Misery rains down on Indians in diverse forms.
Mine came trekking all the way from the People’s Republic of Rotten Movies (a.k.a. Kollywood) bearing the infantile title Arrambam (Beginning).
Arrambam debuted at several theaters in the U.S. Wednesday evening and I sat through the punishing ordeal of watching the premiere show at a theatre on the East Coast.
A clueless dilettante director named Vishnuvardhan has cobbled up a harebrained story, gathered the four dregs of Tamil cinema, Ajith Kumar, Nayantara, Arya and Taapsee Pannu, and regurgitated a wretched piece of trash in the form of Arrambam.
It’s one of the great afflictions of Tamil cinema that as ‘actors’ drift into the grey hair zone their acting and movies regress into vile territory.
And there’s no better example of regressive trash than Ajith Kumar’s new film Arrambam.
Although hyped as an action thriller, Arrambam is actually a gallimaufry of tiresome themes – Terrorism, corruption, scams, revenge, a rotten system, romance and inappropriate comedy (Arya’s character).
Ajith Kumar is Ashok, depicted in the early part of the movie as a terrorist, shooting at policemen and triggering fiery explosions.
As the movie drags on, we learn Ashok was previously a sincere bomb-disposal police officer who fell foul of venal politicians and crooked cops after exposing corruption in purchase of sub-standard bullet-proof vests that cost the life of his friend and colleague Sanjay (Telugu film star Rana Daggubati) in an anti-terrorist operation. The rest of the movie is a revenge trip, with Ajith killing the corrupt police officer, mowing down a bunch of terrorists and blasting the crooked politician to smithereens.
Arya plays the hacker Arjun coerced into joining Ashok’s nefarious activities. There’s also a unwatchable love track between Arjun and a TV reporter played by Taapsee Pannu.
As if the pathetic, confused story-line and amateurish acting were not trials enough, we had to endure the torture of sub-par dialogs and noise fobbed off as music. Picturization of every song was hideous beyond description but Stylish Thamizhachi descended to new depths in Tamil cinema.
To save on hiring a separate comedian, producer Raghuram and director Vishnuvardhan took the cheap road and made Arya’s character periodically mouth flippant remarks. But these ‘comical’ remarks are utterly out of sync with the moment, appear indescribably silly and drag the movie deeper into the mire.
Taapsee Pannu’s character of the TV reporter Anita is nothing less than bizarre. Kudos to the young lady for acting like a dulcet clown with a verisimilitude that comes from being one!
By the way, the much hyped boat chase in Dubai featuring Ajith turned out to be a big letdown, the stuff of C-grade Hollywood films from the 1970s.
Bad to begin with, Ajith Kumar’s emoting range diminishes with each film.
Nayantara, who looks like what the cat threw up on the floor, wears a infuriating sulk throughout except when she dons just a shirt to seduce a terrorist.
Hamstrung by little talent and burdened with big ambitions, Arya and Taapsee Pannu are no less than incarnations of Satan!
Except for Taapsee Pannu, the other North Indian imports are good but limited by their cartoonish roles.
I felt there was poor synchronization between lip-movement and dialogs of some of the characters (particularly, those played by North Indians actors like Taapsee Pannu and Atul Kulkarni).
At a movie hall on the U.S. East Coast, the audience didn’t seem invested in the movie.
There were occasional sniggers and frequent whispers suggesting the movie was not engaging.
Who can blame the audience? After all, when one hands out $14 at the box office for a Diwali release expectations are high.
There’s nothing remotely convincing or anything you can connect with in Arrambam.
Unless you cherish the thought of squandering your hard-earned money on bilge, steer clear of Arrambam.
Even by the traditional lowly standards of Tamil cinema, Arrambam stands out for the odious acting, awful story and dreadful music.
This trash will be hard to surpass!