Shankar’s much-awaited movie ‘I’, starring Vikram, Amy Jackson, and Upen Patel has received mixed response from audiences but optimistic early Box Office collections suggest that it is well on its way to beat Rajinikanth’s ‘Lingaa’.
Tamil superstar Vikram gets a thumbs up from fans and critics for his stellar performance but overall, Shankar's magic is missing, writes Firspost. The actor has undergone some amazing transformations for each of his four looks in 'I'.
"Watching Jackson turn into a mobile, a bike and sprout into a plant may be edgy, but it doesn’t give the movie any depth," writes Firstpost reviewer Latha Srinivasan.
The Hindu reviewed the movie none too favourably, saying it was an exhausting three hour watch with just one human-sized moment when Lingesan collapses in the gym.
It was quick to praise the first half of the movie, which has more light-hearted moments: In an amusing scene, he participates in a body-building championship and dances to ‘Azeem-o-shaan shahenshah’, his ‘choreography’ made up entirely of poses that show off his muscles. It also complimented the ‘Mersalaayiten’ music video — the song’s pep is complemented by a series of well-imagined, well-staged visual effects.
However, the Hindu reviewer writes the action scenes lacked a freshness and goes on to compare Shankar's previous characters from his films who have always connected with the audience, whereas Lingesan's character, in spite of all the effort and incredible physical transformation (the pustules on his face, the swollen lower lip, the horrifying emaciation — the makeup and the physical transformation are both top-notch has nowhere to go.
"Two words 'Simply Awesome'! To start, “I” is not the movie that brings a character just for the sake of it, however integrates into the plot. All the hardwork Vikram has put into has a fitting justification, something that doesn’t serve just the actor’s hunger but what the fan’s stomach wants as well," the Indiaglitz review says.
According to the Hindustan Times, the six-time Filmfare award-winning actor had to initially bulk up for a muscular body for one part of his role, and then lost nearly 50 per cent of his original body weight to play another part. "It was extremely difficult to control hunger. It drove me crazy," said Vikram who plays a dual role as a body builder and a hunch backed disfigured man in ‘I’.
Vikram also said that he kept away from steroids (while building his body) despite professionals advising him to do so. “For the disfigured man, Shankar never wanted me to lose weight for this role but I did it anyways. I had to control my hunger to achieve the desired look. I literally survived on fluids," he added.
The movie appears to focus entirely on Lingesan (Vikram). Jackson or Divya plays a rich girl opposite Lingesan (Vikram) in the film, who is a local gym model helplessly in love with her, and buys all of her endorsements, including a box of sanitary towels. Bigg Boss contender Patel is barely seen in his role as another model (John) competing for Divya’s love, as are Ojas M Rajani, who plays a transgender stylist, and Suresh Gopi.
The sci-fi romantic thriller is about the (very fit) boy next door whose dreams of winning the Mr. India title are cast aside for love. He moves to China for his ladylove, where in an obscure twist he is shot with a deadly virus called ‘I’ and turns into a hunchback. Amidst many songs and body-revealing shots, it is now up to the hero to convince his lover against marrying another without scaring her off with his disfigured body.
As much as Vikram’s work has been appreciated – especially as the hunchback, who resembles the figure from Disney’s popular animation ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ to the T, Shankar’s direction has disappointed critics, who appear to be over his obsession with double roles. According to First Post’s Latha Srinivasan, Shankar’s magic (so prominent in movies such as ‘Gentleman’, ‘Mudhalvan’, ‘Anniyan’, ‘Sivaji’ or ‘Enthiran’) is missing in ‘I’, and the plot is quite flat given the whopping budget of the film of Rs 90 crore.
A saving grace for the movie is its music that has been composed by AR Rahman, that have been shot in various parts of China by Shankar. Having launched at the start of the Pongal/ Sankranti holidays, the movie is expected to do well at the box office.