Monday, September 22, 2008

Aramane (2008)

I READ ON SOME WEBSITE that Kannada’s ‘Golden Star’ Ganesh had declared that his movie ‘Aramane’ was a super hit! Now as much as the hero of any movie would want to say the same thing, I somehow had a nagging feel that our 3xnamaskara TV lad had gone a tad astray with that expression. Ideally it is something the cine-going audience should mouth so he’d probably choose something more apt like ‘why don’t you ask the audience’ or something to that effect. Regardless, to make things clear for myself I decided to watch this movie the other day.

First things first – it is not an unwatchable movie. But then, it isn’t great either. There are several reasons for this and the main culprit here, as always, is a script that begins pretty unrealistically and catches more bizarre heat in a matter of a few frames.

So we have a liquor happy millionaire (Anant Nag in another decent and stable performance) sitting all alone in his million dollar palace sulking at the loss of his family. Oh no, no one is dead! Well, except his wife maybe. No – they just deserted him since he wanted to get married again after his wife had just passed on. What nerve, you ask? Oh you can’t blame the poor old fellow since he is just keeping a promise made to his dying wife who, for some reason is convinced of two things – one, that she will definitely die and two, that the man will definitely be alone some day. Let us pardon the woman though. She is dying so chances are she is a tad delirious. Fine – but does the old man break this little secret to his younger ones when they confront him? Oh no. That would be just too simple now wouldn’t it? No – he actually chooses not to share the reason of his sudden craving for another partner because, and I quote ‘he doesn’t like the way his children reacted to his move’. I wonder, what kid would thump the father on the back and say ‘Way to go dad!’ just a few days after the mother has passed on. What’s worse is thanks to this little tiff they move on with their lives and garland their still-alive father’s photograph without a care in the world! As I mentioned – a pretty weak backdrop to start off with if one is going to be showcasing something this big.

Well let’s forgive that and move on. So now we have drunken Ol’ McDonald with his farm of a mansion with just one loyal servant. Enter Mr. Photographer (Ganesh) who is assigned the task of taking a photograph of the old man. Needless to say the drunk tells the young click-happy lad to get lost and Mr.Photo-walah (Psst…there is an absolutely ridiculous back story to how the young fellow got that camera in the first place but I will leave it out of this review since, well, it is better to watch it yourself.) decides to do just that. As you might have guessed the old man magically feels a natural ‘tug’ at the lad and welcomes him back with a clean shave and a Kodak smile. A little too soon? Sigh – lets forgive this as well and move on.

As the two men – one drunk and the other nearly wasted – sit shooting the booze after a ‘one click’ session, we realize the main plot of the movie. The old man wants his family back and he eagerly assigns the task to the young stranger. What do you know – a few more minutes and the eager-beaver photographer is playing Mr. Bond under cover for a man he met only for a few brief minutes under the influence of liquor. The story chugs along as we are introduced to all of the old man’s kids – giant talents like Tara and Avinash wasted in ridiculously small and meaningless roles – and Photo-Walah bhai sa’ab is busy clicking photos of these people and gifting it to the old man. All the while falling for the old man’s grand daughter, of course. (I wonder why Indian heroes are so fascinated with ‘falling in love’? We’ve all been there. Could he not fall in love for a change and just go ahead with what is assigned? Oh well… )

After a few ‘fantasy’ songs and beach side shots - the ‘big’ twist! The girl loves someone else! Nooooo….!

Mr. Photo plays the ‘good guy’ after a quick weep in the men’s room and sets himself up for another piece of sacrifice for the old man and his family’s sake. What happens next is anyone’s guess and you can go ahead and do the same – if you care, that is.

There is something fundamentally inaccurate about the execution of ‘Aramane’. Editing is clunky in some important sequences and camera work is pretty amateurishly done for vital scenes that require facial emotions to be on display. A few songs stick out – ‘Nanagu ninagu…’, ‘Kolle nannanne…’, ‘Nagu nagu…’ among others – but aren’t enough to save this debacle from plummeting to the ground. Face first.

Oh! I forgot to mention the leading lady. Or wait, was she? Considering she walks around proclaiming Mr. Photo to be her ‘best and only friend’ while having matrimonial thoughts about someone else doesn’t make her character believable either. I felt sad for the doctor guy (the one she really loves) since he’d probably shrug his shoulders and say ‘Wait…so I am not your best friend? Meaning you don’t think I am good enough to share your secrets with? So wait, why are we getting married then? You go around telling everyone you don’t have a close friend…then what the heck am I???!!!!’

Sigh. Loads of such glaring and unexplained voids make ‘Aramane’ fall short of its potential. I wonder if the script – as weak as it was – would have received better treatment under more experienced hands. It is a shame Ganesh – who has dozens of more genuine hits to give before he can call himself a ‘Golden Star’ – is becoming part of such mundane fares with increasing frequency. At this rate it won’t take long before the ‘G’ disappears and all that will remain is ‘Olden Star’.

But then, I am sure he knows best. Right?



Chandru said...

I read all your reviews in one day !
Your reviews are fresh, even for old movies. I'm not here to review your reviews !! I just like them.. Keep them coming.

ShaK said...


Thank you, friend. Glad you liked them. :) Will keep adding more.



Suchitra said...

Was browsing over n happened to see ur blog. Gr8 work indeed and some of them were my favourites.
Read all ur reviews :)
Looking forward for more ....
Keep writing ....Ciao