Gokul & Prem's Tamil Cinema Review

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sivaji - The BOSS

Rating: 3.5/5
Cast: Rajini & Shreya
Music: A R Rehman
Direction: Shankar
Remark: No Logic only Shankar's Magic

Finally the wait is over!! The premiere show of SIVAJI in Albert was as noisy as any first day first show....because....this was not a premiere for the classes...it was a premiere for the masses! Normally in a Super Star movie, everything else is secondary - Director, Musician, Cinematographer, et all. However this film is different. The expectations were high not just because it was a Super Star film but also because he joined hands with one of the best directors of today, Shankar. Add to this, AR Rehman's music, KV Anand's cinematography, Thotta Tharani's art direction and produced by one of the oldest production houses - AVM. When such great people combine, the expectation were sky high. Does this team deliver? Before answering that, here is the story.

The Story: Sivaji (Rajini) returns from US with a lot of money (he was working as a System Architect!). His ambition is to start several colleges and hospitals that would offer free education and medical treatment. Aadiseshan (Suman) is a millionaire, who mints money through his educational institutions and hospitals. Suman is keen on not allowing Rajini to succeed, since he feels that when education and medical facilities become cheap, he will not profit from that business. Parallely, Rajini fall in love with Shreya and with help from his uncle (Vivek!), he tries to win over her. Just before the first half of the movie, Rajini succeeds in getting engaged to Shreya. During the same time, Suman uses political power to stop the construction of the colleges and hospital and makes Rajini a pauper. He suggests Rajini to take begging as profession and offers him Re.1. Rajini spins this coin and says he will use the coin to regain his position...... Intermission. The super fast second half starts with Rajini using the coin to dial Suman on an income tax raid. He uses this ploy to find out the details of Suman's tax evading assets and blackmails him till he parts with a 100 crore. He uses the same trick to get money from similar bigwigs and collects Rs.4600 Crores. Using an intelligent idea, he converts all the black money to white and starts developing Tamil Nadu. The CBI con Shreya in getting truth about Sivaji's means of amassing wealth and then arrest him. His enemies try to kill him in the jail. [Warning: Spoilers start here] While his enemies think that they have succeeded in their mission, Sivaji escapes and returns from USA as a new person (with a bald head). The new Sivaji takes revenge on Suman and later makes TN a better place to live in.

Now the answer. Yes!, This combination delivers. Though Shankar has not managed to exceed the expectations (which he has always managed to do), in this case, atleast he has met the expectations. Making a Super Star film is not easy and Shankar has done it with ease. Rajini looks "Cool" and young. He definitely looks the age of Vivek. Shankar has done everything to satisfy Rajini fans. Rajini has given his 200% for this film and his efforts reflect in every frame. Shreya is homely in normal sequences and sexy in songs. Vivek's comedy is average and evokes laughter in few scenes. KV Anand is brilliant (especially in picturizing the song sequences). Credit goes to the art director too. The biggest let down is the stunts. The action sequences are pathetic and lack originality. First half occasionally drags but is well compensated by the fast second half. The last 30 minutes, with the arrival of Sivaji in Bald head, the film moves at jet pace. The audiences throughly enjoy the mannerisms of Rajini in his bald appearance.

Have I missed out something? yeah! The trademark shankar songs! Here it is

1. Ballelaka - Opening song with nayanthara. Picturized similar to "Thevuda Thevuda" but in a much more splendid manner. Least impressive amongst the 5 songs.
2. Vaaji Vaaji - Out of the world setting! You would not have seen such a splendid piece of art work before. A huge 3 storeyed atrium set with swimming pool and lot of colours. The song stands out.
3. Style - Rajini with fair complexion and different wigs. A treat to his fans. Prabhudeva's choreography is good too.
4. Sahana - You will wonder, where Shankar gets such ideas from. The Glass houses and pyramid...they are still in my eyes (and beautiful Shreya too)
5. Bonus Songs – Rajini appears as Sivaji, MGR and Kamal. He dances for some of their old songs and this is a highlight of the film. This bit leads to the last song.
6. Athiradee – An action song which is a mixture of fight & duet. Involves lot of graphics and fast pace gets audience on their feet

The film is a commercial masala, prepared for Rajini fans. There are several logical misses. A few cuts in the first half would have made the film enjoyable to the others too. What the heck. We pay to enjoy and that’s what we get. Watch this movie for Rajini & Shankar. You may not get to see a bigger tamil film for a long time.

He is definitely the BOSS

- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S


Sunday, February 26, 2006


Rating: 4.0/5
Cast: Jeeva & Sandhya
Music: Vijay Antony
Direction: Sasi
Remark: Refreshing Punch

The director said in an interview, "Dishyum is not a war of hands but it a war of hearts. Rightly Said!. A simple love story told refreshingly with sensitivity stands out from the regular themes doing the rounds. It is sure to catch the young minds.

Big time film producer Oscar Films Ravichandran, of Anniyan fame has produced the movie. Director Sasi who is famous for his subtle love themes like Sollamaley and Roja Kootam, has again rendered a commendable performance. Actor Jeeva who shed his choclate-boy image and became an experimenting actor with Ram, continues his good work. Kaadhal fame Sandhya as the heroine, is maturing into a good actress.

The simple and uncomplicated story telling ability of the Director stands out. It revolves around a film stuntman, Jeeva as 'Risk' Baskar, who falls in love with Sandhya, who is an art & sculpture student. But the heroine treats him as a good friend. Realising that both their lives are too different to be united, Jeeva tries to get himself married to some other girl. Sandhya stops this saying that, later in life, if she also develops love towards him then they can think about marriage. Jeeva being a stuntman says, "If I can take risks in work, why can't I take a risk in love". The interactions continue and Sandhya almost falls in love with him and wants to marry him, when her father, a fire fighter - portrayed with ease by Nasser, dies in a major fire fighting exercise. Her mother, the small screen fame, Malavika, does not want her daughter to risk her future by marrying a man, whose profession involves lot of risks. Jeeva too feels the same way and parts her. Sandhya is about to be married to another man. How their inner chemistry for each other succeeds in the end forms the final stages of the narration.

Jeeva looks tailor made for the role, essaying the innocent, straight talking, fearless and pure-hearted, stuntman with aplomb. Sandhya, as a liberal, friendly and practical art student, is apt and lively. She reminds the viewer of the senior pro in the industry, Jyothika. Malayalam actor Pakru, as the hero's dwarf friend Amitabh, has helped to enliven the drama to a great extent. Apart from sending ripples across the audience, he also succeeds in touching their hearts with an emotional aspect to his habit of asking for loans. Music is by Vijay Anthony. The temple festival dance number will make the youth tap their feet. The background score supports the narration well. You will leave the theatre humming 'Nenjakootil' or 'Poo Meethu'. Cinematographer Sentonio Dersio has also done a good job. The second half slackens a little and the climax scene could have been handled better. The climax fails to hook on the attention of the audience and bind them emotionally. All in all it is an absorbing story telling with minimum fuss for the youth.

Director Sasi has given only 3 movies in the last 7 years! He should direct more films.

- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S

Idhaya Thirudan

Rating: 2.0/5
Cast: 'Jeyam' Ravi & Kaamna
Music: Bharadhwaj
Direction: Charan
Remark: Does not steal our hearts

The combination: Director Saran (who has given hits like Amarkalam, Gemini and Vasool Raja MBBS),Big time producer Kavithalaya Movies (K Balachander's production house), Young romance-action hero Jeyam Ravi, Glamour girl Kamna, Music Director Bharadwaj and Crazy Mohan for dialogues.The outcome: A Disaster.

The story revolves around the mischievous, flirting, stubborn and rebellious Kamna Jethmalini, the grand daughter of the reputed lawyer and former Union Minister, Ram Jethmalani. Her mother is the strict and dominant, Home Secretary, played with dignity by comeback artiste, Vani Vishwanath. To fool her, Kamna sends a disturbing email under an imaginary name, T. Mahesh. But there is a real man under the name, the hero Jeyam Ravi. Ravi is picked up by the Assistant Commissioner, Prakash Raj on the charges of sending the email. Again Ravi is held, when Kamna is kidnapped by the wanted killer, Nasser. These coincidences make Ravi fall in love with Kamna and he deeply believes that she is destined for him.Kamna feels that Ravi is the same dominating person like her own mother and despises him. While Ravi is confident till the end that he can easily win her over, Kamna is equally stubborn in rejecting him. In trying to avoid him, she feigns love towards, police officer, Prakash Raj. Prakash Raj takes Ravi's advice and help in trying to woo Kamna. Ravi plays a mental waiting game, all the while knowing that Kamna will come out with her love at some point. Marriage is arranged between Prakash Raj and Kamna and how Kamna finally reveals her love forms the end to the movie.

