Blogging has not been my main priority of late (GERMANY, KLOSE and the WORLD CUP has been THE Priority!) and that's why there's been a dearth of posts from me *guilty as charged*.

Yet, something made me immediately log into my blog and start writing, and that was Vedam.
I know, i know, the effect is pretty delayed and given that now it's all "Raavan"/"Raavanan" mania...But since I love Allu Arjun, I had to patiently wait for the movie to hit the shores of, oh sorry, the screens in Singapore before I could watch him in full theatre-screen glory. And yes, meanwhile brushing up my Telugu by continuing with my Venky Frenzy ;)

For those looking for the comedy anecdote, pls read my post titled "Allu Arjun, be my Varudu!".
Cos sorry to disappoint, Vedam was too much gripping that everything else seems pretty uneventful (But if you must know, no guy in the seat next to me this time round, Thank God!).

*DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED "Vedam"! GO WATCH IT IN THE THEATRES FIRST- COS ALL THE MAIN EVENTS MAY BE MENTIONED HERE in the flow of my writing and I dislike altering my writing to accommodate people who don't like "spoilers"."

Oki, given all the pre-release hype for Vedam, I expected it to be different. But different how? I wasn't sure.
I perhaps expected...
an updated version of a love triangle,given the two heroes and a heroine.
songs that maximised my sweetheart Arjun's dancing skills
scenes that captured Anushka's sweet,shy expressions
Manoj's (the Good one's..manchu means good right? ;)....erm honestly I haven't seen his movies,no offence...
Manoj's (the "Happy" one!) acting and of course,
my Arjun's priceless comedic timing/expressions and spontaneous dialogue delivery....

Then I watched Vedam.

Definitely not a love triangle.
No typical romance scenes.
Arjun danced... in 1 song.
Anushka was anything but shy and coy, totally against typical heroine protocol.
Majority of the songs were brief and mainly in the background.

If these were not enough, 2 out the 5 protagonists die in the end.

Talk about different.
My expectations were thrashed yet, I felt completely involved in the movie that had such an effect on me that I was immediately compelled to write this post.

The gist of the story can be found on any movie review website, so I shall not waste space writing about it. When I was watching the movie, I expected to see Manoj (Good) , Allu Arjun and Anushka to meet each other at the intermission. All the characters were talking about Hyderabad, so I thought something may happen there, that causes them to meet each other and the story will kick off from there,post interval. Nope.

Instead, I received glimpses of the daily lives of people who come from different walks of life and how different the worlds of people even in close proximity can be. For instance, while Pooja and Cable Raju both live in Jubilee Hills, one is in the rich suburbs while the other in the "basthi" (slum) and that alone may as well mean that they each live on the North and South Poles respectively!

In Vivek's (Good Manoj) thread, I got reminded of the fact that many a times, we do things that seem inconsequential and minor but they can later lead to bigger problems. Just think about it, if that guy had just been on time to go to the airport, would he have been a part of the string of events that followed? Would things have turned out differently, like how everyone says the outcome of the Germany-England game would have been (frankly,it wldn't have. Germany rocked that game.)? Or for those who believe in it, this is called "FATE".

And trying to act smart/show off will later only end up in having another incident where you may have to swallow your pride and stand ashamed in front of the very person you ridiculed

(Like how Maradona probably felt when he refused to let Germany player Muller sit next to him in a press conference, only to have him score the opening goal against Argentina later)

-"What goes around, comes around". Ironically the Singh whom Vivek tries to overtake and later comes back to save him brilliantly illustrated the Thirukkural:

"இன்னா செய்தாரை ஒறுத்தல் அவர் நாண நன்னயம் செய்துவிடல் "
(ie The best punishment to those who do evil to you, is to make them feel ashamed by returning good for evil. translation courtesy of : )

So did Bajpai's character when he saved the policeman who was constantly maligning him.

I saw how the 9/11 had such an impact that it has changed the way some people look at Muslims, as though they are all terrorists in the making. It probably didn't matter to me much but looking at it through the eyes of a normal Muslim (Bajpai) made me realise how insensitive people can be ( I heard MNIK addressed this topic but I've been having a hard time juggling Telugu and Tamil films, let alone Hindi, but I will watch it someday!) .
And it often takes another major event or crisis in order for you to re-examine and correct your perception (Police abt Qureshi).

Then at the other extreme, we see how some people exploit younger minds and corrupt them to make them do things that are simply put, evil just by saying its all in the name of God (The merciless people towards the end).

Besides using God's name, desperation can also make you do the most despicable things that you would normally not even consider when you are in a calm state of mind (Cable Raju stealing money from the poor Nagayya...there's a tamil saying: "pichai eduthaara perumaal, adhai pidungithu ponaaraa hanumaaru" and that seemed to be apt here). Yet, when you are able to undo the despicable thing you did , the feeling of calmness and lightness in your heart is simply too beautiful to describe; it's like wiping your slate clean and starting over. Sadly though, in reality, this is not always possible.

