Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take that! And that!

On the heels of some recent loose talk about the "pile-driving Southern style" of Indian action cinema comes this (too brief) trailer for a Telegu classic of the future:

C.I.: GoJoe appends the pertinent:

The film titled Srisailam, starring Srihari and Krishnamraju, is being produced by Thadivaka Ramesh Naidu under the banner of Image Films and directed by KS Nageswara Rao. The female leads are played by Sajita and Suhani.

The theme of the film is about terrorism that has become a threat to society. Srihari plays the role of a bus driver in the film and as the protagonist fights terrorists. Producer says, "When it is a film of Srihari, the audiences expect good action scenes and they are in abundance in our movie."

The star cast includes Brahmanandam, Venumadhav, Nagababu, Suhasini, Sindhu, Akshaya and others.

Srisailam is being planned for release in the fourth week of January.
GoJoe continues:

The first few seconds of the preview consists of clips from previous collaborations between “Real Star” Dr. Srihari and director KS Nageswara Rao, presumably to raise expectations for this latest effort. Anyone who has seen Police knows that the mayhem about to follow that shot of our mud-spattered hero advancing down a hallway would make any 80’s action icon green with envy.

The underappreciated Dr. Srihari also has a supporting role in the considerably higher-profile King, the new Nagarjuna vehicle, unfortunately not playing at a theatre near me. (Also here.)

Many Real Star faves -- Police, Badrachalam, Ganapathi, etc., remain unsubtitled on DVD. The stories, however, are not difficult to follow and their visceral pleasures transcend language. Of the Netflix titles, I would recommend Hanumanthu, one of the rare Srihari pictures to garner a little critical support. Not available on Netflix but subtitled on DVD is Vijayaramaraju. Srihari’s devotion to his country in this picture makes Jack Bauer look like a softie. The events leading to the climax are mind-boggling, hardly subtle but certainly something to see.

I suspect Mahanandi (appears Netflix forgot an “n”) represents, like Dhee, Srihari’s recent turn toward supporting roles in bigger-budgeted, higher-profile films. I’ve seen a couple and they were enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but personally I prefer the low-budget potboilers in which he is the main attraction.

The Ghost adds:

I feel quite behind the curve on this stuff. Have barely even explored the un-subtitled riches of Telegu and other-non-Tamil Southie cinemas. Clearly the "South Indian Action School" deserves a research push followed by a massively detailed survey article with precedents and evolution, keys stars and directors, a list of essential titles (available on DVD with subtitles); the whole nine yards.

But for whom would such a piece be written? It might have been welcome at the pre-downtown-effete Film Comment. Today I fear it would be niched to death.

AND PLUS: "An expert is just an enthusiast with an assignment and an expense budget" (as below). I tended to seek assignments (when there were still assignments to be had) on subjects that caught my interest that I didn't know much about. I was the the exact opposite of an academic pontificator in that respect. I wanted a patron to pay me to look into them. (Also, as a would-be grown-up, I felt I needed a professional, profit-making justification to geek out.)

It goes without saying that no amount of research can replace the second-nature understanding that comes from having grown up in a culture. NB: Stephen Teo on Hong Kong cinema. Certainly without it you run the risk of making mistakes no native would ever stumble into. By the same token, as my revered professor used to say, "What is familiar is not known." It can be, but the knowledge is an additional acquisition. The oral culture of enthusiasts is just as much a giant game of telephone as every other oral tradition. Sometimes there's no substitute for book learning.

(Is it it already a commonplace among Inter-pundits that Cyberspace is essentially an oral culture?)

5 comments:

GoJoe said...

Please note the first few seconds of the preview consists of clips from previous Srihari/Rao collaborations, presumably to raise expectations for this latest effort. Anyone who has seen POLICE knows that the mayhem about to follow that shot of our mud-spattered hero advancing down a hallway would make any 80’s action icon green with envy. The underappreciated Dr. Srihari also has a supporting role in the considerably higher-profile KING…

http://www.nagtheking.com/

…the new Nagarjuna vehicle unfortunately not playing at a theatre near me.

c said...

i volunteer joe. im going through a south indian music phase right now.

Generic said...

I agree. But is Joe...ready to Go?

GoJoe said...

Unfortunately, many Real Star faves -- POLICE, BADRACHALAM, GANAPATHI, etc. -- remain unsubtitled on DVD. The stories, however, are not difficult to follow and their visceral pleasures transcend language. Of the Netflix titles, I would recommend HANUMANTHU…

http://www.indiaglitz.com/channels/telugu/review/7952.html

…one of the rare Srihari pictures to garner a little critical support. Not available on Netflix but subtitled on DVD is VIJAYARAMARAJU. Srihari’s devotion to his country in this picture makes Jack Bauer look like a softie. The events leading to the climax are mind-boggling, hardly subtle but certainly something to see. Available for loan if interested. Proceed at your own risk.

MAHANADI represents Srihari’s recent turn toward supporting roles in bigger-budgeted, higher-profile films. I’ve seen a couple and they were enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but personally I prefer the low-budget potboilers in which he is the main attraction.

As for a sweeping retrospective of South Indian Action Cinema, I would love to read such a piece but doubt I have the time, resources or expertise to pull it off. I am more enthusiast than expert and, as such, my interests are more scattershot than definitive.

Anonymous said...

An expert is just an enthusiast with an assignment and an expense budget.