Wednesday, November 02, 2011

7am Arivu

I saw the movie on Sunday and wasn't planning on writing a review until I saw this elitist fool tear apart the movie with his '8th std fail 10th pass seeman tutorial' logic.

Let us examine how the logical settings in this fellow's brain is configured. Consider this hypothetical scientist. This scientis extols the virtue of The Sun. The scientist says, " the sun sustains life on earth, the sun provides valuable vitamin D..etc etc". The way Mr. Rangan will criticise this scientist is as follows - "but you are living in Earth. If you like the Sun so much, why don't you go and live in the Sun. Why do you live on Planet earth, drive on planet earth, see the moon every night, drink water from planet earth and go and praise the sun". That is how logic works in his mind. In the minds of elistist tools like him who suck up and pander to indhi audience - the "qualification" someone needs to have to praise thamizh is that one must not (a) wear jeans (b) drive german cars (c) one shouldn't make movies shot in forign locales.

So per the logic of Baradwaj Rangan type people - if you say Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina or claim that Jupiter is larger than Planet earth - the actual fact of whether or not Buenos Aires being a capital or not / jupter being larger than earth or not - does not matter at all. He will refute both points based on something that is irrelevant to those facts - you. He will say that because you have never visited Bueno Aires or Jupiter and have lived all your life in India - you cannot state anything about it. So Rangan does not care about the actual facts that Murugadoss and Surya seem to be saying. Rangan's claim is that because Murugadoss had a song called 'Ragamuffin' and wore jeans and drove in a german car - he is instantly eliminated as a candidate for promoting thamizh history. Less educated people like baradwaj Rangan believe a lot in Mutual Exclusivity. They have rigid narrow views that in order for a person to say X - the person must be steeped in X. Any trace of Y in that person and that is enough to kill the man. Someone wanting to co-exist with X and Y (say drive a german car and want to promote thamizh history) will be trashed as incongruous. That is because people like Baradwaj Rangan cannot comprehend complexity or nuance.

The talent that Baradwaj Rangan type reviewers have is that they can trash or praise any movie regardless of the actual merits of the movie. The logical flaws that he points out in Shruthi Hasan's transport mechanisms - he could have pointed that out in Manmadha Ambu and Ravanan. Instead he over praises those movies. Even Maniratnam may not have realized that the white salwar Aishwarya was wearing in Raavanan represents her chastity, that ploiceman vikram shoots someone in dark night t show his demon'like quality. But reviewers who need return favors will use any angle to over-reach and praise bad movies.On the other hand they will unfairly trash other movies if they have no incentive in the offing.

My thoughts on the actual movie: It is not a good movie. I am not saying this to avoid the perception that I am trashing Baradwaj because I disagree with him and think that the movie is good. The movie is bad - but not for some of the reasons Baradwaj has mentioned. And his reasons are insidious and illogical. I thought the movie had its heart in the right place but Murugadoss' inherent lack of class in story telling brought it down. As I noted in the Ghajini review - Murugadoss lacks class. He is persistently loud and uncouth. The logical flaws in the movie didn't bother me. I was willing to be led by the ambitious approach. The movie claims that we have no sense of preserving historical information and so that in effect means that whatever recourse bodhi-dharman prescribed for the deadly chinese disease - we must've have lost that information. That is the basic premise of the movie. (Note B Rangan's stupid question on the same subject).

Murugadoss cannot seem to decide if he wants to make a movie for A center or C center. He has a story that is inherently A center. But he decorates it with stuff that is targetted at C center. In the end the movie falls through the cracks and is neither sophistcated, underplayed or nuanced nor is it out and out masala. What it becomes is a good story trapped within a formulaic thamizh movie structure and language. Who in the world introduced thamizh cinema to these 50,000 cuts per second rule. Movie makers today sem to think that the faster and higher the number of screen cuts - the more brisk the pace of the movie. That is not true at all. It didnt help that the songs were horrible. It didnt help that the director forgot to have a tense tight narrative and abandoned everything midway to deliver a sermon.

It is true that thamizhs are losing the essence of their culture. It is also commendable that people like Surya and Murugadoss are marketing the features of thamizh civilization to create more awareness. That part of the movie got me on its side. I also thought it was very bold of the movie to state an anti-reservation and anti-religious conversion message. Murugadoss is scratching the edges of what I think is the truth. That I thought was really profound for a commercial director. But at the same time a little more nuanced story telling might've helped. Srilankan thamizh issue is too important and too senstive an issue to be a one-liner. All the items (60% of the movie) he aded for masala effect was not entertaining. I dont think C center people would've been entertained either. But it was important that this movie was made.

40 comments:

rads said...

Okay, so tell me this: Should I be spending $10 and 4 hours (commute and prep incl) of my Thursday evening to watch Surya.
Not movie, but Surya?

anantha said...

Thala, Just FYI, that "favor" that you linked to, I was there. It was an event arranged by Penguin and the focal point of that discussion was Sadat Hussain Manto. But Landmark and Penguin chose to promote it as a Gzhand talks to B Rangan and reduced Manto a footnote in the invite. And as far as I heard (partly from the talk itself), Rangan had no hand in inviting Gzhand. So the talk of favors there is konjam far fetched.

anantha said...

I meant Sadat *Hasan" Manto. Typo!

Harini said...

Hawkeyeview sir - While I do believe that Baradwaj Rangan is a natural elitist - I don't think that is a negative thing at all. Pretending to be an elitist is a problem - Khalid Mohammed fits into that category. From what I have read of Baradwaj Rangan's reviews - I always feel he writes with a lot of integrity. He is definitely whimsical and reads a lot more than what is there sometimes, but that is his style and he himself is critical of it most of the time.

You forget that this movie starred the person's daughter whom you are accusing Mr. Rangan of favoring. And he has been most critical of her too. I don't see your point.

Gradwolf said...

What anantha said.

Also, his bullet-point reviews, as he claims are not reviews but only scattered thoughts on the film. And if I remember correctly, he was indeed critical of the second half of Manmadhan Ambu.

About 7am, I share your views mostly. I can take the shoddy research, the tamizh chest thumping but at least make it entertaining no? It was so blading with the unwanted songs.

Hawkeye said...

rads,

the 'ladies' seemed to think - it ws totally worth it.

anti/harini-ji/gradwolf,

andha 4th paragraph avalavo distractinga irukka. first 3 paras kashta pattu kai valikka valiikka ezhuthinen.

lazy said...

don't really think BR is returning the favor. Its more a feeling of respect or " oh...i know him(great man)..he knows me too and might be hurt if I give a bad review" feeling that sort of over takes film reviewers who are closer to the film makers.

I'm yet to find an exception, probably peter travers of rolling stone but i dont know all the ullkuthu or hollywood to be confident about this.

Hawkeye said...

lazy,

you probably saying it better than me. but there is a return favor involved when that line of thinking you mention is present. i used to like him a lot but over time became a little turned off by certain things

i think expecting high standard from tamil movies or not settling for nonsense is diferent from being elitist. pouncing on thamizh (or it could even be hindhi) chest thumping with this kind of logic is unfair. i think murugadoss had a point somewhere in this mess and it needs a fair treatment.

Gradwolf said...

Exactly! Too labored it is. I do think the analogy and the claims are a bit far fetched.

Elitist? Yes, possible. Jaalra/returning favors? Maybe not. It's not like BR alone said good things about Raavan. It got mostly polarized reviews.

anantha said...

"andha 4th paragraph avalavo distractinga irukka. first 3 paras kashta pattu kai valikka valiikka ezhuthinen."

IMO, he is much better than rest of the aatu mandhai. Also that example did not seem to fit. So that was konjam jarring.

Hawkeye said...

gradwolf,

endha analogy endha claims ?

Anonymous said...

I think this is good troll win. if he links you back it will be hits jackpot.

outside of that really appreciate your boldness in directly criticising people. adhukkum oru dil venum

Arbitrary said...

Loved the Jupiter and Argentina analogy. Exactly! whats wrong in promoting tamil and driving a German car?

Gradwolf said...

The Buenos Aires-Jupiter analogy. Forget foreign locales, if Tamizh was such a big deal for the film, what about Shruti's diction? Shouldn't that have been given supreme importance? I don't think Murugadoss is consistent here.

It's not like BR trashes or praises a film regardless of its merits. matter The claim that Murugadoss and Surya are stating "facts". It's not a known fact that this guy was really a Pallava prince who started Shaolin temple. The wiki says mostly different things. And is it not a bit disconcerting when people harp on this Tamizhan has done everything long before, the Chinese learned everything from us etc.

Also I think the point is, Mani Ratnam NEED NOT realize that Ash's white clothes represent her chastity.

Harini said...

I see Gradwolf has already said most of what I wanted to say. Couple of things:
1. IMO, Your metaphor about Beaunos Aires and German car are true IF AND ONLY IF Murugadoss was not so damn preachy. When Shruthi goes on and on and on (while some of the tamizhan stuff was tolerable, most were sounding awfully preachy and annoying), Murugadoss had better paid more attention to his movie in sum total - it was almost as though they were all saying one thing and everything else in the movie was about the opposite thing.
2. I would think most people, including yours truly, read Rangan's blog/reviews for those extra things he reads in those movies. It is completely irrelevant to me if the director intended it or not. Its just another facet, another dimension that makes things that are already entertaining even more so.
3. Do you honestly think the levels and subtexts in a KamalHassan scripted movie will be the same or even comparable to a Murugadoss scripted movie (if they even have levels) - wouldn't you want to see an opinion of the former more thought out and explored than the latter? I would!

Srijith Unni said...

I get your point. To be elitist, one should not have to trash a movie that panders to a mass audience. Having said that I also felt letdown that conventional thamizh cinema is falling prey to such constraints. Rather than the mishash that 7am Arivu is, I was yearning for it to have been a complete fictional biopic of Bodhidharman. A.R.Murugadoss, though is definitely not the person for it. Ramana was definitely a notch higher than regular Vijaykanth fare, but that's where it will have to stay.

Chatterbox said...

>>>>Murugadoss cannot seem to decide if he wants to make a movie for A center or C center. He has a story that is inherently A center. But he decorates it with stuff that is targetted at C center.

Bang on!

Padawan said...

With respect to the point that he could have spotted the same flaws in MMA or Raavan, it is not quite exactly the same is it?

For instance, when you are engrossed in a movie in a certain personal way, those flaws seem to recede to the background and are not a problem for you but when you are not engrossed those very flaws seem to pop right out of the cinema and slap you hard and ensure that you notice them.

No?

Blogeswari said...

Hawkeye,

Avaroda reviews-a analyse pandradukku, mudalla avaroda reviews puriyanum. naa angaye outtu.

Please add BR to give dictionary with Hindu reviews no? enna madiri makkal-ukku udavum. Romba nandringa

General Public said...

I am so relieved you wrote this! I used to puke reading Baradwaj Rangan's reviews. Too much sugar-coated shit. Too sweet that you realize it is shit only after you start digesting it. Problem lies in multiple levels - his logic, flowery language to cover up that logic and a strange sense of "good cinema". The last bit is subjective, but still it is an insult to Roger Ebert when people compare BR to him.

The Raj said...

Hawkeye knows how much ever he tries he cannot write like BR. In fact the harder he tries, the worse is the output. So, atleast bash the heck out of BR and derive some cheap satisfaction out of it, especially since BR is more popular now than he was half a decade back. Cheap thrills, I guess. Note the liberal use of words like "fool" , "idiot" by Hawkeye to describe BR. And the funny thing is he didnt even take a proper review by BR to vent out. It was a casual informal piece written for the blog where the hypocrisy evident in our tamil films and directors are pointed out and rightly so.
I guess all that bile that has been piling up inside Hawkeye's belly had to be flushed out with this post. A funny read, nevertheless.

The Raj said...

"The movie is bad - but not for some of the reasons Baradwaj has mentioned"

He didnt even say the movie was bad.Nor did he mention any reasons for saying so.
He actually wrote "•This angst against the wretchedness of finger-wagging apart, this isn’t a bad movie. Merely an extremely dull one, burdened with having to demystify to the average movie-goer its high-tech premise. Which means explanations after explanations"

Looks like in your single-minded mission to bash BR(and it seems like you have been trying hard for a long time to pick a suitable review to bash him)you didnt even read what he write properly.I wonder what makes you go back to reading his reviews time and again if he is such a "idiot" and "elitist fool". The fact that you can never be anywhere in his league when it comes to film criticism and writing no matter how much you hate him?

KishyCool said...

I think you are trying to get some attention by bashing a great reviewer/critic like BR. You got some success in that also. But sorry, we are not going to buy ur argument. BR is a great person and he would never stoop down to such levels. I think we are very lucky to have a critic like BR as our contemporary.

Ganesh said...

I dont side completely with Rangan's review, but this is what i feel.
1. If really Murugadoss had tamil patriotic intent, why the hell did his telugu dubbed version have to miss the point of bodhidharman being a tamil saint? Why shud he be a great telugu philosopher? Wud u make a movie with Chatrapathi Sivaji in 5 different languages and ,just becos u make it 5 languages, make him the king of the state of the respective language?
Sun pictures did Enthiran, Red Gaint had to do something big .... and the outcome is 7am Arivu (the movie apparently is made at Rs 85 crores).

2. Im surprised u didnt mind with the whole logic of viewing Bodhidharman as a Tamilian alone, and not as an Indian (not even mentioned once that way in the movie)

3. At many points, esp the final monologue, Surya was a step more than preaching about how (in what way) the audience should revere their ancestors. I found it really insulting for him to tell me that I 'shouldnt' see them as demi-gods or gods and i instead 'should' see them as scientists. Very very poor dialogue writing ...

ur take on these points pls ....

I said...

That Bodhidharma is a Pallava prince, went to China and was a leading propagator of Zen seems to be factually true. The Shaolin and teaching martial arts stuff may be buruda. But it seems to be part of Chinese legend itself not just Murugadoss legend. Also, when making a fact-fiction mixture movie such blemishes are allowed.

The people who get peeved over Thamizh chest-thumping, do they get equally annoyed when Americans save the world from dinosaurs and aliens? Or is that somehow different?

In '3 Idiots' in the flashback 10 years ago, there is a George Bush-dokla joke (in the flashback time frame, Clinton should have been President) and shows compact cellphones, advanced digital cameras when we were just about evolving from the 15 paisa postcard. I don't think the same elitist/R2I gumbhal pounced on those mistakes.

This gumbhal lives virtually in Amrikka or at the very least in Bombay, and tends to react unfavorably and selectively to Thamizh movies. Because their audience and friends are North Indians and may be even a few whites.

Alan Smithee said...

The one good thing about having read that post was this beautiful video from the comments section

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjkciiE2dmM

TR is dhaadi dharman..

Harini said...

In response to "I" saying this- "The people who get peeved over Thamizh chest-thumping, do they get equally annoyed when Americans save the world from dinosaurs and aliens? Or is that somehow different?" -

Chest thumping without preaching to the audience is always fine. If said Americans saved the world and had 15 minutes of monologue about how important they are, how awesome it is that they saved the world and how everybody else should feel ashamed for not thinking that way - I would be equally peeved. If the same chest thumping that shruthi's dialogues were about, were achieved through implied action and not words, that would have been better. But then, we are now talking sensibilities.

Btw - I completely agree with all of Hawkeyeview's observations on Murugadoss himself. Spot on they are!

Hawkeye said...

harini & grad wold

the following is his bullet point

"•Why are these movies about the glories of Tamil culture always made by directors who hop, skip and jump to exotic foreign destinations for their songs, which feature whites and where the hero is dressed like a hip-hop artist, mouthing words like “ragamuffin?” Songs and dance videos are exempt from “Tamil culture?” Considering that Suriya is a circus artist, you couldn’t have a down-to-earth kuthu paattu for him? And you have the gall to dole out advice about the benefits of kolam pottufying and manjal thechufying? When you’re sitting behind the director’s camera in jeans, having probably arrived there in a German car?"

there is no reference to shruthi's diction here (if there was i'd still disagree but for a different reason.)

the question is IF murugadoss is claiming that "people are losing information on thamizh culture because they dont care to preserve it" - how does him driving german car or wearing jeans make that wrong? that claim has a life of its own even if murugadoss werent the person making the claim. why tie the merits of the claim to murgadoss jeans pant of car?

in this sense i agree with 'I' in that people who are indhi audience facing have a peer-pressure driven need to tone down 'thamizh culture based claims' and call it "chest thumping" and pooh pooh it. this is because they fear that they will be perceived as jingoistic (This is true while making 'india' based claims in foreign countries).

if the claims were factually incorrect, point the incorrect facts out - why resort to ad hominem .

Hawkeye said...

ganesh,

1. murugadoss is wrong to do that. i agree. kachi was ruled by telugu and thamizh rulers. he could have stuc with either one. if he didnt he has issues with facts.

2. concept of 'india' is a new country. didnt exist in 6th century

3. i disagreed with their dialog on 'manjal yen kadavul'a paakarenga science'a paarunga'. that showed that neither murugadoss nor surya understood why 'manjal theching' is so prevalent.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you should cool it about Rangan and what's with your insults - you call him a fool, stupid call Murugadoss low class? Says something about you, no? I found your review of a review largely puerile, and the actual review not worthy of more e-ink.

Manojh said...

HK,
Credibility is what the movie lacks. Predictability is what it is full of.
- Okay, so Sruthi's tamil is atrocious but if ARM wanted her to dub, then blend that into the storyline no? He could have showed that Sruthi probably was brought up in North India or elsewhere which gave her the accent and she comes down to TN to do her thesis or whatever.
- Another scene that thoroughly peeved me was Chinese delegates speaking English with utmost syllabic clarity. Impractical!
- Preachings. We have reached a point in movie watching where we prefer things told in subtlety and not in the face. Subtlety works because many a time this leaves interpretation to the viewer. That's why the first 20 mts sealed the deal for me as far as the "great-tamil-history" message of the movie, though i was very much peeved by the running commentary. Only when you do a rhetoric again and again does it become tedious that you would want to question the credibility of the teller. I see Rangan's "jeans pant" comment from this angle.
- I find it hypocritical that you allege BR of ad hominem and do the same on him "fool", "tool" etc. Right ah? :-)
- But I also admire that you launched such a vociferous attack on his thinking style :-)

Anonymous said...

Hawkeye,

I have nothing against you nor am I an ardent fan of BR :) but I find the Sun-Earth analogy you gave doesn't make sense in comparison to BR's statement.

The scientist might have inclination towards the Sun but he doesn't have the option to go and live there, it's not possible. On the other hand, Murugadoss has the options of not driving foreign made car, or not having western influences in his songs.

-*^*

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you are calling BR an "elitist fool"!! If he is an elitist fool, what are you? You may not agree with his views but why call him a fool and idiot for that? I have seen that in some of your other posts as well - calling someone a "chick", stupid, etc.

I leave it to others to decide who is the elitist fool here...

Karthik Narayanan said...

In one of your comments you mention about the concept of India being new... Totally agree.... This is what always surprises me about the chest thumping mera bharat mahan types. Till the Mughal rule there was no One india concept. The south was very much a totally different entity.

Ironically, it is the British who gave us that identity. So in a sense, I agree with Murugadoss' usage of Tamizh and not Indian background. The movie otherwise was trash. The lecture that shruti gives to the college reviewers seemed too contrived a situation. And suriya's reference to the battle for ellam seemed totally forced and unnecessary.

Agree with you totally on Murugadoss' class in execution. I told people that the movie would suck. Ghajini, to me sucked and same is the case here. That said, there was a mind blowing premise somewhere amidst all that mess, but it got lost totally.

On a seperate note, are we not underestimating the 'C' centre audience here by referring to the movie as a wannabe crossover?

Vinodh said...

Anon who talked about Sun-Earth logic:

Feasibility of living in Sun cannot be used to dismiss that logic. Buenos Aires/Argentina analogy counters your point. Although hawkeye has a unique way for saying it the logic seems to be strong and interesting!. I tried to see if I can counter it and couldn't come up with a decent repartee.

So logic is okay only wish hawkeye explains it in a way so as to not offend the public :-)

Anonymous said...

wikipediava araikuraiya padichu padam edukkarathu thaan ippo fashiona pochu,illa?

Anonymous said...

Seri Hawkeye -- The biggest review-writing-elitist-fool in the blogosphere is that <a href ="http://sudhishkamath.com>Sudhish Kamath</a> moron. I have never seen you vent out this way or even hint at his idiocy...is it because of the "he knows me too and might be hurt if I give a bad review" syndrome....illa just curious...

Anonymous said...

All bloggers are elitist!

Anonymous said...

Damn! We missed coo-ing enough for Surya I guess, coz there is no reference to that! Next time hawkeye! We will be in the back seat (entire row).:-). We were there Sunday too.

Hawkeye said...

the last anon,

oh no.. the vaaranam aayiram crowd from here: http://hawkeyeview.blogspot.com/2008/11/theater-crowd.html

I saw it sunday evening at 7.