As an ardent KTV fan, Amman films hold a lot of personal nostalgic value for me. As a child, I remember those afternoons spent watching the glorious Amman step down from the heavens to save the struggling heroine from the villain. Growing up, my equation with faith transformed, but there still seems to be something comforting about Amman films. It is the ultimate escapist entertainment, right? The world is black and white here, and you know there’s a saviour. Thus, when RJ Balaji announced Mookuthi Amman, I was quite excited. But the big question is, can you sell all those tropes without the cushion of nostalgia?
Just as our interview is about to begin, Ashwin Saravanan walks in, clutching a copy of Driven: The Virat Kohli Story. It’s a word that could well define Ashwin himself. He stepped into cinema, after quitting his software job. His first film Maya (2015) was a huge hit, and the trailer of his second film, Iravaakaalam, also sparked good responses. However, the delay in the film’s release meant that every conversation with Ashwin inevitably veered to that subject. The filmmaker admits it was tough to come out of it. “Every filmmaker is a control freak. This is the worst situation for a filmmaker to be in,” he says. In fact, he began isolating himself as repeated explanations became exhausting. “Imagine people seeing you pregnant, and then, one day, your baby vanishes. Everyone keeps asking what happened to it.” However, he wouldn’t be stopped.
Why do some people get everything when others don’t? It is a question that Yamuna (Nayanthara) asks herself in the film. “God created men. But where did he go then? Was he sleeping?” she adds. Airaa, KM Sarjun’s latest, argues that life is a gigantic malfunctioning Rube Goldberg Machine of which we are parts. (The opening credits has an animated version in the background). It argues that mostly, we don’t understand why we get hit; we just deal with the after-effects. Airaa follows one such thread that links Yamuna, who seems to have it all, with Bhavani (a darker Nayanthara) who loses everything.
KM Sarjun’s rise to fame is a unique story. He’s a filmmaker who commanded fan-following even before the release of his first feature film. Pegged as a feminist filmmaker on account of his short films, Maa and Lakshmi, he is now back into the limelight with another woman-centric film, but this time, featuring a star, Nayanthara. His Airaa will also be the first film to feature her in dual roles. In this freewheeling chat, Sarjun opens up about the feminist filmmaker tag, working with Nayanthara, and what it’s like to work with a female co-writer.
As a child, KS Sundaramurthy used to enjoy watching people play the tabla. “My interest in music began then. I then started learning the keyboard,” begins the young composer who has got himself a big-ticket release with Nayanthara’s Airaa.
His love for cinema seems to run in the family. “My father is a designer. Since Vikram he has been the title and poster designer for Kamal Haasan sir”. He has also worked with Mani Ratnam for Thalapathi and Anjali,” he says. Saturday nights at the Sundaramurthy residence were reserved for films, especially those by K Balachander and Visu. “My love for cine music and re-recording grew. I was learning all sorts of things — piano, Hindustani, sound engineering.” Music, he believes, comes from within.
When it came to light that director Siva would be collaborating with Ajith for the fourth time, the announcement was met with a generous dose of criticism. The skepticism arose from the mixed reviews that the duo’s previous outing, Vivegam, had received. However, the trailer of Viswasam has piqued interest in the film, which is set for release this Thursday. Ahead of the film’s release, Siva opens up about his equation with Ajith, handling negative criticism and more. Continue reading “I want to make a historical film with Ajith: Director Siva”
I watched Viswasam first-day-first-show, which was a show at 1 am. Even though not surprising, the bustling crowds who had begun their celebrations even before they saw their favourite star was quite a sight. I have seen quite a number of films FDFS, but not one has begun with a cautionary warning from a fellow member of the audience. “Review yarathu ozhunga kudukala… senjuruven,” he screamed at the top of his voice. It is now clear why the film was named Viswasam, it is for the fans and their loyalty for Ajith.
I have to admit that I was rooting badly for Kolamaavu Kokila. It was for several reasons. First, when have we had a woman drug peddler for a protagonist? Second, the film is headlined by Nayanthara, who is truly living up to her Lady Superstar status. While there is much to complain about the roles that our heroines get in commercial films, we have an actor who is slowly proving that women-centric films could be profitable as well. Nayanthara did it with Aramm, and now, she is poised for another win with Kolamaavu Kokila. Continue reading “Kolamaavu Kokila movie review: Nayanthara hits it out of the park with this one”
The years 2016 and 2017 were considered to be a harbinger of change for women in Tamil cinema. Words such as feminism and women-centric were increasingly thrown in the mix with cinema. Our heroines don’t have a ‘shelf life’ anymore; they don’t have to stop working when they get married or don’t have to be there just for the glamour quotient. Off-screen, we see more women enter production, direction, cinematography and several other fields. The fact that cinema can revolve around women seems new to many — a pleasant surprise. But has it been always been so? Continue reading “How did women-centric films go from being a norm to an exception?”
In a recent show on a private music channel, two women anchors, who were having a discussion about Suriya’s next film with KV Anand, decided to make fun of the actor’s height on the show. As they talked about the prospect of Amitabh Bachchan making a cameo in the film, the anchors commented that Suriya might need a stool to match the veteran actor’s height. A video clip of the same has gone viral on Twitter leading the Twitterati to go up in arms, with several celebrities on the vanguard. Continue reading “Suriya body shamed: Where was all this outrage when our actresses were trolled for their looks?”