Friday WatchAlong: I! The Most Insane Tamil Movie You Didn’t Know You Needed

This movie is horribly offensive, stupid, and disturbing. And also operatic and beautiful and you can’t look away. Naturally, I am excited to watch it with y’all!

I (on Amazon Prime, search “I tamil” or else you will never find it. Dumb title)

I know Tamil films aren’t familiar territory for a lot of you, so I am going to give you a bit of info in advance. First, Amy Jackson (our heroine) is a nice British young woman. She’d been working in Tamil films for a while by the time of this one, very good dancer and onscreen presence. All her dialogue is dubbed, but that’s actually pretty common for southern actresses since they tend to work cross-industry a lot. Vikram, our hero, is a Big Big Deal actor. Think Aamir Khan type, intense and serious and only makes a few movies and is super serious about them. Shankar, our director, specializes in totally insane expensive plots/song sequences. And he was one of the first to sponsor AR Rahman, so Rahman always does amazing music for him.

Anyway, I! On Prime, or einthusan, or whatever.

207 thoughts on “Friday WatchAlong: I! The Most Insane Tamil Movie You Didn’t Know You Needed

    • This guy in particular, Vikram, has an interesting backstory. He was in a motorcycle accident in college and crippled, couldn’t walk for months, and got himself up and walking again despite all medical advice. Maybe that’s why he just does whatever in films now, figures he can recover from anything.

      Liked by 1 person

        • And his fans who know the backstory bring it to the character and back and forth in that classic cool star persona way that Indian film does. He also first came to fame by playing the role of a tortured young man who kidnaps the woman he loves, so there’s a lot of Vikram-the-star interacting with Vikram-the-character in this.

          On Sun, Sep 20, 2020 at 9:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Yeah, all Shankar movies leave me with that same flavor. Good/bad, muddled, and somehow upsetting. The two I like most are Jeans and Boys, both of them are straight up romances, and both of them have all time brilliant Rahman soundtracks. Or, you can just watch the two big hit songs from both movies:

      On Sun, Sep 20, 2020 at 9:13 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. After the week I’ve had I really needed some fun escapism. Netflix doesn’t really deliver these days, so I gave Shankar a chance. And I don’t regret it. Somehow, just everything is crazier in Tamil. Including the biology/medicine. “It’s nota disease, it’s a virus”, really? And since when does influenza = osteoporosis = bubonic plague? That logic is totally ripe for conspiracy theories now.

    I preferred the long-haired, mustachioed look too. Made him seem like a real person. His later look was too model-fake. At first, it didn’t fit with his continued naïveté, and then he just came across like any model. I’m not sure I wouldn’t even prefer the “beast” look from the song, though Quasimodo definitely still comes last.

    Loved the end credits sequence, how it really took time for him to heal, but she so obviously still loved him. But then, I didn’t really pay attention to the part where it was *only* natural medicine they used. Oh well, he’s probably seen enough pills and stuff for more than one lifetime.

    Speaking of overlooking things: I may have a real problem with recognizing transphobia in media. I’m not afraid or repulsed when I see a character like Osma, so I have a hard time understanding the misconceptions she may cause in others. I mean, I get the problem of representation. There aren’t enough trans characters in the media, so it matters that the only one people get to see is a villain. But is that lack of representation really this one movie’s fault? In the world of equal representation I dream of, trans characters would definitely need to be allowed to be villains, too. You may need to point out to me where else the filmmakers went wrong. Because basically the storyline would have worked as well with a cisgender woman, right? She falls for him, he doesn’t return her feelings, she gets mean. (Plus, she seems to be a respected professional, and there’s even the scene where Amy stops the louts from teasing her.) Yes, Vikram is at first obviously irritated by her looks. But he does go out with her once. And he doesn’t reject her explicitly for her being trans, but he is very explicitly already in love with Amy beforehand. Osma’s punishment is also the least physically painful one, one that the audience can accept for the female villain – although I recognize why hair growth like that would specifically drive a trans woman to howling rage. Have I totally discredited myself now for wanting to see any kind of representation at all in the best light possible?

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    • Oh, if you want crazy, you gotta check out Mersal on Netflix! Another Tamil movie, just bonkers.

      I think what made this film feel transphobic to me is that our hero, who is Perfect, is disgusted by her and the film never completely takes him to task for that. And the hair growth as her punishment. On the other hand, I also see that she is treated as any other rejected lover, and given female motivations (jealousy and unrequited love and so on), so good in that she is treated as a woman for sure. And of course they cast an actual transsexual in the role, which is awesome.

      If you want an incredibly sympathetic and kind vision of a transgender woman, check out Peranbu. But it’s also a super depressing hopeless kind of a movie, so maybe watch Mersal instead for the bonkersness.

      On Mon, Sep 21, 2020 at 2:04 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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