Category Archives: Movies

Movie Review: The Walk

Note: The post has spoilers, but it wouldn’t matter. Just go on and read it. The movie will be awesome anyway.

The plot of the movie is very straightforward. Philippe Petit, a high-wire artist, sets on a mission to tie a tight rope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and walk over it; 110 storeys above the ground.

“I know it’s impossible. I’ll do it anyway”.

The movie is based on a true story. The story of Philippe Petit, a French high wire artist. Read about him here. I was dumbstruck by the fact that someone even dared to think about trying out this daredevil act of walking on a tiny rope across the twin towers. 1300+ feet above ground level.

Joseph Gordon Levitt, it seems, has portrayed Philippe to perfection. His portrayal of Philippe + the background score + the camera angles seal the show. 3D experience is meant for movies like these.

When Philippe takes his first step on the tight wire, you start to freak out at your seat. The experience is so real; like almost first person. And it’s not just the visual effects. The movie has a great underlying theme.

No matter how crazy your dream is, no matter what people say about it, no matter how many ever obstacles come your way, if you’re well prepared, up for it and give it your best, there’s no one stopping you from living your dream.

Had Philippe lost a footing on the rope and slipped his way to death, he’d have been deemed “foolish” for trying out such a foolish impossible illegal act. But because he believed he could succeed and eventually did, he’s a part of History now.

Read about him. Philippe Petit. He planned this act for six years. Yes, six years. He was fully and truly obsessed about it. He practised day in and day out, in all conditions. He faced countless obstacles while planning and executing his mission. Any normal person could have given up at any stage. But that’s what legends are made of. They don’t give up on their dream, no matter what.

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Movie Review: Thoongavanam

Thoongavanam is the third movie this year (2015) in which Kamal Haasan has played a middle aged father. All three roles have been completely different, with no overlap whatsoever between them.

Of course, you can’t expect anything less from the man who pulled off a Saket Ram (Hey Ram) between a Thenali and Ram CM (Panchathantiram). He has been redefining versatility from the 1970s.

Thoongavanam begins with Kamal’s introduction in the first scene itself. The Director sends a strong message there, that he is not going to waste precious time from a thriller to build up the protagonist’s introduction. Our expectations from the movie rise. We see an action sequence that sets the pace for the movie ahead. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t raise the bar beyond that.

Kamal and Trisha in Thoongavanam

Kamal and Trisha in Thoongavanam

Thoongavanam tries its best to be a racy thriller, and manages to entertain in bits and pieces. The screenplay is very shoddy with the pace never really picking up. Not sure if it was intentional, but didn’t ring a bell with me (a die hard Kamalian myself).

It seems that the events in the movie happen almost in real time; most likely the first of its kind.

Not sure if it was the Trailers or the songs, or the sheer anticipation of a Kamal thriller, my expectations were sky high for Thoongavanam, on the back of two brilliant flicks early this year.

I was disappointed (if not gutted).

Watch it for Kamal, Ghibran (re-recording) and Trisha (doesn’t look a day older than Jesse).

Oh yes, and I watched the movie twice (Second time to accompany my friend and because Vedalam was house full in entire Coimbatore District).

Read my other posts on Kamal Haasan, here:

Post on Kamal Haasan

Movie Review: Papanasam

Movie Review: Uthama Villain

Movie Review: Vedalam

In Business Strategy, there are three different sources through which “Strategic positioning” emerges:

1, Serving few needs of many customers

2. Serving broad needs of few customers

3. Serving broad needs of many customers in a narrow market

Be it an enterprise or a movie star, it is essential to identify and establish your strategic positioning in order to be successful.

Ajith has figured out over all these years that SP2 works best for him. Serving broad needs of few customers (the few customers here being his die-hard fans, who are quite a few).

This is the reason why, of late, most of his films are a huge hit at the Box Office but receive mixed reviews from the audience. Vedalam is no exception.

I loved it. In and out. I was shocked to see 1.5-2 ratings from big media houses for the movie.

If Director Siva wanted to make a commercial movie that would be a Diwali Treat for Thala fans and a good entertainer for the neutrals, I’d say he has exceeded expectations in his job.

