After a year's absence, Radha Mohan makes his return with a bilingual, which has been produced by none other than his best buddy, Prakash Raj. The director is known for his sensitive and clean scripts such as 'Azhagiya Theeye' and 'Mozhi'. This time though, he has chosen a rather controversial but topical theme of honor killing, as his base, for his story. Working with debutantes, can Radha Mohan deliver another winner, without any hitches ?

Allu Sirish, the younger brother of Telugu star Allu Arjun, makes his debut as a hero, through 'Gouravam'. Though its not fair enough to compare him with his more illustrious older brother, Allu Sirish, is miles behind from being recognized as an actor ! He tries earnestly to perform, but sadly his expressions, body language and dance & stunt performances were contrived, rather than natural. He looks too stiff and rigid and the sense of awareness of the camera, is clearly visible for the audience. Yami Gautham, who made a splash in Bollywood with 'Vicky Donor' makes her debut in Tamizh. She looks good and performs neatly, but she does look out of place and is a  miscast, sort of. Also, her role was pretty weak and was way too stereotypical. Elango Kumaravael and Sricharan were the better of the supporting casts and there's a big group of artistes, including seasoned-veterans and newcomers such as Prakash Raj, Nassar (who was completely wasted), L.B Sriram, Harish, Anupama Kumar, Brahmaji, Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli, Swaminathan, Muthukaalai, Pavithraa Lokesh and etc, who were adequate. But kudos to the acting crew, for getting their lip-sync spot on, especially by the lead pair, who's dubbing was taken care off by Vasu and Mahalakshmi. 

The technical crew has put in an average work, into the film. S.S Vasu's costume designing was spot on, especially for differentiating the various classes of castes in a village and also for the pretty dresses of Yami Gautham. Silva's stunt choreography was just nice, especially the one done in an orchard. K.Kadhirr's art direction was simple but neat, especially the tightly erected village houses, and the aftermath of a riot set-up in the village. The interiors of the houses, were well done, in detailing. I.J Alen's editing was not bad, though he could have spotted some obvious mistakes in the film, and trim them out of the narrative. Preetha's cinematography was quite ordinary, but appreciation for her work on the stunt sequence, shot in an orchard.

S.S Thaman's musical score, goes along with the script, and complements the story and style of presentation of the film. "Oru Graamam" is a situational song, used twice in the film, which has montages of flashbacks, presented in quick-cuts. "Mannadhachu Panthu" is a well written song by Madhan Karky, which was shot on dancers and the lead characters, with the backdrops of villages, hill-top, lakeside and etc. "Ondraai Ondraai" is an 'youth-anthem' sort of, with the dancers and extras, along with the lead artistes, dressed in denims and khakis. The locations were mostly within the village surroundings, with barren lands, and plantations, as well as quarry locations. "Maname Maname" song was only used as a background score in the film. As the same with the song, Thaman's background score too, was complementing the script, quite well.

Radha Mohan, who is aided by his close associate Viji, in the dialogues department, is known for his cute and charming story narration and sequences, interwoven into the script. 'Gouravam', is an antithesis of that elements though, where the film is just full of melodrama and outdated scenarios. Viji sparkles intermittently, especially for the humor-laced dialogues which were cheeky, but sadly the rest of them is too mundane and boring. There's no freshness in the presentation, with plenty of outdated shot compositions, being implemented ! There were unwarranted lecturing and explanations, throughout the film, which makes the proceeding to bore, for the audience. The story development was very cliched as well, and its appalling to notice Radha Mohan's film to have many silly mistakes and loop-holes littered, here and there. The film moves in a very casual-pace and only picks up some kind of momentum, late in the second half.

'Gouravam' is a decent film, with low engagement factors ! It is certainly nowhere near the league of 'Mozhi'.

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



'Udhayam NH4', was an ambitious project of Vetrimaaran with his buddy Dhanush, which unfortunately did not materialize into a full-fledged film. Now, the script has been handed down to an associate of Vetri and has a different cast, than what was initially drawn. With the big contribution of Vetrimaaran, who is known for his fantastic writing, in the scripting stage, this film promises a good and neat thriller. So, did Manimaran live up to Vetri's standard ?

Siddharth, is once again back after his last success, 'Kadhalil Sodhapuvadhu Eppadi'. He pulls in a very restrained and nonchalant performance. There is a no non-sense approach to his character, which is kind of laid-back and casual, but smart and witty. His dialogue delivery was very measured. But, somehow his role looks too obviously written with Dhanush in mind, and there are plenty of sequences, where you can imagine Dhanush and see how fitting he is for the character. No discredits to Siddharth, but the 'presence' of Dhanush in the script was inevitable, in the end. Debutant Ashrita Shetty (Devapriya has dubbed for her), fits the role of an under-aged girl, but more emotions and expressions are warranted, if she aspires to survive in the industry. Veteran Hindi artiste, Kay Kay Menon was terrific in his role as the cop. His timing and cool persona, added with the rough and arrogant nature of his job, helps him to pull off a brilliant performance. Welcome to Tamizh cinema, Kay Kay ! The rest of the cast such as Naren, Avinash, Surekha Vaani, Karthik Sabesh, Deepak, Ajay, Rohit Balaiah and etc, especially the friends characters of Siddharth were adequate.

The film carries very good technical works from the technical department. Anu and Priya's costume was adequate for each artistes' roles. Dhilip Subbarayan's stunt choreography was raw and gritty, especially the ones' done in the climax and in the clubbing arena. G.Durairaj's art work was good, especially when one is has to deal with lower budgets. The interiors of the Bengaluru apartments, as well as clubbing houses, were well detailed and convincing, but the tight spaces do show off. Kishore T.E's editing was razor sharp. There are no spaces in between dialogues, and the cuts comes in a rapid manner ! S.Saravanan handles the editing for two of the songs, which were neatly handled. R.Velraj once again proves that he is one of the best cinematographers in Tamizh cinema. The gripping, stylish and roving cinematography complements the thrill element of the script. And he is certainly one of the best, in filming darkly-lit sequences. Check out his cameo appearance in the film, as well !

G.V Prakash Kumar, who is on a roll with big films in his kitty, continues his decent form in 'Udhayam NH4' as well. "Vaa Iravugalil", is the opening number, picturized on the gang of Siddharth and his buddies, getting used to the colorful and lively night life of Bengaluru, especially in clubs and discotheques. The fast-cut editing by S.Saravanan, keeps the racy element intact and the creative statutory warning infused in between the song, was interesting. "Ore Kannaale" is a situational song and has the singer Gaana Bala, making an appearance as well. The song was picturized on a street-stage performance model, and has quirky dance moves. "Yaaro Ivan" is the melodious number, with plenty of montage sequences, shot on the lead pair, romancing in and around Bengaluru, along the beaches, streets, mall, college campus and etc. "Indrodu Thadaigal" is another fast-paced song, with neat editing by S.Saravanan and colorful lighting by R.Velraj, and G.Durairaj's set work was adequate. The background score was a little loud, and could have been more racier.

Vetrimaaran, once again proves that he is very good with his writing skills. He takes credit for the story and dialogues, and also pens the screenplay along with the director Manimaran. There's nothing new in the story, but the racy screenplay and clean narration, makes the film to click. The intelligent and unexpected twists and turns adds to the fun quotient. The comedy portions were very well handled, and Vetrimaaran's organic dialogues played a big part. The director has handled the script well, by infusing sensible, small detailing in the film, which adds more authenticity to the film (including the voice dubbing by Deepa Venkat). But Manimaran could have given more attention to the hero's role, in order to erase the 'presence' of Dhanush's personality into Siddharth's role. Besides that, disappointingly, there are some small loopholes and loose-ends in the script, which should have been rectified. The films moves in a fast pace in the first half, but looses the tautness in the second half, after key moments have gone through.

'Udhayam NH4' is a clean-cut film, which delivered what it promised. Nothing less, nothing more. A simple and clean commercial thriller, with good performances and technical outputs.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



Vijay Vasanth, is trying hard to have his big ticket to stardom with a solo hero role. In this intriguingly titled film, he gets a chance under newbie, Barani Jayapal and has Vibha Natarajan, who did a small role in 'Naan', as his pair. Touted to be a film based on real life events, how did this movie fare?

Vijay Vasanth, has some acting chops as a character artist, but as a lead hero, he is nowhere near the material of being a lead actor. He is too static with his expressions and emotion-displays. The sudden changeover of a demure, quiet boy into an action hero, is unfathomable. A word of advice, to him. Have more practice, before jumping onto the bandwagon ! Vibha Natarajan, has a pretty heavy physical role in this film. One should appreciate her for putting in strenuous efforts for all the physical activities, demanded by the script. Performance wise, she definitely has miles to go. Thambi Ramaiah, dons a small role in the film, and though he is in his elements, he fails to evoke laughter and the comedy track looks too cliched. The kids did a good job. Apart from them, the film has a good number of character artistes, such as Kaarthik, Gnanasambandhan, Neelima Rani, Prabha, Meera Krishnan, Balaji, Swaminathan and etc were sufficient enough for the script. But some of them really need acting classes, if they want to be recognized as actors in the future !

The technical department's work was adequate. A.R Ram's costume designing was not bad, keeping in mind, the various backgrounds the characters come from. 'Miracle' Michael's stunt choreography was decent. The second half fight sequence between the antagonists and an ascetic, was well choreographed. Michael shows some talents and better scripts, can bring even better work from him. M.G Sekar's art direction was neat, especially for the interiors of the old classrooms and school setting, and the contemporary middle-class homes. Praveen K.L and Srikanth N.B's editing acuteness is visible in the songs and stunt sequences, but its shocking to see National Award-winning editors to commit small, silly mistakes ! Hope more attention could have been given to the editing works ! L.K Vijay captures the fresh greenery of the undisturbed forests. The roving cinematography tries to add some pace to slow and mundane screenplay.

Ganesh Ragavendra's musical score was average. "Oru Poo Pookira" was shot on the lead pair, proposing to each other and has plenty of montages, with beaches, streets and shops as backdrops. The pick of the lot among the songs, was the "Vandhaarai Vaazha" track sung by Silambarasan. The Chennai-trumpeting song was also shot in montages, showcasing the young boys experiencing a day in Chennai. The song was obviously shot in landmark areas such as Spencer's Plaza, Mahabalipuram and the Marina beach as well. "Rathathil Nuraiya" is a situational song, picturized on the young boys on a chase and their journey to juvenile jail. "Manase Thirudiya" was picturized on the lead pair and showcase them getting married and their journey to the hometown, post-marriage. "Irulai Katti" is also a situational song appearing during the climax, shot on the lead pair, being chased by the antagonists, in the thick, green forest. The background score has nothing to shout about.

Barani Jayapal, has utilized a non-linear method for his screenplay. Though that's a clever way of narrating a script, the fault lines in the fundamental element of a film, which is, a solid script ! The purported comedy sequences using the kids, fell flat and fails to to even raise a chuckle from us ! But what's astonishing is the amount of violence thrust into the script and that too portraying kids as archetypal Tamizh cinema antagonists, with cruel and criminal mindsets ! The morale-lesson Barani tries to convey is understandable, but there is no justification nor conviction in portraying those kids, dabbling in such blood-soaked violence. What's worse is the insipid romance portions between Vijay and Vibha, which is lacking in any emotions nor feelings ! The director has failed to extract good performances from his artistes, as well.

'Mathil Mel Poonai' - a miserable film with no sense of continuity nor engagement !

Ratings: 1/5 STARS



'Delhi Belly' was a rebel amongst films which got released in the year it was done so. It was a truly different attempt and the profanity-laden film was a smash hit. Now, director R.Kannan, whose previous, 'Vandhaan Vendraan' is an absolute dud, tries to adapt the script to Tamizh cinema, in 'Settai'. Now that's a very tricky and tight rope to walk, as Tamizh cinema is notorious for shunning brazenly themed films. But R.Kannan has managed to somehow make it work, to an extent of even getting a 'U' certificate for the film ! Now, that's an eye-opening worth attempt. So is the 'Settai', truly naughty in nature ?

For Arya, this film should be a cake walk, as there's nothing challenging for him to do so. But its somewhat weird to see him have this disinterested and insipid performance throughout the film. There's no zing to his performance, and whatever emoting made, were just customary. His compatriots though were much better. Premgi Amaren, has a 'different' role this time, as he gets to be more subdued, compared to his previous roles. There must be a reason, why Santhanam is now titled as "Comedy Superstar". He is the real saving grace of the film, as he packs in all his usual punchlines, and being in a adult comedy film, he was definitely in his comfort zone. But as you get to see more and more of him these days, his jokes are getting to be predictable. Nevertheless, he still brings the chuckle out from us ! Hansika Motwani, was apt for her role as the glamorous bimbo, but has little time space. Anjali gets to play the better character of the heroines, and though she is a good performer, she does not look comfy in that polished, modern look. Deepa Venkat's dubbing for her was a good changeover for the character, but someone else would have pulled off an even more convincing performance. Plus, she really needs to keep her shape, checked ! Nassar proves that what experience means as an actor. His composed and cool performance as the antagonist, is a treat. The rest of the cast such as Subbu Panchu, Ali, Manobala, Pradeep Ghabra, Chitra Letchumanan, Suja Varunee, Nakshatra Nagesh, Sayaji Shinde, Balaji and etc sufficed the need of the script.

Deepali Noor's costume designing was a treat. All the characters looked their role, perfectly and more importantly, showed off the nature of the characters, themselves. Silva's stunt sequence was well choreographed, especially the climax shooting and chase. Videsh does a very good job in the art department, with the intricately detailed, yet simple sets for the film. The bachelors' room, the half-furnished post apartment, the hotel room, and song sets were well erected and looked authentic. Leo John Paul's editing is slick, as he keeps the duration of the film crisp and also maintaining the pace of the screenplay. The climax shooting sequence was a nicely edited. P.G Muthiah's cinematography was clean and neat. His color tone was apt for each sequences as the screenplay travels, and his lighting works out well, especially for the bachelors' room sequences, which brings out the natural look and feel. Also, the slow motion effect for the climax shooting portion, was well handled by the ace cinematographer.

