Monday, June 07, 2010

Vedam: One of the best ever Telugu movies

Krish's 'Vedam' is an apt follow-up to his debut 'Gamyam'. As honest as his earlier work, 'Vedam' is more ambitious in content and succeeds too to a large extent. Adapting the multiple story thread narration, Krish narrates about five parallel lives, their ambitions and conflicts in this appropriately titled 'Vedam' (Literally meaning 'Knowledge') and reveals how in this one big world people live in their own life bubbles grappling their own ambitions, problems and vulnerabilities. Despite this being the first attempt at a multiple story narrative in Telugu movies, Krish manages to keep the soul of the movie stay atop the narrative style. All credit goes to Krish for being such a thinker and a filmmaker with heart.

If at all I felt something amiss, it is only in the last half hour. After managing the content and screenplay wonderfully till then, the movie seem to be forced towards the 'action' in hospital. While clearly the Mumbai siege inspired that part, it lacked the depth the movie had all through in its characters. While all characters we saw till then are fleshed out so wonderfully with their human vulnerabilities, the bad guys who arrive announced in the climax are cardboard cutouts. The climax could have been put up to make the movie commercially viable. And honestly it would have been quite a task to imagine a climax for 5 parallel story threads whether the threads converge or not. So this standard action climax could have been employed as it is 'safe'.

Nevertheless, long after you leave the theatres, you still have the very real characters and the emotions they evoke lingering around. Whether it is the poor weaver from Sircilla, the humiliated Muslim or the bigoted police officer, you cant help but admire the casting, the acting and their lines. The authenticity seen in the language, dialect, costumes employed in these threads depicting diverse cultures show that lots of thinking went into the movie. Contrast this with how the same 'Sircilla' lingo was depicted in 'Jalsa' or how Muslim customs are portrayed in general. Allu Arjun, Manoj and Anushka for once played the characters asked for and not acted like stars. However what was surprising is that Manoj was credited for a 'Guest Appearance' while he is in there all through from opening scene to closing scene! Was that because his 'senior' co-star felt insecure? And that after all the self-congratulatory noises from the stars about ushering in 'multi-starrers' keeping aside their king-size egos! Well, lets hope some of the abundant wisdom in the movie rubs onto the stars!

'Vedam' also has some wonderful and timely songs that adds flavor to the theme. The lyrics are great depicting realities of our lives and the background score is superb switching between the five threads. The editing and photography is top-notch. The movie of course would ignite the debate about 'sad ending' in Telugu film industry. As blogged earlier, I never thought Telugu viewers are particularly averse to so-called 'sad endings'. But we can debate that another day. For now, let us cheer 'Vedam'. Let us also hope it will wake up the Telugu movie industry from its delusional world and make more meaningful movies.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. As a fan of Allu Arjun & Krish. People didn't trust on my comments which was discussed on 1st day of the film.

Amarnadh said...

Thanks for the comments. As a fan of Allu Arjun & Krish. People didn't trust on my comments which was discussed on 1st day of the film

Naren said...

Vedam is a Good Movie but not the best ever telugu movie.
Prastanam is better than Vedam.

Naagarikuda Vinu said...

"Manushulu nakili notlani tayaaru cheste, notlu nakili manushulni tayaaru chestai" People make fake currency and currency makes fake people. Very true. Economic disparities are the most biggest hindrances. Everyone knows that politicians are corrupt yet none is interested to change it. I guess money is the dividing line between two kinds of people ... one corrupt and the other is less corrupt ... we can find pure people in utopia. We may not completely eradicate corruption but at least try to be less corrupt. peace

Amar said...

@Naren
I thought this is one of the best as it took on so many challenges. And I think its better than Prasthanam. And yes BTW here is the take of Deva Katta, Prasthanam director on Vedam - http://idlebrain.com/news/2000march20/vedamreview-devakatta.html.

@NV,
Thats one of the many beautiful lines in the movie and no wonder Krish himslef grabbed it on screen :)

@Amarnadh
Not easy to trust when such stuff is few and far between. Thats understandable :)

Harisha said...

Dude,

I saw the movie Sat night and was literally waiting for ur blog to come up. I just loved it and liked it better than Gamyam. Yeah, the lingo was caught right and so the ppl's reactions to various situations. I'm going to watch it again this tuesday :)

prasad said...

A very well crafted movie-enjoyed it immensely for its characterizations,continuity/consistency all through,cinematography and bg score.
But there were a few ridiculously forced frames and inconsistencies in an otherwise coming-of-age movie.After all, every artist can be excused for exercising a few of their creative liberties in such an honest attempt...:)
Special mention should be made of Bunny-he has finally evolved!

I would stop short of calling it one of the best ever-for me that would have to be Prasthanam.

Sunil Kumar Eda said...

Vedam i definetly think has taken telugu cinema to the next level not in terms of all that multi-starrer funda which is doing rounds in the media.It should be appreciated the way the story is narrated, frankly speaking this movie is not a crowd puller and its not formula based, but this movie is for people who care a lil bit and more concerned about what’s happening around us in the society. It gives so many subtle messages along the journey but doesn’t blast in ur ears preaching what’s right and what’s not.
Krish i think identified on what all aspects he needs to talk about in this movie and then may be started creating this story and characters around those themes.
The first thing he talks about is prostitution; Many things stand out in the character portrayed by Anushka
First she doesn’t feel bad about what she is doing, she treats that like any other profession and more over the director gives the impression she is happy with what she is doing but not happy how much she is getting at the end of the day. She wanted to break free which was nicely captured as a song. She always thinks like she too wanted to start something of her own.
It definitely reflects the current mood in the society which people are driven by the fact to earn more and not so to think whatever they are doing is right or wrong in the first place.
There is a certain amount of inner strength in her character, she never appeared to be afraid to take on any body, the scene where she questions the police officer saying y they have to take money in spite of them having uniforms and salaried jobs just proves the same.
But the poignant scene is in the hospital where she asks the doctor for help and then she offers him to sleep as many times as he wished, It reiterates the essence of this movie saying when people are pushed back to the wall they tend to bribe/sell whatever they have. In this case prostitute thinks the only way to get her work done is to sell what ever she has and she thinks that her flesh is the only thing that she can sell. The director simultaneously told another subtle message in the same frame by making the Doctor refutes the offer and instead he brought the invisible force of GOD/religious sentiment to get things done.
Many directors could have easily made the doctor oblige to the offer given by the lady, but krish decided to do otherwise but at the same time used that frame to tell a different psyche of an average Indian who are more or less "Religious" in nature.
The next thing is about the poor old man whose only wish in his late nineties is to get his grandson educated at the cost of anything. It’s startling to believe a fact that human beings are selling organs to get basic amenities in life. A more profound theory in which the old man believes (Director) that only education can get them out of this rot, may be the old man will not get benefited from that but his future generations will never be in the same stage. This tells a very important facet of the strength of education. I think one guy can change the fate of generations to come, imagine the same kid in the movie becomes a topper later in his life and gets a good job; None of his future generations will be in a desperate situation to sell an organ to meet their common needs. I think that’s the biggest take away in that episode, though it sublimely falls into the line of the movie of getting pushed to the wall and human beings selling what ever they can, It also tells how powerful the tool of education is to society at large. The old man acted so well , that thought his story there was never a moment that the audience felt he was acting.


Rest of the characters in part-2

sachin said...

Its a good movie, it tries to depict the insecurities of different people living in a society, It shows disparities of the society. There's one wonderful movie in English called Crash, its also on the same lines. If you haven't watched it then I would seriously recommend it.

Trend is changing in Telugu, I grew up watching Heroes in Telugu and am no more a kid who loves to be in fantasy world. Good, now there are characters in movies. Prasthanam and now Vedam both are wonderful and treat to watch.

I think all yesteryear actors should float their political parties and should strictly stay away from movies.

Amar said...

@Harry,
Thats wonderful :)

@Prasad,
I think more than one can be in the list of 'one of the best ever' :) Its unfair to compare 2 movies with 2 different subjects. But if I am forced to take that bait, it would be 'Vedam' because of the challenges it surmounted in narration, characters and content. Despite its forced climax, it still made the audience feel and sympathize with characters like a cable guy,prostitute and an old villager - a feat almost impossible for any contemporary movie. Most importantly, this movie has a social conscience, something considered taboo in Telugu movies and which is wildly propagated as equivalent to bore for Telugu viewers. Here that is the last feeling any viewer gets. Credit for the writer-director. I will stop here now :) I don't want to take away anything from Prasthanam which was a delight (My comments here - http://theargumentativeindian.blogspot.com/2010/04/prasthanam-delight-to-watch.html) but it was simply not as ambitious.

Amar said...

@Sunil,
Bang On! Awaiting 2nd part.

@Sachin,
yeah, it reminded of Crash but I deliberately put that out as it would be injustice to Vedam. Everyone will start saying its a 'remake' and how directors here don't have their own brains :) Crash employed flashback with the accident first but Vedam didn't do that. maybe Krish rightly understood his terror climax isn't that appealing or maybe putting that first would give a tragic feeling to the movie making it a loser right away for the viewers.

Glad we see good movies now.Lets hope for more.

prasad said...

For some reason,I didn't feel the same as you did with the movie - nothing new in narration,prostitute's half-baked role,over simplistic and dramatic scenes/dialogues - Maybe I need a second viewing !
Nonetheless its a great movie-credit to Krish and team !

shiv said...

I did't like the movie and it was like watching 5 telugu TV serials parallelly and merging them into one in the last. There is no comedy, no dance from Allu Arjun and it's a slow movie with no concept/story in it.

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