Tag Archives: Kamal Haasan

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

Karaoke: Pachai Kiligal (Indian)

A.R. Rahman, K.J.Yesudas and Kamal Haasan. When these three living legends come together to produce something, the result can be nothing short of awesomeness. And that is what “Pachai Kiligal” from the Tamil movie Indian (1996) is all about.

Kamal Haasan as Senapathy (Indian)

Kamal Haasan as Senapathy (Indian)

It’s a very simple song with heart-touching lyrics by the great writer Diamond Pearl (Vairamuthu).

For those alien to the Tamil language, Vairamuthu tries to bring out the finer aspects of life that give us immense happiness (Anandham).

Vairamuthu, lyricist of "Pachai Kiligal" from Indian

Vairamuthu, lyricist of “Pachai Kiligal” from Indian

I’ve shared below my attempt at a Karaoke version of this amazing song.
Listen and share your comments.

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.

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?”