This Weekend at Cinemas: 12th Fail & Keedaa Cola
Keeda Cola 12th Fail Review
When I started, I wanted to talk about every film, I saw. Not to say that I did watch many but just wanted to share my thoughts on any film, I saw. Be it a bad film or a great one, I wanted to just share my thoughts and start a discussion. I wanted to invite, include, and indulge whoever has a similar kind of interest in films and tried to improve my knowledge. Now, I learned that not every movie deserves our attention. Because – a) When the makers did not put in so much effort to make them why should I put in effort to dissect them; b) Let’s just talk about good films and those that need something to be said. Both the reasons are subjective to my understanding and thinking, ONLY. There are people who don’t care for my thoughts and there are thankfully, few, who consider my thoughts as well. So, if ever I feel, there are films that can have comparative study, I want to file them under this section, “This Weekend at Cinemas.” Hope, you’ll like this kind of experimentation as well.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 12th Fail
- Great real-life story
- A huge cinema legend is back to his best
- Delivers on the promise
- Realism and cinematic brilliance are well-balanced.
Tharun Bhascker’s Keedaa Cola
- Writing seems to be highly influenced and not “original”.
- Filmmaking techniques are good.
- The cockroach or Keedaa is the main idea and not the Cola.
- Cluster of scenes don’t have a flow
- Every Scene has been dragged to bits
Keeda Cola 12th Fail Review
Tharun Bhascker and Vidhu Vinod Chopra are at different stages of their careers. One is a legend and the other is a newcomer. However, their films released in the same week in Telugu have some similarities in their filmmaking styles. They both use realism on screen to tell their stories. This is an opportunity to compare their filmmaking styles objectively, without considering their personal lives or careers.
Down to the Business End:
12th Fail has very real and connectible characters. VVC missed such characters in Shikara  and Eklavya . The screenplay in both those films is good but the characters don’t really stand with us. This movie being based on real-life DIG Manoj Sharma and his wife IRS officer Shraddha, helped him to ground them even further. Characters like Gauri Bhaiya, Pritam Pandey, and DSP Dushyant Singh add to the layered narrative. The layers are not added like in a Cold Cake but they are added like in a Payasam or Pongal – unlike idli or dosa, those two food items have major ingredients added to them to give the ultimate taste. In cake, layers are visible while those two food items are not visible at all. This film has Manoj [Vikrant Massey] growing more and more stubborn with the failures, he faces.
When he thinks, his life cannot completely change, he meets Shraddha [Medha Shanker], who always pushes him towards that change he aspires. She being successful before him did not bring out any kind of grey shade in him. Rather it made him even more inspired to achieve his goal. As an IPS officer, he can change his life and the lives of his family and village as well. He can bring changes into the lives he would touch, as well. So, his shaken self-belief needed her love to ignite inspiration again and again. Gauri Bhaiya seems to be the perfect person from whom you can learn. Pritam Pandey’s character inspires you to be a better person every time.
On the other hand, Keedaa Cola tries to push the screwball dark humor genre in Telugu Cinema. Japanese, and European weird comedies have whatifery, buffoonery, and simple satire in over-enhanced weird images. The technical brilliance in images inspires you but the weirdness in the situations and whatever you can imagine can happen kind of hoarse humor keeps the narrative happening. But Keedaa Cola tried to be something like those films and failed in writing. The writing has problems from not having likable characters. You connect with a character when you see some kind of likeability and interesting human nature traits in them. While Brahmanandam‘s character could have brought in the likeability, Chaitanya Rao and Rag Mayur needed more strength.
Rather we get Jeevan and Tharun Bhascker’s Naidu characters trying to run the situations. Every scene seems to be written to give Naidu a purpose to do some improbable things. He can shoot, he can fall in love with a doll, he can come back to life even after being backstabbed, and no matter what, he will survive. May be a nod to his personality but it doesn’t really work in the film’s context. Jeevan is obsessed with one idea, Chaitanya Rao, and Rag Mayur obsessing with money have Keedaas but Cola doesn’t fizz out those obsessions out. It just looks like a few scenes are being overstretched for effect.
The greatest of filmmakers have praised Vidhu Vinod Chopra for his style of filmmaking. He is in great form in 12th Fail. The resemblance with The Aspirants web show doesn’t hamper the proceedings at all. Vikrant Massey carried the role on his shoulders, literally. He had to be a believable and honest person, who is interestingly, being presented from other people’s POV. This is a great choice and masterstroke from the filmmaker. He doesn’t try to make him, “US”. The majority of films work on the identification of audiences with the main characters. But here, we are kept as a third person in the director’s POV to connect with the main character. By keeping us away, we are shown the kind of problems he is facing and we keep wondering how is he balancing this much pressure. This helps us in understanding the circumstances and that unexpectedly takes us with him through the journey.
VVC’s touch lies in giving close-up shots with background characters giving their own intricacy. In this movie, you can see Vikrant Massey walking in the crowd and you see a major number of junior artists giving us a realistic feel. You feel like him being left alone in a concrete jungle. In another shot, you see the character that has started the VO, from the eyes of Vikrant. It doesn’t try to be a cinematic moment even though he is the narrator. Also, he is known for using panorama shots and seeing Chambal shots, again. In the first shot, you see Chambal being a slightly dried place and at the end, you can see more greenery there. It’s almost like nature is also happy with the accomplishment of its son.
On the contrary, a filmmaker who believes in coming up with POVs of characters has decided to go with the third person POV for a story that needs the main character POV. Either Chaitanya Rao or Brahmanandam needed to carry us into the proceedings. He tried to start with Chaitanya Rao’s POV and suddenly shifted to Jeevan’s and then carried away with Naidu’s. And the situations while being realistic, go into weird zones unnecessarily. Raghu Ram’s character SHOTS, recruiting a team of differently-abled people doesn’t add to the comedy. Getup Srinu scenes are overstretched and all scenes involving Naidu go into earlier worked jokes zone. The writing just seems to have gone into the lethargic zone while some shots in execution are great. The inconsistency in writing showcases a taken-for-granted attitude at places.
Tharun tried a creative way of telling a story with Jeevan imagining himself in that position. While this works as an imaginative way to showcase obsession. In the same scene, writer extends the scene with unnecessary deviations. As a director, the thought is creative but as a writer, he killed his own idea. Similarly, towards the end, you can see Brahmanandam heaving a heart-to-heart scene with Chaitanya but that doesn’t have any weight. It almost seems like going with the motions. Again, the final showdown in the climax is more predictable than fun.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 12th Fail has been a solid addition to his filmography. It is almost like a restart for the legend. He seems to have told himself that he is restarting himself with this movie. On the other hand, Keedaa means an insect in everyone’s mind. The inception of an idea in the head could take you to any level. While 12th Fail, takes the idea of honesty to the next level, this Keedaa Cola goes into the dark world and falls into the abyss of unimaginative writing. Also, if one believed in the real human story leading them to greatness, another one believed in the dark side of humanity. Hence, the insects that ran in their heads led to the results they had accomplished on the screen. It is almost like Day and Night, as Earth’s obsession with the sun creates them. While Day gives life, as light hitting leaves produces oxygen, at night, the lack of light makes trees produce CO2. Both the films are like that in handling obsession.