Sunday, February 13, 2011


 A film can hold the attention of the viewers even without songs, romance, vulgarity, unnecessary fight scenes, an item number and some violence. Trash the time-tested formula that includes all of the above, and you are in trouble as a producer. Right? Wrong.

Ask the Prakash Raj–Radhamohan combine. They have done wonderfully well so far with movies I loved – offbeat themes like Mozhi and Abhiyum Naanum (the two that I watched, though there are more!) – and their latest offering comes as a bit of a surprise. Surprise that it contains none of the elements that every film has to have; surprise that central to the theme is, you guessed it, the Central Government; surprise that the key elements of this successful essay are satire and comedy, with a bit of drama thrown in.

The parodying of a hero bashing up a hundred baddies in a fight scene; the government bending over backwards to release terrorists, first for a minister’s daughter and then for precious lives of aam aadmi (surprising that governments even think of aam aadmi!!); the vote-bank politics and the resultant calculations of the electoral arithmetic should the hijack drama go wrong are all spot on.

The hijack drama is the driving wheel of this movie – the plotting of a commando operation; the plotting to just foil the commando operation. There are wheels within wheels, though. The comedy, read, satirical track is subtle at times and forceful at others, though never once departing from what the movie sets out to achieve. The Shining Star hero, Dr Narayana Shastry (astrologist and all in one), an eloping wife, a once-eloped wife and her now-confessing husband, a doctor and a reluctant co-passenger, a mandatory priest and an even mandatory Pakistani-baby-operated-for-heart-condition-in-India character drive the driving wheel. The hijackers, of course come as they should – sometimes cruel, sometimes ruthless, sometimes sympathetic and, in the end, heartless as to shove a bomb stealthily in the heart patient child’s satchel.

If I were to talk of Prakash Raj and Nagarjuna and the score of others vis-à-vis their acting in this movie, I can only say two words – spot on. All roles are etched to almost perfection – they linger in your psyche long after it is all over. Just as the raison d’être of surrenders to hijackers. Thoughtful is the twist in the tale where the to-be-released terrorist is killed in an avalanche. Thoughtful is the script when a small-time movie actor is asked to essay the role of the dead terrorist – redoing the role again with great hilarity and a supposed commitment to the nation.

The background score is right without being extravagant, the cinematography is good without being picture-postcard-perfect – this is not a feel-good romantic running-around-the-trees movie, after all.  The dialogues pack a hearty laugh; they also trigger a thought-process of what has been so far and what could have been if the previous real-life hijacks were handled with the interest of the nation in mind. All characters are essayed without the minimum of fuss – that translates into a maximum of effect, with no overdose of any single aspect.

All in all, a wholesome entertainer that the Prakash Raj–Radhamohan combine has pulled off. And, if newspapers have it to be believed, through the pre-release courtroom drama, this movie has probably given the combine another food-for-thought script for their next movie – how wives can be useful even after divorce!


Blogger gpk said...

It is just true. I was just reading your blog today at 5-30 pm and just can't resist the temptation and now at 10 I am fully relieved that one good movie has arrived - with no masala, but makes you enjoy every bit of it, but still worth living the suspense.

Only one point that I could note is the slight overdose of certain emotions.

One more thing is that normally for any film when it ends, people just go out and the projector also shuts off (in certain theatres outside city). For this film all the people including me were coming back inside to see what happens to the characters.

Really good.

Gopal Kadni

Blogger Sridhar Joshi said...

Thanks Gopal. Yes, you are right about people waiting to see the credits rolling in the end.


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