MADHA YAANAI KOOTTAM MOVIE REVIEW

G.V Prakash Kumar, experiencing a high-point in his career, has ventured into production and its a film for newcomers ! Directed by debutante Vikram Sugumaran, a former assistant of Balu Mahendra and the fellow dialogue writer for Vetrimaaran in 'Aadukalam', 'Madha Yaanai Koottam' has its roots in Theni and is based on the "Seimurai" rituals and proceedings. Will Vikram live it up to his guru's expectations ?

Debutante hero Kathir, handled his role quite effectively. His dialogue delivery is quite measured and composed. His ability to handle action sequences are not bad, though he can deliver better performances. Definitely a good and raw prospect, who can be sculpted into a fine actor. Just watch out from being stereotyped ! Oviya, pretty much has nothing to do, to be frank. Her character is inconsequential to the script and narration and is there in the film for purely commercial reasons, alone. She sticks out like a sore-thumb, due to her odd character placement. The antagonist Vela Ramamoorthy looks menacing and majestic with his body language and dialogue delivery. Veteran Viji Chandrasekhar, delivers a very intense and nuanced performance, and she pulled it off effervescently, thanks to her talent and experience. The supporting cast such as Murugan, Ammu, P.Gopalakrishnan, Virumaandi, Anju, Theni Mahalakshmi and etc were good and befitting of the characters they enacted.

Gopi Prasanna, has handled the designing aspect quite well, and presented the rustic and gritty look, needed for the script. Kishore T.E's editing is crisp and neat and his editing style, fits the mood and presentation manner of the director's script. The action sequences, especially were slickly edited. 'Rock' Prabhu's action choreography is fantastic, and pumping with emotions and raw nature to it. The stunts have been realistically choreographed and any cinematic artificiality has been avoided at all cost. The final output is brilliant and he deserves applauds for his choreography. Well done, Prabhu ! Ragul Dharuman's cinematography is impressive, especially with his framing and camera angles. The color tone, gives the film a very raw, rustic and gritty look, which really resembled the nature of the script. And he must be congratulated for the maximum usage of natural lights, which gives a beautiful, natural look & feel for the script. 

N.R Raghunanthan's soundtracks fits the need of the script, very well. "Unnai Vanangaathu" is a situational song, featuring local street artistes delivering a sketch-like narration of the characters of the script. Ragul's natural lighting is a highlight of the song and the funeral scenario had fantastic detailing ! "Kana Kondakaari" is shot on the lead pair and had plenty of montages of the hero falling for the heroine, with plenty of indoor-shots. "Kombu Oothi" is another situational track, projecting a glitzy and grand rural wedding, with plenty of good detailing and camera angles. "Mukkaluthu" is used as a background song, capturing the funeral procession of a main character of the film, which also had very good detailing. "Enga Pore" is a pathos song, shot on the protagonist, who is on the run. The song had plenty of good landscape as backdrops and Ragul has captured the rustic beauty of Kerala, very well. "Yaro Yaro" was shot on the lead pair and had plenty of montages as well, shot against the backwaters of Kerala. N.R Raghunanthan's background score is even better than the songs and the score is pretty much complementary and is in-tune with the mood of the script.

Vikram Sugumaran has done a great job with his detailing of the rituals and occasions of the rural folks of Theni. He manages to transport us into their world, very effectively and that is something which many directors, be it new or even the experienced, fail to do so ! He should be applauded for getting good output from his cast and technical crew as well and has a good understanding of his exact wants and needs. But the plot is quite straightforward and has not much twists and turns, except for the climax, which is a little dampener. This is due to the proliferation of such rural-based, violently action-oriented dramas in Tamizh cinema, in recent times. The intensity of the action and drama is quite high at times, which does not give much space for the characters to register well with the audience, in terms of emotional connectedness. Dialogues were very well written, and resonated the plot milieu and characterizations of the artistes. Vikram is certainly a good prospect, and with better script and screenplay writing, this talent is bound to go higher in Tamizh cinema.

'Madha Yaanai Koottam' - A very well made first-attempt from the makers. More improvement and a bigger success, is definitely on the way !


Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

ENDRENDRUM PUNNAGAI MOVIE REVIEW

'Endrendrum Punnagai' has been making the right noise, thanks to the multiple number of stars playing the lead roles and for a glossy output, credits to the classy technicians. Harris Jayaraj's bubblegum pop music was received warmly as well. I.Ahmed, the television writer who previously wielded the megaphone for 'Vaamanan', is back in the helm as creator and director of this urbane flick. Will 'Endrendrum Punnagai' leave us with smiles as the moniker suggest ?

Jiiva, unsurprisingly has the best written role in the film. His characterization has some considerable depth in it, and Jiiva seized the opportunity to polish his acting credentials. He proves that he is an actor of great capability and shines in some of the crucial, emotional moments of the script. His dancing is improving a lot and he shares great chemistry with his fellow artistes. Vinay has a walk-in-the-park sort of a role, and he pulls it off, effervescently. He shows his confidence in humor sequences as well and forms a good partnership with the fellow male leads. Santhanam, was a scream in the film with his spotless dialogue deliveries and spot-on comedy timing. His counter dialogues are the real sucker punch and the man is back with a bang, after some lackluster performances in a slew of recent releases. Check out the drunk act he does, late in the second half ! Trisha, delivers a neat performance and the her soft-spoken character suits to a T. And she is still a looker, even after a decade as heroine in Tamizh cinema ! But why the usage of Chinmayi to dub for Trisha, when the heroine herself can speak well ?Andrea Jeremiah, carries her role as a diva quite well and proves herself to be quite a charmer, in some sequences. She only gets a few moments in the film, but still never fails to leave her mark. Nassar proves that experience counts when it comes to acting, and the veteran is definitely the icing on the cake. The rest of the cast such as Jagan, Abhinay, T.M Karthik, Varsha Ashwathi, Swaminathan, Thanuja, Sriranjini, Sanjana Sarathi, Narayan, V.Balaji and etc were adequate enough for their peripheral roles.


The costume designers, Chaitanya Rao and Nikhila Sukumar must be praised for their fantastic work in their department. All of the artistes were looking very attractive and radiant, with their chic and elegant costumes, projecting a very urbane and fashionable set of people. Production design by Milan is top notch, with classy set work, especially with the interiors of the posh bungalow houses shown in the film, as well as the contemporary office set-up. His props of the outdoor sequences were in tact, as well. A class act ! Praveen K.L and Srikanth N.B ensures that the editing is smooth and flawless, and there are no jerky transitions from one sequence to another, at all. The duration of the film though, could have been shorter because 155 minutes of running time is not a necessity for such a script. Cinematographer Madhie must be congratulated for his brilliant work with his camera. The film gets a rich and glossy look, due to his lighting and postcard-like framing, especially in the second half, which has beautiful locations, shot in Switzerland and France. He definitely made up for the high cost of the film, with good cinematography works !


Harris Jayaraj has scored tunes, which gives us a sense of deja-vu. Nonetheless, his fans will still lap it up, for the feel-good music, with simple and catchy arrangements. "Yealae Yealae" is the song played in the opening credits, and was shot on the trio of male leads. The collage of photographs was well edited by Praveen and Srikanth, which interspersed with the montages shown in the song, highlighting the friendship of the triumvirate. "Ennathe Solle" was shot in a club-like set-up, which was well erected by Milan, and Madhie's lighting gave the song a glossy look, which was shot on the male leads. "Othayile" is a situational song, with plenty of montages and slick camera movements by Madhie. "Kadal Naan Thaan" was shot on Jiiva and Andrea, which had beautiful Swiss Alps as its backdrop, and also some cool chopper shots and not to forget, the sensual shots, with water backdrop. "Ennai Saaithale" is a bit song, used as a situational song in the second half and was shot on Jiiva and Trisha, with beautiful snow landscape as the backdrop. "Vaan Engum" is the pick of the lot, shot on Jiiva and Trisha, with Swiss cities as the backdrop. Harris Jayaraj's background score, complements the script's flavor and style and also supports the emotional sequences very effectively. 


I.Ahmed's clever formula of elements such as good-looking artistes, great locations, beautiful images, peppy songs, high production quality, has amalgamated well into a feel-good film. The script has two important driving factors, which are bromance and romance, and each one of them presides the two halves of the film, respectively. The majority portions of the screenplay are light-hearted and is just plain, simple fun. The director smartly manipulates his artistes by allowing them to soak themselves up in their respective characters, and gives them plenty of space to establish their roles. As mentioned earlier, each half gives more importance to only of the previously mentioned factors, at a time, and that can be a little turn-off for some viewers. Such a structure gives an inorganic flow to the proceedings of the script, and might bore some of the viewers, especially in the second half. The bromance portion can look a little silly, and also not really family-friendly in nature, especially with some adult jokes, strewn here and there. The romance factor works out decently, but lacks does not leave a very strong mark, due to inter-cuts of humor sequences and a dragging screenplay. I.Ahmed infuses a good message for those in denial, when it comes to relationship issues, and he must be appreciated for not being too preachy in his handling. A crisper and organic screenplay would have done more good for the film.

'Endrendrum Punnagai' - A feel-good, candy-floss romance & bromance film !


Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

BIRIYANI MOVIE REVIEW

With expectations comes great responsibilities. For Venkat Prabhu though, those responsibilities are meant to be light at heart, no matter how huge the hype is. The fifth from the 'Venkat Prabhu Brotherhood', the expectation was generally high, due to Karthi being in the cast and also for Yuvan Shankar Raja's blockbuster music, which ironically is his 100th milestone film. Produced by Studio Green, can Venkat score another super-hit, following the blockbuster success of 'Mankatha' ?

Karthi, who has been facing a career crisis with continuous flops, bounces back with a refreshing and likable portrayal. Venkat has exploited the charm factor of Karthi's and turned him into a smooth-talking, girl-magnet playboy. He wins over his legion of girl-fans with his naughty smile and good looks. He has adopted an apt body language for the role, and his dialogue delivery was spotless. More brownie points for him in terms of dancing and fighting skills, as he has shown marked improvement from one film to another. A sigh of relief for Karthi, indeed ! His partner Premgi, was at his usual best and underplays his capabilities, by allowing himself to be ridiculed all the time and be the butt of jokes. It works well for the movie and his character is the perfect foil for the hero. But typecasting will catch up with him, sooner or later ! Hansika Motwani looks ravishing and seems to have a good hold of her character. There's a big contingent of supporting casts such as Nassar, Jayaprakash, Sampath, Prem, Ramki (a good comeback - the man still looks the same !), sizzling & hot Mandy Takhar, Madhumitha, Subbu Panchu, Uma Riyaz Khan, Shanmugasundaram, Nithin Sathya, Sam Anderson, Aadhavan, Badava Gopi, Tharika, Vijayalakshmi and etc. And there's even cameo appearances of Venkat's boys such as Jai, Aravind Akash, Vaibhav, Mahat, Ashwin, Vijay Vasanth and etc. That's some star-casting, atypical of Venkat Prabhu films !

The film carries excellent technical outputs from all the technicians involved. Vasuki Bhaskar's costume designing plays a big role, in projecting the characters in a very urbane manner, while not losing the essence of the each characters. Very good job ! Silva, who also scores his 100th assignment with this project, has handled some high-octane action sequences. The car chase sequences have been very well handled and executed, while the climax fight sequence, shot in an construction site, takes the cake among all the fight sequences. Production design by Videsh is at top-notch quality, with plenty of detailing for all of the set works. The interiors of posh hotels and also of different types of homes, were well set up. The outdoor sets such as the roadside biriyani stall and etc, were very real-like and natural. Fantastic output from Videsh ! The film would not be as good as it is without the editing duo of Praveen K.L and Srikanth N.B. They have experiment with different cutting patterns, and has done meticulous work in many sequences, especially with the opening title card and also for some song sequences. They keep the story tight and gripping but at the same time, did not lose the fun elements to their scissors. Venkat's regular, Sakthi Saravanan cinematography is a big plus-point for the film. The glossy look and rich colors, with perfect lighting, brings out the joy and fun factor of the script. His Steadicam usage is commendable and adds more zing, to the action sequences. 

Yuvan Shankar Raja reserves some of his best for his cousin Venkat and 'Biriyani' is no exception. The soundtrack is a big hit and complements the script, perfectly like hand in glove. "Biriyani" title track fits perfectly as the mood-setter and has clever editing works by Praveen and Srikanth, who presents the title credits by infusing some scenes of the film, in a graphic novel style. The pick of the album, "Naah Na Naah" was shot on a beach-house party atmosphere and involves most of the star casting. The setting was glittering in glitz and glamour and has some cheeky comedy portions, interspersed. "Pom Pom Penne" had elaborate set works, such as Moulin Rouge and Mary Poppins-like setting. The lighting by Sakthi Saravanan adds more glamour to the richly produced song, and Karthi proves his mettle in dancing. "Mississippi" is the sultry song shot on Karthi, Premgi and Mandy Takhar, who was simply irresistible with her sexily choreographed dance moves ! Some light-hearted moments are there too, thanks to Premgi. "Run For Your Life" comes as a situational song, where two drastic sequences were interspersed together. One is of a clubbing scenario featuring Malaysian artistes Psycho Unit and the other, the high-octane chase sequence. Brilliantly edited by Praveen and Srikanth ! "Edhirthu Nil" is the emotional climax song, shot on the hero and other important characters, making a daring, action plan. Yuvan nails it in the background score department as well, with complementary sound effects. 

Venkat Prabhu's USP is his screenplay, and with 'Biriyani' he has managed to maintain the suspense element until the very end, by keeping the cards close to his chest. He has a very clear picture of what he wants and how he wants it from his technicians and his artistes, and that delivers most of the final output wanted. As always with Venkat, he infuses humor in the most unwanted and gravest of situations, which sometimes results in a crackling, comedy portions. Venkat has given most of the important characters, a good detailing and depth, with their identities and mannerisms. The dialogues, though are not family-friendly and incorporated lots of double entendres, which would find reception among the youngsters. For those who was expecting a different attempt from Venkat, they might find it a little tad disappointing, because the run of events, featured in the screenplay will definitely remind us of Venkat's previous ventures like 'Mankatha' and 'Saroja'. Also, some of the proceedings are a wee-bit farcical and out-of-place, but as promoted, its a Venkat Prabhu 'diet' after all and why care of logic in the first place ! And as it is always, don't forget to watch the fun and funny bloopers in the end !

'Biriyani' - A hearty meal, for those with the correct expectations !


Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

IVAN VERE MAATHIRI MOVIE REVIEW

A unique set of second timers, coming together after a successful first film is what 'Ivan Vera Maathiri' is all about. M.Saravanan, after the critically-acclaimed 'Engeyum Eppothum' and Vikram Prabhu, after the blockbuster hit of 'Kumki' are joining hands for the first time. Produced jointly by N.Lingusamy owned Thirrupathi Brothers and UTV Motion Pictures, the genre is new for both the director and hero. How do they measure up in their second venture ?

Vikram Prabhu has a good changeover from 'Kumki' to this city-slicker protagonist in 'Ivan Vere Maathiri'. He proves his mettle in enacting the silent, low-key characters and is expressive when it comes to emoting and uses his eyes very well, which is an asset of his. He shows his flexibility in performing action-oriented roles, with this film and maintains a great deal of energy in those heavy, action sequences. But he definitely has to improve the romance segments, in which he reflects stiffness throughout. Good showing ! Newcomer Surabhi, performs well in her debut and fits the role to a T. Her lip-sync is very good, which earns her extra brownie points. But the real revelation in this film is the antagonist, played by Vamsi Krishna. He proves his adeptness in performing such a menacing role, and displays intense portrayal in tied-up sequences, were very well done by him. Also, he's equally as good as an action hero, when it comes to the action sequences. Great going, Vamsi ! The rest of the cast such as Hariraj, Sharmini, Malavika Menon and a cameo by Ganesh Venkatraman, were adequate in their minuscule roles.

The film would not have been as good as it tries to be, without the inputs of action choreographer, Rajasekhar. The action sequences are raw, gritty and power-packed and his assistants should be commended for the daring drop stunts, falling from dizzying heights. This film should stand as one of Rajasekhar's best works, till date. R.K Vijay Murugan's production design was good and sufficed the needs of the scripts. The props for all those outdoor locations, such as construction sites, were well set up. Veteran Sreekar Prasad proves his experience, with the exciting editing of the last 15 minutes, leading to the climax. But, the film's duration is just too long, and a healthy dose of snipping would have done wonders to the film. Tied-up by the director's script, perhaps ? Cinematographer Shakthi, captures some thrilling moments in the action sequences, with his top-angles, complementing the stunt choreography. His camera movements in the construction site sequences, are noteworthy. The color tone of the film, also brings out the right effect, desired. Good job !

C.Sathya works well with M.Saravanan but this time, the songs were pretty average. "Ithuthaan" is the opening song, used as a bit song for a riot situation, happening in a college. "Ranga Ranga" has montages of the heroine, going after the hero and her attempts going vain. Most of the shots were taken in busy streets and in real locations. "Ennai Marandhai" is a love song, reflecting the falling-in-love, from the heroine's perspective. It had plenty of montages featuring the lead pair. "Malaya Porattala" is the typical heroism-themed song, shot on Vikram Prabhu and featuring a couple of dance sequences, interspersing with some montages. "Loveulla" is a fully choreographed song, showcasing the lead pair, reciprocating love for the first time and was shot in and around shopping malls and street-sides. "Thanimayile" is a bit song, featuring in the built-up towards climax. C.Sathya makes up for the average scores, by producing a good background score, which highlights the action sequences and elevates the exciting element of the script.

M.Saravanan, has written a straight-forward script, with no tricks up in his sleeves, in regards to his screenplay. He has incorporated some interesting elements, which builds up the suspense factor, which makes us engaged with the proceedings of the script. The screenplay should have been worked out, since the film drags heavily in the second half. A big contributory factor, is the rather amateurish love sequences, which does not really convince you. M.Saravanan, could have wanted to project the naivety and silliness of the heroine's character, but those scenes simply stretch the length of the film, for no apparent reason. Nonetheless, he should be credited for sketching a convincing pair of protagonist-antagonist. The characters play a motion of tit for tat, which is pretty exciting to watch to. M.Saravanan has a knack for writing smart dialogues, and in this film, Ganesh Venkatraman takes the cake for the best dialogues. The director does have a good sense of script writing and a planned structure for his screenplay. The only thing he needs to loon into, is the prioritization of the elements of his script. 

'Ivan Vere Maathiri' - A good watch for those who prefer action entertainers.


Ratings: 3/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

KALYANA SAMAYAL SAADHAM MOVIE REVIEW

'Kalyana Samayal Saadham' has a very friendly-friendly look and feel to it, but debutante director R.S Prasanna, had an undercover "agenda" in his script, which is one of the most discussed about issues among adults. Newly-married, to be precise. With an ensemble cast of supporting artistes and a fresh, young technicians, this Arun Vaidyanathan (maker of Prasanna-Sneha starrer, 'Achamundu Achamundu') produced, did it live up to the expectations ?

First things, first. The lead pair has done a brilliant job, with their performances. The lead pair looked like a perfect match for each other, and its certainly a fresh pairing. Prasanna, must be applauded for taking up this role without any inhibitions, which might stroke the egos of other contemporary Tamizh cinema heroes. He is flawless with his dialogue delivery and has delivered a nuanced performance, underplaying whenever needed. He has improved his timing, in regards to comic sense. Lekha Washington makes a comeback, and she is a very apt choice for the role of a modern, Tamil Brahmin, IT-educated, bride. One wish that she gets more good roles, especially when we have a scarcity of good-looking and an able performer, among the girls ! The lead pair shares a good chemistry as the love-smitten, engaged couple and complements each other's character, quite well. The supporting cast such as 'Delhi' Ganesh, Uma Padmanabhan, Ragav, 'Kaathadi' Ramamurthy, Dr.Sharmila, 'Crazy' Mohan, M.J Shriram, Praveen, Neelu, Srilekha Parthasarathy, R.S Sivaji and etc were really lovable and cute in their roles, especially the seasoned veterans. 


The film's technical crew has worked in tandem with the director's vision and presentation style, which is very commendable. Preethi Kanthan's costume designing was extensive, as she has kept the lead pair look very contemporary, yet retained the traditional Brahmin-look among the upper middle class, urban Brahmin community. Lekha was particularly pretty in the traditional attires. Sathyaraj.N's editing was neat and crisp, as he has kept the running time short and also for the excellent work he did in the "Facebook" themed song sequence. Arusamy's production design was simple yet sufficed the needs of the script. The Tamil Brahmin wedding scenarios and the beach-wedding, sets are the highlights of his work, in this film. Krishnan Vasant's cinematography works, is complimentary to the script's style and plot setting. He has maintained a pleasant look, throughout the film and his lighting gives a more joyous look for the second half of the film.

Flautist Naveen Iyer, prominent in the Carnatic circuit, makes his debut as music director, albeit under a different name, Arrora. His song compositions are in sync with the mood and feel of the script and also with R.S Prasanna's presentation. "Mella Sirithai" is the pick of the lot, which is very creatively shot and edited to look like a collage of Facebook timeline postings of the lead pair, with some situational dialogue sequences, interspersed. Brilliant stuff ! "Pallu Pona Raja" is a situational song, with plenty of montage sequences, focusing on the hero Prasanna, facing the 'crisis' of his life, before his impending marriage. "Kadhal Marandhaayada" is also a situational song, shot in a 'sangeet' ceremony setting, with plenty of characters and extras involved, but at the same time highlighting the unpleasant situation, faced by the lead pair. "Kalyanam 2.0" was used in bits and pieces in a couple of situations and "Modern Kalyanam" was used as the pre-climax song, featuring the reception function of the lead pair. Arrora scores well in the background music department too, and is definitely someone who can come up with pleasant melodies. Good debut !


R.S Prasanna must be appreciated for taking a bold, universal subject, which is seldomly discussed among newly weds and also for those who have an active sexual life. What's strikingly nice and pleasant in the film, is the realistic presentation by the director, who has penned life-like scenarios, surrounding the upper-class urban, Tamil-Brahmin milieu. Nothing is over-dramatized or very theatrical with R.S Prasanna's script and the dialogues, co-written along with producer Arun Vaidyanathan, are very subtle, smart, emotional, yet resonate a real-life feel and emotions to the script. The director seems to know the needs of the script very well, and has extracted good outputs from his artistes, who were helped by the director's well-written roles. Each character is very life-like and real, with very less cinematic approach in the artistes performance delivery. R.S Prasanna's screenplay is very straightforward and he has not tried any gimmicks, terms of techniques, which kept the audience at ease. As mentioned, dialogues are certainly good and comical, especially those by the lead pair and 'Crazy' Mohan. The second half seems to slow down a little, but the emotional content was needed to give, a more realistic appeal for the developments of the script. 

'Kalyana Samayal Saadham' - R.S Prasanna has handled a 'dirty' issue in a squeaky-clean, light-hearted manner. Certainly delivered what it promised !


Ratings: 3/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

THAGARAARU MOVIE REVIEW

Madurai based films, will never go dry in Tamizh cinema and 'Thagaraaru' joins the list of this "Madurai-genre". After a gap of two years, Cloud Nine Movies' Dhayanidhi Azhagiri has produced this film with his cousin Arulnithi, in the lead role. Arulnithi showed some promise with his previous ventures, 'Vamsam' and 'Mouna Guru'. Debutant Ganesh Vinaayac, who was removed unceremoniously from Elred Kumar's 'Muppozhuthum Un Karpanaigal' directs this flick, after assisting Silambarasan, Tharun Gopi and S.J Suryah. So, what does 'Thagaraaru' offers us 'differently' from the usual Madurai films ?

To put it bluntly, Arulnidhi is an awkward casting choice for the role of the protagonist's. The baby-faced assassin mould does not fit him well and his towering height and physique could have been put to good use. The director has not extracted the optimum level of output from his hero and the poor guy, suffers from weak screen presence. He needs to improve a lot of his dancing skills and dialogue delivery sense, as well. His buddies, played by Pawanji, Susile Kumar, and Murugadoss were befitting of their roles and performed well. Pawanji exerts force and Susile has good sense of dialogue delivery and emoting skills. Murugadoss, brings in the comic factor and has developed good timing sense. Poorna has a strong role, reminiscent of Sriya Reddy in 'Thimiru' (ironically, directed by the director's mentor, Tharun Gopi). The body language is familiar, the dialogue delivery is a tad different, but the only differentiating factor, are the short love portions and song sequences given to Poorna. Supporting cast such as Jayaprakash, Mayilsamy, Aruldas, Meenal and etc were wasted of their good acting capabilities and short screen timing.

The technical department, has come out with slick works. Ekadasi, Karunakaran and the director himself has taken care of the costume designing and they have done a commendable work, since most of the artistes, looked their roles. Dhilip Subbarayan's action choreography was good but has more a little bit dosage of violence and gore, atypical of Madurai-based, violent films. The climax fight sequence (a lengthy one), was well executed and choreographed. Rajeevan's production design, sufficed the needs of the script. The props were minimal, since plenty of the shots were done in real locations. The interiors of the heroine's home, was well set up. T.S Suresh's editing's was simply and fast, especially the climax. It was his editing which purely, maintained the suspense element in tact, to some extent. K. Dill Raj's cinematography was adequate. The rain shots were well taken, especially in the long-drawn out climax. And he has aptly used the close-u techniques, along with some low-angle shots, when ever necessary.

Dharan Kumar has taken care of the song compositions but the output was no where good as his previous albums. "Super Thirudan" is the introductory song of the hero and his rogue buddies, which had plenty of cuts and shot in real locations, in and around Madurai. The "Thagaraaru Theme Music" was used in a single situational sequence, and was shot on Arulnidhi, against the backdrop of a wide, temple water tank. "Thiruttu Payale" was shot on the lead pair and had plenty of montages interspersed along with choreographed shots, which were mostly taken in actual locations, again. "Nanba Nanba", is another situational song, shot against a somber backdrop and had flashback montages along with the present event, chronicling the friendship of the gang of thieves. The background score has been handled Praveen Sathya and he has delivered a good score, especially in the second half, when the intensity of the screenplay picks up.

It is pretty obvious that Ganesh Vinaayac has got his inspiration from few other 'Madurai films' such as the classic 'Subramaniapuram', 'Thoonga Nagaram' and 'Thimiru. There's nothing much exciting in the film, except for the initial opening sequences, which presented us a promising start. But eventually the film peters out with a poor screenplay, which disengages the excitement factor from the suspense element of the script, due to poor continuity. For those who like to draw up conspiracy theories while watching a film, the end suspense might not be greatly shocking, since you would have guessed it, pretty easily. The comedy portions fell face flat, entirely. The romance sequences, is lacking in romance in its entirety and leads to a lack of credentiality. The entire climax is a guessing game in total, but the its a tad too lengthy than it should be. What could have been a pulsating narration, boils down to mere Tamizh cinema melodramatic moments, which brings down the originality factor of the director. His direction is not entirely convincing, especially with sub-par performances from the lead pair and boring dialogues. 

'Thagaraau' - Has its fair share of suspense in the climax, but that's about it. Nothing more, nothing less.


Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

NAVEENA SARASWATHI SABATHAM MOVIE REVIEW

Comedy genre is not something new or fresh for Tamizh cinema audience, but infusing fantasy element into it, is a rarity. AGS Entertainment produced, 'Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham', is the debut directorial venture of K.Chandru, who has co-written the script of 'Tamizh Padam' along with C.S Amudhan. With a fresh and experimental combination of next-gen comedy artistes, K.Chandru has attempted to entertain us with comedy, albeit with a clear message. How did this 'modernized vow' of Saraswathi turn out to be?

Jai, after his pleasant performance in 'Raja Rani', had pretty much nothing to do. He was in his utmost comfort zone and has aptly used his shrill voice, for the right moments. Debutante heroine, Niveda Thomas looks sweet and performs well, with good dialogue delivery, which was perfectly dubbed by her dubbing artiste ! Alas, she has an extremely short screen timing, hence the limited acting scope for her. Sathyan and C.Rajkumar of 'Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom' were at ease with their roles, particularly Sathyan, who did a great work with his expressions and body language, especially for a photo-shoot sequence in the first half. The one with the 'meatiest' role is none other than 'VTV' Ganesh, who rocks in some sequences, with his trademark dialogue delivery and antics, especially in the second half. On the other side, Subbu Panchu, Devadarshini and Manobala, donned the roles of religious deities Shiva, Parvathi and Naradar, respectively. They were apt choices for their roles and gave good dialogue deliveries, and Subbu Panchu should be appreciated for his funny expressions and voice modulations. Venkat Prabhu and Sam Anderson make fleeting cameo appearances. The rest of the cast such as R.S Sivaji, Chitra Lakshmanan, Swaminathan, Badava Gopi, Vishal Venkat, Rekha Suresh, Ramya Ramakrishnan and etc were apt for their respective roles.

M.P Vanitha Srinivasan's costume designing was okay, though the shoe-string budget is a little evident, especially with the GOD characters. The conventional real-life characters too, were well presented, in terms of costumes. Dhilip Subbarayan's action choreography sufficed the needs of the script, quite well. M.G Murugan's production design is vital, and he has done a good work with the Mount Kailash abode, with touches of contemporary. An unique idea, indeed and kudos to him, for pulling it off. The private abode of Shiva, is the highlight, with modern art paintings adorning the walls ! T.S Suresh's editing was not flawless, as the film moves at a snail's pace in the second half, and the some sequences dragged the length of the film. The transition from GOD's world to the episodes taking place in Earth, could have been smoother. J.Anand's cinematography was average, apart from the beautiful shots of the island for a song sequence, late second-half. 

Music has been handled by newcomer Prem Kumar, and the melodies are worth listening. "Kaathirundhai Anbe" was shot on Jai and Niveda, in montages, with the quirky element of the heroine holding a microphone and singing from it, all the time ! "Saturday Fever" is a clubbing song, and was shot on the gang of four, comprising Jai, C.Rajkumar, Sathyan and 'VTV' Ganesh. The typical color lighting and scantily-dressed Asian girls, are there in the song. "Vaazhkai Oru" is also shot on the four buddies stranded alone in an uninhabited island, with montages of them spending time by doing what they can afford to do. "Nenjankuzhi" is the pick of album, shot on the lead pair, and had some beautiful shots of the island, against the backdrop of dark clouds and blue ocean. R.Kannan, handles the background score and he gives his input with some unique, modern sounds.

The trailer and teasers suggested a touch of 'Hangover', but the director has dismissed the idea, through a dialogue uttered by the protagonist. K.Chandru's script has a good and timely message to the viewers, but the message presentation was corny and ends up being dull. However, K.Chandru should be applauded for his unique ideas (Lord Ganesha on treadmill, Lord Murugan and his Temple Run game on the iPad, Naradhar with a guitar and Lord Shiva with his iMac and etc) along with creative and cheeky dialogues (especially for the 'heavenly' episodes, with the right amount of English and Tamizh mixture, giving those episodes a contemporary feel). The first half was interesting, especially the GOD sequences, which were cutely conceptualized and well executed. The introduction of the human being characters were okay to some extent. But the second half becomes quite tedious with long drawn sequences and K.Chandru tries to cover it up, by spoofing some of the popular Tamizh films. The script is pretty obviously wafer-thin, so K.Chandru should have trimmed the second half, quite considerably. Also, why are Tamizh cinema directors still trying to do cover up with the foreign locations ? Kuala Lumpur has been passed out as Bangkok in this film, and its about time for directors to realize that, its not easy to fool any audience, anymore !

'Naveena Saraswathi Sabatham' - A fantasy comedy, with preachy messages.


Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

JANNAL ORAM MOVIE REVIEW

'Jannal Oram' marks the comeback of Karu Palaniappan after his below average performance in 'Mandhira Punnagai'. Karu is known for his sensitive portrayal and family friendly milieu, apart from his last project. Backed by some of his favorite artistes, can 'Jannal Oram' bring back the success to Karu Palaniappan, a once-promising script and dialogue writer in Tamizh cinema ?

The film has a big cast of artistes, and everyone has some screen timing to stamp their marks. But unfortunately, the high number of artistes does not add value to the script. That's due to the average performances and lack of emotional content for each artistes to register their capabilities in the minds and hearts of viewers. R.Parthiban, as the rural, middle-aged Casanova, mouths his dialogues fluently in a different accent. Vemal, is pretty much in his comfort zone and gets to romance the heroine in songs and pull off some action sequences. Vidharth leaves a better impression on us, although his characterization was just a mere extension from the protagonist role he did in 'Mynaa', albeit with a twist. Among the ladies, both Poorna and Manisha Yadav have limited acting scope, though the latter had more screen timing. A gang of character artistes such as Ramana, Rajesh, Yuvarani, Ilavarasu, Santhana Bharathi, Sanjay Bharathi, Bala Singh, Sri Ranjani, Singampuli, Krishnamurthy and etc get to do their usual stuffs.


Dhilip Subbarayan's action choreography was apt for Vemal, Vidharth and Parthiban. It was not over the top, but not fiery, as well. Rajeevan's production design complemented the script very much. The rural house setup was apt for the milieu of the script, with relevant props. The village setup too looks very much believable. Simple, but neat work from one of the best ! Saravanaa, could have done better with the editing department. The proceedings in the second half moves at a snail's pace, and some trimming could have increased the tempo of the script. Arbhindu Saaraa, definitely owns the film, through his good cinematography works. The hill stations have been very aptly captured from his lenses and at the same time, Arbhindu maintained a natural look for the whole film, which is very much the style template of Karu Palaniappan's films. His experimentation with different angles or view-points of the bus, is commendable.


Vidyasagar, the trusted aide of Karu Palaniappan, disappoints us with below average song compositions. Though melodious, they don't capture your attention nor the interest, pretty much. "Athili Pathili" is the opening credits song, shot on the lead characters' bus' journey it makes in a day. The hilly terrains and lush greenery is a cool sight for the eyes. "Ennadi Ennadi" also has the bus as the backdrop, but the focus is on the characters this time and Vemal gets to woo Manisha in this song, shot with montages. "Unnai Paarkkama" was shot on Vemal and Manisha Yadav, against the backdrop of Athirappilly waterfalls and its surrounding lush and green forests. "Aasa Vacha" had a village festival backdrop, with apt props by Rajeevan for the production design side. The song also had separate shots of Vemal-Manisha and Sanjay-Poorna, interspersed into it. "Ela Malathoppu" is a situational song, and covered most of the lead characters' dark moments they were facing through. "Aatho Appatho" is a promotional song which was not used in the film. The song had the puppet play shot, as its backdrop. The background score was quite ordinary, for Vidyasagar's standards.


Though Karu Palaniappan has made this film, the script and screenplay does not belong to him, and its the first time Karu has attempted a remake film. 'Jannal Oram' is the official remake of the 2012 Malayalam film, 'Ordinary' which turned out to be a super-hit. The story was written by Sugeeth and screenplay by Nishad K.Koya and Manu Prasad, the makers of the original film. The problem with the film, is that it moves at a leisurely pace and the viewers could not muster what to expect from this film, even from half-way into it ! Karu, slowly introduces us to each characters one by one, and that proceeding had nothing novel in the methodology perspective. The first half was insipid, and the only thing which kept us watching were the dialogues, written by Sugunakumar K.E. There are a few sharp dialogues, atypical of Karu's film dialogues, but they are few and far between. There is an unexpected twist just before the climax, but it was far too late to save the film and was overtly stretched, as well. Karu Palaniappan, should have done more homework in fine tuning the original script, to suit the tastes and pace of a typical, 'good' Tamizh-film. Nevertheless, kudos to Karu for delivering a very clean film, which can be watched by anyone.

'Jannal Oram' - Below average showing from Karu Palaniappan. Where's the guy who made 'Parthiban Kanavu' ?!


Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

IRANDAAM ULAGAM MOVIE REVIEW

Selvaraghavan, the master story teller of human being's dark emotions and relationships, is back with a magnum opus in 'Irandaam Ulagam'. With 'Aayirathil Oruvan', Selva has dabbled with fantasy before, but with a touch of history. So, what's the difference here ? Love is the thematic essence of this project and Selva throws a question to us by asking how far we would go for love. That's a question which can give rise to a myriad of answers, so let's stick with the question of how far did Selva go with his 'ambitious' project till date ?

What's strikingly similar with 'Irandaam Ulagam' and his previous projects, is the entire focus being projected on the lead characters. The story revolves only about them and evolves along with them. Its the same here as well, but with a small change. The lead artistes are made to enact two different roles, each. Let's start of with Arya. Having a time of his life, in regards to his cinematic career, he seems to be an interesting choice for this film, especially when the character has a heavy hangover of Dhanush, written all over it. But Arya, excels as the soft-spoken Madhu Balakrishnan. The calm and composed manner of dialogue delivery, gave the character more conviction and Arya seems to be very confident about it. Whereas, as Maravaan, Arya certainly had the hard, strong and massive physique necessary for the role. Kudos to him for beefing up to that extent and for showing the dedication towards his role. Emotional quotient wise, this character suffered a lot and there was not much of acting scope for him. 


Anushka Shetty on the other hand, was cute and adorable as Dr.Ramya. Her nuanced expressions are the plus points. As Varna, the warrior girl, she is the best choice in the industry, thanks to her imposing height and sheer confidence. We don't get to see the heroines of Tamizh cinema kick some butt, in a convincing manner, but you have it all here, with Anushka doing the swashbuckling antics, usually reserved for the heroes, with ease. Chinmayi's dubbing suited Anushka, to a certain extent. Both the lead artistes, share a good chemistry, but it was not utilized properly by Selvaraghavan. Venkatesh Harinathan and Padma Raman, don the peripheral characters quite well, but the Georgian artistes were just a big drawback. Though one can appreciate their dedication in getting the lip-sync quite well, they were just too amateurish with their performances and left a mark of artificialness, very bluntly !


For all the grandeur connected to the film, we could just wish that the costume designer Deepali Noor could have done a far, better job in the costume designing department. It just makes a mock of the budget of the film ! Action choreography was different, especially with the sword-fights, executed neatly by Arya and Anushka and well choreographed by 'Ruff' Rajashekar and Zura Nanobashvili. Dr. K.Kiran's production design is splendid. He has worked in tandem with the direction's so-called vision of the apt exo-planet and had adorned the sets with apt props for the fantasy world episodes. Veteran editor, Kola Bhaskar deserves a lot of appreciation for the painstaking effort in the editing department. He managed to put together the VFX-filled sequences quite well, and tried to maintain a decent tempo for the running time, though more work from his sharp scissors, could have done more good for the film. Keith Devlin and Merzin Tavaria's visual effects design was rich with psychedelic colors and the imaginary, mythical beasts. As having spoken about the visual effects, the experienced Ramji must be congratulated for his hard-work in cinematography. His framing and lighting is an immense contribution for the visual effects sequence. The snow-pouring sequence, late in the second half was beautiful, with soft lighting and a deep color tone. 


Harris Jayaraj teams up with Selvaraghavan for the first time, and this combo has produced a unique track-list. Though the songs might appeal as standalone, they do not gel well with the script, and its below par, for Selvaraghavan's standards. "En Kaadhal Thee" is the opening song and was shot on the lead pair, in both worlds, which had many montages, with nice framing by Ramji. "Kanimozhiye" was shot on the characters Madhu-Ramya, and also had plenty of montages, shot in a camp-like scenario. "Pazhangkalla" was the only purpose shot song sequence, featuring Arya as Maravaan, and had a bar-like atmosphere, though the set was made to look like with an ancient Eastern European-sort of interiors. "Mannavane" was rich in color, especially with the snow effect and had apt angle and framing, to capture the necessary moments, required for the sequence. The song was shot on Arya's Madhu with Anushka's Varna. 

Anirudh Ravichander, the hot-shot, on fire music director has handled the background score and has added an additional two songs for the film. "Penne Nee Enna" was used as a background score and was used for the fantasy sequences, whereas "Iravinil Oruvanai" was a situational song shot on the lead pair in the real world. Anirudh certainly adds a different color to the film with his background score, which is rich in sound and grandeur, since it was recorded at Hungary by using the services of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. It is certainly a big challenge for Anirudh to score for such a project, at such early stages of his career. In fact, the background score sounded more in tune with the script, if you are ought to compare with the song compositions. He has given his best and hope the lad will continue to experiment more with his musical compositions.


Selvaraghan is a passionate movie maker, and it has been evident in his previous films, with intense portrayal and brooding screenplay. With 'Irandaam Ulagam' ? The passion transfixed at the conceptualization stage alone and gets lost miserably, when the necessary transmission to screen, was acquired ! What's appalling, is the shallow and weak characterizations of the lead pair, and its an even bigger shock to see it coming from Selvaraghavan ! There is no depth in the lead roles, and that projected a confused state-of-mind image for the artistes, throughout the film, who must have not fully understood, the actual intricacies of their respective characters.The non-linear screenplay further deteriorates the necessary impact from the lead characters, towards the script and us, the viewers. Selva's 'Aayirathil Oruvan' was a good attempt, but without a strong script, what's the point of dabbling with an innovative concept ? Yes, Selva should be applauded for his daring attempt, but did he justify his bravado act ? Certainly, no ! For those who keenly observe and keep up to date with Selvaraghavan's projects, they can certainly sum up that Selva has dusted-off his old Dhanush-Andrea script, and added a fancy, fantasy element to it for apparently no, convincing reasons ! The need for foreign locations is not justified properly, and Selvaraghavan could certainly do away with the unnecessary 'neon-lit' atmosphere he visualized for the Georgia-based sequences. The striking colors, robbed the beauty of Georgia and a realistic environment could have convinced us better that, it is indeed another world, after all ! Selva's cheeky dialogues were a relief, only in the first half. The second half drags big time and as with the case of 'Ayirathil Oruvan', Selva leaves us with lots of unanswered questions and loopholes in the script. 

'Irandaam Ulagam' - Undeniably, Selvaraghavan's worst film, thus far. In, Selva's standards, that is !


Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

PIZZA - II: VILLA MOVIE REVIEW

A trend-setter in 2012, Karthik Subbaraj's 'Pizza' won the fans and critics alike, and its no surprise that the producers want to cash in on its name, by turning it into a franchise. 'Pizza - II : Villa' is directed by newcomer Deepan Chakravarthy, and please make no bones about it, it is definitely not a direct sequel to 'Pizza'. Then what else it could be ? The namesake, purely for profitable purpose ? One has to think about it after watching the film, rather than making assumptions before a viewing.

Ashok Selvan, who made his debut in 'Soodhu Kavvum' plays the lead role here for the very first time. Though he looks confident, the acting was not exceptional, and definitely there were plenty of room for improvement. His expressions could have been better and more intensity in his portrayal would have done great justice to the role. Still, Ashok tries his best to give you the 'writer-look' and with his nearly apt body language. Sanchita Shetty, performs an extension of sort of her 'Soodhu Kavvum' performance, minus the humor. The pair has no proper chemistry between them and the romance sequences, actually fell flat. Though the lead pair has rendered their best, its still an injustice to the potential of the script and scope of acting. Keep improving, folks ! The rest of the cast such as Nassar, Kaali, Jayakumar, Vegan Rajesh, Veera Santhanam, 'Pizza' Venkatesh, 'Boys' Rajan, Ramanathan, Anjali, Aaryan, Sarath, Vinoth, Jith, Ram and etc were adequate in their limited screen timing and presence.

Technically, the film has some very good output from the relatively, young and talented crew of technicians. First of all, congratulations to the sound department for its brilliant work. Arun Seenu with the effects, Vishnu Govind and Sree Sankar dealing with the designing and the experienced M.Gita Gurappa taking care of the Dolby Atmos mixing, the sound engineering is riveting, especially in the second half. Kudos to the sound department ! 'Billa' Jagan handles the action choreography, and whatever action sequences present, were neatly executed. Production design by Maayan Ela's sufficed the needs of the script, though the budget was quite tight. Good detailing work with the props of the villa and also for the interiors of other plot settings available, interiors especially. Leo John Paul should be credited for the tight editing, and ensuring the screenplay is racy, especially with a slow-moving type of story-telling involved. The climax was well put together, though the end could have been little more smoother in scene transitions. The man who the director should be really thankful, is the cinematographer Deepak Kumar Padhy. Deepak's framing, and the quick camera movements in the second half created the perfect mood and feel of the script, added with Maayan's well set ambiance. Deepak, experiments with indoor lighting and he comes out with flying colors, in his attempt. The eerie and chill factor needed was justified by Deepak's work !

Santhosh Narayanan, rocks once again with his musical score. "Kaanum Gnanam" is a perfect soundtrack for this script and was used as the introductory song of the villa, featuring Ashok exploring the indoors of the villa for the first time. The lighting and framing for this song by Deepak, was really good ! "The Villa" and "Varaipadam" are background scores and were well used for the appropriate situations. "Boomiyil" is a melodious number shot on the lead pair, with many montages used for the song. Leo's editing was smooth for this song. "Pa Pa" was shot on Ashok on his venture of fact-finding and also had plenty of montages. Santhosh's background score was fabulous and his contributing to the script, is immense. This man is certain for great heights, provided that he's got talented directors with good scripts.

First of all, kudos to the producer and director for launching the idea of a 'Pizza' franchise. Let's clear the air, first. This is no direct sequel to Karthik Subbaraj's film. The similarity ? Both are thrillers. The difference ? The first installment was a supernatural/horror thriller with a twist, whereas the second is more of a psychological thriller. Its evident from the opening sequences that Deepan Chakravarthy has crafted the script in such a way that, it does not scare or fright you with atypical horror movie tricks. Deepan creates an eerie atmosphere throughout the screenplay and its more about the characters' dilemma and their understanding of what's happening around them. Deepan should be appreciated for his research and scientific explanations about paranormal activities, which are very interesting, in Manikandan.K's dialogues. But there are flaws in the direction, where the extraction of performance from the lead pair is below par, and the intensity needed for such scripts, missing. For some audience, this film can bore you, till the climax is reached. But the director made up for it, with a sucker punch of an ending, which has a promising prospect for a direct sequel. 

'Pizza - II : Villa' is a neatly executed film, but a more matured writing, direction and performance could have done wonders to this flick.


Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

PAANDIYA NAADU MOVIE REVIEW

'Paandiya Naadu' raised eyebrows and piqued the interest of Tamizh audience when it was launched. Suseenthiran join hands with Vishal for the very first time. An intriguing pairing this is, due to their current form in Tamizh film industry. The former is basking in the glories with the critically-acclaimed 'Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer' and the former, reeling in consecutive flops and poor showing of films. Also, Vishal has decided to take things into his own hands by flaunting a new film production company (Vishal Film Factory) and churning out this flick as its maiden debut. Throw in, the best of technicians and Bharathiraja, this is a very interesting concoction indeed. Can Susee redeem Vishal's flagging career ?

'Paandiya Naadu' is certainly a throwback for Vishal to his 'Sandaikozhi' and 'Thimiru' days. Coincidentally, both those films were based in Madurai and its third time lucky for Vishal, because this performance is easily the best from him thus far. Though 'Avan Ivan' had plenty of struggle and pain, Vishal makes us fall for him and root for his success. He is totally convincing as the shy and mild-mannered Sivakumar. Its a refreshing change to see him shed his action-hero image and immerse into a believable and endearing character. A very well written role and neatly portrayed by Vishal, especially with the transformation in the second half, and the way he carried the stammering issues. The legend, Bharathiraja steals the show, with his terrific performance, and its a real shame that only a handful of directors in Tamizh cinema, had actually utilized his acting capabilities. The veteran just oozes class and moves us with his emotional outbursts and a touching performance in the end. Take a bow, sir ! Though Lakshmi Menon was adequate and convincing in her role, her acting scope was very much limited in the screen timing. Antagonist, Sharath Lohithashwa looks menacing and powerful, and is just the perfect villain for this genre of films. A fantastic portrayal by the Kannada actor. Harish Uthaman, comes close as well, with very commanding screen presence and looks. Soori makes his mark, wherever he was given space and Vikranth does a energy and rage-filled cameo appearance. The rest of the cast such as Somasundaram, literateur Jayabalan, Muthuraman, R.S Amudheswar, Thulasi, Keerthi Shetty, Priya, Soumya Satish, Bava Lakshmanan, the cute 'Baby' Rakshana and etc were befitting of their neatly presented roles.

Vasugi Bhaskar has done a terrific job with Vishal's costume designing, as he looks like a Madurai chap, perfectly ! Malini and Nikila are in charge of Lakshmi Menon's and their work was not bad, either. Rajeevan has handled the production design very well and all the landscape and plot setting looked very apt and authentic. The prop detailing was intricate and very well-researched. The opening sequences are a highlight and also the climax fight sequences, which had very good detailing, in terms of set properties. Anthony's editing was as usual, sharp and precise. Some trimming in the first half would have made wonders to this film, but the feel-good moments will have to be sacrificed, which could deter the reception of general, family audiences. 'Anal' Arasu's action choreography is simply superb, as it is very original and realistically shot. The climax fight sequence, where Vishal uses whatever props he can reach, was very well executed. Action sequences are definitely big highlights of the film ! The backbone of the film, is definitely Madhie's exceptional cinematography work. He made use of the 4K resolution camera very well, and each frame and camera movements, were well measured and carefully shot. The golden brown color tone maintained throughout the film, brings the nativity feel to the script. Virudhu Nagar of Madurai has been shot beautifully and 'Paandiya Naadu' will certainly be one of Madhie's best works, so far, especially with the fantastically shot, action blocks. 

D.Imman is certainly having the time of his life, and he rocks again with brilliant musical score for this film, as well. The "Theme Music" was used for the opening credits and also used sparingly as background score. The thumping score, certainly eleveates the mood of the script. "Daiyare Daiyare" is an enjoyable opening song, which had a colorful, funeral 'celebration' as its backdrop. The camera movements and angles are the highlights of this song's picturization. "Yelay Yelay" was beautifully shot inside the ancient temples of Madurai, on Vishal and Lakshmi Menon, and had brilliant natural lighting and color tone, which brought out the earthy essence of the song. The pick of the lot, "Othakadai Othakadai" was shot on Vikranth, Soori and Vishal and was mostly shot in the narrow back-lanes and alleyways of Virudhunagar, with few montages interspersed. "Veri Konda Puli" is a situational song and had plenty of montage sequences, depicting the hero in his new 'journey'. "Fy Fy Kalachify" is a typical dance number, shot on Vishal and Lakshmi Menon, on barren fields, with minimal props. D.Imman, scores big time with the background score as well, with stirring and emotional arrangements. Clean hit, D.Imman !

When it comes to script novelty, there's nothing path-breaking here, since Suseenthiran has taken the beaten-to-death revenge story as his core content. But the treatment and screenplay, developed along with G.K Gopinath, Arun Balaji, Nagarajan and Vijay Anand, wins our attention and interest. The screenplay is packed with well-written, thrilling and suspenseful moment, especially in the second half, and keeps us on the edge of our seats. Suseenthiran should be really applauded for proving that one can still make a decent and innovative new script, based on as-old-as-the-hills type of theme lines. The unpredictability factor, coupled with some amusing scenes in the first half, entertains us pretty much, and Suseenthiran proves that he is a master in handling his artistes and bringing the best effort from them, with perfect conviction. Dialogues, co-written with Suseenthiran's pal, writer Bhaskar Sakthi are a scream in certain scenes and has a no-nonsense approach, with the serious sequences. Another plus point of the film, is the avoidance of over-glorifying of the protagonist and the shelving of needless heroism and a special thank you to Suseenthiran for not taking the audience for granted, by avoiding illogical scenes. The travel in the screenplay is nearly free of jerkiness, except for the needless song, late in the second half, which sticks out like a sore thumb. 

'Paandiya Naadu' - Suseenthiran saves Vishal's career and enhances his directorial repertoire. They hit the bull's eye !


Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL

ALL IN ALL AZHAGU RAJA MOVIE REVIEW

This film had all the ingredients to be a 'killer' comedy flick. A catchy title, the successful combo of 'Comedy Superstar' and M.Rajesh and add in Karthi into the equation. Isn't this suppose to be an exciting combination and that too for a Deepavali season ? M.Rajesh has scored hat-trick of successes but can he and Santhanam utilize their prowess in comedy and score a nearly, unprecedented four strikes in a row ?

Karthi has the charming looks and cute expressions to win over the ladies. He certainly looks handsome and cute in the colorful attires and with his facial expressions. His voice modulation too can be appreciated but he does not seem to be entirely convincing in an out-and-out comedy role. He certainly seems to lack some confidence in certain sequences, but it can be overlooked due to his chemistry with Santhanam. The fabulous entertainer is in fine form, though 'All in All Azhagu Raja' is no where near his best. His myriad of expressions and body language must be appreciated and for pulling it off effervescently, as well. The 80's episode does look over-the-top, but its a good try from Karthi and Santhanam, who have put in personal efforts to mimic Prabhu and Suruli Rajan, respectively. Kajal Aggarwal has put in simple efforts and she's at complete ease in her role. There's conviction in her performance, though there are plenty of room for improvements. Additional plus point is her gorgeous attires and looks in songs. Prabhu does a simple role and looks like the perfect gentleman whereas Naren tries and out-and-out comedy for the first time. The biggest drawback is the wastage of talents such as Saranya Ponvannan, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Nassar, M.S Bhaskar, who are fantastic performers, but was made to do ill-written roles. Radhika Apte was cute in the flashback sequence. Sri Ranjani, Santhana Bharathi, V.S Raghavan, Senthil, Vetrivel Raja and etc make up the rest of the cast.

The technical crew of the film have delivered very decent output, in terms of production value. Priyanka Kochar and Rustam Chauhan's costume designing was very rich and vibrant in colors. Kajal Aggarwal was looking beautiful in half-sarees especially and the pair should be lauded for their work on Santhanam's look and dress code. Not to forget, the 80's episode was well worked as well. Om Prakash's action choreography was unnecessary for this script, though it was well executed. Vivek Harshan could have done a lot, lot better in terms of editing. The film is conspicuously slow paced and drags too much in the second half. Other than that, the 80's episode was well edited and presented, though the 35mm format could have been maintained for it. Jacki's production design was just adequate and perfect. The props used for songs were colorful and lively and the ambiance of small town ambiance has been well maintained throughout the film. Sakthi Saravanan's cinematography was very colorful and bright and its just a pity that the 80's sequence was reverted to stereoscopic format, instead of the originally intended 35mm format. Balasubramaniem also chips in with his contribution and on overall basis, the film's cinematography works were simple, neat and colorful.

S.S Thaman has scored decent numbers for this flick, which has the potential to be chart-busters. "All in All" is the opening introductory song and had few montages of comedy portions involving Karthi, Santhanam and Kota Srinivasa Rao, with apt production design by Jacki, who erected sets resembling jewelry commercial advertisements. "Ore Oru" is a situational bit-song and serves as Kajal's introductory song, and was shot in a wedding hall premise. "Yaarukkum Sollaame" is the pick of the lot and had colorful props by Jacki, resembling Pongal celebrations. Sakthi Saravanan has captured good shots of rural temples and small town ambiance very well. Kajal looked a million-bucks in the traditional half-sarees, she was wearing for this song. "Silu Silu" is another situational extra bit-song, and was shot on Karthi dancing in the streets, shot in the dark, middle of the night atmosphere. "Unnai Paartha Neram" is the visually best made song. Inspired by the "Oh Maane Maane" song from 'Vellai Roja', Karthi and Radhika Apte were made to resemble like Prabhu and Ambika, and the choreography and camera works were all in-tune with the 80's style and format. Good stuff ! "Yamma Yamma" was shot on Karthi and Kajal and had vibrantly colored, simple house-like set works and some sharp editing by Vivek Harshan. The background score too was neatly done, but whether the songs were well utilized or not is a different question all together.

When it comes to M.Rajesh's films, its all about contemporary funny dialogues and a comedy entertainer, pertaining to the tastes of youth audiences. One cannot expect a fully bounded, well-researched script from M.Rajesh, if you are familiar with his previous films. The light-hearted manner of his script was his trump card, though all of his films had very thin plot-line. The same applies to 'All in All Azhaguraja' as well, but this time the output is disappointingly, a big letdown. Santhanam has always been omnipresent throughout the length of his M.Rajesh's previous films', apart from a few scenes. But here, Santhanam only appears sporadically and most of the jokes fell flat. Literally ! There's no excitement or any rip-roaring comedy sequences in this flick, as how it was in 'Siva Manasula Sakthi, 'Boss Engira Baskaran' or 'Oru Kal Oru Kannadi'. Although all of them were simple comedy films, they all had some semblance of true emotional content. But its conspicuously absent in 'All in All Azhagu Raja' and whatever we encounter just seems to be too farcical to be taken serious. The ending is the epitome of ludicrousness. Also, there are more silly and unpretentious gags throughout the film, which are pretty much not welcomed. The story appears to be heading no where, and it tests our patience, especially with the draggy second half. Although the 80's episode were well etched out, they hold not much importance to the script. As mentioned earlier, talented artistes have been wasted just like that, which is an unacceptable factor. 

'All in All Azhagu Raja' - The first blip for M.Rajesh and a hat-trick of flops for Karthi. For sure !


Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS

BY:TAMIL