Roasts and Toasts

The Roast of VIP 2

As I write this, I’m listening to the soundtrack of the first VIP to remind myself that I liked it, and I was an idiot to think the second one would match up. I feel like a parent who couldn’t keep it in his pants; who liked his first-born so much that he made another one and paid for it as well. I feel like Brad after Angelina went and brought home a second child from the same race. I had intended to watch this with a friend who dropped out at the last minute. Dear friend, I know you’ll laugh at me more than you’ll laugh at this post. But, it’s okay. Friendship is also about pointing and laughing.

The story of VIP 2 looks like it was outsourced to a desperate content writer who’s trying their best to get work done without being caught for plagiarism – same template, different characters, some glamour here and there so the audience thinks it’s a completely different product. The music is unforgettable; in the sense you can’t forget it, but can’t remember much of it either. Listening to the soundtrack is like riding a bike when it’s raining really hard. You can’t close your eyes, but you can’t keep them open either because it’s drizzling pins and needles.

For some reason, every song in this film has at least a hundred extra dancers in the background. Dhanush is hardly visible in a crowd, now you want me to play Where’s Wally/Waldo? The choreography of the opening song looks like it was done by the Loyola Dream Team – good enough to win college cultural meets, not that great to pay and watch on a big screen. We simply cannot digest Dhanush locking and popping, when we have already seen him kuth-ing like a bau5 in the first part. You simply cannot take our Dhandachor King and make him do hip hop.

The story takes place a year after the first one. Raghuvaran (Dhanush) has become the posterboy for modesty and hard work. He is the Aamir Khan of Engineering – he’s not interested in receiving awards. Even if he wins anything, someone else will accept it on his behalf. While at home, he is survived by his dad and brother, and threatened by his wife all the time. Amala Paul graduates from girlfriend next door to housewife by choice. Following her mother-in-law’s death, she has decided to become the woman of the house. If you listen closely, you can hear feminists laughing and crying at the same time. From loving girlfriend, it takes her less than a year to attain matriarch status. Everyone is afraid of her. Ha life, Ha rulz (her life, her rules). Raghuvaran complains about her every chance he gets, but does nothing to stand up to her. According to this movie, being married is like campus placement. You might get what you want, but one year into it, you will hate your life.

Samuthirakani as Raghuvaran’s dad is one of the saving graces. His character has developed so well, he looks fitter than he did last time. Raghuvaran and his dad bond over what it feels like to have a wife who’s nice on the inside, but tough on the outside. Raghuvaran rarely gets a chance to get inside his wife. Um, I mean experience her nice side. Hopefully, the next instalment won’t be named VIP 3: Vamsam Illa Pattadhaari.

Raghuvaran’s brother finally hits puberty and grows a thick mustache. That’s all.

Kajol plays the villainous MILF – Matriarch I’d Like to Fuck (over). She has a unibrow like the bridge Rama built to Lanka; you can only spot it from afar. She looks like she lives out of an H&M trial room, and has never known functional clothing in life. Her temper is shorter than her attention span, and she yells more than she breathes. It almost explains why Ajay Devgn still has a career, because he needs an excuse to get out of the house and get away from all that yelling. Also, a word to the Censor Board – it doesn’t matter if a character on screen says “fuck” to symbolize power, if you’re going to fucking mute the fucking fuck out of every fuck. What the actual fuck?

Vivek retains his role, but doesn’t add much value. His subtle humor style is riddled with predictability and has been exploited enough since Uthama Puthiran. Balaji Mohan does his first non-cameo debut in style. The film could’ve gone without his character, but it was a neglectable addition to the cast that didn’t do much damage.

I’m going to end this post abruptly, just like the movie.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Toast of Vikram Vedha

After Batman, Vikram Vedha has arguably the catchiest theme (TANA-NANA-NANA-NAA…. TANA-NANA-NANA-NAA). After Joker, Vedha is the next worst guy you’ll want to root for. This film is a delirious mix of Vikram Vethal and The Dark Knight. For the uninitiated, Vikram and Vethal, is the story of King Vikramaditya and his adventures with the Vethal (poltergeist/ghoul). Poltergeists are supposed to be noisy beings who damage property. Thala Ajith’s Vethalam was loosely based on this premise.

