Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“Imaikkaa Nodigal”… A generic, barely watchable serial-killer thriller that squanders a great premise

September 20, 2018


Spoilers ahead… After an utterly generic (and quite terrible) first half, I practically gave up on R Ajay Gnanamuthu’s Imaikkaa Nodigal. The story has Anjali (Nayanthara, as a CBI officer who sports a Bulgari watch) on the trail of a serial killer who calls himself Rudra (Anurag Kashyap, unleashing his inner ham, as though imagining […]

Every Mani Ratnam film, ranked

September 20, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: To call Mani Ratnam a mainstream filmmaker is a bit redundant, because every (primarily) Tamil filmmaker is a mainstream filmmaker: Tamil cinema does not have an “art film” tradition, the way Malayalam or Bengali cinema has. But even within the mainstream, there are two ways to […]

Readers Write In #49: The Portrayal of Disability in Indian Mainstream Cinema – Where’s the Nuance?

September 16, 2018


So, the husband and I were craving a good Tamil masala movie last night, and chanced upon the Suriya-starrer, “Thaana Serndha Kootam”. It seemed to have got decent reviews, and we went in expecting a light, fun watch. Half an hour and two fast-forwarded songs later (thank God for modern online watching. Can’t imagine having […]

50k subscribers

September 15, 2018


Almost exactly a year ago, we made the decision to branch off into a separate South channel. Today, we’ve crossed the 50,000 subscribers mark. A small milestone. A big thank-you.

“U Turn”… A focused, heroine-oriented mystery that’s mostly engaging

September 14, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Pawan Kumar’s U Turn is a remake of his Kannada PSA-disguised-as-a-horror movie, and it contains many… U-turns. Let’s begin with the ostensible leading man, crime reporter Aditya (Rahul Ravindran). He has a thing for Rachana (Samantha), the intern at his office. But she’s the […]

“Seema Raja”… Sivakarthikeyan really tests his audience’s love for him in this overlong non-entertainer

September 13, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: In a recent interview to Film Companion, Sivakarthikeyan said, “Humour-driven films can be good cinema, and I don’t subscribe to the view that good cinema has to be serious.” Ironically, the star’s new film, Seemaraja, is his most serious yet. Oh, the jokes (or […]

Subramaniya Bharati’s poetry in Tamil cinema

September 11, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: The great Tamil poet, activist and social reformer died on September 11, 1921. Here are some of his songs that made it to the big screen. Had this been a literary web site, I would have used this occasion to talk about AR Venkatachalapathy’s Who Owns […]

“Lakshmi”… A surprisingly watchable update on the kids-want-to-dance template

August 25, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: When I began to warm up to AL Vijay’s Lakshmi, I wondered — at first — if it was a function of my expectations, which had been so low. There are so many things wrong with this kiddie dance-competition film, beginning with a ridiculously […]

“Merku Thodarchi Malai”… A strong, stirring, beautifully shot portrayal of life in the Western Ghats

August 24, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: Most films, in the early portions, build up to a hero-introduction shot. Merku Thodarchi Malai (Western Ghats) builds up to a landscape-introduction shot. At first, we get long stretches of people doing the most mundane things. Waking up. Bathing. Idle chatter while drinking tea. […]

“Echcharikkai”… A pretty decent kidnap drama that would have been better had it been less apologetic about its grindhouse roots

August 24, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: The trailer of Echcharikkai – Idhu Manidhargal Nadamaadum Idam (Warning — Beware of Humans) reveals what the plot is about: a kidnapping. You’d think the film, therefore, would set up this development quickly, so there’s more time to spend on the thrills associated with […]

Not ‘Chennai’… these songs are about ‘Madras’

August 22, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: On Madras Day, a flashback to songs that celebrate the city. Azhagiya mithilai nagarinile (Annai, 1962): A two-toned convertible carrying a young couple cruises through near-empty roads. This was still the studio era, so it’s surprising to see actual outdoor shooting (instead of a car propped […]

10 memorable moments from Mani Ratnam’s ‘Dil Se’, which turns 20 today

August 21, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: On 21st August, 1998, we got the third (and best) instalment of Mani Ratnam’s “terror trilogy.” Where ‘Roja’ and ‘Bombay’ were more narrative-driven, ‘Dil Se’ came after ‘Iruvar’, which marked the birth of a very different filmmaker. ‘Dil Se’ is more abstract, filled with mood and […]

“Kolamaavu Kokila”… This black comedy needed more energy, but it has its moments

August 17, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: The archetypal premise of Kolamavu Kokila, directed by Nelson, is at least as old as K Balachander’s Arangetram (possibly even older): a woman from a respectable family is in need of money, which leads her into a disreputable profession. It was sex work there; […]

The man who made (and named) Ilayaraja

August 16, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Last Thursday was Panchu Arunachalam’s second death anniversary. Here’s a flashback to the time he introduced his most illustrious protégé. Panchu Arunachalam, who passed away on August 9, 2016, wore many hats. He is remembered as a lyricist – he began that phase of his career […]

“Pyaar Prema Kaadhal”… A well-acted, well-made love story that goes far beyond rom-com clichés

August 16, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: When I listened to producer/composer Yuvan Shankar Raja’s male solo, Never let me go (there’s a female version titled I will never let you go) from Pyaar Prema Kaadhal (Love, Love, Love), it sounded like a song from a Selvaraghavan movie — specifically, Kanaa […]

The Slender Star Of Tamil Cinema

August 13, 2018


Outlook asked me to write about Dhanush for their Independence Day issue, about ’21 game changers in the 21st Century’. Read the full article here: No one could have predicted Dhanush’s success when he appeared in his first film, Thulluvadho Ilamai (2002), when he was in his late teens. When we first see him, he’s […]

“Vishwaroopam II”… A not-exactly-needed sequel, but a solid delivery mechanism for Kamal-isms

August 10, 2018


Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: What a lovely decision to cast Waheeda Rahman, in Vishwaroopam 2, as the mother of Kamal Haasan’s character! You can just see it — one actor known for graceful dance begetting the other. They’re bonded over generations of cinema — but there’s more. If […]

Interview: Yuvan Shankar Raja

August 9, 2018


Yuvan Shankar Raja talks about the three distinct phases of Tamil film music — the MSV era, the Ilayaraja era, the Rahman era — and why, later, it’s been difficult to get a composer who monopolised the scene. He speaks about his legendary father, Ilayaraja, and explains the difference in their composing techniques, using two […]

Five highlights from Karunanidhi’s film career

August 8, 2018


Read the full article on Film Companion, here: Kalaignar Karunanidhi was an orator, writer, politician – plus, a towering presence in Tamil cinema. Here are five memorable examples of his contribution. Muthuvel Karunanidhi may have been a politician for the bigger part of his life, but his moniker was “kalaignar,” artist. He started out […]

FC Flashback: Vishwaroopam

August 6, 2018


What is a “classic”? The most perfect, flawless film ever made? Um… I’d rather define it as something I keep returning to, flaws and all. Something that makes me think, regard it in a new light each time. Flashback is a fortnightly feature on a film I consider a… classic. For more, subscribe to FILM […]