Direction: Vijay Milton
Cast: Vikram, Samantha, Pasupathy
Rating: Two stars
The new Vikram starrer 10 Endrathukulla is a good pathology of current Tamil cinema: you have the decision makers of the filming world (the directors, producers, stars, etc.) deciding that it is best to forego artistic ingenuity in favour of safe and predictable entertainment. This is owing to the weariness with which new movies are being received at the box office and the profitability of being genuine and believable. You have us - the media personnel, who, after viewing one too many such movies, have come to accept the highly compromised nature of the industry without acknowledging the depressing implications of such a statement (most of you would have exclaimed a variation of “oh, but 10 Endrathukulla at least didn’t pretend to be this or that...) And you have an audience who hold almost the same sentiments as the media, but they don’t have to think about it besides the agreeable chit-chat with friends and colleagues afterwards. On and on this cycle goes, wearily withering away any notion of originality, while we wait patiently for that once-a-year movie (or is it every two?) that wakes us up and shakes us by our foundations. Vijay Milton’s 10 Endrathukulla further extends this agonizing wait.
The movie chronicles the road show of James Bond, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar , Mani Ratnam and Bill Gates. No not really, but those are the names Vikram chooses for himself throughout the film. We never learn of his actual name and the intelligence level is reminiscent of tea-stall conversations between witless teenagers (‘periya Bill Gate-sunu ninaippu...’ level.) We don’t know where this dude-without-a-name gets his entire strength and black belt level physical capabilities from: it’s enough that he’s the hero and that he is Vikram. And in chronicling his past, present and future, we also come across the heroine of this movie - Shakeela (Samantha.) Shakeela is one of those characters that would annoy you for multiple reasons. First, she seems to be suffering from an excess of frivolity. Be it her lost-track-of failed license tests or nearly getting caught for breaking the hostel rules, her reaction is always one that of an unsuspecting butterfly exploding on her forehead: bubbly to the point of delusion. One may only wonder as to how anyone with a dewdrop of intelligence could write such a harebrained character, let alone accept it as an actress. And when you combine these two characters (that of Mr. James Bond and Shakeela,) any modicum of thrill and make-believe that the movie could have mustered goes right out of the window.
To be fair, 10 Endrathukulla is a perfectly watchable film. It has the bigger-than-logic feel that only Indian cinema could conjure. The hero has superhuman skills and stamina, the villains played by Rahul Dev and Abhimanyu Singh are so predictable in their evilness that they become banal. Pasupathy though in a clichéd role impresses. Imman on the music raises the volume by a notch and infuses energy when required. Some of the choreography will empty out the popcorn, the stunts will drain all the coca-cola and nice locations will provide plenty of “oh, how nice” feels. But do we really need more of the same mixture of cinema masala? Don’t you think it’s about time we had a deeper look at the basic ingredients?
10 Endrathukulla nothing will happen. For something more memorable and impactful, a rethinking of the filmmaking process is in dire need.
For something more memorable, a rethinking of the filmmaking process is in dire need...