Tuesday, March 22, 2005
A movie roundup
Its finally back...The thriller genre in Kollywood has arrived, albeit a little late.. but definitely with a bang !!!!! Ameer, the man behind that 'vithyasamaana love story' Mounam Pesiyaadhey, has delivered yet another genuinely 'different' film...and rasigargal like me who had long given up hope that quality movies like Sigappu Rojakkal and Tik Tik Tik (don't even get me into arguments about movies like Manmadhan) will be made again have now a reason to rejoice...At a time when every 'successful' movie seems to be a rehash of the same old formula (Yes, I AM toking of Vijay films and I am sure Sachin will be A1 +B3 +C2 +....), Raam is definitely a whiff of fresh air !!
So what is it that endeared me to Raam. Well, to be perfectly honest, if I were to sum up the storyline in a paragraph, it definitely would not make interesting reading. But then its in the screenplay that Ameer has invested a lot of attention and the results speak for themselves. Full marks to the director for adopting a shifty (interesting though not necessarily novel) approach to story-telling by switching back and forth time to move the plot in the first half. The meticulous detail in characterisation - point in case being the small quirks of some of the fringe characters like the jockey, the saamiyaar/guru and the cops in the local police station - goes a long way in building credibility for each and every character and the reason for his / her behavior under the circumstances. The dialogues are rapier sharp, conveying what they need to with minimal effort and maximum impact.
Ably supporting Ameer is his wonderful technical crew. The hilly terrains of Kodaikanal so brilliantly canned by the camera of Ramji (watch out also for the lighting in every frame) elevates many a scene to dizzy heights....and when that is not in play, the alternatively invigorating and mellow background score of Yuvan ensures that the tempo of the movie is maintained throughout. Almost all the songs are lilting melodies and special mention must be made of Yaaro Arivaal which aims straight for the gut (I could probably compare it with that mottai number in Sethu)
Performance wise, there is not a single actor in the movie who puts a foot wrong. Of all the sons with a filmi background, save Surya, I've always maintained that Jeeva was the one with the most talent (even after his insipid Thithikudhey..and considering competition like Dhanusssss, Simbu, Manoj, Sibiraj, Arun Vijaykumar...) and Raam has just proved me right. It would be no exaggeration to say that Raam is clearly his show. Other noteworthy performances include Saranya playing Jeeva's mother (I am ok as long as its neone but that horrible Nadia Moideen) with a perpetual frown on her face and that wonderful Malayalam actor Murali who plays a local tough cop. The real surprise package though is Rahman (of Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal fame) who comes up with a sterling performance as the Sub Inspector digging to get to the truth.
You might probably be wondering why I have not spoken even a word about the actual story but then to review any movie belonging to this genre without giving away the plot details is a difficult task. Let me just say that Raam has enough twists and turns to keep one engaged in the first 90 minutes. Of course, the movie has its own share of flaws and critics have been quick to point out that the revelation is anticlimactic and tame and that the last 20 minutes are a real drag, especially since the suspense is revealed a good couple of reels before the end. Of course, they are right to an extent but I guess the director had by then boxed himself into a corner and any other approach to wriggle out would have come out even worse. There is a also a school of thought that is of the opinion than any thriller should have a smart twist in the end, leaving the viewer gasping for breath, but I definitely do not belong to this tribe. I firmly believe there could be simple yet interesting explanations for, what appears on the face of it, a complicated question (remember Mystic River, Village) and Raam, intentionally or otherwise, works reasonably well on this front.
In short, an effort worthy of praise !! Keep up the good work, Ameer !!
(4 out of 5)
Since I do not have time to write in detail about some of the other movies that I've seen over the last couple of weeks, here are my recommendations.
Meet the Fockers - 2/5
Constantine - I refuse to rate
Ayya (Tamil) - 2/5
Mayaavi - 3.5/5
Be Cool - 2.5/5
House of Flying Daggers