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Thread: News on Vijay Sethupathi - The man among us

  1. #141
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    Rekka Stills









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  3. #142
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    Andavan Katallai - Teaser, Trailer & Songs

    Teaser


    Trailer


    Songs


    Written & Directed by Manikandan (Kaaka Muttai, Kuttrame Thandanai)
    Music by K (Yuddham Sei, Kammatipaadam [Malayalam])
    Starring - Ritika Singh, Vijay Sethupathi, Nassar, Cheenu Mohan, Ramesh Thilak, Yogi Babu, Singampuli & Namo Narayana.
    Banner: Gopuram Films
    Music on Sony
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  4. #143
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    Vethalam Vikramathithan (Vikram and the Vampire)

    'He who understands it will be his sire’s sire' - Rig–Veda (I.164.16).

    Preface

    Oru Kadha Solta ...



    King Bhoja, the heir to the throne, entered the throne room amidst the salutations from his ministers. He stood at the bottom of the royal seat and raised his head to watch the thirty-two steps leading to the Golden Throne. To the right side on each step were golden statues of beautiful women. The idols were posing themselves involving various body gestures, mostly pertaining to gracious invitation.

    "What a fabulous route to the throne", Bhoja thought.

    When he set his right foot on the first step, all the statues laughed at him clapping their hands. Bhoja felt insulted and quickly removed his foot from the stairs; his action froze the idols. He asked the first statue to his right, "Who are you and why are you laughing at me."

    "We are Apsaras", the thirty ladies smiled and spoke in unison, "We are put on this earth to serve the Son of Indra and speak about his laurels."

    "Who is this Son of Indra?" Bhoja exhibited his ignorance without hiding his frustration.

    The first golden statue of the thirty steps introduced to Bhoja the greatness of the Greatest Emperor Vikramathithan.

    At dusk the idol finished speaking with the Bhoja. He returned to his chamber and thought about the glory of his predecessor spoken by the speaking statue.

    The next morning he returned to the throne room early. There was silence when he marched on the first step. As he set his foot on the second, the respective statue came alive and questioned him if he was brave and wise to claim the throne of Vikramathithan. Confused, Bhoja stayed on the second step listening to the Apsara telling him the "Twenty Five Tales of Vethalam":

    Upon the request of a Tantric (one who practised the science of cosmic principles), the King Vikramathithan, along with his second son Dharma Dhwaj set out to capture a vampire that lived in the countryside cemetery. He reaches the tree where a huge bat hung itself upside down from a branch. It opened its eye lids to reveal its blazing red eye clearly depicting its unhappiness towards the trespassers. After a brief battle, the Vikramathithan captured the human size bat and started pulling it towards the Tantric's observatory.

    The King caught its neck and asked who it shall be. As soon words flew out of Vikramathithan's mouth, the vampire slipped through his fingers and flew back to the tree where it hung itself over the same branch. It took six attempts for Vikramathithan to understand the cycle he and the vampire engaged with - Battle; Capture; Speak; Fly.

    For the seventh time, Vikramathithan pulled the vampire over the hard ground of the cemetery, but this once he did not verbally engage with Vethalam, the huge bleeding bat.

    Vethalam started to plead to the king. It cried out of pain in old age. It urged him to leave it in the graveyard. Vikramathithan neither withered nor showed mercy to the vampire. He kept on dragging it to reach the path leading to destination. Finally, Vethalam surrendered itself to the King and accepted to accompany Vikramathithan to the Tantric's observatory. Vethalam asked the King a favour, a request he could not reject as the king. It wanted him to carry it on his back as it was too tired to match the strides of the Vikramathithan.

    The night journey turned tedious. Vethalam suggested a way to reduce the travel stress. It proposed to narrate a story to the King. Taking the silence of Vikramathithan as affirmation, the vampire narrated its first tale in which a man deceived a woman.

    An intriguing story enveloped the King through an effective narration by Vethalam. Dharma Dhwaj could easily visualise what he heard, as the vampire fabulously described the events that occurred within the story world. The tale talked about a King, his son, their journey around a cemetery, a pretty lady and her lover.

    As soon as the Vampire arrived at the end of its narration, it asked Vikramathithan, taking much care to use words that could provoke the King to speak up, "Now, Raja Vikram! You have not spoken much; doubtless you are engrossed by the interest of a story wherein a man beats a woman. But I warn you that you will assuredly fall into hell if you do not make up your mind upon and explain this matter. Who was the most to blame amongst these four - The lover, the lover's friend, the girl, or the father?"

    The King took time, but replied despite himself, "The King is at fault."

    The vampire asked him to explain himself, "In what way was he at fault?"

    Very much satisfied with the reply, Vethalam said, "I never yet heard a King so readily condemn a King."

    Vethalam giggled and announced, "I now return to my tree."

    Vikram stood for a moment, fixed to the spot with blank dismay. He retraced his steps, followed by Dharma Dhwaj, and engaged in a brief battle with the vampire. Throwing wounded Vethalam on his shoulders, he again set out upon his way.

    Soon afterwards a voice sounded behind his back, and began to tell another story.

    Every time Vethalam completed its story and tricked the King to speak up by throwing intellectual questions that threw the King into the pit of guilt; and each time the King answered according to his virtue, Vethalam returned to its tree.

    The King fell silent when the vampire asked him the solution at the end of its twenty fourth tale. The question puzzled the King. Vethalam held his peace for a few minutes by coughing twice impatiently. It turned and asked Dharma Dhwaj, but he stood dumb folded as his father without knowing the answer for the puzzle either.

    Vethalam announced, "I will not stop to enquire whether it was humility and self-restraint which prevented your answering my last question but I will not look too narrowly into cause or motive just as your condescension in at last taking a Vampire’s advice."

    Thus, Vethalam told its own tale as the twenty-fifth story. The final revelations made by Vethalam, saved the King and the Prince from deceit in the near future. The misrepresented truth by the Tantric was flashed on the King's face that made him open his eyes.

    The second speaking statue stopped talking after finishing the twenty five tales of the Vampire. King Bhoja, reluctant to move upwards, stepped down from the stairs and returned to his chamber. For the next thirty days, he patiently listened to the Tales of The Throne narrated to him by the Apsaras while he advanced step by step. As and when he listened to the Adventures of Vikramathithan, his admiration grew towards him. He started to doubt his own bravery and wisdom.

    Bhoja finally reached the Golden Throne ...

    End of Part One of Three
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  5. #144
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    Vethalam Vikramathithan (Vikram and the Vampire)

    "Vile wretch, know me to be Vikram the Great, Raja of Ujjayani, and I bear thee to a man who is amusing himself by drumming to devils on a skull" - (Vikram to the Vampire)

    Introduction

    Colours of Darkness



    Baital Pachisi (Twenty five tales of the Vampire) is a facetious fictitious literature. It is a part of Singhasan Battisi (Original Title: Simhasana Dvatrimsika) which is a collection of our folk tales that includes:

    1/ Vikramaditya Simhasana Dvatrimsika - Thirty Two tales of the Throne.

    2/ Dvatrimsat Puttalika - Thirty two tales of Apsaras.

    2.1/ Vetala Panchavimshati - The Twenty Five Tales of the Vampire - narrated by the second statue on the steps to the throne.

    3/ Vikrama Charita - Adventures of Vikram - collection of side quests taken by Vikramathithan inside the main tales narrated by the Apsaras.

    The collections of stories in Vetala Panchavimshati are not for kids, as expressed by many. They are dark and gritty tales with overdose of black magic and ruse. The tales are often erotic in nature with a licentious themes sprinkled with gore, horror and violence. The entire setup of these stories is gloomy. It happens around a cemetery involving death as the major conceptualization. For that, the lead story for these series of stories is the Birth of Vikramathithan, a horrible event expressed in detail, the only solace being Indra adopting the orphaned infant. But the comical narration in Baital Pachisi and its dramatic representation of fantastic and the realistic events brings a mirthful laughter.

    Simplified and popularised as "kid’s bedtime stories", people often tend to think that Singhasan Battisi is for infants. Adding to this account is the awesome 1985 television episodes Vikram aur Betaal, a DD Classic directed by Prem Sagar starring Arun Govil as King Vikramaditya and Sajjan as Betaal, based on Panchavimshati.

    Overthrowing the consideration of simplified versions as originals (one finds only what one looks for), the major error made is with the number of stories the vampire narrated to Vikram. As the title reveals - twenty five tales of the vampire - there are strictly twenty five tales only, the twenty fifth being the Confession of Vethalam. It’s not twenty five fictional ones, plus, one more as the life story of Vethalam, which makes twenty six stories altogether.

