Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oodles of disappointment, frame-by-frame

Appeared in City Express, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express, on 25th April, 2011

It is not too often that we get to see a hero, instead of beating up a gang of bank robbers, pursues them in his bike, does whee
lies and dare-devil stunts, all to take their pictures and splash it in the media. It isn’t too often that the viewer gets lulled into expecting something different from such a movie. K V Anand’s latest directorial venture, Ko, sadly is all about this and much more.

Ashvin (Jiiva) is a photographer of Dina Anjal, a Tamil daily, whose prowess with the lens would make even a Peter Parker from Spiderman languish in shame. Renu (Karthika, daughter of yesteryear Tamil heroine, Radha), a reporter in the same daily, who did “responsible” coverage in Sri Lanka, is either content playing second-fiddle to Ashwin or pursuing the “scoops” he gives her after an analysis of his pictures, and by decree, falls in love with him.

Then there is the political minefield of the state, whose key protagonists are the biggies, the chief minister Yogi (Prakash Raj) and Aalavandhan (Kota Srinivasa Rao), and Vasanth (Ajmal), a young engineer. With elections looming, Ashvin and Renu get sucked into the vortex of political rallies and vendetta. Pattimandram Raja’s role looks like it has been lost out in editing. Songs have been inserted when they are hardly needed, for instance, just after the police finish investigating Renu’s house after a break-in. Despite this, Ko has an engaging first half; the newsroom is created with attention to detail, a la Shankar’s Mudhalvan. Anand as cameraman and not as the director has his signature etched all over the movie; the slo-mo fight sequences, as in The Matrix, are another of Ko’s pluses. Harris Jayaraj’s totemic music score has a Bombay Jayasree number.

Some questions remain. Vasanth’s classmates, who are contesting polls, pursue diverse professions (have I missed out on anything?). Do major newspapers conduct editorial meetings during the day? Can a reporter hold front-page of a newspaper from printing, that too, without the cognisance of the seniors?