Happy birthday Vikram: A star with an unwavering spirit and determination

If there is a story that deserves an on-screen adaptation, it must be Kenny’s journey to becoming Chiyaan Vikram. It is not new information that Vikram’s biggest break Sethu happened a solid ten years after he entered the industry or that he suffered a serious accident that could have nearly cost him his leg, well before he stepped into tinsel town. But his biopic would be not about these incidents but rather about how he handled them. The movie would showcase his indomitable spirit, impregnable optimism and of course, the insane sacrifices he makes for his characters. Continue reading “Happy birthday Vikram: A star with an unwavering spirit and determination”

Happy birthday Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Why we would love to see her in a Tamil film again

It’s a well-known fact that Aishwarya Rai started her career with Mani Ratnam in the 1997 film Iruvar. Fresh from her Miss World win, landing a dual role in a Mani Ratnam film was a dream debut for the young artiste. The movie wasn’t a normal project as well: Iruvar was loosely based on the lives of two of Tamil Nadu’s most popular politicos, MG Ramachandran and Karunanidhi. One of Aishwarya’s role was said to be based on Jayalalithaa, another landmark figure in Tamil Nadu politics. The movie also starred Mohanlal, Prakashraj, Gautami and Tabu, apart from the young Aishwarya. As the docile Pushpavalli and the gutsy Kalpana, Aishwarya made a splash proving that she isn’t just another pretty face. Continue reading “Happy birthday Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Why we would love to see her in a Tamil film again”

Hari-Vikram-Keerthy Suresh’s Saamy 2

My thoughts on the 154 minutes that I did watch of #SaamySquare aka #Saamy2 starring #Vikram, #KeerthySuresh, helmed by #Hari

I guess Hari couldn’t decide what he wanted to do with Saamy Square — so he decided to throw in everything. There’s the ‘righteous, progressive cop’. Aaruchamy makes a 15-20 minute cameo and in that brief span manages to give a sermon about caste and how women should be treated with respect. He ‘allows’ his wife Bhuvana (Aishwarya Rajesh) to apply for IAS exams. There’s the ‘I don’t have time for love hero’ Ramaswamy, an IAS aspirant who moonlights as a priest. He doesn’t think twice about slapping Diya (Keerthy Suresh), his potential romantic interest. She is introduced as a straight-forward no-nonsense woman. Now, you would think Hari wants to invest in a romance, after all, he did it in Saamy 1. But he seems to be more happy to give screen space to Soori’s exhausted, vexatious, infuriating ‘jokes’ (He has a theme that goes Maan Maan Shakthi man, maan maan poke maan). As it is with ‘commercial films’, Diya falls in love with Ramaswamy almost instantaneously. And, in a moment, he becomes the sole purpose of her existence — even her clothes are of a single colour, as if it’s a symbol of how her life has been unilaterally streamlined. She says ‘avasarathunala vandha kadhal illa akkarai la vandha kadhal’. Ramaswamy got Diya her favourite milkshake and a dress stitched, that’s it. Since we have been conditioned into expecting this from our mainstream, commercial films even my outrage now feels like an indulgence. Why expect, right? Moving on.

Maybe he wants to create a nuanced film, his version of the Ramayana. There’s Ravana Pitchai (Bobby Simhaa), from Sri Lanka, who is up against Ramaswamy. If Perumal Pitchai was superstitiously attached to his Ambassador car, Ravana Pitchai seems to trust the power of his mother’s ‘chozhi’. But he doesn’t do much justice to this angle apart from a dialogue that refers to the period in exile and disguise. Hari’s version of a ‘disguise’ for Ramaswamy is a brahminical makeover. But again, this becomes a flippant mention on caste. Delhi Ganesh says ‘I didn’t know your father’s caste and hence I brought you up as a brahmin. You don’t need this identity’ And in a couple of minutes, we have Ramaswamy raise a question to a random stranger if people still talk about caste.

Let’s talk about the ambiance, shall we? Constant mentions of Jantar Mantar, a generic coffee shop, tacky VFX, ambient actors reacting in ways you don’t expect them to — maybe Hari thought we wouldn’t notice all this as his films generally feel like they run at 1.25x speed. But we do, painfully so. And when the film ends with ‘Saamy in vettai thodarum’, all I could muster was ‘podhum.’

Sketch movie review: Just one question, why Vikram why?

About five minutes into Sketch, you get Vikram’s intro and the song “Atchi Butchi”. As the song was playing, I looked around the theater twice just to ensure that I hadn’t travelled back in time and was watching Gemini. The song feels dangerously close to “O Podu” — a grungy looking Vikram dancing in the streets with a supposedly cool hand gesture. If ‘oh podu’ was finding a view using both hands, the Sketch symbol is comparatively easier. You just need one hand and is an incredibly convenient way to focus on something. But I couldn’t find one engaging element in the chaos that is Sketch, even after using the focus the hand gesture gives. Continue reading “Sketch movie review: Just one question, why Vikram why?”

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