Kaatru Veliyidai (TAMIL)

Starring: Karthi, Aditi Rao Hydari, RJ Balaji, Rukmini and many more
Editing : Sreekar Prasad
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography : Ravivarman
Directed by: Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam, known for his romantic tales with a different note is at it again! Each time he surprises us with a fresh angle. Tweaking his lead characters with curious settings and narrating the tale in a refreshing manner, Mani is able to achieve his vision to a great extent. Thanks to his long time association with ARR and Vairamuthu he has once again given the oomph factor needed for the film. Lets see how the movie has fared.

Fighter pilot Varun aka VC (Karthi) and doctor Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari) fall in love against the backdrop of the Kargil war in Srinagar. Everything is smooth till Leela realizes that it is difficult for her to move with VC’s self-centered nature and the way he disrespect her in public. She is a modern girl who wants equality in a relationship and decides to walk away from his life. VC gets caught by Pakistan army and he keeps on thinking of Leela and what happens next is the rest.

In this film, Ratnam rehashes themes and moments from his previous films, but he also takes a bash at understanding the gender wars. The climax looks tad weak, the scenes where Karthi escapes from a Pakistan jail looks convenient filled with logical loopholes. The screenplay sleep walks till the pre-climax where only the film moves in a normal speed. The film’s biggest strength is Aditi Rao Hydari, and she shines in every frame. She is there throughout and even gets a perfect introduction scene. She owns the film with her winsome performance. The way Aditi cries, laughs and emote completely attract us.

With a toned physique and sporting a new look sans a mustache, Karthi is at his career best, be it in a male chauvinist act or as the one who regrets his past actions. Blame it on his character of a self-centered egoistic brash guy, we hardly root for him and he looks quite uncomfortable in most of the intimate scenes. Visually, Kaatru Veliyidai is beautiful, beyond anyone’s imagination. Each frame is like a painting and Ravi Varman as the cinematographer deserves more than just praise. It is amazing how Ratnam uses the beautiful backdrop of Kashmir and a few other places throughout the film to paint a troubled love story and to highlight the different facets of love.

Rahman’s music, too, serves as the backbone of the film. The songs are perfectly placed and never break the flow of the narrative. Usually Mani flashes his brilliance in all his movies and he has shown in this too but unfortunately all that gets lost in a largely underwhelming film. There are some great scenes, some moments that prove why he’s a legend, but otherwise it is disappointing. Either he comes to our world and give his version of our story or he wants us to come us into his story. This belongs to the latter part where we are invited but we could not enjoy it fully. Better luck next time..!! 🙂

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Achcham Yenbadhu Madamayada (TAMIL)

achcham-yenbadhu-madamaiyada-movie-posters-3

Starring: Simbu, Manjima Mohan, Baba Sehgal, Sathish and many more
Editing : Anthony
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography : Dan Macarthur
Directed by: Gautham Vasudev Menon

Here its coming.. Yeah this month sure.. No this week confirmed.. These were few of the many news which came regarding the release of this highly expected movie. But it released finally amidst the currency issue that the country is facing now. Lets see how the movie has fared.

Simbu is a carefree youth who has just completed his studies and in a thought of what to do next. Manjima (Leela) is the friend of his sister who happens to stay in his house for her work. When he tells about his road trip to Kanyakumari, Leela too feels that she has to join him to experience the new feel. They both start the trip and what happens during the trip and the events that follow the trip forms the rest. A breezy bike ride, the girl of your dreams behind, wind on your face. All these words sounds like dream come true. Such what is the feel the movie gives in the first half.

Ultimately it is the screenplay that lifts the film above the ordinary. It is bright and breezy, emotionally engaging and superbly acted drama that is subtle and nuanced. One of the highlights in the movie is the way Gautham has narrated the blossoming romance between the characters of the lead pair. The pace is slow in the first half but thoroughly enjoyable. The last 20 minutes of the film was a bit too hard to believe with no logic. Simbu is back to form and has given a very powerful performance.

Manjima has given her best in her debut film. She shares a comfortable chemistry with Simbu that make this film an easy watch. Sathish as STR’s friend Mahesh and Baba Sehgal as the police officer is perfect casting. Thanks to some suave lens work by Dan Macarthur the whole road trip makes us fall in love all over again. Rahman has gone overtime with this movie by making it look like a musical with back to back songs in the first half and every one of them blows your mind away including ‘Thalli Pogathey’ even though the song comes at a crucial juncture. The BGM silently creeps in during the love portions and leaves but making a heavy mark indeed.

