Under the sun

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ponniyin Selvan

Why did they name this movie "Ponniyin Selvan"? Am i missing something obvious? Well, never mind...
Let's cut the crap and get straight to the point(s)...
Mistake 1: Producer A.M "Despotic" Rathnam. This leads to Mistake 2
Mistake 2: Ravi Krishna. This kid CAN'T act, period (And somebody dub for him please, for fuck's sake!)
Mistake 3: Vidhyasagar. What the hell is VS trying to do lifting Beethoven's piece (Moonlight Sonata?) and using it as his theme???
Mistake 4: Maybe because of Mistake 1, the director Radha Mohan (is he the one who made Azhagiya Theeye?) felt it necessary to 'compromise', including dream fights and breast popping item numbers.

The movie starts with a "dream" song which makes the number starring Captain Vijaykanth dancing with white models look sophisticated and hip in comparison. Our hero is a man with one side of his face disfigured after an accident in his childhood. The film is about his challenges to raise/save enough money be able to afford a plastic surgery to correct the "problem". The theme looks decent enough on the face of it. Radha Mohan could have carried it off better than he has done here but sadly he makes too many compromises for comfort.
Gopika as Ravi Krishna and his mother Revathi's long time friend looks totally deglamourized (was she ever glamourous?), which is good, actually. Revathi and Prakash Raj (Ravi's colleague) come out with apt performances. Prakash Raj's characterization as a single, drinking, brothel-going but compassionate human being is interesting without the typical Victorian morality baggage common in the TF industry. I remember seeing a trailor of a Malayalam art film starring Nedumudi Venu and the movie is about a mole in his face being cut when he is shaving. The movie is about how he comes to terms with his "face-cut".
The Kadavul-Paadhi-Mirugam-Paadhi guy and the guy who was a "friend" in Azhagiya Theeye come as Ravi's friends. They don't have the impact the "friends" had in AT. The "jokes" seem contrived and lack spontaneity. Another AT character figures in this movie as Ravi's Onyx colleague, "Porkai Pandiyan" is the character's name in the film. He is impressive but sounds pedantic at times.
Ravi takes up a part-time job in a Pizza joint as a delivery boy and a "kids' entertainer". The director's idea of 'compromise' is evident in the scenes involving the joint. He quits this job to take up another part-time stint with Onyx, cleaning up the streets of Chennai in the night. As this is stressful, it takes a toll on his health and family. The story (and the ending) is very much predictable.
Why are people obsessed with item numbers? Are the members in the "snip-snip" panel in the censor board watching? Personally, i'm against censorship, but to pass the item song in this movie without any cut (BTW, which language is this song sung in? It is set to Kaapi raagam), after removing the fantastic "Yelae nee..." song in Mumbai Xpress smacks of double-standards and sheer ineptitude. The "items" in the song looked like running the risk of doing a "Janet Jackson" act anytime in the song.
Anyother actor, even Dhanush would have done a better job than our Ravi. The Tamil audience sure have a way of embracing mediocrity when they see it. When Ravi asks "Ennamma... poriya maa?" in his typical nasal tone, the whole theatre erupted in mock laughter. Here is one hero who mouths happy, angry and sad dialogues in the same single way!
Wish directors like Radha Mohan back their scripts and don't go in for the so-called 'compromises' or bow into producers' pressures.


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