Me on FB

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thaandavam movie review - perhaps, the longest & most-detailed one you'll ever find


If you want to get to the ACTUAL review of Thaandavam, please scroll down ....there's a lot of random jibber-jabber before that ...




I'm a HUGE fan of Chiyaan Vikram and I'm in anguish now, because yet again, I had to painfully bear the sight of his hard work, stellar effort & dedication gone down the drain. In a good movie, one looks for things to criticize and finds hardly anything. In a bad movie, one looks for things to praise and finds hardly a few - that's the case in this one.

 I still remember how happy movies like Dhool, Saamy, Pithamagan & Anniyan made me, when he was at his peak. But God knows what happened to Vikram after Anniyan, his script selection has been AWFUL, to say the least. 

It is high time he appointed a script selection advisor or someone like that - pick out some of his die-hard fans and ask them for advice on how to choose non-ridiculous scripts. Just have a look at his list, after Anniyan - Majaa, Bheema, Kandhasamy, Raavanan, Deiva Thirumagal, Rajapattai & Thaandavam. 

Of these, Deiva Thirumagal has been the lone good movie. By good, I mean, JUSTIFYING Chiyaan's capabilities as an actor. The rest have been absolute duds. One thing Vikram should understand is, the fact that after Kamal Hassan, he is being seen as Tamil cinema's greatest actor and the most versatile one. With this kinda reputation, one expects him to do brilliant movies only - simply because he has set such standards for himself with his unbelievable acting !! He has no choice but to accept the fact, unfortunately, that with each movie, the expectations are nothing short of stellar and he is under tremendous pressure to deliver. The margin for error is absolutely minimal. With this kinda flawed script selection, he is just going to lose more and more fans. With movie ticket prices only increasing by the day, lesser & lesser people would want to spend money on a Vikram film, if he's gonna continue this way.

Vikram obviously has this plan of alternating between performance-oriented roles & entertainment-oriented roles. In other words, class and mass. But, in both cases, there is one thing he should realize - AIN'T NOTHIN' MORE IMPORTANT THAN "SCRIPT", YO - Gimmicks i.e. Six-pack, 30 different get-ups, publicity about training hard for the role, gaining weight, losing weight, technical excellence, photography etc etc ...can only get you a good opening. How a movie lives on after the first day first show is ENTIRELY dependent on how good the script is !!! Unfortunately, Vikram doesn't seem to realize this. 

Let's take a look at his movies post Anniyan - Majaa. Come on, WHAT WAS THERE in the movie, Vikram ?? Anniyan earned you the reputation as the then best actor of Tamil cinema. With the expectations of the people on the highest possible pedestal, what really made you choose a shoddy piece of rubbish like Majaa ? 

Then came in a long gap of 2 years - Okay, a gangster movie called Bheema, which gave you ample scope to display your physique, plus the role of a tough, bad-ass gangster ...with a lovely message at the end...Music by Harris Jayaraj with whom you've had a lovely combo - guaranteed to increase popularity of the film.....fine...all well....but Lingusamy ?? Again, why, Vikram ?? The very fact that Lingusamy is directing it should've INSTANTLY made you realize that it is NOT going to work !!! - Not that Lingusamy is a bad director, but even a layman in Tamil Nadu will know that he is AS FAR from making a performance-oriented movies as Digvijay Singh is, from speaking sense !!!!! Lingusamy can only make good masala movies - Didn't you see Run, Vikram ?? How could you possibly have thought that, of all people, Lingusamy would've done justice to your 2 years of hard work, physical training & preparation ?? 

So, there it was, another dud of a movie, good only in parts. Then came the Ra-One of Vikram movies : Kandhasamy , or as I like to call it - Kandamaana Saamy!! Seriously Vikram, the only plausible explanation for you having done this movie is that you were drunk while signing the dotted line. Seriously, I doubt if even Mirchi Shiva will choose a movie like this. So again, massive unwanted hype generated, splurging money on a huge audio launch and other things. Finally, it boiled down to an absolutely nonsensical movie - neither mass masala, nor anywhere even remotely close to being classy. One of your biggest ever, colossal flops. 

Okay, Raavanan, I would probably attribute it to bad luck. Given a chance, understandably, any actor would blindly sign a Mani Ratnam movie even if it were about nuclear physics and rocket science. So, that's excusable - the role gave you ample scope to perform and you did your job - but this was a rare occasion where Mani flopped - and can only be considered as bad luck. 

Deiva Thirumagal - Yes, FINALLY, a winner all the way, restoring faith in Chiyaan fans. This movie had an another Anniyan-like effect in your career and successfully undid all your flops. God gave you a second chance, by saving a career headed for destruction - you should have made a vow to yourself to remain careful at least hereafter. But NO, what did you do?? You went ahead with another epic disaster called Rajapattai !!!

Seriously, why, Vikram ?? What, in Rajapattai, did you think would appease your fans ?? If it was your physique, you could've just done a photo-shoot instead. Fine, it is understood that after every tiring & draining movie, you want to unwind a little by doing a masala flick - but like I said, masala flicks should have the TIGHTEST of screenplays - that's where directors like Hari & Dharani score - they dish out the oldest masala ever, but their screenplays are always SUPER-FAST : Look at Dhool & Saamy once again, Vikram. There's not a dull moment in any of those movies, why ?? Superfast screenplay! Nothing is ever obstructing the flow of the story at any point. With Rajapatti, one can only hope that someone really tricked you or drugged you into signing the movie. 

Finally, come to Thaandavam - Okay, your previous combo worked brilliantly, so it is understandable that you do another movie with director Vijay. So the movie is about a blind man with echolocation - okay, gives you good scope to perform. Fine. But again, harebrained story, Vikram ..and flawed script !!! Didn't you see it ??

THAANDAVAM - REVIEW

My review, too, is painfully long :P ..like the movie...So read at your own risk !!! :D

Ever since Anniyan, like I've written earlier, disorder-based stories have become a fad in Tamil cinema - Ghajini, Deiva Tirumagal, Nadunisi Naayigal, Moonu, Avan Ivan etc etc.... to name a few.. &now, joining the bandwagon is Thaandavam ... Fine, you have a movie based on a disorder, it gives an actor ample scope to showcase his acting abilities ...BUT, what most film-makers fail to do is to write a convincing story !!! You just CAN'T rely on the abilities of the actor to hold the film to together - you need to augment it with a STRONG script & story-line...which is missing here ...

THE WORST THING ABOUT THE MOVIE - EDITING !! WAS THERE ANY EDITING AT ALL ??????

Vikram gets a good role in this one - you have him playing a blind person, using echolocation ...you have action scenes ...you have a scene for him to display muscle-power & physique...you have romantic scenes where his expressions steal the show & you also have scenes of him playing a compassionate soul ...it is a mix of everything - UNFORTUNATELY, it is JUST NOT THE RIGHT MIX....It is a haphazard mixture..

Let's get to director Vijay - now, with Madrasapattinam & Deiva Thirumagal, he's one of the directors which impressed me THE MOST after Shankar & Gautham Menon...His meticulous attention to detail in Madrasapattinam was impeccable - every scene just reeked of absolute masterclass ...In Deiva Thirumagal too, he manipulated human emotions like puppets ...he stamped his authority in each and every frame...One look at the movie and you could tell that it was Vijay's ...his signature was all over the movie ...

Whereas, in this one ....the director seems totally confused as to what kinda movie to make....Fine, it is an action thriller - a revenge story of a spy....One would expect the movie to be high on action, high on thrills and a little dose of romance necessary to cater to the standards of Indian cinema....However, Vijay has it totally imbalanced in this one - there's very less action...there's hardly any thrills ...& there's major depth in the romance ...He seems to have been confused what to give more importance to - the compassionate Vikram, the Amy Jackson-Vikram angle, the Santhanam-police comedy OR the Vikram-Anushka angle OR the Vikram-Jagapathi Babu friendship OR the action ...He has JUST NOT GOT the right balance anywhere ...Scenes which should take the core of the story take very less time ...and scenes which should ideally be there for just a few seconds take up a lot of time....