GVM’s strength lies in his immense trust on romance, he clearly has used love again as the driving point of the movie. The climax feels rushed as if the director took it upon himself to right all the wrongs done to the hero and his people in 10 minutes flat and that is something we can afford to overlook. If we can afford the ending, we can enjoy the romance and thrill this film offers for two hours. Can can..!! 🙂

24 (TAMIL)

24_(2016_film)_posterStarring: Surya, Samantha, Nithya Menon, Saranya,  and many more
Editing : Prawin Pudi
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography: Tirru
Directed by: Vikram Kumar

Vikram Kumar’s last offering was the much celebrated ‘Manam‘ and he was tipped to remake the same film in Tamil with Surya in the lead role. But after many thoughts the duo came out with a scientific time travel thriller and that’s 24. Lets see how the travel has been.

This is the story of a watch, with which the owner can travel to the past and future and control the time. It is invented by Sethuraman (Surya), a scientist and his twin brother, Athreya wants to snatch it from him. Athreya’s quest to get the watch extends to the next generation (26 years in future) as he has to now get it from Mani (Surya) the son of Sethuraman. What happens to the watch, how it changes the lives of the three characters in the course of its travel, and who gets the watch ultimately is what it is all about.

One can easily say that films like these do not come very often. You are bound to appreciate the thought process behind Vikram Kumar’s execution of the whole project. Getting an idea like this and narrating the film in such a comprehensive manner is no joke. Right from the beginning, he engrosses you with ample thrills and entertains you big time. The screenplay is loaded with unpredictable twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The pace never slackens except for the ridiculous romantic angle.

Be it the innocent Sethuraman, monstrous Athreya or charmer Mani, Surya has given his heart and soul for all the three characters. The versatility in Surya’s body language and mannerisms are huge plus for the film. Both Samantha and Nithya doesn’t have big scope in the movie, but are adequate. Samantha is good in some of the comedy scenes too. Saranya has once again justified that she is tailor-made for lovable mother roles. The Research lab set that includes a lot of precautionary facilities created by the scientist with some beautiful designs in it including a multi-purpose cradle for the kid speaks volumes about the brilliant efforts of art direction.

Tirru has beautifully mixed Poland and Pune scenery to create the perfect outdoor action scenes which has been captured well. Prawin Pudi could have trimmed the film a little more. Rahman’s songs are big plus for the film and he scores well in the BGM of Athreya’s sequences, especially in the pre-climax portion. Vikram should be lauded a lot for taking efforts in bringing out such a brilliant screenplay through time travel and made everyone understand with ease. Keep your expectations in check and be ready to bear the lack luster love track, this will entertain you completely..!! 🙂

O Kadhal Kanmani (TAMIL)

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Starring: Dulquar Salman, Nithya Menon, Prakashraj, Leela Samson and many more
Editing : Srikar Prasad
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography: PC Sriram
Directed by: Mani Ratnam

From where to start for this film..? After two back to back debacles the director needs a much breakthrough. Though he is experienced he needs to prove that he is still the same who has the legend tag attached to him. So he buckles his shoes with his best crew and goes with a not much known star cast as lead pair and takes a genre in which he is well versed, but this time he has updated as per the trend. So what he has given this time with the Kanmani..? Lets see..

The story takes place in Mumbai. Adithya (Dulquar Salman) is a digital game designer and Tara (Nithya Menon), an architect. They both have their own ambitions and they are career-driven individualist’s who have strong perception about their personal space and life. They meet each other and become friends instantly, thanks to the similarities in the way they think. They decide to move in together and start living together in the house where Adithya lives as paying guest. There lives Ganapathi (Prakashraj) and Bhavani (Leela Samson). What happens in the lives of the younger couple and as well as the elder couple forms the rest.

Many may think what plot has been handled as the live in relationships are not much encouraged in our country but Mani has not tried to say it is correct. The dialogs are gems even though it has the usual Mani’s stamp of having just one word. Excellent casting works wonder for the film. Even though the film is mostly based with the young couple, the real romance is conveyed through the elder ones. The ending is based upon the elder couple’s romance is where the film is alive.

The film completely depends on the lead pair be it the younger or the elder. Dulquar Salmaan has managed to perfect his Tamil accent and his expressions too are apt for the role he’s been asked to portray. Nithya Menon is the soul of the film as she brings alive her character with not just those expressive eyes and infectious smile, but with her acting too. Although first half is a tad bit lengthy, Prakash Raj saves it with his performance. This is one of his best performances apart from ‘Kanchivaram‘ and ‘Vetayadu Vilayadu‘. Leela Samson, her debut film, playing his wife has done justice to her character as an Alzheimer patient.

