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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lollypop

ABS Combines, a new banner formed by Shafi (director), Benny P Nayarambalam (script writer) and Anto Joseph (production designer) has released their first project ‘Lollypop’. It is a film for the youth as the name indicates; it is done by youngsters like Prithviraj, Jayasurya, Kunchakko Boban, Bhavana and Roma. The director Shafi has retained some of the stars like who acted in his previous film ‘Choclate’ also. It is after a short gap that we are seeing Kunchakko in a film.


Prithviraj plays the role of a workshop owner; he is having a sister (Roma). Jayasurya who spends his life by doing theft and illegal things, reach the workshop to work as per recommendation by the church father (Salimkumar). Roma get in touch with the doctor (Kunjakko Boban) and slowly it turns to an affair, at the same time Prithvi loves her sister’s friend Bhavan who in turn is the neighbor and close friend of the doctor. Later when their marriage is fixed, as expected, the unknown villain use some fowl plays, because of the chaos and confusions the relationship is broken. Anyway in the end all happy and the villain is caught.


Salimkumar is in the role of church father, Suraj Venjarammood, Narayanakutty etc as workshop mechanics, Bijukuttan as a local thief creates some laughing here and there. The comedy generated by Narayanankutty’s character doubting his wife’s character is seen many times. Already I told that personally I am against the attitude of using comic dialogues as background sounds through dubbing without any lip movements by the comedians. It is a custom followed since last 3-4years for films written by Rafi-Mecartin, Benny P Nayarambalam, TA Shahid, TA Razak etc. Here also we can see the same.


In short ‘Lollypop’ is colorful. The nature of the story is more apt for a hindi film. Here all the main characters are interconnected to each other. We can’t question its logic. In between there is some laughing sequences. The director Shafi is using the “misunderstanding-theme” again and again. He has shown it in his previous projects like ‘Kalyanaraman’, ‘Pulival Kayanam’, ‘Thommanum Makkalum’ and ‘Choclate’. In all these successful projects, misunderstanding will be happening between friends, between hero and heroine and also sometimes between heroines.



Jayasurya should be conscious; there is a chance for him to be type casted if he does this kind of roles again. Prithviraj has used such a costume to show his muscle show, he is good but it will take some more time for him to be accepted by the malayalee audience.


Azhagappan has done the cinematography beautifully. Alex Paul gave some fast numbers. He has also done the background score without much effort, using the tunes of songs in it. ‘Assalayi’ song is picturised in Bangkok, but the team behind has not utilized the location well.


(since i saw 'Lollypop' after 5 days of its release only, it was not so bad to watch the theatre-edited version, but the treatment of it's first version as I heard was horrible and intolerable, let us not discuss it as there is no such evidence available now...)

Since no other good toffees are available in the market, this ‘Lollypop’ can be used, but it won’t be a good treat for you.

Rating : 2.5 / 5

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thiruvannamalai


When I requested my friend to accompany me for a film named ‘Thiruvannamalai’, he asked, who is the actor? I told, Arjun, his immediate response was a screaming sound telling ‘6 songs + 6 fights will be the pattern, he showed his disinterest. Though I didn’t argued, I put it in my mind and thought about Arjun's new releases; I found that the actor is not having a big hit in the recent past to project like ‘Muthalvan’.


But I showed my interest to this project due to a couple of reasons. The first name is the production banner Kavithalaya, owned by the director K.Balachander. He has given many serious films, many of them were hits. Before going to the next name, I will mention some names like ‘Thiruppachi’, ‘Sivagasi’, ‘Thiruppathi’, ‘Dharmapuri’, ‘Pazhani’ etc…What do you feel, don’t you smell some resemblance in these names. They are all names of different places in Tamilnadu. At the same time, they are all names of some tamil films released in the last 5-6years. The director behind those films is Perarasu, who happened to be the creator of ‘Thiruvannamalai’ also.


From the first scene itself, I was aware of the story. The hero is introduced through a quarrelling by exchanging words with the villain MLA (Saikumar, kannada actor). Thereafter followed by a song and fight. I thought the assumption of my friend was right. Due to the arrogant behavior of the hero, his mother takes him to a saint in Thiruvannamalai. The biggest surprise is that the swamiji is also Arjun (double role) in the same appearance, a red dhoti in place of jeans. When the saint tries to give advice, the other one asks him to take his place by asking questions. Here also the usual cliché happens, both the heroes interchange their positions and in the end the villain is being destroyed by them together.


Pooja Gandhi, who acted in ‘Kokki’ is the heroine here. Sreekanth Deva’s songs are repetitive and they are easily forgettable. Action King Arjun’s action scenes directed by Anal Arasu is not the best. The humor created by the hero and his companions like Karunas, Vayyapuri etc is below standard. There is no logic and depth in the storyline. The faith put by the producers were not fulfilled evidently by the writer-director Perarasu.


Can B or C class audiences withstand a film like ‘Thiruvannamalai’…? It is a doubtful question.

Rating : 1.5 / 5

Crazy Gopalan

A project can be prestigious for an actor for if he desperately needed a hit after few flops. But here, in the case of Dileep, the reason is something else since ‘Crazy Gopalan’ comes after ‘Twenty Twenty’ (though he can’t claim the victory alone as an actor, but as a producer he will be the happiest man). Hope we remember the issue between Dileep and Thulasidas(director) regarding the project which has to be produced by Ullattil Sasi and scripted by Udaykrishna-Sibi.K.Thomas in which the former has to do a thief’s role. Thulasidas has given projects like ‘College Kumaran’, ‘Rakshakan’, ‘Avan Chandiyude Makan’ which all bombed in the box office lastyear. For Dileep also the result was same through projects like ‘July 4’, ‘Romeo’, ‘Calcutta News’ and ‘Mulla’. Though the actor has agreed to do the project, he wants the director to come back with a hit. On the other side, the director wants the actor to repay the advance to the producer; he also complained the misbehavior of the actor towards him. Anyway due to the cold war between the actor and the director, the latter was thrown out of the project.


Now the same producer has utilized Dileep’s date to make a new film, ‘Crazy Gopalan’ in which the hero is a thief. The film is scripted and directed by new comer Deepu Karunakaran. He has done a film named ‘Winter’ by Jayaram couple of years back. It is not released sofar. He came from the Adv field and has assisted directors like Priyadarshan before. The cameraman Kannan and editor Manoj for this film are also relatively new names here.


The project ‘Meesamadhavan’ was a big break for the actor years before, it might have inspired him to do the role of thief again. In the beginning itself, the hero ran from the village to the city area. There he got the company of another thief (Salimkumar), they have decided to pay their debts by doing a big robbery. The heroine who is a mysterious character came to their life at that time. Another person (Harisree Asokan) is being caught by the police mistakenly for every robbery done by the hero. In the second half, another thief (Jagathi) joins the party. Thus the cat and rat game by the hero and the villain, who is a rich businessman (Manoj.K.Jayan), is the main plot happening here.


The first few scenes in ‘Crazy Gopalan’ followed by description regarding the villagers by Ranjith (writer-director) are intolerable. We have witnessed such sequences many times before. Also some of the comedy scenes shown there are not up to the mark. There after the theme song “Gopala Gopala…” sung by Shankar Mahadevan for Rahulraj’s music is shown in ultimate speedy motion, filled with witty moments. Once the story happens in the city background, it takes its pace.


The new heroine Radha Varma is introduced in such an area, her performance is below average only. Hero is coming in many getups, there is also a song in which he is shown taking preparations for the revenge, those areas can get claps if we are not aware of the body language of Dileep before. Background score by Rajamani as expected keeps the tempo. With such a story line we can’t expect much here. ‘Crazy Gopalan’reminds us of many comedy films done by the same hero before. As a director, Deepu (younger brother of actress Suchitra) has done his job well.


If there is lot of free time to spend, then you can try ‘Crazy Gopalan’. Don’t forget, it is an usual Dileep film only.

Rating : 2.5 / 5

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ghajini


(This is my 100th posting in this blog..... Sorry for jumping to a hindi flick avoiding the reviews on some of the current malayalam releases; I thought it to be something special. Please take it as my personal partiality..... Since I started this blog, I had spend time for reviews with all my honesty and frankness, excluding those 4 months in the beginning of this year which I took rest for some unexplainable reasons... Thanks for giving me support, expecting more in future.....walking to the review on 'Ghajini'.)




Though this is a tamil remake, ‘Ghajini’ done by Amir Khan in hindi is special since the technical team behind this film is very big. It is directed by A.R.Murugadass (he has directed the original tamil version ‘Gajini’, ‘Dheena’, ‘Ramana’ and telugu movie by Chiranjeevi, ‘Stalin’), Camera is handled by none other than Ravi.K.Chandran, Music is done by A.R.Rahman, Anthony is the editor, Action scenes are composed by Peter Hein ('Run', ‘Annyan’, ‘Sivaji’ fame).


This film is in the news, months before its release. This is mainly due to the bald appearance and the eight pack body of the hero Amir Khan. He has developed it through extreme hard work throughout last year. The media has given maximum coverage for this; hence the film is also the talk of the town these days.


No need to discuss the story line here. The hero is having the short term memory loss; he is in search of the villain, who has destroyed his future and heroine’s life. His revenge is the main motive here. In that way it is a carbon copy of the tamil version, except for the climax.
The main “stars” to be retained here from the original version are A.R.Murugadass (director), Anthony (editor), Pradeep Ravath (villain) and Asin (heroine). Don’t you remember the first time you have seen Asin on screen; it is in a malayalam movie named ‘Narendran Makan Jayakanthan Vaka’ by Sathyan Anthikkad starring Kunjakko Boban. She was the second heroine there, but there after we didn’t utilize her talent here, she went on to act in tamil, telugu etc. and now reached hindi through ‘Ghajini’.


People who have watched the tamil film might compare Surya with Amir Khan. Surya has not done big roles and was simple and ordinary at the time when tamil ‘Gajini’ released, so to watch him in an unusual getup was a surprise. But here we can’t expect that, since Amir has already done big films like ‘Lagaan’, Ragan De Basanthi’ etc. The expression of Surya was good, straight and effortless, but Amir Khan is over expressive and struggling to show emotions in the beginning portions. The re-recording by A.R.Rahman has dominated Harris Jayaraj in most scenes, on the songs side, the vice versa happened. The anticlimax fight sequence by Stun Siva is extra ordinary here. The climax is good and touching. Ravi.K.Chandran’s camera cannot be differentiated with R.D.Rajasekhar’s work. Editor Anthony has done the cuts in his usual style. Though Nayantara doesn’t have much to done in tamil ‘Gajini’, compared to Jiya Khan (‘Nisabdh’ fame), she was far better. Asin, being a new face in hindi, has performed the same thing in her usual manner. Since the body show mainly targets the hero Amir Khan, she doesn’t have to do compromise by exposing her glamour.


Anyway, the star of the show is the director A.R.Murugadass who has done the hindi version with all its ingredients in an enchanting style. He will be a notable name among the best directors in the bollywood hereafter. (The film will attract you more, if you won't compare it with it's tamil version or the original English inspiration 'Momento')


‘Ghajini’ is an unusual hindi film in which a revenge subject is told in an unusual way. You can watch it once.

Rating : 4 / 5

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bommalattom

Director Bharathiraja is prominent for giving super hit films in the past in which he delivered the real flavor of the tamil culture. It was he who brought the tamil films to the village outdoors from the studio sets in Madras. It all happened in the latter half of 1970s through films like ‘Pathinaru Vayathinile’ and ‘Kizhakke Pokum Rail’. The ace director has given around 40 films, which include some notable ones like ‘Nizhalkal’, ‘Manvasanai’, ‘Alaigal Oyivathillai’, ‘Sigappu Rojakkal’, ‘Oru Kaithiyin Dairy’, ‘Kadalora Kavithaikal’, Nadodi Thenral’, ‘Kizhakku Seemayile’ etc. He has got the record for introducing maximum number of heroines in tamil; the list includes Sreedevi, Radhika, Revathi, Rohini, Radha, Rekha, Ranjitha, Rudra, Sukanya, Priyamani etc. (look at the similarity, he has given onscreen names starting with ‘R’ for most of them). Bharathiraja’s childhood friend Music Maestro Ilayaraja has given some memorable songs through his projects. Though the director’s last few films have not caught much attention, his name is still on the top.



Now the director is back with his new project ‘Bommalattom’. The name holds a nativity, unexpectedly this is an investigation subject told in the city backdrop. The team claims this as a bilingual film in hindi and tamil, I don’t think so. Probably it might have been made in hindi and dubbed into tamil, since the lip movement doesn’t match the dialogue.

The story revolves around Nana Patekar who is a famous film director. The heroine of the film and a local person is murdered while the shooting was going on for his latest film. He is the main accused and is being interrogated by the Arjun, who is a CBI officer. In the end there is some twists and turns and the truth comes out in the climax.



The story line is good with an unusual climax, but the way in which the experienced “old” director conceived it is the main drawback here. The film lacks freshness. It is lagging and also not presented in an attractive way. The relation between Arjun’s heroine, Kajal Agarwal and the director’s character is not registered; also don’t understand the logic in which the CBI officer appears the spot immediately after the accident. The problem with the performance of the new artists and the dubbing in some portions felt amateur. The suspense is not showed in a believable manner. It is not good to forcibly incultivate Vivek in such a small role in 2-3 scenes since it wont creates any laughing at all. More or less ‘Bommalattom’ has the taste of an ordinary film in the earlier 90’s.


The highlight of this film is the performance by Nana Patekar in his bold and serious appearance. Bahrathiraja’s usual companion B.Kannan is the cinematographer. The fast cuts by the editor won’t be good enough to get rid of the boring presentation. Himesh Reshammiya has given the music, but in that area also the director’s choice is a failure.


‘Bommalattom’ is not the real traditional dance show as you expect. The theme is good, since it is performed without much guidance, the result is total disappointment.

Rating : 2 / 5

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rab ne Bana di Jodi


He has not done variety heroic roles like Amitabh Bachan, he has not done notable romantic roles like Rajesh Khanna, He is not a dancing star like Midhun Chakravarthy, He has not done action films like Dharmendra, His performance is nowhere near the veteran Nasrudheen Shah, He is also not a show man like the late Raj Kapoor, he has not done anything big like Aamir Khan did in ‘Lagaan’ or anything simple like the same did in ‘Taare Zameen Par’, but he has got a big name among the audience in our country, I still wonder how such an actor can have the maximum fans here, especially ladies. His name is none other than Shahrukh Khan.


He became popular after acting in some teleserials and doing small unnoticable movies. The negative roles in ‘Baazigar’, ‘Darr’ and ‘Anjaam’ caught attention and gradually it created a platform for his career. His combination with director Aditya Chopra gave hit films like ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege’ and ‘Mohabattein’. Now both of them coming with a new project ‘Rab ne Bana di Jodi’, produced by Yash Chopra.


The opening shot of the film itself will make you surprised. (If you have not seen trailers/songs of this film in TV channels). Here the hero is in his actual getup, nearing 50’s reaches Amritsar with his newly married wife. From the body language of the lady I was able to imagine the full story (through my filmi-experience so far) and what all can happen in the later stage. My calculation didn’t go wrong. It all happened, as it has to be. The heroine being forcibly marrying the hero, the hero tries to win the heart of the lady by doing some special makeup and change his appearance like a youth.


The biggest surprise here is that she is not able to identify her own husband. But I wont complaint. We have accepted many films in the past in which the heroes doing the CID’s role and changing their appearance by putting just a dark mole on their left cheek. In that way there is no scope for a discussion here, here it is more natural…but.


‘Rab ne Bana di Jodi’ has got a new heroine. The tall lady Anushka Sharma has given a good performance as a housewife who is an energetic dancer also. Shahrukh Khan in the matured role creates laughter. Salim-Sulaiman has given a good backgound score and some excellent songs, among which ‘Haule Haule…’ should be remembered for a long time. ‘Phir Milenge…’ song will also be a noticed since it features many actresses like Kajol, Rani, Bipasha and Preethy Zinta. The cinematographer Ravi K Chandran’s work is colorful without many gimmicks. The art direction should also be appreciated since majority of the scenes are indoor shots and most of them happening inside a small street, big house and an office.


In ‘Avvai Shanmughi’, Kamalhasan changed his appearance to a lady for winning his wife’s heart, here Shahrukh Khan’s job is not that much tough, he has used some hair jell and shaved his moustache wearing tight jeans and Tshirts. Anyway in the climax only the intelligent and athletic wife is able to identify him and his real love. Such cinematic things are acceptable.


The title ‘Rab ne Bana di Jodi’ is apt for such a project. It’s a family movie with usual hindi film ingredients.

Rating : 3 / 5


Transporter 3

W have already discussed the fact about making a sequel to a project which is a sure bet. So here is yet another series, 3rd one for ‘Transporter’ film is released. Since films like ‘Transporter 3’ belongs to the action genre, I don’t have to take an extra load while writing review for such an English film. For a normal person (like me) who watches most of the English films releasing here, all those types of action films can be categorized into a single group. Though films like this hold a base story line, we give importance for its presentation and its thrilling visualization. In ‘Transporter 3’ also the situation is same.


In the beginning we are shown a ship under the custody of some villain gangs, their leader blackmails the minister for getting an important deal, attaining the contract of oil refinery or something like that. Meanwhile the baddies kidnaps the minister’s daughter also. She is being kept in custody for forcing the minister to sign the deal. At the same time the gang also targets the hero and he is being asked to take the lady with him. Both of them cannot escape; since a remote bomb sensor is being attached to their body, if hey tries to ran way, it can result in total destruction. Anyway nothing unusual happened in the end. The hero saves the girl and the villain gangs are destroyed, ship is saved by the commandos.


In this ordinary story line, some of the scenes have to be mentioned here. It is the action scenes, which is enriched by some chasing sequences. The hero usually travels in his “Audi” car, villains chase him at ultimate speed in their “Benz”, such scenes are exciting and it can be used as a promo for “Audi” also. The visual effects and the real shots are neatly blended here.


The climax is mixed with chasing involving train and car shots. The scenes in which the car lands over the train, hero entering the train, also the car is shown jumping from one boggy to other in a maximum speed etc are unbelievable, but the team behind had presented them in a believable way. Usually we don’t tolerate such scenes in an Indian film, but we have given the English guys for the ultimate license to kill.

The heroine is presented in this film in an unusual makeup. She has got sunburns all over her body. Hero Jason Statham in his muscular outfits is serious and manly.


Those who like watching English action movies can try ‘Transporter 3’ also.

Rating : 3 / 5

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thenavettu


Sun Pictures, the giant name in the TV field is producing yet another film, ‘Thenavettu’. Hope you know their previous project ‘Kaathalil Vizhunthen’ has got big success through “Nakku Mukku…” song which has got a rapid tune and choreography. But here they don’t have anything big like that to project. Since, the project came from Sun group factory; I decided to go for a ride.



Jeeva, producer R.B.Chowdhary’s son is the hero of this film. He has acted in films like ‘Keertichakra’, ‘Raam’ and ‘Dishyum’ before. Poonam Bhajwa is the heroine. Jeeva hails from a poor family in a village area in Madurai. This angry young man reaches Chennai, there he works under the rich man Ravi Kale (‘Cyanide’ fame), who is having some underworld connections also. As expected, gradually he is in fond of the heroine Poonam. Finally when the rich man’s son who is a womanizer tries to attack the heroine, it is the hero who comes for the rescue and in the fight he is being brutally killed. The lovers escaped from the city, the villain’s father is in search for them and whether they succeeded in their love is what shown in the climax of ‘Thenavettu’.



There is not much entertainment you can imagine in this film with such a story line. Only thing you can expect here is the songs and action scenes mixed with some humour. Sreekanth Deva has given some fast songs with folk touch, but I can’t recollect anyone of them now. Anal Arasu has given some fast fight sequences. Ganja Karuppu is placed to create laughter, but that also didn’t work much effectively. Some fast cuts by the editor Raja Muhammed and shaking frames by the cameraman Vetri has made the film to look like a fast paced.


The new director V.V.Kathir has directed the film in such a way that it look like an ordinary action flick in the 90’s. He has created some dialogues praising Madurai people and their guts. In the later portions, the problems faced by the eunuch (“shikhandi”) people are also discussed; they gave shelter for the running lovers. Even then, I don’t think this film can create big news among the public.



‘Thenavettu’ means “guts”, but here no need to show your strength through muscles, use your brain and just stay away from the show which is good for non-movie maniacs.


Rating : 2 / 5

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seval


Hari, the director who gave films like ‘Thamizh’ (Prasanth), ‘Sami’ and ‘Arul’ (both by Vikram), ‘Kovil’ (Simbhu), ‘Ayya’ (Sharathkumar), ‘Aaru’ and ‘Vel’ (both by Surya) and ‘Thamirabharani’ (Vishal) has come up with his new project ‘Seval’ starring Bharat and new face Poonam Bhajwa. They are supported by Simran, Vadivelu, Sampathraj etc. Camera is handled by Priyan, director’s favourite coworker.


Those who have seen any of those films mentioned above might be able to know Hari’s style. He has given maximum films based on village subjects stamping the tamilian culture. It has got usual masala ingredients like songs, humor, family sentiments, action, friendship, vengeance etc at its best.


In ‘Seval’ also the treatment is same. The film tells the story of a village youth who hails from lower middle class flower merchant family. He gets in love with a girl from Brahmin family; meanwhile the villain is also fond of her. In the end whether he is able to save her and lead a successful life is what shown here through a story happened more than 15 years ago through flashback.


Bharat, who was introduced through ‘Boys’, is the hero in ‘Seval’. He has got some notable films like ‘Kathal’, ‘Veyil’ and ‘Nepali’ in which he comes in the main role. He has given a good performance here. The new face Poonam has got the village girl face. Simran, who is doing matured roles these days (like ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’), comes in elder sister’s role. Though she has not got anything big to perform, her role can create sympathy towards the later stages. Vadivelu who comes as hero’s uncle is there to create the comedy.


G.V.Prakashkumar is the music director here. Though he has given a good background score, the songs are not good enough to be remembered once we are out of the theatre. Priyan has captured the natural beauty of interior Tamilnadu. Rocky Rajesh helped the director to deliver some good action scenes.


There are not much unusual things happening in the story line here. Only I can say that this is a real tamil film which tells the revenge story in the village backdrop with songs, humor and action scenes in it. I always love to watch such kind of films (opinion differs).


Those who can withstand “real” tamil films may be able to watch ‘Seval’ once.

Rating : 3 / 5

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pakal Nakshatrangal


Rajivnath, who took films like ‘Kaveri’, ‘Aham’ etc which were not so big hits, has directed his latest venture, ‘Pakal Nakshatrangal’. The film is scripted by Anoop Menon, who acted in films like ‘Kattuchembakam’ and ‘Thirakkadha’. It is something special to be noted here, since Mohanlal has done the main role in the film. Sureshgopi and Anoop himself has got some prominent roles. Other star cast includes Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Kalpana, Reena Basheer (“Vanitha Ratnam” fame), K.B.Venu (“Samakalikam” fame) etc.


‘Pakal Nakshatrangal’ deals with the subject regarding the search for the reason of the sudden demise of a great film director Sidharthan, done by Mohanlal. Though the story is based on the father, it goes through the findings of his son (Anoop Menon), who is an NRI return. The latter is writing a novel based on the life history of his father. He wants to know how his father died. Though police claims it as a suicide, he can’t digest such a thing to be done by the bold film maker. After certain enquiries and findings he finds the reason in the climax.


The film starts with a TV news in which the government has decided to takeover the “Daffodils” house which is a traditional one, where many artists and cultural leaders are having their evening gatherings. Sidharthan was also a member in those groups. He has got companions from various areas in the society. It includes some ladies also. An abnormal person (Suresh Gopi), who has got an extra ordinary power to talk with the spirits and souls, helps the son to find some truths regarding his father.


Watching ‘Pakal Nakshatrangal’, which is serious and a straight film with solid dialogues, we will feel that this would have been scripted by some experienced script writers, but you will be astonished to realize the fact that it is done by the young guy which has not got much track record in the big screen, Anoop Menon. The story and the way in which it is presented with the sharp dialogues need special applause.


The good thing is that this film won’t make you boring as most of the subjects like this do. Also the there is no lagging apart from one or two scenes in which Suresh Gopi’s character talking with the spirit. His role might be unbelievable and odd, but since the title of the film is relevant and complete only through his findings, no issues. The climax here is acceptable, but I personally feel that a third party could think that it should have been done in a more sensible way.



Mohanlal’s performance is outstanding. The script writer has made such a track for the versatile actor to travel. So, Lal doesn’t need a special good certificate here. Especially his combination scenes with Kalpana and Reena Basheer are notable. Anoop Menon has also come in a matured role after ‘Thirakkadha’. (You can also feel similarity in some areas of story telling between ‘Pakal Naksharangal’ and ‘Thirakkadha’). Kalpana is also seen never as before.


Gazal mood song by Hariharan for Shahbaz Aman’s music goes with the mood. Sharath has given the background score. Ramachandra Babu has handled the camera without many gimmicks. Director Rajivnath can also project this film as his best work. The talk of the town here after will be the young Anoop Menon, who happened to be the matured writer of the film. You will feel like watching a Bharathan-Padmarajan-Mohan type of movie in the 80's.


‘Pakal Nakshatrangal’ is a good film, but it is very strange to say that audience these days are addicted to masala entertainment only, so a question of commercial success here is out of the way.

Rating : 4 / 5

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Wednesday


Personally, I don’t like encouraging Hindi films coming with its usual ingredients like romance, family melodramas, sentiments, songs etc. There are many who like to watch such kind of subjects. But on the other side there are also films handling some variety subjects. I love such films which are shown in a realistic manner. You can’t classify such films as main stream films or parallel films, but they are good films. Such films may not be big hits here; some of them even wont release here. But I will try my level best to watch such films. Recently I watched a Hindi film which can be projected as one of the best films so far made in our country; its name is ‘A Wednesday’.



The main characters of the film are played by two legendary actors who are in their 50’s, Nasrudeen Shah and Anupam Kher. All of you might know these names, if anybody asks you about their best films, it will be complicated, but hereafter it is easy for you to quote the name ‘A Wednesday’, since they had given their career best performance.



I am not ready to mention a single line regarding the story of the film. Only I can say that in the current situation of our country the theme of the film is very relevant. Yes, it deals with the issue of terrorism. Usually I won’t recommend others to watch films, since taste and opinion differs, but this time I say it will be a great miss if you have not seen ‘A Wednesday’.



The film is scripted and directed by Neeraj Pandey. No words to praise this newcomer. He has entered the top position among the list of the best film makers in the country. This film produced by UTV, stands best in all its technical aspects. Cinematography by Fuwad Khan, Music by Sanjay Chowdhary, Editing by Sreenarayanan Singh etc needs special mention.


A friend of mine asked me before, what is a good film; I replied, it is very difficult to tell, but if one can watch a film without boring, one should also don’t feel restless, then it can be categorized as a good one. In that way, ‘A Wednesday’ is an example for it.


‘A Wednesday’ is an edge of the seat thriller. Please don’t miss it...it is a request.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dostana


A colleague of mine, a born-malayalee who is brought up in North India, told me that ‘Dostana’ is a wonderful movie, though it has got some adults only jokes and even recommended me to watch it. Already we have duscissed my assumption about some of the hindi films. Personally I don’t like the amul-baby attitude of some directors like Karan Johar in filmmaking. Here Karan is producing the film and it is directed by his assistant Tarun Manshukani. Anyway keeping faith on my friend, I went to watch ‘Dostana’.


Without any surprise, the film starts with a song where “bare-body show” of sexy John Abraham surrounded by foreign girls in two-piece bikini,
headed by Shilpa Shetty. The next hero Abhishek Bachan is also introduced through this song.


This is yet another hindi film in which the story happens in the United States. I know that hindi films has got a global audience, but don’t forget that these film is made in hindi, it is better to make English as the medium for such films. Now-a days it is very hard to point out the example of a hindi film in which the story happening in our country.


John and Abhishek are in difficult search of a rental house. At last they got one, where they have to stay as paying guests. But for that they told a lie that both of them are gays (homosexuals). The house owner lady, heroine Priyanka Chopra’s aunt is impressed and allowed them. What an Idea!!! Such a an outr
ageous thing might have happened in the mind of none other than the “great producer” Karan Johar only…


We all feel that there should be some difference in the subject for every film. But this much of differentiation is unacceptable. I am not against any unorthodox subjects. You can only argue this by saying that homosexuals are common in our society. But here the treatment is funny; they had made it a commercial masala filled with double meaning dialogues and jokes (?) performed by John Abraham and Abhishek Bachan. The film has also got Bomman Irani as ex boss of Priyanka coming in the womanish character.


Both of them try to impress Priyanka. But she is being admired by her boss (Bobby Deol). They try their level best to make him away from her. When caught in the end, both of them were forgiven under one condition; Since they acted as gays, they have to kiss each other in the middle of a big party gathering…They have done it and all happy... Is that climax, ok for you?


I heard laughs for many scenes from the non-malayalee groups and some malayaless (like my friend) inside theatre. But persons like me were restless all the time hoping to get out at any point of time. If films like this are accepted it once again establish the fact that south and north has got a different sense and taste in attitude and approach.


