Bigger is not always better. Sometimes you do wish it to be in control, to be in its own limits. Shankar’s magnum opus in technical brilliance ‘I’ is one such effort that doesn’t bother to take charge of things going loose in the very beginning. And by the time you realize to pull the strings together, it’s already 2 and ½ hours wasted. So, the only takeaways from the film are the fast-paced, thrilling and concluding 30 minute-long climax [yes, it is a 3 hour 8 min long experiment] and the power-house performance of Vikram. Sadly, ‘I’ doesn’t meet the level of expectations and remains an average romantic-thriller worthy of mentions only for Chiyaan Vikram’s extreme physical transformations, dedicated performance and earnest efforts.
Lee aka Lingesan [Played by the awe-inspiring Vikram in his most ‘toned’ avatar] is a bodybuilder eyeing for Mr. India Title in his career. The only other obsession in life is the poster-girl of Advertising Industry Diya [Amy Jackson] who can blow his mind so so much that he starts hallucinating her in probably all the electronic devices he uses. Destiny helps them meet and soon Diya encourages Lee to join her as the leading model for a big brand campaign. Things happen as it does in love but in the meantime, Lee also ends up making evil rivals in his contemporary model John [Upen Patel], a transgender stylist and a Malya-looking flamboyant brand-head. Rest is a revenge drama full of action but without much needed freshness in the plot.
As a genre, ‘I’ could be placed in the section of romantic thrillers but the problem is Shankar endorses romance for the most part despite it being the least exciting and fascinating aspect and chooses to keep the most thrilling part for the last. At first, film romances with the chiseled body, beefy shape and powerfully built muscles of Vikram. Then comes, the outdoor location romance between Lee and Diya with old-fashioned tricks and tracks of love fitting into hearts and place! Meanwhile, songs irritate because of the absurdly written lyrics. Dialogues make you cringe. Cinematography is absolutely first-rate and gives you something to hop on. Visual effects and make-up excellence marginally work only over some of the most de-shaped, terrible and shocking physical appearances made on & for screen.
With a non-linear pattern in the narrative, Shankar does succeed in generating some kind of curiosity but the bad and the loose hand at the editing table doesn’t keep it for long. He even tries a quicky montage of one of the most significant part on the lines of the ones in Guy Ritchie’s films but when it’s not working, it’s not working. If ‘I’ is watchable at all, it is only for Vikram. As a rowdy-loud-rustic bodybuilder, he enthuses the sparks of energy on screen. Later as an ugly-looking hunchback with a past, he earns respects as an actor as well as your sympathies for the character. Amy Jackson has nothing more to show off than her all burning whitish looks. Upen Patel is just average.
In a scene, Lee harshly discards the romantic proposal of a transgender stylist and the poor soul bursts into crying plentiful of tears after the heartbreak. It was the most painful moment in the film, for many reasons. Suspicious of pesticides being used, Lee rejects to endorse a cold beverage brand in the film but doesn’t dare to show same amount of sensitivity to the transgender, it hurts more. Same goes with Shankar’s story-telling. He dares to involve technical brilliance in the story but forgets to base it on a gripping one. And it hurts. Disappointing, boring and tiring! [2/5]