S.S Thaman's music score for the film is decent and pleasant. "Laila Oh Laila" was picturized on the triumvirate of Arya-Santhanam-Premgi, who were present on a set of a song shooting. Neetu Chandra does a hot, special appearance here. And the song storyboard progresses into Santhanam, dreaming of dancing along with Neetu, but of course, 'intervened' occasionally by the other two. The camera movement and editing work complemented each other, in this song. "Arjuna Arjuna" was picturized on Arya and Hansika, in a half-furnished posh apartment, set. The pristine white, ambiance is a feast for the eye, and P.G Muthiah has captured the good color tone of the set work, such as blue and monochromatic colors. The slow motion effects, coupled with some wide angles, were put to good use as well. "Neethaandi Osthe Ponna" was shot on Premgi, in a wacky costume, gate crashing at his ex-lover's wedding function. The brightly-lit stage setting, brings out the fun factor of the song, which has some quirky lines. "Poyum Poyum" was shot on Arya and Anjali, romancing in the beautiful, natural landscapes Swiss mountains. The cool ambiance complements the song, and there are plenty of shots of beautiful lakes, highlands, and valleys. "Agalaadhey Agalaadhey", whereas was shot on Arya and Hansika, dancing in and around city streets of Switzerland. The archetypal street alleys, city landmarks and a couple of foreign dancers are all there, and funnily the song reminds us of Arya's "Thathi Thathi" number from 'Boss Engira Baskaran'. The theme song, which is inspired from the original, "Bhaag D.K Bose" of 'Delhi Belly', appears towards the climax and during the end credits. There is a cool remix of "Ponaal Pogattum Poda" song, which is a replacement of the "Saigal Blues" number appearing in 'Delhi Belly'. The background score is apt for the film, with some quirky sounds, edited into the score.

 Off-color humor theme has not been tried out in Tamizh cinema before. The crude, toilet jokes have been deemed to be impervious for Tamizh audiences. So, it is a risky experiment for R.Kannan in adapting Akshat Varma's story and screenplay into a Tamizh film. But what we get to see, in the end is a tamer version of 'Delhi Belly' with the adaptation being handled by three heads, which are R.Kannan, G.Dhananjayan and John Mahendran. They have toned down much of the original's content, while retaining most of the sequences. The adult jokes were the actual highlights and USP of the original, hence when you tone down the content, you get a lesser intended impact. But still credits to R.Kannan, for handling the necessary toilet humor sequences, such as when Nassar gets to inspect the apparent 'diamonds' for the first time, well. It did bring out the intended effects. But its bewildering to notice some inexplicable creative decisions taken by the team. Why is the film set in Mumbai (with a posh Tamizh newspaper office !), when every character speaks Tamizh, in the first place ?! The first half of the film moves in a dull pace, but picks up in the second half, thanks to the crackling dialogues spewed by Santhanam. Though the dialogues were handled by John Mahendra, who does a fairly neat job, Santhanam deserves a big share of the credit, since he was in charge of the dialogues of the comedy portions.

'Settai' is mischievous in sporadic moments, but does not have the unabashed dirty 'spirit' of 'Delhi Belly'. A 'domestic' version of a 'wild' product.

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Director Pandiraj, who debuted with the charming 'Pasanga', has dabbled in different attempts before, such as 'Vamsam' and 'Marina'. All three films were different from each other, but he has realized that his forte is comedy, and that's a safe bet in current circumstances, at the box office. With two upcoming small budget, safe-bets in Vemal and Sivakarthikeyan, Pandiraj has promised a clean film with a good dosage of comedy. Did he succeed ?

Vemal was flawless in his role, as it is his comfort zone, playing middle-class, youngster. He certainly has improved very much, in dialogue delivery and voice modulation. He looks more confident in dance and emotional scenes as well. Neat job ! Sivakarthikeyan was exploited of his terrific comedy timing and good mimicry skills. It is second nature to him in delivering 'killer-blow' punch dialogues, since he was a versatile television presenter before. His dancing capabilities are not bad, either. More good films, and this top-notch entertainer, will find huge success in Tamizh cinema ! Bindu Madhavi, plays a good foil as Vemal's pair. She gets to play a "different" Tamizh heroine, contradicting the norms of such backdrop-based films. She gets to bash the hero, for a change and plays the more assertive one, rather than the hero ! Whereas, Regina Cassandra is a breathe of fresh air, and this girl is good in what she does. With her experiences of doing Telugu films beforehand, her expressions and performance have an unbidden nature to it, a far cry from her 'Kanda Naal Mudhal' days ! If she dubs in her own voice, it would do wonders for her. Soori was havoc in the film, with his exceptional dialogue delivery and comedy timing ! He was at complete ease in his role, and delivers the dialogues at the right note, ensuring the comedy hits on the right moment ! This film will be one of his best in his repertoire. The rest of the supporting cast such as 'Delhi' Ganesh, Sujatha, Gopal, Muthuraman, Manoj Kumar and etc were apt for the roles they played.

K.Natraj's costume designing and G.Vijayakumar's make-up sense, was very much in tune with the script. They ensured the lead folks, looked their roles, without being too flashy. Especially for the heroines, as both girls were looking as the simple and sweet girl-next-door. Rajeevan's art direction was spotless, in terms of quality. He created authentic market and bar settings for the songs and the props for the election sequences, were very authentic and immaculate. Athiyappan Siva's editing was smooth, but he could have done a little trimming in the first half, as there are couple of standalone, unwarranted sequences. Rajashekar's stunt work was over-the-top, but it was in dictation of the script and scene. Vijay's cinematography complements the backdrop of the film's setting, and he captures the native look and feel of Tiruchi quite well, with the RED Pro 5.0. His poised handling of the camera movement, adds strength to the scenes, especially those which were shot indoors.

Yuvan Shankar Raja's tunes were simple and neat for 'Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga'. The peppy "Oru Porambokku" sung by him, together with Silambarasan, was picturized on the triumvirate of Vemal, Sivakarthikeyan, Soori and as well as with the other friend character. The song is about the negativeness of drinking and ironically, it was shot showing the characters enjoying drinking and dancing for the apparent "one, final time". Rajeevan's set work, especially the brightly-lit street set-up was very authentic. Vijay's framing sense was apt as well. "Konjum Kili" was shot on the Vemal and Bindu. It was shot in real locations, such as temples, streets and markets. The color tone of the song was suitable and he captured the facial expressions of the artistes, quite well. "Suda Suda" was shot on Sivakarthikeyan and Regina, and has plenty of montages, edited into the song. It too was shot on plenty of real locations such as railway station, market, streets, railway tracks and etc. "Ulladha Naan" has the backdrop of a campaign election, and was shot on the main leads, in their council election campaign. The props and set-up by Rajeevan was top-notch. "Deivangal Ellame" is a situational song, with montages of the difficult moments in the lead heroes' lives. The background score was good as usual, with some typical melodious hook-lines, used sparingly. 

Judging from what Pandiraj has done, its quite evident that he has put his bets on comedy. His clarity in it is laudable, and kudos to him for coming up with a neat and family-friendly film, with plenty of fun-filled moments. The strength of Pandiraj, is his witty dialogues. Starting off with Samuthirakani's voice-over, Pandiraj has packed the first half, with gags over gags. The dialogues were very cleverly written, and shines with good creativity. Pandiraj (he does appear in the film along with the editor Athiyappan and dance choreographer Dinesh, before the credits) has come up with novel, but funny sequences throughout the film, and has extracted the correct level of performance from his artistes. His antithetical situations and dialogues reminds us of Pandiyarajan's movies of the 80's and 90's, unmistakably. But, the script takes a sharp diversion in the climax, and out of a sudden, you get to see some melodramatic moments and sentimental dialogues. And that's when we realize Pandiraj's notion of wrapping his intended message, with loads of comedic gags. Also, its a little bizarre to notice his heroines mellowing to the charms of the heroes out of the blue, in the second half, whereas they were in resistance, throughout the first half ! Apart from this minor blips, the film was presented neatly and packaged properly, with the correct dosage of comedy, romance, songs and sentiments, without going too preachy nor draggy.

'Kedi Billa Killadi Ranga' is levity-filled fun film, which is good for unwinding on a stressful day.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



'Chennaiyil Oru Naal', if the official remake of the critically acclaimed Malayalam film, 'Traffic', which actually piqued the interest of 'Ulaga Nayagan' Dr. Kamal Haasan, who wanted to remake it himself. Though course of nature diverted it from him, the script did come to Tamizh, and has been produced by Raadhika Sarathkumar, in collaboration with Listin Stephen. With a noble message, in the form of organ donation, how did the film fare ?

Whom to start with, in regards to the cast ? Especially when you have a stellar cast list, wherein one can find tons of experiences !! The main roles were all played by exceptional actors. Sarathkumar as the smart police commissioner, Cheran as the redemption-seeking constable, Prakash Raj as the narcissistic film star, Prasanna as the guilt-driven surgeon, Raadhika as the frustrated by supportive wife and mother, Parvathi Menon as the heartbroken girlfriend, Jayaprakash and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan as the grieving parents, each and every one of them were strong in terms of performance. Adding more strength to the film, the rest of the cast such as Iniya, Sachin, Mithun, Aishwarya Devan, Mallika, Manobala, Santhana Bharathi, Subbu Panchu, Vijayakumar, Bala Singh, Raju Krishnamoorthy 'Kitty', Udhayakumar, Devan, R.J Dheena, Akshara, Vaishali and Gabriella Charlton were equally good, in their assigned roles. Also, we have Suriya making a cameo appearance towards the climax and also during the end credits, giving his thoughts on the issue of organ donation. Its a rarity in Tamizh cinema, to have such an ensemble cast in a single film, and that too with very good acting ! Kudos to the team!

Selvam's costume designing and Muthukrishnan's make-up was very much apt for the cast, who all looked the role they were carrying. Perhaps, the make-up could have been handled more diligently, for some characters, in order to have a proper continuity. 'Miracle' Michael's action choreography was more of vehicle handling, and it was not bad. Vinesh Banglan's art direction was simple and efficient. Be it the hospital setting, the interiors of the different styles of houses, shown (be it posh apartments, bungalows or middle-class flats), the hi-tech police chamber and etc. All the backdrops looked perfect and spotless. Job, well done ! Mahesh Narayanan's editing work was interesting, and adds strength to the film, especially when the script has multi-narration and characters, with several timelines. The necessary fast-cuts, adds to the excitement and tension the script, creates. Shehnad Jalal's cinematography was good, especially for the super-fact chasing sequences, and also for his interesting angles, especially when it involves several characters in one scene or sequence. Mejo Joseph's music score was average, though. "Un Thozhil" is the introductory song for Sachin and Parvathi Menon, who play a couple-in-love. The song was picturized with typical dance and montage sequences interspersed and was shot in multi-location such as highways, harbor, malls and etc. "Mannil Ulla Manithan" has montages of all the main characters, living their daily life. Mahesh's smooth editing for the song, is commendable. "Yen Yen Yen", comes at the climax, which has a race-against-time theme and plenty of rapid cut-shots. It was picturized on Cheran, Prasanna and Mithun on their mission to deliver the donated heart, in a dense housing colony. The background score, was too melodramatic and loud in certain sequences, which devalues the intended impact of some sequences.

Starting off with Samuthirakani's voice-over, Bobby and Sanjay's hyperlink script, which has multi-narration, multi-character and multi-timeline, was brilliantly written. The screenplay unravels slowly but steadily and picks up plenty of pace in the second half, especially with the unpredictable twists and turns, during intense moments ! They have struck a nice balance of emotional quotient and thrilling moments in the film. But the overtly done, frenzied, mad-rush climax with a heavy and fast song playing in the back, only gives a 'filmy' effect, rather than a class act, which could have been avoided. The emotional quotient of the film, could have easily warranted highly-charged dialogues, Ajayan Bala must be appreciated for penning simple dialogues. But there are scenes which could have been accentuated by intellectual dialogues, which would have given more depth to the screenplay. Besides that, there is an uncanny dose of Malayalam flavor in the writing, which should have been altered, to suit Tamizh nativity. Shaheed Kader has earnestly tried his best to be sincere to the original Malayalam script, and kudos to him for lucid vision in the execution of the script. Applaudable work from the writers but there are continuity mistakes in the film, which the director, should have taken note off.

'Chennaiyil Oru Naal' could have been a classic and classy film, if it was handled by more experienced and talented crew. A potential unforgettable great film, becomes "just" a good film. But still, congratulations for the brilliant effort of the cast and crew.

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



'Maranthen Mannithean', is touted to be based on real life events which occurred in Andhra Pradesh during the 1986 floods. With a captivating idea as the backbone, debutante director, Kumar Nagendra, has assembled a cast, which is acceptable for both, Tamizh and Telugu audiences. With 'Isaignai' Ilaiyaraaja on board, what does this film hold for us ?

Aadhi, back after his 'Aravaan', looks good and fit for the role of a fisherman. He has worked out well on his physique and is at ease during stunt and dance sequences, but he has to have more clarity, in terms of emoting, as he goes too contemporary. Lakshmi Manchu, who has also produced the film, plays the role of the heroine. She tries her best to emote and act, but she looks too 'polished' and matured for the role of a young village belle, and her appearance doesn't help either, as she looks much more matured and older than her male pairs ! Chinmayee's dubbing for her, further accentuated the 'polished' element of hers. Sundeep was not bad in his role. Taapsee Pannu, plays an irrelevant and insignificant role in the film. Her character is highly sexual in behavior, who seems to always lust for the hero, just because he accidentally touched her, once ! Her slim and trim figure has been exploited by the camera, purely for titilation factor ! The rest of the cast such as Ravi Babu, Bala Singh, Ramesh, Jeeva, Annapurna, Suja Varunee and etc sufficed the need of the director's script.

The work of the technical department, leaves a lot to be desired, considering the scale of the script. Murali Kondetti's art direction plays a vital part in the film. The village and after-flood scenario of the village has to be created convincingly enough, in order to have the authentic look. Blame it on lack of funds, the art director had to resort to using miniatures to create the village, and to cover it up with VFX. Unfortunately, the result was very tacky, added with the below par VFX work by ECS and EVA Motion Studios. The usage of green screen and miniature was very much evident in the film. M.R Varmaa's editing was not bad, though better works could have been carried out, especially for the flood scenes. M.R Palani Kumaar's cinematography, is the only highlight of the film. He tries to cover-up the below-par patch works, in the art department and also canned some beautiful shots of the magnificent Godavari river. Ganesh's stunt choreography was well handled, especially the night fight sequence, shot on the riverbed.

'Isaignai' Ilaiyaraaja's music was sadly, bland and boring. "Kuthikudhamma" is the introductory song for Aadhi and has plenty of shots of the Godavari river. The song was picturization on Aadhi and his gang, dancing around lakes and riverbeds, interspersed with some montages. "Chikki Mukki" was shot on Aadhi and Taapsee, also shot on riverbeds and barren lands, coupled with some shots taken on simple and decently erected sets. "Raathiri Nerathu" is a rehash of 'Isaignani's' classic "Aasaiye Kaathule" from 'Johnny'. The song was shot in a very crass manner, focusing on the ample assets of Mumaith Khan, and also with shots of Aadhi and Taapsee, having an illicit tryst of one-night-stand. "Alaiyodu" is a montage song shot on Sundeep and Lakshmi, picturizing their growth from kids to young adults. The song was mostly shot in and around the village areas. "Engu Irukku" is a song, again shot on Sundeep and Lakshmi, who are on a mission of spotting and buying the 'perfect' rooster for cockfight. "En Ooru" is another crass song, this time shot on Suja Varunee, gyrating and prancing with the villagers and Sundeep, in a simple stage backdrop. Raja sir's background score is impressive in certain places, but sounds too contemporaneous.

Apart from the shoddy VFX, the biggest drawback of the film, was the horrendous dubbing. What was the intention of the director and producer ? To do a bilingual film or a straight Telugu film, which can be dubbed into Tamizh ? End of the day, it is indeed a straight Telugu film, which has been dubbed for the Tamizh market, sparing a few scenes. What's the need for a couple of original scenes, when all that you're going to do is to simply dub ? The directorial work was poor, with bad continuity issues, unimpressive story telling and unemotionally-charged sequences. Though the story is based on P.V.S Rama Rao's novel, the flood element, was only used as an initial attention-grabber, rather than being the main backdrop of the film. There's no cohesion in the screenplay, and the script is just plainly insipid, in terms of writing.

Tamizh cinema audiences are known to forgive and forget. 'Maranthen Mannithean' - No pun intended, Kumar Nagendra ?

Ratings: 1.5/5 STARS



Tha. Prabhu Raja Cholan, a former associate of Shankar makes his debut as a director in the uniquely titled, 'Karuppampatti'. Started three years ago, 'Karuppampatti' finally sees the day, and luckily the hero Ajmal, has a better market, thanks to the big success of 'Ko'. With interesting locations such as Paris and the extreme opposite of it, in rural Tamil Nadu villages, 'Karuppampatti' promises a good and family-friendly time for the viewers. But is it really good as a film ?

This is Ajmal's first film as an out-and-out hero or as the protagonist. It is quite evident that he has performed sincerely, though his reactions do tend to go overboard at times. Probably, more experience could have helped him to be more composed. But kudos to him for attempting to play two diametrically different roles and has worked well, in displaying the difference between both the roles, which are set in different eras. Ajmal shows some promise and with more films, he can scale the heights of stardom. Aparna Bajpai would have probably bagged this role, thanks to her role in 'Eesan' which she did long time back. She too has the opportunity to perform in two roles but sadly, her roles were not sketched out properly, nor do they have any significant importance to the film. Her sweet smile and pleasant appearance, is a plus for her, though. M.S Bhaskar handles the comedy portions of the first half, and he was good with his dialogue delivery and modulation. Meanwhile, its Jagan and Srinath, who takes care of the humor quotient in the second half. Jagan, was pretty good, particularly with his dialogue delivery and expressions, whereas Srinath was too loud and irritating. A big troupe of supporting artistes are there, such as Devadarshini, Chetan, Ganesh, Alex, Mahadevan, R.S.G Chelladurai, Balasubramaniam, Prem and etc, and many of them have left their mark, wherever they could.

The technical output of the film was not bad, surprisingly. Vasugi Bhaskar has done a good job, on a low budget, especially when it comes to the fashion styles of the 70's and the current generation. But more work could have done to make the characters of the village folks of the 70's to look more authentic and believable. Abdul Razak's make-up sufficed the needs of the artistes. 'Rock' Prabhu's stunt was simple and cleanly executed by Ajmal. Production designers, Vengal Ravi and Veeramani should be lauded for their simple, yet efficient art direction. The props and background were convincingly done to represent the specific eras portrayed in the film. The interiors and props for the 70's era, was the highlight, together with the sets for the songs. B.Lenin's editing was just perfect for the film, without making it too draggy. Santhosh Sriram and Sanjeevi Sathyaseelan, handled the cinematography department very well. The camera movements and framing were perfect, as well as the clarity in their works, especially for the village portions.

Kannan's tunes for the film was average and not really hum-worthy. "Kannamma" is the first song, which is a bit song, picturized on village girls, celebrating the festival, by playfully pouring turmeric-contained water on men. It has good camera movements and nice black-and-white tone to it. "Oh Indira" has Telugu actress Archana doing a dance jig with Ajmal, in a simple, yet flashy club set. The lighting was particularly bright, which captured the essence and mood of the song quite well. "Naughty Raja" had very bright and colorful lighting in the set work, which resembled the 70's hippie disco backdrop. The editing for the song was neatly done, so that it resembles similar type of songs, picturized in those days. "Karuppampatti" is a typical village song, with the Pongal celebration as the backdrop. It had plenty of dancers and the colorful festivity mood, in the air, especially with the big number of sugar canes used for the song. "Adaleru Kaalai" is another celebratory village song, this time glorifying the victorious state of the protagonist in a bull-fight. It too has similar colorful ambiance and plenty of dancers, with plantation fields, serving as the backdrop. The background score was just normal, and there's nothing much to discuss about it.

Tha. Prabhu Raja Cholan, must be credited for earnestly trying to be as original as he could, wherever the script necessitates. For example, the liberal use of French during the Paris portions, the non-stereotyping of villagers as the supreme good human and the usage of black-and-white tone for the flashback sequences. The detailing is evident, but it is not enough, in terms of his script writing.  We are not given enough justification or rationale explanations on why the senior Ajmal was averse to his fellow villagers, though he is one among them. Some characters just vanish without leaving any mark on the screenplay and the the junior Ajmal's comfortable assimilation into the supposedly, "alien" village, is too good to be true. And the integration of all the characters into the village once again, was just too simple. All these only showcase the lazy writing of the director. Its puzzling to note how the director can leave out a simply detail in the dialogues portion, especially for the younger Ajmal, who seems to be uttering more English, instead of French ! He grew up in Paris, didn't he ? The director has set his sight in capturing the family audience's attention, but the script lacks the zing and the intensity of the emotional quotient, needed for such family dramas. Perhaps, Tha. Prabhu Raja Cholan would have intended for a light-hearted, simple film yet, it fails to fully engage us.

'Karuppampatti' is watchable in bits and pieces. A more deft, script-writing could have helped the film, to achieve its actual intention.

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



Set in the 1990's era of the violent North Madras area, 'Sundaattam' has the culture of carom board gambling as its backdrop, with a love story laced within it. Irfan of 'Kanaa Kaanum Kaalangal' series fame, plays the role of the hero, accompanied by a debutante heroine, Arunthathi. Debutante director Brahma G.Dev, shows some promise, with good detailing, but will his directorial and writing skill, be worth the watch ?

Irfan may have the camera-exposure experience, but he is certainly, no hero material. For now ! He lacks the energy and fizz needed to carry the machismo of a Tamizh cinema hero. He has to fine tune his voice modulation and also experiment more to make up for the lack of screen presence. Meanwhile, debutante Arunthathi, shows some promise with her confident performance. She carries her role well, and its not often we get to see such tall heroines. More good roles, and she has a good career, in front of her. Madhu as the antagonist, had the looks required for his role. But his voice lacks the grittiness, needed. The rest of the cast such as Naren, Stalin, Sendraj, Harris Musa, Sree Latha, Kumar, Sujatha, Misha and Vinoth, were apt for their roles.

Jeyaraj's costume designing was apt for the characters, pertaining to particular sections and area of society. 'Super' Subbarayan and 'Action' Prakash's stunt choreography was neatly done, with no exaggerated kicks and punches. Mohana Magendran's art direction was not bad, especially for the market street set-up as the main backdrop for the film and as well as the interiors of the carom club and the protagonist's house. Good job, indeed. L.V Thasson's editing was crisp, keeping the film not too boring and lengthy, with no abrupt jumps. But he must avoid making mistakes by retaining shots for different time period of the film. P.Balagurunathan's cinematography was in tune with the mood and backdrop setting of the script. The raw and edgy look was maintained throughout the film, and the night shots, were well handled, with good exposure lights. The color tone of the film, further complemented the cinematography, pretty well.

Newcomer Britto handles the song compositions of the film. "Adi Unnale" is a good melody number, which was picturized on the market set, with typical rain-and-dance mode, showing the hero falling for the heroine and dreaming of her. The lighting for the song was well handled. "Vizhiyil Vithai" is a situational song, which glorifies the uprising of the hero in the carom gamble scenario and his rivalry with his nemesis. With plenty of montages, the focus was on the hero and the villain, depicting their emotions, in the up-rise and downfall, respectively. The pick of the album, "Narumughaye" is a beautiful and sweet melody, with typical montage picturization of the hero-heroine couple in their love escapades, shot mostly in streets, beaches and in running buses. "Nethiyile" is the only song composed by Arunagiri, and is about the death of an elderly man. A situational song, it was shot with a good number of dancers with song montages slipped in between, in a funeral backdrop. "Kan Kondu" is a pathos song, showing the hero in search of his missing heroine, in sequences of montages, with plenty of close-ups. "Kadhal Varum Varai" is the final song, which was used only like a bit song, picturized on the hero and heroine, getting back together, with the beach and highway as the backdrop. The background score was handled by Achu, and he shows his promising talent, with fine touches of melody here and there.

Debutant Brahma G.Dev's script is shown to be based in the 90's, but honestly, nothing in the film reminded us of that particular time period, except for some film posters and the absence of 21st century gadgetry. It still puzzles, as to why he decided to have that aspect. The only element which reminds us of that time era, is the outdated love-blossoming sequences, which were as old as the hills. His attempt in capturing the dark and gritty North Madras ambiance, is laudable, though. Brahma G.Dev's script lacks the same grittiness needed, as it is too simple and straight-forward. There is nothing interesting which hooks us to the movie. There is no coherent screenplay and certain sequences stands out like a sore thumb, for no reasons. The antagonist lacks attitude needed for the role and though the voice modulation was good, it was not sufficient enough. Brahma G.Dev fails to notch up a clear-cut theme line for his film, which results in his screenplay wandering aimlessly.

Brahma G.Dev could have been roughly inspired by Vetrimaaran's 'Pollathavan'. Hence, the raw output.

Ratings: 1.75/5 STARS