Pa Paandi (TAMIL)

Starring: Rajkiran, Revathi, Prasanna, Chaya Singh and many more
Editing : Prasanna
Music : Sean Roldan
Cinematography : Velraj
Directed by: Dhanush

Dhanush has now entered into direction..!! After acting, producing, singing, writing lyrics he dons the hat of the director. He has chosen a 60+ actor as his lead in his debut directorial venture. Lets see what he has tried saying us through his story.

Power Paandi (Rajkiran) is a retired stunt master in Tamil film industry, living with his son Raghavan (Prasanna), daughter-in-law (Chaya Singh) and their two children. Raghavan wants his dad to stay at home and spend his time but Paandi is a person who can’t take things lightly, as  he wants to work and be occupied. When Paandi picks up a fight with the local thugs, it causes embarrassment to Raghavan. This forces Paandi and he writes a letter and leaves home. The old man wants to explore life and goes on a road trip to meet his first love (Revathi) in Hyderabad. What happens next forms the rest.

Dhanush has packaged the movie in such a way that the film has necessary commercial elements including fight, romance, songs and family sentiments. Establishing the characters and premise  takes up a chunk of the film’s first half. The film’s second half moves briskly, save for the unnecessary songs that act as speed bumps in the narrative. Rajkiran carries the entire film on his broad shoulder and shines in every frame emoting effortlessly be it charged up for the fight sequences or becoming a child when playing with his grandchildren.

Revathi lifts the film with her brilliant performance though for a very short period of time, she steals the show. The way she sits down with her daughter and discusses the idea of companionship at 60. Take a bow. The flashback scenes of Dhanush and Madonna Sebastian (young Rajkiran and Revathi) though well-written is cliched. Prasanna as the son who repents for his behavior towards his dad after he goes missing has given a good account of himself while Chaaya Singh as his wife does not get any scenes to score. Rinson as the boy next door who has a casual and loyal friendship with Power Paandi is so natural that you wish there are more scenes between them.

If simplicity is the heart of the film, Sean Roldan’s music is the soul. The background scores and the album itself is all about narrating Power Paandi’s story. Velraj’s camera captures the rural flavor and ambience effectively. Dhanush gives us a heartwarming film that, despite its conventional storytelling, packs in a huge emotional wallop. An emotionally strong film but not too much emotional on a story basis. Can give a try..!! 🙂

Kodi (TAMIL)

kodi-movie-poster_147573311700Note: This is my 200th post..!! 🙂

Starring: Dhanush, Trisha, Anupama, SA Chandrasekhar, Saranya and many more
Editing : Prakash Mabbu
Music : Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematography : S Venkatesh
Directed by: Durai Senthilkumar

This film has marked Dhanush’s entry into the double action for the first time. As the stills and trailer showed, there is not a huge difference between the two characters except the change in the beard. Set against the backdrop of politics, film has Trisha playing the lead to Dhanush for the first time in both of their career. All these add up to a huge deal of expectations. Lets see how the Kodi is flying.

Kodi and Anbu (Dhanush) are twins born to a loyal member (Karunas) who sacrifices his life for his party. Kodi fits in his father’s dream of making it big in politics and he becomes a full-time politician against his mother’s (Saranya) wishes. Anbu grows up as an obedient son of his mother and works as a professor in a local college. Rudra (Trisha) belongs to the rival party of Kodi and she loves Kodi despite being in rival parties. When their respective parties announce Kodi and Rudra as their candidate for an by-election, power game gets intensified between the two. Who wins and what happens to their personal relationship and how Anbu is involved in this forms the rest of the story.

As we have heard many times, content is the king which is once again proved in this film thanks to the director for this. The movie works largely because of the surprise twists and turns in Senthilkumar’s script and presentation. The plot is refreshing and there are no unnecessary twists or excessive melodrama. The first half of the movie travels like a usual commercial entertainer but slowly the film turns into a classy political thriller, especially in the second half. The movie works mainly, because of the gripping good vs evil war. When that is mixed with politics the movie moves on nicely.

For an actor of his caliber, this movie is a cakewalk for Dhanush. He carries both the roles with maturity and elegance. He shines in the mass hero moments as well as the dramatic ones. He differentiates the role very well. It is hard to believe that Trisha was the one who played as Jessie, in ‘Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya‘, is the one who has played Rudra in this movie. Rarely do we see a heroine have a meaty role and Trisha gets that long-awaited opportunity. The actor plots silently and is the face of calm even in the most tense moments. It’s that rare performance that is calculated, effective and one of her career best. Anupama fits the bill as the homely girl while Kali Venkat grabs our attention as a loyal friend. Saranya, SA Chandrasehar play their parts well.

