Vishal is back with another action film, which is directed by Thiru, who has collaborated with him in the dampener, 'Theeradha Vilaiyaattu Pillai'. For Vishal, this is a very critical film, because he has been treading the wrong path where a slew of his previous releases, all were failures. In order to survive, this must click for him. With an interesting star cast, and picturized in Thailand for most duration of the film, 'Samar' intrigued viewers with its slick trailer, which did not give out any particular hints. So how did the movie fare ?

For Vishal, this movie is a throwback to his 'Sandaikozhi' and 'Thimiru' days were he underplayed his role, with controlled performance. He has put his strong and built physique to good use in the action scenes. The no-nonsense and introvert characterization was carried out well by Vishal and it is enjoyable for us to watch him perform in this manner. Well done, Vishal ! Trisha, does her part well and was confident in her dialogue delivery and for dubbing in her own voice. She looks good and was at ease throughout the film. Sunaina barely had anything to do other than to act in a couple of scenes and to dance for a song, though her character was needed. Critically acclaimed performers Manoj Bajpai and J.D Chakravarthy fall way short of in delivering strong and outstanding performances, though they are very much capable of delivering it. Blame the director, for the poorly sketched characters of Manoj and J.D. The rest of the cast such as Jayaprakash, Sampath, Sriman, Azhagam Perumal, John Vijay, Uma Padhmanabhan and others are adequate.

Vasugi Bhaskar's costume designing was very apt for each characters, where the costumes reflected the personality of each characters. Sound designing by Renganaath Ravee was good, especially in the stunt sequences. Jacki's art work was adequate, considering that the majority of the film was captured in real life locations and his work blends in well with the surroundings. Ruben's editing is just nice, especially for the stunt scenes, which is the trump card of the film. Stunt choreography is the highlight of the film. Each stunt scenes were solidly choreographed and most importantly, was very natural and realistic. It is a delight to watch such pumping action scenes, neatly executed in Tamizh cinema. Kudos to the stunt choreographers, Kanal Kannan, Rajashekar, Jimmy from Singapore and also to Nang of the Baan Rig team from Thailand. Great work by them ! Complementing the stunt sequences, is Richard M.Nathan's stunning cinematography (who also makes a small cameo appearance in the film). He has used plenty of aerial shots in and around Bangkok. His color tone and lighting aptly follows the changes of locations in the film, as the story progresses. Another good job well in his portfolio !

Yuvan Shankar Raja's music is a letdown for this film. His score is average considering the fact, he can deliver chart-busting songs. "Oru Kannil Vegam" is the introductory song of the protagonist and depicts his life as a forest ranger. There are plenty of pleasing aerial shots by Richard in this song and captures the beauty of the forest in different lights. "Azhago Azhagu" is the pick of the lot from the album. It was picturized on the three characters of Vishal, Trisha and Sunaina and was shot entirely in and around Putrajaya city of Malaysia with some iconic buildings and landmark being the backdrop. "Poikaal Kudhirai" is an interesting number, which was well placed in the film. There are plenty of cut-shots, which are mostly picturized at night and features many facets of Bangkok and its surroundings. "Vellai Mayil" is a romantic number shot on Vishal and Trisha, with aerial shots along the sea shore and besides that, shot mostly within posh hotel premises. The final song "Raajavin Thottathil" is a hot, club number shot on sexily-clad item girls and features the two antagonists of the film, enjoying themselves. The lighting and camera movements by Richard M.Nathan complements the mood and feel of the song. Background score was handled by Dharan Kumar and he shows is prowess in good sound mixing with apt background music, be it for suspense scenes or for romantic scenes.

Director Thiru has delivered an interesting plot and theme, laced with the right amount of commercial aspects for this film. He has handled the majority of the screenplay quite well, maintaining the suspense, gripping twists and turns and some surprises towards the last 15 minutes of the film. The film keeps us guessing until the last 15 minutes, on what is happening in the film, until the secret is revealed. But once the suspense is unraveled, the film looses its fizz and ends on a rather tepid manner, which makes us to feel that the overall end product could have been better. The director rightfully avoided inserting any comedy scenes into the screenplay. Dialogues by Thiru and S.Ramakrishnan was very much suitable for the script, being straight-forward and not overtly dramatic, except for those uttered by the antagonists. The idea of the script definitely has an inspiration from some Hollywood and Korean films, but Thiru has cleverly adapted the idea to suit the taste and sensibilities of Tamizh audience.

