Monday, July 11, 2005

Narasimha - a unique achievement in a unique genre!!

Yes. You read it right. Narasimha is clearly distinct from, and superior to, most of its contemporaries belonging to various genres. That its part of the folklore for many tamil film connoisseurs, highlights its merit. This is my appreciation of the movie which kinda culminated its genre. The reader must have to understand the breadth of possibilities in cinema as a medium to understand my appreciation of the movie.
Narasimha is a no mean achievement. Regardless of what the critics would like to believe [check this insipid review; I still wonder how the reviewer gives some points to the movie even though he has completely failed to get hold of the spirit of the movie], this is one of the most creative efforts that has come in tamil cinema in recent times and the best secret agent movie to have come in tamil cinema. Pity that the director, Mr. Thirupathisamy, had to die before giving us more such movies.
The so-called intelligent audience, in search of "logic" (I hate the word) and "intellect", to assure themselves that the story is realistic enough and could happen to them on a series of dull and insipid days be theirs as well, would not be able to gauge the amount of inventiveness employed in this movie.
Just because a movie stars an aged, fat, not-so-good-looking actor doesn't mean that one should put down the movie straight away. Why don't we talk about realism in this case? Aren't real cops/secret agents old enough that they can't shake their hips as much as a Mallika Sherawat can? But that, anyway, is NOT the point. In fact, much far from it [and all the talk about fat cops is just my attempt at being neutral to a Vijayakanth starrer]. After all, realism is not the movie's key point. In fact, its humour. I am no Vijayakanth fan. But his performance here really takes the movie to an altogether superior and surreal plane. To claim that he had no sense of humour in the making of the movie is very very hard to believe. The same can be said about every other actor/actress in the movie. What an ensemble cast it was! One careless/less serious actor could have introduced a boring moment in this piece de resistance (A special mention about Venu Aravind, here in a blink-and-you-ll-miss role, who with his deadpan serious face really rocked). In fact, the whole cast look very very serious and still are very very funny (definitely reminds me of Kamal Haasan's claim about Mumbai Xpress; still I would say watching this movie once could have given him more ideas) thus making each of their expressions, intonations all suggestive and subtle. And the writer/director knew exactly where/when/how to cut from one scene to another to give the exact effect and strike the perfect chord, so that the whole first hour of the movie plays like some gung-ho music (Why the hell did I have to leave the house coz of which I am yet to watch the full movie? Though, I will complete it soon).
And what was Vadivelu doing in this movie, bringing down the level of humour and wit? Was a crass comedy track even necessary in such an ambitious effort? Same for the stretched action sequences. There has been a clear underestimation, from the director's side, of the script's merit that he had to go for such commercial compromises.
This might have featured in the elite list of overlooked tamil films along with, Thirupachi [another stunner, put down for the simple reason that it doesn't have a poignant/believable story or understated performances; this was India's answer to Kill Bill, Silence of the Lambs and Taxi Driver all rolled into one, with its visceral depiction of violence; and an analysis of this will be the next to watch in this space], only if Ebert chose to go for an all-Indian list. Anyway, when was the audience smart enough to understand movies in Brechtian format?

Coming up next in this series:
1. Kill Bill, Silence of the Lambs and Taxi Driver all rolled into one - Thirupachi
2. Let us B!! - An analysis of the Rajini's blockbuster movies

P.S.:- This post has been modified since it was first published (on 11 July 2005). Sarcasm, if you find any, in this particular post is clearly a figment of imagination from the reader's side and has got nothing to do with my honest intentions.


  1. Hey,

    What is this? a funny take on a seriously made comedy movie. I never thought you would write a review on this movie. I saw this movie in "Kaveri" theatre and was one of the most unforgettable movie watching experience and it was full of fun till the end. waiting for more to come


  2. Actually the post is still in draft stage, though I published it.. :)
    Even I never thought I would be writing on Narasimha till I discussed about it at length with some folks here.
    I still find it very hard to believe that the humour in the movie is unintentional! Thats why my take was as if it was all intentional rather than the conventional take of ridiculing the movie from top to bottom.

  3. Hi,

    Enjoyed reading the final version and also the intentional sarcasm in P.S. Eagerly waiting for the Upcomings in this series

  4. Suresh,
    I would still maintain my stand that I am at my unsarcastic best**. I was meaning every word of mine. The movie was bloody funny and there are no 2 ways of telling it (and if there were actually 2 ways, I am obv choosing the straight way). This film has to be relished. I would call it an anti-film. That is, the zenith of tamil cinema in the redefinition of the medium. I could go on and on..

    ** - Though I can't tell the same of the director. He has satirized too many things (most importantly, the movie and himself) that it , for the most part, comes out as a sarcastic work of sheer genius.

  5. Zero: Another Narasimha review ;)

  6. Anti,
    mm.. yeah! one telecast of the movie had spawned off 2 analyses (mine being a pure unsarcastic examination) on the movie.
    Thats why I said that, "its part of the folklore for many tamil film connoisseurs", and "superior to, most of its contemporaries" by reaching the other end of zenith! :))

  7. i actually caught half hour of the movie (hadnt seen it earlier) yesterday. I fwded to watch some parts of it and caught most of what this guy Praveen had talked about. Funny movie...

  8. sri,
    enna achu... Thedi puduchi narashimma pathu. review ezhuthirukinga :).

  9. areyy . wat about ur promised "hey ram" review???

  10. arvind,
    oh.. those unkept promises...
    it would be coming any day from now!
    Keep visiting and thanks a bunch for the reminder!!

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  17. hi zero, this is the deadpan face of Narasimha- venu arvind giving you 100 marks for the review of Narasimha ( I am really happy that atleast one person took a note of me)(I may sound funny but am serious)- venu arvind

  18. Hi, I've been trying to locate the name of an Indian movie about a guy who is participating in a contest like Who wants to be a millionaire and then he makes all the money... Does any body know the name of it?

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  20. hi zero, this is the deadpan face of Narasimha- venu arvind giving you 100 marks for the review of Narasimha