Debutante director Shree, a former associate of Shankar during the 'Endhiran' days, has joined hands with some of his mates from the 'Endhiran' stable and comes out with 'Damaal Dumeel'. Touted to be a neo-noir genre or black comedy with some dashes of comedy, it features lesser known artistes such as Vaibhav and Remya Nambeesan as the main leads. Can Shree come up with a crackling product, befitting of the title ?

Vaibhav carries the whole film on his shoulders, because the plot is woven around him. He looks good, enacts well, but the screen presence is missing and he doesn't stand out, especially during the most crucial sequences. A better characterization and vision from the director could have brought out a more enthralling performance from him. Remya Nambeesan has nothing much to do, and is just adequate enough. Kota Srinivasa Rao, keeps our funny bones tickled, with some good comic timing and expressions and his screen presence, is what actually keeps our attention towards the film. The veteran just breezed through the role, yet left his mark. The same cannot be said about Sayaji Shinde, though. His character is of equal importance with Kota's, but the characterization was weak, and his role suffered from poor detailing. Charlie, Venkat, Manobala and a host of newcomers and junior artistes, make up the rest of the small cast.

The film carries some decent technical outputs from the technical crew. Action choreography is handled by G, and his stunt sequences are kept simple and sufficient for the need of the script. The altercations between Vaibhav and the other artistes, taking place in the protagonist's apartment, were realistically staged. K.Arusamy's art direction was neat, especially with the interior works of the protagonist's apartment setting, as well as with the climax paint factory premise. The vision was simple, yet well pulled-off. Editing by Paramesh Krishna was adequate, and he has kept the running time to less than 2 hours. Some of the visual splits, which he employs in the second half, is interesting. Cinematography by A.M Edwin Sakay, was neat and purposeful. The camera movements and the angles used by the cinematographer was simple, yet it did the job of conveying the story's mood and style.

S.S Thaman's soundtrack is good and fits the movie's flow. "Saga Saga" is the opening number and acts as the introductory song of the lead pair. The song was shot in a nightclub, which had all the atypical dark shots, with different lighting. Deepika Kamaiah makes a cameo in this song. The titular track, "Dumeel" is a situational song, featuring montages of Vaibhav, Kota Srinivasa Rao and Sayaji Shinde, trying to figure out plans and 'tactics'. The editing by Paramesh Krishna for this particular song was slick. "Pogadhe Pogadhe", sung by Remya herself, is a bit-song, highlighting an unfortunate incident between the lead pair. "Odi Odi" appears in the climax, and is also a situational song, with some visual split-ups, well thought by the director and executed by the editor. The "Damaal Dumeel" theme music, appears sporadically, throughout the duration of the film. S.S Thaman's background score was good too, especially for the crucial 'twist-and-turn' scenes. Overall, this film would have been a walk in the park for S.S Thaman.

For a first time filmmaker, Shree has some clever ideas, which he has tried to execute well. Unfortunately, the film is riddled with inconsistencies with the scripting and writing. The dialogues by Shree, was just bland and unexciting, which should not be the case in a black comedy. Especially, when you had some good films from the same genre, with excellent dialogues (Soodhu Kavvum & Moodar Koodam). The lifestyle and issues faced by the IT-based employees, were well presented, though and Shree can be commended for that, as well as for not dragging the screenplay with unnecessary sequences. The screenplay was just apt and the director immediately starts off the film, based on the crux of his plot. As mentioned earlier, the artistes suffered due to poor characterizations, wherein their characters lacked the depth and detailing needed, which makes it almost impossible for us to empathize with the lead pair. There is no organic development in the story-line, and everything happens so quickly, without any rational quotient to it. There are plenty of blatant loopholes and glaring gaps in the plot, which were not addressed by the director. The ending was pretty much too simple, which makes all the earlier proceedings to just go kaput, for no reasons. The comedy sequences too, did not work out well, apart from those, which features Kota Srinivasa Rao. Conclusion, 'Damaal Dumeel' would have worked out fine, if this was a short film.

'Damaal Dumeel' - Tame, celebratory 'shoot-out' !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



Ace comedian, 'Vaigai Puyal' Vadivelu is back to the silver screen after laying low for quite sometime. The ace veteran has been sorely missed, especially for his gibberish dialogues and slapstick comedies, which are quite popular on private comedy channels. AGS Entertainment has produced 'Tenaliraman', which is directed by Yuvaraj Dhayalan, who previously did the Sadagoppan Ramesh starrer, 'Potta Potti'. Is this a worthwhile project for a Vadivelu comeback ?

The whole film is about Vadivelu and he has donned double-roles in his comeback. He delivers as usual, and the actor has still not lost his terrific sense of timing, when it comes to dialogue deliveries, voice modulation and also with his expressions. As the legendary titular folk hero, the court-jester Tenaliraman, Vadivelu keeps a very measured dialogue delivery sense, a firm body language and cool expressions. Whereas, as the supposedly purported Krishnadevaraya, Vadivelu adapts a more loose body language and brings out his usual antics, especially in the late second half. Though some portions remind us of his 'Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi', Vadivelu was still able to bring a marked difference to his character in this film. As for the female lead, Meenakshi Dixit did what she could afford to do, and the statuesque damsel, was okay and had apt dubbing provided by Deepa Venkat. There's, literally an army of cinema artistes involved in this film, playing minor character roles such as, Radha Ravi, G.M Kumar, Manobala, Shanmugaraj, Bala Singh, Joe Malloori, Krishnamoorthy, Namo Narayana, Shakthivel, Chella Durai, Santhana Barathi, Rajesh, Bose Venkat, 'Besant' Ravi, Mansoor Ali Khan, Madhumitha, Devadarshini, King Kong and etc and they were adequate with their performances. 

Technically, the film has some superior works, if you are to consider this as a small budget film. VFX done by White Lottus Mediaaworks Pvt Ltd, was pretty good especially with the long-shots of the kingdom's palace setting and also with the snowy landscapes, portraying China. The film has plenty of CGI-generated shots and the works are exemplary. Make-up by T.V Nehru and costume designing by R.Murugan was very appropriate and colorful, and brought out the colorful nature of the characters involved, especially those which are associated with the monarchical background. Its not an overstatement to say that, M.Prabakaran is the biggest asset to the film crew, when it comes to the technical side. The entire film has been shot in elaborate sets, ranging from palace durbars and courts, private dining and chambers of the royals, the city streets, the Chinese element filled setup, the temple setting, rural villages and many more. Each set was tastefully done on a limited budget, for which M.Prabakaran deserves applause. Raja Mohammed's editing was efficient, with no abrupt cuts, but the second half could have been trimmed, especially with some redundant sequences, which does not add any valuable moments to the film. Ramnath Shetty handles the cinematography department, and his camera movements and angles, made good use of the artificial sets, erected for the film. He manages to bring out the classic feel and look to the film, especially with the palace sequences. 

D.Imman, who is currently on his best phase of his musical career, surprisingly disappoints us with below average songs. "Hey Vaayaadi" is the first song featuring Vadivelu and Meenakshi Dixit, at loggerheads with a dance number. The song was shot on an artificial set, resembling a street setup, filled with small stalls. "Aan Azhagu" is a female solo-song, also shot on the lead pair, with the heroine in an inebriated mood, falling for he Tenaliraman. The song was shot on lavishly colored palace sets, resembling glamorous private chambers, and Meenakshi Dixit pleases us with her dance movements. "Rampaapa" was shot on both characters played by Vadivelu and comes at a crucial episode of Tenaliraman making his return to the kingdom. The song had plenty of extras as dancers and was shot in a palace court-like setup. "Nenje Nenje" is a mild pathos song, in late second half, which had the King Vadivelu in disguise as a commoner, which used the night effect shots. D.Imman makes up for his disappointment, with some good background score, which gives resembles a retro-like feel. Some of the scores, especially for the serious sequences, stand out amongst all.

Yuvaraj Dhayalan, should be credited for bringing back Vadivelu to the screens. What's strikingly apparent in the film's script is the creative inputs of the director. Taking a legendary folk hero's short stories and weaving them together with contemporary social issues and causes, is a praiseworthy attempt. The issue which we get to notice in the film is the matter of foreign direct investments and the hazards it can cause to locals, in spite of the promises made by the foreign affiliates. Yuvaraj does highlight the wrongdoings of present politicians and makes a good amount of satire out of them, through his characters. Aided by the articulate yet simple dialogues of veteran writer Aroor Das, the director was able to present his take on those social issues. But the director gets a little serious in the second half, and the script lightly nods into a melodramatic and sober path and this is where the trouble starts. This film is suppose to be a great comeback for Vadivelu. Bearing him in mind, there's only one thing we are bound to expect, and that's some great and funny comedic antics from him. We don't get to see any outrageous funny moments, the quintessential buffoonery of Vadivelu, nor any side-splitting 'punch dialogues'. So, for those who were seeking atypical Vadivelu comedy, this film is a disappointment. The second half has quite a number of redundant sequences which drags the film and there's not enough exciting or wacky elements to keep us engaged.

'Tenaliraman' - We still miss the full-form wisecracking Vadivelu, indeed !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



After the rousing success of his debut home production 'Pandiya Naadu', Vishal is back once again, this time co-producing a film, with UTV Motion Pictures. 'Naan Sigappu Manithan' brings back the combo of Vishal-Thiru for the third time. Their last release 'Samar' was an interesting film, with plenty of surprises in store which got the audiences hooked. Here, the medical disorder of narcolepsy takes center stage, and that piqued the interest of all who caught up with the trailer. Can Vishal strike a second success consecutively ?

Vishal picks a similar character to his 'Pandiya Naadu' in this flick as well, but the narcoleptic condition creates a curiosity around his character. The subtle and understated demeanor of his character makes the fans root for him or to put it bluntly, he's the mass hero without all the commercial heroism ! Vishal gets a good dose of uplifting to his character, thanks to the arrangements of the director's screenplay. With a warm, earnest and measured performance, Vishal is going great guns, especially with all the falling in sleep (literally !). Lakshmi Menon, gets a makeover of an up-class but homely city-bred girl and she continues to defy her actual age by performing in a very matured and professional manner. Her chemistry with Vishal worked out well for the film. Sunder Ramu plays an important character, and though he is good as just the common friend of the hero, he needs to up his ante for the more challenging sequences, in which he was unconvincing with his portrayal. Jagan provides some comic relief in the first half and the rest of the cast such as Iniya (who plays an atypical female lead), Saranya Ponvannan, Jayaprakash, 'Pyramid' Natarajan, Rishi, Srinivas, Mayilsamy, Aarthi, Ramnath Shetty, V.I.S Jayapalan and etc were adequate.

Vasuki Bhaskar did a commendable job with the costume department, especially with the lead pair who looked their roles and reflected the socio-economic background the characters belonged to. Art direction is by Jacki, and his works are of good standards. The interiors of the houses, be it the protagonist's middle-class home or the heroine's posh bungalow and etc were perfectly propped. Ruben handles the editing department and his cuts kept the flow of the screenplay quite well, though the late second half gets a little slow in pace. Nevertheless, the action block in the climax was well edited. Dhilip Subbarayan handles the chase sequences and his work sufficed the needs of the screenplay, whereas the climax action choreography has been credited to Pradit Seeluem (Nung Stunt) of the One & Action Team from Thailand. The climax stunt sequence was intense and the choreography matched the intensity and Vishal's body language. Cinematography by Richard M.Nathan and his works complements the nature and mood of the sequences. The second half goes completely gritty and dark in nature and his top-angle shots, as well as the night and water-based shots adds more strength to the film.

G.V Prakash Kumar's music is not up to the usual standards, but some songs might find place in the hearts of people after viewing the film. "A Restless Soul" is the theme track and is played right at the beginning credits and is repeated at important junctures of the screenplay. "Yelelo" is the first song and marks the joy of the protagonist in achieving something he was fighting for. The church set, as well as the Binny Mills set-up by Jacki was well designed, and the song had couple of locations which adds different flavor to the picturization. "Penne Oh Penne" is the love duet of the lead pair and has been shot in picturesque locations of Rajasthan's Jodhpur and around the Hill Forts and deserts of Rajasthan. The lighting and camera angles by Richard M.Nathan and choreography by Shobi are the highlights of the song. "Idhayam Unnai" was shot in the snowy landscapes of Chandigarh's Kullu Manali. The song, which has a sober mood to it, has some arresting framing by Richard M.Nathan and the color tone complements the song's theme. "Lovely Ladies" is a dance number shot on the main characters and has the typical colorful lighting and pumping dance numbers as the highlights. G.V Prakash Kumar's background score is commendable, because the score raises the seriousness of the sequences and is gives a good finishing touch to the film. But the score gives us a sense of deja vu, especially piece which is similar to Zack Hemsey's "Mind Heist" track, which is popular for Christopher Nolan's 'Inception' trailer.

Thiru's handling of the narcolepsy factor is really praiseworthy because, the disorder was not just simply thrust into the script for the sake of USP. In fact, the narcolepsy element is ingrained into the core of the script. It keeps us hooked to the protagonist and keeps the curiosity factor fresh for most of the film, especially in the second half. The first half is a cool and breezy episode, where we have some lovely but unconventional love sequences, the protagonist's dilemma in facing the most basic things matters in life, the issue of disapproval for the lead pair's love and etc. Admirably, Thiru's handling of the emotional and sentimental scenes in the first half and the beginning of second half is mellowed and matured. The proceedings were not too melodramatic, which does not bore us. Thiru adopts the standard practice in contemporary Tamizh cinema, by narrating a lightweight first half, with all those lovey-dovey moments, and then shift gear into serious business for the second half. The second half starts off with a brutal and violent sequence, which diverts the film into a revenge-saga. Thiru's trump-card for keeping the audiences on the edge of their seats, is the handful of twists and turns, or to put it more aptly, shocking surprises, in the narration. The logic takes a backseat and Thiru takes liberties by loosely tying up the knots, without any convincing reasons and the loopholes blatantly overshadowed by the drama, unfolding upon the audiences. The story in the second half is just too simple and conveniently tied up or in layman terms, lazy writing. The songs further impedes the pace of the film and is also badly placed. Thiru's dialogues, especially in the first half are witty and catchy, though. Overall, 'Naan Sigappu Manithan' is a not-so-bad commercial entertainer, with an intriguing medical disorder element.

'Naan Sigappu Manithan' - Non-sleep inducing 'masala' entertainer !

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



Chimbu Deven, one of the creative directors of Tamizh cinema, is back after 'Irumbu Kottai Murattu Singam'. As always this film too is intriguingly titled, this time as 'Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavanikalum'. Arulnithi, an earnest performer needs a solid hit to cement his presence in Tamizh cinema. With Chimbu Deven in helm, can this film deliver a different yet entertaining flick for us ?

Arulnithi, shows good progress from film to film. Here, he proves his mettle in handling comedy throughout the film and with his subtleties, he delivers a very decent performance. There's not much of scope for him, in terms of the range of emotions and variations in dialogue deliveries, but he still makes good use of the subject taken and convincingly portrayed the role of the protagonist. Sharing equal space with him is K.Bagavathi Perumal of 'Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom' fame. He continues his 'NKPK' act very well, and his one-liners are the best in the film. His dialogue deliveries are perfectly timed and neatly presented. A little more expressions can certainly do wonders for him. Good job ! Bindhu Madhavi plays the 'third musketeer' and she should be appreciated for picking an unconventional role. The attractive lass has delivered a clean performance and hoping to see more of her in Tamizh cinema. Ashrita Shetty has an important role, but with limited scope and screen presence, she makes use of what she had in the script, quite well. The rest of the big cast, who played minor characters such as Karthik Sabesh, Manobala, Jayaprakash, Naren, Aruldas, Paandu, Nassar, M.S Bhaskar, 'Delhi' Ganesh, V.S Raghavan, Ravi Raghavendra, Benjamin, Sriranjini and etc were effective and some of them had some witty detailing to their characters, which worked out well.

Costume design has been handled by Sai, and considering the limited scope offered by the script, his works sufficed the needs of the script. Dhilip Subbarayan's action choreography was adequate, especially for the pre-climax fight sequence and for the chasing sequences, which were shot in many real locations. T.Muthuraj's art direction also had lesser importance to the script, since bulk of the movie's portions were shot in real locations. Yet, the minor detailing in the protagonist's apartment, the church wedding scenario and etc deserves appreciation. Raja Mohammed's editing was very much linear, and that helped the flow of the story, so that the screenplay could be straightforward in fashion and easy to understand for the common folks. S.R Kathir's cinematography techniques were effective for the script's demands and needs. His works are very simple and there's nothing fancy about it, which gives the film a realistic look. Also, his camera movements and top-angle shots for the chase sequences, add more zing to the narration.

Natarajan Sankaran's musical score was passable. The melodious "July Madham" was picturized against a chase sequence between Naren, Arulnithi and Bindhu Madhavi, which has interspersing of montages shots of Arulnithi and Ashrita. "Moonu Kodi" is the next chase sequence, this time featuring all three main leads and was mostly shot on rooftops of high-rise apartments and narrow back-lanes. "Bachelor Enakke" plays when the end credits roll. The four theme tracks, "Breeze-African", "Marriage", "Storm-Indian" and "Theme Thunder (Trance)" - the title track, plays throughout the film and at important placements, and also serves as the basis for the background score. Natarajan Sankaran is capable of better musical deliveries, and hope he improves his background score.

Chimbu Deven always had a penchant for unique concepts for each of his film, and in 'Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavanikalum' its about the importance of time passages. Chimbu Deven starts the film with a quote from the Holy Bible regarding time, and what we get is a palate of fantasy, reality, sci-fi, and myth. Chimbu Deven's tells us that each minute dictates its own course of fate for each human being, and how one's life can alter by the slightest of time change and various minute elements, omnipresent around us. His screenplay narration is Chimbu Deven's example for the concept that he conveys. Chimbu Deven's quirkiness in writing is evident, with all the minute detailing he gives for many of the minor characters, for example a psychotic inspector's penchant for kid's magazine, the colony secretary's affair and etc. These small details adds the fun element for the script. But the screenplay slowly turns out to be more tedious, when the chain of events are repeated twice, but with different repercussions, since each episode starts a minute later than the previous. The gags are not super exciting or rip-roaring fun, which makes us feel exhausted by the time, the 'real' climax, climaxes ! Also, the concept was exaggerated and its nearly impossible to believe that everyone's life would change just by a minute or two. Nevertheless, Chimbu Deven's dialogues are fun and humorous, especially those mouthed by K.Bagavathi Perumal. Not to forget, he should be also appreciated for his smart writing for minor sequences, such as the various stages of watermelon being cut, in each chronological timeline. Chimbu Deven has credited Tom Tykwer's German classic 'Run Lola Run', Akira Kurosawa's Japanese classic 'Rashomon', Kamal Hassan's 'Virumaandi' and etc as his inspiration. It should be noted that, the film's concept has similarities with Jake Gyllenhaal's 2011 techno-thriller, 'Source Code'.

'Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavanikalum' - An intelligent concept, a simple story-line and some fun gags in between !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Man of the moment Sivakarthikeyan, basking in continuous success streak, is back hopping around in 'Maan Karate'. His highest budgeted film thus far, the promotions and marketing has been top-notch, especially when you have an A-list director, A.R Murugadoss in the fray as a fellow producer and the main story writer. Hansika for the glam and Anirudh for the music, can 'Maan Karate' cement Sivakarthikeyan as a saleable actor ?

Sivakarthikeyan has been steadily rising the steps of stardom and 'Maan Karate' happens to be the next level for him. There's a complete changeover for him, especially with his appearance and looks. He has been given the designer costumes, a trendy hairstyle and props to look dashing on screen. His dancing skills has improved exceptionally well, with more grace and style. Performance wise, there's nothing exceptional, though. He has repeated the 'Ethir Neechal' act once again, as the 'underdog' template is there in 'Maan Karate' as well. His comic timing and spontaneity is his trump card, and he does it with ease and elan. A good entertainer, with impressive timing and sense of humor, but can he survive the test of time ? Only time will decide ! Hansika Motwani plays the quintessential Tamizh glam-doll heroine role, of being pretty, glamorous and cute. She does a pretty job with her lip sync, especially when the language is not something she has a grasp of. Vamsi Krishna as the antagonist has a rather tepidly written role and sharing the same scenario is writer Shaji as Sivakarthikeyan's coach. Satish makes us chuckle with one or two of his dialogues and Soori makes a cameo appearance as a hyperbolic boxing referee, and leaves his mark. Sayaji Shinde, Rajesh Gopalan, Vinu Krithik, Preethi Shankar, Ashwathi Ravikumar, Ravi Prabakar, Swaminathan, Arun Roja, Yogi Babu, Vikramathithyan, Tejaswini and etc makes up the rest of the cast.

'Maan Karate' has a superior technical qualities as opposed to Sivakarthikeyan's past flicks. First of all the costume designers, Sathya N.J, Vasugi Bhaskar and Sayaam (Chandigarh) have done an excellent job in giving the hero a good changeover with trendy costumes, and not forgetting Hansika, who looks appealing in the songs. Dhilip Subbarayan takes care of the action choreography and in this film, it is all about boxing. The bulk of the action work takes place in the climax, and it was a decent work from Dhilip. Not too much of an exaggeration but nothing extraordinary, at the same time. But still kudos for him for choreographing apt moves for Sivakarthikeyan. Sreekar Prasad's editing was spot on, especially with the smooth flow of the film and he made sure the film retained both the fantasy and commercial elements, perfectly. Debutante art director, S.Raja Mohan does a pretty eye-catching work, especially with the boxing arena erected for the climax portion. The appealing set gave the film a very glossy and rich look. M.Sukumar, known for his expertise in capturing rustic and jungle atmosphere beautifully with his lenses, impresses us with his cinematography in a typical commercial potboiler such as this, too ! His lighting was brilliant, which gave the film a very glossy and rich color, but the first few minutes showcased his talent once again, with pristine shots of waterfalls and the green forests. 

Anirudh Ravichander handles the music and the young chap is in full form, with this 'Maan Karate' album. Most of the songs are chart-toppers and are sensational hits with the youth. "Royapuram Peter" is the opening introductory song for Sivakarthikeyan and is a pure mass type of song. It was shot in and around the slum-like urban areas and the fish market, to project Sivakarthikeyan as a "mass" hero. "Maanja" had a very colorful look with bright and eye-appealing colored attires for the lead pair and backup dancers, and was shot in and around Pondicherry's attractive neighborhoods. "Un Vizhigalil" was the best shot song, which was also shot in Pondicherry, but in the empty and deserted streets, during the dead night. But M.Sukumar made the location look like a place in the fantasy world, with his brilliant lighting work and the color tone used against the lighting. A visual treat, indeed ! "Darling Dambak" was shot in the picturesque fields of Punjab and featured Hansika in a glam avatar. The visuals were catchy here too, especially with the misty feel. "Open the Tasmac" is the groovy gaana song, sung by the gaana legend, composer Deva himself. The song had a simple yet colorful set by S.Raja Mohan, resembling a street and shops and once again highlighted Sivakarthikeyan's improving dance skills. Do check out the special appearances by Anirudh and A.R Murugadoss in the song ! What's more impressive is Anirudh's background score in the film, which actually elevates the mood of the scene by several notches. His groovy and interesting musical touches adds more zing and peppy elements to the proceedings of the film. 'Maan Karate' is certainly another step higher for Anirudh !

A.R Murugadoss takes the credit for story writing and his former assistant K.Thirukumaran debuts in this flick, while taking in charge of screenplay and direction. To put it bluntly, 'Maan Karate' is nowhere near what was promised through the promotions and exaggerated expectations created before the release. The screenplay is just a plain sailing all out, which in other terms we could say "lazy writing", perhaps ? The first half of the film has no implications whatsoever on the film's theme and is just a hodgepodge of boy-gags and contemporary youth jokes, structured according to Sivakarthikeyan's style. What's less impressive with the making, is the manner in which Sivakarthikeyan has been unnecessarily hyped to be somewhat, a big commercial star. There's nothing wrong in being a star, but Sivakarthikeyan's USP is his boy-next-door charm and the down-to-earth sort of appeal, which made him a fan favorite so quickly. But 'Maan Karate' crushes those elements and make us wonder, "Why, Siva ? Why ?". The love segments are just downright silly and lame and the direction seems to be even more lazy. Only the last 30 minutes, seem to have some sort of seriousness, and now everything seems to be overtly melodramatic and 'life-or-death' sort of scenarios, which reminds us of Sivakarthikeyan's not so long ago release, 'Ethir Neechal' all over again ! R.Senthil Kumar's funny dialogues provide some respite, but gags alone does not make an wholesome entertainer, wholesome ! The boxing match sequences, involving Sivakarthikeyan, are just prime examples of farcical writing ! 

'Maan Karate' - Vijay's super-hit 'Badri' seem like a classic, now !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



N.Krishna, the former associate of Gautham Vasudev Menon, known for the candy-floss melodrama 'Sillunu Oru Kadhal', is back with a different project. A period film, 'Neduchalai' has been in the making for quite some time, and the promos have been promising, with its gritty and dark look. A good plot setting and a young cast and crew, can N.Krishna pull it off this time ?

Aari, who last made an appearance in 'Maalai Pozhudhin Mayakathile', makes a stunning entrance into the film. His toned physique and rough & tough demeanor, shows his hard-work and commitment towards the demands of the role. His controlled dialogue delivery and apt expressions makes him inseparable from the role he essays. Great going, Aari ! Debutante Shivada Nair is no less impressive either, as she is a wonder as the talkative, bold and loud Manga. Her voice and accent suits the role pretty much and she is just flawless in her dialogue deliveries. A little more composure, and she is a talent to watch out for ! National Award-winner Salim Kumar plays a comical and scheming character and is a riot, with his dialogue deliveries. The high-point of his performance is the nuanced balancing act of the comical and villainous facets of his character. The main antagonist, Prashant Narayanan of 'Murder 2' fame, rocks as the weed smoking, dirty cop ! His casual body language and measured performance adds zing to screen. The rest such as Thambi Ramaiah, Ashwin Raja, Sevvazhai, Kishore Kumar, Dheeraj Kher, Thavasi, Sree Raam and etc are adequate.

P.R Ganesh's costume designing sufficed the needs of the script, especially with the detailing, pertaining to the era portrayed and the people belonging to various socio-economic classes. Meena Prang's costume for the final song, works out beautifully too. The stunts have been handled by the father-son duo of 'Super' Subbarayan and Dhilip Subbarayan. The action choreography is riveting, especially with the highway chase, and the bonfire fight sequence was excitingly staged. Apt and measured choreography ! T.Santhanam takes care of the art direction and his works are quite interesting, especially with the set properties. The rundown auto rickshaw used by the protagonist was impressive ! Also, the 'dhaba' setting and the rural homes are well detailed. Kishore T.E's editing though flawless, has its little minus, especially with the duration of the film. The film moves at a slow pace in the second half, and with more tighter approach in the editing, the film would have been even more racy. Rajavel Olhiveeran's cinematography stands out for the excellent framing and picturesque shots. The shots have its purpose and Rajavel's picturization is in sync with the mood and need of the script. The vision and purpose of the director, is well resonated on screen by the cinematographer !

C.Sathya's music score is good and is definitely one of his better scores. The title track, "Kadal Thaandi" comes as the introduction background score of the protagonist. The highway chase & robbery was splendidly shot by Rajavel. "Vaigai Nadhi" plays throughout the mini-flashback portion, which chronicled the childhood days of the protagonist and had a red-color tone throughout. "Nandooruthu" is an item song featuring the sexy Rachana Maurya as the item girl and had Salim Kumar and Prashant in the act as well. The song had good lighting using fire elements against a night backdrop. "Ivan Yaaro" is a bit-song coming at a crucial point in the female lead's scene and was shot in a slow-motion manner, with a well set up court background. "Thamirabarani" highlights the love episode of the lead pair and had plenty of postcard worthy shots, mostly canned in and around beautiful rural sceneries. "Injaathe" was the best shot song, though the picturization does not warrant a place in this film's gritty context, with some flashy dream-song like setting to it. C.Sathya, also does well with the background score, which gels well with the story and sequences. 

N.Krishna, has come out with well-written characters, who all comes with a grey shade, including the heroine. The binary feature of having both good and negative sides to each characters, adds more realistic touch and a also a gritty element to the script. N.Krishna keeps us engaged with the screenplay, with enough twists and surprises in his story, which is claimed to be inspired by a real life character. Also, his detailing of the eras he portrayed in the film is noteworthy, especially in the way he incorporates it, such as the reference to M.G.R's demise and Kamal's popularity due to 'Nayagan'. Admirably, he constructs his film, (which has all the tailor-made elements of an 80's tearjerker), in a very contemporary style. He avoids all the unnecessary sentimental cliches, always associated with such period films, which is another welcome relief. And aiding N.Krishna's contemporary take is R.S Ramakrishnan's dialogues, which are concise and in sync with the needs of the script. But the script has its drawback, especially with the inconsistent non-linear screenplay, which takes out the fizz, along with a stretched running time. The film could be a tad too simple for some viewers, but still N.Krishna must be applauded for keeping true to his vision and approach with the script.

'Nedunchalai' - A surprisingly good and engaging, B-grade film !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS