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?
I wonder if directors in Tamil cinema have a new ‘social issues’ checklist in making their films. The horror-comedy bubble seems to have burst, and now, we are getting a new wave of films with political/social commentary. It isn’t that these unearth new issues or problems. They merely serve to recall real-life references that have already been garnished and served. Farmer’s issues, check; NEET, check; corruption, check; social media influence, check. Director Kannan’s Boomerang joins a long list of recent films including Kanaa, Sarkar, NOTA, LKG, and even Kanne Kalaimaane. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not against films tackling social issues, but when every other film references the same topics without adding much, surely, saturation isn’t too far away.
Most of our political films promise us a messiah — a saviour in the form of a leader. With an exception of Annanukku Jey, another political comedy, our films in this sphere have been about an apolitical person being pushed into the realm. They rise up to the occasion, lifting up the system from the rut it has been stuck in for years in the process. We saw it in Mudhalvan, we saw it in Sarkar and also, in NOTA. The biggest thing that works for LKG is that Lalgudi Karuppaiah Gandhi is no hero, at least in the conventional sense. And that RJ Balaji, who makes his debut as a lead, doesn’t try to be one as well. (Here’s an A+ for that!) Continue reading “LKG review: A fairly entertaining political satire”
It has been ten years since Priya Anand made her debut in Vamanan. Her perspective on cinema, she says, has evolved to a secure place. “When I stepped in, just like everyone, cinema was about songs, working with big heroes etc. But as life and movies started happening, my perspective on what kind of cinema I wanted to be part of changed, especially after English Vinglish,” she says, as we settle in to talk about LKG, her upcoming release. She plays a ‘political coach’ to RJ Balaji and says that the film is educational, and thus, is different from the other political films in Tamil. “It shows you the ‘behind the scenes’ in politics. Every speech or viral video we see will reach its target audience, and make them think,” she assures.
A couple of days back, a picture of a wall-painting in Chennai went viral on social media. Why is this wall painting special? A conventional way to popularise politicians, this one heralded the entry of RJ Balaji into the sphere of politics. The photo sparked off immense speculation — a popular face in the Jallikattu protests, who has been vocal socially before and after that, it wasn’t far-fetched that RJ Balaji would turn a politician. The speculation was further fuelled when the flag of a party started floating around online. When it almost seemed certain that we have one more media personality taking the political plunge, RJ Balaji revealed that the photos are part of his upcoming film LKG, which revolves around the political strata. Continue reading “Even politicians who watch LKG will not be against it: RJ Balaji”
Did you know that Priya Anand wanted to assist director Shankar when she first entered the industry? A student of Journalism and Business Communication, Priya Anand was more keen on production initially. “I started getting offers and I thought I’ll do this on the side. I was so clueless when I started off. But I worked hard to get better and it kind of stuck.” Now she says, there is no turning back. “Now that I’ve done and seen how difficult acting can be, I’m not sure. There’s a lot of pressure to be a filmmaker. I’m still learning to work with directors like Rosshan Andrews and I want to focus on it for some more time.” Continue reading “Kayamkulam Kochunni is a film I would always be proud of: Priya Anand”