Review: Meaghamann

Aarya in Magizh Thirumeni's Meaghamann.
Aarya in Meaghamann.

All Hope Is Lost

If you were watching Meaghamann on the night of December 26, at Screen-1 of Inox Cinemas, Chennai Citi Centre, you would have heard a man yell “What the fuck is going on!” Dear reader, that was me.

At this point, you may ask, “But, you have walked out of movies before; why didn’t you do it this time?” The answer simply is this: Meaghamann is the destruction of Tamil Cinema as we know it. I have preached apocalypse after watching movies such as Aadhavan, Kandhasamy and Sura. But, Meaghamann is the chosen one.

For starters, you can never get the pronunciation right. Even the titular song calls it “Mee-gha-man” and later as “Me-gaaa-man”. In reality, the titular character is “Megaman”, a larger-than-life Superman. But, unlike Superman, Megaman has no Bizarro ego – for there simply couldn’t be another like him.

The film opens with a disclaimer that although the story takes place in Goa and Mumbai, all characters speak in Tamil so that the common Tamilian can understand the dialogues. But, when the dialogues come with such heavy accents and are often eaten up by the jarring background score, you doubt the fate of the common Tamilian?

Meaghamann is a death-blow to your eyes, ears and sanity. There are scenes that have queasy, handheld cinematography. These are not only out of focus, but are also guttural. And, why are there so many sudden cuts to sunlight. In a dark room like a cinema theatre, the last thing we need is blinding light. If you’ve ever wondered how vampires react to sunrise, Meaghamann offers you plenty instances to experience firsthand.

The story is pretty simple. But, it has been hacked to small, uneven pieces to a point that you may find Hansika amusing. An undercover cop has to arrest the leader of a drug cartel and must work his way to the top. Filmmakers always find some way to weave in romance, and that’s how you get Hansika Motwani, who plays an idiotic, chirpy neighbour with no self-respect.

But, if you were to know how Aarya single-handedly kills a room full of armed gangsters, you would rather choose to see more of Hansika. It is always amazing how gangsters run around with guns all the time, but USE knives while fighting the protagonist.

In any screenwriting class, you will be taught that the first ten minutes are the most vital ones. This is where you catch hold of the audience. Meaghamann revealed in its first ten minutes that there was nothing great to expect. But, instead it gave rise to a new level of greatness. Yes, I’m referring to the audience – those poor, clueless wimps who paid the price and spent more than 2 hours watching a train wreck of a movie.

And this time, give the audience a National Award. They fucking deserve it!

Hansika hasn’t been on my good side since her Tamil début in Maapillai. I haven’t found her of any good use. Or maybe, it’s because she hasn’t been convincing in any of the roles given to her. A heroine is not needed in Meaghamann. Unless she too is an undercover cop, I can’t see why her scenes weren’t cut from the editing table.

And here’s the pathetic part. The writer / director Magizh Thirumeni finds a desperate way to connect Hansika’s character with the main plot. He does succeed but it only leads to a Bourne Supremacy-styled theft of a mobile phone.

Is it just me or have movies started portraying sex as a woman’s fantasy? Hansika’s character is quite infatuated with Aarya that she fantasizes being “taken”. The fantasies please the heroine and spike the blood levels of the younger generation, but the scenario is quite long.

The film would have been less than two hours, if not for Hansika, who play a college student trying to perfect her Latin dancing skills. “In Latin, it’s all about the legwork” mutters Aarya as he helps her master the spinning technique.

At this point, you may ask “Is the protagonist an undercover cop or a Latin dancer?”

Here’s my reply: “He’s Megaman.”

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Review in 140 words or less: Settai

Arya and Hansika in Settai

Shit doesn’t happen!
Rating: Zero

I don’t get why Settai is set in Mumbai when almost all the characters including a foreigner speak Tamil. This being a remake of Delhi Belly, I was hoping for the raw language the original had. Unfortunately, director Kannan swerves away and offers a U-rated film. Apart from Santhanam’s riveting comedy, the film has nothing new to offer.

The actors are dry, especially Arya and Hansika. Veteran star Nasser is easily the best actor among the cast. Even Subbu Panchu’s five-minute appearance was a relief when compared to the wooden performances the rest of the cast offers.

