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..!! 🙂

Kashmora (TAMIL)

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Starring: Karthi, Nayanthara, Sri Divya, Vivek and many more
Editing : Sabu Joseph
Music : Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematography : Om Prakash
Directed by: Gokul

Kashmora, the title itself sounds different and that was the feel all had when the makers released the first look of the movie. Also the hero of the movie looked totally different that almost many could not identify who the hero was and finally it was Karthi. Such was the difference the movie had created as part of the pre release. Lets see how the movie has fared.

Kashmora (Karthi) is a fake black magician who dupes people and gets money from them using their fear as a tool. With the help of his dad (Vivek) and his family, he slowly becomes the best of town which makes the police and even minister to look for him. Meanwhile, Sri Divya comes for her thesis to Kashmora to make everyone feel that he is a cheat. Kashmora escapes with the minister’s money and lands with his family in a haunted palace where they happen to see the spirit of dead warrior Raj Nayak (Karthi). Who is Raj Nayak and what he does to Kashmora and his family forms the rest.

The movie starts slowly and it takes more time to get into the story. Actually towards the end of the first half the film gains back from where it went down. But what is the need of such a  heavy flashback for such a normal story? There was no use in just repeating the same act of the hero cheating people. It could have been better if Gokul had shown more number of scenes where the hero and his family cheats the people. The war scenes could have made better so that it could have connected the story well. The end of the movie shows the director could not come to a decision how to end the movie.

The film completely belongs to Karthi and he shines as the deadly warrior Raj Nayak with his villainy mannerisms while his performance as the comical black magician is a scream. After Karthi, Vivek steals the show as his dad. Nayanthara was used to project the film’s flashback in a grandeur way. Her styling and screen presence is unmatchable. Sri Divya has nothing much to do. Om Prakash’s camera angles and lighting are what makes this film differ from the usual fare in this genre. Sabu’s editing could have been even more crisper. Santhosh’s BGM makes to feel the movie more interesting. VFX could have been better whereas the detailing of the art team stands tall.

Gokul, who gave us a very strong ‘Idharkudhaney Aasaipattai Balakumara’ which was heavy in its comedy, has taken a different angle to black magic and has tried to give his best. Provided that this era belongs to the ghosts he has mixed that with a spoon of comedy and a vessel of old century fights. Unfortunately he could not give much of what was expected from the trailer and the film moves damn slow even after the story was established. Can watch only for Karthi and the visuals. Better to give a miss if you do not have patience..!! 🙂

Thozha (TAMIL)

Thozha-Movie-Release-Date-PosterStarring: Nagarjuna, Karthi, Tamannah, Vivek and many more
Editing : Praveen KL
Music : Gopi Sundar
Cinematography: PS Vinod
Directed by: Vamsi

The movie is the official remake of the critically acclaimed and hugely successful French comedy-drama The Intouchables that portrayed the beautiful friendship between a quadriplegic billionaire and his less-privileged caretaker. The major plus point of that film was the casting and their chemistry. Lets see how that has been handled in this remake.

Seenu (Karthi) is a carefree lad, who has just released from prison and his mother (Jayasudha) and siblings hate him. Money is everything for him until he meets Vikram (Nagarjuna), a quadriplegic billionaire who was paralyzed from the neck down in a para-gliding accident. Vikram is under enormous stress, which he doesn’t tell anyone and hates being seen with sympathy. Seenu is appointed as Vikram’s caretaker much to the surprise of his smart secretary (Tamannah) and best friend (Prakash Raj). The rest of the film is about how Seenu and Vikram help out each other in making their lives better and life is all about enjoying the moment.

The film beautifully portrays the fact that each and every one in the world has problems but if they get someone, who can show unconditional love, they are blessed. The film has a touching emotional content that thankfully is largely underplayed and never touches melodrama. The slow pace of the movie tests our patience mostly in the second half or otherwise its a smooth ride. Karthi impresses with his quirky dialogue delivery and body language. He fits into the role like a charm.

