Yudham sei – A tough battle to sit through!

I kept wondering for the last few days if I should dare write this review for Yudham Sei. For all the dump that Mysskin gave us on TV, it is only fair that I say what I want to, I decided.

Yudham Sei: One day on Star Vijay, Mysskin rather proudly claimed that Yudham Sei is a film that every man needs to watch. Everyman should take his wife, sister, mother and all other women in the family and watch! Hell no, I wanted to scream when the film ended.

Considering Mysskin does not generally go all out on TV to promote his films (may be no one had noticed him yet!), I was quite surprised that he was there on my TV telling me how Cheran was our guy-next-door and has a very earthen look! After Nandalala, I had huge expectations from this man. I had learnt that this film is a thriller and I was quite excited to know that directors (known to be from schools of alternate cinema) are venturing into wider horizons. After watching the film, I was convinced that he should not have gone that far.

Image Courtesy: Sulekha.com

The film starts with a gripping sequence of a CB-CID officer JK (played very grimly by Cheran) interrogating a case that he does not want to. Amputated hands of men are found in cardboard boxes in crowded places across the city (or some part of it). JK is asked to find investigate the case because he is the best in the team. He is given two assistants (who come across as ‘adhiga prasangis’) pretty much hanging around him and asking ‘dumb’ questions. Throughout the film they do very little and serve only the purpose of subliminally glorifying JK. After interrogating a suspect, while driving JK says “Rashomon padam pathirukkingala?” and his assistant (the male one) says “Illiye. Engligh padama, Sir?” Who exactly is glorified here? The director or JK? Either ways, this is a terrible way to show off that you watch international cinema! Really?

Moving on from such supposedly smart lines, to give where credit is due, the film is indeed gripping. The plot is well hidden in the screenplay and I could never have guessed where the investigation was going. However, I can’t stop myself from saying that every time JK explained what he had ‘found out’ to the commissioner, I was reminded of when I was a school girl showing off to my Maths teacher how I had ‘solved’ an algebraic problem!

Honestly, the film was commendable until we figured that Dr. Purushothaman (What was Y Gee Mahendran thinking?) is the brain behind all the crimes. The plot unfolds really well and keeps the surprise going. Hands of many more people are found on the streets and they all seem to be very unrelated. JK’s sister is also missing and we are wondering where does she fit in to this puzzle.

But there are so many occasions in which the director falls short of himself. The Tennis court scene where the camera focusses on the girl’s leg (where she is wearing a very short skirt) for over 2 minutes is done very tastelessly. Is this one of those ways of saying women should dress differently? If this is a technique used to feed curiosity, I am sorry. It’s badly done.

Once we know what Dr. Purushothaman and his family are up to, it is a painful watch. All the gory incidents of digging out eyes, plucking out tongues, chopping hands are so bad that I refuse to write about them. The climax sequence is a disgrace. Police watching crime and killing happen, Dr. Purushothaman and his family walking with bullets through their body, Mrs. Purushothaman calling JK’s sister as her daughter and all sorts of drama that leave the viewer numb! Yes, there is also an item song in the film!

Amongst all this, Jayaprakash has delivered a stunning performance in the role of Judas. The pain in his eyes and his drinking habits touch one’s heart every time he is on the screen. Maanikka Vinayagam is convincing in his role, I wish he wasn’t. Everyone has played their role (however small and meaningless) naturally and that makes the film somewhat bearable. In all, I’d want to forget this film as soon as I can. Is Mysskin’s next film due any time soon?

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13 thoughts on “Yudham sei – A tough battle to sit through!

  1. Hi

    Agree with some points but disagree with most! ;)

    First of all, i loved this movie despite of flaws….. but i’m sure that it will not please every one (some films r like that)

    Totally agree wit you that this can’t be seen wit a family, NO WAY, its a strict ‘A’ film. I also think that some parts of this movie was added just to create an unnecessarily complex story line.

    But come on, dont make that ‘Rashomon’ thing too serious. It is just a casual talk. And unlike Surya in ‘Ayan’, Director didn’t do any efforts to make Cheran a super intelligent guy….. also I didn’t saw two subordinates asking so much ‘dumb’ questions….
    About that tennis court scene, please recall that all those ‘card box’ scenes are shown in such fashion. A DEAD SLOW moving camera which first moves slowly wit people and then again ‘very slowly’ shift focus to card box. And I didn’t find focusing on those legs as an attempt to show vulgarity. He had enough chance for that in last song, but he did a balanced act in that, which is much much much more decent than an typical Tamil item song, or for that matter better than even a typical romance song!

