Vijay, We Are Waiting!

Over the last couple of decades, Vijay has successfully worked with quite some filmmakers giving us glimpses of his potential in films like Priyamudan, Thulladha Manamum Thullum, Ghilli and Thuppaki. As the actor turns 41 today,why not a fantasy ride, reflecting on the kind of awesomeness that could be unleashed on us, if the actor collaborates with some of the best creative minds of our industry!

Continue reading “Vijay, We Are Waiting!”

In Conversation With the Team of ‘Kallappadam’: Part One

It is not every day that you get to hear of a full length feature film, that features its core technicians (director, cinematographer, music director and the editor) playing themselves in the movie. So, when I hear of  this new indie Tamil movie, Kallappadam, apparently based on the struggles, a gang of four friends have to endure to make their ‘dream’ film on-screen, I am filled with intrigue. I cant wait to talk of this maverick project with the gang. I land up on a lazy Saturday afternoon in the director’s office for a free-wheeling chat with the exciting team of Kallapadam.


 

kallapadam 1

When I meet Vadivel in his office, he doesn’t really paint the picture of a first time director waiting for the release of his maiden film in theatres in less than a week. He is with his team, his friend of ten years, fellow cinematographer and co-artist Sriram Santhosh, music director K, and editor Gaugin.  Something about Vadivel’s unusual calm and poise catches me off-guard. Mention it to him and he smiles, “Well, I am of-course a little tense inside. But over the years of training with my mentor, I have learnt to be stoic. If you do your job well enough, I believe it will speak for itself. I do my part, and leave the rest to the audience to decide.”

The very mention of his mentor triggers memories of our past social media interactions. I have known Vadivel for nearly an year now, as a passionate assistant director to one of my favorite filmmakers, Mysskin. It was in fact my article on Mysskin’s crime trilogy that had us bonding over films. Now, probably sensing my adulation for his guru, he quips, “Yeah, its real tough to stop admiring him. I would say that he is a complete teacher, the ideal one. I mean.. the dream kind, any budding filmmaker would want to have. I am in that way, very lucky”

I ask him more about his tryst with lady luck. What does it take to be a filmmaker? Is it that he always wanted to end up in the film industry?   “I really don’t know, when I got real serious about pursuing a career in films”, he exclaims. “Yes, I had this fascination for cinema right from my school days, and I grew up watching a lot. I was interested in media, and wanted to become a journalist at some point of time. After my M.Phil in Tamil University, I decided to join the Vikatan Student Journalism Initiative, and subsequently got posted in Chennai for assignments. And this is where I met my friend Sriram Santhosh, who had also joined the course. And we started of as roommates. We hit it off right from the start, and soon we were sharing ideas and thoughts about our careers.


“In fact, the core idea of Kallapadam is all old as 2007”, Vadivel ruminates.  “Looking back, I would say that was the year, when I was at cross roads in my career. I and Santhosh used to discuss a lot of scripts. I wanted to enter the film industry, and was looking for a opportunity that was worthy enough to leave my assignment in the Vikatan. And very soon, as destiny wanted it to be,  in early 2008, Anjathey happened”, he pauses, smiles at his attempt at injecting some suspense and sips his coffee.

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Vadivel. J – The Director of Kallapadam

Why Anjathey?I ask him. “Thats the film that got me associated with Mysskin”, he ponders on it for a second and continues, “The minute, I finished watching the movie, I was literally blown-over. I couldn’t stop thinking about the scenes, the dialogues and the making. Once the film was over, I found myself in Mysskin’s office in less than an hour. Once I met him, he listened patiently to all my accolades on Anjathey and then proceeded to ask about me! He never uttered a single word about the film or discussed anything about the film that moment. In fact, he wanted to know about my M. Phil thesis!”.

When I smile disbelievingly, he continues, “True, that’s how unpredictably enjoyable, he is. That day, we talked a lot about literature and journalism. After two hours of intense debating, he turned to me at an unexpected moment and asked me, ‘Do you want to be my assistant director? Is it why you have come to meet me?’ In a state of shock and disbelief, I manage to nod in approval. And he immediately asks me to come for discussion for Nandalala from the next day and bingo, my innings in Tamil cinema begins!”


 

So, it basically boils down to how well you impress Mysskin?, I wonder. “No, you cant simplify it to something that easy. When he talks with you, he knows. He decides if we can be of help mutually. In the two hours we spoke we rarely spoke about cinema. He asks about your interests and tries to expand his knowledge of them. He never loses an opportunity to hear something new. He is a compulsive learner, if you ask me”


vadivel dirSo, how has his stint with Mysskin, shaped him? Has it changed his way of perceiving cinema and films?, I ask Vadivel. “Definitely, I would call it more of a soul-searching and self-defining experience than learning.” He pauses and looks at me to see if I get the gravity of his statement, When I nod in approval, he continues. “He involves his whole team in shaping his film.  We discuss every scene for days together, and his attention to detail is unbelievable. Perfection and passion are two things, he has imbibed in me”

I ask Vadivel for more. Smiling at my enthusiasm, he continues, “I used to type the scripts for him, and he used to insist on the importance of a locked and bound script more than anything else. He believes that the script can be sculpted umpteen times before going for the shoot, but once into the shoot, it must be locked. Everything is discussed and pre-planned, and we don’t do any changes on the shooting spot. This helped me a lot while working on my debut film. More than anything else, I earned a lot of friends there. Almost all of my Kallappadam team stems from Mysskin”

I interrupt him to clear up a long pending query. Is it true that Mysskin gets easily angry and is quite tough to handle, when he is irritated, as the media projects him to be? Vadivel instantly shakes his head in disapproval, “Not at all. He is in fact like captain-cool in the sets. He hardly reacts in shoots. Yes, he does engage in animated debates in person, but between us, it has always been in good spirit”.


He jovially quips that I am trying to get an interview about Mysskin from him. We proceed to talk about Kallappadam.

kalla padam“How did it all start? Was this the dream film he had always wanted to make? Again he smiles mysteriously. “No. In fact, after I and Santhosh casually talked of this one-line several years back, we never really thought we could make it. We didn’t take it seriously up then. After working with Mysskin in Nandalala, Yuddham Sei and Mugamoodi, I went and narrated to Mysskin a couple of log-lines”.

“I had always wanted to make a sensible, stylish and slick action thriller. Mysskin liked a particular idea, and asked me to expand on it. I completed that script in six months, and realized that it needed a star to carry it. And I scouted around for producers and narrated the script to a couple of stars too”

“This was the time that I realized that the ‘Mysskin student’ tag wasn’t enough for producers to put that kind of money into a debutante’s film. The rules here are simple. You have to start small, prove yourself and earn your place and position in the industry. You have to be practical and realize that it takes enormous guts to invest big money in a fresher’s film. Everything in this industry has to be earned by proving business. You can’t demand it just because you come from someone’s stable”


“Then, one fine day,  I remembered this one-line I had discussed with Santosh, and went on to expand it into a first draft. Simultaneously I was in the look out for producers again. As luck would have it, this was also the time I got in touch with Dr. Anand Ponniraivan through a common friend for some other reason. In a chance meeting, I narrated him the first draft and he came forward to finance it. I also told him upfront that I am planning to cast my technician friends as the protagonists in the film. Surprisingly, he readily agreed without any concerns.”

“I went back and rewrote the script several times. The whole process of scripting took me about three months. I used to constantly discuss scenes with my friends Santhosh, K and Gaugin even in the scripting stage. So basically they are with me right from the start, and having been a part of Kallappadam’s birth, growth and evolution, they are obviously it’s backbone too”

Whats the genre? I ask him. “Though it has all the elements of a thriller, I would prefer not labelling it upfront. I want the audience to experience it with a fresh mind-set.” he shoots back.

To be continued…


 

 


 

In Conversation with Producer Anand Ponniraivan: From Medicine to Films, on Producing Kallappadam and More

Kallappadam is a unique independent Tamil film produced by first time producer Anand Ponniraivan. A medical practitioner based in Australia, he is now keen to be involved with the film business as well. In a freewheeling conversation with MAM, Anand discussed  a variety of topics and shared a lot of details about his debut film as well. Here’s an excerpt from the conversation-Continue reading “In Conversation with Producer Anand Ponniraivan: From Medicine to Films, on Producing Kallappadam and More”

Kallappadam: Trailer

Poster 3J.Vadivel, a former associate of Mysskin now turns director with the forthcoming Tamil film-Kallapadam. Produced by Iraivan Films,it is slated for release on 20th March. A tale of four youngsters who aspire to make it big in cinema (as a director,DOP,music composer & editor respectively), the film features Vadivel, Santosh, K and Venkat in the lead roles & the supporting cast includes Aadukalam Naren, Singampuli and Senthil. Srirama Santhosh is the DOP while K is the music composer and Gaugin is the editor of Kallappadam. Continue reading “Kallappadam: Trailer”

Top 15 Tamil Movies of 2014: Year in Review

Here are my top 15 Tamil films of 2014, in no particular order.

1Goli Soda:

golisoda

“How will you react, if you are forcibly stripped off your hard-earned identity!?” asks Vijay Milton in this offbeat revenge drama, which traces the adventures of four teenagers, as they travel through the ups and downs of life. Despite being guilty of a few logical loopholes and cinematic exaggerations in the script, and accused of promoting on-screen teenage violence, director-cinematographer Vijay Milton and director Pandiraj (dialogues) join hands to give us a racy, engaging entertainer and the first refreshingly promising Tamil movie of the year. The whole team of Pasanga are an absolute treat to watch in this ‘coming of age’ action film. And the director definitely deserves accolades for choosing the unusual premise and keeping away from formulaic fare. Here is a movie that shows how a little, just a little, inventiveness and restraint in the commercial cinema space wont make the audience look like dim-wits.

Here is our full review.


2. Pannaiyarum Padminiyum:

pannaiyarumpadminiyum

Pannaiyarum Padminiyum is an example of how an ordinary logline on paper can be translated into an ‘endearing’ piece of cinema onscreen, just by a little intelligent scripting, adding some out of the box sentiments and characters written right out of our neighborhood. The debutante director Arun Kumar never lets any of the commercial ‘must-haves’ come in his way of storytelling, still managing to pull off a riveting drama, especially in the last sixty minutes. The real hero of the movie, other than of course Arun  is the all-talented Jayaprakash, who living the role of the Pannaiyar, shares some sizzling on-screen romance with Thulasi, who again gives another cracker of a performance. Despite its slow pace, you couldn’t but fall in love with this one. The gamut of emotions, a non-living element ushered in the viewer, as the climax unfolded, was proof enough of what the director, the cinematographer and a sincere script is capable of.

Here is our full review.


