With ‘I’, Shankar proves that only he can take a wafer thin story and turn it into something outlandishly beautiful yet complex, leaving you with an afterthought, ‘why can’t he ever make smaller films for a change’?
Read More: Controlling hunger during ‘I’ shoot was challenging, says Vikram
Storyline: Vikram plays a bodybuilder ‘Lingesan’ who idolises Arnold Schwarzenegger and supermodel Diya played by Amy Jackson. The posters of Arnold decorate the walls of his lower middle class home and his gym (which is named after Arnold), there’s a box full of women products endorsed by Diya in his bedroom.
In the refreshing initial moments, Shankar helps us understand that Lingesan has extreme liking for Diya but doesn’t love her yet because of their social and cultural divide.
The story takes a detour when Lingesan turns overnight into model Lee, soon becoming a sensation in the glamorous world of advertising and earning the wrath of a few. It is from here that Shankar’s ‘I’ ends up becoming a big budget mess and an old-fashioned revenge drama.
Shankar likes to take his audience to vast, unknown locations even if it’s not required. This time he travels to China, shoots in some picturesque locations and makes Vikram feature in a well choreographed action sequence.
At this juncture, he makes Vikram and Amy fall in love. He feels the need to create a love triangle and introduces a gay makeup artist, played by Ojas Rajani who lusts after Vikram.
Review: Vikram may have worked tirelessly gaining and losing weight for his role, but that doesn’t make the film any less disappointing. In both the roles, as a body builder and a hunchbacked man, he makes one take notice of his potential and how far he can go for cinema.
Amy Jackson chips in with a surprisingly decent performance and has worked hard on her lip sync, at least in some crucial scenes. Upen Patel, Suresh Gopi and Ramkumar come across as misfits in their respective roles.
There are far more good looking local actors who could have played Upen’s part convincingly. Given the lavish budget, ‘I’ is visually grandiose and that’s not a surprise.
But the visuals don’t make up for the weak script. Even AR Rahman’s music doesn’t make much difference, it makes remaining mostly soothing and melodic.
Returning after a gap of three years, Shankar should have gauged the pulse of the audience who now prefer short stories over a three-hour film.
All that’s big may not necessarily be great. Hope Shankar realizes that much better films can be made on a smaller canvas and much lower budget.
Cast: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel, Ramkumar, Santhanam and Ojas M Rajani