Review: Surya S/O Krishnan

Surya, Son of Krishna (also released in Tamil as Vaaranam Aayiram) depicts the story of the titular Surya and his relation to his father. And that’s the most amazing thing about it. That such a big banner would take up a movie primarily about characters, and characters who dont morph into superheroes who would give superman an inferiority complex is a surprise. The histrionics(and there are a few) do not go into the traditional half-gallon of glycerine levels and keep it believable.

the story: After opening with the death of the titular Krishnan, flashbacks follow Surya’s life from childhood with emphasis given to how his dad supports him at the appropriate times. the outline: mom n dad fall in love, get married and despite hardships give their son all the love and support he needs. boy grows into adolescent, learns to find his feet with dad’s assistance. boy heads of to college, does a decent job though not great, falls in love with an america-bound overachiever. fixes his familys financial situation at home, woos the overachiever in america, loses her and falls into addiction and manic depression(the dirge[-definition] is particularly touching). sets off to roam, manages to find a purpose and second love and learns that life goes on even when you lose someone particularly close to you.
The movie manages to keep you engrossed in it and in light of what passes for cinema here, i am forgiving of the occasional story telling annoyances(locations in particular could have been slightly better chosen).

As for the performances, Surya does very well. He plays both the male leads (Surya and Krishnan) and does so very convincingly. He picks up mannerisms of the characters very well, and fills each role so that you can see the evolution of the insecure, dependent young man to the competent and independent man he turns out to be in a well-defined manner. Also, plenty of eyecandy from him for the ladies and gentlemen who are into well-built bodies. Simran as the loving wife and doting mother plays a bit of a non stereotypical mom role, and in doing so, shows that her acting talents were ignored in favour of her physical beauty in her earlier career as screen goddess. Both the female leads do their jobs convincingly and their characters were strong and not compromised for the sake of sentiment or eye-candy, which is one more amazing thing about the movie. Sameera Reddy finally does justice to a role as Meghna the overachiever though one senses she may be pushing her limits, and Ramya aka Divya Spandana delivers a very strong performance as Priya. One does feel for Surya’s sister as she’s almost completely marginalized in the presence of all these other women.

Visually, the movie is many notches above the average telugu movie which is probably because it’s originally a tamil movie. The editing is very appropriate, though nothing cutting edge. Music could have been better, but that’s really picking at nits. The complete package is definitely worth your while and if you’re prone to that sort of thing, can be a tear-jerker in a couple of places.

Rock on, indeed

so…..i went and watched a movie called “Rock On!!“. It was really really good. way better than i expected. this could be because i have not tuned into the hype, either on radio(gone with my phone) and on TV(dad’s got a vulcan deathgrip on the remote)

I am impressed at the production’s quality, both behind and in front of the camera. It’s primarily intended for an urban audience. Usually, in india that means certain death, because the vast majority of the populace is still not urban. however, the basic theme of compromise could connect, but i’m not sure that it will simply because the premises are so alien. the story revolves around members of a rock band(Magik) which forms in college, breaks up at the cusp of hitting the really big time, and then reunites in the climax. the story follows the trend of recent indian films like ‘Rang De Basanti’ which include parallel storylines, one of which is a flashback. performances from all the actors was quite convincing, especially Luke Kenny(Rob) and Shahana Goswami(Debbie). The camera work and attention to lighting is of very high quality. the whole movie has a very westernized, yet indian look. that’s appropriate given the upscale audience this movie is marketed to. the highlight, centrepiece, piece de resistance, etc., however, is the music. composed by the extremely talented trio of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy the authentic rock music is very clean sounding(albeit sometimes too clean) and is extremely catchy. (right up my alley, at least). vocals by the lead actor are again very well done as are the supporting female vocals(there are about 3 of those). the concert scenes are very well choreographed and reflect to an extent the commitment the performers had. they all learnt to play their respective instruments for this movie apparently. there are also some very funny scenes and interesting twists throughout the movie. however, i was not really convinced about the ending, which seemed to tragically return to formula. also Prachi Desai(Saakshi), whose role starts off very well, disappears in the second half and is reduced to a few cutscenes here and there(smile, laugh, be part of the audience). I was also somewhat disappointed by Joe‘s moustache. it looked really fake. I am also convinced that they took K.D’s personality from me

Dashavataram – DLDS* Movie Review

So lately, I’ve been actually going to movies instead of watching them on the TV. One of the most-hyped and possibly most innovative mass-market Indian film of the year is called Dashavataram. The story is similar to something that Michael Bay would make, or at least as close as you can get in Indian cinema these days and it cost a boatload of money to make.

