Aascar Film (P.) Ltd.’s I (UA; dubbed from the Tamil film of the same name) is a unique love story. Lingesan (‘Chiyaan’ Vikram) is a champion bodybuilder. He adores top model Diya (Amy Jackson) but feels, he can never make contact with her. Then one day, fate brings them together.
Diya has acted and continues to act in many ad films with John (Upen Patel) who is also a top model like her. John wants to get physical with Diya but she is not interested. John seeks revenge for the rebuff by ensuring that she doesn’t work in any ad film with him. There is one important ad film for which John and Diya have been signed. Before John can replace Diya, she has him replaced. She seeks the client’s permission to let Lingesan work in the ad film opposite her. The unit leaves for China to shoot the ad film. As Lingesan is too intimidated by Diya, he is just not able to perform in front of the camera. Exasperated, ad filmmaker Sushil (Mohan Kapur) asks Diya to feign romance with Lingesan to make him feel at ease. As the ad film is a matter of life and death for her, Diya obliges and tells Lingesan that she has fallen in love with him. This puts Lingesan so much at ease that he puts all his inhibitions behind him and acts superbly. The ad film becomes a rage and Lingesan and Diya consequently become the hottest pair in the ad world.
Diya and her mother closely know Dr. Vasudevan (Suresh Gopi) who doubles up as their family friend. Lingesan also, in a way, owes his bodybuilding championship to Dr. Vasudevan’s guidance.
Meanwhile, gay stylist Ojas Jasmine (Ojas M. Rajani) has developed a strong attraction for Lingesan but is put in his place by Lingesan. He, therefore, hates Lingesan. Soon, Lingesan gets to know that Diya doesn’t love him and had lied to him. Anyway, after confronting Diya, Lingesan moves on. But now, Diya slowly but surely realises that she is in love with him. Their romance blossoms. The two even decide to get married.
One day, Lingesan realises that large chunks of his hair are falling. Soon, a tooth of his comes out. Dr. Vasudevan investigates. Even as the investigation is on, Lingesan develops large blisters all over his face and body and also gets a hunchback. In short, the very handsome Lingesan soon turns into a supremely ugly man. On being told that he is suffering from an irreversible disorder, Lingesan is left with no option but to walk out of Diya’s life. Lingesan ensures that Diya gets the news that he (Lingesan) is dead. He wants her to get married to someone else and settle down in life.
Diya’s marriage is now fixed with another man. But on the day of the wedding, Lingesan kidnaps Diya so that she cannot marry that man. Of course, Diya does not recognise Lingesan as he looks old, ugly and scary.
Why does Lingesan have a change of heart? Why does he not want Diya to settle down in life, which is what he had wanted after he had become disfigured? Does Diya get to know why she has been kidnapped? Does she get to know the truth about Lingesan? Whom does Diya marry? What is Lingesan’s agenda? What is the real story behind his disfigurement?
Shankar’s story is quite different from the umpteen love stories made. The intrigue value of the love story is novel and fresh. Although the romantic portions could’ve been more heartwarming, the novelty of the drama, which unfolds after the romance is over, makes up for the lack of warmth. Shankar’s screenplay is fantastic and keeps the audience interest alive from the start till the very end. The scenes, at times, do look a bit stretched but they don’t bore. The second half, in which the suspense keeps unfolding, is superb. The revelation of the last bit of suspense is shocking and truly gives the audience a jolt. The visual in the final scene of the film is so exhilarating that the viewer’s heart dances with joy. Dialogues, written by Swanand Kirkire, are very effective. If the dialogues in the light scenes evoke laughter, those in the dramatic ones enhance the impact.
‘Chiyaan’ Vikram does a marvellous job as Lingesan. His acting is par excellence. He has worked hard on his physique, looks and get-ups and deserves kudos for the results. His makeup and prosthetics are outstanding. Amy Jackson looks glamorous and pretty and also acts ably. She endears herself to the audience. Upen Patel looks smart and performs well. Santhanam is lovely as Lingesan’s comic friend. Suresh Gopi excels as Dr. Vasudevan. Ojas M. Rajani leaves a mark as stylist Ojas Jasmine. G. Ramkumar makes his presence felt as the businessman for whose companies Lingesan, John and Diya model. Mohan Kapur lends able support. Kamaraj is effective as a bodybuilder. Others lend good support.
Shankar’s direction is first-rate. His vision is unique and the translation of his vision on to the celluloid is brilliant. He has kept the narration so interesting that the viewer’s eyes remain glued to the screen. He has given the film a huge canvas and has made it an audio-visual treat. A.R. Rahman’s music is very nice but the Hindi songs have not become popular – and that is a drawback. ‘Tum todo na’ song is very melodious. ‘Aaila aaila’ and ‘Tu chale’ songs are also appealing. The other songs – ‘Issak taari’ and ‘Ladyo’ – are entertaining. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are noteworthy. Song picturisations, by Bosco-Caesar and Shobi, are out of the world. The visual effects in the songs, in which inanimate objects are converted into human forms, are breathtaking. A.R. Rahman’s background music is superlative. P.C. Sreeram’s cinematography is of a very high class. Locations are simply too beautiful. ‘Anl’ Arasu and Peter Ming’s action scenes and stunts are unbelievably brilliant. In fact, action of this kind has rarely, if ever, been seen earlier in Indian films. T. Muthuraj’s sets are grand and ostentatious. Weta Workshop’s (New Zealand) prosthetics and makeup deserve special mention. Llewellyn Anthony Gonsalves’ editing is sharp. Dubbing is excellent.
On the whole, I has the merits to entertain. It may have started slow but it will pick up due to positive word of mouth and end up doing fair business in the final tally.