“You know, had that been my bandaid, you would have asked me to shut up and fix it myself,” says Mare to her mother Helen, in the HBO series, Mare of Easttown (streaming on Disney Hotstar). “Oh, is that something you talk about in therapy?” Helen asks, with a small smile, before acknowledging that she had indeed used her daughter as a vent for her anger. “Your father wasn’t the man I thought he was, I couldn’t fix him. I was so angry, and I took that on you.” When Mare forgives her, Helen says, “Good, because I forgave myself long ago”, before breaking down into tears. And then comes the clincher. “You need to forgive yourself too, Mare… for Kevin. It is not your fault,” she says. (For context, Kevin is Mare’s drug-addict son, who dies of suicide.)
Imagine remaking your film in two languages you don’t know. Well, Pawan Kumar did. He isn’t one to shy away from risks when exploring storytelling. An engineering graduate, he quit college to do theatre. He acted, wrote plays and created a successful brand for himself. And eight years later, he decided to quit theatre to pursue films. After three hits in Kannada, (including the much-acclaimed Lucia), he has now ventured into Tamil and Telugu with the remakes of his own U Turn. The Samantha-starrer has been basking in positive reviews, one of the very few cases where the remake is turning an equal number of heads as its predecessor. Continue reading “Films should be adapted, not remade: U Turn director Pawan Kumar”
Our revenge thrillers seem to enjoy taking the paranormal route these days. They also seem keen on centring around social issues, with a special focus on public apathy. Not that I particularly mind — such films give us an opportunity to question our seemingly normal road and social behaviour. If Mercury was about a trip that went wrong, U Turn gets its core from accidents that happen on a flyover. What I like about these ideas is that even though they demand a fair amount of imagination from the viewer, when made well, they push the viewer to introspect. In these stories, it’s important that they get the world of the story right. U Turn gets it right in parts, its surprises partly diminished by its flaws. Continue reading “U Turn (Tamil) Review: A fairly engaging thriller with forgivable flaws”
In 1996, Ponram first set foot in Chennai, not unlike many thousands of people, with hopes of making it big in cinema. It took him five years before he could join SA Chandrasekar as an assistant director. “That was quite a leap for me. I had quit my job at a textile mill for that. It wasn’t lucrative but was still a regular source of income,” reminisces Ponram. It took him a few more years to make a film called Thirutham, that he admits was a failure. In 2013, 12 years after beginning his journey as an AD, his Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam hit the screens. He may not have known then that it would mark the beginning of a symbiotic relationship that is now three films strong.
Excerpt from a conversation with Ponram: Continue reading “I would like to do serious films: Ponram”
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”
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 recent times, I have never been happier walking out of the theatre after watching a commercial film. We tend to take our commercial films lightly. So much so that it has become an explanation or a reason for a few creative decisions in films. Why do we need songs? It is a commercial film. Why do we need a romance track? It is a commercial film. Well, here is a film that has every so-called commercial element, but where Irumbuthirai differs is that it doesn’t take the audience for a ride. The elements have been written with dignity, respect and lots of research — the kind of writing that makes us rediscover how entertaining and engaging a commercial film can be. Continue reading “Irumbuthirai movie review: PS Mithran and Vishal deliver a knockout punch”