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

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

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

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

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

'Kaththi' - Sharply 'Kaththi', indeed !

Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



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

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

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

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

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

'Yaan' - A cavernous yawn !

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS



Director Suseenthiran, who had a fantastic 2013 with two solid film in 'Aadhalaal Kaadhal Seiveer' and 'Paandiya Naadu' is back once again and its a return to sports-based theme. 'Jeeva' is produced by himself, together with cinematographer Madhie and art director Rajeevan, under the newly formed Vennila Kabadi Team Productions. Co-producing the film is The Next Big Films production unit, alongside actor Arya under his own production company The Show People. Distribution is handled by Arya's company together with Vishal's Vishal Film Factory. Being a project entirely funded and distributed by industry friends, can Suseenthiran strike a hat-trick ?

After the success of 'Mundasupatti', Vishnu Vishal has once again done it in 'Jeeva' with a very clean and neat performance. Being a real-life cricketer himself, Vishnu Vishal performed very naturally and with consummate ease. His diction is good and he is showing more improvement with his dialogue deliveries and modulation. Job, well done ! Sri Divya has substance in her performance and she manages to show a gamut of expressions on her face. Her lip-sync, too is spot on and with a very pretty and pleasing personality, hope she gets more good roles to explore her acting credentials. Soori's character is something unnecessary for the script, though we don't mind the few occasional chuckles, he creates with his sharp dialogue deliveries and apt sense of comic timing. The film has plenty of supporting artistes such as Lakshman Narayan (another real-life cricketer), Charlie, Harish Uthaman, Vinoth Kishan, producer T.Siva, G.Marimuthu, V.Madhusudhan Rao, Akhila, Monika, Bava Letchumanan, Muthuraman, Mahendran and etc. Nearly all of them had good acting scope and made good use of their screen timing. Co-producer and distributor Arya makes a cameo appearance towards the end of the film. 

C.Harikesh handles the costume designing and his work sufficed the needs of the script. The changeover for Sri Divya from a school-going girl to a college student, deserves mention. All artistes looked their part and the costumes made everyone look original and authentic. 'Anl' Arasu's action choreography was minimal and functional. G.C Anandhan's art direction gave the film a very realistic look and ambiance. The set properties, especially for the 80's and 90's era deserves special mention. The detailing in the middle-class homes depicted in the film, is another highlight. Editing is handled by Ruben, and there's nothing much to complain about his work. The cricket game shots, were well edited, which keeps the momentum of the scene from not depreciating. Cinematographer Madhie's work is enthralling and the color tone and the various style of lighting employed for different scenes, elevated the mood of the film and gels well with Suseenthiran's presentation. Madhie has tried his best to bring out the grandeur and awe-inspiring moments of an actual cricket matches and he succeeds to a certain extent. The angles he employed for the tense moments in the cricket games, were no less brilliant and is a visual treat !

D.Imman's compositions gels very well with the film and is almost complementary to Suseenthiran's narration. "Ovvondrai Thirudugirai" is a beautiful number written by Vairamuthu and is a duet number shot on the lead pair, with many montages of their teenage lovey-dovey moments. The lovely blue tone employed by Madhie for this track, brought out the romantic mood of the song, very well. "Oru Rosa" is a booze number, which had popular cinematographer cum actor Natarajan Subramaniam @ Natty, in an cameo appearance. The typical dim lighting from Madhie and the wine shop and bar set work put by G.C Anandhan fits the bill. "Netru Naan" is a wonderful, melodious bit-song, shot on Vishnu and Sri Divya. It depicts the moment the protagonist sets his eyes upon his lady, after disengaging himself from her for a couple of years. Sri Divya's looks complemented the song's lyric, very well ! "Oruthi Mele" is a charming, naughty number shot on the lead pair, surrounded by some of the supporting cast, such as Soori and Lakshman Narayan. The college campus ambiance, with an urbane look and modernist art work by G.C Anandhan, gave the song a lively look, alongside the colorful dancers. "Enge Ponai" is a situational pathos song, which comes just before the climax. D.Imman's background score was mellow and very soothing for the ears. He has toned down his usual melodramatic scores, and the move worked very beautifully in 'Jeeva'. Hoping to hear more such lovely background score from him !

The base of Suseenthiran's story is a typical underdog-triumphing-in-the-end mould, which we would seen for umpteenth number of times. But the treatment of the theme and the issue of casteism or a form of social stratification based on caste system, is very well explored and narrated here. Suseenthiran does not shy to point out the system which plagues the Tamil Nadu cricketing scenario and how only a select group of players from a specific community, makes the cut for the team selection and how others are discarded, just like that. Santhosh's dialogue writing does the work for Suseenthiran with very simple, straight-forward, earthy but contemporary dialogues. The confrontational scene in the second half, has some of the stronger worded dialogues and its the real highlight of the film. Not to forget, some of Soori's one-liners too deserves a praise ! Suseenthiran and Arun Balaji's screenplay has a very smooth flow, apart from the occasional songs, which were minor bumps. The precise allocation of timing for romance, comedy, sentiment, bromance, and pathos quotients in the screenplay, keeps the film engaging. Suseenthiran's direction deserves praise, for his astute handling of his characters and the script's subject. There's no preachy moments, yet the message was conveyed in a very subtle manner and its always nice to have an underdog overcoming the improbable hurdles, lying in front of him. Its definitely a hat-trick for Suseenthiran !

'Jeeva' - A simple, honest and soulful sports drama !

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



'Attakathi' fame Pa.Ranjith is back with his second venture and its again for K.E Gnanavel Raja's Studio Green. The cartoonist, who was an associate of Venkat Prabhu has chosen North Chennai as his base and the people and conflict surrounding them as his theme. The bone of contention is intriguingly a wall and how people's lives are intertwined due to the wall's importance to this particular society. Its a very important film for Karthi, who needs to make a firm comeback for a series of duds. Did 'Madras' charm us ?

For Karthi, this film is definitely a big sigh of relief, because he has delivered and exceptional performance. It stands right next to his 'Paruthi Veeran' in terms of quality and 'Naan Mahaan Alla' in terms of comparison. He has literally lived and breathed as Kaali and its refreshing to see him gel with the other artistes and doesn't stand out as an exaggerated protagonist. The conveyance of emotions through his facial expressions and eye movements, were brilliant. Fantastic comeback, Karthi ! Mallu girl, Catherine Tresa Alexander, known for her Telugu films, makes her Tamizh debut and she too makes a good impression with an adequate performance, personal appearance and good lip-sync, which makes her character look very belieavable. Kalaiarasan as Anbu, who has an equal amount of space as Karthi's, is simply riveting and terrific in his performance. 'Madras's is definitely a feather in the cap, for this chap. An absolute dynamite ! There's a battalion of theater artistes who were so natural and flawless in their performances, such as Hari, who played the lunatic Johnny, Ritwika as Mary, Rama as Kaali's mother, Vinod as Maari, Nandakumar as Kannan, Ilavarasan, Jaya Rao, Aadhi, Vijesh, Powell and etc. Bang on performance from the entire cast !

K.Selvam's costume designing was very apt and realistic and was in sync with the North Chennai milieu and also to each character's unique identities and personalities. Sound designing by Anthony B.J Ruban must be appreciated for his brilliant work. The action sequences were brilliantly handled and the sequences which had big crowds, were very well designed. Action choreography is handled Anbariv duo, and their stunt sequences were top-notch. Though the violence is heavy, but it was handled very effectively and looked very authentic. The pre-interval chase and fight sequence was so organic, it stuns you at some moments. Great work ! Tha.Ramalingam is in charge of art direction and his minute detailing for the real-life locations were of paramount importance. Being an artist, his work created the right ambiance and maintained the gloomy yet earthy look, throughout the film. The wall paintings are the highlights of the art direction department ! The film works big time, also due to the near-flawless editing by Praveen K.L. The action sequences were very finely edited and the final output was remarkable. He keeps the film's pace even and there's absolutely no jerks in the screenplay. The occasional songs in the second half and some minor action sequences, do slow down the film a little, but such action dramas need such lags, to keep the momentum smooth. Murali.G's cinematography is a major plus point for the film. The urbane mood of North Chennai was brought to the silver-screen so beautifully. The various locations such as Vyasarpadi, Royapuram, Perambur, Jamalia, Sathyamoorthy Nagar and Ram Nagar areas, were very cleverly put together and shown as a single location and the multiple top-angles helped to achieve the purpose. The night effect shots are the highlights of Murali.G's work. The lighting and color tone delivered the pulsating mood, very well. 

Santhosh Narayanan continues to excel with each film and with Pa.Ranjith, he has managed to forge a good combo. The musical score itself breathes as another character in the film. The title track "Madras" gives great energy to the screenplay and is the introductory song of all the major characters of the film. The entire lifestyle of the North Chennai people was well captured for this song. "Kaakidha Kappal" is a rather amusing but pathos number, which had unique choreography from Sathish. The song is a sort of heart-break song for the lead protagonist and how it affects his normal life, with plenty of montages shot on Karthi. "Irandhidavaa" features Gana Bala in a cameo appearance and is a situational song, which has a funeral backdrop. The emotional intensity in this song, leaves us a mark on the audience. "Naan Nee" is a melodious love track, which has montages of Karthi and Catherine Tresa Alexander, which had other locations of the Chennai city such as beaches and posh upmarket areas, in its montage sequence. "Aagayam Theepiditha" follows quickly and has montages of Karthi trying to woo back Catherine Tresa Alexander, after a major dispute between them. Santhosh Narayanan's multitude theme tracks such as "Kaali Love Theme" and "Suvar Theme" injects life into the script and serve as great background score. The background score is an experience on its own, and please do give notice for Santhosh Narayanan's excellent work, which had so many dimensions and variations. Hats off, Santhosh !

As mentioned earlier, the bone of contention in this story is a single wall, and though it might sound silly and amateurish, the deep, underlying political rivalry behind that wall, is the crux of 'Madras'. The wall politicking creates a cascading effect on the characters, who belongs to the opposite political factions. What's incredible in Pa.Ranjith's script writing and with his directorial execution, is the astuteness of the issue and the attention to detail in presenting the story, in an convincing manner. What looks very simple from the outset, the story reveals the hidden complexities of the events and situations of faced by the people belonging to such areas. Pa.Ranjith's screenplay has the gripping element needed for such high-voltage drama genre and it never veers off into unwanted territories. Pa.Ranjith, keeps it tight and simple and its very evident from the very first scenes, where the director himself would give the introduction of the characters and the theme, with a voice-over. The composition of his shots and how he presents each scene is very unique yet compelling. Friendship, love, hate, anger, betrayal, revenge and all sorts of emotions were well handled by Pa.Ranjith and he infuses each emotions through the various characters, present in the film. His character designing is top-notch and the final message delivered, deserves special mention. 'Madras' is definitely a very, top-class cinema from Pa.Ranjith and it works big time. Take a bow Pa.Ranjith, you have truly arrived !

'Madras' - An eye-opening trip to North Chennai !

Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS