"Kalakalappu @ Masala Cafe" is the film which brings us back the Sundar.C which everyone recognized. A director with fantastic comedy sense. Some of his films are cult classics for slapstick comedies such as "Murai Maaman", "Mettukudi", "Ullathai Allithaa" and etc. Even commercial films of his have fantastic comedy sidetracks and "Ullam Kollai Poguthey", "Winner", "Rendu" being the examples. Since he took a sabbatical from directing and venturing into acting, the director in Sundar.C was sorely missed. This film did bring up hopes, with Sundar.C directing for the 25th time and that too with Shiva and Santhanam in the cast, the expectations were high.

Usually Sundar.C has his films centered on a few characters and the comedic situations will be based on them. But in this movie, though you have two heroes and two heroines, there's a host of artistes and all of them plays fantastic comedy roles. Starting off with the lead heroes. Vimal as usual was casual and comfortable in his role. The soft-nature and naive character suits him very well. Meanwhile Shiva was a scream throughout the film, especially in the first half. His one-liners were fantastically delivered by him and the movie is replete with them. Lines like "Kathirikka Knife & Katrina Kaif", as well as "Aduthan figurekku aasaipaduranukku ellam, thannode figure sappeya thaan mattum" are exemplary of the hilarious lines in the movie. Anjali as the health inspector was apt for her role and she was good with her comedy lines and showed her glamorous side in songs. Oviya delivered what was expected from her as well, and she too upped her glamor quotient in songs, but her comedy timing was not up to the mark. Santhanam, the current King of Comedy makes an entrance in the second half as a comedic villain and the second half belongs to him. He raises the bar even further with his one-liners and the second half chasing scene, involving him, Vimal and Manobala was a laugh riot. Ilavarasu, John Vijay, Subbu Panchu, V.S Raghavan and etc, everyone did their roles very well and each of them had something to contribute, comedy wise.

The film was made on a moderate budget, so the technical aspect of the film was just average but still good enough. Rajendran's costumes was apt for each and every artistes, making them look perfect for the characters that they played. Praveen K.L and Srikanth N.B's editing was good as usual, but they could have trimmed a little in the second half. The comic-book style pauses was well done. 'Thalapathy' Dinesh's stunts were funny and a little over-the-top, which was necessary for this genre of film. Gururaj's artwork was decent. The "Masala Cafe", before and after revamp, both was well done by him. U.K Senthil Kumar, a regular of Sundar.C's films has done a neat job, especially in capturing the mood of the small, beautiful town of Kumbakonam. The mansions, temple ponds and street views were pretty sights. The interiors of the cafeteria could have been done a little better. Music director, Vijay Ebenezer has come out with simple and sweet songs. The pick of the lot will definitely be "Thirumbi Paarthu" picturized on Vimal and Oviya in the green fields. Simple artwork and choreography was enough for that song, which looks nice on screen. "Unnai Patri" picturized around mansions and houses of the film plot, but still proved enough to hold our attention with the proceedings happening in the screen. "Mokka Manusha" was done within a tight area, that is around the cafeteria set and it involved lots of dancers in a small, congested area, which could have been done a little better. The opening song "Masala Cafe" and "Angelina" has montage sequences and some of them did have the necessary comedic elements to it. "Ivalunga Imsai" was picturized on the four lead artistes of the film. Both ladies were pretty glamorous in it and the lighting work and set work matched very well.

Sundar.C has scripted the film with full of slapstick comedy scenes. Flaws and illogical sequences are aplenty in the film, but that's overlooked for the fun factor Sundar.C promises. The basic plot of the film was taken from a German film titled "Soul Kitchen" but Sundar.C has aptly modified the story and added sequences apt for the Tamizh audience which actually brings the roof down with the silliness and humorous manner in which the scenes were done. Definitely Sundar.C's biggest asset is his dialogue writer, Badri. His dialogues were a scream and nearly each scene had its own one-liners and they were aptly written for the characters which mouthed those lines. Sundar.C should be appreciated for his choice of artistes for each roles. The choices were very well made, even for the small characters which comes in one or two scenes. 

Kalakalappu @ Masala Cafe is just a silly, plain and enjoyable fun ride for all viewers. Logic, common sense, rationality and seriousness are not to be associated with the script but that's not a complain because the film doesn't need those factors. Sundar.C is back to what he is best at and thoroughly fulfilled the expectations of the film.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



Balaji Sakthivel was a trendsetter when he came up with "Kadhal", a movie which left a lump in the throat of all viewers. That story and his next, "Kalloori" were all based on true incidents. This time, he has came up with a script which is not based on an actual incident, but what one regularly reads in newspapers. His "Kalloori" didn't fare well and he had to face brickbats for the unpopular climax and ending of that film. Its been a long five years since that film released, and Tamizh cinema has seen different attempts of film-making. Balaji took a long time to script this film "Vazhakku En:18/9 and even took another few years to fine tune it. His cautious approach is understandable because the pressure is there to deliver and that too, when he has his friend, director Linguswamy producing it. The promos and trailers were impressive, and it promised another hard-hitting, realistic film from the director.

Half the battle is won for the director when it comes to making a hardcore realistic film, when he chooses the right face for the roles and making them to perform. Hats off to Balaji Sakthivel for painstakingly going through the arduous process of picking the right people for the roles. The film is based on four main characters and all the new artistes who took up the role was excellent. Sri, as the street vendor, has literally lived the role and hats off to him for taking strenuous approaches to perfect his body language and appearance necessary for the role. Urmila Mahanta as the maid too did a decent job, and she was very natural and convincing, although she's from Assam. Mithun Murali and Manisha Yadav as the school goers were perfect and they did their roles in an convincing manner as well. Muthuraman as the corrupt police officer is another revelation and it would be wonderful to have him in more films. Chinnasamy, the young boy and a street performer was a wisecrack with his mannerisms. All the others in the cast was very natural and life-like. Literally, all of them have lived the roles. A big applause to the whole acting cast!

All the technicians should be applauded for delivering a good product with detailed and minute inputs. The DI work by Nilesh Sawant and VFX by Sasi Kumar was very good as the film had cinematic feel to it, although it was shot digitally by the cinematographer. Sound recording by A.S Lakshmi Narayanan, the veteran and the dialogues recording by R.Ravichandran and T.Ramesh was in sync which highlights the natural look the film intended to be. All the dialogues were captured naturally at the given scenario, and it gives the impression of listening something live, to the audiences. A.Seenu's costumes was apt and kudos to him for being very minute in the costume details. L.V Raja's make-up was perfect as well. Silva's stunt work was just a struggling scene which was very natural and mild, and Mayil Krish's set work was spot on. Especially with the interiors of the apartment and the police stations, Mayil Krish has done a very decent job. Gopi Krishna's editing was flawless, though the second half could have been trimmed a little. R.Prasanna, a Carnatic electric guitar player, makes his debut as music composer. Known for his Carnatic music shows and also for composing the score of the Academy Award-winning documentary "Smile Pinki", he has given refreshing musical score, the style contrasting with the characters the music score associated with. Also, the decision of not using any instruments for the two songs worked out very well. Karthik's "Oru Kural" and Dhandapaani's "Vaanathaiye" plays throughout the movie, and enhances the feel and mood of the film, especially the latter, which gives a haunting feeling in the end. S.D Vijay Milton, did a fantastic job with his cinematography. Although the film was shot in digital format using the Canon EOS 7D, there look and feel had no difference than any other cinematic film. His camera work in the police station sequences was very well done, and the gloomy color tone together with natural lighting gives the film an excellent cinematography appeal. Job very, very well done by Vijay Milton.

Balaji Sakthivel, should be applauded for sketching his characters in a very minute and detailed manner. Every expressions, body language and movements was meticulous but yet natural. The characters were developed very well, keeping out any unwanted loopholes. The screenplay is gripping to quite an extent, but the back and forth method of showing flashbacks and present situation makes audience a little unsettled. But that's not an excuse to not appreciate for the sincere and realistic work by him. The climax was definitely hard-hitting which makes us to realise how bitter and unfathomable, the real world is. The film certainly carries a thumping message but at the same time, was very subtle and not preachy, which is a very tough thing to do for a film maker. Balaji Sakthivel definitely deserves a standing ovation for his in-depth study on the lives of Chennai citizens, stretching from the poor and downtrodden, to the desperate middle class and ending with the corrupted rich folks.

