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Surya S/o Krishnan (Vaaranam Aayiram) November 16, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Tamil, Telugu.
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3 comments

Apart from being a Gautham Menon-Surya film, this one was in the news during its launch for all the wrong reasons. In the first place this was announced out of the blue only after a couple of films (with the same combination) supposed to begin shooting got scrapped. Also, there were major changes in the casting of the female leads. It’s only very recently I came to know that this was intended to be a personal tribute from Gautham Menon to his father.

Following the death of his father Krishnan (Surya), Surya (Surya) – an army major currently on a rescue mission reminisces his whole life and the relationship he shared with his father; who we get to know turns out to be his inspiration and support at every point in his life. Surya recalls his mom Malini (Simran) telling him how his father “swept me off my feet” in college – through a wonderful flashback sequence. We then move through Surya’s teenage years and college life following which he falls in love with Meghna (Sameera Reddy) and decides to pursue her to the US where she is studying. I can’t say more about what happens from thereon because that would involve giving away major spoilers. Needless to say, every major step Surya takes in his life is inspired by “how my dad would have done it”.

Gautham’s film is uninhibitedly personal and absolutely honest. Apart from including some action episodes for commercial reasons he never really strays from what he is trying to convey. The result is somewhat a self-indulgent effort which is just over 3 hours long but once I was sucked into the director’s vision and the actors’ performances I totally fell in love with it. After the initial wooing sequence between Krishnan and Malini I knew there was no way I am not going to like this one. And it just keeps getting better (for most part). The film actually spans a period of about 30 years and it is so rare to see how much careful thought has been put into the visual detailing of different periods – be it the actors’ costumes or the the surrounding props (vehicles, buildings, billboards etc..). Even the sequences in the US are quite refreshing in terms of the locations. The dialogue is quite contemporary and urban (with the liberal use of English) – however I felt there was a voice-over overdose which was definitely not needed for each and every scene. Harris Jayaraj – in his last collaboration with Menon belts out another hit soundtrack but it is the way he’s experimented with the background score which really stands out.

And now the best part of the movie – Surya. Though he has had great performances to boast of before, I think he’s been quite unlucky when it comes his talent being recognized. Sometimes those films haven’t done well and if they indeed have done well it was overshadowed by a much bigger actor/film. I can only pray that it doesn’t happen this time. For if this film doesn’t do well, not doubt one of the most memorable performances you’ll ever see would go down the drain. Surya gets to play a range or characters right from a teenager to an old man (in a sense he actually does more than that for even the father’s character goes through the same cycle). Be it the body language or the styling, he is just so convincing in each and every frame. And that believability is brought about without the use of any prosthetic make-up whatsoever. He has lost/gained weight (even got a six-pack) as each character demands and by changing his look (hair/beard/moustache) appropriately for each role he plays.

In the past, whenever an actor has gotten to play multiple roles (or even a single “different” standout role) the temptation for some self-serving over-the-top histrionics has always marred the outcome a bit (though that’s precisely the reason they receive accolades). Here, more than anything else Surya’s nuanced, understated delivery for each character is the real stuff you’ve got to give credit for. He is however most comfortable doing his winsome routine chasing Sameera Reddy (check out the Visa Interview scene). Simran is wonderful as the mother. I think she should seriously think of taking up these kind of roles rather than making futile attempts at making a comeback as a leading lady. Sameera and Divya/Ramya look gorgeous (Sameera especially) and they are very impressive. Deepa Narendran – who plays Surya’s sister also makes a mark (don’t recall exactly where I’ve seen her before – probably a TV personality). To sum it up, all actors can easily cite this film for now when asked about their career best performance.

Though the film ends on a happy note, a strong feeling of poignancy took over me as I left the theatre. This is a film which will stay with me for a long time. I don’t know whether I can call it a great flick but Surya S/o Krishnan is unlike any other film you’ll get to see which makes it something you can’t afford to miss.

P.S: Initially I was planning to watch Dostana this weekend but I had to go for this one because I couldn’t get tickets for the former. Now, I am glad I didn’t.

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Narasimha Naidu September 3, 2006

Posted by Sai in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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17 comments

This was the third film starring Balakrishna that I saw in the theatre (after Aditya 369 and Bhairava Dweepam). Though I may not be a Balakrishna fan in general, I have no prejudice against him (and I liked him in Aditya 369, especially as Krishna Deva Raya). So I watched this movie after it started breaking all records. This was the first movie based on faction wars that I saw and I’d rate it as the best of the lot.

This was complete masala fare as usual from B. Gopal but was better than a lot of his other movies. The primary credit for that should go to Chinni Krishna who provided the story and screenplay for the movie. The basic idea of one warrior from every house brought freshness to the film.

The film has the flashback formula (made famous in movies appealing to the masses like Rajnikanth’s Basha) that has now become the standard format for faction movies and even others. The formula goes thus – hero is in hiding at the start of the movie and has a love interest and fights some villains establishing his power – towards the interval you find out that he has a flashback – the second half consists mainly of the flashback where he generally has another love interest or two even and of course a conflict with the main villains – after the flashback ends the climax of the movie starts. The love track between Preeti Jhangiani and Balakrishna was passable (and definitely of a higher quality than the one with Balakrishna and Simran in Samarasimha Reddy). What really worked in the movie were the two chase sequences apart from the punch in the dialogues (Parachuri Brothers). The first chase is the one with all the Sumos and the second chase is the one where he tries to save his brothers. Also the sentiment in the second half works for the female and family audiences. This was also an improvement over most masala movies.

Mani Sarma’s background score is the best one so far for mass movies that I’ve seen. The theme piece for Balakrishna was superb. It gave me incomparable josh (the theme from Chatrapathi scored by Keeravani gave me a similar feeling). The background score definitely elevated the events unfolding on screen. Mani Sarma is probably one of the best composers for mass songs and he undoubtedly provided one of his best mass soundtracks here. The movie also had some well choreographed dance sequences. Of course, no one can forget the unbearable classical dance by Balakrishna. There was no reason to include this in the movie and it definitely made Balakrishna look terribly bad.

This is masala movie with all the spices and nobody should expect it to be logical. It is made to cater mostly to the masses and fans and above all to make money. I still can’t figure out how some people feel that Balakrishna looks stupid while delivering those earth-shattering dialogues while they find it believable when Chiranjeevi does it in Indra. Chiranjeevi can bring rain in Indra but Balakrishna shouldn’t make a train go in reverse in Palanati Brahma Naidu. Both are implausible if not impossible. However, fans seem to throw logic to the winds if it is their favorite star while focusing only on logic when it is someone else. Double Standards! This movie is for those who can enjoy masala fare without taxing their brains (the obvious prerequisite being no prejudice against Balakrishna). Those who despise mass movies and those who want sensible fare should keep away from this movie.