Cinematography by Venkatesh is perfect for a political drama capturing minute expressions of the actors while Santhosh Narayanan’s background score rightly sets the tense mood. Editing is perfect as it slowly paces the film when it moves to the second half. Senthilkumar, backed by his strong cast and crew, has etched the screenplay having all the commercial elements in his mind and has given a strong political thriller which works well most of the time. It is hard to imagine a movie without a strong male antagonist but here that is filled by a female antagonist who is strong enough as hero which is the major twist of the movie. Overall the movie is a well written and packaged commercial entertainer that delivers good.

Thangamagan (TAMIL)

Dhanush, Samantha & Amy Jackson in Thanga Magan Movie Posters

Starring: Dhanush, Samantha, Amy Jackson, Radhika and many more
Editing : Rajesh Kumar
Music : Anirudh
Cinematography: Kumaran
Directed by: Velraj

After a big gap comes a real big-ticket movie towards the close of the year. As usual the expectations were huge since this is the biggest regional release after the heavy floods and from the combination of VIP team. Lets see how this son has given this film.

Tamizh (Dhanush) is a happy lad, roaming with his friend and his cousin Aravind. Tamizh is smitten by Hema (Amy) and after few chases they both fall in love. Over time, Hema and Tamizh fall apart, and eventually Hema gets married to Aravind and Tamizh finds Yamuna (Samantha) and they are two happy families. The happiness gets spoiled when Tamizh’s father (KS Ravikumar) commits suicide. When nothing is known about the suicide, the rest is the story of how Tamizh uncovers the truth.

The casting of the main characters are the big plus whereas the casting of villains is a big let down. For such a hero who punches through his mouth every now and then, the villains looks just flat. Second half struggles with its poor screenplay with scenes which offers nothing in many places. Comedy clicks well in the first half which is easily the biggest thing in the film. The film rests completely on Dhanush’s shoulders. He turns on the charm in all characterizations as the ideal son, lover and husband. Amy Jackson has a better role and it’s such a pleasure to see a heroine not playing the usual character. Samantha in a homely role is impressive. Radhika and KS Ravikumar provide the ample support as same as Satish.

Editing is good as the film is just few minutes over 2 hours. Debutant Kumaran’s camera has clicked in both halves. Anirudh has provided songs that are needed for situations and as usual excels in the BGM’s. Though the story is impressive it does not help the film due to the bad screenplay. Though it has not clicked fully still the film has something to offer in the form of comedy and the family essence added into it. A good time pass film overall..!! 🙂

Maari (TAMIL)

MaariStarring: Dhanush, Kajal Agarwal, Robo Shankar, Vijay Yesudas and many more
Editing : Prasanna
Music : Anirudh
Cinematography: Om Prakash
Directed by: Balaji Mohan

In the recent days, publicity plays a very important role in a movie’s success. Not only for success even for the failure too. Publicity is fine we can accept as that’s the way to reach out the public. But what about the pre-hype which is created? We have seen pre-hype’d movie becoming a huge hit like last week’s ‘Baahubali‘ or the all time box office dud ‘Anjaan‘. So one such pre-hype’d movie is what we gonna see now which has national award winner playing as the lead. Lets see whats there.

Maari (Dhanush) is a local don who has murdered another don eight years back and thus ruling over his locality. Arjun (Vijay Yesudas), transferred cop to that area takes up this case and plans to arrest Maari. Sridevi (Kajal) comes to the area with plans of opening a boutique and Arjun takes the help of Sridevi and arrests Maari. Once he comes of out jail, Maari comes to know about the real picture of Arjun and what happens between Maari and Arjun forms the end.

This is another film which shows good in trailer but the film fails when compared to trailer. The film follows the tried and tested template of the age-old mass commercial movies of Tamil cinema. Even though the film has some bird race or sandalwood smuggling parts in the plot, nothing has been told in-depth which leaves the story hung without balance. Stylish beard, coolers, trendy shirts, punch dialogs all are well portrayed for the hero, but there should be some powerful villain for him. But that is missing badly here. This is not a bad film, but just a badly written film.

The film’s biggest strength is undoubtedly Dhanush’s impetuous performance and terrific screen presence. He carries the character of Maari through his back with punch dialogues and one liners. After him, Robo Shankar is the biggest asset of Maari, his amazing screen presence and amusing body language is one thing and his timing comic counters is another. Kudos to Balaji Mohan for utilizing him to full extent in both of his movies. The screenplay continues to entice by showcasing the hero’s mass, thanks to his sidekicks the film is kept lively. Debutant Vijay Yesudas (in acting), has nothing to offer other than the first few scenes. One of the damn boring part of the film is Kajal Agarawal and her so-called-love scenes with Dhanush.

