Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“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 […]

“Raja Mandhiri”… As with most films these days, some scattered laughs

June 24, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Opening shots can be deceptive. Raja Mandhiri begins with a glimpse of a temple, and the camera glides over trees and fields and finally lights on a house. This is the only part of the film that soars. Outside the house, a child’s parents begin to argue about his first word. The mother […]

If rushes were horses

June 18, 2016

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The ‘Udta Punjab’ verdict fills me with enough hope to draw up a laundry list of wishes for our cinema. The next time a demand for a ban comes up, I wish we’d remember the Udta Punjab verdict. I wish we’d stop being blackmailed by cultural policemen about the content in cinema. Most of us […]

“Enakku Innoru Per Irukku”… A scattershot plot, but many gags work

June 17, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… After a series of action-dramas featuring rowdies, we seem to be in for comedies featuring rowdies, which tweak our cinema’s obsession with anti-heroes. We recently saw Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. Now we have director Sam Anton’s Enakku Innoru Per Irukku. The film revolves around the power games in Royapuram, where the godfather is called […]

“Muthina Kathirikka”… A few scattered laughs

June 15, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… I must confess I’ve been dreading this film’s release. Not because it’s a remake of the Malayalam hit Vellimoonga. (Most of our remakes miss out on whatever made the original film worth watching.) Not because of “comedy scenes” like the one in which a man gifts his girl an iPad, only to see […]

“Oru Naal Koothu”… For the most part, an effectively low-key drama

June 10, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… An early scene in Nelson Venkatesan’s Oru Naal Koothu depicts the first step in an arranged-marriage scenario – the girl is presented to a young man and his family. The song on the soundtrack threw me for a second. It’s a retuned version of Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s Eppo varuvaaro, and it seemed like preposterous […]

“Iraivi”… An interesting feminist film that subverts  “you go, girl” clichés

June 3, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Dear Karthik Subbaraj, Congratulations on yet another interesting movie, and for resisting the impulse to name this one, too, after a food item. Iraivi is an unusual feminist film, in the sense that it’s seen entirely through the prism of sympathetic male characters. Your men aren’t monsters who drink or cheat on their […]

“Velainnu Vanthutta Vellakaran”… Some big laughs in a comedy that needed a better script

June 3, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Every comedian has his time. This is Soori’s time. He was the best thing about last week’s Idhu Namma Aalu. He’s one of the best things about Ezhil’s Velainnu Vandhutta Vellakaran, a film best described by a quote the director gave The Hindu: “I have high BP. So I prefer to make and […]

“Uriyadi”… ​A gritty (and refreshingly grown-up) little film

May 27, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Uriyadi, set in the 1990s, begins with four youngsters in an engineering college in Trichy. At first, they appear to be fairly typical boys. They’re from smaller towns and they’re enjoying being free, smoking and drinking and celebrating birthdays by smushing cake on the face. Slowly, we see there’s a bit of a […]

“Idhu Namma Aalu”… ​A fairly fun love story that toys with reel and real

May 27, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… As sarakku scenes go, it’s the usual scenario. Two men get drunk. One of them talks about the girl who ditched him, the one that ran away. The other one talks about the girl he loved, the one that got away. (In Tamil cinema, the woman is always the heartbreaker, the man always […]

“Marudhu”… A generic (though well-shot) action entertainer

May 20, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The first scene of Marudhu shows a sickle being forged. This can mean only one of two things. Either we’re going to watch a motion picture about the birth of communism. Or it’s a masala movie set in Madurai. With Vishal (as Marudhu) in full action mode, it’s clearly the latter. He is […]

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