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