Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

Not a black-and-white issue

February 10, 2016

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The racism controversy around the Oscars cannot be addressed by just nominating a few black actors. When Mary Kom was released – actually, right from the point the film was announced – a lot was said and written about Priyanka Chopra playing a Manipuri boxer. “Why not cast someone from the North East?” was the […]

“Bangalore Naatkal”… A faithful, warm, fun remake

February 6, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… When they announced a Tamil remake of Anjali Menon’s Bangalore Days, I wondered how they’d pull it off. Because the biggest strength of the film is its warm embrace of the polarities that make urban Indians tick. The fact that we slip easily between local tongues and English. The fact that we like […]

“Saahasam”… A dull, empty vanity project

February 6, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Watching Saahasam – aka Prashanth’s attempt to prove he’s still relevant, by dancing and romancing and stopping moving cars with his fists (he plays a happy-go-lucky “youth” named Ravi)  – I kept thinking it can’t be easy being the dialogue writer for a masala movie. You’re expected to give every line a… punch. I’m […]

“Visaranai”… A powerful, chilling drama about how the System toys with us

February 5, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… The ancient Greeks probably had it right. According to them, gods were power-hungry pleasure-seekers who got their kicks by toying with human lives. It’s a fancy way of saying shit happens – but how else to explain away the mind-boggling randomness of, say, the recent floods in Chennai? Or the plight of the […]

“Irudhi Suttru / Saala Khadoos”… A heart-warming boxing drama

January 29, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… There’s a sly joke in Irudhi Suttru about the Kollywood (and indeed, the Tamil) tendency to bestow titles and nicknames, put up cut-outs and banners, transform the most ordinary of events into a combination of Pongal, Deepavali and the Superstar’s birthday. The utterly ordinary event, here, is the return of Hissar-based boxing coach […]

After-effects of an award

January 27, 2016

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With Rajinikanth’s Padma Vibhushan, the North is finally seeing what the Superstar is all about. Baradwaj Rangan reports. “Hey Ram! Is it raining?” These were the first words out of Mrs. Sharma’s mouth when she opened the door and saw her husband, soaked from head to toe. Mr. Sharma didn’t reply. She looked past him and […]

“Moondraam Ullaga Por”… An imaginative premise, that’s about it

January 22, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… It’s 2025. Things look slightly different. The handheld devices, for instance, have a holographic quality. But The Hindu still looks the same – there’s even the same masthead. And Tamil film heroes still behave the same way. Take Saravanan (Sunil Kumar), the Indian soldier who’s been captured by the Chinese and is being […]

“Rajini Murugan”… A lazy comedy saved somewhat by its star

January 18, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… When you ask young actors why they keep making the same kind of movie, they’ll say they want to establish themselves first, with these “safe films” – but here’s the rub. Once you’ve established yourself, once you’ve become the brand ambassador for a certain kind of movie, once you know this is what people […]

“Gethu”… A stylish but empty thriller

January 18, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Now that Santhanam’s star is on the wane, Udhayanidhi Stalin must have been in a fix about his forthcoming film. “Why not try action?” someone must have said. Hence, Gethu, which begins with a sniper (Vikranth) in Leh. I didn’t get his name. Wikipedia says it’s David Christopher. It doesn’t matter. He could […]

Mad visuals and melodrama

January 16, 2016

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Brief notes from the 13th Chennai International Film Festival. Where are the great images? I kept asking this question during this year’s edition of the Chennai International Film Festival, usually a December fixture in the city’s cultural calendar but postponed a month due to the floods. When I say “great images,” I’m not talking about […]

“Thaarai Thappattai”… Warmed-over Bala, but still worthwhile

January 15, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Why doesn’t Bala make comedies? His obsession with bloodbaths may suggest he has one of the most twisted minds in the industry – it’s a wonder he’s not yet been snapped up as a consultant by the people who run Hell, to design increasingly vivid tortures. But his mind is also one of […]

“Kathakali”… A fairly watchable thriller

January 14, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… If Murder on the Orient Express were set on land and made into a masala movie, it might resemble Pandiraj’s Kathakali. The film is a whodunit centred on this question: Who killed the gangster Thamba (Madhusudhan Rao)? We know it’s not Amudhan, because this part is played by Vishal, the hero – or […]

“Azhagu Kutti Chellam”… Seriously amateurish, but a notch better than ‘Pasanga 2’

January 14, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Normally, I wouldn’t have written about Azhagu Kutti Chellam. It would have been one of those films I saw just because the job demands it – maybe you’ll have to refer back to it someday while writing about another movie, or maybe there’s an actor in a small role who shows promise. But […]

“Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam”… An unbelievable story about an unsuited couple

January 13, 2016

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Spoilers ahead… Gitanjali Selvaraghavan’s Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam begins with a note that it’s difficult to describe some love stories… “But we’ve tried.” (I liked the word used: muyarchithirukkirom. I also like the title, reminiscent of the slow-burn LR Easwari song from Dharisanam.) But is it really so hard to describe this love story? Just call […]

My top twenty: 2015

December 26, 2015

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Recalling the Tamil films of 2015 that, even if not great in the overall sense, stood out for some reason(s). Here, in alphabetical order. 144: At first, I found the narrative a rhythmless mess, too “quirky” for its own good. But slowly, I tuned into the film’s vibe, and just thinking about the bits now […]

“Bhooloham”… A tepid boxing drama somewhat punched up by the milieu

December 24, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… N Kalyanakrishnan’s Bhooloham is yet another warming-up of the local-boy-makes-good boxing drama. It has the gruff-father-figure coach (Ponvannan). It has the sinews-popping training montage. It has the giant opponents who represent the “other” in multiple ways – Dayal (Arpit Ranka) is from North India, Steven George (Nathan Jones) is from North America. And […]

“Pasanga 2.”… A shockingly inept message movie

December 24, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Y ou know that dengue ad with Vivek? If someone expanded it to feature length and married it off to a Visu starrer from the 1980s, we’d get something resembling Pandiraj’s Pasanga 2. Why employ the tools of cinema if all you want to do is have people spout words of wisdom? Kuzhandhainga […]

“Thanga Magan”… A solid 80s-style melodrama slips up when it decides to worship the hero

December 21, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… It’s an unusual introduction for a movie with a big-ticket hero. For one, the hero gets no big-ticket introduction – not in the get-the-fans-screaming sense, considering the whistle-ready title, Thangamagan. Thamizh (Dhanush) and his friend Kumaran (Sathish) ride up to a house. Beside them, in an auto-rickshaw, are Thamizh’s mother (Raadhika Sarathkumar) and […]

At the movies

December 12, 2015

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Rain or shine, the connection between Chennai residents and cinema is an unbreakable one. Imagine there’s a death in the family. Some people weep and wail. Some people realise that there are practical things that need to get done. They get busy making calls, getting a photo ready in order to put out an obituary […]

“Eetti”… A sweet little love track amidst a lot of tiresome macho posturing

December 12, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Under normal circumstances, the story of a hurdler (Pugazhendi, played by Atharvaa) with a rare blood disease – thrombasthenia, if you’re a doctor; in English, once the patient begins to bleed, he won’t stop – would be story enough. A slightly ambitious filmmaker might even use the sport as a metaphor, that Pugazhendi […]

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