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Aandavan Kattalai

Kaaka muttai, Kutrame dhandanai, [ Kirumi as writer ], Aandavan kattalai which are completed projects and Kadaisi vivasayi & a hollywood remake are in pipeline. This is the quick 5 year career summary of Manikandan who’s first short film screened in 2010. He has started his career as a wedding photographer, a vivid street photographer, studied photography in Rajeev Menon’s school and short films. No assisting, scene developing decade long dreary n repeated jobs. Crisp writing, apt framing, rightly using music and strong sense of cinema language makes his works better n better.

When Mahendran, Kamal, Shankar, Manirathnam kinds are still using songs Manikantan has keeping the usage of songs minimal [ or Nil in Kutrame dhandanai ] fluidly in his works. The other good thing is he co-writes, take someone else’s story without ego and breaking the wall of Story, Screenplay, Dialogues & Direction monologue. Also he handles the camera for the needed films and gives space for someone else too [ AK has a new cinematographer Shanmugasundaram ]. A similarity between him and Mysskin is that they change the plots, technicians they work with and still delivery a neat product independently [ not depending on Antony / PCSreeram /ARRehman kinds – You know what I mean :) ].

Story

An unusually normal protagonist Gandhi [ who wears pant/shirt just like us ] leaves his village to repay his debts by travelling overseas. He reaches Chennai along with his friend and gets into the hands of brokers – the blocks in the forms he fills up leads to one incident by another incident [ rather trouble ] and what happens to him & his friend’s life is all about the tale.

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The most tedious job for all of us in a busy day is that in some office someone handovers a form and ask us to fill up with all supporting documents [ I still take a moment to fill first name / last name :) ]. I could recollect 2 personal incidents once when I voluntarily entered a police station in my teens to enquire about the delayed police verification where I was questioned seriously about my urge to get the passport. Second I got my marriage certificate by filling appropriate forms, visiting twice to registration office and finally paying Rs.50/- which was the official fees that time !

Let’s see Vijay Sethupathi first – The psychology behind Rajinikanth was he ‘was felt local and very native. The same happens with VS – he’s felt very local and abnormally normal. He just elevates the narration with all his efforts and scores neatly film after film. The greatness of Morgan freeman and Amitabh is that they come as themselves in most of the movies and still blend into the character life seamlessly. VS is similarly blessed – he is not doing any foreign make-up, weight gain/loss, carved moustaches.. nothing. He comes as himself and still makes you to feel the difference between pizza, dharmadurai, kadhalum kadandhu pogum, naanum rowdy dhaan and Aandavan kattalai [ excluding Sethupathi – though it didn’t do much change ]. He never goes overboard on punch dialogues or even fights sequences [ I expected one in the middle ] and also egoless with other characters. The actors makes us to believe the characters and transfer their emotions to us. Of course it is evident that he’s from the drama school where he’s taught inside out and outside in !

To add on the casting, the second best are [yes are! ] Nesan [ Sivagnanam Aravindan ] and Pandi [ Yogi babu ]. Nesan scores in emotion and Yogi scores in brilliant timing/one-liners. And of course rest of the casting who all does their part so aptly. Though I assume the character Karmegakuzhali [ first time name in Tamil cinema ] was given to Rithika sing for the salability of the film she adds value to the slightly alien role and fits to the subtle romantic relationship [ thankfully no duets and I couldn’t recollect the recent movie where the lead pair don’t even touch ! ]. The casting and performances were really noteworthy. Also thankfully the Srilankan Tamil dialect or their life was not used for comedy. Also, the courts are getting better and better nowadays in Tamil cinema. On the message side, the movie talks about travelling overseas for debts, tourist visa issues, marriage/divorce reality and about immigrants [ another interesting Tamil novel named KADAVUCHEETU by V.Jeevakumaaran –
Naamalum Ilakkiya vaasaganaache ].

The story was by Arulchezhian and screenplay was done by Arulcheziyan, anu charan and Manikandan. Rarely do we see such collaboration in Tamil films giving space to each other. Interestingly Anucharan is the editor as well as the titles designer [ simple 80’s titles and an end card saying SHUBAM :) ]. The second half court sequences are normally possible only by the great Crazy Mohan involving mistaken identities, false names [ Mythili / janaki ], interchanging characters [ who’s dumb was very cleverly used – similar to the stammering used in kadhala kadhala ] and it has come out brilliantly. Manikandan is well aware of what he’s doing and he might not fall for the commercial gimmicks which may deviate him. Of course there are smaller and ignorable mistakes, very few dragging moments which I don’t want to mention n bring down the morale of these good attempts.

A nice n enjoyable, decent family, comedy drama in the recent times. I’m curious to hear the comments normally when coming out along with the crowd and in the bike stand [ u get real reviews there ] and two guys were saying all were too good and why the heck they kept this old title. I second their curious question.

Kabali

Disclaimer : I come from a small town where we had 3 theatres in the 80s/90s and watch every single movie that was screened. I still remember the dreary crowd for a dull n lifeless movie [ like Thirumathi oru vegumathi ] just cheer to sky like hell that too during interval. The only reason could be a simple Padikadhavan still [ red suit and a white pant ] shown for 2 second  – an advertisement for SKYLAB tailors [ தேரடி பின்புறம் :) ]. I have seen  Enthiran 4 AM show :)

About Rajini.. It was just another titbit came up in a magazine and it was like this. During shooting RANGA song, Rajini has shared his tiredness in acting n pursue his  religious journey going far away to renunciate himself. It was 1982 – 34 years back!

About film.. Is Pa. Ranjith a famous creator ? Are there umpteen number of dazzling costumes this protagonist appear in ? Does it have ARR or some extravagant Swiss duet  songs ? Are we familiar with the cast ? Are the poster designs great ? Does Rajini have a mother [ who dies for some reason ] or comedian gang around ? Is he fighting 10 or 20 at a time ? Did he challenge the villain ? Is there a mass opening song written by Vairamuthu ? Is SPB singing the opening song [ with Mann Ponn kinds ] ? Are there graphic gimmicks ? At elast do we have a full length trailer ? Did they rock with audio release or press conferences ?

My answers for all of those questions were NO. The only factors that fascinated me is HIM and an awesome teaser trailer !

Story :

In Malaysia, 60 years old lonely Kabali gets released from prison and returns back to his Don life. He seeks revenge to the opposite gangs led by Tony
lee for attacking his wife whereas the other gang arranges an assassin to kill him. Kabali’s team runs a special school and during the interactions we
come to know about the glorious past life of Kabali. Few students from the same school are against Kabali. Kabali has own challenges of his loneliness,
missing family life, changed Don atmosphere and hardships regaining back his stardom. What happens to him, the opposite gang, his revenge, the
assassin, his family life is all about Kabali film.

View :

I felt it’s indifferent – Felt good in very few places and was just staring in most of the times.

Vairamuthu has intentionally penned a line “Unga vesham dhaan konjam maaranum.. enga saamiku magudam eranum ” in Poongatru thirumbuma song of MUDHAL MARIYADHAI [ another good one was “Mandhaiyila ninnaalum nee veerapaandi theru” ]. He was pointing the tummy-hiding big coat, defaming characters of Sivaji Ganesan singing duets with much younger actors in the 80s. Even then, there were very few movies that Sivaji could make it right and justified with his age. [ Mudhal mariyadhai, Thevar Magan ]. This is applicable to Rajini and first time a full-fledged feature is possible with his original white beard [ barring 6-60 varai, Father-Son duo gimmicks, Valli ].

The feeble Rajini has carried the entire film which has even more feeble script. Still he could make one of the best opening action blocks with his stylish slow mo. walks n dialogues. He dresses impressively, talks politics, expresses his loneliness, soft corner towards family members, weeps [ in a long shot, of course ], cracks jokes and could make out few action blocks too. He adds value especially on the emotions part interacting with his wife
Kumudavalli [ Beautifully portrayed by Radhika Apte ]. More than the lousy opening song and the fiery Kabalida song [improper placement!! ] it was Maaya nadhi which came out very well for Rajini. It’s disheartening to watch an older Rajini image on screen and above all he’s damn tired [ remember the year Ranga was shot ]. May be before signing off, he wanted to be in classic like Nayagan and fixes himself in the Don’s chair [ Adhu Mumbai.. Idhu Malaysia ]. But remember, Rajini was at his lethargic peak releasing & making 175 days of a parallel crap called MANITHAN [ that too with Chandrabose music – I still feel the day I saw 175 days of Nayagan & Manithan in the same paper ]. Having said that I still feel fascinating factor is to watch the opening scene of Rajini and entry action block and the family emotions.. of course in big screen.

Coming to Pa. Ranjith. He had done a feel good romantic humor Attakathi [ with awesome music – aasai or pulveli ] and the classic MADRAS [ tolerating the meek Catherine Teresa. He has taken references from the Don classics starting from Scarface to the last Aaranya gaandam but heavily influenced by Nayagan [ including Tinu Anand’s character, Don conference, losing family, daughter like character asking his righteousness, Selva [ John Vijay here ] and what not ]. The killer was all his MADRAS characters appear in this flick like coming to a wedding reception podium n taking a photo with Rajini – exception is Dinesh – he gets applause in a screen where Rajini is , which is very rare ! ]. The Malaysian backdrop, serial type of too many characters dilute the entire Don’s gang from Rajini’s end [ few of them have flashback too ! ]. Sill Ranjith has tried to include his thought process [ we don’t miss those Ambedkar dialogue, Malcolm X photo, Das Capital book in prison, Che’s photo, depiction of Malaysian Tamil challenges ] but none of them helps to elevates the story. From his part… the story starts really well, nice to see the emotional part of the Don, tumbles in the second half and goes haywire towards the climax. Santhosh Narayan is another let down.

I least care about the economics and the business part of the movie. As a fan, I see a movie and I like/dislike [ and I may write ]. I could sense who paid high in dollars n Rupees who might got much disappointed with this flick. Neither Rajini nor Ranjith can claim this films as theirs – It’s a film where both worked together!

– Toto.

தெர்ர்ர்றி – கதற கதற

The advantage or disadvantage of a regular cinema goer [ who can identify the voice of smoking causes cancer warning :) ] comes where he recollects other movies/scenes/frames while watching a movie and he predicts every single what’s next?  Also,  there are 2 types of Spoofs – 1 is direct like Thamizh padam [ What happened to CS Amuthan’s Irandavadhu padam ? ] and the other one is though the creators seriously copy which evokes broad smiles in us [ remember Beema ].

Remember the best moments in action flicks came in a regular masala films – Kidnapping Dhanalakshmi from Muthu pandi gang, , Hero picking up the cycle chain in college fight, Shutter closing in a subway, Collector, SP negotiating with Surya, Deva etc ! In fact more brilliance is needed in action films rather than doing the regular films.

Story:

 Serene Life, Silent introduction, pop cut one-side lover, over-speech kid [ Child labor runs in the genes ]. “You know what” kinds of build-ups, a violent flashback [ சுதந்திரப் போராட்டம்னா என்னான்னு தெரியுமா ? ],  even more violent songs, sentiments – that Jithu Jiladi [ Deva can become voice artist in Kung Fu Panda 4 ], Villain, revenge, Songs with 64k Microsoft Color palette costumes and then a slow motion high -decibel Intermission – There you feel like you are hanging upside down under a river bridge with legs tied to the bridge  [ Yes ! It tires u for 75 mins]. The rest is history, geography and moral science sessions.

Review :

The common man commercial Cinema has some usual elements and the challenge with this film is that it ensures every single cliché that has been around since the early Malaikallan days. For ex.,  Hero should have a single mother and heroine should have single father [ Thaayillaa ponnu ]; after all regular fights hero has to fight against a giant henchman [ his weak point is his tonsured head ! ].  There are similar clichés planted in every single frame of the movie.  There’s even a Bride search scene [ Thupaki sentiment ! ]. The film has so many characters where I felt there are more characters in the movies than the full house Sathyam Cinema theatre audience.

Atlee has overtaken all of those creators and I could recollect anything & everything starting from Unforgiven, Sathriyan, Jallikattu, Mounaragam, Arasu, Basha, Ramana, Gabbar singh [ telugu ], Indian, Gajini [ late night bus romance ], Dharmathin Thalaivan,  kaaka kaaka and mix with real life incidents of Nirbaya, TCS Uma maheswari [ Adhula Raghavan’s instinct vere ], Ezham ulagam [ attai maadiri oru NSC Bose road set ], Salman khan, etc., I wonder about those great story discussion sessions where they might have referred at least 100 Tamil/Telugu films. The dialogues are like dictionary definitions.. They define the words [ like Vithyabathi ! ] love, son, mother, son-in-law, marriage.. and what not ! Theri will stand like a Britannica reference in the future for any sentiments [ a modern Vikraman version ] . They could have stolen from Iruthi sutru depicting the commissioner Prabhu as the father of Samantha – Nalla velai. Anyway, I don’t blame the crew as their only goal is to make a hit film with the given call sheets and the heavy weight budget. Of course, they succeeded.

