Movies Review : Happy Days vs Kalloori

With the dawn of the new year fast approaching, I now sit down to compare two movies of 2007 dealing with the theme of college life, Happy Days in Telugu and Kalloori in Tamizh.

Happy Days is another Shekhar Kammula movie that has struck the right chords in the Telugu cine-goer’s heart. The fact that the average Telugu movie buff is an engineering college student has hugely biased that opinion. There have been infinitely many movies based on college life but this one shall be remembered for a long time because of the story. I now feel, more than the story , it is the choice of the manner in which the story was told that mattered more. The songs were excellent and “Happy Days” and ” Oh My Friend ” will replace ” Mustafa” at college farewells for sure. I feel this movie is more for the parents of students than students themselves, because they get to see more of their kids lives than they usually would get to. Comedy was in most parts provided by Rajesh’s character. ( I had more comedy to deal with due to the comments of a college gang on the cam rip ).

Now for the bashing. Apart from a single instance of Friendship-Showing ( Tyson – Shankar ), the rest was unbearable. All the friends just HAD to be paired up right!!!? This is where the movie pissed me off the most, because the message that is given here is that all college gangs are pairs or trying to be. Yes, the LOVE angle is bound to be there – I do not disagree with that, but when you are trying to brand your movie to be a family movie, trying to tell the parents, a fair share of what they should know , then why not be totally correct too. If not for the supposed branding , I wouldn’t have had this itch to criticize this movie. There are many who remain very good friends and not go by the KKHH-SRK definition of Love. Please. Let us move on from all that.Though set in an engineering college backdrop, the movie attempted to summarize college life in general. But this movie got caught up with the love-interests of the leading characters and forgot about the guy from the village. With a do-takey ka dialogue, his story is finished off. The friendship being portrayed, too felt a bit artificial at some times. I will remember this movie more for the songs than anything else.

Now coming to Kalloori. I was seeing this movie only because techsatish was showing it. I had no idea about it.Was pleasantly surprised to find that one of the leading ladies in both the movies to be common. The bus-scene start was a nice one. Instead of ragging being the crux, its a song by the seniors explaining ways to screw up their education culminating in a request to avoid those ways and study well. I was totally taken aback by this novel beginning and mind you the song was not the preachy kinds – i felt it was pretty funny.It was set in a village/town backdrop, where in a group of village-friends are joined by a city-girl in their BA-History class. Each one with different problems in their family life, socio-economic or otherwise, but when together tend to forget about all that and help each other out in their own very way. One of the girls is portrayed to be staunchly against the concept of Love and expects everyone to be friends forever and nothing more. But when two of them are attracted to each other, I thought , another movie going down the drain. And that is where I went wrong. The uneasiness amongst the two , to stand up to their friend’s ideals and control themselves was nicely shown. Two scenes I liked the most were the one where the girl makes him realize the cost of his education and the one where she confesses her love towards him, to the other girl and the subsequent explanation by that girl towards the need for her idealistic views. The happy ending wasn’t to be with a Dharmapuri-incident like climax, which I kind of expected with the movie coming from the same team as Kadhal did. The songs weren’t as catchy as Happy Days but nevertheless very melodious and thoughtful.But it is in the lyrics department that it outdid the former. Also there weren’t any song-dance sequences; songs took the story ahead and that is something I expect to see in every movie ( Spoof Dances like Dhoom Tha Na in Om Shanti Om are also expected ) . I hear that the climax was changed to what I ended up watching, after post-release criticism on logical irregularities. I wish to see that as a positive step on the part of the Director, willing to correct mistakes in the finished product. There was nothing spectacular about the movie. Just the fact that almost everything was as close to reality as it can get. I pity the Telugu town/village student community who could not relate to themselves in Happy Days. I hope Shankar dubs Kalloori into Telugu and at least gives them a chance at that.

One thing that was common to both the movies was the actors. Almost all were rank newcomers and all performed very well in relation to their characters. Most notable was character of Ramesh in Kalloori – he was the most versatile amongst all in terms of expressing various emotions.

Two movies with seemingly same basis, but turned out to show two totally different view points. In terms of viewer appeal Happy Days wins hands down, but in terms of telling what was really intended to be told, Kalloori succeeded.

If you haven’t watched any of the two and now intend to do so, sorry for spoiling the fun.

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A Little Escapade – 1 – Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

Last week I became a member of The Little Theater. It screens only independent and foreign films. It has 5 screens( I saw 5 ) each one characteristically , little. No legroom at all. But the decor of each screen was remarkable( though Spot Cafe is another league altogether). Each of the walls had these vintage posters, with archaic font-types, which I felt was very amusing( Don’t ask how. Not all visual pleasures are traceable down to logic ). I look forward to watching many more movies at this theater as, part of the deal with the membership being able to watch a dozen movies for free. Effectively I shall be watching those movies for a highly subsidized rate.

Now to the movie. Plot – Domino Effect. One detail goes wrong in a plan that is not well thought out and the rest of the movie depicts how that affects a family. One scene I liked in particular was the father – son talk after the mother’s death. The elder son feels that he had always gotten to see the rough side of things and that his father always favored his brother. The father feels that he should have been more considerate to his son. The dialogue that follows and the slap that ends it, that for me was the defining moment of the film. Much of the movie shows the emotional support systems of the two brothers , which also fall apart eventually. There aren’t any comic scenes in this heavy drama bar one, wherein the wife/girl friend decides to leave him , but has to ask him money to go to her mothers. Excessive use of firearms ( I am not comparing with action flicks ) was one thing that was hard to digest, but the ending I felt was appropriate. The father has his revenge, after his final words to his son.

It was made out to look like a very dark film with the plot and the intentions of every character involved, but I felt that it was coldly natural of everyone involved to have behaved the way they did. The best part of the film was the camera work, where in zooms were extremely slow and letting the scene run into silence for excruciatingly long periods which kind of lets you soak in the drama.

I keep getting this from people – ” That movie made me think a lot”. The same was happening with me once I came out of Little. About what, I do not know even now. May be I was brooding over the following lines.

“May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for you’re head;

┬áMay you be 40 years in heaven, before the devil knows you’re dead.”