Equal credit should go for Nagarjuna. The veteran has portrayed a paralysed person who does not seek compassion with finesse. Prakash Raj in his tailor-made role does his job neatly. Tamannah as the secretary does her part without any mistake and she looks extremely ravishing. Jayasudha as Karthi’s mother is convincing while Vivek who comes as Karthi’s lawyer manages to make us laugh with his trademark dialogues. Anushka and Sriya chips in with cameos.

PS Vinod has done a great job, capturing most parts of Paris beautifully. His visuals are slick and looks to be of the highest quality. Dialogues by Raju Murugan and Murugesh Babu stand out throughout the flick. Gopi Sundar’s songs and BGM are good. Great performances, a refreshing screenplay and some stunning visuals make Vamsi’s movie a breezy, fun-filled entertainer that is definitely worth your time…!! 🙂

Komban (TAMIL)

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Starring: Karthi, Lakshmi Menon, Rajkiran, Thambi Ramaiah and many more
Editing : KL Praveen
Music : GV Prakash Kumar
Cinematography: Velraj
Directed by: Muthiah

This director’s debut was a full and full rural film where he has portrayed the love side of a man and his mother’s sentiments towards her son. That was a mediocre hit over rural sides. He joins hands with the hero who comes back from a victory in his last film and returns back with this film which was surrounded by pre-release controversies and finally managed to hit the screens. How it has performed? Lets see..

The story revolves around violent rivalry among three villages, Vellanadu, Arasanadu and Semmanadu. Each wants to have its own man as the elected head. Kombaya Pandian (Karthi) of Arasanadu is a fierce guy who has the support of his entire village. He lives with his mother (Kovai Sarala), brother (Karunaas) and his uncle (Thambi Ramaiah). Komban meets and falls in love with Pazhani (Lakshmi Menon) who is the daughter of Muthaiah (Rajkiran) who is a man of peace and hates violence. Komban crosses path with Gundan (Super Subarayan) a ruthless local politician and his henchmen and this incident triggers a chain of violent incidents which culminate towards the climax.

The film delves into many relationships – mother-son, father-daughter, husband-wife – but lays emphasis on the complex relationship between fathers and sons-in-law, a relationship that is seldom explored. Also there are too many cliches with the characterizations of the villain gang. Though the plot of the movie is not new to Tamil Cinema, the way it is put across with right mix of comedy, action, values of relationships and sentiments work wonders for the film.

Karthi does a pretty good job with his amazing screen presence in spearheading the film. He has the looks and feels demanded by his character of high moral standing. Rajkiran proves why he is so highly rated as a character actor. He does comedy and sentimental scenes with equal ease and reserves his best for the climax when he totally dominates the screen. Nothing to add about Lakshmi Menon as she looks and acts exactly like what she has done in her earlier films. Kovai Sarala and Thambi Ramaiah provide some comic relief, while Super Subarayan as the Gundan, looks menacing.

Velraj’s cinematography has shown the rusty Ramanathapuram locales in different color tone and  GV Prakash’s music and BGM are noteworthy. Sharp cuts of Praveen KL has helped the movie to maintain the pace and the running time is not also too long. Muthiah has based his subject on the experiences of his own and has succeeded to a great extent in presenting not only the raw life of the rural people but the way they love and respect relationships. Another rural mass entertainer with ingredients to satisfy the masses..!! 🙂

Madras (TAMIL)

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PS: My 75th Post..!! 🙂

Starring: Karthi, Catherine Teresa, Kalaiarasan, Jayapalan and many more
Editing : KL Praveen
Music : Santhosh Narayanan
Cinematography: G Murali
Written and Directed by: Pa Ranjith

Another director who has given his second film. That too with a star who deliberately need a hit after a huge setback in his past few films. As usual the teasers, trailers and the songs were looking pleasing so can we think that the film is bankable on.? We need to see how it works for the all of them included in the film as the cast contains more debut performances.

Kaali (Karthi) and Anbu (Kalaiarasan) are very good friends who live in the same area. A wall stands strong against their friendship and its d political pressure of 2 huge parties which lasts for many decades. Anbu is backbone of Maari who is the leader of one party and they are against Kannan, the rival whose father’s image is painted on the wall. How the two of them fight against each other in getting the wall for them is the fitting tale which has romance submerged in it where Kalaiarasi (Catherine) supports Kaali.

North Madras is like how Madurai been portrayed in the movies. Stop. Not in this film where the rivalry is present which takes the final place which comes next to only the bondness of the friends and the casual love and the aura of the North Madras is captured very good. The film has a strong storyline and a powerful cast to back this up. The major success of the movie is attributed to the perfect casting handpicked well and extracting the best from them. The movie has equal mix of realism and commercialism blended well to give viewers a excellent North Madras experience.

Karthi has kept himself low-key after his delivering a series of flops. And Madras is given minimal promotions, which comes as a big advantage for him as people watch the film with less expectations. Hence, it easily makes audience appreciate the film and mainly his performance. His romance with Catherine is quite charming and adds a dash of colour to, on the whole, a gritty film. Catherine is quite adequate in her role. Kalaiarasan convincingly portrays the nature of friendships, and he has an equally alluring romance with his wife, Ritwika, who plays Mary. Hari who plays Johnny the lunatic is damn good and his way of delivering the dialogs deserves special mention. There are N number of supporting characters all are well known by their screen names aka Maari, Kannan, Blue Boyz, Kaali’s parents and his grand mom.. Phew..

Santhosh Narayanan scores one more sixer after his Jigarthanda. He is the next person to watch in this interesting music world. Be it the songs are the power packed BGM’s he ticks off all the boxes which has to be in a political, action vendetta. His score plays a huge role in giving a different color to the film. Murali’s camera is a character by itself and night effect shots add to the mood. Art department plays a major role in this film as the Wall is the central character of the story as it gets older the effect it shows. A certain part of the romance could have been chopped in the second half in the otherwise apt length. Hats off to Ranjith for his detailing in script and presentation and the way he has extracted mind blowing performances from his cast. The film is a wholesome entertainer with some minor arguable moments, Ranjith has yet again pulled off a blockbuster in reckoning. Madras, the name gives the needed spirit. Take a ride..!! 🙂

Biriyani (TAMIL)

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Starring: Karthi, Hansika, Premji, Nasser, Ramki and many more
Editing: Praveen – Srikanth
Cinematography: Sakthi Saravanan
Music : Yuvan (100th film)
Written and Directed by : Venkat Prabhu

A film which is taken by a person who is mainly known for his offbeat and quirky themes and settings joins hands with a hero who is new to such a story and who badly needs a hit. How that film will be which has the best of best of the director and his crew. The teaser proved it will be different like the title but how the film tastes?

Sugan (Karthi) is an absolute Casanova who has a stupid but special friend Parasuram (Premji). He works in a Tractor company and impresses a wealthy industrialist named Varadarajan (Nasser). After attending a party Sugan and Parasuram searches for Biriyani shop and happen to come across a sizzling beauty named Maya (Mandy Takhar). Both falls for Maya’s beauty and decides to accompany her for a night of fun. After getting drunk and wasted, all hell breaks loose when Sugan wakes up in the morning. Maya is nowhere to be seen and Sugan finds himself trapped in a murder case. How he comes out of all these things and what happens behind the murder is what the food is about.

Venkat Prabhu has mixed the story with the latest and trendy updates of the world like whats app, flash mob praising thala, and even looks after the logic like the heroine Hansika works as a TV reporter who works for the channel which is owned by the person who has been known first as missed and then later kidnapped and finally killed..!! But out of these many goods few could have been avoided so that we wont be getting any burp in the middle of the meal.

Karthi proves that he can look like more and more young when he joins hands with Venkat Prabhu in this film. He has portrayed plenty of characteristics to his character and proves good in all of them. Premji who is the friend of the hero has does his part well but at certain times his hair looks funky which could have been kept short so that his expressions could have been natural. Hansika comes as the candy gal and does her part well mostly in the second half. Mandy Thakkar gives the needed oomph factor for the film and helps for the twist. Nasser, sadly, has been made muted in almost half of the film. Ramki comes good in his comeback. Sampath, Uma Riyaz, Jayaprakash all fits the bill aptly but Prem is a surprise delight to watch for. The number of characters in the film is sure to make the head spin.

The Karthi-Premji duo’s silly act in the pre-interval could have been chopped so that both the halves of the would have been crispy, otherwise Praveen – Srikanth duo has worked very tight for the entire film, especially Nah nah and Pom Pom penne song. Sakthi Saravanan has cooperated well with the director as he knows how the film has to be delivered. U1(00) takes the taste to next level. Songs are chart busters but the highlight is the motivational song Edhirthu Nil sung by popular contemporary music directors D Imman, GV Prakash, Thaman and Vijay Antony. BGM’s are apt as per the mood.

Though the film moves slowly on its own, but once it gathers momentum, there is no stopping till the end, where there is an exciting climax, as well as an anticlimax, in typical Venkat Prabhu style. The N number of characters in an offbeat mystery story with its unpredictable twists, mostly laced with humor and flavored with great music makes this Biriyani a well-packaged treat for the viewers. Though its good, as per the tagline, we can taste this once according to the (Venkat Prabhu) diet..!!

Azhagu Raja (TAMIL)

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Starring: Karthi, Kajal, Santhanam, Prabhu and many more
Editing: Vivek Harshan
Cinematography: Sakthi Saravanan
Music: Thaman
Written and Directed by : Rajesh

Azhagu Raja created some level of curiousity due to a number of successful combos coming together of Director Rajesh and Santhanam, Karthi and Santhanam, Karthi and Kajal. It is expected that the chemistry between Rajesh and all his heroes could spark off a perfect laugh riot. But this time there is a complete mismatch in all aspects and hence the film falls flat.

Raja @ Azhagu Raja (Karthi), the only son of Prabhu and Saranya, owns an unpopular cable channel named where here are only two employees, one being Raja and other Kalyanam (Santhanam). No matter what they do, neither TRPs nor revenues were improving. The hero, accidentally, comes across Devi Priya (Kajal). Instead of trying to impress her, Azhagu Raja picks up a fight with Devi Priya when she sings a song at a marriage and thus the story keeps on growing. Later as they start liking each other, a flashback of Prabhu opens up. It has to be noted that Karthi steps into Prabhu’s story set in the 80s. Prabhu’s flashback shows us that he was working with her grand father played by Nassar and he had left the job after he was insulted by him.

Ooppphh..!! There seems to be an overdose of characters, 2 roles for Karthi and 3 for Santhanam. There is too much happening in the film. But nothing to keep you interested. After Saguni and Alex Pandian, Karthi desperately needed a hit. Unfortunately his bad luck continues, as Azhagu Raja has absolutely nothing to offer to an actor of Paruthiveeran calibre. He continues with his usual modulations and dialogue delivery patterns. But his 80’s avatar is to be commended. Kajal fits as a typical dumb heroine of commercial flicks. Santhanam is been type casted for his comic one-liners and they couldn’t make an impact on audiences this time, though he steals the show with variety of expressions. Santhanam’s presence is inevitable in all Rajesh’s movies with not much change in his role or characterisation. Though he does have his moments in Azhagu Raja, the comedy seems to be forced, many of the scenes greatly exaggerated, and his portrayal of Kareena Chopra, a disaster. M S Bhakar, however, does deserve a special mention. Though brief, his role as Kajal’s dance master is hugely entertaining.

Thaman has delivered a couple of good songs but the BGM is clueless in many scenes. Cinematography looks sloppy with many not to mention shots and lighting. Editor has gone sleepy while doing his job i guess. Many scenes are going going and still going without anyone calling for a cut. But makeup and costume was perfect during the flashback of 80’s.

After a hat-trick of hits, Rajesh misses the trick this time around. Although all his previous movie had wafer-thin storyline and relied completely on Santhanam, those movies had scope for Santhanam to take over the spotlight. In this movie, most of his jokes and one-liners fall flat, due to lack of interesting screenplay. Rajesh definitely needs to think beyond relying completely on Santhanam. The film is a mess. There is nothing to even remotely suggest that it is directed by Rajesh, who is considered the master of comedy in the Tamil film industry.