With remakes, you usually know what you are signing up for. The plot twists, the character arcs — the fruit often doesn’t fall far from the tree and so, we end up with films that are largely faithful to the original. Temper, the film that Ayogya is a remake of, introduced me to the sphere the latter will exist in as well as its limitations and outlandishness. The Jr NTR-starrer shaped my expectations and ensured I wasn’t fuming out of the theatre at the end of Ayogya.
Right from the word go, you know that Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum is not about people who are politically correct. We are introduced to Gautham (a powerfully convincing Harish Kalyan), who is searching for his lost soul in the mountains. And we are let into his introspection, as he ponders over his relationship with his Idhaya Rani. Gautham wears his baggage on the sleeve. It doesn’t take much to realise that he is broken, bearing the brunt of trauma. He swings between extremes, has temperament issues. But Ranjith Jeyakodi calls a spade, a spade. There is no glorification of Gautham’s toxic masculinity — an errant dialogue comes from a friend who changes her mind later. Right from his friends to Tara (Shilpa Manjunath), everyone knows Gautham is difficult. So do we, and that makes IRIR an extremely important film. Continue reading “Ispade Rajavum Idhaya Raniyum review: A complicated romance that doesn’t pretend to be anything else”
Ranjit Jeyakodi’s first film, Puriyatha Puthir, was anything but your average stereotypical love story, the darkness stemming from everything from its colour palette to its music. The title of his second, Ispade Raajavum Idhaya Raaniyum (IRIR), conjures up an image breezy romance, fuelled by the intimacy of the leads in its poster, and Harish Kalyan’s own chocolate boy image. But the film’s trailer was surprisingly intense and grim. He responds with a laugh when I ask him about his fascination with ‘dark romances’. “The idea isn’t to show the dark side of love. It is more about taking love seriously, to approach it with intimacy and depth,” he says, explaining that IRIR will be about relationships and their tribulations.
When numerous Kollywood films suffer from the problem of oversimplification, #VanjagarUlagam faces the problem not explaining enough. There are several ideas placed in the story, many hints that taunt us with more layers but never really lets us in. Also, it contradicts itself a lot. In one breath, a woman character is berated to be a slut, only to be ‘redeemed’ at the end of the same dialogue sequence. This contradiction and the lack of explanation for the seemingly placed nuances, bury a lot of interesting ideas in Vanjagar Ulagam.
For example, the colour themes in VU. There male characters are dressed in a lot of blue for no-apparant reason (maybe to signify coldness?). Mythili (Chandhini Tamizharasan) gets a lot of red and pink (to signify love and lust?). Their houses get the same colour template. Also the play with identities — two characters reveal their true ‘identity’ at crucial points. But since we don’t get enough details, these threads don’t lead us anywhere significant. Moreover, the performances needed to be more nuanced to convince us of all these convolutions. But full marks to #ManojBeedha for giving us a fascinating don in the form of #GuruSomasundaram. The ‘macho’ mask Guru done for the so-called imperfection he think he has is brilliant. So is the avant-garde cinematography. #SamCS is a true hero with his experimental and very enjoyable soundtrack. The usage of Kuzhal oodhum in a gun-fight sequence is inspired. (The play on Kuzhal, get it?) But wish the overall writing had matched up to it.
One thing though. Vanjagar Ulagam couldn’t have gotten a better release date.
#NOTA is a cleverly planned commercial entertainer that relies heavily on the public outrage at the state of our political affairs. #AnandShankar uses the premise well by giving us a spin off of incidents that are only too fresh in the minds of the TN. Sometimes it’s just a dialogue here, a gesture there; the visible photos of the ‘above-all’ leader in the pockets, the eternally hunched yes-men. But it moves on to bigger incidents of which we get a version of what could have been done. Now, the thoughts are revolutionary all right, but practical? Not so much. But for the most time, it makes for good entertainment.
One thing is clear, #VijayDeverakonda is quite the star. His Tamil isn’t perfect but he gets the lip sync predominantly right. You can sense the uneasiness in his voice, similar to his struggle when he first wears a veshti. But Deverakonda pulls it off, his reaction shots are refreshingly raw and Anand uses this to his advantage. And Vijay gets quite the support from #Sathyaraj, #Nasser, and #MSBhaskar. It’s a delight to see our senior men get meaty roles and they pack quite a punch. #SanchanaNatrajan makes a neat debut. Her role could have been used better but I liked what she did with it. And boy how good it always feel to see women who are comfortable with the language on screen.
However, as a film, NOTA didn’t give me the gooseflesh as, say, Mudhalvan did. Two things, maybe it’s the cynic in me who realises that all this would make for good drama and nothing more. Second, the characters are inconsistent — too many changes in a very short span and some huge creative liberties diminish the impact of the content. There’s also too much to tackle. Anand tries to fit in everything. But there are some good ideas in NOTA that, had it been streamlined, would have made for a better agenda.
There were strong cheers and whistles for every political dig in the theatre, the names of leaders and their parties were called out as and when they’re picked on screen. The anger is apparent, it would be great if we remember this at the ballot box and not just the box office.
Sam CS’s first solo film album Puriyatha Puthir has a haunting melody “Mazhaikulle” that would instantly strike you as dark even though it is a love song. A story about voyeurism, the song succinctly conveys the dark tones of Puriyatha Puthir and is a personal favourite. “The female vocal parts are very hesitant when the male vocals are more confident. This is because the girl knows she is the reason behind the hero’s woes,” explained Sam. While Puriyatha Puthir might have been his first film, it was his other film with Vijay Sethupathi, Pushkar-Gayathri’s Vikram Vedha that made Sam, one of the hottest young music composers in the industry. With around seven films in his kitty, Sam CS talks about his process, his love for background scores and the drive to be unique. Continue reading “Mohanlal’s Odiyan is a film to be proud of: Sam CS”
Puriyatha Puthir has been in the making for quite a while, but ironically it has released at an opportune moment. Why, you ask? Well, the film talks about something that was recently declared a fundamental right – privacy. While the movie has nothing to do with Aadhaar, it is a reminder as to how we casually infringe upon other’s privacy, to the point that we don’t even realise it is a crime.
Kathir (Vijay Sethupathi) is an aspiring music director and Meera (Gayathrie) is a music teacher (no wonder the movie was earlier named Mellisai). An encounter between the two leads to a relationship. While all is well, Kathir gets an inappropriate picture of Meera from an anonymous number. He later receives a video of her changing in a trial room and the story kicks off. Who is the sender and why is he stalking Meera becomes Puriyatha Puthir’s one line narration. Continue reading “Puriyatha Puthir movie review: Vijay Sethupathi shines in this decent thriller”