Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram - A Review

I will remember this movie for a long time - particularly the scene where the character Surya (played by Surya) breaks down while talking to his parents after [spoiler alert!!] his girlfriend Meghna (Sameera Reddy) dies. He tells his father, 'We made love, daddy' while sobbing inconsolably. I have a feeling the director meant this line to convey the pain and anguish of the hero. But I was left wondering - So?

The feeling you get while watching this movie is that Gautham Menon is one confused director. He wants to make an action movie, a drug junkie drama, a mushy love story, a lovey-dovey family movie, a retro movie and a Dasavatharam-like movie. Unable to choose among these options, he puts it all together in a single movie and ends up achieving nothing. Note to the director: Some things don't mix, like curd rice and fish curry. But you can always have curd rice for lunch and fish curry for dinner and everyone can have a nice satisfied burp at the end.

The movie is supposed to be about the bond between a father and son (both played by Surya). However it totally fails to connect at that level. The director's idea of depicting the father-son bond is to show them crying every 5 minutes and having them say 'I love you, daddy' or 'I love you, kiddo' every time they take a breath. If I had a dollar each time Surya said 'daddy', I'd have had enough money to bail out Wall Street and General Motors. On second thoughts, I'd have made that much money even if I got only a rupee for each time, in spite of the declining exchange rates. By the end of the movie all the main characters have said 'I love you, Surya' so many times that you half expect the rescued lady journalist to look deeply into his eyes and say, 'I think I have fallen in love with you, Surya'. But I'm jumping the gun. We'll come to all that in due course.

To be fair, the movie isn't all bad. There's Sameera Reddy. She was the one of the few reasons I could sit through the movie. She looks fresh and beautiful and does a decent job with the acting. It's a pity that the director killed her character off just before the interval. He could have kept her on for a few songs more - even as a ghost or something (it would have fit in with the director's strategy of including every possible genre). But while she's there as an MS student at Berkeley, the movie goes along in a comprehensible manner (if you choose to ignore the question of how a jobless Surya manages to get a visa to go to US).

But after she's gone, the director completely loses the plot. A desolate Surya comes back from US and immediately starts crying more and takes to drugs. I wouldn't blame him. I mean, he has sex with Sameera Reddy and upon returning to India finds out that the next girl he's supposed to fall in love with is Priya (Divya Spandana) - a huge fall in quality, if you ask me. The family's way of dealing with the drug problem is to lock him up in his room for two days and then send him packing to Kashmir, of all the places. Surya, on the banks of the Dal Lake, miraculously loses all craving for drugs and goes off to Delhi to fight kidnapping and child prostitution rackets. Phew! As if that wasn't enough, he then decides to join the Indian Army. And as per the stringent requirements of the Indian Army for new recruits, he builds six-pack abs which he goes around showing off for the rest of the movie (Om Shanti Om, anyone?). The quality of the abs is so good that he immediately gets promoted to the rank of Major. It is around this time that he leads a mission to rescue the journalist who, surprisingly, doesn't say those 3 dreaded words. And I'm eternally thankful to the director for sparing me that torture.

The music is the only highlight of the movie (apart from Sameera, of course). Some good songs by Harris Jayaraj really helps one sit through the movie. For once, you'll be thankful for a liberal peppering of songs which do not contribute to the story in any way.

If I were to look at the movie objectively, I'd have to say that it has something for everyone. A ravishing beauty for guys like me, rippling six-pack abs for girls who like such rippling six-pack possessing hunks, tearjerker scenes for the sentimental types, romance (3 of them!) for people so inclined and action for those whose movie experience is incomplete without exploding helicopter gunships and rocket launchers. However, a movie is not judged objectively. It is judged as a whole, by the effect it has on the viewer. In this case, the sum was lesser than the least of all the parts. And it makes me wonder if Kaaka Kaaka was nothing more than a fluke.



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13 comments:

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Was Surya on stilletos? He's a disappointing 5'6" while sameera is a staggering 5'8" :-|

Rada said...

Thank you for the review.

I find GM a highly over-rated director. Even the much hyped Kaaka Kaaka, lacked a cohesive script and was the movie equivalent of an "aviyal" with disparate elements galore! The only saving grace was the fine acting of Surya!

Praveen said...

"If I had a dollar each time Surya said 'daddy', I'd have had enough money to bail out Wall Street and General Motors"..
loved that line:D
havent seen the movie yet..so it was too bad that as soon as I read the spoiler alert, I read the spoiler too..then I read the full post..
And what a storyline..has this guy gone mad or what?

Karthik said...

Philip, the original story was supposed to be inspired from 'Forrest Gump'! Them GM's father passed away during the make of the movie and he then brought about an autobiographical element into the script.

I think he royally screwed up the script. I think 'Vettayadu Vilayadu' was a good script which was tight and cohesive.

I think even all that 'I love you Daddy' seems very artificial. Better he stick on to cop scripts :-)

Karthik said...

Philip, the original story was supposed to be inspired from 'Forrest Gump'! Them GM's father passed away during the make of the movie and he then brought about an autobiographical element into the script.

I think he royally screwed up the script. I think 'Vettayadu Vilayadu' was a good script which was tight and cohesive.

I think even all that 'I love you Daddy' seems very artificial. Better he stick on to cop scripts :-)

Philip said...

karthik: Yeah...it was conspicuous during the movie. Again, OSO, anyone? (SRK and Deepika Padukone)

rada: I agree completely. GM is a very over-rated director.

praveen: Yep. Looks like he's gone mad. But Karthik's explanation below brings some kind of logic to it, I guess.

karthik: Thanks for that insight. Even his cop stories aren't that great. I slept through the last quarter of Vettaiyadu Vilayadu. Kaaka Kaaka looks like a flash in the pan.

hammy said...

I am shocked. It's unbelievable. Beyond generic comprehension. Curd rice and fish curry don't mix? Depends on the fish curry, I guess.

Anyway, point noted. I'll take a miss on this movie. But then again, I have been watching really crappy movies of late, so should I break the streak? Food for thought.

Abraham Menacherry said...

Exceptionally nice review! I saw the movie and felt the same.

What it lacks is direction.. I mean it was going nowhere from start to end.

I loved the first half though. Some of it is so originally taken... like his puppy love and fight with the local thug and stuff like that.

And a dad who smokes cigarette while asking his son not to.. hmm.. it doesnt get more original than that...:D

Philip said...

hammy: lol...Food for thought, it certainly is. It's possible that certain fish curries mix with curd rice. I'll have to check it out :)

am: The first half has its takers...my roomie was one. The thing about GM's movies is that he manages to get bits and pieces right...but ends up making a bad film in the end.

The Layman said...

Great review!

"On second thoughts, I'd have made that much money even if I got only a rupee for each time, in spite of the declining exchange rates."
Loved that :D

I liked kaaka kaaka though... It was very different form the gunda movies of that time.
Liked Minnale too (was at college during the time :P).. not so much Rehna hai tere dil mein..

cris said...

You gave out the whole story! Good thing I kept this off till I saw the movie. I found the movie alright, not the best but then yeah, it was alright. Have to sort out the whole thing now, theres been just so much in those 3 hours I am not sure I got it all in place.
I thot Dad-Surya lacked something - like when a character is so adorable, you kind of expect something - no I dont mean another 6-pack - something in the ways of character.
And Sameera Reddy! I see that in the world of aesthetics men and women shall always stand apart! When the narrator went "I knew what kathal was on that day in the train, I knew what you felt for Amma the first time you saw her" I was all anxious and there comes a male-faced female on screen! I thought "Sheesh" but then she looked better later on - better than just male-faced I mean.
Ok comment is growin too long, I will maybe make a blog entry.

B said...

a huge fall in quality, if you ask me---super LOL

That was a quite a funny review :) curd rice,fish curry et all
I liked Surya a lot in Ghajini and I think he has done a similarly good job in this one too(bad plot notwithstanding). He must come over to act in Hindi movies.
I hope to c this movie soon.

Arunan said...

The movie is good when compared to the recent releases! I think u were opinionated before watching d movie. U cant say GM had Dad-son relationship in mind for d movie! And if u feel it as a sandwich wid loads stuffed in a single piece, then all academy award winning movies were so! Particulary i felt first half was gr8! U must give due credit to Surya! As a 18 year old he rocks d screen! Only thing i m disappointed is the fact that all his hardwork has been wasted in a spineless movie!