Monday, July 10, 2006

Cyanide - Mini Review

When was the last time you recommended a Kannada movie to someone? Don't seem to remember doing any such thing? Exactly!
But now all of us who always wanted to watch a good (Commercial) Kannada movie and never got to see one, have reason to celebrate.
Over the weekend I went to watch 'Cyanide'. I had heard good things about it, but was consciously trying to keep my expectations low, lest the movie be a disappointment. But starting from frame one, till the end, the movie never demanded for a lowered bar of standards. It is one of the best commercial movies I have seen in any language. I am sorry I do not have (at this moment) time and patience to write a complete review, but want to share some of the things that set this movie apart from the other run of the mill ones.
* No songs!
* Excellent cinematography. It never becomes too gaudy or music video kind, but at the same time is very dynamic. There are umpteen unique camera angles.
* Great editing. Not an single frame that was not needed for the narration. Very tight editing and makes the script seem like a fast pacer.
* The screenplay is written amazingly well. All the scenes have been meticulously crafted and even though almost everyone in the audience knows the story, it retains suspense.
* Consummate direction. I am sorry I am not aware if director Ramesh was involved with any other project earlier. If this is indeed his first work, then hats off! The whole movie is made with a perfectionists mind. Care has been taken even to the minutest of details.
* Its a docu-drama. It is a very difficult for the director to keep the balance, not glorify anything when dealing with issues that have such political overtones. But the biggest acclaims for the director must go for this very aspect. When you come out of the theater, you empathise with both the sides equally. There is no glorification of terrorists nor the police. Weaknesses of both have been shown in a style that is not demeaning.
* Excellent performances by all actors. Its surely not a 'star' cinema. Its actors' cinema. Rangayana Raghu (Ranganath) and Tara (his wife) have portrayed their respective roles in an outstanding way. Others are very good too.
* Last, but not the least, very good background music by Sandeep Chowta. Don't be surprised if you get the feeling of coming out of a Ramgopal Verma movie.

So you may ask, is there anything bad about the movie at all? Yes, the only bad thing about the movie that it is made in Kannada. For this very reason, its unfortunate that it will not get the response or acclaim it would have got if it were made in any other Indian language. Its time we correct this issue and spread the word.
It is so much meaningful to watch such movies than staging protests against radio stations for saving Kannada. You will never know, this may be one of your few chances to salvage Kannada film industry. Do your bit.

For those who have not heard of this movie at all and want to know a bit about the plot, Cyanide is based on the sequence of events in the lives of the master minds behind assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, after the manhunt for them had began.


Shruthi said...

I'm glad you wrote about this. I had a feeling it would be a good movie... and I wanted to find out how it is, from someone who watched it. Thanks!

Shastri said...

Glad that I succeeded in getting at least one more person to watch it :)
I am sure you will enjoy it. Go ahead.

Anonymous said...

Super agi bardidiya kano, ellanu cover madidiya: Sandeep Chowta background music-Ramgopal Verma effect- not glorifying either terrorists or police- khatrnak editing- most important agi, song illa!! anno modlane point- just everything..
Adrunu, ninu fun parts na miss madkotiya anta, nange bhari doubt ide.. :D
P.S: Yavaglu mini reviews ne bari, chennagiruthe;).

Anonymous said...

This is not Director's debut movie. This is his second movie. First being 'Santhosha', that won third best movie (state award) and award for screenplay.

Shastri said...

Anon1: [I know who you are;) ] Thanks for the complement. Howdu howdu.. tension iro moments nalli saha paatragaLu ondishtu nage chelluttave :)

Anon2: Thanks for the information. I hope I get to watch Santosha sometime too.

Santhosh said...

It's Glad to know that Ramesh has directed the movie the way the we expect the movies to be , I also heard that Girish Karnad would put a word for a Oscar Nominee

I think this would take the Kannada Film Industry the long way

Shastri said...

Cyanide is surely a milestone film in Kannada industry. I am not really sure if Girish Karnad things its Oscar material but I am sure it will win some awards in India at least. Lets keep spreading the word about the movie meanwhile :)

Supremus said...

Mmmh! I do know that if Ramesh is the same guy as the actor, then he is a good director too hehehehe - I have no clue which other movie I've seen of his (Directed), but I think he was one of the leads in "America America" - which was one of the best kannada movies I saw.

I maybe confusing all these Rameshes, but that is not going to stop me from seeing this movie! I have been longing to see a movie in Matrubaasha for a while now!

Crisp review here...


Shastri said...

I found out that this Ramesh is NOT the same as the more well known actor with the same name. As Ano said in one of the earlier comments, Ramesh had also directed a movie called Santosha.
BTW, Am glad to see that the movie is being received well by all the classes of viewers and there has been a lot of promotion going on TV. Hope this becomes a commercial hit and encourages some more producers to make sensible movies :)

Shruthi said...

Guess what, this review is being forwarded around in techie circles! :))
Of course, as usual, they haven't mentioned the source - that is pretty irritating. Anyway I am sending it back to people, with the link, and requesting them to reforward the review with the link, or else give proper credit to the author.

Sutejas said...

Super review maga. I was planning to goto the movie tonight... will surely go at any cost after reading this :).

Anonymous said...

Dear Shastri,

"So you may ask, is there anything bad about the movie at all? Yes, the only bad thing about the movie that it is made in Kannada. For this very reason, its unfortunate that it will not get the response or acclaim it would have got if it were made in any other Indian language."

What do you mean by this?? You mean kannadigas dont support any good movies?? I am sure if the movie was taken in telugu, it would've gone unnoticed.... Kannadigas always support good projects.

mysorean said...

Posting on behalf of Shastri.
Shruthi: They say imitation is the best form of flattery but I guess the next best thing is your writing being forwarded over mail :). I guess your ‘Humble request to a Bangalorean’ had enjoyed similar privilege, although I presume on a bigger scale.
Its really so considerate of you to give my due credits. I really appreciate it. Although I don’t want it to be my claim to fame, I do take my blogging fairly seriously. Like every normal person, I am proud of my creations and would always be pleased by a nice pat on the back and a healthy incident of debate. So I would really love to see people reading and giving thought on what I write, but want them to get back to me by a comment or a mail.
Sutejas: I hope you enjoyed the movie. I envy you sometime for being in Mysore and getting tickets in 30 seconds and spending 26 Rs for a Balcony seat.
Anon: Yes, Kannadigas have always supported good projects as long as they are not in Kannada. Ironical it may sound, but ‘Kannathil Muttamittal’ (a good movie indeed), which was a commercial failure in Tamilnadu, ran 100 days in Bangalore. In that context, Kannadiga audience is much more mature and appreciative of good cinema. But with lot of pain, I must also say that we somehow have a step-motherly attitude towards Kannada movies. I do not know of many people who went to watch Dweepa or Matadana or Kanooru Heggadati. I do not wish to be hypocritical here, I myself could not see these movies, had they not been telecast. I mean to say we are all collectively to blame for commercial failure of all good cinema that was made in Kannada. We do not have days of Puttanna Kanagal anymore when movies of critical acclaim also ran full houses. I do not know what would have happened if Cyanide was a Telugu movie to be honest. But I have seen many relatively mediocre movies of other languages being promoted as good cinema and have seen them making enough money for the producers.

Deepak said...

I totally agree with u on "step motherly treatment" to our kannada movies by our own kannadiga’s but believe me there are lots of us who really want to watch a good kannada movie...I for one make sure to watch any decent kannada movie, its only to promote Kannada in my own small way....if only the directors & producers come up with something even watchable they will surely find an audience.

Shastri said...

I share your feelings towards encouraging good work by appreciating it. That is the reason I keep looking out for good movies and music so that I can watch/hear and encourage further such offerings by producers.
Its good to know that Cyanide has set the trend of good commercial cinema in Kannada and I can only hope that it will continue.

Anonymous said...

I stay in Mumbai, and I hardly watch kannada movie nor a hindi, but I got this review by mail without the source ,now i found out the source. well I am more happy to see so many people involved in the name of the movie , sometime good work like thsi movie brings in many unexpected people to disucss something good in kannada---Kannadvene kivi nimiruvudu----

Viky said...

I read the piece as an email fwd which did a lot of rounds among the Kannada community here in Pune.

Sad part is, no Kannada film is screened in Pune. Telugu, Tamil, even an odd Malayalam film gets its share of Sunday morning screening, but NEVER a Kannada movie.

Guess I will have to catch it on CD, or when it is aired in FTII.

FTII here has a nice thing going. For a reasonably nominal amount, you become a member and every Sunday afternoon, they screen award winning movies of all languages. They had screened Dweepa a few months back.

Shastri said...

Anon: I know what exactly you mean by 'kivi nimiruvudu'. When I was abroad, I could pick up a Kannada conversation in a crowded super market and approach people just so that I can talk in Kannada.

Viky: You should be able to catch in FTII sometime soon. Keep watching. Good to know about the FTII shows in afternoons. I am also a fan of good cinema and luckily in Bangalore, there are lot of forums for appreciating good cinema.

Anonymous said...


I watched the film yesterday at the Indo-German film festival in Bangalore. I really wondered whether this film is anachronous with the kinds of the films that is being churned out. Though I liked the film, I wondered whether person in Karnataka may feel indifferent to the people shown in the film. After all, it happened quite some years back and also the experience is that of two people, at the maximum. 'Universality of theme' is very important to strike a chord. Main GOOD aspect that I liked in the film was presenting the 'villains' as humans with normal desires and dreams. Authentic portrayal of the police was another good aspect of the film.

The scene where Sivarasan says 'Killing Rajiv was wrong', I thought was forced or to please the censors. I do tend to view the movie as an eulogy about the 'killers' in the sense that some of the scenes tend to portray as more intelligent (listening to the ground and saying what vehicle is moving, how many people are sitting in the vehicle etc) than the rest, atleast the common man like Ranganath. They believe in 'their' system and quite loyal to it.


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