A sage asks King Vicky to go to the forbidden forest and bring back the Vethal. King Vicky says “Easy peasy lemon squeezy” and sets out. When he finally faces the Vethal, King Vicky realizes his adversary isn’t an easy target. The Vethal plays more hard to get than a Tinder match who holds strong ideals of feminism, independence, and has high standards. So, King Vicky instead turns the tables and says “only here for friendship”. This gets the Vethal talking. The Vethal promptly lays down some ground rules. The Vethal states that he will ride on King Vicky’s back, and as they make their way back to the sage, King Vicky will have to listen to a story. At the end of the story, Vethal will ask him a question in the form of a riddle. If King Vicky doesn’t know the answer, the Vethal will stay with him, answer the riddle, and move onto the next story. If King Vicky knows the answer and doesn’t respond, his head will explode. If King Vicky responds correctly, Vethal will fly back to his tree, because “if you know errthang, why you need me for, biatch?”

King Vicky agrees to all of the above while mumbling “this clingy bitch right here.” He also notes that if prenups had these clauses, divorce rates would drop steeply, because ain’t nobody getting married if they know exactly what they’re getting into. Now, back to Vikram Vedha.

Madhavan plays Vikram, an encounter specialist, with a broad frame and broader smile. He is headstrong and prides himself on knowing he is always on the right side of the law. He can come back home after a long day of feeding bullets to goons and sleep like a baby, because he knows he has never killed an innocent human being. Vikram is your happy-go-lucky death dealer. This is established in the opening sequence, where Vikram and his squad take a gang by storm. Vikram clocks the most kills, but spots a runner. Instead of chasing after him, Vikram takes a walk in the park while twirling his glock. When the rowdy hits a dead end, he turn around and surrenders, and this annoys Vikram. He responds with, “You could’ve surrendered back there. The fuck did you make me come after you? Okay, tell me a joke and I’ll let you live.” The felon cracks a below average pun. Vikram is not amused and shoots the kills. Lesson for budding comedians: it’s a kill or be killed world out there. Better be ready for the day a cop comes after you with a gun, and all you can do to save yourself is tell a good joke.

Vijay Sethupathi is the best buy one get one free deal in Kollywood. You sign him, you get his acting skills for free. Not for sale individually. His performance as Vedha will surprise audiences once again. Right from the start, it’s clear that Vedha isn’t evil incarnate. He is the bad guy, because the good guys wouldn’t have a job otherwise. He is in the logistics business, and people get hurt once in a while. Every time he faces off with Vikram, he distracts him and gets away; leaving Vikram with answers to find. He teaches Vikram to look at both sides of the coin, instead of simply stopping with calling heads or tails. The story ends with Vikram and Vedha fighting side by side – forced to be brothers in arms due to circumstances. Finally, Vikram and Vedha have a Mexican stand-off, and it’s Vikram’s turn to riddle Vedha – “Should I let you go because you fought by my side, or should I kill you right here because that’s my job? Which is right?”

THE END. The best cliffhanger ending I’ve ever witnessed in Kollywood yet.

The supporting cast has also done well. There are two female characters (Priya and Chandra), and no item songs. There’s also a strong sense of casual feminism.

Priya is Vikram’s wife. She has tattoos, a serious job, and doesn’t exist just to make her man feel better about himself. She is a lawyer who hates cops. Vikram is a cop who hates lawyers. This friction brings them together, and thus begins a flashback song montage of their courtship. There’s a lot of insinuated sex, and they go to bed wearing normal clothes. It is time we acknowledged that lingerie and lip-biting isn’t always part of foreplay. On their first night, Vikram and Priya take the couch and pass out. Again, it is time we acknowledged that the wedding ceremony takes a physical toll on the bride and groom, and they’re too tired to even think of sex. When Vikram realizes Priya is Vedha’s attorney, he tries to get her to drop the case. Priya responds with “Why don’t you drop the case? Your work is work, but mine isn’t?”

Chandra also has her moments – when she gets slapped, she slaps back; when someone tries to intimidate her, she puts them in their place.

The soundtrack is great, and the songs have replay value. Karuppu Vellai is the recurring theme, and Yaanji serves as the romantic montage number. Tasakku Tasakku is the actual item numbers, where the bad guys have some fun dancing to their own tunes with a side of booze. The rest of the songs seem like they were made by the music director simply because he got commissioned for the job – much like a content writer who has to meet deadlines because they got paid ahead of time in full. The movie has a lot of subtle humor peppered in the most intense scenes, but the grit and pace of the thriller is maintained. You can tell there’s a lot of tension in the movie simply by checking out Madhavan’s nipples. After Batman, his nipples are the sharpest. This might also explain why he never wears a bulletproof vest.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Toast of Baby Driver

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Right now, I gotta tell you about… the fabulous… most groovy… BABY DRIVER!

Days before watching this movie, I’d been listening to the soundtrack. If you have a car, and you’ve got an L board stuck on the back or front, this soundtrack is not for you. If you have a car, and are usually late to meetings, this soundtrack is definitely for you.

The trailer conveys just enough for you to buy the ticket. But, it’s more than just another fast and furious wannabe. This is a movie about love, music, cars, and cold blooded killers. The dialogues are well-written, with some seriously funny one liners being thrown around occasionally. The interesting thing about the story is there’s not much character development, outside of the title character Baby (Ansel Elgort). Everyone has code names, and Baby is no different. It is never really explained how or why these nicknames came up. Baby also doesn’t talk much, case in point, Buddy’s (Jon Hamm) explanation:

“You know why he’s called Baby? It’s because they’re still waiting on his first words.”

Baby Driver looks like Bo Burnham with a pair of shades and a driver’s license; with the musical humor intact. Throughout the film, Baby is always plugged into an iPod. Owing to a car crash where he lost both his parents as well as some of his hearing, he plays music to drown out his tinnitus. He’s a “good kid and a devil behind the wheel.

Kevin Spacey plays Doc. Doc is Frank Underwood on steroids, minus the politics and the fourth wall breaks. He is the mastermind behind each heist, and doesn’t work with the same crew twice. But, he does like to mix and match. My favorite Doc line is “He puts the Asian in home invasion.

Jon Hamm is Buddy. Buddy is what happens when Don Draper decides to act in the ads he pitches to clients. Buddy and his lady love Darling (Elza Gonzalez) are part of the first and third/final heist in the film. They’re a Mr and Mrs Smith, the outlaw version. 

Jamie “doesn’t give two” Foxx is a late but welcome addition to the cast. He shoots first, and asks questions later. Sometimes, he asks questions while shooting as well. He goes by Bats, and is Bats-hit crazy. Bats is Django Untethered. “I like the way you die, boy!”

Lily James plays Deborah, and serves as the cute waitress crush/love interest of the protagonist. She represents the normal life that Baby tries his hardest to hold onto. It is also noticeable that a lot of work has gone into Baby’s wardrobe. He looks like a date-able Levi’s store mannequin, wearing shades of grey that darken towards the end as he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, being dragged deeper into the world of crime and bloodshed.

The music is the most interesting part of the film. The first six minutes minutes has Baby Driver grooving to Bell Bottoms. This sequence is a tribute to the music video of Blue Song by Mint Royale (which was directed by Edgar Wright himself in 2003). The coffee run sequence where Baby walks to the coffee shop is also visually pleasing, with words and phrases from the song popping up in the scene as graffiti. Even the action sequences have been choreographed to music, with the bullets being shot in tandem to the beats of the track. But, Kamal Haasan already did that with Vishwaroopam’s trailer.

Overall, this is a movie you’ll definitely want to watch more than once. But, if you’re a struggling artist like myself, you’ll watch it in theaters the first time, and wait for a good print to watch online. Most if not all the stunts in the film are real, and more than 150 cars were reportedly used to make every scene come alive. The story also has a cause-and-effect method of storytelling, where the characters live to break the law and face the consequences, even if it is death.

The best part about watching this movie is when you pull into Satyam cinemas, and the guy asks you which movie you’re here to watch, and proceeds to yell, “BABY! BABY DRIVER! Park your Baby behind that car, sir.”

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Roasts and Toasts

The Roast of Iru Mugan

 

Iru Mugan roughly translates to “two-faced”. This is useless trivia, much like the entire script of this film. Chiyaan Vikram proves once again that he is the Johnny Depp of Kollywood, by donning makeup for roles that don’t really require it. This results in his thespian acting talents getting smothered beneath the layers of said makeup. If the role doesn’t require makeup, Vikram will grow a beard just so he can shave it off and look completely different in the next shot and get through security. Because, facial hair is enough to throw off facial recognition software.

The plot is about a drug called Speed. Which is exactly what the movie lacks. Then, they make references to Hitler – because the story doesn’t have enough juice. This drug is packed into inhalers that makes junkies out of asthma patients. Iru Mugan also puts the junk in junkie. Once inhaled, the drug works by exploiting the adrenaline rush triggered by extreme fear and paranoia, and renders the user capable of superhuman strength and invincibility. Or something like that. The effects and purposes of this drug are specifically ambiguous. But, the effects last only five minutes. Which is also how long Akilan Vinod lasts in bed.

Chiyaan plays a RAW agent, and therefore oozes RAW masculinity, among other things. His name is Akilan Vinod. Not just Akilan. Not just Vinod. Kollywood has graduated to a whole new level where we have started giving fucks about the full names of the characters. Akilan Vinod is what happens when Jason Bourne goes to Mars and realizes Dindigul Thalappakatti has opened a branch there. His beard and hair are inspired by pre-2010 Abhishek Bachchan. When he is clean-shaven, he can also sing, dance, and look like a buff Jim Carrey. He also gives advice to an Indian born Malaysian cop: “Be Indian police. Break rules for a good cause” Indeed, because when it’s for a good cause, rules shmules!

Harris Jayaraj has earned a special mention here, with songs based on names such as Halena, Gazana, and Maya – girls Harris wishes he had dated. That is the only explanation, especially when none of the characters in the movie are named Halena, Gazana, or Maya. The background scores work as auditory cues. Just in case you go blind halfway through the movie, you’ll know what’s happening based on the sounds. Thumping fast paced music stolen from your nearest gym is indicative of action and violence. DOO-BA-DOO, DOO-BI-DA or similar sounding nonsense means the villain’s name is being mentioned. Yes, every single time the bad guy’s name is mentioned. The villain’s theme is basically a Twitter notification.

Nithya Menen is planted in this movie simply so the villain can injure her and crack a pun – “Are you okay, Kanmani?” BOOM! MIC DROP! PEACE OUT! OHHHH! I mean, you’ve got to give it to him, guys. Otherwise she just exists in the background. Other than that one time she goes undercover as a hooker who ran out of a Flamenco concert.

Nayantara plays Meera, another RAW agent. Her role consist of marrying Akilan, getting shot in the head, falling off a cliff, a case of bad memory, and wearing black leather. We all know the rules of Kollywood: If you want to take Nayantara seriously, she needs to be wearing black leather. Meera can also hack into any computer by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F3. This also works on touchpads mounted on BMW dashboards.

Now, we come to the main attraction – Love (DOO-BA-DOO, DOO-BI-DA). Also played by Chiyaan Vikram, Love is what you get when you take a gay Joker minus the face paint, and give him a Scar voice. He is admittedly not into women, but nobody really knows who he’s into. His name serves only one purpose, to flip every love related cliché. These are some of the lines from the movie:

  • Love never dies
  • Everyone falls in love, but today Love is going to fall
  • Everyone chases after love, but you have made Love chase after you

If you went Love-dekabaal at this point, it is totally understandable.

He is also a tattoo enthusiast. All his employees – literally every single one of them – has a black heart with a cupid’s arrow inked into their napes. Right under the tattoo is a chip which will send out an EMP and kill said employees if they don’t do their job. This is directly lifted from Kingsman: The Secret Service. But, the censor board had a problem with exploding heads. They strictly prohibit any kind of blowjobs being administered on screen. Love has a special handheld device with an app that has all his employees listed. Fastest Finger First is Love’s version of letting someone go.

But, when a freelancer fucks up, Love applies face powder that burns their skin upon contact. Moral of the story: When a freelancer fucks up, the boss has to make up for it.

The movie ends with Akilan and his wife on a boat. They’ve been apart for four years, and he’s got a severe case of indigo balls. He wants a baby. She says it’ll take too long. He says he’ll get her pregnant in less than 24 hours. How?

You guessed it. Speed. He takes a pump from the inhaler so he can pump the missus. NOT EVEN KIDDING. Take Speed, have baby in 24 hours. Because, fear makes you want to fuck your wife.

Here’s what IMDB has to say about Iru Mugan:

Genre: Fantasy/Mystery; 7.8/10

“Set in Malaysia, this action-packed story follows a dude with dual personalities, as he duels with his various personalities.”

Dude, dual, duel. DOO-BA-DOO, DOO-BI-DA…

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Roasts and Toasts

The Inaugural Roast of IPL 2015

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IPL T20 – the premature ejaculator’s One Day International – was inaugurated with heavy, roaring, pouring rains. Perhaps this was actually part of the plan, so they could blame all the slips on the ground being wet. As a result, the cheerleaders, drummer, anchor, and Shoaib Akhtar had to deal with Sidhu for that much longer (Thoko thaali!).

Cheerleaders, because ten guys running after one ball isn’t sexy enough.

Shoaib Akhtar, because you need someone strong enough to pull Sidhu out of the frame from time to time.

Sidhu is that insufferable elderly person in every family: used to be great back in the day, but all he can do now is yap about it. The only reason everyone tolerates him is because he is a sharp dresser who makes illiterates laugh. His cricketing career spanned sixteen years, and you know this only because of Wikipedia. Sheri Paaji’s Shaayari is what happens when you open Pandora’s Box. But, turbans off to the maestro, for only he can provide entertainment that can’t offend. The kind everyone takes for granted, and never gives a fuck about.

The rain had reduced Salt Lake City to a used maxi pad at the end of a heavy flow day. But of course, that is no reason to postpone the inaugural ceremony. Heavy rains stop play? Not today! After the soulful rendition of a Bengali song penned by the only Bengali writer everyone outside Bengal knows, things shifted to the center. For the first time in history, things starters going downhill on a flat surface. Enter Saif, the host for the odd evening. Like the on-location correspondent of a poorly funded news channel, every third word the Nawab uttered went unheard because the sound systems gave up on him, before anyone else could.

Saif: “Come on, Kolkata! Make some noise!” (Because I clearly can’t. Bad mic, you see?)

Kolkata: Ki?

Saif: “Come on, you can do better than that!” <Insert TWSS joke here>

Kolkata: *cue awkward silence*

When the mic wasn’t at fault, Saif faltered. With all his might, he yelled “Shikhar Dhawan!” and out popped Rohit Sharma, who spent the first few seconds sniffing around Saif like a lost puppy, before walking right onto his team’s banner; where he would mistake a light stage for his podium. Then, it was Ravi Shastri’s turn to turn up the heat and, not to mention, the volume. He first tried being polite with the mic, but when it started being a bad boy, Shastri began spanking it, hard, with his voice. If he had been handed a mic, he wouldn’t just drop it; he’d trample it and sell its remains on OLX. He began his speech with “Cricket must be played hard” and concluded it by urging the captains to “Come together around the trophy”. Haww, Shastriji! Now we know what you mean by “That’s a big one!”

And then, it was Shahid Kapoor who set things in inertia of motion, by riding a superbike in super slo-mo and banging into lights and fixtures. If texting and driving is dangerous, braying “AYAMA DISCO DANCER” to a Bengali audience slowly losing its patience is fatal. You can’t really blame him – he was talking to the crowd that was sitting miles away. A crowd that could see him clearly on big TV screens. A crowd he clearly missed through his dark glasses. Once he was done completely insulting his bike by not shifting any higher than first gear, he took his time looking for the side-stand. Once the side-stand was deployed, he stumbled once more as he sidestepped onto the podium before going on to deliver what can only be called a footloose performance. Saree Ke FALL Sa? Ooh, we see what you did there, Shahid!

By now, Saif had realized that this was a one-take thing. This is new territory for him, no retakes and all. But, thinking on his feet (since he wasn’t offered a seat), he came up with two foolproof tactics to gain the crowd’s trust.

Tactic #1: Mention Dada every ten minutes, because he’s sitting there watching the whole thing go down (literally). But, being the Prince, of course the Bangla Bandhus will cheer for him. Well done, Saif!

Tactic #2: If the crowd starts sinking into awkward silence, say some random shit and end the sentence with KOLKATA!!! Bade aaraam se.

After Shahid was done stumbling through his routine, Saif went “Give it up for Mithun Da, everybody!”, because AYAMA DISCO DANCER. Such reference. Much wow.

Now it’s time for Anushka to take the stage. Saif announces her arrival, but she and her stiff upper lip take their own sweet time getting there. So, thinking fast, the Nawab squeezes in a joke “Ladies takes some time”. Quick, go HAHAHAHA before a feminist can go “Aha! I knew Saif was a sexist!”

Anushka shows up wrapped in black and white looking like the fifth penguin who didn’t make it to Madagascar. Half of her routine comprised of smiling and waving at the crowd, who in turn smiled and waved at Virat. The cameramen took the opportunity to focus on him whilst Anushka lost herself in song and dance. It wouldn’t be surprising if tomorrow’s TOI read “Anushka performs in IPL 2015, just in case Virat doesn’t” The other half of her routine consisted of her being lifted up and down by the able-bodied backup dancers, as Kohli stood watching helplessly from the stands.

After that, Farhan Akhtar emerged and went on to spend the next fifteen minutes trying to clear his throat. He cleverly slowed down the tempo of his songs, enunciating every syllable; just in case the mics failed. Right before his last song, Farhan shrugged off his leather jacket. He didn’t take his shirt off, because that’s Dada’s territory. Such presence of mind, no? When he was not busy singing, he could be spotted doing lunges and squats – showing the audience the warmup exercises he had to learn for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

By the end of this performance, the common man had learnt a few things about Rock music.

  1. It’s not Rock if the performers don’t rock side to side.
  2. The guys playing the guitars should have long, curly hair, or no hair at all.
  3. Everyone should wear T-shirts with random graffiti, Jack&Jones, or some unintelligible shit like that written across the front and back.
  4. There should be at least two guitarists running around like headless chickens in the background, with the third guitarist pointing in some random direction.
  5. Head bobbing is a must.
  6. There has to be at least one extremely skinny or moderately voluptuous backup singer. Purely for sex appeal, glamour quotient, and gender equality purposes.
  7. Screaming. Lots of it. Like a cat is scratching at your eyeballs.

Post the Rock concert, it was time for the trophy campaign. The audience would be treated to a few minutes of fuckall bullshit that would explain what is so special about the trophy. After all, everyone knows that IPL is never about the money. It’s always been about who wins the trophy.

Suddenly, unannounced, Mr. Hrithik Roshan starts busting his moves on stage, leaving aunties climaxing in his wake. He performs a montage of his best dance moves, which can be found on YouTube for free. He is the true showstopper – you already know the show will stop once he concludes. Hrithik brings the show to an end with a Bang Bang. Ohh snap, Mr. Roshan! We see what you did there.

By now, Saif has learnt his lesson and hands Hrithik a mic.

Hrithik: “Kemon acho, Kolkata?!” (Because saying two words in Bengali is the easiest way to get accepted in Bengal)

Kolkata: *ROAR*

Hrithik: “I’ve always got the maximum love from my friends here.” (Unverified fact. Who gives a fuck anyway?)

Kolkata: *Roar*

By now, Saif has had enough. He hugs Hrithik, retrieves the mic with masterful sleight of hand, and invites all the performers to the stage to say Goodnight to the audience. Yes, because a Goodnight compensates for all the shit that ruined what would have been a good night.

Saif: Can we have the performers on stage, please? Shahid, Anushka, Farhan, Pritam Da. Come on, guys.

Hrithik: (whispers) Dude, you forgot to mention the dance company guys!

Saif: Yeah, the dance people also.