A golden rule of action thrillers is that romance should just be fleeting and should NOT steal the thunder away from the movie AT ANY COST ....but unfortunately, in this movie, the Vikram-Anushka romance is too long, too deep, too surreal ...and that takes away the cake ...one goes back home remembering ONLY their chemistry, NOT the action, NOT the thrills ...Director Vijay has allowed his natural flair for romance and emotions to seep into this one and spoil a bad-ass action thriller ...There are several instances of the Deiva-Thirumagal hangover - while playing the Keyboard in one scene, Vikram feels an ant....but instead of killing it, he picks it up and places it on the edge of the piano ...even Anushka's intro scene - she gets drenched in the rain & uses her umbrella to protect puppies from it ...Madrasapattinam hangover too - monumental love for your lady makes you go to crazy heights - in Madrasapattinam, he opens a variety of institutions in memory of his lady ....here also, he opens a research foundation in Anushka's name ...thereby fulfilling her dream ....

Such depictions of humanity & love, though brilliant, unfortunately warm, soften & slow-down what is intended as a racy, cold-blooded action thriller ...There are wonderful scenes like this, with Vijay's stamp of meticulous excellence, but THIS IS JUST NOT THE MOVIE for them to be present in !! THERE is where director Vijay has lost it ....Vijay has the natural tendency to make his movies very slow-paced ...but that works when the movie is emotionally powerful & rich - that's why Madrasapattinam & Deiva Tirumagal did not feel boring ....But an action thriller JUST CANNOT be slow !!! It has to be fast, no matter what !!! Thaandavam, is painfully, excruciatingly slow !!!! 


This is where Billa-2 scores ( Note: I'm NOT a Thala fan!! ) ...It was intended to be a bad-ass action thriller ..and it turned out as one !! No romance, no fooling around with girls ..NOTHING !! Pure action ...that's why it worked for me ...Vettaiyaadu Vilayadu & Kaaka Kaaka had AWESOME balance ...between romance & action ..Specifically, VV - the romance between Kamal & Kamalinee was short, yet sweet & memorable ...it hardly lasted 7-8 minutes or so ...but it had such an impact ..YET it did NOT spoil the kickass action that formed the backbone of the movie ...Even the Kamal-Jyothika angle...it runs as a side-track and never takes over the revenge track at ANY POINT ...

Another crucial factor is the BGM - CRUCIAL for an action movie : Kaaka Kaaka, Vettaiyadu Vilayaadu, Billa etc had PHENOMENAL BGMs ...but this one is pretty lackluster ...Except the repetitive piano piece ( it is an overdose - someone in the theater I saw it in, shouted "Yow!! Unnoru tharava indha music aa ketta naa vettukku kelambi poyduven yaa" :D which had the whole theater in splits ) ...there is NOTHING really, which makes an impact ...GV did an exceptional job with the BGMs in Vijay's previous movies ...but this one was a disappointment, to say the least ...even the songs - except Oru Paadhi Kadhavu & Uyirin Uyire, the rest are very insipid & forgettable ....

Amy Jackson is TOTALLY UNWANTED in this movie ....She is THE MAIN REASON why the movie is SO long ...she hogs A LOT of the limelight ..in the first half ...and that makes it VERY BORING....Why on earth do you need an intro song for her when she's not even the lead character ?? The angle between her & Vikram is totally unconvincing, is a waste of time and serves no purpose whatsoever ..to the movie ...The ONLY important scene of Amy is one in the second half ...THAT'S ALL ..other than that, she is a colossal waste of time in the movie ...

Vijay intends to show Vikram as a compassionate blind man...just one scene is enough for it !! Why do you need 4-5 scenes to convey the same point ?! I'm hardly an advocate of comedy in action movies, but in this movie, Santhanam was THE LONE reason to smile in the first half ...it is pathetically slow & dull ....The murder scenes are pretty good ...that's where you see Vikram's echolocation skills ...good stuff....this is what we needed more of !!! Unfortunately, throughout the movie, there are very few scenes for this !!! Most of the time Vikram plays the blind, silent chap, he is a boring, totally dull, totally uninteresting person ...This could've been edited !! What was the editor doing ??? Seriously !!!

