Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Makkhi Review

*** This is a repost from the review at Bollyspice.com***

Good things come to those who wait is the saying. Director S.S.Rajamouli has surely made us live that phrase with his latest offering Makkhi. After announcing the film, the director decided to let our imagination run wild when he explained the story was simple. A guy gets reborn to avenge his death and save his girlfriend from the high profile bad guy. A common story that not only Hindi cinema but the entire Indian Film Industry would have tried to depict at least once. But the killer appeal for the audience this time is our guy is reborn as the common house fly. Now are the pieces falling into a tiny sequence in your mind? Intrigue peaked? Trust me when I say this writer went berserk looking out for clippings, promos and the ultimate trailer before this movie (finally!!) released as a bilingual, shot simultaneously in Tamil – Naan Ee and Telugu – Eega.

Now having seen the film in Telugu and in Tamil, what would Makkhi, the HINDI dubbed version provide a repeat viewer. The answer? Almost the exact same exhilarating ride as a first time viewer. The effort taken in by the whole team is really hard for anyone to explain in a justifiable manner. Makkhi must be seen to be believed and experienced in its full capacity. Be it the tender love story of an independent girl, Bindu played by debutant Samantha Ruth Prabhu, who slyly brushes all efforts by her love struck neighbor, Jani played by South actor Nani, although she too feels the same. Or the devilishly suave advances and sinister acts of Sudeep retaining his name for his character that makes you both hate and love him in equal quantity. Or the struggle this bad guy goes through thanks to the little hidden hero that makes his life hell. Love, laugh, smile, smirk, cry or even cringe all you want but know the team of Makkhi , from the actors in front to the VFX behind the magic on screen, are pulling the strings and will make you fall prey to their charm.

However a diagnosis is needed, isn’t it? And yes it does start of quite simple. Boy is in love with girl. She loves him too but won’t show. Enter bad guy who lusts after her. He finds out about him and kills boy. But this maybe just 20 minutes of the story and granted it may not seem much but what progress on screen will have you spellbound. As Rajamouli states, this is the ultimate revenge story so clearly that’s where the real fun lies. But if the story doesn’t take your fancy, the actors will surely keep you involved.

Hands down, Sudeep takes the lead in the actors. Not only with filmage but also quality of performance. As sinister as he is supposed to be, its the other shades of his character and the fact his opponent is a VFX product AFTER the scene was shot that stands out about him. Nani is only present in the first 20 minutes of the film but he adds to sweet romance in a calm, confident and cute manner. Leading Lady Samantha is someone you will see walking down the street and at the supermarket. No big whistles or horns. Just a simple girl with a special talent. The same, however, cannot be said for her appeal as it hits home harder than the girl next door character she plays. All else are competent.

When it comes to a film like this, the visual is half the work. M.M.Kreem brings out the visuals with each scene with his background score making it an electrifying experience while the songs are sure to reach your ears pleasantly with Lava Lava making an interesting mark. Editor Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao keeps the screenplay by S.S.Rajamouli in ship shape, while cinematographer Senthil Kumar makes sure each scene fits the bill, whether its the whirlwind in a glass or the reflective light of a torch. Art director S. Ravindar pulls out the rabbit from a hat on this one.

Was I impressed? Was it worth the wait? Did Rajamouli yet again? Clearly a big fat YES to all of the above. Now for the folk in B-Town, the figure that is S.S.Rajamouli is not entirely familiar beyond the news and gossip of his critically and commercially claimed film Magadheera that was at one staged rumored to be remade in Hindi. Maybe few more folks would have known about Son Of Sardaar being a remake of his Maryada Ramanna. But Makkhi is the film that will introduce him to the audience of Hindi cinema, even if it is a dubbed film, and bound to get the fan following that he enjoys in the south with Ajay Devgn and Kajol’s vocal cameo’s standing testament to it . Even the little niggling bits of length don’t stand a chance against his Midas touch.

Makkhi is a magnificent adventure lead by a minute hero.

Our rating: 4/5

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ye Maya Chesave Review

Where do you begin with this film. After watching Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya a million times, it seemed futile to watch the same story again with a different cast, even if the ending is different. But this is what happened and with the bluray copy sitting on the T.V stand at my house, a re-watch of this romance drama was all this hopeless romantic needed to start writing a flashback review.

The story is the same so while its silly to delve into it again, the reassurance you get is that even as new as Samantha (only one film old with Baana Kathadi and it hadn't released at the time of YMC) and Naga Chaitanya (the Josh debut was firmly in the back of our mind), the two deliver. Bright eyed bushy tailed, the two are raw, real and very much in sync with their character with their chemistry burning the screen. No nonsense of who has seen this and done that, just first take action. And for anyone that has seen the intereviews, the actors on any Gautham Vasudev Menon set would tell you that is what the director prefers. Individually, you cannot imagine anyone else for Karthik with Naga Chaitanya. Yes, Simbhu played it to perfection but unlike his filmography taking a turn with the film, Chaitu still had to form an opinion in everyone's mind. Perhaps its the expression he displays but one gets a very childlike perception in his portrayal. Thats not to say he was childish. But that innocence you relate to it, and beyond his age, there is a very young vibe from his character anyway. Samantha on the other was completely opposite in that there is a stern strictness that comes with age. She is delight to watch as she simply glides through the role. For a debut in a language that she is not familiar with (barring the obvious dubbing by the beautiful Chinmayi), Samantha did not let it be known and her lip-syncing is on point. As the friend who backs Karthik and helps him all the way to Aleppey, Krishnudu is cute and honest. You could say he was a semi comedian in the flick. As parents, Surekha Vani, Sanjay Swaroop, Lakshmi Radhakrishnan and Devan play their part effortlessly, although one did get a feeling that Surekha Vani was a little young looking for the mother of a 22 year old. Puri Jagannadh plays himself with director Gautham making a 2 sec no dialogue cameo. Since the film is predominately surrounding the lead pair, no one else gets a big role in the film besides the camera and music.

The comparisons are bound to be there. Same director, same music and same story. Even the locations have similarity. But what is so wonderful about this pair version is their freshness. The two films were being made at the same time at one point but for someone that has watched both version, you do not feel these newcomers lose out on the edge that the experienced actor have. If only some, credit for this must go to director Gautham Menon. Making a remake of your film is not unusual but there is never a guarantee it will work again. So Gautham's conviction even after the initial hesitation, is worthy of applause. From Manoj Paramahamsa to A.R.Rahman, the technical side of the film did not miss a beat. Visually captivating, subtle music yet erupting in emotion without a cartoon feel. Dialogues by Umarji Anuradha added the subtle nativity required to show difference in the film. Even as you hear the same songs composed by A.R.Rahman, you feel the lyrics give a new dimension to the songs you have heard so many times. Barring of course, the superbly sung Aaromale.

Downfalls? Well, after watching the film close to 1000 times, one gets over the "I-love-you-now, I-dont-love-you-now" rotating door emotions Jessie portrays because you finally understand. Making a choice based on your mind is very hard when your heart says something quite different. In your dady-to-day life, we are forced to do so in many situations. So with the backdrop of a love story, there is bound to be some tension. At the same time, there is literally only two scenes where you hear Jessie's mindspeak, the reason for that comes in the most simplest answers. The narrative is in Karthik's point of view. So naturally, we only see his side. You aren't supposed to understand entirely what Jessie does. Frustration and fury may get the better of you but  there is little room for Jessie's version of events. So dont get me wrong and think that there aren't flaws. It is purely a case of each her own interpretation and this reviewer sees a logic. Whether this was intended is left in the hands of the director to clarify.

One thing is most evident for this film. With all the accusations that real life is only seen on the big screen when the setting a love story is in the outskirts of a village, YMC shows the place isnt important for it to be real and raw. The city life has many stories and regardless of its picture perfect look, there is real life in the film, even as it entertains like a mainstream commercial film should.

Shall we skip the rating this time? ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vedi Review

Sometimes not expecting anything maybe the biggest plus point. In the case of Vedi, regardless of the track record from the cast/crew, its best not expect anything. Reason? The original film that this is remaking, Souryam. With all due respect to the original makers, Souryam wasn't exactly breathtaking. Yes, Vishal has garnered quite a few compliments from his successful Avan Ivan and Prabhudheva is shining strong with his remakes. But this doesn't mean they cant make a wrong move. So here's the gist of it.

Balu [Vishal] is appointed the new Phys.Ed teacher in the college Aishwarya [Poonam Kaur] studies at in Kolkatta and is told to meet her for a room to rent. However, her house is already rented out so she tells him to meet Paaru [Sameera Reddy]. After the usual song intro [with DSP doing a cameo] and some mildly entertaining mishaps, Paru is in love with Balu and we find out there is a bunch of goons searching for him. Beyond the obvious factors of no past , Balu's unusual emotional outbursts towards Aishwarya and any problems she has lead to a few questions. Who is Balu and what does a group of goons want him for? With the usual swashbuckling fighting frenzy and punchlines galore, we have the rest of the story.

Stepping back into commercialville, we have Vishal and in all honesty, this may not have been the best option for him. Remakes maybe on the order but not all of them are sure shot hits. In this case, all that expectation and admiration Vishal collected with Avan Ivan may have dampened the newborn fans' hope of some amazing acting. But that's not to say he didn't entertain. Sameera Reddy has finally had that commercial fun character that those in the Telugu FI have seen before. She is fun and out there, a complete contrast from her previous down played and somewhat realistic roles. Poonam Kaur is reprising a role she played in the Telugu original but there is very little reason given as to why as she disappoints in her limited yet crucial role. Shayaji Shinde is very verbal and has a ball playing the baddie with the comic streak but considering this is something he has done many a time in Telugu, there really isn't much to be said. And to say the rest of the cast comes and goes without leaving a mark, wouldn't be far from the truth. Even poor Urvasi couldn't do much in the comical cameo she has.

From the technical aspect, Prabhudheva is not in his element. Yes, he makes you laugh at times, but you neither feel the emotion nor have zest for the action. Yes, his material didn't leave for him to shine, but isn't that where directors differ from each other? Regardless of the story, they make a mark and show even an retold story can be enjoyable? Given Prabhudheva's success remakes, this hardly seems a viable reason to not show his technique. R.D. Rajashekar's camera is just about okay with V.T.Vijayan's editing requiring more diligence.

However, surprise surprise, Vijay Antony makes the music as a plus point the failed-to-please film, with Enna Achu and Ippadi Mazhai humming pleasantly and Bombay Ponnu dance-worthy (although condolences are in order for the lyricist Thamarai). Kadhalikka Pen Oruthi has the typical Vijay Antony touch but Andreah's vocal save it somewhat. 

Just like it was fun to watch Devi Sri Prasad groove on the screen, cameos and comic scenes may be ok for an one time watch but they are not enough to make one see the film again and they sure as hell dont make up for the rest of the film.
Rating: 1.5/5

Thinking and Thinking...

This isn't really a proper post with a topic. Well, maybe. But after ignoring, procrastinating, contemplating, preparing and even drafting posts, I got lost in the chaos that I created and have not made an effort to write. Seems a little odd to me since I love writing. In fact, of all the creative skills I have, this one (and painting) has gotten me more acknowledgement amongst friends and family, but I seem to always sideline it. Anyway, this is my puny attempt at saying to the reader of this blog of mine, I am very much alive and will eventually get through the backlog of reviews that I started and didn't finish. YET!

Till then rest assured, your visits, comments and inputs is appreciated and will be responded to. Sooner or later.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Painting Challenge Final Product

So unlike the last time, I didn't really go through a major update frenzy. But thanks to some lovely/specific suggestions, I made more progress than anticipated each time I sat/stood to paint. A big thanks to all those that suggested whatever they wanted. As much as it made me pull my hair out at times (I hate Bowzer and Zeus now btw), I think this time was a bigger challenge. I hope you like the product as much as I enjoyed doing it.

The painting is a 3 canvas sequence and I have named it Headspace. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And It Begins Again!!

There is always something that everyone finds a solace in. For some its shopping, for some, its music. I'd like to think its movies for me but the truth is, the one thing that makes me forget where I am to the point of forgetting the day/time it is, is painting. Even with my writing, I have a lazy streak that makes its presence known some time. Hence the month and months that I have spent thinking I have so many reviews that I should finish or write but havent got around to. On top of that, as the days progresed, the confidence in the written words dwindled. Result? A bit of a hold up in the creative factory in my head. I have been away for longer than expected. However, I am glad to admit that I am loving that fact I'm back and whats more, with me returns the wonderful painting challenge that I did back in 2011. (Check this out to understand).
Yet even as I venture down this road again, there is so many things I am unsure of. The how and the why is pretty much the same as before with my format being scryllic and reason, well me. But the what is my question to you.

So as the poster suggests, I am collecting ideas this time as well. I have already had a generous dose from work colleagues but it wouldn't be fair not to include those that were there last time if I didn't let y'all know. Especially since this is a bigger, better version for me...

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