    All together, it was super movie (for me) or say a good movie (for others, i think) with a crisp screen play, superb sound effect, editing and direction along with a spectacular acting from Cheran and others (except those two assistant CB-CID). It also a realistic(?) take of our crime investigation system.

    Btw, the film is a hit, i suppose

    • Thanks so much for the great reply! All your arguments are well taken!
      Rashomon being casual talk is something I would not agree on. Isn’t that an assumption that every common man either understands what Rashomon is or that he should understand what it means to world cinema. Are you comparing Ayan and Yudham Sei? We might be a tad misplaced there!
      I am not saying that the ‘legs’ in the Tennis court scene are vulgar. I am saying that it is Tamil cinema’s own ways of being judgemental about women’s sense of clothing!
      A realistic take of our crime investigation systems? How do we know what’s real?

      • Rashomon- I STILL ARGUE ;)

        but u r right abt Ayan and Yudham Sei, i shouldn’t hav compared those

        Legs- I still say it’s not big deal in this particular case (to put it frankly, u r overreacting!)

        Realistic CID-no idea…. but real or not, those offices resemble a typical govt office…. whatever it may be, i loved it

        btw, just subscribed to ur blog; rest assured that u wil get reviews your reviews ;)

  2. I dont agree with u fully.I am not sure wats CBCID and all but WTF why the brilliant JK not able 2 find his sister?N why is he begging to all auto drivers n bringing them tea? Hard to digest.Also there is a twist in d ending which i didnt understand-The Police guy`s(which singam mustache) mobile was ringing and was showing Daddy Calling!!!! Apart from this its a nice attempt and this movie is much better than the recent Ones.Any way Myskin unlike shankar didnt waste his time showing a Taatha as Robo and spending 1000 crores in to that

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)

      The first three questions you’ve asked are all very valid. The logic beats me!

      As far as comparing Mysskin to Shankar, that’s an insult to Mysskin. The man has made some brilliant films. Yudham Sei is just a mistake! But Shankar talks to a completely different audience. I think Endhiran is a terrible film, but I’ve watched it twice because it’s a good spectacle! It’s the same reason people watch WWF that they watch Endhiran as well. Not for philosophical pleasure but just joy of the spectacle!

  3. Well good review but I feel the movie definitely deserves a much more positive review than yours. For me, the Rashomon scene was just a way for the director to pay tribute to a movie which has clearly influenced him.

    The tennis scene – firstly in almost all of his movies many shots are low height shots which gives you a sense of anticipation too, you are just unnecessarily drawing conclusions that its being judgmental. I definitely did not get that while watching the movie.

    He has restricted to just one song in the whole movie, and its not a usual Tamil movie item song either. The gore in the movie is not a negative point, and debatably stylistic. Probably the only flaw is the movie drags a bit in the second half when he reveals most of the suspense too early. But if you actually think about it, its definitely way ahead of the usual Tamil cinema.

    • Thanks so much for your comments Sanjith. I have given a review that I think the film deserves. You are more than welcome to opine differently!

      From my perspective, the tennis court scene is bordering vulgar. I have also mentioned in the post that it could be heavily influenced by the feminist value systems. Thanks for pointing out that you did not see what I saw.

      I am not a fan of gore. So, I do not see that as style. If my opinions are anything to go by, nothing that is gory can be stylish. But of course, that is debatable as well. I am also not critical of a slow film. I think great films can be slow and that is acceptable. So, I don’t see that as a flaw at all.

      Being ahead of ‘usual’ Tamil cinema? What is ‘usual’ Tamil cinema? Ayan? Raktha Charitharam? Kavalan? Singam? Siruthai? If you want to be happy that Yudham Sei is ahead of these films, please feel free. But I was judging Mysskin on a different scale and he very evidently fell short!

      • Thanks for the reply :)

        “Usual” – to be clear, I rephrase my last statement as – Its definitely among the very good Tamil movies, way better than most.

  4. Hey Ranjani, I understand that…I was also not able to agree with many of the intelligently-coated and non-commital-euphemistic-words that surrounded this film….

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