After a long time, we get to see a good movie from Vishal and though it could have been presented in a better manner, it still delivers a decent action thriller, with enough thrills and chases in keeping our attention. Not so great, but not bad, either.

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



One of the eagerly anticipated films, 'Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiyaa' promised loads of fun and humorous moments with Santhanam and most importantly, 'Powerstar' Dr S.Srinivasan making his debut in a properly taken cinema, instead of the poorly executed low-budget films. Armed with nothing but good comedy writers and able technicians, this film is the maiden production venture of Santhanam, who has also roped in veteran Rama Narayanan to co-produce it. It is instead a major coup by Santhanam to rope in 'Powerstar' and certainly looks like a safe bet.

Santhanam, plunges into the lead role after a long time, and though it is his own production, it is commendable of him to give ample space and scope for his fellow 'musketeers' to perform and earn applause. Nevertheless, Santhanam still brings the roof down with his excellent punch lines and humorous antics and facial expressions. The comfort level of acting in his own production, enabled Santhanam to be at ease and he performs to his best. The sequence where he delivers his love letter to the heroine and the aftermath expressions are too hilarious and evokes rip-roaring laughter from the audiences ! However, it is 'Powerstar' Dr.S.Srinivasan, who steals the show with his unpretentious comedic acts. What works for the film is that, 'Powerstar' was allowed to do comedy and he allowed others to make fun of him, which makes the proceedings to have a spoof like-effect. Anyways, it was him who took the most cheers and screams from the fans !! Newcomer Sethu was not bad and debutante Vishakha Singh was expressive and passes the test. The Santhanam-'Powerstar' duo was ably assisted by the rest of the cast such as 'VTV' Ganesh, Kovai Sarala, Sivashankar Master , 'Pattimandram' Raja, Devadharshini and Vanitha Krishna Chandira. The cameo appearances of Gautham Vasudev Menon, Silambarasan, cinematographer Balasubramaniem, and stunt choreographer Silva, adds sheen to the film.

Though it was meant to be a moderately budgeted film, 'Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiyaa' carries notable production values. Karishma Shroff's costume designing was very apt and matched perfectly with the settings and characterizations of each artistes. A.Vanaraj's simple set-work for songs were well done and also for filling up the typical Kumbakonam house and other live locations, with appropriate props. Silva's stunt work was adequate and decent enough for a comedy caper like this film. G.Ramarao's editing was smooth and crisp. Balasubramaniem is a big strength to the film. His cinematography adds a glossy and rich look to the film. His lighting for the night scenes, along with good angle choices, adds to the cheerfulness element of the film. Good job, Balu !! 

Thaman's music was foot-tapping and almost all songs were decently done. The opening "Aasaiye Alaipole" was shot in live locations with adequate props and good lighting work by cinematographer Balasubramaniem. Balu captured the Kumbakonam streets and township effectively, with his camera. "Ye Unnethaan" is a colorful song, with simple but decent set work by A.Vanaraj and again Balu's cinematography, gave the song a glossy look, especially with the lighting. The "Love Letter" song is a situational song, shot within a typical Kumbakonam mansion house and features Santhanam in his rip-roaring element, together with the heroine, Vishakha Singh. "Potti" song is another situational song, which was funny and kept short. The "Birthday" song was shot within temple locations with plenty of props, which matched the birthday celebration theme. The final "Duet Song" appears during the end credits, showcasing a wedding scenario, which again looked glossy thanks to Balu's lighting. Thaman's background score was adequate and carries his trademark synthesized, violin pieces.

K.S Manikandan's directorial debut makes no mistake in stamping its stance and promise of being a 'laughathon' and fun-filled ride. The writers of the film made no bones about it and delivered their promise to great extent. Though the film carries an uncanny resemblance to K.Bhagyaraj's classic 'Indru Poi Naalai Vaa', the film was made keeping today's youngsters and Santhanam and 'Powestar's presence was effectively used. The natural performances of the acting crew adds to the fun quotient of the film and there are plenty of rip-roaring sequences inserted throughout the duration of the film. Also, the excellently written punch dialogues uttered by Santhanam are a scream and the film is replete with them ! Story wise, there is nothing to expect, but no one really gives a damn about the story and tirelessly waits for the next bone-tickling sequence. The second half of the film hit a slow-pace mode but was compensated with the funny antics of the artistes.