Anirudh, once again, proves him that he is a huge plus for all the films he has scored. Songs and BGM’s saves most of the film, which falls low otherwise. Om Prakash and Prasanna have done their part well. Balaji Mohan’s big leap of faith into the commercial stream with didn’t seem to have worked in his favour. His previous outings was very well enjoyed and thus he must have thought to go to the next level and has taken this route. Having Dhanush, Anirudh, Robo Shankar on one side as positive’s could not get a good story which makes this film less on entertainment but more on masala. One and once only for Dhanush..!! 🙂

Kaaka Muttai (TAMIL)

kakka-muttai-movie-poster

Starring: Vignesh, Ramesh, Iyshwarya Rajesh, Ramesh Thilak, Joe Mallori and many more
Editing : Te Kishore
Music : GV Prakash Kumar
Cinematography and Directed by: Manikandan

Kaaka Muttai is the film which got premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival ’14 and recently got the National award for the best children film and also for the best child actors. This is the preface of the film other than which there are no star power for the film apart from the fact it was produced by one of the leading actor and one of the leading director. Usually the films which gets awards at the festivals will be treated as pure cinema and lets see how this film has been treated.

The film revolves around the lives, hopes and dreams of two youngsters, Periya Kaaka Muttai (Vignesh) and Chinna Kaaka Muttai (Ramesh) who lives along the slum side of Chennai. A swanky pizza joint opens near their slum which gets inaugurated by actor Simbhu (yes he has played himself). These two become obsessed with the tempting pizza that is served to him. At first, they decide to earn the Rs.300 needed for the pizza but it seems like a distant dream. So they plan to earn the amount by doing all sorts of works which comes their way. Soon they have enough money for the pizza but they are not allowed to go in due to their dirty dress. They earn more money and manage to get the new dress but this time they are physically abused before being thrown out. Did they get the chance to taste the pizza or not is the rest.

The main plus of the film is the chemistry between the brothers and the bonding they share with their mom and their granny. Even though they are poor financially, they are very rich in the terms of being happy. Even though they are known as Chinna and Periya Kaaka Muttai we were not even told about their real names in the film and that’s how the director has made us to stay with the film. Although this is a film on the kids who are under privileged the film is not at all preachy and shows only good things.

Both the kids Ramesh and Vignesh shine with effortless performances and it didn’t come as a surprise when they won National Award for their feat in the movie. Special mention for Chinna Kaaka Muttai as he has shown various emotions in his face and his innocence is cute. Iyshwarya should be really proud for accepting such a character which offers more challenge as the mother of two. Supporting actors like the grandmother (Aaya) and Joe Mallori (Pazharasam) who helps the boys collect charcoal at the railway tracks, to name a few, have delivered the goods. Ramesh Thilak and Yogi Babu have succeeded in making the audience laugh at regular intervals.

As he is the director, Cameraman Manikandan has an easy task and he has caught the entire slum and the houses nearby which has been portrayed authentically. Late Kishore’s editing is perfect for such type of films which is proved by the duration of the film (109 minutes). GV Prakash’s music adds the pep to the proceedings. Towards the end the film lags a bit, but the ending is satisfactory but what the kids say after tasting the pizza is what reality of the real kids. Manikandan has given a decent film which is built with many small packages and has cemented the film with a powerful screenplay which has things which we see in our daily life. A fun film which has some amount of subtle message which can be watched by all standards of people. Kaaka Muttai – Small and intelligent film with a big heart..!! Embrace with both the hands..!! 🙂

Vai Raja Vai (TAMIL)

vai-raja-vai

Starring: Gautham Karthik, Priya Anand, Taapsee, Vivek, Daniel Balaji and many more
Editing : VT Vijayan
Music : Yuvan Shankar Raja
Cinematography: Velraj
Directed by: Aishwarya R Dhanush

Three years after her debut film, 3, the director is back with her second directorial venture with all new star cast and crew and also a completely opposite genre from her debut. The trailer promised an exciting and stylish entertainer – a luxurious cruise liner, packed casinos, and the glamorous world of gambling and fashionably dressed people. Lets see whether this gamble pays off or not..

Karthik (Gautham Karthik) is a normal middle class youngster who leads a perfect life with a caring girlfriend Priya (Priya Anand) and lovable family until he meets his colleague Panda (Vivek) a small time gambler. Karthik has the power to predict what will happen next and it is this ‘intuition’ that makes him an extraordinary person. Together, Karthik and Panda win a big betting amount from Randhe (Daniel Balaji) who loses one crore and he takes revenge by blackmailing them to roulette in a casino at Goa to play for high stakes. Who wins the cat and mouse game is the rest.

Though the film is mere 120 minutes of length the placement of songs and the unwanted old retro act by Vivek and MS Bhaskar makes it even boring. The screenplay needs to be more sharp as the genre is thriller but the screenplay is mixed as one time its thriller and immediately the mood sinks off. The much talked casino scenes does not have anything to offer and those initial cricket betting scenes could have been trimmed by a minute and casino scenes could have been extended instead. First half is enjoyable overall and second half is back only in the last 10 minutes.

Gautham Karthik’s character has been portrayed well by him however, he needs to pay special attention to his lip sync and voice modulation, one might feel. His various emotions seems to be similar and there is no difference. Priya Anand is as usual used only for fillers. Taapsee comes in a cameo but she is more powerful than the heroine. Daniel Balaji is back as the menacing thug, and he convinces you to bits, with his acting. Satheesh gets you in splits, as the friend. But it is Vivek who steals the film, as Pandu or the stylish ‘Panda’. He has very serious role and the film ends with the return of Kokki Kumar. Dont miss that. There are many people in the film and not everyone gets their role to perform as the story does not give space for that.

VT Vijayan has done his part well and Velraj captured the scenes as per the mood and scenario. Yuvan’s songs are not so good but BGM stands out throughout the film. Aishwarya Dhanush has penned the story, screenplay and directed the film, which is evidently a dedicated attempt at the commercial genre in Tamil cinema. However, the story is not gripping enough and it slows down considerably post-intermission. Save the climax the rest of film is just a half baked thriller..!! Time pass..!! 🙂

Anegan (TAMIL)

anegan-movie-poster_142131568800

Starring: Dhanush, Amyra, Karthik, Jagan, Ashish Vidyarthi and many more
Editing : Antony
Music : Harris Jayaraj
Written by: KV Anand, Suba    Cinematography: Om Prakash
Directed by: KV Anand

Back to back releases makes Dhanush a notable actor in this month. He comes with a film directed by KV Anand whose last film was a debacle one. He has taken his time and woven a script where he joins with Dhanush for the first time. The nation wide actor and cinematographer turned director together joins with the yesteryear heartthrob along with a debut heroine. What does this team offers..? Thats Anegan..

A complicated story line to describe in words. The film starts in Burma in 60’s, with Samudra (Amyra) falling in love with Murugappan @ Muna Roona (Dhanush). Circumstances tear them apart, but decades later Madhumitha (Amyra) who works for a gaming company, comes across the glimpses of the Burma part in her inner mind. She meets people who are rebirths of the ones she was with in Burma. Eventually, Madhu meets Ashwin (Dhanush), who looks like Murugappan. Again she comes into another episode of Kaali and Kalyani of 80’s (again Dhanush and Amyra) and what happens to her and her past and what happens to the love forms the interesting and tricky link of the film.

KV Anand is one person who always takes the help of the veteran writers Suba in all of his films which is very positive in current period of films where the script gets very much notice. A story with reincarnation and revenge reaches the level of crime oriented novel for which the writers were authors for many. The high point of the film is the strong casting and the support cast. Even though the script and screenplay is interesting the cliche part of commercial cinema is forced back into the climax where it obviously ends all good for the lead pair.

This story highly suits Dhanush and he aptly fits into the multiple role of the film sans those wigs ( 😉 ). Be it a yesteryear labor or the local goon or the current Techie he molds him very well like the clay. Once again the heroine scores very well in her debut. Amyra’s eyes emotes well and her funny mannerisms is interesting to watch. She just acts casually and comes out winning. Karthik still has the same enthusiasm and energy which he had two decades back. He is the surprise package of the film and he comes to the full in the second half of the film. Jagan, Ashish Vidyarthi, Aishwarya all does neat performance in the film’s journey. Antony’s editing is perfect and never loses the momentum from the thrill. Om Prakash varies the color code across all the story of the films and captures the bright colors in the songs. Harris’s songs are a big let down except the Danga Maari. BGM mingles well with the course of the movie.

KV’s films has some sorts of story but here the story is very much clear and crisp and thus are the dialogs by the Suba. That’s the reason he joins hands with them in all of his film right from his debut. The interesting screenplay without even a single dull moment (except it has more songs in the first half) is the plus of the film and thats where the film comes to the front. Even though the theme of reincarnation is seen in many movies this one can also be enjoyed as it has all the needed elements of a commercial fare with more amounts of thrill and suspense. KV Anand takes love this time and mixes thrill with it to give a family entertainer. Guarantee granted..!! 🙂