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..!! 🙂

Ram-Leela (HINDI)

336747,xcitefun-ram-leela-posterStarring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Richa Chadda, Supriya Pathak and many more
Editing: Rajesh Pandey
Cinematography: Ravi Varman
Music Songs: Sanjay Leela Bhansali    Music Background: Monty Sharma
Written and Directed by : Sanjay Leela Bhansali

If Sanjay Leela Bhansali is to be believed, Gujaratis are the most colorful, passionate, violent, loud and lusty community in this country. So everyone in the fictional village of Ranjaar is permanently brawling, killing, drinking or loving. The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in Gujarat. The film opens with a weird gun battle between some trigger happy people and that’s what sets the ball rolling. Fire arms are easily available in this village where Ram (Ranveer) and Leela (Deepika) live. They belong to two different clans, Rajadi and Sanada that have live together but are at war and have been for the past 500 years.

Naturally, Ram, a Rajadi, falls in love with Leela, a Sanera. Ram Leela is Shakespeare on steroids and, for the first half, works wonderfully. As in his past films, Bhansali creates a hermetically sealed fictional world that has little connect with reality. But unlike in Saanwariya or Guzaarish, here he injects a robust humour and creates a gorgeous love story.

Certainly the stand-out aspect of Ram-Leela is the acting department. The second line of defense – the support cast – Richa Chadda, Gulshan Devaiah, Barkha Bisht Sengupta, Abhimanyu Singh, and Supriya Pathak as the matronly mobster Ba, are all pitch perfect in their comprehensively defined roles. The women, especially, have really understood their bits to the last detail. But the canvas belongs to Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone who match each other’s energy and conviction with relentless chemistry, making it look easy and natural.

Cinematographer Ravi Varman bathes each frame in rich, lush colours. Bhansali himself has given the music and maybe that’s the reason you see one song after another from the start till the end. But the songs are not bad and they are so beautifully shot that you enjoy them. Deepika’s dance performances in most of the songs are breathtaking. The plot becomes clumsier and clumsier and the joy we had found in the key characters is snuffed out by violence and ugliness. Which is when you start to notice how ridiculous the scenario actually is — these folks are some sort of underworld dons but you never see them actually doing anything except killing each other. Mobile phones abound and at one point there is talk of Twitter, but the village and its feuds seem to belong to another century.

Bhansali keeps you glued to the screen, gets terrific performances out of most of the actors and keeps the plot together. The film has a lot of moments that stay with you, Ram and Leela’s passionate attraction that draws them to each other is very well done and that’s what makes the kissing scenes just a part of the big picture. It’s well hyped and still surpasses all expectations. For me this Ram-Leela is a masterpiece, but with a little bit of over action and bad ending..!