'Kanna Laddu Thinna Aasaiye' delivered what it has promised and not more or less than what was intended to be. A thorough and jolly-good entertainer for the viewers !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



As it was in 2011, Karthi starts off 2013 with another "masala" oriented action-comedy which borrows its title from one of Rajinikanth's epic characters list, 'Alex Pandian'. The name reminds us of the class, style, fury and charismatic performance of the one and only 'Superstar'. Suraaj who has been borrowing titles inspired by Rajinikanth lately, has teamed up with Karthi and Santhanam for the first time. A lavish budget from Studio Green, 'Alex Pandian' made no bones about the expectations audience should have on this film, through the teasers and posters. So, is 'Alex Pandian' worth all the budget ?

Karthi, who is armed with a charming and instantly likeable personality, sleep walks through the film. There is nothing much to do in the performance and this film only acts as another medium for him to improve his dancing and stunts performances. Karthi has been showing his inclinations in becoming an all out mass hero, but without a power-packed performance, will he succeed in his mission ? Definitely, no and he has been failing to realize it. The other 'hero' of the film Santhanam, carries the entire first half on his shoulders with his wise-cracking dialogues and funny antics. We have seen him do this plenty of times, and he does it with complete ease. The only difference here, is that he takes the opposing camp of Karthi, instead of playing the usual sidekick buddy. His dialogue delivery and timing are near perfect as usual, but he should control the level of double entendre jokes, since he is such a popular comedian now and kids are taking a liking for him. Anushka, pitiably has nothing much to do other then being the usual damsel-in-distress and dancing for song sequences. The film has a big star cast in Milind Soman, Suman, Prathap Pothen, Visu, Nikita Thukral, Akanksha, Sanusha, Manobala, Renuka, Saravanan, Vaiyapuri, Santhana Bharathi, Rajkapoor and Mahadevan, but sadly all of them have been wasted and appears as mere caricatures and laughable characters. Wonder what made all of them to choose to do this film, apart from the remunerations.

The film carries quite a big budget, but the works of the technical crew has been average. Costumes by Perumal Selvam makes the characters look lively and appealing, especially of Karthi's and Anushka's. The stunt choreography by K. Ganesh Kumar was too bad to be true. Laws of physics and practicality issue takes a severe beating. The opening action block was outrageously choreographed and if it wasn't for the editors, the opening scenes would have been a total mess. M.Prabakaran's art work was just nice. The interiors of Santhanam's town house, Karthi's jungle hideout, the sets for songs, all were neatly done. Praveen K.L and Srikanth N.B's editing work was crisp but sadly the film lacked maturity, which makes it hard to appreciate their work. S.Saravanan's cinematography was not bad and good enough for the script.

Devi Sri Prasad's songs are just below average, with some mass appeal. The first song, "Onnam Class" is a typical mass item song with Karthi dancing along with the three other girls of the film, Nikita, Akanshka and Sanusha. The setwork was good, with colorful blue, read and black themed sets and elaborate lighting. "Thakka Thaiya" was shot in a small town house set, with a joyous ceremony as its backdrop. The typical props such as serial lights, stage, flowers and back up dancers in traditional attires, are all there, with some comedic elements thrown into. "Naalu Pakkam" was well shot with very detailed set work. The tribal, wild western and pirates themed set works were very well done, especially the pirate set. "Rayya Rayya" is a typical "kuthu" song with simple sets erected in a studio, and the lead pair and dancers dressed in colorful costumes. "Bad Boy", which was used as the promotional song and appears during the end credits, was the best shot among all the songs. It has a little touch of class in its editing and the sets erected in the popular Binny Mills. DSP's background score is not worth discussing about, other than being sufficient enough for the film.

Coming back to the earlier asked question, Suraaj's script is not worth the budget spent at all, and it baffles why waste a big amount of money on a poorly written, half-baked script. The film has no cohesive screenplay, justified story telling, unnecessary comedy bits, and low-in-taste action scenes. Also, The plot wanders into no-man's territory in the second half. As mentioned earlier, Suraaj wasted the talents and capabilities of his acting cast. He tries to push the burden of the film on Santhanam for the first half and then shift the second half to Karthi. Suraaj's previous films such as 'Thalainagaram' and 'Marudhamalai' had humorous comedy scenes in them with less action, but here the action quotient is on par with the comedy quotient, and both elements were poorly written and executed.

'Alex Pandian' is an unabashedly, pretentious "masala commercial" which is poor in taste but high on budget. Karthi and Suraaj, what's wrong with you guys ?

Ratings: 1.75/5 STARS