After the critically-acclaimed dark and morbid ' Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum', director Mysskin is back and intriguingly, he has chose horror as his next genre. Being an atheist and joining hands with fellow hard-hitting director Bala as the producer, it definitely piques the interest of Tamizh audience. Produced under Bala's B Studios, can Mysskin pull of another brilliant piece of work ?

Naga, an assistant director of Bala, makes his debut as an actor and he excels in his role. The hard work he put in, for learning the violin-playing techniques, paid of well. Though his characterization reminds us of Prasanna's character from 'Anjaathey', Naga commands a good screen presence and hope he chooses proper scripts which can elevate his status in Tamizh industry. Debutante actress Prayaga Martin, looks angelic as herself, but unfortunately she's the purported "pisaasu" of the film and is seen only in her make-up. Kudos for the arduous and grueling task she had to go through. Hope this charming lass becomes a household name in Tamizh cinema. Radha Ravi's performance was an absolute screamer and the veteran literally stole the show, in those emotional scenes ! Hope we get to see more of such performances from this ace character artiste. Harish Uthaman, Kani Kusruti, Kalyani Natarajan, Arnold, John, Om Selva, Bala and etc make up for the rest of the cast and they ably supported the main leads.

On the technical front, 'Pisaasu' is definitely top-notch and Mysskin has extracted wonderful work from his technicians. The action scene choreographed by Mysskin himself with additional output from Tony Leung Siu-hung, was brilliantly staged and beautifully picturized. It's very realistic and raw, but relevant to the nature of the scene. Gopinath's editing was in tandem with Mysskin's style of story presentation. The film's pace and flow was very apt for Mysskin's style and the duration of the film was kept in check. The sharp cuts for the sequences involving the ghost, made the trick, in spooking or freaking us out at the most unexpected of times. Art direction is handled by Jayashree Lakshminarayanan, and the all important protagonist's apartment setup was aesthetically done. The plenty of space in the apartment complemented Mysskin's wide-angle type scenes. Cinematography by Ravi Roy was excellent, especially with all the wide-angle shots, low-angle shots, long shots, slow-motion technique, static camera and the usage of GoPro camera, were very creatively used and re-establishes Mysskin's own style of scene presentation. The lighting was very well taken care, and its important for such scripts, especially when you involve the horror element. The way some scenes were framed, asked for our undivided attention ! Equally impressive was Arrol Corelli's background score. The solo song, "Nadhi Pogum" sung by Uthra Unnikrishnan, was shot on the protagonist, who plays a pathos piece on his violin, and surrounded by beggars and physically-challenged. The subway shots were very well framed and the song catches our attention, with its sad mood. Arrol Corelli's background score is heavy in violin-based re-recording and it serves like an ode to 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja. The heavy tone delivers the right mood and apt depth for the emotional sequences, as well as for the hair-raising moments. Certainly a talent to look out for !

What makes Mysskin's 'Pisaasu' stand out from the regular horror films, is the innovative story-line and the emotional hook, which is the surprise package. Mysskin's compelling presentation, his visual sense, the gripping scene development, everything screams brand "MYSSKIN". The various camera angles associated with his films like the wide-angle, low-angle, static camera, frozen shots and in 'Pisaasu', the usage of GoPro camera, worked out tremendously well for the film. The element of colors as the point of focus, too was very obvious with 'Pisaasu'. Even comedy was very well handled in the film, and its great to watch how Mysskin intertwined humor and scare factor into a single scene, in his own style. The only potential low-point of the film, would be the weak emotional bonding in the "romance" portion. There is no affirmative scene which establishes the importance or reason for the love to be present in the first place. 'Pisaasu' proves that Mysskin has grown into or developed into an extraordinary filmmaker, with his own stamp of film-making style (scene visualization and thematic elements), if you compare it with his earlier films. This uncompromising way of scripting and presenting a film, deserves a big round of applause.

'Pisaasu' - Simple, yet terrifyingly scripted and executed.

Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS



Creating one of the biggest buzz of the year, 'Lingaa' was eagerly expected by each and every die-hard fans of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth, because it has been 4 long years, since his last live action film, 'Endhiran'. Besides that, he is making a comeback under the baton of K.S Ravikumar, who gave two of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's biggest blockbusters, 'Muthu' and 'Padayappa'. This combo has tried to resuscitate their pairing with 'Lingaa' after the 'Jaggubhai' and 'Rana' got dropped for various reasons. The name 'Superstar' Rajinikanth itself is enough to generate enormous buzz and expectations. Can 'Lingaa' satiate the hunger of his millions of fans ?

'Superstar' Rajinikanth is an eternal style icon and the man proves that age is no barrier for his dashing presence and energetic performance. He holds your entire attention when he is on the screen and the matinee idol looks great in his stylish costumes, although the make-up was a little tacky. The period portion featuring the star as Prince cum Collector cum civil engineer Raja Lingeshwaran is an absolute treat for the audience, because this is the 'Superstar' Rajinikanth everyone wishes to see. You get all the machismo factor and the occasional philosophical lines, which, catches your attention instantaneously, especially when he mouths it nonchalantly. Anushka Shetty's role has some bearing on the script, and nothing much more. She definitely has to take care of her weight, though ! Bollywood A-lister, Sonakshi Sinha makes her Tamizh debut and her pan-Indian looks, makes her fit for her role as a common woman of the 1930's era. Chinmayi's dubbing for her works out in her favor but her character has minimal weightage on the script. Santhanam, brings in his usual fantastic comic-timing and his dialogues are a scream in certain places. Jagapati Babu as the antagonist, was unfortunately wasted and his characterization was poorly written. The rest of the star cast includes veteran director K.Viswanath, Karunakaran, Balaji, Dev Gill, Brahmanandam, Radha Ravi, Vijayakumar, 'Nizhalgal' Ravi, R.Sundarrajan, Manobala, 'Crane' Manohar, Anu Mohan, Falk Columbo, William Orendorff and etc.

'Lingaa' is technically rich with superior production design and grandeur attached to it. Nikhaar Dhawan's costume designing was simple, yet stylish and colorful. 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's lightweight costumes, enabled him to showcase his usual speed, yet at the same very colorful and stylish. Sonakshi Sinha's looks were well maintained for the talkie portions and she looks graceful in the song, as well. Action choreography is handled by T.Ramesh and Lee Whittaker. The action scene involving 'Superstar' Rajinikanth as Raja Lingeshwaran, on top of the train was brilliantly choreographed and superbly staged. But what happened in the climax hot-air balloon scene is a complete shocker, and 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's larger-than-life quotient was simply overblown ! Production design by Sabu Cyril and the art direction by his assistant A.Amaran deserves great round of applause for their arduous task of creating a huge, dam-like set, which must look like in an  under-construction stage, in a record-breaking short time ! Its nearly equivalent to a Shankar-type set work, and the 1930's period looks was very aptly captured. The various set work for the songs, too deserves mention, although most of them reminds of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's 'Sivaji - The Boss'. Samjith MHD's editing could have been much better, especially with the continuity and flow of the screenplay in the second half. The excessive duration of the film, is also a minus point from the editing perspective. VFX, supervised by P.C Sanath, is a big disappointment, especially in the climax portion, and it looks very tacky. To blame it on the production cost or on less availability of time, can only be decided by the makers !  The film wouldn't have looked this good on screen, if not for R.Rathnavelu's cinematography. His top-angle shots for the Linganamakki Dam, situated in the Shimoga district of Karnatae, were real treat to the eyes. The color correction for the period look, shot in Mysore and other districts of Karnataka, was top-notch. The usage of Red Dragon 6K camera and the Phantom Flex 4K for the train action sequence, deserves a round of applause. The lighting for the train-fight scene, is a must see !

