Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga”… A taxing narrative experiment with a handful of laughs

January 14, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… The cleverest thing about Radhakrishnan Parthiban’s new film, Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga, is the title: It means “fill in the blanks.” The film is a narrative experiment, and it’s all blanks. We see a couple at the beginning, but we don’t see their faces – their identity is a blank. We move to Rangarajan […]

“Bairavaa”… A masala movie without spice or seasoning

January 12, 2017

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Spoilers ahead… Why isn’t Papa papa the hero-introduction song in Bairavaa? This is the kind of thing you think about when a film is 168 minutes long and so short on entertainment. The picturisation of the Santhosh Narayanan number is a riot of colour, and it’s filled with the energetic steps that make Vijay’s dance […]

“Dhuruvangal Pathinaaru”… A procedural with solid writing, first-rate filmmaking

December 30, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… It’s night. It’s raining. A mystery man steps out of a car. He’s outside a house. Inside, we see a man, a woman. They’re in an embrace. The man enters the house. A lifetime of movie-watching tells us that he is a psycho killer, that he’s going to leave behind a couple of […]

2016 in review

December 24, 2016

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Recalling the year’s Tamil films – the best ones (in order of release), as well as those that stood out for some reason(s). Irudhi Suttru: Sudha Kongara spruces up a predictable underdog sports story (Ritika Singh is marvellous) with fresh, funny, lived-in situations. The resulting film is a wonderfully old-fashioned heart-warmer. Visaranai: Vetri Maaran’s drama […]

“Balle Vellaiya Thevaa”… Barely any laughs for a “comedy”

December 23, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Why are we so afraid to make comedies? We make dramas with a comedy track, or action films with a comedy track, or romances with a comedy track – but why so few pure comedies, where the comedy track is the only thing? Balle Vellaiya Theva – after Jackson Durai, this is the […]

“Kaththi Sandai”… A silly, noisy waste of a good premise

December 23, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… If you’ve seen the noisy trailer for Suraaj’s Kaththi Sandai, you’ll know the question isn’t whether the film is any good but how bad it is on a 1 to 10 scale – “1” being “as long as you have a smartphone to otherwise occupy you, it’s harmless enough” and “10” being “you […]

“Chennai 600028 II”… The bloated drama is a pain, but the cricket portions are magic

December 17, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The glass-half-full review of Chennai 600028 – II would state that Venkat Prabhu is back. He didn’t go anywhere, exactly – he’s been making a film every couple of years. But there was, increasingly, this sense that the cast and crew were having more fun on the sets than we were at the […]

“Veera Sivaji”… Yet another feeble attempt to ship a hero to ‘mass’

December 16, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In a film named after his illustrious grandfather, Vikram Prabhu gets a mass-hero entry. He sends someone flying through the air, and that someone crashes through the windshield of a car. Who is this man? A petrified Frenchwoman looks on. Maybe the man kidnapped her. Maybe he assaulted her. Maybe he Eve-teased her. And […]

Off-screen deity, on-screen goddess

December 8, 2016

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Looking back at the Jayalalitha persona, refracted through her appearances on the screen, both big and small. It’s tempting to imagine that, right from the beginning, destiny had designs on Jayalalitha. There she is, barely in her teens , billed as “Kumari Jayalalitha,” in the 1962 Kishore Kumar-Sadhana starrer, Man-Mauji, directed by Krishnan-Panju. (The duo […]

Guest Post: How Manikandan has revived an ancient art

December 4, 2016

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Continuing the series of posts written by others (see here), here’s one by Shyam Rahul, on the link between the religious epics and message movies. Reading Baradwaj Rangan’s take on Aandavan Kattalai, I was struck by this line …. “Entertainment that is about something, that says something – it’s the elusive grail Tamil filmmakers keep chasing. […]

Interview: Thiagarajan Kumararaja

December 3, 2016

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Thiagarajan Kumararaja exploded on the movie scene with ‘Aaranya Kaandam’, which was festooned with raves by the few who saw it. And then he disappeared. Now, there are signs of a resurrection. In the midst of shooting his second film, he shoots the breeze with Baradwaj Rangan. Thiagarajan Kumararaja does not know if he is […]

Surround the world…

December 3, 2016

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A mind-scrambling encounter with virtual reality at IFFI, Goa. Plus, an independent Tamil film. If you want to know what a virtual reality (VR) experience is like, Google up YouTube videos about people reacting to a VR rollercoaster experience. These are men and women inside a room, but screaming and flailing about as though they […]

“Maaveeran Kittu”… A drama with very little… drama

December 2, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The title of Suseenthiran’s new film, Maaveeran Kittu, suggests a look at the life and times of the LTTE militant Sathasivam Krishnakumar, who was called Kittu. (This film’s protagonist, played by Vishnu Vishal, is even named Krishnakumar.) And while the broad beats of Suseenthiran’s story are similar – an arrest, a mysterious disappearance […]

“Saithan”… An unfocused, preposterous thriller

December 1, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… In the provocatively titled Saithan, Dinesh (Vijay Antony) is a software engineer who begins hearing voices. Is he hallucinating? Is he on drugs? Is he remembering a past life? His friends and family are spooked, and they search for a cure. Should they take him to a quack? Should they trust a doctor […]

“Kavalai Vendam”… An awful mix of gross-out gags and romance

November 25, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Another week. Another story about a local boy and a so-way-out-of-his-league-she-may-as-well-be-Scarlett Johansson girl. Except, the director Deekay is ambitious. In these films, we usually get just the loosu ponnu. Kavalai Vendam gives us a loosu paiyan, a loosu amma, a loosu appa, a couple of loosu friends… The film is this year’s Raja […]

“Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru”… Even by M Rajesh’s standards, terribly unfunny

November 18, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… If the Prime Minister, tomorrow, announces a surgical strike against filmmakers whose currency is no longer valid, may I propose M Rajesh’s name? I have never been a fan of this director. His films go on and on, and there’s no rhythm – fatal in a comedy. His latest film, Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru, […]

“Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada”… An underwhelming mishmash of genres

November 11, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Gautham Menon’s Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada is a mind-scrambling mix of genres – part romance, part road movie, part action thriller, part what-if-Michael-Corleone-came-to-Kollywood? The film begins with the admission that it is inspired by a moment from The Godfather – it turns out to be the moment at the hospital where Michael becomes a […]

West side stories

November 5, 2016

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At the Jio MAMI film festival with vampiric mermaids, touchingly liberal Indians, a donkey laden with symbolism, an unusual gay pairing, a rape fantasy, and a sparklingly restored version of ‘Teesri Manzil’. This year’s Mumbai Film Festival played out differently. Usually, I flip through the catalogue and say, “I have to see this film. And […]

“Kodi”… A very effective masala movie, despite a very ineffective heroine

October 30, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… After Thodari, Dhanush could have made Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram: Part 2 and we’d be calling it a return to form – but Kodi, directed by RS Durai Senthilkumar, is really the kind of “commercial movie” we wish more of our stars would make. A bird’s eye view of the plot suggests business […]

“Kaashmora”… A bloated, badly made fantasy

October 30, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The Kaashmora team, in interviews, has been asking us not to compare the film with Baahubali. What a laugh. It’s not the budget that’s lacking. It’s the vision, the conviction, the ability to sell a tall story. Baahubali was a genuine epic. The only thing epic about Kaashmora is its running time: nearly three bloated hours. The film, directed […]