I : Shankar’s The Beauty and The Beast
Shankar is a showman. Shankar is a fascinating story teller. He is more of a visual story teller with spectacular VFX and big budget canvas for Songs, Action and overall movie. Everything he does has to be big and different. Shankar has given us movies like “Hindustani” starring Kamal Hassan, “Nayak” Starring Anil Kapoor, “Sivaji” starring Rajnikant. These movies are liked, appreciated and satellite channels still telecast them often.
This week Shankar is back with a film with unique title “I”. Starring South Indian SuperStar “Vikram”, “I” has a complex role to be played by any star. Not only complex, but it is physically demanding too as it shows the protagonist, Lingesan’s transformation from low class body builder to high class Model to a disfigured hunchback.
Story is nothing new. It is a revenge saga of a good hearted person who is ruined by the people who are jealous to see him grow. Story and screenplay is written by Shankar himself. Screenplay is interestingly structured but ineffective due to stretching it to whopping 186 mins. It is reminiscent of the 80s revenge movies and new age audience may find it very outdated.
Director Shankar is terrific when he is actually telling the story but very self indulgent and unnecessarily expensive when it comes to songs. There are too many songs which Bollywood audience can not identify with. There are tremendous VFX in every frame of almost each song. I think more than 30-40% budget of the movie could have been curtailed if songs were removed. The narrative post interval is gripping.
The movie needs ruthless chopping and the editor Anthony should have chucked almost 1 hr out of it to make it a crisp revenge saga of 120 mins which is more than sufficient for a feature film.
Vikram has done terrific job in all his 3 avatars and must be applauded for his commitment as an actor to the role. He lost 40 kg to play the role of the hunchback and gained 110 kg for just a song. There are tremendous getups which must have required painful makeup sessions and he endured them all. He acted well too. From the brainless pahelwan, to vulnerable struggler to the disgruntled hunchback, he sure steals the show.
Amy Jackson as Diya, looks gorgeous, hot and cute all at once. She does her job of a model, a caring lover appropriately. Upen Patel overacts in the role of arrogant, jealous John. Suresh Gopi does good job as Doctor Vasudev. Everyone else are instructed to do over the top acting and they do it well.
Technically the film is superb. Cinematography by P. C. Sreeram in China and fight scenes is excellent. The other scenses could have been better. Costume Designs by Mary E. Vogt are unique and Many. A huge amount of budget must have been for costumes itself.
Make up by Sean Foot, Davina Lamont is good but does look plasticky. Music by A. R. Rahman is fine. Background score is superb.
Overall, a big feast for the fans of south Indian masala cinema and Shankar.
Recommendation : Watch it only if you are a die hard fan of south Indian masala films and love Shankar’s over the top big budget movies. Skip if you moved on that phase in life 🙂