Musical score by A.R Rahman, is hugely disappointing because none of his songs, stands out impressively and all of them are just temporary listens. The imperative S.P Balasubrahmanyam opening song, "Oh Nanba" was shot in dazzling urban locations of Macau and also in the luxurious Ferrari World, located in Abu Dhabi. 'Superstar' Rajinikanth was given space to dance, backed up by hundreds of foreign dancers. "Mona Gasolina" brings us the energetic Mano as the voice of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and the energy was equally matched by our 'Superstar' Rajinikanth. The song shot on 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and Anushka had various dreamy sequences such as the pirates theme, cowboy theme and futuristic space-ship theme as backdrop and each sets were well designed by Sabu Cyril and A.Amaran. "En Mannavane" is the duet shot on 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha and it has the typical Bollywood color and flavor to it, be it the costumes of the lead artistes or even the colorful and beautiful set, put up for the song. The lighting for the song looks amazing, and brings out the richness and splendor of the set. "Indiane Vaa" is a situational song featuring 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and most of the cast, depicting the construction of the dam, shot near the Jog Falls and the Linganamakki Dam, looks majestic and involves most of the star cast. The follow-up pathos song, "Unmai Orunaal" has montages of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth facing a crisis and appears immediately after the previous song. A.R Rahman's background score is impressive only in a few places and it proves that the ace musician needs ample of time, to deliver quality music.

The story of 'Lingaa' was written by Ponkumaran and is loosely based on Colonel John Pennycuick CSI, a British Army engineer and civil servant, who undertook the construction of Mullaiperiyar Dam. K.S Ravikumar takes charge of the screenplay, dialogues and direction. Apart from the philosophical dialogues uttered by the senior 'Superstar' Rajinikanth, K.S Ravikumar fails in the other two components. The screenplay has poor flow and continuity and has no spunk or zing in it. 'Muthu' and 'Padayappa' worked tremendously well, due to the right placing of comedy, action and emotional scenes, but more importantly it had strong emotional thread and a powerful antagonist, respectively. But none of them is present in 'Lingaa' and the film fails to rise above its flaws, even with the presence of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth. The writing looks very much 1980's material and is no-way in tune with current trend. The whole script lacked proper writing and its astonishing to note that K.S Ravikumar had a team of screenplay & script-writers to fine tune this script ! What were the makers thinking when they came out with that ridiculous action scene in the climax, can only be explained by the makers themselves. Its perplexing to note that K.S Ravikumar can take the audience for granted, especially when the film involves 'Superstar' Rajinikanth, who can easily get the best of artistes and technicians for his films. Why not come out with a decent script and a racy screenplay, and execute it properly ? 

'Lingaa' - 'Superstar' Rajinikanth to the rescue !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



One of the most eagerly expected movies of the year, 'Kaaviyathalaivan' brings G.Vasanta Balan back to the forefront after the average 'Aravaan' released in 2012. A period film, based in the 1930's and depicting the golden age of Madurai's theater companies and its artistes' lifestyle, is certainly a fantastic premise and supposedly a treat for connoisseurs of Tamizh cinema. Produced by industrialist Varun Manian and YNot Studios' S.Sashikanth, can G.Vasanta Balan strike gold, with the backing of A-list performers and technicians ?

The film certainly belongs to the two male leads and both Siddharth and Prithviraj Sukumaran compete fiercely with each other to deliver good performances. The film is seen from Prithviraj's point of view and being the antagonist himself Prithviraj, making a comeback to Tamizh cinema after 4-year absence, has delivered a very professional performance and his expressions were top-notch. The "tamasic" nature of his character was very well brought out by him. The only drawback one could find with his performance, is his dialogue deliveries, which are laced with Malayalam-accent, which is surely a no-no for this type of film. Siddharth however steals the show, with arguably one of his best performances of his career. His body language, facial expression, eye-movements were terrific and his earnestness is so apparent on screen. Both male leads rocked the stage show sequences and kudos to them once again ! Vedhicka looked like a million bucks and has performed well, in a character with limited screen timing. Her dancing talents were put to good use and hope to see this beautiful damsel, doing more good roles in Tamizh cinema. Anaika Soti makes her Tamizh debut and is okay, though she clearly doesn't fit into the script. Veteran Nassar was majestic as Sivadass Swamigal and the ace performer delivered a near flawless performance. Thambi Ramaiah and Singampuli provide the comic relief and the rest of the cast includes Babu Antony, Mansoor Ali Khan, Ponvannan, Kuyili, Karikalan, V.K.T Balan, George, T.P Gajendran, Anjali Devi, Gayathri, Ponnammah and etc.

With a big budget and top-class technicians, 'Kaaviyathalaivan' has fantastic technical outputs and is a treat for the audience. Perumal Selvam and Niranjani Agathiyan are in charge of the costume designing and kudos for their homework on the attires of the artistes, which resembled the drama troupe folks of 1930s. Also, the detailing in costume designing for the stage show sequences, deserves mention for the designers. Very good work ! Action choreography is by B.Thyagarajan and his work fits the script's nature and is effective. T.Santhanam takes care of the art direction and he deserves a round of applause for the set work he created for the entire film. The sets for stage plays, the drama troupe's home, the palace bedroom and various other sets, as well as the properties pertaining to those period, were all rich and intricate in details. T.Santhanam's art work adds plenty of color to the film and becomes the basis for the film's screenplay. Fantastic output ! Praveen K.L's editing was clean and he keeps the tempo of the film stable throughout, but the length of the film is an issue. But the way he edited the stage play sequences, deserves a special mention. The film wouldn't have attracted attention, if not for Nirav Shah's cinematography. A splendid work of art from Nirav Shah ! He brings out the right look and feel of that era, with apt lighting and color tone. The stage play sequences, especially the "Mahabharatham" episode was a brilliant piece of work by Nirav Shah. 

Music by Academy Award-winner, A.R Rahman was classy and mesmerizing but they sound very contemporary in composition. And the style adapted in instrumentation, reflected more of M.S Vishwanathan's era, rather than the 1930's & 1940's era of Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and P.U Chinnappa. The opening "Vaanga Makka Vaanga" is one of the best of the lot and was shot on the male leads and their drama troupe. The song has many shots of various stage plays and some scenic locales of the Karaikudi and the surrounding Chettinadu area, becomes the backdrop of the song. The extended "Alli Arjuna" song appears in bits and pieces and is a stage act, plucked from the 'Mahabharatham' episodes. "Thirrupugazh" sung by the legendary Vani Jeyaram, is the introductory song of Vedhicka and was shot on her, performing intricate dance movements, with style and elan. "Sandi Kuthirai" was shot on Siddharth and Anaika Soti and is a complete dance number, which was shot like a stage act. Siddharth's character was portrayed teasing Anaika Soti, with the help of Singampuli. "Sollividu" is a another melodramatic song, shot on the two male leads, enacting the epic 'Karnan' episode from "Mahabharatham". The cinematorgraphy and the rich detailing in art work for this song deserves special mention ! "Aye, Mr.Minor" was shot on Siddharth and Anaika Soti and it acts like a night rendezvous between the love-struck couple. The art work, depicting a Madurai palace bedroom and the courtyard scene was very beautifully shot and lighted by Nirav Shah. "Yaarumilla" is a dream song shot on Siddharth and Vedhicka, interspersed with some montages of scenes between the lead artistes. The oil lamp-lit sequence, which was completely shot indoors, was very romantic and Vedhicka looked absolutely gorgeous in her saree. A.R Rahman's background score had plenty of styles and shades to it, and supplemented the screenplay very well. The background score added more tension wherever the screenplay necessitates, and elevates the mood of the scenes.

G.Vasanta Balan has scripted this story and its screenplay based on the autobiography, "Enadhu Naadaga Vaazhkai", written by Avvai Shanmughan, which was last printed in 1972. Also, the life and times of Sankaradas Swamigal, who was one of the founding fathers of Tamizh Theatre movement in the early 20th century, was an inspiration for this film. In fact, Nassar's character is an ode to Sankaradas Swamigal. The film's premise is a magical one and the scope is there for a rock-solid drama film, but 'Kaaviyathalaivan' becomes overtly melodramatic, in many places and has not much depth in its script. The film's basic core is the enmity between Prithviraj and Siddharth, where the former feel overshadowed by the latter, whereas the latter considers the former as his dear brother. The script leaves us with many unanswered questions and there's no organic development in the screenplay. Everything happens just for the sake of story-telling and no explanation is given. For instance, the film takes a turn from relationship issues into a patriotic theme but why such an event happens, is not properly explained. Siddharth's patriotism feel comes out of nowhere and we are expected to just accept things as it is. Writer Jeyamohan handles the dialogue writing, and though the ace writer's dialogues sufficed the needs of the script, the more colloquial-style doesn't really fit the era the film depicts. Was it a conscious decision by G.Vasanta Balan, is a question only he can answer. Films with such themes, should have very strong characterizations, but most of the artistes in 'Kaaviyathalaivan' merely scratched the surface of their characters, rather than delve into them. The film becomes predictable after a stage but nevertheless, it is a wonderful attempt from the makers, to deliver a good film for the Tamizh audience.

'Kaaviyathalaivan' - No where near being an epic, but a very good attempt indeed !

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



After a lengthy hiatus of nearly 5 years, Sibiraj or rechristened as Sibi Sathyaraj is back to the silver screens. Joining venture with his 'Naanayam' director Shakti Soundar Rajan, Sibi has chosen a kid-friendly, cop-dog duo film, a genre forgotten by Hollywood themselves. Produced by Sathyaraj under Nathambal Film Factory banner, can 'Naaigal Jaakirathai' relaunch Sibi Sathyaraj's career in Tamizh cinema ?

Sibi Sathyaraj has given a decent enough performance and shows more confidence and maturity in his character handling. Though the character has more shades of comedy, he does try some serious bits here and there. There's plenty of room more for Sibi to improve and hope this film serve as a good relaunch platform for him. The star attraction of the film is of course Idoh, the lovely yet strong Belgian Shepherd ! Kudos to the entire team for pulling it off by making use a military-purpose trained god, in a proper manner. The action is not top-notch, but this is a good and novel attempt. Balaji Venugopal as the antagonist was an interesting choice, but his characterization lacks detailing and his acting falls flat in some portions. Arundhati, Manobala, Mayilsamy, Chenthu Mohan, Prinz Nithik and etc fill up the rest of the cast.

Ganesh's action choreography deserves mention, especially for the sequences designed for Idoh. The climax sequence has some heavy action for the dog and the director has made good use of the dog's capabilities. The warehouse shoot-out scene in the beginning phase of the film, is another well executed scene. JPK Prem's art direction sufficed the needs of the script. The set created in the forest reserve area and the set properties of Sibi Sathyaraj's house, was neatly created. Praveen K.L takes care of the editing and the ace editor ensured that the film is crisp in its length and straight to the point. The action sequences were well put together by Praveen K.L. Cinematography is handled by Nizar Shafi and his Ooty sequences are the highlights of his camera work, in this film. Not to forget, the color tone used for the rain shots, deserves mention as well.

Dharan Kumar's music is functional and songs do not really had any importance in the film. "En Nenjil" is the bonding song of Sibi Sathyaraj and Idoh, with plenty of funny, montage sequences shot for this song. "Oyadhe Oyadhe" is a situational song and is also shot on the pair, and has the hill stations of Ooty, as its backdrop. The theme song of the film, "Doggy Doggy" appears during the end credits and is shot like a music video, with Idoh being idolized like a movie star, though Sibi Sathyaraj's dance sequences were predominantly used. Dharan Kumar's background score was functional, and the highlight of his work would definitely be the score's recorded to project the bonding between the hero and his dog.

Shakti Soundar Rajan's script has a unique idea and some interesting elements but the film lacks fine writing and thorough detailing. The film's screenplay is not fully engaging and is missing fire it needed, though its pretty straightforward and doesn't waste much time. The emotional thread does help the screenplay to move forward, but the scenes are disjointed and is not cohesive. The dialogues are pretty ordinary and none of them leaves any sort of mark on the audience. The comedy portions are unnecessary, though such scenes are always forcibly inserted into the film, just for commercial purpose. In conclusion, the film is watchable in portion and but could have been much better, if not for the below par execution.

'Naaigal Jaakirathai' - Be more aware of dogs !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Since the title is very much self-explanatory, 'Vanmham' is basically a story of revenge and vengeance. That is not something very novel or daringly new in Tamizh cinema, but presentation and narration can make a big difference to a mundane subject. Being a double hero subject, can Jai Krishnaa, an old timer of Tamizh cinema and an former assistant to 'Ulaga Nayagan' Kamal Haasan, come clean with his debut film ?

Doing rural subjects is not something new to Vijay Sethupathi but we get to see him perform out and out action sequences, and sporting the white dhothi for throughout the film. He is very natural and mouths the Nagercoil accent very well. The performer in him sneak peeks in a scene or two but otherwise, its just an average outing for him. Kreshna is sincere and has come up with an earnest performance. His voice modulation is better and he has shown some improvement in his acting capability. Sunaina, looks pretty and that's about it with her role. Madhu Sudhan Rao, Anjali Rao, Bose Venkat, Muthuraman, Sriranjani, Radhamani Ammal, Vinodhini, Subburaj and etc completes the rest of the cast. Sadly, no one stood out for their performances, due to poor characterization and detailing.

'Supreme' Sundar's action choreography works for most of the time. Its not raw, quite filmy but somehow it works out. There's nearly equal amount of action footing for both lead heroes but Vijay Sethupathi gets the more intense ones. Shiva Yadav takes care of the art direction and his work fits the bill. The detailing for the inner section of the rural homes were well propped. The market scene stands out, if its pertaining to his work. Veteran Suresh Urs' editing was functional but he could have definitely chopped down plenty of scenes to spice things up, or to at least speed up the proceedings. The film takes it's own sweet time in unravelling and the unnecessary melodramatic moments are just mere speed-bumpers ! Bala Bharani's cinematography is passable and he has captured the beauty of the southern areas of Tamil Nadu, particularly Nagercoil and Kanyakumari very well. The quarry area, surrounded by deep waters, were well captured, especially during the intense fight scene, just before the interval. 

S.S Thaman's musical score is frankly, below average. "Paadatta Paadatta" is the obligatory introductory song for both, Vijay Sethupathi and Kreshna. The typical song-and-dance routine number featured both heroes, with the backing of group dancers, shaking their legs, in and around picturesque areas of Nagercoil. "Aetti Enge Pore" is a duet song, picturized on Kreshna and Sunaina. Some of the beautiful spots of Nagercoil was shot by Bala Bharani, especially of the small water dam and river areas. Kreshna and Sunaina shares good chemistry but the substance was missing from this combination, due to poor writing. "Maname Maname" is a pathos song, and has montage shots of all the main lead characters of Vijay Sethupathi, Kreshna and Sunaina and nearly all the other character artistes. S.S Thaman's background score is passable.

Being an associate of 'Ulaga Nayagan' Kamal Haasan, Jai Krishnaa should have realized the responsibility lying on his shoulders. Being an old-timer of the industry, his knowledge of presentation and contemporary film-making is, sorry to say, grossly missing ! The film has such an outdated theme of revenge but what's inexcusable is the bland, insipid and boring narration and dialogue writing of the film. The film's presentation is very archaic and is full of melodramatic moments, which would have worked out in the 80's and early 90's ! There's plenty of unnecessary action sequences thrown into the linear screenplay. There are plenty of loopholes and unanswered questions in the film's screenplay. Apart from the Nagercoil/Kanyakumari setting and the native accent used in the film, nothing else captures our attention. A certain sequence of the film is directly lifted from the 1998 Malayalam film, 'Kanmadam' starring Mohanlal and directed by A.K Lohithadas. The film is shockingly dreary and flavorless and sadly another liability to the film-based business people.

'Vanmham' - Vijay Sethupathi, you are suppose to be the poster-boy of new-age Tamizh cinema !

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



'Attakathi' fame Dinesh, who had a decent outing with 'Cuckoo' has taken up a lead role with some commercial elements for the first time. 'Thirudan Police' is touted to be a melodramatic comedy fare, with some serious moments in between. Co-produced by S.P.B Charan, can debutante Caarthick Raju come up with a decent feel-good entertainer ?

Dinesh has chosen an apt script for him, where he can showcase his acting histrionics and at the same time, try his hand at comedy. He is convincing as the loafer turned constable, but at some places, he looks quite stiff and rigid. He must certainly improve his dancing capabilities and be more natural in the songs, as his uncomfortness romancing the heroine, is quite obvious. Iyshwarya Rajesh has nothing to offer here and only appears for some romance portions and song sequences. Muthuraman as the main antagonist was okay but its Rajendran and John Vijay who steals the thunder with their comedic acts. The pair complemented each other well and brought out the better comic timing from each other. The climax scene was hilarious ! Upcoming comedian Bala Saravanan is a riot with his dialogue deliveries and voice modulation. His natural demeanor works as a charm for him and sooner or later, he is sure to reach new heights ! Veteran Rajesh sparkles in his short role as a strict constable father and the others like Naren, Nitin Sathya, Krishnamoorthy, Renuka, Uma Iyer, Rajendranath, Vaiyapuri and etc make up the rest of the cast, with a very dignified special appearance from the legendary S.P Balasubrahmanyam.

Sruthi Kannath's costume designing sufficed the needs of the script and most of her work would have been on the heroine since the hero and the other main characters appear in police constable outfits, most of the time. Dhilip Subbarayan's action choreography was very realistic and apt and the highlight would be the jail lock-up fight scene involving Dinesh, Rajendran and John Vijay. The colony chase and the ensuing fight sequence, during the beginning of the movie. Art direction is by Jacki and the set properties for the police station set and also for the police housing colony was very realistic. The difference in class between a superior and a lower-level police officer was well showcased through the projection of their houses. Praveen K.L's editing was clean as usual and the fight sequences were very well edited. Siddharth's cinematography is functional and there's nothing really outstanding with his work, except for the fast movements through the housing colony, involving a fight sequence between Nitin Sathya and Dinesh.

Yuvan Shankar Raja's musical score is way below average for his standards and its pretty much run of the mill, stuff. "Moodu Panikkul" is a duet shot on Dinesh and Iyshwarya Rajesh in the highlands of the lush, green Kodaikanal. The panoramic views are the usual stuff, we are accustomed to. "Dheivame" is a situational bit song, which was shot on Rajesh and is also used during the end credits, and highlights the love of a father. "Ennodu Vaa" is a party dance number and featured Vijay Sethupathi and Aruldass in cameo appearances. Rajendran and John Vijay amuses with their lady get-ups for this song ! "Pesadhe" is the pick of the lot and melody number and has montages of Dinesh and Iyshwarya Rajesh, which was mostly shot in the housing colony area. Yuvan Shankar Raja's background score was just functional and nothing more than that.

Caarthick Raju's story is nothing new and the revenge element is as old as the hills. But the lighthearted treatment of the script is a bit refreshing and the melodramatic moments were kept bare minimum, apart from a fiery verbose speech by Naren. The song placements looked forced and disturbs the flow of the screenplay. Also, there plot development could be more organic and less jarring. The script highlights the pitiful and poor lives of the lower-level police constables and their daily miseries. Their lifestyle and struggle were well captured and how their higher officials make use of them, were explicitly shown. Caarthick Raju has infused the comedy element well into the script but at times, it makes us to ponder on how are we suppose to treat certain scenes, as either being serious or as light-hearted moments. The dialogues are a big plus to the film, especially for the comedy portions, and in particular for Bala Saravanan, who mouthed it perfectly. The end credits, which has photographs of all the technicians with their respective fathers, is an ode to fatherhood and was a nice touch. A film without lofty ambitions, 'Thirudan Police' is meets its expectations, though there are rooms for improvements.

'Thirudan Police' - Funny hide-and-seek !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



After the rather lukewarm 'Settai', R.Kannan, a former associate of Mani Ratnam is back with his own script and judging from the cast, he has given more importance to comedy, this time. 'Oru Oorula Rendu Raja' has the potential to be a safe bet, especially with D.Imman's music and a good cast, but can R.Kannan nail it after continuous flops ?

What's refreshing with this film is that the hero and heroine alone doesn't hog all the limelight. The script gives equal amount of space, time and importance to all three main leads, which are Vemal, Soori and Priya Anand. For Vemal and Soori, this script does not provide much challenge for their acting capabilities and both of them breezed through their roles. Vemal looks continually the same for most of his films and its Soori who actually shoulders the film, among the two "kings". His dialogue delivery and witty sense of humor, together with a good timing sense provides some laughter, though the comedy tracks are below average. Priya Anand is the refreshing element of the film, and she gets a meatier role than what conventional Tamizh heroines get to do. She's at her glam best thus far in the songs and looks sweet during the remaining. Nassar and Anupama Kumar were cast as the antagonists in which, the former was completely wasted and the latter was a total miscast. Thambi Ramaiah, Singamuthu, Narendhra Khatari, Bala Singh, E.Ramdas, Kalairani, Kamala Krishnasamy, Sasha and etc make up the rest of the cast, with a special appearance from Vishakha Singh, who did an important role.

Costume designing by Chaitanya Rao sufficed the needs of the script, especially when the bulk of the story is set in a single day. Particular importance was given to Priya Anand, who looked gorgeous in the songs. Action choreography by Silva, who also played a minor role in the film, was decent and was more situational, rather than purposeful. His choreography matched the physical attributes of Vemal and Soori. N.Subbu's art direction was neat and the set properties for all the live locations matched the scenario. The rundown godown featuring in the climax scene, was the best of his work. Suriya's editing was crisp and he made sure the film doesn't drag for more than 2 hours plus. Other than that, there's no gimmicks in the editing pattern of Suriya's. Cinematography by P.G Muthiah adds more color to the script and there's plenty of aerial shots, using the helicam, but the necessity of it is a different question. The picturization of songs were particularly good and pleasing to the eyes.

D.Imman adds strength to the film with his musical score. The songs are good and provides some entertainment to us. "Oru Oorula Rendu Raja" is the opening song shot on Vemal and Soori. It has the typical rural locations such as the village streets, paddy fields and etc and we get to see Soori doing some serious dancing for the first time ! "Odum Rayile" was picturized on Vemal and Priya Anand and was entirely shot in a railway station. It has a mixture of situational moments, as well as some dream sequence, but the entire song has the railway station and the train as the main setting. "Sundari Penne" is the best picturized song, which was shot on Priya Anand and Vishakha Singh. The rain soaked atmosphere reminds us of Mani Ratnam's heroine intro songs and Shreya Ghoshal's voice is just so wonderful to listen to ! "Kukkuru Kukkuru", a song sung by actress Lakshmi Menon was shot as a highway song and featured Iniya in a special appearance. The girl dances well and provides little bit of glamour effect of her own and is ably supported by Vemal and Soori. "Mazhakaathe" is a typical dream song shot on Vemal and Priya Anand, in picturesque hill stations. Priya Anand appears in glamorous costumes, probably for the first time in Tamizh films and she is definitely an eye-candy ! D.Imman's background score adds more depth to the emotional scenes and certainly lifts up many moments in the film.

R.Kannan handles the story, screenplay, dialogues and direction for 'Oru Oorula Rendu Raja' and he has taken up the issue of noise pollution and the malpractice acts of big manufacturers and how the laborers are victims of circumstances of such acts. The script has been given a road-movie like treatment with plenty of travelling and constant location changes. Though the film was promoted as a comedy film with some social messages in it, the humor quotient is low in substance and its pretty much lukewarm. And some of them are crude in taste, which is not so family & kid friendly ! Soori does make you smile, but those scenes are far and few in between, whereas the social messages were not smoothly infused into the screenplay. The post-climax scenes were jarring and looks forcefully thrust into the story, just to give the film an happy-ending. End of the day, this film is just a basic commercial fare and is primarily targeted at the B & C audiences.

'Oru Oorula Rendu Raja' - Two kings, one queen and the audience ends up as the Jokers !

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS



After 'Madrasi' which got released in 2006, 'Action King' Arjun is back in action as a director and he has titled the film as 'Arjunin Jaihind 2', though this film has no whatsoever connection with his own 1994 super-hit film, 'Jai Hind'. As always it is, there's the patriotism element incorporated into the script and this time, Arjun has taken the issue of the Indian education system and the scenario surrounding it. Can Arjun make a grand comeback with his own production ?

Arjun as the protagonist carries the whole film on his strong shoulders and excels in the customary action sequences. The actor who is into his early 50's looks incredibly fit and defies his age, completely ! The action star has never aged all these years and looks exactly the same as he was in 'Jai Hind' ! The rest of the cast such as heroine Surveen Chawla, Charlotte Claire, Rahul Dev, Yuvina Parthavi, Athul Mathur, Manobala, Yogi Babu, Shafi, Gautham Sundarrajan, Vinayaga Prasad are just there for the sake of it and Brahmanandam is included in the cast, keeping in mind of the Telugu audience and he joins hands with Mayilsamy for the humor portions. Frankly speaking, the veteran was simply wasted and its a disgrace to portray him doing buffoonery acts!

Technically the film has nothing much to offer and everything was just very functional. Art direction by Sasidhar Adappa sufficed the needs of the script, but with a limited production budget, its fair to not expect much from him. Kay Kay's editing is very ordinary and his work reminisces the 90's style of cutting patterns. H.C Venugopal's cinematography was average and the only scenes worth checking out are the action sequences. As one expects good action portions, when it comes to an Arjun film, the action choreography was decent and it was handled by 'Powerfast' Babu and Kazu Patrick Tang, a member of C.A.S.C.A.D.E. Team (Thailand). The London portions, are the best of the lot. 

Musical score is very functionary and is handled by Kannada music director, Arjun Janya. "Mazhalai" is a song, shot on the child artiste Yuvina Parthavi and has montages of her attending a private school and her moments with her parents. "Ayya Padichavare" is a celebratory song and has Gana Bala making an cameo appearance. There's the typical dance colorful art work done by Sasidhar Adappa for the song. "Ivan Yaarivan" was shot in urban landscapes of London and was picturized on Arjun and Charlotte Claire. Background score was very average and Arjun Janya needs to buck up, if he wants to pursue more films in Tamizh cinema.

Though the script's theme of education is something pertinent and topical, the execution falls flat completely ! The film carries a heavy early 90's tone and is completely out of sync with today's style of film making and presentation. The film gets preachy at many places and looks more like a docu-drama, rather than an action film. Arjun's screenplay is a complete mess and has no cohesion nor any interesting drama in it. Dialogues by G.K Gopinath is tedious, verbose and follows the 90's style very much. The so-called "commercial" elements are simply thrust into the screenplay and those portions stick out like sore thumbs ! 'Jai Hind' worked thanks to Vidyasagar's chartbusting songs, good action portions and also due to the rip-roaring comedy track of Goundamani-Sentil. Besides that, the audience's understanding and expectations has improved and evolved by leaps and bounds and Arjun seems to have completely ignored the current youngster's tastes. To make matter worse, since its a trilingual, many portions looked like a dubbing film !

'Arjunin Jaihind 2' - Suddenly 'Jai Hind' seems to be a classic !

Ratings: 1.5/5 STARS



After the sensitive and decent debut in 'Aarohanam', Lakshmy Ramakrishnan is back again in the director's seat with her second venture. Curiously titled, 'Nerungi Va Muthamidathe' is a road movie, with a multiple-person narrative based screenplay. Consisting of a fresh cast, with some old-timers and a young technical crew, can Lakshmy Ramakrishnan outdo her debut and deliver a clean film ?