For the non-Indians/Hindus in the audience, the title Dashavataram literally means ’10 Incarnations’ and is a reference to the mythological 10 incarnations of Vishnu. In the movie, it is Kamal Haasan who is playing 10 different characters including the the hero(an Indian biotech scientist in the USA), villain(an Ex-CIA hitman), a Japanese Sensei, a couple of (fictional)historical characters and even George W Bush. The movie is quite long by Hollywood standards, but about average for an Indian movie.

Let’s start with the low points:

1) 10 characters is too many. If not for the title, there would have been no need for 3 of the characters
2) Casting: Apart from Kamal, most everyone else puts in a disappointing performance
3) CGI/ VFX: Despite a huge budget, it was clearly not enough. Except for the first few minutes and then at the end, there is plenty of laxity in the effects department.
4) The Female lead: would have probably been better played by Kamal Hassan again.
5) The Violence: well, you may say, it’s an action film but I didn’t expect this quantity of violence and to be honest, gore, from the movie. But be warned there’s plenty.

Let’s get to the good stuff:
1) 10 characters, 1 guy: great concept, great execution(with the caveats mentioned above). I suggest you watch the movie solely for this performance.
2) Scripting/Screenwriting: Well done overall. The pacing is superb and the overall plot is well managed. Of course, there are some holes and some parts that require a mountain of salt to be swallowed(that’s a pun you’ll get if you watch the movie)
3) Did I mention Kamal Hassan’s excellent acting performance? It was really good.
4) The parts of the movie which attempt to perform social commentary are put together without going into a preachy mode.
5) Someone had to do it. The effort put into such a huge production(By indian standards) hopefully raises the bar for future action movies. This is a great relief since the other ‘hollywood-esque’ movie this year bombed miserably.

If it’s playing in a theater near you, do go watch it. It’s a great summer movie overall. I wouldn’t recommend taking your kids to it unless they’re at least 15-16 years old.

*DLDS = Day(s) Late, Dollar(s) Short

Supernintendo Chalmers back at it

there are times when things pop up on the interwebs that are really must-read, and this is one. It’s written by Chalmers Johnson, about Charlie Wilson’s War and why it’s a little misleading, in the way the Iraq War was misleading.

a taste of what’s to come:

In a secret ceremony at CIA headquarters on June 9, 1993, James Woolsey, Bill Clinton’s first Director of Central Intelligence and one of the agency’s least competent chiefs in its checkered history, said: “The defeat and breakup of the Soviet empire is one of the great events of world history. There were many heroes in this battle, but to Charlie Wilson must go a special recognition.” One important part of that recognition, studiously avoided by the CIA and most subsequent American writers on the subject, is that Wilson’s activities in Afghanistan led directly to a chain of blowback that culminated in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and led to the United States’ current status as the most hated nation on Earth.

return of video fridays!!

because of some unexpected drama and fury in the real life(i hate how it always gets in the way of a good time), i think this week is ending on a slightly down note. hopefully the line-up of events for the weekend should placate the mood somewhat, and the next week can begin better. light stuff for the next few days, obv. a selection of videos that represent what’s playing on the TV/Radio/My Head a lot

(slightly NSFW video)

In which I enjoy myself enjoying myself

I ditched the stupid emus and went for This Movie instead.

first an aside:

Dear Deepika,

Wow. just WOW.


PS: if this is the first time you’re reading, i don’t capitalize that much. just so you know how WOW you were, and you are. but then you already knew that.

Ok. let me compose myself…

done. now, the movie. never has such a big in-joke been made in bollywood. total film-fan movie, and i have to thank everyone involved in not insulting my intelligence by having any pretensions of a strong story. i cant find any flaws besides lots of product placements, esp. the brand endorsements for Ms Padukone and Mr. Khan. however, that’s probably all the agents’ and studios’ insistence.

to sum up an already short review: full credit to director Farah Khan for
a) flexing her bollywood muscle in getting all the top stars in on the act, especially the whole filmfare thing. brilliant!
b) staying true to bollywood spirit
c) not letting King Khan overshadow everyone else(something she managed admirably in her previous film as well)
d) making what is probably the first ever meta-bollywood movie.
e) making me laugh my ass off for nearly 3 hours.
f) making me fall in love with Deepika(as noted in the letter above)
g) not letting King Khan overshadow everyone else while extracting a very very tempered performance.
h) giving almost all her crew a scene or two in the movie.
i) remaking Karz in such an awesome way
j) making Arjun Rampal actually you know, emote! (i kid because i love)

Rating(for bollywood fans/buffs): Go.See.Now! Multiple times!!

Rating(for brainiacs/intellectuals/rest of the world) meh.