So, what if you are beyond redemption? What do you do next? You try to make the best of your situation.
Anushka's character for once, didn't focus on how prostitutes are those who get forced into it by some bad figure (usually a male who wants the money) in their lives and how they are waiting for someone (normally) to come and rescue them, like how most movies portray these tabooed character. Instead, there is a refreshingly, new perspective, as she is shown to be just like any other person holding a job; wanting to be her own boss instead of being under someone's fist. Unconventional portrayal? yes. But interesting perspective. After all, it is true that all of us wish to be leading the rat race and break out of the poverty cycle.

If not for ourselves, we wish that at least our future generations will be able to break out of this poverty cycle. And education is always the best long term solution for it. Here we have Nagayya and his daughter-in-law Saranya whose ambition is only to want to see their grandson/son go to school to receive an education. For that they can do any sacrifice.

Last but not least is the theme that you see recurrent in almost all Indian movies or serials but yet rings true: you can really do anything for your loved ones. Just look at

Saranya's character and her father in law : prepared to sell their kidney just to make sure the young son/grandson gets to study

Saroja (Anushka) : Towards the end, all she wants to do is to save her friend that she even tells the doctor that she will sleep with him if that is what would take him to treat the friend.

Vivek (Manoj Manchu): His primary love is Music and to achieve stardom in that, he goes against his mum's wishes. Yet, when a fellow human being needs his aid, love for humanity enables him and his girlfriend (Lekha) to put the performance aside and bring the pregnant lady to the hospital and be by her side.

Cable Raju (Arjun): Before you can live with anyone else or love them, you have to live with yourself and love yourself by being answerable to your conscience. Even though he was answerable to his girlfriend, he knew that his conscience would simply not allow him to keep the stolen money. How could he be happy with his gf if meanwhile his conscience was making him hate himself? So he did the right thing which eventually brought him to do even greater things in the name of goodness, albeit receiving appreciation posthumously.

As an afterthought, "Be careful what you wish for"- the ominous thought that must have lingered over Vivek's mum who insisted that he should drop music and instead join the footsteps of his grandfather and father and join the military. She may be proud of her son's sacrifice, but any mother would never want to be in her situation.

[On a side note, it's probably also the thought lingering over Wayne Rooney (England's striker)who was so happy that his wish to play against Germany in the knockout round came through. Bet you are mulling over it in England right now huh?:P]

Kudos to Director Krish who managed to weave the themes and characters and most importantly the storyline so beautifully.
Honestly, I've yet to catch Gamyam. Its Tamil version sank without a trace and I didn't watch it cos I never really liked Ravi Krishna (shallow i know, guilty!). But will catch the Telugu one soon.
Back to Vedam - Every member of the cast have literally lived in their role. Initially, i was wondering when the turning point was going to come (even thought it was a bit slow), but when it came, I was so engrossed in it that my heart was thudding as though I was also in the room with the rest of them, awaiting the impeding doom.

Perhaps, it was very hard hitting cos it reminded me so much of the Mumbai hotel shootings and I felt that I was witnessing the ordeal the victims were going through. A fellow Singaporean was shot in the Mumbai incident and for weeks after that, our local papers were piecing together the minute-by-minute recounts of the whole ordeal. Reading those recounts and feeling sad was one thing but watching it come alive in Vedam made me empathise and feel for the victims even more.

I was crying from the moment Bajpai was speaking to the young shooter till the movie ended. Especially more when I saw Arjun doing what he did. And after that the combined act of bravery and pure goodness by Arjun and Manoj' as well.
Allu Arjun made me laugh in the beginning, worry for him when he was caught by the police, dislike him (come on, i can nvr hate him!) when he had stolen the money, join him in his joy when he returned the money, smile at his boyish joy when he was playing "boo" with the girl in the hospital lightheartedly, fear for him when he was trying to escape to safety towards the end and last but not the least, cry for him when he did the selfless act without thinking twice. His last words and sad but extremely satisfied smile still stays in my heart and reinforces my love for him more! His pained, torn expression when he was grabbing the money from the old man while looking helplessly at Saranya as though he's of two minds whether to return the money or not is priceless and definitely makes this his best performance in terms of serious emoting. So what if I didn't get to see Arjun sizzle the dance floor more ? It was totally worth forgoing that to see a plentitude of excellent emoting and performance from him. Congrats to him for choosing to do a critically acclaimed role rather than a commercial one all the time. Hope he maintains this balance ;)

So there you have it... Vedam; a movie that evokes in you (at least in me), plenty of thoughts and reflections and a stellar cast that draws you into their emotions. Sorry for the really lengthy post but just can't help it!

PS: Simbu, if you are really doing this role, you have a tough act to follow.
Ido appreciate your RECENT selection of scripts so Please don't ruin it by overdoing it. Give it your best shot and make it your best perfomance thus far. Good luck :)


PPPS: I did catch Raavanan first and Raavan. Will post thoughts soon too!


Anonymous said...

Excellent review Shona. It was a tightly paced, well pieced together film and all the actors performed wonderfully. I do hope the film gets recognition next year at the awards.

I loved this quote from you "Yet, when you are able to undo the despicable thing you did , the feeling of calmness and lightness in your heart is simply too beautiful to describe; it's like wiping your slate clean and starting over" Arjun's excelled during that whole sequence.

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