Shankar’s I [Manoharudu] (2015) Movie Review
Movie Review: I
Genre: Romantic| Thriller
Star cast: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Upen Patel, Santhanam, Ramkumar Ganesan, Srinivasan, Mohan Kapoor
Director: Shankar Shanmugam
Music: A. R. Rahman
Producer: Aascar Ravichandran
Censor Certificate: U
Runtime: 188 Minutes
I, the latest film by Shankar Shanmugam. Throughout his career he has created blockbuster of blockbuster, from Gentleman in 1993 to famous Robo 2010 & Snehithudu in 2012. Shankar’s movies usually are long, expensive films that combine social message, action, humour and of course romance. His latest movie, reportedly his dream film, has finally manifested on screen, and it disappoints. Lets check out the review for more details.
Hunched–deformed man Lingesh (Vikram) kidnaps popular model Diya (Amy Jackson) from her wedding. Then starts a non-linear narration in flashback and present scenario, Flash back narrates about Lingesh (Vikram) a fierce bodybuilder and who aspires to win Mr. India title. He admires National model Diya (Amy Jackson) and meets her during an ad shoot at Annapurna Studious. Post winning Mr. Andhra title, Diya asks him to shoot for an (I) doubt ad with her due some unnecessary issues created by Co-model John (Upen Patel). China ad receives huge response and company owner plans to shoot every big ad with him. In the meantime, Diya gets engaged to Lingesh. Why did he kidnap Diya? What happened to Lingesh? Forms the rest of the storyline.
Chiyaan Vikram steals the show as he played three different characters (A Body Builder, Hunched-Deformed man & Werewolf), which brings out real star in him. Five minutes into the movie one forgets that Lingesh character is actually essayed by Vikram with heaps of makeup and prosthetic s. He excels in every frame and takes the film to another level with his histrionics. “I” is a new chapter for Upen Patel who looks fantastic with his clean shaven, understated yet ambitious young model. Amy Jackson is at her usual best, in a spirited and modern looking role. She sizzles in the Ladio, Bikini Ad shoot and Nuvvunte Naa Jathagaa. The major problem with the movie is that the lead pair share zero chemistry between themselves on screen. Vikram tries to convince, but he doesn’t share the vibes with Amy Jackson who has a role to cherish. Veteran actor Suresh Gopi is good as the doctor, who is possessive about Amy Jackson. Ram Kumar Ganeshan and Ojas M. Rajani are adequate in their small roles. Santhanam comedy fails to tickle in Telugu.
A quote by Khalil Gibran “Beauty is not in the face, beauty is a light in the heart” perfectly suits the message Shankar tried to convey through “I”. Movie themes, true love and revenge are painfully familiar, and some scenes feel so forced that they almost make us cringe. Although the story has nothing new to offer, Vikram’s dedication, Cinematographer P C Sriram vision, A R Rahman music make all the difference. P C Sriram camera work is a visual delight. From the sweeping rich locales of the China to the unassuming beauty of South India, the film takes much from the beautiful lands, weather and communities in which it finds itself. Shankar uses visual imagery to construct scenes that seem like montages out of a dream. For example Poovulane captures the weather in the background symbolizes his emotions. In Nuvvunte Naa Jathaga, Vikram is shown as a true admirer, who is the beast and tries to propose her, but the girl (beauty) gets too scared by his appearance. The heartbroken beast kills himself and transform into a handsome man, but it’s too late. A.R. Rahman’s music is good but the hit and super hit status is missing. The Nuvvunte Naa Jathaga song is already very popular and its picturization is quite eye-filling. The other songs are nice but that’s not enough for a romantic film, even the lyrics (By Anantha Sriram, Ramajogayya Sastry & Suddala Ashok Teja) sound very fuzzy. Muthuraj’s Artwork is spectacular, considering how much the movie has relied on the sets; especially the beast song set deserves a nomination.
Even “I” has its faults. At three hour-eight minutes, it does drag a lot in the second half; it’s not totally boring, but it takes a very long route to get to the final showdown. Shankar gets a little carried away in showing off the visuals at a few points where he could have tightened the script. For such a long movie, the supporting characters aren’t given much room to be fleshed out, a little more meat behind Ram Kumar Ganeshan and Suresh Gopi’s characters for instance would have gone a long way. For example, Upen Patel is easy to hate – which is the intent – but he’s so testosterone-filled it’s hard to see him as a real person. Again, giving his character more depth would have benefited the movie a bit. The movie really is spectacular to behold, but there are times when the story struggles to be worth the effort put into the special effects. Shankar tries to make point hauled with his nonlinear narration. Screenplay is simple, yet director tries to narrate the past and present in parallel way which makes the narrative drilling. To shock us more, there are loads of gay jokes popping up when you least expect them. Fight masters Anal Arasu and Peter Ming have done an okay job and have made look Vikram superior. Production Values of Aascar Ravichander are grand.
By now one is certain about the common traits to expect in a Shankar movie. A world of his own, presented in a grand way with a high degree of visual effects and natural panache for bringing out high degree of emotions even in intricately choreographed song picturizations. However, Shankar also tends to often test your patience with some high melodrama and deliberate heavy-handed operose film making that aims for the epic. In that sense, “I” clings to much of this and there are those moments in the first half that simply disengage you from the narrative. There’s a limit to avowedly beautiful locals or wows of colours on screen if the script isn’t there. Final words, I – though an overall letdown, is not a complete waste of your time primarily because of Vikram’s hard-work behind Shankar’s vision.
Survi Review: 2/5