Browsing All Posts filed under »Cinema: Tamil«

“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 […]

“Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu”… A sprawling, unwieldy drama about strugglers

April 15, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… Chennai Ungalai Anbudan Varaverkirathu is a variant on Angadi Theru. This, too, is about people from outside Chennai who come to the city with dreams of making it big, but find that life here is the stuff of nightmares. And yes, one of these dreamers – Chellapandi (Bobby Simha) – is a wannabe […]

Towards a better critical culture in Tamil cinema

April 14, 2015

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With the Internet’s help, we finally seem to have entered an era with more people being able to say what they really want to say. No wonder actors and filmmakers appear rattled. There used to be a fairy-tale time when only a handful of reviewers opined about a film with some kind of seriousness. These […]

“Sagaptham”… Uh, um, well, cough-cough, whatever

April 3, 2015

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Spoilers ahead… How does one talk about Sagaptham, directed by Surendran? Maybe we could begin with the scene where ‘Power Star’ Srinivasan gets out of his Jeep, unzips and begins to urinate. We hear the unzipping sound, then we cut to water gushing out of pipes in a nearby tank. Visual metaphor, I think this […]

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