Dear Movie Makers…


Read these first:-

All of us watches movies (some on daily basis) and at some point of life, you will come across movies that can only be classified as “great”. A first class classics like this and new ones like this. We pay to watch these movies (those who subscribe to the movie channels at Astro, you will know what I mean) and thus all we ask for is that if you can’t make a great entertaining movie, then make one that is logical.

Chennaiyil-Oru-Naal-Film-Poster

(A movie that is full of big names but also full of holes in the plot. Image source: the Net)

Take for example “Chennaiyil Oru Naal“. I have seen the movie once before and despite the hype and despite an ensemble cast (they had a lot of big names there – Radhika, Prakash Raj, Sarathkumar, Cheran, Prassana and even Surya) and despite it had a good premise (well, for the most part of it), it was a big let-down by serious flaws. In information age these days, small flaws looks too glaring especially when the audience are well informed and have high expectations. In that sense, most Tamil movies had it’s share of shortcomings except perhaps Mysskin movies (like this and this) which in my mind is at the top of the list when it comes to dark themed storyline.

I did not have the time to do up a review on Chennaiyil Oru Naal back then. But the notion of the flawed storyline somewhat reinforced my earlier impression of the movie when I saw this movie again on Astro last weekend. My mom was watching it and I was “forced” to watch it whilst I waited for my son to finish using my bathroom (the Boss often waits until it is time for my bath time before he dashes in my bathroom for his bath).

But before that, a quick synopsis of this movie for those who have not watched it:-

Meanwhile, Gautham’s ailing daughter’s heart condition becomes worse and she urgently needs a heart transplant. At first Karthik’s parents do not agree to take their son off the ventilator and donate their son’s heart but Ajmal and Karthik’s girlfriend persuade them into it. Now that the heart is available, the problem was transporting it from Chennai to Vellore. No chartered flights or helicopters were available and so the heart had to be taken by road. Someone had to drive the 150 kilometres in under two hours during the rush traffic.

City Police Commissioner Sundara Pandian is asked to carry out the mission. He initially refuses considering the complexity and risk involved in the mission, but finally heeds to the persuasion of Dr. Arumainayagam. Satyamoorthy, being an experienced driver who has driven for ministers, volunteers to be the driver of the Jeep carrying the heart. Mainly takes this initiative to regain the name he lost to the bribe incident.

Accompanying him on the mission was Dr. Robin and Ajmal. As instructions are given from Sundara Pandian, Satyamoorthy follows the fastest route to the hospital. However, at some point, they lose connection and the vehicle mysteriously disappears. Under pressure and stress, Satyamoorthy trusts his own instincts and takes his own route. Sundara Pandian loses patience and hope that he’ll be able to transport the heart in time, resulting in cancelling the mission.

Just in time, Satyamoorthy manages to get connection, which motivates every one to get the heart safely in time.

(Source)

Sounds impressive huh? It does look very sound on paper but watch the movie and you know that the movie makers could have done better if they had just stopped for a second and reviewed the details. No one is perfect, I agree but since it involves a long process of movie making, a lot of talent from various departments and plenty of money, they should have strive for perfection.

Firstly perhaps knowing this would be questioned, they pre-empt the audience that there are no chartered flights or helicopters were available to transport the heart within the 150 km range. Well, that’s quite fine but considering the number of big-wigs involved in getting the approval and planning of the transport by car, you would have thought that surely they could have pulled something in getting a helicopter for the transport. Don’t tell me that Gautham – the famed actor in the movie could not get his friends and his fans to help out on this? Even they could not get helicopters at the start, considering all the delays in transporting the heart by car, perhaps it would have been prudent if they have waited for the helicopter nonetheless.

Ok never mind, the movie makers were bent on making the transport the heart via a car as the main plot and twist the rest of the story on this premise.

So they make the next mistake – the choice of the car used for the transport. A bulky 4WD instead of a fast sedan – how that makes transporting the heart any faster? Then you will noticed that 4WD would be driven without any police escorts – presumably because it was driven very, very fast. But without any escort, a fast car on a lonely roads (as shown in the movie) is opened to many other obstacles on the road – all you need for one idiot on the road to ignore the siren and wham bam, out goes the mission out the window. In the movie, with a lot of people on the road side – speeding car was not even portrayed correctly. The car seemed to be cruising leisurely at many scenes in the movie. And it was so to a point when the passengers were inside the car without the need to buckle up.

Then they had to have the scene of the car being driven through a slum to “catch up” on the lost time. And these too done without the police clearing and blocking the relevant roads within the slum to ensure fast drive through. No police escorts either. Instead, the hero Surya comes into the picture (rather on TV) and appeal for the occupants of the slum to give way to the car. How many people in the slum were glued to the TV at that time is not shown (remember it is on a working day, so a bulk of them at home would be housewives) but it seemed to have attracted a sizeable army of slum youths to clear the way. How convenient! Further it is a slum with narrow lanes with unexpected crowd and obstacles – don’t you think that it is more riskier to the mission? Why risk many “hearts” just to save one heart? It does not make any sense.

Before that, there is a scene of the doctor hijacking the car (ya, you may ask WTF?) and getting the car off course and it takes some time before some sad, emotional pep talk before the doctor comes to his senses and gets back into the car and the mission. In reality, how this could have happened if the whole mission from the start has been closely monitored from a central command post? You see, this is why you need police escort. And why the driver (played by Cheran) insist on bringing the loony doctor after the doctor had jeopardized the whole mission and his superior had given a clear instruction to hand over the doctor at the next police checkpoint? It is not like the doctor helping him in a big way. In the end, surprise, surprise – the seriously injured wife decides not to press charges on the doctor and he is released. Come on lah, just because he had played a role in delivering the heart, the whole justice system forgets his earlier confession to murder?

Sigh, I know they could have done better…

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Tamil Movie Review – Yuddham Sei


This was one of the most waited movies in my list for 2011!

(One of the best scenes in the movie – Cheran facing off the criminals with just a small knife on a bridge. One to one and almost immediate – no stupid scenes like one hero flying or punching 20 guys at one go.  Image source: Indiaglitz)

Sometimes, we can determine a good movie upfront by seeing who is the director of the movie – throw some names like Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and in Tamil movie scene, Shankar (although he screwed up his last movie), Mani Ratnam, Gautham Menon and many more up into the air and you can be assured that you going to see a movie that is not only entertaining but well made and with the right storyline.

One such director that have been consistently been churning out “must watch” Tamil movies in recent times is Mysskin. In the last 5 years, he only made 4 movies – Chithiram Pesuthadi in 2006 (still remember the “fish” song?), then one of the best, Anjathey in 2008 and did one personal movie for himself titled Nandhalala in 2010 and now we have Yuddham Sei in 2011.

There is a good reason why Yuddham Sei is also known as Anjathey 2 – quality and well-directed storyline continue to ooze from Mysskin’s magical hands.

The synopsis

From Wikipedia:-

The film starts with a brooding CB-CID officer J.K. who is worried about his missing sister. His senior officer promises J.K. that he can take up his sister’s case after he solves another one, so J.K. agrees. Amputated male arms are packed in cartons and left in public places. J.K. suspects that they are done so deliberately, as a message to the police. Based on identification from families of missing persons, they find that the arms belong to Raja Manikam, Moorthy et cetera. By triangulating the co-ordinates they find a lead in this case.

Durai Pandi is a leading textile shop owner who was beaten and insulted in public and handed over to the police after it was found that he had used a peephole to look into the dressing room for women. He is caught by the victim Suja’s family, who are totally shattered by this incident. The inspector in-charge of this case is Isakki Muthu. Later, Durai Pandi’s manager surrenders to the police accepting the charge of the crime, and thus clearing Durai Pandi’s name.

Later, Suja’s father Dr. Purushothaman was arrested on charges of bribery, and later released. A sex affair complaint was lodged against Dr. Purushothaman’s wife. These events shatter the family, and they suicide by setting themselves on fire. But Suja is still missing, so J.K. decides to reopen Dr. Purushothaman’s case.

Read further here

(There is “dirt” in this police station – Cheran facing off a dirty cop who is part of the criminal gang involved in the kidnapping of young girls. Image source: Indiaglitz)

The storyline

Very similar with Anjathey with a little twist here and there but the ending was something that was not expected. Many slammed Mysskin for using similar plot with Anjathey for this movie. Yes, admittedly it is indeed similar but what is more important is how it is presented to the audience – in the past, we have seen remakes of older movies but not all turned out to be well). In that sense, Mysskin maintains his grip on quality and good story-telling to be better or in par with Anjathey.

So, what we have in Yuddham Sei? In this movie, there are 4 groups of characters with 4 subplots twisted together as one big plot in this movie and it was well presented by Mysskin:-

1. There is the story of a brother looking for his missing sister – JK, the main character well played by Cheran is a police detective who had to content with investigating gruesome murders in the city whilst investigating the disappearance of his sister (In Anjathey, Sathyanathan investigates the kidnapping of young girls whilst had to content with his good friend turning to the “dark side” of life)

2. There is the story of the police who seems to be at loss with finding of human parts in a box, left in the public areas around the city. Mysskin was careful to show the details of the police investigations, the frustrations and the pressure from the police chief and politicians and the public to get the people who been cutting up the victims (Same thing in Anjathey – one of the best scenes there was when Sathyanathan asks the IGP to investigate when he was asked to get out from the room. In Yuddham Sei, IGP is a much cooler head than in Anjathey but no less, keeps up the pressure on his men to solve the case fast)

3. There is the story of a criminal gang who kidnaps young women for sexual purposes and portrays the act to a group of old wealthy men who pay good money (Similar in Anjathey where young girls get kidnapped for ransom)

And then

4. There is the dark story of revenge – something that is not noticed until it is explained in the second part of the story. Revenge is indeed sweet.

The camera angle

Similarly in Anjathey, camera angle of the various scenes remains perfectly executed. Sathya handled the camera but you can feel Mysskin’s artistry all over the place. Scenes like the back shot of JK as he is pondering his next move as he in a vehicle traveling towards for a police operation, the fight scene at the over head bridge – one of the fights is shown upside with the criminal shown running in the background, the dead girl lying on the dining table surrounded by her family members and of course, the classic  trademark ground level shots.

Creative camera shots making story telling even more compelling – coupled with well timed background music and that gives a whole new meaning to thrillers.

(I love the camera angles in this movie – Cheran sitting down at the spot where his sister was kidnapped, contemplating on how to find her. Image source: Indiaglitz)

The acting

The key person in this story is Cheran – we all have seen his fine acting (and direction) in Autograph and Thavamai Thavamirundhu but this is first time, we are seeing him in the role of a policeman, out to solve 2 cases at the same time. Acting is fine but perhaps we are seeing Cheran in a totally new role, initially we are unable to erase Cheran from his other roles that he had played in the past but as the movie picks up pace, we start to believe that Cheran is one tough cop and he is just one of us when faced with tough calls.

Another twist in the line of actors in this movie is YG. Mahendra – the actor from the often played funny roles in movies in 1980s and lately involved in TV serials. Lakshmi Ramakrishnan who plays his wife in this movie excels as well in her role.

The music

Background music in Yuddham Sei picks where Anjathey had left off – not much song scenes but plenty of heart-stopping background music for the tense moments in the movie. Mysskin seems to favor violin based music – we found it in Anjathey and  we loved it alot and now we can find it in abundant in Yuddham Sei. I managed to get hold of Yuddham Sei’s soundtrack – the music alone is worth listening on its own.

Final say

The plus points: The direction (It’s Mysskin man, what else you need?), camera work, music and acting (Cheran did one fine work here)

The negative points: The storyline (Damn! It looks identical to Anjathey but it highly, highly acceptable)