Monday, January 29, 2007
That seems to be the obvious trapping with commercial movies. The
Greater the success range of the previous venture, the higher the stakes and the greater the anticipation, and any exercise that is at best on par with its predecessor ends up on the futile side. Within the confines of the cinema rules, the only way to ante up the efforts to match the expectations, is to treat the audience with something that they neither are prepared to nor are they least expecting. Add to this doomsday scenario a volatile subject on the lifestyle of youth, the demand on the delivery of an even bigger and better product begs for a true shock and awe campaign. From among the glut of youth movies, it takes a serious attempt on the part of the maker to make his movie stand out, and how better to make his statement than intentionally shock, repulse, awe and agape the audience, all at the same time. Though the caption of the movie reads "Boys" for gals, it should truly be called "Boys" seriously and only for adults.
Setting aside the impact of the risqué content on the young impressionable target audience, and condoning the bucking of the collective social responsibility of the makers and the censors, "Boys" makes a sincere attempt at depicting the life of the adolescents, without the extra gloss or the candy floss. No matter how shocking the antics of the youngsters are to the audience, one cannot but agree to the fact that they are deep-seated in reality and the little dramatic license that Sankar took with the characters does not digress into the fantasy realm. Fun, when needs to be depicted within the context of life of college students, revolve around the holy trinity - bucks, booze and chicks (manI, madyam, maguva). Sankar treats each of these subjects in great detail - the lack of experience, the loss of innocence, the transition to adulthood and bitter reality of a responsible life, centering around the holy trinity, are given fair shares without the usual patronizing or the condescension attitudes that the makers have with adolescent-to-adulthood themes.
From the screenplay perspective, Sankar had to deal with setting up 5
unique incidents for each of the 5 principal characters, while ascribing them with unique characteristic traits, in order for the script to not get repetitive or worse prop up one character at the expense of another. The script has to be appreciated for the number of unique situations that are dealt with, either during the fun part of the initial setup of the characters in the first act or during turbulent times that the boys find themselves in the third act. The adolescent infatuation, masking itself as love, for all its awkwardness, the blind faith, masking itself as severity (praema teevrata), for all its foolhardiness, the volatile state, masking itself as true emotions, for all its ridiculousness, make for some really entertaining plot points that could be milked for maximum mileage. Sankar and Sri Rama Krishna (Sujata - the original dialogue writer) never let go of a single opportunity to point out the painfully obvious trippy nature of the teenagers, when it comes to the matters of heart. Great care has been taken while depicting the journey during the teen age - angst-ridden, troublesome, optimistic and memorable.
The percussion scowls "Break the rules", the guitar screams "naakoka
Girl Friend kaavali", the disarming loop raps "Dating is a fantasy", the Doo-Wop group pleads "Please Sir". When the music is not constrained by the whims of the characters, when the music is not restrained by the shackles of script, when the music is not burdened by the boredom of banality, the unfettered and irreverent tunes soar signifying the utter carelessness (or carefreeness), unbridled enthusiasm and the innocent ignorance. Rahman, whose contributions to Mani Ratnam's and Sankar's movies in particular need no further introduction, lets himself go for "Boys", and the result is an eclectic array of dizzying dittys, propped with some out of the world orchestrations, his prime forte. After a long time, here is one from Rahman that serves to his strongest suite - eastern melody in western mould. Aiding the aurals, the visuals (choreography) by Raju Sundaram, drawing from the dance moves of the recent pop bands (NSync etc, particularly for the "Girl Friend" song), serve a perfect match. Sankar, who worked earlier with Jeeva (for Gentleman, Premikudu and Bharateeyudu), Madhu Ambat (for Jeans) and Prasad (for Okkadu), for translating his grandiose schemes and greater than life characters onto the screen, chose Ravi Chandran for an even ambitious job of translating the intangible fun of adolescence. Ravi Chandran's indulgence in stop-motion technique (or called as time-slice technique), the advance-motion techniques, the low-angles, the depth filled mediums and close-ups and the seamless integration with the special effects, added another texture to the movie, making it a true audio-visual treat.
Each outing of Sankar, as far as youth movies go, pushes the envelope and stretches the boundaries. If "Boys", his ode to the teen age, walked the thin line between risqué and raunchy, between fun and filth and importantly between licentiousness and lewdness, one shudders to think as to what limits would be crossed and what boundaries would be erased, in his subsequent youthful indiscretions!