Suseendran, is back with his third film and this time too, has chosen a totally different genre from his previous film. He's also made a daring and unthinkable move by appointing Appukutty as his hero which many others will choose not to do. Having Ilaiyaraja as a major asset for the film, Suseendran has made a simple and heartwarming film which emphasises the fact that story is always the king.

On the acting front, Appukutty has delivered his best or finest performance and it was a correct move by Suseendran to appoint him as the hero because no one else could have done justice to the role other than Appukutty. With the dark skinned, curly hair and plump body, Appukutty stole the show with his sincere performance and the best scenes of him would the part where he fights back with the villagers for his horse and the emotional bursts of him revealing the importance of the horse to him. Saranya Mohan appeared in a small role and she did her act well though she doesn't suit the role of a villager perfectly but it can be excused as the director wanted to project an unimaginable beautiful girl from the perspective of a average village guy (Appukutty). Prabhakaran and Advaitha, the other pair was life like and did a neat portrayal of their characters. Besides that, Krishnamoorthy, Soori and the others in the cast was very much life like and should say lived they're role. All the minor characters, from the intelligent small boy, to the local shaman, the 'minor', the village president and teacher and etc has done their role to near perfection and most of them had a scene or two where they scored brilliantly with their performances.

On the technical side, the film was good with the crew delivering exactly what the script demanded. Isaingani Ilaiyaraja kept it subtle with his songs, and Kuthikira Kudhiraikutty song being the pick of the lot which has fantastic delivery by Raja sir himself. The background score has also been delivered neatly and was not overpowering. Theni Eeshwar, the debuting cinematographer did a good job by capturing the natural beauty of the hillside villages of Theni and also for using proper angles in important scenes. Being a good photographer has helped him a lot. Anal Arasu choreographed a near perfect fight sequence involving Appukutty and the villagers which was very natural and kudos to him for bringing not over doing the stunts. Kasi Vishwanathan, the editor could have done a better job in the first half which was moving slowy to establish the scenarios and milieu of the film.

The real hero of the film is definitely the story and dialogue writer Bhaskar Shakthi. His simple and sweet story of the relationship between the horse(s) and the protagonist/villagers was very direct and heartwarming. His dialogues were a big plus to the film with all the situational comedies woven into the film beautifully. Certain scenes do stand out for the comedy aspect like the long drawn fund-collecting scene by the village heads, the parotta shop scene involving the small boy (it was cheeky of Suseendran to bring in Soori in that scene) and how the atheist village youths makes fun of the village's festival predicament. Although the whole plot revolves around the village areas and set in the 80's period, yet nothing was boring or cliched and Suseendran must be applauded for showing the villagers in a different light yet presented them in their natural elements.

Azhagarsamiyin Kudhirai, a whiff of fresh air for the audience but some degree of patience and love for cinema is needed to appreciate films of such genre. Hope such efforts come more often in Tamizh cinema.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



Engeyum Kadhal, was a much expected film from the stable of Prabhu Deva, thanks to the publicity of Kalpathi for promoting it as a romantic flick armed with the super success of Harris Jeyaraj's fantastic album score for the film. This film has been shot lavishly in Paris which gives it a cool and urban feel to the film. Plus, the presence of a young and fresh pair of hero-heroine, Jeyam Ravi and Hansika Motwani adds more attractiveness to the film. Do Prabhu Deva deliver this time after the super-flop Villu? Unfortunately it's a big NO!!

Performance wise, hero Jeyam Ravi has done a neat job as the cool, rich entrepreneur. He oozes composure and freshness in his character and thanks to Nalini Sriram's costumes, he looks smart and handsome. His dialogue delivery and modulation was also up to mark. His dancing prowess was also well used in the film. Hansika Motwani who was supposed to be debuting with this film, has done a cute job or should say a much better performance than in Mappilai. Her bubbly talk, cute expressions and exuberant emotions are a treat to the eyes and Nalini Sriram once again picked out the suitable clothes for her as well which really reflects her character. Besides that, Savitha Reddy's dubbing has complemented Hansika well. Suman was totally wasted and Raju Sundaram with his buffoonery act was irritating except for one particular scene where he tries to put together the water soaked cellphone. Prakash Raj in a 2 scene cameo was absolutely hilarious.

Talking about the technical department, Prabhu Deva has some of the best of the industry in his disposal. Three major factors which are the USP of the film is the cinematography, costumes and music. Neerav Shah has done an absolutely brilliant job in capturing the beauty of Paris, Greece and New Zealand. Be it the old monumental buildings or the new urban settings, everything looks so fresh and beautiful, thanks to his amazing angles and color tone chosen for the movie. Nalini Sriram, as mentioned earlier has dressed the lead characters very aptly and they reflected the mood of the film and complemented well to the surroundings of Paris. Harris Jeyaraj has done a terrific job with his musical score and all his songs has a certain mood and feel to it which caters to a wide section of audience. Not only that, all the songs have been picturised very well. The title track was well picturised with several shots edited well by Anthony. Lolita and Nangai has excellent dance moves by Sridhar, whereas Nenjil Nenjil and Thee Illai has beautiful backdrops behind. The background score is very light and lilting as well which really keeps the mood of the movie intact. Kanal Kannan's stunts could have been toned down little bit and Anthony did a decent job with the editing.

