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Predictable beauty and the beast tale

Vikram and Amy Jackson in the film. Photo: special arrangement

Vikram and Amy Jackson in the film. Photo: special arrangement  

Say Shankar and Vikram in the same breath and the only thing that comes to mind is the brilliance that was Anniyan ( Aparichitudu in Telugu). The film cemented the actor’s place in the big league and garnered much critical acclaim. So when the duo came back together for I, one wondered if they would be able recreate the same magic.

The film is about Lingesan (Vikram) a body builder with his eyes set on the Mr. India title. As he struts about town with his rippling muscles he is also smitten by super model Diya (Amy Jackson), so much so that he collects every brand she endorses including bras and sanitary napkins. As fate would have it, he bumps into Diya who after being harassed by a fellow model John (Upen Patel), decides to give Lingesan a makeover and turn him into Lee, a suave model.

The two head to China for an ad shoot, love blossoms and soon Lee makes it to the big league in the modelling industry.

Just as things begin looking rosy for the lovebirds and they make plans to get hitched, things go horribly wrong. The former body builder-turned-model is reduced to a mere vestige of his earlier self before disappearing from the public eye completely.

Vikram’s transformation from a strapping model to a deformed hunchback desperate to stay out of the public eye is laudable. While Vikram wins hearts as the earnest-to-boot gym rat and as the strapping new model on the block, he floors the audience with his performance as Koonan, the deformed hunchback. Even under all those layers of prosthetic make-up Vikram lets his eyes do the talking. And it is those eyes that convey the desperation of a man trying to find out what went wrong with him; and the rejection he feels when the love of his life fails to recognise him and flinches at the sight of his deformed self.

Amy Jackson does justice to her role as the supermodel, though the lip sync does seem off in places. While Suresh Gopi carries off his role with élan, one wishes Upen Patel, as the scorned model, would work on his emotive abilities some more.

While the gripping performances keep one engaged what’s missing in I is Shankar’s usual magic. Sure his creativity and imagination are on display right through the film, but the plot is quite predictable despite his non-linear style of narration. Add to that a not very taut script that stretches to over three hours sells the film short of what one expects from a Shankar film. But do go and watch the film for Vikram’s effortlessly gripping performance, some excellent stunt sequences, scenic locations and brilliant cinematography.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 1:01:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/review-of-i-predictable-beauty-and-the-beast-tale/article6789004.ece

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