Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“144.”… A shaky start, but lots of laughs later

November 28, 2015


Spoilers ahead… After the first thirty minutes, I was ready to give up on 144, directed by G Manikandan and produced by CV Kumar, who’s quickly become Tamil cinema’s answer to the venture capitalist funding small-time techies with big ideas. To the directors of his films, cinema means more than just the opportunity to direct […]

“Inji Iduppazhagi”… Lots of minuses in this story of a plus-sized woman

November 28, 2015


Spoilers ahead… At some level, you have to applaud the mere existence of Prakash Kovelamudi’s Inji Iduppazhagi. For one, it is heroine-oriented – given the functioning of the Tamil and Telugu industries (the film is a bilingual), that’s a little like switching on a television news channel and finding in-depth coverage of cities not named […]

The side-effects of speaking one’s mind

November 26, 2015


Why should everyone, including Aamir Khan, say the most perfectly worded, politically correct, lawyer-vetted things in public, even if they may think otherwise privately? Before Aamir Khan, there was Kamal Haasan. Frustrated by forces that were preventing the release of his mega-budget production Vishwarooopam in Tamil Nadu, the actor said he was contemplating leaving the […]

How I wonder what you are…

November 21, 2015


Thoughts on stars, those people who keep making us go to the theatres even if, sometimes, we wish better sense had prevailed. Why is Vedalam, Ajith’s Deepavali release, doing such boffo business at the Tamil Nadu box office? A lot of people have asked me this question, including a Delhi-based journalist who’s doing a story […]

“Oru Naal Iravil”… A mature story that treats the audience like infants

November 20, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Imagine the irony. Sekar (Sathyaraj) sees his college-going daughter Varsha (Dixitha Kothari) behind a boy on a bike. He grounds her, breaks her phone and decides to marry her off at once. But he’s less severe on himself. He gathers friends and drinks into the night. Worse, he picks up a sex worker […]

Emotion capture

November 14, 2015


A quick trip through the nine moods – nava rasas – of the Indian film song. Which song would you pick as a depiction of Śṛungāram (Love)? There are hundreds. Abhi na jaao chhod kar, for instance. He’s saying don’t leave me yet, the heart hasn’t had its fill of you. She protests. It’s late. […]

“Vedalam”… A decent-enough star-dispensing machine

November 13, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Among the mass heroes, Ajith may be the most interesting. It’s the grey shades – not just in the hair, but also in the characterisations he gets away with. There’s something about watching a hero who isn’t virtue incarnate, whose image allows him to do things other heroes can’t, and Vedalam makes pretty […]

Mani matters

November 11, 2015


Much kindness from a reader. Thank you Ravishankar. Dear Sir I was gifted the book ‘Conversations with Mani Ratnam’ recently by a talented “kid” in my office for my birthday. Contrary to what I expected it was an extremely breezy read. I read Conversations with Hitchcock by Truffaut twenty five years ago in college and […]

“Thoongavanam”… An okay thriller, with goodies for Kamal-watchers

November 10, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Kamal Haasan’s films are increasingly beginning to look like the “circus thuppakki” so memorably showcased in Aboorva Sagotharargal – the kind of gun that fires from both ends. The targets at one end are the general viewers, who just want a good time at the movies. At the other end are the fans […]

Festival dates

November 7, 2015


Thoughts from a few days when Fassbinder rubbed shoulders with Rajinikanth and Guru Dutt…. How do you plan your viewing schedule at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival? One way is to simply let the film find you. Earlier this year, at the Berlinale, the documentary Fassbinder – To Love Without Demands was one of […]

Coming soon, and not just to theatres

November 7, 2015


Baradwaj Rangan reports on a film market at the Mumbai Film Festival, which hopes to help directors like Vetri Maaran target the screens on your laptops and smartphones. On the second day of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, the producer Guneet Monga (The Lunchbox, Gangs of Wasseypur, Shaitan) screened a two-minute trailer of her […]

“Sivappu”… Not dismissible, but not much more either

October 23, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Sivappu, directed by Sathyashiva, begins with some tight writing. A construction worker falls to her death, and this tragedy gives us multiple insights. One, the working conditions are unsafe. Two, women are in especial danger. (The fall may have been the result of a rape attempt.) Three, Konaar (Rajkiran) is the general fixer-upper […]

“Naanum Rowdy Dhaan”… An entertainingly nutty comedy about an anti-rowdy

October 21, 2015


Spoilers ahead… A kid in a jail cell. That’s an unusual image to begin a movie with. He seems to be filling out some sort of what-I-want-be-when-I-grow-up questionnaire, and against “Ambition,” he scrawls, carefully, “Police.” His mother, after all, is a cop (played by Raadhika Sarathkumar). Soon, he slips out of the cell – he […]

“10 Enradhukulla”… A slipshod road movie

October 21, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Vijay Milton’s 10 Enradhukulla wastes little time in letting us know that it is a hero-centric masala movie. A battered, bloody man who’s being held hostage has with him a package. He’s waiting for someone to pick it up. Pasupathy, who plays one of the villains, asks him the name of the pickup […]

“Rudhramadevi”… Great story, weak movie

October 16, 2015


Spoilers ahead… As a history lesson, Rudhramadevi checks all the boxes. A girl is born to the queen of the Kakatiya dynasty, and because women cannot rule – even palaces, apparently, have a glass ceiling – the king raises the child as a boy, a warrior. He’s worried that his vassals will revolt at the […]

“Kathukutty”… Messagey, but just about watchable

October 15, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Era. Saravanan, a long-time Junior Vikatan hand, makes his debut as director with Kathukutty. It’s one of those stories where a wastrel son (Arivazhagan, played by Narain) redeems himself in the eyes of his concerned father (Santhanam, played by Bharathiraja’s dead-ringer brother, Jayaraj) – but with a twist. The arena is politics. Santhanam […]

Mistress of arts

October 12, 2015


Whether comedy or drama, Manorama’s success sprang not just from her remarkable talent but also her amazing ability to adapt. Maalayitta Mangai, the 1958 drama produced by Kannadasan and directed by GR Nathan, is remembered mainly for two reasons today. One, the magical Viswanathan-Ramamurthy score, studded with hits like Naanandri yaar varuvaar and Senthamizh thenmozhiyaal. […]

The invisible man

October 10, 2015


Thoughts on the often-overlooked producer of a film, occasioned by the passing of Edida Nageswara Rao. When I heard that Edida Nageswara Rao had died, my first thoughts were about the three films – Shankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam (Salangai Oli in Tamil), Swati Muthyam (Sippikkul Muthu in Tamil, Eeshwar in Hindi) – that defined him as […]

“Andhadhi”… An unsatisfactory thriller

October 10, 2015


Spoilers ahead… With first-time filmmakers, you feel, sometimes, that you should be an indulgent parent, not expecting miracles, just appreciating the effort. It takes so much to make a movie, and you want to say, Hmmm, not bad. Now let’s see what you can really do. But then, you remember films like Burma and Kirumi, […]

“Masala Padam”… Scrappy, but some good light moments

October 10, 2015


Spoilers ahead… Laxman Kumar’s Masala Padam opens with a commemoration of Tamil cinema. We see leading men down the years – MK Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, right down to Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. This, combined with the title and the fact that ‘RJ’ Shiva plays a role, made me expect a sly take on […]


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