Well, this is something of a first for me. Although I watch a lot of movies from a lot of different countries, I must admit that my knowledge of Indian or Bollywood cinema is very, very limited. I have seen very little and what I know about it is probably only clichés and not really the truth. I just assumed that they were all about love, are very P.C, are filled with song and dance numbers and all seem to have ridiculously long running times while wallowing in melodrama. I am sure this is not even close to the reality of it all, but whenever I hear about a Bollywood film this is my instant reaction. Recently though, I had been reading and hearing a lot of very positive press about an Indian film named “Eega”. There is nothing strange about that until you hear what the film is actually about and then you start to wonder just how this could be true.
At the beginning of the film, “Eega” is a traditional romance as we follow a guy, Nani, who has been trying to woo a micro-artist named Bindhu for the past two years. They are neighbours and he regularly watches her. Not wanting to appear too eager, Bindhu basically ignores the smitten boy although in truth she loves his attention. Bindhu also works at a charity for disadvantaged youths and one day when trying to find investors for the charity she meets Sudeep who is an incredibly wealthy man. Sudeep basically owns the city with his enormous wealth and is used to getting what he wants. Upon meeting Bindhu he immediately falls in love with her and expects her to just fall at his feet. He organizes a “date” to discuss the charity and to give him a chance to seduce the young girl but when he pulls his best move Bindhu is distracted by Nani, who of course is following her. Sudeep is outraged and swears he will make Nani pay. Later that night, Bindhu finally reciprocates her love towards Nani who is just ecstatic. Just as he is about to enter her apartment he is snatched up by Sudeep and his thugs and is beaten to death. From here the film changes dramatically as Nani is then reincarnated as a common housefly and remembering his previous life, he goes out for revenge against the man who killed him. However, he is just a fly so how is he possibly going to be able to do this?
Yes, you read the above synopsis right. “Eega” is a revenge film with a fly as the protagonist. I know what you are all thinking, there is no way that this film is any good, am I right? Well, if that was your question, you are so wrong because “Eega” is so good, it is just brilliant. Director S.S. Rajamouli has handled the material perfectly and has made one of the most entertaining films of 2012. Honestly I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it with my own eyes, but it is true, this film is fantastic. It is fast paced, exciting, funny, romantic and is filled with some eye-popping action sequences. I will admit that I found the opening half an hour a little bit arduous with the melodramatic romance and over the top song and dance numbers. I also really hated the performance by the guy who played Nani (who strangely is billed as Nani himself), it was so cheesy and one note and he really grated on me the whole time, but once he died and got turned into a fly, “Eega” becomes a whole other thing. This is exciting cinema and I love watching a director taking on an idea that his no right to work let alone be any good, and respect that idea and make gold out of it. This is really what Hollywood is lacking these days; someone taking a chance on a new idea. Sure, it may not always work as well as “Eega” but audiences are sick of seeing the same old tired stuff constantly rehashed.
I thought Samantha Ruth Prabhu was just adorable as Bindhu and it was easy to see why these guys would fall in love with her. It’s true that some of her acting choices in the film (especially in the second half) were a little broad but she had such a pleasant screen presence that it was easy to look past. Likewise Kiccha Sudeepa also had great screen presence as Sudeep and also gave the best performance in “Eega”. At the start of the film he is great as the suave and put-together businessman, and is menacing as the heavy while killing Nani, but he really is at his best when he is being terrorized by the fly. His performance is brilliantly comedic and his timing is spot on. He is so funny the madder he gets, especially during an important board meeting when all he can think about is flies.
The best thing about “Eega” though is it’s special effects. Obviously the film is not going to work if the filmmakers cannot make the fly believable. They succeed royally because everything this fly does is believable (in the context of the film) and the design of the actual fly has been very well handled. I am not a fan of overly used CGI, but let’s face it, there is obviously no other way to do a revenge film with a fly without the fly being totally CGI. It is obvious that Rajamouli did not rush the design of the fly, in fact after three months of work he was still unsatisfied with the design that they had come up with that he scrapped it and made the designers start from scratch. This is important because this is one part of the film you do not want to make any compromises with. Thankfully, the filmmakers also made the right decision of not letting the fly speak at any stage. He is a fly, that’s it, he cannot speak and thus communicates through body language. However he is able to communicate through writing (which he does twice in the film). The first time is such a great and powerful moment in the film when he reveals to Sudeep just who he is by spelling out the words “I WILL KILL YOU”, seconds before the interval.
Again, I know what you must be thinking, how can a fly realistically take revenge on a person? It is a good question which has been handled very well within the film. Like I said before, Nani is now a fly, not a super-fly or anything like that, so he must work out how to get his revenge with what he has got. Basically he starts by annoying the hell out of Sudeep so he cannot get any sleep at all, making the man very sleep deprived. He then organizes a car accident by flying across Sudeep’s eyeball just as he is passing a truck causing a head-on crash. Another inventive thing the fly does is fly into the ear of the man who is shaving Sudeep causing him to be cut by the razor. The fly does a lot more but I do not want to ruin them because this is part of the enjoyment of the film. I will say that Bindhu does find out his identity early on, and being a micro-artist she is able to make the fly a gas mask (so he is impervious to fly spray) and some sharp gloves so he can do extra damage. The film does go a little into the realm of the fantastic when the fly starts to work out to build his muscles up so he can start to pick up things, but the filmmakers even make this believable because the heaviest thing the fly ever can pick up is a thin needle and he struggles with it too.
One thing that I really liked about “Eega” is the fact that the film has an internal momentum; it just keeps building until it’s thrilling climax. It doesn’t have any mid-movie lulls in quality, once the revenge kicks in, the stakes get higher and higher, as the film gets more and more fun. While I had a problem with the early songs in the film, the ones that are played over the scenes with the fly are often hilarious (“eega, eega, eega”) but pretty great at the same time. In true Bollywood style also, the fly and a couple of his mates, do a choreographed dance number during the end credits which is very funny. Another thing that I found enjoyable about “Eega” is the fact that it was shot with incredibly bright colours that pop. Normally revenge films are shot with a very dark colour palette but that is not the case here at all. Blues, greens, pinks and yellows are all common place in this world, which was nice to see for a change. Films are becoming too dark and serious these days and have almost forgotten how to just be fun.
Overall, “Eega” (which translates into English as “Fly”) is just a blast to watch. It is seriously so much fun. I will be honest that I had my doubts too before watching it; I thought there was no way that the film could work on any level, but boy was I wrong. This is exciting cinema and for once it was something original too. The CGI work on the fly is just superb and all of the inventive ways he attempts to get his revenge are brilliant. I know this is not my greatest in depth review that I have ever written, but I just want to get the word out at how good a film “Eega” really is. It’s plot may sound strange but give it a chance, it has been really well done, even from a cinematic point of view. It is a long film (at 145 minutes) but the time just flies (ha-ha) by. Do yourself a favour and at least give “Eega” a go, you will not be disappointed.