KV Anand's ambitious film Ko was raising eyebrows from the initial days of announcement, thanks to the peculiar title (still in doubt why the film is named as such) and for the casting of Simbhu for the protagonists role who was fresh from the success of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. Things took a change and Jiiva was roped in to the film. Anand's last, Ayan was a blockbuster and automatically the expectations were sky high and that too with a young and chic cast. Jiiva was in need of a hit to establish his name as one of the top performers in Tamizh cinema and it is a delight to say that he made the absolutely right choice.

Jiiva was at his best in portraying the role of a photo-journalist and also in his looks. His body language and his passion to cover the hot news with stunning pictures was very well brought out by him and no one else could have done justice to his role. His dialogue delivery is impressive and his emotional expressions were in place. Kudos to KV Anand for projecting his hero in such a way and for also utilizing the camera as his 'weapon'. Ajmal was another apt choice for the role of a young aspiring politician and his looks and and dialogue delivery too was very much perfect. Debutant Karthika Nair make a decent entry to Tamizh cinema. She has the looks (beautiful eyes), physique and talents as well . It will be better if she can dub for herself after improving her Tamizh though Chinmayee has once again done a brilliant job for the dubbing. Piaa Bajpai takes the cake for the best performance among the female artists as she was the live-wire in the film. As a bubbly and enthusiastic reporter, she has delivered a natural, spontaneous and chirpy performance and also provided the comic relief for the audience. Veterans Prakash Raj and Kota Srinivasa Rao and Bose Venkat as well had very limited screen presence although both of them did their roles to perfection. All the supporting cast in the film has done justice to their role and helped the film to move forward. It was also good to see people behind the camera to make an appearance in the film such as art director Kiran, writers Suresh-Bala and editor Anthony too.

On technical aspects, Ko boasts some of the best in the industry and all of them delivered their best. Starting off, cinematographer Richard M. Nathan did a wonderful job in capturing intense moments of the film very aptly with the climax fight sequence (close-ups') and the bomb blast scene. His camera movement in the bank robbery scene was first class and the use of Phantom Flex camera for the high resolution capture of action scenes in the climax was a splendid job. Besides that, he has captured the beauty of Norway and Harbin in the song sequences very well and it was an absolute treat to the audience. Art director Kiran's sets especially the bank and the press office was near perfect and looked very authentic. Costumes by Swetha Srinivasan was cool and chic which really gave the lead casts the classy and stylish looks especially Jiiva's apparels and Karthika's saris. Anthony could have trimmed some scenes, although the cuts in the climax was class and the arrangements of photos in the title credits was very creative. Lakshmi Narayanan's sound designing was realistic especially in the climax and bank robbery scenes. Choreography should have been much better by Dinesh, Brindha and Gayathi Raguram. Not to forget, Peter Hein's stunts was no-nonsense especially the climax fight sequences which was pulsating but he could have avoided some cinematic liberties in the initial bike chase scenes.

Coming to the music, Harris Jeyaraj has delivered what KV Anand wanted needless to say most of the songs has been chart-busters especially the 'Ennamo Edho' and 'Venpaniye' being the pick of the lot. His background music was very much in tune with the film and thankfully it was not loud. Lyrics especially by Madharn Karky for 'Ennado Edho' was beautiful with the inclusion of unheard chaste Tamizh words. Although songs were good, the concept behind the picturizations behind few songs didn't really match the mood the songs create. For example, 'Ennamod Edho' was picturized exactly like 'Vizhi Moodi' though this is a even more melodious and haunting number where group dancing and interspersing of normal scenes would not really bring out the feel of the song, though Anthony's editing was good. For 'Amali Thumali' picturizing on exotic locations was not a matching option as it is a peppy song where group dancing would have done added more zing to it but nevertheless, locations were simply breathtaking. 'Venpaniye' and 'Gala Gala' was done aptly but 'Aga Naga' was a total disappointment. When a big celebrities list (Abbas, Adharva, Bharath, Ganesh Venkatraman, Harris Jeyaraj, Jai, Jeyam Ravi, John Vijay, Kannan [director], Karthi, Krish [singer], Madhan Karky [lyricist], Narain, Peter Hein, Sasikumar, Shakthi, Siva, Suriya, Anjali, Anuja Iyer, Reema Kalingal, Sanjana Singh, Sona Heiden & Tamannah) was present, the director blew off the chance of making an awesome video music. Besides that, what was it with the graphic censoring by the Censors'? That was totally unnecessary and was a hindrance in the video. Come on Censor Board members, that was ridiculous. Overall, songs were good to listen but sadly they were the actual speed breakers of the screenplay.

KV Anand must be commended for coming up with a realistic film within the commercial formats. He gives respect to the intelligence of the audiences and came up with a interesting and smart script. Being a photo-journalist himself, his experiences has come in handy. He has portrayed the moments behind the publication of each breaking news in newspapers and how the scenario of a press office will look like especially the portrayals of other characters in such offices. Besides that, KV Anands has strongly portrayed how journalism and politics go hand in hand in Tamil Nadu and how intense situations can change of a single news publication. Writers Suresh-Bala should be applauded for coming up with very contemporary and simple dialogues which are not cinematic but at the same time catchy and quirky.

Overall, Ko delivered the promises it made and engages us throughout the film especially with the unpredictably stunning climax which catches the audiences with surprise. Kudos to the whole team for coming up with an entertaining film and Simbhu blew off a big chance to do a good film. Make wise decisions next time, buddy.

Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS



Prashanth, the man brought up with a silver spoon during his teenage years in terms of cinema expertise as his father Thyagarajan gave him all he needed to become a movie star. Dance classes, martial arts, gymnastics, fencing, horse-riding, and etc etc. Of course Prashanth had a brilliant opening with Vaigasi Poranthachu and subsequently delivered hit movies and that too under distinguished directors like Mani Rathnam, Balu Mahendra and K.Balachandar as well. After a lull period he came back with a massive hit in Jeans under Shankar's direction earning credits for his complicating double role performance as Visu and Ramu. Things were expected to look good for him but nearly 25 films after Jeans, sadly only a couple of them were good movies. For a star who has worked with big directors and good talents, he came up with countless of useless films and to make situation worse he had a torrid personal life as well. After 5 years, he's making a comeback with this big budget film Ponnar Shankar which raised some eyebrows with the trailer.

There was a great deal of expectations on the film with Prashanth donning double roles once again and plus a big star cast which includes, Jeyaram, Prakash Raj, Nasser, Napoleon, Raj Kiran, Prabhu, Khusboo, Sneha, Riyaz Khan, Vijayakumar , Ponvannan, Delhi Ganesh, Ponnambalam, Seetha, Sukumari, Santhana Bharathi, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan, Bose Venkat, and etc. With such a cast, audiences will expect a power packed performance from all but most of the characterizations were weak and don't really leave any deep impact with the viewers. Should say almost, all of the talented performers were wasted. Prashanth, showed all his extra skills and was apt for the roles of Ponnar and Shankar but he has very less dialogues to speak. Besides that the only artistes who were given scope to do some commendable acting were Nasser and Raj Kiran. Nasser oozes confidence and utters each dialogue with utmost care which shows the amount of experience he has. Raj Kiran delivered some power packed expressions which was luckily not over the top. Rest of the cast only has a few scenes between themselves just to carry the story further. Heroines, Divya Parameshwar and Pooja Chopra were just there for bringing 'colors & freshness' to the scenes (though we should be very jealous of Prashanth for being extremely lucky with heroines throughout his career having had plenty of good looking Mumbai heroines; and the two heroines in this film were former final round participants of Miss India).

Technically the movie was OK and art director Muthuraj should be appreciated for creating so many wonderful sets although films nowadays deliver even more realistic settings. Still he should be given a round of applause for a great job especially for the royal courtroom, song sets (the first song) and war zone sequences. Shaji's camera is adequate with some good aerial shots and slow motion capture (especially the solo song of the heroines). Don Max did well with the editing and stunts by Kanal Kannan and Ravi from Mumbai is OK except for some over-the-top flying and jumping which could have been done better and so too the graphics which was under the supervision of Prashanth. The big disappointment was Isaignani Ilaiyaraja. None of the songs sticks to our mind and the re-recording is just so and so. A huge letdown from the maestro

Coming to the captain, Thyagarajan should be appreciated for putting this film together considering the logistical nightmare of handling so many people in the film as thousands of them were involved in the fight and dance sequences. No matter how grandeur the film is, the script and screenplay is the main point of any film and Kalaingar's script is not powerful and should say quite weak. It doesn't leave any impact on the viewers which is a negative aspect considering that this is a historical script. Dialogues are very simple and direct but doesn't match with the story as most of it sounds very contemporary which won't gel well with historical stories.

Final verdict, it's a good attempt in Tamizh cinema but not quality enough in terms of a solid and powerful package though all of them should be appreciated for trying out something honestly.

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



Dhanush kick starts the summer releases of Tamizh movie releases for the year 2011. Among the huge bunch of young heroes in Tamizh cinema, he is one of the most profitable and hot in the trade, whether critics or viewers like it or not. Most of his recent movies were successful or at least managed to recoup back the cost of production. His last flop was Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram and that was way back in 2007, 4 years ago !! Over the duration of all these years, Dhanush has really improved and matured a lot as an actor and the recent classic Aadukalam was a testimony to this statement. Coming back to this Maappilai, it is the second time Dhanush is joining hands after the success of Padikkathavan and this time it is a direct remake of his father-in-law's super hit classic. It is a great pressure for Suraj to remake a Superstar's film and that too with the real life son-in-law of Rajnikanth, so comparisons are bound to happen. Judging by the final product, it looks like Suraj has let us down with a below average film which only sparkles in bits and pieces.

Coming to the performance, Dhanush is the pivot of the whole film and he has excelled in his character. Be it the bashful and temperamental guy in the flashback or the soft-natured boy next door personality in the current track, he did a commendable job. It is evident that he has grown into a very good actor (and it was cheeky by Vivek to say that in the movie itself!!) and his comedy timing was fantastic. Not only in comedy but he oozes class and calmness when the scene demands of his character and he had brought out those expressions effortlessly. Be it his marriage hall-intro scene or his confrontation scenes with Manisha Koirala, he pulled of the job well. The biggest disappointment in the film is of course no one else other than the veteran Manisha Koirala. A favorite among the elite directors, Suraj should be given the thumbs down for giving her a poor character which looks only like a dumb caricature in the end. How can he create such a weak characterization for a great performer? The true essence of the original was the interesting and intense confrontation scenes of the mother-in-law with her son-in-law and this movie fails to create even 10% of the zing the original had. Besides that Srividya was too good in the original with her voice modulation and body language. Hansika Motwani has nothing to do other than look like a mini-Kushboo and muster a few dialogues. Vivek with his bunch of friends such as Cell Murugan, Sathyan and Balaji evokes laughter in some scenes and tires us in certain others though the veteran comedian rocked in the second half of the film. Manobala as usual makes a clown out of himself, though the "Yen Uchi Mandayile" episode was hilarious. Ashish Vidyarthi, another talented actor was also wasted here.

Technical wise the film has nothing much to boast about. The editor should have done a better job in cutting down some unnecessary scenes. Mani Sharma dished out average songs with Aaru Padai and Ennoda Raasi being the pick of the lot but the songs picturization were poor although Dhanush has danced really well. Too bad Mani Sharma is churning out the same type of fast beat "thullal isai" songs and even though he can deliver really good melodies (songs of Shahjahan & Youth) and his background music was too loud and clich├ęd.

Suraj has to take the blame for coming up with a low in quality masala film and how in the world he can take the credit for story when everyone knows this is a remake?? Although he did come up with funny and naughty one-liners for Dhanush especially in the second half, the overall script was bad with many loopholes and also short in logic, particularly the climax (though it was funny).

Final verdict is Suraj made a pretty bad remake of the original Maappilai and it only sparkles in bits and pieces. Without Dhanush, it would have been a total time waste.

Rating: 2/5 stars



Actor Vishnu who's one of the decent performers of the current young batch of Tamizh cinema made a good debut in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu and also showed he's quite good adapting to comedy in Bale Pandiya. In Kullanari Koottam, he has joined hands with a d├ębutante Sri Balaji who happens to be an assistant of Suseendran in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu. Almost all of the cast who made an appearance in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu has a role to play in this movie as well. It had a decent trailer and promises to be a typical Tamizh cinema rom-com based in a Madurai milieu devoid of all the sickles and gang war elements.

Coming to the performance of the artistes involved in the film, the male lead Vishnu has dished out a decent performance but still he has a lot to improve in facial expressions and timing of his dialogues. He has the capacity to turn out into a decent actor. Meanwhile the female lead Ramya Nambeesan was the surprise packet as she took the best role of the film of a middle class orthodox girl. She has essayed her role finely. Besides this the variety of other characters including the hero's family, friends and the heroine's friend did a decent job. Suri and Appukutty as well as the heroine's roommate delivered the laughs with good one liners and comedy timing.

On the technical front, this movie has nothing much to boast about. Music by Selvaganesh of has the Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu hangover. Songs are hummable like the Vizhigalile and Aadugira Maattai tracks. Song picturization of the former was also neatly presented. Other than that no other department really stands out. Coming to the captain of the ship which is Sri Balaji in this case, has divided the film into 2 halves. First half belongs to Vishnu and Ramya throughout with all the sweet and lovely moments between lovers, typical of any rom-com. The second half takes a more serious tone, with majority of the scenes taking place in the police selection interview process. Although most of the characters are depicted as down to earth type, in the latter half they turn out to become the cunning foxes and hence the title. The problem is the script which wanders aimlessly in the second half after a pretty good first half. Kullanari Kootam had the potential to be an entertainer but the ends abruptly in a whimper. Sri Balaji should have made corrections in the second half to keep it more engrossing and entertaining.

Overall, this movie was a decent film with no item numbers, hardcore villains, loud and jarring music or double entendre dialogues. If only the director had polished the script, it would have been a real winner.

Rating: 2.5/5 STARS