The last time Shankar embraced romance would have been “Kadhalan”, is that right? Well, strike that! As none of his movies were short of romance, as the “Love” rather played an important aspect in almost all of his movies. With “I”, we see Shankar experimenting by rather stepping away from his usual message oriented flicks to an action cum romantic drama spearheaded by Chiyaan Vikram and Amy Jackson. Spread over a period of two years, a strict weight regime from the lead actor, trots around the globe and finally an audio launch from Arnold, so has I lived up to the expectation? Let’s find out
The Hunchback, the beast, a bodybuilder, a suave model? The transition by Vikram as Lingesan is what “I” all about. As a diehard bodybuilder whose only goal in life is become Mr. India, deviates from his PATH by falling heads over heels on Diya (Amy). Right, as you sit gaping at Vikram’ s Greek Godish physique through his body building exhibit, out comes the Amy the diva making us sit back and wonder if anyone else could have done this role better.
Shankar takes time to establish his characters, a buildup that rather consumes a lot of time and gets more predictable on who’s who. Love being the Holy Grail of this movie, the avid chemistry between the lead pair rather blossoms in a convincing way and as one might have guessed amongst some of the scenic landscapes on earth.
The movie itself switches between timelines of now and then, a part where the sinister hunchback appears out of nowhere and tortures his victims, the other part where the Bodybuilder turned model runs smitten over an upcoming diva. With a little over 180 minutes of screenplay the plotline would have rather turned dull if not for the occasional humor infused, thanks to the wisecracks from Santhanam.
The stage is set for a grand finale, a heartwarming romance between one of the hottest couple around, a couple of villains licking their wounds to get back their lost pride, so what happens next? Who is the hunchback? Enough spoilers, watch the movie to find out.
Most often in a Shankar movie, the critic’s first impression would be the “Larger than Life” impression that Shankar leaves behind. But in “I”, Vikram’s flies in and dunks the ball, and just keeps doing it.
Two words “Simply Awesome”! To start, “I” is not the movie that brings a character just for the sake of it, however integrates into the plot. All the hardwork Vikram has put into has a fitting justification, something that doesn’t serve just the actor’s hunger but what the fan’s stomach wants as well.
Some of the highlights include the short yet sweet exchange of Madras Baashai between Amy and Vikram, the stunning acting sequences from Chiyaan after Interval, Amy sets the screen on fire as a model, finally though I hate to repeat this in every Shankar movie; the Songs and its jaw dropping picturization. As again Rahman somehow keeps waving his magic wand for Shankar movies at ease, springs life to the movie. PC Sreeram’s work behind the lens, especially for the shots in China are simply magnificent, also puts justice to the extensive makeup work from the Weta workshop.
Why, What and How?
As much we enjoy Shankar’s manifestation of opulence there are staggering moments in the movie that could have changed its outlook.
Of all the Shankar movies, I is the most predictable one; be it the plot or the next to come sequence.
It’s surprising to see mediocre dubbing in a perfectionist’s movie, all the lip synch between the non-Tamil speakers look haywire.
At a stretch of 189 minutes, the screenplay clearly tugs along giving out time for ample dull moments, could have been trimmed.
An age old tested storyline heavily weighs on Vikram’s performance and makes the viewers constantly in search of thrills and perks.
Ergo, I capitalizes too much on Vikram’s energetic performances yet crosses the boundary line in style.