Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kireedam


Kireedam is a remake of a Malayalam film of the same name from 14 years ago. The original, inspite of having a star like Mohanlal in the lead, seemed to revolve around a father's dreams for his son and his sadness as the dreams come crashing down. With Ajith in the lead, the Tamil remake is understandably more hero-centric. It is only a small shift, which by itself is a pleasant surprise, but that is all that is needed to dilute the emotional core of the film and make it seem more like a retread of many other rowdy-themed Tamil films than the remake of a classic.

It is pretty obvious that Ajith is pretty confused about the direction his career should take. A bit too old to play the loverboy roles that brought him stardom, box-office success and some of his most memorable roles, he opted for the masala route, playing image-boosting, fan-targeted roles in several masala films. They didn't bring him much success with only a few hits in the middle of a long string of flops. With Aazhwaar being a particularly huge dud, he has opted for a change of pace with Kireedam. It is a down-to-earth story where sentiments play a key part and the film eschews things like punch dialogs and graphics-aided stunts, which have become staple fare in films by our heroes. It is a welcome move by the actor and a step in the right direction to be taken seriously as an actor again.

Rajarajan(Rajkiran), a head constable at a police station in Tiruchi, has only 1 dream in life - to see his eldest son Shaktivel(Ajith) join the police force as a sub-inspector. Shakti seems well on his way to fulfilling his father's dream as he is called for an interview. Things progress smoothly on the personal front too as Shakti falls for Divya(Trisha) and their families accept their romance wholeheartedly. While he is away for the interview, Rajarajan gets transferred to Kodikarai, a troubled area where a local dada Varadhan(Ajay) holds sway. Shakti is forced to clash with Varadhan when he attacks Shakti's father and that sets off a series of events that threaten Shakti's attempts to join the force.

The movie doesn't quite set things in place for the emotional impact it hopes to extract later. There are some sequences that work(like the confusion in Ajith's house as Trisha enters searching for the thief) but the proceedings are never engrossing(the abrupt editing could have something to do with it too). Rajkiran and Ajith do create a likeable father-son pair but the emotions never reach the level needed to draw us in. The romance between Ajith and Trisha is also quite superficial. The effect of this lack of emotional depth isn't seen until much later though. The characters go through a lot of pain and suffering but we watch them with a detached air.

Its quite possible that the story of a man who is forced to turn to violence due to circumstances was new when the Malayalam original was released. But we only recently had a slew of movies in Tamil where the hero was a rowdy. Though most of these had a protagonist who was a rowdy by choice, there were a few(like Thamizh and Agaram, to name a couple) where the unwilling hero was pushed into a life of rowdyism. That's what happens to Ajith here and so everything seems too familiar. The lawless area, the all-powerful dada, the situation where Ajith turns to violence for the first time - everything is completely predictable.

While family always played a part in the other movies where the hero turned rowdy, that aspect is given a much bigger focus here and that's where Kireedam differs from those movies. Rajkiran sees his dream crumbling down a little bit more with each new act of Ajith and that is more effective than Ajith's frustration about things spiralling out of control. And its not just Rajkiran. Though the others in the family get far less screen time, there is a wonderful, wordless scene late in the movie around the dinner table that shows just how much they all love Ajith. This love is in the background whenever Ajith does something that pushes his family's dream further away and that makes it more effective.

Considering Ajith's star status, the direction the movie takes towards the end comes as a surprise. The fight sequence feels real and is not cinematic and the film manages to end on a powerfully ironic note.

Ajith manages to forget that he is a star and has let the actor in him again peek out. He downplays the role and that is exactly what the role needs. He is especially impressive in the last scene(there is a 'showcase' scene where he cries out but it is in the scene before, where he uncontrollably screams at Rajkiran, that I thought he was excellent). Trisha plays her usual role and doesn't bring anything special to the table. Rajkiran plays almost the same role he played in Thavamaai Thavamirundhu and brings believability to it. Saranya too joins him. Vivek has a few funny lines and so does Santhanam. Ajay, looking a little bit like Surya, is a usual villain, shouting and screaming but eventually not very effective. Vizhiyil... and Kanavellaam... are the best songs on the soundtrack and they earn the top spots on screen also. They both play in the background without any lip-syncing and that works. Akkam Pakkam... is pleasing to the eye with its nice settings and a pretty Trisha.

43 Comments:

At 10:06 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

BB,

Hmm, mixed reviews all round.

