2.0: Hollow Spectacle

2point0

 

Shankar’s sci-fi sequel begins in twilight.  A wonderfully constructed suicide; it could very well be a testimony to the director himself.

 

Is the Shankar sun really setting?

 

If it is, then it really wants us all to remember the previous glory.

2.0 is an oddly stitched together film of mostly “Shankar elements”, who knows this movie can give rise to an ‘Ultimate Shankar Movie Checklist’

 

Here goes an initial draft:

Shankar’s main vigilante will want to kill people to make things right because no one listens to him- Check

He might use some ancient text/symbol/martial art to justify/aid his killing- Check

Vigilante will compete himself & previous Shankar films in devising improbable deaths- Check

Using common folk to convey the confusion about what is happening on the ground or “public pulse” shots- Check

A set piece in a stadium- Check

Amy Jackson’s ….never mind – Check

Corrupt businessmen and politicians- Check

 

Ok, yes there is a lot more which we left out including the minister’s secretary wearing safari suit (Check).

Directors tend to repeat themselves, happens all the time man.

We understand that people can run out of ideas and would very much recycle existing works; marketing has a fancy name for this called “re-purposed content”.

The beauty of such content is in making it feel like a whole new experience, in 2.0 the opposite happens and the regular stream of Shankar references also do not help.

The film reaches fantastical levels of unconvincing-ness when Akshay Kumar turns up as prosthetic Pakshirajan or bird-man who somehow has summoned the dead spirits of sparrows to take away cell phones from humans. He believes that humans+cell phones have caused the caused the sparrow deaths and they must be punished. He also believes in wearing a sweater in Thirukazhukundram (70 Km from Chennai).

Dr. Vaseegaran on the other hand believes no man is match for bird-man and summons up Chitti ( The robot from Endhiran). Yep, that’s it; very simple.

Shankar and his team of writers (including Jeyamohan who is writing the Mahabharata in modern form) have gone to the Keep It Simple School of Screenwriting.

If there is a problem, then there is an immediate solution and the protagonist knows what it really and exactly is and hence there is no real tension. Even when a gigantic metallic bird threatens to destroy the city.

Let alone the story, 2.0 refuses to engage in complexities in its science too; everything is reduced to positive and negative. This reductive science approach undertaken to cater to the breadth of the audience ends up hurting the film which after a while feels like a hollow assemblage of well rendered visual effects.

Immediate wow-factor not withstanding 2.0 also overstays its welcome, so eager it is to show us this spectacle that it forgets that the film is pretty much over before the titular 2.0 appears.

2.0 is again Rajnikanth who in the absence of good writing and an effective BGM makes those scenes work with ‘that’ trademark laugh and quips, but by this time it is difficult for humans to really feel connected for the final forty minute action display.

Very early on in the film, an engineering student falls ‘immediately’ in love over the immaculate beauty that is Nila (Amy Jackson) only to fall immediately out of love when he comes to know that Nila is in fact a humanoid robot.

Good to look at, but nothing much beyond that.

Oh wait, that’s the movie too.

 

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KTV Captions Make Tamil Cinema Twitter Great Again

 

It is my firm belief that if there is a battle between the idea of watching movies in the theatre and the (greater) idea of watching a movie at home; then watching at home will decimate the opposing side and do multiple victory laps in the battlefield, easily.

 

Ok, this is more of an in medias res kind-of piece which would make more sense if you are on twitter and tuned to chennai for trends, so I will put the watching movies at home vs the big screen debate to a later date. I will also talk about the importance of channels like KTV in the scheme of things later. Now back to twitter. 

 

The most common observation that could be made is that most of the trending topics are synthetically made kollywood movie updates say like a trailer release or a first look poster, an audio launch, a success party or a countdown to the actual movie release or some such nonsense.

 

Yes, that is the situation; that is what Kollywood has reduced twitter to.

 

Of course now everything goes by the name of marketing and thus giving an entire generation of marketers a bad name; it is stifling. Successfully, Kollywood twitter has sucked out most interesting thing in my life (movies) into the most boring thing.  

 

Maybe Kollywood twitter is a dementor.

 

In this noxious environment when trackers and so called film journalists who would do anything to get a gullible man’s (or woman’s) moment of attention, these schemers who hide behind fandom of Ajith-Vijay to drive clicks and RTs comes a whiff of fresh air, an old hand (been in the business since 2001)  who still has his chops, competing with the new kids.

 

This was when KTV decided to take Tamil film twitter to a better place.

 

Most Tamil movie channels just put out updates on show timings, understandable because this is not the TV viewing generation and an active twitter account which publishes on routine is not really a must-have.

 

Here again, a channel which stood out with its content and programming now stands out with some brilliantly crafted tweet captions that mostly never fails to bring a smile. The KTV twitter feed is something I look forward to everyday.

Why because they did a lot of things that Tamil movie fans would appreciate including

 

Crystallizing Mudhalvan to a memorable caption

 

 

Secured Inaindha Kaigal’s legacy by linking it to the Mission Impossible films

 

 

Unwittingly spoke the truth about Asal ( i mean…awful?)

 

 

Used the movie titles innovatively

 

 

 

Figuring out R.Parthepan

 

 

Shooting out essential movie trivia

 

 

Delivering the crux of a V Sekar Classic

 

 

Making all the relevant Hollywood connections

 

 

Giving tough competition to Batman V Superman

 

 

Making an effort to change society for the better

 

 

And finally, using all the right words at all the right places

 

Tweets are momentary, but appreciation needs not be.

So this is my “samarpanam” to all the effort and movie love that goes behind making these captions.

Let the hits keep on coming!

 

FRS: Seema Raja

So we all know what an FRS is right? Right? Let’s get on with it because this movie took seven hours to end.

 

seemaraja1

-300: The one millionth time when we see molten metal falling into the mould to create the movie title.

Here it comes with heraldry also. #MadeOfSteel types

 

-101: Some minor irritation happens and someone in the crowd shouts: “indha aniyayatha thatti ketka aale illaya?” and cue to SK introduction.

Yes this has been happening from Bhagavater times.

 

+12: SK has two horses named Alex and Telex #goodnames

SK also names his pigeons after Tom Cruise, Arnold, Obama etc

 

-10: Just when we thought director Ponram had done away with narration and ushered in a new age in commercial filmmaking, there is narration.

Damn narration.

 

FRS Mini Bytes

 

All narration about (insert regional language here) history is ultimately a glorified version of the (insert regional language here) past.

 

+21: SK breaks a wooden fence during introduction, uses pieces of the broken fence to continue action. We appreciate this reduce and reuse approach.

 

FRS Mini Bytes

98% of movies about villages will be about how one village is not able to get along with nearby village. Here it is Singampatty vs Puliampatti

 

+32: SK,Rajah of Singampatti is able to attract an audience of 11,000 people for his facebook live.

This is in a time when even Sunny Leone was able to get only just above 6K in a recent live stream. We will not speak about how we know about this Sunny Leone fact, matter ends there.

 

+101: Self referential movie is totally self referential

SK acknowledges this very fact in the opening song, when the oeuvre of director of Ponram is compared to “aracha maava araipoma” but even a talent is required for that.

Seema Raaja is essentially the SK-Soori combination and a lot of girl chasing thrown along the way; as usual getting the girl is the goal of the hero

 

-101: Even if hero is the rajah of Singampatti, goal of hero is: get the girl.

Here it is Samantha going under the name Sudhandhira Selvi (Daughter of Freedom?)

-54: Heroine says no means no, but hero tells story of phoenix bird which attempts to reach the sun at every possible attempt even after burning; heroine is amused and ultimately gives in to these ‘charms’. #ModernLove

-341: As usual, hero sings song in praise of farmers and how they never seek to gain profits

But never pauses to ask question what film producers seek to gain from such unabashedly profit making films.

-100: Ex-Lady Superstar Simran plays the baddie in this semi-rural film which means that audience need to understand that shouting will be a major character trait.

-29.8: At some point that movie becomes so boring that usually enthusiastic FRS writers themselves have stopped coming up with random FRS points and started to browse their mobile.

It was at this time that they could have seen the Sunny Leone instagram live stream, although we won’t talk about this anymore.

-54: That no one on-set had the courage to tell what Soori was doing is not funny.

-890.3: Movie suddenly tries to become Baahubali with an absolute force-fit for the ages with a story about Kadambavel Raja(also SK) who protected his land from invaders.

Since the present day story-line was not going anywhere, the story of Kadambavel Raja is echoed and Seema Raja also protects the land of his people etc from crony capitalists and middlemen etc

I mean… was this not boring while writing itself?

 

Seema Raja pushes the boundaries of boredom to such an extent that boredom is transformed into an irrepressible irritation, only very few movies are possible of doing such things. That itself is an achievement.

 

Also since most things are force fitted in the film, you can at least listen to what we have to say about pride and history in general.

 

If our pride should come from past glories, then we are failing in the present and will surely fall in the future as well.

 

Well, that is a depressing statement to finish an FRS with, so we will add some 20 marks for a CGI generated leopard which is there for laughs in this movie.

 

Regards

Team FRS

Vanakkam