The 2020 jukebox: Strains of a pandemic

We take stock of the music scene in Tamil cinema, this year: the trends, highs, lows, and how the industry survived a pandemic

Taylor Swift once said that while people have not always been there for her, music always has been. If there’s any one year in which this quote assumes special relevance, it has to be this year. A lonely year of forced isolation and uncertainty—not just for the future, but for human touch and connection—2020, to put it mildly, has been tough on everyone. It’s a year that reiterated the significance of artists and creators, whose professions seem to be thought dispensable. Holed up in our homes, almost all of us found solace in music, much more than we have been used to. The melodies and lyrics filled up the void for emotional connection we all longed for.

Continue reading “The 2020 jukebox: Strains of a pandemic”

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”

House Owner movie review: A poignant story in a middling film

It is hard to miss the irony in the timing of House Owner’s release, directed by Lakshmy Ramakrishnan. The film, set during the Chennai floods, comes as the city is on the brink of its worst water crisis. What’s more, just days before the film’s release, the city finally got a respite in the form of welcome rains after 200-odd days. But that’s life for you. It throws extreme situations at us, so much so that if we look at the larger picture, the sheer contrast confounds us. House Owner narrates one such journey. The film has been called a ‘survival drama’, but it is actually a love story — Radha (Sriranjani) and Vasudevan’s (Kishore) journey.

Continue reading “House Owner movie review: A poignant story in a middling film”

Ratsasan Review: Technically admirable but emotionally distant

If I had to pick two fascinating things about Ratsasan, it had to be the film’s editing and the sound design. Ratsasan’s nifty cuts and sound cement the ‘effect first, cause later’ strategy that the cameras and screenplay adopt. One might say that this is the usual modus operandi for a thriller. Well, it isn’t just about the turns that the story takes but also about how they are revealed. In one particular sequence, a suspect holds a police officer at gunpoint in an attempt to escape. As he backs into a lift, we hear a shot and the lift opens to reveal both men on the ground. The suspense lingers a second longer before we get our answer. And Ramkumar’s answers are effectively simple for the part. Take a chase sequence where Kaali Venkat, a cop, is in close pursuit of the killer; the former is on a bike while the latter is in a van. How does one lose the trailing cop? Ramkumar comes up with another ingenious solution – stop the van abruptly. Continue reading “Ratsasan Review: Technically admirable but emotionally distant”

Na Muthukumar wanted me to occupy his space: Karthik Netha

Karthik Netha realised that he wanted to be a lyricist when he was in Class 10. Kanne Kalaimane from Moondram Pirai, he says, used to keep haunting him. “Songs were a constant companion through my happiness and sorrow. They made me feel like someone was listening to my own thoughts. They were my thani perum thunai,” says the lyricist, who is currently receiving praise from all quarters for his work in 96. Continue reading “Na Muthukumar wanted me to occupy his space: Karthik Netha”

Music director Ghibran: Vishwaroopam 2 would be a complete cinematic experience

Music director Ghibran seems to be on a roll. With four films in two months, the young music composer’s discography is of great variety and they have all been received well. With Magalir Mattum, Aramm and the recently released Theeran Adhigaram Ondru earning rave reviews, we catch up with Ghibran to talk about his music and future project Vishwaroopam 2. Continue reading “Music director Ghibran: Vishwaroopam 2 would be a complete cinematic experience”

Chennai 2 Singapore movie review: This Abbas Akhtar-Gokul film is a mindless entertainer

Chennai 2 Singapore is said to be a crazyology. And it stays true to its tag. A completely whacky and mindless film, the film’s sole purpose is to make the audience laugh and not to think. How else would you explain a story that documents the story of an aspiring filmmaker who travels to Singapore to make a film but ends up planning to rob a bank? Continue reading “Chennai 2 Singapore movie review: This Abbas Akhtar-Gokul film is a mindless entertainer”

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