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Archive for March, 2008

Anjaathe – A tempestuous tale of two!

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Once again another police story. In the recent past we have seen quite a few heroes in Khaki. Now in the paths of Saamy,Kaakha Kaakha and Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu we have Anjaathe. But one second, Sathyavaan the protagonist of this film is not vibrant as AnbuChelvan or brilliant as Aarusaamy or successful like Raghavan but he is a mundane chap with all the follies of youth. Mysskin deserves two thumbs up for successfully cutting out an amiable action movie springing up from emotions. Naren, Prasanna and the debutant actor Ajmal Ameer who are the kingpins of the movie do justice to the Director who has picked them for spot on roles. In the recent past we haven’t seen any eminent Tamil films but Anjaathe breaks this fast. Though a few pitfalls lie in the marching track of Anjaathe, it makes out to walk tall. So get ready to watch this action artwork painted in tears.

When the plot shoots out, we see two chummy friends Sathyavaan{Naren} and Kirubakaran{Ajmal Ameer} of totally different traits living in a Police colony in Chennai. Kiruba is working out hard for the SI selection exam, which would help him to attain his ambition of becoming a policeman like his father while Sathya is jolly and good for nothing guy who throws around time by drinking and dreaming of nothing with his group of friends. Both of their families have a daughter each apart from Sathya and Kirubakaran. Utthara {Vijayalakshmi} is the sister of Kiruba, who supports her brother and frowns at his friend Sathya for his Draconian activities. Among the two friends Sathya loves Kiruba better than the latter’s affection towards him. Sathya too encourages Kiruba to his goal. One misty day in Sathya’s favourite bar,
Logu{Pandiyarajan} messes up with him as a result of which Sathya beats the living daylights out of Logu in his garage. While coming out accomplishing his mission Sathya is greeted by Dhaya{Prasanna} whom he ignores. After a hurly-burly Sathya decides to take up the SI selection test. He goes by every mean way to clear the test with the help of his uncle who is the Personal Assistant of a Minister. And at the end of the day Sathya the ragamuffin passes off for an SI. Sathya is shocked to learn that his friend who has struggled his life out to become an SI is rejected in the test. After listening to the jealousy woes of Kiruba, Sathya leaves off for a 12 month training period. Things aren’t that good when Sathya comes back. Kiruba isn’t the same old Kiruba anymore. After this Mysskin plays a hot-blooded game of Hocus pocus with these characters and to know what happened then we have to stay calm till the very denoument.

Though the movie runs for three and a half hours, its racy like a 20-20 match. The story is well conceived and the characters are properly etched out. The first half of the movie is the emotional tension that exists between two friends while in the second half a number of other characters join them to produce an amazing action aroma and at the end the story once again throws light on the events between the two. Prasanna with his notorious smile and venomous looks steals the limelight. Everything regarding his character is perfect but for his funny wig. Similarly Pandiyarajan plays a man of the clandestine world to the maximum. Although Pandiyarajan and Prasanna play a negative role for the first time in their career, they do it very naturally and neatly. Naren has gone a step further in his acting career by perfectly riding the short-tempered but sensitive role offered to him. Eventhough he appears to be over acting in certain areas, it contributes to the attitude of his character. Ajmal in the first half appears as a Dragon in its infancy and flushes out with full maturity breathing fire into the audience’s heart in the second half. So Ajmal- a very good Discovery by Mysskin. Vijayalakshmi who portrays a middle class girl has come out really well too. Apart from the leads, the actor who plays Sappai, ‘Bomb’ Ramesh who appears as Kuruvi, Jayaprakash who wears the faceless motley of ‘Mottai‘ and the team of Policemen with Ponvannan as the chief make a pleasant show. Among the scenes, Kuruvi’s last words, Sappai’s last minutes and Dhaya’s last second bears the Director’s stamp{Too many deaths isn’t it?!} There are also some moving situations which score: when Kiruba realises the enormity of what he is doing, when Sathya silently bears the shower of vituperations from Kiruba’s mother, when the old lady sprinkles flowers on the ‘deadspot’
and the climax. If analysed deeply we could see the story packed with two or more plots which make it strong enough to leave a strong impression.

The length of the movie is too heavy for an ordinary movie goer and the editor should have taken that into consideration. The Director’s work is complete but the Editor’s work isn’t. Certain scenes perplex us with independant time frames and inturn reacts on the plot movement. So somewhere a mistake lies in the continuity of the scene sequences. Among the characters Kirubakaran could be put to task by questioning one of his actions which fails to stick to the game rules of his character. Sathya lives in a Police colony, his father is a constable and he has seen quite a few Khakis around in close proximity then why is he shown as a fish out of water in his training? The climax scene at the Sugarcane field is the only part which makes us feel that the movie is tiring. Other than these Mysskin pulls every string to the fullest extent.

