Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bheemaa

Movies with rowdies as hero have so far fallen into one of two categories - masala rowdy movies like Gemini and Red, which were primarily entertainers that offered a good mix of action, romance, comedy and sentiments; and realistic rowdy movies like Pudhuppettai and Naalai which treated the subject more seriously by focusing on its dark side and not sugarcoating it. Bheemaa hangs uneasily between these two categories for the most part. It finally decides the route it wants to take towards the end but the done-to-death story and action overload until then have already made us lose our patience by that time.

Chinna(Prakashraj) is a powerful dada who tries to do good even if his means are not always lawful. Sekhar(Vikram) has idolized Chinna ever since he was a young boy and finally gets the chance to join Chinna's gang. He quickly earns Chinna's trust and affection and becomes his right-hand man in his fight against Periyavar(Raghuvaran), the other dada in town. Meanwhile Charu(Trisha), who has taken a liking towards Sekhar, woos him but he has no intention of reciprocating her feelings.

The glorified heroism and the colorful song sequences make us look at Bheemaa as a masala flick. At the same time, its sober tone, lack of overt comedy and violence(there is not a lot of blood or gore since thankfully, hand-to-hand combat and guns, rather than aruvaals, dominate but there are a lot of broken arms and legs and the body count is pretty high) ask us to take it realistically. And that raises a lot of questions that one would usually overlook in a masala film. Why, for instance, do Prakashraj and Bheema go into the under-construction building without a gun when they seem to be able to draw out their guns at a moment's notice at other times? How exactly does Vikram manage to kidnap Raghuvaran from his own bedroom and transport him so far away? Such questions keep popping up at regular intervals, preventing us from taking the film seriously.

Bheemaa's story is almost shockingly unoriginal. The story of the hero becoming a dada's right-hand man and the two of them clashing with another dada has been told too many times already. There are not too many variations one can draw out of this story and Lingusamy doesn't even try. Instead, he just tries to add another dimension by building an emotionally symbiotic relationship between Vikram and Prakashraj(the film does do this right by making Vikram see Prakashraj as a role model and try to emulate him right from his childhood). Unfortunately, even this kind of a mentor-protege relation has been seen before in Mandhiran.

The downside of having this cliched, threadbare story is pretty clear in the first half. While fight sequences are usually inserted into the screenplay to make the action lovers happy, Bheemaa's first half feels like one long fight sequence with some dialogs and songs inserted to give the stunt master a break! The fights, especially the one in the market and the one in the under-construction building, are really good. They are well-staged, intense and convincing even if Vikram is made to look like a superhero swatting down the bad guys like flies. But there is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". As the gangs shoot at each other and Vikram single-handedly beats up the bad guys, we soon realize that the story gives us nothing new and barely moves forward.

It is only towards the end, after all the action, that the movie finally picks itself up, dusts itself off and gets down to involving us. Emotions are allowed to surface(sometimes a little too openly but after the lack of heart for so long, even that is welcome) and they lead to interesting conflicts and even more interesting decisions. The proceedings are very surprising and the tone the movie adopts is not what we expect at all. And at the end, we see the movie has developed not just a heart but also a soul as it even brings in a moral and after the recent turn of events, it is able to do so without seeming hypocritical.

Vikram saves the day with his star power though we do wish it had been put to better use. Looking beefy but well-toned, he makes the fight sequences work and looks convincing as he puts the bad guys down with little effort. Trisha appears in another of her usual roles. She looks good in the regular scenes but appears garishly made-up in the song sequences, especially Ragasiya Kavavugal.... Prakashraj is solid as usual while Raghuvaran isn't given much to do. Oru Mugamo... is picturized well but all the duets are disappointments, both in placement and in picturization. Only Enadhuyire... impresses as it plays in the background and finally gives Vikram and Trisha a chance to exhibit some chemistry. Rangu Rangamma... finds Sherin doing an item number and is unremarkable save for the fact that, since it was probably picturized when Sherin was actually popular, it gives us an indication of how long it has taken for the movie to hit the screens!

This Bheema is a weakling.

28 Comments:

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Thats bad. .With Bheema being ruled out, initial reactions being worse for others - is there anything to watch at all?

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

balaji, please consider reviewing old movies/classics once again. i would like to read reviews of some good movies!

 
At 1:02 AM, Blogger skanda said...

"Bheema" has already tanked at the boxoffice accrding to Telugu.com. This does not sound good as other releases are also a washout.

 
At 1:16 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

Oh no!Wasting 2 years for such a crap!In these 2 years,he could have done 2 or 3 Pitamagan/Sethu kinda flicks and could have ended getting great acclaim as an excellent actor.

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

1.5 or 2*?

 
At 2:26 AM, Blogger skanda said...

S,ganesh kumar, i also thought so, why vikram wasted all his time for this movie. It is not worth it. But seriously vikram is looking terrible old and run down. wonder if the Ayurvedic treatment is actually working for him. He seriously needs to rethink his career move and do some 'wise' movies. we want another "kasi" and "anniyan" for him.

 
At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji,

I liked your last statement " This Bheema is a weakling" ;)


Skanda,

Yeah Vikram looks old these days..caught a glimpse of him in an interview.

 
At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Sivajini said...

Thanks for the review Balaji. :)

So what you and other fellow bloggers are saying is don't bother huh? Good to know.

 
At 8:01 AM, Anonymous ram said...

bheema gadhaiya thooki gambeeram-a nadapaar-nu paatha, thadiki vizhundhu gadhai bheema-va thookiduthu pola theriyudhu! ;-)
my family watched the film in a theatre screening in memphis. my paati's innocent reaction was priceless- "ena daa ramu padam idhu, elaa scene-layum yaaravadhu, 'pottudoo...konnudoo'-nu sollinde irundhaa!"

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

I am glad that Bheema flopped(if the news is indeed true). Hope this means Vikram will pay more attention to storyline from here onwards than on making money in Andhra with every Tamil release of his.

Also, the likes of Trisha and Nayanthara should'nt be referred to as actresses from now on.Actress is a really big word for what they are doing on screen.

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

The dialogues are by Sujatha it seems. Does a 70+ Sujatha realy want to tarnish his legacy by writing punch dialogues for meaningless masala movies? Does this really give him creative satisfaction? Not to mention the priceless dialogues he wrote for Boys(like "Aunty pandaaram": and so on) :-)

 
At 10:35 AM, Anonymous vijay said...

Balaji, based on what I have heard and read so far, I think it would be a smart financial decision to watch all Pongal releases on rental DVDs. Of course I know that you are a buff and all that, but still. Although I read a few positive reviews about"Pudhichirukku" a movie that doesnt have big stars but has some freshness. You might want to check it out next rather than enduring Simbu in KaaLai.

 
At 10:44 AM, OpenID Srikanth said...

Thanks for the review. I would postpone seeing Bheema until it is screened in KTV or SunTV :))

 
At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vikram is 42 years old just like Shahrukh Khan & Salman Khan.. So don't expect him to look like Dhanush :)
But Recently I saw Ajith& shockingly he looked so old with grey hair & beard..
I think only Vijay has maintained his youthful looks
Pushpa

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pushpa,

No one said that Vikram should look young like Dhanush. He looks older than SRK lately. Just because Ajith appeared in grey hair and beard doesn't make him look old.

 
At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pushpa, Vijay is still in his early 30s. (and so is Surya). So them maintaining young looks should'nt be all that difficult :-)

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger skanda said...

Rajni still looked very youthful compared to vikram. rajni was 45 and 50 when he did "badshsa" and "padaiyappa". he didit even looked aged. But Vikram has seriously aged so much.

Shahrukh khan is looking younger after beefing up his body, his hairstyle adds to his youthfulness.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Srivatsan Sridharan said...

Hmm, by the build up Vikram gave, I thought he'd nearly pull out a *God Father* :)

 
At 9:01 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bart, no this pongal seems like a washout :(

anon, do plan on doing that soon :)

skanda, if 'bheema' does well, the only reason would be the absolute lack of competition!

ganesh, 1.5 :)

anon, thanx :)

sivajini, i'm definitely saying "don't bother" :)

ram, lol. ur paatti summed up the movie pretty well :)

vijay, the only other movies they r screening here r 'kaaLai' and 'vaazhthukkal'. i don't feel like checking either of them out on the big screen :)

srikanth, u're welcome :)

srivatsan, yeah i know exactly what u mean. he talked about "hollywood standards", racy thriller, etc. quite disappointing :(

 
At 1:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watched Bheema. 3 mani nerama moochu thinara thinara pottu thalranga.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Shwetha said...

Balaji, for once I have to completely disagree with your review and also request that you watch this film again! With below zero expectations I watched it yesterday (despite your review) and though the movie was one of the best films I've seen in a long time. I went with a group of 15 and not a single person thought otherwise. The comparisons to other films ended with just Dalapathi for the mentor angle..but even that is quite different here in terms of the childhool idolization, and the track it takes while the movie proceeds. The other comparison of gang wars..I think pattiyal or other gang movies had a very different story line and did not have the mentor angle. Trisha falling for Vikram is the only thing that couldve been made on a stronger note, but otherwise every character was solidly developed, the fights and songs (in the first half) were well placed and established the stage for the happenings in the second half. While the second half had a slightly long drawn pace and a ill placed song, the climax itself was stunning, one of the best Ive seen in a long time and made one forget the earlier slow pace. The film was neatly wrapped at the end with complete logic. Even the reasons for every persons action was good, and the director has gotten good performances from everyone (even the poor vegetable vendor whose shop gets razed down didn't overact, as she certainly would have in a Shankar film!) Barring Raghuvaran who (over) acted like a mental parkinson affected person (which must have been unintentional) everyone did a commendable job. I dont like action films or super violent movies, but I was too involved in the proceedings here to get tired out..also, like you mentioned, the lack of gore helped. This is one movie, you must rewatch..please! Me thinks you put the film in a slot with maybe a partially pre conceived view. Watch it without expectations and you might actually like it.

 
At 7:46 PM, Blogger Naren's said...

balaji, i pity you and admire you......when i think it is only waste of energy to even think anything about the movie once you are out of the hall after the 3 hour ordeal you can still manage to write a 300 word review...pongal wash out confirmed ngha...

 
At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Senthil said...

The dialogues are penned by S.Ramakrishnan (another well known writer), not Sujatha as mentioned by Vijay. However I found the dialogues to be lame.

And nowadays I feel Vikram boasts too much about his movies and his roles. Is it just me or???

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know, buried in Vikram is a class actor. Somehow projects like Dhool, Saamy, and now Bheema - project him as a ruffian / tough do-gooder etc. He is capable of more and somehow, seems to dabble in squibs like Bheema. He may have had hits in these but - with the sobering Bheema - should he dust off and make wise choices of roles that are offered to him.

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Ravi K said...

I do not understand why such films have to take so long to make. I can understand if the director was making Jodhaa-Akbar :) but not your usual masala flick!

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, apt description :)

shwetha, "With below zero expectations..." - that right there is probably why u liked the movie so much. i went with what i thot were reasonable expectations for a lingusamy-vikram film and based on the high praise both of them heaped on it. though i don't think u completely disagree with my review. i thot the climax was great too and wrote a whole para on it :)

btw, one factor in why i liked this movie way less than u is that i see more movies(in particular, the fact that i've seen 'mandhiran'). its not a great - or even a good - movie but if u see that u'll see why i reminded of it so much. that mentor-protege relationship was done in that too and the climax was similarly downbeat with a couple of characters meeting the same fate.

naren, i like movies and i love to write. avlo dhan :)

senthil, no its not just u :) i too felt he praised this one way too much considering how ordinary it was.

anon, wish he reads that :)

ravi k, i think 'bheema's problems were due to financial issues. so making the film probably didnt take all that long :)

 
At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Dwarak R said...

guys who ever say vikram becoming aged are mere craps.He is 47.Every one witnessed the muscular apperance (?) of Rajini of Padayappa.Holy shit.take back ur words.

By the way Bheema has made 19crores in its first week collection.

Long Live 'Chiyaan'

 
At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Bahma said...

Saw Bheema. Wanted to walk out half-way through. It was that disappointing.....and this from a Vikram fan. We waited 26 months for this? And Lingusamy....what happened?

 

Post a Comment

<< Home