Vijay – He needs a special mention for carrying the entire film on his shoulders. He loves, cares, jokes, strikes, punches [ the dialogues ] and advises with a truck load of messages with some amazing screen presence shots –  he even mocks Aadukalam dance. As usual he dances sincerely even for a marana waste song like Jithu Jiladi and fights until u feel the blood/cramps in you. I still recollect good melody song in most of his films [ Azhagooril poothavale, Melliname, Kandangi, Molachu moonu ] and that’s heavily missing in Theri. it was like we entered a scary house where you get voices like Deva and the whistling Therrrrriiii BGM voices. Atlee didn’t even want to lose the gap of end title credits and inserts a dance number there. I was scared that even after we come out of the theater Atlee could send some “deleted” song in my WhatsApp. GVPrakash needs a special mention for such lousy songs.

I know.. Dir Mahendran. We all know why the legend was asked to be around in Theri [ Did he act ?]  again He’s reminded Chidambaram with the missing lengthy dhothi on shoulder warning Viswanath IAS  ! ]. In fact, we are happy that if this helps the legend, let his round begin as an actor.

சத்ரியனைத்தான் ரீமேக் பண்ணிடாங்களோன்னு நம்ம்ம்பி உள்ள போய்ட்டம்மா.. உள்ள போனா.. ஒரு 50 – 60 தமிழ் படங்களைத் துண்டு துண்டா எடுத்து ஒரு ஒன்றை மணி நேரம் டான்ஸ், ஃபைட், பில்டப்பு ன்னு கதற கதற அடிச்சானுங்க.. முடிஞ்சுதுடா சாமின்னு எந்திருச்சா அப்போ தான் இண்டர்வல் னு போட்டானுங்கம்மா.. அதுக்கு அப்றம்.. விஜய்யே கோஸ்ட் கோபாலா மாறி மகேந்திரனையும், நம்மளையும் மாறி மாறி கதற கதற அடுத்த ஒன்றை மணி நேரம் பழி வாங்கினார்ம்மா.. நானும் எவ்ளோ நேரம் தான் விஜய் ரசிகன் மாதிரியே நடிக்கறது.. சரி போகுதுறான்னு பாத்தா.. ஜிவிபிரகாஷ்ன்னு ஒருத்தன்மா.. சரி விடு.. இதெல்லாம் பத்தாதுன்னு படம் முடிச்சி பேர் போடும்போதும் அங்கயும் ஒரு பாட்டு போட்டானுங்க.. போட்டுட்டு அவங்க ஒண்ணு சொன்னானுங்க.. டேய் ! இவனுங்க எப்படி எடுத்தாலும் பாக்கறானுங்கடா.. பார்ட் 2 எடுத்து போடுவம்டான்னு.. அவ்….:)

Thoongavanam – vaadu leftlo veedu rightlo

Thoongavanam

Quiz time : Do you know the difference between copy, adaptation, inspiration, remake  ?? No worries – neither do I.

It’s a special year for Kamal & Cinema fans to have 3 of his films in the same year. However Kamal played different roles in these 3 films – Writer/actor/singer [ UV ], Actor [ PNSM ] and Producer/Writer/Actor/Singer [ Thoongavanam ]. One can identify the difference of his role play [ Producer ! ] and the outcomes. I have watched Thoongavanam on the first day and to complete my curiosity “Nuit Blanche” [ Sleepless night ] on the next day – this way I save the first day thrill of watching Thoongavanam directly.

Story

When the title sequence itself didn’t mention about Story why we should be concerned about the story. Anyway, the one liner is interesting – Wrongly executed Drug heist followed by a murder, kidnap and ransom involving multiple cat & mouse chase games between 2 IRS officer teams, a family and 2 drug dealers in a noisy club, over the night.

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As a cinema fan.. It’s never tiring to see Kamal as a Macho hero [ Tha .. Gate-i moodraa ] and his magnanimous screen presence. The flow of the movie was so fluid [ cheetah-paced ] until the interval [ when this format will be broken ? ] and with a slight shaky ride the thriller ends up for good. The cast, BGM, technicians, stunt choreography – all did very well and the final outcome is an above average thriller. Kamal films are keen about stunt choreography esp in a confined space typed fights [ Micheal Madhanakamarajan, Mahanadhi etc ]. They have recreated the stunt choreography as good as the original one has. If this film collects well [ already declared as hit ] and Suka regain his positoin in cinema, I would be more happy.

Again as a cinema fan.. Kamal always confuses by making Thevar Magan and also Mumbai express.. How can the same person write these 2 extreme scripts ? . When remake fame Jayam Raja can spend quality time in a memorable script like “Thani oruvan” why the best Script writer in India [ as claimed by himself ] couldn’t work on an original script. Mysskin once said if he is ever asked to direct another writer’s script, it would only be Kamal’s. We have been hearing since the good olden days [ Karaindha Nizhalgal – Asokamithran days, GV Iyer days, KBalachander days ] that they always look for some spark, story, one liners from other languages, film festivals etc., We did have some master minds like Mahendran getting inspired just by a still photograph of one-eyed John wayne and write a complete Thangap padhakkam. When Kamal writes for others the film doesn’t fit in a format and goes haywire in 360 degrees [ Uthama villain ] and he selects a film that just works within a sleek budget n focussed in 1 genre. The same happens if he just acts in other director’s film [ Papanasam ].

When Kamal becomes a producer, he becomes like SP Muthuraman – completes a film in 38 days, engage his own school of technicians, actors. The producer cleverly implants Telugu crew and few Malayalam crew for business purposes. Also, Kamal had the privilege of employing directors who just listens to him ever since GN Rangarajan days [ the finest combo was Singeetham ] and now the latest is this debutant director. Did I hear the name Rajesh M Selva now ? [ Come on ]. The sad part is about the capable co-actors and under utilising their ability [ Sampath & Asha Sarath esp – He has taken revenge on Asha Sarath who stole the screen in Papanasam .. Idhula only naasam :(( ]. We have seen bigger insults before for stuttering Sundaralingam and an IPS officer Abbas dying tied in a chair. [  identify the films :) ]. There could only 2 possible reasons for choosing this French flick – Racy screenplay and the protagonist fills up the screen end to end.

The crew initially said in all those press meets, launches that they just took the story and modified completely. Absolutely right !

Kamal changes from suit to jacket in the second half [ reverse in original film – Wow ! ],
Kamal stitches on his own and injects some drug [ Mysskin padathula matum dhaan drug per solvaangala ],
the nurse character development[?!],
an unwanted slow motion heroic ending,
a lengthy fight with Trisha [ not in original ],
intelligent boy [ genes.. genes.. ],
Maida jokes,
added a shit sequence – yes.

These are the amazing [?!] transformational changes done in the script [ Ada.. ada ] .. Trust me.. They have recreated it frame by frame .. shot by shot.. even the intelligent camera movement from 1 toilet to another in a continuous sequence, costume colors, dialogues, camera angles .. It’s like doing a sketch in a trace paper placed on an original drawing. They have just recreated the original film millimetre by millimetre. The only job is to mute n add Tamil dialogues. I appreciate the crew by doing the remake work near perfect but why Kamal takes the credit of this screenplay ? If he could recreate the thriller in a mall or a theme park then it certainly makes sense. I remember Telugu producers are keen copying the details when taking from the source movie.. [ saying Vaadu leftlo.. veedu rightlo ]. Kamal & co has done similarly such exercise. Obviously the film will be at breakneck speed – thanks to saying No for “Kungumathu meni Kollaiyida vaa nee” kind of club dances in between :) The song “Neeye unaku raja” again resembles  “Idhu enna kadavule” of the classic “Neruppu vaayinil” from Pudhupetai and the line like Ullathin neellam was already written in Anbe sivam song. I noticed that Kamal almost hits/kicks/punches almost all the co-actors [ including Uma riyaz ] – u name any character [ except his wife ]. Let us not get on to those flaws part like why the club has just one single personal cctv, why Kishore doesn’t leave after getting the coke, why they can’t take the kid and hide in mayajal / Muttukadu, why the pub doesn’t have an online UPS :)) kinds of logical doubts..

The sad part is Hollywood is making a remake on this flick with Jamie Foxx [ Aiyo paavam ] – I would prefer Jason Statham. The director [ really ?! ] Rajesh M Selva has said that so far only 10% of Kamal’s writing capability has come out in Tamil films.. May be the remaining will come out when I turn 61 – who knows. We have watched much more better original thriller flicks from Thiyagarajan Kumararaja [ aaranya Gandam ] and from Mysskin [ Onayum aatukuttiyum ]. Kamal is surrounded by a crowd which constantly praising him with the lines.. “Neeye unakku Raja Unadhu thalaiye unaku gireedam”.. last but not least.. I would like to hear the comments from 2 important film personalities.. 1. Lingusamy – the great producer who promoted Thaiyyam in Tamilnadu :) and 2. Ramesh Arvind.. Another great director who had the lifetime privilege of directing Kamal Sir / Kamal avargall :)

-Toto.

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