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I (2015) – 3 Hours of my Life I’m Never Getting Back

Anon January 15, 2015
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Like many eager Tamil cinema fans, I caught Shankar’s long awaited magnum opus, I , this weekend. Expectations are always sky high for a Shankar directorial, especially after delivering back to back blockbusters like Sivaji & Nanban. Given the enthusiastic marketing campaign and the positive word of mouth before the release, I did not expect to be so massively disappointed by I.
Before delving into any details, I must first express my gratitude to I for helping me understand the concept of relativity of time that we were introduced to in Interstellar. The movie’s actual runtime was only 3 hours but in relative terms it felt like I was in the theater for 30 years, much like the astronaut Cooper on Miller’s planet in Interstellar. Pacing is the biggest villain in this movie, not its predictable set of bad guys (and girl?). You can feel the boredom set in from the very beginning, as the first fight sequence inside a gym goes on endlessly and muscular, oiled up men in briefs just can’t seem to get their hands off each other (homo-erotic much?).
With an already sagging plot and predictable narrative, director Shankar’s extravagant visualizations and songs end up adding zero value to the story. Some of the tunes are admittedly catchy and the entire Aila Aila sequence deserves special mention for its innovative concept. You could even say the Pookkale song has some role to play in the story – but why are we watching Amy Jackson turn into a fish in Mersalaayitten? For the visual effects (Itha naanga Jeans laye pathutome?). I hate to admit it, but a veteran director like Shankar appears to have turned into a spoilt teenager with fancy toys and a lot of money at his disposal – and now he just wants to show them all off. It’s about time the director got back to making the plot focused, socially relevant and tightly packaged movies he is best known for, like Indian, Mudhalvan, and Anniyan.

Much of the publicity surrounding the movie has been focused on actor Vikram himself and deservedly so. The only reason people are still watching this movie is for the actor’s phenomenal commitment and screen presence, but this movie does him no justice whatsoever. Vikram has put his body and soul into this role and pulled off a flawless performance when surrounded by a floundering cast and director – he is clearly still one of the finest actors of our generation. Santhanam’s comedic timing is impeccable and also deserves special mention for helping to liven up the movie. Amy Jackson looks every bit like a model and is really easy on the eyes, though we have seen better acting skills in annual day functions at high schools

I is perhaps the biggest disappointment for Tamil cinema this year and it’s just January. I sure hope the rest of the year does not follow in this note.

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