A 17-year friendship is behind SNDS Dreamcatchers LLP, the production company that put together Aha’s Addham, which recently opened to positive reviews. The producer duo, Sujatha Narayanan and Devasena ES, first met when working for an FM radio station in Chennai. “Later, I used to help Sujatha in her production projects. So, this was always on the cards and she insisted that I be part of it,” says Devasena.
Varalaxmi Sarathkumar is a bundle of energy. She’s visibly active as we connect over a video chat, and this isn’t surprising if you are aware that her activities during the lockdown include helping migrants, collecting support for animals, starting a baking business, and of course, listening to scripts. “I have been busy,” she admits with a laugh. “I have to be useful or I won’t be able to sleep at night. I haven’t been so tired even when I was shooting.”
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Danny begins with policemen scouting vehicles in vain for a supposed horde of narcotics. Danny, the police dog is brought in with all the works: Slow-motion shots, heroic BGM… The policemen are not convinced: “Nammaalaye onnum kandupidikka mudila, indha naai kandupidikka pogudha?” One cop chips in, “Ei, adhu periya narcotics naai pa.” Someone else says, “Adhu enna ungala madhri khaki pottukitu kaasukku vela seiyaravan-a?” Unsurprisingly, Danny finds the drugs. As I was wondering why these constables didn’t seem to know the basics of this police dog, we learn that these dogs get paid a salary and enjoy other perks. But, but… why then that punchline that suggested they don’t earn a salary? Even this early into the film, I heard Vadivelu in my head: “Shaba, ippove kanna kattudhe.”
When Kamal Haasan received flak for opting to host Bigg Boss Tamil, the actor defended his choice with one explanation: The show would take him to the living rooms of the people of Tamil Nadu. And that it definitely did. The first instalment of Bigg Boss Tamil percolated into the daily conversations of normal people, and proved to be a formidable alternative to the serials that constituted primetime television. Continue reading “Small screen gets its silver sheen”
Early on, there’s a scene in Vijay’s latest release Sarkar where a corrupt politician kills an investigative journalist with an idol. It made me wonder if there is a metaphor behind. But soon enough, AR Murugadoss makes it clear that Sarkar isn’t that kind of a film. Rather, this is a film that functions on stretches of expository dialogue. There’s a judge who doesn’t know a law about bogus voting. The corporate criminal Sundar Ramaswamy (Vijay) introduces it to him. There’s another judge who ‘wants’ to know if the Election Commission has the power to declare an election invalid and announce a re-election. And in these cases and many more, it is Sundar explaining what has to be done. The didactic monologues begin right from the start and thus, AR Murugadoss’ Sarkar feels like a terribly long campaign that breathes only when there is a song or a fight.
There was one common factor that I liked about Sarjun KM’s incredibly popular short films Lakshmi and Maa. More than the unconventional themes he had handled, it was the depth that he had provided to his characters that had grabbed my attention. Lakshmi was about an unhappy wife who chooses reality after a night of indulgence. In Maa, a short about teenage pregnancy, the moment of context was when the mother sends her daughter to hockey practice after the abortion. Both these choices reveal volumes about the women who make them. I was looking for similar depth in Echcharikkai – Idhu Manidhargal Nadamaadum Idam and sadly, didn’t find. Continue reading “Echcharikkai movie review: A kidnapping tale that fails to scratch beyond the surface”
Walking out of Mr. Chandramouli, I was already thinking about what I was going to write in my review. The problem at hand was, ‘how can I say the same thing this time without sounding like a tired, creaky gramophone’. Film after film, we get the same mannequin dressed in different, probably more snazzier outfits. But Mr. Chandramouli is the film equivalent of baggy shorts with malli poo. It tries to be ‘different’ just for the sake of it. Continue reading “Mr Chandramouli movie review: This Gautham Karthik-Regina Cassandra starrer is a tiring watch”