‘Dostana’ is not the real friendship. I don’t have the broad mindedness and peace of mind to tolerate such silly things shown in the film, sorry…

Rating : 1 / 5



Vaaranam Aayiram


Though he has given very few films only, the name is prominent in the south Indian cine field. His career is a mixture of hits and flops, but one can’t question his caliber as the ace director. His debutant project is ‘Minnale’ (Madhavan-Reema Sen), he is popular through ‘Kaakka Kaakka (Surya-Jyothika), then came the mega venture ‘Vettayadu Vilayadu’ with Kamalhassan-Jyothika followed by a family thriller ‘Pachakkili Muthucharam (Sarathkumar-Jyothika). His name is Gautham Menon. All those projects has got another name in common to project, Harris Jayaraj who gave immense contribution in the music area for
all the films.


This time it is Surya’s turn to work with Gautham Menon again through ‘Vaara
nam Aayiram’. Simran is acting in tamil after a certain gap. Sameera Reddy, who is popular in hindi-telugu films, has got her first tamil project here. Another artist to do a special character is Divya Spandana (she is none other than kannada actress Ramya, who acted in ‘Kuthu’ and ‘Pollathavan’).


The pre-release news and stills of ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ has created some expectation among the viewers. It has shown Surya in different make-ups never as before. Moreover Harris Jayaraj has given songs in his usual style. Also the shooting of the project happened throughout the last 2 years in different schedules in different locations right from Chennai to Los Angels.


The first scene of the film itself will make us stunned. The way in which the hero’s character is portrayed will attract you. As it goes on we can see the different life stages of the hero. It includes from student’s life to the old age. The first half is simply superb. Later the writer-director has got some missing in the story line and it provoked him to deviate from the real subject by including some action scenes and songs. Thus the second half became lengthy and in some area it is lagging.


An experienced filmmaker like Gautham Menon should have been conscious while scripting the subject. He should
be aware of the audience’ pulse. These days they won’t tolerate any lag in a good story; their non-cooperative mentality can affect the film badly. ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’, in such a way has got the story necessary to made 2-3 films from it.


Surya has given his life best performance as the youth and the old man. Simran has got a matured role to perform and has done well. Cinematographer Rathnavelu, who is popular through films like 'Aravindhan', Sethu', 'Nandha', 'Thirumalai', 'Arya', Cyanide’, ‘Enthiran-The Robot’ etc has given colorful and attractuve frames. Anthony has not shown many gimmicks in editing. Harris Jayaraj might be frustrated to give bg score for such a lengthy subject.

(Recently, I heard that Gautham Menon has re-edited the second half and made it a good product…I have not seen, better you watch & decide)


‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ means “thousands elephants”, no need to have so much numbers, even one elephant is good enough to caught attention. A die hard fan of Surya / tamil films can watch the film once for an excellent first half.

Rating : 3 / 5


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quantum of Solace

May be it is difficult to remember the names like Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Thimothi Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig etc. It is better if you know the character James Bond. Those were the stars that has done Bond’s role through these years. The latest film in the James Bond series is ‘Quantum of Solace’. Daniel Craig who acted in the previous Bond film ‘Casino Royale’ is retained.



I think there is no need for an introduction to James Bond movies. If you have watched one or two such movies, then you will be familiar with the representation of Bond’s characters and his activities. In short Ian Fleming’s character has got the “licence to kill”. That is why I always loved James Bond movies. He is unpredictable. He will go after the enemy at any place at any time. In ‘Quantum of Solace’ also, the pattern is same.



In search of the villain, the Bond is travelling from one continent to other. It starts from Italy to Haiti to Austria to Morocco to Bolivia to Russia. But our hero doesn’t care for anyone. At one stage he disagrees with the boss and the boss tries to arrest him. But no one can stop the Bond, once the race is started.



In the first scene itself we can see aggressive chasing between the Bond and the rival gangs. In each and every reel, we can see action scenes in its ultimate. No scope for logic or rethinking while we watch James Bond movies. What they have provided a thrilling action atmosphere.



Maybe a hard core fan of Bond movies, might feel that there is nothing new in this film. But it is relevant that a James Bond film has got a particular graph to follow. They have done that and wont allow you to become restless while watching it.



Those who like watching James Bond films should not miss ‘Quantum of Solace’.

Rating : 4 / 5

Fashion


Already we have discussed the fact that Hindi film field has got some excellent directors who tell the story in a different style of their own and are succeeded in it. The creator of ‘Page 3’, ‘Corporate’ and ‘Traffic Signal’ is back with his latest movie ‘Fashion’.



As the name tells the film deals with the ups and down in the colourful and attractive field of style and fashion. Since we are familiar with the ramp walking, the new trends in this area and the success of models and beauty queens through the media, here the director has tried to communicate the darker side of the fashion world also. He has shown the struggling phase of the models, their desperate attempt to keep the position, the competition between the individuals and companies, the role of fashion designers, agents etc. Also we are shown the bad habits practised by the models and what all is happening in the back stage before and after the show.



Priyanka Chopra has done the lead role in ‘Fashion’. She is the one who reached Mumbai from Chandigarh with the ambition of becoming a top model. Even after refusing by her father, she decides to leave her hometown in search of a prominent position in the new field. Kangana Ranaut plays the role of an experienced model. She is being addicted to smoking and drinking. At one of those struggling periods, Priyanka got a golden chance to replace the super model, Kankana. So it is the rising of one star through the downfall of another.



Once entered the position her life is changed and what happens to her position in the field is what the director has tried to tell through ‘Fashion’. The director has neatly connected the controversial real life incidents of models Geethanjali Nagpal (she was found roaming in the city streets in a poor un- healthy condition) and Carol Gracia (malfunctioning while walking in the ramp).



‘Fashion’ has been created by Madhur Bhandarkar without boring. Some of the incidents are familiar to us and some are not. Priyanka Chopra and Kankana Ranaut have done their roles exceptionally well. Camera by Mahesh Limaye is good. Salim Sulaiman has given the life to the movie through the background music and songs.




If you want to know what all is happening in the colourful world of fashion then ‘Fashion’ is a right choice.

Rating : 4 / 5

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Twenty 20


Dileep has produced the film ‘Twenty 20’ for ‘AMMA’, Association of Malayalam Movie Artists. It has got all the main stars in prominent roles. The revenue generated from this movie is allotted for the benefit of senior artists and veteran members in the association. Right from Mammootty, Mohanlal, Sureshgopi, Jayaram and Dileep almost all the artists have acted in the film free of cost. Though the team behind claims that, the absence of many like Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu, Balchandra Menon, Captain Raju, Ganeshkumar, Bheeman Raghu, Rajan.P.Dev, KPAC Lalitha, Meera Jasmin etc is notable.


Even before the release, ‘Twenty 20’was in the news for certain factors. The fans association of Mohanlal was unhappy due to the placement of Mammootty at the center in the main posters of the film. At first, the government has agreed for increase in ticket charge for first 3 days and later the High Court has stayed the order. Also there was an email circulated among the public regarding the story of the movie. Some of those issues have given a negative publicity for the film. Anyway by the end of the day, the producer-distributors will be happy to see that the film is well received among the public.

Joshi has directed ‘Twenty 20’, Dileep’s favorite writers Udaykrishna-Sibi.K.Thomas has got the golden but complicated opportunity to write the script for the movie. P.Sukumar is the cinematographer.


Mammootty plays the role of an advocate, Mohanlal is the businessman, Suresh Gopi is the IPS officer, Jayaram is the Doctor and Dileep is the medical student. All these characters are linked with a murder directly or indirectly. So we can say ‘Twenty 20’ is the search of the real culprits behind the murder, to save the innocent from being punished, to take revenge on enemies etc by the hero(s).


All the stars have been given an equal importance. But it is Mohanlal who steals the show by his incredible performance through an unusual introduction. Also the sportsman spirit of Mammootty should be appreciated for participating in the show with his usual style and to allow his opponent to dominate him in some places.


The comedy sequences created in the first half using Harisree Asokan, Cochin Haneefa, Bijukuttan, Kalpana etc is not so bright. The main story, which is happening in the family of Retd. Justice played by Madhu, has forced the director to show the family members again and again. Such scenes can create lagging. But the second half has got a good pace.


Songs by Suresh Peters is not up to the mark. Background score by Rajamani has helped to maintain the tempo. The introduction song should have been done in an attractive way. Item song of Nayantara with Prithviraj, Kunjakko Boban, Indrajith, Jayasurya and Manikkuttan is not neatly picturised and it is not registering to the viewers. Once back from other languages, Bhavana is more glamorous in the song.


Though this is multi-starrer project, it is no where near the wide canvas of big budget films done by the veteran I.V.Sasi in the 80’s. The real heroes behind the film is the scriptwriters duo Uday and Sibi who has portrayed the film with maximum stars in the best outfits. The main attraction is that you can see many ‘stars’ collectively in a single movie.


‘Twenty 20’ is a feast which we don’t get frequently.

Rating : 4 / 5


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Egan


Raju Sundram – the name is quite popular in the south Indian cine field as a choreographer since last 20-25years.As the elder son of veteran dance master Sundaram and the brother of Prabhu Deva, he himself is busy in tamil-telugu films these days. Like his colleagues Raghavendra Lorence, Prabhu Deva and Rajasekhar, it is now Raju’s turn to direct a movie.


Thoug
h Raju Sundaram started his first venture as director with Dhanush through ‘Parattai Engirai Azhagu Sundaram’ (remake of kannada block buster ‘Yogi’ by Shivraj Kumar), it was not successful since his extreme wish to work as a choreographer for other films also while directing the particular movie was not allowed by the Artists Union, later he was thrown out of the project and Suresh Krishna (‘Basha’, ‘Annamalai’ fame ) completed the film. But now through Raju became the debutant director through ‘Egan’.


Ajith – Nayantara teaming here again after their previous hit ‘Billa’. ‘Egan’ is inspired from films like ‘Main Hoon Naa’ and ‘Olympian Anthony Adam’. The film tells the story of a cop who belongs to an anti-terrorist squad. Suman (‘Sivaji’ fame ) plays the underworld don. In the beginning, Devan
who is doing business with him, quit the field. He wants to become an aquatint. From the police custody the former tries to kill him. Anyway he is escaped. So the police try to capture him through the hero, who in turn takes the role of a student and join the college where Devan’s daughter is studying. Nayantara is the teacher, as expected she loves our hero. After some family melodramas in the second half, the victory is for the hero only.


Frames by the cinematographer Arjun Jena is rich and colorful. But there is no depth in the story line and the scenes. Ajith, in the student’s role is not flexible. Jayaram who came as villain in
his previous two films, is a comedian here. In the role of Principal, he has got some foolish sequences to create the comedy.Being a malayalee, I cant appeciate the dialogue delivery of Cochin Haneefa in tamil films (may be such a non uniformity might be the reason for him to be casted in tamil films !!!).


Yuvan Shankar Raja has got some fast numbers. His background music is also good. Choreography for the songs by Raju’s ex-students, Dinesh, Noble and Bhaskar is notable. But on the whole, we can’t promote the project ‘Egan’.


‘Egan’ always wants to live alone; he doesn’t need your friendship. So no need for you to accompany him…


Rating : 2 / 5


Phoonk

Though ‘Phoonk’ is a bad film, I still believe that Ram Gopal Varma is one of the best directors our country has ever produced.


RGV always says that he is against the cliché of usual hindi films. He wants to break the rule always. Anyway, being a south Indian, he is successful in the hindi film field as a notable producer-director through films like ‘Satya’, ‘Rangeela’, ‘Company’, ‘Road’, ‘Bhoot’, ‘Sarkar’, Sarkar Raj’ etc.


Days before, I read an advt in the news paper regarding Varma’s latest movie ‘Phoonk’. It says, the person who is able to watch the particular movie alone in the theatre should be awarded a cash prize of Rs10 lacs. That time itself some doubt arised in my mind regarding the quality of the movie. Such advts can question the confidence of the director. Anyway I cant suspect much here, because the person on the receiving end has given an extra ordinary film like ‘Bhoot’, which was one of the best horror films in hindi.


Without much expectation and some fear, I entered the theatre. ’Phoonk’ deals with the black magic subject. Kannada star Sudeep plays the hero, who is doing the construction business. After seeing some irregularities in the account, he dismisses the couple who is in charge of the department. To take the revenge, the lady who is also practicing black magic, experiments it on hero’s elder daughter. Due to its adverse effect, the child behaves abnormally, after some tensions and enquiries the culprit is caught.


There is no single scene in ‘Phoonk’ which can make you frightened. Due to some unnecessary base sounds in the background music, the rear speakers in the theaters were also jarring all the time creating an irresistible noise. As usual, the director has given some nice shots, but that is not useful for such a film to be loved by the audience.

‘Phoonk’ means smoke with fowl smell. It is advisable not to breath it.

Rating : 1 / 5

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kathalil Vizhunthen

Though the shooting completed an year before, the film ‘Kathalil Vizhunthen’ is released only now amidst of some tensions prevailing between the ruling party in TN and the production banner. Sun TV, the biggies in the media field is producing the film. As the name says, this is a love subject. It is the story of two lovers and their romantic journey. Nagulan (’Boyz’ fame) and new face Sunaina holds the main characters. Debutant PV Prasad has directed the movie. Vijay Milton is the cinematographer.


To be getting interested in such a project, there should be something unusual in it which can be distinguished from others. Here it is in the form of a fast folk song, “Nakku Mukku...”. The song which comes in the genre of “Manmadha Raasa...”, “Kumbidapona Daivam...” etc is a hit even before the release of the film.



In the beginning the lovers being chased by the villains at night, enters a train, TTE helps them by giving a seat. The hero narrates their life story to him, hero who belongs to the lower middle class family and the girl from the upper class loved each other, after some happiness and hazards they reached such a situation.


They met each other through an accident caused due to the carelessness of the lady in which the hero is the victim. The first half is having songs and similar situations that are necessary for a love subject’s cliché. But in the second half when the narration reaching its climax, then only we are able to understand the abnormality in the behaviour of the hero. I am not going in detail, since that is the peculiarity of this subject. In the later portions the family along with the police are chasing them, whether they got succeeded in their love is what the new director has shown in 'Kathalil Vizhunthen.



Nagulan who hasn’t got a good break after ‘Boyz’, will be noticed hereafter. He has changed a lot from the bulky appearance in his first movie. Sunaina has also done well. Vijay Antony has given some good music; he himself has sung the “Nakku Mukku...” song. The choreography by Sridhar for this peppy song is brilliant (I was a witness for the big claps and dances inside the theatre for it). Fight sequences are also notable. Livingston and Sampathraj have also got prominent characters.


The sequences in the second half has got the flavour of movies like ‘Guna’ and ‘7G Rainbow Colony’. The script writer - director has justified the reason for the irregularity in hero’s character and his unique affection through an example from a doctor’s description. It can be taken as a way of expressing the freedom of the creator.


‘Kathalil Vizhunthen’ is a love story with an unusual story line. That can be irresistible sometimes, but it won’t keep you boring.


Rating : 3 / 5

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Raaman Thediya Seethai


Cheran is popular as an actor through his hit film ‘Autograph’. Even 10 years before he is known as a director who took socio relevant subjects like, ‘Bharathi Kannamma’, ‘Porkkalam’, ‘Desiyageetham’, ‘Vetrikkodi Kettu’, ‘Pandavarbhoomi’, ‘Thavamai Thavamirunthu’ etc. He has acted in movies like ‘Solla Marantha Kadhai’, ‘Pirivom Santhippom’ etc which are done by some other directors.

Moserbaer Entertainments has produced ‘Raaman Thediya Seethai’. Jagannath, who gave the film 'Puthiya Geethai' with Vijay, has directed this film. Vimala Raman, Ramya Nambeesan, Gajala, Navya Nair and Karthika (new face) are the heroines.


As the name of the film indicates the film deals with the searching of a girl for the hero to marry. Years ago in his earlier college days he has undergone treatment for his mental disorder. Now he is a perfect gentleman who is also running his own business tells this fact to the first lady he met, she (Vimala Raman) disagrees to marry him. At last his marriage is fixed, on the day she (Ramya Nambeesan) ran with her lover. The proposed girl’s father (Manivannan) is very much sad at this incident and he took initiative to search a bride for him.


Hero, who is frustrated, met a blind (Pasupathy) who is a Jockey in an FM radio. He lives with his wife (Gajala) and kid. He advised the hero not to be failed in such tough moments; he even motivated him by telling his whole story.


As per request from second girl’s father both of them reaches Nagercoil to see another girl (Karthika). The rest of the story happens there. He saw the girl, she wants sometime to understand each other. In the middle he comes across the second girl who ran with the lover. She is alone, her husband is in jail and she is pregnant now. Without informing her father, hero helps her. In the same town he met the first girls who refused to marry him and as per request from his blind friend he decided to meet another girl who is a police inspector (Navya Nair). So with all the ladies roaming around the hero in the same city, who will the hero ties the knot is the theme of ‘Raaman Thediya Seethai’.


Cheran has done a good job in his typical style. The characterisation of Pasupathy and Manivannan are excellent. Both of them done well, Pasupathy’s actions and gestures in the blind character is notable. He gives the life to the story in the first half. The situation, in which “Unnal Mudiyum Thambi...” song is played in the background, shows the will power of the character.


The film’s story in the second half has got a bulk of coincidences. Hero meeting the lady who ran with her lover, He meets the auto driver who happens to be the lover of the proposed lady, He meets the lady again who refused to marry him in the beginning, He is also beaten accidently by another lady whom he want to meet regarding proposal matter etc. Anyway it is such a story and it is such a film, we have to accept it.


Vidyasagar has given a couple of good numbers. Rajesh Yadav is the cinematographer. Script writer – director Jagannath has presented the film in a believable way.


‘Raaman Thediya Seethai’ is hero’s difficult search for a bride; but it gives some messages in the middle. It can give worries and at the same time hope for bachelors who want to lead a marriage life.


Rating : 3 / 5