Rajathandiram Movie Review: Brilliant Deception, Smartly Served!

The ‘con trick’ genre, as I see it, is like walking a tight rope, especially in the context of Indian cinema. Why?  Before I explain the obvious connection, let me briefly take you through the etymology of the genre. A confidence trick (con-trick) is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, used in the classical sense of trust. Confidence tricks exploit classic characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naiveté and greed. The perpetrator of a confidence trick (or “con trick“) is often referred to as a confidence (or “con”) man or a con-artist.

Continue reading “Rajathandiram Movie Review: Brilliant Deception, Smartly Served!”

Yennai Arindhaal (2015) Movie Review: Well, The Same Old Menon World

Language : Tamil | Running Time :  176 Minutes | Director : Gautham Vasudev Menon

A Gautham Vasudev Menon film. It isn’t a phrase that makes me go gaga but I look forward for this man’s films. I look forward because there is almost no other filmmaker who caters to the urban middle class youth like he does with his self portrait of a hero who remains courteous to women, walks beside them with his hands in his pocket, shuffles like a 17 year old crushing on the hottest girl in school when he finds the love of his life, has the sentimental attachment to a scooter his dad used and takes his kid on it, be this man of honor and sensibility that makes you smile and feel like it might be a reflection of you. But more importantly, I look forward to his portrayal of the heroine.Continue reading “Yennai Arindhaal (2015) Movie Review: Well, The Same Old Menon World”

Yennai Arindhaal Movie Review: If You Know Gautham!

Spoilers Ahead…

The defining moment of every celluloid love story is the stretch where the lead couple meet. Or so they say.
But watch out; if its an Indian movie featuring a star with a huge fan following among the masses, the tropes and templates are pretty much simple. No breaking the head for scriptwriters here. The following are fitted in using various permutations and combinations.
1. The dashing lady develops a liking for the loafer with a golden heart, while he is busy stalking her on the street and passing lewd comments about her to his friends.
2. She ogles over his manliness and decides her partner for life while he is giving her some life-lessons on how it is so ‘un-girly‘ to have brains of her own.
3. She falls head over heals in love with his raw energy while he instructs her on the supposed ‘divinity’ of womanhood, only to romance her wearing a (decent!) bikini the next sequence.
4. She gets to look pretty and coy while letting the coffee mug slip when the guy’s fingers touches hers, in an expression of utmost femininity.
5. She is humiliated repeatedly (physically and mentally) until she realizes that the lead man is indeed her savior (of life and chastity), and she is a ‘nothing’ without him

Continue reading “Yennai Arindhaal Movie Review: If You Know Gautham!”

Rajathanthiram: Trailer

A.G.Amid makes his debut as filmmaker with the Tamil heist film, Rajathanthiram. Produced by White Bucket Productions in association with Sunland Cinemas and Gautham Vasudev Menon,the film has music by G.V.Prakash Kumar (BGM by Sandeep Chowta) while S.R.Kathiir is the DOP and Praveen Antony is the editor. The film features Veera (last seen in Gautham Menon‘s Nadunusi Naaygal), Regina Cassandra, Pattiyal K.Shekar, Darbuka Siva, Ilavarasu etc. Rajathanthiram will be due for release in early 2015.

Check out the trailer now.

Oru Kanniyum Moondru Kalavaanikalum Movie Review: Fresh and almost ‘Funtastic’

OKMK-Poster 2Destiny. A single word which can answer almost any random question thrown at you, especially if you are not in a position to answer it. What exactly is this ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’ as some choose to call it ? In simple terms, let us presume that it is something a person is destined to? Can the sequence of our ‘pre-established’ life events, which roll out taking us to our ‘preordained’ destination be equaled to destiny? If so, there must be some power which ‘determines’ or ‘establishes’ the course of events beforehand, right? If destiny rules, are the personal choices and chances real or even the choices and chances are dictated by that ‘destiny’? Is destiny a matter of ‘choice and chance’ or is it a matter of ‘faith’? Can all life incidents and accidents be explained rationally and theologically with ‘destiny’ ? Since my role in life has already been given, is my job only to support it to the best of my capacity? Can I or any other variable make a difference to what has been ‘preset’? Talking about choice, are all things as straight forward as they seem to be? Is a person really and completely free in making his choice? Do emotions like ‘fear, deep seated desires, greed, anger, obsession, pride and jealousy etc.’ modify the choices he makes, even against his good sense, sometimes may be to his detriment? Is ‘wisdom’ the magical word which differentiates it from being a ‘matter of choice’ to a ‘matter of chance’? Or is their any other variable? Can ‘time’ be a differentiating factor? So, can destiny be taken as a ‘amalgam’ of complex choices and chances, sourced by an underlying will that causes it all? Fine, again we are back to where we started. Is that underlying will flexible?Continue reading “Oru Kanniyum Moondru Kalavaanikalum Movie Review: Fresh and almost ‘Funtastic’”

The Making of “Innum Oru Iravu” song from Kattradhu Thamizh

Kattradhu-Thamizh“Innum oru iravu” – was my favorite song to shoot after “paravaye engu irukirai” in Ram’s Kattradhu Thamizh, and it was the only song we had in hand in a complete recorded format before we went for shooting, rest of the songs were been given to us as just tunes with nothing more on musical part done. So we had no choice to keep us charged apart from hearing “innum oar iravu”… more over that’s a special song in terms of lyrics too. To be honest as a DOP to get the mood of the film, this song helped me a lot. Ram and I never compromised in search of virgin locations for this film. As this song is all about Prabhakar’s ‘on the run’ we just had a open mind to shoot it anywhere that looked interesting and supportive to improve its visual. Half of the song was shot near Cudappah in Andhra.Continue reading “The Making of “Innum Oru Iravu” song from Kattradhu Thamizh”

Subramaniapuram: Something to share

“Subramaniapuram” was an interesting experience in my life. Before getting into the technical sharing about the film, i would like to say about few things which made the film more emotionally attached to me. I was a struggler in Mumbai after doing my debut film in my career and its a Hindi film ‘Jackpot’ (not yet released), yes; After a deep depression of about 2 years, I just pulled myself to my home ground Chennai to search for a good opportunity.Continue reading “Subramaniapuram: Something to share”

Easan Movie Review: There’s light at the end of this tunnel !!!

M.Sasikumar and Samudrakani had teamed up in 2008 to deliver one of the most successful and critically acclaimed Tamil movie in recent times- Subramaniapuram. While Sasikumar wrote, directed and produced Subramaniapuram and with Samudrakani playing the negative lead in the same, the roles were reversed in Nadodigal which released in 2009. This time around the film was written and directed by Samudrakani and Sasikumar played the main lead. In between Sasikumar also went on to produce Pasanga which was directed by Pandiraj and is certainly one of the better children’s films made in India recently. So after Nadodigal the next project from this team was eagerly awaited and when news came out that this time it will be a film to be directed again by Sasikumar, it was met with a positive response. What was also surprising was that it was announced that this time around Sasikumar would be only working behind the camera (writing, producing & directing) and not in front of it. Nothing much was disclosed about the film titled ‘Easan’, except that the film was to be urban centric unlike the other films from the team and that Samudrakani would play an important character.

Though I tried hard to know more about the film there wasn’t much information available and after a while I just told myself that the wait will be better if I remained in the dark about the film’s plot etc. Roughly 2 weeks before the film’s release the first look and the trailer was unveiled. In fact I was not sure of the release date and when the cinematographer of the film, S.R.Kathiir told me that it would be 2 weeks later ( 17th Dec,2010 ) I was taken aback for a while. For these days it’s usually a minimum period of a month that is taken for promoting the film before the release. But when I realized that the film was getting very good theatres with such short notice, I couldn’t help but admire the strategy of the team. Also the past record of the people associated with the film certainly helped. WithKamal Haasan’s Manmadhan Ambu being pushed ahead by a week (initially to release on the same day as Easan), things became even more favorable for the film with a lot of additional screens being made available.