Once again, Balaji Sakthivel has proven that, he is no ordinary film maker but a sensitive and master craftsman. He deserves credit and appreciation for highlighting the subtle message of how cruel and harsh, humans can be. The issue of how corrupt middle class folks, take advantage of the poor's vulnerability and naivety, together with the desperateness and lackadaisical mentality of the rich, stands testimony to this.

Ratings: 4/5 STARS



Leelai was started way back in 2008 and was completed nearly two years later, but it took another additional two years to be released. Movies which took a long time to release from the time of its completed stage, usually falter because of the out-dating factor. Issues, events and even lifestyles change dramatically within a short period of time and considering that Leelai was made four years ago, it is a risky affair for the producer to finally release it and to expect a warm welcome from the audience. Also, the fate of technicians and artistes behind the film, will be decided in if this is their debut venture. In this case, the lead artistes and director, all are debutantes. Also, music director Satish Chakravarthy would have made his debut here as well, if at all his "Kanimozhi" was not released earlier. A urban-based film, it promises to be a light-hearted film with ample of romance of good music.

Debuting hero, Shiv Pandit a male model and actor in Bollywood is refreshing and looks debonair. He plays his role with confidence and charm and he doesn't slip at any given moments. He projected the character very well and maintained a cool and calm composure throughout the film. Even in scenes requiring him to be angry, he didn't step out of his character's personality and enacted his scenes diligently. Debuting heroine Manasi Parekh was equally impressive and she wins the hearts of the audience with her lovely smile and sweet, pretty face. She emotes very well and her expressions were light-hearted, fitting for the theme and mood of the film. With more opportunities, a girl to stay in the industry. Kudos to both the leading artistes, for getting their lip synchronization perfectly done and that too without knowing the language. Santhanam, the man of the moment was not up to the mark. His jokes and one liners fall flats in many places and only evokes laughter with one or two sequences. Out-dated jokes from him, perhaps. Suhasini did her role as a friend to the hero, very well. Others like Vibha, Lakshmi Ramakrishnan, Maya Krishnan, Sindhu, Rajan and etc filled into the screenplay was just nice. Nothing great, nothing bad.

Gayathri, the costume designer should be appreciated for her chic,suave and classy costumes for the lead pairs. They mirrored the exact nature of the IT-based folks and also made both the lead pair to look good. S.Saravanan's editing was neat, and Edward's art direction was simple. His works had touch of class and modern look, especially with the interiors of the lead pair's house and also hostel room and etc. Brindha, Tarun Kumar and Nagendra Prasad's choreography was just plain simple. R.Velraj's cinematography is a big plus for the film. Though it was captured nearly four years ago, the shots looked very cool and breezy. His usage of soft, natural lights added extra points for the light-hearted feel of the film. His song picturizations was noteworthy. Also, he captured the class and urban feel of the posh and cool IT-firms based in Chennai. A neat and classy work from him! Satish Chakravarthy, who was suppose to make his debut here, came out with lilting and sweet tunes. "Oru Kili" is the pick of the lot and it was well picturized at the Devi Ahilya Fort in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh. Also the lead pair's costumes, especially Manasi's sarees was beautiful. "Jillendru Oru Kalavaram" was the first song to get popular among the audience and it was shot in a simple manner, with breezy camera work by R.Velraj. Soft motifs such as white was generally used for this song. "Ponmalai" was colorful thanks to Edward's prop sets and the choice of location by the crew. Finally "Unnai Partha Pinbu", a pathos song was done in usual montage sequence format. Satish's background score was chirpy and hip but there are clear instances where it sounds pretty obvious the score was inspired from his mentor, A.R Rahman's songs. Yet, overall a decent work from him.

Andrew Louis's script is a very simple, straight-forward and light-hearted script, so there's no unnecessary twists and turns and and complicated situations. The dialogues too are light in manner and Andrew should be appreciated for penning dialogues in Tamizh with mild sprinkles of English, here and there. He has avoided the usual cinematic cliches such as fights, introduction songs and sentiments which is a welcome relief for audience. Though the story was straight forward, there are some a few gaps and holes when it comes to logic points. The loopholes are a bit obvious but then the charm and sweetness of the lead pair holds our attention pretty much, we tend to overlook the mistakes. The climax was a bit predictable but nonetheless, a decent one for the film.

Leelai, is a light-hearted and breezy film which overcame the worries of the outdatedness factor. More is expected of the lead pair in the coming future, especially of Manasi. A decent, sincere, simple and sweet film.

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS