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Friday, 19 December 2014

Pisaasu Movie Review

Horror movies are a safe bet in any movie industry and Tamil cinema is no exception but when Mysskin announces that his next film asPisaasu, it certainty created huge curiosity. An inevitable question aroused , how on earth a sensible film maker like Mysskin will opt for a horror film which is ought to be filled with amusements and superstition but hands down Mysskin for breaking every given stereotype for a horror movie.

The very first shot which depicts a group of people running towards a heavily injured girl (Prayaga) who was just hit and run by a car. Among the three men who help her, she holds the hand of a young violinist, Siddharth (Naga) and there you go, the beautiful diva passes away straight at looking his eyes. As you guess, the girl turns into a Pisaasu and haunts Naga’s house. Once Naga starts experiencing the paranormal activities, he slowly gets to know the reason behind her death. The rest of the story tells us an emotionally driven poetic climax, where we witness an unexpected decision taken by the devil itself.

What makes Pisaasu as easily one of the best unique horror movies ever told is Mysskin’s treatment. The small yet beautiful characterizations including a rude drunkard who always beat his wife, a mentally challenged boy, a fraudulent dude and most importantly an angelic devil which steals our heart. Mysskin also satirically trolled fake exorcists and how religions come together in order to drive a devil.

Performance wise, Naga is adequate and he exactly replicates Mysskin’s earlier protagonists. The walk, look and dialogue delivery indeed remembers us of Naren who acted in Chitiram Pesudhathi and Anjathey. Naga’s ability to emote is too good for a debut actor. Though Prayaga comes for a few minutes, her beautiful characterization and charming face might get her a lot of offers. Radharavi who played as Prayaga’s father has given an incredible performance in a short yet strong role given to him.

Technically Pissasu is simply outstanding. Aroll Corelli’s background score is divine and poetic for a horror movie while cinematography by Ravi Roy is sensational that his shot coveys thousand stories. The effort done by the sound effects team is also quite laudable for hair-raising scary moments. It won’t be an exaggeration to say Mysskin has once again proved that he is a responsible, sensible film who is capable of adding novelty even in a horror movie.

Overall,  Pisaasu is a poetic , feel good horror-thriller. Yes , you read it right!

Rating : ✮ 1/2

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Lingaa Movie Review

Rajini films are always special; he is not just another superstar who runs his career only with mindless masalas. Rajini’s hit films always have good characterization, there will be a powerful villain and the missions set by him will be difficult enough for the Super Star and how Rajini cross all those hurdles will be a treat to watch but sadly Lingaa doesn’t have any above said things.  In Lingaa everything is easy for superstar, nothing seems to be  difficult for him, director KS Ravikumar has given not just one but two roles Raja Lingeswaran and the con Lingaa(grandson of Lingeswaran) just to celebrate the superstar in big screen.

Lingaa follows the same tried and tested formula of KS Ravikumar where a comic- casual present situation built up with an epic flashback portions where Raja Lingesawaran was shown as a messiah for Cholayoor village,  his character was inspired from British engineer John Pennyquick who built the Mullai Periyaar dam.  Lingerswaran builds the dam against all the odds but due to ego and grudge of a fellow British collector there happens a misunderstanding between Lingeswaran and the Cholayoor people . Lingeswaran was expelled by the people and when they came to know the truth he becomes the legend.

Years later, a greedy politician (Jagapathi Babu) trying to destroy the dam and murders even the inspection officer for the sake of it. The rest of the story tells us how the con Lingaa saves the people of Cholayoor and the dam against the loud clichéd Jagapathi Babu.

Performance wise, Rajinikanth steals the show as Raja Lingeswaran in which the actor’s charisma and style is top notch.  The way Raja Lingeswaran character faces the difficult times show that Rajini is a great actor but sadly the over stretched and over the top climax spoiled the show. Among the two heroines Anushka does her part with her oomph factor while Sonakshi steals our heart with her cute act.

Technically, Lingaa is just average except for the grand visuals of Rathnavelu. The make-up is so pathetic for young Rajini that he looks very aged while the VFX portions at the climax is just horrible and it learly indicates that things are done in haste. There is no big scope for the background score in Lingaa but the Indianey Vaa number is certainly bring goose-bumps for any Rajini fan otherwise there is nothing big to boast up.

Overall one can watch Lingaa for the charismatic –majestic Raja Lingeswaran but if you expect something epic, sorry this not the kind of Rajini film which you are expecting for.

As Rajini says in the movie " I've not failed... I've just postponed my success " - நான் தோற்கவில்லை. என் வெற்றியை தள்ளி வைத்துள்ளேன்......"  I seriously believe that Rajini will soon be back with a bang!

Rating : ✮1/2 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Kaaviya Thalaivan movie review

Celebrating one art through another is a rarity but cinema is an excellent medium where you can celebrate an unforgotten art , provided if you got some great actors , excellent technical team and of course a passionate producer to convert your dream into reality. Well, Vasantabalan is lucky enough to get all the above said things in his period-drama Kaaviya Thalaivaan and to be honest, he nailed it!

Kaaviya Thalaivan , as the name suggest it is about an epic leader Kaliappa Baghavathar( Siddharth) who ruled the 1940s drama and his brother like Gomathi Nayagam Pillai (Prithviraj) who is also a great drama artist of that time. When two people are great in a field, it’s obvious that there will be a competition, there will be a rivalry and it happens here as well.  

We have seen similar rivalry and friendship bond in Mani Ratnam’s political drama Iruvar where nature separates the duo but here Vasantabalan’s backdrop is completely different and the director has sketched Prithviraj’s character with a grey shade which appears to be odd. Of course for Mani Ratnam there was a reference in the real life of two leaders but Vasantabalan got an opportunity to incorporate some imagination in ending the film and it is quite convincible.

The Kalippa Baghavathar role is a dream character for any actor and Siddharth portrayed with great elan. The scene where Siddharth enacting ‘Sooran’ character is splendid, also his effort in pronouncing the ancient Tamil is commendable. The sequence where Siddharth turns drunkard and explode at his guru is brilliant, must say the actor deserves an award for his stellar performance.

Though Prithviraj has played the dark –shaded Gomathi Nayagam Pillai with great effort, his Malayalish- Tamil is a drawback. As the film is about Tamil actors, an artist like Pasupathi would have been a better choice and ironically he is Vasantabalan’s favorite actor too. Wonder what made Vasantabalan to forget Pasupathi?

It is so good to see an actress performing in a film and Vedhika has given a beautiful performance as Vadivambal . The actress looked perfect as a drama artist and her majestic screen presence along with glowing expression is really adorable. Last but not least, Nassar as Sivadas Swamigal is extra-ordinary and the actor has used all his expertise for his role. The scene where Nassar gets angry on Siddharth and kick him out of the drama troupe is analogous to Siva’s Rudhrathaandavam(Guess a perfect metaphor for that terrific acting).

What I really liked about Vasantabalan’s Kaaviya Thalaivan is that he didn’t compromise his characters for the sake of happy ending. I find the climax to be convincing, as there is a rivalry exist between the two lead characters, it has to be end in a way that should do justice to both their roles and Vasantabalan has exactly did the same but as said earlier if ‘time’ destroyed one of the two characters it would have been better, nevertheless Vasantabalan deserves a big applause for his effort in registering an art which is almost forgotten by us.

Technically, Kaaviya Thalaivan is flawless especially AR Rahman’s composition is out of the world, be it the songs and background score the composer has shown his class in the film. Nirav Shah’s cinematography beautifully picturized the 1940’s period aesthetically and Praveen KL’s editing make sure that the film flows smooth and coherent. Art direction by Santhanam is highly authentic that it set a perfect ambience for the period drama.

Overall, Kaaviya Thalaivan is an artistic gem that shouldn’t be missed.

Rating: ✮

Friday, 7 November 2014

Interstellar Movie Review

உலகின் தலைச்சிறந்த  இயக்குனர்கள் என கருதப்படும் ஸ்டீவென் ஸ்பீல்பெர்க், டேவிட் பிஞ்செர், ஜேம்ஸ்  காமெரோன் , கிறிஸ்டோபர் நோலன் தொடங்கி நம்மவூர் மணிரத்னம் வரை உள்ள, இவர்கள் அனைவரின் படங்களிலும் ஒரு ஒற்றுமை உண்டு. மேற்சொன்ன இந்த ஜாம்பவான்கள், படத்தின் கதாபாத்திரங்களுடன்  நம்மை  ஒன்ற செய்து பின்அந்த கதாபாத்திரங்களுக்கு  நடக்கும் சந்தோஷத்தையும்  , துக்கத்தையும்  உணர வைப்பார்கள்.இந்த ஆசாத்திய ஆளுமையே , இவர்களை பார்ப்போற்றும் நாயகர்களாக்கியது.

சில படங்கள் பார்க்கும்பொழுது, நாம் அனைத்து கவலைகளையும்  மறந்து காரின் பின் இருக்கையில் அமர்ந்து ரசிக்கும்  பயணம் போல் இருக்கும். அனால் கிறிஸ்டோபர் நோலன்  சற்றே வித்தியாசமான சாரதி  ! திடிரென ஒரு கார் ஹீரோவை  நோக்கி வருகிறது என்றால் , ஏதோ உங்களை நோக்கி வருவது போல் உணர்வீர்கள், அது தான்  அவர் படங்களின் வெற்றி !

ஒரு படத்தின் முதல் காட்சியை அமைப்பதில் நோலனிற்கு என்று ஒரு ஸ்டைல் உண்டு. நோலனின் மைய கதாபாத்திரங்கள், எப்போதுமே பல விடை அளிக்காத கேள்விகனைகளுடன் தொடங்கி பின் பாதியில் படம் முடியும் தருவாயில்  அனைத்தும்  விளங்கியது போன்ற  யூகத்துடன் ஒரு ஒளிவட்டம் தோன்றும். ஏதோ ராமானுஜத்தின் ஈக்குவேசனை சால்வ் செய்த பெருமிதத்துடன் வெளியே வருவீற்கள். அனால்  இரண்டாம்  முறை அல்லது மூன்றாம் முறையோ தான் முழுவதும் விளங்கும். 

கவனம் சிதறாமல் படம் பார்த்திர்கள் என்றால், முதல் முறையும் புரிய வாய்ப்புண்டு. மேற்சொன்ன அனைத்து அம்சங்களும் Interstellar இல்லும்  உள்ளன.

சாதாரன கதை என்றாலே  நோலன் கட்டிப்போட்டு விடுவார் , இதில் விண்வெளி பற்றிய ப(பா)டம் என்றால் சொல்லவா வேண்டும்!  மனுஷன் புகுந்து விளையாடி  இருக்கிறார். 'Interstellar ' ,கண்டிப்பாக நோலனின் சிறந்த படம்  என  சொல்ல முடியாது என்றாலும் , நான்  இது வரை பார்த்த விண்வெளி பற்றிய படங்களில் சிறந்தது என்பது என் தாழ்மையான கருத்து. 

பொதுவாக , 'Space ' பற்றிய படங்கள்,விண்வெளியில் உள்ள கதாபாத்திரத்தின் பார்வையிலயே இருக்கும். படத்தின் பெரும் பகுதி அவர்களின் உயிர்ப்போரட்ட படலங்களே நிறைந்து இருக்கும். அனால் 'Interstellar ' சற்றே வித்தியாசமான் அனுபவம். படத்தில்  தந்தை - மகள் பிரிவு  உண்டு , சந்தர்ப்பவாத விண்வெளி வீரனுக்கும் - உண்மையான  வீரனுக்கும் இடையான சிறு போர் உண்டு , இவை அனைத்திற்கும் மேலாக 'புவி ஈர்ப்பை ' (Gravitaional anomaly /force ) கடவுளாக , பேயாக , ஒரு தூதுவனாக, வேற்றுக்கிரகவாசிகளாக, எதிர்கால மனிதர்களாக   காட்டும் உவமையும் உண்டு!

நோலனின்  வசனங்கள்  எப்போதுமே  பெரும் வரவேற்ப்பை  பெரும் , அதற்கு அவரது கூர்மையான கருத்துகளும் , இயல்பான நகைச்சுவை  உணர்வுமே காரணம். தற்போதைய சூழ்நிலையில் , பொறியாளர்களும் , ஆராய்சியாளர்களும் தேவையில்லை, விவசாயிகள் தான் தேவை  என சொல்லும் இடத்திலும், இந்திய 'drone aircraft'யை  பூமியின் அழிவுகாலத்தில் காட்டி , இந்தியாவின் அறிவியல்  வளர்ச்சியை உகித்த இடத்திலும், நோலன்  நாஸ்ட்ரடேமஸ் ஆகிவிட்டார் !

படத்தின் முற்பகுதியில் ஒரு புத்தக  அலமாரியும் , புழுதி புயலும் எவ்வாறு தூது சொல்ல முடியும் என வியக்க வைத்து, பின்பு  'Five dimensional' tesseract ல்  சிக்கிகொண்டு Matthew McConaughey கொடுக்கும் துப்பு, ஓராயிரம் அற்புதங்கள் கண்டதற்கு சமம்! 

அதேபோல், டைம் ரெலைடிவிட்டி, Gravitational Anomaly, மர்பி லா போன்ற அறிவியல் கூற்றுகளை அசாத்தியமாக, அதே சமயம் நம்பும் படியாக கொடுத்த நோலனிற்கு  ஒரு ஆஸ்கார் பார்சல் செய்யலாம் !

இண்டெர்ஸ்டெல்லாரில்,  இன்செப்ஸன்  அல்லது பேட்மேன் படங்கள் போல் வியக்க  வைக்கும் காட்சிகள் குறைவு என்றாலும், கிடைத்த இடத்தில் எல்லாம் சிக்ஸர் அடித்துள்ளார் கிறிஸ்டோபர் நோலன்! வேற்றுக்கிரக தண்ணீ ரில் ஏற்கனவே தொலைந்த விண்வெளி வீரரின் பொருட்களை எடுக்கும் பொழுது தூரத்தில் தெரிவது மலையல்ல அலை என உணரும் இடத்திலும், Matthew McConaughey மற்றும் அண்ணா ஹத்தவேயின் விண்கலம் சுழலும் dock இல் சுழன்றுகொண்டே  பொருத்தும் இடதில்லும் விஷுவல் மேஜிக் !

மொத்தத்தில் நீங்கள் இது வரை விண்வெளி பற்றிய படங்கள் என்றால் , bore  என நம்புபவர் ஆயின்  கண்டிப்பாக இண்டெர்ஸ்டெல்லார் போய்வாருங்கள் , நோலன் உங்கள் நம்பிக்கையை உடைத்துவிடுவார் !

Friday, 1 August 2014

Jigarthanda - My experience

Jigarthanda is one movie which I was waiting for months, you might ask this is not a star hero film and why I expected for it? There are two reasons, the first one is that I’m a big fan of gangster movies and I really enjoy watching bloodsheds, gang-war and the raw factors in films, thanks to Tarantino’s way of portraying violence with novelty. Second reason is that I loved watching Pizza, this man Karthik Subbaraj amazed me as an excellent script writer and as a film maker- according to me a good script writer is not necessarily to be a good film maker and vice versa…

(Before reading the whole write-up, if you are yet to watch the film, please don’t read. There are spoilers ahead)

Jigarthanda starts with a man parking his bike before a gate of a bar/theater, where Sivaji’s Malarum Malaratha song is being played. Four people surrounds him and this guy gives them a casual look, these four guys tells him something and starts shooting him. Until, this frame the entire sequence looked beautiful but soon after that, four dudes who shot the guy are looking weird- without subtle sharp reaction. Normally, this won’t happen in a good director’s film and I was shell-shocked, as I have high regards for Karthik Subbaraj as a great filmmaker. Later in the climax, we are shown that the entire sequence is a film shoot and the guy who gets shot is Siimha.

  We are also shown that director Vetrimaran is filming this particular scene, the next question is that does a good film maker like Vetrimaran won’t notice those four weird dude and correct it? , then I realized that the shot was kept for Siimha in the film and hence the four dudes looking weird won’t affect the scene in any way. Well, this minute episode is more than enough to say that Karthik Subbaraj is an intelligent film maker.

 Take any gangster film, there will be a super star or well known actor who used to be either a powerful protagonist or antagonist. Directors will normally sketch their characters in such a way that they overshadow the script. Take Nayagan(Kamal), God Father(Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro), Puthupettai (Dhanush) as examples, after watching the movie the immediate reaction from the audience would be “What an acting by the actor, man he stole the show”. Of course, later people will think and discuss about the novelty of the script and the making but the immediate reaction will be on these stars. In Jigarthanda you will praise Siimha for his stellar performance, you will praise Siddharth for his subtle innocent act and stunning transformation in the climax but before that you will praise Karthik Subbaraj for the excellent script writing and making, to be precise Karthik got exactly what he wanted from his actors for the script and they are not portrayed as legends/heroes who are better than the script itself.

 Jigarthanda has its own positives and negatives, let me start with the wow moments in the film first. Soon after the four men shooting one guy episode, we are shown a guy’s back head– who is actually smoking and smoke popping up. Anyway, the statutory warning is already flashing at the bottom of screen. Though I’m not sure whether this shot is a way to tease censor board satirically but then I consider it to be in that way or  to tease organizations which want to ban smoking in films

 There were reports that Jigarthanda is a copy of Dirty Carnival, though I haven’t seen the film my friends who watched both the films told me that, Dirty Carnival might be an inspiration but Jigarthanda is definitely not a copy of it.

 If Siddharth was shown as an assistant director/ a director then many of our over enthusiast people would have outraged Karthik Subbaraj by saying that Jigarthanda is a copy of Dirty Carnival.

  Intelligent Karthik Subbaraj used his ‘Naalaya Iyakunar’ program in the film and the character Karthik is shown as one of the contestants. Also, our own Soodhu Kavvum Nalan Kumarasamy was shown in the program and when Siddharth meeting the producer who gave him chance, we are shown Attakathi poster in his office. Remember? CV Kumar’s second film is Pizza and first film is Attakathi, without answering to every one’s question on whether Jigarthanda is a copy of Dirty Carnival, Karthik has kept all these scenes to say that this is his own story.  In one of his media interactions, he has said that Jigarthanda is his own experience and these scenes are the way to explain that the film’s story is his own experience.

 As I said earlier, Siimha’s character is not shown as a legend or hero. He is shown as an ordinary guy who has became a don but then not up to the level of Velu Nayagar, God Father or Kokki Kumaru who are shown as intelligent dons. Here Siimha has his powerful essence but he is shown like any other ordinary human being, the rustic-ruthless Siimha is shown only when he is angry, otherwise he is a normal guy.

 For example there is a beautiful Tarantino kind of scene – There is rain and Siimha approaching the washroom- he gets a plate for not getting his hair wet, the sweeper wishing him and asking for money, the sweeper also tells him that he has just cleaned first toilet, hence suggest him to use the particular one, not just once but stressing him again and again. When Siimha is trying to use the particular toilet, a drunkard signaling him that he has reserved the toilet and keep on vomiting. Had it been any other film, the don would have beaten the drunkard. 

 When Siimha finds another toilet, the drunkard is also entering the first toilet room and he is getting murdered by repeated bullet shots, the murderer shouting “die Sethu die” and also confirming to some other guy in phone that he killed Sethu but he looks lean now. All these time, Siimha watches the whole thing helpless with a frighten reaction. When Siimha’s gang reach the spot, the murderer satirically ask them to see the thing happened to Sethu(Siimha), the gang staring at Siimha(without uttering any word) and then the murderer understood that he wrongly shot another guy.

  When Siimha understands that there is no bullet in the murderer gun, he silently enters into the toilet. Had it been any other film Siimha’s character would have bashed the baddie. Similarly if you carefully watch the film, Siimha beats very rare only during the important portions otherwise his side-kicks will do the things. That’s how a leader / real don will be right? Also, while finding the spy inside his gang it is not Siimha who finds the transmitter inside the mp3 player and he don’t have any clue about it, Sundaraja character explains him that someone is listening to all the things which were happened and happening in that particular, then only Siimha reacts to the situation. This is what we call as honesty in sketching a character.

 During Siimha's life story narration to Siddharth the way Karthik Subbaraj used Vijay Sethupathi playing Sethu’s(Siimha) character in Karthik(Siddharth)’s imagination  is a novel stuff. 

 Again, in the climax, Siddharth approaching Vijay Sethupathi for a film where he should play a don role, remember? Azhuguni Kumaru is a comic film and Siddharth is yet to film a gangster movie. Also, we were never shown whether Lakshmi Menon and Siddharth marry each other but soon after a phone call, Siddharth tells Vijay Sethupathi that his wife Kayal(Lakshmi Menon) is a big fan of him.

 Similarly towards the climax, the shot were Siddharth was kneeling down in a vast land and the camera moves from the bottom of a car (reminded me of Se7en climax shot), in that scene Siimha was actually changed but Siddharth on the other hand will be having a gun, which says that the duo have interchanged their characteristics. 
 This interchange is also continued in the climax too, there is a scene where Siimha asks the daughter of his gang-member (whom he earlier murdered) to call him 'Appa' which indicates that he has changed and taking care of the affected family. Similarly Siddharth on the other hand threatens Vijay Sethupathi with Siimha’s ex- gangsters. 

 Also, during the last meet up of Siddharth-Siimha , Siimha asks Siddharth for Mani Ratnam’s number and during the climax shot, he tells a guy that he want to act in Mani Ratnam’s film.

 These minute details are the biggest asset for a cult film and Karthik Subbaraj has come out with flying colors.

 Coming to the negative aspects or the thing which didn’t appeal to me is that the whole lengthy training episode. Instead of training episode, if Karthik Subbaraj concentrated more in portraying how Siddharth filmed the comic Azhguni Raja by cheating Siimha then the film would have been more interesting. Also, while watching Azhuguni Kumar we are shown that audience watching the film are laughing but we don’t feel anything. If Karthik Subbaraj portrayed those scenes in detail, we would have got better impact and an emotional connect would have been established but now we couldn’t enjoy Azhuguni Kumar visually, all we hear is people saying it is a cult comic movie.

I can’t complete my write-up without mentioning about Santhosh Narayan’s background score, easily this is his best till now. He maintained silence wherever needed and spilled his magic in required situations. The pre intermission portions, climax just gave goose-bumps to me.

 Also cinematographer Gavemic U Ary ‘s work is breath-taking. The interval shot in rain, the shot where Siimha puts Leonardo Di Caprio’s mask and kills his enemy with Kate Winslet mask, the climax shot in the vast land are pure gem.

 Overall, I loved Jigarthanda and it is a gutsy- experimental film.  

 - Rajasekar S