The director knows he has no strong story and has entrusted the entire move on Kamna's naval...err...shoulders. Every scene of Kamna with her chiseled face and nose sends heat waves. Belly is not meant for spinning a top and making omelet alone, but they have shown her belly as large as making a special dosa. Kamna’s mother might as well be the owner of a chewing gum factory rather than the Interior Secretary. The number of chewing gums Kamna eats in every scene would have helped to paste posters of this film. Kamna has all the makings to be successful in the Tamil film world. She not only catches the eye for her revealing costumes, but also for her natural poise and for her good portrayal of a rebellious, carefree and naughty character.

Saran seems to have forgotten to do his homework properly. The flow is missing in the plot. It looks like a hurriedly pieced together bunch of both niceties and some follies. The narration has the wanted killer Nasser and the heroine's father, who is a big shot, as the backdrop. But the build up is of no use to the story line and defuses to nothing in the end. Prakash Raj's role is that of a serious police officer, but often he is made to look like a comic character. His rugby team looks innovative, but again it is far from reality. The scene where the truth about the hero's family is revealed is an emotional one but evokes no emotions. Ravi has done much better compared to earlier disasters. Charan-Bharadwaj combination generally makes the music interesting. But in ‘Idhayathirudan,’ the music is disappointing. Even 'Goiango Goiango'(the 'Seena Thana' type of song), with Jyothirmayee is below par.
Idhaya Thirudan does not steal our hearts.
- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Rating: 3.0/5
Cast: Vijay & Trisha
Music: Vidyasagar
Direction: Ramana
Remark: Disappointment for Vijay's Fans

Everytime when Vijay starts doing well, his dad, S A Chandrashekar will ensure that the success is broken. SAC has managed to live to this reputation again. The pre-release hype was quite high. The expectations are that the Vijay-starrer, AATHI would mark a hat-trick of success for the Vijay-Trisha combination. However, the end product is disappointing, to say the least. True, all the ingredients that enrich a typical Vijay film are there: action, emotion, comedy, romance and excessive violence. But somehow, AATHI leaves one cold unlike his earlier films like THIRUPACHI and SIVAKASI. It’s a bit like swigging a coke that lacks the fizz!

But AATHI is not a disaster either! If you are a diehard Vijay fan, you may be disappointed with the lack of nativity and fizz. For the loyal followers of the young actor, the film packs a powerful punch: thrilling encounters, stunning action scenes, romantic interludes and comedy cameos. Some say, if the movie had released on the first day, the film would have set the cah boz ringing(the film lost out on 3 Crores because of a day's delay). It may have made the distributors richer by that much, however, this film is definitely a disappointment.

The point is: Andhra masala is too spicy for Tamil audience.That is the lesson handed out to Vijay.

Aathi(Vijay) has a mission to accomplish. So, much against his parents (Manivannan and Seeta), Aathi, a resident of New Delhi comes to Chennai, where he joins a college. Trisha, a student in the same college, is a bird of the same feather. She is also out to avenge the killers of her parents. Her uncle (Nasser) fully supports her plan. Understandably, the duo, thrown together by circumstances, attract each other. The friendship matures into love soon. The movie goes on to depict how the twosome go about accomplishing their joint mission. The villain is a character called RDX (brilliantly done by Malayalam actor Sai Kumar).

The film definitely has a good story, backed with sentiments, action and comedy in a right mix. A major drawback of AATHI is the excess of violence that kills the film. The film literally drips with blood and gore, what with two-dozen killings! Only the manner of killing is different. Some are hacked to death while others are shot. Added to the violence factor is the lack of Vijay type peppy songs (kuthu songs) and half baked presentation. Though the film has goos melodies, that is not what his fans look for. The film was shot in 40 days and graphics look very mataeurish.

The director Ramanna may have a valid excuse to justify the overdose of violence. After all, it is the remake of violence-filled Telugu film ‘Athanokkade’ featuring Kalyan Ram. AATHI also suffers from a painfully slow pace. It could have been much better if it had been edited well. The silver lining is the screen presence of Vijay, who excels in action scenes brilliantly choreographed by Peter Haynes. Trisha gives Vijay good company. And their famed chemistry once again comes alive on the silver screen.

On the whole, the film disappoints.

- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Rating: 2.5/5
Cast: Ajith & Laila
Music: Vidyasagar
Direction: P Vasu
Remark: Parama-Waste

One hit movie for Rajinikanth and the world has started singing praises of P Vasu. Little does he realize that this hit is a tribute the charisma of Super Star (whose BABA failure triggered fans to ensure that this was his biggest hit). Vasu even refused to give credit to Fazil for his malayalam classic, MANICHITRATHAZHU (which was released as CHANDRAMUKHI with few changes). Now, P Vasu is back as a hit director and this time he is going to give a boost to the otherwise declining Ajith's market. The last 5 movies of Ajith have run for 100 days. Well, this is a white lie…..the truth is, the last 5 movies together totals to less than 100 days in theatre. He was deemed to return majestically into the top hero spot,with this movie,somehow was not at all upto the mark. He looked famished and still sported the 'ajakku' style speech. Director Vasu's photocopy of hindi film KARTOOS is a disappointment.

The story in short. Ajith is a criminal sentenced to death. Bomb blast in Coimbatore. Policeman Prakashraj makes use of Ajith to find the terrorists and kill them. Prakashraj plans to kill Ajith after his mission. Meanwhile Ajith falls in love with Laila. Does Ajith succeed? Yes, he does. Does Prakashraj kill Ajith? Are you stupid…how can that happen?

Ajith has lost some 15kgs. He looks like a patient. He sucked in almost all the scenes he featured,mainly the ones where he interacted with the Gulete guy(villain Saamiyaar).He shared zero chemistry with the heroine and it seemed there was so apparent reason for them to get into romance/wedlock. I really wanted to know if it was the return of 'thalai' or 'thalai-ezhuthu'? Laila still tries to sport that cute smile of hers and hope to get a chance in the next movie,just based on her smile.Absolutely no effort in terms of acting or defining a role that gets etched on to the viewer's minds.Also, why is she being made to act as a dumb,stupid lass in every other movie?

Prakashraj,the stereotyped character. The film could have been named parama-PrakashRaj,as he was the one who occupied more than half the movie. Tamil films new age trend : Every movie needs to have a 'Matrix-like' body-bending act and a highly nonsensical graphic based fight defying all laws of physics.This movie adhered to this newage stupid genre too. Vivek's comedy,for some reason didn't seem to be that good.The spontaneity and funny factor was all missing and it was well evident that he was trying too hard to come up with the limited pun and fun his dialogues carried. Music by Vidyasagar is a disappointment too.

Are we Vijay Fans? Yes, we are. Is this review biased? No, it is not. Is there nothing good about this film? Yes…there is one nice thing (No…no...not the popcorn in canteen)….it is Ajith. Ajith has given his blood and soul to make a comeback. He definitely has swetted out. His hardwork is seen in many frames. He will definitely comeback….but….that will not happen with this film. Paramasivan - Parama waste.

- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S


Rating: 2.5/5
Cast: Silambarasan, & Jyothika
Music: Srikanth Deva
Direction: K S Ravikumar
Remark: Poor remake of Ghilli

What starts off as an interesting story fails to retain the tempo and drags like a goods train towards end. Director K.S. Ravikumar has brought Silambarasan and Jyothika together (after Manmadhan) in Saravana, a remake of Telugu film Bhadra (Incidentally, Bhadra was again a re-hash of the Telugu Okkadu which was also remade as Ghilli in Tamil). Wonder why an experienced director like Ravi has not taken the pains to alter the screenplay and make the film a little different.

The story is about a college student Saravana (Silambarasan) who sees a girl (Jyothika) on a video recording, falls in love with her, and finds her to be his friend's sister. When they get to meet, he predictably tries hard to impress her, faces many difficulties, hurdles and setbacks. Strangely, he does not tell her about his love and devotion, so she does not know that he is carrying a torch for her. Jyothika's family members are involved in feuds and faction wars with other goons and dons. Saravana joins them and fights with them against the common enemy, thus earning their respect and gratitude. Her elder brother is played by Prakash Raj, who played the same role in the Telugu version also. He observes and approves of her match with Saravana, and when is dying (getting killed in a gang-war), he asks Saravana to marry her. However, Saravana gets engaged to another girl, further complicating the plot. He even plans to send Jyothika abroad again to save her from the enemy dons (similar to Ghilli). However, in the last scenes, he finally succeeds in getting hitched to his ladylove Jyothika after much action, romance, thrills, and spills with comic relief.

Director Ravikumar has said that remaking a good hit has advantages but hunfortunately he has not capitalized on this advantage. Music by Srikanth Deva is very ordinary. Comedy by Vivek is OK in some places but is a pain in the rest. Silambarasan is happy with this light, frothy, comedy-type role, with plenty of fights, like a masala film after serious roles in Manmadhan and Totti Jaya. Jyothika is very confident of another good show as in Manmadhan. Saravana, like Gilli has continuous excitement, thrills, action like a roller-coaster ride with the hero and heroine, like a train running downhill without brakes. If only, a little care was taken the movie could have repeated the same success. Alas, that may not happen now

- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thavamai Thavamirunthu

Rating: 5/5
Cast: Rajkiran, Cheran & Padmapriya
Music: Sabesh - Murali
Direction: Cheran
Remark: A Poetry in Tamil Cinema

Thavamai Thavamirundhu(TT) presents a bracingly honest yet poetic portrait of a man. Without any doubt, I would rate this amongst the all time great movies of tamil. It is a model film whose body work glistens in the sunshine. It's a classic, and truly one of a kind. Writer-Director-Actor Cheran proves yet again his ability to encapsulate the universal emotions within a small tale about a father and his two sons.

The story of TT is about a father whose life revolves around his two sons. Though uneducated, his only ambition in life is to educate his sons and see them lead a comfortable life. Muthiah (Raj Kiran) owns a printing press in a remote village near Madurai. He does all things possible to educate his sons Ramanathan (Senthil) and Ramalingam Cheran). Muthia's wife Sarada (Saranya) advices him whenever he gets worried about his sons' future. Ramanathan is bit playful, but manages to pass poly technique and lands up a secured job with the help of Muthiah. On the other, Ramalingam becomes an engineer.

Matters get complicated after Ramanathan marries Latha (Meena) who is unable to gel with the family. Meanwhile, Ramalingam falls in love with his colleague Vasanthi (Padmapriya) and circumstances forces him to elope with her to Chennai. From here the story takes a turn with lots of twists and wades through sometime familiar and at times unfamiliar waters. The remaining road trip is about how the aged parents try to come to terms with their lonely existence, and how Ramalingam realizes his mistakes and reunites with the family. The end, though similar to Mystic River, is an apt ending for this poetry.

Cheran's major achievement is his ability to make the viewers feel they are on this journey and come to care for Muthia's cherished dreams. Raj Kiran, Saranya, Meena (wife of Ramanathan) and Senthil perform with skill and realism. Raj Kiran definitely deserves many awards. Besides them, Padmapriya is cute and essays emotions with ease. Illavarasu through in a throw ways role makes an impression.

The creative background score by Sabesh Murali is endearing. B.Lenin's editing is back after a long gap, and does show his consummate editing skills. M.S. Prabhu the cameraman captures the majesty of locales, giving the environment space to breathe and captivate. Anil Penrickar's make-up for Raj Kiran and Saranya is first class. As an actor Cheran gives a refine performance, which was lacking in his previous two films-"Solla Marandha Kadhai" and "Autograph".On the flip side, the film at 3 hours 20 minutes demands patients from the views and needs some redressing in the second half.

Thavamai Thavamirundhu is a must watch for the sentimental exploration and is charmingly appropriate for the family and the season.

- Gokul Santhanam & Prem Anand S