'Goli Soda' made the right noises for the return of the 'Pasanga' boys in their early teenage years, but this time in a totally different world. S.D Vijay Milton, the popular cinematographer takes up the baton of director for the second time after 'Azhagai Irukirai Bayamai Irukiradhu', a film which got released in 2006. Produced by his brother Bharath Seeni, under the Rough Note Production company and distributed by N.Lingusamy's Tirrupathi Brothers, can 'Goli Soda' quench our thirst for good cinema ?

The 'Pasanga' boys consisting of Kishore, Sree Ram, Pandi, and Murugesh have equal screen presence and importance in the film and they have shown complete understanding of their characters and have shown good maturity. Each of them had their own unique personalities, and all of them have pulled it off, effectively. Promising talents ! The debuting girls, Chandhini and Seetha too were very adequate. The former, projecting the sweet and homely character, whereas the latter is the firecracker and actual scene stealer of the film ! Madhusudhan plays the main antagonist role and he is certainly someone to watch out for. Besides that, Samuthirakani's dubbing for Madhusudhan, was very apt and a good choice made by the director. Sujatha and Immanuel Annachi, had very likeable and natural roles, and both of them were good to watch. A.Manoharan, Meenal, Senthikumari, R.K Vijay Murugan and etc filled up the remaining roles, quite well.

R.K Vijay Murugan, who has acted as the second antagonist, is in charge of the art direction as well. Nearly every scene was shot in the actual locations of Koyambedu market and whatever props needed, especially for the "Aachi Mess" setting, was neatly and aptly done. 'Supreme' Sundar's action choreography was raw, gritty and superbly done. The first action sequence, though lengthy, was splendidly shot and executed by the boys and stunt artistes. The climax fight sequence too was edgy and fast-paced, but the first action block, simply takes the cake. This would definitely be one of 'Supreme' Sundar's best works. Adding more zing to these action sequences, is Anthony's editing. His fast-cuts and no-gimmicks approach worked very well for the movie's overall presentation and elevated the raw and gritty look. The film is also very racy and slickly packaged, with perfect running time of just over 2 hours. S.D Vijay Milton's cinematography brings the story forward and his guerrilla technique, with candid shots gives the film a natural and raw look. Nothing looked staged and purposely choreographed at all, and that's the biggest plus, when it comes to the cinematography aspect.

S.N Arunagiri's songs were all shot in montages. Though they don't stand out as brilliant tracks, they do gel well with the theme and mood of the script. "All Your Duty" is the opening first song and was shot on the boys, with their small fun in their limited world. "Killadi" depicted a shopping spree sequence, and "Silusilunu" is about the urge of the boys to earn extra. "Oyyale" was picturized on the boys, girls and Sujatha which showed the boys' next progress in business. "Aaru Adi" was shot as a night sequence, bit song in dim lights. "Jananam Jananam" had plenty of other locations such as Himachal Pradesh, Murudeshwara, Allepy and etc which was essential for the songs, in order to project the boys' separation. "Kadhal Panne" had the guest appearances of 'Powerstar' Dr S.Srinivasan and 'Dancing Sensation' Sam Anderson and had a cinema song-shoot theme, which was shot in and around Koyambedu. The background score meanwhile, is handled by Kannada musician, Anoop Seelin. Although it served the purpose, the score is quite archaic and uninspiring, especially when you have new talents doing great in Tamizh cinema.

S.D Vijay Milton has used Koyambedu, the biggest market in Asia as his base and the lost individuals, dwelling in this ultra-busy place, as his protagonists. The bone of contention of this script, is the non-existence of identities for his protagonists and their struggle and fight in developing and keeping one. S.D Vijay Milton has scripted the screenplay in a nice fashion, where the second half develops slowly and leads into an explosive second half, which holds our attention greatly. And most of the scenes are well crafted and genuinely staged and enacted by good artistes. The director should be applauded for developing characters of flesh and blood and giving most of his artistes, the ample screenplay time and apt scenes, in bringing out the nuances of their respective characters. Dialogues by Pandiraj is definitely a highlight, especially for the humor sequences, which give us the chuckles. What S.D Vijay Milton and Pandiraj, could have avoided though, is the preaching and over-emphasis on the question of identity, which gets repetitive after some time. Also, the director could have parted ways with some of the songs, which does not serve much purpose. Nevertheless, the makers can be proud of their product, which is a commercial entertainer, yet different in making and approach.

'Goli Soda' - Smashingly original and a brave attempt.

Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS



'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay coming back to do his 6th film for 'Super Good Films' is quite a news, because it was this production house which produced most of his selected, few hits at the beginning stages of his career. Throw in one of the finest actors India ever produced, Mohanlal into the frame and the the expectations just ballooned sky-high. R.T Neason's 'Jilla' made all the noises for its commercial entertainment value. Did the director justify the presence of two larger-than-life heroes ?

As for Vijay, there's literally nothing new, when it comes to differentiating 'Jilla' from his previous flicks. He has firmly cemented himself in his comfort zone, and he had a gala time enacting the lead role of this film. Dance, comic timing, punch-dialogues, action sequence performance, a couple of sentimental scenes and that's about it. The man's definitely going to pull it off with aplomb, when he is doing it for the umpteenth time. Mohanlal comes out with a very dignified performance, befitting his age and repertoire. Even his facial muscles, can pull of the toughest of scenes ! A true legend, but sadly this movie does nothing much to accentuate that statement. Kajal Aggarwal looked pretty. Sufficed the need of the script. Soori dons the role of the main comedian for the first time in a big-hero flick and he comes out clean, though there's nothing much of scope for him. A battalion of character artistes are there in the film such as Mahat Raghavendra, Niveda Thomas, Sampath Raj, Pradeep Rawat, R.K, Thambi Ramaiah, 'Black' Pandi, Ravi Mariya, Poornima Bhagyaraj, Gautam Kurup, Vidyullekha Raman, Madhumitha, Jayabalan and etc, where most of them have been thrust with inconsequential roles and making a presence, for no apparent reasons.

Komal Shahani and S.Rajendran have done neat work with their costume designing, especially for Vijay and Mohanlal. Could have been better for Kajal's, though. The stunt department of the film, must have worked over-time, plenty of times for this film, with so many action blocks ! Silva's action choreography was very apt for Vijay's body language and one can say Silva had a big role in further elevating Vijay's heroism aspect. The first, the one in the middle (right before interval) and the climax fight sequences, were the best among the lot. Rajeevan's production design was rich and its quite obvious that no expense was spared, in terms of production, with so many props and set-work, especially for the songs. Editor Don Max, must have gone on snooze mode while editing, because the nearly 3 hour duration, has no single justification at all ! To be frank, the first one hour was just a total waste of time (and Money !). Ganesh Rajavelu's cinematography complemented the need of the script. Kudos for him for presenting Vijay and Mohanlal, in the right angles and frames, which gives their characters, the larger-than-life look and feel. Action sequences, are the highlights of Ganesh's work. 

D.Imman continues his fine form, with some nice tracks in the film. The "Jilla Theme" track is present throughout the film, in important scenes. "Paattu Onnu" is the opening song which featured both Vijay and Mohanlal together, in a grand village festival kind of atmosphere, which was looked rich and mass ! The bonhomie shared between the two male leads, was cute. "Verasa Pogayile" was shot on a purpose-built set of streets, with colorful Tamil Nadu traditional folk dancers and their respective, elaborate costumes. The entire song was shot in a slow-motion effect, in tune with the song's feel. "Jingunamani" is an item song, which featured Scarlett Mellish Wilson in a special appearance. The set work by Rajeevan imbibed the mood of the song well, and Ganesh's lighting is a highlight. The pick of the lot from the album, "Kandaangi" sung by Shreya Goshal and Vijay himself, was shot on the lead pair, in the cool climates of Osaka and Kobe. The beautiful temple backdrop and colorful landscape is a treat for fans of such visuals. "Yeppa Mama" is the last song, which is atypical of commercial films, with back-up dancers, colorful sets and crazy dance movements. D.Imman is slowly becoming an acute composer, when it comes to background scoring, and he has proved his mettle with 'Jilla' as well.

R.T Neason, who previously directed the low-budget 2007 film 'Muruga', has the sole intention of making a mass, 'masala' film with two high-profile male actors. There's clearly no intention of writing a decent and engaging screenplay (apart from the climax), proper characterizations for the artistes, continuity and logic sense in the script. The writing is just simply farcical, and he has placed his bet only on Vijay & Mohanlal's pairing, coupled with some twists in the story-line. But apart from that, 'Jilla' is just a over-the-top film and its certainly a few steps backwards, when it comes to improving Tamizh cinema's quality. Most of the comedy sequences fell flat, completely and looks silly to the core ! The sole purpose of projecting Vijay as a mass, action star was the only thing R.T Neason has and could achieve with such a below-average script. 

'Jilla' - Watch it if you don't mind adjusting your sensibilities and tastes for good cinema. The rating below is purely for the R.B Choudhary's production values and for the combo of Vijay & Mohanlal. 

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Its the season of Thai Pongal and what better way is there to unwind the festival day, other than watching the brand new film releases ? And kick-starting 2014 with a bang is Ajith Kumar, in the elegant shirt-dhoti combo, living up to the spirits of Pongal ! After a string of urbane roles, Ajith Kumar has reverted to the traditional, rural look (remember 'Attagasam' ?) and teamed up with Siva of 'Siruthai' fame. Can "Thala" start the year with a bang and a back-to-back hit-ratio ?

As the main lead, Ajith Kumar helms the entire film on his shoulder and the film would not have sustained even a single bit, without his sheer presence. The man is majestic and charming, suave yet rural and as always it has been, performs all the action sequences by himself ! His mild changeover in the second half, in terms of facial hair, suits him still and he carried the role with aplomb. "Thala" had a field-day with this project and he has flexed his acting and fighting muscles, in every sense. And the train fight sequence ? Bravo to this gutsy hero ! Tamannaah, is there and that's about it. DOT ! The next person to take the cake is definitely Santhanam, with his wacky one-liners in the first half, who is in sizzling form whereas Thambi Ramaiah takes up the second half, and makes a buffoon out of himself. A National Award and still willing to take up such ludicrous roles ? Time for assessment ! Bala and Vidharth has the meatier roles among the band of younger brothers and they did what they are allowed to do by the character. Suhail Chandok and Munish are the remaining ones. As for the protagonist, Atul Kulkarni did what he was told and Pradeep Rawat was made to look like a fool, in the end. So much so for being a villain ! There is a huge group of peripheral character artistes in the film such as Nassar, Ramesh Khanna, Avinash, Appukutty, Abinaya, Suza Kumar, Mayilsamy, Vidyullekha Raman, Devadarshini, Ilavarasu, 'Crane' Manohar, Sujatha, R.N.R Manohar, Kalairani, Manochitra, Pawan and etc, who were simply there in the frame for no reasons. Waste of budget !

T.Rajan's costumes were okay, the characters looked their parts, just like what a commercial film, would demand. Milan has done a very detailed and labouring work in the production design department. The were just plenty of set work and numerous set properties, which gave the film a resplendently, rural look. Most of the film was done on artificial sets, and Milan and his team must have been on-the-run, all the time. A very well designed production, indeed ! Mu.Kasi Vishwanathan, could have done more trimming because the second half was just simply lagging in pace, but the stunt sequences were very well presented. Silva, K.Ganesh, Pammal Ravi and Vicky have handled the action choreography, and they sure did have a gallery of time, composing the shots ! Silva handled the train fight sequence, which had very dangerous moves, especially with Ajith hanging in the balance from the train, with 300 feet of depth below him. K.Ganesh handled the climax fight sequence, which was a little over-the-top. And the same applies to the works of the other two. Demands from director ? Perhaps, so. Vetri must have studied Ajith Kumar's body language a lot, and its pretty obvious that he has projected "Thala" in a very manly manner ! The rain shots are the best shot sequences of the film !

Devi Sri Prasad aka DSP, or whatsoever has tuned way, below-average compositions for the film ! None of the songs were really catchy nor did they linger in our minds. "Nallavanu Solvaanga" is the introductory song of Ajith and his band of brothers. There are plenty of montages in the song, with some action sequences as well. The set work by Milan, was of top-notch quality, though. The market set-up had all the little, intricate details needed to bring out the authentic look. "Thangame" and "Ival Dhana" were shot in the picturesque Switzerland (where else can they go !). The former had the usual foreign back-up dancers, and was shot in the city landscape. Whereas the latter had the best shots, with beautiful images of snowy mountains, lush & green landscape and etc. "Jingu Chikkan" is the customary temple festival song, with most of the character artistes, being involved. Once again, neat work Milan ! The pick of the lot among the songs, will definitely be the "Ratha Gaja" theme track, which was played out during the high-octane action sequences. Suits "Thala" to a T ! The background score was passable. Complement's the script.

The story was developed by Siva and Bhupathi Raja, and its pretty obvious that their reference were the corny village movies of the late 80's and 90's. A very, very, very old wine in a not-so-new, bottle ! Siva has teamed up with Bharathan for the dialogues, and some of them packs some punches, especially when delivered flawlessly by "Thala" himself. Tailor-made dialogues, aren't they ? Siva has single-handedly managed the screenplay and direction department. The first element was just a mess, second half, especially. Direction ? He nailed it. How difficult can it be to simply direct a film, which can be easily slotted into the films belonging to previous decades ? Its pretty obvious that some elements of the script has been simply thrust, just for the sake of a grandiose effect, and to extract the "larger-than-life" star power of Ajith Kumar. One must switch of their brains and leave the logical thinking at work, if you are to watch flicks, such as these. Siva should be appreciated for smartly incorporating Santhanam into nearly all the scenes of the first half, because if it wasn't for him, the screenplay would have been absurdness played for the entire duration ! Siva has certainly brought Tamizh cinema backwards by a few steps with 'Veeram'.

'Veeram' - The rating below is purely for the "Thala" Ajith Kumar factor, alone. Santhanam can take some credits, too. 

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Pooja Umashankar, the beautiful and talented Sri Lankan makes a comeback to Tamizh cinema, after a 4-year hiatus, with her last release being the critically-acclaimed Bala film, 'Naan Kadavul'. She teams up with debutante Balaji K.Kumar, an University of California graduate and a story board artist, who has worked for internationally reputed advertising firms such as Ogilvy & Mather, JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi. The trailers and teaser promised us a dark and emotional thriller, so did the final product live up to the expectations ?

Pooja makes a strong comeback, with a refined performance as Rekha, the desperate-for-cash prostitute. Her body language and dialogue delivery is spot-on, and she brought out the character very well. Her nervous expressions and trembling voice, gave plenty of realistic touches to her performance. But the real scene-stealer, is the young child prodigy Malavika Manikuttan. She is simply superb with her nuanced expressions and perfect timing in her dialogue delivery. She is a revelation and possess a maturity, beyond her adolescent age. Surely, a great find for Tamizh cinema ! Vinoth Kishan uses his eyes very well to bring out the silent, creepy mannerisms of his character. John Vijay, as the scheming villain, makes use of his opportunity fantastically, with great voice modulation. Lakshmy Ramakrishnan and Amarendran Ramanan, were very natural and realistic with their character portrayals. 

Jayalakshmi Sundaresan, handles the costume designing very well, and she certainly brought out the apt look for Pooja and Amarendran. 'Thalapathy' Dinesh's action choreography was neatly executed, which had some deadly blows dished out by some of the characters, especially by Vinoth in the climax. Very realistic yet powerful ! Sathyaraj Natarajan, kept the duration of the film as crisp as possible, but the second half drags a little, which could have been avoided. Some post production works are a little tacky, especially the night shots of vehicles, but it could be due to the small-scale budget of the film. Edward Kalaimani, has done a really good job in the production design, especially with the set-work of John Vijay's garage-like set. The detailing was minute and complicated ! Also, the interiors of the various homes featured in the film, was very neatly propped up. Sivakumar Vijayan's cinematography was good, especially with the experimentation of the color tone, which ranges of sepia, dusty brown, and dark blue effects, which complements the mood of the sequences. Also, the night and rain shots, were well captured. 

Girishh Gopalakrishnan of 'Marina' fame handles the music department. "Theeradha Mounam" is the opening song of Pooja and had some good slow-motion camera techniques, complemented by rain shots. "Penne" is a situational song, appearing in bits, in the late second half. And "Vidiyaatha Iravu" is the climax song, which fit very well for the situation and ups the mood of the climax portions. Girishh's background score elevates the thrill factor and suspense-building elements of the script, and tracks such as "Rage" and "Redemption" were very well scored, and used in the film. 

What attracts us to the film, is the slow yet suspenseful screenplay, narrated by Balaji K.Kumar. He keeps us guessing on the next proceedings, with some intelligently handled sequences, those of John Vijay's, especially. What Balaji K.Kumar really deserves appreciation for, is his focus on the script and narration and the tight handling of the screenplay. There are no excessive and unwanted scenes thrust into the screenplay, which does a lot of good for the film. The subject of the script, was handled very well and pertained to an important and critical social issue, plaguing the world. Balaji's plot was well structured and he manages to give importance to his characters, which ensued a marked impression on the audience. The climax, is the real clincher for the film, and was very intelligently handled and executed. The biggest drawback of the film ? Nothing film wise, but its the fact that the story is not original. 'Vidiyum Munn' is an "inspiration/adaptation/remake/copy" or whatever you want to call it as, of the critically-acclaimed 2006 British film, 'London to Brighton' directed by Paul Andrew Williams. Well, nearly everything was lifted from this film, be it the idea, screenplay, characterizations, plot setting, sequence execution, the surprise ending and etc. Balaji K.Kumar has tweaked the story and some characterizations a little, in order to adapt to the Tamizh sensibilities and commercial factor. But apart from that, many scenes are a just direct copy from the original, including from dialogues to shot composition ! 

'Vidiyum Munn' - It can be more pleasant, if Balaji K.Kumar gives the original film and its makers, the real credits. 

Ratings: 3/5 STARS