Movie Review: I

Cast: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Upen Patel, Santhanam, Suresh Gopi

Direction: Shankar

Production: V. Ravichandran & D. Ramesh Babu

Duration: 3 hours 9 minutes

Rating: 3.5/5

Story: A bodybuilder ends up falling madly in love with a supermodel, but some scheming villains maim him. Is he able to overcome his physical handicap and win back his love?

Review: Lingesan (Vikram) is a bodybuilder from a small town in Tamil Nadu, who dreams of winning the Mr India title for bodybuilding. Besides dumbbells, his only other love is supermodel Diya (Amy Jackson).

Life throws up a pleasant surprise to our sweet little simpleton. After winning the Mr Tamil Nadu contest for his perfect physique, he bags plum modelling assignments. Lo and behold, Lingesan gets a chance to model with Diya. How does he land this windfall?

Well, the ruling male supermodel John (Upen Patel) is a chauvinistic pig. When Diya refuses to sleep with him, he threatens to blacklist her. But Diya outsmarts him – she befriends the local bodybuilder, rechristens him Lee and takes him to China on a commercial shoot. Further, she feigns love for him and turns the otherwise shy guy into a charismatic screen icon.

In his journey to fame and money, Lee makes more than a few enemies. An irate bodybuilder at his local gym, John – the model whose position he usurped, an egotistic advertising guru whom he offended with his principles, a gay makeup artiste whose advances he spurned – all of them want Lingesan dead.

This scheming quartet, along with a fifth guy (whose identity is suspense), takes revenge on Lee. They turn him into an unrecognizable ugly being (bearing an uncanny resemblance to Ephialtes from the Hollywood movie 300) in the hope that his life becomes a living hell. But, don’t despair just yet; our hero also schemes to get back at those who stole his love and his looks.

Suspend your disbelief and get into this fairy tale that is told by Shankar (the maker of magnum opuses like Indian, Sivaji-The Boss and Enthiran) on a grandiose canvas. Shot mesmerisingly by PC Sreeram on virgin locales in China and India, with world class CG work, this spectacle works because at the core, it’s a romantic-thriller told simplistically.

While the waif-like Amy looks mesmerising, Vikram bowls you over with a heart-wrenching performance whether he is handsome or disfigured. Santhanam provides the perfect comic relief. The first fight in a local gymnasium and the BMX bike fight on Chinese rooftops are an adrenaline fix. This is pure escapist fare but will resonate with those who read fairy tales at bedtime.
TOI*

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