Kuthiraivaal movie review: A meandering but fascinating tale of stories, their purpose and the lack thereof

Why do humans tell stories? There are several ways to look at it. We could say that stories were a means of sharing experiential knowledge, which helped us to survive. In a broader perspective, you can also say stories help us understand the world. With stories, we create perspective from the information the world throws at us — as a means of coping with being a human in this universe.

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Writer movie review: An insightful, unvarnished peek into the police force

If you think of cops in Tamil cinema, you are bound to hear Duraisingam bellowing, “Ongi adicha ondra ton weight da.” Or, Aaruchamy saying, “Naa police illa porukki.” You might even hear, “Thimiru dhan pudichavan thimiruke pudichavan” in the background. If you’re an ardent fan of Tamil cinema from the 80s, then a montage of Vijaykanth from various films should run in your mind’s eye. In an industry that is obsessed with larger-than-life heroes, the police force is often used to create brash, loud, messengers of justice.

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Ms Representation: The Perfect Wife Syndrome

It has been close to 20 days since the release of Pa Ranjith’s Sarpatta Parambarai, a film there’s so much to like about. But this column isn’t about that. Ever since its premiere on Amazon Prime Video, social media has been rife with hot takes. The most curious of all is all the men who proclaim their undying love for Mariyamma, Kabilan’s feisty wife who sticks around through his alcoholism and indifference, and turns out to be his ‘pillar of strength’ who motivates him to success. Men, it seems, want wives like Mariyamma.

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Pariyerum Perumal review: A hard-hitting examination of our social constructs

Pariyerum Perumal translates to the Lord on a horse. The name conjures a majestic image in the head, doesn’t it? Our hero (Kathir) on the other hand, is the exact opposite of that visual. He is just a normal guy, however, born into a lower caste. This determined several things about Pariyan’s life. For example, it meant that he and his village men couldn’t use a waterhole. There are men who want to stay for a fight, but Pariyan leaves with his dog, Karuppi. He has his first day of college the next day and there’s no room for a fight. The conversation between the men who want to fight and the men who don’t, set the tone for the entire film. “What do they have that we don’t,” bellows one guy, in a fit of anger. “Namma vayalum varapum la iruku. Namma kita verum vaayum vayirum thana iruku,” comes the answer. “When will this change?”; “When my father and your father stops to till their lands for income!” Continue reading “Pariyerum Perumal review: A hard-hitting examination of our social constructs”

Are new-gen directors the answer to our Kollywood stars’ stereotype woes?

‘Pa Ranjith to direct Rajinikanth’s next’ — the headline was quite a surprise when it first came in 2015. They say failure feeds speculation and boy it did. After both Kochadaiyaan and Lingaa turned out to be disasters, Rajinikanth’s career became a topic at the dinner table. Is the Superstar losing his touch? What is he going to do next? It was at this time Rajini announced his next with Pa.Ranjith. A director with substantial political ideologies and craft, the combination was unusually exciting. While Kabali had disappointed, one thing cannot be denied. Rajini had gotten an effective makeover — a one that is closer home. Many thought the project would be a one-off occurrence, but here they are again with Kaala. Ranjith has given yet another version of Rajini that is a whistle-worthy version of the star that is more age-appropriate. Continue reading “Are new-gen directors the answer to our Kollywood stars’ stereotype woes?”

Kaala actor Easwari Rao: Pa Ranjith has shown that a heroine can be over 40

There is a scene in the 2004 film Sullan that has Dhanush looking at a Rajinikanth photo stuck on a wardrobe and asking Easwari Rao, “Enna thalaivaraye sight adikariya”. Little did she know that 14 years later, she would land a role that would have the Superstar calling her ‘Thanga Sela’, and to top it, the film would be produced by Dhanush himself. “I don’t even remember doing that scene. I only recalled it when it was played during recent interviews,” admits Easwari. “I wouldn’t have even imagined that I would act with him. Not just then, even a year back I wouldn’t have guessed that I would land a role with Rajinikanth,” gushes Easwari. Continue reading “Kaala actor Easwari Rao: Pa Ranjith has shown that a heroine can be over 40”

Here is how Kaala’s Dharavi set was recreated in Chennai

Art director Ramalingam is a happy man. Even before the release of the film, the Dharavi sets in Kaala have garnered several eyeballs. The sprawling set was erected in Chennai employing hundreds of workers to create a version of Asia’s second largest slum. “Film sets are recognisably temporary — the minute you physically enter one, you will know that it is a set.” But for Kaala, the crew made sure the set feels real to the people who enter, in terms of structure and the look. “We have recreated the structure of Dharavi as close to the original possible. The entire set was erected instead of working in patches and that is what makes it unique.” Continue reading “Here is how Kaala’s Dharavi set was recreated in Chennai”

Kaala actor Sakshi Agarwal on Rajinikanth: I was star struck when I first met him

Sakshi Agarwal is quite on cloud nine and has reasons to be. The pretty actor has recently completed shooting for Rajinikanth’s Kaala and is overwhelmed about working with the Thalaivar himself. “On an international level, everybody knows that Rajini sir is a legend; but experiencing it and visually watching him is a delight in itself. When I was called for the audition, I was in the mindset that I would be happy even if I get a single shot with Rajini sir,” says the visibly excited actor. “I don’t know what is in store next for Rajini sir. We don’t know what movies he might be doing. I don’t know if it will possible for me to be his heroine. I am elated to be a part of a Ranjith-Rajini sir film,” gushes Sakshi. Continue reading “Kaala actor Sakshi Agarwal on Rajinikanth: I was star struck when I first met him”

Kaala review: Witness Rajinikanth – The Actor in this layered Pa Ranjith revolution

Kaala isn’t a Rajinikanth film — it is a Pa Ranjith film starring actor Rajinikanth; not the superstar, mind you. Ranjith makes this absolutely clear right from the word go by giving Rajini his simplest introduction on celluloid after ages. Kaala is seen playing cricket with young kids in the slum. You might be expecting him to hit a six. It is a Rajini film after all. Instead, Kaala gets his middle stump knocked out. Kaala calls to Valliappan (Samuthirakani), the umpire, and appeals for a no ball. But Valliappan gives a wide. An involuntary smile slowly spreads on my lips throughout this sequence. I knew immediately that we weren’t going to witness the superstar Rajinikanth, but rather the Rajini from the 80s, an actor with charisma and screen presence like no one else.

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