Sunday, February 10, 2013


* Might have spoilers - don't read it if you haven't seen the movie *

I have this friend who loves movies but who insists on watching morning shows. I find it tough to get up so early on weekdays when I have to (work!), so why on Earth do I agree to go for a movie at 10:20 on a Sunday morning when I could be cozily tucked in bed?
The answer: I called him for the movie and those were the only tickets available!

I've forgotten how beautiful the mornings are. Today reminded me of that. Sunday mornings especially are a gift. Sleeping on a Sunday is not the luxury (well that too), but getting up on Sunday early and doing everything so leisurely is the real luxury! And even at that leisurely pace, we both landed up at the theater well in advance for a change. Tell me again though, why one has to book tickets online and still stand in a long winding serpentine queue to collect tickets. Beats me.

The movie started quietly. Kamalahaasan's name was quietly displayed without the customary titles that shadow the heros of Tamil cinema like 'world hero', 'superstar', 'padmashri', 'star of the galaxy', 'white-dhoti man', 'smell of the village mud', blah blah
The first 40 minutes were amazing except for one thing, the scene where the gentle dancer turns into the maniac intelligence agent killing all the bad guys in seconds. That was really a brilliant idea of a scene, for it could have filled one immediately with a sense of awe about the main protoganist. Sadly the execution is terrible. First we see the scene. Then we see the same scene again in slow-motion about how it was all done. The only problem is the first time was slow enough for me and when I saw it again in super slow motion, it was almost like insulting the viewers. The concept was brilliant and the execution would have been flawless if they had sped up the first scene to last something like 2 seconds. They could have then spent the next 20 seconds in slow motion, Instead it's more like 12 and 20 seconds I think. The beauty of the idea was lost and for a artist of Kamalahaasan's calibre to err such is well kind of sad.

Once the characters are introduced, the plot moves into Afganistan, where an in-ordinate amount of time was spent. I figured out at the end why they spent so much time in Afganistan building up Rahul Bose's character. It's because there is a vishwaroopam part II coming up where these two characters will try to match wits against each other again. So given the overall context, it might have made some sense to spend so much time in Afganistan, but given the context of just this movie, it became boring. When my friend queried why were they spending so much of the plot in Afganistan, the only straight-faced answer that I could give him was that Afganistan is a big country and they have to cover everything! One only hopes that in Vishwaroopam-II, they don't think of covering the entirety of America as the story moves to New York from Afganistan again.

There are snippets from Nayagan - 'Neenga Nallavara illa keta vara' (Are you a good man or a bad man) as everyone tries to unravel who viswanath a.k.a vishwaroopam is really. At a spiritual level everyone trying to figure out who Kamal is, is downright funny, cause we don't know who we are ourselves! The prime minister has a personal chat with Kamala-haasan to assure us all that he is a good guy after all. Never mind that we are losing faith in democracy and our elected leaders. After all these scenes, my friend was trying to get the right phrase to describe what was happening and I filled it in for him, 'delusions of grandeur'. That's simply what the protoganist suffers from and for all his skilled prowess at being a intelligence agent, the protoganist isn't even well toned.

The villains want to detonate the whole of NY and they want to be air borne in their own private plane with it's own cute air hostess (couldn't resist eh?) just before the detonation, but the protoganist has his own ideas. Miraculously his nuclear oncologist doctorate wife is the one who really saves the situation, even though the intelligence agent, who even the prime minister banked upon was intelligent enough to not want his wife anywhere near the proceedings.
For a movie like this to succeed, one needs a equally powerful enemy and Rahul Bose could have been adept, but he exists only to boost up the grandeur of the hero even further. With a more capable adversarial image for Bose, this movie could have really had something without fizzling into the inevitable comic book triumph of good over evil.

The last straw of insulting the viewers was to indicate at the end of the movie that a part II was coming up. Was it coming up immediately that we can't even get out of our seats? Did they really think they had to advertise that fact as otherwise, ... otherwise we would have just missed it totally?

Frankly I don't think we needed a vishwaroopam to un-detonate the situation, a chemisty grad might have been just enough.

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