Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“Naalu Policeum Nalla Irundha Oorum”… A bare handful of laughs in a ‘comic’ parable

July 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Naalu Policeum Nalla Irundha Oorum is the kind of film where we’re not supposed to care that it looks like a Class IV production of Aattukkara Alamelu. The jokes are supposed to be the thing – and for a brief while, they are. The four cops of the title (Arulnithi, Singampuli, Bagavathi Perumal, […]

Radio days

July 18, 2015

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The king is dead. Long live the king. Baradwaj Rangan remembers MS Viswanathan. At 7:59 am, last Tuesday, I got this sms from a friend: You have to write a great tribute. I hadn’t looked at news sites yet, but I knew who the tribute was for. We’d been hearing news about his hospitalisation and […]

“Maari”… Some nice bits can’t save a grindingly ordinary movie

July 17, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Every young Tamil-film hero looking to become a super star (if not the Superstar) makes a film in which he plays a cop. That’s when he announces his ambitions of entering the big leagues. Enough with all this love from the urban pockets. I now want B- and C-centre adoration. Maari is Balaji […]

Alice in Wonderland

July 11, 2015

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Gautami opens up to Baradwaj Rangan about ‘Papanasam’, her milestone movies, and, yes, Kamal Sir. You know how some actors look even better sitting across you than on screen? Gautami is charmed like that. She could probably jump out of bed and pose, simultaneously, for a keep-your-skin-glowing ad, a be-trim-in-your-forties ad, and one of those […]

“Baahubali”… A triumph of imagination

July 10, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… At the beginning of Baahubali – The Beginning, we’re shown the lay of the land. This kingdom lies here, that one there. It’s nothing new as an idea – we saw this in Lagaan, for instance. But look what the director, SS Rajamouli, does. He renders the map in three dimensions and follows […]

“Papanasam”… A faithful remake, a solid thriller

July 3, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Let me begin by saying how intensely jealous I am of those of you who haven’t seen Drishyam, the Malayalam movie that inspired Papanasam. Most times, it doesn’t matter whether we’ve seen the original film or read the book the screenplay is based on – because, as the cliché goes, there are only […]

Bullet-point Report: “Yagavarayinum Naa Kaakka”

June 29, 2015

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I’m getting increasingly fascinated by our heroines these days. Take the Royal Enfield-riding Kayal (Nikki Galrani) in Yaagavarayinum Naa Kaakka. She knows the hero (Saga, played by Aadhi) is interested in her. She spots him waiting for her outside her college. She approaches him from behind and taps his shoulder. He turns, surprised to see […]

“Indru Netru Naalai”… A time-travel thriller with more comedy than thrills

June 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Like Appuchi Gramam, Indru Netru Naalai is “local” sci-fi – and this localisation is the best part. The story is about a time machine from the future that falls in the hands of two men in the present who have to go back in the past so they can remain who are… in […]

“Moone Moonu Varthai”… An easy-watch comedy

June 27, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… In most films, we can sense the director’s terror that the audience is going to tune out and start looking at their smartphones – hence the frantic cuts, the soundtrack whoosh accompanying the change of camera angles, the insistence that every scene carry a punch. Madhumita’s Moone Moonu Varthai exists at the other […]

“Eli”… Seriously unfunny

June 19, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… All we ask of a comedy is that it keep us entertained. At least, this is what I ask. Not plot. Not acting. And certainly not whether it “makes sense.” I was doing some idle YouTube-ing a while ago, and came across this scene with Kallapetti Singaram and two others. They’re villagers, and […]

“Inimey Ippadithan”… A not-bad, Bhagyaraj-style comedy

June 13, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Note the title, Inimey Ippadithan. This is Santhanam announcing that, henceforth, this is what he’s going to do. He’s going to be the hero. He’s going to wear yellow sneakers and cavort with a non-Tamil-speaking heroine on foreign beaches. He’s going to do stalk-the-girl-till-she-says-yes scenes (otherwise known as “romantic track” in Tamil cinema). […]

“Romeo Juliet”… A preposterous mix of ‘comedy’ and melodrama

June 12, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Romeo Juliet, directed by Lakshman, is first and foremost a public service announcement from Kollywood: Look, boss, I know you saw ‘Kaaka Muttai’ last week, and it was funny and well-made and thought-provoking and everything you want cinema to be, but don’t go expecting that kind of movie every week. We are like […]

“Kaaka Muttai”… An outstanding debut

June 5, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… The National Award for Kaaka Muttai doesn’t make any sense. Best Children’s Film. What does that even mean? Best film that has good parts for children or good performances by children? Or best film for children? Either way, the award is an insult. Kaaka Muttai isn’t just for children — actually, some of […]

“Purampokku Engira Podhuvudamai”… An entertaining prison-escape drama that also manages to make you think

May 20, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… A lot of filmmakers make “message” movies. SP Jhananathan makes propaganda movies. His films aren’t about walking home with a warm glow and a trite little homily ringing in the head. He weaves complex tapestries from skeins of impassioned ideology. His first film, Iyarkai, an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s White Nights, was something I […]

“36 Vayadhinile”… Worth a cheer, despite a broad TV-soap approach

May 15, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… In Rosshan Andrrews’s 36 Vayadhinile, based on his Malayalam hit How Old Are You*, Jyotika plays an alien. What else could the character, named Vasanthi, be? She’s 36. Her eyesight is no longer what it was. Her hair is turning silver. She has a teen-aged daughter. She works in a government job and […]

“India Pakistan”… A not-so-bad comedy

May 8, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Midway through India Pakistan, Karthick (Vijay Antony) and Mellina (Sushma Raj) – Chennai-based lawyers both – find themselves in a village. Karthick is hanging out with some guys who think Mellina is easy: andha maadhiri ponnu. It’s the kind of cheap talk you hear all too often about urban women who have a […]

“Vai Raja Vai”… An inoffensive caper

May 5, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Aishwarya R. Dhanush likes men who see things. The protagonist of her first film, 3, saw holographic demons. Or something. The protagonist of her follow-up, Vai Raja Vai, sees the future. At least, he knows what’s coming. That’s his boon and the film’s curse. Early on, we get a hint that the clairvoyance […]

“Uttama Villain”… A superb core let down by lackluster filmmaking

May 2, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Kamal Haasan’s films suffer sometimes because they end up looking like vanity projects, but Uttama Villain, directed by Ramesh Aravind, couldn’t be anything else – for this is the story of a vain star named Manoranjan (Kamal Haasan). This is cinema about cinema, and because Tamil cinema is really about the hero, the […]

Caste and class in popular Tamil cinema

April 23, 2015

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Observing and interpreting class or caste markers in the discussion of a film isn’t the same as celebrating them. I co-wrote a screenplay some years ago, and we named the hero Rahul. We hadn’t thought about Rahul’s caste.  The only thing he was, in our minds, was young – and Rahul sounded like a young […]

“O Kadhal Kanmani”… A lightweight but enjoyable romance

April 17, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… After a long time, I caught myself smiling while watching a Mani Ratnam movie. The cuteness, the zingers, the youngness – it’s all back. Seen one way, O Kadhal Kanmani is something of a greatest-hits package. It’s as if the director is telling us: “So you didn’t like it when I went too […]

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