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Blog posts January 2016

Aranmanai 2 / Kalavathi - Movie Review

Verdict: “A routine revenge story; lacked in expected chills”

Following the success of “Aranmanai”, Sundar. C directed the sequel similar to its prequel with the only difference in the cast and the title. The film has Siddharth, Trisha, Hansika as the main leads and Poonam Bajwa, Soori, Kovai Sarala, Radha Ravi, Subbu Panchu, Sundar. C as the supporting cast. 

Murali (Siddharth) makes a come back to his village along with his fiancée Anitha (Trisha) to take care of his unwell father (Radha Ravi), who is hospitalized after a ghost attack. The ancestral mansion they live in is a haunting ground and the evil spirit wants everyone in the mansion dead. Soon, Murali and Anitha witness mysterious things happening around them and realize that they are in a serious trouble. At this juncture, Anitha’s brother Ravi (Sundar. C) enters the story and find who the evil spirit is and aid them in saving their lives. 

Sundar. C follows the same template of making comedy-thriller genre movies. A routine story, slapstick humor and few spooky scenes that aren’t even scary, this is what Aranmanai 2 offers. The major drawback is, all the cast and their characterisation look similar to its predecessor though there are few minor changes in their character sketches. 

The most intriguing aspect of this film is, it had three lead actresses. Trisha, the glam girl, make us go gaga over her with her perfectly toned body. She was smoking hot in this movie. While Trisha overtakes Hansika in the glamor aspect, the later overtakes Trisha in terms of acting. Hansika had given a worthwhile performance. Poonam Bajwa impresses us with her looks. 

Siddharth did not have much scope, as the women overshadowed him. Another savior to this routine story flick is Kovai Sarala, Mano Bala, and Soori. Their comical parts give relief especially in the second half of the film. Sundar. C and the other supporting cast did an average job. 

Hip Hop Tamizha’s songs are already chartbusters and were perfectly placed in the film. Though they elevated the scenes with the pulsating background score, it didn’t evoke fear in me and was too loud in certain scenes. The Amman Song in the climax deserves a mention. Hip Hop Tamizha’s music and the picturization by Senthil Kumar was top-notch.

The art department and the cinematographer deserve an appreciation for making the film look majestic with a grand set and vibrant visuals. But the outdated and tired looking VFX made the film technically poor. 

On the whole, Aranmanai 2 entertains with its comical part and the fast-paced second half. If the director would've worked more on the script without making it look more like its prequel by adding some spine chilling scenes, the movie would've been lot better.

My Rating - 2.5/5
Grade - C+ (It deserves your attention for a while!)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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Mastizaade - Movie Review

Verdict - "Worst of the worst!"

Banking on Sunny Leone's popularity is a no brainer, the controversial star has her audience and casting her in a pertinent role might bring success to a film commercially. But, will it work every time? Are people dumb enough to buy a ticket and watch anything or everything she's exhibited? 

Maybe that's where the fine people from Pritish Nandy Communications got confused and made a big mistake by producing this atrocity which will most definitely stay as one of the worst movies of 2016.

Sunny Kele (Tusshar Kapoor) and Aditya Chothia (Vir Das) are two best buddies who work for an Ad Agency and squander their free time pretending as sex addicts and circling around rehab programs looking for girls. Eventually, they come across Lily and Laila Lele (Sunny Leone) and become flabbergasted with their beauty. Guess what happens next? 

My initial hate, fury, and anger go to writer-director Milap Zaveri who somehow managed to make a pointless 110-minute film. Several scenes were filled with nothingness occupied with witless dialogue, excessive product placement, and the worst part is none of the scenes were funny or amusing. It seriously felt like a series of ludicrous skits with no link or conjunction whatsoever.

Performances from Tusshar Kapoor and Vir Das are out-and-out, not funny from the duo because of the lackluster writing. Even though they tried to bring out the best from this catastrophe, it didn't transact well on the big screen and predominantly looked substandard.

Sunny Leone acting skills get worse and worse every time she appears in a movie. She's not destined for a lead actress role in my opinion and watching her suffer on every occasion with her futile facial expressions had become a regular thing. 

Nonetheless, I totally blame the production company Pritish Nandy Communications for making this movie happen for all the wrong reasons. It's not funny to watch Tusshar and Das deliver few humorless jokes or it's not riveting to watch Sunny's unnecessary skin show which is not at all carnal. This is without a doubt one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life and I hated every single second of it.

My Rating - 0/5
Grade - F (Disastrous piece of a movie!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Instant Movie Review #33 (Airlift)

Raja Krishna Menon's - "Airlift"

1) Direction
2) Story
3) Performances
4) Music

Introduction: Condensed on the theme of humanness, loyalty, and compassion. Airlift is based on true life events that happened back in the 1990's during the Persian Gulf War that involved moving around 1,70,000 Indian refugees from Kuwait and Iraq to India.  

