I guess I’ll have to write a short post about the coolest thing that happened last week. I’m so envious of the American and Australian Tollywood fans as they apparently get to see most of new Telugu film in theaters. Here in Finland we get only the biggest Tamil movies (some may even have two or three screenings!), and Telugu movies are much rarer. Often the Telugu movies do not even come with subtitles. (In our Eega show we had an additional video projector for the subtitles and an awesome guy who manually changed the visible line through the whole movie!)

SO-Satyamurthy WPIMDbLB

So, after a short wait (just a couple of days earlier I had heard that there was going to be a screening) I was finally able to see Trivikram’s S/O Satyamurthy (which means “Son of Satyamurthy”) on last Saturday. Furthermore, the film had subtitles and it played in a new movie theater less than a kilometer away from where I live!

The film stars Stylish Star Allu Arjun as the son of Satyamurthy (Prakash Raj). This was my fifteenth Allu Arjun movie and the second time in a theater (after Iddarammayilatho), and he’s still my favourite dancer. His acting isn’t terrible either. (But his hair is, at least in some scenes.) The heroine is played by Samantha. She is good but gets about as much screentime as in Dookudu (which means not much).

S/O Satyamurthy is a quite typical Tollywood film with almost nothing special. Now I’ve seen three movies from the director, Trivikram, and he still hasn’t really impressed me. Devi Sri Prasad’s music is OK but not his best. This is also far from the best Allu Arjun film. It was still worth watching and a rare chance to see Upendra on the big screen. He was perfect for his role and not as crazy as in his older movies that I’ve seen.

The film uses a lot of dialogue and the subtitles aren’t too readable (too long lines, sometimes they are too fast, very infrequent usage of capital letters, and impossible to read on white background) so I was somehow able to follow what happened but I don’t have very clear idea about all the details. For example, Brahmanandam can get the whole audience laughing and even with the subtitles I don’t most of the time understand what was so funny. This movie would need a rewatch with pause button. However, I can’t blame only the movie about my difficulties to follow the story as my old eyeglasses caused me a little headache when I continuously had to read the small subtitles from the back row. I’ll definitely update the glasses before Baahubali.

It remained a mystery to me how the organizers thought they could show a movie of length 2:40 with an intermission in a time slot of 2:15. Next they were playing a presumably tedious Finnish biographical film for a completely different kind of audience. I think I noticed some “high-culture lady” trying to enter the hall sometime during the climax scene, maybe thinking it was already the next movie that got postponed, but she was quickly scared off by furiously shouting Upendra.

so-satyamurthy-upendra

For a more detailed summary of the plot I recommend reading Cinema Chaat which is probably the most useful Tollywood review website on the internet.

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Movies that released in 2014

  • Best Film (Tamil): Jigarthanda
  • Best Film (Telugu): Manam
  • Second Best Film (Telugu): 1: Nenokkadine
  • Best Action Film: Action Jackson
  • Best Star Cast: Yevadu
  • Best Comedian: Brahmanandam in Race Gurram
  • Best Song: “Engae Pogudho Vaanam” by A. R. Rahman from Kochadaiiyaan
  • Funniest Joke: Bunny in Govindudu Andarivadele
  • Funniest Occasion: Best Couple Competition in Brahma
  • Best Special Effects: the elephants in Lingaa – if they really aren’t real
  • Superbest Subtitlist: Rekhs in Lingaa, particularly in the song “Mona Gasolina”
  • Best Cinema Experience: the Finnish Lingaa premiere in Helsinki on 12.12.2014
  • Most Times Watched in 2014: Kochadaiiyaan (4)
  • Worst Fail: Lotus Five Star for releasing Jigarthanda DVD without subtitles

Older movies that I watched in 2014

  • Most Entertaining Drama Film: Moondru Mudichu (1976)
  • Most Entertaining Gangster Film: Billa (2009)
  • Most Entertaining Science Fiction Film: Love Story 2050 (2008)
  • Most Entertaining Thriller Film: Anniyan (2005)
  • Most WTF Moments: Upendra (1999)
  • Strongest Hero: Jr. NTR in Baadshah (2013) for throwing four cars about 15 meters high with a single kick from 25 meters away
  • Scariest Supporting Character: Uncle Limu (Anupam Kher) from Aabra Ka Daabra (2004)
  • Cheesiest Line: “Oh my God, is that your gun? Can I hold it, please?” by Mala (Priyanka Chopra) from Zanjeer (2013)

Edit (Nov 19 & Dec 5, 2015): added more award categories for 2014 movies that I’ve seen later.

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preethse WPLB

What kind of movie advertises itself as “A Violent Love Story”?! Oh, it’s an Upendra movie, I should have guessed. Upendra is famous for this kind of stuff. Preethse (“Love Me”), a 2000 Kannada movie, is actually a remake of the 1993 Hindi film Darr which I haven’t seen but which also is calling itself a violent love story, so maybe I can’t blame Upendra for everything this time. The movie is directed by D. Rajendra Babu and the main cast includes Shivrajkumar as Surya (“The Sun”), Upendra as Chandru (“The Moon”), and Sonali Bendre as their common love interest Kiran. The short intro video clip before the DVD’s main menu confirms my preconception of what kind of movie this is going to be.

