Chennai and Tamil Nadu
After much hype and publicity, Raj, The Showman, is disappointing, but it has some good points as well
IN RELATIVE TERMS The film is much better than Preethi Yeke
After the delay, the songs set as
ring tones, rumours regarding
re-shooting and the hype that
touched a crescendo "Raj -
The Showman" was finally released
last week. Phone calls from friends
watching the first day, first show
were disheartening. "Worse than
`Preethi Yeke Bhoomi Melidhe',"
said one during the interval. Vultures
in the industry who celebrate
an adversary's failure more than
striving for their own success
swooped down. "Intolerable" was
the chorus. "We had to visit a bar to
drown our disappointment," said
one who needed no excuse for a
tryst with Bacchus. "The Kannada
film industry is finished," said another
as if Prem and Puneet had
promised to revive it with this one
film. Well I watched the film after
the hoopla had died down with a
gaggle of garrulous kids whose parents
thought were in college. Probably
thanks to the extremely
negative feedback I definitely did
not find the film intolerable. It's
several notches better than
"Preethi yeke" which is not a compliment.
The film is about a shepherd who
lands up in big, bad Bengalooru
with stardust in his eyes, his struggles
as a junior artiste and ultimate
triumph. It's not technically tardy
like most Kannada films are. A couple
of songs are hummable and the
money spent is visible in terms of
costumes and exotic locales. The
only problem is Prem's anxiety to
inject every proven commercial ingredient
which dilutes the basic
plot. The balancing act between
style and substance is a challenge
for every filmmaker and it's only
when it tilts in favour of the former
does a film suffer. This is definitely
Puneet's best performance to date.
His body language suits the character
and there's a vast improvement
in dialogue delivery. "I
have to thank Prem for giving me
the freedom to interpret the
character," says the star.
Nisha Kothari neither has the
`come hither' looks nor the talent
to warrant a presence. She looks
jaded and incredulous in most
scenes. Our filmmaker's enthusiasm
in importing heroines for a
few flashes of fair flesh remains
unfathomable. Krishna's cinematography
is first rate but for
the over use of extra wide angle
lens which distorts images.
"Raj." is not a great film, but is
not half as bad as it's being made
out to be.
* * *
The much delayed, but eagerly
awaited `Kandasamy' is due today.
`Kalaipuli' Dhanu the producer
is relieved and excited.
"The wait will be worth it. The
film has come out extremely well
and the advance booking has
beaten the record set by `Sivaji',"
said Dhanu, who spends more
money on publicity than the budget
of an average Kannada film.
The `Muhurath' invitation itself
contained a four-minute trailer
of the film costing Rs. 3,000 each.
"I know the film is eagerly awaited
in Bangalore and wanted to
bring the cast and crew for a premiere,
but my presence here is
vital," said the director Susi Ganesan.
The Tamil film industry is
tottering too and hopefully
"Kandasamy" will revive audience
interest and enthuse dejected
distributors. But then
Dhanu like Prem has ill wishers
waiting for him to falter. The ideal
thing is to watch a film and
form your own opinion.
S. SHIVA KUMAR
Send this article to Friends by
Chennai and Tamil Nadu