'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