Warning! Spoilers ahead. Oh, who cares? This movie sucks.
There was a time when Vijay consistently starred in thoroughly entertaining flicks. But that ship has long sailed. In fact, that ship has long sailed, smashed into an iceberg and sunk to the bottom of the Caribbean Ocean. I just watched Bairavaa – movie’s and character’s name – and I have to ask. Aren’t we tired of this bullshit?
How is it that a collection agent, is able to single-handedly beat the living crap out of hundreds of the nation’s finest gangsters? Since Bairavaa is a collection agent, I’m guessing he spent most of his time in college solving accounting problems, and not training to be an ass kicker, by Batman. Or perhaps PK – the name of the big baddie – hires his minions from clown school? Or maybe, I’m asking all the wrong questions.
After all, it’s not like we’ve never seen shit like this in the past. We’ve watched Vijay kick ass as a mechanic, in Sivakasi and as a Kabadi player, in Ghilli. Even until now, I have a shit ton of fun watching those movies. It isn’t just Vijay, though. We’ve witnessed Rajnikanth beat people to a pulp, as a butler, in Muthu and an engineer, in Padayappa. Once, he even did it as a milkman. A fucking MILKMAN. But hey, these Rajnikanth flicks are widely considered to be timeless ‘masala’ classics.
‘Masala’ here does not refer to the spices you would put in curry. In the Indian film industry – Bollywood, Kollywood, etc – ‘Masala’ means popcorn blockbusters.
Also, for all you KL/Selangor folks, the Masala Tea in Curry Leaf, Uptown, is bloody brilliant.
Clearly, the characters’ profession isn’t the issue. I have no problem suspending my disbelief and accepting the fact that a collecting agent is also quite possibly a ninja, just like I have no problem accepting the fact that a radioactive spider bite could turn you into a superhero. Nah, that’s not the problem at all.
The problem with Bairavaa, is that it’s FUCKING BORING. IMDb states that the movie is 2 hours and 49 minutes long. Seriously? Cause it felt like nine hours. The movie starts off with the mandatory:
Random dude: Hey, where’s the hero?
Hero’s comic relief best friend: Oh, he’s at…
*BOOM* *HERO INTRODUCTION SCENE*
You know, back in the day, these hero introduction scenes used to be special. I remember watching Sivakasi, all those years ago…. Watch the video below:
It’s kinda ridiculous. But, it’s also a lot of fun.
In Bairavaa, Vijay rides a BICYCLE while rock music plays in the background. Erm, okay then.
Then we have a fight scene. But no no, the main story hasn’t started. This is a scene to show the audience that Bairavaa is not just a collection agent, but also an ass kicking ninja. Good lord! We know he’s an ass kicking ninja. We’ve only seen him do it 275 times in his previous movies.
Then, Bairavaa puts his ass kicking on hold for a bit, randomly falls in love with some random chick and, starts singing songs. This is the part of the movie where the director/scriptwriter, Bharathan, shows you that in addition to being a ninja, Bairavaa can also be a cheap version of Ryan Gosling. Yippie! Just what we needed. Look, guys. I can dig romance movies and I can dig romance in non-romance movies. But it has to feel natural and it has to mean something. Here, it’s nothing but unbearable garbage. #KILLME!
We know nothing about our hero, except that he’s an ass kicker. We know nothing about this chick character, except that she’s female. And, both these actors have zero chemistry with each other. Why would I care about their romance? How about skipping the romance nonsense and get straight to the ass kicking? Or if you really want to have a useless female character, make her a half cyborg half samurai, assassin and have Bairavaa kick her ass.
After what feels like an eternity of worse-than-Twilight romance and horrible, kindergarten level slapstick humour – which includes a man wearing lipstick and a pacifier, so, haha – we finally get to the meat of the story via FLASHBACK. Because, what’s a ‘masala’ movie these days without a flashback to drive the story forward. #MUCHCREATIVE
So here, the hot chick tells her story about how PK is a corrupt businessman/gangster/medical college owner, who has committed a long list of crimes, which includes raping and murdering her best friend and ruining the lives of thousands of medical students. For some reason, Bairavaa gets turned on by this news, because the next second, he gives the girl flowers and confesses his love for her. I’m serious, guys. You can’t make this stuff up.
So, here’s what we know so far:
- Bairavaa is a collection officer, who may or may not have been trained by Batman.
- He aspires to be Ryan Gosling.
- He’s one of those people who gets turned on by weird shit. Hey, I ain’t judging.
But whatever. Because *INSERT ASS-KICKING*! Wonderful. This is what I paid 15 bucks for. I was pumped! We finally have a big baddie and a spectacular fight scene. One would assume that the next 45 minutes would consist of ass kicking on top of ass kicking, in between more ass kicking right? Nope. Instead, the movie decides takes a dive into a giant bowl of sambal-pretentious.
In one scene, Bairavaa beats up a corrupt police officer – Bairavaa’s chick’s brother-in-law – and then rants about what it takes to be a man. In another scene, he tells the same police officer, “In life, you can lose anything, but you shouldn’t lose your family.” What a load of crap. This police officer has absolutely no purpose in the movie, other than to conveniently allow Bairavaa to phone in some self-righteous dialogue. The worst part is, that wasn’t the worst part.
One scene has Bairavaa as an audience member in a courtroom. He then walks up to the witness stand as he pleases, and WITHOUT A LAWYER to do the talking for him, he launches into a monologue about how everything is messed up in the country. One, none of what he says has any relevance to the case at hand. Two, he just rambles on without presenting any evidence. Funnily enough, the judge listens to him.
This is the most illogical, tear-jerking, melodramatic bullcrap I have seen in a long time. Bharathan probably thinks he crafted an important, eye-opening scene, but the only thing this scene accomplishes, is making the Indian criminal justice system look like a circus act. It is painfully annoying to watch. It is at this point, where I completely gave up on Bairavaa.
I love movies that also serve as social commentaries. But it has to make sense and fit nicely within the context of the story. It’s not like Indian movies have not done it before. Pink is an excellent film on feminism. Visaaranai is a beautiful movie that highlights the corruption and politics that are deep rooted in the Indian criminal justice system.
Look at films like Mad Max: Fury Road which is not only a mind blowing action movie, but also a commentary on religion and social inequalities. Heck, even the recent Star Wars: Rogue One, is in many ways a commentary on war and oppression. I’m not saying every movie needs to be a commentary on something. But, if you want to do it, you got to do it right.
There are some awesome moments in Bairavaa. All the fight sequences are glorious. Everything is well choreographed and wonderfully filmed, right down to the tiniest details. Mix that with a fist pumping theme song, and we have, probably some of the best looking action sequences I’ve seen in Indian films.The action sequences are a ton of fun and Vijay rocks these scenes with his overflowing charisma.
Everything else, ranges from ‘kinda sucks’ to ‘sucks really bad.’ Had Bharathan made a straightforward action flick, this could have been a fun time at the movies. However, it suffers from the same issues as Kabali did last year – it tries very hard to be something it’s not. For Pete’s sake, this is a movie that features a character whose only interesting trait is the fact that he can kick a hundred guys’ ass. How about just sticking to the ass kicking business and be done with it.
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