Review in 140 words or less: Nanban

Vijay and Ileana in Shankar’s Nanban.

Nanben Da!

Rating: *

Shankar’s highly bankable status is a no-risk factor and Nanban explains on how the director uses that privilege. Despite remaking 3 Idiots the way it was and maintaining its essence, Shankar brings in an extra dance number (if you’ve seen it you’ll know why). Jiiva stands out from the rest of the cast with a neat portrayal.

Vijay and Ileana study their Hindi counterparts and repeat the same. However, Ileana excels Kareena Kapoor in the scene where she arrives drunk. Music is generally a go-to for Harris Jayaraj and he revamps his old tunes and brings out a handful of peppy numbers.

Foot Note: While entertaining and instilling the message, Nanban is desperately in need of good acting.

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Review: Ko

Jiiva and a Nikon camera in Ko.

The trouble with photographers

Rating: ZERO

K.V. Anand thinks he’s one of those rare filmmakers with an intellect of remaking a film in such a way that no one can figure it out. And even if they do, he can use the evergreen alibi: ‘inspired’. Ko plays rock solid on the lines of State of Play, the Russell Crowe-Ben Affleck film, and the British TV series of the same name.

Interestingly, Anand adds a narrative hook in the form of a bank robbery, and a chase that follows. This chase is between a photographer on a snazzy bike who chases down the robbers, snapping dozens of photographs while making a wheelie and a stoppie. When did the profession of photojournalism become this glamorous?

A line from the first song goes “we desire to wear Rolex watches; we wish to speak on Vertu phones.”

Desire and wish is something Anand makes and gets at the stake of mounting cameras in Nat Geo locations with very biased dance steps. Can you forget that crazy move from ‘Ennamo Edho’? Anand’s take on political plagiarism isn’t very meek. But, using Kota Srinivasa Rao as a comedian works well.

As Ashwin, the photographer, the numerically named Jiiva has found his true north in Ko. I wonder if this role would have suited any other actor better, but, Jiiva brings out a neat portrayal. But, why is it that Tamil heroes have to be larger-than-life? And in a reality-based film like Ko, the main characters just don’t get it, do they?

One scene I couldn’t dig is how, Vasanthan, despite being beaten up, runs into the press and right into the arms of Ashwin, who saves him by swinging his arm and leg at everyone who comes his way. If this was at least bearable, wait till you watch the climax!

Then, there comes the ladies: Karthika Nair and Piaa Bajpai. Why is it a fashion that the girl who doesn’t get the guy has to have an emotional impact on the viewers? Can’t the girl just shrug it off and leave the scene instead of spitting pointless monologues about love and match-making. Karthika Nair, with her big eyebrows will fit well as a femme fatale in a noir film. She just doesn’t seem right in Ko.

K.V. Anand tries to make photography look cool in Ko. He brings a tripod in the jungle, and then connects it to a laptop through which our protagonist mails his editor a news article with sensational photos, when he should be swatting swarms of mosquitoes in the jungle. Sensibility is a lost art while sensitivity is a lost cause.

Ko is a perfect entertainer for those people who watch a movie once a month with their family and buy popcorn and cotton candy for their kids. On a positive note, Ko is a better film when compared to Anand’s previous feature, Ayan.