jump to navigation

Ananda Thandavam April 14, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Tamil, Telugu.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I think I might have figured out atleast to some extent the basic idea of what the original source material was all about. That’s probably the best compliment Ananda Thandavam can receive from me. A good number of folks who were in the audience with me can’t even say this because they didn’t even bother to hang on till the end.

Most of the times when highly anticipated films go horribly wrong; it is almost always because a concept which sounded good on paper doesn’t translate to the screen as expected. But this one is an exception. Here is an acclaimed director who sets about the task to translate an acclaimed writer’s most popular work on screen and the resulting film seems more as if the filmmaker wanted to get back at the (now dead) writer to settle a past lingering grudge. I seriously cannot find a better explanation than this.

I won’t speak about the plot because it might give you an much better impression of the film than it actually is. Coming to what went wrong the crappy screenplay comes instantly to my mind. However, even more vexing are the characters and the way they actually behave. Topping the list is that of Tamannaah. The intent of the filmmaker seems to be to project her thoughts and actions as childish but at the end of it she comes across more like a retarded slut. In fact there is a scene in the movie when the hero’s dad casts doubts on Tamannaah’s behaviour especially given that her parents are unusually eager to get her married to a guy they hardly know and much lower in social standing. At that point of time I guessed there really was some issue with the girl which would take the film in a new direction. Later I realized that was just the beginning of my disappointments.

The hero’s IQ also seems to be just one point more than that of our leading lady. In the midst of this there is one more guy – the philandering rich bald guy who everyone is supposed to hate; even here the director gets it wrong for the only thing you want to hate about him is his fake bald patch – tell me one instance in your life when you saw a brown skinned guy with a balding scalp painted in “white”. In spite of these and other umpteen causes I was still kinda interested know how this craziness would continue all the way till the end. A.R. Gandhi Krishna doesn’t disappoint in that aspect – the consistent imbecility delivered in each frame is really impressive. Even the talented G.V Prakash Kumar fails to impress except for the final song which is beautifully choreographed as well. I wouldn’t really blame the actors for their performances for I don’t see how they could have done more justice to their roles.

Ananda Thandavam is unarguably an instant “so-bad-it’s-good” flick but I think we might need to invent a new category for this – something on the lines of “I-actually-made-it-through-this” flick. Watch it if reading this piece has actually aroused your curiosity – I can’t offer any reason otherwise why you might subject yourself to this. Sujatha surely must be rolling in his grave.

Kathanayakudu August 4, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
3 comments

It was hard to screw up a film like Chandramukhi no matter how hard one tried – the plot of that flick was attractive enough to hide the filmmaker’s incompetence. And to his advantage P. Vasu had already helmed the Kannada version before. However, this time he isn’t so lucky and what you see is the merciless slaughter of another Malayalam blockbuster “Katha Parayumbol”.

Agreed – a lot of people knew beforehand that Rajnikanth wasn’t the main lead (notwithstanding the deceptive promotional campaign) but nobody would have expected his role to be restricted to a couple of monologues, a couple of songs and some fleeting glimpses. But that could have been completely forgiven if the rest of the film had something interesting to say. Nothing of that sort happens either. The original flick was supposed to be about this poor barber and his family and how his life changes after the arrival of a “superstar” in the village since this “superstar” happened to be the childhood friend of the barber. From what I’ve read it was also supposed to be a satirical take on “Star Worship”. What you get in this remake is a cringingly good barber (reminds me of those protagonists in “Super Good Films” features) and a pathetic comedy track which never seems to end. Also, the supposed satire on “Star Worship” almost turns into a justification of the whole phenomenon.

The somewhat emotional climactic reels are one of the few redeeming factors. Another one being G.V. Prakash Kumar’s score. The songs come in as a welcome relief and the “Cinema Cinema” song especially gels very nicely with the situation. If there is one thing which prevents this film from being unwatchable it is Jagapathi Babu. Despite being saddled with an overly melodramatic role he still makes you root for him with his earnest portrayal. I hope this film would revive his career again. Meena, who is back in a Telugu film after a long time does a fine job too.

I only hope Priyadarshan’s remake Billoo Barber with Irrfan and Shahrukh would do justice to the Malayalam original. Watch Kathanayakudu if you have to only for Jagapathi Babu. As for Rajni fans, I’d suggest that they wait for Shankar’s Robot next year.

Ullasanga Utsahanga July 29, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

If it weren’t for the very alluring hoardings, I wouldn’t have thought of checking this one out. Ullasanga Utsahanga comes nowhere near to justifying its title but still makes a decent watch. Karunakaran, who hasn’t really had much success after his blockbuster Toli Prema has a go at the beaten-to-death Tollywood love story – where a boy falls for a girl while the girl loves another guy and wants to unite with him. Now our hero selflessly helps her to her destination when finally the girl realizes that our hero is the right guy for her. The only difference being that in other flicks the other guy is depicted as a seedy character while here the girl’s “childhood love” is rubbished away as a passing fad…well anything goes to justify our hero getting the girl.

Before saying what works in this movie I must mention what stands out like a sore thumb simply because it is present throughout – and that distinction goes to debutant Yasho Sagar who is an absolute embarrassment. The fact that during many scenes members of the audience were commenting on his acting skills tells a lot about the impact he made. One might actually get a feeling that he’s deliberately botching it up. Sneha Ullal makes it work purely because of her cute-overload and there are hardly any lines for her character which also helps . The humor here is a mixed bag. There are a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments while the rest is passable – especially the comedy track of Sunil and Venu Madhav falls flat.

G.V Prakash Kumar delivers a nice score (this is actually his first straight Telugu Film) and like in all of Karunakaran’s movies the songs are very well shot. I’ll only wish that film is a hit if this doesn’t mean we’ll be treated to more Yasho Sagar in the future. Watch this one without any expectations and you’ll like it.