Annaatthe movie review: Even Rajinikanth can’t save this film

In a recent interview with The New Indian Express, director Siva revealed that when Rajinikanth asked him what kind of film he had in mind, he said, “It’s a film that has everything.” But when you watch Annaatthe, what this actually means: a mixtape of themes and emotions from their previous work. (If Viswasam was the battle between two fathers, Annaatthe is the clash of two brothers.) And they do not stop at their own work.

Annaatthe has pieces from almost every film in the ’90s and early 2000s, so much so that it feels like we have discovered the film from a time capsule. This family drama is so familiar that the audiences become autocomplete tools — it is enough if you just hear the beginning of the dialogue, you know the rest.

Continue reading “Annaatthe movie review: Even Rajinikanth can’t save this film”

Sarkar review: A superficial political campaign that worships Vijay, the star

Early on, there’s a scene in Vijay’s latest release Sarkar where a corrupt politician kills an investigative journalist with an idol. It made me wonder if there is a metaphor behind. But soon enough, AR Murugadoss makes it clear that Sarkar isn’t that kind of a film. Rather, this is a film that functions on stretches of expository dialogue. There’s a judge who doesn’t know a law about bogus voting. The corporate criminal Sundar Ramaswamy (Vijay) introduces it to him. There’s another judge who ‘wants’ to know if the Election Commission has the power to declare an election invalid and announce a re-election. And in these cases and many more, it is Sundar explaining what has to be done. The didactic monologues begin right from the start and thus, AR Murugadoss’ Sarkar feels like a terribly long campaign that breathes only when there is a song or a fight.

Continue reading “Sarkar review: A superficial political campaign that worships Vijay, the star”

I am happy to be part of the Sandakozhi brand: Keerthy Suresh

Keerthy Suresh’s filmography can now be split into a pre-Nadigaiyar Thilagam and post-Nadigaiyar Thilagam phase. Known initially for her cutesy roles in star vehicles, there was much scepticism about the young actor pulling off the role of Savitri, but her stellar performance silenced all her critics. Nadigaiyar Thilagam’s success has increased her responsibility, she admits. “Everyone has been asking me what I’ll do next. Even I haven’t thought so much about it,” she says with a smile. But the actor asserts that she will use the leverage to maintain a balance between good commercial cinema and content-driven films. Continue reading “I am happy to be part of the Sandakozhi brand: Keerthy Suresh”

How Keerthy Suresh became the Mahanati Savitri no one expected her to be

The first time I watched Keerthy Suresh on the big screen was two years back in Sivakarthikeyan’s Rajini Murugan. Rajini Murugan could have been named Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam part 2 for all the spillover it had from the latter, but the film was a box office hit. Keerthy Suresh, a film old in Kollywood then, struck gold with Rajini Murugan. Overnight, she had several big projects in the pipeline. I remember my social media timelines were flooded with appreciative memes about the young actor. Her role wasn’t remarkable, but she was fresh. We finally had someone who knew the language and was confident about dubbing for herself but that was about it. Continue reading “How Keerthy Suresh became the Mahanati Savitri no one expected her to be”

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.’

Thaanaa Serndha Koottam movie review: The Suriya and Keerthy Suresh starrer is a fairly entertaining film

Time for an admission. I haven’t watched Special 26. But I don’t think Thaanaa Serndha Koottam and Special 26 are the same kind of films despite sharing the plot. So a fair warning as well — don’t walk in expecting a Special 26. With these disclaimers, I can say that Thaanaa Serndha Koottam does have it’s enjoyable moments but with a misplaced sense of righteousness that prevent it from the being the caper it could have been. Continue reading “Thaanaa Serndha Koottam movie review: The Suriya and Keerthy Suresh starrer is a fairly entertaining film”

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