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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Vaaranam Aayiram

When I decried the quality of Tamil films to a friend and how I can't get past 10 minutes of many that I've tried to watch in the recent past he insisted that I see 'Vaaranam Aayiram'. After watching it for 30 minutes I wanted to stop, but I persuaded myself because I haven't seen a Tamil film until the credits rolled since 'Dasavatharam' and wanted to sit through this one for the heck of it. Then I decided that in such circumstances I should go with my instinct and save myself some time.

While the usual formula contains part cleavage and part punch-dialogues, Gautam Menon, the director, in an effort to give the audience a 'non-movie' movie experience has stripped some of the ingredients. There are fights where the hero doesn't fly. The father is friendly, not fire-breathing. The hero falls flat after losing his love but picks up life with another woman and marches on. More importantly, there's no flow in the narration where elements of screenplay converge in the end for a grand denouement. But pretentious drab should not be confused with film art. 'Vaaranam Aayiram' is long and fails to engage. It's not cerebral and doesn't deserve delving into its themes.

While Menon wants to be appreciated for his bold vision for his tangential sub-plots in the second half, we can sense his turmoil to abide by some of the Tamil cinema's rules. Songs. There's a 10 minute episode on how the protagonist's parents fell in love in the 70s. Surya as a school boy? Give or take 20 years, the viewers won't notice! Although I'm annoyed by overacting heroines, Menon flashes his female leads with their underacting. Their stilted range of emotions is annoying too. The biggest downer is Menon's dialogues - in trying to be poetic he's managed sophomoric. Some may sleep through, some may scratch their heads and some may be wowed. I just didn't hate the picture.

But I'm happy the film is made. Surya is no better than Vijay for accepting such a non-commercial project for it all boils down to holding onto one's fort. While Vijay and Ajith have a strong viewership in B & C centers, Surya and Vikram with their flair for experimenting alternate between commercial and challenging roles to earn audience with sophisticated tastes. Nobody serves the art; every actor prostitutes their talent for money. But with the success of every Vijay/Ajith film we're traveling back in time. With the usual nonsense on how a woman should dress to crass comedy capitalizing disabled people their movies propagate virulent stereotypes. With at least 'Vaaranam Aayiram', we're going in another direction - it's progressive because there's no social degradation.

2 comments:

Prabhu S said...

I didn't like the movie a bit. Gautam's intention of being different from others is laudable but I feel he doesn't have it in him to deliver a good cinema.Pr
etentious.

As for Surya and Vikram, I don't see them as being any different. Surya has Hari's 'Singam' in line. Vikram did 'Khandasamy'(blame was squarely on Susi and Vikram, 'great' actor that he is was said to have done his best to salvage the movie)

Prasad Venkataramana said...

Prabhu,
Although Gautam/Surya want to be taken seriously and aspire to deliver 'world cinema' (whatever that is) I appreciate that they took some time to think through before delivering. Not so long ago mainstream heroes had six movies lined up for them in a year and the production qualities & aesthetics were understandably abysmal. Surya willing to commit to a project long enough to bend his body (though that doesn't equate to or add up to his acting abilities) instead of piling 4 titles under his filmography has to be pointed out.