3. Thegidi:

thegidi

Not just a breeze. Not just a wisp of fresh air. Not just a gust of seasonal winds. Its a storm. Thegidi is proof that the young directors of today are taking Tamil cinema to the next level by storm. Debutant director Ramesh gives Tamil cinema the perfect recipe for an investigative thriller ‘Masterchef’ style- taking the ‘base’ of a novel script, topping it with some ever-lively buoyant and fiery screenplay ‘sauce’, giving a few clever cool twists and tweaks to the way it is usually made, and finally adding a pinch of a unique tasty ‘secret ingredient’.The secret ingredient? – a well panned out guessing game! The tense ‘unease’ and the ‘nail-biting’ tension in the narration, which the director is able to generate, and sustain in the audience might actually be the real success of the film, the director and the producer. Easily the best suspense thriller in Tamil cinema in recent times.

Here is our full review.


4. Cuckoo:

cuckoo

Be warned, this piece of artistic work which is equal parts brilliant and overtly melodramatic is not for all. Certainly not for people who have predefined notions about entertainment. It’s deliberately slow-paced and takes its own sweet time to unfold and strike a poignant chord. And the director also takes some liberties in exaggerating the world of the disabled, especially in showcasing their highly developed senses. A lot of logical discrepancies plague the second half, and conflict seems conveniently forced in. Despite all this,it is only once in a while, there comes a film which kicks all commercial cinematic banalities at its butt, and leaves you stupefied by its raw emotional intensity. Add to it, many overwhelming moments and some exceptionally authentic performances, what you get is a near soul-stirring experience, if you choose to look past the flaws. Watch Cuckoo to understand how, we as an audience have collectively elevated the tastes of the movie fraternity, thereby giving the confidence to directors like Raju Murugan to come out with movies of such class. Definitely not a classic, but for what it is, Raju Murugan, take a bow!

Here is our full review.


5. Inam:

inam

This to me is more a experience than a feature film. A disturbing tale of love and war, captured brilliantly on-screen by Santosh Sivan. With his signature on almost every frame, he has managed to make the public have a discerning look and dwell on the only question which had haunted the lives of many innocent war victims in Sri Lanka…”Why should we suffer for no fault of ours?” The director  even amid-st  all this agony, manages to make a strong statement that there is more to these people’s lives than just blood, bullets, shells and smoke by showcasing their moments of love and cheer. Impressive casting, detailed characterization traits and natural powerful performances by the whole cast makes ‘Inam’ a hard one to digest, and harder to ignore.  Even with all its faults in clarity and focus, this is contemplative unsympathetic cinema at its best, which would sure leave you ashamed, stupefied, startled and staggered.

Here is our full review.


6. Vaayai Moodi Pesavum:

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After ‘Kaadhalil Sodappuvadhu Eppadi’, Balaji Mohan attempts to raise the bar for experimentation with this ‘daringly different’ whacky film, that combines the genres of fantasy, rom-com and satire. With his keen eye for innovation, emotions and sarcasm, he keeps the audience engaged through-out with his unsuspecting hilarity and down-to-earth sentiments. Vaayai Moodi Pesavum definitely comes across as a refreshing and welcome change, in times of mindless ‘crap comedy’. Some liberal doses of gags, sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek irreverence make it a pretty delightful watch. Despite its moments of logic-less and repetitice blemishes, it’s a must watch for its ‘first of its kind’ inventive theme and super-cool funky treatment. Definitely, one among the best romantic comedies of the year.

Here is our full review.


7. Mundasupatti:

mundasupatti

The comedy of errors that happen when two photographers visit the primitive village, is told in an engagingly funny way by debutante director Ram Kumar. Ram weaves several interesting characters in his tale and takes us on a joy ride filled with rip-roaring jokes and endearing smiles. Through out the running time of nearly one-fifty minutes, despite a few lethargic segments, he never lets the audience off the hook. His knack of writing unassuming humour out of relatable ordinary situations makes it all the more entertaining. Yet again, a mainstream Tamil movie which succeeds in entertaining without established actors and ‘done to death’ formulas. The no-nonsense, sensible, hilarious family entertainer of 2014 has arrived. In style.

 Here is our full review.


8. Sathurangavettai:

sv

Vinoth as a screen-writer/ director impresses with a brilliantly crafted con-caper which incorporates elements of humor, drama, adventure, unusual cleverness and professional audacity in perfect measure. He also shows promise as a film maker in his attention to detail and elaborate shot-making. Sadhurangavettai is basically about a man with a two-pronged ideology 1. Anything which is done without guilt is not wrong and 2. Money is the only thing which doesn’t get clichéd in this insensitive and cruel world. The journey he embarks on, in his mission to make millions in the least possible time-frame and the obstacles he faces is told in an almost fresh and engaging manner by Vinoth. With this film, there is no denying the fact that Tamil cinema is on a role with its experimentation of genres. This hunting game despite having a few dull moments, several logical loopholes and bordering on melodrama for a fraction of a moment certainly deserves a watch for it is at heart – a fresh, sensible and engaging con drama, a rarity by itself.

Here is our full review.


9. Jigarthanda:

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In one of the most magical and captivating films ever, director Karthik Subbaraj gives us an audacious blend of contrasting antithetical emotions as he sets out to tell the story of how a filmmaker’s life gets intertwined with that of a a violent rustic criminal who is seemingly ruthless and cynical on the surface. The writing is refreshingly brilliant and reflects Karthik’s burning desire to bridge art-house and mainstream cinema, even if it amounts to resorting to the extremes. in arguably the best character developments in recent Tamil cinema, we get to witness a multi-dimensional protagonist with grey shades all over, but you have to give it to Siddharth for his courage and vision. But the film truly belongs to Simha, who has a field day with his punny punches and dialogue delivery, keeping us thoroughly entertained. Both the scriptwriter and the con-man in Karthik are in their elements in Jigarthanda, as the script keeps us guessing throughout. Jigarthanda is a beautiful work of art and is perhaps one of the best genre defying efforts in contemporary Indian cinema. Hats off, Karthik Subburaj for giving us an entertaining film, where art and commerce make a cheerful pact.

Here is our full review and here is the Part-1, Part-2 and Part-3 of our trilogy breaking down Jigarthanda..


10. Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam:

Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam Movie Posters

This is the kind of film, that amusingly takes a dig at each and every rule of screenwriting and film making  ever written on paper. The movie doesn’t have a structured plot structure, any kind of act breakages, or the much emphasized scene flow.  In fact it doesn’t even worry about taking the action forward. The narrative in fact moves from one character to another whenever it feels the urge, and refuses to organize itself around any theme except a good-natured insistence that people are always fascinating to watch, even when they don’t appear to be doing much of anything. Burlesque at times, mostly hilarious, quirky, intelligent and original, this is not the sort of thing you ordinarily find at your neighborhood theaters alongside the latest ‘family action entertainers’. But thanks to Parthiepan, here it is. This interesting experiment by the maverick film-maker deserves a watch, just for its innovation and freshness if not anything else. But in addition, it turns out be engaging and brilliant. If you are a fan of quality cinema, go for it!

Here is our full review.


11. Jeeva:

Jeeva

There are quite a few directors in the industry who push their limits by trying their hands at a variety of genres, and among them, Susseenthiran’s versatility continues to awe me. In ‘Jeeva’, writer-director Suseenthiran who last made the critically acclaimed ‘Pandiya Naadu’ traces the politics involved in the selection process of a sports team in a country like India, and attempts to explore the mindset of a cricketer who is on the verge of ‘defeat’. For that he chooses to portray a talented protagonist who dreams of featuring in the National team one day, and goes on to describe his valiant struggle for recognition in a power dominated industry. Well having said these, Jeeva is not a brilliant film because of Suseenthiran’s need to allot almost one hour of the film’s running time to a largely insipid and uninspiring teen romance, and mundane song sequences.But once it picks up steam in the second half, there is no stopping it. The last forty-five minutes in particular have plenty of heartfelt moments. A good film, that could have been great!

Here is our full review.


12. Madras:

madras

Madras interestingly revolves around a supposedly ill-fated wall of a housing complex in North Chennai and the enmity of two rival political groups over it.  The plot is not something that has never been done before, but Ranjith injects his grippingly realistic way of narration into it and the result is pure awesomeness. They say the context/mood of a film is a cup, and content is what you fill it with. The mood in all probability makes or breaks a film. Ranjith takes us to the lower middle class suburbs and presents the context in bewitching detail. He then writes exciting characters who feel frighteningly real and makes them walk with us.  His deftness at showing these characters help him build up on the existing conflict in style, which catches us constantly on the edge of our seats. It’s a joy to see Karthi on screen and what a hell of a comeback! Great to see that his faith in the script and film-making technique has paid off so well.  Madras reaffirms the fact that good cinema is here to stay.

Here is our full review..


13. Kaaviyathalaivan:

KT

Despite having a very interesting and promising premise, Kaaviya Thalaivan might be falling a tad short in execution.  But I would rather not mind it for the man behind it, Vasantha Balan. He is the kind of film-maker, who does films for the sheer joy of making them, not letting financial concerns bother him. He makes films that he wants to make (not the other way around) and sincerely attempts to make us see through his vision, as in Kaaviyathalaivan, where he sets out to explore the mindset of stage artists of yesteryear, focusing on their personal and societal facets. He aspires to transport us to lesser known worlds, and tries to guide us through the nooks and corners of that milieu.  Yeah, the canvas is obviously exquisite and the intent is more than commendable, but regarding the execution, I would say that he has managed to translate more than half of his vision to the screen. And that to me, is definitely not a mean feat. Kaaviya Thalaivan, for this man and his efforts, proves to be a cinematic experience, actually one of a kind, that can definitely be cherished looking past the flaws.

Here is our full review.


14. Pisaasu:

Pisaasu

‘Why not a movie in the horror genre space, which doesn’t have any of the horror genre cliches, but still manages to engage?’ asks Mysskin and takes us through a riveting journey of paranormal exploration in this film, aptly named ‘Pisaasu’. He seeks answers for some bizarre questions with his trademark panache in this film, while in the process narrating a poignant yet suspenseful tale of love, belief, good-will and guilt.Long shots, artistic frames, tasteful camera angles, lingering surreal symbolisms, a haunting background score –‘Pisaasu’ has everything that we love Mysskin for, but with a twist. The man impresses with his knack to inject unconventional scares and sly humor at the weirdest of places, displaying a level of brilliance, that never ceases to surprise you. Dark and Intense, yet refreshingly feel good, ‘Pisaasu’ engages you for most of its running time, soothing you with its compassion and disturbing you with its implications, and as a whole enthralling you typical ‘Mysskin’ style. Here is a filmmaker who pushes the limits not only by breaking the established rules of the genre, but by creating a praiseworthy technique of his own.  Pisaasu deserves a watch just for him.

