Saturday, July 14, 2012

REVIEW 145: EEGA


Release date:
July 6, 2012
Director:
S.S. Rajamouli
Cast:
Sudeep, Samantha, Nani
  Language:                              Telugu (with English subtitles)

If you look at Eega at a very superficial level, you may consider it just a fun and light-hearted special effects-driven fantasy. But there’s more to it than just that! S.S. Rajamouli’s film about a man reborn as a fly to take revenge on his murderer is funny, has a completely unusual concept, is a reminder to all of us that height is not might, and the special effects are path-breaking for Indian cinema (with a fraction of the budget of the average Hollywood film, I assume).

Eega takes us through the story of Nani who loves Bindu and is murdered by businessman Sudeep who in turn lusts after the pretty girl. Nani returns as a housefly on a mission to protect his sweetheart while also determined to murder Sudeep. How can a teeny insect achieve that? For the answer, let’s refer to the lyrics of one of the film’s many foot-tapping songs: “Can’t a tiny spark too small to be seen, unleash an inferno that could burn down a forest?”

Acting in a film of this genre comes with its limitations. Samantha is sweet looking and acquits herself reasonably well. Nani barely gets any screen time but for what it’s worth, he’s good too. Kannada star Sudeep, however, dominates the proceedings from start to finish and though he could have over-acted the part of the bad guy, he does not. So he is a lecherous, arrogant, murderous, paranoid and cowering fellow by turns, and looks admirably convincing through all his battles with a computer-generated fly! Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s such a good-looking man.

The focal point of Eega (meaning “fly”) is the manner in which an insect defeats a strapping human being who has crores of cash, scores of employees and a palatial house at his disposal. Have you ever had a fly buzzing in your ear? Can you imagine a fly flying into your eye? Do you realise how easy it would be to keep a tiger out of a building in comparison with the humble housefly? Think about all these questions and you will know that in the battle of the wise, size is irrelevant. The eega’s ingenuity in this film is amusing and eye-opening. Where the film falters though is when it moves away from the size-does-not-matter premise by showing the eega building up its muscles and managing to pick up needles with its minuscule ‘arms’. Silly, no? Fortunately there’s not much of that happening … fortunate, because it’s not half as entertaining as watching the little creature use its brains to outwit its able-bodied human foe.

Besides, the eega in the film is a product of top-notch special effects. He does not look 100% like a real-life fly, but since humour is the selling point of this film in which an insect dances, that does not matter. It matters even less because he’s quite a handsome chap, this CG version of a bug with eyes an attractive shade of red! The film scores on the comedy and action front. What I missed though was the poignancy that could have been better achieved in the Bindu-Nani romance after the boy’s death … You know the way Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze made us weep playing the leads in Ghost? Eega manages to tug at the heart only occasionally, like when the eega first communicates with his human girlfriend in sign language, but I wish I wish I wish there was more where that came from! I suspect that the reason for this failing is that I couldn’t relate to the Bindu-Nani romance before his death. I mean, she’s supposed to be in love with him but doesn’t give him a single hint for two whole years?! Not only did that hark back to the old days when our films made a huge deal of pyaar ka izhaar karna, it was also highly unconvincing considering that Bindu otherwise comes across as a straight-talking girl, neither old-fashioned nor the sort to play games.

In the overall analysis though, Eega is a thoroughly enjoyable film that breaks new ground for special-effects driven Indian cinema. Way to go, Mr Rajamouli!

Rating (out of five): ***

Footnote: Happily for film buffs like me, Eega has been released in Delhi NCR (my home city) with English subtitles. A big salaam to the producers for having the business sense to do so, in a country where our film industries have yet to get their act together on this front while Hollywood has wisely made it standard practice to release dubbed Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions of their films in India. Personally, I prefer subtitles to dubbed films. Not everyone shares my tastes though, so I do wish all our Indian film industries would get active with both dubbing and subtitling. Right now, it’s possible they may only draw a niche audience of dedicated film buffs, but over a period of time I bet they will create a market among non-traditional audiences too. Unfortunately, we are far far from that stage. Even subtitling rarely happens! So again, a big salaam to the producers of Eega!

Censor rating:                       U/A

Running time:                        138 minutes



Photograph courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eega         


13 comments:

  1. Here's my review on your review, You had a great start and a sort of happy ending in last.Thoroughly enjoyed your review but it had few glitches, you tried to find out few negatives which cannot be considered much. I think you missed the links because you dont understand telugu and it is appreciable to write such a review even if you dont know telugu.
    The thing you forgot to mention in your review is about the back ground music,it was a boon to the movie.
    Rating for your review: 3/5
    Censor words: Nothing
    Reading Time: 6 Minutes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for posting the review.
    For me, movie looked very convincing just like hollywood movies where they give their fiction driven logical explanations for unusual deeds. Rajamouli cleverly narrated whole story as fictional story told by a father to his daughter in the beginning. However, most of the fly deeds has a logical fantasy driven explanation like crackers design engineer who can create aritifical light when the power goes off, fly making heroine to prepare different acts like running on tape ala tread mill,lifting weights,preparing gun/bullet kind of scene. Similarly, heroine was shown as a micro artist and who knows sign language so that she communicates with fly easily later and also prepares masks,glasses for fly. I think director scored big way by these believable fatansy driven explanations though all are fictional.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I agree with you. Most of the eega's stunts were effective because they were believable, logical and seemed like something a little creature might actually achieve with persistence and assistance. I loved the fact that the film was making a point while also being entertaining!

    Dear Cyanide,

    Here's my review of your review of my review: I enjoyed the fact that you rated my write-up. :) However, since I make an effort to ensure that my reviews don't tell readers how they feel or how they ought to feel about a film, I wonder why you seem to be telling me what I should be thinking. Who told you I "tried to find out few negatives"? I never 'try' to poke holes in a film. I go with an open mind always. However, since there were certain things about this film that did not work for me, I mentioned them in my review. While I respect your right not to consider them "much" in your opinion, I must ask you to respect my right to decide how I should feel about my objections :) I'm afraid I do consider them "much".

    Thanks for writing in.

    Regards, Anna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ma'm if a person (Mr.Cyanide in this case) has so much to write about your work,be rest assured that your work is really good. We write or think about something only when it has caught our attention. There is dialogue in the film Guru, "Jab log tumhare baare mein baatein karne lagte hain,Samaj lo Tarakki kar rahe ho". And ma'm your work has been catching my attention from the time I was in school and didnt miss an episode of Star Trek ever !!

      With the warmest of regards from an avid admirer of work,
      Dipanjan Banerjee

      Delete
  4. Thanks for reviewing my review of your review, I will take forward your points and review the reviews in a better way. Cheers! :)
    You forgot to rate my review :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Anna,

    You could have mentioned about the Background score too. I felt BGM played a mega role in this movie,though not sure if others were impressed with it.

    Bindu not giving a hint in those two years - Its completely the director's vision on how his characters in the script should work. If she would have given a hint , it would be meaningless that she messages him the night when her bike runs out of fuel and Naani getting excited for the first time that he has got a message from her.

    Thanks,
    Sandesh

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for your kind words, Dipanjan. I'm overwhelmed. :)

    Dear Sandesh,

    I don't agree with you about the Bindu-Nani romance, but I do share your opinion about the background music. Frankly, that's what I meant when I mentioned the film's "many foot-tapping songs" because in this film the songs are played out in the background unlike the traditional way we tend to use songs in most of our films, with the characters shown to be singing them. I guess I should have discussed the background score in its entirety and specifically used the term since I fully agree that it had an important role to play in the film's effectiveness - it was rousing at times yet never too loud.

    Thanks for bringing up this point, Anna

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sandesh
    I somehow agree with you though director in one of his interview said that he is weak in screenplaying love stories.
    Nani-Bindu romance is directors vision. In that interview, he was asked what is the secret of his success(no failures and all his 9 movies were blockbusters). He told he make sure his story has lows/highs in every reel. May be this was the reason he weaved nani-bindu romance to have these lows/highs instead of plain screenplay (boy proposes girl, girl acceps and they move around for some timeand then boy gets killed by villain)

    Anna,
    There is interesting info going around. Sorry, the link is in telugu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgKSbCiUZ5s

    It is the common feedback director and hero got that nani-bindu romance should have more scenes and they were wishing them to be together. Coincidently,nani and samantha are acting in gautam menon`s next lovestory "Yeto Vellipoindi Manasu" which is due for release soon.Nani and samantha were expecting the audience eega wish to come true with that movie..:)
    Here is the trailer
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dWmI7pfo2Q

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear "Anonymous",

      It's interesting to read about the viewer feedback S.S. Rajamouli has received for Eega. I have to say though that I didn't particularly want Nani and Bindu to get more screen time together. I just felt that the time they did get together should have been better utilised with a more appealing love story, which would then have lent more poignance to their relationship after his death.

      Thank you for the links. Unfortunately, I don't understand Telugu so I have no idea what Nani is saying in that TV interview - would you be so kind as to tell me what the "interesting info" is that you are referring to?

      I watched the trailer of Yeto Vellipoindi Manasu and Neethane En Ponvasantham. I have great respect for Gautham Vasudev Menon's work in Tamil, so I am seriously looking forward to watching either of these films or perhaps both - the decision will probably be made for me depending on whether the Tamil or Telugu version is released here in Delhi, hopefully with subtitles. Incidentally, it's because I have so much regard for the director's other work that I was so disappointed with his 2011 Hindi film Ekk Deewana Tha. Here's a link to my review of that film (do read the comments section too): http://tinyurl.com/cguv93s

      Rgds, Anna

      Delete
    2. Quick correction: I just realised that I mentioned 2011 as the release date of Ekk Deewana Tha! Oops! It's 2012, of course.

      Anna

      Delete
  8. Anna

    Just read your review on Ekk Deewana tha- i totally agree with you and its a very detailed one :). I was also hugely disapointed with Ekk Deewana Tha. i think the wrong casting and bad lyrics in the songs spoilt such a cult classic love story in hindi.
    I have initialy watched telugu version - Ye maya chesave. I was totally bowled over by music, direction, Samantha and her natural performance (u wud hv had some brownie points for her in eega). Songs were such a rage then.
    After watching horrible EDT, i wondered why director did not cast samantha or carbon copied telugu version. I found later it was carbon copy of VTV. I somehow felt VTV also had wrong casting (actors were too old for their characters and it lacked the freshness of YMC). I wonder how a beautiful heroine can have a brother who luks like 'bukka reddy'-abs bad casting..:)
    What a waste translation of such soulful songs - Zohra zabeen,phoolon jaisi ladki..:)
    And that Amitabh bachan scene is a big joke..:)
    To Gautam, it is ok for a conservative heroine to wear skimpy clothes in dream songs..:)
    I think director proprly changed few scenes/corrctd these to suit the telugu nativity. I wonder why he did not do for hindi version.

    I`m eagerly looking forward for Yeto Vellipoindi Manasu -Nani and Samantha both gives natural performance. But i guess subtitles for regional movies is still a taboo in north unless the movies create a big buzz like Eega.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This design is incredible! You certainly know
    how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start
    my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Wonderful job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!
    Also visit my web blog : bangla song mila

    ReplyDelete
  10. Guess I am reading your first review of a non-hindi or non-english movie. Heard super nice things about this movie. Eagerly waiting for your review of malayalam movie "Ustad Hotel" !

    ReplyDelete