Saturday, August 11, 2018

Valai - The Technological Web

Valai - after a long time, watched a drama... i have watched stage some plays long back, but this is the first time in auditorium. It was a pleasant experience actually, thanks to my friend Ganesh Krishnamoorthy for inviting me...

I have watched dramas of my favorite Cho,Crazy Mohan etc... also some dramas of SVe Sekar and some not so popular dramas too.But this one was unique in its own way... its all about technology and how we use it... They have created an ODC like set on stage with computers, laptop, manager cabin, doors with access, swipe in swipe out etc. It was so natural.
Without a proper script, especially, sharp dialogues, a drama will not work out... Valai has a proper script on paper, some fantastic dialogues and brilliant performances... The script deals with programming and artificial intelligence... Heard the script was written by Mr.Srivatsan... I liked this man for 2 reasons... One is, the script was brilliant... Though everyone acted well, I liked the appa character and Maya more...

Mr.Srivatsan and the dummies drama troupe is celebrating 20 years.He started off by referring to Cho... He referred to Cho's Mohhammed Bin Thuglak dialogue 'Batuta, edhai ninaithu aarambithome, indru indha nilayil irukkirom'.He related this dialogue to his dummies drama troupe celebrating 20 years... and today, Valai was inaugrated by veteran playwright Mr.Mali.He has been in the field for more than 60 years and has staged 100s of dramas.
The second reason for liking Mr.Srivatsan : he played Sujatha in the play.Yes there is a scene, in which Writer Sujatha, who is also a techie, plays an important role.It was too good.As mentioned earlier, Valai deals with AI(artificial intelligence)... Sujatha is known for his novels and articles on artificial intelligence. And in Valai, there is a dog, which is based on artificial intelligence. Mr.Srivatsan says 'en baashaila sonna, andha naai bommai thaan, avaloda Jeno'.I was clapping happily hearing all this. I also met him and spoke with him for a while, again thanks to Ganesh.
I proudly introduced myself as a Sujatha fan and the man joined with me and said 'we are Sujatha fans' and had a brief discussion about En Iniya Iyanthira, Meendum Jeno, Computer Gramam, Kolaiyuthir Kaalam, Nylon Kayir, Computereh oru Kadhai sollu etc.
His performance in Valai reminded me the Computer Engineer 'Iyengar' in Sujatha's novel 'Sorgatheevu'.

Such a brilliant piece of work it was and it was worth the precious time spent.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Nadigayar Thilagam @ Mahanati - Savitiri comes alive

Nadigayar Thilagam @ Mahanati is epic. There are movies that make money by making the audience feel guilty, by invoking lingustic pride, communal pride, vulgar scenes in the name of comedy, We can find such movies frequently. But on rare occasions, some movies, which believes completely on its quality, gets released too. This is one such movie. This is one such movie which believes in the performance of the actors and hardwork of the technicians.

You will feel like you are living in 1940s and 80s while watching this movie. Credit goes to art director.There is a reference to Potti SriRamalu(first separatist in this nation), my favorite soft drink Gold Spot too finds a place :-) . The scene where Rajendra Prasad and Keerthy visits Madras, was shot well. You can see rickshaws, trams and more importantly, a road side bookseller. Just googled out(missed the title card) to find the art director name of Mahanati and it is Shivam Rao. It needs to be mentioned, as he deserves lot of respect.

Making a biopic is always a challenging task. Making a 3 hour movie is a huge risk nowadays.If a biopic, which runs for 3 hours, doesn't bore you, it's of superior quality. Finding the right cast is the first step while making a biopic. The director Nag Ashwin has done exceedingly well in casting especially, Keerthy Suresh, Dulquar and Mohan Babu (S V Rangarao character).

Keerthy Suresh's performance as Savitri is one of the best in the history of Indian cinema. Sometimes actors copy mannerisms from others, yet end up as laughing stock. Copying someone's mannerisms is one thing. But, while acting as Savitri, it is important to ensure that people remember Savitri. Keerthy is young, but her expressions, body language, appearance everything closely resembled Savitri. The Maya Bazar scene was the highlight of Mahanati. Just compare it with Savitri's performance. You will feel no difference. Also Missamma. Keerthy has lived as Savitri. Never thought she is such a talented actress. I liked her for her girl next door looks and casual acting in Rajni Murugan. But never thought she would pull of such a heavy role with ease.

Dulquer as Gemini Ganesan has equally done well. His mannerisms, costumes, etc brings Gemini Ganesan in front of our eyes. His expressions, especially eyes and his smile were exactly like Gemini. Dulquer's manly voice and physique with Keerthy makes them a very good pair onscreen. Gemini had his own share of commercial super hits. When MGR and Sivaji were dominating the industry, Gemini was the director's hero then and he delivered some stunning performances and commercial blockbusters then. They could have focused on this part too. But this being a biopic of Savitri, its understandable that the director has concentrated more on Savitri than Gemini.

Naga Chaitanya as Akkineni Nageswara Rao was again perfect. It was like watching Devadasu in big screen. Makeup artists definitely played a vital role in making Mahanati an epic. I don't have much to write about Samantha or Vijay Deverekonda. 

The life of a cinema actress is not as simple as we think. Once they attain fame and popularity, there will be people to cheat them. It will be very difficult to find loyal people around them. Everyone would try to exploit them as per their needs. In one scene, Keerthy would slap a man for touching a girl, who was seeking a chance to act in cinema. They enter the industry at a very young age, that they would belive anyone who pretends to be kind and talks politely. Unfortunately, the industry is still male dominated and people only remember the heroes even after decades and not the heroines. In one scene Prakash Raj would say, there are lot of producers waiting for MGR, Sivaji, Nageswara Rao etc and equal number of producers waiting Savitri's call sheet. Shows to what kind of star she was.

When the income tax officials raids her house and seize the money and gold, they would ask her to sign in her lot of documents. While leaving, one official would say 'mam everyone in my family is your fan, please give me your autograph' and you can notice a sarcastic smile on Keerthy's face. Whatever trouble an actress goes through in her personal life, she is still a star and there will always be people curious to get close to her. 

Music director of the movie is Mickey J Meyer. I haven't heard about him before this movie. But he has to be appreciated for his meaningful background score. His music reminded us of the movies that came in 1950s,60s,80s etc. Also, we should appreciate the Mahanati team for retaining the original version of old songs like 'Vaaraayo Vennilaave' instead of doing something in the name of remix. 

That's it. As I mentioned in the beginning, Nadigayar Thilagam or Mahanati is an epic. For the artistic brilliance itself, we can watch this movie multiple times in theater. Do not leave the theater without watching the end credits.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Bharat Ane Nenu

Bharat Ane Nenu is good. It starts with an usual intro song, but soon after the song, the actual story begins. It's an out and out political movie with commercial elements. I think after a very long time, a good movie for Mahesh Babu. He has boldly acted as Chief Minister, something which many mass heroes would not do.

There are some scenes which shows how irresponsible our society is, especially the traffic violations. You just have to clap for those scenes. When Mahesh Babu imposes heavy fine for traffic violations(for ex : Rs.30,000 fine for driving in wrong side). Actually, there was good response in theater. Not sure, those who clapped for the scene, would welcome the same rules if imposed in reality.

It's refreshing to see a CM, while going to assembly, seeing a girl in bus stand, calling her for a coffee, falling in love with her. Don't ask, even in a political movie, should it be like this? Those scenes were enjoyable. There is also a scene about private schools swindling money. His own party seniors betray him on a CB-CID inquiry. Those scenes were good.

The first half, had heroism, within a story. It had an interesting interval block too. The second half was totally different. Infact we can say the first half half was in one genre and the second half is in a different genre. The pre-interval scenes were like how a young man, who returns from London, due to his father's death, changes the system. But before the hero could change the system completely, the director has changed his mind it seems.

Take diversion from changing the system, its time to unleash the hero Mahesh Babu. He challenges the villains, fights all alone, beats a bunch of rowdies, dances with heroine etc. I would not say it wasn't good. Those scenes worked out too. mainly because of Mahesh Babu's charisma and electrifying screenpresence and terrific BGM by DSP. Without DSP, I doubt, the impact would have been same.

The movie doesn't spare media too. Of course, a political drama would be incomplete without importance to media. In this movie, media is so powerful that it is able to bring some 'change'(dont want to reveal). Whereas, in real life, I doubt if they would be able to do that to a CM. I have heard about one CM, who had a daughter and her mother was not his wife. When a journalist reported this, a defamation suit was filed against him and he was arrested. Later, that CM confessed it in his own style, saying that the woman was not his wife only his daughter's mother. Media used to wonder at his oratorial skills for comments as mentioned above...It has been almost 40 years, still the incident is in news. Anyway that's a different story.

Had only a thoughtful first half was backed by a similar second half, Bharat Ane Nenu might have ended up as an epic. Koratala Siva could have thought about it. Anyway, the movie is good and it will be a commercial blockbuster too

Sunday, April 15, 2018

October Review

If you are planning to watch this movie and don't want to know anything about the movie, you can skip this review.

October is good. it starts off slowly with some funny moments and after a point, it turns serious and you just can't take your eyes off the screen... a simple story with a brilliant writing and excellent performance by the actors will create an impact.. this is different from the usual love stories... the best part is, here you can only feel the love, neither the hero nor the heorine expresses it through words...
That was a splendid acting by Varun not even a single scene he goes overboard. he is too casual either while chatting some nonsense with the hospital staff or showing unconditional love and care towards the heroine(Banita Sandhu). there were no romantic moments between them before that incident, yet whatever Varun did cannot be interpreted as sympathy. somewhere deep inside he has feelings for Banita and after that incident, it becomes stronger. Banita has a good screenpresence. she doesn't have too many dialogues and can't show different expressions too(her character is like that), yet she makes it sure that you feel for her.

October is an emotional drama. In such movies, each and every character is important. The director has handled it very well and that is what works for the movie. Every single character knew their limits. You may not recognize their performance while watching the movie, but if you think for a while, after coming out of the theater, you will understand their worth(everyone, starting from the lead actors to supporting cast). You will never feel anything artificial while watching the movie. They have given a disclaimer in the beginning itself that this is a pure fiction and they have no intention of encouraging any form of superstition. So don't get into scientific details like whether fragrance can have an impact on a coma patient etc. those scenes were touching.
In one scene, Banita arrogantly refuses to cooperate with the doctor and the hospital staff. Varun says, 'I know you are angry. Don't worry, I will not leave you and go again'. After hearing this, a convinced Banita, would try to smile. This is the best scene in the movie(or I should say my favorite scene). So much of impact Varun has created on a coma patient, through his love and affection, that when she slowly starts gaining consciousness, she wants Varun to be with her.
I only didn't like the climax. It doesn't mean climax wasn't good, but it could have ended on a happy note. Still it might have left the same impact on you.

Anyway, October has an emotional love story with some cute moments. Don't mss it .

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Hichki Review

Hichki is awesome :-) very good come back for Rani Mukerji. Rani has acted as someone who suffers from Tourette Syndrome(you can understand this if you watch the movie or trailer). But the movie doesn't exactly deal with this. To be frank, the story is easily predictable and we have seen many movies in this genre. For example, something like the Tamil film 'Saattai'.The comparison ends there.Underdogs winning the game is not something new.
You have a typical formula here. The rich and top performers are in 9A and those who come from a slum are in 9F. How, Naina Mathur(Rani Mukerji), a teacher with Tourette Syndrome, makes 9F emerge victorious is what Hichki is.
With a predictable storyline, if you are still enjoying each and every moment of the movie, that's pure magic. The credit goes to the actors. Casting is so good and the performance Rani Mukerji and co is just brilliant, that it doesn't allow you to think what next. Every time Rani makes those noises, you neither feel empathetic for her nor get irritated. She manages it all with a cool smile. Only, with such a talented heroine(who can forget her 'Black'?) and a terrific supporting cast, you can create that 'magic' on screen.

The director could have made a simple movie where the underdogs win at the end. But he tries too many thing at times, for ex. there's a reference RTE(Right to Education act). RTE but that doesn't add any value to the movie. In fact, if am not wrong, RTE is not applicable to minority institutions whereas the school shown in the movie is one. Its better to avoid certain things instead of adding for the sake of it. In one scene, the director highlights the plight of the 9F children, who are from a slum. That scene was good but the director could have used it even better.
The movie may not work for someone who is too critical about every moment in a movie. If you are someone who would appreciate some happy moments, you will enjoy Hichki. The baby Naina was too cute.There are some lovely scenes, like baby Naina asks the principal to treat her on par with other children, the 9F children return as grown ups etc.. Dialogues are too good :-) "There are no bad students, only bad teachers", "dad do you have any favorite teacher in your school/college? do you remember their salary?" etc..
If you have someone like Rani Mukerji, who lives as Naina Mathur, no negatives or predictablitiy matters. Hichki is a lovely feel good film :-)