Plot: Akshay Kumar plays the character of Ranjit Katiyal, a prolific businessperson who relishes his life as a proud Kuwaiti. When terror strikes Kuwait and after realising that his family's lives were in danger, he decides to leave Kuwait instantly until he discovers that the safety of his own employees and every Indian in Kuwait is in his own hands.

Direction: Raja Krishna Menon's story exhibited more compassion in its approach other than patriotism. Sure, they're few scenes that display a waving flag, but the human relationship was a significant factor in the film. He made sure that the film is occupied with an unsettling disconcerting vibe. And his raw depiction of the story throughout the entire film was enthralling to watch.

Performances: The performances from the complete cast were terrific, Akshay Kumar portrayed his character magnificently by headlining the emotion and fortitude correspondingly. Nirmat Kaur looked elegant and was given few great moments to shine. Purab Kohli had given one of the best performances of his career and Prakash Belawadi's character as an irritating middle-class Indian was worthy of note.

Verdict: Overall, Airlift was a compelling and heartening film that was masterfully acted and directed. It displayed the patriotic and the benevolent elements uniformly and is certainly one of the best movies from a major actor I've seen in a very long time from Bollywood. A must watch! 

My Rating - 3.75/5 | Grade - B+ (Highly Entertaining!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Gethu - Movie Review

Verdict: “A painful watch.”

After three continuous rom-com movies, Udhayanidhi Stalin has decided to promote himself as an action-hero with his latest film “Gethu” and has failed miserably. 

Sethu (Udhayanidhi Stalin) is a librarian and his father Thulasiraman (Sathyaraj) is a physical education teacher. Thulasiraman does not share a good relationship with a wine shop owner nearby the school he is working in. To everybody's surprise, the bar owner gets killed suspiciously and the cops arrest Thulasiraman in connection with the case. 

Now, Sethu wants to prove his father's innocence and his mission leads to Bull (Vikrant), who aims to kill India's biggest scientist. The remaining part of the story is about how the Sethu fights the baddie to save his father.

Director Thirukumaran’s story and the screenplay are blunt and repetitive. There was no necessary element included in this so-called crime thriller making the movie lifeless and boring to watch.

Though Udhayanidhi Stalin looks improvised in his dance skills, his pale and expressionless face makes it awkward to watch him in the movie after a certain point. Whether it’s an action or emotional scene, he stands there simply with that Kristen Stewart look on his face.

Amy Jackson’s character was forcefully added to the script. Sathyaraj and Vikrant did justice to their role.

Interestingly Harris Jayaraj’s songs and Background score was quite impressive in this movie. But the perfect misplacement of the songs makes it unenjoyable. 

Technically the movie was rich. The locations were exotic and the camera work by Sukumar was stupendous. Editor Dinesh Ponraj could have worked more on certain unwanted scenes and dragging climax, which could have made the movie, at least, less boring.

Finally, Gethu fails to show its mass and ends as below average film. I didn’t find any intriguing factors to suggest this movie. Do yourself a favor and avoid this movie. 

My Rating - 1/5
Grade - D (Absolutely Awful)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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Instant Movie Review #32 (Express Raja)

Merlapaka Gandhi's - "Express Raja"

1) Direction
2) Story and Screenplay
3) Comedic Sequences
4) Performances
5) Music and Background Score
6) Cinematography

Introduction and Plot: Residing in downtown Vizag, Raja (Sharwanand) is an unemployed troublemaker who thinks hanging out with his mischievous buddies is the only way to enjoy his life. Subsequently, he moves to Hyderabad for a job and come across Amulya (Surabhi) and instantly falls in love with her. In the course of their delightful relationship, Amulya's pet dog goes missing that totally switches the entire movie into an enjoyable fun ride. 

Analysis and Technical: Whirling around a comprehensive story line, Gandhi's astute screenplay was the focal point of the entire film. The approach that he took to blend in the comedic sequences within the story line and his meticulous narration is certainly admirable. Karthik Gattamaneni's elegant cinematography and Praveen Lakkaraju's gratifying music made the film a lot better.

Performances: Sharwanand did his best with his cheerful, fun-loving character and entertained with his convivial screen presence. Actress Surabhi looked gorgeous but her action skills just felt synthetic for me. Prabhas Sreenu mesmerized me with his startling performance and Harish Uthaman looked menacing as the antagonist. But, Saptagiri stole the entire movie with his funny and uproarious performance that was outright inevitable to ignore laughing.

Verdict: Overall, Express Raja was an amusing fun rollercoaster ride to hop on and enjoy with your family. This was Sharwanad's third hit in a row and I wish he extends doing smaller films with many talented directors like Merlapaka Gandhi.

My Rating - 3/5
Grade - B (Worth a watch!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Tharai Thappattai - Movie Review

Verdict: “A typical Bala movie.”

If exploring new and untouched genres in Tamil Cinema is an art, then Balu Mahendra is a Picasso of it. Director Bala continues his legacy and went on to make realistic, dark and disturbing movies depicting the life of commoners with his films “Naan Kadavul” and “Paradesi”. He carried the same with his latest “Tharai Thappattai’ showing the life and struggle of folk artists.

The movie revolves around folk artists Sannasi (Sasikumar) and Sooravalli (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar). They and their troop of folk artists make their living by performing in temple festivals and other events. Sooravalli has an eye for Sannasi and wishes to marry him. At that time, Karuppaiah (RK Suresh) tries hard to marry Sooravalli forcefully and achieves by convincing her mother. What happens to her next forms the rest of Tharai Thappattai. 

A Bala film would never disappoint when it comes to performances. The actors tend to give more than their best in his film and Tharai Thappattai is no different. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar had given an incomparable performance. The actress has given her body and soul for the character and left us in awe with her immense acting skills.

Sasikumar has let Varalaxmi overtake him in performance and has executed his role in a restrained way.  Other supporting actors have done to best of their ability.

“Maestro” Ilaiyaraaja carries the film with his spellbinding background score and songs. Tharai Thappattai has the prestige of being Raja Sir’s 1000th film as music director. Music is the biggest plus for the movie alongside performance. 

Chezhiyan has brought the emotion of the film to the big screen with his camera work. 

Bala has done a perfect job in showing the unfortunate life of folk artists in unsympathetic way possible and was successful in showing the reality in the first half of the movie.  But the letdown was in the second half and the climax ends the way his all movies would end. It could have been better if Bala had worked more on the second half and the climax to make it look different from his other movies.

Nevertheless, Tharai Thappattai is raw, oozes blood and inhumane in certain scenes. It is a typical Bala movie and may not appeal to everyone. 

My Rating: 3.25/5 
Grade: B+ (Entertaining! With noticeable flaws)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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Kathakali – Movie Review

Verdict: “Edge of the seat thriller, elegantly made.”

Amudhan (Vishal) returns to his hometown Cuddalore from America for his marriage with Meenukutty (Catherine Teresa). On the other end, there is this powerful thug Thamba (Madhusudhan Rao), who is the head of “Fishermen Welfare Association” and has a lot of enemies including Amudhan. At this stage, Thamba gets killed and people easily suspect Amudhan's hand in the murder. Now, he has to handle the police as well as the goons from the victim's side. What happens next makes the rest of the story with twists and thrills. 

Director Pandiraj had skillfully crafted the script with all the vital elements needed for a thriller with a commercial touch. The story and screenplay stay true to the title of the film which is a rare scenario these days. With a crisp narration of two hours, the movie is a nail-biting entertainer till the end. 

Hip Hop Tamizha’s score was the biggest plus for this thriller. His electrifying background score and Chenda Melam's music supplemented tons of entertainment to the movie. Editor Pradeep had worked in sync with the script and made the film racier with all the essential cuts. 

Performance wise, Vishal did his best as the film revolves completely around him. Catherine Teresa's character had no scope expect to shine in few scenes and a song in the first half. Others were pretty good and not very exceptional. 

To finish, Kathakali is a well-made action thriller from Pandiraj. It is entertaining and worth to watch in this Pongal weekend.

My Rating - 3/5
Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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Rajini Murugan – Movie Review

Verdict: “Commercial pot-boiler, entertains to an extent” 

Teaming up again with the “Varuthapadatha Valibar Sangam” team, Sivakarthikeyan’s “Rajini Murugan” simply is one the most awaited film after few postponements. But it ends as an average flick and efficiently entertains to a certain extent.

Ayyankalai (Rajkiran) decides to sell his property and divide the rightful shares among his children and grandson Rajini Murugan (Sivakarthikeyan). But thug Ezharai Mookkan (Samuthirakanni) becomes a hurdle and demands a share for him citing he is his grandson, who is born out of an illicit relationship. 

The remaining part is how the hero fights against the baddie over his family property and also become successful in his love with Karthika (Keerthi Suresh).

In an era of experimental filming, few directors still stick with an old age commercial filmmaking formula just to make it successful at the box office. Director Ponram had given the same rum in a different bottle. Without many complications in the screenplay, he had come up with a routine commercial script with many clichés. 

The second half of the film tests our patience from time to time, with unnecessary scenes and songs. Thanks to Sivakarthikeyan and Soori. Their combo once again proved to be successful. Timing, comical one-liners, and good performances from them make this film an easy watch without boredom.

Rajkiran is another pillar to this movie. This veteran never fails to impress us with his acting skills. Samuthirakanni shines brightly as an egoistic villain. Keerthy Suresh, the new sensation in the tinsel town is a delight to watch. Though she doesn't have much screen presence, she carried a lot of expressions and is sure to steal some hearts.

D. Imman’s songs and background score were fair to middling and the technical team were of no great shakes.

Finally, Rajini Murugan is a not a burdensome watch. Sivakarthikeyan and Soori carry the film on their shoulders and entertain us for the given 120rs. 

My Rating: 2.75/5
|Grade - C+ (Decent Flick!)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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Nannaku Prematho - Movie Review

Verdict - "A captivating and a well-written thriller."

Sukumar is a director with tons of intellect. His proficiency in writing an exhilarating screenplay with great dialogue is admirable. But he lost his credibility to a limited extent when "1: Nenokkadine" failed regrettably at the box office and fell short as a commercial success. Apparently, the anticipation for Nannaku Prematho is sky-high not only because Jr. NTR's diverse look, but also to get the drift of what Sukumar does next.

With only a few days left in his life, Subramanyam (Rajendra Prasad) narrates his appalling past life and his callous rivalry with Krishnamurthy (Jagapathi Babu) to his three sons. Traumatized by hearing the events occurred in his dad's life, Abhiram (Jr. NTR), the younger son of Subramanyam decides to finish his dad's rivalry with Krishnamurthy by making him go bankrupt in 30 days.

I've complained for many years now on the subject of Tollywood and established heroes, not taking too many risks to make a diverse film that is respectable for a viewer to watch. And after watching Nannaku Prematho, I certainly felt dumbfounded and I should appreciate the producer of the film BVSN Prasad, director Sukumar and Jr. NTR for taking the risk by making a non-commercial thriller that enhances the content throughout the runtime.

Even with a non-specific revenge plot, Sukumar managed to impress me as a viewer with his adroit screenplay and adept dialogue that is appropriate for a thriller. But during the 168-minute runtime, they're  many plot holes and irrational things that happen which are easily ignorable if you watch the movie with an open mind.

From his look to his character, it is a total overhaul for Jr. NTR as a performer and he never failed to impress as the major lead of the film. Jagapathi Babu's commendable performance, Rakul Preet's dazzling screen presence raised the bar in the movie to a laudable level. And Devi Sri Prasad's stellar music and the background music were also praiseworthy. 

Overall, despite being a comprehensive revenge thriller-drama with juvenile flaws, it is Sukumar's splendid screenplay, dialogue, and Jr. NTR astounding performance that kept the film alive. Tollywood deserves more similar thrillers like this, and I applaud the complete crew behind this film for trying something different.

My Rating - 3.25/5
Grade - B (Entertaining! With noticeable flaws)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Wazir - Movie Review

Verdict - "A fascinating thriller with a dumb storyline."

Two of Bollywood's finest actors working together in a high-octane thriller that comprises around a chess game? 

Well, that seems a bit weird, but I've been looking forward to this movie for many reasons not only because of Farhan and Amitabh but the trailers and the previews intrigued me a lot and it steadily became one of my most anticipated movies of the year. 

Provided that, did my immense expectations spoiled the movie for me? Or did it hold up? Let's find out!

After losing her daughter in a devastating shootout, the cheerless and the distressed Danish Ali (Farhan Akhtar) unexpectedly meets Omkar Nath Dhar (Amitabh Bachchan) who tries to mend his broken soul by helping him learn and play chess during his leisure time. Subsequently, after learning the tragic past of Omkar and the suspicious death of his daughter. Danish attempts to reopen the case that involves huge political names behind it. 

I love when thrillers were well-constructed and fascinating in every step. Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Abhijat Joshi's impressive screenplay were one of the reasons why I enjoyed watching this film for the most part. They made sure that suspense was intact throughout the entire film and unhooked all the twists and turns ingeniously.

But, a superlative screenplay couldn't solitarily save the film. An amalgamation of an alluring story and a stimulating screenplay should help and Wazir hugely slips back in telling a good intellectual story. It accommodates itself all the suitable situations without any jeopardy and makes the viewer look daft and inane. 

But the performances from Amitabh Bachchan and Farhan Akhtar and the astonishing guest appearance from Neil Nitin Mukesh were the highlights of the entire film. Their appealing screen presence and the chemistry between the leads worked fantastically especially during their interactions that were very well written.

Nevertheless, Wazir convinces in building up a fascinating thriller with a dumb storyline and misses out a great opportunity of being a riveting cinema and an early commercial hit of 2016. It is certainly worth watching once but is easily forgettable.

My Rating - 3/5
Grade - B (Worth a watch!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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