Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya - Review

Spoilers ahead !!! 

Finally, the tough-cop and the disciplined army man in Gowtham Menon are dead and comes alive in him is, himself of the yesteryears, young wannabe film director.  VTV - Breezy, vibrant, youthful, colourful – So, Is VTV, just one more addition to that long list of Kollywood flicks which glamorize, idolize and epitomize the boy-girl relationship ?. Not really, though not much offering from the storyline point of view, the presentation is applause-worthy.

 There is nothing much happening in the movie as such, meaning, the film is not studded with events and consequential scenes. It just strings together “n” number of meetings and colloquial exchanges between a smart lad and a charming lass. It’s just a boy-meets-girl and fall-in-love story in an urban setting with all those society-contributed hiccups for love. But, I still wonder how the movie managed to keep us all engaged, the whole time. The magic, I think, lied with the screen presence of the lead couple and the wonderful dialogues seasoned with peppy-zippy one liners. Gowtham probably picked this up from Mani Ratnam – many interesting and crispy short dialogue exchanges, successfully received many a “Wow”s from the audience. The dialogues, unlike the usual Kadhal, chedi, poo, deiveegam, divine stuff, were exploring the lust-diamensions also. 

This movie is what, I would like to define a “Romantic Musical”, in the limits of Tamil Cinema. Our films generally couldn’t be brought under a single genre umbrella and they always are Action-Romance-Sentimental and blah-blah stuff. The movie is pretty one diamensional except for that tiny boxing expertise episode. I, definitely, ain’t complaining this … I, Infact, loved this aspect of the movie.

Offtrack - Silambarasan is labeled “Young Superstar” in the title credits. I don’t understand this … He was previously the “Little Superstar”, probably referring to his relative immaturity in the field (in terms of age, attitude and naivety of his activities) … Now, that he is a bit seasoned in our cinema arena, he has been promoted from “Little” to “Young”. Next in line, might be “Pubescent”, “Teenager”, “Middle aged” etc. But, where will all this end ?, as plain “Superstar” is something reserved and he can’t afford it, whatsoever.

Coming to Simbhu’s performance in the movie, Here’s a Simbhu without his finger-gimmicks and the trademark narcissistic attitude and dialogue deliverance. In the movie, (quoting one of my friends, here) his dialogue deliverance and behavior are a bit unusual that it took some time for us to actually tune into his frequency band. You befriend a new guy, you take some time in getting accustomed to him … That was exactly the glitch, I just explained. But, there after, you actually have no problems, whatsoever … Simbhu has delivered a real good performance and you gotta love it. He looks more subtle and matured, as he conveys a lot of his emotions with his facial expressions and dialogue modulation. 

Trisha, as quoted in the trailer and the movie, is classy, stylish and sexy too. Dressed up in angelic chiffon sarees and salwars, she has an elegant and ravishing screen presence. There was this Lord Byron’s poem, “She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies”, Trisha just picturises this as she gracefully walks and Simbhu glancing at her in an overwhelming admiration - one of the nicely shot sequences. 

 Characterization of Jessie (Trisha) is what is, “the” achievement of Gowtham, as far as VTV is concerned. Millions of poets would have registered this in all their poems - “the depth of a woman’s heart” and Gowtham, very successfully brings it graphical. Confusion, obscurity of thought, explicit misunderstandings, absolute swiftness in opinion making and naivety in decision making – all complex diamensions of a lady’s mind were brought out so lucid. In my opinion, Jessie is the actual villain of this script, more than her father and brother, who understandably throw in red lights, for her love. I am not sure, if Trisha has done complete justice to this character in all her capacity, but her presence, vagueness in eyes and her empty smiles definitely communicate her confusion, effectively. Chinmayee (who dubbed for Sameera in “Vaaranam Aayiram”) dubs for Trisha in the movie. Myself, so much accustomed to this voice was actually looking for Sameera on the screen and realized it’s Chinmayee again for Trisha.

Jessie’s attitude and behavior is where, I believe, this movie holds aloft, the personal filmmaking of Gowtham Menon. You can be supremely confident that, this candourly genuine characterization of Jessie is not a result of imagination but of experience. Then, there is this Gowtham regular – “Mechanical Engineering” – given a chance, Gowtham just plugs this in every movie of his. Also, Simbhu is an aspiring filmmaker in the movie. Again, this presents a lot of scope for the director to pour in his life as a beginner in the industry and I should say, he has utilized it good. I was, somehow reminded of Balu Mahendra’s “Marupadiyum”, in which Balu brought in many of his diamensions as a filmmaker in Nizhalgal Ravi’s character. That was more intense, I should say and understandably, Balu is a more turbulent and intimately-personal filmmaker, this industry has ever seen. 

The cameraman character, who is seen with Simbhu all the time, with his witty and timing deliverance of lines, provides a lot of short one-moment laughter situations. 

This movie is definitely “a body without soul” without the mesmerizing BGM tracks and songs. ARRahman’s album tracks have been chartbusters, months before and the thrill actually rested in seeing them all picturised. (No Rahman track should suffer the horrendous picturisation which “Nee Marilyn Monroe” of “Azhagiya Tamil Magan” received, with Namitha shaking her booty off and made it possible). Hardly, there are moments in the movie without the BGM in the backdrop … the music just keeps you submerged in that pool of romance. My favourite track, “Mannippaya” by ARR and Shreya Ghoshal was placed at an apt juncture in the movie and as ARR with his typical intonation, vocalizes in high pitch, “Melum melum urugi urugi, Unai enni engum Idhayathai enna seiven ?” – you actually get lost somewhere (Lyrics by Thamarai). 

