16-Dec-2007

Movie Review - Evano Oruvan,Khoya Khoya Chand

Two movies that I thought I would really enjoy. Both disappointing me, most likely from my own high expectations.

Evano Oruvan’s opening sequence of normal household noises – an alarm clock ringing, buckets being filled and the local train cutting through the wind – had me worried for a moment. Please god, don’t make this a pretentious art movie. Luckily, after the title credits, we are introduced to an honest, middle-middle class Sridhar Vasudevan (Madhavan), his nagging wife Vatsala (Sangeetha) and their two kids. Vasu is every bit the dignified, honest and respectable white-collar employee, on a tight salary, a home loan and a life bordering on comfortable. However, he does not sport the normal middle class tendency to adjust and compromise and bribe a bit. After one too many disappointments of living with an ‘upright’ husband, a frustrated Vatsala tells him to stop whining and fight the system if he hates it so much, little imagining that Vasu will actually do so. Vasu breaks down and during the course of the next two days, goes about beating up every lawbreaker he comes across.

Assigned to his case, is a police officer Vetrimaran (Seeman) who correctly points out that a white-collar employee taking up arms is an indication of a system breaking down. No middle class man would ever fight unless he is pushed to the brink.

Vasu finally jerks out of this mode when an old middle class Tam Bram woman for whose rights he is fighting, refuses to accept the help of a violent man like him. Vasu and Vetrimaran come to their final encounter.

All principal characters are well etched. Vetrimaran’s role manages to straddle a police officer who can sympathise with Vasu but is unlikely to give up his life, career, and comforts in a quest to save Vasu. Vasu’s rampage does not resemble quintessentially Kollywood reformers like Anniyan or Indian. There are no cold calculated moves, just blind rage stemming from a frustration at the corruption in daily life. Even tiny parts like that of the corrupt water lorry assistant who shamelessly letches at a teenage girl are shown realistically.

However it is the larger picture that gets confusing. Does Vasu go on his rampage because he is unhappy with his own life or corruption in general? Why do the senior police officers want Vasu dead especially in a day and age where media would make a martyr out of Vasu? The movie loses focus, steam and logic at these junctures.

Overall, I would have expected better but is still worthwhile to watch on dvd someday.

Khoya Khoya Chand was worse. The settings and the mood were brilliant. The clothes, the hairstyles, the songs, the music composing sessions so different from today’s technologically superior studios, the same casting couch problems, the Bengali director high on artistic integrity and liquor, the Punjabi producer shamelessly spouting commercialism and neither character coming across as stereotypes. Alas, the principal character is the victim of this attention to detail on everything else. Nikhat (Soha Ali Khan) is supposed to be an actress who is exploited by everyone, manages to make it a success in Bollywood and then takes up drinking as her career and personal life nosedive. Sadly it is a rare moment when you can understand or empathise with Nikhat. She looks the same whether it is confessing her first casting couch experience at 14, or discovering that her memories of a loving father are not true or buying liquor surreptitiously from a bootlegger. In a scale of ‘how much I empathized with the character’, if Mr Bean scored a 3, Nikhat would score 1. Especially considering that I was pre disposed to weep for her as she is supposed to be based on real life heroines like Waheeda Rehman who did suffer a lot of trauma.

Rajat Kapoor as the aging hero, Premkumar, has a great role and does it well. Shiney Ahuja as the self-involved writer Zafar again vacillates from realistic to uni-dimensional. Peripheral support characters like Vinay Pathak, Saurabh Shukla, Sonya Jehan shine.

The movie reminded me of some of the dinners I have been to. The table is set right, complete with excellent chinaware and filled with well-garnished, delectable looking items, but the actual food usually tastes average. Looks great for a photo shoot but you can never forget yourself in it.

3 comments:

Entropy said...

Anita, you scum. I ask you to review Khoya Khoya Chand for my blog and you say it is not worth a review, just a disparaging comment will do. And then you sneak this review on to your blog.
Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater !
Am copying this review on to my blog. Will give you credit for it, of course.
Zen.

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theghostwhotalks said...

Haven't seen either of the movies but from what I head "Evano Oruvan" seems to be loosely based on "Falling Down" which is definitely worth a few watches.