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Teaser review: Vikram impresses but will Indian audience take to hunchback's passion?

There's no mistaking the technical superiority of ace director Shankar's forthcoming film I. The bigger question is: Is the Indian audience evolved enough to relate to a character inspired by western folklore?

regional movies Updated: Sep 18, 2014 13:53 IST
Nivedita Mishra
Nivedita Mishra
Hindustan Times

The official teaser of I, the much-touted Vikram starrer, is out, and director Shankar's labour of love lives up to the pre-release hype at least in this one. Whatever the final outcome, the rushes of this fantasy certainly impress.

First the positives. Kudos to Vikram for possessing this man-beast with all his heart and soul! Playing a body builder preparing for the Mr Tamil Nadu contest, some kind of 'power' is pumped into his body and he transforms into a beast. Ahh, the beast! This creature is, like most on screen creatures, shifts between being a werewolf and a grotesque avatar of Hunchback of Notre-dame. It is said that Vikram put in no less than two full years into this project, sometimes putting on weight, and at other times, knocking off the added adipose. Happy to see Indian cinema pushing the boundaries to make believable movies!

Without doubt, I's special effects are great by any standards. Now, whether or not, they have been indigenously put together or have been outsourced from the West, the producers alone will know, but just the desire to make a film that gets its production value right yet doesn't overdo it, is good enough. Here's hoping it will ignite a desire among Indians to go for the skies.

Even the scale at which the story unfolds is stunning. Spectacular landscapes, edgy camera angles, believable action sequences that still stun and maintaining that delicate balance between native locations to fantasy shoots abroad so that the narrative remains rooted in its Tamil Nadu context. Indeed Shankar has put in a lot of effort to make this magnum opus worth a watch if teasers are to go by.

Also watch: Official teaser of Vikram starrer I

The prosthetic make-up first made popular in Indian cinema by Amitabh Bachchan in R Balki's Paa, comes in handy here too. Vikram's make-up, where he transforms into a Werwolf and an ugly person, has been done by Hollywood's Christien Tinsley (The Passion of the Christ, American Horror Story) and Dominie Till (King Kong {2005}). Needless to say, they impress.

As per random news reports, the film has been made on an estimated budget of Rs 180 crores. And it shows!

Now, the downers. The Werewolf is clearly a Western tradition with its roots in the Greek mythology and folklore. Whether or not this half-human and half-wolf creature will resonate with Indian masses is hard to predict. The other avatar of Vikram is one which looks quite like the famous character from French classic by Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. Here again, how relatable would he be to Indians is anybody's guess.

First Published: Sep 16, 2014 20:00 IST