Monday, November 24, 2008


A colleague of mine, a born-malayalee who is brought up in North India, told me that ‘Dostana’ is a wonderful movie, though it has got some adults only jokes and even recommended me to watch it. Already we have duscissed my assumption about some of the hindi films. Personally I don’t like the amul-baby attitude of some directors like Karan Johar in filmmaking. Here Karan is producing the film and it is directed by his assistant Tarun Manshukani. Anyway keeping faith on my friend, I went to watch ‘Dostana’.

Without any surprise, the film starts with a song where “bare-body show” of sexy John Abraham surrounded by foreign girls in two-piece bikini,
headed by Shilpa Shetty. The next hero Abhishek Bachan is also introduced through this song.

This is yet another hindi film in which the story happens in the United States. I know that hindi films has got a global audience, but don’t forget that these film is made in hindi, it is better to make English as the medium for such films. Now-a days it is very hard to point out the example of a hindi film in which the story happening in our country.

John and Abhishek are in difficult search of a rental house. At last they got one, where they have to stay as paying guests. But for that they told a lie that both of them are gays (homosexuals). The house owner lady, heroine Priyanka Chopra’s aunt is impressed and allowed them. What an Idea!!! Such a an outr
ageous thing might have happened in the mind of none other than the “great producer” Karan Johar only…

We all feel that there should be some difference in the subject for every film. But this much of differentiation is unacceptable. I am not against any unorthodox subjects. You can only argue this by saying that homosexuals are common in our society. But here the treatment is funny; they had made it a commercial masala filled with double meaning dialogues and jokes (?) performed by John Abraham and Abhishek Bachan. The film has also got Bomman Irani as ex boss of Priyanka coming in the womanish character.

Both of them try to impress Priyanka. But she is being admired by her boss (Bobby Deol). They try their level best to make him away from her. When caught in the end, both of them were forgiven under one condition; Since they acted as gays, they have to kiss each other in the middle of a big party gathering…They have done it and all happy... Is that climax, ok for you?

I heard laughs for many scenes from the non-malayalee groups and some malayaless (like my friend) inside theatre. But persons like me were restless all the time hoping to get out at any point of time. If films like this are accepted it once again establish the fact that south and north has got a different sense and taste in attitude and approach.

‘Dostana’ is not the real friendship. I don’t have the broad mindedness and peace of mind to tolerate such silly things shown in the film, sorry…

Rating : 1 / 5

Vaaranam Aayiram

Though he has given very few films only, the name is prominent in the south Indian cine field. His career is a mixture of hits and flops, but one can’t question his caliber as the ace director. His debutant project is ‘Minnale’ (Madhavan-Reema Sen), he is popular through ‘Kaakka Kaakka (Surya-Jyothika), then came the mega venture ‘Vettayadu Vilayadu’ with Kamalhassan-Jyothika followed by a family thriller ‘Pachakkili Muthucharam (Sarathkumar-Jyothika). His name is Gautham Menon. All those projects has got another name in common to project, Harris Jayaraj who gave immense contribution in the music area for
all the films.

This time it is Surya’s turn to work with Gautham Menon again through ‘Vaara
nam Aayiram’. Simran is acting in tamil after a certain gap. Sameera Reddy, who is popular in hindi-telugu films, has got her first tamil project here. Another artist to do a special character is Divya Spandana (she is none other than kannada actress Ramya, who acted in ‘Kuthu’ and ‘Pollathavan’).

The pre-release news and stills of ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ has created some expectation among the viewers. It has shown Surya in different make-ups never as before. Moreover Harris Jayaraj has given songs in his usual style. Also the shooting of the project happened throughout the last 2 years in different schedules in different locations right from Chennai to Los Angels.

The first scene of the film itself will make us stunned. The way in which the hero’s character is portrayed will attract you. As it goes on we can see the different life stages of the hero. It includes from student’s life to the old age. The first half is simply superb. Later the writer-director has got some missing in the story line and it provoked him to deviate from the real subject by including some action scenes and songs. Thus the second half became lengthy and in some area it is lagging.

An experienced filmmaker like Gautham Menon should have been conscious while scripting the subject. He should
be aware of the audience’ pulse. These days they won’t tolerate any lag in a good story; their non-cooperative mentality can affect the film badly. ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’, in such a way has got the story necessary to made 2-3 films from it.

Surya has given his life best performance as the youth and the old man. Simran has got a matured role to perform and has done well. Cinematographer Rathnavelu, who is popular through films like 'Aravindhan', Sethu', 'Nandha', 'Thirumalai', 'Arya', Cyanide’, ‘Enthiran-The Robot’ etc has given colorful and attractuve frames. Anthony has not shown many gimmicks in editing. Harris Jayaraj might be frustrated to give bg score for such a lengthy subject.

(Recently, I heard that Gautham Menon has re-edited the second half and made it a good product…I have not seen, better you watch & decide)

‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ means “thousands elephants”, no need to have so much numbers, even one elephant is good enough to caught attention. A die hard fan of Surya / tamil films can watch the film once for an excellent first half.

Rating : 3 / 5

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quantum of Solace

May be it is difficult to remember the names like Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Thimothi Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig etc. It is better if you know the character James Bond. Those were the stars that has done Bond’s role through these years. The latest film in the James Bond series is ‘Quantum of Solace’. Daniel Craig who acted in the previous Bond film ‘Casino Royale’ is retained.

I think there is no need for an introduction to James Bond movies. If you have watched one or two such movies, then you will be familiar with the representation of Bond’s characters and his activities. In short Ian Fleming’s character has got the “licence to kill”. That is why I always loved James Bond movies. He is unpredictable. He will go after the enemy at any place at any time. In ‘Quantum of Solace’ also, the pattern is same.

In search of the villain, the Bond is travelling from one continent to other. It starts from Italy to Haiti to Austria to Morocco to Bolivia to Russia. But our hero doesn’t care for anyone. At one stage he disagrees with the boss and the boss tries to arrest him. But no one can stop the Bond, once the race is started.

In the first scene itself we can see aggressive chasing between the Bond and the rival gangs. In each and every reel, we can see action scenes in its ultimate. No scope for logic or rethinking while we watch James Bond movies. What they have provided a thrilling action atmosphere.

Maybe a hard core fan of Bond movies, might feel that there is nothing new in this film. But it is relevant that a James Bond film has got a particular graph to follow. They have done that and wont allow you to become restless while watching it.

Those who like watching James Bond films should not miss ‘Quantum of Solace’.

Rating : 4 / 5


Already we have discussed the fact that Hindi film field has got some excellent directors who tell the story in a different style of their own and are succeeded in it. The creator of ‘Page 3’, ‘Corporate’ and ‘Traffic Signal’ is back with his latest movie ‘Fashion’.

As the name tells the film deals with the ups and down in the colourful and attractive field of style and fashion. Since we are familiar with the ramp walking, the new trends in this area and the success of models and beauty queens through the media, here the director has tried to communicate the darker side of the fashion world also. He has shown the struggling phase of the models, their desperate attempt to keep the position, the competition between the individuals and companies, the role of fashion designers, agents etc. Also we are shown the bad habits practised by the models and what all is happening in the back stage before and after the show.

Priyanka Chopra has done the lead role in ‘Fashion’. She is the one who reached Mumbai from Chandigarh with the ambition of becoming a top model. Even after refusing by her father, she decides to leave her hometown in search of a prominent position in the new field. Kangana Ranaut plays the role of an experienced model. She is being addicted to smoking and drinking. At one of those struggling periods, Priyanka got a golden chance to replace the super model, Kankana. So it is the rising of one star through the downfall of another.

Once entered the position her life is changed and what happens to her position in the field is what the director has tried to tell through ‘Fashion’. The director has neatly connected the controversial real life incidents of models Geethanjali Nagpal (she was found roaming in the city streets in a poor un- healthy condition) and Carol Gracia (malfunctioning while walking in the ramp).

‘Fashion’ has been created by Madhur Bhandarkar without boring. Some of the incidents are familiar to us and some are not. Priyanka Chopra and Kankana Ranaut have done their roles exceptionally well. Camera by Mahesh Limaye is good. Salim Sulaiman has given the life to the movie through the background music and songs.

If you want to know what all is happening in the colourful world of fashion then ‘Fashion’ is a right choice.

Rating : 4 / 5

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Twenty 20

Dileep has produced the film ‘Twenty 20’ for ‘AMMA’, Association of Malayalam Movie Artists. It has got all the main stars in prominent roles. The revenue generated from this movie is allotted for the benefit of senior artists and veteran members in the association. Right from Mammootty, Mohanlal, Sureshgopi, Jayaram and Dileep almost all the artists have acted in the film free of cost. Though the team behind claims that, the absence of many like Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu, Balchandra Menon, Captain Raju, Ganeshkumar, Bheeman Raghu, Rajan.P.Dev, KPAC Lalitha, Meera Jasmin etc is notable.

Even before the release, ‘Twenty 20’was in the news for certain factors. The fans association of Mohanlal was unhappy due to the placement of Mammootty at the center in the main posters of the film. At first, the government has agreed for increase in ticket charge for first 3 days and later the High Court has stayed the order. Also there was an email circulated among the public regarding the story of the movie. Some of those issues have given a negative publicity for the film. Anyway by the end of the day, the producer-distributors will be happy to see that the film is well received among the public.

Joshi has directed ‘Twenty 20’, Dileep’s favorite writers Udaykrishna-Sibi.K.Thomas has got the golden but complicated opportunity to write the script for the movie. P.Sukumar is the cinematographer.

Mammootty plays the role of an advocate, Mohanlal is the businessman, Suresh Gopi is the IPS officer, Jayaram is the Doctor and Dileep is the medical student. All these characters are linked with a murder directly or indirectly. So we can say ‘Twenty 20’ is the search of the real culprits behind the murder, to save the innocent from being punished, to take revenge on enemies etc by the hero(s).

All the stars have been given an equal importance. But it is Mohanlal who steals the show by his incredible performance through an unusual introduction. Also the sportsman spirit of Mammootty should be appreciated for participating in the show with his usual style and to allow his opponent to dominate him in some places.

The comedy sequences created in the first half using Harisree Asokan, Cochin Haneefa, Bijukuttan, Kalpana etc is not so bright. The main story, which is happening in the family of Retd. Justice played by Madhu, has forced the director to show the family members again and again. Such scenes can create lagging. But the second half has got a good pace.

Songs by Suresh Peters is not up to the mark. Background score by Rajamani has helped to maintain the tempo. The introduction song should have been done in an attractive way. Item song of Nayantara with Prithviraj, Kunjakko Boban, Indrajith, Jayasurya and Manikkuttan is not neatly picturised and it is not registering to the viewers. Once back from other languages, Bhavana is more glamorous in the song.

Though this is multi-starrer project, it is no where near the wide canvas of big budget films done by the veteran I.V.Sasi in the 80’s. The real heroes behind the film is the scriptwriters duo Uday and Sibi who has portrayed the film with maximum stars in the best outfits. The main attraction is that you can see many ‘stars’ collectively in a single movie.

‘Twenty 20’ is a feast which we don’t get frequently.

Rating : 4 / 5

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Raju Sundram – the name is quite popular in the south Indian cine field as a choreographer since last 20-25years.As the elder son of veteran dance master Sundaram and the brother of Prabhu Deva, he himself is busy in tamil-telugu films these days. Like his colleagues Raghavendra Lorence, Prabhu Deva and Rajasekhar, it is now Raju’s turn to direct a movie.

h Raju Sundaram started his first venture as director with Dhanush through ‘Parattai Engirai Azhagu Sundaram’ (remake of kannada block buster ‘Yogi’ by Shivraj Kumar), it was not successful since his extreme wish to work as a choreographer for other films also while directing the particular movie was not allowed by the Artists Union, later he was thrown out of the project and Suresh Krishna (‘Basha’, ‘Annamalai’ fame ) completed the film. But now through Raju became the debutant director through ‘Egan’.

Ajith – Nayantara teaming here again after their previous hit ‘Billa’. ‘Egan’ is inspired from films like ‘Main Hoon Naa’ and ‘Olympian Anthony Adam’. The film tells the story of a cop who belongs to an anti-terrorist squad. Suman (‘Sivaji’ fame ) plays the underworld don. In the beginning, Devan
who is doing business with him, quit the field. He wants to become an aquatint. From the police custody the former tries to kill him. Anyway he is escaped. So the police try to capture him through the hero, who in turn takes the role of a student and join the college where Devan’s daughter is studying. Nayantara is the teacher, as expected she loves our hero. After some family melodramas in the second half, the victory is for the hero only.

Frames by the cinematographer Arjun Jena is rich and colorful. But there is no depth in the story line and the scenes. Ajith, in the student’s role is not flexible. Jayaram who came as villain in
his previous two films, is a comedian here. In the role of Principal, he has got some foolish sequences to create the comedy.Being a malayalee, I cant appeciate the dialogue delivery of Cochin Haneefa in tamil films (may be such a non uniformity might be the reason for him to be casted in tamil films !!!).

Yuvan Shankar Raja has got some fast numbers. His background music is also good. Choreography for the songs by Raju’s ex-students, Dinesh, Noble and Bhaskar is notable. But on the whole, we can’t promote the project ‘Egan’.

‘Egan’ always wants to live alone; he doesn’t need your friendship. So no need for you to accompany him…

Rating : 2 / 5


Though ‘Phoonk’ is a bad film, I still believe that Ram Gopal Varma is one of the best directors our country has ever produced.

RGV always says that he is against the cliché of usual hindi films. He wants to break the rule always. Anyway, being a south Indian, he is successful in the hindi film field as a notable producer-director through films like ‘Satya’, ‘Rangeela’, ‘Company’, ‘Road’, ‘Bhoot’, ‘Sarkar’, Sarkar Raj’ etc.

Days before, I read an advt in the news paper regarding Varma’s latest movie ‘Phoonk’. It says, the person who is able to watch the particular movie alone in the theatre should be awarded a cash prize of Rs10 lacs. That time itself some doubt arised in my mind regarding the quality of the movie. Such advts can question the confidence of the director. Anyway I cant suspect much here, because the person on the receiving end has given an extra ordinary film like ‘Bhoot’, which was one of the best horror films in hindi.

Without much expectation and some fear, I entered the theatre. ’Phoonk’ deals with the black magic subject. Kannada star Sudeep plays the hero, who is doing the construction business. After seeing some irregularities in the account, he dismisses the couple who is in charge of the department. To take the revenge, the lady who is also practicing black magic, experiments it on hero’s elder daughter. Due to its adverse effect, the child behaves abnormally, after some tensions and enquiries the culprit is caught.

There is no single scene in ‘Phoonk’ which can make you frightened. Due to some unnecessary base sounds in the background music, the rear speakers in the theaters were also jarring all the time creating an irresistible noise. As usual, the director has given some nice shots, but that is not useful for such a film to be loved by the audience.

‘Phoonk’ means smoke with fowl smell. It is advisable not to breath it.

Rating : 1 / 5