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Arundhati February 2, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Sometimes you just can’t explain why a film is successful. The slick poster campaign and promos might have caught everyone’s eye but is Arundhati really the blockbuster masterpiece it is made out to be? At this point of time there is no doubt that it has gone on to become a blockbuster but I really wonder how it became one. A major reason could be some of the extremely glowing reviews it got because atleast from the murmurs I heard most of the audience didn’t seem too impressed.

Arundhati is quite a misleading title in the first place. It should actually have been called something like Jejamma Mahatyam. Honestly, this movie is more like an upgrade to SFX filled semi-devotional flicks which have been helmed by Shyamprasad Reddy and Kodi Ramakrishna in the past. And before you get gung ho about “SFX filled” let me remind you that the implicit assumption here is: “more SFX” = “great SFX”.

Once upon a time there lived a great lady called Arundhati (Anushka) – who is reverred as “Jejamma”. Her brother-in-law is this sadistic sex maniac called Pasupathi (Sonu Sood) who’d rather stab and rape a woman if she’s causing trouble to him performing the act in normal circumstances. Once he’s banished by Jejamma from that place, he joins/becomes an Aghora which kinda makes him immortal. Poor Jejamma is only left with the option of burying him alive and three generations later when Arundhati is reincarnated again, buried-alive-in-grave Pasupathi wants revenge. Can Arundhati survive the onslaught? Watch the film if you really want to find out.

Supernatural tales like these more or less have a similar plot so everything depends on how you can make the ongoing events engrossing. Atleast for me an overload of crazy mindless visual effects doesn’t do the trick. To give credit where it is due, it doesn’t make you sleep either. However, all said and done I did enjoy some part of it purely because of the craziness and (un)intentional funniness. I couldn’t stop laughing whenever Sonu Sood’s character lets out an “Aaeee Bomali!”. In fact he is the best part of the film. Anuskha is fine but just because she is the main protagonist it doesn’t automatically translate to an exceptional performance. Sayaji Shinde is highly irritating along with a bunch of other characters.

It is more or less confirmed that Arundhati will be remade in Hindi – I wonder if those who are keen are buy the remake rights actually saw the film or are just going by its phenomenal success. In my opinion, Arundhati is the most overrated Telugu film in recent times – it is too illogical even if you give some consideration to the fact that it is based on a supernatural theme. Still the mindlessness provides for some fun and that might be the only reason one might want to watch this. In any case, I am sure the curiosity factor would draw you to the cinemas (if you haven’t seen it yet).

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Singh is Kinng August 25, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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There have been quite a few so called “comedies” which have bombed at the box-office this year which made me think that moviegoers have finally gotten tired of those not-so-funny blockbuster comedies which had a good time at the box-office last year. I was wrong because I forgot to take notice of the fact that none of those bombs this year featured any big stars. Singh is Kinng is the first one to feature a saleable star and (unsurprisingly) despite its content has gone on to become a blockbuster.

The filmmakers had quite an interesting concept on hand but they haven’t exploited it properly. Happy Singh (Akshay Kumar) is a bumbling do-gooder who has his intentions right but always courts trouble with his actions. His village is fed up of him and they pack him off to Australia on the pretext of getting King (Sonu Sood) – an infamous Don in Australia – back to Punjab so that their community would no longer be badnaam because of his activities. Accompanying Happy is his friend Rangeela (Om Puri). However, in Australia things go haywire as King gets afflicted with a condition “which Shahrukh Khan had in Anjaam” and Happy has to take his place. And that’s when the fun begins (actually supposed to begin).

Coming from Anees Bazmee, whose last outing Welcome was quite inconsistent from being outrightly irritating to some hilarious laugh-out-loud moments, Singh is Kinng is consistently average – neither making you smile much nor making you feel why you actually paid to sit through this. The biggest complaint I have is how he could waste actors like Javed Jafferi (hardly comprehensible) and Ranvir Shorey (a role probably written with Sunil Shetty in mind). Akshay Kumar is a huge star so can afford to be repetitive but this trait of his doesn’t appeal to me much (I wouldn’t say the same about other “superstars”) but still good enough to carry the film through. The best perfomances come from the supporting cast of Om Puri, Sonu Sood (once he becomes paralysed) and Yashpal Sharma. Manoj Pahwa and Kirron Kher also lend good support. Katrina and Neha are just hanging around to look good.

Watch it if you’ve liked similar mindless (purported) comedy flicks before otherwise there is nothing you’ll lose by giving this a miss. The two title tracks were really the only things which I enjoyed the most.

Mr. Medhavi February 21, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Movies, Reviews, Telugu.
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Though not a huge hit, this is definitely the first genuinely good Telugu film of the year. His previous two films weren’t successful but one can say Neelakanta is back in form with this one.

Mr. Medhavi – translated as Mr. Intellectual is about Vishwaksen (Raja) who since childhood believes that people’s emotions/thoughts can be “calculated” and hence easily be manipulated for anything. He is quite successful in life with his formula but trouble starts when he tries the same to manipulate his childhood sweetheart (Genelia) to fall in love with him. His tricks actually backfire and he ends up in the uncomfortable situation of having to act as a matchmaker between her and the guy (Sonu Sood) she confesses being in love with.

Despite the predictability of the twists the movie entertains throughout. A lot of people have complained about the pacing but I found it just right. Ironically, the only issue I actually found with this movie is the overuse of the words Medhavi/Medhassu in every episode. I think the audience who watches such films doesn’t need to be reminded constantly that they are watching a clever film. A little bit of subtlety would still drive the point home more gracefully.

The casting seems to be perfect here. Raja most of the time has to sport a smug look on his face without talking much but carries out his part well. Genelia gets a meaty role and does complete justice to it…she looks gorgeous too. Sonu Sood seems to have made a permanent place and both Hindi and Telugu cinema by playing parts which are too important to be left to lesser actors and not big enough to warrant a star. He has a changed appearance from the last time I saw him and deilvers yet another controlled performance.

The best and the most entertaining part of the movie are the scenes featuring Dharmavarapu Subramanyam and M.S Narayana…..As the bickering managers in the office they generate the maximum laughs both in the first half as well as the nicely crafted “HR seminar” sequence in the second. The good thing about Chakri’s music is that there isn’t much of it to disturb the flow. I liked the background score though. One man show – Neelakanta deilvers a clear winner this time.