Vivegam Review – Vivegam is a Tamil Action film released in 2017. AK is part of a secret agent team that is on a rescue mission for a console that can trigger an underground weapon to cause mass destruction.
Well, there has been a lot of negative reviews downpouring on this one. I watched this after all the expectations died down. Here is my neutral take on the movie. Vivegam coming from Director Siva I did not have many expectations as I did not quite like Veeram or Vedaalam. However, Vivegam teaser was quite impressive as it promised to be an out and out action movie. Ajith’s physical transformation added more reasons to watch this one. Although there were many loopholes and weak points in the script this one appealed to me better than Veeram and Vedalam.
Ajith carries the movie on his shoulder throughout. His physical transformation and his performance where he has to interrogate the villains mercilessly he scores high. The action sequences, editing, and cinematography has been done very well. Kudos to Siva and team for having pulled an out and out action entertainer with a high production quality. The chase sequence involving Akshara Haasan is one of the high points in the movie that would keep you engaged.
Hero worship and the force-fitted tale of romance have made the screenplay weak. In many sequences, unless you are an ardent Ajith fan you would be like “Really?”. The first five minutes of the opening sequence is a great example of this. The majority of the audience would have been lost by then. Thanks to the engaging first half which kind of compensates for the damage done. The family and emotional angle could have certainly been avoided as it slowed down the pace of the story. Kajal’s character looks so disconnected from the movie. Vivek Oberoi is new kind of villain who overpraises the hero to have a kick in defeating him. But this has certainly not worked in the movie. The last climax fight sequence, the director has tried to recreate the effect the Dhool climax with a song in the background. This too hasn’t worked well as you don’t emotionally connect with the scene.
Overall Vivegam stands out from the normal masala movies for its high-quality action sequences and good production value but suffers from weak characterization. You might enjoy this one when played on TV.
Wait for TV/DVD
Rekka Review – Rekka is a Tamil action drama released in 2016. Shiva helps in kidnapping a girl from her wedding against her wish. The groom happens to be a fearsome don and he awaits an opportunity to avenge Shiva.
Rekka is an out and out masala movie with some mindless action scene. If you are in a mood for watching a mindless action movie then Rekka will not disappoint you. But if you are going to the theater to watch a Vijay Sethupathi movie you might get a bit disappointed.
The movie has resemblances of action blockbuster Ghilli in many parts. They even show Ghilli scene playing on TV. This one just assumes unlimited power for the hero. There might be hundreds of men flocking together but not able to lay their hands on the hero when he elopes with the girl. He just seems to be invincible. When he has such a power one has to wonder why he got into the trouble (as shown in the movie) in the first place. If you are able to forgive such mindless sequences there is a lot to enjoy in the movie.
High Points: Vijay Sethupathi’s presence, Masala elements for entertainment have set in well.
Low Points: But for the hero all other characters are too shallow, mindless action sequences.
Overall this is a perfect script for Vishal but starring Vijay Sethupathi. If you are in a mood for a mindless action movie then Rekka would not disappoint you, if not you can watch this when aired on TV.
Wait for DVD/TV
Joker Review – Joker is a Tamil political satire film released in 2016. In a small town near Dharmapuri a common man Mannar Mannan assumes that he is the president of India and sets out to implement a vision of cleanliness and literacy to Indian citizens.
Joker, the name itself is a satire as it is by no means fun. It is a hard-hitting drama that highlights the corruption in every walk of life, many of which the ordinary man is so used to by now that it has become a walk of life. The one who raises voices against these is looked upon as suffering from mental illness.
Guru Somasundaram has given a very powerful performance as Mannar mannan. He is ably supported by rest of the crew. The first 45 minutes of the movie stays true to the satire genre. Although the scenes are funny it makes a strong statement against the present day politics. They have walked the line without pointing fingers to any political party. Every scene is crafted to hit at a social issue in a comical way. The collector not worried about the common man’s cry considering going to a function to distribute freebies to the voters, a shopkeeper watching cricket without listening to the cry that soft drinks are poisonous, those magnificent hoardings depicting the local minister as the famous movie characters, the toilet doors colors used for photo shoot drawn from our tri color. All are hilarious at the same time thought provoking.
However when the movie switches back to the flashback story it turns into a more melodramatic movie. Probably the director felt that was the only way to create an impact. I would have preferred the movie stayed to the tone of satire itself. The movie does talk about many social reforms including toilets for every home, banning sand mafia, illegal construction, lack of basic safety and more.
High Points: Political satire has worked out well, Performance of Guru Somasundaram is very good.
Low points: The length of the movie could have been done in 90 minutes to be more impactful, the melodrama could have been avoided for this genre.
Overall Joker is a movie that all of us should watch at least once. It is not only a well-made movie but calls for awakening.
Worth a watch
Pather Panchali Review – Pather Panchali is a Bengali drama directed by Satyajit Ray, released in 1955. The movie is based on the novel by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay by the same name. This was also Satyajit Ray’s directorial debut. The story revolves around a poor family in the rural area of West Bengal. It is the journey of the family struggling to make the ends meet.
This movie is now a landmark in the history of Indian Cinema. Ray took the film to outdoors and started the trend of realistic movies in Indian Cinema. The movie introduced many legends to Indian Cinema. It took 3 years to make the movie due to funding issues. If you are interested in the journey of the making of the movie then read the article Song of the Little Road from this site. Thanks to Bangalore International Film Festival, I was able to enjoy this movie on a big screen in Gold Class.
The movie is very engaging from the start. Given the limitations of the technology and challenges in lighting the output still brilliant. Ray paints the picture of the family in the rural area. The household set has been brilliantly designed and is utilized to the maximum. There is a scene in which the mother pushes her daughter out of the house and closes the door. Through the hole in the wall, Ray has captured both the characters and their emotions at the same time without resorting to any split screen editing. You would see many such brilliant moments in the film.
The music composition pandit Ravi Shankar is just brilliant and adds soul to the movie. The sound recording captures the sound you would experience in a countryside. The two kids in the movie are the ones that win you heart as compared to the others. They have performed very well. Although the family is going through financial troubles the world in the eyes of the kids is still beautiful as they take extreme pleasure from the smallest things. The activities they do would have been nostalgic for many of the movie goers during that time. As the movie is based on a popular novel the story itself is very compelling and Ray’s visual language gives a new dimension to the story.
High Points: The outdoor sequences, Scene compositions, performances of the actors, nostalgic moments, background score, use of the sets, the iconic train scene
Low Points: The only low point is the legend Ray is not with us now
Get ready to travel to a countryside and relive the early 20th century. This is a milestone movie in the history of Indian Cinema that had got a lot of attention from the world. Don’t miss if you get a chance to watch this one.
Wazir Review – Wazir is a Hindi mystery thriller released in 2016. Anti-Terrorism Squad officer Daanish and Ruhana lead a fairy tale life with their little daughter Noori. Things take an unprecedented turn when Noori is killed in an unplanned ambush attack in Daanish presence. He is stuck with guilt but finds some peace with learning chess from Noori’s chess teacher Pandit Omkar Nath Dhar who has lost his wife and daughter. Soon Daanish learns that Omkar Nath’s daughter is killed by a politician and decides to help him settle scores.
Director Bejoy Nambiar has taken up a mystery thriller with some stellar star cast after his multi-star film David. This is based on a script initially written by Vidhu Vinod Chopra in early 90s. The movie is slick and engages with the audience throughout. However, the more predictable nature of the mystery involved spoils the watch. At least, I felt the story gave too much away before it should have. One more reason is the interval break. This movie shouldn’t have had one. That gave me time to think and predict the next half easily.
The performances of Amitabh and Farhan are the pillars of the movie. They seem to have slipped into their roles with ease and are very convincing.
The first 5 minutes (titles) of the movie has been sketched like a happy ending of a fairy tale with some ultra motion visuals and jump cuts. This is visually very appealing. Even the rest of the movie is visually appealing product and helps you glued to the screen. The encounter operation in the night is shot well. Also, the length of the movie is just right for the script. I hope all the Indian movie makers follow this to keep their movies precise.
High Points: Performances of Amitabh and Farhan, Visuals, Stunts, short length of the movie
Low Points: Predictability in the suspense
Overall Wazir is a commendable attempt in the Bollywood. This would be a memorable movie for Farhan Akthar and Bejoy Nambiar. I hope to see more such movies from our talented filmmakers.
Worth a Watch
Inji Iduppazhagi Review – Inji Iduppazhagi is a Telugu and Tamil romantic comedy released in 2015. Sweety is a happy go lucky girl. Her mother is worried about her over-weight. When Sweety meets a handsome and health conscious documentary filmmaker Abhi as her wedding alliance she rejects the proposal before he rejects it but internally she hopes that he would fall in love with her.
The movie’s plot has a potential to be a wholesome entertainer. It opens very well where we are introduced to the sweetness in sweety’s life. She reminds of Amélie Poulain from the french movie Amélie in the way she views her life and wishes to bring happiness in people’s life. But soon the plot looses its track and gives into the temptation of commercial formula thereby giving way for cliches being introduced. There is a point in the film where Sweety tells Abhi that she is tired of being just a friend. Post this the movie does a nose dive and Sweety’s character becomes lost in translation.
Anushka has performed well for the most part. But the story couldn’t capitalize on her acting skills. Apart from her, Urvashi has a very enjoyable role. The character of Sweety’s father, grandfather, mother and brother have been sketched well. In the end, you think they could have made a very good movie with the premise and the characters.
High Points: Initial setting up of the plot, Production quality, Anushka’s acting, Characterization of Anushka’s family.
Low Points: Lack of focus on the screenplay, commercial cliches, predictable and beaten to death sequences.
Overall this is an effort that has gone bad due to its lack of focus and substandard treatment of the plot. With a better screenplay, this team has a great potential to deliver an entertainer. Wish them luck for their next venture.
Can Skip It
Jigarthanda – is a Tamil Gangster Drama released in 2014. Karthik an aspiring film director follows a terrifying gangster in Madurai to read his life and create the script for his movie.
The movie had a lot of promises right from the promos, posters and the trailer. The end product has turned out to be decent but the length of the movie is far too much than deserved by the script. Director Karthik Subburaj has yet again produced a script that has not been typical of any Tamil movies. Kudos to him for taking up such a plot, believing in it and making it into a full length feature film. If the length has been reduced by 45 minutes or so the movie would have been much more enjoyable. There is a drag in the movie for the first 45 minutes and the last 45 minutes. You would enjoy the parts around the intermission stage. The savior for the script is acting of Simha. Right from his introduction scene he has taken the movie on his shoulder. Siddharth has done his part well. Lakshmi menon has very minimal scope in the movie and her character does not gel well with the storyline. The background score has been done well. The shots are taken very well.
Overall the dessert (Jigarthanda) is cloying and you might enjoy it in parts would be a good one to watch in the theater.