Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sachein

Sachein is a good change of pace for Vijay( and viewers), from his recent line of action- and violence-packed masala films like Thiruppaachi, Madurey and Gilli. Since the actor has reiterated his belief, in numerous interviews, that only masala films will be successful in the current atmosphere, his selection of a 'soft' movie(atleast in story if not in execution) itself is a welcome step. But still, it is quite obvious that the director has struggled to tailor it to Vijay's current image.

Having decided on acting in a romantic movie, Vijay has naturally selected a story similar to the story in Kushi, his last big hit in the romantic genre. Vijay selecting Kushi as the scale for this movie is understandable considering its success but at several places, Sachein seems like an exact replica of Kushi. From its core problem of ego separating two lovers to the presence of the 'other woman' who stokes jealousy in the girl's mind, Sachein follows the exact same storyline.

Since its a love story, a large part of Sachein's success depends on its lead characters and the director has been successful in their characterization. Sachein, with his easy-going nature, is a loveable guy and it is easy to accept Genelia's feelings for him. His playfulness and frank nature make us smile more than a few times and he has some good observations, which manage to not sound preachy like Vijay's comments in some previous films, on love. Genelia's Shalini is also a three-dimensional character rather than a cardboard cutout. Her anger at Vijay pooh-poohing her looks and her ego are all believable and make the character quite human.

Naturally, the movie is most engaging when focussing on its two leads. Their initial fights as Vijay irritates Genelia are fun and enjoyable and its nice seeing Genelia's attitude towards Vijay undergo a gradual change. There are also a couple of nice touches like Genelia not believing Vijay's story about her father's accident and a similar scenario being repeated later with the roles reversed. The point where Vijay reveals his love to Genelia is a surprise and the way it is handled is also nice.

Director John doesn't seem to have concerned himself with anything other than the characters and their issues. Even the main characters float around with no information on any aspect of their life other than what we see onscreen. Though they are college students, there is not a single scene of Vijay or Genelia attending a class and we never see Vijay's place of residence. Bipasha appears suddenly, rolls around with Vijay, appears to be trying to seduce him and then exits with a lame-ass excuse.

The songs and the fights are clearly designed to ensure that Vijay's fan's don't walk out. Barring one song, the rest are of the duppanguthu variety and don't gel in what is essentially a soft romance. The fights too are inserted awkwardly (but admittedly, they, especially the second fight, have been choreographed and picturized well). There are quite a few movie in-jokes about Kushi, Mouna Raagam, etc. Depressingly, there are also several double entendre dialogs (many of which have been censored) spoken by everybody, including Vijay (tellingly, the film earns a UA certificate even after the silenced lines).

Vijay himself seems to have enjoyed the break from kambus and aruvaals. He looks young enough to pass as a college student(something you couldn't say about Ajith in Ji) and is quite charming. But there are a few times when I felt his expressions and mannerisms go a little too far. Genelia is pretty and has an expressive face too. She just needs to cut down on her "Shut up"s. Vadivelu is inserted into the movie using the cliched excuse of an eternally-failing college student. Though he has definitely grown on me with some recent performances in movies like Giri and Chandramukhi, his track here is rarely funny. Songs are all catchy even if not memorable.

32 Comments:

At 11:50 PM, Blogger Zero said...

I thot John (the son of Mahendran, he is) might have just pulled it off doin a good job. That too after Anandha Vikatan gave it 42, more than MX (41) and CM (40, no cribs there ;)). But was disillusioned when I saw the initial portions of the movie and quit very early**. Yeah, soft romance, clean movie and all that. But only it was intended to. The Executuion, as u put, was ranging from very bad to barely ok.

**:- I am a Bangalorean and then had no way else to see the movie, but in THIRUTTU-VCD. As Quentin once said, piracy helps in taking movies to places where otherwise u cant see the movie.
Now, its released in bangalore and i ll definitely watch it (thats a reason why i stopped watching it), though with no hopes of it being good.

 
At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Yeah, I lost interest in this movie after half an hour as well. I will probably watch it when it is telecast on SunTV someday. Oh for another Mouna Raagam!!!

Genelia looked yummy though.

 
At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

Well may the Almighty be with Balaji when he chooses to watch movies like Gilli, Thirupachi, Madura etc. and even bothers to review them, right after he reviews the likes of The Killing and Rififi :-))

Talk about a true "thamizhan"

 
At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

Can someone tell me in which movie Vijay actually acted ? I have seen just 30-45 mins of a couple of his BO hits like Kushi, kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai and was wondering what I missed :-)

 
At 8:43 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Nice review, Balaji.. When, just before the climax, Genelia realizes the truth about Vijay's background, she squirms and repents so much, aka "Oru Oorle Oru Rajakumari". Like the 'paatti' in the latter, there was this friend of Genelia who knows the truth about her love on Vijay. I thought may be she would do what the 'paattimma' did in OOOR but luckily that didnt happen. But then I realized that Genelia must also be rich.. she must have flown by a chopper from Ooty to Coimbatore in a few minutes before Vijay's flight!!

One more cinema blog in my website.. check out and let me know ur comments, guys..

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

Oh man... Genelia's "SHUT UPS" wre driving me up the wall... Half way tthrough the movie, I was thinking "I should have kept track of how many she said"

 
At 11:05 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i can imagine a vikatan review ending with the line, "Sachin- Sadham Adikkavillai Aanal Duck-um alla!"

Director Vasanth once told me about two amusing reviews in Vikatan:

"Nee Paathi Naan Paathi": Vasanth 0*

"Nerukku Ner": Padathil Raghuvaran Adikkadi "Naan Oru Thappu Panniten"nu Solvaar...Adhai Vasanth Solla Vendum!

 
At 12:00 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

zero, thanx. was curious about vikatan's comparative ratings since i dont subscribe to it. But a li'l surprised though. I thot the order would've been MX, CM and Sachein. Sachein was definitely the worst of the 3.

vijay, evlo english classics paathalum, will never lose luv of tamil movies. infact, if i see a string of non-tamil movies, i actually start missing tamil movies and end up seeing an old one i've already seen!

acting's definitely not vijay's strength. stunts and dancing... thats pretty much it. the fact that he's come this far with such limited talent is admirable though. kinda like rajni... he found his niche suiting his limited talents and stuck to it...

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger Ansh said...

yeah me too thinks vijay is a decent actor if not great...but his movies are entertaining...I did watch sachin and thought it was just another light hearted love story ...not a boring one though!

 
At 1:29 PM, Anonymous ram said...

"the fact that he's come this far with such limited talent is admirable though. kinda like rajni..."

-- Bj, that must've been the most horrible thing you've said abt Rajni in all your yrs as a movie critic!!!

no seriously, I think the difference between Rajni and Vijay is that the latter cant act while the former chooses not to! in the recent past, I've revisited classics like "Mullum Malarum" and "Aaril Irundhu Aruvadhu Varai" and 've come to the conclusion that Rajni could've become a gr88 actor if he had chosen to.

Rudriah, the man, who made the interesting "Aval Apadithaan" lambasted Rajni in an interview for having made crap like "Baba"...

 
At 4:30 AM, Blogger bladehawk1404 said...

Balaji, i think u are being very harsh on Sachein. The worst among the 3, i don't
think so. In my opinion CM is the worst and Ananda Vikatan was right on it's rating. CM was a poor remake in all departments while MX was just average. I'm not a fan of vijay but his sachein didin't take it too seriously and b'coz of that it was enjoyable and much more entertaining flick than the other 2.

 
At 9:27 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

bladehawk, that was based purely on my opinion ofcourse. but even going by your parameters(CM was a poor remake, Sachein didnt take it too seriously, etc.), Sachein seemed like remake too - of Kushi and I don't think any of the 3 movies took themselves seriously.

My poor view of Sachein came from its similarity to Vijay's own Kushi, lack of grounding for its characters and the unnecesserily vulgar comedy(which always turns me off). But I did give it 2 stars. means its watchable but IMO, it is definitely the last among the 3 biggies.

 
At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

blajai, comparing Vijay with Rajni is blasphemous.

"acting's definitely not vijay's strength. stunts and dancing... thats pretty much it. the fact that he's come this far with such limited talent is admirable though"

How is it "admirable"? It only goes to show that anyone can become a star in Tamil cinema with no talent if they just get the right patronage, hype or if they are from a movie family. Vijay's so-called success symbolizes everything thats wrong with Tamil cinema. I hope he dies a quick death.

Rajni is a better actor than Vijay by miles and so are about half-a-dozen others actors in Kodambakkam. He has a much better screen presence, an unique baritone(when compared to the feminine voice of Vijay) and more imortantly his style/mannerisms were unique and his own.

Vijay is a poor man's Vijaykanth at best :-) I also heard rumours that he forced theatre to run his films or pays them money to run and then uses that as false hype for his movie. His interference in other aspects of filmamking are well known. We are doing a disservice by reviewing his films and making him look like a decent actor.

Goes to show that if you are constantly bombarded with Vijay songs/films on TV, then eventually you will acquire a taste for even his movies. Pitiable.

 
At 7:34 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

"vijay, evlo english classics paathalum, will never lose luv of tamil movies. infact, if i see a string of non-tamil movies, i actually start missing tamil movies and end up seeing an old one i've already seen!"

adhu thappu illa, we all do it. Our roots are still intact. But my angst is blogs like yours can be used to review slightly more offbeat ventures like "righta thappa" "kanavau maipada vendum" "azhagiya theeye"(which sometimes dont get enough media attention) more than run-of-the-mill commercial mainstream fare like Thirupachis and Sachins. I believe you are doing this to some extent already. After all there are already a hundred reviews out there on Sachin and the verdict is that its not a good film. So why waste the effort on a lost cause?

There was a supid article on OutlookIndia sometime back by one Anand who was blaming Kamal and Rajni for the current state of films. I would like to see an article similar in tone from one of these blogs criticizing the likes of Vijay, Ajith etc. for the current state of affairs and not those veterans who worked hard to evolve their own styles.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, not really true. right patronage, hype and family background has not helped several other actors like Manoj(Bharathiraja's son), Prabhu, Sibi(atleast so far), etc. So Vijay getting this far(his rating with distributors is next only to Rajni and higher than even Kamal) is admirable. I'm not a big fan but I do respect his career moves, longevity and growth.
And I was not comparing his talent or acting with Rajni's. As Ram pointed out, Rajni's early movies showed him as a very good actor while thats not the case with Vijay. I was only comparing their ability in finding a niche that suited their strengths, tapping into what the audience likes and turning that into popularity.

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

vijay, since bbreviews is a full-time reviews site, my plan was to publish only select, notable reviews here. The criteria for notable so far has been 'popular' but I definitely plan to highlight impressive movies that slip under the public radar. Its just I haven't seen any since I started the blog. Out of the 3 u mention, I never got the opportunity to see the 1st 2 while I did enjoy and give a 3 star rating to 'Azhagiya Theeye'.

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous ram said...

bj, u shld defn check out kanavu mei pada vendum...its not nearly as good as kutty but was still well-made...like what u wrote abt sideways, there was one scene which really lifted the quality of the movie...one featuring the protagonist and his childhood friend, now a prostitute...

but the movie is defn not one of rams' (adhaan paa neelambari!) gr8 performances...she was actually quite flat in her portrayal...

 
At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Vijay said...

"right patronage, hype and family background has not helped several other actors like Manoj(Bharathiraja's son), Prabhu, Sibi(atleast so far), etc."

Prabhu had his share of hits in the 80s. Manoj/Sibi didnt quite have the continued hype/patronage that Vijay enjoyed. he had titles like "iLayadalapathi" and so on in a desperate attempt to cater to the masses and there were huge cutouts and so on. Definitely a bigger team secretly working behind the scenes to ensure his commercial viability.

And even then, before Gilli he had numerous flops. Sachin is a borderline grosser.

(By the way that post was mine, entered it as anonymous by mistake)

" I was only comparing their ability in finding a niche that suited their strengths,"

That could be said even about Ramarajan who had his share of hits in the late 80s. He found his "niche" in playing the same paalkaaran role again and again :-) Where do we draw the line? Luck,patronage and finding the right breaks is important in Tamil cinema.
Otherwise a talented music director like MaragadhamaNi or Balabharathi can be sidelined while a copycat like Deva can have longevity that you seem to admire.
Even Vijaykanth has survived for 25 years with minimal or no talent and has had several hits in the past :-)Do you consider that admirable?

I can admire someone only for their talent and Vijay possesses NONE.

 
At 1:27 PM, Anonymous ram said...

again, it also depends on how u define 'talent.' make no mistake, i am not trying to defend the vijays and vijaykanths...just want to add that its not just *acting* talent that makes stars out of wooden faces...there're a lot of other things like charisma, screen presence, dancing acumen, stunt expertise, etc...as u said, some actors find a 'niche' market and cater to that...doesnt mean that they're totally worthless just that they wont find favor among the more discerning, sensible movie goer...

 
At 1:59 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

vijay, prabhu had his share of hits but never had the mass image or box-office clout that Vijay has. But lets take Manoj, who being a director's son has more in common with Vijay. His debut was backed by a team of Bharatiraja-Manirathnam-ARRahman. He has since acted in films by Charan and KSRavikumar. On the other hand Vijay's early films were done solely by his dad and catered exclusively to the front-benchers. But Manoj could not sustain himself while Vijay went from there to gaining respectability and eventually to being a popular mass hero. I'm sure Bharatiraja could've(and did) put together a more powerful team than SAC but Manoj couldn't make it inspite of it. Vijay was able to make the transition that Manoj didnt and that was not solely due to luck and family backing. He possessed other talents(some of which Ram listed) and good business sense.

And yes, as long as we differentiate between 'like' and 'admire', i do admire vijayakanth. Knowing one's strengths, finding the right role, teaming up with the right directors, etc. are all part of surviving in the fickle cinema industry and vijayakanth's longevity does point to him doing exactly what Vijay did.

 
At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

"But lets take Manoj, who being a director's son has more in common with Vijay. His debut was backed by a team of Bharatiraja-Manirathnam-ARRahman. He has since acted in films by Charan and KSRavikumar"

true but Manoj was'nt projected as a mass hero nor was he anointed with the title "iLayadalapathi" in a pathetically desperate attempt to reach out to the front benchers and Rajni fans.Thats what I was talking about. He tried to make his mark more along the lines of a good actor than that of a mass hero.Same with Prabhu, in the 80s.
Nor was Prabhu paying the theaters to keep his films running and create a false sense of "hit."

Anyway Vijay's true colors were exposed recently when his movie slided badly at the box office. For someone who supposedly has a big market according to distributors his Sachin didnt even do as much business as an off-beat film like Mumbai Express.


"just want to add that its not just *acting* talent that makes stars out of wooden faces...there're a lot of other things like charisma, screen presence, dancing acumen, stunt expertise, etc...as u said, some actors find a 'niche' market and cater to that.."

True, like Ramarajan, pandiyarajan etc:-) Even they found their niche without dance or stunt abilities or even charisma or continued patronage like Vijay has got from his dad's team.
They didnt try to project themselves as something that they werent. Thats why, in the end, I probably like them more than Vijay.

So if we were to make a list of such actors who found a niche with very limited talent Vijay would still rank somewhere in the middle or bottom of the list.And its not long ago that Ajith was the next big star while Vijay had a series of flops.While it has taken 15 years of continued bom,bardment of Vijay movies to reluctantly accept him as "mass hero" actors from his same age group have been there and done that before.

So "longevity" is not unique to Vijay. Even in the longevity list he would be at the bottom.

 
At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

"He possessed other talents(some of which Ram listed) and good business sense."

business sense, I agree :-) In fact thats probably the only reason why he is still not dead.

 
At 5:50 AM, Blogger bladehawk1404 said...

Vijay, plz get the facts right before you say something. Sachein is doing very good bussiness at the b-o. It's just behind CM in terms of collection. In fact MX is not doing that well and the hindi version is a total washout.

 
At 6:03 AM, Blogger bladehawk1404 said...

My poor view of Sachein came from its similarity to Vijay's own Kushi, lack of grounding for its characters and the unnecesserily vulgar comedy(which always turns me off). But I did give it 2 stars. means its watchable but IMO, it is definitely the last among the 3 biggies.

Balaji, i agree there was some similarities with Kushi but it's not a scene-by-scene remake. It's quite common for directors and actors to capitalise on the success of their previous films. Over the top and ridiculous fight scenes like in CM always turns me off juz like vulgar comedy for you.

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous vijay said...

"plz get the facts right before you say something. Sachein is doing very good bussiness at the b-o."

Is it? I got my info from here and also from friends in Chennai
http://sify.com/entertainment/movies/tamil/boxoffice/fullstory.php?id=13738468

ME was made on a smaller budget and has already recovered its costs. Sachin was sold at a much higher price and both Chandramukhi/Kana Kanden are doing well.

 
At 10:38 PM, Blogger bladehawk1404 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger bladehawk1404 said...

I got mine from here
http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/tamil/article/14782.html

Even MX is not featured in the top 5 of the chennai b-o at sify.

 
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Prakash said...

On a lighter note:

They were playing some Dinakaran award show on Sun today, and he won Best Actor for Gillie. I was wondering what the heck he had done to win.

When he spoke, he said (in Tamil), "I have acted in 40 films, this is my first award. When it was announced I won, I started thinking. My friends Vikram and Surya are acting in pudhumaiyana roles in every film. What did I do to deserve this award? Anyway, I won for whatever reason. And I am very enthusiastic about it".

:-)

I am no Vijay fan. Just can't decide if I dislike him or am just neutral. But he won me over a little today.

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

prakash, yeah he's that way in interviews too. a disarming mix of candor, humility and modesty that always comes off well. rajni and dhanush r 2 others who always do well in interviews for the same reasons.

 
At 6:25 AM, Blogger bladehawk1404 said...

A R Rahman is another who is extremely modest and humble in person and also in his interviews. He is after all a man of few words who believes to do his talking in his music. An extremely talented and good natured person whom i've always respected.

 
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