Category Archives: Historic

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review – Baahubali 2 is a Telugu historical fantasy fiction released in 2017. This movie is a sequel to the Baahubali: The Beginning released in 2015. Shivdu, after rescuing his mother from the prison has to take over Mahishmati kingdom by defeating Bhallaladeva to regain his father’s glory. The movie is also released in Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi as well.

More than Shivdu’s plight, the expectation has turned towards the reason as to why Kattappa had killed Baahubali. There are no much surprises here. I am not going to reveal it and spoil the fun for you.  The movie is an out and out visual grandeur with a lot of war sequences. The visual effects are quite stunning with some great production quality. Rajamouli is a true magician for he makes everything believable and when you sort of think logic he has slipped in emotions for you to overlook it.  Prabhas, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj have a more elaborate role to play in this edition. Anushka plays a younger avatar and the love interest of Amarendra Baahubali. Rana’s performance comes only in the second half of the movie.

Certain key sequences in the movies have been done really well. The initial war sequence in Anushka’s palace, the pivotal scene of Kattappa killing Baahubali, the interval block. All these sorts of gives you goosebumps.  There are many minimum guarantee cliched sequences as well in an attempt to please a wider variety of audiences like the introduction of Prabhas, catapulting using a Palm tree, the final war sequence. Despite these the movie still keeps you engaged for the 2 hours 47 minutes of run time. The creative touch in the titles using brass statue figures to cover the highlights of the first part of the movie is brilliant.

One of the key element I look forward to in Rajamouli’s movies is the characterisation. The stand out is the characterisation of Rajamaata and Amarendra Baahubali. Rana and Anushka’s characters have been constructed well. I felt Kattappa’s characterization has mellowed down from the first part. He fills in for the role of hero’s sidekick in the first half of the movie. While the performance is enjoyable, but having seen Kattappa fierce fully jumping on his enemies to save Sivagami this did not go well for me. While focussing on visual grandeur the script loses the emphasis on drama. For instance, Anushka trying to practice with two arrows just passes through subtle when compared to Shivdu’s irresistible desire to climb the mountain in the first part. You could see many instances where the script hasn’t given any time for you to soak in the drama of the scene. Whenever the drama is created even fewer instances it is quite a treat to watch for instance Bhallaladeva stopping his father from speaking in the meeting and letting him loose at an opportune moment, the crown ceremony during the interval block.

The climax fight looked to be a cloying overdose of special effects and emotions.

High Points: Visual Effects, the interval block as in the first part, Prabhas, Rana, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj’s performance, the initial war sequences, Kattappa killing Baahubali.

Low Points: Cliched sequences of the hero worship. The BGM scores well in key sequences otherwise it was a forgettable affair for me. Kattapa’s character transformation to be hero’s sidekick performing comical acts. The Catapulting sequence using palm trees.

Overall Baahubali 2 is a much greater visual grandeur compared to its prequel. In a haste to cater to formalities, it fails to bring in the punch like its prequel. Nevertheless, it is a treat to watch this on the big screen.

Worth a Watch

 

 

Rudhramadevi Review

Rudhramadevi Review – Rudhramadevi is a historical film released in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi in 2015. The movie is based on the life of the warrior queen Rudhramadevi who ruled the Kakatiya dynasty during the 13th century.

First of all kudos to the film crew for taking up a historical subject on woman warrior and bringing it to the silver screen. The magnanimous Baahubali had raised the expectations of film audience so high that anything less than that does not appeal anymore. Rudhramadevi also falls as a prey for this.

In the effort of making a visual grandeur in a limited budget, the filmmakers have lost the viewing pleasure. The visual effects look very amateurish compared to the standards we see today. The only thing that keeps your interest going is the story itself. The story has inspirational parts to it and some good war stories. However, the scriptwriters have failed to capitalize on this one and tailor to the movie format. In the end, it ends up looking like a TV show.

Anushka’s performance is a big strength to the movie. She has literally transformed himself as she plays the warrior. The only other character that had turned out well is Gona Ganna Reddy played by Allu Arjun.  Rana Daggupati’s character is weakly portrayed. The climax war sequence is the weakest part of the movie. In the effort of making it visually spectacular they have lost preparing the audience for it. Most of the times you are confused about who is fighting whom. In the end, it looks too easy to defeat the villain.

High Points: Anushka’s performance, Gona Ganna Reddy’s characterization and Allu Arjun’s performance, The story of a warrior queen.

Low Points: Ambiguous war sequence in the climax, Amateurish visual effects, Lack of character build up for other characters.

Overall Rudhramadevi ends up being a tale better made for the small screen than for the big screen audience.

Wait for DVD/TV

Puli Review

Puli Review – Puli is a Tamil fantasy adventure movie released in 2015. Many years ago a superior race known as Vedhalam had won wars over the human race in India and ruled them. The atrocities of their general  in the kingdom caused misery to people’s life. Circumstances lead an adopted son of a village chief to take on the might of the Vedhalam race.

There has been enough negative trolling on Puli review on the social media. This increased my curiosity to watch Puli and understand why it could have gone so bad. This review is my take on Puli and an unbiased opinion.

Director Chimbu Deven had treated us with periodic movie Imsai Arasan 23 am Pulikesi. He has now experimented with periodic fantasy movie. Post the era of Vittalacharya there has not been any successful attempt in Tamil Cinema on any fantasy adventure. Even if it had been it has not become wildly successful. Most of the Tamil filmmakers stayed out of this genre for quite some time. The financial budget and relevance of such stories in the modern era should have been the fear.

Vijay and Chimbu Deven should be lauded for going beyond the usual mass masala movie to create a fantasy adventure. It is definitely a welcome change to Tamil Cinema. However where the movie has gone bad is in the script writing department. The plot was in place which has similarities to 1948 classic Vedhala Ulagam starring T.R Mahalingam directed by A.V Meiyappan, Pa. Neelakantan and M.V Raman. Many of the trollers in social media may not have been aware of such a movie which was a mass entertainer of its time and beats many of the fantasy movie stories that are out there in the west.

In the movie Puli the writers have fallen prey to push mass masala film elements which seem out of place. The dual between Sudeep and Viay is one of the important portions of the movie. Sudeep says,  “Intha kottaikke Thalapathy naan thaan” and Vijay replies “Intha kottaikkuthane…” looks very cliched and out of place for the movie. The film is filled with such cliches throughout including the dance numbers that doesn’t fit the genre of the movie barring one song which happens in the Kingdom.

The first half of the movie is long and boring. I felt why did I come for this movie. The scenes were too disconnected, the artists eye line match was out of place in many occasions. This is sure to test your patience and by the time the interval block comes it would have disconnected the audience from the movie. The second half of the movie which seems to be the actual story which the director wanted to convey is sure to engage you in a much better fashion. Thanks to the characterisation of Sudeep and Sridevi who help in making the movie watchable. If someone walked into the movie hall just for the second half they might be wondering why people are upset about the movie. Shruthi Haasan and Hansika are just used for glamor quotient. The songs are more jarring to the years than being pleasant.

The big plus for the movie is the production design by T. Muthuraj. He has aesthetically created some of the sets which looks grand and help you connect to the movie. Also, the VFX department has worked hard to add more grandeur to Muthuraj’s set.

High Points: A fantasy adventure genre for Tamil Cinema, Sridevi’s performance, Muthuraj’s production design, Mannavane Mannavane song choreography, Talking birds, frog, Lilliputs would entice kids.

Low Points: Screenplay is a big let down, Cliched mass elements in the movie, Songs and choreography, Title of the movie doesn’t fit in well, There should have been much more creativity in differentiating Vedhalam race and human race, Long and boring first half.

In 2002 Rajinikanth tried a different genre in Baba and it failed when it released in theaters, but later the home audiences enjoyed watching the movie on their TV sets once it was edited and all expectations died down. Vijay’s Puli is one such movie. When it comes on TV hopefully with some of the cliches edited the home audience would like it.

Overall Puli is a wannabe fantasy adventure movie that works in parts in the second half. A better script writing would have helped it to appeal to the audience. Still it is not as bad a movie as it is being trolled about, it could be watched when played on TV.

Wait for DVD/TV

Baahubali – The Beginning Review

Baahubali – The Beginning Review – Baahubali – The Beginning is a Telugu is a historical fiction movie released in 2015. The film is the first of a two part series. Shivdu is found on the riverside and is raised by a small tribe family; he always wants to climb the big mountain near the village against the wish of his mother. He is able to do it when he grows up; this leads him to his roots from where had come from.

5 tablespoons of Mahabharat, one tablespoon of Ramayan and one tablespoon of masala ingredients from high packed action movies mixed well together. The dish that comes out of the above ingredients is what is Baahubali in a nutshell. Although it is made of the ingredients that we have tasted before, the dish is well prepared and fulfills our appetite like a grand feast. Director SS Rajamouli has dreamt big and kudos to him and his team to bring such a visual grandeur to the silver screen. The breath taking visuals, a native story, stunning fight choreography, powerful characterization all these make Baahubali a very compelling watch. The movie stays true to its promotion and what it had promised to offer; a historical fantasy story painted on an expensive canvas. Every frame has visual grandeur in it, right from the formidable falls to the large battlefield. Many of the characters and situations resemble many of the Indian mythology stories you would have heard but putting them in this combination is interesting. Prabhas, Anushka, Sathyaraj, Nassar, Ramyakrishnan, Rana Daggupati, Tamanna all of them have performed very well. Peter Hein’s stunt choreography is one of the highlights of the movie.

High Points: The narration, visual effects and characterization of Baahubali, Bhallala Deva, Kattappa and Sivagami shine in this first installment. The interval block for the movie was really powerful and is the high point in the movie for me.

Low Points: There are definitely some low points. There is very less differentiation between Shivdu and Baahubali. You don’t feel they are two different characters. There have been some sequences to please the fanfare on the opening day of the movie, which could have been avoided. The background score for such a visually stunning film was a bit let down for me.

Overall Baahubali is a visual treat, though it is a story you would have heard a million times still it is very interesting when SS Rajamouli narrates it. This one is a milestone in Indian Cinema and a Must watch for all Indian movie lovers.

Must Watch

The Imitation Game Review

The Imitation Game Review – The Imitation Game is an English historical thriller movie released in 2014. The movie is based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. The movie covers the life of Alan Turing during the world war II and how he cracked the code of Enigma.

The movie has turned the biography into a very compelling visual format on the screen. The choice of Benedict Cumberbatch to play the role of Alan Turing fits very well with the movie and the character. The story follows a non-linear narration which keeps the interest going on. The characterization of Alan Turing as an out of the normal person whom his colleagues find to be very difficult work with has been done very well. Through the movie you would find yourself connecting to the growing obsession of Alan Turing to develop the machine to crack the code. The movie also touches upon the controversial side of Turing’s personal life. Other characters in the movie has played their part well to make the story flow.  The character of Keira Knightley has been used well in the screenplay to get the best out of Alan’s character. If not for this the movie could have been on a very monotonous tone.

High Points: The characterization of Alan Turing, the performance of Benedict Cumberbatch, very gripping screenplay, some of the dramatic scenes where in Alan writes to Churchill to get approval to override his Boss’s orders are very neatly done, The depiction of tension during world war II has been captured well

Low Points: The length of the movie could have been a bit shorter as in the middle portions there is a slight drag

Overall if you are interested in historical biopics you would love this one. You should watch this one for the brilliant performance by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Must Watch

Kochadaiiyaan – The Legend (3D)

Kochadaiiyaan – is a historic film made in many Indian languages employing performance capture technology. Rana runs away from his city at a very small age. He is adopted by the citizens of Kalingapuri , grows into a very talented soldier and eventually becomes the Commander in Chief for the kingdom. However Rana’s past forces him to act against the interests of Kalingapuri. What was it about his past and how Rana handles it is the story of Kochadaiiyaan.

It has been a much awaited movie from Superstar Rajnikanth. It is also the first ever full length Indian movie made using performance capture technology. The real hero of the movie is KS Ravikumar. He has created a very compelling story line tailor made for Rajnikanth. The story keeps you engaged throughout the movie.  Rajnikanth proves he is much beyond technology. His voice is a big plus for the movie. AR Rahman has created very soulful music that suits the story line. The major let down is the visuals. Of course all of us understand that it is hard to make a movie of this sort given the quick timeline with a shoe string budget. If you take that out the product finish is not something you would remember. They could have still done better in many places. First and foremost is the lack of data for pupil and eye lash movement of the characters is an issue. The color palette they have used to render the scenes is very inconsistent. You would see some bright visuals for songs but rest of the scenes are dull. The third important factor they haven’t given much thought is for the materials (like the terrain, walls, objects) used for the environment. These make it look like a 3D cartoon animation movie you had watched 15 years ago. However you would see moments of brilliance in certain scenes, in particular the stunt scenes have been done very well. They have really done a good job with the character that resurrects Nagesh on to the screen. Despite the short comings the screenplay of the movie, Rajni’s voice and AR Rahman’s music would entertain you and keep you glued to the seat. Kochadaiiyaan is a good attempt to start a trend towards performance capture technology. If it is used in a proper manner it could create wonders for Indian Cinema and enable us to make movies which are very difficult to make otherwise. Spending a good amount of time in the pre-production stage is very vital to make a good movie. If our Indian film makers concentrate on this department they would be able to make movies that could compete with many western movies in production quality.

Overall Kochadaiiyaan is worth a watch if you are not going with a mindset of experiencing a visual treat. If you are able to look beyond the shortcoming of the visuals – the story, actors and music would be a treat for you.

Watchable – for the first time effort, brilliant story line, music and of course for Superstar.

 

Tenaliraman

Tenaliraman – is a Tamil comedy movie released in 2014. The ministers of Vigada Nagaram plan to bring in foreign traders into the kingdom and setup shops. This leads to poverty of locals. Tenaliraman, the witty and wise minister plans to bring this to the attention of the King and save the people.

Vadivelu’s come back movie after years. Taking up the role of the Tenaliraman is a very wise decision. Tales of Tenaliraman has always been fascinating and still they bring a smile on your face. The movie is a collage of many of the tales you might have read or watched on TV. Director Yuvaraj Dhayalan has neatly arranged it together to create an engaging screenplay. The film also has a very decent production quality. He has also tuned Vadivelu’s acting to suit to the story line. You may not enjoy the movie if you are expecting a laugh riot from Vadivelu like Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi. You would enjoy the movie if you go with an open mind and for Tenaliraman for the wise man he was. Overall the movie deserves a one-time watch.

Watchable