Thursday, September 04, 2003

Encounter with Gangsters

Was almost through with my morning dose of blog reads today when I came to this post. It’s the first time I have been on this blog and its mighty interesting. The above-mentioned post features a special story on the Washington Post about encounter specialists in Mumbai. The article instantly reminded me of Gautam Menon’s Kaaka Kaaka. I saw it a couple of days ago and was immediately impressed by the no-nonsense screenplay and some strong portrayals from the intense Surya and the University guy – Jeevan.

Anbuselvan (Surya) and three of his police training school buddies are “encounter specialists”. They eliminate all but one of their targets, before Pandya (Jeevan), the brother of the last remaining target (Sethu), a virtual unknown in the eyes of the Chennai Police, but a hardened gangster himself, escapes from a Mumbai prison and lands up in Chennai and proceeds to infuse new blood into the activities of his brother Sethu. After the quartet gun down Sethu, Pandya vows to mow down all of them and proceeds to wreck havoc in each of their lives. Anbuselvan finally kills Pandya (as in all movies), but not before losing his wife (as does his friend) and one of his buddies. Harris Jayaraj’s music has not yet sunk in, but he seems to be an expert in “recycling” tunes and one of the songs seems uncannily similar to a koothu from Saamy. My roomie does not agree though. Listen (open them in a new window) to Arumuga Saamy from Saamy and Ennai Konjam from Kaaka Kaaka and tell me what u feel.

Surya seems to excel in these intense roles and this has been a good change of image for him (not that he was ill-suited for those lover boy roles). Nanda, Mounam Pesiyathey and now Kaaka Kaaka have made him rise up in my scale. Only an ineffective storyline (as in Mounam Pesiyathey) seems to hamper him these days. He has the rugged looks, expressive eyes and a good physique, all of which are essential for any serious actor. He and Vikram (not to mention Dhanush) seem to be the saving graces for an otherwise insipid film industry in Chennai. The careers of the once hot Ajit and Vijay seem to be in the doldrums, now that their efforts to ape senior stars have failed. And Madhavan seems to be in one day and out on the other. Hence, the key seems to be originality. But in an industry where even a intelligent film maker like Balu Mahendra tries to pass Hollywood lift offs as original stuff (like he did with his last offering Julie Ganapathy, which was a straight lift from Misery, a Rob Reiner adaptation of a Stephen King screenplay starring Kathy Bates and James Caan), this seems lacking to a large extent.

Speaking of liftoffs and remakes, heard that Feroz Khan has roped in Gautam Menon to remake Kaaka Kaaka with son Fardeen and Preity Zinta playing the leads, in Hindi. Jeevan plays the villian in the Hindi version too. Looks like the dude might have to regrow his recently shorn long locks. In a recent feature in The Hindu, he remarked that producers who approach him with roles over the telephone gently ask to be excused when they hear about his short hair. Dunno what he feels about growing his long hair back for Gautam Menon.

QOTD: "Now every gang wants to kill me. I am like the World Cup for them." - Mumbai Police encounter specialist, Pradeep Sharma (with 97 encounter hits to his "credit")

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