Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Azhagiya Thamizh Magan


Vijay has been frequently criticized for sticking to formulaic, masala films that are barely different from one another. Azhagiya Thamizh Magan is by no means an answer to these critics but it does seem to be an attempt on Vijay's part to deviate from the kind of films(like Pokkiri, Aadhi or Sivakasi, which were dominated by violence and/or vulgarity) he has been doing lately. But an unnecessary need to stick to his image and deliver his brand of acting when uncalled for, erases the opportunities provided to him by the story, to do something different.

Guru(Vijay) is an MBA student and an ace sprinter. He also has a good heart and that's what earns him the love of Abhi(Shreya), the daughter of a rich businessman(Ashish Vidyarthi). One fine day, Guru begins getting visions of the future and when a couple of incidents happen exactly as he had seen foreseen them, he talks to the psychiatrist, who informs him that he has ESP. The next vision he has startles Guru and he moves to Mumbai to stop it from happening.

ATM seems like Vijay's attempt to do something different. Ironically, the movie works best when it resembles a typical Vijay film i.e. before he goes to Mumbai. The usual dances, stunts, romance and comedy all work reasonably well on the whole though they all have their individual highs and lows. The high among the songs is definitely Ellaa Pugazhum..., where Vijay shows off some very impressive dance moves. As for the comedy, though Santhanam and a few others are on hand to provide the comedy, its Geetha, as Vijay's mom, who surprisingly gets the most laughs with some choice, well-delivered lines.

The movie shows signs of being different from the typical Vijay film when he gets his first vision. This being a Vijay movie, we don't expect a serious, scientific look at the phenomenon of ESP or its effect on someone who has the ability and we are not disappointed. Inspite of his valid, lucidly-put concerns about his visions, his ESP is little more than a gimmick to move the story forward. That said, his last vision does come as a surprise and the suspense at how it will be brought about helps move the story along.

The film gives Vijay a character different from his usual goody-goody types. But the implementation of the character is what kills the movie. Vijay's familiar brand of acting - the wide-eyed expressions, the humor-added dialog delivery, the slightly slapstick body language - is employed for this character also and that doesn't work. The director is confused about whether the audience should like or dislike the character and so he makes it a villainous character that talks and acts like the Vijay we are used to. So what could have been a good thriller turns into this odd combination of a comedy and a half-hearted thriller, with Vijay making jokes and mugging to the camera. There are a couple of scenes where he plays it straight and they just serve to show that the movie could've worked much better if he had played the entire character in the same vein.

The movie eventually develops a mistaken identity scenario. The director can be credited for not stretching things too much leading upto the scenario but he lets things slip once the movie gets there. The ruses employed by others to resolve the issue are completely childish and silly. In this modern age of forensics and DNA, the best idea they can come up with to clear their doubts is a running race!

The film has a nice surprise in the turn of events that lead to Vijay's last vision coming true. It sets up our expectations(the sepia-toned images help keep a key component of the vision hidden) and then breaks them in a good way. But this unfortunately leads to a laughably bad sequence. A ridiculous lecture about karpu, illogical character transformations and a particularly silly reappearance of a character close out the movie in a very shoddy manner.

Vijay looks good and goes through his usual routines. Shriya looks gorgeous in most places though there are a couple of hairstyles and dresses that don't sit too well on her. The song sequences are the only opportunities she has to show off her figure and she uses them to the full extent. Namitha does an item number for the Nee Marilyn Monroe... song. Looking fat and fleshy in dresses that are a small step up from a bikini and executing dance moves that look like a boxer's warm-up routines, she single-handedly pulls the quality of the movie down a few notches. Marilyn Monroe must be turning in her grave! Among the other song sequences, the Ponmagal Vandhaal... remix is picturized nicely and the lyrics also make it rather apt for where it occurs. Maduraikku Pogaadhadi... and Valayaapatti... are generic, folk numbers with nothing much to distinguish them from one other. The latter scores when comes to Vijay's dancing though.

26 Comments:

At 12:13 AM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan said...

Vijay actually did a good job in this movie! guess he did what he was asked to do.. the dude who wrote the screenplay could have made this movie a lot more interesting!

:)

 
At 12:32 AM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

BB,

When Vijay tries to experiment things go bad (whether it's director's fault or not). Collections report does not augur well for the movie.

Heard he was paid 6 crores for this movie. The opening week collection was 29 lacs(Chennai), Sivaji had 5 times this figure :). Hopefully this justifies the younger crop of actors to rethink their salaries.

 
At 5:10 AM, Anonymous APALA said...

Hi Balaji!
You must really like Vijay - A LOT!!! (OH MY GOD, that lady Shreya irritated me to no end - at least in Sivaji she was little tolerable - but here grrrrrrrrrrr........!!!)

Well, I wanted to write a lot about this - in my opinion - not a REVIEW but just "Observations"!!
But it's your blog and you can write whatever you want!!!

Anyway, I hope that you do KNOW what "experimenting" or "trying something different" mean!
My Review:
ALL TIME MOKKAI - ATM!

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

azhagiya thamizh magan enru sollamatten, but he sure has managed to stay young looking.

 
At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Apala. Shriya was extremely irritating. Being an actress she showed no sign of any acting. She could have might as well just done item numbers if all she wanted to do was show off her figure.

-San

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

//
You must really like Vijay - A LOT!!!
//

apala,

vijaykku balaji evvalavoe panni irukkaar,

ippo idha panna maattaraa ! LOL

you hit the bulls eye dude !

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and I think balaji must have really liked the way vijay sets up a mama for shakeela :)

but couldnt understand how he degrades the same set of scenes in other films.

even if mindless sex comedies are there in a rajini or vijay film.. it does make balaji to enjoy .. !

 
At 9:05 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

sundar, i agree. i think the dude who asked vijay to play the bad guy with his usual style is more at fault :)

srivatsan, 6 cr?! i think his check for the next movie will be a bit less :)

anon, my thots exactly. surprised he could still carry off a college student :)

apala, considering i thot vijay playing the bad guy in his own style killed the movie, i'm not sure how u think i like vijay A LOT?!

and this is vijay we're talking about and not kamal. so my standards for 'trying to do something different' and 'experimentation' are pretty low :) but yeah, i did think he tried something different after crap like 'sivakasi' and 'aadhi' and i did like ATM better than those movies :)

san, shriya mela en ivlo kovam?! maybe u're a namitha fan??
anyway, what heroines do these days in hero-centric movies are mostly glorified item numbers. so nothing surprising here. and shriya fared soooo much better compared to namitha :)

anon, naan ennappa apdi paniten? :)

anon, no i didn't. that was one of the lows i was thinking about when i wrote "...though they all have their individual highs and lows.". just that it didnt last long enuf to irritate or affect the rest of the movie :)

 
At 9:16 AM, Blogger pravien said...

Srivatsan Sridharan said...

BB,

When Vijay tries to experiment things go bad (whether it's director's fault or not). Collections report does not augur well for the movie.

Heard he was paid 6 crores for this movie. The opening week collection was 29 lacs(Chennai), Sivaji had 5 times this figure :). Hopefully this justifies the younger crop of actors to rethink their salaries.


------------------------------------

Do you people Behindwoods ??? Its one of the most crappiest sites i have ever seen.Just picking up articles from newspapers and magazines . They dont have any exclusive sources as such.

Sify is alot better than them.

BTW about collections with Sivaji with ATM n Kireedom .

Sivaji relased in 15 screens while ATM n Kireedom about 6 screens each .

The ticket prices for Sivaji was unimaginable.

There were ven shows at midnight for sivaji.

No film ever could come close to sivaji .

 
At 9:17 AM, Blogger pravien said...

and one more thing about Sivaji , read this week's juniou vikatan.

They have given the losses faced by distributos of sivaji with facts and interviews.

Salem distributor facing a loss of 1.2 crores , Nag ravi facing a loss of 1.5 crores...its astrnomical...

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

Wow, finally someone's echos my thots. Well Done BB.

Shriya had a big role and did it really well, while Namitha and that Porno made the film worse.

Vijay performed well, and guyz if this film makes no sense on the DNA factor, wat bout Thalai's forthcoming Billa? or Maddy's blockbuster Rendu?

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Sri said...

I read somewhere that this movie was inspired by a Malayalam movie titled 'Iyer the Great'.

 
At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Fido Dido said...

Sri,

LOL, i've watched Iyer the great and thought the same while watching ATM, but only the ESP part is common between these 2 movies. NOTHING else !

 
At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vijay has acted well .. Shriya did her part.. Namita her bit part :)

Only person I hated in the movie is santhanam.. He's really a loud mouthed idiot & should stick to Lollu sabha aruvai jokes:)
Vanaja

 
At 3:38 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Whenever vijay tries to stray from his routine it alwys backfires. But actually rather than watching Vijay doing something different, i rather watch a "Pokkiri" or "Ghiili". These movies were more entesrtaining than "ATM". Good intention can never make a good movie..

 
At 1:55 AM, Anonymous fans_USA said...

Music is good .Vijay s better compared to his previous ones
but i dnt believe they can make such a horrrible movie when they have a good and different storyline.

 
At 4:37 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

//Vijay performed well, and guyz if this film makes no sense on the DNA factor, wat bout Thalai's forthcoming Billa? or Maddy's blockbuster Rendu?//
Billa is yet to release and how do you conclude that Billa will have many senseless scenes?Did you see the rushes or anything?Just a doubt.

 
At 4:50 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

//But actually rather than watching Vijay doing something different, i rather watch a "Pokkiri" or "Ghiili". These movies were more entesrtaining than "ATM". Good intention can never make a good movie.//
Skanda,I agree with you completely.

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the story resembles iyer the great but the movie doesnt .
graphics and stunts,editing,background music is like what we have in tamil amman bakthi movies.
karpu---- oh my god

 
At 12:48 PM, Anonymous Prin said...

Ganesh, if you didnt know, I referred to Billa as both the Rajni's/Ajith's aren't related but lookalike........as like Rendu and..........ATM :)

 
At 1:30 PM, Anonymous raj said...

It's not as if any movie which has non-related lookalikes is crap - I remember a rather neat movie called Michael Madana...

 
At 1:31 PM, Anonymous raj said...

What was I smoking? :-).

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous raj said...

actually, I wanted to say Johnny and somehow got distracted.

 
At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie falls flat mainly because of bad screenplay and worse direction. Story being illogical isn't a big problem (most shankar's movies have illogical stories, also like raj points out above unrelated lookalikes have been accepted before in movies like Billa, johnny, rajadhi raja, etc.) The first half was quite pathetic and the second half, while moving relatively fast, fails because the 'other' Vijay is poorly characterised, with some uninspiring acting. I didn't think I would ever say this, but watching Vijay perform a dual role has made me appreciate the actor in Ajith (for Vaali and Godfather)!!! I sincerely hope Vijay sticks to Telugu remakes... which I find quite enjoyable.

-arun

 
At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

afctuallu the film is performing average at the box-office and not as bad as everyone expected...its starting to pick up after the initial hiccups...

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was introduced as "doctor vijay"! Did I miss something here?!

 

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