Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“54321.”… In-your-face style cannot compensate for hollow writing

August 26, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Director Raghavendra Prasad likes gimmicks. His first film is called 54321. Why? Because it’s about… 5 people, 4 lifestyles, 3 murders, 2 hours, 1 act of revenge. His filmmaking is equally flashy. A recurring trope is the freeze frame presented as a three-dimensional space, through which the camera “travels” in order to set […]

Mouna Raagam: 30 years

August 25, 2016

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Just read on the net that the film that was Mani Ratnam’s first hit — the first film that we can now identify as “a Mani Ratnam film,” with all the auteurist implications of the term — turned 30 this month. I haven’t seen ‘Mouna Raagam’ in a while, so I don’t know how I’ll […]

“Happy Bhag Jayegi”… Should have been much better, but some really big laughs

August 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Imagine you wanted to make Tanu Weds Manu 3 and Kangana Ranaut did not have the dates. Who would you cast? Who else, among the current set of actresses, can embody this… this… force of nature? Anand L Rai, director of the Tanu Weds Manu films and one of the producers of Happy […]

“Dharmadurai”… A terrific story loses its way thanks to literalness, noble-mindedness

August 19, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… At first, it appears like another lazy appropriation of a Rajinikanth film title, in accordance with Tamil cinema’s belief (or maybe desperate hope) that some of the Superstar’s luck will rub off on the film: a decent man named Dharmadurai (‘Makkal Selvan’ Vijay Sethupathi, phoning in his performance) exploited by unscrupulous brothers. But […]

“Joker”… Despite the preachiness, an affecting drama

August 12, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… When we first meet Mannar Mannan (Guru Somasundaram), the protagonist of Joker, he’s squatting behind his home, reading the newspaper and relieving himself. The crudeness of the image is intentional – everything about it is. We’re meant to see that there’s no proper toilet, and slowly, we will see how important this toilet […]

“Wagah”… A misfire on many levels

August 12, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In Wagah, Vikram Prabhu plays Vasu, a young man from a village in Sivagangai who joins the BSF and ends up patrolling parts of Kashmir abutting “the most dangerous border in the world.” But Vasu is no patriot. As a boy, he enrolled in the NCC because the girl he liked was in […]

“Thirunaal”… Nicely made, but still pretty generic

August 5, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The trailer for PS Ramnath’s Thirunaal made me expect yet another “rowdy movie,” and the film is that – but it’s also a little more. This time, the rowdy doesn’t even have a name. He’s known by his implement of choice, a razor blade that he snaps in half and tucks into his […]

“Namadhu”… Complex issues, but a very simplistic film

August 5, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Now, this is not nice. When you advertise a film as a trilingual (Telugu, Malayalam, Tamil), the viewer thinks it has been shot in all three languages. Okay, maybe production constraints may result in a street name appearing in Telugu when you’re watching the Tamil version, but this is a minor miss. The […]

How do you solve a problem like Rajini?

July 30, 2016

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Reflections on the week leading up to “Kabali,” and questions about the years ahead. After the deafening hype, Rajinikanth’s Kabali opened bookings last week, and this created a fresh round of hype. People were glued to their computer (or phone) screens, waiting for theatres to announce show timings. Usually, most theatres open bookings on the […]

Guest Post: Petition against stalking

July 26, 2016

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Regulars here must be aware of the petition that Iswarya and others started in Change.org  #CallingOutStalking in Tamil films. You can find here all the updates and follow-up action on the campaign. Those who wish to contribute to this effort can mail antistalkingpetition[at]gmail.com. Also see comments in this post, for more context.

“Kabali”… An unsatisfying clash between the impulses of star and director

July 22, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Recently, I saw a Malaysian film titled Jagat, directed by Shanjhey Kumar Perumal. The films from the country are usually in Bahasa Malaysia, but this one is in Tamil. It’s about the plight of Malaysian Tamils who used to work on estates, but were forced to migrate to the cities when these estates […]

“Dhillukku Dhuddu”… Neither very scary, nor very funny

July 7, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Dhillukku Dhuddu is less a movie than a manifestation of Santhanam’s career crisis. What does a comedian do when past his expiry date as the hero’s sidekick? Why, he turns hero, of course. So we get an introduction song, love duets with vapid and fair-skinned North Indian import (Shanaya) who can’t be bothered […]

“Adra Machan Visilu”… Excruciating!

July 7, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… According to Thiraivannan’s Adra Machan Visilu, Tamil Nadu’s No. 1 hero is a 22-year-old played by ‘Power Star’ Srinivasan. Something about this cheesy premise sounds promising. With this actor, you’re never sure if he’s in on the joke that is his screen presence, or if he’s oblivious to it. He wears shiny red […]

Cinema, society, chicken, egg

July 6, 2016

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We need to rigorously study the impact of cinema on society before blaming films for every shocking headline. At least for a while, the case that shocked Chennai played out like a Tamil movie. A dark-skinned boy (Ramkumar) from a small town set eyes on a fair-skinned, upper-class girl (Swathi). He fell in love. He […]

“Paisa”… Not bad, as moral-science movies go

July 2, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Among the more heartening trends in Tamil cinema is its gradual detachment from the middle classes, and attachment to the lower income groups. Earlier, films like Pasi were one-offs. Today, they’re practically a movement. The protagonist of Paisa (Murugan, played by Sreeram) is a rag picker. He falls in love with Veni (Aara), […]

“Jackson Durai”… A well-crafted misfire

July 1, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… What the thaali was to Tamil cinema of the 1980s, the haunted house is today – it spells kaching! The spirited location in Jackson Durai is inhabited by ghosts from the British-Indian era, and an SP named Sathya (Sibiraj) is dispatched to investigate the spooky happenings. The lyrically sophisticated song that accompanies him […]

“Appa”… Messages galore, but where the movie?

July 1, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Samuthirakani’s new film, Appa, contains a scene in which a father (named Dayalan, and played by Samuthirakani) facilitates for his son a cup-of-coffee kind of meeting with a girl from school. It’s not exactly a date, though. The boy, a teenager, is confused by his feelings towards this girl, perhaps towards all girls. […]

Crime does pay

June 24, 2016

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On the tenth anniversary of ‘Pudhupettai,’ a look at other antihero films and what made this one special. The anti-hero has always been a prominent presence in Tamil cinema, but he usually came with a “but only because.” Sivaji Ganesan, in Andha Naal, took to selling Indian secrets to Japan, but only because his big […]

“Amma Kanakku”… A feel-good film with a problem at its core

June 24, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Despite what the title may have you believe, Amma Kanakku is not about the monthly bills at a certain Poes Garden residence. This amma is named Shanti (Amala Paul), and she has no assets, disproportionate or otherwise. She juggles many jobs. She works at a fish market. She washes vessels at a roadside eatery. […]

“Metro”… A terrific premise, but let down by the cast

June 24, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Director Anandakrishnan zooms in on a terrific subject in Metro. We read about chain-snatching all the time, but this is the first film to delve into the subject and make it a backdrop – the way, say, Udta Punjab tackles drugs. We see how gold moves through the black market. First, a guy […]

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