Thursday, September 25, 2008

Movie Review: Saroja

For starters this is a total copy of the 1993 movie 'Judgement Night'. I am not sure if any of the reviewers have mentioned this until now. I hadn't read any review on this movie because of the "high expectations" surrounding it. I was hoping that this movie might get at least 1 show in Seattle (it never did). Judgement Night has been shown on TV so many times, that most folks will readily identify its clone. In the hollywood version - a group of 4 people (a married man whose wife just had a baby, his little brother, and 2 other people) travel to a Chicago boxing match, in a luxury van. A traffic jam makes them lose their way, they take a wrong left or something and end up hitting a person with their van. Soon they find out that the person is a mob-rebel on the run and they witness the mob-leader kill that guy point blank. Then the mob chase them all night and they run and run into freight trains, scary apartments etc.

Saroja is exactly that with more masala thrown in. Its got those neat camera angles, the hep title scene and all the makings of a trendy thriller. It is entertaining for most of the time. When it sags it is because the plot stops throwing surprises after a point, loses creativity (the pipe traps set by the 5 people towards the end was actually pathetic) and starts doing a infinite loop on cat-and-mouse chase scenes. The key element missing in this movie is a scary villain. Maybe Premji Amaran has this capacity of reducing everybody else around him to his level of clown'ishness. Maybe not but Venkat Prabhu seems really scared to show us a scary villain. He could have easily raised the thrill level up a notch by killing one of the four people. Just to make things seem more real. Or, at least have the bad guy do something other than just dance with some arbit hot-chick. Venkat Prabhu treads very carefully. The moment he realizes that the movie has been serious for the 2 continuous minutes, he uses Premji Amaran to crack a joke. The jokes come out at odd times and in some cases are too contrived. They are funny (especially when he says "I was cornered" mimicking Sivaji-Rajni) but no one would do the stuff that he does, in the situations he does them in. Don't get me wrong here, the movie is good. But it is never great. It gets by. Sometimes, it uses all these nice old-tamil movie references (The Karakattakaran music) to get by. They are thrown in at the right time to make things very funny.

If you switch on the TV and find that Judgemen Night is on, you are compelled you watch it till the end. It had its stupid moments but it was a good "I have nothing else to watch on TV" movie. Saroja easily is in that category. It might have been better if it didn't treat itself in such a silly fashion. On the positive side, it keeps you entertained all along, the twist towards the end is pass-mark and Premji is really funny. Venkat Prabhu started with a completely original Chennai 28. He has chosen to borrow in this movie. Not a bad move by any means. In this movie he shows that he knows to work the tools that are required to provide a hit movie.


Balaji said...

exactly! I didn't know about 'judgement night' until some commentors pointed it out and I still thot the film was a bit overrated. there was no suspense in the 2nd half for the reasons u pointed out - ill-timed jokes, non-scary villain, nothing happens to these guys, etc. :)

Hawkeye said...


Carefully avoided the temptation of visiting your page. Because I haven't seen any movie you've reviewed. Will be spending whole lot of time in your page today :-)

Anonymous said...

They are selling Saroja tickets along with Dasavatharam for $10 here in Kansas. You get to watch 2 movies for the price of 1. Off late they have been screening Tamil movies in Touring talkies style theatres and I have been avoiding it for that reason. I will have to wait for the DVD, Thanks for the review!

Extra-Ordinarily Ordinary said...


Premji's jokes became very predictable and mokkai after a point of time. Indha kaalathile PRO velai panniye padam hit aakaraanga.. I honestly did not see 1 reason for the movie to be a hit.

Which site did u watch the movie on? I downloaded a torrent version but the video quality was despicable.

MLC said...

..."it keeps you entertained all along,"..
oru padam nu yeduthundaa, tech aspects, actng, songs, sets nu thousand things irundhaalum, it all boils down to just that!!

Prasanna Gopalakrishnan said...

Nice review hawkeye!

I find it a bit amusing that a lot of promising directors go out and take the eas(ier)y route of remaking a hollywood (or lately, telugu) movie, after one or two of their movies become big hits.

In this movie's favour though, Venkat Prabhu has at least made an entertaining remake !!

jingili said...

Enaku overall oru serial patha effect..too boring 4 me

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