Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya: Poetry

Gautham Menon can summon a particular variety of forcefulness in his narration. He almost seems to have the ability to call upon it at will. It is hard to determine the method or formula he uses that allows him to repeatedly and successfully connect the audience with the character's thought process. Is it the detail in the story? Is it the characterization? Is it voice-over that allows you a peep into the character's mind? The way he hints at a thought and then goes on to reinforce it and solidify it continually impressed me. Gautham seems to be a person who has seen quite a bit of life. And his experiences come out either as interesting stories, incisive dialogs (and the dialogs are fantastic in the movie) and quite simply wonderful moments. Which is why I think his movies are so powerful. And this movie was packed with so much power that I was swept off my feet and pulled into the vortex of his characters. It has been a long time since I loved a movie so much. The movie hits you the way love hits Silambarasan in this story.

Silambarasan has done a fantastic job. This is my second Silambarasan movie and I did not know the man could act so well. He plays a character that shows nervousness, hesitation, and instinctiveness in many wonderful ways. He mouths dialogs that are beautifully written and delivers them in a very convincing way. Agreed that Gautham had a big role to play here by etching out a splendid character. That apart, this is a rare good acting performance in Thamizh cinema. Many great actors would have been proud to have played 'Karthik' as well as Simbu has done it. In the first 30-45 minutes of the movie, you are into his head. You feel what he feels. Like a Vulcan mind blend. Gautham's awesomeness is not just the ability to keep it real but to fuse it with acceptable cinematic moments without seeming artificial. He has this knack of using words that trigger a specific emotion or a thought process that makes our mind feel like its racing through a range of emotions. The interval scene which ends with Trisha silhouette leaves us on an incredible high. Part of it is because of the words Silambarasan uses to seed the emotion in our mind - "what a woman saar ival".

The movie has all the elements of style that sets it a class apart from the run of the mill stuff. The songs, the picturization, choice of locations, Trisha's looks and expressions, her saree selection, her understated expressions, Simbu's shirt choices (I loved the array of checked shirts on display). And the movie is less crowded. Barring a few church scenes most frames had barely 2 to 3 people in them. Every scene is understated, underplayed and emotions are kept on a rigorous check. The movie says less but it makes you feel so much. There is a moment where Trisha asks Simbu in the second half: "It is such a happy moment to run into each other, no?". And for a moment you think Silambarasan is going to reply. His lips seems to be ready to move. But he looks down and then looks up. Does not say a word. But communicates so much. In the first half, all his nervous twitching and pacing down the gate of his house speaks volumes without saying a word.

This movie was poetry. A rare kind of poetry. Typically never found in movies. When 'Kathalukku Mariyadhai' was released, I hated it. I was unable to say why that movie sucked and what could have made it better. A contrast that I found in this movie that made a difference was the shades of gray in Trisha's commitment to the relationship. Both men and women enter a relationships with a significant amount of doubt and double-mindedness. Trisha plays a character who never settles into a steady state. The vicissitudes of her thought process and the fickleness of her resolve cause a degree of uncertainity that adds a very interesting dimension to the movie and probably makes it more in touch with reality. It not only keeps us on our toes but also gives Simbu a chance to react to situations where the 'near' in near-certain asumptions assumes magnified importance and allows for a quick disintergration of the said assumption.

Gautham seems to have found a way to make boy-meets-girl love stories less cliched. A genre that has become jaded because of movies like 'Kaadhalukku Mariyadhai'. He says a similar (certainly not the same) story in a the most mature way imaginable. Movies are meant to be shown this way and stories are meant to be told with this kind of passion and force. I loved the second half as much I loved the first half. The way the story ended made me appreciate the movie even more. It would not have worked with any other ending. I agree with Jessie. I love the pain. Yes! Loved this pain so much.

38 comments:

MaySan said...

Totally agree on this, from both of us, hats off to you for the wonderful review :-)

M and S

Gradwolf said...

Completely agree! Said it better than I did. Gautham Menon has this bad habit of giving us movies that are kind of difficult to explain why we liked it. You put it really well.

Sreekrishnan said...

Oh i saw this like thursday evening and am happy to see lot of people appreciate this movie ! ... Very well written ! [Even Gradwolf's was well written for that matter].
i believe there was no real cinematic liberties used in the movie right from Photography to dialogues to emotions - the reason why they feel good and we could relate them.

sundar said...

Was it actually believable? the emotion between the two characters? It struck me as hollow and even though the ending was poetic, I thought the entire foundation over which he built it was very flimsy and weak. So many of the dialogues were very cheesy that I couldn't connect with them. At the end of it all I thought, is this the guy who made Kaaka Kaaka? KK had so much depth.

Hari said...

