Topic started by musicfan (@ 220.127.116.11) on Mon Nov 11 20:17:11 EST 2002.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.
I discovered Hey Ram all over again a few days back. I believe it should rank as one of those rare "complete movies".It has brilliant music..I mean not the music that is churned out of electronic instruments these days by all MDs(all..includes YSR,VS,HJ and ARR)..Hey Ram is in its own league..with music that makes sense..each song has soo much significance and depth.The synthesis of mantras and carnatic classical with pure melody is a treat.And the background music for this movie is as good as it can really get..The movie has so much of depth(I am a vociferous critic of KamalHassan..and I have appreciated very few of his works- Nayagan, Devar Magan,Sathi Leelavathi..Michael--,Apoorva..are probably those I liked a lot)..but this movie..is a revelation.
If only more directors and music directors got together to create..not just movies..but sheer poetry for the viewer..
I thought Kannathil Muthamittal was an attempt in that direction..although it pales in comparison to Hey Ram..
Are there any others that rank up to Hey Ram ??
- Old responses
- From: suresh (@ 18.104.22.168)
on: Sun Nov 17 02:54:00 EST 2002
OK, I've now seen TM and HR back to back, and rejoin this interesting debate. NaNbargaLe, if this brings an overdose of '2 cents' viewpoints, manniththaruLga:)
My take on why HR didn't work
1 "The holy cow" syndrome
Mainstream Indian audiences are still uncomfortable, possibly averse, to any attempt that casts historical/national icons in a critical light quite different from what one has been taught (indoctrinated) by the education system and through the general media. By raising the bar on Gandhi vis-a-vis Godse much ahead of the film release, Kamal possibly tread on timebound sentiments. IMO, thamizh audiences are still not prepared for honesty if it disturbs set notions and value systems. Another case in point - Iruvar.
2 "How much publicity is good?"
Kamal's bad luck with PR and Marketing continues from his 'Vikram' days. Most movies that Kamal has launched with big fanfare, and promoted assiduously in the media through calculated PR attempts, have sunk so badly that one wonders if it's really a case of Kamal being a novice at marketing. Compare this with the case of even a celebrated professional marketer such as Maniratnam biting dust with 'the epic trilogy' overkill (remember 'Dil Se'?), and what is evident is that more than overdose of publicity, it is the overconfidence narrowly bordering on arrogance that contributes to audience cynicism and actually builds a sort of negative expectation.
3 "Sum of parts"
Despite Hey Raam having stellar contributions in different technical departments - scripting, editing, music, photography, art direction - there is a lack of synergy somewhere, which is a big contrast with TM that looked like an extremely co-ordinated team effort. Whether this had to do with Kamal being the dominant player, hard to tell
At a basic level, even simplistic, the key difference between HR and TM is that HR fails to create an audience empathy towards any of the key characters, leave alone the minor players. If you see TM, whether it's Vadivelu or Kaka Radhakrishnan or even Nassar, the smallest supporting character has a unique 'personality' that diff. segments in the audience can identify closely with. Seen together with the sterling lead cast of Sivaji, Kamal, Revati and Gautami, TM presents each viewer with his or her 'prototype'. Whereas in HR, many characters simply annoy you to the point of nonchalance and less involvement.
5 "Local versus Global"
While TM is set in a caste-heavy context that most people in TN can identify with, even if raised in an urban milieu, HR places the action in a field far removed from the lifetime experiences and feelings of the average thamizh rasigan. The horrors of partition may strike a better chord with the Northern audiences than here given that we were more or less insular to the happenings during those time. Coupled with this, there was too radical an attempt to bring in fresh faces - SRK, Rani M, Vasundhara, Hemamalini, Atul K, Naseeruddin Shah, Saurabh Shukla, etc...
Kamal was making this for a national (global??) audience that clearly wasn't there, too bad the thamizh makkals didn't care less either. Kamal on the other hand, uncaring about the typical expectations that masses have for the 'hero', flits in and out of many shades of grey with a frequency that disturbs the average moviegoer.
I find - this is my personal opinion again - most characters in Hey Raam to be snooty, a typical Kamal 'methAvithanam' (much like Maniratnam's eponymous 'children'). There's too much of it in the film, ordinary commonplace characters hard to find.
7 "Bharathan vs. Kamal"
The more I see Thevar Magan, the less I'm convinced Kamal had a dominant role to play in directing this film, as has been insinuated is the case in several of his films. Not just that I have the highest regard for Bharathan's calibre (great art director and certainly the best poster designer India has seen), but to anyone familiar with his body of work, TM has his trademark written all over. Even when juxtaposed with Bharathan's earlier Thamizh film 'Aavarampoo', you will discern the common threads running dominantly through these two films. Clear characterisation, toned down verbosity compared to the average thamizh film, an aesthete's eye for frames, and a smooth uncomplicated narrative. I think as much as Kamal the actor requires a strong director to extract the best out of him (reining him in?), Kamal the director needs a different actor other than himself in order to look at his film much more objectively and dispassionately. Just too much emotional involvement with HR..
Still, HR makes a very interesting case study for avid movie buffs. IMO, for those interested in Indian film music, this is one for the archives. Even in its failure, HR marks a definitive milestone in thamizh cinema. Now, a parting stray thought - what if Kamal had directed this with a different actor, say Mohanlal?...
- From: Vj (@ 22.214.171.124)
on: Sun Nov 17 05:18:28 EST 2002
suresh, that was a good write-up...:-)
AFA "Thevar Magan" is concerned, every character was used and had its own purpose... be it the smaller roles or bigger ones... IMO, "Thevar Magan" and "Uthiripookkal" are some of the movies in which no character used in the film is an "also-ran" case. Talking of "Uthiripookkal", IMO, its had one of the best charecter-utilization/usage in the whole Tamil Film History. Right from the barber character to Kumari muthu/Bhoopathy, every character plays a very good and supporting role in the whole movie which is a very very rare occurance. I could hv that feel when watching "Thevar Magan".
The God of Acting "Shivaji" had a commanding presence throughout the movie in "Thevar Magan" and only then Kamal could take over. But the same could not be held on "Hey Ram" since, probably, Kamal had an eye on the International audience (by sending the film to international film festivals etc etc) and wanted to showcase his talent by having himself in almost all the frames, which ultimately back-fired.
- From: Mumbai Ramki (@ 126.96.36.199)
on: Sun Nov 17 05:21:24 EST 2002
very basic things that audiences should understand teh dialogues and scnes .That was clearly missing in HEYRAM .That's why it was a failure commercially .Bharati got a good success due to this element although there were no comercial elements .
IN TM ,ther wa a clear element of commercialness .Like ther was a commercial elment called "REVENGE" which was there .So it made the viewer intresting whereas in heyram it was just a potrayal .
Had HEYRAM been taken as a movie with the story mainline of KAMAL taking revenge on the peopel who killed hois wife ,it would have been a success .But that would have made the movie nasty
- From: OISG (@ 188.8.131.52)
on: Sun Nov 17 06:58:46 EST 2002
Be it a portrayal of history or plain fiction the treatment and script make all the difference.
Idhu Namma bhoomi ( Karthik ) and one more Ramarajan movie had the SAME story line like TM.but what makes TM a class apart is not the theme "REVENGE".The biggest failure in Bond movies is the Lazenby s Majesty s service.It had "REVENGE" element.In every II hindi movie you have a trigger-happy hero taking "REVENGE" on the villain (and the audience too!).so it is not the key.
Nenjathai killathey,Andha 7 Naatkal,Mouna Ragam - These 3 movies had more or less the same story.Infact the key character- the Husband character is in a way identical.but the treatment makes these movies look different.So story alone is not the key.
You watch Kappal ootiya Thamizhan-No frills,No BGM cap,no Special effects,but simple & great acting and the great songs will move you.(Though it had the advantage of depicting 1920 s and 30s in 1962).
Lagaan needed an ambience to take the picture to a different level with an ordinary story.(You have seen that in Srirangathu Devathaigal and Nukkad serial).The art director,MD created 19th century.You can find the characters even today when your train stops for the signal between Bhopal to Itarsi.
Shankar created brilliantly the 1940s using BW pictures and with some innovative work by Venki and Jeeva.So spl effects alone is no the deciding factor.
Kamal failed by 40% in all the areas.
- From: Eswar (@ 184.108.40.206)
on: Thu Nov 21 11:17:44 EST 2002
As an ardent fan of Malayalam movies (the recent ones), and a movie buff, I have watched over 100 movies that are worth collecting on my shelf. The reason I cannot have Kamal movies on it is because, HE fills the whole movie with his OWN ideas and principles. He cannot objectively look at a character and say he is better than the character I am playing. He has to impound his principles into EVERY character in the movie. That is an EGOTISTIC attitude. A movie has to be made considering even the sentiments of the bad guy. The bad guy is a character too.
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