Valimai movie review: Ajith, Kartikeya face off in H Vinoth’s ineffective film with interesting ideas

H Vinoth’s Valimai aspires to be a lot of things. On one hand, it wants to be a slick action-drama, Mission Impossible-style. It also wants to house deep ideological conflicts. But it also doesn’t completely let go of its commercial roots. So while we have grand, high-octane stunt pieces where guns and tech are free-flowing, we also have celebratory dance numbers and an over-emphatic need to deliver ‘messages’ to the audience. Valimai tries to use the best of both worlds but ends up being a kitsch combination of sensibilities.

Continue reading “Valimai movie review: Ajith, Kartikeya face off in H Vinoth’s ineffective film with interesting ideas”

Dharan Kumar: I am still waiting for the right break

As I begin talking with music composer Dharan Kumar, it dawns on me that it has been 19 years since Unnai Kandene, his breakthrough hit from Parijatham. The fact was a bit hard to wrap my head around, considering the song remains fresh in our memories. However, that isn’t the only landmark number the Podaa Podi-composer has given us. With Pistha, Metro Sirish’s next, Dharan has touched the magical number 25. A single from the album, sung by Yuvan Shankar Raja, has been launched to celebrate the latter’s birthday today. In a freewheeling chat, the young composer talks about his musical career, the term ‘underrated’ and much more.

Continue reading “Dharan Kumar: I am still waiting for the right break”

Nerkonda Paarvai review: Ajith headlines this necessary and important remake

I have to confess that Nerkonda Paarvai was a remake that I was apprehensive about. Pink was a powerful film that spoke about the importance of consent, simultaneously calling out the double standards society has set for women. It had Taapsee and Amitabh Bachchan but wasn’t a star vehicle, if you know what I mean. Placing Ajith, one of Kollywood’s biggest stars, in a film like this brought several questions. Will the core of Pink be diluted to accommodate the commercial expectations of Ajith’s fans? Will the spotlight shift from what is being said to who is saying it, ie the star? Continue reading “Nerkonda Paarvai review: Ajith headlines this necessary and important remake”

SU Arunkumar: Had Pannaiyarum Padminiyum become commercially successful, Sethupathi would not have happened.

The plan was for director Arun Kumar and Vijay Sethupathi to do one film together—Pannaiyarum Padminiyum—before they would both move on to other projects and collaborators. But they didn’t anticipate that it would not do well at the box office. Arun couldn’t comprehend this failure at first. Some attributed this to the release timing; after all, Rummy, with the same lead pair in similar get-ups, had released the week before. “Some others asked me why I removed the Koodamela Koodavechi song from the film,” he says.

Continue reading “SU Arunkumar: Had Pannaiyarum Padminiyum become commercially successful, Sethupathi would not have happened.”

Selvaraghavan:I would love to make a woman-centric film

It has been twenty years since Selvaraghavan began writing. A filmmaker with a distinct visual and narrative style of his own, Selva is making a comeback of sorts with NGK, six years after his last film, Irandam Ulagam. The break may have bothered some, but Selva is a picture of serenity as he sits down for a conversation. “I try to take it one day at a time. If things don’t go my way, naan saaptu thoongiruven. Every dawn is significant, and I’m grateful that God has given me one more day to live,” he says, with a faint smile.

Continue reading “Selvaraghavan:I would love to make a woman-centric film”

Peranbu has made me a better person: Sadhana

Sadhana is what we can call the accidental actor. Spotted by Ram, the young actor played an important role in his second film Thanga Meenkal, that rechristened her as Chellamma to the Tamil audiences. Little did she expect that she would get a National award for her performance. After all, nobody had expected her to act in the first place. “My family has always been ardent supporters of art but they never expected that someone from the family would act in films. My mother just asked me to give it a shot and see if I am able to do it.” The reception, Ram’s confidence and of course, all were a surreal surprise. “On one hand, we were all so elated, and on the other hand I wasn’t even sure if I deserved it,” she says unassumingly. The talented actor is now back with Ram’s upcoming film Peranbu, where she shares the screen with Mammootty and also takes on the challenge of playing an adolescent girl affected by cerebral palsy. Continue reading “Peranbu has made me a better person: Sadhana”

Peranbu movie review: A poignant memoir of love, life and everything in between

How often do we use the word Peranbu in our daily lives? Anbu, maybe. But Peranbu? Not really. It is one of those charming Tamil words that sounds deceptively simple. But Ram couldn’t have found a better name for his film which is an intense, explorative film on love, all kinds of it. The desire to be loved and socially accepted and the film’s characters are no different. Beginning with Paapa (a phenomenal Sadhana), the child who suffers from cerebral palsy. ‘People who see Paapa feel sympathetic and therefore pamper her, but she doesn’t realise that they don’t stay’ — Ram’s lines are poignantly insightful. Paapa craves for love that doesn’t leave; that sees her for who she is. Amudhavan (a resplendent Mammootty) is also looking for love — one that cares for him and shares his responsibilities. (Don’t caretakers need to be cared for as well?) However, it is not just about their search, but also the decisions that this love pushes them to take. Thangam, Amudhavan’s ex-wife, decides to leave her daughter in her search for love that respects and acknowledges her. In fact, Peranbu is a collation of a few such people’s expeditions for love and also the turns that their love powers them to take. Continue reading “Peranbu movie review: A poignant memoir of love, life and everything in between”

Genius Review: A problematic moral science lesson masquerading as a message film

Kollywood has a tradition where every film that takes on a socially-relevant issue automatically gets the label ‘good cinema’; even when filmmaking aesthetics and political correctness are eschewed in favour of long, preachy monologues and moral lessons. But what happens when a film does more harm than good to the issue it tries to tackle? Continue reading “Genius Review: A problematic moral science lesson masquerading as a message film”

Aaranya Kaandam was a failure for me: Thiagarajan Kumararaja

Thiagaraja Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam (2010) was a game changer in many ways. Touted to be the first neo-noir Tamil film, the film was critically acclaimed and made headlines for its run-in with the censor board. It also fetched a National Award for Kumararaja, who is now set to make a comeback with his second film, Super Deluxe.

Excerpts from a conversation: Continue reading “Aaranya Kaandam was a failure for me: Thiagarajan Kumararaja”

Raja Ranguski Review: A fairly intriguing plot let down by plasticky execution

Unintentionally, there are several instances in Raja Ranguski where the characters on the screen ask the sort of questions I wanted to ask them myself. In one of those portentous scenes, Ranguski (Chandini) asks Raja (Metro Sirish) “Ozhunga nadichiduva la?” When Baskar (Kalloori Vinoth) says, “Ayyo! Romance! Chei!” on seeing the lead pair, I gave him a mental high-five. What else can you say about a relationship built on Raja, a police constable, stalking Ranguski, a writer? It’s also the kind of cheesy relationship in which one asks, “Enga irukka?” and the other responds, “Un idhayathula iruken.” Continue reading “Raja Ranguski Review: A fairly intriguing plot let down by plasticky execution”

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