Here is our full review.


15. Meaghamann:

meaghamann

Magizh Thirumeni who was critically acclaimed for his earlier film ‘Thadayara Thaaka’ uses every opportunity he gets in his latest film ‘Meaghamann’ (captain of the ship) to establish himself as a film-maker to reckon. Magizh in fact makes no bones about the fact that he is not doing a path breaking film or something that sends the critics into raptures. He wants to do a ‘commercial’ film with a certain amount of conviction and grace. He sets out to engage, thrill and entertain his audience for a little more than two hours and succeeds in style. He also impresses with his technique of overriding logical glitches in the script with irresistible engagement in story telling so much so that you tend to overlook these seemingly implausible things which can’t/wont probably happen in real life for the kind of entertainment it provides. Packed with fervor and lots of intelligent action, this neatly done action thriller is more a director’s film than an actor’s, as Magizh shows us how a commercial action thriller is made without belittling the audience’s tastes. That’s more than a cool reason not to miss it.

Here is our full review.


Special mention:

Vellaiyilla Pattathari:

vip

Vellayilla Pattathaari is not an exceptional film script-wise with all the makings of a mundane commercial potboiler, replete with the string of cliches that have been etched in our minds since the time we started going to the theatres. In the absence of an innovative story line,  a screenplay that is super-fast and engaging is needed to make the audience forget the obvious shallowness of the happenings on screen. But that is not enough. It takes a natural performer  like Dhanush with extraordinary screen presence to make a routine film seem special. With the last two points working in its flavour, VIP definitely impresses, more so in its first half. Though the plot is wafer thin, the writing is surprisingly fresh and devoid of the usual ‘beaten to death’ jobless hero antics and tantrums. Addressing a burning issue and filled with lots of local zeal, this smartly packaged film is sure to keep you engaged. But let me warn you, don’t go for VelayiIla Pattathari expecting something which it doesn’t promise. Go for it to be royally entertained.

Here is our full review.

 

The Best of Indian Cinema in 2014: A Perspective

At the very outset I wish to express that I personally felt that 2014 was overall an ordinary year for Indian Cinema. It was largely devoid of truly path breaking content and Hindi Cinema in particular was very disappointing, especially the second half of the year. This is even more alarming considering that the 1st quarter of the year saw some decent films like Dedh Ishqiya, Hasee Toh Phasee, Highway, Queen and true blue indie films like Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, the long pending Om-Dar-B-Dar of Kamal Swaroop and Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi. The last among the films mentioned (Ankhon Dekhi) in particular was a delight, more on that later. But with subsequent weeks throwing up disappointment after disappointment, I had almost given up on the year but thank goodness for the last 2 Fridays of the year which brought in some relief. 19th December saw Raj Kumar Hirani’s Aamir Khan spectacle PK release, one of the most awaited films  of the year while 26th December saw Anurag Kashyap’s long pending Ugly release. PK for me is Raj Kumar Hirani’s weakest film, but it is still an earnest film and Aamir thankfully is good in the film. So while I have no problem with the film’s spectacular success, I do oppose the way the so called moral and religious police are dragging it into an unnecessary controversy.Continue reading “The Best of Indian Cinema in 2014: A Perspective”

The 2014 Tamil Cinema Awards and Hall of Fame: Year in Review

It’s that time of the year when we usually reflect back upon the past twelve months and figure out how things have been for Tamil Cinema. This is also the time when we tend to look out for the films that impressed, the actors, directors and other technicians who’ve been in top form and also reflect upon how the future would turn out for them. Film as an art form though universal in appeal, still has the element of personal choice/ preferences playing upon us when it comes to forming an opinion. While it’s very rare to find a near universal acceptance of an opinion, when it comes to films especially these days, the finest contributions really deserve our awards and accolades.

Here is my list of the very best, Tamil cinema had to offer in 2014.

1. Best Actor in Lead Role – Male:

The nominees are

best actor1. Dinesh for his stunning portrayal of the nonchalant, confident and happy-go-lucky sightless youth in ‘Cuckoo

2. Aari for his natural act as violent and rustic highway burglar in ‘Nedunchaalai

3. Vishal for his authentic depiction of a narcoleptic in ‘Naan Sigappu Manithan

4. Siddarth for his feisty acts as the self centered, yet persevering filmmaker in ‘Jigarthanda’ and the emotionally torn stage artist in ‘Kaaviya Thalaivan

5. Karthi for his neat portrayal of the North Madras middle-class youngster in ‘Madras

And, the winner is Dinesh for ‘Cuckoo’.


2. Best Actor in a Lead Role – Female: 

The nominees are

best actress1. Nayanthara for her flawless portrayal of the woman seeking justice in ‘Nee Enge En Anbe’

2. Salony Ruthra for her bold and boisterous act as the mysterious twins in ‘Sarabham

3. Pia Bajpai for her act as the misunderstood rebel in ‘Nerungi Vaa Muthamidathey

4. Vedhika for her sincere portrayal of the lovelorn singer cum dancer in ‘Kaaviya Thalaivan’

5. Ananthi for her terrific peformance as the orphaned girl who falls blindly in love in ‘Kayal

And, the winner is Salony Ruthra for Sarabham


3Best Actor – In a Negative role: 

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Vamsi Krishna for his intense act as the covetous cricketer in ‘Vallinam’

2. Bobby Simha for his no-holds-barred performance as the ruthless gangster in ‘Jigarthanda

3. Prithviraj Sukumaran for his portrayal of the scheming and jealous stage artist in ‘Kaaviya Thalaivan

4. Ashutosh Rana for his unbeleivably subtle act as the invisible mafia don in ‘Meaghamann

5. Natraj Subramaniam for his portrayal of a man of brains, who lives by certain principles. albeit crooked in ‘Sathurangavettai’

And, the winner is Bobby Simha for Jigarthanda.