Moving ahead, the Vikram-Anushka romance is BRILLIANT, WONDERFUL & AMAZING .....BUT, IT IS A MOVIE IN ITSELF !!!!! TOO LONG !!! Here's where you get to see some of the best subtle, toned-own acting ...just by mere expressions ...Both Anushka & Vikram shine in these parts...Oru Paadhi Kadhavu further helps sink in the romantic mood.....But they eat up a major chunk of the second half ...THAT'S the problem !!!!

Here's where Ghajini gets the upper-hand : there was good delineation !!! - the first half ENTIRELY belonged to the Asin-Surya romance ...the 2nd half was ENTIRELY about the burning thirst for revenge ....
But this one, there's everything everywhere !!!!  Just when you think you're gonna be in for some awesome fighting, you get a mesmerizing song like Uyirin Uyire ...trust me, until now...the ONLY instance where I've loved a song before the movie & hated it after watching it is "Vaarayo Vaarayo" from "Aadhavan" ...But now, I hate Uyirin Uyire too ...such a beautiful, classical melody first of all shouldn't have been there in an action movie - now that it is there, it should've been in the midst of the love story ....NOT when people are finally bracing themselves for the revenge part ...People cursed the song, screamed aiyyooo ..and went on a loo break when this song came ...I NEVER EXPECTED SUCH A HORRIBLE MISPLACEMENT OF A SONG BY VIJAY

You hardly get to see much of Jagapathi Babu except the later stages of the movie ...He's done a good job ...but nothing noteworthy...someone like Prakash Raj would've been MUCH MORE effective IMO...One person who NEVER disappoints is Nasser ...Such roles are an absolute cakewalk for him & he's clearly showed again why !! He is awesome ...and I guess, he's Tamil cinema's standard explainer of heroes' disorders :P ( Anniyan and now this one )....Lakshmi Rai has a very small presence in the scheme of things ..but she's made it count , with a good performance ...The climax fight is very good ....that is FINALLY a GOOD dose of action which you've been waiting for all along ..but sadly, WAY TOO LATE to revive the movie from the quicksand of boredom it has completely sunk you into !!!!The 5-elements connection would've made you stand up and applaud if it were a good movie, but in this one, it just passes on.

In the end, you can only feel sorry for Vikram's magnanimous, superhuman efforts, dedication and hard work completely having been put to waste ...He's tried his best to hold the film together, but unfortunately, has been TOTALLY letdown by a shoddy script and lack of any editing ...That leaves the only things appreciable in the movie - good performances by Vikram & Anushka ...technical excellence ..that's it ...

Here's a final request to Chiyaan from a hardcore fan - Sir, I understand age is catching up on you and you wanna make the most of your time in Kollywood ...BUT, at the same time, PLEASE UNDERSTAND that you DON'T have to do a movie JUST FOR THE SAKE OF doing one ...Fans wanna see you do GOOD movies ...not some random nonsense....So, I urge you to go the Kamal way...PLEASE do ONLY QUALITY movies with STRONG scripts ( Kamal has a bit of the same weakness though - bad ones like Manmadhan Ambu, I don't deny that! ), EVEN if it means taking up 2-3 years of your life ...THAT'S WHAT FANS WANT !!!  Else, it really pains to see monumental effort being of no avail, except earning a few lines of appreciation about your performance, from critics ...

As for director Vijay, another person I'm a big fan of - Sir, your forte is romance & human emotions ...so please do more of that ...ELSE, if you're exploring new areas like action and thrillers & horror...PLEASE CUT OUT romance ...because you tend to go deep into it ...like in this case, and spoil the plot ...

Here's hoping David, Karikalan & "I" are much better !!
Chiyaan fan forever !! :)
Ashwin.







.











1 comment:

Balu R said...

Other than deiva thirumagal even i have disliked all of his movies in last few years. However it is easy to understand why he did it. Raavanan - Manirathnam. Kandasaamy - Mega budget anti-corruption crusader on the lines of indian, sivaji, ramana etc. Bheema - action masala where he has had success in the past. I didn't watch rajapatai so no comments on that :).