Ka Pae Ranasingam Movie Review: Aishwarya Rajesh shines in a film that doesn’t belong to her

In an interview before the release, Aishwarya Rajesh was asked why the film is named Ka Pae Ranasingam, and she replied that though the film revolves around Ariyanachi (her character), the soul of the film belongs to Ranasingam (Vijay Sethupathi). When you watch the film, you can see the conflict in the narrative. Ka Pae Ranasingam is essentially Ariyanachi’s story but the film focuses more on establishing who Ransingam is. Ka Pae Ranasingam wobbles due to this tug of war and we get a three-hour film that wanders a lot before coming to the point.

Continue reading “Ka Pae Ranasingam Movie Review: Aishwarya Rajesh shines in a film that doesn’t belong to her”

Aishwarya Rajesh: Women actors should be approached with diverse subjects

Aishwarya Rajesh is bemused about interacting with the press through a Zoom call. “All of this is new to me,” she says, taking in all our faces peering through the little boxes on screen. This actor, whose Ka Pae Ranasingam has begun streaming on Zee Plex, admits to being a fan of the big screen. “I prefer watching films on the big screen. My mom and I used to catch the early morning shows.” She adds that Ka Pae Ranasingam was made for the theatres. “The film has been ready for release since April, but as we had no idea about when theatres would be allowed to open, we had to opt for a digital release. We believe that if a film is good, it will be acknowledged no matter which platform it releases in.”

Continue reading “Aishwarya Rajesh: Women actors should be approached with diverse subjects”


#Kanaa, in a lot of ways was personal. Every time Kausalya was told that she didn’t belong on the ground, it brought back memories. I am a huge fan of cinema but until last year, haven’t watched a film FDFS. Why? There would be no women around. Why brave the boisterous crowds and catch a film FDFS when you can always watch it later? How will you go to the theatre? Will you be safe? While thankfully, I haven’t been discriminated on my gender, there are inherent invisible struggles.There have been several days where I have been the only woman around and been the cynosure of stares that will make anyone comfortable. I have had exit routes always mapped in my mind, if I need to run out. I’ve never let it bother me or let it interfere in my decisions. This is just a small example. I am privileged and not everyone has been this lucky. Continue reading “Kanaa”

First impressions of Vada Chennai: A gritty peek into a fascinating world

Early morning shows are a phenomenon intrinsic to Tamil cinema. But to witness packed houses for multiple shows at 4:45 am, despite mild rains, is a sight that our theatres have been yearning for in a while. For the second time within a month (after Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam), the crowds had set their alarms not just to watch their favourite stars first on the big screen, but also to witness their favourite filmmaker weave his magic. The applause that Vetri Maaran’s name received at the end of Vada Chennai, was such a gratifying sound. Quite exciting times for Tamil cinema, indeed. Continue reading “First impressions of Vada Chennai: A gritty peek into a fascinating world”

Vada Chennai music review: Santhosh Narayanan captures the vibrant charm of North Chennai

It isn’t every day that we come across an album with ten tracks. But when the music is intriguing as Santhosh Narayanan’s, we have no complaints. His music for Vada Chennai can be split into two parts — one, with the gaana-infused folk numbers and the other, with the melodies that might as well be trademarked in his name. With the first part, Santhosh captures the cultural exuberance of North Chennai. However, he balances this with the other part, melodies that consist of an eclectic mosaic of sounds that we have come to expect of him. Put the two together and you get a holistic picture, not just of the film, but of the composer himself. Continue reading “Vada Chennai music review: Santhosh Narayanan captures the vibrant charm of North Chennai”

Hari-Vikram-Keerthy Suresh’s Saamy 2

My thoughts on the 154 minutes that I did watch of #SaamySquare aka #Saamy2 starring #Vikram, #KeerthySuresh, helmed by #Hari

I guess Hari couldn’t decide what he wanted to do with Saamy Square — so he decided to throw in everything. There’s the ‘righteous, progressive cop’. Aaruchamy makes a 15-20 minute cameo and in that brief span manages to give a sermon about caste and how women should be treated with respect. He ‘allows’ his wife Bhuvana (Aishwarya Rajesh) to apply for IAS exams. There’s the ‘I don’t have time for love hero’ Ramaswamy, an IAS aspirant who moonlights as a priest. He doesn’t think twice about slapping Diya (Keerthy Suresh), his potential romantic interest. She is introduced as a straight-forward no-nonsense woman. Now, you would think Hari wants to invest in a romance, after all, he did it in Saamy 1. But he seems to be more happy to give screen space to Soori’s exhausted, vexatious, infuriating ‘jokes’ (He has a theme that goes Maan Maan Shakthi man, maan maan poke maan). As it is with ‘commercial films’, Diya falls in love with Ramaswamy almost instantaneously. And, in a moment, he becomes the sole purpose of her existence — even her clothes are of a single colour, as if it’s a symbol of how her life has been unilaterally streamlined. She says ‘avasarathunala vandha kadhal illa akkarai la vandha kadhal’. Ramaswamy got Diya her favourite milkshake and a dress stitched, that’s it. Since we have been conditioned into expecting this from our mainstream, commercial films even my outrage now feels like an indulgence. Why expect, right? Moving on.

Maybe he wants to create a nuanced film, his version of the Ramayana. There’s Ravana Pitchai (Bobby Simhaa), from Sri Lanka, who is up against Ramaswamy. If Perumal Pitchai was superstitiously attached to his Ambassador car, Ravana Pitchai seems to trust the power of his mother’s ‘chozhi’. But he doesn’t do much justice to this angle apart from a dialogue that refers to the period in exile and disguise. Hari’s version of a ‘disguise’ for Ramaswamy is a brahminical makeover. But again, this becomes a flippant mention on caste. Delhi Ganesh says ‘I didn’t know your father’s caste and hence I brought you up as a brahmin. You don’t need this identity’ And in a couple of minutes, we have Ramaswamy raise a question to a random stranger if people still talk about caste.

Let’s talk about the ambiance, shall we? Constant mentions of Jantar Mantar, a generic coffee shop, tacky VFX, ambient actors reacting in ways you don’t expect them to — maybe Hari thought we wouldn’t notice all this as his films generally feel like they run at 1.25x speed. But we do, painfully so. And when the film ends with ‘Saamy in vettai thodarum’, all I could muster was ‘podhum.’

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