Shankar is probably the only director in South India who has the talent and the expertise to churn out a perfect mix of story, dialogues, casting and grandeur. But unfortunately, I got only two out of the four from his latest offering – I.
Right from the start, the film rides on the performances of the lead pair – Vikram and Amy Jackson. Be it the localized bodybuilder, the model, the beast or the disfigured Koonan, Vikram has nailed it with a knockout performance which deserves awards. The level of dedication he has put in for I is herculean, and that is evident onscreen as he swoops into the skin of the character he portrays. The scene where he imitates Kamal and the near perfect Madras slang are some highlights of this career defining act. Yet again, Vikram puts his life into a film, only for a director (Shankar out of everybody) to come and topple things. Amy Jackson is perhaps the perfect pick for the role, she looks absolutely stunning and complements Vikram pretty well in terms of her performance. Thankfully, Santhanam’s comics don’t turn out stale, and do evoke laughter at regular intervals. Apart from these, there is not much of praise to gift the cast with.
I promises you of some world class visuals, thanks to the superior cinematography by PC Sreeram. The song and stunt visuals do bowl you over with some spectacular slow-mo shots which are a delight to watch. The veteran has stamped his class with innovative camera placements and must be lauded for showing the disgusting Koonan in the best possible way. Barring the China fight sequence which was an epic fail, all the stunts in the movie are rip roaring, aided well by AR Rahman’s stellar background score. Roping in Hollywood experts for CG and make-up has worked wonders as there not a single blip at any point. At a lengthy 180 odd minutes, I becomes a tad too long at the end and calls for immediate trimming.
Contrary to his entertainers which come hard bound with strong social messages, I is more of a romantic thriller. Stepping into something different, the director has failed to fulfil the towering expectations which rose up thanks to the stalwarts on board. This time, he has to take up most of the blame. With a long list of unnecessary snippets, I begins to crawl towards the end where it gets too predictable and cliché ridden. The poorly sketched villains add fuel to the fire, with the progressions falling flat at vital moments with scope to score. Shankar truly misses the writer in Sujatha and we do too. The overuse of ‘Adhukkum Mela’ says enough about it.
Coming to a conclusion, I has everyone except Shankar and writers Subha doing their job well. But yeah, what’s the point of cheese without the bread?
Verdict: Shankar’s least enjoyable product, still worth a watch for Vikram and the visuals.
3.25 / 5