There are many films from the South which get dubbed in Hindi. While some films unfailingly hit the target, there are many others which simply go down the drain... only to find itself a place in non-prime time slots of TV channels later.
This week's release I is 'made-in-Tamil-dubbed-in-Hindi' film which stars the southern sensation Vikram and is directed by Shankar, the very man who gave the cinegoers films like ROBOT, SIVAJI-THE BOSS and others. Does Shankar manage to hit the bull's eye with the Hindi version of I? Let's analyze.
The film starts off with the kidnapping of Dia (Amy Jackson), when she is just a few minutes away from tying the knot. The kidnapper is a very strange looking man and also the film's protagonist Lingesan (Vikram). In order to establish the reason for kidnapping, the viewers are treated to a flashback of events which lead Lingesan to kidnap the very Dia, who meant the world to him. A glimpse into Lingesan's past reveals that he happens to be an aspiring and hard working bodybuilder. Despite all the odds and challenging situations, he still manages to participate in the 'Mr. Tamil Nadu' body building championship and wins it. Day in and day out, he dreams of participating and winning the prestigious 'Mr. India' competition, which also explains the reason for his strenuous workouts at the gym. Besides his body building, he is obsessed with Dia, who happens to be a model. He likes and loves her so much that he doesn't even leave a single chance to ogle at her in magazines, TV ads and billboards. If that wasn't enough, he even lands up buying all the brands and products which she endorses, which also includes sanitary pads and women innerwear! Dia, who is constantly harassed by her fellow model John (Upen Patel), gets blacklisted by him after she refuses his sexual advances. That's when Dia finds Lingesan and transforms him into a supermodel. In this journey of being a supermodel, knowingly or unknowingly, Lingesan rubs many people the wrong way, who include the transgender makeup artist Osma (Ojas M Rajani), John, a businessman and also a body builder, all of whom come together as one and team up against Lingesan. The film suddenly changes its course and towards the eand has a startling revelation.
Will these four succeed to destroy Lingesan forever, what was the actual reason for Lingesan to kidnap Dia, what happens when Dia finds out that the creepy looking kidnapper is none other than her true love Lingesan, and what is the startling revelation, is what forms the rest of the film.
First things first. The film's director Shankar needs to be applauded for always coming up with 'out-of-the-box' ideas in all his films. This time round, even though he has spared no efforts in mounting the film extremely high on a 'technical canvas', the film seems to be stumbling in many places than one. He has spared no efforts to fill the film with high speed action scenes, VFX, prosthetics and the quintessential movie masala. The film runs on a non-linear format and it keeps oscillating between the flashback and the present, which lands up confusing the viewers many a times. There are many scenes which get repeated in the film. While Shankar does manage to hold the audiences' interest in the first half of the film due to its humour, the film's plot in the second half goes for a total toss as it turns serious. By then, the film stands at the verge of losing its fizz completely.
As far as the actors are concerned, it's needless to say that it's an out and out Vikram's film all the way. He deserves full marks to the sincerity and dedication with which he has approached his role. Be it romantic scenes, him flaunting his brawn or his 'equation' with the villains... he scores in all the departments. He effortlessly carries the full film on his able shoulders. On the other hand, Amy Jackson does what was expected of her: to look good and to romance with the hero. While Upen Patel brings nothing new to the table, the surprise package of the film is the southern sensation Suresh Gopi, who makes a startling 'debut' in Hindi films. The rest of the cast help in taking the film forward.
The film suffers in the music department (A.R. Rahman), wherein the songs seem to be thrusted into the film's situation. Despite the film suffering from a lacklustre screenplay, it's cinematography (P.C. Sreeram) more than just makes up for it. The same cannot be said about the film's editing (Anthony), who could have simply trimmed the film by around thirty minutes, which could have retained the essence of the film.
I, which is basically targeted at the South Indian film industry, will have to depend heavily on the word-of-mouth in order to do good business in Hindi film circuit. A very special mention to the make-up (Sean Foot and Davina Lamont) and also to the team which has done the film's VFX work.
On the whole, go for I only if you are a big fan of extravagant masala films.