To the average Bollywood movie goer, the passion and crowd support associated with Tamil cinema will be alien to say the least. How can one explain a sell-out crowd for the 1030 am show at PVR Mulund of all places? Us “Madrasi” fellows follow cinema and our heroes with a passion that only Bhai’s followers can think of matching and even they will fall short because Bhai has a following in Chennai which is higher than Mumbai.
Nevertheless, larger than life director Shankar’s latest Pongal venture is titled “I”. Why? For that you will have to sustain 3 hrs and 10 minutes of Madras Mirch Masala which the average Bollywood fan may compare to climbing Mt. Everest. Imagine the plight of us amateur critics who believe that they know enough about cinema to write about it.
I is the story of Lingesan (Chiyaan Vikram) who is a body builder. He is enamoured by a certain model called Diya (Amy Jackson) who, surprisingly makes a ton of money out of modelling assignments. Not that she is an actress and endorses products. She is just a pretty face with a hot bod who has Softy Ice-cream, Bru, Stayfree and Nature Power Soap as some of the brands in her portfolio.
Lingesan is all but in love with Diya and even buys all the products she models for – yes, including Stayfree. When our hero wins the Mr. Tamil Nadu he gets an opportunity to meet our heroine and before you know it gets catapulted into the big bad world of modelling for high end products. It involves shooting in exotic provinces in China where a certain flower blooms only in September.
Along the way, Lingesan becomes Lee and also love (read louv) happens – first as make believe to help Lee get comfortable in front of the camera and then actual louv happens. Of course success does not come without rubbing some people the wrong way who eventually believe that they have had enough and something has to be done about Lee.
Like most Tamil movies with Shankar, I is extremely over the top on almost all counts. Amy Jackson’s incapability to act is compensated through efforts such as a liberal focus on her assets. Gimmicks like morphing her into a phone with the call buttons on her breasts do little to help.
Refer link for actual view J (http://content.bollywoodhungama.com/movie/display%20image/300x275%20jpeg/97151571.jpg). The morphing moves forward with a Royal Enfield, sprouts, fish, a dhobi ghat and of course weights.
There are 3 major fight sequences. One that involves BMX bicycles over rooftops in China. Another with Lee’s hands tied behind his back. But the piece de resistance has to be the first one in a gymnasium before Lee goes onto become Mr. Tamil Nadu. That has Lingesan fighting the baddie body builders lathered in oil and in nothing but body builder underwear – if you are into that kind of fetish then it is probably a wet dream come true.
Besides the liberal presence of brands from Sunfeast Dark Fantasy to 3 roses tea and of course an entire song titled “i” perfume made in vanilla, I the movie is not short on everything that stands for Tamil cinema. A transvestite, body builders flexing their moobs (man boobs), an ode to Beauty and the Beast, some great make-up – everything!!!
But the high point or 2 high points have to be mentioned. One that involves replacing weights with human beings on a 7 foot barbell and performing a lift. But nothing could probably beat tying your shoe laces by deftly flicking your feet in a manner that only Chiyaan Vikram could. Simply sensational. 5 on 10 in terms of quality but even 10 would be insufficient to rate the antics that make this movie. Simply awesome.
Watch the trailer on http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3484134937/?ref_=tt_ov_vi