Among the technicians, we could say Sundar C.Babu leads from the front. In the songs{Kannadasan Karaikkudi and kathazha kannala songs will undoubtedly haunt the media for a while} he hits the bull’s eye and the background score turns out to be one of the prominent characters in the movie. Mahesh Muthuswaamy‘s cinematography brings out the artistic face of Chennai city. As mentioned earlier we find some faults in the editing table. Other than these Anjaathey is a daring effort by Mysskin, supported by Nemichand Jabak. So Anjaathey says,’ Life is a flawless juggler playing with men!’

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Atonement- Profound melancholy!

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Ian McEwan’s novel ‘Atonement’ moves from sheets to screens as directed by Joe Wright and the screenplay is stitched by Christopher Hampton, while Tim Bevan , Eric Fellner and Paul Webster offer fiscal support.The movie is a powerful juxtaposition of four different events that take place in different locations and independant time frames amalgamated by the narrative tactics. This is nothing but a mundane story, raised to the level of an literary masterpiece by perspectives, misapprehensions and human follies. In other words, this film is all about a single domineering point of view, which muffles the voice of truth and mourns its mistake. All the credit go to Ian McEwan, since it seems impossible to construe a story of this kind and to present it in a pleasant manner. But the director and screenplay writer are fit for a big round of applause since they have selected the ad rem story and picturised it to technical perfection like a couple of photographers converting an artistic painting into a photograph. ‘Attention’ is the key word that should be kept in mind while watching Atonement.

The plot is like a glass cube placed inside another glass cube slightly bigger than it. That is, we have an innovative narrative technique employed in this movie. When the plot untethers itself, we are shown the aristocratic family of the little girl Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan), who ambitiously wants to become a writer, living in their estate. In this family we have Briony’s elder sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) who studies at Cambridge University along with Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), the son of their houskeeper (Brenda Blethyn). Though Robbie is about to leave for Medical school shortly, he spends the summer in Tallis estate. Also we have Briony’s cousins Lola Quincey (Juno Temple) and her younger twin brothers (Felix and Charlie von Simson) living in the estate as dictated by their parents’ divorce. Very soon Briony’s brother Leon (Patrick Kennedy) comes home with his friend Paul Marshall (Benedict Cumberbatch) who owns a chocolate factory. Briony misunderstands the love between her sister and Robbie and considers Robbie to be a ‘sex maniac'{particularly as a result of the erotic letter which Robbie writes to Cecilia} which she shares with Lola Quincey. Very soon she watches the coition of her sister and Robbie and misconceives it to be Robbie’s act of wallop against Cecilia. After a hurly-burly, one lusty day Lola Quincey, the 15 year old girl gets raped by someone. Briony gives Robbie the mask of the culprit and sends him to prison with the dissent of Cecilia. After this the story begins to rock to and fro and starts peregrinating to various places. Till this, the story appears to be a soft and mild one, but very soon it turns out to be a locale of drastic and bizarre events, watch out.

It is very difficult to decide the genre of the movie. It begins like a Jane Austen novel, progresses like a war film, poses out to be a nurse’s biography, but all the above, it has the ‘Atonement’ness, which is the idiosyncracy and binding factor of this movie. The cast selection has been extremely well done and in particular the selection of the actors{Saoirse Ronan, Romola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave}who play the role of Briony at various times of her life are fabulous. Adding to that all of them have understood their roles properly and performed their souls out. Especially Saoirse Ronan who plays the childhood Briony has done a sterling job. James Mcavoy fulfills all the pigeons of his character and lights up the show. The potential of Cecilia’s character unleashes in Keira Knightley in the transition from an adolescent girl to a grown girl of full maturity. The characterisation is unique and every single character including the twins, the chocolate factory owner, the co-soldier, the dying French man and the nurses are shaped out well unrepeatably. The process by which the story shows the childhood light on adolescent enigma is unparalleled. Also the Director has used  sound motifs in the backdrop, such as the sound caused by Robbie,tapping the problematic letter on the door, the sound heard by Robbie in the middle of the forest and flickering sound of the lights when Cecilia is in the tunnel. An interesting thing in these sounds are that they coincide with the typewriter sound which plays a prominent role in the movie, three cheers for the Director. On the whole this is a simple but stunning piece of artwork.

Though here we find no technical flaws, the plot raises a few ambiguities in the minds of the audience, which seems to be never answered in the movie. We ask, ‘How can a man who struggles his way out to write a letter of his life could replace it accidentally?’ Secondly we don’t know why the young Briony puts Robbie to task. Is it because of her opinion on him? or is she jealous of her sister loving a man on whom she is having a crush? or does the second cause serve the first one? We are unsure. Does the writer want his audience to enjoy the warmth of the ambiguity created? May be, once again we are ignorant. Apart from ambiguities, the plot is see-through.

Dario Marianelli’s music commingled with the typewriter clicks goes thoroughly in tune with the movie.The Editor Paul Tothill has outstandingly set side by side the scenes while Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography adds gloomy effects, Romantic effects, tragic effects and something more to present this movie as a balanced diet. We could still see the traces of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ the previous movie of Joe Wright in this film. In a way it puts the Director’s stamp but ultimately multifariousness counts. So Relax, choose a warm evening, and watch Atonement which argues, “A conversation, single conversation tells you what is fact and what is fiction”    

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