Agree with you 100%. Simply AMAZING movie. The beauty in Simbu's character (& Surya's in Vaaranam Ayiram) is that both these chars. react just the way any average guy would, when in love. The best part about GM's movies is his dialogs. They are so damn real. Even after more than a year, I can still vividly remember the scene when Sameera says "Surya....You look like a million dollars". What an amazing choice of words for a girl to describe a guy (directly to him) and Surya's reaction for those words. May be I'm over-reacting but, just hearing those words from a chic like Sameera in a bay area golden gate setting, made me want to be in his place, just for a second :-)

Quakeboy said...

This review makes me want to watch the movie NOW! nice way to review a movie..

Raghu said...

Hmmm...interesting perspective but I thought GVM totally let the ball slip in the 2nd half screenplay/narration. The movie drops pace and the high-emotions that were built in the 1st half.

Otherwise totally agree with everything else barring Trisha's performance. Even a log can act/emote better. I wish he had casted someone like Padmapriya who could have brought a lot more sincerity/intensity to Jessie's character !!

Simbhu could have used this movie as a launch-pad to elevate his craft-level (and join the club of Suriya) and brought out a much better performance, which had so much scope to knock it out of the park !! I did like the subtle nuances he expressed via his body language but towards the end it became more repetitive, which didn't offer variations in a role/character that offers much more.

There was classic GVM's touch of genius in presenting a man vs. woman relationship on the screen. He's always nailed it. The scene towards the end in Central Park is a stellar example !!

Overall a good watch and with a great climax !! I liked the pain too !!

My 2c !! Wish you had come on Sat to watch it !! Unlike VA, the stupid f*&^%# 'thona thona' chicks in the theater had their mouths shut !!

Venky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Venky said...

the review is so damn well written.
This was a poetry.
The shade of grey is very important as all humans have that.

Loved the movie and the mature narration.

What i loved most was simbu not asking trisha "nee sandhoshama irukkiya?"

blackaccord said...

Loved the movie every bit... I'm not a big fan of Gautham (he keeps trying to imitate MR all the time) but this movie is by far his best.. There were flaws in the movie but the technical brilliance overcome the flaws... I'm not sure why GM has shot most of his movies as narrated by his hero (like KK or Vaaram 1000).. Romantic dialogs like 'did you really say that?' or 'May be others didnt see me thru' ur eyes? ' were really cute.. I think the importance that GM gave to the lead characters and not deviate from the story (unlike Kaadhulukku mariyadhai which I have to agree with u sucked big time) is a big difference between this and other movies with similar story.. Also, Music and Cinematography plays a huge part in moving this movie.. The hauting Aaroamale Guitar bgm and Vinnai thaandi varuvaaya piece throughout the movie was great.. and ofcourse the ending was great.. Any other ending would have made the movie ordinary..

Abhishek said...

No comment on the music sahib?and yea i felt the second half could have been lil crisper.felt it was a lil too indulgent towards the end.but the climax was good.matured strytelling.

The Print Lover said...

I know its cool to bash Simbu. But I always thot he had the talent to do well if given a good director.

Coming to Gautham Menon - not a big fan. His scenes stand out but there is no flow in the movie. A certain sort of disconnect. And his monosyllable dialogs - argh. But going by the mostly positive reviews, I plan to watch VTV.

Vee Cee said...

indha maadhiri review yezhudhanum-ngarathukkaagavey padam paakka yevvalo paerya kalambitteenga!!!!

blackaccord said...

There's a world of difference watching a movie like VTV on big screen and watching it on your 15.4 inch laptop monitor or s-video-ing into your TV after a thiruttu torrent download.. I feel that I wouldn't have liked the movie this much if I had watched it on a torrent download..

Filarial said...

"This movie was poetry. A rare kind of poetry. Typically never found in movies"- kinda tells the reader what kind of inane movies you watch :D.. adhulle "typically" vere

Anonymous said...

People like movies by Gautham Menon's movies because:

a) their body is dominated by oestrogen

b) they have had a fight with their wives/girlfriends and had to make it up to them, so watched this flick with her and also give rave reviews about it

c)they belong to that set of people who text sentences such as "priyaa, i luv u - prakash' to Sun Music at 2pm from their office

Anonymous said...

Simbhu sees Trisha for the first time and the movie breaks into a song(foreign locales, high budget). How different is that!

anush said...

Watched the movie today. The movie was pretty decent compared to the regular ones you get, but I have to say "Kadhal" did a better job of immersing me right in the situation than this one. This movie was just a hair short of that, possibly because of the predictable song sequences. Also, Shalini's performance in Kadalukku Mariyadhai was definitely superior. I also thought two voice overs were a bit much. I still think Kakka Kakka is his best. I didn't want to repeat the good aspects, as you covered most of it. disclaimer: I had just watched 'cinema paradiso' again on DVD a few days ago and was swept away by the music and direction in that movie, so I may have had higher expectations.

jai vinayak said...

Help! Urgent Save my life!!!!


Real Estate gangsters are after me to kill me! I am surrounded by 100 gangsters in various guises at all times!!!! I can be killed any moment and

Bangalore police working for the criminals are themselves chasing me the whole country for the past 3 months! And they're after me to kill me!!

Please help save my life. Pls read http://truthbottle.blogspot.com for all detailed information of this country wide chase by bangalore police and real

estate gangster network!!

This is not a joke! Read my above blog for this ghastly expose!!


Even if you cannot help you can still help in spreading the news to as many as possible which can possibly help me in a big way



jai vinayak
IIMB Batch of 2000

Anonymous said...

dude, where is this playing in Seattle ? Great review !

Anonymous said...

I disagree hawkeye! I felt the whole plot was very weak. Portrayed dismally. Bad acting by Simbhu. Trisha was decent. Too much style and class cannot always make up for the substance.

Dr.Dheep said...

Dear barath, is there some other way to connect to you apart from this blog? i know you hate twitter. some other option?

MLC said...

simbu def did a bettr job than trisha.. wud've bn bettr if they chose someothr actress .. she looked too plain & did'nt hv tht 'head-ovr-heels' effect.

Anonymous said...

you seem so 'sound' in some (most) of your posts, not least the masterful 'windy summers in madras' one, but when it comes to your cinema-related thoughts, i've just about given up hope of ever seeing anything approaching objectivity.

please ask yourself if the fact of living so far away from madras is making you *want* to see all this rosy matter that you list out in this post.

i sat through the bloody thing, and the only good part about the experience was leaving the theatre.

irritating dialogues (the tamil-english thing is so unconvincing not to mention unnatural), contrived character interactions, wafer-thin excuse for a plot line... i could go on and on, but won't.

as i've mentioned elsewhere, please watch aval appadithan, mullum malarum, and uthiri pookal - these will change the way you view movies.

TVK said...

"what a woman saar ival" sounds as corny as "What a Man" by abbas.

Chakri said...

WATCH Telugu version of the same movie. Samantha acted far better than Trisha

Gradwolf said...

@anon:

Please to see Comment no. 47 and 48:

http://www.desipundit.com/baradwajrangan/2010/02/27/review-karthik-calling-karthik/#comments

Maddy said...

Very good film.
In my city, there was an English subtitle to the movie which was very distracting. but,it went very useful with those malayalam dialogues.
Great Image make over for Simbhu. I wish my other favorite S.J.Suryah also end up in a soft romance like this..
BGM by ARR is horrible and atrocious.

blackaccord said...

KB on VTV....
http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/54944.html

bombay dosti said...

Just watched it! and seriously, Jessie's character, is so so lovely, for all its indecisiveness :) I have not enjoyed GB's movies much, frankly. Loved this one, though :)

Anonymous said...

total reject movie!

InWantOfBeingMe said...

Dude this movie has to be very very good ! This is the first time, I'v seen you written not mentioning even one thing that you didn't like or felt could have been better, or that you judged, or was sarcastic !

I can see what a wonderful movie this must have been, going to watch it in a couple of hours and am exited :)

Arunk said...

Interesting. Just looking at the initial story line - lets see.
1. A Hindu guy falling in love with a Christian girl with a strict father/family
2. They get to meet in life because the girl comes to live with her family in the upstairs section of his house.
3. She resists his romancing because she is scared but eventually falls in love.
4. When her parents come to know of this, they try to marry her off and she refuses which makes her parents go ballistic.

Hasn't this been used like a million times? But I see it does move in a different direction after that, but that isn't that new either.

I am assuming that then the direction (and details) must be really very good if it leaves that big an impression with what I consider a very worn out theme.

Arun

Divya said...

Poetry indeed. Check out my tribute :)

Anonymous said...

Hawkeye,


You should watch 500 days of Summer. A very similar movie, but the ending is better than VTV.

Neon said...

"And this movie was packed with so much power that I was swept off my feet and pulled into the vortex of his characters."

I felt the same way, just couldn't put it in words, awesome review!

SathyaRam said...

Sorry Hawkeye I have read so much of your posts and felt with everything but this seems to be off the mark. The movie is crap and has nothing in it. In fact GM thinks too much of himself without much delivery... Same kind of dialogues, audacity is seen everywhere. there is no great depiction of either familes and that is important in a love story that too with a communal background. there is a foreign song when our hero sees the girl before even knowing the name and you appreciate this movie. this movie almost had no screenplay.

Still I enjoyed and made fun of the dialogue between both parents 'Hey un payyan en ponna Try pandran'.... Oh I dont know in which locality of Chennai they talk like 'Try pandran' between parents......May be GM is taking a movie for the future.

GM knows this but still audacious. in fact i think he has avoided comedy tracks after minnale for the simple reason that someone must have told him that Minnale ran because of Vivek

Jan said...

Ha ! Funny review that. You are so biased towards Gautham menon and all of those haris jayaraj numbers(from your previous posts).

I cannot believe you talk about this movie as though nobody has ever taken a movie like this.Poetry ? Really ?