Jil movie review

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Try watching a game of tennis with Federer fans. Try watching a game of tennis with Federer fans with him in full cry. Try watching a game of tennis with Federer fans with him in full cry and ripping those one handed backhands; There is a joy in watching Federer play. The joy gets multiplied when you watch him play those one handed backhands. There is a word always associated with the one handed backhand – style. There is only one more grand slam winner among the present day players that plays with a one handed backhand- Stanislas Wawrinka. In August 2014, there was an article in New York Times, where it was said that there are 24 players among the Top 100 that play the one handed backhand. Yes they do, but they aren’t as well recognised, bar Grigor Dimitrov.

Federer, Wawrinka and, to an extent, Dimitrov apart, the rest aren’t that well known because they need to hone other skills too. In the book Strokes of Genius, the author Jon Weirtham says that Federer has 27 different variants of the forehand. Yes, you better believe that! 27 variants of the forehand! Style with substance is a cliché but describes Federer well.

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In movies too, we have times when people tend to fall back on style. Because there isn’t a cause and effect prognosis for the box office fate for a movie, we end up seeing  movies which are high on style and low on substance. Meher Ramesh is the torch bearer for those kind of films. For people who don’t agree; Kantri, Billa, Shakti and Shadow are the four words I would say. They have a word for it too – slickly shot!

Jil, the latest release in Telugu Film Industry skirts dangerously on similarity to those movies, but the director Radhakrishna (debut?) goes to the brink and realises it each time; and he pulls it back to normality. If you see the movie it’s apparent that the director has depended on style to push the screenplay forward than a story.

Violence is glorified in the movie and probably saves it from sinking without a trace. All the fight scenes are well shot ( sorry, slickly shot) and push the movie forward. Yes, there are so many scenes in the movie where he could’ve eulogised the hero; he leaves that job to us with the way the fight sequences are shot. The director seems to be at his best in the fight sequences. I liked the sequence where the protagonist is told that whoever he speaks to would find themselves killed. He is scared by the thought and tries to retaliate till he sees his lady love. The sight of the lady makes him run and run he does; to a graveyard. And there he is pushed to a point where he retaliates and says, ‘Naatho matladithe champestharru kadha ra! Mari nuvvu brathiki unnavu enti?’ (You said you would kill people who talk to me. You are talking to me and how are you alive) and goes on a hacking spree.

With the kind of story of hand, the director could’ve done a lot worse, but he doesn’t. He believed in style and stuck with it till the end of the movie. At least, he had that clarity of thought to stick to it. That probably saved him the blushes at the end of the day and saved him the comparisons to Meher Ramesh.

There is one thing that the director impressed me with; the protagonist, a fire officer, has the habit of collecting items from the people he saves and he keeps them in an almirah. Ayn Rand’s ‘Fountainhead’ is displayed prominently in a couple of frames.

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Gopichand made his debut with Tholi Valapu and immediately turned to negative roles in his next few movies. Out of the blue, with Yagnam, he returned to being a hero. After Lakshya till Loukyam, for a period of seven years, he endured a rough patch. In this movie, he looks different and adds aura to the role of the fire officer. He looks the part and completely dominates the proceedings with his screen presence. Performance wise, he is yet to touch the peaks that he did in the movies with Chandrashekhar Yeleti – Okkadunadu and Sahasam. He said in an interview that this is a different movie for him because he ventures into romantic genre with this movie. While there is a romantic angle in the movie, it would be difficult to club it under romantic genre. He worked quite hard for this movie and it shows; especially in song sequences. He dances well in the movie and it bodes well for him in the future

Raashi Khanna, in the lead up to the movie release featured prominently in the promotions. Most of the wallpapers for the movie did suggest that she would be overflowing with oomph in the movie. That’s partly right. She was normally dressed and had a good role to play in the movie, people would aver to the song sequences and point to the excessive skin show there.

Kabir, the antagonist in the movie has a good role to play and lives up to the billing of a villain. He looks menacing in many frames of the movie and does well in the scenes that he goes toe to toe with Gopichand. His entrance scene was good and establishes his presence in the movie. It won’t be a surprise to see him bag big ticket roles in the future

Good actors like Srinivas Avasarala, Brahmaji and Chalapathi Rao were wasted in insignificant roles.

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UV creations are turning out to be good producers. They spend money on movies to make it look good. To spend on a Gopichand movie directed by a debutant(?) by shooting the songs in Spain is a brave move. Problem is with the locations that they were shot in. Most of the locations have ‘already seen in different movies’ written all over them. They should’ve taken a little more care in choosing the locations.

In the disclaimer for the movie, it was mentioned that no animals were hurt during the shooting and all the sequences involving animals were graphically made. Did any of you see any animals in the movie?

Verdict: If you are the sort of a person who prefers plating and garnishing on a dish rather than the dish itself, you will surely love the movie. 

Image courtesy : idlebrain.com

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Yevade Subramaniam review

WP YS

One of the biggest cliché in Indian movies is the ‘coming of age’ story. It probably began with Dil Chahta Hai and continues unabated till today. They normally come in the form of a journey to some place, an experience or a death of someone the protagonist likes or loves. Yevade Subramaniam has all of this and tries its best to not be seen as one of those cliched movies. It works for me, because of a lot of reasons. Primary among them is Nani. He is a gift to Telugu Film Industry. A few years ago while talking about Nani, Rajamouli said that though he comes across as an instinctive actor, there goes a lot of thought behind that. Towards the end of the movie, Nani’s character says that people can realise what they want from life. For him it took a journey to Doodh Kashi to understand, whereas there are a lot of people who realise that by staying where they are. Nani is a lucky actor that he got to enact that scene. It’s not a first for him. He got to do the same in Pilla Zamindar too. When we sit down and think about it we can call it as luck, but to enact two similar kind of scenes and making the audience sway emotionally during both the scenes takes some doing. Nani cracks that.

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All through the promotion for the movie, they spoke about how difficult it was for them to shoot in Himalayas. The 40 odd days shoot for the movie was a trip of self realisation for them, they said. Coming from movie actors, you have a chuckle to yourself, because you always feel that they tend to live their life in a bubble. On one of those promotional shows, Nani pleads people to watch the movie on a big screen because of the shoot that was done in the Himalayas. He was right. The place looks brilliant on the screen and full marks to the director and cinematographer for the same.

It is said that the director is the captain of the ship and how the actors perform is a thing entirely upto him. Case in point is Krishnam Raju. We have seen the man in movies like Billa and Rebel in the recent times and feel that the man is making a joke of himself in those movies. Watch him in this movie; He has two scenes, at best, and gives a performance that will be remembered for a long time to come. That he comes across looking so brilliant is because of the director and the dialogue writer.

Vijay Devarakonda, the guy who played the role of Rishi and Malavika Nair, as Anandi, shine in the movie. They look their part and in no sequence does it look like the actors went overboard. Everything in the movie was balanced and a reason for why it’s there. For example, in the first half, there is a sequence where Anandi wants to see the transformation of a caterpillar into a Butterfly and is told that it’s a rare occurrence. She is told by the lepidopterist in question that he himself hasn’t been a witness to one. Towards the end of the movie, Nani sees the transformation and shouts for Anandi. You half-predict that it is to show her the same, but nothing of that sort happens. Pemba, the guy who tries to guide the people on a trip to Doodh Kashi is hilarious and has a bit song for himself in the movie. The way he keeps asking for 100$ a day as his charge is comical. His role is given a proper ending too. Here too, the credit goes to the director because he doesn’t leave any loose ends in the movie.

Regardless of the box office fate of the movie, the director, Nag Ashwin is a huge find for the film industry. Bar Nani and some of the supporting cast, a lot of the faces are unknown people. When you see and sit down to think about the movie, the first thing that strikes you is the amount of thought the director has put in the movie. It’s not natural for me to see a screen filled to the last seat. That it was full for this movie was surprising for me as I have seen quite a few movies of stars going half empty. What must be more gladdening for the makers is the fact a lot of them were glued to the seats till ‘The End’ was flashed on the screen. That definitely was a first for me and talks for the director. It tells us that he had the people watching the movie engrossed.

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The dialogue writer for the movie is another person who has to go far. In the age of Trivikram Srinivas, it’s difficult for some other person to make a mark. I hope this man does make a mark. Presence of actor is a different thing and a smashing presence of the same actor is a different thing. It is entirely due to the dialogue writer that we would remember the role played by Krishnam Raju in the movie. In one of the scenes, Krishnam Raju says, “Nenu dabbu sampadhinchatanaki pani cheyatledhu, nenu chessthunna pani ki dabbulu sampadhisthunannu”

When translated it means

I am not working to earn money. I am working and able to make money out of it.

When Nani meets Malavika over an extended period of time, he has a conversation with her.

Nani: Nuvvu edhi padthe adhi chesthavva? ( Do you do anything you want?)

Malavika: Edhi padthe adhi kadhu, edhi cheyyalanipisthe adhi chesthannu (not anything, but I do whatever I want to)

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It takes a lot of courage to accept a movie like this when you are having an extended period of trough and not had a release for more than an year. It’s heartening to see Nani accepting the role because he is among the very few actors in the industry who could’ve done justice to this role. Hope he gets to ride the wave and reach the crest.

Nani is brilliant in the movie. He conveys every single emotion brilliantly in the movie. Ruthless person, an opportunist who is willing to wait for his work to be done, a persistent nag, changed person and a good human being- Nani puts across all these traits and convinces everybody watching the movie that he embodied all these traits well

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Swapna Dutt needs to be equally commended as the producer of the movie for investing on the movie. If, as I think, she is the daughter of Ashwini Dutt, then it has to be said that the movies produced by his daughters, Priyanka Dutt being the other one, are always shot brilliantly. Baanam, Om Shanti and Sarocharu were their previous productions. This movie can be added to the list easily

Verdict: A good movie that has the capability to take everyone involved with the movie to the next level

Image courtesy: idlebrain.com

Love for McCullum

McCullumAs the winning captain today, McCullum had a few things to say. What he said was

This was more of a subcontinental wicket than a New Zealand, or Australian one, but it is good to still pull through with the win. I cut my hands a couple of times (diving in the field), but we have to be desperate in the field. It is an attitude we need to bring to the table. If we are serious about going deep, we got to keep it up. It doesn’t bother us who we play next. We just need to reach the levels we are capable of, just be on song, and then make sure we turn up and deliver come the quarter-final.

We are used to such war talk and hyperbole from the present day captains. With McCullum, what he talks about fielding, is what he does on the field. Sometimes he is successful and sometimes he isn’t. If you see both the videos carefully, there is a similarity apart from McCullum’s effort- he crashes into the advertisement hoardings and the commentator’s concern following soon afterwards. McCullum himself appears nonplussed in both the efforts. In the latter effort, he does look at his right palm twice; as if he is shocked that it couldn’t manage the effort in the microseconds that were afforded.

Why he places such importance on fielding can be judged from this clip, where drops the catch, but has the presence of mind to throw the ball back in to the bowler, thus effecting a run-out. That these efforts can be inspirational are well known.

While talking of New Zealand’s fielding, Andrew Fernando had this to say after the second Test against Sri Lanka in Wellington

When Kaushal Silva cut a ball behind point early in the 29th over of the innings, third slip, fourth slip, gully and point peeled off to give chase.

Kumar Sangakkara had already been dismissed. Sri Lanka were 66 for 3, in pursuit of 390. Most teams would commit one man to this errand, some might send two. But here was more than a third of New Zealand’s fielding resources tearing after it; in each other’s slipstream like a track cycling outfit, even though this ball seemed destined for the fence.

Somehow, between the four of them, they found a way to haul it in, one man scooping it back from the rope, another plucking it up and returning it. Each of the four fielders then high-fived the others – even the two that had not touched the ball. Seven high-fives in all. One run saved.

Talking about their fielders, he said

Occasional mistakes are made, of course, as they always will be in a sport played by humans. But even after a chance is shelled, each New Zealand fielder seems to want the next ball to come to him. In Christchurch, Ross Taylor let a simple slip catch spill from his bucket hands, but held firm to a more difficult chance moments later. In the same match, Sangakkara grassed one off McCullum, then within half an hour, had dropped James Neesham as well.

My favourite lines from that piece are

Sri Lanka’s fielders were virtually dragging the meat of their own carcasses around the Basin Reserve towards the end of New Zealand’s second innings. New Zealand were whizzing about the same ground like pinballs during Sangakkara’s day-two onslaught

A lot of people in India don’t rate New Zealand highly. I have come across as a lot of people like that. Some have gone on to the extent of saying that his efforts are fluke! Well, in my defence, from IPL is this

Yes, New Zealand are my favourites to lift the World Cup