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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings: 2/5 STARS



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings: 2.5/5 STARS



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings: 2.25/5 STARS



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings: 1.5/5 STARS



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS