Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raavan or Ravanan Movie - Review

Buk Buk Buk Buk..dandanaka dandanka dandanaka!
Oops..sorry! I'm so captivated by the dialogs like the one above that I forgot to start the review. Lets start with the cast.
Vikram (Veera) - Made immortal by the above dialog. Wears designer vests made by Adidas or Choromozone. Knows tamil poetry. Scheduled tribe in the remote hamlet in tirunelveli. Mother tongue - A tribal language that they dont use often. Bad guy who is actualy good. But mostly does bad things till the end.
Prithvi (Dev) - Aishwarya Rai's husbandu. He is a SP and so by that definition wears jeans, full-hand indigo nation casual shirt and white round neck t shirt. Wears Rayban. Good guy who is actually bad. Does good things mostly but for the end.
Kuruvamma (Aishwarya Rai) - She has a more modern name (Ragini). Vikram calls her kuruvamma. She is the good looking wife of Prithvi. Struggles to establish the goodness due to ageing face. Shows ample cleavage to distract that fact. Maniratnam heroine and by that definition wears red/crimson/yello/green colored designer churidhars or sarees. In her spare time she teaches bharatanatyam to kids from the "Indra" movie. Anu hassan would have fit this role well, but for her ginormous size these days. Aish has trimmed her nose hair perfectly. Need to check which remover she uses. Vikram needs it. Ah! I found some perfection in this movie!
Forest Ranger (Navarasa Nayagan Karthik) - Plays the hanuman character. Established by wearing monkey kullah all through the movie. Re-establishes by jumping all around in the intro scene. Speaks incoherently as always. Behaves crankily. Sad comeback film to have opted for!
Elder Brother to Vikram (Prabhu) - Same scheduled tribe gang leader. But wears denim shirts (XXXL) and timberland outdoor work shoes. Does not know poetry like Vikram. Speaks the better version of fake tirunelveli accent.
Vennila (Priyamani) - Sister of Prabhu and Vikram. Comes, speaks urban tamil one-liners like a maniratnam heroine though a part of the tribe. Dies in a few minutes after some adiga prasangi dialogs. I suspect she was killed for it as against the make-believe suicide the screenplay shows.
Prabhu's wife (Ranjitha - Nithyananda Fame) - No special need that she fulfills, except for the front benchers who were very amuzed by her comic presence in a commercial movie. She is an "art movie" specialist "apparently"!
Then there is a eunuch comedienne character played by that silly comedy fellow - Vyapuri.
The story:
Vikram's a bad guy and his people are bad (we dont know why. Maniratnam says so and we believe). In one of the songs, Vikram bats for the rights of the tribals on the lands they live in. May be on the day of that shoot, there was some naxal headlines in the newspaper and Mani did not want to miss a topical idea. The next day there could have been a kidnap news. So he makes Vikram finish the song and kidnap Prithvi's wife to take revenge for the death of his sister who was raped by police men. Not sure if Prithvi was also a gang raper. But since he is Rama's reincarnation we dont believe so.
Prithvi searches for Aish in the rain forest, water, village etc. They search for 14 days and not a day more or day less, as ramayan has 14 years of vanvaas. No other reason! Vikram in the meantime likes Aish very much (because?). But in climax he lets her go. Prithvi doubts if Aish slept with Vikram. At this point I wished Aish jumps down the train that they were in and lands in an underground sewerage drain (like Sita did in her day and age). Nothing like that happens, disappointing the viewer in what is otherwise a meticulous and utterly intelligent script that does complete justice to the Ramayana epic.
By this time, you have realized that the story dint matter even to maniratnam or the actors.
Lets come to the dialogs which are done by Suhasini. She runs a movie review show in some tam channel. I hope she takes moral responsibility and shuts that show down.
Some dialogs that are novel or shocking:
- Bak bak bak bak..danda nakka..brrrriiii(Vikram makes this sound after every third dialog)
- Vikram first conversation with Aish is a pleasant exchange of sanga tamizh poems whose meaning not one soul in the theatre understood (Congrats Suhasini for the dialog coup)
- In the climax when Prithvi escapes death and nervously kissed aish (after all kissing aish is a big deal and his nervousness shows in the movie). Enter the dialog from aish "Padhinaalu naal acha..neenga padhinaalu nimishathla vanduruveenga nu nenechen..vanga veetuku polam" (Did you need 14 days...I thought you would come in 14 minutes..okay lets go home)..Gosh, was she kidnapped? Did he defy death? Or did she just go for a visit to the gynec and he came in late to pick her back to home, on his way back from office?
- Aish to Vikram :En uyire edukka onaku yaar urimai kudithirkaa? (Subramaniam swamy can write better tamil dialogs than this)
So whats good about the movie?
Music is decent, though at some point you feel that a very alien islamic tinge seeps in. We dont care as this is the least glaring of the gaffes in the movie.
Cinematography is spectacular and truely world class. I never knew there was so much woods to explore in my backyard (tirunelveli). Lets forget the shoddy graphics gig in the climax.
Props - OMG..amazing..heck who cares if brown and green colored translucent stones neednt be there in the middle of the forest where Aish is held captive? As long as its good, it has to be in the screen. The beautiful lamp in the boat! Wow what screen presence it adds in spite of its utterly useless or unnatural existence! How about those artistically woven cane compound walls in adivasi village. It does look a bit gautier merchandise like.Heck adds to the screen presence.
If you remember the narayana idol that acted in Dasavatharam movie, the same idol has acted in this movie also. Agarwal movers and packers have moved it to the tribal hamlet's water falls so that Aish can take all the effort to go there to pray for her release (instead of spending the same time to find an exit route)
Go for the movie for sure -
Good locales (if you dont get Nat Geo in your TV)
Good Props (if you dont get travel and living channel)
Good music (if you cannot download it online)
Good looking aishwarya rai in some parts (if you dont have jeans movie in your DVD collection)
PS: Technically, I did not pay to watch it! My mom who paid for it, liked the movie for some strange reason. So it looks like if you try hard, you might even like it.
PPS: I am waiting for the hindi movie review from the blogosphere. It must be fun to read how Abhishek played Vikram's role.. There is quite a bit of mandham-ness he needs to overcome!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bad Hair Life

