Tamil Padam (2010)
I am not going to evaluate this movie analysing it's Camera composition, Sound Recording, Editing excellence and the likes. Keep aside the sacred rules of Cinema and hop onto it ... But, I think it is reasonable on my part to expect an engaging screenplay, even though it brands itself a Mockumentary feature. The Only reasonable benchmark against which the movie can be accessed should be, Vijay TV's weekly feature "Lollu Sabha". But, honestly speaking, the movie fared much below-par, the standards of a spoofy mockumentary and presents a much boring endeavor altogether.
If you look at the rolls of Tamil Cinema, if this movie is the curtain-riser of this so-called genre "Mockumentary", the answer would be "Yes". A few of the Satyaraj flicks (like Englishkaaran and Mahanadigan), Venkat Prabhu's cocktails and the most recent "Quickgun Murugan" etc have a pinch of this genre, but not as wholesome as Tamil Padam. The movie's stills and trailor only heightened up our expectations and we were all set for an absolute rib tickler. Being aware of the fact that the movie is going to pick up pieces from various tamil films, the only expectation from my side was, "How will the screenplay be adjusted to fit in all those pieces of a jigsaw puzzle ?". Ahh !! And, the result, I should say, was miserable.
The characters - I understand that the movie is a parody and that the characters are caricatures, but you need not be caricaturously caricaturesque. I don't ask for touchy characters but for logical & hilarious ones. The cast of Manobala, M.S.Bhaskar, Vennira Aadai and Paravai Muniyamma - the oldie-foursome with all their college-dude characterisations and machi-conversations just torture you to the highest possible extent. I was frequently glancing at my watch for the movie to get over and the second half was an extreme prick and I should say, a lot (if not all) of Lollu Sabha episodes were better than this movie. The problem, I think, was with the length. The movie runs for close-to 2:15 hours and you only rush out of the theatres as it has got over.
Complaints apart, the film has it's hilarious moments, Thalapathy-Mammooty and the Mani ratnam style one word conversations, "Ippaadalai Paadikondiruppavar ungal Siva", Mouna Raagam-Karthik, Lady Don Sornam and her rape attempts, becoming a millionaire in half a song, A English song - etc were good. Mirchi Shiva just fits in the role and he is becoming more of a type-cast, these days ... His performance was good anyways. The film parodies various tamil masala regulars like Introduction song, punch dialogues, village panchayats etc but definitely loses out in keeping you engaged, the whole slot. The heroine was a regular face and a more regular role - Nothing great.
The film tries to score on the shock value, by parodying tamil cinema to an all new, non-existent low stature. But, even then, it doesn't seem to work all fine. The film looked more like an unfinished product, with hanging scene sequences and absolutely out-of-nowhere plot incidents. I still feel that the movie would have kicked-off with the script in its infancy and the product, instead of being a polished outcome, was crude and looked like patches pasted together.
I am supremely confident that, with however lighter vein, you are in, you wouldn't be able to avoid those distressed disturbances & uneasiness, at some point or the other, with the movie. Considering the fact that you have the entire 80 year old tamil cinema history at your disposal, the film could have been more interesting. A bit of more homework on the director's part would have resulted in a better-fit pieces on this jigsaw board.
Miserable and Missable.
Goa - A Venkat Prabhu Holiday (2010)
A Few random thoughts & opinions ...
Goa is a typical Venkat Prabhu venture, with mostly his regulars in the cast department. The movie started with a Ramarajan style village setting song & banyan-tree panchayat and me, still with the Tamil Padam hangover of the last night was aghast. Thank God, Venkat Prabhu knew when and where to stop.
Three constrained & conservative village lads (Jai, Vaibhav and Premji) travel to Goa and adventure the glitz and glamour of the beach-paradise. That was all the movie is about and the movie was never bad, honestly ... Whenever the screenplay hung-on, Venkat just maneuvered the script ahead and "All was well".
Lights on a few aspects of the film ...
Male Homosexuality - I couldn't recall the last time, when the gayism or the male homosexuality is dealt in all these details in a tamil movie. Share of the beds, hugs, six-packs gazing, open dialogues addressing the relationship - Am I in India ? ... I still couldn't believe, how they were let-off at the censors. There was absolutely no hideous or subtle dealing and it was all black and white. It was meant to be a comic track but still, I couldn't understand the Indian censors.
Subramaniapuram Hangover - It's high-time Venkat and his boys escape this "Kangal Irandaal" hangover. Premji Amaran has already patented this turning his head backward and gently swaying his head (Hope you understand what was meant) action and has used it more than Jai (in Subramaniapuram) himself. Whenever a romantic scene opens up, Premji does this and James Vasanthan's BGM props up. I could see people enjoying it at the cinema hall, anyways (including me). I have this getting-ready-to-laugh syndrome, as soon as Premji appears in the frame. He just manages to put everybody in laugh-riots with his custom body language and dialogue delivery. He does action sequences also, in this movie.
Camera Cool - Sakthi Saravanan - Wow !! Gorgeous camerawork. You only get that Jill-Jill tone through out the Goa sequences. Bluish beaches and dashing bikinis - Saravanan just brings you Goa alive. Me, being a Goa resident for four years, haven't seen such a beautiful Goa with naked eyes & Saravanan's camera-eyes does that in all efficiency... The film brings out an utterly glamorous depiction of Goa and his camera just aids the point.
As the second half opens up, there was a slight slow-down, in a not-so-racy script. But, before the effect becomes much more pronounced, the film moves ahead. Definitely, those timing comedy pieces, trademark of this gang, was missing in this venture. Probably, Venkat runs out of stuff on this particular aspect. Premji Amaran, without a girlfriend in both Chennai-28 and Saroja (and was desperate to get one), is presented with an absolutely gorgeous Melanie Marie in this movie. Pia Bajpai (the close-up ad fame) and Sneha just spice up their roles. The build-up towards the climax is not so interesting and surprisingly, you get Nayantara and Simbhu (No .. No... Not together !!!) in guest appearances at the climax.
Overall, the film looked enjoyable all the way. On a final note, the Venkatprabhu style movie is losing that punch, mainly because he is running out of fuel on this genre & style. If at all there's a next movie from him employing the same screenplay sense and script-flow, that might turn out unattractive to the audience. Buck up Venkat !!! Time to amend ...