    The whole interpretation of Vikram's head shattering into a thousand pieces, if he does not answer the questions of the vampire when he knows the solution, is a hoax.
    Vethalam slips through his fingers whenever Vikramathithan spoke with it:

    "Remember the old saying, mighty Vikram!" said the Baital, with a sneer, "that many a tongue has cut many a throat. Whenever thou answerest me, either compelled by Fate or entrapped by my cunning into so doing, or thereby gratifying thy vanity and conceit, I leave thee and return to my favourite place and position in the siras-tree, but when thou shalt remain silent, confused, and at a loss to reply, either through humility or thereby confessing thine ignorance, and impotence, and want of comprehension, then will I allow thee, of mine own free will, to place me before thine employer. Perhaps I should not say so; it may sound like bribing thee, but -take my counsel, and mortify thy pride, and assumption, and arrogance, and haughtiness, as soon as possible. So shalt thou derive from me a benefit which none but myself can bestow."

    The way Vethalam coins its words and expresses them inside the sentences is the cleverness of the tale. Its interesting narrative style imprisons the King by intellectually chaining him. The only way to liberate is through an answer to the puzzle, thus, the vampire returns to the tree. Read again the above citation to see how cunningly Vethalam addresses Vikramathithan – carefully constructing the choice of words, mostly those which afflict insult, using them mainly to provoke the ego of the King, at the same time providing a proposition that allows Vethalam to be superior to the Vikramathithan. These aspects push Vikramathithan to reply to Vethalam.

    The legend is more than just capturing a vampire. It’s about how a wise king becomes wiser, his wisdom sharpened by a vampire. If Vethalam had told the 25th story as the first one, the King would not have believed it. So, the vampire took its times cornering the King and making him dumb folded exatcly when Vethalam finds the King fit to follow and accept what the vampire has to say. Watering that guilt of not finding the solution to the puzzle, the vampire confesses, the confession that the King could relate to the twenty four stories told earlier by the vampire. The King realises that Vethalam had brilliantly broken the truth into 25 pieces, for him to put them all back into one bright revelation.

    Vethalam's life story is as interesting as the others tales it told to Vikramathithan. With all the deaths shadowing the stories, Vethalam is at guilt of a crime that he never committed, a similar position where Vikramathithan is unknowingly involved in a crime that he is yet to be aware of his own participation. Vethalam had to lose one of its beloved due to its ignorance, and through its stories it helps Vikramathithan to identify the real threat waiting to turn fatal. His realisation helped him save not only himself, but the whole humanity from the clutches of a sorcerer. Together they stopped the Dark Age from rising. The brilliance of Vethalam and the valliance of Vikramathithan helped to rescue themselves (as well as Dharma Dhwaj, a metaphor for the future; Vethalam and Vikram are past and present respectively) from doom.

    Vikrama Charita walks through the braveness of the legendry emperor. He meets another being that is smarter than him - Vethalam. The stories of the vampire make a force entry and crawl all over his brain, at the same time stuffing his mind with emotions that he had never experienced. The intelligence of the story lies in its wise structure.

    Frame Narrative: Without the knowledge of Vikramathithan, Vethalam involves him in the stories he tells to him, permitting the King to gather several perspectives to character behaviours. Finally, it projects the three main characters which were actually present throughout the disjointed narration itself. By this, it does not force the King to believe, but allows him to construct a logical ending to all fantasy tales he heard and empower him to face reality.

    Baital Pachisi is the seed that later grew into the One Thousand and One Nights. The exact date of origin of these Indian Folk Tales is still unknown. The earliest registration is found in the eleventh century literary work called Kathasaritsagara (Ocean of the Streams of Stories) written by Somadeva. It is an account or retold versions of tales that originated from India before the development of the collection work. It is an adaptation of another lost work named Brihatkatha (The Great Narrative).

    End of Part Two of Three
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  6. #145
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    Vikram Vedha [2017 : Tamil : 2h30 : Crime [Mystry, Suspense, Gangster, Drama]

    Written and Directed by Gayathri-Pushkar

    Starring: Shraddha Srinath, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar , Madavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Kathir, Vivek Prasanna, Rajkumar, Gangsters and Policemen.

    Dark is not Evil



    "What is a nightmare?" Vikram wondered loudly, "And what is a worst nightmare?"

    Vikram felt a warm breath hitting his neck. He listened to the evil laugh, and then, to the whisper beside his left ear, "Allow me to tell you a story", wounded Vedha announced.



    "There was a wolf, brimming with pride when it pulled the prey to its pack. All night long it treasured the praising howls of the pack."