4. Best Debutante Actor in a Lead Role – Male:  

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Abhinav Vaddi for his near-perfect depiction of the maths wizard in the biographical ‘Ramanujan’

2. Shabeer for his performance as the honest lorry driver in ‘Nerungi Vaa Muthamithade

3. Ashraf for his act as the psychologically traumatised husband in ‘Ra’

4. Naga for his understated performance as the man caught between rationality and paranormality in ‘Pisaasu

5. Chandran for his raw, natural act as the lovable vagabond in ‘Kayal

6. Dulquer Salmaan for his breezy role in ‘Vaayai Moodi Pesavum’

And, the winner is Chandran for Kayal


5. Best Debutante Actor in a Lead Role – Female:   

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Malavika Nair for her splendid performance as as the visually impaired girl who yearns for love in ‘Cuckoo

2. Sugandha Garg for beautifully portraying the pains of love and war in ‘Inam

3. Shivada Nair for her role as the loud, aggressive and righteous dhabba owner in ‘Nedunchaalai

4. Akhila Kishore for her alluring portrayal of a sensitive woman in ‘Kathai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam’

5. Mia George for her natural act as the innocent school girl in ‘Amara Kaaviyam

6. Catherine Tresa for representing the true North Madras girl in ‘Madras

7. Prayaga Rose Martin for her physically draining performance as the ghost in ‘Pisaasu’

And, the winner is Malavika Nair for Cuckoo


6Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Male:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Jayaprakash for his simple yet stylish portrayal of the naive Pannaiyaar in ‘Pannaiyarum Padminiyum

2. S. Karan for playing himself as the mentally handicapped war victim in ‘Inam’

3. Nasser for his portrayal of the strict family head in ‘Saivam‘ and the experienced guru in ‘Kaaviyathalaivan’

4. MS. Baskar for his contribution to spicing up the drama in ‘Arima Nambi’

5.  Radharavi for his poignant portrayal of the bereaved father in ‘Pisaasu‘.

6. Kalaiyarasan for his impactful performance as the budding politician in ‘Madras’

And, the award is shared between Nasser for Saivam and Kaaviyathalaivan  and Kalaiyarasan for Madras


7Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female :

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Thulasi for her grounded act as the wife of the village head in ‘Pannaiyarum Padminiyum

2. Sujatha Sivakumar for her portrayal of the loving and protective Aachi in ‘Goli Soda’

3. Saritha for her touching depiction of the mother figure to war victims in ‘Inam’

4. Saranya Ponvannan for her spontaneous performance as a loving mom in ‘VIP’

5. Ritwika for her sensuous and appealing character sketch of a loving wife in ‘Madras’.

And, the winner is Ritwika for Madras


8. Best Actor in a Comical Role:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Bhagavathi Perumal for entertaining us with his looks and lines in ‘Oru Kanniyum Moondru Kalavaanikalum’

2. Pandiarajan for sending us into raptures of laughter as the minister in ‘Vaayai Moodi Pesavum

3. Karunakaran for his brilliant act as the friend in ‘Jigarthanda’ and ‘Yamirukka Bayamey’

4. Kaali Venkat for his sparkling sense of humor in ‘Mundasupatti

5. Bala Saravanan for superbly complimenting Dinesh in bringing the roof down in ‘Thirudan Police

And, the winner is Karunakaran for Jigarthanda and Yamirukka Bayamey


9. Best Child Artist:

FotorCreatedThe nominees are

1. Sara Arjun and 2. Master Ray Paul for their delightful performances in ‘Saivam

3. Vasanth, 4. Gaurav Kalai and 5. Praveen Kishore for their acting escapades in ‘Poovarasam Pee Pee’

And, the winners are Sara Arjun and Master Ray Paul for Saivam


10Best Original Screenplay:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Vijay Milton for his skill at telling a revenge story in a refreshingly innovative way in ‘Goli Soda

2. P. Ramesh for his efforts in writing a novel and compelling conflict targetting the thriller genre in ‘Thegidi’

3. H. Vinoth for his sarcastic and painfully real depiction of the ugly truths in ‘Sathuranga Vettai

4. Karthik Subbaraj for his pure magic on screen in ‘Jigarthanda’

5. Parthiban Rathakrishnan for challenging the rules of ‘Syd Field’ in ‘Kathai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam

6. Pa. Ranjith for weaving a ‘slice of life’ drama in ‘Madras’

And, the winner is Karthik Subbaraj for Jigarthanda


11. Best dialogues:

The nominees were

1. H. Vinoth for ‘Sathurangavettai’. “Unnai oruthan emaathunaa avanai edhiriyaa nenaikaadha! Oru vagaila avan unaku Guru!”

2. Karthik Subbaraj for ‘Jigarthanda’. “Enga area la ponnunga irukaanga. Aana unga area la aambalainga illaiyaame?”

3. Parthiban Rathakrishnan for ‘Kathai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam’. “Neenga edukra cinema va neenga paathutu daan theatreku anupveengala, illa apdiye straighta theatre ku anupiduveengala?”

4. Raju Murugan for ‘Cuckoo’. “Ovvovurthiyum Saami da! Pombalaingala thittradaiye oru fashiona vechitu alaiyireengalada?”

5. Suseenthiran for ‘Jeeva’. “Pinnaadi Tatti kuduthaarnu nenachen, aana thadavi paathaarunu apuram daan therinjidhu!”

And, the winner is H. Vinoth for Sathurangavettai


12. Best Cinematographer:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Santosh Sivan for providing a realistic and unsympathetic feel of war in ‘Inam’

2. Jeeva Shankar for capturing the lush green rustic essence of Ooty in ‘Amara Kaaviyam’

3. Gavemic U Ary for showing the alluring beauty of the temple city in all its grandeur in ‘Jigarthanda’

4. Ravi Roy for his unconventional frames and lighting in ‘Pisaasu’

5. Vetrivel Mahendran for recording the pristine beauty of Ladakh and Kanyakumari in ‘Kayal’

And, the winner is Ravi Roy for Pisaasu.


13. Best Editor:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Leo John Paul for spicing up the tempo big time in ‘Thegidi

2. M.V. Rajesh Kumar for the slick cuts in ‘Velaiyilla Pattathari’

3. Vivek Harshan for his unique style of intercutting sequences in ‘Jigarthanda’

4. Praveen K.L for the seamlessly flowing narrative in ‘Madras’

5. Gopinath for maintaining the sinister atmosphere and eerie feel in ‘Pisaasu’

And, the winner is Leo John Paul for Thegidi.


14Best Director:

This category considers the making skills of the artist in question, and the way the script is translated to the screen.

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Vijay Milton for his confidence and trust in the audience for ‘masala’ cinema in ‘Goli Soda’

2. Balaji Mohan for his courage to experiment in ‘Vaayai Moodi Pesavum

3. Karthik Subbaraj for his flair for genre defying cinema in ‘Jigarthanda’

4. Pa. Ranjith for his gritty take on caste politics in ‘Madras

5. Suseenthiran for his guts and responsibility to address a sensitive social issue in ‘Jeeva

6. Mysskin for his inspiring style in redefining the horror genre in ‘Pisaasu

And, the winner is Mysskin for Pisaasu.


15. Best Debutante Director:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. S.U. Arun Kumar for taking us on an emotional journey in ‘Pannaiyarum Padminiyum

2. P. Ramesh for thrilling us with a riveting script in ‘Thegidi

3. Raju Murugan for showing us new dimensions of love in ‘Cuckoo

4. Ram for taking us on a hilarious trip in ‘Mundasupatti

5. Vinoth for amusing and shocking us simultaneously in ‘Sathuranga Vettai

6. Dharanidaran for his jazz and style in crafting a heist thriller in ‘Burma

7. Caarthick Raju for his comical take on a drama in ‘Thirudan Police

And, the award is shared by P.Ramesh for Thegidi and Vinoth for Sathurangavettai.


16. Best Original Background Score:

The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Nivas. K. Prasanna for ‘Thegidi’

2. Vishal Chandrasekar for ‘Inam’

3. Santhosh Narayanan for ‘Cuckoo’, ‘Jigarthanda’ and ‘Madras’

4. AR. Rahman for ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ and ‘Kaaviya Thalaivan’

5. Arrel Corelli for ‘Pisaasu’

And, the winner is Arrel Corelli for Pisaasu.


17Best Music Director:

 The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Anirudh Ravichander for ‘Maan Karate‘ and ‘Vellaiyilla Pattathari’

2. Ghibran for ‘Thirumanam Enum Nikkah’

3. Santhosh Narayanan for ‘Cuckoo’, ‘Jigarthanda’ and ‘Madras’

4. AR. Rahman for ‘Kochadaiiyaan’ and ‘Kaaviya Thalaivan

5. D. Imman for ‘Kayal

And, the winner is Santhosh Narayanan for ‘Cuckoo’, ‘Jigarthanda’ and ‘Madras’.


18Best Art Director:  

 The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Sunil Babu for recreating the war field and atmosphere in ‘Inam’

2. CR. Velu for his mammoth efforts for achieving the period feel in ‘Kochadaiiyaan’

3. Gopi Anand for recording the bygone era with perfection in ‘Mundaasupatti’

4. Santhanam for authentically recreating the stage drama in ‘Kaaviya Thalaivan’

5. T. Ramalingam for attempting the North Madras feel with lots of conviction in ‘Madras’

And, the winner is Sunil Babu for Inam.


 19Best Lyricist:

 The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Vaali for “Onakaaga Poranthaenae” (Pannaiyarum Padminiyum) and the ‘Alli Arjuna’ series (Kaaviyathalaivan)

2. Kabilan for “Vinmeen Vithaiyil” (Thegidi)

3. Yugabharathi for “Aagasatha” (Cuckoo)

4. Vairamuthu for “Maattram Ondrudhaan Maaraadhadhu” and “Manappenin Sathiyam” (Kochadaaiyaan)

5. Karthik Netha for “Enthara Enthara” (Thirumanam Enum Nikkah)

And, the winner is Vairamuthu for the tracks “Maattram Ondrudhaan Maaraadhadhu” and “Manappenin Sathiyam” from Kochadaaiyaan 


20Best Male playback singer:

 The nominees are

FotorCreated1. RR for “Potta Pulla” and “Manasula Surakatre” (Cuckoo)

2. SP. Balasubrahmanyam for “Engae Pogudho Vaanam” and “Meduvaagathaan” (Kochadaiiyaan)

3. Arun Raja for “Ding Dong” (Jigarthanda)

4. Shadab Faridi for “Enthaara” (Thirumanam Enum NIkkah)

5. Haricharan for “Alli Arjuna” ,“Sandhi Kuthirai” (Kaaviyathalaivan) and “Paravaiyai Parakirom” (Kayal)

6. Gana Bala for “Kakidha Kappal” (Madras)

And, the winner is Haricharan for the tracks “Alli Arjuna” ,“Sandhi Kuthirai” (Kaaviyathalaivan) and “Paravaiyai Parakirom” (Kayal)


21Best Female Playback Singer:

 The nominees are

FotorCreated1. Saindhavi for “Vinmeen Vithaiyil” (Thegidi)

2. Kalyani Nair for “Agasatha” (Cuckoo)

3. Shruthi Haasan for “Un Vizhigalil” (Maan Karate)

4. Chinmayee for “Idhayam” (Kochadaiiyaan) and “Enthaara” (Thirumanam Enum Nikkah)

5. Rita for “Kannamma” (Jigarthanda)

6. Shaktishree Gopalan for “Naan Nee” (Madras)

7. Kaushiki Desikan for “Chillendra Chillendra” (Thirumanam Enum Nikkah)

8. Sweta Mohan for “Yaarumillaa” (Kaaviyathalaivan)

9. Shreya Goshal for “Yengirindhu Vandhaayo” (Kayal)

10. Uthara Unnikrishnan for “Nadhi Pogum Koozhangal” (Pisaasu) and “Azhagu” (Saivam)

And, this award is shared by Shaktishree Gopalan for “Naan Nee” (Madras) and Uthara Unnikrishnan for “Nadhi Pogum Koozhangal” (Pisaasu) and “Azhagu” (Saivam)


22. Best Dance Choreographer:

 The nominees are

dance1. Baskar for  “What a Karvaad” (Vellaiyilla Pattathari)  and “Paandinaattu Kodi”  (Jigarthanda)

2. Shobi Paulraj for “Pakkam Vanthu” (Kaththi)

3. Raghuram Master for “Thirupugazh” (Kaaviyathalaivan)

4. Satish for “Kakidha Kappal” (Madras)

5. Yuvraaj Jayakumar for the Rudhratandavam dance  (Kochadaiiyaan)

6. Gururaj for “Petromax Lightaedaan Venumaa” (Aranmanai)

And, the winner is Baskar for  “What a Karvaad” (Vellaiyilla Pattathari)  and “Paandinaattu Kodi”  (Jigarthanda).


23Best Costume Designer:

The nominees are

costumes1. Sathya NJ and Vasukhi Bhaskar for ‘Maan Karate’

2. Khushbu Doshi  and Eka Lakhani for ‘Inam

3. Neeta Lulla for ‘Kochadaiiyaan’

4. Jegathesan for ‘Mundasupatti’

5. Perumal Selvam and Niranjani Agathiyan for ‘Kaaviyathalaivan’.

And, the winner is Neeta Lulla for ‘Kochadaiiyaan’


24. Best Make-up Consultant:

 makeupppThe nominees are

1. Ranjith Ambady for ‘Inam

2. Lalitha for ‘Yaamirukka Bayamey’ and ‘Pisaasu’

3. Niranjani Agathiyan for ‘Kaaviyathalaivan’

And, the winner is Niranjani Agathiyan for ‘Kaaviyathalaivan’


25. Best Stunt Director :

 stuntsThe nominees are

1. Peter Hein for ‘Kochadaiiyaan’

2. Anal Arasu for ‘Meaghamann’

3. Tony for ‘Pisaasu’

4. Mahesh for ‘Burma’

5. Supreme Sundar for ‘Golisoda’

And the winner is Supreme Sundar for Golisoda


 

26Best Crew: For the film Jigarthanda


 

27. Best film of 2014: Jigarthanda.

Pisaasu Movie Review: Offbeat Horror, Mysskin Style!

What do you, as an audience, expect in  a well-made horror movie? Haunted house? Loving couple?  Stupid friends? Ghostly dolls? Shuttering windows? Vanishing bodies? Premonitions? Nightmares? Helpless dying victims? The chronically stumbling while running through the woods, shirtless, female victim? Never-starting car? Creaky doors? Creepy old man/woman? The excessively brave extrovert? Flying objects? Mirror scares? Gory faces? Spirit seeking vengeance? Enough seen. ‘Why not a movie in the horror genre space, which has everything crossed out in the list above, but still manages to engage?’ asks Mysskin and takes us through a riveting journey of paranormal exploration in the film, aptly named ‘Pisaasu’.Continue reading “Pisaasu Movie Review: Offbeat Horror, Mysskin Style!”

Mysskin’s ‘Pisaasu’: Trailer

PisaasuMaverick writer-director Mysskin is known for his interesting Tamil films. After the critically well received Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (2013) he is now back with his latest film, Pisaasu which will be his first horror/supernatural thriller. Produced by another well known director, Bala, the film has a host of newcomers in the star cast. Pisaasu has music by Arrol Corelli while Ravee Roy is the DOP and Gopinath is the editor.Continue reading “Mysskin’s ‘Pisaasu’: Trailer”