It has been twenty years since Selvaraghavan began writing. A filmmaker with a distinct visual and narrative style of his own, Selva is making a comeback of sorts with NGK, six years after his last film, Irandam Ulagam. The break may have bothered some, but Selva is a picture of serenity as he sits down for a conversation. “I try to take it one day at a time. If things don’t go my way, naan saaptu thoongiruven. Every dawn is significant, and I’m grateful that God has given me one more day to live,” he says, with a faint smile.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that my conversations with the outside world are more often than not punctuated with cinema references. And #Maari2 comes at a critical point in my cinema-percolated life. The problem is, I haven’t been enjoying our commercial films or ‘masala entertainers’ lately. And I am someone who grew up on a steady diet of ‘Athiradi Vyazhans’ on Sun TV. So I have been introspecting as to what changed. Is nostalgia the only thing that powers my fondness for older commercial films? But thankfully, Maari 2 took me back to masala-cinema roots. Or in other words, I had fun. Continue reading “Maari 2”
The first short film Balaji Mohan ever shot, was in his own room, with a handycam he had just received as a gift and was eager to try out. “Instead of just shooting a video, why not write a story and shoot it?” he thought. Titled Velicham, it was a one-man show about a suicide counsellor, written, acted and edited by him, which then reached several competitions. In one such competition, where Balu Mahendra was on the judging panel, Velicham won a special mention. And that was Balaji Mohan’s cue to get out of engineering and into the world of cinema. Continue reading “Balaji Mohan: ‘Don’ning the zany hat”
Eleven years and four films. The numbers seem disproportionate but the constant love Vetri Maaran’s films receive speaks volumes about the high regard in which he’s held. He thinks he isn’t a good director though. As his latest release, Vada Chennai, is running to packed screens, here are excerpts from a conversation with him: Continue reading “I am not a good director: Vetri Maaran”
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”
Thiagaraja Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam (2010) was a game changer in many ways. Touted to be the first neo-noir Tamil film, the film was critically acclaimed and made headlines for its run-in with the censor board. It also fetched a National Award for Kumararaja, who is now set to make a comeback with his second film, Super Deluxe.
Excerpts from a conversation: Continue reading “Aaranya Kaandam was a failure for me: Thiagarajan Kumararaja”
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”
There is a conversation that I had with a couple of friends in Mumbai that stayed with me. We were discussing cinema and this was a period after Ranjhanaa and Shamitabh. Bollywood had recognised and acknowledged the powerhouse of talent that Dhanush was. But on the ground, there was still reluctance to accept him as a ‘hero’; he doesn’t fit the ‘conventional template’ of one. It is like how there is a joke made on the lead in the web series Little Things, about the hero being a Dhanush. I remember feeling something close to pride about Kollywood and thanked the stars that we were different. If otherwise, we wouldn’t have found a terrific talent like Dhanush. Continue reading “Happy Birthday Dhanush: The unexpected, unconventional hero”
2017 has been a big year for Tovino Thomas whose latest Mayanadhi is being raved about. In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, the handsome actor talks about Mayanadhi, Maari 2 and about how he wants roles that define him as an actor rather than a hero. Continue reading “I don’t want to be stereotyped as a hero: Tovino Thomas”