Though the film is for youth the crew is not young though. AR Rahman scores both with his songs which is already a runaway hit and also with his BGM’s which makes to take a note of it (eagerly waiting for the BGM’s). PC Sriram’s lighting and angles deserves a special mention. Its full of color’s in the entire film mainly pink, violet and many cool ones. The design of the house where Adithya lives is a proof of it. The animation part in the entire film is a very interesting one as the hero is a game developer. Going by the climax we can clearly say that Mani Ratnam has not taken the liberty to show that youngsters prefer only live in and thus he managed to play it safe and proved he is stil the king in making films based out of love given any time. Go and enjoy as the film is more than OK..!! 🙂

I (Tamil)

Ai

Starring: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Suresh Gopi, Santhanam and many more
Editing : Antony
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography: PC Sreeram
Written and Directed by: Shankar

The director who directed a love story as his second film and produced a love film as his debut project comes with a thriller sorts full love story with the casting of a unique actor who wishes to portray the character like his life. Thats the beginning hope this film created initially. Slowly the expectations grew after the stills got released and came to a high once the audio was launched in a big way. The actor joins with the director for the second time after giving a blockbuster in their previous outing. How about this.? Lets check..

A top shot model Diya (Amy Jackson) falls in love with Mr.Tamil Nadu Lingesan (Vikram), and together they become the most wanted model pair in the country after a few initial intros. When Lingesan rejects an advertisement of a wealthy businessman (Ramkumar), who gave him the big break into ad world, he plans revenge against him. Now, he is joined by his competitor model John (Upen Patel), lusty doctor (Suresh Gopi) and a transgender stylist who are out to cause massive damage to Lingesan’s life which is worse than death. How Lingesan takes revenge against these powerful people in the society and did Amy knows about all these forms the rest.

At the start Santhanam contributes a few laughs and keeps things light, and Vikram, too, does no heavy lifting outside the gym. He is relaxed, charming, and he draws us to this a small person who wants to be a big with respect to his body. Shankar takes a break from his usual style of story telling and when he writes dialogs in a casual way he makes use of the efficient writers Subha.

Vikram excels throughout the movie and his years of dedication just to make the movie that much more interesting is appealing. Amy Jackson’s performance is kind of okay and one might feel that she should’ve done much more justice to her role, which is very important to the movie unlike many other Tamil movies. But her lip sync is apt and need to appreciate on that. Santhanam comes both as a comedian and as a character of a friend. Suresh Gopi has underplayed for most part of the movie and erupted to T when it’s required. Upen Patel looks classy and fits the bill perfectly as an international model. Ramkumar will remind you one of the famous personality and has provided his best.

I is a technically brilliant movie. The VFX used are executed almost perfectly in many places. PC Sreeram’s camera work supporting such graphics stands out and has an international appeal to it. His way of showing different ad’s is the best of all. AR Rahman’s songs are already chartbusters and when its seen along with the visuals it gives a good feel. Background score will definitely add accolades to his never ending list of awards. His BGM stands out as it converts an usual scene into an interesting one. Antony tried to cut short the film but at few places we can feel few shots could have been trimmed a bit.

Screenplay in the second half gets better but it also makes the audience to easily guess the remaining story. After taking many thriller and expected films, when Shankar takes a love film, its quiet normal many wont enjoy the way film proceeds but on a whole its quiet slow and steady love film where all the love revenge saga wont happen in a haywire. Vikram’s dedication and performance stands out separately in a Shankar film and in most part, certain technical aspects still try to prove its a Shankar film. Can enjoy the film if you watch without any expectations..!! 🙂

Lingaa (TAMIL)

Lingaa

Starring: Rajnikanth, Sonakshi Sinha, Anushka, Santhanam and many more
Editing : Samjith
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography: Rathnavelu
Written and Directed by: KS Ravikumar

Rajni, the Super Star, returns back live after 4 years. That too the film released on his birthday. What else will give more joy to all the film fans. Lingaa a short time creation but with a huge star cast gave a very good hype on what the film is as many cases were against the story of the film. So lets see what the Super Star gives us.

Named after his grandfather, Lingeshwaran (Rajnikanth) is one of the classiest robbers, in association with his friends. But he is also wanted by Anushka and the folks of Solaiyur, for reopening an age old temple. Curious and clueless about why his grandfather is praised so much, Linga is finally forced to agree to visit the village. The young lad eventually learns that his grandfather was the one to revive the life and livelihood of the entire village, with his own money. But flashing back, Lingeshwaran is a wealthy king with a heart singularly aimed at serving people. Why and how did the king misunderstand? What is the backbone forms the rest.

The problem with Lingaa is that even though Rajnikanth plays two characters, it is Lingeswaran whom the film is clearly enamoured with. But the character is not truly striking and hardly has a formidable antagonist — the scheming British collector never seems threatening. For a film crafted and made ready-to-release in six months, many frames in the film look like a richly painted big canvas, quite a visual treat, with the beautiful Mysore palace and also sets mounted on a mega scale, animation and computer graphics.

Superstar – that’s one word, said enough. For years, movies that star Rajnikanth, portray him as a rogue who ultimately transforms into a benevolent and generous, forthcoming person with high respect in the society. This is the person Rajnikanth himself, in most parts. Thalaivar plays his part well, as a gentleman in all respects, and his dialogues befit both his roles. And both Sonakshi Sinha, who abandons her home and village to be with the Raja as he is banished, and Anushka Shetty as a television anchor-girlfriend of Lingaa are characters on the periphery. Naturally, with a superstar like Rajnikanth in frame after frame, the others around shrink into inconsequential specks.

Rathnavelu’s work on the camera angles, especially in songs, apart from palace scenes and train fight sequences are good. Equally good is Samjith’s work on editing and superimposition – noteworthy are the scenes when of jewellery robbery and the spat with the British. AR Rahman’s songs slowly gives the pep for the film and his background score is simple as the story. It is another clean masala from Ravikumar which has a racy screenplay to justify the story that preaches unity, integrity, honesty, humility, and generosity, all for the goodwill of people. Introduction of the thought that people should not be biased based on caste, is an intelligent move. However, certain patches do stand out as sore thumb that are in dire need of finesse – like dialogues for everyone other than Rajni, action, choreography, and graphics, especially in climax. In all, the film looks like it is made for Rajnikanth, to make him the hero of all times, but fails to meet expectations as a movie on the whole…!! 🙂

Kaaviyathalaivan (TAMIL)

kaaviyathalaivan-movie-title-look-poster-designsStarring: Prithviraj, Sidharth, Nasser, Vedhika and many more
Editing : KL Praveen
Music : AR Rahman
Cinematography: Nirav Shah
Dialogs: Jeyamohan
Directed by: Vasanthabalan

Kaaviya Thalaivan has created massive expectations as the genre of the film itself suggested that the movie will be very unique in an age of science fiction. And also the soundtrack created huge impact on the expectations as the Isai Iyakunar never attempted this genre of music. Classic film with theatre background is what the film looked like. Lets see.

Kaaviya Thalaivan is a period drama set in Madurai of 1930’s and 1940’s. The story is set against the milieu of old Tamil drama schools and the life of stage artistes. At the heart of the plot is the intense rivalry between two extraordinary drama artists, who belong to the same drama troupe. Kaliappa Bhagavathar (Sidharth) and Gomathi Nayagam Pillai (Prithviraj) grow up together under the guidance of their guru, Sivadas Swamigal (Nasser). While Gomathi is hardworking and dedicated, fun-loving Kali is the natural performer. His effortless talent and innovative style wins him appreciation of his guru which is unbearable to Gomathi, who believes he deserves all the laurels. Ponvannan who used to play the Rajapattai aka the hero in all the plays goes out of the troupe due to his bad behaviour. Meanwhile, Vadivambal joins their troupe. For Gomathi, it is love at first sight, but Vadivambal falls hard for Kali. Kali, however, is in love with Rangamma (Anaika Soti), the daughter of a local king. When Gomathi learns of this affair, he finds a way to deceive Kali and to become the Rajapattai. How this jealousy, anger and desire destroys the drama troupe, their lives and career, forms the rest of the story.

The story is of an age more than 80 years ago, yet staged on this day. To recreate the image of those days, it takes immaculate art direction. You want to cheer for Vasanthabalan for extracting some of the best performances from actors whose talent we’ve always underestimated. You also want to cheer for the makers for being gutsy and backing this offbeat attempt. Sidharth, who is the main protagonist in the movie has excelled with his strong performance and Prithviraj’s characterization and his performance is equally good. Vedhika has done a fantastic job in portraying her character. Supporting actors Nasser, Ponvannan and Thambi Ramaiah too have dished out excellent performances. Anaika Soti’s role doesn’t have much scope when compared to others.

The music is really out of world. There are many sequences where you can just close the eyes and just enjoy the fine music and the end credits takes more time for the music department. AR Rahman – one name speaks volumes for the spirit of the movie. Not only has the beauty of songs translated into visual treat, but his music stands out in moving the audience in every scene, with the score. Nirav Shah’s camera, make up by Pattanam Rasheed and costumes by Perumal Selvam and Niranjani Agathiyan offer a ringside view into the lives of theater artists in the pre-Independence era. Veteran Tamil writer Jeyamohan, who has penned the dialogues, has shown how mighty his pen can be.

A very different story, a team to perceive it in the right light, actors who live the characters dictated to them, with the best in class for art, music and picture, this is a perfect package. The story is no big secret, and is predictable at most places, as to what it might lead to, in the next frame. The reason of sudden rise of pre-independence is also not well answered. The climax convinces but leaves multiple unanswered questions. But all said, Vasanthabalan has really laid out a beautiful drama, polished and perfected in each frame, for a classic entertainer for all, and especially for those who have a taste for retro. A well made classic..!! 🙂