Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Chanakya, the fool

Supreme Hero Sarath Kumar's 98th film, Chanakya, was released last week. This means Sarath is just 2 short of his 100th film. This also means that Tamil film producers have not learnt from 97 past mistakes and it explains why they usually end up hanging from their Khaitan fan.

Sarath is often hailed as the Arnold of Tamil Nadu. True. Most people including Salman Khan prefer to roam without a shirt in the entire film with a loverboy image. That's where Sarath stands apart. He has got a great body which he has flaunted in his previous 97 films in the climax in front of the villain. The villain also does the same and they both end up admiring each others cuts and "curves". Dumb, isn't it? This image did not help his political career one bit. So Sarath sincerely requested directed Venkatesh to earn him the image of an intellectual. Since there was no way Sarath was going to do things beyond his reach, the director did the only thing he could : he named the movie Chanakya.

Chanakya is the story of an auto-driver who witnesses a murder. The villain tries to kill him without realising that the hero of the film, even if it is Sarath, is the smartest ass around. Sarath faces the villains, does detective work simultaneously to solve the crime and obviously succeeds. This is the first time in Indian cinema's unfortunate history that Sarath does detective work and is made to think so much. To make people believe that our man is capable of all this, the director displays facts from "Tell me how, tell me why, tell me what" books throughout the film : The brain weighs 500g when the baby is born, The brain of a full grown adult weighs 1500g, 95% of the human brain is filled with oxygen etc etc which Sarath was surprised to know and lauded the director for his painstaking effort. [Gossip : Sarath is believed to have got a copy of "Tell me why" and is currently analysing why the sky is blue in colour.]

Sarath's lady love in the film is Namitha. Frankly, she seems more brainy than Sarath (pun intended). She is the highlight of the film with her amazing screen presence (kids are requested to avoid 70mm screens in their own interest). After her last movie, she had taken a long break in Mudumalai and is now in the city. It was indeed a sweet shock to see Namitha back into mainstream movies. The rights for her previous film were exclusively given to Jyothi theater by the censor officials. The director was stunned by her perfomance in earlier films and decided to harness her raw (once upon a time) talent in this movie.

The music by Srikanth Deva and the songs penned by well known lyricist X (I dunno thios mahaan's name) also deserve special mention. The title song is an extremely karuththu ulla song : Uchi uchi uchi uchi uchi, naan yaera poraen uchi maela uchi. It happens to be Sarath's best title track till date. The song "Onnu vaangina onnu ilavasam, ajaal gujaal ajaal gujaal" contains powerful lyrics for the future citizens of India. "Ambuli maamu ambuli maamu, naan singilu maamu" is an emotional song in which mom feeds baby Sarath nila soaru. The pick of the songs from the film is, "Tharuveeeeeeya... tharamaateeeeeeeeeeeeya ... tharalaena un paechu ka". It has Sarath and Namitha dancing in school uniform. Sarath became extremely nostalgic during the shoot. He remembered how in 1889, when he was in 2nd standard, he used to go to school during the rainy season. Namitha looks very pretty in skirt with the thumb in her mouth. Even then she is too big for 2nd standard.

The film is sprinkled with action sequences. The best one being the fight in an MTC bus. Sarath fights with 30 rowdies armed with weapons and he gets past all of them to emerge the winner. The fight sequence was a novel attempt, it was based on a token system like in Aavin milk booths. The rowdies come and get hit in ascending order of the token number assigned to them. The climax is ripped from phone booth but Venkatesh still deserves credit for ripping off a good climax.

Graphics have been used effectively showing bullets coming from Sarath's eyes. Such thigs may be new for Sarath fans, but engala maadhiri Captain fans-ku idhellam sarva saadharnam. He will shoot, will shoot, shoot.

On the whole, Chanakya is a wholesome family entertainer if you forget about the story, screenplay, dialogues, camera, editing and direction. Sarath has played an entirely different role moving away from his usual three role formula where he plays dad, son and dad's onnu vitta chithappa, all minutely differentiated by make-up. He deserves to be praised for such attempts. If Kamal can play a detective cop in Vettayaadu Vilayaadu, why can't Sarath play a detective auto driver in Chanakya? Disappointment for all Kamal fans as Chanakya beats Vettayadu Vilayadu by three months.

P.S. 1 : Don't even think that I was jobless enough to watch this movie. I have just seen the trailer :-) Don't think am discouraging you movie goers. Am just encouraging you guys with the info that Sarath films always make a good pastime in the absence of Captain films. So go watch it! :-)

P.S. 2 : I did watch Gajini, first day. A decent film, not all the great an effort. Want to write a review, but pretty lazy :-)

P.S. 3 : A million thanks to Sangeeta for this Dunno how it got there this time! That was in Mumbai Mirror.

P.S. 4 : You guys know whom to wish tom? Advance wishes to Kaadhal Mannan, Kadalai Mannan, Girl Pickupper, Sanga thalaivar Ferrari :-)

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