Maaran movie review: Dhanush, Smruthi Venkat’s film is a complete disaster

In the early minutes of Maaran, Swetha (Smruthi Venkat) prays for her brother to land a job. “My brother is very lazy. He thinks he is a genius, but he is a fool. He can get a job only with your intervention,” she says, looking at the deities on the wall. One could say the same about the film. Maaran wants to be an intelligent, engaging thriller but ends up being lazy and trite.

Maaran has Dhanush playing an investigative journalist. He is particular that he will only write the truth; his words should bring about change. Just like his father Sathyamoorthi, who was also an investigative journalist. Sathyamoorthi was killed because of a scoop he published, But the experience has only made Maaran more determined to take the path his father did. All of this is fine, just the fact that no one in this universe actually speaks like a journalist. When Sathyamoorthi comes with a massive scoop, he is stopped by three colleagues who only warn him of the dangers of publishing the scoop. One colleague even asks why he doesn’t shift to writing gossip. Maybe a close friend or associate can suggest something like this, but for every person in a media organisation to speak like this is plain laughable. The biggest problem with Maaran is that the characters spit information in incongruous chunks, with no concern for authenticity or realism.

Continue reading “Maaran movie review: Dhanush, Smruthi Venkat’s film is a complete disaster”

Selvaraghavan:I would love to make a woman-centric film

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.

Continue reading “Selvaraghavan:I would love to make a woman-centric film”

Maari 2

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”

Balaji Mohan: ‘Don’ning the zany hat

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”

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”

Aaranya Kaandam was a failure for me: Thiagarajan Kumararaja

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”

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”

Happy Birthday Dhanush: The unexpected, unconventional hero

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”

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