I – Movie Review

‘I’ comes amidst the hype that usually is a tag for Shankar’s movies. A product of 2-3 years of making and with stalwarts like A R Rahman, P C Sreeram on board and also the combination of Shankar – Vikram which had delivered the blockbuster ‘Anniyan’, this hype was no surprise and to a little extent – justified.

Shankar, the film maker, has emerged as one of the top commercial director in Tamil cinema with a line of blockbusters to his credit. His movies have also been trying to be more opulent than the previous one. ‘I’ is no different. Erected on a grand scale (without any knowledge or credible evidence let me not talk about its budget) the movie is rich and lavish. But, the part of Shankar, that has always infused a low level humour bordering on the nonsensical, has not changed. ‘I’ is no different. More painful is to watch this humour being constructed on a person of the third gender. The treatment of the person in question is itself very insensitive. All tall claims of making a movie at par with Hollywood cinema, making scenarios showcasing his technical brilliance – everything takes a small hit with such insensitive and vulgar film making. Let it be clear – no one will have a problem with making the person of the third gender a main character in the story. But the treatment of the character should not be insensitive and stereotypical – this movie fails miserably in this area and that is a big negative.

"I" - Movie Poster

“I” – Movie Poster

The other problems, albeit smaller ones are the length, the predictable turn of events and the gimmicks. The movie could have really enjoyed some trimming in the editing room. The first half more or less just skirts around the main theme and involves more in introductions, glamour and song sequences. The build-up to the ‘revealing moment’ also falls flat, because the audience already are pretty sure about it – at least I was. The other indulgence of Shankar, gimmicks – Bus made of glass in ‘Kadhalan’, 7 wonders in ‘Jeans’, painted trains and automobiles in ‘Anniyan’ and likewise – has now lost its novelty. I feel the gimmicks, especially in the song ‘Mersalayten’, though nicely done just add on minutes to the length of the film.

But all these take a back seat when Vikram sneers, growls and sashays in a long black dress with a hood. He steals the show with his portrayal of a hunchback on a mission. The other role of a bodybuilder is also essayed by Vikram with ease. The range of emotions displayed by the “Madras Tamil” speaking bodybuilder is praise worthy. Though the hunchback avatar has fewer dialogues to mouth, the emotional factor is high. One scene in particular – when the hunchback character happily totters towards his lover only to be rewarded by a coin as alms and his subsequent breakdown – is well done. Amy Jackson suits the role of a model perfectly, though the lip sync is totally out-of-sync in some places. She is gorgeous and makes the perfect “Beauty” for the “Beast” that is hunchback avatar of Vikram. The department that handled the makeup and effects is the backbone for this movie. The prosthetics and makeup done on the hunchback character (by WETA, Hollywood) appear so real and make the character believable.

If Amy is gorgeous, China is “Adhukkum Mela” in the movie. I have heard about the beauty of China’s landscapes from my friend, but seeing it on screen is a revelation. The breath-taking landscapes are made more exceptional by the brilliant cinematography of P C Sreeram. Be it the small lanes of North Chennai, the palatial residences of characters or the rooftops of China – his work has added another layer of beauty to ‘I’. One really strong reason to watch this movie on the big screen is his brilliant work in the song ‘Pookkale Konjam..’.

The other characters in the movie have little to do, but the actors portraying those have done enough justice, be it Ramkumar Ganesan (after a long time on the screen), Upen Patel, Suresh Gopi and Santhanam. Especially Santhanam – after a long time he makes his presence tolerable.

Story wise, it’s not a very brilliant work. It follows Shankar’s old template of revenge served in different ways by the protagonist. The screenplay has nothing much to do but play of the episodes of revenge, splicing in between the past in intermittent flashbacks. The absence of Sujatha is evident considering the dialogues do not make much of an impact, except in a few places. The music is usual Shankar-Rahman fare, but ‘Ladio..’ and ‘Aila Aila..’ make better sense when watched with the visuals. The background score is well done and keep the thrill and pace of the movie intact.

Though the movie falls into the usual ‘Shankar Template’ it’s good. It is definitely worth a watch, on the big screen. The movie might give us a feeling of revisiting “Anniyan” – but that should not take away the hard work that has been invested in this movie. Go watch this romantic thriller without any expectations – it will be good. Or, for some “Adhukkum Mela..”.

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~ by Jayanthan Ravi on January 16, 2015.

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