'Sattam Oru Iruttarai' finds itself a new coat of paint, through a remake by the grand niece of the original's director. Sneha Britto, a 19-year old grand niece of S.A Chandrasekhar and niece of 'Ilaiyathalapathy' Vijay remakes the cult hit, which was released some 3 decades back. Backed by her parents as the producers and her grandfather as the creative head, Sneha Britto, makes some changes to the script for the suitability towards the current context, factor.

Thaman Kumar, a relative newcomer, replaces the Vijayakanth, and sadly, he is not match for the latter. Thaman is no where near the fiery and spirited performance of Vijayakanth in the original, which cemented his place among Tamizh cinema elite and elevated the film to a cult status. Thaman struggles in nearly every department and he has a hell lot to do, if he wants to stick to acting and surviving in this cut-throat cine-field. Reemma Sen, has a substantial character to play, but there's nothing special to discuss about the performance. It looks like, she felt uninterested half-way through acting in the film. Piaa Bajpai and Bindhu Madhavi has nothing much to offer, other than to be the eye-candies of the film. The rest of the cast such as Radha Ravi, Suresh, Sampath Ram, Krishnamoorthy, 'Erode' Mahesh, 'Tiger Garden' Thanga Durai, Adams and etc has even less substantial roles, and it puzzles the audience, especially on the necessity for a large number of unimportant characters. S.A Chandrasekhar, tries to impress in his late cameo, though.

The technical department's contribution to the film, was just functional. Art direction by A.Vanaraj, was okay, especially with the interiors of the sets, such as houses and police stations. M.R Rejeesh's editing was sloppy, especially in the first half, which had bumpy narration. 'Billa' Jagan's stunt choreography was adequate, especially the climax fight sequence. C.J Rajkumar's cinematography work was passable, with good choices of techniques but nothing noteworthy. Vijay Antony's music was poor and not catchy at all, which is a big disappointment for the audience, especially when the movie is faring badly. "Nimirndhi Nil" was shot with Thaman and Bindhu, performing a stage act, along with dancers on a laser-lit setting. "Adam Eval", also shot on the same pair, was picturized in Bangkok, with those scenic Buddhist monasteries, beaches and parks. "Thirumba Thirumba" and "Uyirin Uyire", both were shot on Thanam and Piaa this time, and had montages sequences, showing the love moments of the couple, going around Hong Kong. The final track, "Poochandi" is a typical folk song, with heavy beats and features the all there lead artistes, Thaman, Piaa and Bindhu dancing along with the back-up dancers in the park, with blandly-colored but skimpy costumes for the heroines. The background score too was too out-dated and boring. Not enough motivation, Vijay ?

The handling of the script was very amateurish. Though S.A Chandrasekhar puts in his effort as the creative head, it was not enough to save this film. Sadly, the original is still miles ahead better in terms of cinematic value !! There's no logic in the screenplay, the direction is poor, the acting is amateurish, the characterizations were awful, and sadly, there's no narration at all. The only scene, which makes us to take a look, is the end, where S.A Chandrasekhar, points out his opinion on the current state of law and order in India. The handling of the police episodes, is a disgrace to the actual officers, where police where made to look like idiots ! The original had the melodrama as its USP, together with good music and performance, but here its all about the glossiness and no conviction from the director. R.Ruban's dialogues too were, not up to the mark, as well.

Its not wrong to be ambitious, but Sneha Britto should not plunge into direction at the expense of her parents' financial support, and the backing of her successful grand father and uncle, in the cinema industry. It will be better for her to learn the nuances of direction first, before deciding to direct a film. Sorry my lady, though truths hurt, a truth is still a truth ! 'Sattam Oru Iruttarai' is poor. Very poor !!

Ratings: 1.5/5 STARS



'Neethane En Ponvasantham' a beautifully-titled movie, is one of the most expected films of the year, thanks to the expectations which bounds to arise when the director, Gautham Vasudev Menon comes back to his comfort zone, that is love stories. Added to that, the blockbuster hit of the soundtrack, scored none other than the genius, 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja, elevated the film's expectations several notches higher, since the score was one of the best to come out from Raaja sir's stables. With excellent technicians and gorgeous looking casts, this film had all the necessary elements to score at the box-office.

Jiiva has delivered a refreshing and thumping performance as the cool, casual and handsome chap. His dialogue delivery and body language were so precisely, he embodies the character Varun Krishnan, perfectly. The spontaneous reactions and composed expressions, are the highlights of his character, though he was not entirely convincing as a school-boy, looks and physique, wise. Samantha Ruth Prabhu, was simply gorgeous in the film, and she too delivers a fantastic performance as Nithya Vasudevan. Her transition from a teenage 'angel' to a beautiful woman, looks and mentality/behavior wise, was smoothly handled by her. Its an advantage certainly for Samantha to dub in her own voice, which gives an authentic feel to her character. With more such roles, she could hone her acting skills even more, and she is definitely a good performer, in waiting. Jiiva and Samantha, literally lived and breathed as Varun and Nithya. Kudos to both of them. Santhanam was absolutely rib-tickling and smashing in his comedy portions. Though his usual teasing and double entendre dialogues were there, it was presented in a different style, which makes him look fresh. His scenes with debutante Vidyullekha Raman, parodying 'Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya' was a scream, with 'VTV' Ganesh, making a surprise cameo !! Ravi Raghavendra, Ravi Prakash, Sriranjani, Anupama Kumar, Christine Thambuswamy and etc were very apt for the film, and incorporated mannerisms and body language of typical Gautham Vasudev Menon's film characters. 

The core of Gautham's favourite technicians are present in this film as well. First off, M.Ravi's stills, especially for the promotional posters, were beautiful and chic. Nalini Sriram's costume designing was a pleasant to the eyes of the viewers. The lead pair was looking simply ravishing, especially Samantha (Gautham's heroines are always portrayed beautifully). Rajeevan's art work was neat and in-tune with the script. The simple but wonderful sets for the songs, and the props for the plot settings, were very original and appropriate. Anthony was at his best as usual, with no gimmicks and tricks in the editing department. His work in the songs, especially the smooth transition from one scene to the other, was class. The cinematography was catchy, with correct color tones and appropriate angles for the important scenes. The pre-interval, lengthy scene, was shot well, capturing the emotional outbursts and body language of the lead pair. It was nearly impossible to differentiate the works of the three cinematographers who worked in the film but, S.R Kadhir, M.S Prabhu and Om Prakash, all share the credit for a neatly and aesthetically shot film.

'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja comes up with a beautiful and heavenly soundtrack. Most of the songs are gems in their own respective genres, but the instrumentation was fresh from the genius. Gautham Vasudev Menon, utilized Ilaiyaraaja extremely well, and the latter produced a wonderful, wonderful album which was  recorded and mastered at the Angel Studios, England for which Anglo-Indian Music Productions was hired, providing singers, an 108-piece orchestra and percussion. "Pudikile Maamu" a half rock-half folk song, is the introductory song, with Santhanam opening it up, humorously. The dance for this song was stylishly choreographed by debutante Sathish Krishnan. There were plenty of cut-shots and it was precisely edited by Anthony, with good camera angles. "Vaanam Mella" is a flashback song, rewinding the past of the lead pair and a different color tone was used for the song, which was stretched for a longer duration. The pick of the lot, the melodious, "Saayndhu Saayndhu" was perfectly composed for the situation. It was placed when the love was proposed by the lead pair to each other by each other. This one too, has plenty of cut-shots and montages and smoothly edited by Anthony and some gorgeous art work by Rajeevan. "Mudhal Murai" is a situational song, showing the agony of the heroine living a lonely life without the romances of the hero. The song used montages and has plenty of close-ups of the heroine, but it sounds too heavy for the flow of the script. "Kaatrai Konjam", another situational song, highlights the travel journey of the hero in meeting the heroine after a gap. Actor Nani makes a smart cameo, in this song. "Ennodu Vaa Vaa", has some good camera movements and highlights the hero trying to woo back the heroine, and is also another situational song. "Pengal Endral" is a high-octane pathos song, showcasing the painful break-up of the lead pair, in montage sequences. "Satru Munbu", the final song, beautifully fits into the script and shows the sorry state of the heroine, fearing for the worst. This song too was stretched for the entire climax, portion. Ilaiyaraaja's background scoring is legendary and needs no specific mention, but here the magical touch was missing, since part of the songs were used sparingly as background score and dialogues taking more prominence, where Ilaiyaraaja, keeps everything else, muted. 

