Movie Review: I

I know I was supposed to post the second part of my Sikkim travelogue but instead I have chosen to talk about this Tamil movie that I went to watch this weekend.

I have admitted many times that I have certain weakness over south Indian movies except Rajanikant. I love the way they adopt this very larger than life way of portraying life on screen. One hero is beating up thousand goons at once. Or hero and heroine are being reincarnated to finish off what they left behind in past life. And they always top it with some really amazing music. Not to mention the degree of hotness these heroes radiate. One might say, ‘Kuheli, aren’t you the same person whose most favourite movies are The Shawshank Redemption and The Dark Knight? How could you possibly enjoy such stupid movies?’ Firstly, I would say I have an amazing dual personality. I can watch Magadheera on Set Max and Harry potter on HBO simultaneously, without much effort. It’s really a talent how one can set their own moral standard to evade any conflict in any situation. Secondly, I absolutely love being irrational sometimes. I don’t care how irrational it is if Ramcharan Teja jumps off the ground and lands himself into the flying helicopter. I don’t care as long as I am enjoying it. Both Physics and logic can go take a break. Physics was never my favourite subject anyway. Thirdly, I don’t care what people think. I always prefer to do as I wish. Period.

I usually believe in my instinct whether I should watch a new movie or not. The moment I had seen PK’s trailer, I knew I would never watch it. Both my love and my hatred follow quite a weird and unique pattern of their own, which even I myself cannot explain. The first thing that caught my attention about I, was the song ‘tum todo na’. This song supposedly pays tribute to the beauty and the beast saga. Honestly, to me, it seems more like a tribute to monster fetish.

Anyway.

Let me come to the story first. No, it’s not exactly a modern day tale of Beauty and the Beast. It’s more like And That’s How The Beast Took His Revenge saga. I is the story of an ordinary lower middle class Tamil boy whose dream is to become Mr. India, no not the invisible one. Mogambo has no part in this story. Lingesan aka Vikram wants to be the best bodybuilder of the country and he is absolutely obsessed with this city model, Diya aka Amy Jackson. Amy who? The British chick from Ekk Diwana Tha. What is that, a movie? Don’t get me started. I have a story to tell. She is pretty and fair and looks like bomb in a bikini. You would never find a girl like that in real life in entire Tamil Nadu. You should just feel grateful and shut your big mouth. Lingesan’s obsession has reached such height that he buys jumbo pack of sanitary napkin along with other female products just because Diya endorses them. He also says he would use the pack as a pillow and his mom says she would use a padded bra as idli maker. Interesting family, eh? The story progresses and Lingesan becomes Mr. Tamilnadu. Then he finally gets to meet Diya in person. Oh and somewhere in between, he fights with a room full of bodybuilders in nothing but black underwear. Not to forget the boob jiggle. Who said south Indian cinema only objectifies women? Diya is a sweet innocent lady who dances around in bikini and when her co-worker John (Upen Patel) asks her to sleep with him, she gives the quintessentially most hypocritical Indian dialogue ever, ‘Main waisi ladki nahi hoon.’ Feminism? What is that? Pizza or hair oil? Now John gets mad and he blacklists her. Yes, he can do that. No, there is no other model in the city except those two. No, they don’t walk on ramps; they only sell soaps and cold drinks. Will you please shut up? A dukhee and desperate Diya turns to Lingesan to work with her as her co-model for this new perfume ad shoot, which will be shot in an exotic location of China by the way. Lingesan cannot say no to the sweet sexy crush of his life (who could?) and goes to China with her. Now this is the first time I ever saw a south Indian hero not stalking a girl he was obsessed with until the point she finally gave in. he is rather meek and shy here. He cannot even touch Diya properly and he is also a terrible actor. So Diya has to pretend she is in love with Lingesan who is from now on also known as Lee. You can’t blame Diya here. What are girls for anyway if they can’t lure a few men? We also get to enjoy a beautiful song here. Man, Vikram is HOT. Eventually Diya breaks his heart when she finally tells him the truth. But then finally she falls for him and they share an awkward, stiff kiss. In between, we get to enjoy a bicycle-on-the-roof style action sequence. Now, here is a love triangle. The gay stylist of the crew is also in love with Lee. Lee obviously snubs him, but not before a few disturbingly homophobic scenes. Lee becomes a top model very soon and gets engaged to Diya. Lee’s tapori dialect is gone and now he drives Audi. He has also lost his rugged bodybuilder look along with his moustache and now looks painfully metrosexual.

When you become rich and famous overnight and also get the hottest girl in the town, you earn a few enemies as free bonus. Lee is no exception to that. Now Lee has four known enemies and a bonus surprise fifth one. The evil five conspire and conclude that Lee’s fortune is due to his good looks so killing his look will be giving him ultimate punishment. Lee turns into a hideous looking hunchback soon, how I’m not going to spoil here. From now on, the revenge saga begins and finally it ends with a happy ending.

The best thing about I is, Vikram in both his handsome and disfigured forms. He is clearly a very talented actor. His portrayals of meek but a thorough gentleman Lingesan as well as hunchback Lee are worth applauding. The despair and anguish due to his sudden catastrophe come alive on screen through his earnest acting. I is all about Vikram. Amy Jackson has nothing much to do except smiling and dancing and crying. The evil businessman here has an uncanny resemblance to Vijay Malya. John or no John, Upen Patel always looks like a pigheaded ass and this time is no exception either.
The movie has a whooping budget of 180 crores, which, I guess, has mostly been spent on makeup and visual effects. No word can be said when the cell phone in Lee’s hand turns into the lady of his imagination, with the call receive and reject buttons placed very conveniently on her each boobs. Ahem. Director Shankar has taken us to the exotic location of China this time. The song ‘tu chale’ which has been shot in the picturesque location of Lexigau, China, is a visual treat.

The movie has myriad disturbing moments. The one where Lee faints after seeing Diya in a bikini, his friend tells Diya, ‘Aapka headlight dekh ke iska fuse ud gaya hai.’ I admit that I laughed hard. The movie has an extremely homophobic undertone. The way it humiliates and mocks a person’s sexual orientation, is very unsettling. The movie also has a very troubling take on physical deformity. It gives a clear message that death is worse than living an ugly deformed life. Yes, the director clearly thinks that ugliness is correlated to physical deformity only.
A R Rehman’s music is good. The Telugu versions of Tu Chale and Tum todo na are already on my playlist.
The movie is extremely lengthy (3 hrs 8 mins), and the inox guys made it worse by playing those boring life insurance and no smoking ads for an extra half an hour.

Verdict: I am not one of those resentful critics who finds fault in every movie they review. I am a very happy go lucky audience who is a big fan of masala movie. Leave your logics at home and you will get to enjoy the three hour ride of sci-fi revenge fantasy action romance drama for sure.

P.S. A friend of mine has concluded that I’m weird because I’m a Bengali who went to watch a Tamil movie dubbed in Hindi and now I’m listening to its songs in Telugu.

Enough said?

This one is on my playlist on repeat mode these days.


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