Preethse

When love exceeds all limits it becomes pure.
When the purity is hurt love becomes insane.
This is a mad love story!

The story is a simple love triangle drama: Surya loves Kiran and Kiran loves Surya. They have a good friend, Chandru. Kiran has a very obsessive secret admirer which happens to be Chandru but nobody knows it’s him. Chandru tries to assassinate Surya so that Kiran would love him instead. The rest of the story is all about how they find out about the stalker’s identity and who gets to keep the girl.

The songs are nice and catchy and most of them fit well into the story. Music director Hamsalekha got a Filmfare Award for this movie.

preethse-kiran

Previously I had seen Upendra in Upendra and A which were also directed and written by Upendra. Even though the story of Preethse isn’t by Upendra, his role was very loyal to the crazy Upendra-ish style that I’ve seen in his other movies. However, technically Preethse is far from Upendra’s directorial films – no more hyperactive editing for example.

The violent love story wasn’t as violent as I had feared. I actually even liked the movie a little. The WTF feeling wasn’t as strong as during and after Upendra and A. I still have H2O to watch before I run out of subtitled Upendra DVDs for some time.

It’s not rare that Indian films have crazy stalkers but few are as crazy as Chandru. (The Telugu-dubbed version of this movie has even been titled as Sadist.) He reminds me a little of Allu Arjun as Mr. Perfect in the 2009 Telugu movie Arya 2, except that in Preethse the stalking part lasts the whole movie and the final outcome is different. I can’t wait for S/O Satyamurthy (releasing this month!) which will have two of the world’s creepiest stalkers in a single movie!

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I don’t always write new blog posts when something cool happens, so maybe I should periodically summarize the most relevant unblogged things from a longer period of time into a single post. This is a brief summary of the most exciting film related things that have happened to me in March 2015.

  • The blog now has a new domain name and I even managed to write a new about page!
  • Even though I didn’t yet advertise it anywhere, I made a new high score system for the Magadheera-inspired Warrior Game that I made last year. (My record is now 353.) I hope to add support for touchscreen devices some day but right now I have no idea how to do that. Until that, it’s playable only with mouse or touchpad.
  • I started the Super Star Project which might have been my worst decision ever. My DVD shelf is already so full! I’m glad I’m not doing a Brahmanandam Project.
  • Now I’ve finally seen Student No.1 (Telugu, 2001) which completed my list of movies directed by S. S. Rajamouli, and Gangotri (Telugu, 2003) which was my last unseen movie of Allu Arjun as the hero.
  • Dhoom Dhoom 1+2+3
  • I’m quite a newbie to Hindi cinema since I’ve watched mostly South Indian films. While I’ve seen some random Hindi films before, I haven’t seen anything that good that would make me watch more Hindi films instead of Telugu or Tamil films. Still Hindi films are more popular than South Indian films, so maybe I’ve just watched the wrong movies? Now I started to explore Hindi cinema a little more systematically than before. I began by watching Sholay (1975) which was actually quite good. I was surprised how well the songs fitted in the story, as most Indian films that I’ve seen have at least a couple of songs that feel a little random and disconnected from everything else. I also got DVDs of some newer “super hits”, for example Dhoom and Krrish series, as well as some more or less questionable Hindi movies.
  • Bollywood for Beginners Bollywood for Beginners
  • Just when I started to wander around in the big and scary world of Hindi cinema, one of the greatest Indian cinema bloggers, Filmi Girl, published a book called Bollywood for Beginners. I’ve really enjoyed reading it so far.
  • I remember a day last summer when I traveled around my home town. I laughed silently in my head because I saw a man that I thought looked a little like Dhanush. Then I came home and read the unthinkable news that Dhanush was making his new film Shamitabh in Finland! I missed a screening of the movie in February but this year the Season Film Festival screened two Hindi films, Shamitabh and Raja Natwarlal, so I got another chance to see it. Both of the movies were worth watching even though I probably missed a lot of references to other Hindi films in Shamitabh. It’s funny that the first Bollywood song shot in Finland is a song about toilets. I also made a fool of myself by some very bad dancing when a Bollywood dance group made the audience to try some dance moves in the cinema hall before the show, but I forgot it as soon as an enormous image of Rajinikanth appeared on the screen in Eros International’s short video clip and said “Let’s begin!” which already was more than enough value for the ticket price.
  • At least three interesting soundtrack albums for upcoming movies were released recently: M. Ghibran’s Uttama Villain (Kamal Haasan), Devi Sri Prasad’s S/O Satyamurthy (Allu Arjun, UPENDRA), and Ilaiyaraaja’s Rudhramadevi (Anushka, Rana, Allu Arjun). I managed to watch the live stream only from Rudhramadevi’s audio launch event. It was held in two different cities on consecutive days so that they released three songs a day. Anushka made a grand entrance in a royal carriage and some of the dance performances were entertaining (while some others were embarrassing).
  • Aa Okkadu Aa Okkadu
  • I also have to mention that I got the DVD of Aa Okkadu (Telugu, 2009) which has AJAY in hero role! I hope to watch it as soon as it fits into the schedule of one of my friends who also is an Ajay fan.
  • And finally, I now have Yoddha (2014), the Bengali remake of Magadheera, on (unsubtitled) VCD, so now I’ll be able to make a screencap comparison between the two if I won’t have anything better to do.
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