Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

5 Filmmaking Tropes of Bala

April 24, 2017

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We’re beginning a new column in Film Companion, on important Tamil filmmakers. The author is Ram Chander, who comments on this blog. The first installment is about Bala. Read the full piece on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/5-filmmaking-tropes-of-bala During a rare television interview, while Bala shifted in his seat, the interviewer noticed some strange beads around his […]

“Nagarvalam”… Yet another riff on the “Kadhal” template, with lukewarm results

April 22, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/nagarvalam-movie-review Early on in Nagarvalam (Around the City), written and directed by Marxx, the hero’s friend (Balasaravanan) makes this comment about a neighbourhood: “Saayam pona undraayar maadhiri irukku.” (It looks like a faded undie.) You will not find these neighbourhoods in Hindi cinema. These people either. The […]

“Kadamban”… An eco-adventure tale that’s not entirely unwatchable

April 15, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Avatar meets Lagaan in the Ragava-directed Kadamban (Protector). From the former, we get the story of an indigenous people – tribals from the village of Kadambavanam, high in the hills – being preyed on by greedy corporate-capitalists. (The villain is in the cement business. There’s […]

“Pa Paandi”… An uneven film whose flaws are overcome by a fine closing stretch

April 15, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: For the second time in as many weeks, we get a lead character that’s new to Tamil cinema. The protagonist of Pa Paandi, written and directed by Dhanush, is introduced like a ‘mass’ hero. The camera assumes his vantage as he strolls down his neighbourhood […]

The Dhanush interview

April 13, 2017

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My video interview with Dhanush for Film Companion. Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

Coming soon…

April 12, 2017

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The Mani Ratnam Interview – Part 3

April 11, 2017

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My Mani Ratnam video interview for Film Companion. Part 1: Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

“Kaatru Veliyidai”… Fascinating characters in an intense romance that works better as cinema than a movie

April 7, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… A few minutes into Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai (Breezy Expanse), an IAF pilot named VC (Karthi) drives his jeep across a hideously twisted mountain road in Srinagar. Beside him is a girl he’s probably interested in. She asks if he’ll marry her. He says – in that smile-inducing, Mani Ratnam-esque way – he […]

“8 Thottakkal”… A police procedural with existential overtones that far outweigh its flaws

April 6, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Rarely have I heard a film’s leading man dismissed with such exquisite contempt: “Mudhugelumbu illadha oru nallavan!” (A spineless saint!) Part of the powerlessness we sense in the character – a sub-inspector named Sathya – is surely due to the ineffectiveness of the actor, a newcomer named Vettri. He’s terribly stiff. There’s no strength, […]

Coming soon…

April 3, 2017

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“Kavan”… A ‘satire’ on the television industry is overlong and laughably overblown

April 1, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… There’s a very witty moment in KV Anand’s Kavan (Catapult). I won’t spoil it for you. I’ll just say it toys with the interval moment in our cinema, the way we’ve come to anticipate it from events that keep building to a dramatic high. And that’s it. Nothing else is remotely interesting, unless […]

“Naalu Peruku Nalladhuna Edhuvum Thappilla”… A not-bad noir thriller about a small crook’s attempts to pull off the big one

March 31, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Naalu Peruku Nalladhuna Edhuvum Thappilla (Nothing is Wrong If a Few People Benefit From It) takes its title after the famous line in Nayakan — but there’s a bit of a twist. In the Mani Ratnam film, the philosophy was framed around have-nots. The justification was that it was okay to stick it […]

“Dora”… A surprisingly well-written (and emotionally solid) horror film whose heroine kicks real ass

March 31, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The trailer of Doss Ramasamy’s Dora brought to mind the Stephen King haunted-car story, Christine, which became a John Carpenter movie. But what we have here is the acknowledgement of an entirely different kind of superpower: the heroine’s. Nayanthara gets the kind of “glorifying” dialogue usually delivered by the hero’s sidekick to keep […]

“Engitta Modhathey”… A throwback to the 1980s Kamal-Rajini wars isn’t all that it could have been, but the nostalgia compensates

March 25, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Natarajan Subramaniam’s (aka Natty) career is among the more curious ones in Indian cinema. On the one hand, he is the cinematographer of A-list Bollywood projects (Black Friday, Parineeta, Love Aaj Kal, Raanjhanaa). On the other, he’s settled into the groove of a B-movie hero in Kollywood. His latest outing as leading man […]

“Kadugu”… A drama about a folk artist has interesting ideas that are lost in the execution

March 24, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… There’s a nice bit of technical showboating in the first scene of Kadugu (Mustard), where the filmmaker Balaji Sakthivel plays… a filmmaker. His latest project is about alcohol addiction. The Sakthivel character is talking to his assistant, who leaves, and enters the wardrobe van, and exits the wardrobe van, and meets Pandi (Rajakumaran), […]

“Kattappava Kaanom”… A crime caper that’s more interested in ogling at women

March 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Everything in this film has to do with fish. The plot. The name of the antagonist: Vanjaram (Tamil for seer fish). Or even the title: Kattappava Kaanom (Kattappa is Missing). The object of everyone’s interest is a fish named after the most fascinating character in Baahubali. Every other thing in this film has […]

“Bruce Lee”… A stab at stream-of-consciousness comedy that just isn’t funny

March 17, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The title is an ironic one. It’s the name of the hero played by GV Prakash Kumar, and the irony is that the character is anything but heroic. Doesn’t sound half-bad, does it? But Bruce Lee is one of those things where they have this one concept and nothing else. That one concept […]

Readers Write In #10: Composers languishing in obscurity

March 11, 2017

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Tamil Cinema has been blessed to have been graced by a dizzying array of music composers, right from the days of Papanasam Sivan till  may I say… Santosh Narayanan, but lost in the vortex of box-office success, many have fallen by the wayside, this article is about my personal favorites , who were not as […]

“Maanagaram”… A carefully designed thriller made with assurance and style

March 10, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… If you’ve taken rides with app-based cab services in the city, you’d have encountered drivers from far-flung towns and villages, trying to fake their way through the urban maze. Charlie plays one such person in the Tamil drama Maanagaram (Big City) – but so does Shri, in a way. He’s no cabbie. But […]

A super star, a super movie

March 9, 2017

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The biggest film event in Tamil Nadu last week was the re-release of Rajinikanth’s Baashha. The film was certified by the censors on December 31, 1994. It was in theatres a couple of weeks later. Twenty-two years on, it’s still drawing crowds. Read the rest on Film Companion, here: Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.