Bad hair day is what you'd have heard. If there could be a lifetime grievance award for worst hair, I would win it thumbs down. Bad hair is not a lifestyle issue or a style faux paus. Its a handicap of hair raising proportions.
Never did I worry more about this curse than when I was going to go on a blind date.
Note to wife and other affected parties: Date to me means nothing more consequential than a method to measure chunks of time or something as boring as that.
Note to the dates that I had been out with: Call me! My new number is 97*** ****5.
Getting back to the topic, it was a blind date competition in Saarang, our insti's mega cultural fest. One who has the most creative line for an absurd question gets to date a girl. Your's faithfully, cracked the most creative line of that day and up I went to the stage, all glee and macho!
Next to me was a girl personifying an hour glass gone wrong in the middle. So she was more like a burette than anything else. Unlike her, the fatty entrapements beneath the epidermis were limited only to my brain and I was in shape. But to her, something else mattered. The girl flatly refused to date me saying in front of about 100 frustrated souls that my hairstyle is so screwed up that it wont be cool to date me (my fcuk beach shirt and clever lines notwithstanding).
I did a strategic withdrawal without causing visible upheavals, reserving all of those teary traumas to my hostel room.
Circa 1995 - I was popularly called in school as "Springkuth thalaya" (Springy head) - a rather uncouth reminder of my place in the class of boys who vie for the girls' puppy love. Few curling sessions, visits o hair straighteners in college days didnot yield much result.
In the meantime, one of my experiments with brylcream aiming for an italian mafia look, left me with a thankfully shortlived name "Chinna Goundar" - A popular vijayakanth character that sported castor oil laden long hair combed backwards leading to a small oil spring running down through the back of the neck.
Amply humiliated and simply tired of unwanted attention from unkind blind dates, friends during various formitive years, I decided that a sharp and short military look is what it takes to keep a check on the terminal handicap. So suddenly I started looking like Lt.Col.Ashwin Ramasamy in plain clothes.
The problem however was that the girl-types kept a safe distance from me thinking I could be a future wife-beater, with that stern looks. The extra nice and "let-me-comfort-you-with-a-lullaby" approach you see me in, all these years is a lingering byeproduct of having to practice sweet demeanor to keep the girls coming and to ensure cosmic balance of dating boys and girls.
After a few years of perfect military cut and complying hairline, one fine day last year, waves started appreaing in the hairline near the forehead, resembling embarrassingly close to 1960's Shivaji and MGR hairstyles (minus the pencil moustaches).
Though I am married now and hence there is no way my wife is going to reject an outing citing my uncool hair, my primal instincts tell me that I should keep options open and hence the hair, as closed and organized as possible.
Any suggestions that are tried and tested?

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