Review: Muran

Prasanna and Cheran in Muran.

Murder, he tried

Rating: *

Despite my joy for blasting movies that could have nailed it, but failed to, I decided to lose skepticism in Muran. The film, inspired by Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, tries hard to let its characters fall in the right place. However, too much curiosity kills the cat. The same happens in the Tamil film starring Prasanna and Cheran in the lead roles. Despite those flaws, the film seemed to take off well. But,  that cringing sense of losing commercialism sends the lead characters into an extensive fight scene with drunkards.

Characters in spoof films (Scary Movie, Meet The Spartans or Goa) broke the fourth wall often. The characters knew it was a movie, and nothing’s gonna go wrong. But, when in a thriller like Muran, breaking the fourth wall by announcing a fight sequence, or the intermission, or even the item number, seemed lame. How are we gonna stay thrilled when your lead character blatantly announces “keep thinking while I take a break and come back.”

Muran joins the long list of Tamil films which had a concept that failed to materialize despite an excellent technical team. The writing was novel and didn’t sound alien to the setting. Most of the dialogues felt improvised and those wisecracks between set the tone for an entertaining thriller.

For instance, Prasanna plays Cheran, a video of his wife cheating with another man, on his cell phone and then says “Semma clarity-la.”

Wit as a background for the first half and guilt as the central theme of the second half, Rajan Madhav fails to evoke the thrill factor. And right when the movie reclaims the thrill, he brings on an item number, which however cut short, ruins the day.

Prasanna as the spoilt rich kid makes it while Cheran staggers with his guitar and a neatly trimmed French beard. The heroines must line up their dubbing artistes and execute them with a firing squad. Especially, Suma Bhattacharya, who should have stuck to English, but tries some tough Tamil words that Christian women generally don’t use.

How come the filmmaker didn’t emphasize on Prasanna’s psychopathic behavior when he’s seen killing fearlessly. Loopholes are aplenty in the second half. And, what is it with drinking off the highway? Was it meant to be cool or divulging?

The one star for Muran is for the attempt made to recapture the Hitchcockian thrill. But, even when it failed, it shouldn’t have lost hope and turned into a messy affair. 

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Review: Yuddham Sei

Cheran in Yuddham Sei.

The power of fantasy

Rating: **

When a normal family turns abnormally violent to avenge the death of their daughter, you know it’s natural. But, when they turn into a pair of serial killers using sophisticated weapons, you know it’s a sort of gory fantasy. Myshkin takes on gore fantasy in Yuddham Sei. But, it is reasonable enough to believe that such a family does not exist.

But, that’s just the back story. The film has a vindictive detective, J.K. working on a case of butchery. Severed arms and legs start appearing everywhere and it’s evident that there’s a freak out there somewhere. Soon, police officials are kidnapped and everything turns nasty. Myshkin adds another back story, this time for J.K., whose sister has gone missing. The way he lets the narrative loose at times is prejudiced, but strongly artistic.

Performance wise, this is Myshkin’s best. While Jayaprakash as a mortician plays his role cool as a cucumber, Cheran exults in his flamboyance as a character actor. He plays a silent detective unlike the ones Hollywood usually projects (J.J. Gittes in Chinatown, Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes).

The only letdown is that ridiculous fight scene in which Cheran fends off his attackers with a switchblade from a nail clipper. How absurd that a detective cannot find a bigger weapon in his house?

And yes, that item number was totally unnecessary. Myshkin just had to keep up with his ‘yellow sari’ tradition, didn’t he? And I still proclaim ‘Vaalameenu’ as the best, as it defined the word ‘item’.

Yuddham Sei is not a thought-provoking movie like Anjaathe. It’s an effervescent crime thriller which lacks the thrill, but showcases human trauma.