FRS: Saamy 2 aka Saamy Square

saamy-2-46So you all know what an FRS is right? right?

+120: To director Hari.

critics have often told that he tends take things a few notches higher; Hari seems to have taken this criticism to heart and named the film as Saamy square which means that the current film is a result of multiplying the first movie by itself.

+6: Aarusaamy is back

Vikram so much looks the character that he makes it look like they are using extended footage from the first film shot 27 years ago.

(no this is not a side-reference to Vishwaroopam/Vishwaroop 2)

-10: Weather and mother nature start behaving badly when Aarusaamy gets angry 

(no this is not a side-reference to Sabu from Chacha Chaudhary comix)

-12: Just when you thought that there was not going to be any narration, there is. 

+18: Aishwarya Rajesh plays Bhuvana

the character essayed by Trisha in the original; but we did not see any “ivarukku badhil ivar types” serial credits at the start thus making it momentarily difficult.

-10: Aarusaamy has been married happily for over a year, but never has he once realized that the ultimate goal of his wife was to become an IAS officer #notcouplegoals

-70: Suddenly there are three sons of the original villain and all of them come from Srilanka,

the chief of them is even named Ravana; obviously hero name is Ramasaamy

+45.9: Bobby Simha as Ravana Pitchai is one of the best antagonist portrayals this year, he gets an accent, a signature killing move, a creepy BGM and performs even, just forget about the beard though.

-32: Cronies of Perumal Pitchai do not question the authority of the ‘newly-sprouted’ sons and not even one of them come to stake claim.

We hope that, this portion will be covered in the Netflix series called Saamy 1.5 or square root of Saamy 

-714: Movie suddenly says “28 years later”, which means movie should take place in 2032 but actually takes place in our time only. 

Alternate movie suggest: Saamy 2032 aka Saamy From the Future

{Aarusaamy Jr aka “6” is a humanoid robot in the service of Tirunelveli Police, which is now being run entirely by robots to fight crime against the ARUVA 2.0 gang (Artificial Robots Used For Violence and Arson) 

Accidentally ‘halwa’  falls in his mouth during a drug bust and 6 starts to believe that he is a human police and goes in search of true meaning; we can get Denis Villeneuve interested no?} 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<GET ON WITH IT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

+561: Movie suddenly becomes a supernatural police action film, even though this was totally unexpected, it blew our minds.

+327: Obsessive Hari heroes are obsessive about  transport

Ramasaamy (Vikram again after trim shaving Aarusaamy get-up) actually mugs entire flight time tables (both public and private air carriers), he is also very specific about kilometers etc; so good.

We believe the biggest beneficiaries of the Udaan scheme of the government are Hari movie heroes namely Singham and Saamy. Doing their bit to encourage aviation in tier 2 cities.

But Saamy is one step lower than Singham, who is known to recite  latitudes and longitudes of places by heart, thus making Google maps skip an update.

<Let’s cross our fingers for a Duraisingham and Ramasaamy crossover, should be in the lines of Ramasaamy becomes a rogue police official and Duraisingam is tasked to bring him in. Let’s call it Toothukudi: Civil War>

-201: Heroine is “foreign return”

Keerthy Suresh studies a one year course in human psychology from University of Liverpool, but does not realize that incessantly calling IPS officers during work times could irritate them.

-107: Heroine’s father is a politician in Delhi; but did not send her daughter to JNU for the psychology course.

Was he afraid she would become urban naxal or was cut-off too high? Many such open questions.

-21: Name of coffee shop where hero and heroine meet in Delhi is : Delhi Coffee Shop

(I mean come on guys!)

+17: Second time in the history of Tamil film where heroine comes and disturbs a training session at some military academy in the hills. Hi to GVM.

-305.2: It is 2018 and Soori still thinks getting himself hit by others is funny, but the joke is on us because he is there in every other film.

+7: Mildly funny Keerthy Suresh is mildly funny, she should be paid for comedic quotient.

<Business Model Moment>

Can we evolve a model where we can track the amount of laughter generated in comedy scenes in theatres, parameters could be wild-to-mild laughter and claps and then pay the comedians as a proportion to their success? This could be a merit based model which could motivate comedians to come up with actually funny stuff.

</Business Model Moment>

-34: All songs whenever, wherever 

+101: One killing set-piece

+50: Movie suddenly becomes Mad Max Fury Road in the Thar desert before the climax (one more surprise), but some sections of the audience were furious (FURIOSA!)  because run-time just crossed 7 hours.

+23: Hero establishes greatness of the police police force by choosing IPS over IAS; wait we have seen that…um…never mind

-5: Convenient transfer to Thirunelveli is highly convenient

+71: Ramasaamy has the President of India on his email contacts, and they CONVERSE IN CAPS!

Oh wait, there are plans to make it a sequel too. Saamy Cubism?

<All numbers are incidental and irrelevant, except the data provided by our data analytics team based out of PUNE>

Yours sincerely

Team FRS

Subam

Vanakkam

 

 

 

 

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Top Of The Heap: Blue Light Yokohoma

It’s always a good feeling to keep notes and forget about them for a while.

Only after reading Nicolas Obregon’s Blue Light Yokohama, which I thought I had discovered after weeks of lurking on crime fiction blogs, only to be amazed to find an earlier to-read list with the same title.
In that way, what I am seeking is something I already have?
Tokyo is a million cities. You ever wonder if some of those cities are good and some are bad?”
I love cities, it is something we need to be proud of; somewhere that encourages and allows everyone to be together yet different.
Blue Light Yokohama is a moody Tokyo city novel central to which is a provincial-obsessive detective Iwata.

Kosuke Iwata is fighting against second hand treatment, treacherous team mates,corruption, insane cultists, the Yakuza and more importantly himself to stop the ‘black sun’ serial killer.

I know there are a lot of self-absorbed detectives in crime fiction; maybe this is a recency effect but I have not read anyone as angry as Kosuke Iwata and the pages bleed with his pain and to know that the second Iwata novel has already released puts an expectant smile on my face.
The praiseworthy prose demands multiple note taking. Sample : ” He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home”
Detectives are seekers and a detective novel has more scope to explore philosophy through ruminations that pop-up in the detective’s head and Obregon does this at points that elevate the novel much above a ‘follow-the-threads’ serial killer story, which begins with an unspeakable killing of an entire family.
Dreams & reality intercut in ways that made me feel Iwata’s fever.

Yes, this is that kind of a novel where slipping into the detective is the best option.

Along the way, Iwata is given advice, thrown out of service, double crossed and of course bashed to near death; as I said best way to get this heightened experience is to be Iwata for the length of the novel.

The fact that this is Nicolas Obregon’s first novel itself gives me sleepless nights. A twisted-cracker of a novel, the one that ended a short phase of my reading drought and possibly one of the best I’ve read this year.
Oh yes and people speak to Iwata like ‘ I think you are the type of person who will disappoint yourself before you let life disappoint you’
Very relateable.
Over to the next one.

Vishwaroopam II: Tinkered Tailored Older Spy

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Let’s start with the ending
The thing that struck me about the first Vishwaroopam, a film for which I crossed state borders covertly to watch(much like an espionage operation) was the abruptness in the ending.
It ends with Wisam telling that there is more to the story and what we witnessed is not really ‘the end’, but it did not have the niggling hook that would keep me guessing on what the next part would explore and moreover it did not really help that Kamal himself is delivering this as exposition and not a visually striking image of say a (too use the often used) Kattappa killing Baahubali.
Even looking at the first part in a facile manner which is a spy navigating between complexities and saving the world; the film did provide enough closure.
{Bad guys plans a series of attacks on a city and a team of spies unearth and thwart the operation.}
But Vishwaroopam is not a superficial spy thriller, at least it aims to do more.

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At the core of it all is Wisam Ahmed Kashmiri, a spy who believes in his cause someone who does not treat his license to kill as target practice and is empathetic to those he might have to kill.
Case in point is the friendship between Omar Khureshi, Salim and Wisam which takes up much of the middle of the first movie and these threads need to be addressed.
(not necessary a universal requirement, but more like universal hero’s requirement)
That brings us to Vishwaroopam II, which works more as a companion piece to the first film and not as a sequel; filling in for things that better explain the Indian spy’s motivations.
While the movie does go deeper into things that were throwaways in the first film, especially effective is Wisam’s relationship with his mother.(Waheeda Rehman in a brief role, last seen in Tamil cinema in the 1956 film Alibabavum 40 Thirudargalum). Wiz temporarily returns to being Vishwanath in a teary moment dominated by Alzheimer’s (second medical ailment in the franchise after killer cancer in the Roopam I), when the movie is just about casting away the role of the dancer.
Needless to say, Kamal is on top form or is it like displaying all these nuances in half-awake mode now? The other story machinations like how Wisam became Viz are less successful, a London mission before the intermission seems like a very long stop-over before Wisam and team reach the national capital.
I love the spy films in all forms, they lend themselves to the multi dimensional entertainment, the genre comfortably accommodates modern action films like the Bourne movies, cinephile-treasures like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the wink-winks like The Kingsman, send-ups like Paul Feig’s Spy and Oscar favourites like Argo and these are only from recent memory. All of them add to and derive from the construct of the spy thriller.
Vishwaroopam II draws from all the aforementioned sub-genres and naturally the result is not a satisfying mix; for a moment it a mission-driven-race-against-the-ticking -bomb-action-film, a few scenes later it is a musing on the futility of war and even further down the run-time it is an examination of loyalty and nationalism.
There’s isn’t time for all this, boss. Omar waits with one more bomb around the corner. (A bomb around the corner would have a been a better title to this piece, #justsaying)
There simply isn’t time and it shows, the action seems too rushed and the globe-hopping locations which usually adds excitement and romance to these spy films here are just tailored to suit exposition dumps.
The lack of resources too very evident, with the actors limited to performing in moving cars or in an uncharacteristic hotel suite and the number of times toilets conveniently appear in this film only made me think about how constrained the production would have been ; a stark opposite to the expanse of Afghanistan which was reiterated multiple times in the first film.
As though to make up for all the above, there are genuine fun sequences in the film and director Kamal draws me in with a cracker of a title sequence which is a crash course of things past in freeze time played to new version of Nyagabagam Varugiradha.

The story is also in the telling, the nonlinearity is intact and Wisam still gets to sweat about his past. Packed with multiple “woohoo!” moments and timely call-backs to the first film (Namaz panna poriya!). In Kamal’s world even a blood splatter can dissolve into a map.

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But Omar bhai takes precedence over everything and Rahul Bose is absolutely fantastic as the villain who thinks he is the hero and wait a minute, he isn’t even in the movie till the third act.
I loved how the movie returned to the outrageous-ness of Roopam I when he came back on screen giving Wisam something really challenging to work with, because until then Wisam was just putting bureaucrats in place with wit.
Yes yes, I also know that the movie tries to deal with larger issues like how education is important, how war creates more problems than it can solve etc, how nationalism cannot be ‘instilled’ etc but OK this is not the blog site for all that boring stuff.

But this is the kind-off blog which will stand-up and applaud at the inane moment of the villain’s glass eye popping out and rolling on the streets of Delhi. Movies like these are hard to come by and need to be savoured probably with steaming jilebis.

Good luck Wisam! Hat-tip to Munnavar!

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