Why ‘I’ might make you go Aiyaiyo
Shankar’s much-anticipated big-budget ‘I’ has hit the screens. Despite its extravagance and Vikram’s unquestionable dedication to his role, the film makes you- long for it to end. And not in a good way.
Shankar’s mega productions are known for their captivating, if not-so-plausible story-telling. Only this time there’s no story to tell. He uses a back-and-forth technique which essentially kills any possible excitement.
‘I’ is about a man who seeks revenge on those who destroyed his life. So, there are shades of Apoorva Sagotharargal, in which Kamal Haasan played a circus dwarf out to kill one by men the men who were responsible for his deformity. That, incidentally, was a far better film than ‘I’.
There’s also the sense that you’ve seen this all before in Shankar’s Anniyan, in which a vigilante Vikram went about killing corrupt people.
There are lots of twists and turns in ‘I’, but the end is predictable, robbing the film of any climactic moments. Besides, though the storywriter – also Shankar – intends the identity of Villain No.1 to be a mystery till the end, it is evident in the first few scenes itself. That makes for another damp squib aspect.
The other villains are also caricatures – a bodybuilder beaten by Lingesan (Vikram)) in a competition, John, a model who loses his assignments to Lee (also Vikram), a transgender stylist spurned by Lee and a big businessman whose soft drink Lee refuses to endorse because it is harmful. You see where this is going, right?
Vikram deserves to be applauded for the work he’s done on his body. But you also end up asking if he really needed to bulk up and play a bodybuilder. He could have been anything else and it wouldn’t have made the slightest difference to the story, slender as it is. Because he plays a gym owner and Mr. India in the first part of the film, you learn all about ‘cuts’, ‘definition’ and ‘double biceps’ but these sequences are strictly for those who find shiny, rippling muscles attractive.
Vikram fans love him for his charmer looks and his sensitive portrayals. They are bound to feel a little cheated because, for most of the film, he’s a hunchback, with his face and hands disfigured by huge lumps – acquired through some pretty effective prosthetics.
The same prosthetics – big lumps on face and swollen lips –have been used on two other characters, leaving you to wonder if Shankar went shopping during happy hours and got three for the price of one.
Shankar weaves a love story into the revenge tale with Lingesan the body-builder, who later becomes the model Lee, falling for supermodel Diya, played by Amy Jackson. There’s zero chemistry between them and viewers neither rejoice when the Koovam boy, by his own admission, wins over the seemingly unattainable, sophisticated girl, nor feel sad when they are parted. Shankar’s take on the Beauty and the Beast in a song sequence only adds to the absurdities.
Unless you are die-hard fan of Kollywood action, you’ll find the fight sequences too many and too long.
China is beautiful, captured by the lens of P.C. Sreeram. You do wonder, though, why Lee and Diya had to go there to shoot an ad for a perfume. It’s merely a scenic diversion that does nothing for the story.
At three hours-plus, ‘I’ is overlong and leaves you asking ‘why?’.
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