Thursday, November 11, 2010
Myna is a heartrending beautiful journey of love. The story is about Surli and Myna and their utmost love for each other. Surli loves Myna from his childhood days and the affection is mutual. The problem arises when Myna’s mother wants to marry off Myna to another person who is well settled in life. Myna does not approve of this and when Surli hears about this he gets enraged and beats up Myna’s mother, which results in police arresting him. When Surli hears the news that Myna’s marriage has been arranged while he is in prison he escapes from jail, and tries to stop the marriage. Meanwhile, the two policemen go in search of him and find him quarrelling with Myna’s mother. The bridegroom’s family on hearing the commotion leaves the place and Myna goes along with Surli and the other 2 policemen and the journey starts from here.
The route (Theni, Munaar) the four of them travel is superb and the cameraman has captured it beautifully. The love between Surli and Myna is shown really well and they have emoted well (considering it is only the second film for them). The two policemen resent Surli initially since because of him they could not spend their Deepavali with their family, but that also changes eventually.Thambi Ramiah has a superb role in the film as a constable, and has done justification to the role. The film moves really well and the comic moments are well knit into the script. The comedy scene between a co-passenger and Thambi Ramiah after the bus dives into the gorge is hilarious. All the actors have performed really well and credit should be given to Prabhu Solomon for the impeccable direction and also Udayanidhi Stalin and AGS cinemas should be congratulated for bringing the movie to a wider audience. The music and BGM by Iman is really good, especially the bus song. The climax will not be as expected and the Director makes us guess how the film will end and that is where he shines through. The film gives wind to the new wave of Tamil cinema.
Monday, October 18, 2010
We had got the tickets for the morning show and were really excited and upbeat about the film. When Thalaivar’s name came up on screen we just went berserk with the crowd, it was awesome, although Rajni’s intro was devoid of any intro song or trademark mannerisms, which was quite a change from what many of us were used to. The first half of the film was really too good and we were just waiting in anticipation on how the second half would pan out. The second half started out well, but nearly 20 – 25 minutes of the graphics took away some of the charm, I would say. Although the graphics and animatronics were simply superb and out of the world, just seeing so many Rajni’s on screen continuously at the same time and the stunts being quite repetative in the form of ‘formations’ were quite tedious! The climax scene where the good Chitti Robot dismantles itself and the dialogues were simply superb. The film can be watched once for the experience.
This is a Shankar film in which Rajni acts and is completely different from all previous Rajni films. Shankar has treated this film really well, mixing commercial elements with the main plot of the film and also giving Rajni ample scope to perform 3 different characters, Vaseegaran, the good Chitti and the bad chitti and Rajni literally carries the entire film on his shoulders and I feel no one else could have pulled off this film with such panache.
I salute Shankar, firstly because he has persisted with his dream for 10 years on making this film and even inspite of so many hurdles in his path, with actors pulling out and budget constraints, he has pulled this off. Secondly, he has done what other Directors can only dream off by making this film, which pushes the boundaries of Indian Cinema and also showcased how Indians can make truly world class films. I really feel the character “Vaseegaran” is based on himself and on how he struggled for making this film. Although many films would be made with extensive budgets in future and with more technical finesse, Shankar will always remain the beacon who had shown the path when it was pitch dark and he would be the first person who made everyone believe that this can be done. Also, without Sun Pictures and without Mr. Kalanidhi Maran’s belief in Shankar this film would have been just a dream, so I would also like to thank Kalanithi Maran also for making this film.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Actors: Vikram, Aishwarya, Prithviraj, Karthik, Prabhu
Plot: To be concise, it is Maniratnam’s take on the epic Ramayana from the perspective of Ravanan.
I had a lot of expectations before watching Raavanan, because this was a straight Tamil film by him after “Ayutha Ezhuthu”. The promo also looked good, so I booked the film and was so excited to watch it the first Sunday of the release.
The first half of the film was just ok and the screenplay was also very slow (Maniratnam took quite some time to establish the characters). So I felt the second half will be even more interesting, yes it was interesting and better than the first half. The acting by Aishwarya, Vikram and Prithviraj (though Prithvi looks quite stiff throughout the film) are good. The veterans Prabhu and Karthik have done their part well, although many will feel Karthik’s role was too small for his acting skills and I would have personally loved to see him a little longer on the screen, he is one of the most natural actors that we have got.
I could not understand why Vikram said such weird dialogues once in a while and also the “dan danaka” that he says quite often initially, it seemed so artificial even when performed by Vikram. Priyamani does well in a cameo. The main flaw of the film in my view is that Maniratnam took the entire Ramayana epic and depicted it as it is except that it was shown from Raavanan’s perspective. Even Thalapathi was inspired from Mahabharata (Duryodhana – Karnan’s friendship) but Maniratnam had taken just the base of their friendship but set the backdrop completely differently, which is not in Raavanan’s case.
Vikram is spectacular in his role and has done full justice to it. Aishwarya looks stunning and has emoted well. Aishwarya should be particularly commended for doing such difficult stunts and acting with grace for such an emotionally tough role.
I am personally a die-hard Maniratnam fan, but I felt quite let down after seeing the film. However it should be seen atleast once for the magnificent visuals and the acting, but Maniratnam is famous for his repeat audiences, and his Mouna Raagam, Nayagan, Guru,etc can still be watched any number of times and we do not get bored seeing it again and again, but I cannot say the same for Raavanan.
My rating 2/5 (1 for the visuals and 1 for acting)
Monday, June 14, 2010
Director – Majid Majidi
Child Actors - Ali (Amir Farrokh Hashemain)
Zhara (Bahare Seddiqui)
The film starts by showing Ali getting his sister, Zara’s shoes, mended from the cobbler. On his way back with the shoes, he stops at a grocery store to pick up some vegetables. He keeps his sister’s shoes aside and goes about picking the groceries when a blind garbageman picks up the shoes’ unknowingly. After buying the groceries to Ali’s shock he finds the shoes’ missing and searches frantically for it, when the shop owner chases him off as he makes a mess of the groceries arranged in his search.
Upon returning he finds that his mother is arguing with the landlord for not paying the rent for nearly 5 months. Ali goes into his house, where he tells his sister about the shoes and not to tell their parents, since they are not in a financial position to afford a new one now and assures her that he will get it to her as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, proposes an idea and asks Zara to wear his shoes to her school and return it soon after her classes are over so that he could wear it for his school. Ali waits in a by-lane, since he does not want anyone to notice that they are so poor, and after getting the shoes from her runs to school everyday, so that he does not get late.
This ritual goes on for a while and twice he gets caught by the principal, who warns him the first time, but asks him to get out of school for indiscipline the second time and while Ali goes out disappointed, his class teacher informs the principal that he is a bright kid and to let him go, to which the Principal agrees. Zara one day notices another girl in her school wearing her shoes, so she follows the girl to her house. The next day she brings her brother along with her and shows him the house of the girl. While they are hiding, they find out that the girl’s father was a blind garbageman and are poorer then them, so they drop their idea of getting the shoes now (this shows their magnanimity at such a young age).
In Ali’s school, a selection for a running competition is held. In the notice board, Ali finds out that the third prize is a pair of sneakers, so he begs with his physical director to select him, for which the Physical Director declines initially, confirming the selection is over and he is late for it now, but accepts to try his running skills. To the Physical Director’s amazement, Ali clocks a time which exceeded the Physical Director’s expectations and Ali is given the go ahead to participate in the competition on their school’s behalf. This competition is shot in slow- mo as well as in real time. At one point when Ali slows down, he remembers that he had promised his sister a new pair of shoes, and that puts extra strength in his leg muscles and he just runs like his life depended on it and finally comes first. When Ali learns that he came first, he feels really sad that he will not be going to show his sister the new pair of sneakers that he had promised her.
In the next scene, Ali’s father is shown buying a new pair of sneakers. Ali comes home very sad and at his sight, his sister is initially very happy but seeing his face and body language her smile vanishes and she realizes that he could not get the new pair of sneakers. She hears their younger sister crying and immediately runs in with the feeding bottle that she was washing (there are no dialogues in these scenes and that is beauty of it). There are many more beautiful scenes like this which I will not reveal.
This is a film in which the child actors have done such a fabulous job and you will feel your heart beating for them, such is their intense yet natural portrayal. The Director should be congratulated for making such a beautiful film with a big heart. This film was selected for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film in 1998, but lost out to Life is Beautiful film (which was a great film, in its own right).
My rating 4/5. Once in a Lifetime film!!!!!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
He did not use the services of any foreign technicians, (I am not personally against it, though) and did all the graphics and special effects work with the help of our own technicians. Although the special effects were found wanting in many areas, it still was a treat to watch. Many felt that Karthik was only playing second fiddle to Reema Sen and then he had not much scope in the film. I beg to disagree, (try to imagine Karthik doing Reema’s role and vice versa, it would just not suit the story) because Karthik carried most of the first half of the film on his shoulders and he had the scope of showing his comic side a little more than “Paruthiveeran”. He was a natural in all the scenes, and in a scene, where after most of his men get killed by a tribe, even in that grief, he asks for the rest of the money owed to them, it was a great performance. Only a brave actor can allow himself to get beaten and bullied by heroines, and Karthik is brave and bold too, since this is just his second film and instead of many heroes who try to boost their roles with each film, he just played this down to earth character. Surya, look out, he is showing signs of becoming a great competitor to your throne.