I was bought the moment I saw the Trailer for the movie with Thala roaring “Therikka Vidalaama” with a bleeding mouth.

Villain in Vedalam

Villain in Vedalam

There are more than 5 goosebumps moments for Ajith fans where Thala just owns the screen. Not sure if there are other actors who could have pulled off these scenes. Vintage Ajith (of the Villain league).

One from theinternet

One from theinternet

I’ve conceded in the past that I’m now an Anirudh fan. Loved his RR in Naanum Rowdy Dhaan. Does a great job in the mass scenes in Vedalam too. Songs are a let down though.

Shruti Haasan wasted yet again. Lakshmi Menon has done a role to remember.

Bottomline: If you want reality, there’s life. For entertainment, watch Vedalam.

Movie Review: Puli

Last Diwali, Ilaya Thalapathy proved that he can act too, with A.R Murugadoss’ Kaththi.

Vijay is unbeatable in dance, awesome in comedy, good in stunts, but when it comes to acting (or emoting) on screen, I’d have him last in a list that would contain T. Rajendar, MGR, Murali and Sadagopan Ramesh. He proved me wrong in Kaththi; yes, he’s acted well in the past too, but in spurts.

Puli, coming on the back of Kaththi, meant I was going to watch it in the big screen. What with all the build-up given by our Thala TR in the audio launch, expectations were sky high (Btw, if you haven’t seen the TR video in Puli Audio launch, don’t miss it. It’s better than the movie, and available for free online).

My flatmate pre-booked tickets for October 2.

My review of the movie, in the form of live tweets, follows:

Movie Review: Maari

One consolation of watching Maari is the realization that there’s at least one person apart from me who likes to roam around wearing flowery shirts.

Dhanush in & as Maari

Dhanush in & as Maari

I became a Dhanush fan in 2011 after watching Aadukalam. I liked few of his earlier movies too, including Polladhavan, Yaaradi Nee Mohini, Thiruvilayadal Arrambam and the likes. With 3, Mayakkam Enna and VIP, he was right up there in my list after Rajni, Kamal and Ajith.

Maari is however proof to the fact that if you choose the wrong script, there’s no point acting your heart out. Something which Thala Ajith does a lot.
Some thoughts about the movie I tweeted right after watching the movie, below.

Movie Review: Papanasam

I’m pretty sure Kamal Haasan had a 100% say in deciding the title of the film. “Papanasam”, meaning “Destruction of Sins”. Such an apt title for the movie, just like “Drishyam” was for the Malayalam original.

When the film certification card read “180 minutes”, it might have left people wondering “3 hour movie in this day and age when most movies end in less than 2 hours?!?!?!”. At the end of it all, the director left us wanting for more. What a movie, Director Jeetu. Take a bow.

Bharadwaj Rangan said, and I quote, “I feel intensely jealous of people who saw Papanasam without seeing Drishyam”.

Papanasam

Papanasam

Papanasam is not a Rajnikanth movie. So there’s no 100% assurance that the protagonist will win in the end. And that’s what keeps Papanasam pacey throughout, except the first 30-40 minutes when the “normal” life of a normal man in the countryside is depicted.

Kamal Haasan as usual excels there. Suyambu Lingam Annachi’s “Nellai Tamil” slang is such a treat to listen to. Let me try and recollect the different slangs he has aced in his stellar cinema career – Kovai slang in “Sathi Leelavathi”, Madras Baashai in Vasool Raja, Pammal K. Sammandham, Aboorva Sagotharargal and numerous other movies, Brahmin slang in Avvai Shanmukhi, Vishwaroopam, etc, Palakkadu Tamil in “Michael Madana…”, and the list will go on. The fact remains that few actors in the world can show this sort of range in language and acting.

Niveda Thomas who plays Kamal’s first daughter in the movie might have earned a few thousand fans in Tamil Nadu through this movie. That girl can act.

Suyambu Lingam portrays the “family first” mentality to perfection throughout the movie. The climax scene where he breaks down ought to be one of the best pieces of acting in World Cinema. If Kamal Haasan doesn’t get an Oscar in his acting career, whose loss is it? Kamal’s or the Oscar Award’s?

Jeetu Joseph and his script are the real heroes in the movie. The movie would have been a hit even if a Sarathkumar or Arjun had played Suyambu Lingam. The fact that Kamal played it is an added treat to the fans.

Having seen both Drishyam and Papanasam, there might be questions about who is the better actor. Mohan Lal or Kamal Haasan. In my opinion, in terms of acting, they are both great (and out of this world). No scope for comparison. But it’s in the other aspects of Cinema (Screenplay, Direction, Dance, Singing, Stunts, etc.) that Kamal Haasan has outperformed his co-star from across the border, throughout his career.

“Alwarpettai Andavaa”, one small request. Your fans prefer 3 Papanasams in a year compared to having to wait for 3 years for a Dasaavathaaram or a Vishwaroopam. More Papanasams, please!

P.S: you might want to read my review of Drishyam, here.

Movie Review: Uthama Villain

Writer’s note: The review is full of spoilers. Advised not to read it if you haven’t watched the movie and plan to, in the future.

“Manoranjan (Kamal Haasan) comes to know that he has only few days to live. So he decides to make a film in which he’s immortal.”

What a one-liner for a movie! I was floored.

Uthama Villain

Uthama Villain

This time last year, we were exposed to a few first looks of the movie and the anticipation kept building. My old room-mate (who too is a Kamal veriyan) had the “Mrityunjaya jaya jaya” music as his ringtone.

Sadly the movie didn’t release in Gurgaon (Why does this always happen to Kamal Haasan)! So after two months of release, I managed to watch it today. I consciously kept myself away from reviews and news articles about the movie because I knew I was going to watch it anyway, and didn’t want any exposure about the movie, so that I could completely enjoy it when I finally watch it. Which I did.

I refused to believe the people who called Uthama Villain a boring movie. I knew Kamal Haasan was not going to disappoint us. And with K. Balachander playing a key role, I was going to watch it anyway, even if the entire world told me the movie was bad.

And what a delight it was! The five things that stood out to me were: Kamal Haasan (the actor), Kamal Haasan (the singer), Kamal Haasan’s story,  K. Balachander’s acting and Ghibran (the music director).

The film tries to portray the personal life of a public figure, how difficult it can be, sometime to succeed both in personal life and in your profession (art in specific).

The film “Uthama Villain” within the film is a comic relief with Nasser, Gnanasambhandham and the other minister providing ample support to Kamal Haasan, the comedian! What is this artist not good at! __//\\__

Things which could have worked against the movie are its running legth and very poor animation (the Tiger looks like a cartoon).

Nevertheless, the movie to me stands out because of the lead actors’ performances, the irony in the script and its music.

The film ends with these lines: “Saaga varam pol sogam undoa! Theera kadhaiyai kaetpaarundo!”

Fortunate to live in the Kamal era.

Wait begins for Paapanasam.

Movie Review: Kaaka Muttai

It’s good that “Kaaka Muttai” has released with English subtitles, for it’s not a film that deserves to reach only the Tamil audience. Addressing the issue of urban poverty and cheap aspirations of the urban poor, it is a landmark film in Indian cinema. The director hasn’t gone out of the way to force comedy tracks into the story. Rather, they flow seamlessly with the script.

Kudos to Dhanush and Vetrimaaran for encouraging such scripts to make it to the silver screen. Unlike mainstream cinema where there are certain scenes placed in the movie to please every section of the society, Kaaka Muttai doesn’t have a single scene or dialogue that is not needed for the flow of the movie. No wonder it’s so short in running time: less than two hours.

It’s a single line story. Two urban poor kids go on a mission to have Pizza from a Pizza outlet.

Kaaka Muttai

Kaaka Muttai

Screenplay is the real king, followed by the lead actors – the two kids, their mum and the two sidekicks who ensure you laugh your ass off in every scene they come.

Everyone knows Dhanush and Simbhu have become close friends. It’s evident in the movie too. There’s a guest appearance from Simbhu, there’s once scene where the kids see a film scene  from a Simbhu flick and there’s another scene where there’s a reference to the random controversies that are spun on him.

Kaaku Muttai makes you laugh and makes you think at the same time. MUST WATCH!

Movie Review: Shamitabh [No spoilers]

Big B + Dhanush + PC Sreeram + Ilayaraja + Kamal Haasan’s bloodline (Akshara).
Talk about dream combinations…
I was not going to miss this movie. By any chance.

Shamitabh

Shamitabh

In this age and world where movies run behind 100 Cr clubs by catering to the “masses”, Director Balki deserves a pat on the back just for choosing a performance oriented script and executing it to perfection, almost.

If with Aadukalam, Dhanush proved he was as good an actor as anyone else, then with Shamitabh, he’s widened the gap between himself and the second best (in his generation of actors). To share the screen with Big B and still catch eyeballs is no easy thing, and Dhanush has done that in more scenes than one. With Shamitabh, the “Kolaveri” man has announced his entry into Bollywood in style (considering Raanjhana wasn’t received very well).

It doesn’t look like this is Akshara’s first movie. Of course, it’s there in the blood. 🙂

Akshara Haasan

Akshara Haasan

After Paa, Balki has hit the winning note for a second consecutive time, with Big B. Yet again, Big B delivers what exactly was required for the role of Amitabh Sinha.

If “I” was the mother of Product placements, then Shamitabh is the mother of all mothers. Product placements throughout the movie. Not that it affected the story in any way. Just an observation.

Shamitabh deserves to be watched a second time, just for the Maestro’s re-recording. Well, let’s not get into how awesome Ilayaraja is, again. 🙂

Bottomline: Match winning “partnership” in 150 minutes.

Movie Review: Yennai Arindhaal [No spoilers]

It’s been a long wait for Ajith fans, past 3-4 months; from the time #Thala55 was titled “Yennai Arindhaal” to the time the movie released, on Feb 5. Everything related to the movie became a national trend on twitter – the title release, motion poster, teaser, single, trailer and then the movie itself. Not that they all deserved to trend; just shows the number of fans this man has.

Staying outside Tamil Nadu has its benefits, like getting tickets to watch a Thalaivar (Lingaa/Kochadaiyaa) or Thala movie (Yennai Arindhaal) on the first day. Felt completely at home when “Ajith Kumar” appeared on the big screen with a ear deafening roar from the audience. I am not talking about Kasi Theatre in Chennai. This happened in PVR (Gurgaon), more than 2200 km away from Chennai.

Sathyadev IPS

Sathyadev IPS

That title card was pretty much Ajith’s presence in the entire movie. There was no Ajith after that. It was just Sathyadev I.P.S., the character he played (rather lived) in the movie. Yennai Arindhaal, I realized, isn’t a mass movie, made just to cater to Ajith’s die-hard fans in Tamil Nadu, like a “Veeram”. It wasn’t meant to be.

It’s a fitting finale to Gautham’s COP Trilogy, after Khakha Khakha and Vettaiyaadu Vilayaadu. Ajith just oozes class (like he always does) in all the different shades of Sathyadev. It was heartening to see Ajith, the actor throughout the film. He just nails it, as a righteous COP, bereaved husband, caring father, and a man seeking revenge. There are two things in this world that don’t go down – one is age, and the other is Ajith’s screen presence.

I’ve been a fan of Gautham Menon’s type of movies. He’s created a style of his own. The heroes adore their dads and see them as role models, heroines are portrayed as independent, people generally tend to use English a bit more than normal Tamils would do, etc. Yennai Arindhaal has all these elements, which is why, like his earlier movies, it might not reach out to B and C audiences, in specific.

Gautham has got the casting bang on in Yennai Arindhaal. Well, it takes two to tango, and Arun Vijay has played one of the best negative roles in the past year or so. His phone conversations with Ajith in the second half is one of the most riveting hero-villain duels in recent times. After seeing weak Villains in Shankar’s “I” and Thalaivar’s “Lingaa”, it was more of a relief when Gautham Menon gave us Victor (Arun Vijay). Welcome back to Tamil Cinema, Arun Vijay.

Hemanika (Trisha) gives a tough fight to Jesse (Trisha again) for Gautham’s most beautiful character. Gautham’s female leads always look great (Maaya, Meghna, Jesse, Nithya, Hemanika, to name a few). Vivek as comic relief and Anushka Shetty do justice to their roles.

Bottomline: Another episode in a Police officer’s diary which you just cannot miss.

Movie Review: Drishyam [No spoilers]

I can count on one finger how many Malayalam movies I had watched in my life, before Drishyam.

Rave reviews in Social media and Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan planning to remake it in Tamil, made me curious to watch the movie.

I had no background about the movie whatsoever, when I started watching it; whether it was a laugh riot or a thriller or a fantasy movie. Nothing. And that helped.

You might come across a lot of movies across languages and borders, which would have certain scenes just like that; for the sake of it, without any real impact on the story or how it progresses. On the contrary, Drishyam doesn’t have a single scene that doesn’t take the story forward. Director Jeethu Joseph deserves a pat on the back for that. 

Georgekutty and family - Drishyam

Georgekutty and family – Drishyam

Mohanlal fits the boot of Georgekutty cheta, a middle class cable TV operator,  to perfection. Of course, one cannot expect anything less from him. Such a natural.

Meena has done a good job too, other than the scenes where she’s supposed to look terrified.

Jeethu Joseph, the Director is the real winner, actually, which is the reason why the movie is being remade/dubbed into a number of languages.

I’m sure the movie will be as interesting or more, in Tamil, what with the Ulaga Nayagan adding his own flavor to the movie. We saw that with Unnai Pol Oruvan, a remake of Wednesday.

Anyway, glad that I caught hold of a brilliant Malayalam movie. Next in the list – Bangalore Days.

Requesting my Mallu brothers to throw some light on other masterpieces in Malayalam Cinema. 

Post on Kamal Haasan

No, none of his movies are releasing in the near future. Nor is his birthday round the corner. Just felt like writing it. A post on Kamal Haasan, from an objective fan.

Till I was in Class VI or so, it appeared to me as though Rajnikanth was the only real hero, while all others were merely trying to be one. I was a kid when his career best films like Annamalai, Baasha, Arunachalam, Padayappa, etc. were released.

Only Kamal Haassan’s full length comedy movies like Panchathantiram, Avvai Shanmukhi, Michael Madana Kama Rajan and the likes were understood and appreciated by the kid in me. Pretty sure it would have been the case with most of you who were born in the sane 90’s generation.

Michael Madana Kamarajan saw Crazy Mohan's first partnership with the Ulaga Nayagan. Over the next two decades, many such projects followed

Michael Madana Kamarajan saw Crazy Mohan’s first partnership with the Ulaga Nayagan. Over the next two decades, many such projects followed

It is only as I grew older that I was able to appreciate Kamal Haassan’s works; rather masterpieces. The man who gave his heart and soul and money for Tamil Cinema. Though it will be an Apples vs Oranges comparison, I wouldn’t be wrong if I say that throughout most of his career, he’s been overshadowed by the Midas Man Rajnikanth, at least within the borders of Tamil Nadu.

Too much awesomness in one pic - Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan

Too much awesomness in one pic – Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan

Now this doesn’t mean that Rajni’s works were superior than Kamal’s. In fact, they weren’t. Kamal’s movies were a class apart. That turned out to be his problem. Most of his movies couldn’t (still can’t) reach to the vegetable seller or the blue collar worker, unlike Rajni’s simple rags-to-riches sagas or hero-triumphs-villain stories.

Appu (Aboorva Sagotharargal), Velu Naicker (Nayagan), Avvai Shanmukhi, Indian Thatha, Nalla Sivam (Anbe Sivam), Sakthi (Thevar Magan), Raja (Vasool Raja MBBS), etc. are immortalized characters in celluloid, thanks to the Ulaga Nayagan. It’s sometime hard to even imagine that diverse characters (Both physically and in character) such as these were played by a single man.

I still can’t believe how he pulled off a Panchathantiram (a laugh riot), immediately after Hey Ram (an intense film) which was in turn preceded by Thenali (a laugh riot). He got his first National Award at the age of 6, at an age when most of us would have found it tough to even spell “National Award”. That should explain it.

Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan may be his idol and guru, but according to me (and many others), he’s gone past his idol in many ways (No, I am not referring to Dasavathaaram where he played 10 roles in a movie to surpass Sivaji’s 9 in Navarathri).

Master and the pupil

Master and the pupil

He’s more than just an actor; a dance master, singer, director, producer, lyricist and what not. Vijaya T. Rajender comes a close second to Kamal when it comes to doing multiple things, in Tamil Cinema.

But unlike Vijaya T. Rajender, Kamal not only does multiple things, but is also very good at all of them. Had Kamal not entered into acting at all and pursued a career in playback singing, he would still have given the likes of the great SPB a run for their money. This is not the Kamal fanatic in me speaking/typing. It is an avid music lover’s humble observation. Songs like “Yaar Yaar Sivam” (Anbe Sivam) never fail to give Goosebumps even today, after 11 years. Not to forget he’s done playback singing for Thala Ajith and Dhanush.

Same holds true for Kamal, the dance master. Salangai Oli, and more recently “Unnai Kaanaadhu” (Vishwaroopam). Enough said.

Kamal Haasan in Salangai Oli

Kamal Haasan in Salangai Oli

I am not a die hard Kamal fan. At least, I cannot call myself one, because I haven’t seen most of his films that released before 1990. Nayagan, Moondram Pirai, Aboorva Raagangal, Salangai Oli, 16 Vayathinile, Unnaal Mudiyum Thambi, Punnagai Mannan are some of the very few classics of his that I’ve seen.

As a fan, it pains to see that out-of-the-world masterpieces like Anbe Sivam and Hey Ram bombed at the Box Office. That’s how cruel life can be, if you are Kamal Haasan.

Anbe Sivam

Anbe Sivam

His Wikipedia profile says he has had two wives in the past and is currently living in with another woman. But he’s been faithful to one wife. All his life. Cinema. That’s all we fans need.

He preaches Atheism, but young budding actors won’t believe him, because for them, there’s at least one God. Him.

If someone writes a series of books on Kamal Haasan, spanning 10 volumes, it’ll still fail to appreciate/explain what this man has contributed to Tamil and World Cinema. Let alone a tiny blog post.

All I can ask him now is, “Aalwarpettai Aandava, when is Marudhanayagam coming?”

Movie Review: Kochadaiiyaan (No spoilers)

When Rajinikanth says (in Twitter), “I am sure you all will enjoy the movie (Kochadaiiyaan) in the theatres”, he means every word of it.

Rana & Kochadaiiyaan

Rana & Kochadaiiyaan

He’s always maintained he had wanted to do a “Raja kaalathu kadhai” all his life. A motion-capture animation film will serve as a consolation for his wish.

I watched the movie in Gurgaon, at least 2000 km away from Tamil Nadu, Rajnikanth’s territory. Still, the ear deafening noise when the title card read “Super Star Rajini”, wasn’t missing. This man’s got die-hard fans all across the country world.

Firstly, kudos to Soundarya R. Ashwin and her technical crew for the wonderful product they’ve come up with. Other than Sarath Kumar (in certain scenes), all other animated characters more or less resembled their human counterparts.

Rana

Rana

The story has got it all – comedy, vengeance, romance, action, heroism, etc. KSR has done a wonderful job with the screenplay, with certain turnaround of events catching the audience off guard.

The audience were in for a surprise when one of the late comedians (arguably the best in Tamil Cinema), was bought back to life in the movie. He’s also played a significant role in the movie.

Rajnikanth of course, is the real star. The demeanour, voice and attitude of Rana and Kochadaiiyaan (the two characters played by him) are completely different. The introduction scene of Kochadaiiyaan in the second half with the grand trumpeting and “Maasil Veenayum” running in the background HAS to be one of the best introduction scenes for an animated character.

Now, I have nothing much to say about the Legend, ARR. Only he can manage to set high standards for himself and surpass it every single time. The songs have been doing the rounds for a couple of months, but Rahman scores big with his re-recording. His background score is arguably the biggest plus factor for this movie. __//\\__

AR Rahman and Rajnikanth unite for the sixth time

AR Rahman and Rajnikanth unite for the sixth time

I wouldn’t say Kochadaiiyaan kept me gripped to the corner of my seat, for the full 120 odd minutes; but it had all the elements of a Thalaivar movie which makes it a must watch on the big screen. Was definitely worth the long wait!

Enjoy the Legend of Kochadaiiyaan on the big screen, if you haven’t already.

The wait for the sequel has begun.

Movie Review: Highway (No spoilers)

Let me start by declaring that I am now officially a fan of Imtiaz Ali and Aliaa Bhatt.

Having not watched Student of the Year, I had little idea about Aliaa Bhatt’s thespian skills. Don’t know how she performed in SOTY but she stole the show in Highway, with an equally impactful performance from Randeep Hooda. The duo in fact carry the movie on their shoulders with subtle, real and unexaggerated acting, may be with some help from Imtiaz Ali.

Be it the scene where Aliaa opens up to Randeep or the one where she confronts a relative to set things straight, Aliaa proves that she is currently the best in business when it comes to acting, in Bollywood (though it’s tough to imagine her as a Tamil in the movie version of Two States, coming soon).

If Rockstar made me a fan of Imtiaz Ali, Highway has strengthened that bond further. Among Directors like Rohit Shetty, Ali doesn’t hesitate to take the unconventional route to produce masterpieces. Musically, Rockstar may be the album of the decade, but Rahman and Imtiaz have given themselves a tough competition with Highway.

In the past, silence has been used to great effect in re-recording by Ilayaraja. Rahman takes that route in Highway and succeeds. There is hardly any background score apart from the album track, which too is used minimally. Visuals (especially in Himachal) are stunning, making you want to visit places like Shimla and Poh.

Highway - An Imtiaz Ali classic!

Highway – An Imtiaz Ali classic!

There is a high chance Highway may bomb at the box office, much like Kamal Haasan’s critically acclaimed Anbe Sivam, and the likes. Highway is not a movie you can go with your family to have a good laugh. It is nowhere close to your usual commercial cinema. You don’t see the hero entering the scene with the sound of trumpets deafening your ears. In fact, there is no hero. There is no story also, to think of it. Imtiaz Ali is the hero. Screenplay is the hero.

Highway is unconventional. It’s offbeat. And it’s awesome!

Movie Review: Veeram (No spoilers)

I distinctly remember that day, some four years ago in Coimbatore when I persuaded few of my mallu friends to join us for “Asal”. I told them Thala will not disappoint. That day, unfortunately, he did.

Today was different. Completely different. Veeram – SDFS (Second Day First Show) @ Inox, Virugambakkam.

The story can never be more predictable. Hero has a happy family. Villain (having a huge mustache and dishevelled hair) does all the wrong. Hero can do no wrong. Thugs fly like ping pong balls. Hero triumphs and wins everyone’s heart.

But the fact that Ajith dons the role of Hero makes a lot of difference.

Other than the Super Star Rajnikanth himself, there’s no one ( I REPEAT, NO ONE) in Tamil Cinema who has a screen presence as huge as Thala.

Not Vikram. Not Suriya. Definitely not Vijay.

The slo-mo walk of Ajith as his face is revealed from under the umbrella in one of the scenes got a ear deafening roar from the audience.

Awesome scene in the movie

Awesome scene in the movie

There were many other scenes (backed by very good re-recording and camera work) which other actors can pull off only in their dreams.

Veeram also witnessed Ajith in a light-hearted role (at least for most parts of the movie) after many years. Billa, Mankatha, Arrambam, Asal all saw only the serious Ajith.

The comedy track involving Santhanam, Tamannah and Ajith’s family in the first half is hilarious. Thambi Ramiah tries his bit in the second half.

DSP’s songs gave us a break to catch up with friends. Barring the intro song and the song by Adnan Sami, other songs aren’t even hummable. Take nothing away from DSP in the re-recording though.

Some punch lines by Thala were very deep. To quote one, “Unna suththi irukkaravangala nee paathukitta, mela irukkuravan unna paathupaan” (If you take care of the people around you, God will take care of you).

If Tamil Cinema is an empire, then Ajith is its undisputed king and he is here to stay. Veeram is enough proof.