Rakul Preet: I am not worried about being stereotyped

Rakul Preet seems busy, as she answers my call. She is already back on the sets of the film she is shooting for next. Despite her tight schedule, she obliges, and begins talking about her year, and what a bustling year it has been. She has had two releases, Dev in Tamil and De De Pyaar De in Hindi; she also did a cameo in NTR Kathanayakudu in which she got the opportunity to play Sridevi. Interestingly, both of her films saw her play different versions of the modern, sophisticated young woman. “If you look at my character in De De Pyaar De, it is the sort I have never played before. She is fun, liberated, and with a naughty streak,” says Rakul. Dev, on the other hand, saw her play Meghna, a successful businesswoman who has trouble believing in relationships.

Continue reading “Rakul Preet: I am not worried about being stereotyped”

Dev movie review: Lost in translation

We are a generation stuck between two worlds. Products of broken relationships and with sacks of emotional baggage, we actively try to lose ourselves in the swirling, chaotic high of casual dating. However, a significant portion of us longs for a connection, for something more. We are a group that desires forever (maybe not candidly, all the time) but at the same, is terrifyingly scared of the same. In its heart, it is this conflict that Dev wishes to tackle. Meghna (Rakul Preet) is a young, successful self-made entrepreneur. Ideally, the film should have been about Meghna overcoming her insecurity and fear. But as the title succinctly suggests, it is not.

Now, I wouldn’t have minded that had I understood Dev Ramalingam (Karthi) more. An optimist, adventure freak, impulsive but mature — Dev is introduced to us as the perfect amounts of fun and sensibility. He is quick to reprimand his friend Vignesh (RJ Vignesh) for an inappropriate comment but doesn’t think twice before stalking a woman. While a Facebook request and even a follow-up message are understandable. How is following her around, in any way, acceptable? I would still have been okay if Dev had been reprimanded. Then, it becomes representation vs glorification. Instead, he gets away saying the intention wasn’t to ‘stalk or disturb’ her. To Dev’s credit, he does back off after he gets a clear no from Meghna. But instead of asking Meghna to be careful, her mother Padmavathy (Ramya Krishnan), says “Andha paiyana patha thappa therla.” Somehow, everything becomes instantly okay because Dev is the rich, good-looking, protagonist?

The film is an uneven mixture of old things in new packages. Dev decides to give dating a try because ‘love is an adventure’. He believes there is more to dating than casual intercourse. Fair enough. But all it takes is just a photograph of Meghna, to convince him that she is the one. Later, he justifies it by saying he saw ‘something in her eyes’. It feels unconvincing. Meghna’s reaction to this is more natural. She likes him but is wary of being vulnerable. She tests and taunts him, to see if it is for real. However, when Meghna’s insecurity leads to obsession, it becomes unpalatable; a throwback of sorts to the clingy heroine template. Definitely, not the progressive heroine I was hoping for.

Even with all this, I would have liked Dev much more had it stuck to the trials and tribulations of love. There are some lovely exchanges that come as a breath of fresh air. Meghna says it is impossible to win with Dev and he nonchalantly says, “Jeikanuma, naa thothudaren. Nee thana, unkita enna?”. Dev is ready to move countries for Meghna. Padmavathy apologises for the trauma her problematic relationship inflicts on Meghna. Vignesh, on more than one occasion, speaks out on the several tropes of being ‘the hero’s friend in a film’: “everyone is so used to calling me as Dev’s friend, that they don’t remember my name.” or “You have me around, so that you look better, don’t you? It isn’t every day you see such conversations and the film needed more of these. Instead, it detours into unnecessary fights which seem like afterthoughts, purely for Karthi flex his action muscles. There’s an outrageous sequence involving a journalist and a scoop that even the charming Karthi couldn’t save. There is a thread about good parenting that I am not sure who it is aimed at; And in general, we are prescribed to an overdose of sentiment. To top all this, we have an over-enthusiastic Harris Jayaraj instructing us what to feel with each scene.

I wonder if naming the female lead, Meghna was a coincidence because, Dev, in more than one instance, reminded me of Varanam Ayiram. In a way, both follow the stories of the male leads that take fantastical turns. And much similar to Varanam Ayiram, I wish the film hadn’t stretched itself thin by taking on too much.

If you forgive a few cliches, Theeran Adhigaram Ondru will be a new experience: Director H Vinoth

When Sathuranga Vettai released in 2014, the word dark horse was used to describe it a lot. The sleeper hit of the year, Sathuranga Vettai took everyone aback by its fresh content. And, the man behind it, H Vinoth is back with Theeran Adhigaram Ondru featuring Karthi and Rakul Preet Singh. Ironically, while his first film was about a con man, Theeran is about an honest police officer. “It wasn’t planned. The initial idea was to do another con movie as Sathuranga Vettai’s dialogues were much appreciated. That didn’t happen. This was a story that reached me through destiny,” says Vinoth. As the director dug deeper, he realised that there was a lot more than what met the eye. “When we browse something, we click one piece which leads to another, that leads to another and so on right, this was the same way. The more I read about it, the more I had to learn. I was scared at a point as to how I am going to translate all this into a movie.” Continue reading “If you forgive a few cliches, Theeran Adhigaram Ondru will be a new experience: Director H Vinoth”

Theeran Adhigaram Ondru movie review: This Karthi film walks the talk

When I met Director H Vinoth before Theeran Adhigaram Ondru’s release, he told me that the film would be a new experience if we forgive a few clichés. That is exactly how the movie turned out to be. A high-paced action flick, Theeran Adhigaram Ondru walks the talk in all aspects well aided by Ghibran’s music. Continue reading “Theeran Adhigaram Ondru movie review: This Karthi film walks the talk”

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