Monday, June 20, 2005

Anniyan and Shankar's other super-hero movies

Steering clear of euphemisms with a nonchalant ease, characteristic of me, when it comes to Shankar, I would like to shout that Anniyan is plain bad. More so because, nobody else seem to be doing it. Not that I had expected anything out of Anniyan. But, Shankar sure seems to have lost his touch at the B.O. and might never repeat the success of his previous movies.
Making use of a big cliche found largely in movie reviews (that so-and-so movie had everything GOING for it) in an opposite context, Anniyan had nothing going for it except for Vikram and loads of money to be spent. A beaten-to-death case of multiple personality (if this was a spoiler for anyone of you, kindly forgive yours truly and write so to me and I will remove it), an escapist plot (now, I am talking only within Shankar's context), a screenplay characteristic of under-development of each character like in those movies made by S. A. Chandrashekhar and likes.
Shankar had mentioned in his recent interview with Hindu on "how he brings realism in his own way within the commercial format" and I was nodding with acknowledgement. Yes. Though all his movies have esssentially been fantasy movies making ways for all possible commercial outlets, he always adds realism and colloquy which not many can match or even sense. Real characters (the ones with smaller screen presence too) and some hard-hitting intelligent dialogues (I will attribute that to Shankar as much as his writers). So in his issue-based commercial potboilers, Shankar had always been a quite good one and more importantly a very sensible one. Leave aside his "light" movies (Kaadhalan, Jeans; Boys being both here and there, but very very bad nevertheless), which were always unworthy though sometimes having that Shankar-kinda-realism in them.
The way Anniyan begins with the Ambi character, for the conformist he is, realising the faulty way in which the society works and his resultant frustration being protrayed in an amateurish way, one begins to wonder if Shankar has lost the touch. In these scenes, we can see how the character of Ambi is used more for the flat humour (which just doesn't work, btw). Ambi receives a spam letter which talks about how one Mr. Anniyan is gonna slay sinners. And thus we are introduced to Anniyan, the second Vikram. As "Anniyan" bashes a bunch of hooligans (Vikram doing a "Dhill" here just didn't work; was it Vikram who was indulging?) kills the sinners using creative methods (a la Se7en) based on a sadistic Sanskrit literature. We get to see a serious-looking Prakash Raj on the trail of Anniyan along with a glib-tongued Vivek. Add to this Ambi's outrageous efforts to win Sada's heart (which makes Siddharth's bear-all-clothes method pale in comparison on degree of plausibility for winning a girl's heart). And bang, we get the other Vikram as Remo and Vikram with his antics manages to be an effective parody of what he intends to be.
You have to see the movie to know how bad Vikram has performed. Add Prakash Raj, Nedumudi Venu, Nasser etc. to the big list of actors with no impact whatsoever. Sada needs no mention unless if you had ever wondered how her navel looked like (which I found was just like anybody else's :p).
Harris Jeyaraj's soundtrack score is so-so (mind you, not the BGM score). At least, had the Keerthanai been played, as it was on the audio release, it would have been nice. But, it seems Shankar wanted to capture the Thiruvaiyaaru scene as it actually happens.
The sole saviour, of course, is Vivek who with his very scarcely scattered one-liners (Kamal aficionados alert: 2 take-offs on him!), had me in splits for some moments.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Rediff's feature on India's Best Films

Rediff has been publishing this feature of "Top 10 Indian movies of all-time", since Time magazine released a list of what they(Richard Corliss and Richard Schicker) felt was the all-time top 100 movies. That Time's list featured 5 (not 3 as mentioned in many blog circles; a result of viewing Ray's trilogy as a single movie! heck!) Indian movies has been a reason why Indian bloggers have been talking at length (people googling Nayagan-Time connection can go here, here) about the selection. And here is Rediff's share of the talk - Subhash Ghai, Vipul Shah's lists were published. Theodore Bhaskaran, in sync with what I have mentioned elsewhere (to be precise, here) about his time-warp-syndrome, chose "Ezhai Padum Paadu" in all-time top 10 Indian movies.
But, the thing that triggered this post is what Rediff put up today as Mohanlal's list. I opened the page and went through the list and was very surprised to see the movies in Mohanlal's list, many of the ones being films in which he starred. When Subhash Ghai's list was published, Balaji pointed out Ghai's ego inteference resulting in placing his own movie in his list (which was perhaps triggered by Taal's participation in Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival LOL!) I was not WTFing to that extent, after reading about Mohanlal's. But in the same ballpark, nevertheless. And, I should say that the movies mentioned by Mohanlal aren't in the same ballpark as Ghai's Taal as well. But, this is not the Mohanlal we know. Then, I went on to read Mohanlal's "disclaimers" at the top. Taking into account of his disclaimers, Rediff should not even have called this Mohanlal's top ten, as the actor so carefully avoided anything "great" about his list and maintained his humility. But then, is that what we know Rediff for? Probably I should ask George. :) And, yeah! Ghai might have had his own "disclaimers" as well.

Jun 16, 10:00 p.m.
Further updates: Check out more lists from P. C. Sreeram, Sourabh Usha Narang, RGV, Adoor and Amol Palekar.
But, tonight's hot update is an ROTFL material from Pradeep Sarkar (just for the last 2 inclusions)!
And this confirms that Rediff offers a shot of Tequila to everybody (and unsuspecting Ghai & Sarkar seem to have accepted the offer!) before actually asking him/her for the list :D. Or, I am missing some in-joke here. Elsewhere in Rediff, Vidhu Vinod Chopra too seems to have taken a couple of shots before this interview, as well!

Assorted compilation here!

Btw, It is confirmed :(

Friday, June 03, 2005

No "No Smoking" in films, please!

So I've been hearing about this ban on showing smoking in films, first thru Lazy's post and then thru Balaji, here.
My personal opinion, of course, is that it's a ridiculous thing to do and it would really put the creators of the art in a fix.
That I vehemently oppose this is one thing. But I didn't know until this day that it was Dr. Ramadoss all along, until I read Aamir's letter, thru Gaurav's post, the politically illiterate guy, that I am. And why wasn't there any talk on the Ramadoss-cancerstick connection (after all, the minister is his son) in the blog arena which would have enlightened me even before my self-realisation of the main factor behind this issue. Or, am I being politically incorrect in my suspicion?
That Ramadoss has been taking his personal opinion too far, for quite sometime now, is undeniable. But now, he is also taking his personal duel with Rajinikanth (his accusations on Rajinikanth and all that, about which I won't completely disagree with) too far and trying to make it a law at the national level. And, that precisely is bullsh*t.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Woody Allen

Why am I yearning (to death) to see movies of Woody Allen, all of a sudden?
I don't remember reading about him anywhere accidentally or something.
I did google about him intensely for a couple of days now (or was it around a week) during day hours in my company. But, all by myself...
I wonder why? Something (currently sub-conscious) must have triggered this....
Oh.. yeah, I saw a book in Crossword which had the complete collection of his writings and I was kinda impressed by its looks (?); and am a big fan of the quotes of his, which I have come across!

And why am I blogging about this? Yeah, I vow I will watch at least half-a-dozen soon.