Monday, November 27, 2006

Sivappadhigaaram


Some directors jump from one genre to another effortlessly while others make the leap rather shakily. Karu. Palaniappan, based on Sivappadhigaaram, falls in the latter category. After the wonderful Parthiban Kanavu, a sweet, feel-good entertainer, he slips rather badly in this wannabe-social actioner. His good intentions and sincerity are apparent but can’t save the film, which starts off being boring and after the halfway point, becomes familiar.

Ilango(Raghuvaran), a retired professor, moves back to his village along with his daughter Charulatha(Mamta). He wishes to publish a book about the folk songs that are so popular in the countryside and Satyamoorthy(Vishal) joins him a day later to assist him in his task. But we soon learn that the two have a much bigger agenda.

Karu. Palaniappan’s sincerity is not in doubt. His intentions are noble and his attempt to convey positive messages is laudable. But good intentions alone do not make a good film. Popularizing folk songs sounds like a good idea but there not many ways to present it interestingly and it shows. There are too many folk songs (one would become a chain smoker if one walked out for every song in the first half!) and though the first couple sound good, they soon overstay their welcome. Getting real villagers and singers(I think) to participate is a good idea but with no hint of a story, the film meanders, seeming more like a documentary during these portions. The intermission point occurs less than an hour into the movie but it seems much longer.

The folk song track is then completely abandoned as the focus turns to the actions of Raghuvaran and Vishal. We soon realize that the movie has started only after Vishal’s first attack and that everything that went on before it was completely disposable. That realization further irritates us about the first half! The attack itself is completely unbelievable(we are expected to believe that someone can stab a politician who is going to file his nomination for the election and walk out unnoticed) but is welcome since it finally gives some direction to the movie.

As expected, there is a flashback that explains Vishal’s actions but there’s nothing new there. We get power-hungry politicians and corrupt cops doing what they usually do in the movies. And like all movies about vigilantes, we get a personal revenge angle. But the segment does work as a damning indictment of politics with pretty much every politician, right from the Chief Minister down, shown as being completely immoral. As they plot their moves, the depths they sink to are pretty scary and so, quite interesting.

The flashback is mostly set in a college and for once, doesn’t make a mockery of college life. With the Kalloori Saalaikkul… background number, the movie presents a college where students do study(apart from having fun) and the teachers are inspirational and treated with respect. Considering Tamil cinema’s track record when it comes to portraying college life, the segment comes as a relief.

As Vishal goes around executing his plan, the movie begins to resemble other vigilante movies(most notably Ramanaa). All elements of those films - like an officer trying to unearth the vigilante's identity, the targets getting scared of his actions, a flashback detailing the reasons behind his mission, etc. - are present here too. The climax in the middle of the Azhagar festival has the right elements in place but ends up being too simplistic and cinematic.

Vishal definitely has good screen presence and does the brooding role well. But his diction is a big problem and his trouble with the zha sound makes some of his long lines almost embarrassing. Mamta looks beautiful though like most heroines, she doesn’t fit in in the village. Raghuvaran is his usual self. Ganja Karuppu has some nice one-liners that inspire chuckles and the villains are the usual bunch. Vidyasagar, after some disappointing soundtracks, comes back to form here. Chithiraiyil Enna Varum… and Atrai Thingal… are both wonderful melodies that are appealing the very first time we hear them. The former is picturized in a suitably mellow fashion while the latter has the lead pair romping around. The background song that plays when Vishal is on his missions is also inspirational.

16 Comments:

At 11:09 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

So Balaji, finally a flop for Vishal???

 
At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Srivatsan.. I don't think so. Considering this doesn't seem like a very high budget affair, Sivappadhigaaram may turn out to break even at best. I don't think it's a flop from the way the trade has been going ga-ga over it. It also looks like the public is lapping it up just fine so far.. The next two weeks should really determine its fate.. but I do think with its top-class opening, 'flopping' may not happen! :-)

 
At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is good to see new talents pacing up & Vishal is a fresh breath of air. Imagine portly wannbes like T Rajendhar in Veerasaami issuing statements like:

Says Vijaya T Rajendhar, 'I am happy that I can still play a romantic hero when my son has entered the industry. Age is no barrier.'


Age may not but lack of sense is a barrier...no, it is criminal in TR's case!

 
At 1:29 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Absolutely true..TR should be shot!!

 
At 2:38 AM, Blogger Bart said...

I missed out on the movie last weekend. Looks like I can wait for VCD or was it not worth that too?

 
At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, it looks like Karu Palaniappan makes his way into the long list of directors who do a good first film and then falter (and pretty badly at that) in their second. And talking about Parthiban Kanavu - as good as it was, it had its moments of artificialness too (like so often, we would have Srikanth lecturing the viewing public as to how his ideal partner should be & all that). So, I guess we are left with only 2 movies to look forward to in 2006 - Veyil and Paruthiveeran

 
At 7:45 AM, Anonymous kumar said...

Watched this film and I wasn't disappointed. I was expecting this a lot since RAghuvaran is making a comeback. oh my god ! My favorite actor has been wasted once again with the usual role. Soon tamil industry will kill him with this kind of roles

Bad screenplay
glimpses of good dialogue in 10% of the movie
Illogical killings
etc

I expected that it may not be good. but to be precise.. it is lot more better than his previous crap THIMIRU !

BTW, I am expecting VEYIL A LOT ! Hope that comes and proves what separates story telling with NATIVITY from CINEMATIC story telling !

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous ram said...

bb, am sure u had lingusami (anandham and run) in mind when u wrote the first line...the best examples of directors effortessly shifting between genres i think are balachander and bharathiraja...esp. the former...he's done pretty much everything from comedy to romance to satire to powerful drama and has done everything with elan...b-raja shifts between rural and urban milieus with effortless ease...(i was stunned to hear that sivapu rojakall came after 16 vayathinile!) now that u've said that sivapathigaram is a disappointment, will look fwd to his sathurangam...from a piece on behindwoods, i see that there's a good chance of the movie getting released in december...poruthirundhu parpom!

 
At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Ram, so far as what I have read about Sathurangam, it sounds like a blend of Parthiban Kanavu & Sivappathigaaram. Something about a revolutionary writer/journalist played by Srikanth, who falls for a woman, (Sonia Agarwal) and how his views and beliefs get in the way of their relationship. Karu Palaniappan may have thrown in a villain or two to spice up the story. It doesn't sound terribly novel at this point.

The only thing going in favor of Sathurangam, maybe the superstitious fact that it opens in December. (Of course, just because it opens in December, can't make it a great film! That's a different story! :-) Some of the biggest hits in tamil cinema in the last 10 years (Sethu, Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai, Kaadhal) have all opened in December. For some strange reason, our best films seem to wait until the very end of the year; superstitious or not.. that's the truth.

 
At 3:12 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, can never tell. the movie is really short(just over 2 hrs) and that might work in its favor since it makes it look like the 2nd half moves really fast :)

sandya, many reviews praise movies with good intentions, even if the execution leaves much to be desired. so 'sivappadhigaaram' may get good reviews and that might make it an avg earner...

anon, "Age may not but lack of sense is a barrier" - LOL. hilarious line :)

bart, probably worth a VCD watch (since u can FF the 1st half!)

filbert, not sure 'paruthiveeran' is gonna make it this year. may have to wait till pongal 07...

kumar, i'd say it was more well-intentioned than 'thimiru' but as far as entertainment goes, i'd say 'thimiru' was better...

ram, yes lingusamy was definitely one. also others like manirathnam, gautham(minnale and kakka kakka), etc. i think bharathiraja was more versatile compared to KB. even if the tone was different, KB's movies were mostly character-based. Bharathiraja had more variety like thrillers, romances, etc.

sandya, lets hope this december follows the trend. we really need some good movies this year to make up for all the crap we've been subjected to...

 
At 4:28 PM, Anonymous ram said...

"Age may not but lack of sense is a barrier" - LOL.

--> anon, didnt notice that comment...yes , as bb said it was hilariousssssss!!!!

 
At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Balaji, I think you misunderstood my first point. When I said the "trade seems to have gone ga-ga over it".. I was indicating the tamil industry as a whole, not critics or their reviews.

If you ask me, critics have zero control over Vishal movies in general (Sandakkozhi's 210(?) days should tell you that! and so does Thimiru's long haul in theaters since its August release! :-).. Vishal movies have a very strong marketing base installed.. you get pounded with ads so much that you can't escape their marketing blitz even if you wanted to. May have been a different strategy for Chellame (since it was Vishal's first film and not a 'family' venture, but the other two productions by Vikram Krishna, (Vishal's bro)(Sandakkozhi & Thimiru) bombarded all media sources available. I would largely attribute that and word-of-mouth to be the successes of his last two films than critic reviews.

If Sivappathigaaram manages 25 steady days of box office revenue, it would easily be declared an average hit (and here again, it would not be because of critics or their reviews).

Almost every critic I have read on the web has blasted the film.. don't know about the print media though.

Overall, whether it is Sivappadhigaaram or his upcoming Thamirabarani.. I think Vishal's strength has been his ability to keep the industry around his fingers and the marketing blitz which are a trademark of his films. Nothing anybody can write will keep the crowds away from giving him at least a chance (Not that he is invincible, but somehow, I see him as a hero whose film product is not bought based on quality or merit, but more on hype and glamour (which are grounds for him to get away with anything! :-). Remember, Tamil Nattukku karuppu dhaan romba pidichcha color-u :-)

 
At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

background song that plays when Vishal is on his missions is also inspirational - i was a bharathidasan piece...

 
At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First flop for Vishal?
http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movie-news/nov-06-05/30-11-06-vishal.html

 
At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First flop for Vishal?
http://www.behindwoods.com/tamil-movie-news/nov-06-05/30-11-06-vishal.html

 
At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://mallikasherawatwow.com/events/onthesets_dasavatharam/

 

Post a Comment

<< Home