Debutante Shabeer comes out clean with his first film and looks convincing. He can work out to improve his screen presence and his expressions, nevertheless he looks like a promising actor, waiting for his big moment. Piaa Bajpai makes her return to Tamizh cinema and though she appears more often than the other artistes in the film, she has a very limited role and her character doesn't have screen timing and space. She's okay, but she could do more. Kannada actress Sruthi Hariharan makes her Tamizh debut, and in a very small role with very limited screen timing, she comes unscathed. Hoping to see more of her in Tamizh cinema ! There's a big list of veteran Tamizh cinema character artistes and there's the likes of A.L Azhagappan, Viji Chandrasekhar, Y.Gee Mahendra, Thambi Ramaiah, 'Thalaivasal' Vijay, Ambika, Shyam Sagar, Gautam Kurup, Bala Saravanan, producer A.V Anoop, Ramakrishnan, Kavithalaya Krishnan and etc. Bala Saravanan and Thambi Ramaiah gave the film's lighter moments and A.L Azhagappan alongside Gautam Kurup and a cameo by Lakshmy Ramakrishnan herself, don the antagonist roles. The experienced folks nailed their characters and delivered no-nonsense performances.

Sai Naresh handles the costume designing department and his work fits the bill and all the characters looked their roles. Its refreshing to see Viji Chandrasekhar's character donning stylish wears, especially if you consider how Tamizh cinema has portrayed widows. 'Mirattal' Selva's action choreography was functional and looked very realistic and kudos to the director for incorporating stunts only when it is needed. Art direction is taken care by Raja A.S and G.Kumar, and the duo have executed their roles very well. The vegetable factory, the interiors of the protagonist's town home, Viji Chandrasekhar's posh bungalow, everything looked realistic and was aptly propped. Sabu Joseph V.J's editing work has no gimmicks, functional and sufficed the needs of the script. Cinematography is handled by Vinod Bharathi.A and its very evocative, with vivid visuals and purposeful camera-movements. The dry and hot Trichy/Karaikal outskirts were effectively used and portrayed through his lenses and adds more color to the script.

Music is by the Madley Blues team, consisting of Prashanth Techno and Harish Venkat. Music is a big strength to the film and the Madley Blues team has delivered a very refreshing score and goes along with the screenplay very well. The songs are situational and fits the mood of the scenes well. "Hey Sutrum Boomi" focuses on Piaa Bajpai and a group of youngsters having an outing, with montages of them having fun in a beach house atmosphere. "Kaligaalam" is a situational song, sung by Shankar Mahadevan and has its focus on the main leads, especially on Sruthi Hariharan's character's journey. "Yaar" has montages of Viji Chandrasekhar and Piaa Bajpai and focuses on their troubled mother-daughter relationship. "Yaarum Paakama" starts of with Viji Chandrasekhar performing as a lead singer of an pop/rock band and it continues till the end credits, finishes rolling. The background score by the Madley Blues team, is very refreshing, cool and is very apt for the script. It gives a different color to the story and accompanies along as an additional character itself. Good work, guys !

Lakshmy Ramakrishnan has gone for a different subject and moved away from the feminism based scripts. A road movie, can be tiring and boring for some people, due to the slow nature of the screenplay but with 'Nerungi Va Muthamidathe', she has kept us guessing till the end, which holds our attention, very well. The multiple-person narrative, doesn't give away any suspense elements early and kudos to Lakshmy for coming up with a clean screenplay with no hiccups in the narration. What keeps us hooked is the interesting small twists and turns, which comes one after another during the climax. But, the zing and zest was missing from the narration, which could have made it more engrossing. Also, the ending looks contrived, which she could have avoided. Lakshmy Ramakrishnan has done her homework and the detailing in the plot setting is laudable. Her choice of issues discussed is very pertinent, relevant and topical and being a women herself, the way she handled the issue of violence against women, was very subtle. But some of the issues needed more explanation and many questions and issues are left unanswered or unexplained. Her characterizations were not bad, but they need more depth, which many characters lacked. A better dialogue writer could have given stronger content but Lakshmy's work was commendable. End of it, what works for 'Nerungi Va Muthamidathe' is the sincerity and honest work done by Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, and may this be a stepping stone for even better works from her.

'Nerungi Va Muthamidathe' - Lakshmy is showing improvement as an film maker !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Two years after the huge blockbuster success of 'Thuppakki', 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay is back once again with A.R Murugadoss in another 'deadly' titled film. 'Kaththi' has been making all the right and wrong noises, thanks to the hype around the subject, Anirudh's "Selfie Pulla" and also for the alleged involvement of the Sri Lankan government with the producing company, Lyca Productions (and co-produced by Ayngaran International). After a tense and critical stage of protests and political interventions, 'Kaththi' hits the theaters for the festive season. Can this duo strike another bull's-eye ?

'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay's dabbling with double role subjects have not gone down well previously, but with 'Kaththi', he is fantastic as both Kathiresan alias Kaththi and Jeevanandam. The former holds the most amount of screen timing and 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay plays to the gallery with his swashbuckling body language and a charismatic screen presence. This character does all the action, comedy, dance and its an out-and-out "mass" 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay show for his die-hard fans ! Whereas, as Jeevanandam 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay brings out the serious performer in him, in a character which is docile, meek, naive yet resilient and apathetic. Its a throwback to his 'Kannukul Nilavu', 'Thulladha Manamum Thullum' & 'Nilaave Vaa' days. Its refreshing to see him in this sort of a role devoid all his regular antics and hope he does more in the future ! Samantha Ruth Prabhu is there only as an eye-candy and she did what can be expected out of her poorly written role, by being cute and pretty and show those emoticon-style expressions. Popular Bollywood artiste, Neil Nitin Mukesh dons the main antagonist and though his demeanor and look was suave and stylish, the character lacks intensity and never really rile us up, as how a terrifying villain should. But kudos to Neil Nitin Mukesh for dubbing in his own voice and getting the lip-sync almost perfect, in an language totally alien to him ! Sathish plays 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay's side-kick and provides one or two laughs. Tota Roy Chowdhury, R.Ravi, Rupesh Gupta, writer Veera Santhanam, Sreerag Nambiar, Seetha and others fill up the rest of the cast, with A.R Murugadoss himself appearing in an cameo appearance.

'Kaththi' has a lavish budget and technically the film looks rich and vibrant with various shades of color tones and landscapes. Costume designing by Deepali Noor and S.Rajendran was very apt, and the lead pair looked lovely in the film and songs, with 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay being very casual and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, in some gorgeous outfits. Veteran Sreekar Prasad takes care of the editing department, and his work complements the narrative style adopted by A.R Murugadoss. The action sequences were brilliantly presented and brings out the pumping feel needed for those sequences to stand out. Editing was 'Kaththi' indeed ! The film's lavish budget was well spent on the art department and art director 'Lalgudi' N.Ilayaraja has done a fabulous job. The film has plenty of set works, such as a jail set, godown set, old folks home, an entire dried up village set, and plenty of set properties for real locations such as the Chennai airport sequence, and all of them looked very realistic and fitting for the script. A very neatly designed and executed film ! Action choreographer 'Anl' Arasu's work was brilliant in this film, and it could be one of his best works, till date. 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay's body language and mannerisms fitted the choreography perfectly and his screen presence upped the ante. The action scene involving the coins, was very unique, cheeky, creative yet powerful and explosive. Don't miss it ! The film attained a great look thanks to George C.William's eye-catching cinematography work. He seems to share a great chemistry and wavelength with A.R Murugadoss and its pretty obvious for us to see, The camera movements, angles and lighting techniques were top-notch works and some of the calculated works, paid off big time when it added more zing and vibrant energy to the scenes.

Teenage sensation Anirudh Ravichander is on fire and his songs were very catchy and peppy, alas the positioning of the songs in the film, was just awful ! "Pakkam Vanthu" was shot on 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay in the swanky new portions of Chennai International Airport and also at its runway. The additional set properties by 'Lalgudi' N.Ilayaraja added more authentic look for the song, which also had plenty of group dancers, adorning airport/flight themed costumes. "Aathi" has fantastic VFX visuals from Prasad EFX and the various color tones used, added more glossy factor to the song. 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay and Samantha Ruth Prabhu's costumes matched the song's setting, so does the simple props by 'Lalgudi' N.Ilayaraja and some light-hearted montages were interspersed with the original visuals. The chart-buster, "Selfie Pulla" was shot on the lead pair, in a simple set work, replicating a western city square. The usage of psychedelic colors such as blue, pink and purple shades for the lighting and tone, gives a radiant but stylish look for the song ala Bollywood style. 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay dances like a dream and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, tries her best to match him, alongside the group dancers. "Nee Yaar" sung by the legendary K.J Yesudass, is used as a situational bit-song, during the end of the film. "Kaththi Theme - The Sword of Enemy" and "Bad Eyes" theme tracks are used throughout the film, at the appropriate places and the Anirudh Ravichander's background adds more strength to the film's narration and pushes the impact of the sequences by several notches higher. 'Kaththi' is definitely, a feather in the cap for Anirudh Ravichander !

A.R Murugadoss continues the 'Thuppakki' feel and mood with 'Kaththi' as well, but there's plenty of 'Ramana' coating in it. This time, A.R Murugadoss has opted for a more serious social issue and he presents to us the domino/cascading effect of capitalist economy and corporatism in the current Indian scenario. He takes a lashing swipe at the bigwigs of corporate Indian conglomerates and how they capitalize and exploit the pitiable and downtrodden state of an average Indian, especially with the farmers. The film has some fiery, sucker punch dialogues, which was mouthed passionately and aggressively by 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay, especially in the pre-climax sequence. Also, A.R Murugadoss hits at the news-hungry, 'salivating' media people, who only cares about target rating points for their respective channels and more circulation for the print media. Though all these are pertinent issues which should be discussed, the message does get quite preachy as the film progress. Nevertheless, A.R Murugadoss has tried to balance it with some high-octane "masala" elements such as cleverly written scenes and impactful action scenes. But the love track deserves zero-rating, for its ill-conceived scenes and redundant dialogues. But 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay's fans might not complain much for their star's exceptional comic timing and expressions. There are some loopholes in the storyline, some logical lapse in the script, and exaggeration of the emotional quotient, but these are ought to be overlooked, if you are to enjoy a great "masala" action film. The staging of some sequences fell flat, which could have been dealt better and the transition of 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay's characters should have been smoother and organic, with a proper delineation of both characters he portrayed. But whatever it is, A.R Murugadoss has definitely struck a chord with the audience once again, and 'Kaththi' seems to be another glowing addition to his CV.

'Kaththi' - Sharply 'Kaththi', indeed !

Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS



Vishal is back in action for Deepavali once again and he has joined hands with director Hari, who is fresh from the blockbuster success of 'Singam II'. After a lengthy 7-year gap with 'Thaamirabarani', this duo is back in action with a typical, commercial "masala" film, full of sentiments, action, glamour, song-and-dance and comedy and produced under Vishal's own Vishal Film Factory banner. With the usual huge supporting cast and his trusted technicians, can Hari and Vishal score back to back hits in their respective careers with 'Poojai' ?

This is a perfect platform for Vishal to flex his muscles and showcase the machismo side of his. This is a very apt and comfortable setup for Vishal and he has come out clean, with an energetic yet subtle performance. He has matured more as an actor and manages to stamp his mark with his screen presence. Job, well done ! Shruti Haasan is only making her third appearance in Tamizh, after a two year absence from '3'. She replicates her Telugu cinema act, with a simple modern-day, girl-next-door performance and ups the ante in the glamour department, for the songs. Mukesh Tiwari as the main antagonist was passable, though a better actor would have created an heavier impact. Soori, 'Black' Paandi and Immanuel Annachi takes care of the comedy portions, and though one or two scenes are funny, thanks to the quirky dialogues, their tracks were redundant, on an overall basis. The huge supporting cast, consisted of some of the best character artistes such as Sathyaraj, Raadhika Sarathkumar, Jayaprakash, 'Thalaivasal' Vijay, Prathap Pothen, and also other artistes such as Manobala, R.Sundarrajan, Abhinaya, Kausalya, Renuka, Sithara, Aishwarya, Janaki Sabesh, Awadesh Mishra, Vinay Bihari, Mathumila Mano, Sanjay Singh, Sounthara Raja, Barath Raj and etc. Most of them do fill up the spaces but their relevance and importance to the film, is another question entirely. 

Costume designing by Vasuki Bhaskar and Chaitanya Rao fits the bill, and the lead pair looked natural and realistic. Shruti Haasan was particularly, glamorous in the sons sequences. Some of the character artistes, costumes could have been better and not over-done. Action choreography is by the once-in-demand-once-upon-a-time, Kanal Kannan. As it has mostly been with Kanal, the action sequences were over-the-top, repetitive and unwarranted. The opportunities were there in the screenplay for an pulsating action choreography, alas it was wasted for good ! K.Kadhirr's art direction was splendid, especially with the elaborate market set-work, which looked realistic and also with the grand & posh mansion, apartment and office settings, which had all the necessary props to enhance the setting. Veteran V.T Vijayan and T.S Jay duo takes care of the editing department, and their quick-cuts helped overcome the obvious flaws of the action sequences. The film moves at a good and steady pace, but there are many redundant scenes, which could have been edited out, to make it racier. Hari's right-hand man and regular, Priyan is the cinematographer here as well, and his work suffices the need of the script and complements, Hari's presentation style, very well. Especially with the top-angle and chopper shots.

Yuvan Shankar Raja's musical score is below average for his standards and only a couple of the songs are really hummable numbers. "Soda Bottle" is the opening item-number song, shot on Vishal and has a cameo appearance from Andrea Jeremiah, who had a glamorous make-over for this song. K.Kadhirr's market set was well shot by Priyan for this song and most of the detailing of the art work was visible on screen. "Devathai" is the pick of the lot and was shot on Vishal and Shruti Haasan, dancing in scenic urbane and hill stations of Switzerland. Shruti Haasan was at her glam-best, for the first time in Tamizh cinema. Some montage sequences were interspersed along the choreographed portions. "Ippadiye" is a folk dancer number, with elements of trance music from Yuvan Shankar Raja. Its an atypical Hari song, shot on the lead pair, in a simple yet colorful set, accompanied by colorfully-attired group dancers. "Uyire" is a situational pathos song, also shot on the lead pair and comes at two different places. "Odi Odi" is the final situational song and was had plenty of chases and sentimental scenes, and serves as the prelude for the climax portion. Yuvan Shankar Raja's background score was functional enough but for his standards, it could and should have been way much better.

As with all Hari films, 'Poojai' too has the commercial, mass "masala" template with its script. Hari has repeated the same formula for the umpteenth time and arranges the screenplay in an sequence of comedy, action, song, sentiment and this sequence repeats throughout the whole screenplay. There are no twists and turns in the script and the story has a very linear and straightforward timeline. The story only picks up pace just before the interval and stutters occasionally after that, with some redundant songs and comedy portions. There's no cohesion nor coherence in the screenplay and many scenes do not gel well and sticks out like sore thumbs. There's not enough of emotional depth, be it in the hero/villain episode nor the hero/heroine portions, as well. The action sequences tire you after a point of time and it doesn't really fire up the emotion in us. Though all of Hari's films has the same template, he gets it right with some scripts, which has the right proposition and proportions of the "masala" quotients. But with 'Poojai' there seems to be miscalculation and obvious flaws, in the execution of the script and even in the directorial department as well. 

'Poojai' - An average 'darshan' with some working bits and pieces !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



R.S Infotainment's Elred Kumar combines with noted and ace cinematographer Ravi K.Chandan, who makes his directorial debut in Tamizh cinema. The two names, promise us a sleek, stylish and lavishly produced film and to top it off, we have Jiiva and Thulasi Nair of 'Kadal' fame as the lead pair. Extensively shot in Mumbai and Morocco, what does 'Yaan' hold for us and can it justify the hype and curiosity it evoked among audience ?

Jiiva is a solid performer and needs no introduction. He carries off his role with consummate ease and the transition from a happy-go-lucky chap in the first half, to an distraught convict in the second half, was very smooth and convincing. As for Thulasi Nair, she gets more prominence with her role and screen timing and is very expressive nature. She looks good and confident as well, but the pairing does not look compatible. Thulasi's bigger body frame doesn't complement Jiiva's lean and athletic physique. The main antagonist played by Nawab Shah, is a huge disappointment and is a complete miscast. He sticks out like a sore thumb and has a poorly written role ! The rest of the cast such as Nassar, Jayaprakash, Karunakaran, Thambi Ramaiah, Arjun Nandakumar, Bose Venkat, Dhanush Bhaskar, Oormila Unni, Neha Chauhan, Rishi and etc had minimal scope to perform and the veterans' acting talents, were completely wasted !

The film has fantastic technical output and the result of the a lavish budget, was apparent on screen. Prime Focus (Mumbai), which takes charge of the VFX, has done a brilliant work, especially in the initial action sequence, which incorporated the freeze-frame technique. The lead pair looked cool and stylish, thanks to the costume designing by Mandira Shukla. The number of clothes for the song sequences was very high and aped the Bollywood style of glitz and glamour. More attention could have been given to the dancers, though ! 'Yaan' has some pumping, spectacular and pulsating action sequences, which were wonderfully and stylishly shot. The initial shootout sequence was fantastically staged and is a visual splendor. Kudos to Palli Harpal Singh for the extensive work and clean execution of that scene. Abbas Ali Moghul choreographed the action scene involving Jiiva, in the busy lanes of Mumbai, which was also good and neatly executed. Kecha Khampakdee of the 'Jaika Stunt' team, choreographed the jail fight sequence between Jiiva and a foreign artiste and Kecha's unique style and choreography was evident in that sequence. The chase scenes shot in the narrow and tight lanes of Morocco was choreographed by Hollywood action choreographer Mustapha Touki and it was finely staged, with an hide-and-seek element attached to it. As mentioned earlier, the film has a very glossy look, thanks to Sabu Cyril's production design and Suresh Selvarajan's art direction. Every frame in the film has plenty of details, from the posh Mumbai homes, the Moroccan prison set-up, the huge ballroom like set- work for a song, intricately detailed shoot-out scene and an entirely imaginary Gulf nation surrounding. The high-budget was justified in the final output ! A.Sreekar Prasad's editing speaks volumes, especially in the action sequences. The presentation was good and neat but the length of the film is a big turn-off. The veteran should have definitely trimmed the film's duration by 20 minutes, at least ! Cinematography by Manush Nandan and additional camera work by Hari Vedhandham, Ayananka Bose and Ravi K.Chandran himself, was superb. The thought process for the shootout scene was remarkable and their execution was fantastic. Mumbai and Morocco were wonderfully shot on camera and this entire team of cinematographers deserves appreciation. 

Harris Jayaraj delivers another album which is experimental yet has the quintessential "Harris Jayaraj" template and stamp all over. "Hey Lamba Lamba" is the opening song shot on the lead pair, with several montages of various Mumbai locations. The urbane shopping malls, modern coffee houses and restaurants, clubbing arena and the beaches become the backdrop for the song. The cool choreography and color tone complemented the song's mood. The pick of the lot from the album, "Aathangara Orathil" is a unique mixture of gaana and hip-hop/rap music. The lavish ballroom set and the colorful dancers, adds more zing and energy to the song, along with Jiiva's smooth dancing moves. "Latcham Calorie" is a simple and sweet melody, shot on the lead pair, in colorful localities of Switzerland. Besides that, there are some montages of funny moments, interspersed with the dance sequences. "Neeye Neeye" is a pathos song, shot on Jiiva in the imaginary "Balichistan prison" (Moroccan locations) and also with some few montages shot on the lead pair, interspersed along with the original track. "Nee Vandhu" has a tinge of Trance music in it and the lead pair was seen canoodling in scenic and panoramic locations of Iceland. The cinematographer captured the beauty of the lush and green highlands of Iceland, and the lighting added more beauty to the picturization. Harris Jayaraj's background score sufficed the needs of the script and is catchy in the action sequences. Lots of hard-work is put in the mixing and is evident in the background score. The flute piece of "Aathangara Orathil" is instantly likable ! 

Ravi K.Chandran's directorial debut, co-written by Adithya Roshan has a very contemporary and exciting template of drug mules and trans-border smuggling. The script had scope for some very good set of sequences and placements for the artistes to score. Unfortunately, Ravi K.Chandran's writing is no where as good as his cinematography sense. The film's basic story-line and some sequences bear's striking resemblance to the 1978 American/British film, 'Midnight Express' which was written by Oliver Stone and directed by Alan Parker. The original film starred Brad Davis, Randy Quaid and John Hurt and was based on Billy Hayes' 1977 book, Midnight Express. If it was an American smuggling hashish out of Turkey in the original, its an Indian unknowingly smuggling drugs into Balichistan, in 'Yaan' ! The ace cameraman's script is full of inexcusable flaws with unforgivable, gaping loopholes. The film has a very straight/linear story-line and the absence of twists and turns, make 'Yaan' a very dull affair. The entire first half is a complete waste and has no bearing on the overall story. The comedy and love tracks did not work out and falls flat, completely.  For the extensive budget, high production value and glossiness employed in the film, the writing completely lets down all the brilliant work, put in by the technicians. This film deserves some save-facing ratings only for the technical works and not for the art of film-making. 

'Yaan' - A cavernous yawn !

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS