Ms Representation: A new year, still some old issues

A new year is usually considered to be the harbinger of new beginnings. Tamil cinema, however, has returned to some old traditions. The theatres are open and full again, and we have brand new releases. But along with the festive cheer, two of the Pongal releases also brought back perhaps the most popular version of woman in Tamil cinema: the Loosu Ponnu™. Save for an errant occurrence here and there (the heroine from Dagaalty comes to mind), this woman seemed to have bid goodbye. This isn’t to say that women roles have always been written with diligence, but at least, they weren’t manic pixie dream girls. Sadly, Bhoomi and Eeswaran bring back this woman back. More strangely, both roles were played by the same actor.

Continue reading “Ms Representation: A new year, still some old issues”

I see the rural-centric tag as an advantage: D Imman

The first time Imman remembers composing a tune was in school — ninth grade to be precise. That was when he was learning programming and had just got a keyboard. “The plan was to do an album back then. Veetla kaasu vaangi, kadan laam vangi, apdiye ready pannathu. I don’t even remember the pallavi now,” he says with a smile. Cut to 2018, Imman is now more than 100 albums old and is one of the busiest composers in the industry. Ahead of Viswasam’s release, his first film with Ajith, Imman opens up about composing for the layman, and the importance of successful collaborations: Continue reading “I see the rural-centric tag as an advantage: D Imman”

Sarkar review: A superficial political campaign that worships Vijay, the star

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.

Continue reading “Sarkar review: A superficial political campaign that worships Vijay, the star”

Happy birthday Vijay: From Ilayathalapathy Vijay to Thalapathy Joseph Vijay

Vijay’s first film as a lead was his father SA Chandrasekhar’s 1992 directorial Naalaiya Theerpu. In a sweet note, SAC (as he is popularly known) introduces his son as the hero. “I leave the future of my son Vijay in your (the audience) hands. You all have showered myself and Shoba with love. We hope that our son gets the same love and warm welcome as well.” It is quite fun to read this in 2018 when Vijay is one of the biggest stars Kollywood has produced. The announcement of when the first look poster of his upcoming film would be unveiled had set social media on fire. So you can imagine, the response his 62nd film Sarkar would receive. I don’t think even SAC would have predicted the degree of love that Vijay is showered with now. Continue reading “Happy birthday Vijay: From Ilayathalapathy Vijay to Thalapathy Joseph Vijay”

Are new-gen directors the answer to our Kollywood stars’ stereotype woes?

‘Pa Ranjith to direct Rajinikanth’s next’ — the headline was quite a surprise when it first came in 2015. They say failure feeds speculation and boy it did. After both Kochadaiyaan and Lingaa turned out to be disasters, Rajinikanth’s career became a topic at the dinner table. Is the Superstar losing his touch? What is he going to do next? It was at this time Rajini announced his next with Pa.Ranjith. A director with substantial political ideologies and craft, the combination was unusually exciting. While Kabali had disappointed, one thing cannot be denied. Rajini had gotten an effective makeover — a one that is closer home. Many thought the project would be a one-off occurrence, but here they are again with Kaala. Ranjith has given yet another version of Rajini that is a whistle-worthy version of the star that is more age-appropriate. Continue reading “Are new-gen directors the answer to our Kollywood stars’ stereotype woes?”

AL Vijay: Diya is not an anti-abortion film

It has been less than a week since Diya (Kanam in Telugu) released and director AL Vijay is a busy and happy man. The Sai Pallavi starrer might have opened to mixed reviews but Vijay is content. “I am very happy majority of the people liked it. I have been getting only that,” he said. Known for his heart-tugging tales, Diya was no different from AL Vijay’s earlier films in terms of the emotional quotient. The film documents a tale of the ghost of an aborted foetus coming back for revenge. With a sensitive core, the film left the audience with several questions in mind. In a conversation with indianexpress.com, AL Vijay answered all questions about Diya and his upcoming films as well. Continue reading “AL Vijay: Diya is not an anti-abortion film”

We are hopeful that Mersal will have a Diwali release: Sri Thenandal Film’s Hema Rukmani

There is just one question on the minds of cinema fans in Tamil Nadu right now — when can they see Vijay’s Mersal on the big screen? The excitement around Mersal is phenomenal and the ongoing TFPC (Tamil Film Producer’s Council) strike makes the wait even more intense. Helmed by Atlee, Mersal is Vijay’s biggest release yet. Adding to the expectations is the film’s star cast comprising SJ Suryah, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal, and Nithya Menen. As the speculation around the film’s release heightens, indianexpress.com catches up with Hema Rukmani, CEO, Sri Thenandal Films about Mersal and their upcoming projects, Sangamithra and Iraavakalam. Continue reading “We are hopeful that Mersal will have a Diwali release: Sri Thenandal Film’s Hema Rukmani”

SJ Suryah on Spyder and Mersal: I didn’t choose these projects, they chose me

AR Murugadoss and Mahesh Babu’s Spyder might have received mixed reviews. But one thing that all critics unanimously agreed to was the brilliance of director turned actor SJ Suryah’s performance. A gloriously wicked role, SJ Suryah revels in each frame as Sudalai and has been lauded profusely for his uninhibited portrayal. Amid his busy schedule, we managed to catch the actor for a quick chat. Continue reading “SJ Suryah on Spyder and Mersal: I didn’t choose these projects, they chose me”

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