Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

Movies, memories and everything in between

September 24, 2016

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Watching old films on the big screen is a form of travelling through time. Why don’t we have revival theatres? The US has them. Among the coming attractions at the Texas Theatre in Dallas is a screening of The Fly, to commemorate its 30th anniversary. The point isn’t that the film can be seen on […]

“Aandavan Kattalai”… Yet another marvellous comedy of desperation from Manikandan

September 23, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… At the opening of Manikandan’s Aandavan Kattalai, these words flashed on screen: This film is meant to create awareness. My heart sank. The film is about debt-ridden Gandhi (Vijay Sethupathi), who, with the help of falsified documentation, attempts to get to London on a tourist visa, stay back, and make pots of gold. […]

“Thodari”… Given the names involved, shockingly inept

September 22, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… With most films, a critic prepares for a dissection. With Thodari, it’s more of an autopsy. The film is dead on arrival. You come away with the impression that director Prabhu Solomon gives one hell of a story narration. What else can explain why an artist like Dhanush signed up, despite situations that […]

“Sadhuram 2.”… A ‘Saw’ redo that’s just not pukey enough

September 16, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The most curious aspect of Sadhuram 2 is the numeral in the title, which makes you wonder about Sadhuram 1. But that film is yet to be made. We are, thus, in the realm of Limca Records. Along with astonishing Indian feats like longest ear hair and fastest sentence typed by the nose, […]

“Irumugan”… Veers between just-about-watchable and inexplicably dull

September 8, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Sometimes, while watching a movie, I’ll end up thinking: ‘But Kamal Haasan has done this before!’ It’s possibly a couple of things. One, Kamal’s films are so unique, so ahead of their time, that they become the template for a certain kind of movie. Two, present-day filmmakers have grown up worshipping these films, […]

“Kutrame Thandanai”… Carefully, thoughtfully made, but something’s missing

September 2, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The title of Manikandan’s new film – Kutrame Thandanai (Crime is Punishment) – may appear to knock on Dostoevsky’s door, but the film owes more to Alfred Hitchcock and Rear Window. At least for a while. The opening scenes are set in a crowded tenement complex, and we observe the goings on from […]

“Kidaari”… Needed fewer sickles, more suspense

September 2, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… If you’ve wondered what the archetypal Agatha Christie whodunit would look like if transplanted into Sattur soil, you have your answer in Prasath Murugesan’s Kidaari. The film begins with big shot Kombiah (Vela Ramamurthy) stabbed in the neck. He cannot scream for help. His bloodied hands reach for something he can make a […]

“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 […]

“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 […]