So shiny! Let us sing the praise (great praise!) of the director of Ek Niranjan! And the editor! And cinematographer! We haven't seen such shiny, glittering, gorgeous visuals in a film since... well, since Transformers (so much sun! so much sand!). For this reason alone, we ranked Ek Niranjan very high on our personal list of Telugu films (now numbering three and a half). With a hefty budget and such razor-sharp direction and cinematography, it was just lovely.
Essentially the hyper-typical family separation masala opera, young Chottu (a very handsome Prabhas) is your standard goonda with a heart of gold. Working as a bounty hunter for the local police station, he romances feisty guitar teacher, Sameera (Kangana Ranaut?!), in the standard way, and is pursued by the villainous Johnny Bhai (Sonu Sood?!) in a slightly non-standard way. Throw in your usual comedy subplot - starring Brahmanandam... is this man in EVERY TELUGU FILM EVER MADE?! (we say after three) - as well as another comedy subplot in Bangkok (unexpectedly v. funny) - and you have your standard film. So let's dispense with the standard, and move onto what was a bit different:
Spicy and exclusive, yay! And look at the hair texture, vah!
1. The shine!
Some directors have such a fabulous aesthetic, and Ek Niranjan's director, Puri Jagannadh, has a great eye. Some of the songs reminded us of Farah Khan's Main Hoon Na for the use of mirrored sunlight and natural sparkle. Vah! The choreography, meanwhile, was the usual impressive southern stuff - for the Hindi-phile that we used to be/are, we can compare it to Prabhu Deva's magnificent work in Pukar. (Prabhu Deva is also, of course, from the south.) What dynamic visuals! What use of foreground, background and middleground! What use of interesting apertures and focal depths! What diagonals! What golden ratios!
What is a gosh darned shame, however, is the relatively mediocre music. When the studly Prabhas was throwing himself around in such interesting ways to such boring, lethargic beats, we couldn't help but feel restless. Give the man a melody, for the love of God!
2. The Hindi actors?!
Sonu Sood? Kangana? That dude with the bushy moustache from Swades's RV song?
Special note about Sonu Sood: apparently, his Telugu film career is dominated by villainous roles. Who knew! At first, we were skeptical - the cuddly, honorable brother from Jodhaa Akbar as an evil mafia bhai? Yeah, right. Well - we've been sold. He was like the Bizarro young Amitabh Bachchan, like 1978's Don with 2007 Don's mentality. Like the Angry Young Man... gone EVIL. Sonu was very enjoyable as the kinky (sado-masochism?!), slightly drama queen ("I'm the hero here, not the villain!") pin-up model (what pecs!) with the dodgy fashion sense. Indeed, most of the film was a War of Hotness between Prabhas and Sonu. We still don't know who won.
The winner. Also: now that we mingle with the stars, we saw Sivaji the other night and were astounded by his tallness. So how tall is Sonu?!
3. A Michael Jackson tribute?!
So all the songs were incredibly rich visual feasts on which to gorge one's eyes (except for the boring Chottu's So Vulnerable song, yawn), but one song - the Michael Jackson vs. Heath Ledger's Joker tribute song - really stood out for its... unexpectedness.
But hey! 1990s children that we are, we loved it. Big time. Moonwalk, baby, go, go!
4. There is no fourth point.
5. Clearly, it's time to learn Telugu.
Pukkah! And someone take the exclamation point away from us! We are abusing it!!!