Rating: * *
By: Keyur Seta
Director S Shankar’s latest movie ‘I’ took three years in the making. This is visible from its final product as it is extremely challenging for coming up something like this. So the long period of making is justifiable. But what isn’t justifiable is the faulty storyline and shoddy narration, which make sure that the humongous efforts and Vikram’s brilliant act don’t hold much value.
‘I’ tells the story of a simpleton Lingesan aka Lee (Vikram), a body builder, who is crazy for the model Diya (Amy Jackson). He not only gets to act with her in ad films but also gets her love. However, he pays a price for it when he becomes a scary-looking hunchbacked man. How did Lee transform into something like this? Will he ever return to his normal self?
‘I’ has Shankar’s trademark stamp all over it; right from the action sequences to the creative manner of linking scenes. But what takes the cake hands down is Vikram more than outstanding performance! The actor has set a benchmark of dedication in a role that is physically and mentally draining. Hats off! The film also shines in the areas of VFX, prosthetics and camerawork.
Unfortunately, as stated before, these plusses don’t ensure a satisfying experience due to a number of major issues the film faces. They can be listed as below:-
– The basic storyline has two dimensions. The first is professional rivalry, which is fine. But the second is as unintentionally hilarious as a love triangle between a male, female and transgender!
– The first half is an action masala entertainer, very much on par with south Indian film standards. However in the second half, the film becomes a disturbing and depressing saga about the terrible skin ailment of Lee.
– Advertisement film actors are portrayed as famous film stars. Seriously, how can those promoting products like soap, shampoo and sanitary napkins enjoy the same stardom a commercial film actor enjoys?
– The ‘number one’ ad film star ruins the future of a fellow female star after she refuses to sleep with him. To regain her lost stardom, she takes the help of a man who is not only novice but also someone who has nothing to do with the acting or ad world. She even begs in front of him to help her out!
– ‘I’ portrays people from the transgender in the most pathetic manner. It is scary to see that even in 2015 we are portraying them as a means for cheap humor. The film also shows insensitivity towards people hit by seriously terrible skin ailments.
– A lot of action sequences are just too over-indulgent. The biggest example is the bicycle fight scene atop roofs. The same is the case with the many one-liners, which are straight out of those silly south Indian dubbed films we see on Hindi movie channels.
– There is an unintentionally hilarious character of a doctor. He treats a host of diseases like common ailments, hair fall, skin diseases, dental issues, inspecting reactions of some dangerous and almost unknown viruses, etc. When need arises, he also supplies his plumber to his patients (this is not an exaggeration).
– Talking about unintentional hilarity, it is aplenty in the behavioral traits of the characters and the things they say.
– There is an overdose of songs and they aren’t impressive either. To be frank, it is the bad Hindi lyrics that are more at fault. But their length adds to the already high length of 188 minutes! A song where Vikram appears as an animal-like creature deserves special mention for being annoying!
Coming to other performances, Amy Jackson and Upen Patel are decent. Ramkumar Ganesan is more funny than villainous. Suresh Gopi, who plays the doctor, also suffers due to the writing. The rest of the actors aren’t much to talk about. They are also hampered by the script.
Overall, ‘I’ is disappointing due to its writing despite some technical brilliance.