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'I' Review: Shankar's Magic Missing

'I' Review: Shankar's Magic Missing

Movie: I
Rating: 2.5/5
Banner:
Aascar Film Pvt. Ltd
Cast: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Suresh Gopi, Santanam, Upen Patel and Others
Music: A R Rehman
Cinematography: P C Sreeram
Editor: Llewellyn Anthony, Gonsalves
Producer: Ascar Ravichandran
Story, Direction: Shankar
Release Date: 14th Jan, 2015

Vikram's three looks, Shankar and a Sankranthi release made 'I' a highly anticipated release of 2015. In Telugu, the film competes with the recently released multi-starrer Gopala Gopala. So, let’s see how Shankar’s latest attempt at surprising his audience has turned out…

Story:
Lingeswara (Vikram) is a body builder who aspires to Mr Andhra and dreams to become Mr India. Despite coming from the slums, he works out vigorously at his father’s gym and wins the title of Mr Andhra. But with success come enemies into his simple life.

Apart from his workouts, he loves and idolizes one person and that is model Diya (Amy Jackson). In fact, he collects everything from sanitary napkins to magazine covers for her pictures. Incidentally, success also brings Diya into his life.

But amidst all the glitz and glamour, Diya has a problem in the form of her fellow model John (Upen Patel) who constantly hits on her. Just to get away from him, Diya promotes Lingeswara and takes him to China with him. From here, Lingeswara becomes Lee and Diya and Lee become the most wanted couple in modeling world. Lee gets it all, the girl, name, fame and money. So is it a happy ending for Lee and Diya or is there is a dark side to their Mills and Boons kind of love story?

Artistes’ Performances:
Vikram once again proves why he is one of the sought-after Tamil actors in the industry. His dedication and his love make the film worth a watch. All his hardwork and the way he transforms his body to suit the three aspects of his character is simply amazing. He is especially good as the body builder and the hunchback in the second half.

Amy Jackson is one hot girl who adds oodles of glamour to the film. She is super sexy and is perfect for the supermodel she plays. She also gets to show off her acting skills in the second half and she manages pretty well.

Suresh Gopi as the doctor is smooth. Upen Patel is good and gets the lengthiest role probably in a long time. Celebrity stylist Ojas Rajani plays Ojas Jasmine the gay make-up artist who has a crush on Lee and he is pretty convincing. Incidentally, he is the same person who gave Aishwarya Rai a new look in Robot.

One cannot think of a big Tamil film without Santanam and he is as good as ever.

Technical Excellence:
Music for the film is by AR Rahman, which is pretty average. Pareshanayya remains with you, but you will have to try real hard to recollect other songs once you walk out of the theatre.

Though Peter Hein was meant to do the stunt choreography, it eventually went to Yuen Woo-Ping and Anl Arasu. Again, unlike past Shankar films, there are no spectacular action sequences. Even the much-hyped cycle sequence on Chinese rooftops is not as nerve-wrecking as it was made out to be in the promos.

Another main drawback is the editing. 'I' has a screen time of three full hours. Many scenes look unnecessary and the editor could have easily chopped them off. This would have made the film shorter and helped in maintaining the pace.

Last but not the least, director Shankar has surely made yet another extravagant film. But the film does not surprise or excite the audiences unlike his earlier films which are loaded with special effects and extravagant sets. The screenplay is rather tame and this takes a toll by the time the film rolls into second half. In all, Shankar retains his style, but his magic is missing.

Highlights:

  • Vikram
  • Make-up
  • Some Action Scenes

Drawbacks:

  • Length
  • Age-old revenge story
  • Music
  • First half

Analysis:
Shankar is a name that has become synonymous with big films where the audiences imagination is stretched.

His films also mean lots of action, drama, glamour and hit music. With I, Shankar does successfully makes yet another of his big films. Unfortunately, that’s also the biggest failure of I, it’s just another big film of Shankar.

The film is about an aspiring body builder who ends up being an ugly hunchback for no fault of his. But Shankar fills the entire first half with bits and pieces of related and unrelated scenes which are more like patchwork than one fluid story that smoothly glides into the second half.

By the time the film comes into second half, the audience get a feel of the plot and it does not take long to put two and two together. So as the film moves towards the climax and the plot becomes extremely predictable, one wonders as to why Shankar chose to make the film in the first place. 

Apparently, he had narrated the story in the past to Rajinikanth, who turned the script and instead chose to work with him for Sivaji and Robot. Probably, the fact that Shankar revisited an old story has really worked against the film.

Shankar draws from various plots and concepts like the Beauty and the Beast, universal human emotions of ego, love, lust, vanity and jealousy. Yet, the film lacks the depth that his earlier films had and somehow Lee does not take you along in his journey.

Vikram nevertheless puts in a lot of hardwork and tries to make the most of the film. However, irrespective of how the Tamil audiences might receive the film, the Telugu audiences might find it a bit tough to watch an ugly hunchback for the entire second half.

Another drawback is not having a strong villain. Though the villains in the film do something very mean, they surely don’t make for a menacing bunch. The director tries to fleetingly show the dark side of the modeling world. But unknowingly he ends up making it look like a staple revenge drama of the ’80s.

Shankar even adds a ‘virus’ to his story to give his film a contemporary look, but it only reminds one of innumerable number of Hollywood films.

A big director coming together with a big hero is usually a sure-shot hit. But sometimes, two big names can really up the expectations and that mars its BO performance. 'I' could turn out to be one such film, at least in Telugu.

Bottomline: Lost cause

(Venkat can be reached venkat@greatandhra.com or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews) 

Click here for Telugu review

Video: I Movie Public Talk

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