Looks like 2.5 stars :-D

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Anoop Sundaram said...

Ajith has to be congratulated for not entertaining more of masala stuff into the story. but as u have rightly mentioned, the similarity it has with the other contemporary movies is the setback and perhaps with a much more better director the movie wud have hit the bull's eye

 
At 1:24 AM, Blogger Anoop Sundaram said...

forgot to add... good unbiased review

 
At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

The film was very touching....(apparently the Malayalees pleaded to know what happened next) so a remake was made titled 'Chenkol'.

However I doubt that will happen.

Ajith was immense in the climax scene. Definitely one of the better movies this year....:)

 
At 2:43 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

BB, one correction, the original was released in 1989, so it has been 18 years....

 
At 5:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

overall a good movie ; could ve been much better .
young director should be appreciated for adding any masala for the sake of tamil audience or ajith fans.

venkat

 
At 5:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

//not adding any masala//

 
At 6:30 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

Going by your review,it may get 2.5* I think.It is nice reading your review,wheteher I agree/disagree with the ratings.
Well,Mahesh's Nandu has become a hit in Chennai:
http://boxoffice.blogs.friendster.com/chennai_box_office/2007/07/kreedam_opens_a.html
It's a dubbed version of Athadu.Will you like to watch it?

 
At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's decent sentimental movie but not a blobkbuster .. Def deserves 2 **..
Sandhya

 
At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good review as always, bb.

"...wonderful, wordless scene late in the movie around the dinner table..."

SunTV showed that scene in their Thiraivimarsanam show over the weekend :( They spoiled it. That's what happens when you review a movie for 1/2 hour.

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger VThinkTank said...

Mr BB,

Just a curious question on a old topic.

how come you have not put up a post regarding the 3 part making of sivaji program that was shown over the last 3 sundays in Sun tv.

just wondering... Sorry for bring it up here

Cheers
Venkat

 
At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

**NOT TRYING TO START A WAR**

Ganesh Kumar, can you please shut up about Telugu films. Nandu flopped miserably at the box-office. It released in 2 prints, and one was taken off after 2 shows. Telugu films are inferior, don't you see....just cos' Sivaji's taking the mick out of all the the Telugu films in Andhra, you don't have to come making up some pointless facts from a friendster blog, run by a biased cow....

 
At 7:03 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Prin, that wasn't very civilized at all! Isn't everyone entitled to an opinion of their own whether it be about Telugu, Tamil, Hindi or Japanese movies for that matter?

I don't know if it matters to anybody at all.. but I watched the Telugu version of Pokkiri (after watching the Tamil Pokkiri) and wasn't impressed with the original, but was bowled over by Mahesh Babu. He has immense screen presence and great magnetism that so few tamil stars have. I ended up watching a series of his films thereafter including Athadu and Arjun. I'm looking forward to Athidhi to release in August.

Also, Prin, it puzzles me that you declare that Telugu films are inferior.. surely, you haven't been watching Tamil films like Unakkum Enakkum, Ghilli, M.Kumaran, Pokkiri, Jayam, or read about the upcoming Santhosh Subramaniam (Ever wondered where these films all came from?! :-) ;-).. If you continue to insist that "Telugu films are inferior".. I urge you to see "Bommarillu" (Siddharth, Prakashraj and Genelia are simply mindblowing in this simple tale told beautifully!).. So much so that it is going to become Santosh Subramaniam in Tamil.

Please feel free to say that Ganesh Kumar posts irrelevant comments to the main post, but don't ask anybody to shut up (it's very impolite! :-)

Sorry Balaji, didn't mean to make this an irrelevant comment, but Prin kinda dragged this out of me! :-) :-)

 
At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Prem said...

Thala is back top form.One of the best film of the year. surely.. go for it. Thala and Rajkiran was mindblowing :)

 
At 9:21 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Cochin Haneefa played the same role in the original "Kreedom" as well the tamil version. infact he made his debut with that film. inresting eh...

 
At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Skanda, really?!.. Wierd but Wikipedia says something different! Are we both talking about the same Cochin Haneefa? If I remember correctly, he even acted in a couple of tamil films he directed in the late 80s including Paasa Paravaigal (which had a fantastic storyline and awesome performances! :-)

 
At 10:23 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Same Cochin Haneefa :), gr8 comedian and a truly detestable villain (Mahanadhi)

 
At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

No, that's not what I was talking about, Srivatsan. Sorry, I wasn't very clear.. Skanda mentioned that Haneefa's debut was in the Malayalam Kreedom, but Wikipedia mentions that he has been acting since the 70s.

Skanda, did you mean 'debut' in a particular kind of role (villain, hero, supporting actor kind of thing) or 'the debut' for his acting career?

 
At 1:26 AM, Blogger skanda said...

Ur rite sandya, cochin Heneefa made his debut as a comedian in the earlier "Kreedam". must have overlooked that

BB, the earlier film came out in 1989, so it was around 18 years already not 14 as u stated.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kireedam_%281989_film%29

 
At 1:48 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

Mr. Prin/Anwari Begum etc.,
I hope Chennaionline is quite reliable!
http://www.chennaionline.com/film/movielist2.asp

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

//Telugu films are inferior, don't you see....just cos' Sivaji's taking the mick out of all the the Telugu films in Andhra//
That's something those who see them must say!Well,Shivaji's A.P. rights were sold for just 8 crores.
http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/fr/2007/06/22/hydbindx.htm
While Chiranjeevi's forthcoming film's Nizam rights(1/3 of A.P.) alone were sold for 8.5 crores.
In Tamil Nadu,Rajini is no.1,but in A.P.,there are many who deliver blockbusters in the range of Rs.25-30 crores.
By the way,a Big budget Telugu releases in 40+ screens in Hyderabad,while in Chennai,it's 17 for Rajini himself.

 
At 3:21 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

//Vizhiyil... and Kanavellaam... are the best songs on the soundtrack and they earn the top spots on screen also.//
Of late,A.R.Rehman's nephew is doing better job than the master himself.As I liked Veyil and Kireedam songs much more than those of Varalaru or Sivaji.(Only 'Sahana' song was good in the latter.)

 
At 3:56 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

'Film' mite not be the right word, but 'industry' and 'markets' are.

Chennaionline is mainatained like a cineblog....and the link you gave me before was a friendster blog by a huge Ajith fan, who claimed Kireedom had a larger opening than Sivaji, Anwar saadat.

Sandhya, just incase you haven't noticed, several readers of Balji's have been irritated by Ganesh's 'great ' comments.

It is usually filled up with two parts:-

*1st: Praising Balaji, making sure that Balaji is on his side....
*2nd: Bringing up some nonsense with false facts claiming that Telugu cinema is .......

//In Tamil Nadu,Rajini is no.1,but in A.P.,there are many who deliver blockbusters in the range of Rs.25-30 crores.//

It's pretty bait that Chiranjeevi is number 1, followed by Nag, Mahesh and co. Chiru/Nag films receive a moderate opening in A centres in Chennai while Mahesh/Allu Arjun and co. receive a one day-one screen approach.

Well Telugu cinema's heroes have all got their breakthrough's after a remake of a Tamil film....
Pawan Kalyan (Kushi -Kushi)
Mahesh Babu (Naani - New)
Nag (Iddaru Iddare)

and stil get run over by Tamil films at the Hyderabad box office, eg. Sivaji, Chandramukhi, Sandakozhi, Thimiru, Anniyan, Ghajini....

And even Sandhya, the films you mentioned are even associated with the Tamils.

''Bommarillu'' was directed by Baskar and starred Siddharth - both Tamils.

''NVNV'' - Prabhu Deva, Siddharth, Trisha...etc.

Sorry for the long post, apologies to all that want it for any reason, sorry Sandhya for 'triggering' off you angry reply... :)

 
At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never watched a telugu movie before. But bommarillu sounds like an interesting movie to watch. Wikipedia entry for that movie runs like an ad :)

 
At 7:51 AM, Anonymous Karthik SC said...

S.Ganesh Kumar don't waste your time arguing with people like prin. These people don't understand that a big budget movie like Sivaji in tamil would not have been possible without the support of the telugu people.

Prin seems to be a tamil fanatic. The list of non tamil actors in tamil industry is endless.Let him name three contemporary leading ladies who are tamil and i will quit this blog

 
At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Average movie .....def not blockbuster material....

 
At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

balaji's blog is relaxing and classy. Please don't turn it into another spot for tamil vs telugu or vaigai vs cauvery or south indian vs north indian arguments that go nowhere and solve nothing...

 
At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Prin said...

I, once again apoligize for my behaviour during this post.....it's been rather childish.

However, to Karthik SC, don't qui, but for your information Trisha, Sneha, Pooja.... all have Tamil in their blood.....

 
At 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, pls stop this. This never seems to end. Chinna pulla thana irukku :-), both tamil and telugu fields are good in their own ways.

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger Babu said...

Never argue with an idiot, they drag u down to their level then beat u with experience ;-)

 
At 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trisha has tamil in their blood ?? Since when ? Quite shocking esp when she pretends to media as if she doesn't know tamil !

Babu,
:) I know from where you copied this

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched the movie the previous week.
Quite a good movie with class elements

Ajith is young, charming & bubbly.
The romance sequences were lovable.
His acting is good. Rajkiran too.

One of the better movies released this year compared to masala bombs

balaji - ?? ajith looks old enough to play lover boy roles ?? !! I don't think so. If 50+ can play romance roles, I don't think a person like ajith deserves such a comment

 
At 10:03 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

srivatsan, just 2 * actually. emotional movie but lacked emotional depth :)

anoop/venkat, yes ajith defly deserves credit for taking on this role and remaining mostly faithful to the original :)

prin, didnt feel very touching to me. it tried to be touching but for some reason, it didn't work for me :)

prin/skanda, thanx for the correction :)

venkat, simple reason is that i didnt see it! missed the 1st part and then didnt feel like watching the next 2. hope they release it along with the movie's dvd.

ganesh/prin et al, not sure why this went into a tamil vs telugu debate. please don't continue it any more.

anon, i didnt say romance roles, i said loverboy roles. i meant the kinda cute, predominantly romantic roles he did in movies like 'vaali'. romance is fine. and i dont think 50+ can do loverboy roles either. as i said in the 'sivaji' review, i was glad the romance was almost completely done with comedy since otherwise it would've been awkward :)

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Karthik SC said...

I hate to write this.But pooja has a kannada father and sinhala mother and Sneha as far as I know is a telugu girl.Anyway none of them dub in their own voices

 
At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ajith looks old in some scenes but still handsome... We can clearly see the grey hair/beard...
Radhika

 
At 12:49 PM, Blogger Raju said...

I think this movie is atleast 7-8 years too late.. w'd have been great in late 90's with a younger Ajit and fresher approach.

I was expecting a dialogue at the end of the movie like this:

Rajkiran: Nee kaakhi chattai pottuttu adutha maasam seyya vendiyathai konjam munnadiye pannitte.. Adhoda, nee rowdy-ngalai adichadhu tharkaappu madhiri.. adhanale nee S.I. aguradhukku police report naan +-ve-a kodukka porenn..

I w'dnt have complained.. bcos, just by killing one rowdy, violence isnt gonna get subdued. His henchmen are all in line to take up Varadha's spot.. So, in this sense, this is sort of total opposite to 'Pokkiri', rite? I w'd prefer Pokkiri's approach, though..

 
At 2:12 AM, Blogger skanda said...

According to sify, the climax of The film has been changed to a happy ending. it seems Ajith fans could not accept Ajith as a loser in the end. man, i really pity the directors who have to direct the superstars, They not only have to bother about the star, but also the whims and fancy of the fans while writing the script... No wonder there is hardly any creativity around.

Only God Can Save Tamil Cinema!!

 
At 5:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ajith budda lag raha hai :)
Prashant

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Out of topic, Kamal's George W Bush picture.

http://boolykooly.blogspot.com/2007/07/kollywood-party.html

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

skanda,
The climax was changed after receiving the response from the public as well. So, instead of blaming the fans (though I know many ajith fans who liked the sad ending), blame the TN audience as well who celebrate 3+ hours of masala craps.

Mugavari too had the samething. & our directors should feel proud for recovering their heroes from an electric shock :)

 
At 2:02 AM, Blogger Kupps said...

bb,
the original kireedom was remade into telugu in the following year itself with Dr. Rajasekhar donning the role of Lal. Its dubbed version "aambaLa?" did run well in TN as well (atleast the non-chennai circles -- including Trichy, Madurai cities but not sure of coimbatore).

 
At 11:28 PM, Blogger jennimanju said...

sandya i like the way you approach things.
hi guys,
i am new member of your club.i hope i am welcome.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger ajithkumar said...

Collection of Ultimate Star Ajith Billa2007 Songs , Videos, Gallery,Wallpapers, Latest movies, only at www.ajiththeactor.com.

 

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