All in Unison: Goodnight, and thank you, Kolkata!

*Fireworks*

Epilogue

The fun didn’t end there. After the show, Archana – the filler girl who would tell those watching from home when they can take potty breaks between performances – caught up with Anushka and Hrithik to talk about nothing in particular. With Anushka, she discussed NH10. The inauguration wasn’t so good anyway, so let’s talk about movies. When asked about her different roles in movies, Anushka responded that she wants the audience to completely forget who she is. That would’ve been possible before that lip job. Not anymore.

With Hrithik, Archana was too busy creaming her panties to hold a real conversation. Now that he is officially single, she didn’t have any problems stuttering and stumbling and making up filler words in the two minutes she spent with him.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Toast of Yennai Arindhaal

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Gautham Vasudev Menon seems to have discovered the formula for an action-adventure cop drama by putting together the better elements of Kaakha Kaakha, Vetaiyaadu Vilayaadu, and Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. It seems like he watched through these movies, took notes of what worked and what didn’t, and then penned down the story for Yennai Arindhaal. The evenings spent at Lloyd’s Tea House with his assistant directors seems to have paid off. But, this flick is best enjoyed when you go in with no clue about the plot, and therefore no expectations. Refrain from looking up the story on Wikipedia – that doesn’t mean you’re curious, it just means you’re a dick.

The background score is well done, and the soundtrack does not give one headaches. Harris Jayaraj does not employ a mixture of EDM, dubstep, and gibberish just to drag the song to over four minutes long. He has either worked really hard, or changed his dealer for recyclable sounds. The Ultimate Star churns out the ultimate dance routine, and watching him shake a leg gives one the same joy as watching a child dance to its favorite song, gleefully and fucklessly. The title character narrating parts of the film is reminiscent from Kaakha Kaakha, so is the homicide of the homely yet sensual saree-clad female lead (refer Vetaiyaadu Vilayaadu, Vaaranam Aayiram).

Ever since Sarvam, the trend of killing off the lady love just when everyone in the audience is ready to create her a profile on Tamil Matrimony has become the director’s lucky charm. Filmmakers, if you’re listening, we don’t really mind her tagging along for the entire movie. Just saying. The dialog is crisp, but sinks in after a certain point. The viewer is able to easily guess what the other guy’s comeback will be. The English dialog is sparingly strewn around, just to make sure people don’t complain of Peter induced nausea. Although the cuss words have been muted, Thala delivers expletives like Punda, Baadu, Thevidiya, Fuck, and so on with such eloquence that it leaves the audience squealing with delight.

Anushka can credit her role to be one of the most decent performances of her career. Her character seems deliberately dumbed down to compensate for Trisha (dancer/MILF/stunning in a saree). She is about as brainy as a blonde with a Ph.D.  All it takes to infatuate her is for someone to ask her “Are you okay?” while she barfs away to glory. She is one of those girls who will ask a guy out, but make it sound like she is doing him a favor. She is never lonely, because she always talks to herself – loud enough for the audience to hear.

Arun Vijay essays his role to perfection. Gautham Menon makes the hero look good and the villain even better. He is indubitably the best looking bad guy in Kollywood, period. He can dance without sweat stains the size of Australia blotting under his pits, and run in Krrish-inspired slow-motion. His shirt is always missing the first four buttons, and is responsible for multiple climaxes in the audience before the film’s actual climax. He is also a safe, helmet-handy rider; this indicates his wish to die at the hands of Ajith, rather than Chennai’s nefarious daredevils on the road.

Although Vivek’s role was more of an extended cameo, he does his job well. He reminds us of that one friend we have who cracks jokes at the worst times, yet manages to make us laugh (with ensuing moans and groans of Ayyooooo). The references to Thangapushpam and Minor’s penis were Easter eggs to the staunch Kollywood Rasigan. It is clear that the jokes are not performed, but merely plugged into the conversation. Vivek has been made out to be more of a humorist than a comedian, needing no vulgarity or random acts of violence to induce hysteric laughter.

Gautham Menon sticks with the program and makes his Hitchcock-esque cameo. Daniel Balaji fires two bullets. In case you’re wondering “Daniel Balaji, who?” – exactly!

While the film is packed well, there are a few chinks in the armor. For instance, the villain’s motive for murdering Trisha is unclear. The director is yet to get the knack to make short, staccato dialog look normal. It sounds more like a cued exchange of words – like reading out a WhatsApp conversation. The action sequences are few and exciting, with no shaky cam. All said and done, using the same font from Vetaiyaadu Vilayaadu for this film’s poster could have been avoided. The movie is almost three hours long, with a good payoff in the end.

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Roasts and Toasts

The Roast of Shamitabh

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You paid to watch this movie? Daaaaaaayum!

According to this film, all you need to become a successful actor is an unbelievable voice, even if it makes him sound like a terminal throat cancer patient. Following this logic, if Toby Maguire had Liam Neeson’s voice, he’d be as expensive as Robert Downey Jr. Watching this movie is like that long phone call you had with your girlfriend, where you do all the talking (and the recharging). Except, the twist is, you were talking to her sister the entire time, and you don’t know this until you’ve hung up, had the worst break up, and have been wedded to someone else via arranged marriage courtesy of Bharat Matrimony. It didn’t once occur to you that it wasn’t your girlfriend’s voice; why would you care, since you’ve made the call anyway – might as well make the most of it. Logic? I’m sorry, who the fuck is that?

The movie has been aptly named – Shamitabh. You can’t pronounce it without saying Amitabh, much like how psychology can’t be spelt without a P. You can do without the first letter, but you won’t because you’re just awesome like that. The protagonist is mute, and the supporting cast more than overcompensates for it by acting louder than your annoying alarm. Dhanish has been mute all his life, yet hasn’t learnt a bit of sign language. Instead, he can lip sync to perfection. Let’s forget the fact that our lips move the same way for “Otha, thevidiya paiyya!” and “What, the video player?” We are led to believe that instead of Googling how Stephen Hawking got himself a voice, millions are spent in renting out a voice. That’s just dumb, but so is Dhanish.

Akshara has been given two responsibilities throughout the film: a) Yelling and waving her hands around; b) Tucking stray hair behind her ear. She wears only black because that’s what she likes and that’s all she buys, except her hat which misses the mark by fifty shades. Every time Dhanish tries to hit on her or make a move on her, she tells him off by giving him the biggest lecture of his life instead of telling him to fuck off, take a hike, or get lost. Not even a plain no. She ends up looking like a confused school girl, and Dhanish a dumb pedophile. Her eyes, described as her best feature, look more like a distant cousin of Celina Jaitley’s owl-caught-in-the-headlights stare. One can literally count the number of times she blinks during the course of the film. Hanging out at a graveyard in broad daylight is her worst nightmare, not the six feet three inches tall mountain of a man who looks like he survived the genocide and hasn’t changed his clothes since.

Enthusiasts of the English language, there’s a surprise for you – the word piddly. Apparently, it means something pathetically trivial; much like the song. Shamitabh has successfully created the bathroom singer’s anthem, while indulging in wee breaks. Valentine’s day is nearing, and if you want to please your lady love, find her a fucking lavatory where she can relieve herself in peace. It’s a paradoxical mystery why Mr. Bachchan had to render this song, whose voice we’ve always heard mostly outside bathroom stalls. Dhanish successfully tells the audience how endowed he really is by holding up his pinky all through the song.

At this point, I’d like to take the time out to mention the most fuckall journalist in the history of investigative reporting. This genius figures out Shamitabh’s secret, does all the groundbreaking research needed, follows up all leads, and even takes a flight to Finland and back (whether he was reimbursed for that trip still remains a mystery). When he has all the evidence he needs to publish the article that will probably earn him a promotion, get him laid, and make him the subject of every aspiring reporter’s wet dream, he does the unthinkable: feeding his ego. He notifies Shamitabh via text message “I know”, just to masturbate in his own mediocrity. As expected, he climaxes much as his story does – prematurely.

The film ends in deadly silence with Dhanish losing his life and Amitabh losing his voice. Voice, over and out. If you’re watching this movie on your portable device, you can go ahead and unmute at this point.

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