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Friday, 11 May 2018

Nadigaiyar Thilagam Movie review

It’s not an easy task to make biopics in India, you have to make a lot of compromises to make sure that nobody gets offended with your film and glorify the protagonist with all necessary positive aspects. Nag Ashwin’s Nadigaiyar Thilagam also have these shortcomings but the film stands tall with the collective team effort and the towering performance of Keerthy Suresh.

Nadigaiyar Thilagam basically deals with the rise and fall of veteran actress Savitri (Keerthy Suresh) who hails from a small village Chirravuru and becomes famous in her place for her acting stint in local drama troupe. Driven by her passion for acting, Savitri comes to Madras with her uncle K.V. Chowdary (Rajendra Prasad) to become a film actress but the unfamiliar language, camera and lights mount more pressure on the actress that she fails in her first attempt. If someone criticizes Savitri, she has the habit of bouncing back like a lioness. During her brief stay in Madras, photographer Ramasamy Ganesan (Gemini Ganesan played by Dulquer ) clicks a pic of Savitri which eventually gets her the first film offer and from there, there is no looking back.

Ramasamy Ganesan also becomes a famous actor and despite being married, he falls in love with Savitri. Slowly, Savitri too gets smitten by the candid speech and the pampering of Ganesan and agrees to marry him. Everything goes well until Savitri becomes a superstar in South Cinema and Ganesan couldn’t match up with her stardom so there comes the ego battle. Savitri holds on to the relationship until she gets to know the darker side of Ganesan and from that point, her life turns upside down.

Nadigaiyar Thilagam basically starts from the fall of Savitri, she goes to coma and we get to know about her legendary status, personal and professional losses, philanthropic nature, alcohol addiction, and recovery only through the journalist Madhuravani (Samantha).

Keerthy Suresh has delivered her career-best performance in Nadigaiyar Thilagam, she emotes various expressions with a great ease in the film. As a young girl, Keerthy attracts with her unparalleled energy level, innocence, egoistic nature, and naughtiness. Slowly the naughtiness fades away, Keerthy transforms into a majestic heroine but still, there is innocence. Post-wedding, we get to see her patience. There is a dialogue in the film once she signs Mayabazar saying ‘The story only begins now’ and from there on, Keerthy transforms into a queen, she no longer cracks jokes and there is no hyperactiveness in her body language, we only see the elegance and her big heart to help everyone around her. 

The scene where she gets to know the darker side of Dulquer and breaks out in frustration is easily the best part of her performance in the film. The post break-up mental trauma and alcohol addiction have been portrayed beautifully by Keerthy, she actually becomes a demon and only after falling ill, she comes out of her weakness for her children. It’s not easy for a 25-year-old actress to portray thirty years life of a legendary actress but Keerthy has pulled it off in style and this film certainly has broken all the doubts about her acting talent, meme creators can rest in peace for some time.

After Keerthy, it’s Dulquer who deserves a special mention. Only because of Dulquer’s character, Keerthy earns sympathy, a hero should be bold enough to play a grey-shaded character and Dulquer needs to be appreciated for his gutsy move. The irony is that despite knowing his darker side, we fall for him just like how Keerthy does in the film. Samantha has also excelled as the timid stammering journalist Madhuravani, especially in the climax scene.

There is absolutely no compromise from the technical team of Nadigaiyar Thilagam, the film’s cinematographer Dani Sanchez-Lopez used various color tones and angles to convey the emotions. There is a particular scene where Keerthy holds the liquor bottle in her hand for the first time and the frame slowly turns upside down, her life also turns upside down from that scene. In another scene, she breaks the mirror and we get see Keerthy’s face in the broken pieces, such subtle narrative adds more classiness to the film. The editing pattern was also brilliant, they only send us out of the theater with a recap of the majestic life of Savitri and not her downfall, which is indeed a clever move. The art department has also done an amazing job in recreating the iconic studios, trams and the 19th century Chennai (Madras).

On the downside, though Samantha-Vijay Devarakonda’s romantic portions have been placed for lighter side in this emotional drama, sometimes it distracts us from the core plot.

Director Nag Ashwin must be appreciated for his immense research, he also extracted the best performance from his actors, technicians and the entire team. We understand that a few things can’t be portrayed in Indian cinema as there is no enough freedom here but still what he has done is really commendable, he didn’t point anyone and not portrayed them as dark in Nadigaiyar Thilagam, he has only showcased their different shades. For example, we were shown both the good and bad in KV Chowdary, he could be portrayed as a selfish maternal uncle too but Nag Ashwin hasn’t done it and the same applies to Dulquer and Keerthy ’s characters as well, such calculative move requires a great maturity.

Overall, Nadigaiyar Thilagam is a must watch because we know that Savitri was a superstar but to understand what it costs her to be the legendary actress, you have to watch the film!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Verdict: A Solid biopic on Savitri

Actors: Keerthy Suresh, Dulquer, Samantha, Vijay Devarakonda, Rajendra Prasad, Prakash Raj

Music: Mickey J Meyer

Cinematography: Dani Sanchez-Lopez 

Director: Nag Ashwin

Production: Vyjayanthi Movies, Swapna Cinema

Friday, 28 April 2017

Baahubali 2 Movie Review

Baahubali 2 gives you the high of reading an amazingly written epic novel. Director SS Rajamouli has already transported us to the world of Magizhmathi in the first part, we lived with characters, know how they smile, cry and spill anger. However,  there is still a mystery and excitement to watch the sequel. To be precise, the first part is the phase before the wedding, you think you know characteristics of your soon-to-be better half yet there is always a moment to experience an unexplored angle. 

