Monday, November 06, 2006

Varalaaru


Aboorva Sagodharargal proved that unique characterization and a smart screenplay could transform even a familiar story into a classic entertainer. K.S.Ravikumar has remembered the first part of that lesson but not the second part. With Ajith’s considerable help, he creates a memorable character capable of holding up a movie in Varalaaru, but throws the character into a predictable and eventually confusing screenplay.

Shiva(Ajith), a rich businessman, has had his share of sorrows. He lost his wife and his legs in a car accident and is now wheelchair-bound. His son Vishnu(Ajith) is a happy-go-lucky chap, determined to enjoy the wealth his father has accumulated for him. On a trip to a village, Vishnu meets Divya(Asin) and soon, the two are ready to wed. But Vishnu starts behaving strangely, insulting Divya and her family, making advances on her cousin and even trying to kill his own father. He is admitted to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation but actually, its Shiva’s past that has caught up with him and is behind all this.

Varalaaru is a film that could have used a little less publicity. Though the story eventually reveals itself to be a familiar one, that is not so obvious initially. As Ajith starts behaving erratically, there is potential for real suspense about how the story will proceed. But all the advance publicity about Ajith playing 3 roles (even if you’ve been hiding under a rock and didn’t know about the triple role, it is proudly announced at the beginning of the credits) drains the suspense right out. We know exactly why he is behaving like that and the question simply becomes when KSR is going to reveal it.

But though the big reveal is expected, KSR still manages to throw couple of legitimate surprises at us after that. One revelation is a complete surprise(and has been presented well too) and who the effeminate character is, also comes as a surprise. The screenplay goes through a lot of convolutions to bring about these surprises but they work at their moments.

Considering he is the kaadhal mannan, Ajith has been getting stuck in some pretty bad romances these days. Though not as distasteful as the romance in Tirupathi, the way Ajith and Asin hook up here comes pretty close. His intent and her plan mark them as not-so-nice people and double entendre dialogs and unfunny comedy abound in the whole segment. Not surprisingly, no one comes off looking good at the end of it. KSR fast-forwards to the marriage right after the romance but one wishes he had fast-forwarded through the romance too.

The other thing Varalaaru shares with the last couple of Ajith films is that it seems very old-fashioned. Sure it was delayed more than a year but some concepts in the film make it seem like it was delayed by a couple of decades! When a woman’s rape is almost justified or the woman’s mom wants her to marry the rapist, the film seems dangerously regressive. The only relief is the way the woman’s character itself is shaped. She is spirited, independent and brave. But eventually, even she is beaten down enough to want to get back together with her rapist!

Its Ajith’s show all the way and not having to play superman and utter punch dialogs, he delivers. The effeminate dancer is obviously the showier role and it is a rather unique one. He has two left feet when it comes to the actual dancing but the exaggerated expressions and feminine gestures during other times are nicely done. Like most actors who get to play a bad guy, Ajith also enjoys himself in the psychotic, revenge-obsessed role. One of the roles always loses out when an actor plays a triple role and here it is the hero, who is rather uninteresting compared to the other two roles. Asin shows glimpses of her comic timing in the little time she is given but is handicapped by poor characterization. The film has a huge supporting cast but few others get enough screen time to make an impression. A common complaint about films with an A.R.Rahman soundtrack is that the picturization of the songs doesn't do justice to the songs. No such problems here though. None of the songs make an impression and only Dhinam Dhinam... is slightly hummable.

37 Comments:

At 11:10 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Good unbiased review!

 
At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will it be fair to comment that the Ajith comback trail is well on its way...blistering everything in its path...or just warming up for grander works in the making???

Surely the Ajith fans will be savouring everything that he has to offer ...

 
At 11:46 PM, Blogger Zero said...

Ok, spoilers ahead and all that.

Balaji,
The rather path-breakingly oddball and "silly" moment is when we know that Ajith's mom apparently lost her mental balance, after which she goes through severe uncalled-for trauma (as it's recalled in a song) - because of which he also turns psychotic - when she witnesses an accident that never happened! If at all, anything it was uncannily looking like an absurdist commentary on human life.

 
At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought he was decent in the Bharathanatiyam dance for his standards. If the initial portion of the movie had been better this movie would have been a great masala movie. I dont think the mother wanted her daughter to marry him just because he was the rapist.

Anyway what i hear is Shalini is now the one listening to stories and choosing movies, we have to see where this leads to. I feel better days are ahead.

 
At 8:03 AM, Anonymous raj said...

bb, well reviewed, bravo! You have taken on 2 notorious fan clubs there - ARR and Ajith - be prepared for 151 abusive and irrelevant comments - coming soon :-)

 
At 9:36 AM, Anonymous ram said...

raj, that was funny! i was commenting to a friend that on bbthots, if u wanna say u have a headache, better say that in english coz if u say it in thamizh, u'll be questioned as to why you had a thala-vali and not a vijay-vali!

bb, reg. varalaaru, i agree with ur points...but as i told u when we met up, i still did think that ajith should've modulated his voice a little to portray the old man...but yeah, otherwise, he was the silver lining in this flawed movie (at least the second half ;) )

 
At 10:21 AM, Blogger Ram.C said...

I watched only first 30 minutes of the movie.. not impressed at all. Particularly with those old fashioned songs & double meaning dialogues. Not sure, whether I will continue to watch it further...

I was surprised that it got declared as the winner in the box office collections..

 
At 10:42 AM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Balaji, I too really impressed with the effeminate dancer role of Ajith. But I hope ARR not upto its own standards in this movie.
Anyway the movie gave a long expected break and it preponed the release date of Azwaar :-))

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ajithavathu kathal mannanavathu.

ajith is a kathal mannangati.

anon "arya's wet t-shirt" ymous

 
At 3:50 PM, Anonymous raj said...

The theme of GF, as I read it here is god-awful. And KSR is at the helm. What can you expect? I must admire BB's patience - man, do you see these movies so that you can review or you review them because you happened to see these? :-)
I raelly appreciate it because your 'thiagam' in taking the bullet on our behalf means that we will never venture within 10 miles radius of theatres screening varalaaru, vallavan , sivakasi(added for safety purposes)etc. We really owe you something :-)

 
At 9:14 PM, Blogger Zero said...

Raj, you can expect an absurdist commentary on human life. (Don't read my previous comment, it has spoilers.) Ain't that worth it!

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, thanx :)

anon, 'varalaaru' is the clear winner this diwali and so it looks like his comeback is doing well...

zero, KSR's movies could always be called the theater of the absurd. he always presents something and then goes thro convolutions trying to explain what led to it...

anon, i didn't say the woman's mom wants her to marry the guys just because he is the rapist. just the fact that she still wants her to marry the guy after knowing he raped daughter seemed regressive...

and i still remember shalini saying that she liked 'tirupathi' cos it was a good mix of sentiments and action. if thats true, i don't have much confidence in her tastes :)

raj, not too many comments. guess they agreed with the review :)

ram, yeah ajith held the movie up...

ramc, the 1st half hour was the worst part of the movie. but it does get better. so u can give it a shot :)

karthik, yeah i read that too...

raj, i did like 'varalaaru' better than the other films u have mentioned :)

 
At 11:06 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Yet to see Varalaru.
Am waiting for your review on "Vattaram". This seems to be most under-rated Diwali movie. It was a typical Saran stuff in a different mileu. But for all its flaws it was very engaging till the end. I feel probably it might edge out E and Varalaru for keeping it straight, simple and engaging.

 
At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will you give 2 stars?Then;I may watch it.Balaji;does thenisai has rss?Also;how long does it take to get all webpages included in Google?

 
At 3:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi everybody, i am new to this group.varalaaru is actually a gud movie and also K.S. Ravikumar has done a gr8 job.this movie is totally different from his other movies. Ajith Kumar has done a gr8 job in his dancer character.a man who doesnt know about dance has done a gr8 job. all the best ajith,

 
At 11:48 PM, Anonymous kumar said...

Balaji,
Replying for the review Forgetting the god-awful comments on Ajith-fans.
------------------------------

Beg to differ with some parts of the review.

Initial impression.. would be: Review is not as complete as your previous reviews. Seems like you have presented it in a hurry.. NO worries.. Just my thots !
----------

// He has two left feet when it comes to the actual dancing but the exaggerated expressions and feminine gestures during other times are nicely done.//

I didn't get this one at all. Two Left Feet ! Just thinking which step made you to think like this. IMO, He had done a pretty good job and I don't think his expressions were exaggerated even a single time. The way he walks, holds the cigar in his mouth, the way he modulates his voice for all the four roles is brilliant.
IMO, His dialogue delivery and voice modulation excelled in this movie if we consider his previous performances in citizen and villan (dialogue delivery)

I was just LMAO when I saw the comments on Father's role Voice Modulation. It is an effeminate role. How can we expect a cramped voice :-) I think he had a pretty good job here.

I didn't see much comments on his acting though.. ?? wanna play it simple. !! ??


Coming to ARR, felt bad that you forgot 'Theeyil Vizhuntha' and 'Kaatril'.. According to you, Dhinam Dhinam is hummable than these songs.. ?? !! :shocked: OR I misunderstood your stand.

//
even she is beaten down enough to want to get back together with her rapist! //
She is beaten.. Nope.. Circumstances make her to go in that way and hearing that one of her children is with his father, it will be pretty natural for a girl who is fighting for survival with a child.. and there was a neat time gap as well between this.

I agree with yourpoints on FIRST HALF.. where comedy wasn't great.. and KSR could have avoided them. Not sure this man never lacks in screenplay. Seems the probs he faced in the making had screwed every possible way that was available for him.

It is AJITH who stands above all though the movie has his share of not so good content.
Screenplay was very good in the second half IMO.

Again, his performance is underrated everywhere as usual :-) This review is not an exception to it !

I appreciate him for his courage to play this kind of character. Expecting his KIREEDOM !

and IF YOU DON'T WANT US (Not HC fans..but normal ajith fans) TO VISIT HERE, then we can do like that !

 
At 12:42 AM, Blogger Augustus said...

thala is back.....

ajith the performer is back.....

 
At 7:40 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

where is our resident KSR fan, Sandhya? :-)

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

bart, i'm surprised about the lack of talk about 'vattaaram'. we've been hearing about 'varalaaru' being BO winner and a lot of things about 'vallavan' and 'dharmapuri' and 'thalaimagan' being bombs, etc. but nothing about 'vattaaram'. and this was supposed to b the movie with the most publicity pre-release...

ganesh, yeah 2 * for 'varalaaru' :) not sure what thenisai is...

kumar, no, this review is no different from others. ur impression might be cos i didn't write a lot about the 2nd half since i didn't wanna reveal any spoilers...

i just felt his dancing wasn't good... but the 'exaggerated expressions' comment was actually a compliment. i felt the role required those and thats why i said they were nicely done...

i've written quite a bit about his acting and did feel that was the best part of the otherwise average movie. but as above, i think u misinterpreted my compliments to be criticism :)

on the songs, the only other song i thot was OK was 'innisai' but even that was spoilt by the duppanguthu beats in the middle...

and yeah, i still think rape was almost justified. a woman might want to c her child knowing the child is with the father but i didn't like it when it was shown as she wants to get together with him knowing he bent low enuf to rape her...

 
At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that ganesh was wondering if your reviews posted on thenisai.com are available via rss feed

 
At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

You haven't learned to spell my name right, Vijay.. indha KSR vambukellaam onnum kuraichal illai!!.. :-) ;-)..
Sandya.. without the 'h'.. thank you very much! :-)..

 
At 2:54 AM, Blogger Bart said...

Followup: Though vikatan has given it a 40 (short of E and Varalaru), Kumudam has been over positive about Vattaaram...

 
At 4:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

otha VARALARU super hit. indha padatha wastenu solravan ajith performance seri ilanu solravan vaila Vijay poola eduthu vekanum.

Dey thevdiyapasangala kudukura 40 rupeesku ivalo scene podreengala edh o1 million pota madiri.

Omala quarter vangi kupura adichu thoongunga da sunni baadungala

 
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At 5:42 AM, Anonymous venkat said...

i think most of the people in this blog are kamal or rajini fans.

how come balaji u dnt have any problems with VV.
chopped fingers hanged with lemon,
so much of blood shed,rape,homosexual villians etc.
u wer not offended by any scene in VV??
how boss?

VV had more flaws than Varalaru

i wud be telling only few

why did the villian left kamal alive before leaving their room?
so that he can jump n escape?

ragavan's instinct or shud i say gautam's incapability.

n why so special sympathy for jyothika?
when the villian usually kills everyone, he burries jyothika alive.
(may be the villian wanted to give the movie a happy ending)

n obviously kamal fans wud say that VV s a masterpiece.

Varalaru - wat a performance man
ajith dances n beats all the bad guys.
n the post interval scene where he says he found his father with this damn face.

 
At 6:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Infact most of them who write blogs are Kamal n Superstar fans. PPl have different taste and their thoughts differ. If you feel Ajith is a better actor than Kamal pls do so, we have no probs with that. Don't force your opinion on us :)

If you feel the review is not good, no one is holding you from writing a new review :)

 
At 5:53 AM, Anonymous venkat said...

ya that the thing i want to say .everyone has different taste n their thoughts differ .
but many people in this blog are against ajith and writing unnecessary
comments abt ajith ( im talking abt this review) which they should avoid.
if they dont like ajith thay can better
ignore him .

 
At 8:27 AM, Anonymous venkat said...

i wanted to say i m not taking abt this review . some regular visitors of this blog who ve no work but to talk something bad abt ajith.
if u dnt like him u can praise ur actor .

 
At 6:27 AM, Anonymous kumar said...

//i wanted to say i m not taking abt this review . some regular visitors of this blog who ve no work but to talk something bad abt ajith. //

You cannot change the *crappy* souls my friend. It is just happens like that. Had this one been done by any other hero and in the same level, appreciation will fly high :-) forgetting the craps delivered by other stars as well

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

I don't really understand what made ppl say such above statement

// You cannot change the *crappy* // souls my friend.

Dude nothing personal was meant in previous posts. I don't know why Ajith fans are always at triggering public debates and say that others finger point Ajith always. The only difference between hardcore Ajith fans and other actor fans is that Ajith fans feel that *He is the only actor in the world and others are useless stupids*, well thats fine, as long as you don't drag us into personal debates, thats not the intention of the blog.

 
At 5:26 AM, Anonymous kumar said...

// *He is the only actor in the world and others are useless stupids* //

Sorry man. I didn't refer to you definitly. I also like sensible discussions without much sarcasm. We can blindly make fun of anyone. Entire blog world carries tons of proofs ! The fact is : "Ajith is always underrated and when it comes to others, the behaviour of other neutral fans becomes just the opposite" Hope you got what I mean !

There are innumerable blaming ajith as THE ONLY STUPID IN THE WORLD forgetting other stupids ! that is what I referred. On the review, I have already expressed my comments. I refer to the blind sarcasm that comes all the time on ajith here as well as n other parts !

Sorry mate if that harsh statement affected u a lot ! I apologize if that made u to feel like that !

Same way : Like how we point the negatives. Do we point out the blind criticism done on the positives or false as well ? Nope !
Always ajith fans suffer as if other actors' fans are genuine in accepting the facts !

 
At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes dude, I agree with you that Ajith was in the brunt of action past 2 yrs. Now that the Actor himself is choosing good roles(source last week AnandhaVikatan), he should be (hopefully) out of criticisms in the near future.

As for other actors getting away with bad roles, I don't agree. Vikram was blasted for *Gemini*, Arul, Majaa and *Kaathal Sadugudu*. Kamal's VV was only marked 40/100 on Vikatan(a really low score for a Kamal movie). As you mentioned VV had lot of loop holes which Vikatan mentioned. How can Villain get out of US after blowing up the whole apartment?, I've been in US and feel this is quite impossible.Mumbai Express was also a flop. Last good Kamal movie I could think of is probably Anbe Sivam?. Chandramukhi marked 40 correctly so!, it was stupid movie except for Superstar and Vadivelu. I doubt even Anniyan was worth 48/100, may be Vikatan was kind with Shankar after giving zero for Boys. Never even count Sivakasi and Aadhi for movies!.

Tamil movie industry has changed, you cannot get away with bad movies(may be once or twice but not more!). Vijay is taking care that his next movie does not end up as crap like Pandian, is a certificate of where Tamil cinema is heading!. Vijay was also mentioning abt Bharath, Arya, Vishal and Jeeva. All these guys have 1-2 good movies to their credit as well!.

We will (hopefully) be forced to see good movies in the future.

 
At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

such a bised reveiw. Stop writing revioew.

disgusting to read ur biased review..

 
At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg he is siuch a girl

 
At 2:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think "varalaaru" many million times better compared with a "crap movie" called "pokiri",this fellow has no creativity all "acts" jus a replica of "mahesh babu". my god it has declared as a winner in the box-office shame on the public.atleast alwaar we can sit and watch with family.vijay is a "total begger" getting hit films and remaking. "ajith is best as an actor with character"

 
At 1:07 AM, Blogger Akshay Shah said...

Nice review Balaji! I finally managed to catchup with a Ajith starrer the other day,and found the movie sound piece of masala!!! Movie in question is AMARKKALAM!

http://aakshayshah.blogspot.com/

A.Shah

 

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