    The Nightmare

    Vikram enjoyed what he does. He's got the official badge to clean the street free from criminals, as well as, he pops them cold blooded along with a special unit assisting him. He sleeps well during the night, until one day, the legendary Vedha disturbs his sleep creeping as a nightmare. None have seen Vedha, but the myth surrounding the villain states that he is Evil's dearest pet, a demon unleashed on earth, and for some reason he had gone underground, but for no reason he had surfaced again. Vedha surrenders to Vikram who wants to suck his blood dry with his pistol. System of words, called the codes, sets him free. Vedha slips between Vikram's fingers, while Vikram wishes to end his nightmare. Before slithering away, Vedha asks Vikram:

    "How can you wake a wolf that is not sleeping, but walking with its eyes shut?"

    The Worst Nightmare

    While Vikram is finding it difficult to decode all the messages left behind for him by criminal Vedha, the law enforcement agent stumbles upon the biggest crime scene. He investigates the murder of his colleague who was shot point blank by a lady in an abandoned factory. Vikram could not make the connections - the association of the victim with the murderer; the murder weapon; what was his friend doing in an abandoned factory; who had he come to meet and the reason being...

    Confused, Vikram reaches the dead officer’s house. The look on the faces of the family members - the wife and the sick kid - makes Vikram realise the worst nightmare.

    "Is the wolf guarding the pack ? Or is it the pack needing the protection of the wolf?"

    Vedha's life story, which floats on treacherous waters, rings inside Vikram. A gangster surrounded by a gang, but none can be trusted. Vedha deals with traitors and attains the throne of the underworld that is polished by back-stabbers. An incident urges him to meet Vikram and Vedha wants the meeting to be official. He surrenders himself to Vikram.

    "The wolf, Vikram, can it survive without the pack? Or shall the pack let the wolf, their meat winner, to just walk away from them?"

    Vikram realised that the worst nightmare is a nightmare within a nightmare. At the same time, the voice that he kept hearing at the back of his head rose higher above him. The burden that he carried on his back strangled him. While being choked, Vikram thought, "Is there a bigger nightmare than the worst nightmare".

    Vedha climbed behind Vikram's neck, throttling him with the chains of the handcuff.



    Vikram Vedha directed by Gayathri-Pushkar is a fantastic film. I found the film portraying the duality in an elegant manner. The director(s) have treated the dualism like mirror images. After Thalapathi (Mani Ratnam's 1992 Tamil Movie), Vikram Vedha has the most number of wonderful 2S (two shot) and reaction shots. Vikram and Vedha are often seen starring at each other, like looking into the mirror.





    [The costumes and accesories play an important role in these two picture (and throughout the film - it operates the shift). White shirt and dark tops for Vikram and Vedha when they meet for the first time. Darker tops for both of them when they meet for the last time, plus, Vedha no more wears the dark sunglasses under which he had been seeing Vikram (the world); also the folded shirt cuffs over Vedha's arms have turned white].

    When they are not together inside the same frame, their line of sight matches to the position of the opponent. Even when they are carrying an object, the subjects are positioned in such a way that they receiving the same reaction from the out focused opposite.





    The director(s) also create a symmetrical alliance between the two principal characters - one side is the narration of the story about death and treason running parallel and on the other side are the visuals balancing the personality and trying to bridge Vikram and Vedha with similar objects: Vikram and Vedha are dressed with bandages to their wounds. The psychology of the characters is made to stimulate the thought process of two men rowing the same boat over the river of uncertainty.

    Hats off Gayathri-Pushkar.

    The film carries one of best anti-hero intro scene in Tamil Cinema. The shot is cliché - a low-angled one, but how the scene is constructed is just fabulous. Vedha is a legend in his own right. He has not only committed cruel crimes, but has done them in cruel ways. None have seen Vedha, as he has shifted underground. There, the heart starts to beating to the single thought in the mind, "Who is Vedha?" (a usual build-up too). Vikram and team prepare to hunt down Vedha following an informant's clue. While they arm themselves and discuss protocols, the soft breeze turns into short bursts of high speed wind. Dust float in the air as though the ground is shaken. Dry leave fly quickly, trying to escape from falling into the crack on the floor. Police dogs let out sharp short barks and announce the rise of the Demon from Underground. A heavy foot falls before the screen and a square shouldered man walks out from the audience (read 'Makkal Selvan') and moves forward on the screen towards the entrance of the building.

    Everything in that scene is perfect - the sounds that they included, the back ground score, the walking Vedha whom the camera (the audience) follow, the gloomy windy setup, and last but not least Gayathri-Pushkar's excellent translation of words onto the screen.