The picturisation of the songs were good and would require subsequent viewings or TV broadcasts to actually observe and enjoy them wholly. I never remember any dark colors like red, brown or black on screen through out the course of the movie … blue and green all the way - Soft and cool mood throughout, with the camera work.

Cinematography – I don’t know if anybody else felt this problem. But, there was this large scale misuse of close-up shots, through out the movie. Right from the frame one, it has been close-ups all the way … The movie looked like 8X zoomed in, through the course. There were always beaming faces on the screen which was not so pleasant. Close-ups, one of the five Cs of Cinematography is a very powerful technique and storytelling device that actually transcends the viewer into the actual mood of the protagonist, chopping-off the unessential props around, for that particular shot. But, terribly overused and misused, close-ups lose their potential and becomes more of a routine endeavor in this movie. 

Many would probably like to call this a “feel good” romance. I don’t know, from my childhood, I have accustomed myself that only “they lived happily, ever after” are “feel good”. If pain and loss in love can be considered “feel good”, then this one is. It is actually the “pain of love”, which has inspired many a great poets and achievers (in the creativity industry, more importantly) towards goals. This movie, or rather Gowtham Menon’s career, can be a testimony to this particular aspect.

EDIT: Days after I published this post, I found this particular song "Maalai Neram" from "Aayirathil Oruvan", fitting-like-a-glove for the mood, feel and substance of this movie (VTV). Listen to this number ...

காதல் இங்கே ஓய்ந்தது ... கவிதை ஓன்று முடிந்தது
தேடும் போதே தொலைந்தது – அன்பே
இது சோகம் ஆனால் ஒரு சுகம்
நெஞ்சின் உள்ளே பரவிடும்
நாம் பழகிய காலம் பரவசம் – அன்பே
இதம் தருமே …


  1. man ur review must be lengthy than vtv script... ; )(just kidding nice review)

  2. Thanks Lakshmi ... Good to have unanticipated guests ...

  3. Good one Lugo!!!Man..I never see a tamil movie as deeply as you do!!I liked the movie but somehow didn't feel strongly as many of you guys did.In my opinion,Jessie was the winner of the movie..Good complicated character..Thank God,the tamil directors are creating characters with little shades of grey instead of the plain vanilla heroines which has made me sick!!

    PS-AR Rahman is already a winner,so i will not talk anything more about his songs..enuf said..

    PPS-I sadly didnt see Lugo the writer in college..Great review!!

  4. I loved the whole review and also the movie.. :)

    Keep writing :)

  5. Hi..
    While we have completely different views about the movie, Just a few comments from me about the review as review alone.. mostly negative.. but I believe it doesnt matter coz I think both know to respect differences..
    The review is too lengthy and I think it does not go deep into the roots of the movie but rather (except for the trisha's corner) concentrates only on how it is shown to the audience. I think there is a large part of the movie's story/setting which is missing in the review. Also, no words about screen play (which according was screwed because of trying to show the relationship in a more realistic way and made a mess out of it)...
    Of course, "deep" to two persons have different perspectives... And according to me ur review was deep on "portrayal of a film" perspective and not the "portrayal of the story" like cinematography, acting, dialogues, background score, gautham's traits etc.. While they are absolutely important to be mentioned in a review, I feel they take the entire space in ur review.
    But, amazing and hilarious corner at the offtrack!! kudos!

  6. I read my comment again and I dont know if u will get the right meaning.. By portrayal of a film, I meant those cinematography, acting, blah blah... portrayal of the story is different!

  7. @ Abhishek ... I 've had same worries about the characterization part ... The characters presented in our cinema would be absolute black or clean white ... The hero would be remarkably good in everything he does and the villain would be amazingly one-diamensional in being a smuggler or womaniser ...

    The heroines never had a character built around them ... They are built around the navels and duets ... This movie, atleast attached a sincere attempt at Characterizing Jessie ...

    Thanks for your comment Abhi.

  8. Hi Suraj,

    Thanks for an insightful and lengthy comment ...

    Differences - As they say, “Every man has two professions – one his own and the other, a film critic” - We gotta respect the opinions of others, especially on a film ...

    Screwed screenplay - I am still confident that the screenplay looks screwed because the relationship portrayed is constantly on a screw jack. The whole point, I believe, is to communicate the turbulence of the chaos and confusion, that's going on. So, there's nothing wrong if you felt pissed off, when Jessie keeps altering her decisions mercurially. That's precisely the purpose, I feel.

    For any meaningful movie (This one is, in my views), a honest and sincere review should dissect each and every aspect of the conceptualization of the movie's script, technical aspects, audience's point of view (the portrayal or presentation) etc ... But, I think, for that, you've gotta be making notes as you watch a film ...

    Casual attempts at reviewing (Eg: My review here) would always be reflecting the immediate impact the movie creates in one's mind, as we walk out of the cinema halls. I think, that is why, my review throws a lot of light on the "portrayal of a film" aspects.

    To be simpler, In my case, My reviews are mostly driven by a few good/bad moments, I have at the cinema halls ... If I decide that the movie is bad at that juncture, I cement my stance there only ... This is an absolute "minus" for a reviewer, I know. But, Lets see if my future attempts at this aid me in polishing my reviewing skills.