"I" Movie Review

Thursday, January 15, 2015
Scale and spectacle are synonymous with Shankar - the Tamil filmmaker often likened to James Cameroon by his fans. With “I” he stuns, and stretches imagination, offering a visual spectacle, that stays with you much after you have left the theater. And there’s a second huge incentive to watch this canvass - Vikram.
In brief, “I” is Lingesan’s story, a body builder spouting street side language, focused on becoming Mr. Tamil Nadu and totally besotted by Diya, a popular model (Amy Jackson). In his journey of becoming an ace body builder, a super model, and Diya’s lover, Lingesan AKA Lee, makes many enemies - a rival tree trunk of a body builder, a soft drink magnate, a cross dressing stylist and a rival male model (Ojas M Rajani and Upen Patel play the stylist and male model respectively). And there’s a questionable family doctor, mentor and family friend to Diya, saccharine sweet, and creepy. (Suresh Gopi). A conspiracy and some beating up lead to Lingesan’s transformation into a deformed character - whereby a saga of elaborate revenge follows.
First, I will tackle what doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s the poor standard of poor dubbing of South Indian films in Bollywood - but crass reference to a woman’s anatomy (case in point, Amy Jackson’s breasts) made me cringe. And an overwhelming homophobia and ridiculing of alternate sexuality put me off. Such dubbing is simply not worthy of Vikram’s stature or Shankar’s standards. Perhaps, subtitling would work better.

But even me, who am vehemently against ridiculing women in a film, would strongly recommend watching this one. It’s the sheer visual spectacle, the effortless grandeur and the imagery that stuns during this 188 minute long watch. I have always felt that the “Tumhi dekho na’ track from “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna” by Karan Johar is the most beautiful song ever featured in Indian films. But Shankar beats that with the China song. You can neither take your eyes off the locales nor of a drool worthy Vikram here!
The plot is questionable and at times, wafer thin. But you do stay hooked on - simply because of the number of twists and turns. Add to that - the queero bizarro flavor of this story, its play with extremes, and you are riveted - despite length and many fight sequences (not my space, really!). For instance, there’s one where a battalion of body builders are being hurled around by Vikram - all clad in the briefest of briefs. Oiled, muscled, beefcake dominates the screen, at once turning your stomach and leaving you entertained. Then there’s a beautiful rooftops fight sequence, in China, which is complete value for money. The revenge plots on the four villains for instance, are cruel and poetic.
Rahman’s music could have been better. Shankar manages to pull off a film that others only imagine. Amy Jackson seems competent. Upen Patel and Ojas Rajani just don’t fit in.
But the best part, and best reason to watch this film is Vikram. He is known for his physical transformations. For “I”, he alters his body shape thrice - as a body builder, as a dapper model and as a hunch-backed person. He has remained in near hiding for 3 years, to not reveal his look. And prosthetics of that scale must have hurt and he stayed in that make up for 15- 17 hours! His transformations are clearly visible, as is his effort to act in a not-very-solid script. Here, the rippling abs (6 or 8 packs) are Not painted on, or crafted upon. And in this film, you can actually see where a 100 crores might have been spent - in VFX that have breath taking impact (wonder where the money got spent in “Bang Bang!” really!).
Watch “I” to feast your eyes - on visual treats & Vikram. It’s worth the ticket money. And you might just agree with me that when it comes to entertaining, mainstream cinema, Bollywood, despite publicity over kills, remains just a pretender to the throne!
Ticket Price Value - 80 per cent.

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