Thupparivaalan (TAMIL)

Starring: Vishal, Prasanna, Andrea Jeremiah, Vinay, Anu Emmanuel and many more
Music: Arrol Corelli
Cinematography: Karthik Venkatraman
Directed by: Mysskin

Mysskin’s take on Sherlock Holmes is what triggered me to watch this movie and that too Vishal in that role adds more spice. Even the title card announces dedications to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other Baker Street fans. So lets see how our local Sherlock has performed.

Kaniyan Poongundran (Vishal) runs a detective agency with, Manohar (Prasanna) in tow. A school boy brings the case of his Pomeranian dog killed by a bullet which leads the detectives on the trail of a gang of high-tech assassins headed by Devil (Vinay). There is a subplot involving a pickpocket Mallika (Anu Emanuel) who turns over a new leaf for the hero and also aids him in his mission at a crucial juncture. What happens next is told with long drawn out scenes and ends in a gory climax. Mysskin always emerges as winner by offering unique films. On the contrast, a suspense thriller movie always demands the best pace. But here, it proceeds with slow pace. The villain gang are mere caricatures lacking any depth in their characterizations to make them interesting beyond a point.

This is Vishal’s best film since Pandiya Naadu. The actor lived like a detective, his quirky mannerisms, dialogue delivery, body language and effortless stunts convince us that none could have carried away this role. Prasanna has underplayed and through that has established that he has been wasted all these days. Vinay is subtle yet impactful as the antagonist. The impressive array of actors, comprising Simran, Andrea, Bhagyaraj, Anu Emmanuel and John Vijay, do justice to their roles. The stunt sequences are the best moments in the film. Vishal and every other actor have given their heart and soul into it.

Arrol Corelli needs special mention, his BGM has elevated many scenes and keeps the detective play interesting. But his over usage of just Violin could have been avoided. What makes Thupparivalan different from other Mysskin films, is that how he has done away with some of his visual narration techniques and, in the process, has found new ones in the film. Mysskin is definitely one of the most intriguing filmmakers of our times, enthralling us with his innovative storytelling techniques, which connect with the deepest emotions within us. Go watch out if you are the fan of thriller genre..!! 🙂

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Kurangu Bommai (TAMIL)

Starring: Vidharth, Bharathiraja, Kumaravel, Thenappan and many more
Editing : Abhinav Sunder Nayak
Music: Ajaneesh Loknath
Cinematography: NS Udhayakumar
Directed by: Nithilan

Movies made by newbies have garnered more appreciation than films by stars in recent years. Many movies in the former category have sprung surprises with their content, and the 2017 release Maanagaram is one such fine example of a well-crafted product. Will this movie be one of such hits. Lets see.

Sundaram (Bharathi Raja) is an innocent loyalist, who work under businessman and smuggler Ekambaram (Thenappan). Sundaram’s son Kathir (Vidharth) hates him for being a right hand to Ekambaram. Ekambaram asks Sundaram to smuggle an idol to Chennai, the latter readily agrees as he feels Ekamabaram is a real savior to him. Ekambaran hands over the idol to Sundaram in a bag with a Monkey logo (Kurangu Bommai) and the old man has to safely deliver to a broker named Sekar (Kumaravel) in Chennai. But the greedy Sekar tells Ekambaram that Sundaram did not come to his house and sketches a plan to loot the money. Meanwhile, in Chennai, Kathir sees an elderly man travels with the monkey bag at a bus stop and a local thief snatch it away from him. Kathir chases the thief and gets the bag but he is unable to see the person who lost it. What happens next forms the crux.

Nithilan has given a predominantly gripping realistic film. It is a crime thriller that carries much more intense portrayals of how the need and greed for money dictates human behaviour. For a realistic crime thriller with a running time of just 106 minutes, the dependence on commercial elements such as fights, a duet song etc could have been avoided. Vidharth could well be on to something here. Kuttrame Thandanai, Oru Kidaiyin Karunai Manu and now this film. His performance reaches the peak in the pre-climax sequence where he learns a so far hidden truth. He underplays and simply excels with is natural performance. Bharathiraja as a kindhearted vulnerable old man has given yet another brilliant performance with apt body language and dialogue delivery.