While the first part established the revenge angle and grandiose setup with stellar war sequences, the second part is filled with a lot of emotions but don't panic action movie fans, Rajamouli also has plenty of scenes spread in a royal plate for you. 

The plot of Baahubali 2 is simple, Palvallathevan (Rana Daggubati) cunningly kills Baahubali (Father Prabhas) through Magizhmathi Kingdom's royal slave Kattapa (Sathyaraj) and also arrests Baahubali's wife Devasena (Anushka). Saved by the sacrifice of 'Rajamatha' Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan), Shiva aka Mahendra Baahubali (Prabhas) knows the cruel death of his dad and takes revenge against his uncle Palvallathevan to enthrone as the king of Magizhmathi kingdom. 

The biggest success of Rajamouli is the way he elevates the mass heroism of his protagonist. Check out this scene for an example, in the interval block, Baahubali actually loses but with the help of the people of Magizhmathi, Rajamouli majestically projects him as a Godly figure. 

The voiceless newborn baby (Mahendra Baahubali) turns into a superhero with a single powerful dialogue uttered by Sivagami. Not only heroism, Rajamouli slowly but steadily injects the revenge flavor in our veins, when Palvallathevan tries to tear the heart of Mahendra Baahubali, we feel like breaking the head of latter and it happens. Palvallathevan treated Devasena like a slave so he deserves to die in a fire and it happens.  A villain tries to sexually harass Devasena, we want his fingers to be chopped off, it happens and for that, she's captured as a prisoner, Baahubali enters and we want him to save her, it happens! Like a God, Rajamouli gives everything we wish, with Baahubali the director becomes an ultimate creator and executed a film, which the audience wanted right from the inception of Indian cinema. 

The true success of an epic film not only lies in the exceptional writing, the actors should rightly convey the emotions to the audience and man, Prabhas does it in style, he lived both as Amarendra and Mahendra Baahubali, be it in his shredded physique, sharp look and swag walk, his powerful screen presence gives an adrenaline rush. Anushka looked regal as Devasena, she got a powerful role and brings justice to the character with her authentic performance. Sathyaraj reiterated the meaning of veteran in style so as Nassar and Ramya Krishnan.

Baahubali 2's another big hero is MM Keeravani, his songs and background score are truly epic. Also, kudos to the VFX team and cinematographer for their magnificent presentation. The only negative aspect of the film is the long drawn-out revenge portion and over the top action sequences in the climax but when we are ready to accept Spiderman, Superman and Ironman, why not the towering heroism of our own superhero Baahubali!

Rating: ****

Verdict: Epicness overloaded

(Part of the review with additional inputs available here (

Actors: Prabhas, Rana, Ramya Krishnan, Anushka, Nassar, Sathyaraj

Director: SS Rajamouli

Music: Keeravani 

Producers: Arka Media Works

Friday, 7 April 2017

Kaatru Veliyidai Movie Review

Kaatru Veliyidai
 is a typical Mani Ratnam romantic drama with aesthetic visuals, meritorious music, classy characters and a feel-good romance but sadly,  the director fails to score as a captivating storyteller. Everything we witness in the film is a rehashed version from previous Mani Ratnam films! 

Just imagine Inba(Madhavan)  and Sashi (Meera Jasmin) from Aayutha Ezhuthu, now make the professions of both the characters more sophisticated, we get the stylish fighter pilot Varun Chakrabani aka VC(Karthi) and an independent doctor Leela Abraham (Aditi Rao Hydari). If Inba disrespects Sashi, she would express her anger,  she can't speak feminism but our Leela can.  Talking about Varun, other than his modern look,  he only shares same characteristics as Inba. 

So what happens when Varun gets arrested by Pakistan Army? He tries to escape and meet his ladylove, who decided to break up her relationship with him after witnessing several bitter experiences due to his egocentric attitude.... 

Leaving aside Ravi Varman's scintillating visuals capturing scenic locales and kingly orchestration of AR Rahman, the film's biggest strength is Aditi Rao Hydari, she owns the film with her winsome performance. The way Aditi cries, laughs and emotes completely attract us that when we leave the movie hall, she refuses to move away from our heart. However, the rest of the characters fail to create such impact. Though Karthi looks smart and fresh, he couldn't justify the young and energetic VC. There is a natural swag in Karthi but when it comes to intense romance, he still has a long way to go. 

Mani Ratnam's films are known for inimitable writing without any compromise but here everything looks so convenient and filled with plenty of logical loopholes. Especially, scenes where Karthi escaping from Pakistan Army looks so silly and contrived. 

To be precise, Kaatru Veliyidai is an exotic trip but the overall experience is not so exciting, we couldn't carry any memorable moments back home! 

Rating: 2.75/5

Verdict: An exotic trip but the overall experience is unexciting!