- Karthik Narasimhan
My favorite pastime is talking to myself. Not many people know this, but I am actually two persons in one: There lurks inside me this crass dude called Smith who thinks this blog is truckloads of bull and periodically tries to convince me to loosen up and go check out Kirsten Dunst pictures instead of writing stuff that no one cares about.
Last night, Smith wanted me to go to The Myth. It is a Jackie Chan movie starring Mallika Sherawat and Smith had read somewhere that Ms. Sherawat contrives to lose a strategic piece of her clothing in the movie for a split second. I wanted to go to Thavamai Thavamirunthu instead, because it is my strong opinion that movies like The Myth are best left to DVD players with pause buttons.
So I won, and we ended up going to Thavamai Thavamirunthu, directed by Cheran – the guy that made Autograph – and starring himself and a new girl called Padmapriya. After the movie, I had a pretty long conversation with Smith about what I was going to write in my review of the movie, and as we were wrapping up, he begged me to publish the conversation on this blog to provide people a window into his soul. He also wanted me to tell people that Xaviera Hollander is so much better than Raymond Carver.
Me: In fiction – both written and on film – details can mean the difference between good and great; between corny sentimentalism and touching poignancy. Descriptive details – she was beautiful, wide forhead, strong chin, pretty clothes, unsightly mole – are much easier on film than paper, a good director can reduce ten pages of Tolkien to a single shot. Narrative detail, on the other hand…
Mr. Smith: There you go again. Descriptive detail, Narrative detail. You bore me to death.
Me: Please, I hate being interrupted. Let me continue here. Narrative detail, on the other hand, is different. The reading audience has more patience than moviegoers, and will tolerate even digressive, detailed narratives better. The moviegoer has a limited attention span, and too much detail – man waking up, stretching, brushing, showering – usually does not go down well.
Mr. Smith: That's coz people that read are fools. And yes, too much detail stinks unless it is a girl bathing. There is this movie in Malayalam where they show a girl taking a shower, and man it was very detailed and I liked it. Therefore, it is not like all details are bad. So,there you go.
Me: What's your point?
Mr. Smith: My point is, the movie sucked. It was long, and the dude that acted in it kept crying. The girl was fully clothed throughout, and she was crying whenever he didn't. So why don't you just tell people that instead of going on and on about details?
Me: Aw, come on. A twenty word review on this blog? Scandalous.
Mr. Smith: Whatever. Go on and wake me up when you are done talking.
Me: Cheran's Thavamai Thavamirunthu is a son's tribute to his father. Rajkiran does an outstanding job as his dad that puts the welfare of his kids above his needs, and Cheran is the kid that never forgets how much his dad did for him. Once Cheran decided that this was going to be his premise, he look no further than Autograph: he took the movie and retooled it, using the same technique of a guy reminiscing about the past intercut with sequences from the present. The problem with the movie here is that it lacked the freshness of Autograph…
Mr. Smith: Wait, you mean you liked Autograph? Freshness? You are a mushy piece of…
Me:: Will you let me finish my sentences? I was going to say Autograph was corny, but it was the first attempt in Tamil cinema to move away from the traditional premise based format to something more informal.
Mr. Smith: Funny how you always use thirty words when all you needed was two. It was a Bad Movie.
Me: The problem with the movie was the length. It is obvious that Cheran wanted to make something that was deliberately paced, but deliberate pacing does not mean showing every single event in a sequence. When his wife delivers a baby in a hospital, the viewers know that the hero is broke. Yet Cheran has scenes of him not being able to pay the hospital, not having money to buy medicines, a scene of him riding a bicycle to try and borrow money and a scene of him coming back on the same bicycle without money.
Mr. Smith: That was terrible! How can someone watch a guy riding a bike for five minutes? Although I am pleased he didn't wear Spandex. In fact, the movie was so boring, I'd rather have read your blog for three hours. Ha Ha!
Me: What else, smartass?
Mr. Smith: Why don't you tell them how the dude managed to make his classmate pregnant? Or how she cries and cries for half the movie because of this? About how he tells his dad he could not face him after “defiling” a girl? Now, what the heck is that supposed to mean?
Me: Yeah, true. That was bad. Now please, get off the girl, and say something else.
Mr. Smith: Oh, I see. Let's talk music.
Me: Sure. The music was pretty average…
Mr. Smith: Shut up, let me take over. The music was hideous, horrid and unpalatable. Some people cannot do slow songs ever. It was like reading Joyce while watching Will and Grace. Torture.
Me: Yeah, I think I'll agree with you there.
Mr. Smith: Cool. So there you have it folks, Sucky movie. Too long. Too much crying. Bad music.
Me: In the interest of balance, I should say that the good things about the movie were, Rajkiran's performance and well… At least I tried.
Mr. Smith: And when the critics try to tell you the movie was well-made and touching, please laugh.
I'd like to go on record that this review is not totally mine, and please don't accuse me of snobbery. I love you all.