Kumaravel as the villain does a menacing job and is a pleasant departure from his past roles. Delna Davis is equally impressive. Producer PL Thenappan has done justice to his character. New guy Kalki who plays Sindhanai, a petty thief after the Kurangu Bommai bag, provides the necessary comic moments. These brilliant performances are the major highlight of this film. Kudos to Nithilan for this. Ajaneesh Loknath’s songs are passable while BGM is apt in most sequences. Abhinav Sundar Nayak also deserves a special mention for his smooth and sharp edit. Overall, Kurangu Bommai is a quality crime thriller, which will definitely satisfy all movie lovers..!! 🙂

Arjun Reddy (TELUGU)

Starring: Vijay Devarakonda, Shalini Pandey and many more
Editing : Shashank
Music: Radhan
Cinematography: Raju Thota
Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

All of a sudden this movie garnered attention all over the city. Non telugu speaking people were waiting for the subtitles and the movie was full for all the shows once the subtitles were available. Whats special about this movie. Lets see..

Arjun Reddy (Vijay Devarakonda), a brilliant medical student, falls in love with his junior, Preethi (Shalini Pandey). It’s a college campus love story until the boy has to leave the campus to pursue higher studies. Distance relationship follows, punctuated with surprise visits and long kisses. Years later, Arjun is ready to marry Preethi and tries to convince her father. He fails. This is then that you come to know that Arjun’s take-it-or-leave-it attitude is not just an inconsequential trait. His attitude is the story’s reason. Separation followed by Arjun’s path of self-destruction. Will Arjun ever be able to outlive his past? Watch it to know it.

The love in the movie is pure, unabashedly bold and hard-hitting. It touches the soul in ways it can’t be explained. It gives the story a modern-day Devdas twist, while making the overall cinematic experience a journey to remember for a long time. Director Sandeep doesn’t make us sympathise with Arjun’s character, and that’s a relief and achievement by itself. He makes us understand his love and pain from a very personal standpoint, and in doing so, he strikes an emotional chord. Sandeep demands our full attention to the world he has created and once you submit yourself unconditionally, it turns into a hugely rewarding experience. Despite the film’s fresh, youthful and bold approach, the second half is too lengthy and goes on and on. It needs a lot of trimming. But it finds its groove with the climax sequences.

The movie totally belongs to Vijay Devarakonda. Vijay puts his heart and soul into his performance. His emotional outbursts are splendid. He has given an intense, unconventional performance. Rahul Ramakrishna as Vijay’s friend is good, mouthing his dialogues in a natural way. Shalini Pandey makes an impression. The supporting cast is also good. Music by Radhan is an asset to the film. Director Sandeep makes his presence in cinema in the very first film. His is completely new voice and has different narrative style. This is a bold, daringly different youthful movie with totally fresh treatment and narration. Not to be missed..!! 🙂

Taramani (TAMIL)

Starring: Andrea Jeremiah, Anjali, Vasanth Ravi, Azhagam Perumal and many more
Editing : Sreekar Prasad
Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography: Theni Easwar
Directed by: Ram

Ram has the knowledge in dishing out different genres in all his previous two films and he has come back again with this film where he has dealt with a very relevant subject of how men from all classes wrongly perceive women and realize their folly mostly when it’s too late. Read below for the further story.

Prabhu (Vasanth Ravi) is a BPO employee who has lost his focus in life after a failed love affair with a girl (Anjali). Becoming an aimless after that, a chance encounter with a bold Anglo-Indian girl Altheya (Andrea Jeremiah) turns into love and how it is wrecked by his male chauvinist attitude forms the crux of the story which has many layers to it. Ram deals with fickleness in today’s relationships, extramarital affairs, greed among youngsters, ego trip and a lot of relevant issues apart from a poignant love story. The movie demolishes every kind of stereotype out there – at times with subtlety and at times through a loudspeaker.

Ram the writer-director has used a brilliant ploy to lift the screenplay whenever it lags, by using his voice over to state contemporary truths which works every time in the film. For the first time in Tamil cinema homosexuality is dealt in a sensitive way without judging. Andrea steals the show with her riveting performance, the way she elegantly carries herself is a treat to watch. Vasanth Ravi makes a solid debut, getting under the skin of a confused vagabond who has problems dealing with his women. Anjali in a flawless cameo conveys the feelings and transformations of her character without the help of dialogues. Azhagam Perumal as the kind-hearted railway constable who helps the hero also gets a wonderful scene to shine.

Yuvan Shankar Raja’s music with lyrics penned by the late Na. Muthukumar are pleasant on the ears. Yuvan is in prime form in the background score. Ram should be lauded for choosing the less travelled path and his strong social conscience gets embedded in his works which is true even in this film. Good and should not be missed..!! 🙂

Velaiyilla Pattadhari 2 (TAMIL)

Starring: Dhanush, Kajol, Amala Paul, Samuthirakani, Vivek and many more
Editing : GK Prasanna
Music: Sean Roldan
Cinematography: Sameer Tahir
Story: Dhanush
Directed by: Soundarya Rajinikanth

A sequel to a successful film has both advantages and disadvantages. The challenge is that the sequel has to match the expectations over the first part. The advantage is that you already have a success formula and you just have to tread the best laid path with a little caution over repetitiveness. Lets see how this movie has fared in that way.

Raghuvaran (Dhanush) is now married, so instead of his dad, he is now afraid of his wife Shalini (Amala), who constantly shouts and blames him for something or the other. The film opens with an award function and employees of Vasundra Constructions win in all categories except Engineer of the Year, which goes to Raghuvaran of Anitha constructions. Vasundra (Kajol) wants him to work in her company but the former rejects the offer saying that he wants to be loyal to Anitha Constructions and chase his dream to start his own company with VIP boys. Meanwhile, Vasundra loses a deal to Raghuvaran because of her attitude, which further kindles her ego. Now Vasundra decides to destroy Anitha Constructions by taking over all their deals through her political and personal influence. In order to save Anitha Construction from losses, Raghuvaran resigns his job and challenges Vasundra. So once again Raghuvaran becomes a Velai Illa Pattadhari (jobless graduate)! Will he start his own dream company with his VIP boys and take on Vasundra forms the rest.

The first half of the film is watchable mainly due to the retained scenes and characters but after a point, the film has nothing new to say and each and every scene becomes repetitive and predictable. Especially, the second half is a plodding ride with unimaginative scenes, dull screenplay and a disappointing climax. The other aspect where the film falls woefully short is in the songs and the score, which lack the catchiness of Anirudh’s work in the earlier film. VIP 2’s lifeline is Dhanush, it is his energetic screen presence which is the biggest strength and one reason to watch the film. But sadly, Dhanush’s presence and performance alone can’t save a mediocre predictable drama. On the whole, VIP-2 is not emotionally charged or entertaining like part-1..!! 🙂

Vikram Vedha (TAMIL)

Starring: Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Shradha Srinath, Kathir and many more
Editing : Richard Kevin
Music: CS Sam
Cinematography: PS Vinod
Directed by: Pushkar – Gayathri

The husband and wife duo Pushkar and Gayathri have given ‘Oram Po’ and ‘Va Quarter Cutting’ which may not have had universal appeal, but they made their distinct mark by ushering in new genres to Tamil cinema. They took huge time for their third outing and thus we can believe this will be another different attempt from them.