We have to congragulate the producer, because without his efforts, a film on such a big scale cannot have been started & completed, and it would have been just another unfulfilled dream of a Director who wishes to break away from the mundane formulae of films being made. Reema Sen has made the role her own, (just cannot imagine anyone else doing that role now) and I feel atleast half of the credit should go to the Director who believed in Reema to carry off the role. But I hope the army officer role, could have been more like that of “Jack Nicholson’s” role in “A Few Good Men”, authoritative & disciplined but a flawed person, instead of looking like a local area thug, as shown in the film. I heard in an interview that Selvaraghavan had thought of doing Part 2 immediately after the first part is completed, have to give it to his guts and his belief in us, the audience, on the success of the first part.
I am eagerly awaiting the Part 2 of AO, and many more different attempts by Selvaraghavan. Tamil cinema industry is seeing winds of change and I hope Selvaraghavan is the most forceful wind that will propel us to even greater heights.
Nayagan is one of the best acting that Kamal has done or Maniratnam has brought out of him, you can say it either way. The journey of a common man to an underworld Don was shown in a very meticulous way. The change in the body language, talk and mannerisms of Kamal was astounding and the make up was also perfect. I liked the scene where the policemen flush out water on him but he just stands still and after that when the corrupt policeman asks if Kamal wants to beat him, Kamal just says “Nan adicha nee sethiruva” (If I beat you, you will die). From that one scene Maniratnam establishes the courage and fearlessness of the character Kamal is playing.
Another scene that is etched in my memory is in the climax where Kamal’s grandson asks him “Neenga nallavara kettavara?” (Are you a good person or a bad person?) For which he says “Theriyiliyappa… (“I don’t know …)This scene still brings out the tear in my eyes every time I see it. The third major contributor to the success of this film is the Genius, called Ilayaraja.No one can deny the fact that especially his background score for the movie, just enhanced the scenes much more. This film is regarded in the West as one of the best adaptations of “The Godfather” and also has been voted in the Times list as one among the best 100 movies of our time. I am eagerly anticipating the coming together of the “Awesome threesome” (Kamal, Maniratnam and Ilayaraja) for another movie, as would many of their fans. This is my tribute to these greats and to this once in a lifetime film.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Director – Hari
Cast – Surya, Anoushka, Prakashraj and others
This is the 3rd film in the Surya – Hari combination and I had a expectation that this film would be good and both did not disappoint. This action movie is about Duraisingam, who is an honest and bold cop and is loved and revered by his village people. The story starts to up pace from the time Prakashraj enters the scene. He is a ruthless person who extracts money from builders and land owners threatening them that work will not progress if cash is not paid to him, but there is much more to Prakashraj and his henchmen which gets revealed in the latter part of the film.
The encounter between Prakashraj and Surya takes place when Prakashraj is ordered by court to sign in Nallore Polices Station (Surya’s village) for 15 days. Prakashraj does not appear directly and asked another person to sign in his place in Nallore, but Surya finds this out and immediately makes Prakashraj comes to his village. Prakashraj comes all fired up and threatens Surya, and at this instance the village people gather in support for Surya and break the glass of Prakashraj and their henchmen and also threaten Prakashraj, to which Prakashraj is in total shock.This is one of the most interesting scenes in the first half apart from Anoushka’s freshness. She comes to her fathers’s village on a vacation and meets Surya, but love does not happen on first look, but happens gradually which is believable. Anoushka has done a good job and has certain scope for acting as well in the film, and she does justice.
Prakashraj after being humiliated by Surya, transfers Surya to Thiruvanmiyur as Inspector, where he makes Surya suffer to the point where he wants to return to his hometown. Anoushka brainwashes him at this time and coerces him to take up on himself to rid the city of Prakashraj. The screenplay in the second half travels at a breakneck speed. The body language of Surya is exceptional and he looks the part. The comedy by Vivek is not much to talk about as I personally feel he has lost his edge in this film completely and the background song just irritates you every time you hear it.
The veterans Vijay Kumar, Nasser, Radharavi and Manorama have done their part well. Especially Radharavi has got a good role, that of Surya’s father and he has made full use of the opportunity. The songs in this film by Devi Sri Prasad are hummable, especially songs sung by Baba Sehgal and Shaan. Overall this film is a hat trick success by Surya Hari combo, and the Director has also given a hint that there could be a sequel to this film.Looking forward to it.....