So what is Easan all about? Well at the very outset I’d say that in terms of the basic construct or the genre it’s actually a revenge drama, but not of the type that’s usually seen on screen. The film starts with establishing a range of characters- Chezhiyan (Vaibhav) is a carefree youth and son of a corrupt minister Deivanayagam (producer A.L.Alagappan). Chezhiyan hangs around with his group of friends and keeps crossing swords with Sangayya (Samudrakani), Assistant Commissioner of Police. We then see Chezhiyan falling in love with Reshma ( Aparna Bajpai ), the daughter of Shivaraj a business magnate (modeled on Vijay Mallya). In true cinema style Shivaraj doesn’t initially approve of the alliance because he considers himself to be on a higher pedestal than Deivanayagam. But situations change and reluctantly Shivaraj too approves of the alliance between Chezhiyan and Reshma. So alls well and its party time and just when we are wondering where the story is gonna be heading, Chezhiyan goes missing. And there comes the intermission point.

Is it all hunky dory as it appears here?

While one would expect the rest of the film to ideally be a sort of thriller and try to uncover the mystery behind the disappearance of Chezhiyan, the 2nd half of the film is all that and a lot more. While the 1st half of the film is a complete ride into the nightlife of Chennai what with discotheques, pubs, bars, rave parties and beachside revelry of a different kind, the 2nd half completely treads into a different territory. It’s an area slightly more familiar for Sasikumar and team, not that they get the nightlife part wrong. The film works primarily due to the casting and characterization. Samudrakani as Sangayya, the ACP and A.L.Alagappan as Deivanayagam, the corrupt minister lead the show and rightly set the tone for the film.Namo Narayanan as Gopal the man friday of Deivanayagam is also extremely good.

Malayalam filmmaker Blessy plays an important character and the voice of M.S.Bhaskar goes down very well for the character of Karupaswamy. Dushi as Easan and Abhinaya as Poorani are extremely effective. Their characters actually hold the 2nd half in good control and sustain the interest level. Vaibhav as Chezhiyan is good and the role is a marked departure from what he has portrayed in films like Saroja and Goa. But there are also one too many characters and though some of them are well etched and enacted including that of Rao Ramesh, they do not really add to the overall tenor of the film. There are a lot of interesting moments in the film like the scene where Deivanayagam is discussing the industrial proposal with the businessman, but continues to undress/change his clothes or the scene where Sangayya is at Shyamala’s home and interacts with her husband. These are just examples and there are many more such moments in the film. James Vasanthan’s music may not be as popular as that of Subramaniapuram but certainly scores in terms of variety. Be it the peppy Meyyana Inbam or the folksy Jilla Vittu or the breezy Kannil Anbai, the songs go with the flow of the film.

Along with Sasikumar’s writing and narration the other highlight of the film is S.R.Kathiir’s cinematography. Be it in the nightlife of Chennai captured in the various party zones or in the temple festival portions, the visuals are simply interesting. To talk about specific moments or scenes would spoil the fun for those who are yet to watch the film.A.L.Ramesh’s editing helps especially in the later part of the film and Tapas Nayak’s audiography shines especially be it in the energetic party number at the start of the film (Meyyana Inbam ) or the climax. For those who may complain about the length of the film, it’s already been taken care of. With the original length of around 3 hr 10 mins being shown only in the 1st two days, around 20-25 mins have gone on to be chopped from the film. While I have seen both versions and prefer the longer version, at least what is welcome is the fact that the forced editing does not impact too much on the flow of the film’s narrative.

There are moments when you might feel that Sasikumar is trying hard to be different this time around and show that he’s adept at portraying the more urbane and hip side of the society as well when compared to his previous film. But you cannot also but appreciate the fact that the detailing has been fairly good. For those who would compare this film with Subramaniapuram or Nadodigal there could be disappointment in store. But if you are looking at the film with an open mindset and willing to wait till the end of the film before passing your final judgment, it could well be a interesting film indeed. Three cheers to Sasikumar and team for their pursuit to continue to make films of their kind, yet which appeal to people.

Note- This was originally written after the release of the film ( Dec 2010 ) but now re-edited and published again considering Sasikumar being again in the news with his latest film Sundarapandian