Gautham Vasudev Menon has collaborated with Reshma Ghatala, in regards to the story, screenplay and dialogues of the film, and the pair has produced an excellently written script. The script was minutely observed and broken down, casually laid out, has in-depth and detailed dialogues. This is definitely Gautham's most maturely written love story, so far. He has taken off from where he left in 'Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa'. The complexities of the nitty-gritty details of love affair and arguments between the love couple, were explicitly and articulately portrayed. Gautham's success starts from the sketching of his characters. They all look familiar, just like any other individuals next door, but to shape them up in just pure writing, is an extraordinary feat. The lead pair has depth in their characterizations and look realistic, believable, and contemporary, which makes it relatable for any young, urban folks out there. The imperfections, the egoism, the hustle and tussle, the pressure, the disappointments, joy, sorrow, and the powerful, deep love between the lead characters, were just beautifully portrayed. Dialogues are extremely nuanced, and measured, smartly written but are of the heavy-duty category. And also, Gautham smartly makes sure that the names of the lead pair are mentioned constantly throughout the film, which convinces our minds to register those characters as Varun and Nithya, instead of just Jiiva and Samantha. The love portrayed here is more organic and natural since, it has a beginning from childhood and we see it develop through their teens and early adulthood. All these does not stop only with the characters of the lead pair, but also extends to the supporting characters, especially to family members of the hero. However, the pace of the film suffers, especially in the climax, which moves in a leisurely pace, which can test the patience of many viewers. 

'Neethane En Ponvasantham' is not just another love story from Gautham, but a complete dissection of the love relationship between a man and a woman, who are filled with imperfections, but are expected to behave favorably towards each other. A definite cult-status worthy film in a decade or two and a classic in the romance genre in Tamizh cinema.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



After the super hit 'Mynaa' Prabhu Solomon and team are back once again with a new premise-based film. 'Kumki' was promising in many ways, thanks to the promotions of Thirrupathi Brothers and the distributors Studio Green, the stunning musical score of D.Imman and an intriguing cast, that too a newcomer from the legendary Ganesan family. Vikram Prabhu, the son of actor Prabhu, makes his debut through this film. Much expectations and anticipation was there for this film. Ironically, an elephant plays a major role in this 'wild love story'. 

Starting of with the debutante, Vikram Prabhu has done a splendid job with the very tough task of performing a mahout's role. It takes time before he really grows into the minds of viewers, but he confidently performs the myriad of emotions and actions needed,with ease, since its a heavy-duty role, emotionally and physically. He looks very apt for the role of 'Bomman', with a tall and lanky physique. His dialogue delivery too was spot on, and he definitely has a very bright future in Tamizh cinema. With more tutelage under talented directors such as Prabhu Solomon, he is bound to carry on the lineage of Sivaji Ganesan, proudly. Way to go ! Lakshmi Menon, who was supposed to take a bow with this film, comes out neat as a tribal girl. Her expressions are spot on but she has very less dialogues to utter (well dubbed by Meenalokshini) and her interactions with the protagonist was limited as well. Thambi Ramaiah, however takes the whole spotlight among entire cast, with his funny antics and dialogue delivery. His one-liners and body language are a scream, indeed ! Watch out for his 'mind-voice' sequences ! Ably aiding him in some scenes are Ashvin Raja. The rest of the cast such as'Junior' Balaiah, Nelson, Jamalloori, Anbu, Dharan and etc were very apt in their roles, including the cute elephant, Manickam.

P.R Ganesh handles the costume designing very well. The differentiation between each class and ethnicity was well shown in the costumes, especially among the tribal group. The VFX of the film, done by White Lotus, plays a very crucial role but the work was quite average, and it needs to be enhanced in a more realistic manner, since the movie is well shot. S.Durairaj's sound designing was spot on, with good sounds to give us the tribal and forest milieu feel. 'Anal' Arasu's action choreography was well done, which involves extremely hard work with the elephant. Vairabalan's art work was simple but very realistic. The entire village of the tribal folks were very realistically built, including the huts and houses. A thorough research must have taken place, during the filming and Vairabalan deserves praises for it. L.V Thasson's editing was neat, and his work for the VFX sequences are the highlights, and not to forget the songs as well. However, M.Sukumar takes the cake among the appreciation for the technician lot, because his cinematography was absolutely stunning ! The majestic Jog Falls, the extremely lush, green forests, the rain-soaked atmosphere, the close-ups and top-angles of the elephant, the beautiful sunflower fields, this film is definitely one of M.Sukumar's best works. He successfully transports us into the world and life of the characters very easily, and it almost feels like a dream. Hats off to M.Sukumar. 

As mentioned earlier, D.Imman's musical score is stunning ! This can arguably be one of his best albums in his entire career. The songs are melodious and the instrumentation, especially the percussion and wind instruments, are put to very good use. "Yella Oorum", a short number is the opening introductory song, chronicling the life of the mahouts and the elephant and their journey making a living through the elephant. The are plenty of close-ups of the elephant, here. "Onnum Puriyile" portrays the protagonist falling in love at first sight with the heroine. The forests, the water and dew-drops were all caught in camera beautifully by M.Sukumar. Among the pick of the lots, "Aiyaiyo Aanandhame" brings out the fiery passion in the protagonist and the bonding session of the heroine and the elephant. The shots taken during dawn, are mystical yet beautiful. The song was mostly shot in landscape-type frames. "Nenju Vedikudhu" which did not feature in the album, is a situational bit-song. "Nee Yeppo" is a brilliant pathos song, showing many close-ups and montages of the hero, who is in the agony of pain, caused by love. "Sollittaale", another pick of the lot, was picturized in the stunning Jog Falls and the sunflower fields of Orissa. The top-angles used in the song, were breathtaking. This song features the actual chemistry of the lead pair, which was missing until then, in the film. "Soi Soi" also used lots of top-angles, and covers the harvest period, celebrated by the tribal people. It has good dance choreography by Noble and the instrumentation by D.Imman was brilliant. The background score too, was superbly handled, which were soothing and melodious, mostly. Take a bow, D.Imman ! You deserve all the appreciation.

Prabhu Solomon must be applauded for the selection of a fresh and unique premise of mahouts, elephants, tribal folks and forest life. The life and times of these people were well captured and portrayed in the film. The characters were well etched, the setting was well planned, and the research was well done. But the film lacks a commanding and arresting story line, nor any emotional quotient. What's present, are just mandatory sequences. Remember, Prabhu Solomon advertised it as a 'wild love story', and in order to have a good love story, the love between the lead pair must be well handled. But here, the love was lacking in depth and emotions, and by the time the love actually happens, the movie neared its climax soon and finishes off, in an contrivedly, predictable manner. The story takes its own sweet time to unravel, but is compensated with the funny antics of the characters, the fresh premise laid in the plot and for the songs, picturized beautifully. The elephant was put to good use, which is commendable and the team must be praised for their strenuous hard-work. The end dialogues of the protagonist were very touching and and wonderfully, written by Prabhu Solomon. 

'Kumki' is not in the same league as 'Mynaa' emotion quotient wise, but the extreme hard work put in by Prabhu Solomon's team, in giving a quality and neat film, is laudable. Could have been better, but it will be too harsh to criticize the film, overtly.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



 Vijay Sethupathi, who is on a roll with continuous successes, has starred in another different attempt, which has a unique and quirky title. Directed by Balaji Tharaneetharan, this film is said to be inspired from a true incident, which ironically happened to the cinematographer of this film, C.Premkumar ! Will Balaji continue the new wave of next-gen directors such as Balaji Mohan and Karthik Subbaraj ?

The casting of the film is pretty simple and neat. Vijay Sethupathi is the pivot which the whole film centers on, and he has done clear justice to the film. Delivering a measured and composed performance, Vijay has done a brilliant job as a temporary memory loss patient. His expressions, looks and dialogue delivery was very apt and splendid. Though it can look easy to maintain the same reaction throughout the film, it is indeed difficult to maintain the consistency and he has handled that part very well. Looks like this man will be the next indie super star ! Gayathri of '18 Vayasu' fame makes a minor appearance in the film and was adequate. Vigneswaran as Saras was serious and intense with his performance, while Bagawathi Perumal and C.Rajkumar were a scream throughout the film. Their personal duel and bantering between each other were explicitly humorous, though none of it was intentional ! Bagawathi, who happens to be a real-life witness of the incident was brilliant with his 'advising' and authoritative imposition. C.Rajkumar was funny with his petrified and shocked looks, all through the movie. The bonding and seriousness between the friends were very natural and real. The rest of the cast were apt, such as Usha, Kameshwar Rao, Madhumathi, Raju Sivashankaran and etc.

Shankar's costumes were very apt and resonated the middle-class milieu perfectly. Dhilip Subbarayan's stunts choreography was very minimal but adequate. A.S Lakshmi Narayanan's audiography could have been better with some timing missing in few places and in certain portions the background score was a little louder. C.Veeramani's art direction was simple and effective, especially for the props in reception and wedding sets and not to forget the hospital scenes. R.Govindaraj should have done much better in the editing department, because the film was too lengthy and after a certain period of time, the monotony kicks in, which might test the patience of viewers. But his work in the cricket episode was good. C.Premkumar's cinematography was effective, with plenty of close-up shots and low, tight angles, which were relevant to such story-lines  which needs to capture the looks and emotions of the characters, clearly. His handling of the camera for the cricket episode was cheeky too, with slow motions, which adds to the fun and humor quotient of the film.

Music of the film was very refreshing and pleasantly done by Ved Shankar, a product of A.R Rahman's KM Music Conservatory. The "Excuse Me Sir" was a funny introductory song of the vital four friends characters, and features many cut shots and montages. None of the other songs were featured in the film, unfortunately though the "Oh Crazy Minnal" sung by Andrea was a hit, and the "Omelette Potta" song with some basic set designs and props were used for promotional purposes only. Siddharth Vipin, an assistant keyboardist to A.R Rahman, takes care of the background score. His cheeky score helps elevate the humor quotient in some places and some places reminds us of his mentor, especially in the end track, which sounds like inspired from the "Sandai Kozhi" song from 'Aayutha Ezhuthu'. End of the day, a neat musical score for the film.

Balaji Tharaneetharan has made the film in such a way, where it mimics the real life. Not in any scene it looks like a cinematic film. A definitely refreshing movie, since the comedies are very situational, but what makes it much better is the mood of the film. Though the whole film is serious from start to finish, we will fail not to laugh out loud at the misfortunes of the four friends characters and their arduous task in taking care of the complicating situations. The director keeps the viewers guessing till the end, regarding the fate of the lead hero, but the process is slow, which can put off some viewers. The dialogues are very quirkily written, reflecting the naughty and humor sense of the males. Boys and men would definitely, enjoy this film much more than the fairer sex. The plot and narration is pretty much straightforward and the end credits was pretty touching. 

'Naduvule Konjam Pakkathe Kaanom' -  movie where you can 'LOL-out' out throughout the film. One of the best situational comedies to ever come out in Tamizh cinema !

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



After the critically-acclaimed and National Award-winning film, 'Thenmerku Paruvakaatru', Seenu Ramasamy is back with 'Neerparavai', a film portraying the life and times of the fishing folks. Interestingly, this film is produced by Udhayanidhi Stalin, through his Red Giants Films banner, which is a new turn for him, who is used to produce big-budget films, with top notch stars. Collaborating again with Vairamuthu and N.R Raghunandan, and incorporating rock-solid cast, can Seenu Ramasamy, strike it again ?

As mentioned, the film does have a rock-solid casting and all of them have done justice to their roles, be it major or minor. Starting of with the protagonist, Vishnu does very well with his body language and dialogue delivery. Not to forget, the fantastic expressions, which are necessary for non-dialogue portions. With more such good films, the actor in Vishnu can grow into a solid performer. But Sunaina steals the spotlight from him with a restrained and fantastic performance ! The de-glamorized look and her expressive eyes works well for her role and this film has the best performance for her so far, in her career. Well done, Sunaina ! Nandita Das, plays the older version of Sunaina, and also has the more heavy-duty portions, though its bewildering why Seenu has to opt for another actress when Sunaina can handle it well. Deepa Venkat's dubbing for both Sunaina and Nandita was pitch-perfect. Close on the heels were, 'Poo' Ram and Saranya Ponvannan, who excelled in their roles. The casting was perfectly done and each artistes, such as Samuthirakani, Vadivukarasi, Thambi Ramaiah, Azhagam Perumal, Aruldass, 'Black' Paandi, Yogi Devaraj, Imman Annachi, Anupama Kumar, Varsha Ashwati, Nandagi, Seenu Ramasamy himself in a cameo and etc were a perfect choice for their roles !

V.Moorthy's costumes were fitting for each character, especially for the changeover of Vishnu from a wastrel to an hardworking chap. 'Super' Subbarayan's stunt choreography was well choreographed, and the props usage such as boats, oars, nets and even the fishes were handled well ! It is indeed nice to see him choreographing decent and not over-the-top kind of fight sequences. V.Selvakumar's art direction was functional, especially for the props in settings such as sea shore houses, the small church and other small venues. M.Kasivishwanathan's editing is flawless and smooth, eventhough the pacing is a little slow. His work in the song sequences, were good. The biggest asset of 'Neerparavai' is the cinematography by Balasubramaniem. His shots and frames are beautiful and pleasing to the eyes, be it the sandy beaches, or the rural homes. His handling of angles and color saturation setting were splendid, especially in the songs and in the beach fight sequence. 'Neerparavai' is definitely a milestone in Balasubramaniem's career.

N.R Radhunandan's music complements the script as well, with perfect tunes and soothing instrumentations. The male version of "Para Para" song is a sheer delight for the eyes, with beautiful framing and color tones used by Balasubramaniem. The sunset beach, the rain drops, everything works out very well for the song. "Ratha Kanneer" is a situational song, highlighting the struggle of the protagonist in getting out from alcohol addiction and was picturized him struggling in the rehab centre. "Yaar Veettu" is another situational song, in flashback mode, picturing the introduction of the protagonist as a child and his upbringing. Some beautiful shots of the sea features in this song. "Meenukku" is a romantic song picturized on the lead pair and has very bright lighting, thanks to the scorching sun. The song has some good framing from Balu. "Devan Magale" is another romantic song, with intimate montage sequences featuring the lead pair which purportedly has Vishnu giving '100 kisses' to Sunaina ! The female version of "Para Para" song is a situational song as well, capturing the agony of the heroine, not knowing the fate of the protagonist who is missing, and also used just before the end credits, picturized on Nandita and the sea. N.R Raghunandan's background score is just as pleasant as the songs as well. Looks like Seenu Ramasamy, N.R Raghunandan and Vairamuthu has forged a solid partnership !

Seenu Ramasamy's script is not as powerful and emotionally stimulating as his previous 'Thenmerku Paravukaatru' but what makes us engaged with 'Neerparavai' is the characters, which are portrayed in the film. The characters look very real and non-cinematic in any manner and variety of complexities they show throughout the film, holds our attention well. Seenu's narration is a little slow paced and the plot line is quite thin, but it does not affect the film since the rhythm pattern of the film, is maintained consistently, throughout. Important questions and social issues are brought up in a very neat manner, without being overbearing and the comedy portions are weaved smoothly in the screenplay. Dialogues, jointly written with popular writer Jayamohan, are brilliantly penned. Another element Seenu should be appreciated for is the designing of characters which are not portrayed in 'black or white' format, keeping us from being judgmental towards the characters. 

Kudos to Seenu for coming out with a matured and articulative film ! Though it might not be as emotional as 'Thenmerku Paruvakaatru', 'Neerparavai' is still a pleasant watch of emotional human dramas and pertinent issues.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



Thangar Bachan, whose films are touching tales of human relationships, especially among rural and township folks, is back after a 5-year hiatus, with his 'Ammavin Kaipesi', an adaptation of his literary work. Thangar promised an emotional and heart-wrenching story which would appeal to all sections of people, especially to the ladies. With a young lead pair in Shanthanoo and Iniya, will Thangar deliver a good, solid film like his 'Azhagi' and 'Solla Marandha Kadhai' ?

Inserting Shanthanoo in this type of film, is an interesting casting by Thangar. It is different to watch Shanthanoo play a typical, rural boy. He has delivered a clean and neat performance. The body language and dialogue deliveries are better than his previous films, and shows that this chap can act in serious roles, too. Kudos for his earnestness-filled portrayal ! Iniya was fine, but she is in a danger of being typecast as a village girl, if she chooses to do more such films, like this. Thangar essays a role as well, and his' was the most toughest to perform since it involves a variety of expressions and intense emotions. Meenal is adequate but she too is in the danger zone of being typecast as suitable for only village woman roles. The rest of the cast such as Revathi, Azhagam Perumal, Nagineedu, NSK Senthil Kumar and etc are okay.

Technically, this film has nothing much to offer or to be spoken about. N.K Rahul and Loghu's art work was simple and and sufficient enough for the script, especially with the interiors of houses. Karthi's stunt choreography was natural. Kishore T.E's editing could have been better, because the film suffers due to the very slow pace. Thangar Bachan himself has wielded the camera, and his cinematography is functional with some good frames in the initial portions. Rohit Kulkarni's music was sadly, uninspiring and boring. The "Thalai Mudhal Paadham Varai" theme music was shot in a orchard with glamour girls and folk dancers doing some dancing jigs. "Enna Senji Pore" is a romantic number shot on the lead pair romancing alone in the house, with some shots taken in outdoors such as in lakes and caves. "Nenjil Eno" is a situational song, shot in montage sequences, whereas "Podu Thillaale" was shot on Thangar and Meenal, happily dancing at hill side, and around their village, which unfortunately is a torture to watch. The background score is just pass-worthy.

Thangar Bachan has made this film which might appeal to the ladies, but its too melodramatic and the story telling looks pretty outdated. The narration is very slow, which tests the patience of viewers and to have lots of sentimental and melodramatic moments constantly, will do no good for the film. The screenplay has no proper continuity and leaves some big gaps, which was not looked into and rectified. Moreover, the revealing of some suspense elements earlier in the film, spoils the mood of the viewers. Thangar's motive of capturing the rural nativity and portraying a story around that factor can be appreciated, but without a strong and powerful script, the film will suffer a lot, and that too a one, which has minimal commercial elements. The emotional outbursts, especially of Revathi's and Iniya's were handled and portrayed well. The literary work could have been a better product compared to this film version, but the presentation of the film is definitely out of tune and will not appeal to the current cinema-goers. 

'Ammavin Kaipesi' - certainly no match for Thangar's previous films. Hope he makes amends with his long-in-the-making, 'Kalavaadiya Pozhudhugal'.

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



A proven versatile actress of substance and a hot-favorite among directors to play strong female leads in their movies, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, forays into direction for the very first time, without any apprenticeship under any directors, other than some tutelage experience with some of the directors that she has worked with. And in her very first film itself, she has taken the difficult subject of bipolar disorder. Moreover, its a comeback of sort for Viji Chandrasekhar, a capable and proven actress who has been missing in action for some time.

Viji Chandrasekhar shines brightly with a very good performance and the way she uses her eyes is a highlight, which adds more believability to her bipolar disorder-affected character. Her voice modulation and expressions were perfect and she is the pivot of the film, where the entire story unfolds through her experiences. The very difficult task of enacting mood-swings were done very comfortably by Viji. Job well done ! Director Marimuthu comes out with a restrained performance as well, and so too Jai Queheni. Veeresh looks a little uncomfortable on screen, though. Rajie Vijay Sarathy fits well into the role of an unmarried successful women entrepreneur but her performance was not convincing, though her looks reminds us of Lakshmy and ironically Lakshmy was the one who dubbed for her. Uma Padmanabhan looks casual and befitting. Sampath Raj makes a cool late entry, meanwhile Jayaprakash and Krishnan makes up for some funny moments, though their roles do not contribute to the film in anyways !

Though the film was shot on a low-scale budget, the film carries clean work in the technical department. Sruthi R's costume designing was apt, especially when it comes to the differentiation between the different class of people portrayed in the film. M.Gita Gurappa's audiography was in sync and gives a natural feel to the film. Dhilip Subbarayan coordinates some risky stunts well. Prem's art direction was spot on, especially for the interiors of the poor household of the lead character and the middle class lifestye and not to forget the club set. Kishore T.E's editing was smooth and flawless and keeps the film as short as possible. N.Shanmugasundaram's cinematography was good, with lots of close-ups, tight angles, and natural lighting. Music director K, does a brilliant job in the music department. "Indha Vaan" is a situational song with scenes and montages establishing the character of Viji who is suffering from bipolar disorder. "Dhisai Ariyaadhu" is another short song which also has some montages, reminiscing the sacrifices of the lead character for her children. "Thappaattam" was catchy and well shot in a club setting in the luxurious Le Meridien hotel. The lighting was apt and some catchy dance movements were choreographed. The background score too was in sync with the mood and feel of the script, enhancing the writing of the director. Good work, K !

Lakshmy Ramakrishnan's intentions of highlighting a serious psychiatric disorder among the lower-class people, which most of the time goes unnoticed, is noble and laudable  The script is short and crisp but the screenplay lags good space and might test the patience of the viewers. Lakshmy should be appreciated for portraying the pressing issue of bipolar disorder in a very subtle and nuanced way, rather than going for a overtly-emotional and crude manner. But the narration of the script suffers a lot due to the imperfections in handling the direction department. There are a lot of English dialogues, which does not fit in well if you would want to establish a take-away message for all social strata of life. The message is not delivered smoothly and convincingly, though audiences will somehow figure out the travails and difficulties faced by such psychologically affected patients. Also, its baffling to see why Lakshmy decided to incorporate some characters into the script, which are of no use to the story. In spite of these mistakes, its laudable that Lakshmy has handled the script in a sensitive manner, especially in delivering the take-away message in a subtle manner, rather than being preachy. And also for portraying human emotionals in an realistic manner. 

'Aarohanam' is a good try by Lakshmy but in order to be a successful director, she needs to honer her skills in writing. Short-films would be a great medium to practise since the film was indeed done in a short-film style rather than a motion picture.

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



An eagerly awaited film, especially by the fans of 'Ilaiyathalapathy' Vijay, 'Thuppaakki' ticks all the boxes of a potential box-office hit must-haves. A big hero, a big director, a legendary cinematographer, decent music director, good action, drama, comedy, songs and etc. Every ingredient is there, so did 'Thuppaakki' fire on all cylinders ? Pretty much, yes !!

The film obviously belongs to the hero, Vijay. He oozes confidence and style throughout the film. He carries the film for most period of the screenplay duration. His experience in dancing and fighting skills are very well written and watched, so there's no need of more elaboration on it. Its the actual acting performance which must be scrutinized and Vijay comes out unscathed. There is nothing to complain about his performance. He had a field day throughout this project and it must have been a walk-in-the-park for him. His comfortableness with Hindi and English gives his character more realistic touch and ingenuity  Vidyut Jamwal, plays a perfect foil to Vijay's lead role and he was menacing in his role. Brooding, full of machismo and debonair looks, Vidyut underplayed his character, which elevates the intensity and tension of the battle between the protagonist and him. Kudos to him ! Kajal Aggarwal though has nothing to perform and was there just as an eye-candy during comedy and song sequences. Though Ragini Sri's dubbing matched the tomboyish character which Kajal Aggarwal played, sadly it did not fit for her image and looks awkward. Sathyan makes a commendable presence throughout the film, and he too underplayed his character, which was heartening. Jayaram, was a scream, especially in the coffee-house sequence, and was a pleasant comedy relief. The rest of cast such as Manobala, Zakir Hussain, Anupama Kumar, Deepthi Nambiar were adequate with Meenakshi and Akshara Gowda making cameo appearances. 

A.S Lakshmi Narayanan's sound recording was apt and neat, especially during the encounter sequences. Kamal Shahani and S.Rajendran's costume designing was simple yet stylish for Vijay and also pretty for Kajal. Sunil Babu's art designing was adequate and apt for the movie with minimal touches, especially for the song sequences and props for some sequences involving the antagonist, which made things look natural and realistic. Kecha Khamphakdee of the Jaika Stunt team, has choreographed some stunning action sequences, especially in the warehouse, during the kidnapping sequence though, the climax fight sequence could have been better. Sreekar Prasad's editing was a big boost for the film, because it kept the pace of the film from not slowing down and his fast-cuts for the action sequences were flawless. India's most popular and celebrated cinematographer Santosh Sivan delivers his flawless work as well and this time, his work is more gritty and captures the raw and urbanized mood of Mumbai very well. Die-hard fans of Santosh might be disappointed because of the lack of scenes, which has his trademark establishment-shots. Overall, it was a flawless work indeed from Santosh Sivan. The usage of ARRI camera lends more authenticity to the look and feel of the film and it must have been a proud issue for A.R Murugadoss to have his film as the first to bear Santosh Sivan's name with the honorary ASC-status. 

Harris Jeyaraj's numbers were hummable and listen-worthy, though nothing was excellent or extraordinary. The opening song "Kutti Puli Koottam" was a refreshing one, for a Vijay film. It has some of Santosh Sivan's trademark misty shots, captured in lush, green fields and at a riverbed, with military men having fun, fooling around and dancing with the protagonist. "Antartica" is a peppy song, shot within a stadium and gym complex surrounding, with the hero trying to woo the heroine, who is an active sportsperson. "Alaikka" is a typical dance number which captures Vijay's wonderful dancing skills. The lighting and set properties were grand, yet looked simple and perfect with gold-themed set work. The chart-buster song, "Google Google" was shot in a Bangkok club, with dazzling lighting and funky dance movements with Santosh Sivan and A.R Murugadoss making cameo appearances. "Vennilave" was shot in Geneva around snow-capped mountains and green fields. Interestingly this song was shot by Natraj, the popular Bollywood cinematographer and has his trademark Bollywood-style glossy cinematography. "Poi Varavaa" is the situational finale song, depicting the leaving of military men to their camps after their holidays, which was shot in the railway station, capturing the poignant moments of the military men and their family members. The theme track, "Jagdish on Mission" plays throughout the film, which sizzles during the crucial moments. Harris's background score was better compared to his recent releases and he has tried some unique scores, keeping the Mumbai milieu in mind. 

A.R Murugadoss, did what he can do best - to come up with a racy and taut screenplay, with some interesting action sequences. The highlight of it was the encounter scene of 12 sleeper cell members, which was brilliantly conceived and shot. The cat-and-mouse chase between the protagonist and antagonist, keeps the audiences hooked to the film. The film was packaged very well and works out big time due to the engrossing screenplay which has some sensibilities in it. Though the majority of the script was well conceived and executed, some minor blips are here and there, with plenty of questions going unanswered and the director taking some liberty by infusing typical commercial dramatic elements or sequences into the screenplay, adhering to elevate and propagate the mass image of lead hero Vijay. Additional brownie points to the director for some intelligent dialogues here and there and for not overdoing the commercial formula of Tamizh cinema. After an unfavoured reception for '7am Arivu', A.R Murugadoss has bounced back strongly, with a tautly written script, which is his specialty and reminds us of his previous works such as 'Dheena' and 'Ghajini', which were all good commercial films. 

'Thuppaakki' is a sure-shot winner for the makers and an engrossing entertainer for the audiences. Party time for Vijay and A.R Murugadoss !

Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS



After a long await, 'Podaa Podi' finally makes its cinema release after its launch, way back in 2008. Touted to be a dance and musical with dosages of romance and comedy, the makers of the film promised a clean and youthful entertainer for the audiences. With a young cast and peppy music, debutante director Vignesh Sivan, makes a confident entry with no experiences, whatsoever in the cinema field beforehand ! 

A favorite kid of controversy, Silambarasan is back a year after his last release, 'Osthe'. As Arjun, Silambarasan fits this role to T and he delivers a very good performance, effortlessly. Needless to say, his dancing and singing skills came in handy a lot, and he has utilized those set of skills to the core, here. He should be applauded as well, for daring to take the role of a young father, which is a hard role, to pull off. His emotional outburst confronting Shobana in the second half, was the best scene for him and it shows his maturity in handling emotional scenes. Besides the director, the heroine, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar too makes her debut. Its an apt and tailor-made role for her as well, since she's an accomplished dancer herself. Her boisterous and chatterbox-like characteristics suits her image very well, and she too delivers her best, when it mattered the most. An added advantage for her, is her ability to dub for herself and with the right projects, she's bound to move forward in Tamizh cinema. Kudos to her for persevering in delivering a good performance, on par with an experienced hero ! Veteran accomplished dancer and artiste, Shobana does a minor role in this film, but sadly it was a poorly written role for her. It could be due to editing, but her appearance in the film is very far and few in between. It was awkward to hear Vivitha dub for her. 'VTV' Ganesh appears in a couple of scenes, and as usual, he is a scream in most of his scenes.

Designer Sabir should be appreciated for his eye-catching designs. There's only one fight sequence in the film, and it was choreographed in a realistic manner by Rod Wan Ruff. Costume designing is an important part for such musicals and youth-oriented films and in this case, Vineesha Arora Sarin has done a good job with vibrant colors which suits the characters played by Silambarasan and Varalaxmi. Art direction was not bad from Ute Bergk and Kiran. The sets plays a big role in establishing the mood of the scenes, especially during the dance sequences. The interiors of the house of the lead artist as well as 'VTV' Ganesh was simple, yet urban and chic. Anthony's editing was a big help for the film, with his seamless cuts, especially for the opening song, "Love Panlaama Venamaa". Cinematographer Duncan Telford has captured the vibrant and hippie culture of the London quite well and the dance sequences, especially which are the highlights of the film.

Music director Dharan Kumar makes a comeback after two-years of absence after his last on-screen release, 'Thambikku Indha Ooru'. His contribution is the biggest plus for the film. His songs are vibrant and groovy, which gives you the dance-and-musical feel to the film. The film is littered with songs and it starts off with, "Love Panlaama, Venamaa". This song has fantastic choreography by Robert, who makes a cameo appearance alongside 'VTV' Ganesh, Premji and Santhanam. Duncan Telford handled the camera very well for this song, with colorful sets by Kiran. Added to that, you can see "tidbits" from Silambarasan who appears in get-ups of his previous films. "Un Paarvaile" is a situational song, shot in a dance studio and comes to during a crucial part of the script, where the hero learns of the heroine's involvement in dance classes, with some funny acts, here and there. "Podaa Podi", the title track has montage sequences along with the dance sequences with unique camera movements and colorization from Duncan. "Hare Rama" is another montage-sequences filled situational song showing the break-up period of the lead pair. "Mattikitten" has some elaborate dance sequences, which reminds us of Western musical-and-dance stage shows. The song features unique lighting during the dance portions, added with some montage sequences. "Appan Mavane" was shot extensively in Disneyland Hong Kong, backed by group dances and fireworks. The "Theme Music" piece was portrayed in a dramatic manner, which comes during a crucial dance competition sequence. The climax song, "I Am A Kuthu Dancer" was well shot with good lighting, and it highlights most of Silambarasan's iconic 'kuthu' songs, with energetic dancing from the lead pair. Dharan Kumar also scores in the background score department as well. Looking forward to better works from him !

Vignesh Shivan, a very young and debuting director, makes up for his wafer-thin story, with interesting dialogues and breezy screenplay. What's commendable is that, he made it a point to clearly sketch his lead characters with good characterization. Their fashion sense, point of views, likes and dislikes, everything looked believable and relatable for the youth audience. Also, its always interesting to see two polarly-different characters liking and falling for each other and in this case. Dialogues are a highlight of this film, because they were very casual and tongue-in-cheek, which leads to simple yet humorous scenes. Vignesh Shivan has articulated very well about the current, modern-day youths, who are impulsive, stubborn and idealistic, which relates very well with the youth audiences. The screenplay was not bad, which has couple of good scenes thrown in here and there, especially in the second half, which consists most of the serious portions of the film. Vignesh Shivan did prove in making a youth-oriented film, but his scripting is still very much teenage-oriented. Only his next films can determine the actual talent of Vignesh Shivan.

'Podaa Podi', a neat entertaining film which is strictly for teenagers and youths ! 

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



'Pizza', an uniquely titled film, has been evoking interests among Tamizh cinema audiences for its refreshing package and interesting knot by the debutante director, Karthik Subbaraj, a former contestant of 'Naalaiya Iyakkunar' series, which involves the supernatural element. Tamizh cinema has a mediocre record when it comes to the horror genre, but well-made films such as 'Eeram' and 'Yaavarum Nalam', gave hopes for the horror-loving folks. Produced by C.V Kumar who churned 'Attakathi' before this has retained the entire team which worked in 'Attakathi' sans the director ! So, is this movie worth the watch ?

Vijay Sethupathi's ticket to the bigger league in Tamizh cinema is this film, and he has taken his chance very well. A very good performance, it must have been quite arduous for him to perform alone in the frames and he pulls it off, effortlessly. Watch him being vulnerable and frightened in the bungalow scenes ! With more challenging projects, this man will definitely climb the ladder of fame and success in Tamizh cinema. Remya Nambeesan, plays a girl-next-door role with modern approaches and she does her part quite well, ably assisting Vijay Sethupathi. The entire supporting cast including Naren, Karuna, Jayakumar, Simha, Pooja, paint artist Veera Santhanam, Kavithasri were very realistic in their portrayals.

Karthik Subbaraj should be applauded for capitalizing the talents of fantastic technicians. The sound designing, which is a very integral part in a horror genre, was brilliantly done with Vishnu Govind and Raja Krishnan doing the mixing and designing. But the main attraction of the sound designing, was the incorporation of Studio 301 Inc, which is based in Australia and also the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The contributions of Sandro Costantino, Phil Hartl, a master violinist, and Leon Zervos, the sound mastering engineer, whom, have several Oscar and BAFTA nominations as well as several Grammy awards to their credits, that too on a 7.1 surround sound system ! Dhilip Subbarayan's stunt scenes, be it the one shot in the bungalow or on the street-side was very realistic and natural. T.Ramalingam's art work was very neat and contemporary, be it the interiors of the bungalow house or the small-spaced quarters of the lead pair. Leo John Paul's editing is a big asset to the film, because he keeps the screenplay riveting and suspenseful. The transition during the dark, haunted portions were smooth and non-disruptive to the flow of the film. Gopi Amarnath's cinematography was wonderful. His framing for the romance portions were very subtle in nature, but his real talent was evident during the haunted portions, which has no lighting except from the emanated from the torchlight ! Also, the camera movement was smooth and not dizzying, which was a relief for the viewers. Great work by Gopi !

Santhosh Narayanan, who shot to fame with 'Attakathi' tries different genres of music in this film. "Mogathirai", a very blues type of song was well picturized, capturing the romantic moments of the lead pair, and the framing of the camera by Gopi Amarnath during the rain portions were beautiful, with slow motion technique. "Rathiri" and "Engo Odugindrai" were used more of like a background score, with the former appearing during the first half and the latter during the climax. 'Gaana' Bala pulls of a song which is total alien to him, genre-wise which has a very jazz and blues feel to it, which is titled "Dhinakku". The song features as a ringtone in the film and is also played during the end-credits. The background score was very subtle and fresh from Santhosh Narayanan and he efficiently uses the creepy silence factor during the scary portions. 

Karthik Subbaraj's, screenplay was a little slow during the first half, which takes its time to introduce the viewers, to the characters and their dilemmas. But the sequences were penned in an interesting manner, with subtle comic situations and pleasant romance scenes. But he showed his talent and capacity in handling the scary portions very, very well and the shocking climax portion, which has a major twist for the audience, is a true sucker punch ! Brilliant screenplay writing by Karthik !! Though the story, written together with Prasad Ramar, was very simple, but the screenplay was very smartly written by Karthik, which brings a sigh of relief and also smile to the viewers ! The chemistry between the lead pair though, lacks the fire in it and the overall movie leaves a short-film like feel to the viewers, but these are just minor weaknesses in the film, which can be overlooked. 

'Pizza' is definitely a must-watch for the audiences and Karthik Subbaraj is a talent to look out for !! The smart screenplay leaves us guessing in the first half, which leads us to a relieving but shocking climax ! Welcome to Tamizh cinema, Karthik Subbaraj !!

Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS



Director Perarasu, or comically called as 'Oorarasu' for titling his movies based on names of towns and cities, is back with a film which has been long in the making. After his back to back successes with 'Thirupachi' and 'Sivakasi', none of Perarasu's following films made bucks at the box office. Yet, it still amazes to see him churning out movies, and that too without deviating from his usual formulas ! Here, he teams up with Bharath, who himself badly in need of a hit film, in order to survive in Tamizh cinema.

Bharath, appears as a gym instructor in this film, and does what was required by the director. He aptly mouthed all the 'punch' and fiery dialogues written by the director. In order to to be realistic, he has buffed up his physique a little. He dances, fights, emotes and 'wins' the approval of the audience  An archetypal 'commercial cinema hero' ! Sunaina looks okay but she stutters a little with her dialogue delivery, which looks out of sync with the dubbed voice. Rajkiran as an ex-military, was at his usual self. Pandiarajan, Ashish Vidyarthi, M.S Bhaskar, Chitti Babu, Appukutty, Kottachi and etc all were just there for apparently no reasons, except for Ashish who is the antagonist of the film. Its bewildering for us to watch him essaying the same role again and again and again, and yet he still continues to do the beaten-to-death roles without any remorse !

A.Seenu, the costumer of the film did not do his homework well, because the lead pair were dressed in designer clothes, though they were portrayed as ones from the middle-class segment. 'Theepori' Nithya's action choreography was awful  G.K's art work, Jaysankar's editing and Bala's cinematography were all pedestrian. Perarasu decides to take the mantle of music director as well and churns out unnecessarily 7 songs in the film and none of them were interesting ! "Vaana Vedikkai" is a typical Perarasu's hero-intro song, with plenty of dancers and shot around packed streets. "Nee Enakku" was shot in European cities against established landmarks. "Yemma Yemma" was shot in a village-festival environment, with minimal set-work  "Saamikku" and 'Evano Oruvan" were situational numbers, one of a sad situation and the other of an uprising situation. "Adi Vaanavil" a melodious number is also shot on European cities and finally "Vannarapettai" was shot in Binny Mills which resembles like a garage set work and also around some mining areas.

Perarasu's script is poor in quality and taste, very old-fashioned, formulaic, bland and ridiculous. Perarasu sticks to his pattern of screenplay and sketches compilation of scenes containing plethora of emotions. This film makes us skeptical of Perarasu's knowledge of contemporary films, and the latest trends of Tamizh cinema. Is he still trapped in some 'inescapable' time warp ? The tidbits appearing in the film, reminding us of Vijay and Ajith's films with Perarasu gives credence to that doubt.

'Thiruthani' - a shame for the actual Thiruthanigan !!

Ratings: 1/5 STARS



 'Maattrraan' was hugely expected because of the return of the super-successful 'Ayan' combination of Suriya, K.V Anand and writers duo D.Suresh and A.N Balakrishnan (Subha, for short). Plus, K.V Anand and Subha is on a back-to-back blockbuster ventures, after the mega success of 'Ko'. Financed heavily by AGS Entertainments, this film boasts of spectacular locations and heavy visual effects and graphics portion, thanks to the conjoined-twins portion of the script, good music and a good-looking cast. With an A-class cast and technical crew, the trailers and promos suggested a good and exciting, fun ride for the viewers. Worth the wait ?

The current showman and entertainer of Tamizh cinema and the darling of the press and girls, Suriya rocks in his performance as Agilan and Vimalan, the conjoined-twins. He has put in tremendous hard-work  in getting the emotions, body language, dialogue delivery method for the two characters right. He has to differentiate the major and also subtle differences between both the twins and his sincerity and honesty shines  throughout the film. Be it dance, fight, emotions, he pulls it off with ease and its no mean feat, since he has to repeat the acts on a facial/performance capture devices, without any cues ! He deserves a round of applause, but in order to enhance himself as an actor, he should venture out of the city-boy, metro-sexual look and characterizations, and do more sophisticated and matured roles. Anyways, job very,very,very well done ! Kajal Aggarwal, looks much better and sexier, compared to her previous films and she's a breathe of fresh hair. She looks bubbly and cheerful but the problem was, she maintained that for the whole film, (even in emotional sequences) which should have been avoided. Chinmayi's dubbing for her, enhanced the character's intelligent and smart personality, even more. Sachin Khedekar has a big and meaty role to play and he too did a very good job with fine and composed performance. The rest of the cast were pedestrian such as Ravi Prakash, Tara Anooradha, Ajay Ratnam, Irina Maleva, Julia Bliss and etc.

'Maattrraan' has a very, very high technical standards, thanks to the those who are involved. Make-up artist Bhanu's prosthetic make-up for the conjoined-flesh was very authentic with all the nerves and flesh color, with tinges of blood veins. Great work ! Lakshmi Narayanan, the veteran audiographer did a good job, with all the sounds checked in place correctly, but he should experiment and venture out to use more variety of sounds, to knock off the heard-before feel to the movie. Nalini Sriram's costume designing was lavish and perfect, be it the dichotomous fashion sense of the conjoined-twins or even the beautiful Kajal Aggarwal. V.Srinivas Mohan, in charge of the visual effects portion, has done a tremendous job in the VFX department. His correct composition and lighting for the conjoined-twins portion was very evident and only a minute observation will help us to notice the the effects work. His usage of facial/performance capture, and 3D effects techniques, were a big, big boost to the film and without such a technician, it would have been impossible for the crew to do this film. Kudos to him !! Not to forget, Anthony's fast editing especially in the songs and stunts sequences involving the conjoined-twins portion, were crucial contributions for the film, which brought out the effects of the VFX properly to the screen. Peter Hein must have had a tough job in composing the stunt sequences. The conjoined-twins stunt scene in the first half, was thrilling and superbly choreographed, which captured the mood and emotions of the script very,very well. The latter half of stunts in the foreign locations, were very well done too, though it was a bit lengthy. Another feather in the cap for Peter Hein. Rajeevan's set-work was stylish and classy, be it the homes of the protagonist, the cow farm, the entertainment club, the Russian palace and etc. Fantastic job by him ! Soundar Rajan's contribution as a cinematographer was immense, because his homework was extensive in each and every minute detail due to the necessity of the script. His lens captured the beauty of the plethora of locations involved in the film, including the Balkan region in countries like Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and especially a large chunk in Russia, Gujarat, Pakistan border and also the cool Norway. His angles and lighting too were very smart and innovative, which further enhanced the look and feel of the film. 'Maattrraan' is a milestone in Soundar Rajan's career !

Harris Jeyaraj's music was not bad but a sense of deja-vu kicks when you listen to the songs. "Rettai Kadhire" is the introduction song of the protagonists and captures their growth and progress in life, through montages. It serves as a platform for the audience to know the difference between both the twins. "Naani Koni" was shot in spectacularly, beautiful locations of Norway. The hills, lakeside and motorway, all looked elegant and classy, plus the lead pair of Suriya and Kajal Aggarwal looked splendid. "Theeye Theeye" was shot in a club atmosphere. The set work was good from Rajeevan, though it had very small space for a club sequence. The lighting was fantastic and Soundar Rajan, Anthony and V.Srinivas Mohan would have toiled for the song, in order to portray the conjoined-twins dancing and romancing the heroine, together ! The 3D composition on Suriya's body was good, and near flawless. "Yaaro Yaaro" is a melodramatic, situational song which features the characters recuperating from a loss, and was presented in montage sequences. "Kaal Mulaitha" is a refreshingly different song from Harris. Rajeevan's Russian palace set was the quintessential grandeur set. It had good choreography involving many Russian dance artistes. The background score was good, but Harris really needs to diversify and do more innovative scoring, if he wants to maintain his fan base and reputation, as a good music composer.

K.V Anand must be applauded for his tremendous hard-work in putting meticulous efforts to pull of the foreign sequences. Together with Subha, the trio has been scripting the next-gen of commercial entertainers, with smart themes and intelligent packaging. Here, they have handled a myriad of unique themes such as genetic engineering, baby designing, drug enhancement research works, political motivations and etc, all into one single script. Though its a brilliant effort, it takes the toll on the audience because, they're good intentions of laying out all the justifications for the proceedings of the movie, stretches or drags the duration of the film, which makes the viewers a little uneasy. Plus, the stunts and songs are to be factored in as well by the audiences ! The story has racy and fiery elements in it, but the dragginess factor, takes out the racy effects. Their writing, be it dialogues of humorous scenes, are charming, intelligent, and naughty, too ! The intentions of pushing in a social message in a uniquely-themed commercial entertainer film, is praiseworthy. Though the trio presented a smart and interesting story with the correct commercial packages, few questions are left unanswered, which leaves some logical loopholes in the film. The USP of the film was the conjoined-twins factor, but that was just a gimmick, in order to pull in the audiences. Also, the trio could have avoided revealing the surprise or major twist of the film much earlier in the film, which actually gives away the excitement factor.

'Maattrraan' is definitely worth the watch. Its an interesting commercial entertainer and also has good social messages intertwined in the script. Hope, K.V Anand, D.Suresh and A.N Balakrishnan continue their quest in coming out with intelligent next-gen commercial entertainers.

Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS



After a sabbatical of 14 years, the evergreen beauty and charmer, Sridevi makes a fantastic comeback through 'English Vinglish'. A family entertainer, this flick is directed by newcomer Gauri Shinde and produced by her husband, R.Balki, the critically-acclaimed director of 'Cheeni Kum' and 'Paa'. Though its a direct Hindi film, it has been dubbed for the Tamizh audience due to the extreme popularity of Sridevi and makes it technically her next release in Tamizh after 26 years ! So, what is it all about? This film deals with a simple premise of a housewife, who is made fun because of her low-proficiency in English and because of that, strives to learn English by enrolling herself in an English course! 

Its an out-and-out Sridevi show, and she has made a stunning comeback ! The veteran just shows why she's one of the best when it comes to acting. The myriad of expressions on her face, her composed dialogue delivery and sensitive performance, makes her too charming and cute to resist. Be it a happy, suspense, emotional or even humorous scenes, she pulls it off all with such ease, she was just mesmerizing on screen. Though her age is evident in her face and shaky voice, she's still a stunning beauty and she made it even more memorable by living the character and enabling us to connect or empathize with her ! Sridevi was sorely missed and hope people would bring her more wonderful and better scripts, to keep her acting chops, active. Welcome back, Sridevi !! She's ably assisted by just nice and fitting characters performed by Adil Hussain, Mehdi Nebbou, Priya Anand, Sulabha Deshpande, Sujata Kumar, Shivansh Kotia, Navika Kotia, Rajeev Ravindranathan, Sumeet Vyas, Ruth Aguilar, Damien Thomson, Cory Hibbs, Maria Pendolino and etc. The icing on the cake was the cool and casual guest appearance of Ajith Kumar ! He makes his presence count with an important advice and left a mark with his subtle, charming and enjoyable cameo. 

Sabyasachi's designer sarees were elegant and beautiful, which further highlights the beautiness of Sridevi. The rest of the cast too had very apt and fitting costumes done by Vera Chow, Aarti Patkar and Nikita Raheja. Resul Pookutty, along with Amrit Pritam takes care of the sound designing, and their class work was evident in those minute and subtle, tingling sounds. Mustafa Stationwala's artwork was minimal and efficient. Be it the home in the Manhattan and the classroom environment, or even the wedding set for the climax, all looked natural and not over-the-top. Hemanti Sarkar's editing, was crisp and neat and his work in the beginning credits sequence was, noteworthy. Laxman Utekar's cinematography was simple, yet pretty and highlights the mood and beauty of Manhattan and New York, which were captured very well. 

Amit Trivedi's music fits the mood and style of the script. All the songs were shot in montage sequences, since this is not an ordinary commercial film and also the script doesn't require any. "Dhak Dhak" was shot in a slow motion and highlights the emotional roller-coaster ride Sridevi encounters before leaving to the States. "Manhattan" as the title suggests, was shot in and around the beautiful parks and city landscape of Manhattan. "English Vinglish" captures the light-hearted moments of the English lessons taught in the centre which Sridevi attends, involving the plethora of ethnically-different based characters. "Alai Payuthey" is an emotional song, picturized on Sridevi who encounters and unwanted problem. "Ummachchi Ummachchi" is the final song, picturized against a typical Indian-American wedding ceremony with all the characters involved in the final dance and with minimal set work. 

Gauri Shinde has crafted a very simple and honest script with just nicely paced screenplay and brought the best out of Sridevi. Special kudos to her, especially for this ! The film is replete with plenty of heartwarming, humorous and emotional sequences, which makes the film to have a natural and humanly feel to it. The main success of the screenplay is the entire focus on the protagonist and Gauri Shinde successfully, keeps the momentum going and did not dilute or deviate the story towards unnecessary sequences. She has etched out natural and colorful characters, given good dialogues to them, above all, made us empathize with the protagonist, for the whole duration of the film ! Hariharan should be appreciated too for his assistance in the Tamizh dialogues. The only minus point of the film, is that its a dubbed version, which means, no lip-sync and the Maharashtrian lifestyle portrayed in the film, is alien to the Tamizh natives. These small issues, may make the viewers to feel a little disconnected with the film. 

Overall, 'English Vinglish' is a heartwarming, cute, beautiful and a family-friendly film, which can and will connect with every viewers who watches it. Take a bow Sridevi, take a bow !!! 

Ratings: 3.5/5 STARS



The entire team behind the successful, 'Deiva Thirumagal' is back yet again, with some changes to the cast list. A.L Vijay, has penned an action script this time and he looks to be smitten by a real life personality, Daniel Kish who is an expert in echolocation and  President of World Access for the Blind, a non-profit founded in 2000 to facilitate "the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness" and increase public awareness about their strengths and capabilities (Wikipedia). A.L Vijay has sketched protagonist Vikram's character, using Daniel Kish as an inspiration,  which is a unique presentation in Tamizh cinema. So, how did A.L Vijay and Vikram combine this time, amid a heavy marketing spree by the producer, UTV Motion Pictures.

As, with any A.L Vijay film, 'Thaandavam' too has a big cast and that too, a star cast ! Vikram, whose last release, 'Raajapaattai' was a washout at the box-office, comes up with a sincere and excellent performance as the intelligent and brilliant RAW officer. He has less dialogues to mouth, this lack of dialogue delivery is covered with fantastic expressions through his eyes and body language. He enacts his scenes in a very subtle and refined manner. His character looked very real and convincing and also credits to A.L Vijay for incorporating the inputs of Daniel Kish to enhance the look and attitude of the character Vikram, enacts. As usual, Vikram rocks ! Jagapathi Babu, the veteran Telugu artiste, makes his debut appearance in Tamizh cinema through 'Thaandavam' and he too notches a very composed and neat performance, though he appears sporadically during the duration of the film. Anushka, was a revelation here, with a calm and beautiful performance. A.L Vijay taps in the other side of Anushka, that is the soft and beautiful side of her acting. She shares a crackling and wonderful, matured chemistry with Vikram, though her height makes it a little obvious, that she towers above Vikram ! Plus, Deepa Venkat's dubbing for her blends in perfectly for the character played by Anushka. Amy Jackson, comes in for the 'pretty-doll' role and has done what can be expected from such roles. She should be appreciated for her near-perfect synchronization with the dubbed voice, done by Savitha, which has plenty of Tamizh dialogues, since her character has a mixed parentage of Tamizh and English. Nassar and Santhanam takes much of the remaining screen time among the big lot of character artistes, with the former in his best elements as usual, with an astute performance and the latter with his rocking comedy sense and dialogue delivery. There's a big army of supporting cast which gives the film plenty of dramas and events and nearly all of them are experienced and fantastic performers, such as Saranya Ponvannan, Lakshmi Rai, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Sayaji Shinde, M.S Bhaskar, Thambi Ramaiah, Delhi Ganesh, Sujitha and etc.

'Thaandavam' is one of the technically-better made movies, which has released in Tamizh cinema this year. The usual suspects, which are associated with A.L Vijay are here again and all of them have given very good outputs. Falguni Thakore and Devyani Kapoor scores full marks for their costume designing. Vikram, Anushka, Amy Jackson and Jagapathi Babu were looking uber-cool and stylish throughout the film. Manohar Verma handles the action scenes very well. He has done good homework in incorporating the echolocation factor in composing the stunt sequences and Vikram adjusted his body language very well. The park scene was the best of the lot. R.K Naguraj's artwork was extensive. Lots of props would have been used for the London shoots and during the New Delhi portions. Nothing extraordinary from him, but neat and nice work. Anthony's editing was flawless but he could have trimmed the movie more because of the sluggish pace of the screenplay. Nirav Shah does a splendid job in capturing the beauty of London's city landscape. His lighting comes into much appreciation for following the mood of the script and screenplay. The superb cinematographer was at his best form, as usual ! Great work by Nirav Shah in utilizing the RED Pro 5.0 camera for his cinematography !

G.V Prakash Kumar, who's combination with A.L Vijay has always been a success  delivers a neat work here, though not all songs are catchy. "Yaaradi Mohini" is the introduction song of Amy Jackson and was shot in soft lighting amidst beautiful locations of London such as Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, the Westminster Parliament and etc. Amy looked pretty and hot in her lovely costumes, but she struggles a little in the dancing category. "Adhigala Pookal" is a short number, mostly shot in montage sequences in New Delhi, depicting the early life of marriage-hood between Vikram and Anushka's characters and a piano theme piece of the song, appears mostly in the first half, with Vikram playing the tune in a church. "Will You Be There", is a dream song for Amy Jackson, who starts to fall for the hero, Vikram. It was shot mostly in slow-motion montage sequences, with song establishing shots on Amy Jackson. "Anicham Poovazhagi", is a colorful song with a marriage backdrop and has plethora of character artistes involved. This song is a semi-dream song, ending with the marriage between Vikram and Anushka. "Uyirin Uyire" was beautifully shot in the Dover hills under sunset and Nirav Shah used the chopper to capture the beauty of the hills and also the sand artwork utilized for the song. Anushka and Vikram were adorned with simple but beautiful costumes. The pick of the lot among all the songs is the duet, "Oru Paadhi Kadhavu". This was shot in montage sequences, showing the blossoming of love between Vikram and Anushka and is replete with scenes of sweetness and cutesiness, throughout the song which ends at the Taj Mahal. Beautiful cinematography by Nirav Shah in this song. G.V Prakash is improving in his background score and the "Shiva Thaandavam" theme is a complement for the script.

A.L Vijay's marketing technique of emphasizing echolocation as the USP of the film, was a clever move but that factor was just a gimmick, as once the film ends, viewers will realize that its after all, an average revenge flick. The plus-points in A.L Vijay's films are the sensitiveness and maturity in handling the script. But what pulls down the film is its lethargic and slow narration. For an action film, this level of pace, is unacceptable because boredom will start kicking in as the film progress into the later stages, but the director tries to salvage the attention of his audience, by including a major twist in the second half of the film. Though the twist is welcomed, the justification for the twist falls flat and is not entirely convincing. Also, there are some obvious logical flaws in the script, which are very much questionable and not thoroughly convincing. The dialogues though, are very well written and articulative.

'Thaandavam' is a film with high in standards, when it comes to technical quality and also with good performance from the lead artistes but is hampered by a slow screenplay and weak story-line  A.L Vijay must work harder and smarter, if he wants to be noticed in the coming years.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS