I – The Movie

[Cast: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Santhanam; Music: AR Rahman, Direction: Shankar]

Shankar had a knack of telling simple and direct stories. Like primary colours, his films used to deal with primary emotions. Sometimes they even border on banality, but they always worked with the audience. Sujatha must have been a key factor in establishing such simplicity in those films.

For now, perhaps with Sujatha gone, Shankar is unable to tell a simple, coherent story. I meanders from the word go. Within ten minutes, we figure out the entire story and only wait for the key twists and details. Even those details become plain and clear 10 minutes before they are actually revealed on screen. With that, the movie begins to drag on. Perhaps knowing the weakness in his script, Shankar attempts to fill this gap by trying to make things visually spectacular. They work to some extent, but they too become a bit of an irritant after a while. We want the story to progress, but it doesn’t. Shakar spends a lot of time in setting up the suspense and creating a lot of backstory so that, later, we would feel for the lead character.

We don’t. Despite Vikram’s enormous hard work that was the constant talk of the media, we feel cold towards Lingesan, the lead guy. If anything, we care a little bit for Diya, portrayed confidently and ably by Amy Jackson. Our feeling for the girl could have been exploited by the director, but he cares more for the man: the invincible man. Fifty professionally trained body building contestants can’t bring him down. Fifty Chinese thugs possibly trained in martial arts can’t bring him down. Huge bundles of logs rolling down from a moving goods train can’t bring him down. Then, we know that nothing would touch him. Chitti had a weakness in the form of the red-chip. Why, even Superman has kryptonite, but Lingesan appears far more powerful, in his own words, ‘athukkum mele’. If nothing else wears you down, that invincibility of the hero ought to.

With three hours and ten minutes, the movie appears interminable. With one pointless stunt sequence after another, with one questionable revenge scene after another, we are never so relieved when the credits begin to roll out. I is not just exhausting, it’s beyond that. ‘Athukkum mele’.