Debutante Dharanidharan's intriguingly titled, 'Burma' is a neo-noir crime-thriller, based on car seizing activity and what sort of implications one can have, if he chooses to dabble with risks. With proven artistes such as National Award-winning Atul Kulkarni and Sampath Raj, 'Burma' teases us with some interesting tidbits in its teasers and trailers ? Is it another interesting new-age Tamizh cinema from a debutante ?

Michael Thangadurai of Vijay TV comes up with a decent performance and its certainly way much better than his debut, 'Nalanum Nandhiniyum'. The rugged look and body language fits his role well and the young lad makes his mark, unscathed. Reshmi Menon though, has the atypical Tamizh cinema heroine role, of being the bubbly-natured, moral-support kind of partner for the protagonist. Karthike Sabesh, steals the show with his natural acting and is so apt as the short-of-smartness, a*rsehole aide, who puts his buddy in the spot, during the most of unwarranted times ! Excellent comic timing and subtle expressions from Karthik Sabesh. Kudos to him ! Sampath Raj and Atul Kulkarni came up trumps, as the swag car-seizing veteran and a powerful and intimidating boss, respectively. They bring lots of flavors in their acting and they definitely deserve their share of appreciation. The rest of the cast such as Madhu Raghuram, Sharath Kumar, Deepak Paramesh, Tarun, Kani Kusruti, Diana Vishalini, Deena, CM Bala, Mahendran and etc plays an eclectic mix of characters, very neatly.

The film is a good package of technical outputs, which is sync with the mood and needs of the script. Vishnu Govind and Sree Sankar's sound designing deserves special mention, especially for the various types of car sounds, for each different cars and also for the minute detailing in many sequences, which adds more depth for the scenes. Director Dharanidharan has handled the costume designing as well, and each character has been delineated very well, in terms of costumes and it shows the amount of timing spent by the director in sketching each characters. Mahesh's action choreography sufficed the needs of the script, especially with the car chases. Sivaraj's art direction is elaborate in detailing, especially with the set properties. The cluttered car sheds, ramshackle cottage, make-shift homes and etc were perfectly done and it gels well with the script's necessities. Half the story-telling is done, with the art work itself ! Vivek Harshan's editing is crisp and spot on, but still more trimming could have helped the screenplay's smooth flow. Yuva's cinematography adds the zing to the script, with his unique and innovative angles and framing sense. The weird top-angle shots and slow-motion shots, together with right color tones, adds vibrancy to the film. With better scripts, this young chap can explore more of his talents !

Sudharshan M.Kumar's musical score is in sync with the mood of the film but the songs placement slackens the film's pace. "Vaddi" is the opening title song and serves as a character introductory song, with a pop-culture like colorful template. "En Moochu" is duet song and is mostly shot on the lead pair of Michael Thangadurai and Reshmi Menon. The song is full of montages of the pair, being love-struck. "Jungle in the City" is a bit song, used as a situational song, which was shot as a chase scene between Michael Thangadurai and Sampath Raj. "Kalavu Pona" is a situational pathos song, which was shot on Michael Thangadurai and has few montages in it. "Run for Money Dude" is a dance number, which had props such as flashy cars and colorful lighting as its backdrop. Sampath Raj is predominantly featured in this song. Sudharshan M.Kumar has made use some of his theme music pieces such as "Seizing Mania", Counting D Cars", and "Kings of Garage" as background scores and they perfectly complement the shot compositions of the director and cinematographer.

What strikes you obviously with 'Burma' is Dharanidharan's detailing in his writing. The film is full of style, swag, attitude and wry comedy. The neo-noir theme fits the story pretty well, and Dharanidharan's inspiration seems to lie in Western style of film-making. His sense of story-telling is astute and he implements his ideas with unique cuts in the editing department, which adds more quirkiness to the screenplay. The organic manner of story development is a welcome relief, and each scenes is carefully put together, so that there are no jarring moments. Unfortunately, the first half lacks some conviction, especially with the romance tracks and the second half loses steam, as it heads towards the climax. But Dharanidharan somehow makes up for it, with the character designing and the detailing he pours into each character and how he sets the ambiance around the characters, so that the right effect is brought out from the artistes. The dialogues written by Dharanidharan is another added plus point for the film, in which the sarcasm quotient is high. The director deserves appreciation for his antithesis handling of the climax and the final scenes, which has a unique twist and an open-ending.  

'Burma' - Attention-seizing !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



'Unnai Pol Oruvan' made the phrase "the common man" popular among masses. Now, debutante director Aanand Krishna has used the same theme for his movie, 'Aal' and its unsurprisingly not a coincidence, when the subject matter is about extremism and the so-called "Holy War" concept. With a small team of unknown artistes and young technicians, can this film hold its waters against the slew of Tamizh films getting released by each week ?

Vidharth plays the protagonist here and he carries of his role with ease, though is with utmost conviction, is a different question. The earnestness is there and the capability to perform is visible but the charisma and screen presence is certainly missing. His dialogue deliveries are quite flat and there's not much of voice modulation here. Hardhika Shetty's role is of no importance at all for the script and her entire screen timing must have been less than 5 minutes ! Even her glam rain song had razor-cut treatments, in its editing. Wrong choice of movie, lady ! The producer Vidiyal Raju plays the antagonist and he seems to be comfortable in his role, since it only warranted him to mouth some dialogues in close-ups. The film has quite a few minor characters whom, don't really leave any impact on the film, due to poor characterizations.

Art direction by G.Vijaya Anandh was apt for the film. since the film had plenty of real life locations. The set properties for the homes of various geographical and societal elements, were well put up. C.Mahesh's action choreography suited the script's raw element and gave the film and authentic feel. The chase sequences in the very tight lanes of the housing areas, were well executed. M.Ramesh's Bharathi's cuts were too sharp at times, and some sort of lags could have helped the film imbibe the emotions and intensity of the subject. But the duration of the film was kept at minimum length as possible, which is applaudable. Cinematography by N.S Udhaya Kumar's was functional and the effort taken to capture the beauty of Sikkim's capital, Gangtok is noteworthy. The action sequences were well captured on camera, with some top-angle shots. But he really could have avoided some cringe-worthy close-up shots of people puking and gobbling up food in a very unpleasant manner. Its not really a necessary to have such shots only for the purpose of establishing the lower-strata society's sociological habits. VFX by Pixel deserves credits for the well-cut climax sequence, which had the freeze-frame shot technique, put to good use. Probably, the films best moments !

Johan's musical score is melodious but its a little generic for contemporary tastes. Nevertheless, they are worthy numbers if you are to listen to the audio tracks, separately. "Poda Po", written by the late legendary poet Vaali, is the introductory song of the protagonist and has montages of Gangtok's landscape and the famed, Sikkim University. "Androru Naal" is a cool, melody number and was shot on Vidharth and Hardhika Shetty. Sikkim's beautiful mountainous regions were captured for this song, and there's also a small portion shot on the lead pair in a rain environment, just for titillating quotient (though the fast cuts, defeats the purpose !). "Dammal Dammal", is a situational song and shot on Vidharth on the run, with a red suitcase, in harsh urban terrains. Johan's background score is filled with significant theme music pieces, and they seem to gel with the screenplay, in certain places.

'Aal' is actually an inspirational work and is an official remake of UTV Spotboy's 2008 Hindi film 'Aamir', starring Rajeev Khandelwal. The screenplay for 'Aal' is credited to both Aanand Krishna and 'Aamir's director Raj Kumar Gupta. Ironically, 'Aamir' itself is based on an 2005 English/Tagalog, Filipino film called 'Cavite', directed and acted by Neill Dela Llana and Ian Gamazon. The screenplay is quite straight-forward and has some interesting action-packed, nail-biting scenes, but its not thoroughly engaging nor gripping and the staging goes flat at times. The dialogues by Aanand Krishna is very much generic and and doesn't pack the punch needed for such psychological cum action thriller. The "Jihad" extremism issue is mentioned so lamely, it doesn't really rile up our psyche. The patriotism element in the climax too looks forced but the VFX-filled freeze-frame shots, makes up for some of the insipid moments in the film.

'Aal' - Good intentions, decent technical outputs, not-so good execution.

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS



Sundar.C, known for his slap-stick and sit-com based movies, is back with another offering but this time its in tune with the current flavor of horror comedy genre. Packed with the usual commercial 'masala' elements such as dance, comedy and action, can Sundar.C pull of another hit with a huge cast and a significantly higher budgeted, 'Aranmanai' ? Will the mix of horror and comedy be in a right proportion ?

Coming to the huge cast list, almost every frame in the film has more than 2 artistes involved and its a constant riot. But its an out-and-out female-centric film and the main lead roles are played by Hansika Motwani and Andrea Jeremiah. Hansika Motwani's second half show was decent enough for this film. She's surprisingly convincing as a village belle and looks bubbly and pleasing. Her screen presence is good as she keeps our attention well. Her lip-sync is getting better but still there's plenty of room to improve. Andrea Jeremiah fits the sensuous role perfectly, and her voice is an added advantage to her character, especially in the transformation scenes. Its definitely a good performance from her, but she somehow her character doesn't sink in to the proceedings easily. Sundar.C plays himself the most important male role and is functional in that role. Santhanam keeps us in splits, though not all of his one-liners were chuckle worthy. The big cast of the film includes Vinay Rai, Raai Laxmi, Kovai Sarala, Manobala, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Saravanan, Chitra Letchumanan, Santhana Bharathi, Swaminathan, Nithin Sathya, Aarthi, Ganesh, Akila, 'Kadhal' Dhandapani, Meera Krishnan, Alwa Vasu, Yogi Babu, Soundar, Gowtham, Raj Kapoor and etc. Though most of them were all over the screenplay, their relevance and importance to the script is a big question mark.

The film's technical aspects needs special mention, for their inputs. Vasuki Bhaskar's costume designing for the female leads are noteworthy, and all character's costumes blends in well with their respective characterizations. The film is loaded with VFX and computer graphics and the teams from Prasad EFX Group and Sinthu Graphics, deserves special mention. The final climax scene is completely ruled by the VFX, especially with the river water sequence and the solar eclipse effects. The color tone gave the climax a perfect look and its a visual treat indeed. Kudos to them ! Action choreography by 'Thalapathy' Dinesh was over-the-top, especially for the climax sequence, although Sundar.C's introductory fight scene was decent. Art director Gururaj deserves appreciation for his splendid work ! The whole film is based on the huge palace set which was erected and its completely filled with apt set properties. The set-work brought out the look needed for the film and aptly complemented the horror element of the script. Also, his work for the other village festival and etc sequences were rich in detailing. A feather in the cap for Gururaj ! Editing by N.B Srikanth was okay but he could have trimmed the length of the film, which runs unnecessarily long. U.K Senthil Kumar, a veteran and firm favourite of Sundar.C is the cinematographer for this film and his work was functional, but the climax sequence stood out, especially for the scenes involving the river. 

The songs of the film is scored by Bharathwaj and frankly speaking, the songs were just pretty boring and lukewarm. "Kaththi Parvakaari" is the opening song for Vinay Rai and Andrea Jeremiah. Its like a mini-road song, which has all the rural hot-spots in it. The lush greenery and colorful art work by Gururaj, especially with the colorful village festival like set properties, deserves mention. "Petromax Lightu" is a typical dance song, involving Santhanam, Nithin Sathya, Sundar.C, Vinay Rai, Andrea Jeremiah and Raai Laxmi. The indoor scenes were well captured and the song's idea stems from the song "Maama Nee Vaama", which featured in Sundar'C's classic slap-stick comedy, 'Ullathai Alli Thaa'. "Sonnathu" is a female melody shot on Hansika Motwani and Vinay Rai and also had all the typical village locations such as paddy fields, water dam and rural homes as its backdrop. "Unnaiye" is a situational song, which sounds like a typical Rama Narayanan 'Amman' film songs and has a huge Hindu festival as its backdrop. The splendor and richness of the event was well captured on camera and also incorporated plenty of VFX in it. There are cameo appearances from singers Manicka Vinayagam, Dr.Sirkazhi G.Sivachidambaram and Sivashankar Master. The background score is handled by Karthik Raja and his work was functional and fits the horror based sequences, well. 

The story by Sundar.C reminds us of other Indian horror flicks, such as 'Manichitrathazhu', 'Chandramukhi', 'Yaar', 'Muni', 'Kanchana' and etc. Its not a very novel attempt, but Sundar.C and S.B Ramadoss' screenplay tries to keep us waiting for the outcome and potential twists and turns, though the proceedings were pretty much, predictable. One must admit that though the film may entertain quite a few, there are plenty of obvious loopholes and unanswered questions in the film. The film tries to pick up some speed in the second half, especially one the the surprise is revealed during the interval junction, but is hampered by some dull songs and comedy tracks. Venkat Ragavan and Sundar.C 's dialogues were pretty ordinary too, apart from some efforts in the one-liners for Santhanam. Some visuals might be a turn-off or little disturbing for those who are young aged but other than that, 'Aranmanai' isn't really a scary flick. Sundar.C's direction sufficed the needs of the script, although the Rama Narayanan's 'Amman' film-like climax, was over-the-top. 

'Aranmanai' - Unmajestic and run-of-the-mill kind, bearable horror-comedy !

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



The title 'Aadama Jaichomada' is inspiration of the hit-song from the album, 'Mankatha'. Ironically, the film's theme is revolved around the match fixing scam associated with the highly successful Indian Premier League cricket tournament. Though the film's content might suggest something of a B/C Grade film, but the content could surprise you and might be of good entertainment value for your time and money, spent. With an eclectic mix of upcoming artistes, can Badri pull it off, after the horrendous remake of 'Thillu Mullu' ?

The film has no particular lead protagonist nor antagonist and its nice to see that all main characters have nearly equal amount of space and importance to the script. Leading the pack of artistes is Karunakaran, who is on the roll with another decent and spot on performance. Karunakaran impresses us with his unique dialogue delivery and facial expressions. His comic timing is just near perfect and pulls off most of the jokes, effortlessly. However, he should improve his romance and dancing portions, if he is to pursue lead roles in the future. Bobby Simhaa, has a big makeover from the 'Jigarthanda' looks and plays the role of a cop, for the first time. The pretentious, over-ambitious and unintelligent cop role suits him to a T, He has the ample scenes to showcase his acting histrionics and doesn't let us down. Heroine Vijayalakshmi has done an adequate job and gets her diction and dialogues right. The other artistes such as Balaji Venugopal, K.S Ravikumar, Radha Ravi, Naren, Chetan, Gautham, Chitra Letchumanan, Abhishek and etc have delivered wacky performances in a very nonchalant way, especially with K.S Ravikumar and Naren. Its a jolly-good casting, indeed !

Action choreography is handled by Hari Dinesh, and since the film is purely a comedy, the action sequences are not meant to be taken serious too. The actions are over-the-top, but it is meant to be like that, in order to maintain the comical element of the screenplay. The usage of ropes in such obvious manner, could have been avoided though. Art director Gururaj's work lends a big helping hand for the film's production quality. Almost many sequences in the film have a set based scenario or plenty of props. Be it the interiors of the homes, the songs, police station set, control room and etc, every avenue is properly done and the set properties matched the ambiance very well. Kudos to Gururaj ! K.J Venkatramanan's editing is slick and he keeps the duration of the film short and has done managed the cuts for the wild-goose chase scenes, quite well. A little bit of pace in the first half, would have done more good for the film. Dwarakanath's cinematography suits the film's script and budget very well. His works for the chasing scenes are noteworthy and the lighting sense in some scenes, brought out the right effect, which added more credence to the comedy quotient of the script. 

Sean Roldan's music works fine for the film and some of the songs are appealing even if you are to listen to it as standalone soundtracks. "Thanniyile" is montage song shot on Karunakaran and Vijayalakshmi. There are plenty of funny touches here and there's such as the dancing angels ala Bharathiraja-style. The posh bathroom set for this song deserves mention ! "Odura Nari" is a situational song and is shot on Karunakaran who is chased by Naren and his motley crew of henchmen. "Naalellam" is a folk dance number, shot on Karunakaran and Vijayalakshmi, with colorful set work, based on an Rajasthani theme. "One Day" is another situation song, shot in a nightclub/pub scene, and has good lighting effects, with the additional eye-candy in the form of an sexy Caucasian dancer. The editing for the song complements the way the song was shot. "Nalla Kettuko" appears during the end-credits and features all the main leads in an 70's retro style look, with brightly colored simple set work and some patch ups of computer graphics. Sean Roldan's background score is unique and this young composer is very fast making progress and stamping his own mark but he should be cautious in not repeating his works.

Story and screenplay, developed by the director Badri, alongside with T.Senthilkumaran has touches of dark humor or black comedy. The film's thematic contents are definitely not children-friendly but the gags are indeed humorous. Some real life issues and moments are parodied unabashedly and what helps the film is the quirky mix of idiosyncratic characters and their own bizarre scenarios or situations. Be it the foolish theater owner who produces a film deemed failure, a heroine who has some sort of a yearning for a personal bathroom, a police officer who is seen as a complete joker and a philandering but helpful bookie and etc, these sort of standalone weird characters, have their lives intertwined somehow, ensuring the sparks doesn't fail to fly. Helping Badri's screenplay is the colloquially funny dialogues, written by actor Shiva. The dialogues by Shiva keeps the film lively and can be considered the backbone of the script. What hampers the film though, are the needless songs, especially the duets ! 'The film is a breezy entertainer and a perfect light-hearted black comedy.

'Aadama Jaichomada' - An effortless winner, indeed !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



'Vaanavarayan Vallavarayan' marks the second inning of Rajamohan, who previously did the 2009 rural drama, 'Kunguma Poovum Konjum Puravum'. He has gone back for a rural subject once again and its about the bond of two brothers played by Kreshna and Ma Ka Pa Anand, a popular television anchor, who makes his cinema debut. With Yuvan Shankar Raja in charge of music, can Rajamohan strike a hit with this flick ?

Kreshna, whose previous 'Yaamirukke Bayamey' was a super hit, keeps and energetic presence to his character, and is seen bubbly all the time. But that counters the serious and emotional scenes of his as well, and his portrayal did not leave the desired results. Other than that his dancing and action scenes are good enough. Ma Ka Pa Anand, shows his good timing sense during dialogue deliveries and has tried his earnest best, in performing the sentimental scenes. He looks adept for the action sequences as well, but struggles a little in the dance routines. Monal Gajjar has the rare distinction of 'debuting' in two films, wherein her other film 'Sigaram Thodu' releases along with 'Vaanavarayan Vallavarayan'. She passes off as a typical village belle and has a pleasant personality. Acting wise, nothing much thus far. The film is replete with character artistes such as Thambi Ramaiah, Kovai Sarala, S.P.B Charan, Jayaprakash, Niharika Kareer, Meera Krishnan, Krishnamoorthy, Chelladurai, Shanmugasundaram and the legendary Sowcar Janaki, who makes a comeback to the silver-screen after nearly two decades. Though they are quality artistes, the film leaves no scope for them to utilize their skills. Finally, we have our Superstar Comedian Santhanam, who makes a small cameo appearance towards the end of the film. As usual, his counter-lines were a real treat and lifts the mood of the film.

The film's technical output is just functional and there's nothing outstanding about it. T.Ramesh's action choreography was adequate and it was not so overboard. Moreover, it complemented the physical attributes of both Kreshna and Ma Ka Pa Anand and kudos to T.Ramesh for that. Remiyan's art direction sufficed the needs of the script. Most of the film was shot in real rural locations and the set properties for the rural scenes were well matched, in accordance to the social status of the characters depicted. Editing is taken care by Kishore T.E and his work was pretty ordinary. Lots of montages were involved in songs, which were well edited but he could have trimmed the length of the film, which meanders aimlessly. M.R Palani Kumaar's camera catches the lush green areas of Pollachi but other than that, the cinematography was just functional.

Yuvan Shankar Raja's songs are pleasant and foot-tapping, though the songs fail to lift up the film, due to bad placing. "Kongunaatu" is the introductory song of the two male leads and has plenty of montages depicting the hot-and-cold relationship of the brothers. "Vangamma Vangappa" is a situational turned dance number, which was shot in a marriage situation. The set was well designed by Remiyan and resembles a real-life wedding scenario. All the main leads were present in the song. "Tharaimele" is a peppy folk melody sung by Yuvan himself. It was shot on Kreshna and Monal Gajjar, with Ma Ka Pa Anand, appearing in some montage shots. "Thakkaalikku" is a folk melody shot on the lead pair and Remiyan's minimal art work, fits the bill. The green surroundings of Pollachi is a treat for the eyes. "Vidungada" is a dance number featuring both Kreshna and Ma Ka Pa Anand and is a typical girl-bashing song for the guys. The song was shot in night effect and has street locations and bar scenes as the backdrop. Yuvan's background score would have made better effect on an another film but alas it goes to waste here.

Taking the names of the protagonist and antagonist from 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's 1992 hit film 'Yejamaan', Rajamohan has based the entire story on the relationship of the two brothers and how it plays havoc in the love life of the elder one. Lets be frank, the film is just out of touch with contemporary standards and is just a throwback of screenplay and scripting of late 80s and 90s. The melodramatic moments just fail to click and at times are unintentionally funny. Rajamohan infuses some unwanted vulgar moments in the film, which were just gross. The ending was made in an contrived manner, just for the sake of an happy ending. The comedy portions too were not rip-roaring material and gets too loud and insipid. The film may appeal the rural folks, but then people have improved their taste buds so much, this film could just be a reminder to other directors and producers to not venture into film-making, if your product is not up to the mark.

'Vaanavarayan Vallavarayan' - A cool title, abused !

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



After the unexpected disastrous result of 'Anjaan', UTV Motion Pictures has immediately released their next South Indian offering and its Vikram Prabhu's 'Sigaram Thodu'. Directed by Gaurav Narayanan, who previously did 'Thoonga Nagaram', it is a crucial film for all the key stakeholders. A film touted to be based on real-life incidents of ATM robberies and credit/debit card scams, will 'Sigaram Thodu' make it big ?

After the moderate 'Arima Nambi', Vikram Prabhu has nailed another suitable script for him. He has done justice to his role, which has its fair share of boisterous nature together with subtle emotions. His physique lends credence to his role. Also, his dancing skills has improved by some good measure and he is convincing in the action sequences. Nothing memorable but a clean and neat performance from him. Veteran Sathyaraj shows his class and experience in his acting, which suits him well. His role is pivotal since he is the driving force behind the protagonist and the realistic portrayal of his character adds little substance to the film. Debutante Monal Gajjar looks pretty and natural in front of the camera, but there's nothing much else to discuss about her. Gaurav himself plays the main antagonist and the character suits him well and he carried off his role well. Sathish's comedic timing was on the dot as usual and evokes some laughter but the relevance of his character is another question. Others in the cast are 'Erode' Mahesh, Singampuli, Kovai Sarala, Vijay Raj, Charan Deep, Paandu, Krishnamoorthy, Kamalakrishnan, Swaminathan, Manohar and etc, and we also have a cameo appearance from K.S Ravikumar, whom happens to be the mentor of Gaurav.

Costume designing by Niranjani Agathiyan sufficed the needs of the script, and the characters' urban looks were, well achieved. Videsh is in charge of art direction and his work gave the film, a perfect look for the script. The police station, bank premises, office interiors and etc have been well put up and justified the moderate budget provided by the producers. Dhilip Subbarayan and 'Billa' Jagan have taken responsibility for action choreography and kudos to the duo for composing realistic action sequences. The one-to-one fight situations have been done in keeping reality in mind and the choreography is based on proper martial arts moves. Simple, but it was powerful and effective ! Editing by Praveen K.L, especially in the second half keeps the proceedings racy and intact but the first half was just a waste of time, with unwarranted romance & comedy sequences, as well as songs. The investigation portions are the highlights of Praveen K.L's editing work. Cinematograhy by Vijay Ulaganath is a little quirky with plenty of gimmicks in camera angles and movement. Some camera movements were a little unusual but it shows the creative spark of Vijay Ulaganath. Besides that, the beautiful sceneries of the far northern regions of Haridwar, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, Yamunotri, Rudrapur, Gangotri and etc were well captured and is pleasing on the eyes. 

D.Imman delivers some neat compositions but they were not as catchy as some of his previous works. Nevertheless, some might still fancy a number or two in 'Sigaram Thodu's track-list. "Takku Takku" has plenty of simple animation and bright, K-Pop like CG-works, and serves as an introductory song for Vikram Prabhu. The song's visual idea was unique and it might appeal to the kids, which was well edited by Praveen K.L. "Pidikkudhe" is a typical D.Imman melody and is apparently shot on the lead pair. Vijay Ulaganath's top angle shots are the highlights of the song, which has pleasing visuals of the Rishikesh and Uttarakhand's mountainous landscape. The usage of the bird-wing like costume for Monal Gajjar was eye-catching. "Scenenu Scenenu" is a dance number and is again shot on the lead pair, but this time the locations are just the usual urban, upmarket locations such as malls, parks and apartment colonies. "Anbulla Appa" sung by the legendary K.J Yesudas, is focused on the father-son relationship portrayed by Sathyaraj and Vikram Prabhu. The song is full of montages, which is sort of like a sentimental pathos song. D.Imman's background score was a little less impressive this time because there are many moments in which the music director adds too much of melodramatic scores, unnecessary 'elevating' the sentimental quotient of the scenes. Hope D.Imman fixes this issue for his other projects !

Gaurav Narayanan's intention of trying to come up with the "perfect" screenplay of an contemporary Tamizh cinema commercial film, is understandable. But that's what precisely pulls down all the hardwork put in by the director, for his research part of the script. The comedy and romantic portions did not work out well and is a big hindrance to the main plot of the film. Apart from Sathish's one-liners, none of the comedy sequences really gel well with the script and the romantic portions are just too insipid. But still, Gaurav deserves credit for his great effort in compiling details on ATM robberies, and scams involving the financial/banking sector, especially with the debit/credit card services. He also deserves plaudits for structuring those issues in his screenplay in such a manner, wherein a common man can understand the processes involved in such robberies and scams. Gaurav should thank his cinematographer and editor for coming up with visuals and edits, which helped him to convey his research in an convincing manner. The investigation sequences in the final stretch of the film was well conceived and written, as well. Gaurav's character designing was neat as well and never goes overboard with unnecessary "masala" elements. If at all Gaurav took the bold decision of not succumbing to conventional pressures, he could have come up with a much better screenplay.

'Sigaram Thodu' - It doesn't reach the peaks, but it did ascend higher than the usual norm !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Vetrimaaran's production company Grass Root Film Company, has produced this medium budget flick, interestingly titled as 'Poriyaalan', meaning an engineer ! The film's plot is based on civil engineering projects and the protagonist plays a civil engineer (Vetrimaaran and Dhanush, seem to be on the same wavelength !). Written by Manimaran, who previously wielded the megaphone for Vetri's 'Udhayam NH4' and directed by debutante Thanukumar, can Vetrimaaran produce a quality output ?

Harish Kalyan looks comfortable and at ease in essaying his role. But he lacks screen presence and charisma to hold our attention, which he should improve, if he's to do more protagonist roles. Rakshitha/Hasika/Anandhi (hope she zeroes a name, very soon !) looks demure and fits the bill. She has a pleasing personality and comes out with subtle performances. With better directors and scripts, she can go places. Achutha Kumar was functional was the atypical Tamizh cinema villain, whereas its veteran artiste Mohan Raman, who surprises us with a terrifically nonchalant performance ! The rest of the cast includes 'Delhi' Ganesh, Naren, Mayilsamy, Ajay Rathnam, 'Munnar' Ramesh, Udhayabanu Maheshwaran, 'Crane' Manohar, Bava Lakshmanan and etc.

'Tiger' Babu's action choreography may seem to be functional, but it just did not suit the personality of Harish Kalyan, and gives out an exaggerated feel, which definitely, is a turn off. G.B Venkatesh's editing is slick and he keeps the pace of racy, especially in the second half, bar some unwanted songs and stunt scenes. R.K Vijay Murugan's art work sufficed the needs of the script. His set properties were very apt, especially for the middle-class homes depicted in the film. R.Velraj is in charge of cinematography and though the ace cinematographer tries his best to come up with good visuals, the quality is obviously missing. The songs look lackluster and even his forte of night shots, look dull. 

M.S Jones' music is below average and none of the songs, manage to stick with our minds. "Porappu Erappu" is the introductory song for the protagonist and the song has a celebration theme, with low-cost flats, as its background. Gana Bala makes a cameo appearance in this song. "Kan Rendum" sung by G.V Prakash Kumar and Saindhavi, is a melody shot on the lead pair and has full of montage sequences, which doesn't really leave any impressive impression on us. "Yedhedho Sila" is another melody shot on the lead pair and this romance track was shot on the backwaters of Alleppy, Kerala and has its famous houseboats, as a venue. "Haryana Devathai" is an item number, which was unfortunately, very boring. The background score was overwhelming and often drowns the proceeding of the screenplay. M.S Jones, should be more careful with his rerecording and try not to overdo his work.

Manimaran's story is a very simple thriller plot line, which has the typical scandals and scams being the main theme. The screenplay was neat and plays safe by incorporating all the commercial elements into it, but the story picks up pace in the second half and the detailing is worth mentioning. We get to see the other side of civil engineers, real estate projects, brokers & agents and all the hanky-panky issues of that side of the world, which we might not know. Though the film is filled with realistic approaches, the negative points of the film, brings down the thrill quotient. The film lacks energy and strong characterizations. The characters have a basic sketch about them, but other than that, the characters lack depth and is pretty insipid. Mohan Raman's character was a surprise exception ! The romance, comedy and song sequences really pulls down the momentum of screenplay but Manimaran tries to keep us engaged with some poignant touches here and there, especially in the manner the protagonist faced and managed his love affair, once it becomes an open secret. The dialogues are crisp in those portions, but the execution in the direction department by Thanukumar is not up to mark. The film has a good content and subject matter but it faltered in the making.

'Poriyaalan' - A B-grade thriller, not going right !

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS



Love - the only theme which our Tamizh cinema directors will never get bored of dwelling in. And what a beautiful title, especially when the film is set in the 1980s' era ! 'Amara Kaaviyam' has been making the right noise, due to it being actor Arya's film, under his own production of The Show People. Jeeva Sankar of 'Naan' fame directs this second film of his career and feature's Arya's brother, Sathya in the lead role, alongside Malayalam heroine Miya George, who makes her Tamizh debut. With M.Ghibran's critically well-received musical score, can this flick attain 'immortality status, in the annal of Tamizh cinema ?

Sathya, who's debut 'Kadhal 2 Kalyanam' is still yet to see the daylights, makes a good impression and has shown improvement in regards to performance. He looks confident, has a good screen presence and composure in dialogue deliveries. He performs well in the action sequences too and with better directors and script, he can definitely become a talent to watch out for. Debutante Miya George, looks super confident, thanks to her experience in doing Malayalam films. She has what it takes to be a very good actress and has a very sweet and pleasing screen presence. Her next choices of film roles, can dictate her place in Tamizh cinema. Wishing these two youngsters a great career ! The rest of the cast such as Ananth Nag, Thambi Ramaiah, Arul Jothi, Vaidyanathan, Elizabeth, Rindhu Ravi, Sudeepa and etc were apt choices for their realistic and earthbound performances. 

The film has very good production values and quality technical outputs from the technical crew. V.Sai's costume designing was apt, and is in adherence of the social, geographical and time period elements of Ooty and Kodaikanal areas. Om Prakash's action choreography suits Sathya's physical built and the fight sequences were realistically shot and executed. The second half fight sequence, shot in slow-motion is a highlight of it. V.Selvakumar's art direction is a big plus for the film's production values. The set properties, be it from vehicles, to furniture, household items and even grocery items were well set up and established the 1980's era, perfectly. Kudos to him ! Editing by Suriya, complements the pace and narrative style of the director and all the cuts are very smooth and doesn't create any jarring effect. Jeeva Sankar handles the cinematography himself, and the cameraman in him has excelled to the core ! Visuals played an important role in the film and it carries the movie forward. The beautiful locations of Ooty and Kodaikanal were magnificently captured by Jeeva Sankar and the watercolor like tone gives the film a misty/dreamy and almost ethereal look, throughout the film. Jeeva Sankar definitely keeps up the reputation as an assistant of the late Jeeva.

Its definitely not an overstatement, if one says that M.Ghibran's musical score is the soul of the film. His songs complemented the script's style and all songs are appropriately placed in the screenplay. The peppy "Saridhaana" is the introductory song of all the main leads and has more montages of Sathya, in establishing his role as a school-going teenager. "Edhedho Ennam" is the first melody shot on the lead pair and has plenty of montages, with some of them having beautiful landscapes, as backdrops of the song. The hill station effect was very well brought out, especially. "Deva Devadhai" is a rather intimate melody and was shot indoors completely and has plenty of reaction shots from the lead pair, which was well cut by Suriya. The haunting melody, "Mounam Pesum" sung by the legendary K.S Chitra, also has montages of the lead pair, temporarily staying away from each other, due to a decision taken by themselves. Though the song has an interestingly tricky situation as its backbone, the love feel was very well conveyed. "Thaagam Theere" is a pathos song, and has montages of the lead pair living separate lives, away from each other. M.Ghibran's background score certainly upraises the mood and impact of the scenes and some portions will definitely strike a chord with the audience, for the soothing background score from him. Another feather in the cap for M.Ghibran !

This film will definitely remind us of the classic 1980's film 'Panneer Pushpangal', directed by Santhana Bharathi and P.Vasu, (not to forget the beautiful songs by 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja) due to the geographical aspect of an Ooty hill station location and the theme of high school romance. Juvenile love story is a tricky element to tackle, a wrong approach of the theme, will end up with the filmmakers sending out a wrong message. Jeeva Sankar, handled his subject decently and has come up with good characterization for all the artistes, but the intensity of an infatuation turned love feeling, among the young teenagers is just missing in 'Amara Kaaviyam'. Jeeva Sankar tries to sink in the love mood and feel of it, with slow-motion reaction shots and a very langoriously paced screenplay. But the dramatic moments are often brushed off so casually and almost, most of the scenes are underplayed. Though its applaudable, that the characters are portrayed realistically, not every single individual is going to be very practical in their approach to the issues and dilemmas, affecting them. Also, the non-linear approach with the story-telling doesn't really make sense, especially when you give away the end of the climax, right at the interval point. There are some minor loopholes in the film's screenplay and though the climax portion is touted to based on an real life incident, which took place in Tanjore, it does send a wrong message and the almost glorification of such juvenile act of love, is totally unjustified. Nevertheless, the film is an decent attempt and hope it becomes a good platform for those involved, to enhance their careers in Tamizh cinema.

'Amara Kaaviyam' ? - Nah, not really. No way, it'll be one !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



Touted as an 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja's "musical festival", 'Megha' is the first film for Ashwin Kakumanu and Srushti Dange, to don the role of a lead pair. Directed by debutante Karthick Rishi, 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja's songs have been giving the film the needed publicity but will that transform into a successful venture for all parties ?

Ashwin Kakumanu has proved his mettle in playing character roles of lesser proportions, but for the first time, he carries the entire film on his shoulders. His smart and presentable appearance helps him to fit the character well and he has tried his best in delivering an earnest performance but he falters in those heavy-duty scenes and really needs to buck up in those areas. As for Srushti Dange, she passes of as the atypical innocent and naive Tamizh cinema heroine, and she too needs plenty of improvement from her side, in order to succeed as an artiste. Jayaprakash has the best role among the character artistes and the veteran is dependable as always, but there's something not right with his characterization, though. The rest such as Angana Roy, Naren, Vijayakumar, Meera Krishnan, Y.Gee Mahendran, Ravi Prakasam, Nithya Ravinder, Sasikumar, Sai Prashanth, S.Selvakumar and etc did their roles well, although the necessity for some of the respective artistes' characters, is a big question mark.

Sathya N.J's costume designing sufficed the needs of the script, and each character were realistically attired. Action choreography is handled by 'Action' Prakash and though the scope is minimal, his work was decent and fitted the film's nature. Mani Karthick is in charge of art direction and his work was good, considering the limitations of the film's medium budget. The laboratory and office scenes, as well as the wedding hall set-up was well put up. Ramsudharsan's editing could have been slicker, since the film's duration is a tad too long, and he could have avoided some abrupt cuts, which is unacceptable for today's standards. Cinematography plays a big role in the film's look and R.B Gurudhev has given a nice look throughout the film and the way he portrayed the rain sequences, needs special mention. Also, his lighting and color tone for each sequence tracks, brings out the right mood and feel. 

What adds soul to the film, is definitely the musical score of 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja. Though the excessive number of songs is a hindrance to the screenplay, the fit the scenes really well. "Mugilo Megamo" sung by Yuvan Shankar Raja, plays during the opening credits, which had lovely CG portions of the blue sky and beautiful clouds. The classic "Putham Pudhu Kaalai" from 'Alaigal Oivadhillai' has been remixed here, and is used for a marriage sequence, featuring the lead artistes. The lighting by R.B Gurudhev and wedding decoration set-up by Mani Karthick, adds more class for the song, though the composition of sequences could have been better. "Chellame" is the first duet for the lead pair and had a rain soaked Chennai street, in the dead night, as its backdrop. "Kalvane" is another melody shot on the lead pair and this time, its and out-and-out indoor song, which was complemented by apt color tone and lighting by R.B Gurudhev. "Jeevane" sung by 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja himself is a situational song, featuring the male lead in search of the female lead. The film ends with 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja's version of "Mugilo Megamo" during the end credits. The background score has the 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja stamp all over it, and they would make a decent listening, on its own. 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja at his casual best !

Karthick Rishi has tried to balance two genres, romance & investigative thriller, into a single screenplay. The investigative thriller block was decently written and the element of the hero being a forensic ballistics expert, is an interesting idea, though it was not fully capitalized, apart from a scene or two. The romance portion is the weaker side of the screenplay, wherein the romance track lacks the spark and intensity needed by several yards, and the lead pair is unconvincing as a lead pair. And some dialogues in this portion is just unintentionally, way too cheesy, for current norms ! There's no organic development in the love track and everything seems to happen just like that. The characterization of the artistes is a little weak and as mentioned earlier, some characters appear and disappear in the film, for no solid reasons. The film does have some sweet spots, in terms of writing, but they are few and far between. The screenplay lacks pace, especially in the second half when the whodunit element is revealed a little earlier than it should have been. And that leaves us, with some unanswered questions, which exposes the loopholes in the script. 

'Megha' - Nice template, but less conviction in execution.

Ratings: 2.5/ STARS



'Irumbhu Kuthirai' is the comeback film for Atharvaa Murali, after the critically acclaimed 'Paradesi'. Directed by debutante Yuvaraj Bose, a former associate of Arivazhagan, the film's USP is the script being based on motorcycle race backdrop and super-bikes. Produced on a generous budget by AGS Entertainment, can Yuvaraj race into Tamizh cinema as another young prodigy ?

After the hard struggle and excruciating pain in 'Paradesi', Atharvaa Murali dons a conventional hero role and it looks like he has been working out on his physique. He looks better and has improved his dialogue delivery and timing but his character lacks the zing and energy needed. Unfortunately, this film lets him down, on acting performance aspect. Priya Anand, looks gorgeous and is the regular Tamizh cinema heroine (friend turned damsel-in-distress turned lover !). The lead pair looks compatible on screen, but their chemistry fails to sizzle. Johnny Tri Nguyen is a surprise casting and fits the role of a really mean baddie, but somehow his character becomes unintentionally funny (especially with the Tamizh dialogues !). Among the character artistes, its Devadarshini who's role as the protagonist's mother, is an interesting choice. We are seeing some serious performances from her, and hope she continues to showcase her acting skills. The rest of the cast includes Raai Laxmi & Jagan (both looking out-of-sync with the film), Manobala, Mayilsamy, Joe Malloori, Anupama Kumar, Swaminathan, Sachu and Joshna. Alisha Abdullah (India's first female national racing champion & only female biker racer) has a cameo, which the needs of it can only be comprehended by the director.

Thanks to AGS Entertainment, the films has rich production values and slick technical outputs. Muruganandam takes care of the costume designing and Priya was given the most attention, as she was simply cute and lovely in he simple and casual clothing. He could have worked it out better for Raai Laxmi and Jagan, who looked completely weird and unflattering. Art direction is by Sakthee Venkatraj.M and though most of the film was shot outdoors, the set work and properties for the homes of the lead pair, the bike sales gallery and the warehouse like set-up for the pre-climax fight sequence, looks good. Action choreography is by 'Kanal' Kannan and he has made good use of Johnny Tri Nguyen's martial arts skill. Though the execution was okay, the choreography did not really match Atharvaa's personality and it was a little over-the-top, especially with the ropes. William Ong, takes care of the bike action sequences, and being an expert in it, there are no complaints with his work. T.S Suresh must be commended for the crisp running time of the film and for his work in the action scenes, but the film has a very jarring pace and the continuity takes severe beating due to this. Cinematography is by R.B Gurudhev and Gopi Amarnath and both of them have given good visuals, be it Pondicherry or the Italian countryside and Venice city. They have tried to match the visuals of Italy with Pondicherry and they have managed to work it out in bits and pieces, though the cover up is pretty obvious.

G.V Prakash Kumar's music is decent but the songs fail to create any impact due to the bad timing and placement in the screenplay. "Hello Brother" is the introductory song of Raai Laxmi and was shot in a bar like set-up, which incorporated plenty of color lighting. "Ange Ippo Enna" is a melody between the lead pair and has many cut-shots of the lead pair, texting each other in which grand and majestic buildings in Venice becomes a backdrop for this song. "Alai Paayum" is almost a similarly shot song, but this time it's a dance number and has more coastal and cliff side locations in the song, which was also shot in Italy. "Penne Penne" is a pathos song, shot on the lead pair and has Pondicherry's colonial and colorful buildings as its backdrop, with many cut-shots, in it too. "Pondicherry" was visually the best shot song, which is an item number featuring the tall, dusky and hot Akshara Gowda. Johnny Tri Nguyen and Alisha Abdullah makes appearance in the song as well, which had a ringside like set-work and good lighting, which complemented the song very well. G.V Prakash Kumar's background score, especially for the climax race sequence is adept. His signature scores for the love portions, are highlights of the background score, too !

A Tamizh film on superbike racing is certainly a refreshing and unique idea, but ideas alone will not make films, watchable. Yuvaraj Bose's plot for the script is so simple, which an adolescent teenager can come up with ! His screenplay lets you down terribly and the film lacks the great energy needed, especially since its about super-bikes. As said earlier, the placement of songs irks us even more and the unwarranted comedy and sentimental portions are a big bore. The love portions lack the sizzle needed and is pretty ordinary. But Yuvaraj's sequence setting doesn't go overboard and he comes up with casual scenes, pertaining to the characters' dilemmas and stature. But for such scenes to hold up on its own, you need strong and interesting dialogues, which Narsim fails to deliver. The dialogues are just pretty much conventional and sufficed the needs of the script. Yuvaraj does spring a surprise, in late second half, but its way too late to save the film and the audience's attention. Instead of tweaking the script and closing down the gaping loopholes in the screenplay, Yuvaraj succumbs to the contemporary Tamizh cinema pressure and fills his film with unwanted elements. Weak characterization further dampens the mood of the film and by the end of the film, you wouldn't have felt like you have watched a film !

'Irumbu Kuthirai - Instead of galloping, it stuttered !

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



Vijay Antony, is back to the silver screen once again after, his sleeper-hit debut, 'Naan'. Jointly produced by, his wife Fatima Vijay Antony and others, Vijay Antony borrows his previous character's pseudonym as the titular character for this new flick and has introduced another debutante director, N.V Nirmalkumar, a former associate of Bharathi Raja. Can Vijay Antony reproduce the same success of 'Naan' with 'Salim' ?

In 'Naan', Vijay Antony's subdued character complemented his image and he passes muster comfortably. He carries the same performance in 'Salim' and there's literally not much of difference, be it in voice modulation, facial expression, dialogue delivery and etc. It suits him and he looks a little more comfortable, but it will definitely can't last longer than this. Aksha Pardasany has very minimal scope for acting and there's nothing to shout about, regarding her character. The rest of the cast such as R.N.R Manohar, Swaminathan, Aruldass, Azmath Shariff, Jayachandran, Ramanathan, Jyothi and etc are there to fill up the necessities of the script. Its an out-and-out Vijay Antony show !

The film's technical output is just average and passes muster. 'Billa' Jagan takes care of the action choreography and his work complements the stature of Vijay Antony and his character. The second half packs, all the stunt sequences and the hotel room fight scene is the highlight of them all. Kudos to Vijay Antony for pulling them off efficiently. Vinod Raveendran and Anand Raj is in charge of art direction and they have done a decent job, especially with the set properties for the homes of the characters shown in the film. Also, the continuity for the hotel room sequence should be mentioned, for the realistic look. The editing department is taken care by three editors, who are M.V Rajesh Kumar, Veerasenthil and Selva. The editing was okay, but some cuts were just too obtrusive and lacks coherence. The duration of the film needs severe editing, especially with the slow pace of the first half ! Cinematography by M.C Ganesh Chandra looks decent, especially with the lighting and color tone used, which complemented the mood of the scenes, especially for the second half. 

Vijay Antony's musical score was a disappointment. The fizz and groove in 'Naan' is missing here and the songs, are just a hindrance for the screenplay. "Prayer" theme was used as a ringtone sound of the protagonist. "Unnai Kanda" is a melody shot on the lead pair and has a very picturesque location of sea-side and desert. The panoramic camera angles, gave the song a music video feel and the lighting gave the song a very good color. "Avala Nambithaan" is a situational song, with montages of the lead pair and a cameo appearance from Premgi Amaren, in the beginning shots of the song. The base of the song, is lifted from the M.S Viswanathan's 'Ninaithaale Inikkum' classic, "Siva Sambo". "Unnai Kanda" has a reprise version, this time in a sad mood, which serves as a bit song. "Mascara Pottu" is a typical item number, which was well shot by M.C Ganesh Chandra, who gave the song, with above average visuals aided by apt lighting and color tone. "Ulagam Unnai" is a situational song, and comes right before the climax and was shot on Vijay Antony, in a hotel room. The background score resembles 'Naan' background score, wherein Vijay Antony used the same hook-line sounds. It complements the mood of the sequences, but other than that, there's nothing impressive in it.

N.V Nirmalkumar's screenplay has a very simple outlay. First half would be character establishment and second half is where the action takes centre stage. The plan is an easy way to tell a story, but the pace of the screenplay takes severe beating ! The first half is entirely taken to establish the good side of Salim, whereas the second half is all about how Salim meets his breaking point and the retaliation towards the injustice of the society. The second half actually keeps us focused and is more gripping, but the plot has no organic development and everything seems to happen just like that, with no explanation given. The characterization of Salim, which is the utmost important element of the script, is very much unconvincing and it fails to border the reality. The character is very one dimensional in the first half, and as audiences, we too will not root for such a character !  The dialogues too are just very average and it fails to ignite any spark due to average dialogue delivery by Vijay Antony. Quite a few characters appear and disappear for no reasons and the whole film rests on Vijay Antony's shoulders. It looks like the director has taken the basic thread from 'Naan' but has made the titular character be more of like a vigilante, in the second half. The sort of cliffhanger ending suggests us with the possibility of a sequel, but unless someone comes up with a decent script, the idea is of no use !

'Salim' - A less impressive evolutionary sequel to 'Naan' !

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS