After the critically-acclaimed dark and morbid ' Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum', director Mysskin is back and intriguingly, he has chose horror as his next genre. Being an atheist and joining hands with fellow hard-hitting director Bala as the producer, it definitely piques the interest of Tamizh audience. Produced under Bala's B Studios, can Mysskin pull of another brilliant piece of work ?

Naga, an assistant director of Bala, makes his debut as an actor and he excels in his role. The hard work he put in, for learning the violin-playing techniques, paid of well. Though his characterization reminds us of Prasanna's character from 'Anjaathey', Naga commands a good screen presence and hope he chooses proper scripts which can elevate his status in Tamizh industry. Debutante actress Prayaga Martin, looks angelic as herself, but unfortunately she's the purported "pisaasu" of the film and is seen only in her make-up. Kudos for the arduous and grueling task she had to go through. Hope this charming lass becomes a household name in Tamizh cinema. Radha Ravi's performance was an absolute screamer and the veteran literally stole the show, in those emotional scenes ! Hope we get to see more of such performances from this ace character artiste. Harish Uthaman, Kani Kusruti, Kalyani Natarajan, Arnold, John, Om Selva, Bala and etc make up for the rest of the cast and they ably supported the main leads.

On the technical front, 'Pisaasu' is definitely top-notch and Mysskin has extracted wonderful work from his technicians. The action scene choreographed by Mysskin himself with additional output from Tony Leung Siu-hung, was brilliantly staged and beautifully picturized. It's very realistic and raw, but relevant to the nature of the scene. Gopinath's editing was in tandem with Mysskin's style of story presentation. The film's pace and flow was very apt for Mysskin's style and the duration of the film was kept in check. The sharp cuts for the sequences involving the ghost, made the trick, in spooking or freaking us out at the most unexpected of times. Art direction is handled by Jayashree Lakshminarayanan, and the all important protagonist's apartment setup was aesthetically done. The plenty of space in the apartment complemented Mysskin's wide-angle type scenes. Cinematography by Ravi Roy was excellent, especially with all the wide-angle shots, low-angle shots, long shots, slow-motion technique, static camera and the usage of GoPro camera, were very creatively used and re-establishes Mysskin's own style of scene presentation. The lighting was very well taken care, and its important for such scripts, especially when you involve the horror element. The way some scenes were framed, asked for our undivided attention ! Equally impressive was Arrol Corelli's background score. The solo song, "Nadhi Pogum" sung by Uthra Unnikrishnan, was shot on the protagonist, who plays a pathos piece on his violin, and surrounded by beggars and physically-challenged. The subway shots were very well framed and the song catches our attention, with its sad mood. Arrol Corelli's background score is heavy in violin-based re-recording and it serves like an ode to 'Isaignani' Ilaiyaraaja. The heavy tone delivers the right mood and apt depth for the emotional sequences, as well as for the hair-raising moments. Certainly a talent to look out for !

What makes Mysskin's 'Pisaasu' stand out from the regular horror films, is the innovative story-line and the emotional hook, which is the surprise package. Mysskin's compelling presentation, his visual sense, the gripping scene development, everything screams brand "MYSSKIN". The various camera angles associated with his films like the wide-angle, low-angle, static camera, frozen shots and in 'Pisaasu', the usage of GoPro camera, worked out tremendously well for the film. The element of colors as the point of focus, too was very obvious with 'Pisaasu'. Even comedy was very well handled in the film, and its great to watch how Mysskin intertwined humor and scare factor into a single scene, in his own style. The only potential low-point of the film, would be the weak emotional bonding in the "romance" portion. There is no affirmative scene which establishes the importance or reason for the love to be present in the first place. 'Pisaasu' proves that Mysskin has grown into or developed into an extraordinary filmmaker, with his own stamp of film-making style (scene visualization and thematic elements), if you compare it with his earlier films. This uncompromising way of scripting and presenting a film, deserves a big round of applause.

'Pisaasu' - Simple, yet terrifyingly scripted and executed.

Ratings: 3.25/5 STARS



Creating one of the biggest buzz of the year, 'Lingaa' was eagerly expected by each and every die-hard fans of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth, because it has been 4 long years, since his last live action film, 'Endhiran'. Besides that, he is making a comeback under the baton of K.S Ravikumar, who gave two of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's biggest blockbusters, 'Muthu' and 'Padayappa'. This combo has tried to resuscitate their pairing with 'Lingaa' after the 'Jaggubhai' and 'Rana' got dropped for various reasons. The name 'Superstar' Rajinikanth itself is enough to generate enormous buzz and expectations. Can 'Lingaa' satiate the hunger of his millions of fans ?

'Superstar' Rajinikanth is an eternal style icon and the man proves that age is no barrier for his dashing presence and energetic performance. He holds your entire attention when he is on the screen and the matinee idol looks great in his stylish costumes, although the make-up was a little tacky. The period portion featuring the star as Prince cum Collector cum civil engineer Raja Lingeshwaran is an absolute treat for the audience, because this is the 'Superstar' Rajinikanth everyone wishes to see. You get all the machismo factor and the occasional philosophical lines, which, catches your attention instantaneously, especially when he mouths it nonchalantly. Anushka Shetty's role has some bearing on the script, and nothing much more. She definitely has to take care of her weight, though ! Bollywood A-lister, Sonakshi Sinha makes her Tamizh debut and her pan-Indian looks, makes her fit for her role as a common woman of the 1930's era. Chinmayi's dubbing for her works out in her favor but her character has minimal weightage on the script. Santhanam, brings in his usual fantastic comic-timing and his dialogues are a scream in certain places. Jagapati Babu as the antagonist, was unfortunately wasted and his characterization was poorly written. The rest of the star cast includes veteran director K.Viswanath, Karunakaran, Balaji, Dev Gill, Brahmanandam, Radha Ravi, Vijayakumar, 'Nizhalgal' Ravi, R.Sundarrajan, Manobala, 'Crane' Manohar, Anu Mohan, Falk Columbo, William Orendorff and etc.

'Lingaa' is technically rich with superior production design and grandeur attached to it. Nikhaar Dhawan's costume designing was simple, yet stylish and colorful. 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's lightweight costumes, enabled him to showcase his usual speed, yet at the same very colorful and stylish. Sonakshi Sinha's looks were well maintained for the talkie portions and she looks graceful in the song, as well. Action choreography is handled by T.Ramesh and Lee Whittaker. The action scene involving 'Superstar' Rajinikanth as Raja Lingeshwaran, on top of the train was brilliantly choreographed and superbly staged. But what happened in the climax hot-air balloon scene is a complete shocker, and 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's larger-than-life quotient was simply overblown ! Production design by Sabu Cyril and the art direction by his assistant A.Amaran deserves great round of applause for their arduous task of creating a huge, dam-like set, which must look like in an  under-construction stage, in a record-breaking short time ! Its nearly equivalent to a Shankar-type set work, and the 1930's period looks was very aptly captured. The various set work for the songs, too deserves mention, although most of them reminds of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth's 'Sivaji - The Boss'. Samjith MHD's editing could have been much better, especially with the continuity and flow of the screenplay in the second half. The excessive duration of the film, is also a minus point from the editing perspective. VFX, supervised by P.C Sanath, is a big disappointment, especially in the climax portion, and it looks very tacky. To blame it on the production cost or on less availability of time, can only be decided by the makers !  The film wouldn't have looked this good on screen, if not for R.Rathnavelu's cinematography. His top-angle shots for the Linganamakki Dam, situated in the Shimoga district of Karnatae, were real treat to the eyes. The color correction for the period look, shot in Mysore and other districts of Karnataka, was top-notch. The usage of Red Dragon 6K camera and the Phantom Flex 4K for the train action sequence, deserves a round of applause. The lighting for the train-fight scene, is a must see !

Musical score by A.R Rahman, is hugely disappointing because none of his songs, stands out impressively and all of them are just temporary listens. The imperative S.P Balasubrahmanyam opening song, "Oh Nanba" was shot in dazzling urban locations of Macau and also in the luxurious Ferrari World, located in Abu Dhabi. 'Superstar' Rajinikanth was given space to dance, backed up by hundreds of foreign dancers. "Mona Gasolina" brings us the energetic Mano as the voice of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and the energy was equally matched by our 'Superstar' Rajinikanth. The song shot on 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and Anushka had various dreamy sequences such as the pirates theme, cowboy theme and futuristic space-ship theme as backdrop and each sets were well designed by Sabu Cyril and A.Amaran. "En Mannavane" is the duet shot on 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and Sonakshi Sinha and it has the typical Bollywood color and flavor to it, be it the costumes of the lead artistes or even the colorful and beautiful set, put up for the song. The lighting for the song looks amazing, and brings out the richness and splendor of the set. "Indiane Vaa" is a situational song featuring 'Superstar' Rajinikanth and most of the cast, depicting the construction of the dam, shot near the Jog Falls and the Linganamakki Dam, looks majestic and involves most of the star cast. The follow-up pathos song, "Unmai Orunaal" has montages of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth facing a crisis and appears immediately after the previous song. A.R Rahman's background score is impressive only in a few places and it proves that the ace musician needs ample of time, to deliver quality music.

The story of 'Lingaa' was written by Ponkumaran and is loosely based on Colonel John Pennycuick CSI, a British Army engineer and civil servant, who undertook the construction of Mullaiperiyar Dam. K.S Ravikumar takes charge of the screenplay, dialogues and direction. Apart from the philosophical dialogues uttered by the senior 'Superstar' Rajinikanth, K.S Ravikumar fails in the other two components. The screenplay has poor flow and continuity and has no spunk or zing in it. 'Muthu' and 'Padayappa' worked tremendously well, due to the right placing of comedy, action and emotional scenes, but more importantly it had strong emotional thread and a powerful antagonist, respectively. But none of them is present in 'Lingaa' and the film fails to rise above its flaws, even with the presence of 'Superstar' Rajinikanth. The writing looks very much 1980's material and is no-way in tune with current trend. The whole script lacked proper writing and its astonishing to note that K.S Ravikumar had a team of screenplay & script-writers to fine tune this script ! What were the makers thinking when they came out with that ridiculous action scene in the climax, can only be explained by the makers themselves. Its perplexing to note that K.S Ravikumar can take the audience for granted, especially when the film involves 'Superstar' Rajinikanth, who can easily get the best of artistes and technicians for his films. Why not come out with a decent script and a racy screenplay, and execute it properly ? 

'Lingaa' - 'Superstar' Rajinikanth to the rescue !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS



One of the most eagerly expected movies of the year, 'Kaaviyathalaivan' brings G.Vasanta Balan back to the forefront after the average 'Aravaan' released in 2012. A period film, based in the 1930's and depicting the golden age of Madurai's theater companies and its artistes' lifestyle, is certainly a fantastic premise and supposedly a treat for connoisseurs of Tamizh cinema. Produced by industrialist Varun Manian and YNot Studios' S.Sashikanth, can G.Vasanta Balan strike gold, with the backing of A-list performers and technicians ?

The film certainly belongs to the two male leads and both Siddharth and Prithviraj Sukumaran compete fiercely with each other to deliver good performances. The film is seen from Prithviraj's point of view and being the antagonist himself Prithviraj, making a comeback to Tamizh cinema after 4-year absence, has delivered a very professional performance and his expressions were top-notch. The "tamasic" nature of his character was very well brought out by him. The only drawback one could find with his performance, is his dialogue deliveries, which are laced with Malayalam-accent, which is surely a no-no for this type of film. Siddharth however steals the show, with arguably one of his best performances of his career. His body language, facial expression, eye-movements were terrific and his earnestness is so apparent on screen. Both male leads rocked the stage show sequences and kudos to them once again ! Vedhicka looked like a million bucks and has performed well, in a character with limited screen timing. Her dancing talents were put to good use and hope to see this beautiful damsel, doing more good roles in Tamizh cinema. Anaika Soti makes her Tamizh debut and is okay, though she clearly doesn't fit into the script. Veteran Nassar was majestic as Sivadass Swamigal and the ace performer delivered a near flawless performance. Thambi Ramaiah and Singampuli provide the comic relief and the rest of the cast includes Babu Antony, Mansoor Ali Khan, Ponvannan, Kuyili, Karikalan, V.K.T Balan, George, T.P Gajendran, Anjali Devi, Gayathri, Ponnammah and etc.

With a big budget and top-class technicians, 'Kaaviyathalaivan' has fantastic technical outputs and is a treat for the audience. Perumal Selvam and Niranjani Agathiyan are in charge of the costume designing and kudos for their homework on the attires of the artistes, which resembled the drama troupe folks of 1930s. Also, the detailing in costume designing for the stage show sequences, deserves mention for the designers. Very good work ! Action choreography is by B.Thyagarajan and his work fits the script's nature and is effective. T.Santhanam takes care of the art direction and he deserves a round of applause for the set work he created for the entire film. The sets for stage plays, the drama troupe's home, the palace bedroom and various other sets, as well as the properties pertaining to those period, were all rich and intricate in details. T.Santhanam's art work adds plenty of color to the film and becomes the basis for the film's screenplay. Fantastic output ! Praveen K.L's editing was clean and he keeps the tempo of the film stable throughout, but the length of the film is an issue. But the way he edited the stage play sequences, deserves a special mention. The film wouldn't have attracted attention, if not for Nirav Shah's cinematography. A splendid work of art from Nirav Shah ! He brings out the right look and feel of that era, with apt lighting and color tone. The stage play sequences, especially the "Mahabharatham" episode was a brilliant piece of work by Nirav Shah. 

Music by Academy Award-winner, A.R Rahman was classy and mesmerizing but they sound very contemporary in composition. And the style adapted in instrumentation, reflected more of M.S Vishwanathan's era, rather than the 1930's & 1940's era of Thyagaraja Bhagavathar and P.U Chinnappa. The opening "Vaanga Makka Vaanga" is one of the best of the lot and was shot on the male leads and their drama troupe. The song has many shots of various stage plays and some scenic locales of the Karaikudi and the surrounding Chettinadu area, becomes the backdrop of the song. The extended "Alli Arjuna" song appears in bits and pieces and is a stage act, plucked from the 'Mahabharatham' episodes. "Thirrupugazh" sung by the legendary Vani Jeyaram, is the introductory song of Vedhicka and was shot on her, performing intricate dance movements, with style and elan. "Sandi Kuthirai" was shot on Siddharth and Anaika Soti and is a complete dance number, which was shot like a stage act. Siddharth's character was portrayed teasing Anaika Soti, with the help of Singampuli. "Sollividu" is a another melodramatic song, shot on the two male leads, enacting the epic 'Karnan' episode from "Mahabharatham". The cinematorgraphy and the rich detailing in art work for this song deserves special mention ! "Aye, Mr.Minor" was shot on Siddharth and Anaika Soti and it acts like a night rendezvous between the love-struck couple. The art work, depicting a Madurai palace bedroom and the courtyard scene was very beautifully shot and lighted by Nirav Shah. "Yaarumilla" is a dream song shot on Siddharth and Vedhicka, interspersed with some montages of scenes between the lead artistes. The oil lamp-lit sequence, which was completely shot indoors, was very romantic and Vedhicka looked absolutely gorgeous in her saree. A.R Rahman's background score had plenty of styles and shades to it, and supplemented the screenplay very well. The background score added more tension wherever the screenplay necessitates, and elevates the mood of the scenes.

G.Vasanta Balan has scripted this story and its screenplay based on the autobiography, "Enadhu Naadaga Vaazhkai", written by Avvai Shanmughan, which was last printed in 1972. Also, the life and times of Sankaradas Swamigal, who was one of the founding fathers of Tamizh Theatre movement in the early 20th century, was an inspiration for this film. In fact, Nassar's character is an ode to Sankaradas Swamigal. The film's premise is a magical one and the scope is there for a rock-solid drama film, but 'Kaaviyathalaivan' becomes overtly melodramatic, in many places and has not much depth in its script. The film's basic core is the enmity between Prithviraj and Siddharth, where the former feel overshadowed by the latter, whereas the latter considers the former as his dear brother. The script leaves us with many unanswered questions and there's no organic development in the screenplay. Everything happens just for the sake of story-telling and no explanation is given. For instance, the film takes a turn from relationship issues into a patriotic theme but why such an event happens, is not properly explained. Siddharth's patriotism feel comes out of nowhere and we are expected to just accept things as it is. Writer Jeyamohan handles the dialogue writing, and though the ace writer's dialogues sufficed the needs of the script, the more colloquial-style doesn't really fit the era the film depicts. Was it a conscious decision by G.Vasanta Balan, is a question only he can answer. Films with such themes, should have very strong characterizations, but most of the artistes in 'Kaaviyathalaivan' merely scratched the surface of their characters, rather than delve into them. The film becomes predictable after a stage but nevertheless, it is a wonderful attempt from the makers, to deliver a good film for the Tamizh audience.

'Kaaviyathalaivan' - No where near being an epic, but a very good attempt indeed !

Ratings: 3/5 STARS



After a lengthy hiatus of nearly 5 years, Sibiraj or rechristened as Sibi Sathyaraj is back to the silver screens. Joining venture with his 'Naanayam' director Shakti Soundar Rajan, Sibi has chosen a kid-friendly, cop-dog duo film, a genre forgotten by Hollywood themselves. Produced by Sathyaraj under Nathambal Film Factory banner, can 'Naaigal Jaakirathai' relaunch Sibi Sathyaraj's career in Tamizh cinema ?

Sibi Sathyaraj has given a decent enough performance and shows more confidence and maturity in his character handling. Though the character has more shades of comedy, he does try some serious bits here and there. There's plenty of room more for Sibi to improve and hope this film serve as a good relaunch platform for him. The star attraction of the film is of course Idoh, the lovely yet strong Belgian Shepherd ! Kudos to the entire team for pulling it off by making use a military-purpose trained god, in a proper manner. The action is not top-notch, but this is a good and novel attempt. Balaji Venugopal as the antagonist was an interesting choice, but his characterization lacks detailing and his acting falls flat in some portions. Arundhati, Manobala, Mayilsamy, Chenthu Mohan, Prinz Nithik and etc fill up the rest of the cast.

Ganesh's action choreography deserves mention, especially for the sequences designed for Idoh. The climax sequence has some heavy action for the dog and the director has made good use of the dog's capabilities. The warehouse shoot-out scene in the beginning phase of the film, is another well executed scene. JPK Prem's art direction sufficed the needs of the script. The set created in the forest reserve area and the set properties of Sibi Sathyaraj's house, was neatly created. Praveen K.L takes care of the editing and the ace editor ensured that the film is crisp in its length and straight to the point. The action sequences were well put together by Praveen K.L. Cinematography is handled by Nizar Shafi and his Ooty sequences are the highlights of his camera work, in this film. Not to forget, the color tone used for the rain shots, deserves mention as well.

Dharan Kumar's music is functional and songs do not really had any importance in the film. "En Nenjil" is the bonding song of Sibi Sathyaraj and Idoh, with plenty of funny, montage sequences shot for this song. "Oyadhe Oyadhe" is a situational song and is also shot on the pair, and has the hill stations of Ooty, as its backdrop. The theme song of the film, "Doggy Doggy" appears during the end credits and is shot like a music video, with Idoh being idolized like a movie star, though Sibi Sathyaraj's dance sequences were predominantly used. Dharan Kumar's background score was functional, and the highlight of his work would definitely be the score's recorded to project the bonding between the hero and his dog.

Shakti Soundar Rajan's script has a unique idea and some interesting elements but the film lacks fine writing and thorough detailing. The film's screenplay is not fully engaging and is missing fire it needed, though its pretty straightforward and doesn't waste much time. The emotional thread does help the screenplay to move forward, but the scenes are disjointed and is not cohesive. The dialogues are pretty ordinary and none of them leaves any sort of mark on the audience. The comedy portions are unnecessary, though such scenes are always forcibly inserted into the film, just for commercial purpose. In conclusion, the film is watchable in portion and but could have been much better, if not for the below par execution.

'Naaigal Jaakirathai' - Be more aware of dogs !

Ratings: 2.75/5 STARS