Mouna Guru, was a making progress silently with Arulnidhi as the protagonist. The "Vamsam" star was in need of a hit because of the poor outing of his previous commercial "Udhayan". Backed by his home production, this movie is directed by newcomer Santhakumar and has some good technicians behind the camera. As not much expectations were placed on this movie, the same factor has worked out for the success of it, by emerging as the dark horse/silent winner in the box office trade, thanks to the neat work done by the crew.
Arulnidhi shows potential once again here as his performance was quite good and his dialogue delivery was in sync with the character he portrayed. If he works out more on his expressions and body language, he has a very good future in Tamizh cinema. Heroine Iniya has nothing much to do here, other than be the love interest of the hero, but it's not the 'sake-of-having-one' kind of a role. All the other character artistes like Krishnamoorthy, Madhu, K.Balakrishnan, Sujatha and etc did their roles well but the real scene stealers were John Vijay as the corrupted police officer and Uma Riyaz Khan as a pregnant investigative officer. Both were fantastic with their subtle expressions and body language and this movie will stand as one of their best ever roles in their entire career. Mouna Guru is one of the rare films which has its entire cast dishing out decent and non-overboard acting.
The film has some decent technical works. Thaman's music is a plus for this film with "Yenna Idhu" and "Anamika" songs being the best of the lot. His background work is very much commendable and one of his better works and nearly as on par with his best "Eeram". The usage of silence in the climax scenes worked very well in enhancing the thrilling effect. Dhilip Subbarayan's stunts were very natural and minimally used, making it more realistic to watch. A.A Devaraj's production work and Mahesh Muthuswamy's camera work was very effective and well done. Raja Mohammed could have trimmed some portions of to speed up the screenplay, especially in the first half.
The real hero of this movie is the director Santhakumar. One of the best aspects of the film is the usage of characters. Nearly all characters had a role in moving the screenplay forward and even the antagonists were well used and not as just 'punching-bag' for the protagonist. In-fact there is not even a single scene showing heroism and each character has its own shades and color which makes it more believable. It is difficult in Tamizh cinema for directors to come up with decent enough thriller which can hold the attention of audiences till the very end, without compromising few factors. The events starts to unfold one by one and each scene were well executed with no nonsense approach. The unpredictable small twists and turns holds the interest of the audiences. Some might find the screenplay to be little slow in the first half, but it's just an minor issue.
Mouna Guru is a decently well made thriller which never fails to get the appreciation of viewers. Hoping to see more classy and better work from director Santhakumar.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
Two winning personalities coming together creates lots of expectations and excitement. Suseendran, fresh from his critically well-received "Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai" and 'Chiyaan' Vikram, after the heart-warming performance in "Deivathirumagal" join hands for "Raajapaattai". From the very beginning itself, the production team has made it very clear that it would be an out-and-out commercial movie on par with Vikram's earlier hits like "Dhool" and "Saamy". Besides that, the film comprises of good technicians and it was supposed to be a cracking film from the crew. Alas, the end product was of poor quality and far from what the audiences wanted to see.
There's no doubt that Vikram is a brilliant actor, and also it is not wrong to choose a commercial film to sustain the pedigree in the cinema market, but it should be a film with enough flavor to cater to the mass image of the hero. Here Vikram does carry the whole movie on his 'very broad' shoulder, but what is the point of carrying a burden which has no worth? 'Chiyaan' has a very limited role here and the much hyped 17 different get-ups were just small time cinema gimmicks, though he was brilliant as usual for carrying different body language for each get-ups, especially in the "Villadhi Villain" song and in a few scenes in the second half. Vikram looks too 'matured' for the funky, cool colors and it does not suit him very well. Deeksha Seth, makes her debut in Tamizh cinema here and as usual she has nothing much to do other than to look pretty in songs. Legendary director K.Vishwanath as the old grandpa was very adorable and cute with his fantastic timing and expressions but too bad his role too was limited to the first half. The rest of the cast including Pradeep Rawat, Avinash, Sana, Thambi Ramaiah & Mayilsamy was pretty much ordinary and only the stunt actor Aruldass evokes laughter once in a while.
Harikesh and Shobana Kailasam should be applauded for the costumes department as their work was very neat and the hero-heroine pair looked wonderful in the "Paniyepani Poove" song and also with Vikram's funky costumes, though whether it suits him or not is a secondary issue, but it suited the character of 'Anal' Murugan very well. Meanwhile, stunts by 'Anal' Arasu was a bit over-the-top in certain shots but the fight sequences taken in the rain and in the market street was very well coordinated. The technician who has contributed the most is definitely the art director Rajeevan. The whole movie were shot on sets and each set was very natural be it the housing colony, the street market, the film sets, everything was done very neatly. Class work from him, as usual. Mu.Kasivishwanathan did a decent job in the editing department by keeping the film very short and not draggy with unnecessary scenes. Madhie's cinematography was pretty much ordinary this time, but the fight sequences in the rain and in the market street were well captured with clever positioning of camera angles. Yuvan Shankar Raja's song was quite average this time with only 2 songs hummable, which are "Podipaiyan Polave" and "Paniyepani Poove" being the best of the lot. "Podipaiyan Polave" was done with montages and in choreography in colorful and simple sets, erected by Rajeevan in the beach. "Villathi Villain" was picturized in a pretty lame manner with Saloni Aswani making a special appearance in the song. The only bright spark was the various get-ups of Vikram who pretty much fitted into everyone of it! "Paniyepani Poove" was picturized in a rather simple and elegant manner in autumn-filled locations. The much publicized "Laddu Laddu" song featuring 2 hot gals, Shriya Saran and Reemma Sen fails to attract attention as it was placed in the ending credits, which by the time many audiences would have left the cinema hall. Yuvan's background score was pretty decent and neat with the opening rap-bit sung by Emcee Jesz sounding attractive and energetic.
The main drawback of the film is the poor screenplay of Suseendran. Though the story, written by co-director Seenu is a much relevant issue of today, Suseendran's screenplay was very lame and dull. It didn't create any impact, didn't generate any zing and didn't keep the audiences hooked to the screen, even though the film was only running for little more than 2 hours! All the jokes and comedy portions fell flat except for a couple of scenes, thanks to the cute and K.Vishwanath and the poor 'henchman' Aruldass. There confrontation scenes between the protagonist and the antagonists too was very lifeless and looks amateurish with no excitement generated to keep the audiences on their edge of the seats. The only saving grace is the no-nonsense dialogues by writer Baskar Shakthi where a couple of them were real hard 'punches'.
"Raajapaattai" was a total disappointment from a talented crew, which left many audiences thinking was the movie meant to be taken as a serious film or a spoof of some sorts. Vikram promised a pucca mass masala commercial but end of the day, the audiences were treated to a very bland and tasteless product.
Ratings: 2/5 STARS
Silambarasan is back once again this year with the much talked about Osthe. The movie was much awaited by fans of commercial cinema since it is the remake of Salman Khan's huge hit "Dabangg" and also the return of director Dharani who has given smashing hits before with "Dhill", "Dhool" and "Gilli". Added to that, the songs of the film is a big hit and Richa Gangopadhyay is having her second release in Tamizh cinema within two weeks. Besides that, there is Santhanam who always keeps some of his best work for his 'mentor' Silambarasan. So did "Osthe" live up to "Dabangg"?
As the whole film depends on his character, Silambarasan has lived up to the role of 'Osthe' Velan and he oozes arrogance and style to give color to that character. As expected from a commercial cinema hero, he displays all emotions well and does comedy, utter punch dialogues, shows good flexibility in stunt sequences and not to forget, his whacky dance movements in song sequences. Besides that, he scores in scenes which needs heavy emotions and he played it very well with subtle body language and facial expressions. Silambarasan is making improvements from film-to-film. Some fans might not be able to accept Silambarasan in a larger-than-life role but he has enjoyed doing this role and it is evident in the film. Sonu Sood is an ample villain and he is dashing and brooding and gives good competition to Silambarasan, though he is far more taller and heavily built compared to the protagonist. Richa Gangopadhyay, who made a terrific debut in "Mayakkam Enna", is reduced to just songs and some glamorous shots which is normally expected of in a 'masala' movie, though Chinmayee's voice was suitable for her. "Jithan" Ramesh has found his proper second innings in Tamizh cinema with a neat portrayal. The rest of the supporting cast such as Revathy, Nasser, "Nizhalgal" Ravi, Saranya Mohan, "VTV" Ganesh, Azhagam Perumal, Vijayakumar and the "Osthe Velan" Force, comprising Mayilsamy, Vaiyapuri, Thambi Ramaiah were perfect and did their portions very well. One man who kept the audiences attention all the time was Santhanam. He was absolutely funny and humorous with his one-liners and great timing. The act he does in the "Neduvaali" song is the, pinnacle! Santhanam is on a high!!
The film has a decent technical department. Vidhyaa B.Reddy and S.Rajendran's costumes were apt for the roles and Richa's was particularly glamorous. Stunts were done decently in some portions, whereas in certain others, they were over the top. Since there are three directors associated with stunts, Kanal Kannan, Ram Laxman and Silva it is hard to distinguish who, did which. Kalyan and Robert delivered the necessary must-have's of Silambarasan's whacky and zany moves in song sequences. Maniraj's sets are very naturally built except for some sets which looks like 'newly' erected, especially with the heroine's house set. Though the artwork was neat, it is quite debatable to see how close the sets came in portraying the Thirunelveli district. S.Gopinath is class above the rest when it comes to commercial mass masala and his work elevates the mood of the film, especially the confrontation scenes and in the railway track sequences. Not to forget the pre-climax scenes. He is a big asset to Dharani. Veteran V.T Vijayan's work is clean and neat. The biggest strength of the film is the music by Thaman. All the songs are foot-tapping and entertaining, which is the ultimate need of mass movies. "Osthe Mamey" was typical of hero's introductory song and it was cool to see Dharani making a cameo as well. "Unnale Unnale" was done in a montage style with dance and sequences thrown in as well and the scenes in the temple were well shot. "Neduvaali" was done in a spacious set and was a complete entertainer with the dance sequences. "Pondatti" song was decent and cute and was mostly shot in Dubai and the opening few seconds in the early morning dew was pleasant to see in screen with the light purple tinge in the backdrop. The much talked about "Kalasala" was a letdown though. It had 2 big advantage in the form of rocking music with superb rendition by Vijaya.T.Rajender and LR.Eshwari and also the hot Mallika Sherawat as the item girl. Yet the song failed to live up to expectations, video clip wise and is not a match to the original "Munni Badnam" number in "Dabangg".
The strength of mass masala commercials is the screenplay and Dharani has a solid track record before this. "Osthe" too was well written and had fast screenplay, keeping the audiences attention and even when we were expecting a slight slump in the screenplay, either a song or Santhanam comes in handy to keep the audiences entertained. Dharani has very cleverly made the necessary changes to make the script apt and suitable for Tamizh audiences and having his assistant Bharathan as a the dialogue writer, he has added more plus points to the film. Bharathan's dialogues especially the one mouthed by Azhagam Perumal about politics/politicians were very well written.
The film is strictly for those who like and do not mind watching mass masala commercial films and in addition, do not mind seeing Silambarasan in a larger-than-life type of role which usually fits the Fab 4 (Vijay, Vikram, Ajith & Suriya) of Tamizh cinema. If it wasn't for some over-the-top scenes, this film is a near-perfect mass masala commercial film.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
Sasikumar and Samuthirakani are back again with Porali this time. Their last work "Eesan" was a success critically wise but failed to set the cash-registers, ringing. Due to poor release timing, they're movie faltered. This time they are once again offering another hard-hitting film but it's Samuthirakani's turn to do the direction. His "Nadodigal" was a super hit and was much appreciated by all section of fans and much is expected from this film.
Starting with the cast, the soul of the film is the protagonist, Sasikumar and he has done a good job. Nothing outside of his regular acting as he had replicated the same mannerisms, dialogue delivery style and body language as he did in "Nadodigal" but with less fire, due to the characterization. His plus is his look and the beard and it complements the intelligent/smart persona of his character very well and the whole film is carried by him. The changeover from rural to city background was smooth, though there are some questions which can be raised with the transition. Allari Naresh was fine and the scenes which required the tough emotions, were neatly done though his mannerisms were similar to what Bharani did in "Nadodigal". Heroines Swathi and Niveditha has not much to do and only the former has more screen space as Sasikumar's pair. Nevertheless, they were well used but the surprise package is the appearance of Vasudhara in a very short role in the second half. Her's was a meaty role which demanded some physical struggle but it was a short-lived one. Job, well done. There are a plethora of extras in the film like Jayaprakash, 'Ganja' Karuppu, 'Parotta' Suri, 'Badawa' Gopi, Prof.Gnanasambandhan, Namo Narayanan and etc. The comedy portions in the first half was neatly done and evokes a few genuine laughter, thanks to the fine timing by 'Ganja' Karuppu and in the second half it's 'Parotta' Suri's turn to entertain the audience with his dialogue delivery.
On the technical front, the movie is quite simple. S.R Kadhir is brilliant as usual with his wide angles, top angles and angles from tight spots which he squeezes into the frame. His brilliance is evident in the scenes captured in the small housing colony. Nice work, all the time. Keep it up, Kadhir! Sundar C.Babu's music is disappointing this time with non of the songs really catchy and only the background score was done well, thanks to his effort of recording it in the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. A.L Ramesh should have done a better job with Samuthirakani as the screenplay was sloppy. R.K Naguraj's props and sets in the barren land was well done. Dhilip Subbarayan's stunts were tad a bit disappointing this time as some stunts were not neatly executed. Technical wise, the film had average work except for SR Kadhir's contributions.
Samuthirakani, who always comes up with fiery screenplay with full of enthusiasm and angst at times, misses the plot this time. His screenplay was very sloppy, as mentioned earlier and there was no coherence in the flow of the story with various flashbacks of different timeline. The movie started off very well, with all the necessary grip and anticipation but slowly rolled out to be a moderate product. His dialogues though were intelligently written with doses of angst, pain, emotions and sarcasm and even cheeky, by making reference to their previous film and personal opinions as well. The first half had the right portions of suspense, comedy and emotions but the second half was slow and confusing. Besides that, a few proceedings or events in the film are questionable which seems to be out of logic or should be said as out unjustified. The scenes depicting the patients in the mental asylum looks a bit disturbing and it might not be fathomable for a few.
In the end, the movie turned out to be a below average film and it's disappointing to see it coming from a very talented team of film-makers. Samuthirakani had a very good message and theme to play with, but his screenplay was a big letdown and some issues were not properly looked into.
Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS
Mayakkam Enna was anticipated with great expectations thanks to the chart-busting tracks of GV Prakash and also having the stamp of Selvaraghavan-Dhanush combination which has worked wonders before. Dhanush is on a all-time high, fresh from becoming the National Award winner, but he had to score in this film as his previous 2 releases, Mappilai and Venghai were damp squibs. As for Selvaraghavan, it's a total changeover from Aayirathil Oruvan and the theme was something he handles very well and known for, darker personalities of common people and their relationships.
The film belongs to Dhanush as he delivered a smashing performance. Certainly one of the best in his whole career, Mayakkam Enna brought out more refined performances from Dhanush. He scored in all the transitional periods, be it from the amateur photographer, to a caring husband, a drunkard on the verge of losing his sanity and finally a matured man who has seen success. His facial expressions and the subtle emotions were well punctuated with controlled dialogue delivery and intonations. It's really difficult to pick out the best scene of his in the film and its amazing to see Dhanush evolving into an intense performer. He has raised his bar and more accolades are on the way to his doorstep. Debutante Richa Gangopadhyay couldn't have asked for a better entry into Tamizh cineam. She is the pivot of the script where, the story unfolds around her and is very much impressive. Selvaraghavan's films do have strong women roles and here it goes to Richa. She is neck-to-neck performance wise, with Dhanush and her best scene was certainly the outburst she did in the second half. With no dialogues, it was a brilliant moment from her and she pulled it off with intense emotions and body language. Another added plus point to her is the dubbing of Deepa Venkat as the voice of her character. Kudos to Deepa as well for a near perfect dubbing and adding strength to the character of Yamini. Sunder Ramu, a professional photographer himself, makes his debut here as a friend of Dhanush and he was very much adequate and pulled off the fun portions of the film, very well. Raviprakash as the scheming ace photographer was good and it's a good changeover from his roles. Mathivanan, Soni, Shilpi and Rajiv completes the cast and all were very natural and reflected the current trend among friends in real-life, on-screen.
GV Prakash's music was already a huge hit and this is certainly one of his best albums ever. It's very rare these days to see an whole album becoming a chartbuster. Picturizations were neatly done as well. "Voda Voda" was fun with animations thrown in between and it was done in a quirky manner. "Kaadhal Yen Kaadhal" had the usual dance routine but the placement of the song was perfect and elevated the mood and feel of the song further. "Naan Sonnadhum Mazhai" had a neat cut-shot style with montages and so as "Pirai Thedum" though certain styles in "Naan Sonnadhum" was similar to the song "Pul Pesum" in the movie 'Pudhupettai'. Background score was on par with the quality of the songs and it was a brilliant touch by GV Prakash to use silence in necessary places to propel the impact of the scene further. Job very well done! The other strong element of the film is cinematographer Ramji. Since the film revolves around a photographer, many scenes were beautifully shot akin to a picture-postcard frames especially the shots in the forest and busy streets and lanes though he could have toned down the coloring of certain portions to be more natural. Kola Bhaskar's editing was very crisp but he could have trimmed a few scenes more in the second half. Kiran's job as an art director was simple and clear cut but a higher production cost could have ensured even better outputs especially with the awards presentation sequence. Gitanjali Selvaraghavan's costumes made the hero-heroine pair to look simple and at the same time, trendy.
Selvaraghavan chose a simple and easy plot to convey this time, yet it has all the necessary ingredients expected in his films. Dark emotions, weird relationships, subtle comedies and hard-hitting emotions. As promised, this film showcased the current situation among the youths and teenagers. Any director can come up with such simple story-lines but only talented people can make it engaging and hard-hitting and Selva is one. He conceived powerful and emotion-filled scenes and extracted nothing but the best from the artistes. The bus-stop scene, post-abortion sequence, pre-"Kadhal Yen Kadhal" scenes all had the stamp of Selvaraghavan throughout. Another brilliant touch from him is the usage of silence as a tool in making progress in scenes. There was one obvious flaw towards the end, in the film which doesn't correlate with the timeline of the plot and Selva should have corrected it to maintain continuity.
Mayakkam Enna, a real treat for Selvaraghavan fans. A simple one though, this time.
Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS
'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay is back to his forte, that is mass masala commercial cinema. Nothing surprising about that but the surprise factor here is the director of the film M.Raja who had only done films with his brother 'Jeyam' Ravi as the lead hero in Tamizh so far. There was no hiding that this film is a pucca commercial movie from all sides involved in the film and nothing novel was expected nor promised by the film crew. The only additional attraction is that, this is Vijay's highest budgeted film.
Vijay who's last was the decent off-track 'Kaavalan' is back to what he does best. He has a wonderful screen presence and a bundle of energy and joy. He excels in all departments with laid-back dialogue delivery, cute comical expressions, angst and fire in stunt sequences and flawless dancing skills in the songs. Good to see him experiment with different hairstyles in the "Maayam Seidhaayo" number. All his usual acts, checked. Genelia D' Souza and Hansika Motwani are two dolls used in this film and the former has the meatier role. Not to say Hansika has lesser screen presence, but Genelia's role has more importance to the script and Hansika just being an additional attraction. Genelia as a journalist was decent though her dubbing was out of sync at certain times. She was gorgeous in her simple and sweet wardrobe. Hansika's role as a bubbly village girl was a little bit odd but she has good timing and expressions, thanks to her experience as an child artist. Santhanam was very humorous with the not-so-loud and simple comedy tracks. It was not among his best but it certainly raises laughter, especially with his terrific comedy timing and besides that, some comedy portions were done by Suri and Paandi. Saranya Mohan was cute and homely and she too did what was expected. As usual there are many character artistes in this film as how it was with M.Raja's previous film. MS Bhaskar, Pandiarajan, Manivannan, Sayaji Shinde, 'Parotta' Suri, 'Black' Paandi, 'Kadhal' Thandapaani, Singamuthu, Vyapuri, Raaghav, Abhimanyu Singh, Vincent Asokan, Ilavarasu, 'Crane' Manohar and etc,etc all were part of this film and each of them had a couple of scenes between themselves.
Technically the film has some decent work. VT Vijayan's editing was flawless and he made sure the film had all its "ingredients" checked and at the same time, there was no unnecessary dragging in the film. Priyan's cinematography captured the action sequences well, especially the harbor fight and the climax fight and not to forget the train 'battle' scenes involving a helicopter as well. Stunts were choreographed well and in a simple manner and credits should go to both 'Stunt' Silva and 'Anal' Arasu and Silva's work in the harbor fight sequence was the best. Milan's sets were cool and trendy, especially with the songs. The usage of colorful and intricate sets, elevates the joyous mood of the songs and film. Vijay Anthony is a big asset to the film as his music contribution has helped the film to reach audiences faster. All the songs in the film are good numbers and will remain in the charts for quite some time and his background score too was not bad, either. "Chillax" and "Maayam Seidhayo" had wonderful sets, especially the former one. "Molachu Moonu" stands out as the pick of the lot in the film and will certainly be one of Vijay Anthony's best songs ever. It was well picturized by having all 3 lead characters, in the lush,green and cool Kashmir. "Sonna Puriyadhu" is the grandest song ever shot on Vijay and the director should be appreciated for maintaining a colourful and grand scenario throughout the song with hundreds of dancers and set work. "Rathathin Rathame" was in-tune with the story and delivered the necessary sentiments required for the film. The director and costume designer could have come up with a more novel and original idea for the costumes of the 'super-hero' alter-ego of Vijay. The costume was copied from the popular gaming series "Assassin's Creed".
This film can be labelled as M.Raja's most commercial film ever. The script is meant as a tribute and was developed based on the one-liner of the Telugu film "Azad" which was developed by him and his late-friend Thirupathysamy who directed "Azad". The Telugu film was a remake of Amitabh Bachchan's "Main Azaad Hoon" which in-turn was inspired by an old Hollywood film, "Meet John Doe". M.Raja made sure that all the necessary elements were not left out in order to project Vijay as, not only a mass hero but as a super-hero as well. There was no dull moments in the film and the pace of the movie was kept stable throughout. The placement of the songs were smooth,the comedy portions were not boring, the sentiments were not too cliched and the intended message was delivered appropriately. The train fight sequence was a bit over-the-top considering they have used the services of veteran Hollywood stunts coordinator Tom Delmar. Surprisingly there were no punch dialogues in the film used by the protagonist. Vijay meanwhile reiterates his real life political stand in a certain scene. What makes us a little surprised is that, after a lengthy high-octane action scene, we are usually accustomed to assuming the film is about to end but here M.Raja continues the screenplay and reserves the most sentimental scene for us and builds up a emotion-filled climax for the protagonist who finally, delivers a motivational message for the audiences.
Vijay has a another commercial entertainer and a sure shot winner, at-least for his fans and M.Raja has used all the elements required and made available to him, in a very effective manner. There is nothing new story wise as the concept and theme is as old as the hills and Vijay himself had done it in his previous films. What works in this case is that, there were no false promises made and what was delivered, is what was expected of originally, from the director and the lead artist.
Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS
7am Arivu... A big film with huge expectations thanks to the coming together of 3 names, that is Suriya-AR Murugadoss-Harris Jeyaraj trio and in addition, some of the best technicians in the Indian film industry. Though the movie started off with big expectations, nothing was told to the outside until the audio was launched, where the trailer of the film was released along. The trailer took the expectations several notches higher and there was no stopping marketing wise. The fans were bombarded with new news each and everyday until the release. What really made the proceedings intriguing was the revealing of the Bodhidharma character which the film revolves around. A mystical man from Tamil Nadu who was totally forgotten about in his homeland whereas in the other side of the world, he is being revered as nothing less than a GOD and the founder of martial arts. So, how did all this build-up work?
Starting off with the cast. Suriya was exceptional in his hard-work and tremendous effort to bring out the role of Bodhidharma. Be it his opening shots as the Pallava King and the transformation of the character into "Damo". He was majestic in his opening shot as the king and he brings the needed stillness and calmness for the role of the monk. His hard-work shows off in the stunt sequences, be it the fight scenes in the Chinese village or the climax sequence. Not to forget, the tricks he learned for the circus artist role as well. Bravo and hats-off to him for pushing the boundaries of Tamizh cinema heroes in putting efforts for their characters. Shruti Haasan's made her Tamizh debut here and she does justice to her role and has the intelligent look needed for her scientist character Subha. Good work on her side for working on the Tamizh syllables and difficult words. She can be the daughter of "Ulaganayakan" but it is unfair to expect her to speak as flawlessly as her father. Anyways, a decent debut for her and it is a welcome relief to see heroines getting plum roles, which in case nearly equal to the hero. Johnny Tri Nguyen, does what is expected of him and being an expert in martial arts, he does his role well but there was some kind of stiffness around him. All the other character roles were performed appropriately.
As mentioned earlier, this film has some of the best technicians in the Indian cinema and their talent can be seen in the film. Shabina Khan' and Anuvardhan's costume work was apt for the film and kept simple. The VFX team did a good job with the opening shot of the 'Gurukulam' depicted early in the film. Cinematographer Ravi K.Chandran, one of the best and most wanted in Indian film industry, is a huge asset to the film. His work is top-notch and his stamp of work i evident throughout the film but certainly the opening 20 minutes shot in China has some beautiful colors and views and the climax scene as well with various different shots and angles. Proves he is one of the best. Another major role player is Rajeevan. His artwork is impressive and helps bring the story to life. The village erected in China, Kancheepuram "Gurukulam", the science laboratory, the circus props everything needed big amount of effort and work and his team has pulled it off brilliantly. Will be one of his best in his entire career. Anthony could have done little bit better in the editing, especially with the length of the film but more of it later. His work in the climax fight was classy. Peter Hein had put in lots of research from his part as well and it shows off here with the superbly choreographed Chinese village and climax fight sequences.
Coming to the songs, Harris Jeyaraj has disappointed his fans with average songs this time. Most of the songs have a heard before feel to it and do not really excites the audiences. Though the songs are average,the picturization were unique. "Oh Ringa Ringa" has an incredible concept of having 1000 dancers under at the same time under the guidance of choreographer Shobi, and that too with Suriya in a heavily crowded public places. It was a commendable job and the crane shot was well used but the song doesn't really reflect the grandeur of having 1000 dancers and many close up shots were used instead. "Mun Andhi" is a slow romantic number, picturized in Krabi Islands of Thailand. Beautiful close up's of Shruti and Suriya and many different shots such as under water camera and helicopter shots were implemented. "Yellae Lamma" meanwhile was done in Hong Kong and different colour shades were attempted, giving it a cool and chilled out look. "Yamma Yamma", a pathos song was picturized solely on Suriya's emotions and Ravi K.Chandran's tilt-and shift method was put to good use and the train station set erected by Rajeevan was near perfect. "Innum Enna Thozha" and "The Rise of Damo" was done in montage sequences and were used to establish the proceedings of the screenplay.
Captain of this big 'ship' AR Murugadoss deserves a big,big round of applause for the amount of work and research he had to put, to come up with this script and above all to deliver a thumping and necessary and timely message, interwoven in the script, to the watching audiences. But there is one BIG fault in the script and that is the length of the film. He had a brilliant concept, which is very hard to be made into a regular Tamizh commercial cinema and he tried his best in coming up with one but he fails to execute it perfectly. Murugadoss's previous films like "Dheena", "Ramana" and "Ghajini" all had fast and thrilling screenplays but here, though the thrill is there, he drags it too much with unnecessary elements. The "attempted" romance track between Suriya and Shruti didn't work out as there was no proper chemistry between them and it was not necessary to the film and thanks to this "attempt" songs were churned out and were thrust into the film and the placing of the songs were ill-timed. Besides that, the "Nokkuvarmam" or hypnotism issue was over-used, especially with the long-drawn out car stunts scene.The film did start off in a fantastic manner, depicting the journey of Bodhidharma in a documentary manner with over-voice. The film then loses the grip it had on the audience after that and we had to wait for sometime until a drama comes up and sadly the pace drops few times and had to be picked up later on as the film progresses. This slows the screenplay badly and leaves the audience feeling exhausted and stretched. It is not wrong to dream of a many interesting concepts but it is very difficult to put a few of them in one single film and this is where Murugadoss falters by failing to come up with a tight screenplay. Life and times of Bodhidharma, the historical facts on ancient culture of Tamizh people, mysterious martial arts skills, scientific research advancements, political issues aided by bio-warfare, backdrop of circus environment, all these is a bit too much for audience to ponder upon at a time. Even if its possible, then the commercial aspects should have been compromised. Commercialism doesn't work all the time audiences do have matured a bit to accept realistic cinema and Murugadoss should have boldly moved away from thrusting in regular commercial elements. Scientific-logic issues gave way in the end to accommodate commercial sentiments, so that the take-away message can be sent across loudly.
In conclusion, 7am Arivu is a good film which could have been much, much, much better and salutes to AR Murugadoss for his thumping message.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
Director Sargunam is back with a fresh, period film after the sleeper hit Kalavaani. Sargunam should be praised for handling a difficult subject in his second film itself, though this was his first script. He is known for the minute detailing, which was evident in Kalavaani and his earthy comedy portions. He teams up with the same team which delivered Kalavaani apart from few artistes and technicians.
Vimal continues his good run here, this time as an aspiring teacher. He got all his emotions and mannerisms right. He could have dealt more with the voice modulations and dialogue delivery because it sounds the same in all his movies. Apart from that, there's nothing else to complain about him. The debuting heroine Iniya aka Shruthi, who made an appearance as Cheran's sister in "Yudham Sei" has impressed us with her emotions and body language. She scores in the scene where she pours her heart out to Vimal and getting disappointed with the end result. Sargunam has etched out the heroine's role very well but her mannerisms are more contemporary and does not look like someone who belongs to the 60's era and that too from a remote village. Anyways, she should he applauded and it's a good chance missed for Amala Paul who was the original choice for that role. The supporting casts like Bhagyaraj, Thambi Ramaiah, Ponvannan, Thennarasu, Suri and etc are life-like and very natural. Kumaravel should be accounted for special appraisal for his role as the old "Kuruvikaarar". The group of small kids are natural as well and they make the scenes more lively.
Vaagai Sooda Vaa is of high-quality product when it comes to the technical aspects. Cheenu, the assistant of Sabu Cyril has done a wonderful job in recreating a whole rural/rustic village of the 60's from scratch. All the detailing from, the hut houses, to the properties on the set, the vehicles used, everything drips in hard work and minute details. Cheenu has certainly made his mentor proud. Debuting music director Gibran scores very well in both soundtracks and background score department and certainly raises the question of why he was not used in films before this. The songs are very contemporary yet it suits the period film very well."Senga Soolakaara", "Porane Porane" and " Sara Sara Kaathu" are the pick of the lots. Gibran has a very bright future in Tamizh cinema and looking forward to seeing him coming out with more film soundtracks. Cinematographer Om Prakash adds weight-age to this film and Vaagai Sooda Vaa will be one of his best works in his career. He gives the right sepia tone throughout the film to match the sets created and to bring the barren, dry looks of the hot land. "Sara Sara Kaathu" song was picturized beautifully and each shot was done in a very poetic manner. The fish going up the tree shot was brilliant. Editor Raja Mohammed could have done better in the first half to make the movie move faster. Costume designer Natraj's work was also natural and he should be commended for doing a hard research. KP Sasikumar's make-up especially on Kumaravel was brilliant.
Sargunam has a very good and tender message to convey through this film but it takes a long time to deliver the message, especially with the lengthy first half and the songs in the second half slow down the proceedings even more. Sargunam's detailing is very evident throughout the film. The settings, the society of that generation, the culture, the beliefs and customs, the communication style, everything was done in detail and class with no mistakes or faults. He has included lots of smile-worthy scenes such as the maths riddle between Vimal and Thambi Ramaiah, Vimal's problem with a particular goat, the kids' apprehension towards a new teacher and their mischievousness, Iniya's interest in Vimal and etc.
In conclusion, Sargunam has dished out a neat, decent, thoughtful movie with pleasant emotions, wonderful music and in-depth perfect detailing. It would have been better if the screenplay was trimmed a little.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
A movie long in the making, Muran was the talk of the town once UTV Motion Pictures came into the fray, deciding upon watching the film. Cheran and Prasanna make up a interesting pair of male leads as both are distinctively different from each other in style and school of film making. One common thing between both of them is that, they need a hit badly to salvage their careers, especially Prasanna to survive in the industry. The director in Cheran has taken some sort of sabbatical as he has been acting out in more movies after his last directed film, "Pokkisham" was a dud in the box office. Debutant Rajan Madhav, a former assistant of Mysskin has promised a decent thriller and judging from the trailers, it was indeed promising. How did the movie fare?
The two male leads are the pivots which the story centers on. Cheran has delivered a neat and excellent performance. He delivered marvelous performance in his last "Yuddham Sei" and he continues with this film as well. As the musician who is trying to get a decent break, who underplays his emotions and yet delivered what was expected of his character. The scenes where he is challenged by Prasanna and the 'torment' he goes through in the second half are proof to his acting credentials. Kudos to him. The real scene stealer however is Prasanna, who has rocked as Arjun, the spoilt brat son of a multimillionaire. It's reminiscent of hi "Anjaathey" days but with some more style, flair and smart dialogue delivery. The real achievement is the manner in how he projected the character. Tamizh cinema tends to stereotype the "psychologically-affected" characters with disturbing mentality, rough body language and violence filled behavior, but here Prasanna, was a more believable and casual in his manner and approach, which is a welcomed change. Bravo to him for adding another dimension to his acting career. Among the heroines, Haripriya has more screen presence. Nikitha and Suma Bhattacharya are adequate for their roles, but the dubbing for Suma's character was odd and out-of sync in certain shots. Jayaprakash, Prathap Pothen, Neelima Rani and others slip in and out of the screen play, making up for the other character roles.
Technically, the film has some decent work. Saajan Madhav, the brother of the director handles the music and his background score was decent. Among the songs, the "Etho Ithuvarai" number is hummable. Padmesh handled the cinematography department well, with the highway sequences being the highlight. Arun Durairaj kept the film short without being stretched but he could have trimmed some scenes in the first half to speed-en up the pace. JPK Prem's art direction was in-tune with the film but he could have chosen more variety of color tones to prep up the screen as after a certain period of time, the proceedings look dull as the same colors are used over again. Rajasekar's stunt was simple and reflected realism. The fight sequences looked more of like a physical struggle between individuals in a fight, rather than actual stunts scenes, which actually gives the film more realistic look.
It is difficult to assess Rajan's actual story conceiving talent as this film is a local adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Stranger on a Train". He does have some intelligent writing skills and the dialogues exchanged between Cheran and Prasanna during the highway sequences are proof to it. The way he composes certain shots are similar to the style of his mentor Mysskin. The first half is a little slow but the second half picks up the pace, with the addition of a sudden twist in the middle of the second half.
Muran is a decent thriller with some wonderful and composed acting from the two male which is worth a watch.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
After the superb performance in Avan Ivan, Vishal is back in a film which belongs to his forte, the action genre. Helming the director's seat is Prabhu Deva which raises the bar and expectations of the film. The teasers and trailers promised some pumping action sequences. It's an important film for Vishal, reputation and financial wise as his last decent hit was Thamirabharani way back in 2007 and since this is his home production. As for Prabhu Deva, his Engeyum Kadhal was a disaster and to be on the safer side, he has chosen to remake a hit Telugu film called Shouryam. As the title suggests, will this film be a cracker ?
Vishal embodies the perfect Tamizh cinema action hero with his dark complexion, tall and well built physic as well as good looks. His radiates the macho look very well and it suits him perfectly, a throwback to his Sandakozhi and Thimiru days. There was no overreaction in any sequences from him. His dialogue delivery has improved a lot and the manner he performs his stunts scenes are ferocious. He's very much fit to be in the action hero category. Sameera Reddy has nothing much to do, as expected in mass masala films. She should be commended for trying comedy and she got her expressions right. Not to forget, she looks very pretty and attractive. Vivek's comedy fails to arise laughter and he only impresses in bits and pieces. It's pathetic to see Sayaji Shinde dishing out similar performances and that too as the same, lame, shouting villain. Wonder what happened to the man who portrayed Bharathiyar in that classic film, Bharathi. Poonam Kaur gets a small role to play, which she did neatly. Oorvashi and Seeman's brief roles, bring a smile to us with their perfect timing. Devi Sri Prasad was impressive in his cameo in the opening song.
Vijay Anthony's score is adequate and mild and the pick of the lot will be the "Ichu Ichu" number, youthfully written by Vaali sir. "Enna Aachu" and "Ippadi Mazhai" numbers can get more popular with repeated airings on television and radio. His background score was not loud. Among the songs the "Enna Aachu" has been captured in the beautiful Ladakh region but the promised sizzling number "Bombay Ponnu" featuring Sophie Chaudary was a damp squib. RD Rajashekar is one of the best in the cinematography field, especially the fight sequences, "Kaakha Kaakha" and "Bheema" being testimonials to it. He has brilliantly captured the fight sequences, especially the one right before the interval and the climax portions with the slow motion effect, well used. His angles and placement of camera elevates the impact of the fight sequences. Anal Arasu, who did a wonderful work in "Rowthiram" continues his work here, though he should have avoided the 'bouncing' effect and some over-the-top moves. His one-to-one combat sequences was well choreographed. Chaitanya Rao's costumes for Sameera was very pretty and apt which accentuates her good looks. V.T Vijayan's editing was clean and neat making the film crisp. RK Nagaraju's sets especially the villain's house was noticeable.
The biggest problem with the film is the outdated, worn-out, boring and lame script. The story is as old as the hills and was seen hundreds of times on screen. Prabhu Deva tries to prep up the excitement level by infusing some "time-limit" sequences in the second half but it actually fails to achieve the intended result. The "Pokkiri" effect can be seen here and there in bits and parts. Though the film doesn't drag and is made crisply, the sequences are out-dated and not fresh at all.
End of the day, Prabhu Deva and Vishal has dished out a film which has decent performances, decent cinematography, decent music, decent action sequences but a bad script and story.
Ratings: 2/5 STARS
AR Murugadoss's move to become a producer by promoting his assistant as a director was keenly watched by Tamizh cinema followers. AR Murugadoss is well known for giving taut and racy scripts but his debut production venture is more of a realistic and simple film with a hard hitting message for all people. Besides that, Fox Star Studio's decision to co-produce it shows the faith kept by them on the script. Saravanan is lucky enough to have such a good platform to launch himself into the cine-field.
The biggest asset and strength of the film is the superb and naturalistic performances by all four lead artistes. Starting off with Jai, the actor has played a soft-spoken, good hearted, cute boy role to perfection. His subtle dialogue delivery and body language. This movie will definitely be one of his best in his career. Not a dramatic role, but a simple and effective one. Sharwanand, the Telugu actor comes back to Tamizh cinema after "Kadhalna Summa Illai" has done a neat and simple role as well. As the city boy, he has managed to perform the exact way as what the director wanted to project, as a nice city boy, that is. Anjali, comes in as a bold and daring girl who has a strong mentality. She scores in the climax portions and certainly comparisons will be made with her previous memorable role as Kani in "Angadi Theru". She definitely deserves applause for a refined performance. Ananya, a town girl who comes into the city was cute and innocence, personified. She gets her expressions right and she deserves a pat for dubbing in her own voice which gives a more realistic look for her character.
The technical aspects of the film has been kept to the minimum so that the film doesn't look too cinematic. R.Velraj's cinematography was very effective for the film and his camera caught all the necessary details especially in the accident sequences. The accident scenes were very well made and the team should be applauded for capturing those details in bus in an in-depth manner. C.Sathya's music is pleasant especially the two chart-topping numbers "Govinda Govinda" and "Maasama" and both numbers were captured well with good montage sequences. Sarala Vijayakumar's costume designing was natural too. Kishore T.E's editing, especially the bus accident scenes were neatly done. Audiographer Krishnamoorthy's work should be applauded for incorporating natural sounds vital for the accident scenes.
Saravanan's script was simple, neat and straight-forward and there was no unnecessary twists and turns. The biggest strength of his script is the characterizations of his leading artistes as well as the cute, humorous and some thought-provoking love portions. Also, Saravanan's attempt to highlight some of the other characters traveling in the bus, should also be applauded for he has presented them all naturally and it creates a deeper impact upon the audiences as they could relate themselves with those characters. Although the accident sequences were very,very well made it could be too hard to digest for some audiences who will find it too stomach-churning.
Engeyum Eppothum, a honest and simple movie with a very strong and important social message for the audiences. A debut venture to be proud of for AR Murugadoss, Saravanan and Fox Star Studios.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
Jiiva, who is on a blazing track by signing back to back films in Tamizh cinema and that too with well established directors, has come out with another film after his last Rowthiram fizzled without earning much in the blockbuster trade. This time it's a collaboration with R.Kannan whose previous film Kanden Kadhalai, a remake of the super hit Hindi film "Jab We Met" was a hit. It's a original script from Kannan this time after his decent debut Jeyam Kondaan. The songs of this film created the necessary hype around this movie. Did Jiiva and R.Kannan score this time?
Jiiva has nothing much spectacular to perform in this movie. It must have been a cakewalk for him. Nandha as the calm underworld don is impresses and it's a welcome relief to see him not to over-play the character with loud shouting and screaming. Kudos to him for improving film-to-film. Taapsee has a better character compared to her debut and she has more dialogues to deliver and her expressions with her cute smile is a plus for her in addition to Chinmayee's dubbing for her voice. The supporting cast like Azhagam Perumal, Malavika, Rahman, Sapan Saran, John Vijay and Manobala didn't have much scope to perform and only appear for a couple of scenes. Santhanam is the real deliverer in the acting department with his top-notch comedy timing and dialogue delivery. His one-liners are fantastic as usual and the best scene of him is when he tries to mimic Nandha. Santhanam is having a great time in Tamizh cinema.
This film has the credits of acquiring some decent technicians. Priya Manikandan's costumes for the lead pair was very colourful and charming, especially in the "Anjana Anjana" number. V.T Vijayan's editing was apt for the film, though he could have altered some scenes. Rembon Balraj's set work was minimal and most of the locations were done in real places but the interior's of Nandha's go-down was well done. "Rock" Prabhu's stunts was decent especially Nandha's fight sequence with a pole bar in an incomplete building. The final stunt sequence between both the lead actors was well made, though it was shorter in length. Thaman's music is the strongest asset of the film with pleasant numbers especially "Anjana Anjana" and "Kanchamala" numbers. Besides that, the "Thirandhen Thirandhen" number is hummable. PG Muttiah has done a neat job in the cinematography department especially in the picturisations of the first two mentioned songs. The former in a very cool and minty atmosphere, while the latter was shot in a bright and vibrant scenario against olden temple structures.
The problem with R.Kannan's script is that it has no proper continuity throughout and has left some questions unanswered. The script fails to establish itself into one genre, though R.Kannan tried to make a decent commercial film. The love portions between Jiiva and Taapsee fails to hold the attention of the audience as the the pair lacks chemistry between them. The blame should go to R.Kannan for not conceiving strong love sequences. The characterisation of Nandha is not etched out properly as well. Pattukottai Prabhakar's dialogues are noteworthy, though especially during the sequence where both the lead pair explain about their ideologies on love. The final twist which comes in the climax is shocker but it might not go down well with the audiences.
The answer for the initial question asked in the beginning of this review is, a definite NO....
Ratings: 2/5 STARS
Venkat Prabhu is back with a not just a bang but a LOUD one with this biggie, Mankatha with none other than the "King of Openings" in Tamizh cinema, Ajith Kumar. Both of them needed a hit as Venkat's previous Goa was a non-performer and Ajith's previous two films Asal and Aegan were big drabs and huge disappointment for his fans. This combination was very much anticipated with interests since Venkat never worked with a major star before and moreover this turning out to be Ajith's Golden Jubilee 50th film. The promos and trailers were very impressive and the final product too was quite a puncher, just falling short of being truly exceptional.
Technicians of the film has worked wonders for it and all the hard work put in was evident on the screen. Vasugi Bhaskar's costumes were very apt for the characters and thanks to her suggestions of giving Ajith a salt-and-pepper look, "Thale" was looking smashing in the film with his blazers and suits. After Rajnikanth, none would have looked as suave as Ajith. Arjun's looks and costumes were stylish as well and Trisha's dresses made her look elegant and pretty. Silva's stunts were brilliant with the shooting scenes in the warehouse and the climax fight sequences were well executed. Venkat Prabhu should be applauded too for mixing in good car and bike stunt sequences for Ajith, since it is his forte. Art director Videsh did a commendable job as well by giving authentic looks to the sets, be it Ajith's stylishly made apartment home, the warehouse, the cinema theater and the "Leisure Bar" setup. Praveen K.L and N.B Srikanth, the editors work was neat and the "Chess Board" scene was the highlight of their editing prowess. Mankatha will be one of cinematographer Sakthi Saravanan's best works ever. Be it the movements made in the opening scene of Ajith and the angle's chosen for the fight sequences, it's clearly visible that he had a gala time shooting this film with his lenses. The car chase and heist scenes plus the "Chess Board" sequence, are some of his exemplary works. Job very well done by him.
Yuvan Shankar Raja delivered good numbers for the film with the "Vilaiyaadu Mankatha" number and the "Theme Track" being the best of the lot which were perfect build-ups for Ajith. His re-recording work was very well done, with various styles of music experimented in the background scores. The "Vilaiyadu Mankatha" number was the best picturised, being shot in a discotheque with brilliant ambience and foot-stepping moves by Kalyan, being perfect match for Yuvan's beats. "Vaada bin Laada" number was very well conceived with the constantly changing fittings and furnitures well done by the VFX team. "Machi Open the Bottle" was peppy and well shot with energetic dance movements and "Balle Lakka" being casual and lightweight with the added glamour of skimpily dressed dancers. "Nanbane" track was well conceived and wonderfully written by the legendary Vaali. "Nee Naan" song picturised on Vaibhav and Anjali was straightforward and the montage sequences worked well for the song.
Describing Ajith's performance in a word is impossible but he was a class apart from any other artiste in the film. He was in a league of his own and hats off to "Thale" for being daring enough to choose a character which was not only grey in shades, but a out-and-out bad***. His dialogue delivery was brilliant and he oozes charm, grace, style and awesome screen presence. It's a big gift for an actor or a hero especially to be adored in a totally antagonistic character and after MR Radha, Rajnikanth, Raghuvaran and Sathyaraj no other actor was able to hold the attention and interest of the audience by playing a bad & mean character, with a touch of class. It's not a exaggeration to say that after Rajnikanth, no one else had such strong aura and charisma in playing the lead role. "Thale" has ROCKED!! It's a good changeover for Arjun who was doing mediocre films on his own and he was well presented and needless to say of his action sequences, he was on top form. Premji with his cute and terrific comedy timing takes the cake among the sidekicks. Vaibhav and Ashwin were natural in their respective roles and Mahat had a decent entry. Jayaprakash and Aravind Akash was adequate without going overboard, though Subbu Panchu's acting was a little bit wooden and forced. The heroines had nothing much to do in this boy's flick, but they were needed to move the plot from one scene to another. Trisha was cute and it's a welcome to see her dub in her own voice. Anjali, Andrea and Lakshmi Rai did what was expected from them.
The director has always insisted that the script was written first but end of the day the question arises whether the racy script complemented Ajith's persona or whether it was Ajith's charisma and presence which complemented the script. It works both ways, though the second proposition has more weightage than the first one. Venkat Prabhu's screenplay was very racy especially in the second half, where he brought out all the big guns one after the another, with new twists and turns being churned out every few moments. This move by him made the audiences to be on their edge of the seat. His forte in his scripts are the comedy portions being infused in serious scenes and it was evident in this film as well but lesser in number compared to his previous scripts. He must be appreciated though for putting in cheeky comedy lines, involving the artistes themselves, be it Premji's parody of Rajnikanth and Silambarasan or even relating to the alter-ego's of the characters, with Ajith's dialogue of saying "Naanum Evvalavu Naalathaan Nallavanaaga Nadikkurathu" being the best (even Anjali had her previous popular dialogue "Nijamathaan Solriya" which was popular in her debut film "Kattradhu Tamizh"). The amalgamation of few creative and interesting ideas elevates the script. Though the film has plenty of plus points, the script has it's pitfalls in the form of loopholes which can arouse plenty of unanswered questions.
It takes great guts for an actor who's idolized by thousands and thousands of fans as hero, to play a totally mean and diabolic money-minded character and Ajith deserves a big round of applause for having the guts and gumption to pull it off and that too in such stylish manner. If at all the script had no loose ends, this would have been a classic commercial entertainer.
Ratings: 3/5 STARS
It's been a very long time since Bharath had a decent hit in his career based on a original script by a director. The last was way back in 2006, that is the critically acclaimed Veyil by Vasanthabalan. He has been dishing out meaningless films and had a decent result with Kanden Kadhalai which was a remake of Jab We Met from Hindi and the recent multi-starrer Vaanam, another remake this time from Vedam, the Telugu film. Looks like the trend of delivering bad movies continues for Bharath as Yuvan Yuvathi didn't entertain the audiences at all, apart from Santhanam's comedy portions.
Bharath, does the usual antics of a cinema hero, by dancing, fighting and romancing the heroine but other than that there's nothing commendable from him. It applies to newcomer Rima Kallingal as well. A pleasant looking dusky girl, she didn't overact in her character and was natural, thanks to the experience of doing few films in Malayalam. Sampath was apt for the role and he scored in expressions and body language though it was a little bit loud. Sathyan made a small cameo and surprised as with a gay character. He's been improving from one film to another. Krishna and Divyadarshini played their parts appropriately and there's a cute cameo scene involving Sakthi and Anuja Iyer. The only character delivering good entertainment was Santhanam and as usual he was on top form, delivering sarcastic dialogues with brilliant timing and expressions, especially in his 'dream song'.
The film delivers average on technical front too. Vasugi Bhaskar and Santhiyasri dressed up the characters appropriately. Super Subbarayan's final stunt scene was normal, Ilaiyaraja's art direction was normal and G.K Prabakaran's editing was normal too. Gopi Jegadeeswaran did a decent job in the cinematography department especially in capturing the scenic locales of Seychelles in the "Oh My Angel" song. Vijay Anthony's delivery was average too with the "24 Mani Neram" song being the pick of the lot but the "Kolaikuthu" song was too loud and unwanted. Writer Ramakrishnan might had a decent story to tell but GNR Kumaravelan's screenplay was shoddy and boring. The proceedings in the film was not properly justified and the climax was abruptly done.
Yuvan Yuvathi was boring and Bharath should stop picking poor scripts, if he wants to survive in the heavily competitive Tamizh film industry.
Ratings: 1.5/5 STARS
Kanchana was publicized as Muni - Part 2 but there's absolutely no resemblance to the plot of the original film other than the reprisal of scaredy-cat hero of the first film. Muni was talked for the simple twist in the knot and for the performance of Raj Kiran. Raghava Lawrence weaved a similar plot with Kanchana as well and he did a even better job than the previous film, thanks to the strong social message he sent out to the viewers.
Casting and acting was very important for a horror film, as the actors need to be convincing enough on the screen. Raghava Lawrence just repeated the same act from the first film and it was a cake walk for him in delivering all the comedy portions though it must have been very taxing physical wise to portray certain/specific nuances needed for the 'possessed' character. Lakshmi Rai has nothing to do other than to shake her legs in song sequences. Sriman was not properly utilized but his combination scenes with Devadarshini and Kovai Sarala was good. Devadarshini was apt for her role but Kovai Sarala was simply outrageous in her comedy timing. The veteran proves that she is one of the best with her superb expressions and voice modulations. The scene where her character and Devadarshini's will be conducting tests to clarify the existence of ghosts in their house was simply too funny. Kovai Sarala is sorely missed in Tamizh cinema. The surprise packet of the film was definitely Sarath Kumar as a trans-gender. No one could have imagined him in a effeminate role before this, as Sarath was always portrayed as a action star with his big and well built physic. Sarath deserves a round of applause for portraying such a role in a convincing manner.
Technical wise, the movie has nothing to talk about. Thaman's music was a big bore and only the 'Karuppu Perazhaga' song was worth watching, for it's beats and Raghava's choreography. Raghava Lawrence should be appreciated for coming out with a horror script which has a decent and needed social message of advocating the acceptance of trans-genders in the society. Their plight, sufferings, and feelings were well captured in the film and the movie highlighted the social stigma surrounding this particular group of people. Besides that, Raghava scripted the film with ample dosage of thrills, spooks and also timely comedy portions which actually keep the audience's interest and attention.
Overall, the film is an above average horror film, which spooks the audience at the right level and also with ample dosage of commercial elements, such as comedy and songs, manages to entertain viewers
Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS
After the blockbuster success of KO, Jiiva's next Rowthiram was much expected as he has to sustain the success of KO and to also maintain a decent name as a successful and bankable actor. This movie carried a decent level of expectations, with Jiiva doing a movie under his home banner SuperGood Films besides the curiosity evoked by the teasers and trailer of the film. Also it's a much needed release for Shriya Saran as she has no other films in Tamizh cinema apart from this one. Overall, the movie did impress but only in few places as the film was very draggy and the duration of nearly 2 hours and 45 minutes is not justified entirely.
Casting wise, all the main performers in the film did a good job. Jiiva as the angry youth, underplayed all the emotions and it worked well for his character. The silent and subtle angry young man role suited him very well and brought out the desired effect the director wanted to convey through his protagonist. He was at ease in all the action sequences and proves himself as a good action movie star. Shriya Saran was chirpy and bubbly and she indeed has a good role in the film, where through her character the story moves on. Though she has to check her lip-syncing more carefully, it is a welcome relief to see her perform instead of simply showing off her curves. Prakash Raj in a cameo was brilliant and laid the foundation for the tone of the film, which it will travel on for the rest of the film. Jayaprakash, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan, Srinath, Sathyan, Mounica, Babu Anthony, Chaitanya Krishna all performed decently. Srinath and Sathyan's comediy portion brings some light moments in the film. Ganesh Acharya was a miscast and he doesn't have much to do. The director Gokul made small cameo himself and he emoted well, too.
Shanmugasundaram's cinematography is very apt and adequate and it captured the right mood of the script. His different angles and camera movements in the action sequences was splendid. His picturization of the song 'Adiye Un Kangal' number was cool and nice. Music by Prakash Nikki was a letdown with the 'Adiye Un Kangal' and the title track noticeable. Raja's background score was good in some places, but little bit loud in certain portions. Could improve a lot if he experiments more. Mathen Gunadeva's editing could have been better and he should have trimmed many unnecessary portions. S.Sivaraj's art designing was simple and natural. Deepali Noor's costume designing was natural as well, and she made Shriya to look good even without glamorous dresses. Still, the best praise should go to the stunt director Anal Arasu for he has choreographed superb action sequences. Each frame was well done and delivered the necessary 'punch' needed in those scenes. Certainly this film will stand out to be one of the best in his career. Kudos to him.
Gokul Ramana's script was a letdown. He does have some capability to churn out good sequences/scenes but the problem is, all the scenes do not connect properly and unnecessarily dragged the film for no reason. The movie has been publicized as an action film, yet it has pretty decent romance/sentiment/family scenes where, some scenes were cute while some were humorous, without going overboard. This shows that Gokul has some substance in him but he needs to sharpen his screenplay.
Final verdict, a film with superbly choreographed action blocks which could have created a big impact with the viewers if the director had concentrated more on improvising the screenplay.
Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS
Veppam, became the first film produced by Gautham Menon's Photon Kathaas, after the company pulled out of Suseendran's Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai project. This film which happens to have a former associate of Gautham, Anjana Ali Khan as the director, evoked good initial curiosity among the viewers with the slickly made trailer and for Joshua Sridhar's music. It has a very young cast and crew and it was expected to deliver a good product. In the end, the film did not click much with the audience, because of the lack in-depth in the script.
Nani, the Telugu actor made a decent entry to Tamizh cinema with this film in a rugged character. He maintained a good body language throughout the film and he can improve more on the expressions aspect. Karthik Kumar finally came out of the stereotypical roles of "foreign mappilai" which he is always associated with. As the mechanic, he has given his best acting so far and he did very well in the emoting section, especially with the good use of his eyes. Nithya Menen has nothing much to offer plus the dubbing voice used for her doesn't match at all with her character. The voice is too polished and suave for a character brought up in a slum. Bindhu Madhavi, scored more on acting front among the ladies as a commercial sex worker though both the ladies has limited screen presence. Muthukumar who did the role of Nani's elder brother was riveting and rugged too and the use of Gautham Vasudev Menon's voice for him was very much apt. The rest of the cast was true to their roles though not all of them has a well-etched out ones'.
The biggest asset for this film on technical front is Joshua Sridhar's music. After chartbusters in Kadhal and Kalloori, this man was missing in action and it's a very much welcomed relief to have him back. Among the songs, Mazhai Varum and Kaatrile Eeram are the standouts and are his personal best as well. Om Prakash's cinematography is another added support to this film. His picturizations resonates the mood of the scene and switches alternatively from dark, to bright to soft and warm. He captured the interiors of the small, cramped houses of the characters very well, and the Mazhai Varum song was brilliantly shot with the correct choice of colors in that song. Rajashekar's stunts, especially the climax fight was impressive. Anthony must have had a walk in the park in the editing department.
Anjana Ali Khan has set this film in North Madras, which is turning out to be the favourite of Tamizh cinema directors after Madurai in terms of geographical aspect of a film's setting. She should have perfected the script even more, as the story only picks up the heat in the second half and added also it moves back and forth for a few times, thanks to a number of incidents thrown into because of unnecessary number of characters, which doesn't really sit well with the audiences making them to feel disconnected with their interest for the film.
Veppam could have been more riveting and nail biting, if the script underwent more work though the intentions of the director was honest and sincere.
Ratings: 2/5 STARS
Deiva Thirumagal or if we choose to stick to the original title which was Deiva Thirumagan, was creating lots of buzz and expectations among fans of Cheeyan Dr.Vikram and the general audience as well, thanks to the teaser of Vikram inviting people to the theaters. Once the film, went into the hands of UTV, the media was bombarded with lots of videos, trailers, interviews, stills and etc which created a big hype over this film. Besides that, this is the next offering of director AL Vijay who's last was the super hit and much acclaimed Madrasapattinam. Do both AL Vijay and Vikram live up to the expectations?? It's a thumping yes and they did it with heartfelt honesty.
Dr Cheeyan Vikram, has done a fantabulous job. There are no words to describe his talents as an actor and after a long time, Vikram has delivered a knockout performance and certainly this film will be in the ranks as one of his best performances on screen. The seasoned actor has delivered in all aspects, be it emoting, voice modulation and body language. He has literally lived as the character Krishna, and it must be extremely taxing for him, mentally especially to prepare for this role and to pull it of easily. Although, he garners the viewers' sympathies throughout the film, the court room scene and the following ending sequence was the best and his reactions and emotions conveyed through his eyes, was totally heartbreaking. Simply superb from him. Cheeyan, you ROCK !!
Anushka as the struggling advocate Anuradha should be applauded as well for coming up with a very composed performance. Certainly this one was her best performance in her entire career so far, apart from Arundhathi. Besides that it's a welcome relief to see her in a well etched, homely role, which is more of liker her actual persona rather than the glamdoll, glamorous role she's used to doing. Amala Paul continues her decent run with a matured performance and if she continues this form, she will mold into a very good actress. Nassar as the cunning and feared lawyer, is impressive and very much apt for that role and it must have been a cake walk for the veteran performer. Santhanam, is on a hot streak and though he has lesser scope as a comedian compared to his other movies, he doesn't fail to evoke laughter in every scene which he appears. He has improved himself with better modulations and expressions and his best scene is the "Tea-Coffee" scenes. Totally hilarious. AL Vijay has the same behaviour as director Hari by having lots of co-artistes in the film. All of them such as MS Bhaskar, Sachin Khedekar, Y Gee Mahendran, Krishna Kumar, Surekha, "Black" Paandi, Karthik Kumar, Madurai George, MR Kishore, Priya, Master Amresh, NL Srinivasan did their roles decently and effectively.
But out of all this big group of performers, the actual scene stealer is the little girl "Baby" Sarah, a top child model from Mumbai who did the popular Boyfriend-Girlfriend ad for McDonalds. She's such a cute little thing and conquers the hearts of all the viewers as the daughter of Vikram in the film. It's a very matured performance actually from a girl who is known for being very expressive and outspoken and she has left a deep impact among audiences just like how Shamili did in the classic Mani Ratnam film "Anjali".
AL Vijay gets the best of technicians in this film and the first to be mentioned is the music composer GV Prakash. This combinations is turning out to be one of the best in Tamizh cinema and GV Prakash's music goes hand in hand with the entire script. All his songs are good and soothing to hear, be it "Aariro", "Vizhigalil", "Kadhai Solla Poren" which was beautifully written by Na Muthukumar and not to forget his theme track "Life is Beautiful". His background score also complements well in the film and it does manage to pull the heartstrings of audiences in certain places. Definitely one of his best work. Nirav Shah's camera is another major asset for this film. His camera movements in the opening sequences and the angles he chooses to capture the emotions of the artistes, really elevates the mood of the film and he showed his skill as an ace cinematographer in the picturization of the "Vizhigalil" song. Santhanam's sets, especially the chocolate factory and in the interiors of Krishna's house are very realistic and simple. Anthony as usual was decent in the editing department, though he could have done little better in the first half. Deepali Noor's costumes was perfect for the entire cast and she really made all three girls, Anushka, Amala and Sarah to look beautiful in the film.
AL Vijay did say that he was got the inspiration for Krishna's character by observing people he know off in real life besides films such as I Am Sam and Rain Man. Judging by the storyline, it looks like not only the characterization of Sean Penn in the film I Am Sam was his inspiration but the whole basic storyline of that film, is an inspiration as well. AL Vijay has taken the basic thread of that Hollywood film and tweaked/fine-tuned it and presented his own version of that storyline. He handled the script and the characters very maturely and presented it as a very honest and sincere film. His dialogues are one of the highlights and the movie has many good one's. There are nothing much to complain apart from the slow moving first half.
Deiva Thirumagal has certainly lived up to expectations it created and leaves a deep impact in the hearts and minds of the audiences and it's no surprise to see or hear people having tears in their eyes once the film was over. An emotional, sensitive and honest film.
Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS
Venghai, a product of Hari and Dhanush, both fresh from the successes of their own. A blockbuster for the former and a National Award for the latter, so the expectations tend to swing to the higher degree. Those who are familiar with Tamizh cinema knows what to expect from a Hari film, which has all the necessary ingredients of a pucca commercial Tamizh mass masala movie. Some of his films did very well but there are few which sank without any trace, and this proves that a taut and fast screenplay is very important for a commercial masala film. So, did Hari manage to nail it down this time as well? The answer is............ Not really.
As with any Hari films, this movie too has plenty of character artistes playing small roles from Prakash Raj, Raj Kiran, Charlie, Oorvashi, Paravai Muniamma, Sudha Chandran and etc. Dhanush has not much of scope to perform in this film though he did well with his eye contact and body language and it must have been a cakewalk for him. If Dhanush's role was a cakewalk for him, Prakash Raj's is a step ahead and it's obvious that he's doing these sort of films just for the sake of finances. Can't blame him for that, though. It applies to all other artistes as well, be it Raj Kiran, Oorvashi and etc. In the name of comedy, Ganja Karuppu was a total disgrace and nuisance on the screen and some of his antics was just gross and disgusting. Tamannah has a more serious kind of heroine role this time, with a number of emotional scenes and she has once again proved that she has no inhibitions in flaunting her curves for song sequences (no wonder she's hot on the Telugu market now for her glamshow in few recent films).
On the technical front, this movie has nothing noteworthy. All the departments dished out a average work be it cinematography by Vetri, editing by V.T Vijayan, art direction by Kadhir, choreography by Brindha and Baba Bhaskar and etc. Stunts by Silva and Ganesh was a bit over the top considering the fact that Dhanush has no heavy built physique and songs by Devi Sri Prasad too was very average with the "Kaalangathale" and "Enna Solla Pore" numbers which were the hummable one's but picturization wise, nothing was worthy of talking point and background score was totally unnoticable.
Usually, there's nothing great in Hari's stories but what made some of his films to click was the racy narration and interesting twists and turns in the proceedings of the plot. Venghai too has some of these qualities but then the screenplay was slow and draggy in the first half and as things get heated up in the second half, songs and few sentimental scenes comes in as the speed breaker. Besides that, many scenes evoke a sense of déjà vu to the audiences, thanks to previous films of Hari.
Venghai would have worked big time if it had came out 10 years ago, but it's a decent, average film for those who wants to watch a typical commercial Tamizh movie with all the usual masala ingredients thrown into.
Ratings: 2/5 STARS
Siddharth after a very long gap of 7 years has returned to the Tamizh cinema movie scene with this film. Accompanied by 2 lovely ladies and a good technical team as the crew, this film evoked curios response from the teasers which showed impressive visuals and when the audio was launched, even more people were interested in the movie with the songs being received well. With such good responses, the expectations on the film was fairly good. Alas, the movie did not live up to all the expectations it has created.
Beginning with the cast, Siddharth has delivered a very matured performance, thanks to all the experiences he has garnered over the years of doing several Telugu and Hindi films. He did a good job in all emotions, be it romance, or panic-stricken, anguish and guilty-ridden reactions and etc.. He holds the attention of the audiences with his charm and presence throughout the film. Nithya Menen manages to keep up with Siddarth in her portions and she did it effortlessly. Her best sequences would be the ciname hall scene. Priya Anand did a decent job as well and she had the more serious and meaty role of the 2 heroines. Though there are room for improvements, she acted well and dubbed well too. Sricharan, Mouli, Geetha and the rest of the small cast did what was expected from them but Mouli was the most impressive, pulling out witty and funny dialogues in most of his scenes.
The two USPs' of the film are the cinematography and music. Director of Photography, Balasubramaniem did a fantastic work in handling the cinematography for the film. Using RED ONE camera throughout, the film was sparkling in all frames and kudos to him for capturing the subtle beauty of Kasi, Chennai and San Fransisco with extra emphasis on lighting. Definitely the talking point for cinematography in this film will be the opening song, "Rules Kidaiyathu" which has been shot using the Phantom Flex all over and the output is simply stunning with all the slow-mo actions, beautifully captured. Besides that, the "Sandhikaadha" song has been picturized well too. Credits must be given to 2 other technicians for the good-look factor of the film and they are G.Balaji for the processing of the digital images and internationally reputed colorist Kevin Shaw for giving the film a international class quality in terms of coloring. Meanwhile, music by Sharreth is very different and experimental but soothing to the ears. Pick of the lot will definitely be the "Nee Korinaal" number followed by "Santhikkatha" and "Thuru Thuru". Though his songs were very nice and melodious, the background score was a bit of a letdown where unnecessary loud music was thrown in. Art director V.Selva Kumar's interior of the houses was lifelike. Costume designer Komal Shahani and make-up artist Bhanu's works are very well noticeable in the form of the lovely and beautiful looking heroines.
Story and screenplay by Jayendra and the Suresh-Bala duo was dissappointing. Probably the saying "too many cooks, spoil the broth" can be used for this factor. Although they had a story to tell, the screenplay was very rickety and doesn't go in a flow. Besides that, there are some loopholes and questions which went unanswered in the film. Dialogues wise, the film has a few pretty good lines, especially in the opening scene when Siddarth says to a small boy "Naanum Manovaa irukka aasaipaduren" and the one-liners of Mouli.
Overall, the movie had a good opening but by the end of the film, viewers tend to feel dissappointed as there was no punch in the film even when the director had story and a good message to say. Also it is best to avoid presenting scenes shot in one particular country and then passing it off as another. In this all the hospital and airport scenes were done in Malaysia but showcased as happening US in the film. Viewers nowadays cant be fooled by such gimmicks anymore.
Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS