actually directing and acting, distributing and promoting the movie. Finally the movie is released and lo behold its not a flop.

There is a scene in the movie ‘The House of Sand and Fog’, where Ben Kinglsey, playing an Ex Iranian Colonel who has fled to the States, tells his son,

 

“They have the eyes of small children who are forever looking for the next source of distraction, entertainment, sweet taste in the mouth.”

Here the Colonel is referring to Americans but its true for most people. But that’s exactly what we all look for in our lives. I’m not saying that our lives are distraught with boredom but that after a tiring day’s work at the office, after meeting the deadlines, after dealing with office machinations and what not, the last thing we actually need is a serious theme that forces us to confront issues that have very little relevance if not applicability in our lives. And, I am definitely not suggesting that we do away with art as such, but we should acknowledge that art is not particularly useful nor practical for most portion of our lives and its definitely not a very intelligent business venture.

So these are not idiots in the movie business. These are a bunch of extremely shrewd and intelligent guys who invest in movies that succeed. The people want to see a rich girl fall for a poor guy get exactly what they want, when rarely does reality follow suit. But entertainment is not reality but a fusion of imagination and reality, the ultimate seduction.

And this holds true equally if not more for the west. A few days after the Chandramukhi experience, I watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Please, would somebody give this guy a break. Probably the most cliched movie of the year (I’d rather not go into details) and probably the highest grosser next to Star Wars (star what???). Lets look into some themes that the west (Hollywood) loves. Aliens attacking the US of A (apparently they too know nothing outside the shores of Bible Land and war), terrorists attacking the US of A (wait a second that’s not imagination), earthquakes, volcanoes, dinosaurs, vampires the whole bunch attacking the US of A. I’m wondering if there is a pattern, oh yes, someone or something attacking the US of A. Americans love such ‘disaster’ movies. You are entitled to ask why, which in turn entitles me to give you an answer. Americans like to think they are the happiest people in the world, luckiest people in the world. The rest of the world is sinking in corruption, lack of civilization and what not. There is a widespread tendency in the states to romanticize the misfortunes of others which in turn helps them to feel lucky translate that, to happy translate that to superior, translate that to ‘Greatest Country in the World’. So to entertain this illusion all disaster movies have the essential ingredient – “nice American people who are happy and good are attacked by ones that are not and in the end happy and good people win over the sad and evil ones” – get it. So think again when you watch “War of the Worlds”, “Pearl Harbor” and the “Day after Tomorrow” and see it for what it is, not a dumb movie but a dumb movie for a reason. In case you haven’t been paying attention, there is no such thing as a bad movie, just a hit or a miss.