‘Kollywood’ Posts


Disclaimer: What follows is a stream of consciousness type writing that hasn’t been edited at all. There are extreme indulgences about Mani’s past movies and some personal observations but if you want to know what a die-hard Mani fan felt about OKKanmani you should probably read it. Each of the paragraph is a standalone card so feel to start anywhere or leave anywhere.

— Mani Ratnam just killed my enthusiasm. I thought I lost the love story gene. While watching a random film, recently, I thought of writing an outright love story(read as பிழிய பிழிய) with romance and separation just to bring myself to it. Not that all I have written so far, either full stories or drafts or just bits of ideas have been made into full-fledged films or even seen the light of the day. But I really wanted to write one to see how I was able to bring out the drama from romance. With O Kadhal Kanmani, I feel even that faint idea to write a love story is now gone. How can it be better than this. Truly.

— There are Vikraman movies which sports a montage song and makes a bathroom singer into a super star singer where people just rush into a hall to listen and the ticket counter guy is shown placing ‘houseful’ placard across his counter for over 20 times back to back. And then there are movies like OK Kanmani which slowly and craftily captures the mundane of daily life to show the growing romance. The growing romance is so rich documented that the camera just hangs around like another viewer in weird angles and moves/shakes naturally. Refer the discussion between Adi and Thara after AR Ameen peacefully sings Maula Wa Salim, the camera almost peeks between the pillar and Adi’s head to see Thara’s face. The same seductive onlooker camera also enters into the white blanket alongwith Adi and Thara to hear these two millennials after a steamy romance session. This is Mani’s master stroke more than it is PC Sreeram’s. It’s the vision of the director to take the audience up, close and personal into Adi and Thara’s carefree life.

— The movie has a bit of micro-adventures. And they make it very interesting and sometimes comical. Like the moment when Thara jumps put of window as Adi’s brother arrives at his doorsteps and the comical stress surrounding the situation. There are even more micro-adventures like this one – Thara is on phone with her mom arguing and enquiring about the ‘special love’ shown to Adi during her absence. While she is such argumentative mood and walking with Adi, the bus arrives and they have to run to catch it. So as an audience you are now subjected to two sets of issues, will they catch the bus and what will the mom reply from the other-end of the phone call. And there are more moments like this, sort of frame-within-a-frame. So even though the film doesn’t sport a very dramatic third act, these adventures keep it going.

— Mani has fully engulfed Kurosawa. One cannot remove Kurosawa from his consciousness any more. He chooses to add energy to the movie as the cast keeps walking or taking a bus or getting rained on or something that keeps moving on-screen. From using weather to cooking sounds to camera pans, Mani uses everything possible to tell the story evocatively.

— After the movie, I went back to refer Wikipedia for a definition of Live-in relationship aka Cohabitation. I was terribly confused about what is so live-in relationship in OKK story. What Mani chooses to show is just the tip of the iceberg. This time-boxed love was already the Sid and Trisha short story in Aayitha Ezhuthu and even Nagarjuna/Girija of Idhayathai Thirudathey. Not a single issue of live-in relationship was brought out, not even adjusting with a single bathroom to use. All we know is that the couples indulge in a pass time as Thara confirms at the gynecologist office. Nithya Menon just nails the expressions during this scene that will be enough to prove her acting chops.

— Nithya Menon, what a find. A certain awesome reviewer highlighted in a certain high-profile movie review that he watches a certain awesome director’s movie as he is one of the best in portraying women. I was thinking how would that make a case for watching crappy movies of that c.a.director. Today, I would like to politely say, buzz off, to both of them. Thara is simply the best protagonist role a girl can ask for. It’s not the S.A. Chandrasekaran’s activist type roles but a role that has a purpose, style, sentiments and forms the core part of the OKK story. So again, buzz off sirs.

— Rahman. I was definitely critical of Rahman not supporting Mani’s Kadal. When I get to see the maestro play in Redmond during June, I will throw an extra clap for that brilliant electronica fusion he did in scene when Adi passes flying kisses to Thara just as a carnatic number finishes in the background. Rahman’s BGM is a breath of fresh air in the film. Both Rahman and PC Sreeram’s pallets have been rich and vibrant for OK Kanmani. They both have gone beyond in their respective areas to bring the story alive with colors and sounds. Such exquisite feast.

— Mani Ratnam is ageing very well. He has Bhavamulona(twice in the film) and Endharo Mahanubhavulu in the background. And Bhavamulona is used as a motif for Thara in troubled times. Mani’s taste for good carnatic music mixed with contemporary sounds is a sweet surprise. Not that I don’t know Mani’s love for carnatic music which has been there for a while but here is an indulgence. Go!

— Here is how a director goes for using just the right amount of ‘graphics'(lol) for a movie. And not talk about it in media.

— Live sound, really. Fantastically done. Great job, Anand.

— Yes the movie reminds me of various other movies of Mani. In fact I can tell you most shots remind of some other Mani’s movie. I can even see shots of Thalapathi and Anjali. It is still a very gripping engaging movie. As you invest the first half of the movie in Thara and Adhi, you are bound to be heartbroken in the second half and that did not just happen by happen. The master’s every shot was meant to get you to that state. Sheer Glee!

— The bright red wall paper in Adi and Thara’s grand apartment was so lovely and yet didn’t look like a set piece. Sharmishta Roy’s art direction was tasty and very urban.

— Scott Fitzgerald in his less popular, This Side of Paradise quoted- “They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered”. Not only it happens to Adi and Thara but also to us.

— Mani rides on Kamalhassan’s hardwork. Pottu Vaitha Kadhal Thittam song is popularly known for its fantastic rock-like composition in a happy-go-lucky movie. And by taking the lyrics, Mani sets the tone for OK Kanmani. Smart move.

— Theera Ulaa was the best surprise of the soundtrack. The song grew so much and is almost at the top of the album for me at this point. Part carnatic and part electronic, it’s probably the best representative of the spirit of the album. Great job Vairamuthu just for this song. Lovely lovey tamil verses.

— Finally, like James Joyce and Stanley Kubrick, Mani chooses to stay silent, exile and cunning. For a fan like me, I see it in every single movie. His movies speak louder than his words. This time the world agrees with me.

Enthiran Kamal
[ Image: Vikatan]

Shankar talks about the Enthiran that could have been and shares a sneak peak here in Vikatan.

January 20th, 2012

Delusions Galore!

mayakkam enna dhanush selvaraghavan

Mayakkam enna was a wasted effort, devoid of substance and class. It didn’t engage me as a viewer, didn’t bother to develop its rather cardboard characters and never stopped to pretend that it was a raw but class movie. All this I never wanted to say about a Selvaraghavan film but I do now. Given that I’m a huge fan of Selva’s films, I wanted to enjoy Mayakkam Enna and was already sold on the film although with just normal expectations.

The whole dating, fraaandship piece was artificial and the friends didn’t seem to belong together at all. Without dwelling scene-by-scene on why I was irritated, I guess the story wasn’t rich, its characters very superfluous without much of character, the very pretentious music that tends to cover up the nagging screenplay and of course some really bad acting. The so called ‘genius’ angst was badly expressed and its lead character gets a handful of accents that it confuses the heck out of a viewer.

The plot shifts rather swiftly from what it was trying to detail to a completely different dimension. Although it’s not uncommon for a selva film, this jump cut was crazy. How much ever one wanted to submit to the director’s thinking, he doesn’t support the shift with good reasons. If the ‘irumbu manushi’ issue was the point of the premise then the first half was totally wasted and if it was the ‘genius’ angst of the antagonist that formed the crux of the premise then the whole movie never wrapped around it clearly.

Simply put, its a movie to avoid even if you are Selvarghavan fan. I wish this is the last time I get to write such a review for a Selvaraghavan film.

Related Posts: Nasty Dynasty, Why I like/dislike Selvaraghavan?

November 24th, 2011

Why we like kolaveri?

I wanted to write a post summarizing the events that unfolded over the weekend when kolaveri went viral. Medianama did that quite well, for the most part. However three things that needs to be called out –

One, the making video itself was a make believe. The shots of Dhanush singing were just looking like lip sync and hence. Even though the song needs very little vocal effort, the recording must have happened before the video and these shots were made either during improvisation or just shot for this ‘making of’ video. This could very well be my speculation but I do think the level of professional work that has gone into this making video and the description below the video that says, ‘chinna surprise’ doesn’t gel very well. Its a very successful attempt at making a video viral. Well done!

Two, Now that everyone has reacted to this song, which is good in a way, very soon the overkill is going to make many of us frown. From blogposts to tweets, the hate will become wide spread. It would be in the best interest of the album that they release the soundtrack asap.

Three – Premji is going to use this in the next venkat prabhu film. Enna bet?

P.S: If you are wondering about the song that’s being talked about here, you must be time-travelling. Here.

February 20th, 2011

RIP Malaysia Vasudevan

One of my all time faves, thanks to MV for a remarkable rendering.

April 10th, 2010

Myshkin's Yudham Sei

myshkin cheran yudham sei

I like some parts of Cheran’s work but I never thought I would look forward to a film in which he stars. If not for Myshkin, this still photograph from Yudham Sei wouldn’t have landed here. Its only films like these that I look forward these days and not the Yendhiran types. Maybe I’ve grown old but hype works only in your twenties.

I hope Myshkin’s previous unreleased film, Nandalala hits the screen very soon. If not, the producers should release it direct-to-DVD.

Myshkin is by far my biggest hope of tamil cinema followed by or preceded by, in some cases, Selvaraghavan. Oh yeah, there is Mani Ratnam, as always.

February 1st, 2010

500 days of Hosanna

Fanboy version of Rahman’s Hosanna mixed with the dance sequence from the bubbly 500 days of Summer.

January 30th, 2010

Nasty Dynasty

aayirathil orvan selvaraghavan

First, a pedestal for Selvaraghavan’s Aayirathil Oruvan just like the one put up here for Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Fantasy genre is a very special one. Just like Harry Potter lineup, if you don’t get into the movie, your brain starts questioning how Harry Potter didn’t hit on the brick wall when trying to walk through a pillar in the train station. Not all of us are hardwired for such instant leap of faith. Cutting down such crap with which reviews usually begin and starts to bore us with such psychological theories that the reviewer referred to before writing the review, Aayirathil Oruvan is a kickass film that should be enjoyed in a full screen without uttering a single word to the next seater. All you might know, he might have already taken the leap of faith and immersed in the movie and you are just thinking, how the hell can lightning strike on karthi while being blessed.

In any case, AO has stupendous writing, great pace, wonderful camera, immaculate art and costumes and ofcourse an apt finish to the neat start. The movie hasnt been pulled off just by the different landscape or thoughtful subtexts in screenplay but by the actors who have made us believe that the movie could be a true story.

And yes, the critics say that it has tinges of Gladiator and every other historical fantasy they have seen so far. Sure. For that matter, King Kong had big influences from Titanic and Jurassic Park. It was still considered as a herculean effort. And Selvaraghavan needs to be lauded for pulling it off with limited resources.

Above all that the movie kept me glued to the screen throughout the length of the movie. It was paisa vasool and I felt I should have paid a few more bucks for entertaining me thoroughly. Not a single movie after Virumandi had me tied up so badly. If you are crazy enough, you would love Aayirathil Oruvan. I pity the ones who hated it. You just missed an interesting piece of Tamil Cinema for who knows how long you would have to wait for another movie as gripping as this. SORRY!

Post from July 28th, 2007

I admit, I’ve been excessively obsessed with this song. Partly because I think Selvaraghavan made a crappy video of a cool song. The camera and Ravi Krishna eyes are fixated on Sonia’s bosom and I think thats a cheap thing to do, given the realistic lyrics and a great rhythm.

I propose someone to re-shoot it and make a pretty good video. Maybe with available resources, I would even re-shoot it myself at Seattle and edit it using Final Cut . Imagine this, as the electric guitar plays, a tall desi guy with a hooded black t-shirt, the mountain ranges on the backdrop, walks on a bridge while its raining. Cut it to a mall, a desi girl with her American teenage friends, walking past this chap with a wink in her eye, eating baskin robbins. Cut back, to the raining bridge. Cut again to wide angle shot, the guy walking on the alki beach with a backdrop of seattle downtown. I’m sure it will do justice to Yuvan’s cool beat. Some day…

I’m still obsessed with this idea of re-shooting the song. Currently looking for camera(!), help with shooting/editing, a desi guy, 2 non-indian females and a sunny seattle day. Coming this summer…

May 17th, 2009


Kanthasamy may be good but the trailer sucks ! And the audio release function that was live broadcasted on Sun TV was a mass jalra event just like any other kollywood function. Wonder why Rahman was even sitting there the whole time.

I suspect the whole effort just because of the way Dhanu promotes his movies and then turns back on his heroes if the movie sucks in box-office. Susi and Vikram are betting big time on this movie but I have my own doubt. The premise of the movie that talks about a super-hero is all fine but I’m not sure how it would be executed on-screen. Let’s wait for the movie but meanwhile, I’m going to quit watching every single kollywood event like this.