Sunday, May 31, 2009

PRAYANAM: Yeleti does it again!

One of the few original film-makers in Telugu film industry(TFI), Chandrasekhar Yeleti returns with 'Prayanam'. Known for his deftness for weaving a story around an interesting idea, Yeleti is enterprising enough to switch genres at the drop of the hat. So while he debuted with a low-budget comic thriller like 'Aithe' and followed it up with an urban-thriller like 'Anukokunda Oka Roju', he then switched to an out and out action movie like 'Okkadunnadu'. Now he comes up with something similar to a romantic comedy. 

All right, good things first. We don't see any stale sequences or scenes in 'Prayanam' too as in Yeletis' earlier movies. A wonderful core idea for the movie once again like those in his earlier movies. Remember 'Okkadunnadu' and the blood group premise. If there is any Oscar for true original ideas, Yeleti could well be in the reckoning! Here the central idea is about falling in love and convincing the lover too in 2 hours. More about this later. The casting is excellent, acting job well done. The male bonding seen here is perfect thanks to the wonderful characterizations done. Especially. the guy who played Raman played is perfect as is the one who Moksha. Technicians excel too and some wonderful lyrcis from Ananth Sriram. The 'Meghama,..' lyrics and the picturization of that is exciting and bought back memories of 'Om Namaha,..' song in 'Geetanjali'. Very creatively done. As expected, this movie is a far cry from the regular formula movies churned out. One of the well written movies TFI churned out in recent past. Would the box-office fate reflect that? I am not sure!

Well, well made movies need not always strike gold at the box office. But the problem with 'Prayanam' goes beyond that. It is in the core idea itself. Falling in love and fructifying it in 2 hours. While, no doubt, Yeleti chose this idea as its catchy and could instantly hit well with the youth, this could be the challenge he maybe ill-prepared for. Switching genres not just requires a change in content but embracing the tone and mood of the new genre. Yeleti chose a love story, bought with him the regular comic dialogues which is definitely a plus but overlooked the emotional part. Yeleti writes well, intelligently and that helps him a lot in moulding thrillers. So here he is in time-bound story set in an airport. The boy meets the girl, falls in love, wants to propose her. His accompanying friend (who could as well be Yeleti and his psychology book could as well be the Screenplay!) advises on the steps he need to take in 2 hours to floor the girl. So, Yeleti, like a magician, pulls up one scene after another, some doused with oodles of comedy like in the 'ugra naram' narration :). What he fails to create is the magic that brings in the emotional 'high' that is required in a love story. His one-sided view did not even allow him  to write well for the leading lady. In short, there is no romance in this romantic comedy. There is no 'revelation' to make the audience sit up and register it. So 'Prayanam' becomes more of a comedy than a romantic comedy. Not that we are complaining though. This is clean movie, watchable, enjoyable. All that i am rearing to see is yet an another Yeleti's big moment like the one he had with 'Aithe'. Except for his debut movie, he did not achieve the commericial success he deserves. Like in his earlier two movies, he does all the hard work in writing and lets it go when what is needed is the 'big impact' in the movie, an impact, an emotional high, that the viewer should carry with him back home. Otherwise, what we get to see is some intelligent narration, which for technical reasons, a limited few would appreciate. For Yeleti to connect with the larger audiences, he should allow them to connect with his movies. All Yeleti needs to deliver is that 'high', a 'revelation' in his movies, the 'knock-out punch', like the one Raman, the protagonist's friend, advises the protagonist in this movie to do. Hope he lands the blow the next time around. Right now, this is good enough for us.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jayaprakash Narayan: Truly New Politics!

"The silence of good men is more dangerous than the brutality of bad men"       -    Martin Luther King

The above quote flashes quite tellingly on Lok Satta's website. Jaiprakash Narayan (JP) decided he was silent enough till 1996 when he resigned from the I.A.S. He found his calling in an NGO Loksatta which campaigned for reforms in governance. Loksatta, now a political party, found its bearings today when JP won with a decent margin from Kukatpally trouncing rivals with money and muscle power. This is an inspiring victory in an otherwise lacklustre election where all parties competed in offering freebies to the voters.

There were quite a few, some said to be active sponsers, who criticised JP when he relaunched LokSatta as a political party. They must have thought about avoiding the dirt in politics by remaining away and just talking about reforms in governance. But JP did the more challenging thing of entering the fray and proving today that with honesty and persistence, a diligent candidate can turn the intelligent voter in his favour, without any muscle and money power. Kudos to him. I strongly believe this is only the beginning and people of his ilk will rise and challenge the rules of the game presently underway in our politics. He clearly showed us the way. And its high time media and our aam janta lend our ear now and then to some issue based discussions of organizations like LokSatta rather than despondently hand our fate to indifferent politicians. If we believe we can do this, we will do this. Its proven today in Kukatpally.

As JP said, the citizens are ready for change and open to accept honest policymaking, but are there leaders ready to bring in the change. Just for once, lets stop blaming the voters for electing bad leadership. They simply had no option.

Friday, May 15, 2009

YSR to pack his bags?

Everyone seems to be so obsessed with the results coming in tomorrow that it becomes so difficult to avoid discussing politics even if I hate all that empty talk. The TV channels have made this a great Indian circus. Got to live with this, I guess. So what’s in store tomorrow? I have a gut feeling YSR may pack his bags and go home here in Hyderabad while Sardarji will be back in the saddle at the center. If not my gut feeling, this could be my wishful thinking!

Apart from a better conduct of elections in AP (thanks to state election chief IV Subba Rao and DIG AK Mohanty) we may have one more good news, if things go right. And that is JP winning from Kukatpally! The groundswell of goodwill for him was blindingly clear. If he pulls it off, atleast I would not be mightily surprised. It would be, hopefully, then be an eye-opener for the media to focus on some meaningful talk of JP rather than flashing no-brainer breaking news all through the day. It is time people realize not always does meaningful talk go down the drain. And a JP win does that.

Coming back to YSR, his solo show, I thought, was such a big gamble. I wondered how audacious (rather, foolish) he is to up the stakes so high only to loose. The disgust and awe (simultaneously, think of it!) among the common public towards his ruling despention was so evident. Some folks' guess is that he wont manage even 100 seats for his party. Quite wishful. It would be a heartbreaking miracle even if his party (make no mistake, it’s his party here in AP, his fief, not some Gandhis’) finishes as the single largest one. He is definitely not the lesser devil of the two (or three)we have. And for the primeministership, despite his shortcomings, I like to think the Sardarji is the best we have. Hmm, lets wait and see…

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Veedokkade: for Surya's fans

Got back to the movies! Caught up with Surya's 'Veedokkade'. While the movies is a pure masala entertainer, the title is misleading us to think this is one of those assembly-line products in telugu industry depicting larger-than-life machismo between a 'hero' and a 'villain'.This is mild and In fact is written cleverly and with discipline, almost to the book. However, while this masala stuff maybe the best among the recent tamil flicks,it pales in comparision with the popcorn churned out from telugu industry. Like for instance, the costumes, song picturization and the music were below par while the dialogues are not effective. The climax is a damp squib. Not for nothing do we have masala Jagannaths and masala Vinayaks. They are yet to be emulated south of Vindhyas.

Having said that, this movie definitely pushed the envelope when it came to screenplay, art direction and narration. This is perhaps the first indian movie to have tried quite a few things, even if they are inspired from Hollywood flicks. The yamakasi stunts remind us of Bond and Bourne movies like Casino Royale, Bourne Supremacy, QoS. A good try. African locales spiced up the movie and were used effectively. Surya took a leaf out from his new buddy Aamir Khan's 'Ghajini' and shot a song in Namibia's desert. The desert abutts the ocean and has got the world's tallest sand dunes. All this paraphernalia is effectively put together around the star that Surya has become off late. He has the look of a superstar and seems to make intelligent choices to become and remain one. He carries this movie on his shoulders with aplomb and is present in almost every frame of the movie. Tamanna, who also made some very good choices in her blooming career should have accepted this project for the newness this movie craved for. Otherwise her role has nothing to do except to look stunning, which she does. This movie is in line with Surya's choices where he does not experiment too much, like say Vikram. He just concentrates on trying a few getups, looking great and entertaining and that is what Veedokkade does. Surya's fans will enjoy this outing.