7 July 2012
In one of the past interviews, SS Rajamouli responded to a question about hero elevation in his movies as thus – “the bigger and powerful the antagonist, the higher the scope for hero elevation”. He has been faithfully following this formula for 8 films on the trot.
His 9th film Eega is no different. This time around though, SS Rajamouli does something out of the ordinary. While doing so, he opens up a new path of opportunities for Telugu film industry, Telugu movie lovers and wannabe directors/story tellers.
Eega is pure conviction! It is inducing audience to believe a fantasy through inventive storytelling. In my opinion, Eega stands out as the best effort by SS Rajamouli as a director and story teller. Eega will carve a special place as a land mark film in the annals of Telugu film industry irrespective of its final commercial standing/outcome in the long run.
By releasing the look of main character Eega and telling us the story prior to the release, the team has done a great job level setting the expectations. The audiences come to the theater not expecting any surprises.
I loved the following sequences in Eega:
1. Titles – a girl asking her father (Rajamouli’s voice over) to tell a story
2. Introduction of Sudeep and establishment scenes of his character
4. Love episodes between Nani and Samantha
4. Nani’s finesse at comedy
6. Birth of Eega and getting accustomed to the environment
7. The helplessness of Eega in trying to kill Sudeep while trying to identify itself to Samantha
8. Sudeep’s performances when he starts getting pestered by Eega
9. Eega identifying itself to Samantha
10 udeep’s attempts to escape Eega’s harassment in the second half
11. Tagubotu Ramesh’s cameo
12. Pre-climax scenes
13. End titles
If killing the hero within the first 15/20 minutes of the film is courageous, giving out maximum screen time/presence to the antagonist is another risky venture. The entire second half is set for Eega exacting revenge on Sudeep character. A powerless housefly taking revenge on a powerful man!
I would like to talk about 2 characters of this movie in detail:
Sudeep: Sudeep deserves a huge applause for his excellent portrayal in this movie. He acted with lot of panache and command. Blessed with a baritone voice, Sudeep displayed malevolence, cruelty and fear through his eyes. His expressions while being harassed by Eega are very good. The progression of the character from a confident and ruthless businessman to a man reduced to verge of insanity after getting owned by a house fly is performed close to perfection. Since live animation techniques were used for Eega, Sudeep is facing a monologue situation (at the time of shoot). He is all by himself and has no context on the other end (actor/prop) to make an eye movement or facial expression. This is truly a challenge for any actor and Sudeep comes through with flying colors.
Eega: The hero of the movie will garner huge fan following amongst kids. Lots of credit should be given to SS Rajamouli for conceiving this character. The episodes of Eega’s birth, getting acclimated to the new environment are slow but well shot. What I loved the most was the director showing the helplessness of Eega. Usually, human beings can show this feeling/emotion through eyes/facial expression or voice modulation. For Eega, there is no such option but still the director was able to convince (rather mesmerize) the audience to understand the degree of helplessness of Eega in the exact manner he had envisioned…This is pure directorial genius!
Nani and Samantha did their parts well. Although Nani has a very small role, he made his presence felt. Samantha looked cute with her sweet expressions. Previously, comedy and romance were not Rajamouli’s fortes but he improved by leaps and bounds in Eega.
Makuta FX has done a great job with the live animation. The fly looks very natural amongst the human characters on the screen with appropriate color grading.
Songs and re-recording by musical genius MM Keeravani is an asset to the film. While the rerecording mellifluous for the love episodes between Nani and Samantha, the variety of mass beats/voice bits used for Eega are very appropriate. All the other departments – art/cinematography and editing deserve a pat on the back for an excellent end product on the screen.
Finally, take a bow SS Rajamouli. With this movie, he proves that he is 1-10 amongst Telugu directors and sets a high benchmark for rest to follow. Before Eega, he was essentially an action movie director who incorporated the right amount of commercial elements. With Eega, he traverses with aplomb into a new path leading to untouched territories/opportunities – the effort which we should all appreciate and applaud.
The movie is an absolute sell out in the USA. I guess that it will do very well in overseas and A centers. The commercial standing will depend on how masses embrace this magnum opus.
devarakonda at hotmail dot com