Although the film carries excellent work technical wise, it really fails to capture the heart of the audiences because of the poor story or should say no story at all. The blame either falls on the story writers, Ravi Chakravarthy & A.C Mugil or on Prabhu Deva for his screenplay. The real backbone of a romantic film will be the depth of the love story between the lead characters. In Engeyum Kadhal, this aspect is totally missing and the audiences do not sympathize or empathize with the struggles of the lead characters. There are some cute scenes like ticket checking scene in the train, the birthday outing and etc but they are far in between and that alone will not hold the story together. Prabhu Deva should know that script is the backbone of a film and all the other aspects only helps the script to be elevated into a higher degree.

Final verdict, Engeyum Kadhal is a poor product from Prabhu Deva and AGS and the only saving grace are the songs, cinematography and costumes. Jeyam Ravi, hope you make amends with Aadhi Bhagawan.

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



Vaanam, kicked off the actual multi-starers spree in Tamizh cinema. Expectations were big since it involved talented artistes coming together in one film and also for the script as this film is the remake of the critically acclaimed Telugu film Vedam, directed by the same director Krish. Besides that this movie has another added expectations thanks to the controversy of Simbhu walking out of Ko and proceeded to do this film and everyone wanted to know whether Simbhu made the right choice or not. This film follows the multi-story narration where 5 separate tracks converge into one situation in the climax. This sort of narration mode is very popular in the international scene where successful films like Babel and Crash has proved it. In Indian cinema Mani Ratnam used it in Aayitha Ezhuthu/Yuva and even in a recent Malayalam film Traffic.

Each track has it's own story, characters and issues involved. First up is Bharath as the aspiring rock star. It's refreshing to see Bharath in a good role but as per storyline we don't get to see him really living the role of a rock song artist. His stunt scenes in the highway and the risks he has taken to execute it such as running down from the hill and breaking the glass panel of an oncoming car should be applauded. He was presented in a clean and youthful look but his costumes could have been better to be in tune of a rock-song artiste. Vega complemented him well as his partner and her looks and costumes were near perfect.

Prakash Raj as a devout Muslim was too good. The veteran has once again proved why he is a sought after character artiste. His expressions and voice modulation when showing his anger and getting hit by the shocking reality was really brilliant especially in the scene where he gets slapped by Ravi Prakash. Sonia Aggarwal had a neat performance although her role had very less scope in the film. Ravi Prakash as a racist policeman who in the end realises his mistakes, delivered a good performance as well. Jayaprakash had a very small but powerful role and he was in his best elements.

Saranya Ponvannan as the helpless mother who has to rescue her son from the clutches of loan-shark, was brilliant as usual. Her expressions, voice modulation, body language, everything was very natural and she has proved once again that she's an actress of substance. The old actor who played her father-in-law character was also very natural and simple.

Anushka did a role which finally justified her glamour. As Saroja, the commercial sex worker she has excelled in a once in lifetime role and her body language was very apt for that role. As a girl with big aspirations, her best scene was her encounters with Radha Ravi in the police station and it was good to see her role not being depicted in a vulgar manner. Veteran Radha Ravi appeared for one scene but yet stamped his mark with his voice modulations being the highlight. The eunuch character was very well portrayed and Brahmanandam's cameo was an added attraction to the movie.

Silambarasan, has delivered a knock out performance as Cable Raja and it's good to see him following up a fantastic performance after Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. If analyzed throughout the movie, the last 45 minutes was his best and Silambarasan was simply superb by handling the emotional scenes very sensitively and with high level of maturity. It takes a big effort for anyone to act out those scenes and he has done it really well. The only complaints one would say is the unnecessary heroic build up given to him, be it in the title credits or even in his introduction scene. Santhanam and Ganesh were perfect complements to Silambarasan and the trio rocked in the comic department with fantastic timing and it was a relief Santhanam had his own usual punches but sans any vulgarity, this time and Ganesh was at his best as well. Jasmine, the newcomer was apt for the rich girl role and it's good to hear her dub in her own voice.

Neerav Shah and Gnanasekharan did a fine job with the cinematography department and the angles of the camera was good but the best part of it is the lighting and mood/tone selected for each separate story tracks which really brought out the feel of the film. Some of the best shots are the salt field in Tuticorin and the rain scenes involving Prakash Raj. Rembon, the art director created apt sets for the film be it the whorehouse or the streets created for the final dance sequence. Yuvan Shankar Raja's music was a little disappointing as Vaanam cant be said as one of his best tracks although the Yevandi Unnai Pethan song had fantastic sound engineering work with well shot video song and Na Muthukumar's lyrics for the title track was brilliant though songs were unnecessary speed breakers of the film. Yuvan made up for the disappointing album with an excellent background score. The film's biggest asset is the dialogue write Gnanagiri who wrote simple, straightforward and thought provoking dialogues. Kudos to him for coming up with such gems and that too for the important scenes of the film. Krish has penned a neat story with strong messages but the script had space for improvements especially for the first half but still he should be appreciated for not coming up with a nonsensical masala film.

Vaanam manages to get the recognition as a good film though it had room for improvements and the director should have stuck to his original Telugu film, when it comes to depicting the ending of 2 major characters of the film. Overall, a decent and different film for the average viewers.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS