I am here to earn money: Vijay Antony

Vijay Antony says that aspiring to become a music director was the first reckless decision he took — ‘muttalthanam‘ is the word he uses. The reason, he says, is that he hadn’t done the groundwork for it; he says he didn’t even know what was required. “College, school la kottadichu paatu paduven. With that, I thought I could become a music director. I decided to become a music director only at 23, with no formal training in a field in which there are people who train from childhood,” narrates Vijay, who reached Chennai to discover the arduous journey ahead of his goal. “Music isn’t just about instruments but also about the technology, about software. No matter how long I took, I just couldn’t understand.” Vijay believed that music wasn’t in his DNA, but perhaps it was, as he persisted on his dream. He started off as an assistant to a sound engineer. “I was naive, and had just the drive to do something,” he says. Slowly, he figured he didn’t really have to ‘know music’ to become a music director. “Our moms don’t study cooking, but they make good food. Similarly, I tried to learn what you need to direct music. I didn’t need to know to play instruments — I hired talented people.” 

Continue reading “I am here to earn money: Vijay Antony”

Thimiru Pudichavan Review: An exasperating cop film

Thimiru Pudichavan begins with several instances of adolescent boys who are disgruntled with their families. In one instance, it is lack of money that leads to discontent; a mother has to give money for the poster of a local thug (she won’t be able to run her small shop otherwise) instead of giving it to her son. Thus, the son gets the idea that being a rowdy is cooler. He and two other friends of his, with similar stories, end up with the rowdy whose den doubles up as a training space for delinquents. Sounds good right? Pretty relevant too, considering how our on-screen heroes celebrate gang culture. But sadly, Thimiru Pudichavan is yet another example of how a good idea can be ruined by an all-over-the-place screenplay with more than its fair share of masala.

Cast: Vijay Antony, Nivetha Pethuraj
Director: Ganeshaa

Kollywood filmmakers have a tendency, one can even call it fondness, to ‘package’ everything. Every commercial film is promoted as a ‘package’ of drama, comedy, romance, action, etc. But Ganeshaa takes the term a bit too seriously. If you think you’re going to get just a cop film, you’re sorely mistaken. Of course, there’s the usual drama, sentiment, and action. But Thimiru Pudichavan goes beyond and brings in elements of science-fiction, horror, and even covers the ‘Amman’ genre. Murugavel (Vijay Antony) suffers from insomnia, so there’s an ‘insomnia watch’ (a glorified BP tracker) that beeps annoyingly when his levels peak or drop dangerously. There’s an action sequence in front of a temple (yes, with the Naga Naga song) that is perilously close to an Amman film, complete with a VFX blow up of Lord Muruga.

A brick-faced Vijay Antony is supposed to be the glue that holds this haphazard, mish-mash of genres. And to the hero’s credit, he takes a fair amount of digs. It’s fun to hear Madonna (Nivetha Pethuraj) ask, “Enna ya, un mugathula love feeling um varala, thambi setha sogam um illa.” But otherwise, Murugavel is a quintessential commercial hero, a walking moral science text-book who can’t miss a step. He uses electric current as a conduit to up his BP levels, survives it and continues to thrash the villain. When he fires his gun, the victim doesn’t simply fall, he flies to the nearest dustbin. The police walkie-talkie is solely used to parrot his deeds (his promotion actually comes as an announcement on it). He asks his fellow cops to do their job honestly, and they rush work in biriyani shops and tea shops to redeem themselves for their corrupt past.

The film does have a few good moments and most of these belong to Nivetha Pethuraj, who I quite liked as the corrupt cop, Madonna. She pulls off the Madras slang and seems to handle comedy well. But her character loses steam when she slips into the deeply-carved trenches of the loosu ponnu template. Then she does nothing more than serve as the bumbling sidekick who gives way for the hero. Another good moment comes when Vijay Antony delivers a deeply-meaningful dialogue about trans women. The villain (Sai Dheena) gets one too, as Murugavel asks for his last wish and accosts him, he hits back with, “Enakaga oru chicken sethruku, saptutu sagava?” However, such interesting moments and dialogues are very few in number. For most of the duration, it was just a puzzled me trying to decipher what was going on, and by the end of the film if I had an ‘insomnia watch’ on my wrist, it would have surely burst.

This was originally written for The New Indian Express.You can find it here.

Being an introvert, my work has helped me to express: Kaali actor Sunainaa

Fresh out of school, Sunainaa was just 16 years old when she entered Kollywood with Kadhalil Vizhunthen. The cherubic Sunainaa quickly found a space for herself with films like Masilamani and Samar. And then came Neerparavai for she received several accolades. But that didn’t make Sunaina stick to similar kind of roles — even the lead roles. In the decade under the spotlight, she has quietly carved a space that she is content with by picking roles that satisfy her. Continue reading “Being an introvert, my work has helped me to express: Kaali actor Sunainaa”

Kaali movie review: This Vijay Antony film is a shallow tale about estranged love

As a child, several of Kollywood’s motifs used to puzzle me. For example, how do fathers and sons look identical in films except for a dash of grey in the former? (A trend heavily popularised by Shivaji Ganesan and Supreme Star Sarathkumar.) In this week’s release Kaali, Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi gives an interesting take on why this happens. Vijay Antony (Bharat) is an NRI doctor who comes to India in search of his biological parents. In the journey, he listens to the stories of men who could be his prospective fathers. The first time the film gets into the flashback mode, we see a younger Madhusudhanan Rao (who is narrating the story). “Indha face a student a imagine panni kuda paka mudila,” says Yogi Babu and then we see Vijay Antony assume the role in the flashback. I realised that Vijay Antony’s several looks are a choice of convenience and of course, with some creative relevance as well. Continue reading “Kaali movie review: This Vijay Antony film is a shallow tale about estranged love”

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