Udanpirappe movie review: Jyothika is fine, but can’t elevate this rehash of age-old narrative

Udanpirappe is Jyothika’s 50th film. Her ‘second innings,’ as she calls it, has been dotted with stories that champion women. More specifically, her films speak of, and for the middle-aged woman, a demographic that is often left out on screen. Tamil cinema rarely engages with middle-aged women, beyond her identity as a wife or a mother. Jyotjika has spoken very candidly about the gender bias in the industry, and her films have been crucial in representing this space.’

However, Udanpirappe is not a female-centric narrative like her earlier films. The film revolves around the bond between Vairavan (Sasikumar) and his sister Mathangi (Jyotika). An ongoing feud between Mathangi’s husband (Samuthirakani) and Vairavan has led to a falling out. While family feuds are no stranger to Tamil cinema, Udanpirappe has an interesting clash of ideologies at the centre. While Vairavan believes in quick justice, even if it means turning vigilante and resorting to violence, his brother-in-law is a stickler for rules. The latter argues that violence will only add fuel to the fire, and can never be the solution. However, Vairavan argues that our snail-paced systems rarely get around to delivering justice. However, Udanpirappe does not explore these contrasting perspectives in detail. It is content to stick to the surface — happy to make an Anniyan out of Vairavan and an Ambi out of his brother-in-law.

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Mugizh movie review: A simple but charming slice-of-film about grief

In the past few weeks, Vijay Sethupathi has had three film releases. He is also hosting a show on a popular Tamil television channel, has given umpteen interviews. Suddenly, Vijay Sethupathi is everywhere: in theatres, on digital platforms, on TV, Youtube. Memes flooded the internet and they progressed to trolls, fuelled by the failure of his recent projects. But VJS is showing no signs of slowing down: he has a long list of projects that are in various stages of production. Thus, the popular opinion came to be: “Are we seeing too much of Vijay Sethupathi”

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Sivakumarin Sabadham movie review: Refreshing changes save an age-old narrative

Independent musician turned actor Hip Hop Aadhi’s first ticket to fame was his 2011 single ‘Clubbula Mabbula’. The rookie video — a mobile recording of two youngsters rapping in a radio station — became a viral hit, even before we knew what that meant. For the uninitiated, ‘Clubbula Mabbula’ is a song that trashed women who consumed alcohol and partied, branding them as harbingers of cultural doom.

Ten years later, his latest directorial Sivakumarin Sabadham has a similar instance. Shruthi (Madhuri) is harassed at a club by rogue men, saying the same things ‘Clubbula Mabbula’ did. While a usual Tamil cinema hero would have patronised Shruthi, Sivakumar (Hip Hop Aadhi) speaks of the initial culture shock and the subsequent realisation of his erroneous understanding. “Avano avalo ellam onnu dhana, adhu arivu varappo ungaluku thaana puriyum. (Whether it is a man or a woman, the rules are the same.)” And further consoled the sobbing heroine saying, “Nee correct nu unaku theriyum la. Yaaru enna sonna enna?.” (You know you are right. Why do you care about what other people say?)

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Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum movie review: A well-intentioned but middling social drama

Raman Aandalum Raavanan Aandalum is the opening phrase of the blockbuster Rajinikanth song from Mullum Malarum. The full verse is “Raman aandalum ravanan aandalum enaku oru kavalai ila” (Whether Rama rules or Ravana, I don’t care). In Mullum Malarum, the song is a boisterous proclamation of Kaali’s bravado and morality. In Arisil Moorthy’s Raame Aandalum Raavane Aandalum (RARA), it’s a plea from the common, impoverished man — no matter who rules us, our situations are not going to change. The stage for political commentary is set, but does the film use it well?

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Eeswaran Movie review: A resurgent Simbu, but little else

In the early minutes of Eeswaran, there’s a local cricket match. It is the final over—seven runs to win with just one wicket left. Eeswaran (Simbu) walks in to much applause. The other batsman Puli Kutty (Bala Saravanan) asks Eeswaran to hit a single and leave the rest to him. However, Eeswaran says, “Crowd-a paathalla? Naa aadithan jeikanum nu wait panraanga.” This last over becomes a metaphor, as Eeswaran continues to waste balls. Once, he even picks up the ball and throws it to the bowler, almost getting Puli Kutty run out. And then, the final ball arrives, and Eeswaran hits the CG ball for a six.

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B Selvi and Daughters Short Film Review: A well-intentioned, sweet mother-daughter tale

There’s a story about a baby elephant being chained. Introduced to the chain even before it can walk, the young elephant thinks it can only move as far as the chain allows. It gets so accustomed to this, that it refuses to go out of those boundaries, even when there is no chain. It is a good analogy of how conditioning works, how patriarchy works. But, with each generation, we become more confident to push forward, closer to equality. This is visible a lot in mother-daughter relationships. Most mothers don’t want their daughters to face the struggles they had. And daughters, after they grow up, become the strongest supporters of their mothers’ desires and push them to go for it. This understanding comes from having a common enemy, and a shared battle. This is the premise of the short film B Selvi and Daughters, starring Kalaivani and Gayathrie Shankar.

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Sir Movie Review: Tillotama Shome shines in a poignant film about dreams

They say love is blind. Colour, caste, creed, class… nothing is supposed to matter in the sanctum of love. But how often do we think this way? Even those of us who want to badly believe in the noble notion, still fall prey to biases rooted in stereotypes. Rathna (Tillotama Shome) works as a live-in help at Ashwin’s (Vivek Gomber) house in Mumbai. A widow from the villages, this job is her ticket to her dreams. On the other hand, there is the morose Ashwin carrying the guilt of a broken engagement and lost dreams. And in that safe space of a house, they both nudge each other closer to their dreams, finding an unexpected companion.

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Mookuthi Amman Movie Review: Nayanthara blesses this fairly enjoyable RJ Balaji comedy

As an ardent KTV fan, Amman films hold a lot of personal nostalgic value for me. As a child, I remember those afternoons spent watching the glorious Amman step down from the heavens to save the struggling heroine from the villain. Growing up, my equation with faith transformed, but there still seems to be something comforting about Amman films. It is the ultimate escapist entertainment, right? The world is black and white here, and you know there’s a saviour. Thus, when RJ Balaji announced Mookuthi Amman, I was quite excited. But the big question is, can you sell all those tropes without the cushion of nostalgia?

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Soorarai Pottru movie review: Suriya and Sudha Kongara steer a winning flight

There is a famous quote that time is priceless. But in our world, time is frequently bought. For example, for a regular person, a trip to Mumbai takes roughly a day by train. But for the wealthy, it takes less than two hours. Why is the time of a wealthy person inherently more valuable? Who decides that the time of the not-so-rich isn’t worthy enough? These are the questions behind Nedumaaran Rajangam’s dream of creating a low-cost airline. “Vaanam enna unga appan veetu soththa,” asks Maara furiously. The idea is to make the skies accessible, for anyone who dreams to fly

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The Queen’s Gambit review: A winning game

How do you make chess interesting for the outsider? The sport (or game, depending on which side of the debate you are) often bears a misconstrued image of being ‘boring’, given that it is played in silence, devoid of evident excitement, with even spectators maintaining a stoic quiet. It is just two people, bent over a board of 64 squares staring intently at a bunch of oddly shaped pieces. Naturally, I was curious to see how The Queen’s Gambit has captured the abundant drama that chess embodies. And boy, does it get it right.

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