The plot is loosely based on King Vikramaditya and his quest to best the Vedhalam. Encounter specialist Vikram (Madhavan) is hot on the heels of a dreaded gangster Vedha (Vijay Sethupathi) who literally walks into his hands a couple of times only to pose a puzzle and then escape from his clutches. What the cop decipher from Vedha’s stories or puzzles forms the crux of the multi layered story which culminate into an extremely satisfying climax that stamps the theme the makers set out to convey.

Vikram Vedha is not just yet another offbeat artistic movie with award-winning performances alone, things are executed in such a way to entertain mainstream audiences, especially the highly engaging climax with an unexpected twist and lethal combo. The film questions the criminal justice system of the country and its dubious methods that are vulnerable to corruption and manipulation. The black-and-white metaphor, used extensively throughout the film and even in the theme song, explores the space between good and bad. Every character has shades of grey and it would be impossible to imagine who could be good or bad. Even the costumes are predominantly black and white. Even in terms of shot compositions, in every frame of the film, you’ll find white as well as black space.

The performances of Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi come as a bonus to some terrific writing. It’s a joy to watch them lock horns and they make you root for both of them. While Madhavan is good, Vijay is unarguably the best thing to have happened to the film. The reverse chronology screenplay and attention to the minutest detail by Pushkar and Gayathri keeps the audience guessing till the very end until the killer payoff at the climax. Cinematographer Vinod, music director Sam and editor Richard Kevin have combined beautifully to bring Pushkar Gayathri’s vision on celluloid. It’s been a long time since a writer director has set out to make a movie with a deep-rooted theme and conveyed it without a glitch and the husband and wife deserve the crown. Overall, Vikram Vedha is a brilliantly written intense crime drama, which shouldn’t be missed..!! 🙂

Maragadha Naanayam (TAMIL)

Starring: Aadhi, Nikki Galrani, Anandraj, Ramdoss and many more
Editing : GK Prasanna
Music: Dhibu Ninan Thomos
Cinematography: PV Shankar
Directed by: ARK Saravan

I selected to watch this movie only because of its funky trailer and its star cast and nothing else. It had a whole unit of comedians and the plot too sounded different. Lets see how this movie was in detail.

Senguttavan (Aadhi) comes to Chennai to settle his debt. He chooses smuggling to come up in life and joins hands with Ramdoss and Elango (Daniel). A Chinese smuggler comes to Chennai to get the precious powerful ‘Maragadha Naanayam’, which is rumored to have killed hundreds of people as its original possessor ghost Irumburai Arasan (who defeated many kingdoms after holding Maragadha Naanayam) takes revenge against anyone who touches the gem. After leading smugglers refuse to find out Maragadha Naanayam, Senguttavan and Elango agrees to do the job for a lucrative deal. But before sketching the plan, they meet a saint, who gives them an idea to seek the help of someone, who lost his life by acquiring the gem. Elango suggests his dead smuggler uncle Chidambaram’s name and accidentally, the soon his spirit enters Ramdoss’ body. The rest of the film is whether Senguttavan and Elango get a chance to get Maragadha Naanayam and what happens after they hold it with their hands!

At a time when ghost movies are becoming stereotype, Saravan surprises us with a complete new variety of cinema experience as he indulges in touch basing various genres. The attempt is fresh and new, which makes it a must watch. Though the film becomes little stretched in the pre-climax, the impact created by the characters makes us engaged till the climax as we want to know what exactly happens to them. Nikki Galrani is easily the pick of the actors and her role comes with the biggest, most unexpected surprise and it’s sure to sweep audiences off their feet.

Aadhi as usual tries to perform with his limited expressions while Ramdoss and Daniel have once again provided a laugh riot with their typical mannerisms and dialogue delivery. Anandraj, who comes as the comical villain is a scream along with his bunch of assistants and other major characters including Arun Raja Kamaraj and Sangili Murugan are adequate. Overall, Maragatha Naanayam has a few shortfalls like length and stretched comedy, however they are way too minimal comparing to the film’s entertainment quotient. Go for it..!! 🙂