Saturday, September 23, 2006

vEttaiyAdu viLaiyAdu - வேட்டையாடு விளையாடு

It's pretty difficult to write a balanced review for movie that evokes mixed responses.

Gautham - Harris Jeyaraj - Kamalhaasan is a winning combination. Gautam - HJ especially, they've managed to do a hat-trick (in Tamil). And what a performer Kamal is - barring the opening song, which Gautam acknowledged as having shot just for Kamal, the entire story unfolds solely for the script, and not for Kamal. Kamal has given himself totally to the script and gives a subdued performance (or that's the perception if you go into the theatre expecting some Kamal fare!!). That being the case, mustn't the script be strong enough to carry the movie for 2.5 hours+? Is it? Yep - hands down.

The story shoots off from Chennai, Madurai, New York, back to India. I guess Gautam can direct a Hollywood movie next - he shows enough technical proficiency to handle all the nuances required to script a rock-solid movie. One must also commend the way he has used American actors as part of the movie. The normal tendency is for the script to be made in a way that foreigners shower accolades on the Indian Hero all along. Gautam avoids all these temptations and sticks to his guns. I however feel that instead of showing all the gory details of a sadistic murder-rape-torture combo in progress, the weight of the event could have been shown merely through after effects (the english movie Seven does this pretty successfully). Gautam does tone it down, but it made me twitch in the seat uncomfortably. I was counting on Gautam's insight to shoot the movie this way, but it was a little sad to see him fall into this trap :(. Another related aspect that I don't understand - the movie has been rated U/A (meaning, children and allowed to watch the movie under adult supervision). I wonder how? This movie has everything - murder, torture, rape, violence, expletives (muted though). MPAA would have rated this movie 'R' at minmum. Anything more intense, this movie would have barged into the NC-17 territory. I will put this argument to rest now :)

There is no compromise on the dialogues as well - nothing tailored for the non-english speaking segments - I am sure the nature of the story (action packed thriller) keeps the audience glued. The amount of english (even by the non-American folks) would other wise have surely put off audience not knowing the language. In many places, Gautam uses the strategy of blasting through scenes to pack a lot of story in a very short time. This works very well, especially in the opening segment of the movie. So during time of intermission, it appears as if a lot of time has passed in the movie but is not actually so. A firm mark of a gripping thriller. However, I feel that this strategy during the climax is a put off. The audience (me definitely!!) would have liked a more prolonged climax to make the ending more satisfying. I think Gautam escaped by virtue of the surprise element he introduces in the end!!

Harris Jeyaraj appears loud in some instances, especially when the BGM takes off to a very high volume from a silent frame. Don't know if it is the theatre setting. But HJ is brilliant in setting the energy level in several scenes - ones unfolding in NY especially. Not much role for Jo - but it was refreshing to see a different story set, showing Jo as a divorced mother (Kamal did this in Mumbai Express, still so). I didn't like the villians, mainly because of the way they have been portrayed - can this be attributed as the movie's success? This feeling is pretty contrary to the way I felt about Kevin Spacey in Seven even though he was responsible for several brutal murders. I guess the screenplay makes the difference. My wish for Gautam is for him to move to a different genre (away from dada + encounter themes) and direct his talent there. After all, his first movie was a romantic comedy!!

Over all, what will you do with a bloody violent movie served in a top-notch technical package? I just don't know what to say :)

Dhyanyatra 2006

Sometimes some one else makes your life easy for you :)

Click on the title link.

No college friends with me though. Meet you again on 16th Oct!!
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