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Dec 272013

(for SI Blog Reader Twig)

Twits and Twigs have more in common than four alphabets.

Both also lack the gene for good taste, and share the inability to separate wheat from chaff.

At the repeated urging of SI Blog reader Twig, I watched the Tamil film Mahanadi (1994) last night.

Mahanadi has often been hailed as one of the tours de force of Tamil cinema.

Although a commercial failure, the film went on to win a bunch of national awards, burnishing its sheen and endearing it all the more to some Tamil movie fans.

Besides featuring as the ‘hero’ of the film, Tamil cinema’s jackass of all trades a.k.a. Kamal Haasan proudly takes credit for story and screenplay and shares credit for dialogs with the late Ra. Ki. Rangarajan.

Like most Indian celluloid atrocities, Mahanadi is a lengthy ordeal, clocking in at 2-hours and 42-minutes.

Beyond Redemption

Mahanadi reeks of mediocrity.

At the end of the movie, I got up in high dudgeon incensed that 2-hours and 42-minutes in the autumn of my life had been frittered away on piffle.

I have since vowed to never again be taken in by persistent little Twits or Twigs.

The fundamental problem of Mahanadi is that the treacherous knave Kamal Haasan substitutes high art with low trickery.

In an endless Kollywood Sahara littered with talentless clowns like Ajith, Vijay, Simbhu, Vombhu, Kombhu, Arya, Surya etc, Kamal Haasan is a passable actor.

That much I will concede.

But this pygmy talent Kamal Haasan is all at sea in the story department.

Bereft of any skills in scripting and completely adrift on the shoals of his incompetence, Kamal Haasan resorts to a cheap trick – He substitutes a plausible story with an endless series of exploitative scenes designed to tug at the heartstrings.

To discerning viewers like SI, Kamal Haasan’s goal is clear – To weave a series of infantile sob episodes of “How Bad Things happen to Good People while Bad People Lead an Epicurean Life” so that viewers are beguiled into professing sympathy for the unfortunate hero.

Boy, and did that trick succeed in pulling the wool over the eyes of naive film-goers!

After all, if there’s one thing hypocritical Indians love more than anything else it’s to feign sympathy and shed crocodile tears over the plight of their miserable brethren.

And unscrupulous filmmakers like Kamal Haasan have blatantly exploited these hypocritical elements of Indian society for personal gain by churning out several “Evil Trumps Good” trashy films. It’s not unlike Indian professors and social workers getting rich on poverty studies via foreign grants, international conferences and publishing academic papers.

Mahanadi – Exploitation, Ad Nauseam

Compared to the trials inflicted on our hero Krishna (Kamal Haasan), the lot of the planet’s most deprived and oppressed people –  tribals in Jharkand, Jews in Nazi Germany, aborigines in Australia, Blacks in America, Hindus in Pakistan, Muslims in Gujarat – is a happy, idyllic existence. Continue reading »

Feb 012013

Vishwaroop, the Hindi version of Kamal Haasan’s Tamil film Vishwaroopam, opened mostly to poor reviews in India.

Here are review excerpts from a bunch of Indian movie critics:

Hindustan Times

Vishwaroop….is too cartoonish to be taken too seriously. Rahul Bose, with his mouth permanently twisted down, makes for an unintentionally hilarious terrorist boss.


For a spy thriller that takes bits and pieces from Hollywood hits like True Lies and Indian films like My Name is Khan, Vishwaroop fails to excite you with its dull pace and insipid action sequences….The film keeps dragging on; the spy-hero languidly fights terrorists across Afghanistan and New York; a one-eyed terrorist spews Jihadi fire only to make you laugh.

..As for the cast of the film, Kamal Haasan looks his age now; a spy needs agility and suaveness which Haasan lacks as Vishwanathan; Rahul Bose as one-eyed terrorist-villain reminds one of a similar funny character played by a Chinese-looking villain in the film Farz, also a spy-thriller helmed by Jitendra. Only Jaideep Ahlawat looks and acts like a terrorist.


Vishwaroop is a very average action flick at best and shouldn’t be considered any more than that….Almost everything about Vishwaroop seems superficial. The dots aren’t connected well.

Live Mint

Vishwaroop’s story is preposterous at the best of times, but it is directed with 100% conviction…..The movie most definitely doesn’t need to be banned, but it can be panned. At two hours and 28 minutes, it’s too long, unnecessarily replays scenes for effect, and slackens every time its characters stop smashing things or wielding weapons.

IBN Live

…Vishwaroop quickly loses its way, and more than once during its two-and-a-half hour running time you find yourself asking that familiar question: “What’s going on here?”… confused screenplay that lingers on a bunch of needless characters who converse exclusively in Arabic. These bits, along with the plot’s return to New York in the final act turn a tired story into an even more trite one. …A lot of it is unabashedly entertaining, although you’ll wish the film was shorter and smarter.

India FM

…with a fare that prides itself of mesmerizing action, stunts and combat scenes and marries form [technique] and content [drama] to the delight of the spectators. The film is not without its share of hiccups — it’s way too lengthy and the second half is sketchy — but the effort is laudable, nonetheless….But a stretched second hour and far from dramatic finale dilute the impact. Yet, all said and done, those with an appetite for well-made thrillers might relish this effort!

Jan 312013

Indian politicians are like Indian movies.

Both rarely ever make any sense.

But for once, we were witness to a politician who articulated a cogent response to an issue agitating millions of movie fans, not merely in Tamil Nadu, but across the world – the ban of Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha has strongly, and effectively, rebutted the charges that held her responsible for Kamal Haasan’s problems in getting his film Vishwaroopam released.

Above all, I liked Jayalalitha’s remark that she has stopped watching films.

A sensible lady.

Who can watch the shit expelled by the Tamil film industry week after week! (In fairness, I must add that Jaya did not specify Tamil films but merely said ‘films’ in her press conference.)

I strongly recommend readers view the full press conference hosted by Jayalalitha in Chennai today:

Bigger Tragedy

Assuming all that Jayalalitha said above is accurate, the blame for the ban must fall on some sections of the Muslim community.

The Muslim population in Tamil Nadu is 3.49 million, representing 5.6% of the state’s population of 62.41 million.

Now let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that the various Muslim groups protesting the release of Vishwaroopam represent about 50% of the Muslims in the state. After all, there could be many Muslims in Tamil Nadu who don’t give a damn about Vishwaroopam or any other Kollywood Roopam.

This means that 1.7 million Muslims in Tamil Nadu are dictating what the remaining 60.7 million will watch.

Is this what democracy in a supposedly secular nation has turned out to be – A tiny minority holding hostage the vast majority on the altar of violence (or law and order, to use the Indian euphemism).

No wonder we call our nation Incredible India!

Incredible, for all the wrong reasons.

Jan 302013

Despite Kamal Haasan’s craven surrender to the Muslim community by offering to delete scenes in Vishwaroopam they find objectionable, the actor was beaten down in the Madras High Court today.

A bench of the court overturned the order of the single judge and upheld the ban on screening Vishwaroopam in the state for two weeks.

Kamal Haasan now plans to take the battle to India’s Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

The entire film industry in Tamil Nadu and across India must come together and protest this injustice to Kamal Haasan and Freedom of Expression.

Miracle Needed

At this stage, only a miracle can help Kamal Haasan recover the huge amount of money (Rs 95-crore) he has sunk into the film. It’s been nearly a week since the movie released in the U.S., Malaysia and some parts of India.

Who is Screwing Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam?

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Related Posts:
Vishwaroopam Review – A Daring Attempt
Banning Vishwaroopam is So Wrong
Jan 292013

The Madras High Court lifted the ban on Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam a few minutes back (around 10PM IST).

This means that Tamils, who make up the majority of the glorious state of Tamil Nadu, unjustly deprived of seeing the film for the last five days can now watch it.

The state government banned Vishwaroopam after some Muslim groups protested that the film showed their community in a poor light.

Citing “law and order” concerns, the Tamil Nadu government banned the film a day before its release.

The Tamil Nadu government has said it plans to appeal the high court verdict.

Kamal Haasan has directed, produced and acted in Vishwaroopam.

Is It Too Late?

It remains to be seen if the delay in the film’s release in Tamil Nadu has caused irreparable damage to its box office collection.

Pirated copies of Vishwaropam have already leaked online.

Update: The Tamil Nadu government plans to appeal Justice K.Venkataraman’s order before a full bench on Wednesday at 10:30AM.

Update 2: Following the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal on Wednesday, a division bench of the court will hear the petition at 2PM in the afternoon.

Related Posts:
Vishwaroopam Review – A Daring Attempt
Banning Vishwaroopam is So Wrong
Jan 292013

By banning Kamal Haasan’s comeback film Vishwaroopam, the Tamil Nadu government has made the actor’s life miserable and potentially cost him crores in box office collections.

But Ulaga Madayan Kamal Haasan can take some solace from his slick action thriller’s good run at the U.S. box office. Continue reading »