    I like mirrors and reflections. It’s a complicated but a quick way to narrate minimum three stories (the subject, the image, their togetherness) inside a single frame. With few editorial technics, a logical series could be built making the scenes visually interesting without any dialogues. And then, there is the reference to the Eye (I think I could not have asked for more):




    (can also be viewed as a garland)

    contd ... (as restriction to add more than 10 pictures)
    Last edited by mappi; 1st August 2017 at 05:58 PM.
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  7. #146
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    Vikram Vedha (condt …)

    And eyes play a vital role in the film - the watching eye (Vedha); the understanding eye (Vikram); and the eyes of revelation (Vikram Vedha).





    Even the heroine characters crisply communicate with their eyes. They got a dark glossy eyes makeup.





    I admired Shraddha Srinath in U-turn Kannada movie (2016). She was the only element in the film that made me reach the end credits. She is an actress well equipped with taunting features. I am glad that her potentials (both physical and acting) were aptly used by the directors, rather than making her laugh under the influence of nitrous oxide.

    The Adaptation

    Couple of the above pictures show Vedha directly behind Vikram. That's for a start.

    Vedha tells tales to Vikram, as well as, to others too - I liked the Snake Story, funny but a provocative one and the Box story which was hilariously enacted by Vijay Sethupathi. So, there is the fun part in the tales too. Each time Vikram meets Vedha, he is unable to kill him, as Vedha cunningly diverts Vikram from the task of shooting him. He produces a fresh tale like a magician pulling a hare out of his hat, making Vikram wondering about the existence of truth. Many have a problem in understanding this aspect - Why didn't Vikram just shoot down Vedha - End of Story. And here is where they lack the knowledge about the original work "Baital Pachisi". (And that’s the reason I have given details under Preface and Introduction to make it a bit easier for me to talk about the film).

    All the major elements right from surrendering to disclosure of details, Vikram Vedha respects Vethalam Vikramathithan. Where the film takes a diversion is while picking up a non-linear narrative rather than a frame narrative. The film is a bundle of flash backs, which are not distinct elements in the story. This aspect makes Vikram Vedha a normal fare compared to the narrative of the folk tale; where the clues are thrown at us at random intervals creating a mid-film twist more than once. Even though projected to be neat, the narration gets clumsier as the movie advances.

    Most of the characters in Baital Pachisi have a greater importance to the whole narrative. In Vikram Vedha, the characters look scripted and predictable. Awesome characters like Half-Boil look like a random and walking aimlessly inside the film even though he has got much to do in the story. The other character’s development with the principle ones is not dissected but is thrown with a weak motive like yet another back drop. Thus, the life stories of Vikram and Vedha run like wild rivers without having a bank to control their flow.

    A very good attitude shown by the director(s) is taking the full advantage of cinematic liberties. There is this awesome scene (there are several though) where Vedha flies over the building while Vikram's men crawl around the same building looking for him. He jumps inside a ship container yard and then it rains. Similarly, the whole intro of Vedha is full of liberation in visual narration. Scenes change without any location match - suddenly the characters are talking inside a restaurant, and Vedha pulls out a gun. Such jumbled scenes produce a uniqueness to the produced work of art.

    There seems to be a greater influence of the movie Seven (David Fincher's 1995 film). Vedha's surrender and the revelation part towards the climax (Seven Deadly Sins) share similarities with the film Seven.

    Summary

    Dark is not Evil. Sometime darkness reveals the truth buried within. Dark paths must be crossed to bring back Light.

    Vikram Vedha is a film that left me wanting more, yet left me extremely satisfied. The film exhibits excellent performance from the group of artists, a spell bounding OST, sharp edits of keen visuals surrounded with reverberating sounds and a fabulous story that does not show two sides of a same coin, but the two faces on the same side, without preaching Goodness or pointing at Evilness. As a charming take on our fabulous folklore, the film extracts the core without tampering it and presents it inside intelligent and interesting visuals.

    "Wake up Vikram. When you sleep, nightmare crawls", Vedha warned.

    Finally, Vikram opened his eyes. But has his nightmare left him or has it just shifted from his back and standing in front of him showing its true face... (plays the theme music).



    (This shot is marvelous and a perfect closure to the film. Notice the shift in their positions.)

    Vikram Vedha - Sleeping & Walking

    End of Part Three of Three
    Last edited by mappi; 1st August 2017 at 06:05 PM.
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