When I read the reviews on this movie yesterday that said ‘unforgivably boring’, it was unbelievable. How could a director like Maniratnam dish out a movie like that, although I made a similar comment for his ‘Uyire’. Despite the fact that every child brought up in India knows the storyline, we went to watch the movie (the Tamil version) at Cineworld, Feltham. Story is not a big deal, it is the screen play and the treatment that counts. Isn’t it? After all, don’t we believe Maniratnam is different from Ramanand Sagar.
One issue with Maniratnam is his past performance. He has set the bar so high for himself that one starts expecting so much in three hours, comparable to fans expecting Sachin to hit a century everytime he walks in to bat. One must commend the manner in which the film opened. No filmy introduction of hero, heroine or villain. Mani came straight to the point. Locales were great. Kudos to whoever chose them and full marks to Santosh Sivan for handling the camera. Scintillating scenes all through the movie, as his camera traverses through the mountains and jungles, most of the time in rain.
For some reason, may be because we know the story line – the film was not gripping. Especially the first half, where we always seem to know what is going to happen next. Who doesn’t know that Aishwarya is going to survive when she jumps off the cliff? In my opinion, that is biggest setback for the film. The thing that was sadly missed is a riveting screenplay like that of Roja’s (again, a known story treated with brilliant screenplay).
Vikram’s characterisation was just okay. Did Mani want to differentiate his hero by making him utter rubbish like ‘dan dan dannn…’ and ‘Bak bak bak..’? That was simply annoying. Aishwarya looked good and a lot better than any of her other Tamil movies of the past. In my opinion, she acted too. What to say of Prithiviraj? Apart from looking like Aishwarya’s younger brother, he was totally clueless about his role in the movie. Shouldn’t one show some emotion when his wife is kidnapped? A total misfit. Perhaps Surya, or may be even Arya or Vishal would have done a better job.
How about the Oscar winner? Good, if not great. Perhaps, Maniratnam is missing the services of writer Sujatha. He could have turned to pros like Balakumaran or Jeyamohan, rather than letting his better half handle that responsibility. That was another big let down. Comparitively, the second half was a lot better than the first and the manner in which the film ended was also nice.
Overall, the movie was worth watching once for its visuals. If you watch it as one another Tamil movie, it is a lot better than so many masala stuff that come out every other month. But if you go expecting one another stellar performance from Maniratnam, you’ll be disappointed. Watchable once, certainly not ‘unforgivably boring’. Forgivable, for it is Mani who taught us to expect class in Tamil movies.