Foot Note: With 5 mindless songs reducing the pace, Settai is a watered down version of Delhi Belly.

Review: Engeyum Kaadhal

'Jayam' Ravi and Hansika Motwani explore Paris and one-sided romance in Engeyum Kaadhal.

Billy Wilder is crying in his grave!

Rating: Could we try minus instead of zero?

It’s comforting to know that Engeyum Kaadhal is just 125 minutes long. But, the promise of a romantic comedy is a blow. Engeyum Kaadhal is filled with one-sided romance and plays unfair on our senses. Prabhu Deva thinks he can remake Billy Wilder and make it seem conventional. My question is why he came up with Love in the Afternoon, when Wilder has made better films like The Apartment and Some Like It Hot.

Harris Jayaraj is an auteur indeed. With a 30-minute soundtrack, he occupies 1/4th of the running time. I’m guessing that Prabhu Deva had a soundtrack and then weaved scenes around them. Raju Sundaram appears as the film’s comedian and takes up 20 minutes playing pranks that are ripped off from Mr. Bean. Overall, there’s no originality in Engeyum Kaadhal.

‘Jayam’ Ravi thinks that he can dance. Well, he definitely can. But, what’s with that accent with which he speaks English? He spoke better English in Santhosh Subramaniyam, which was a better film, despite being a remake again! Hansika Motwani’s role of being that troublesome girl, who falls in love with that man from the mirror, seems immature. But, that’s the way rom-com heroines are supposed to appear.

By the way, what is it with playing musical instruments on water?

Engeyum Kaadhal is one film which could have been made better. It has great music to support the story, which however never made it to the ground. 

Review: Mappillai

L-R: Manisha Koirala, Dhanush and Hansika Motwani in Mappillai.

No Mercy!

Mappillai

Rating: ZERO

If you thought that the merciless antagonist always begged for mercy in the last scene of any film, you’ll be surprised to find out that Mappillai’s prime antagonist, Manisha Koirala doesn’t do so. The film just ends with Dhanush spitting another punch dialogue at his nemesis. That’s all the film has – tactless punch dialogues. Rather than make hay in sunlight, writer-director Suraj makes hay in darkness and no wonder the result is a mixed bag full of morosely sickening jokes and ardent heroism. In one scene, a chair just skates down a long hall and stops at the feet of Manisha Koirala. But, stay put, that seat isn’t for her. That’s for her Mappillai. And if you thought Padikkadhavan was a total mess, Mappillai is humongous.

For a remake, one could have just reworked the 1980s film. But, the so-called commercial cocktail that Suraj offers is horribly his creation. Hence, you can see where he stands with something he thought of his own, rather than rip-off some Hollywood flick. Mappillai also could have been a 140-minute easy-going fare, but Suraj brings in his own histrionics and a flashback that could have been trimmed to perfection, and you’re left to watch a 170-minute Mappillai. Vivek as the comedian provides some laughs, but most of his jokes leave you twitching. Vivek has a distinct style of his own that he forgoes in Mappillai and even the earlier Padikkadhavan.

Hansika Motwani (19) finally sees a release and this is going to be a wild summer for her as she has two more films releasing this year. But, what is the point on expecting a heroine to perform in a film which was made for its hero? Suraj stated that without Dhanush, there would be no Mappillai. And without Mappillai, we could have lived a peaceful life. But, Mappillai throngs painfully on your mind and you’re often reminded of the horror it offered. Manisha Koirala is forced to speak long dialogues as the camera pans from one side to the other; a technique Suraj often depends upon.

With the help of cheesy CGI, Suraj also makes an Airbus A380 land in Meenambakkam. Well, it wouldn’t look right if he were to have Manisha Koirala stepping down from a Boeing 747 as she’s portrayed as the state’s richest person. But, when did Meenambakkam airport acquire its own A380 runway? Mappillai also continues the trend of breaking the fourth wall in the climax much like Boss Engira Baskaran. I guess the filmmaker wanted to make sure that we take their screw-ups with a smile and not a groan. Manobala provides some comic relief appearing as a Nithyananda lookalike.

In Mappillai, the protagonist fights baddies and mutters punch dialogues, his ladylove appears dumb and sexy, and his antagonist uses up much time quoting revenge. It’s just another normal day in Tamil Cinema. God save you!