Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Monday, July 04, 2011

Ponniyin Selvan

Just completed reading my first Tamil novel "Ponniyin Selvan". It was a good read with good characterizations but without any significant central theme or noteworthy philosophy. At the end of the 3 month duration of reading the 2000+ page novel, I am definitely not disappointed. I am getting a sense of contentment which I normally feel after watching a good masala Tamil movie: sans logic at many and important places.

Overall, it was a good beginning to my Tamil fiction reading; would have cherished the novel had I read it 10 years back.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Goa & Tamilpadam

I saw two of the lighter-vein Tamil movies released in the last fortnight: Goa and Tamilpadam. The former was a typical Venkat Prabhu movie with a clear intent of not having a single 'serious' scene; more than a movie, as the director himself portrays towards the end, it was like a holiday and for the audience it was a holiday very well spent. On the other hand, Tamilpadam had been floating around with a lot more hype thanks to the media houses backing the Production house. There were scenes which do capture one's attention at first sight but there was not much content to sustain that attention. There are some funky scenes in the movie but it seems to be stretched too far to fit the number of reels requirement of a typical Indian movie. I must admit I felt a bit sleepy during the second half and I had the feeling I am stuck in a Mumbai local passing Malad station when I need to get down at Churchgate. In spite of the novelty factor and a meaningful song in the movie, Tamilpadam is of the boring movies I have seen in the recent past.

Goa - please go and watch. Tamil padam - stay away.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Avatar - Short Review

I went to see Avatar - the 3D version - yesterday in PVR-Phoenix, but when I came out I had a feeling I am leaving the planet Pandora. The visual effects are so out-of-the-world (literally!), you would not think, even once, that it is fiction. The picturization is such that if at all man finds life in another planet, a common man would think of this movie's portrayal as to how the new planet would actually be. Some of the scenes in the movie are dream-like: something which is very hard to conjure even in the longest siesta on a Saturday afternoon. Quoting from elsewhere: when the Oscar nominations for the year are announced, this movie would feature in all possible technical categories and most likely win all of those. I strongly recommend all to watch this in 3D and enjoy the ultimate movie experience. Having said that, the story is not something out of the ordinary - it is a simple hero-saves-people storyline. Go for this movie and let James Cameron take you for a trip around Pandora.

Is this the greatest movie in the recent past? I would say 'The Dark Knight' is easily the best in the recent past, if not the greatest of all time. Nonetheless, I would watch Avatar at least twice again.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Naan Kadavul - Music Review

On hearing the songs of Naan Kadavul for the first time, I sensed the underlying theme in the songs is one of either theism or empathy with the blind and the weak. Let me go one by one:

Om Siva Om Om Siva Om Ruthira
Vijay Prakash

The tone of the song is as given in the title is one of Rudram. This tone is initially set by the blowing of conches and the sounds of Udukkai at the start, which is then brought down by the Om Chants in praise of the Rudra Shiva; the vocal then continues the praise of the Lord. A noticeable fact about the song is that it is entirely composed in Sanskrit (need to confirm this, but lyrics is nowhere in Tamil). When I was thinking the song will keep on increasing its tempo, it slows down to include another 30-40 seconds of slokas. In spite or may be because of this break in the tempo, the song, post the slokas, builds up the tempo quickly in tune with the tone of the song. When the first utterance of 'Aham Brahmaasmi' occurs, the tempo reaches its crescendo and it does make one remember the gems of Thiruvaasagam. I adore this song for the number of Omkaras and the Rudram in it .

Kannil Paarvai pona piragum
Shreya Goshal

After the ferocity in tone of the earlier song, this one is exactly opposite. With a mood of pathos, a nice melodious tune, yearning voice of Shreya Goshal and the simple, powerful lyrics will make one empathize with the plight of blind orphans. The melody in the song is not allowed to flow owing to the strong thumping background beats which probably are conveying the pathos tone of the song. There is one small note in the song which I guess is a direct copy-paste from one of Thiruvaasagam's songs. At some points in the song, I thought Shreya's voice was too high pitched and the words at those moments were not legible as they were in the other segments - which get exposed more so because Ilayaraja sings the same song in his own voice later in the album.

Maatha Un Kovilil Mani Deebam

Probably the shortest song I have heard - this one runs only for 42 seconds. With hardly a couple of lines of lyrics, the song I must say is really well sung with the tone being slightly more upbeat compared to the earlier song. This song reminds me of the 'good' (good as in good, with absolutely no pun) songs sung in the electric trains of Chennai by blind people, this I say with utmost respect to every one involved in the song and to the blind singers. I say so mainly because of the clarity with which every word of the song is uttered by the playback singer.

Amma Un Pillai Naan
Sadhana Sargam

The tone of the song is one of reverence and self-pity backed up by excellent lyrics. Though the content of the song is such, the tune is more merrier than the earlier songs and hence the mood is light while the lyrics are not so. I wonder what the reason of this mismatch of mood and words could be. The main spoilsport of the song, though, is the playback singer. Sadhana's high pitched voice towards the end of one stanza is appreciable, but the pitch does not come down for the start of the next stanza and the lyrics are not legible in multiple places.

Oru Kaatril Alaiyum Siragu

No one can bring life to a song with his/her voice like the maestro. This one is with the same tune of the earlier song "Kannil Paarvai pona piragum", with 90% similar lyrics but this one is much better than the earlier one; every single word of the lyrics is legible unlike the one sung by Shreya Goshal. I somehow get to feel this one is kind of a eulogy to the character singing the earlier song.

Pitchaipaathiram Yenthi Vanthaen
Madhu Balakrishna

This is a purely devotional song praising the almighty and praying for complete surrender. The lyrics of this song are simple and conveying the meaning exquisitely. I must admit I mistook the singer, Madhu Balakrishna, to be someone who is related to the great Balamuralikrishna. It is not the sweetest voice around, but definitely reminds me of another great KJ Yesudoss. To me, this song is the best of the lot.

As a regular listener of Ilayaraja's Thiruvaasagam, I could not resist comparing the present one with His magnum opus and I was able to observe some common notes between the two. This could have been so just because of the similarity in the tone of the songs. Overall, I would say the music album of Naan Kadavul is definitely a must-have, must-listen one. I think the songs with female singers could have been better sung. Ilayaraja, I guess, is still unable to find a replacement for S Janaki. The album has only increased my expectations for the movie, Naan Kadavul.

Snippets of Naan Kadavul lyrics I liked:

Vidhiyenum yezhuthellaam vizhi neeril azhiyumo?

Pengalai silaiyile thozhuginra ulagame, yaen sol?

Kanaavil kooda inbam, kaanaathathu enna jenmam..

Oliyai pole oru thunai, vanthu sendra thunbam yaarkkum undo?

Engengum inbam irunthum, un pangu ponathengey?

Porulukku alainthidum porulattra vaazhkaiyum thurathudhey

Pitchaipaathiram Yenthi Vanthaen
Pindam enum elumbodu sathai narambuthiramum adangiya udambenum
Pitchaipaathiram Yenthi Vanthaen

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ghajini - A Review

Here's a review on Ghajini, please proceed, none of the plot will be revealed, whatsoever.

With Aamir Khan in the lead and the celebrated eight packs and the build-up promos with Khan v/s Khan duels, this Ghajini had accrued considerable amount of hype. The hype reaching its peak with the producer of the Tamil version suing the producer of the Hindi version for copyright violation. Unlike many other movies with such inflated hype, I must admit this movie fails to disappoint.

The present Ghajini till its intermission has replicated the Tamil version in its truest form and sense; in whatever little places the movie has differed from its original it has been for the better. Most of the memorable scenes from the original are retained, thankfully, without an iota of attempt to modify. Full marks to the makers for that. This episode of the movie till the intermission is easily the liveliest stretch. I had opined in my earlier review that I would not write negative comments about Asin; but this time around I am unable to find a single flaw in her performance. I liked her and her role in this movie so much it can be an antidote for her role in Dasavatharam. My non-tamil friends with whom I watched this movie gave some comments on Asin of which I am repeating two. One, after her introductory song, "She is a chick looking girl"; Two, after her first scene with Aamir Khan, "She is expressive, the chick can act". All through, if there was one clap-winner in the movie, it was Asin. Deservedly so.

Everyone, including the director A R Murugadoss, said the climax of the Tamil Ghajini actually a no-climax and one which spoiled the entire movie. This time around the second half and the climax of the movie has been changed drastically to eliminate the feeling of bungling which happened earlier. I must say the director has succeeded in making the audience not feeling let down after an impressive first half. Most movies would have ended after the 'climax fight'; here the movie carries on to show further things which to me was the icing on the cake and to my friends it appeared like a drag. How much of these praises should go to Aamir Khan and how much to A R Murugadoss are left for arguments.

There is no Ghajini without Aamir Khan. Aamir would have been on screen for at least 95% of the movie and he has carried it so well that only superstars can do. Macho body, impressive acting, charming face, style - a treat to watch. If Tamil cinema has Kamal Hasan, Hindi has Aamir Khan. He has put in efforts and the results are there on the screen. It surely is one of his very different and noteworthy performances, but I still prefer Aamir Khan in a Lagaan or a Dil Chahta Hai over Ghajini. But one thing, just like Kamal Hasan, I can see Aamir Khan ageing - a non-missable fact from the close-up shots of the stylish CEO Sanjay Singhania.

With so much positives over the original version, I feel there is one area where the Tamil Ghajini scores over its Hindi counterpart: songs. I feel the Tamil songs (and tunes) composed by Harris Jeyaraj were much superior to the ones in the latest release. This is not to say the songs of Hindi Ghajini are bad, but they are comparatively.

Does this movie have only positives? Obviously not, there were lots of gaps in logic which only an Indian mind can digest. I am not going to spoil the fun by pointing out each of those. But errrr, some of those: an empty Mumbai-Goa second class compartment; 3 BMWs escorting the BMW in which a travels, always; a villain who kills multiple dons on surmise and who does not kill the actual threat but 'cleans up' his memories. This list is definitely indicative. Though needed for the story, the violence in the movie is on the higher side and is literally gory. I wonder why Jiah khan got the role which she played in the movie, her apathetic acting was showcased in the presence of Aamir and Asin. Reyaas Khan as Inspector was funny, a better choice could have been made there as well.

Whenever a movie is a re-make of another, comparison with the original is inevitable and this Hindi Ghajini scores over the Tamil version in most departments: Aamir better than Surya, Asin (Hindi) better than Asin (Tamil), climax (Hindi) much better than Climax (Tamil). There should not be any comparison of this movie with 'Memento' (which according to me is the best screenplay in a movie) as the story line is thoroughly different, the common thread is just the ...errr....ya..'short term memory loss'.

Overall, this is a good movie - a worthy watch in a theatre inspite of its logical gaps. Treat this as a superhero movie interspersed with cherishable episodes of romance, music and 'memories'.

Update: Article by the hero of the tamil version - Surya

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dasavatharam Review

Dasavatharam, after seeing the movie my first reaction was : "racy". The screenplay of the movie kept the audience always involved.  I see the movie in two parts: one, the 12th century portion spanning for about 15 minutes and the second - the actual movie, lasting for the remaining minutes. There was never a scene in the second part of the movie which I found was redundant. Even the two songs in this part were carefully placed and properly intertwined with the storyline.  Regarding the first part, I fail to see its link with the remaining portion of the movie. It looks as if Kamal Hassan, the story writer, wanted the audience to know that there existed violent enmity between Saivites and Vaishnavites before the arrival of the foreign rulers just as the animosity existing between religions in the modern days. The only trace of a link of the first part with the second I could find was that the idol to which Kamal Hassan was tied and thrown into the sea in the 12th century would reappear in the final scene with actually no real significance - Kamal and Asin would stand beside it and propose!

As it has been said in Sify, of the 10 roles, some of them did not have substantial part in the movie.  I may sound contradictory here, I feel the movie had no redundant scenes but the 10 roles of Kamal were not actually justified. Some of them were roles that are typically done by character artistes. But Kamal's acting, makeup, dialogue delivery in each of these roles were impeccable, especially, the dialogue delivery of Bhuvaragan in his introductory scene.

There are some of the roles which stays in my mind even after a good night's sleep: The faces of American President Bush, the ex-CIA turned terrorist, Dalit activist Bhuvaragan.

I felt the songs were a let down prior to the movie, but now I feel it is not all that bad as there are only three songs and nicely compensated by the intertwined story in almost all of them.

The climax scene with Tsunami was a visual treat.  I liked the way the screenplay linked the story to a real-life incident.  It did make the entire story appear (to an extent) like a real one, that could have really happened. I was reminded of Irving Wallace's Seventh secret.

I expected the movie to be more on the lines of Hey Ram (which to me is the best Indian film I have seen) but it turned out to be a fast action movie where the Ulaganayagan did not disappoint his fans or any movie-goer.  All in all, I was happy at the end of the movie with a feeling of well-spent 200 rupees and (more or less) my expectations satisfied.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Was surprised to read some reviews on "Arasangam" which claim the movie is much better than expected.

Of course, with Gapdan in the lead, my expectation was actually zero, err....negative. Even the reviewers might have had such low expectations.

Is it time to watch a captain's movie on the big screen?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Review of Sivaji Trailer

Considering the hype and fanfare surrounding the movie, I personally was expecting a lot more in the trailer than what is being shown now. This is probably the deadliest combination of hero-director-producer in recent times. The total expense of the movie is rumoured to be more than Rs.50 crores. A Shankar movie. An A R Rahman movie. An AVM production. A Rajni movie. Enough reasons for people to get excited about it. The trailer that was released last week was not at all in tune with what the movie should be according to popular expectations. Baba trailers were better than this. I could only hope that the movie turns out lot better than what is shown in the trailer. Lot of tamil movies have excellent trailers but disappoint in the full length version - an example that comes right to my mind is 'Tata Birla', the Goundamani-Parthiban starrer in which the sole good comedy scene was shown in the trailer and everyone expected the movie to be full of such comedy scenes, much to their own disappointment.

Whether it is a conscious decision by Shankar & Co to have a low profile trailer and then surprise with the movie or the trailer is just a predecessor to what is coming next can be answered only after June 15. Let's keep our fingers crossed and keep clicking Satyam cinemas website to catch the action as soon as it starts.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Ghajini -

Please click here for the Hindi Ghajini review

Last week, I ended a six month streak of not watching a movie in a theatre. I saw Ghajini. This 'review' (nice name, eh?) will not divulge the story. You can safely go on.

I was pretty much attracted towards the movie because of various reasons: the director Murugadoss's previous two movies, Harris Jeyaraj, Surya and of course Asin. It has become a habit in Tamil cinema, or Indian cinema, that if a movie gets a lot of hype, invariably it fails to impress. Is Ghajini an exception? Feels bad to say, but it is not.

After a relatively good screenplay (what's direction?, I dont know) in both his earlier movies, Murugadoss has bungled the last half hour - 45 minutes. Even an erstwhile assistant of Balachander, whom his sisters believe is better than Maniratnam, would have done better. The first half was far better than the second, both in terms of the fluent pace and lucid details. I heard somewhere that Murugadoss has spent more than 1 year in preparation for this movie, I pity him.

Surya, I guess, is the only hero in Tamil Film Industry who gets support from each row of the movie audience, fails big time to reveal his acting prowess. After an impeccable performance in Kaakka Kaakka, any Tom, Jerry and Selva would expect a better show from him. If I have not seen Nanda, I might have rated Surya better, but as it stands, his characterisation reminds me of Nanda. Most of the time, he reminded us about his good performance in Nanda.

Asin, aah aah, full marks. As I am a theeviravaathi of Asin, do not expect any negative comment about her. She had a completely different role from her earlier movie. She has done really well in her "role", an extreme rarity in Tamil cinema. Many other actresses would have emulated Jyothika in the "Kalpana's" role, but Asin has done well not to create that impression.

Harris Jeyaraj has impressed in two of the songs: "Oru maalai pani vizhum naram" and "Sutrum vizhi sudarey". These two songs are outstanding. This does not mean the other songs are bad. I would rate them as "Good". BTW, I dont know how to rate BGM.

The nemesis of Ghajini is Nayanthra. Nayanthra should have restricted herself to sarees and never ever dream of wearing any thing else. It was disgusting to see her on screen. Especially the scenes where she runs, you would understand why she should wear only sarees! I hope not to see any other movie in which Nayanthra runs/dances.

This Ghajini might have succeeded the first time itself, but I would say it is not a deserving victory.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Anyone watching television would come across a variety of advertisements, some bad, some boring, some irritating and some really interesting. Here I list some of the advertisements which are coming to my mind right away and which I like the most.

The numero uno is the Tata AIG Insurance ad. Though I do not know much about the insurance plan being advertised, the concept of the ad - though very much similar to the Asian paints ad of "Kalakkare chandru" fame - is the one which attracted me. I could not think of a better way to show the benefits of planning ahead.

The #2 is Hutch. Hutch has a set of advertisements. All are equally good. I like the hutch ads for the simplicity with which the message is conveyed. The boy and the dog - jokes - astrology - hats off to you Mr.Danny pope.

The #3 is Happydent white chewing gum ad. SSSmile please. Not the greatest of products to promote, this is one ad which surprised me when I saw it the first time. I knew about the USP of the gum at the time of first seeing the ad - that made me like the ad even more.

The #4 is "dishum" Tata Indica- "Must be true". This is easily the funniest ad I have seen. This ad, like a Goundamani comedy scene, always brings a smile in my face. The best of the lies the model says are, '"Boss, you are a genius" - Dishum',' "Seven humbered and two"-Dishum',' "I love you"-dishum, "I really love you"- Dishum'. The icing on the cake is the person getting a dishum when he thinks what to say next.

The #5 is Maruti 800. The sardar kid playing with a maruti 800 doll, taking it past a dog's tail, into a fish tank, on a black board, roti and finally on his father's tummy. The best part of the ad is the sequence of dialogues between the kid and the father - bus karo yaar - (shit)Champion.

Another one I like very much is the fevicol ad. Infact I remembered this on seeing the Business line article on Danny pope (hutch). This comes in the same category as Tata AIG Insurance and happydent white gum ads.