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Throwback Thursday: Ratsasan [Review]

Verdict - "One of the Best!" / Rating - 4.5/5

For the first time in a long time, I really did not want a movie to end. A finely crafted suspense thriller, Ratsasan (2018), will have you at the edge of your seat. Right from the beginning, the film starts off with a murder and the pace of the film is steadily kept on the accelerator all the way through. The first half of the film sets the story and there are some speed breakers in the form of romance scenes and songs. However, the second half of the film is electric and this is where the audience is bombarded with intense nail-biting moments. The last half an hour of the film holds the biggest surprise and the way the scenes were so expertly staged, you could actually compare this to a Hollywood film.

One of the film’s strengths lie in the background score department. Ghibran’s music for Ratsasan is excellent. He manages to elevate the film to a god-tier level with his eerie and spine-chilling BGM. The cinematography is on point as well. The film had both dark and light sequences that was well shot and edited. But the biggest strength for me, was the story itself. The director has not taken the audience for granted. He has gone through every small detail with extreme care and he presented an antagonist who is methodical and intelligent and somewhat unbeatable. Additionally, the young protagonist’s character development is a joy to watch and as the audience, you can’t help but silently urge him to move a little faster or think a little harder to crack the case.

The only problem I had with the movie was that I found Vishnu Vishal’s (the protagonist) acting just passable. The lack of variety in terms of facial expressions and body language showed in certain emotional scenes that Vishnu could have busted wide open by emoting a bit more. However, this film is a stepping stone for the actor and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Why Thanos Is An Anti Hero?

Premise - As an Optimistic Nihilist, even though I don’t believe in any God, morals or principles, I truly agree that everybody has a right to live their lives as they see fit without any bigotry or judgement or (hate provided that they don’t harm others in the process). Nobody should be in a position to decide who lives or who dies let alone killing half the Universe. But, assuming that Marvel Universe is real and as portrayed in the movies, let’s have a look at Thanos real close before shaking our fists at him.

Argument - What makes a person? The experiences he’s/she’s had since the first memory. That’s what drives us. If we can afford an apple, stealing would be immoral as our companions (parents, friends, relatives etc.) tells us so. And so, we believe that every thief has to be brought to justice. But for an orphan, crossing that moral line may result in his survival.

Thanos is a citizen of planet Titan, a civilization like us but much more advanced. Apparently, Titan was also suffering from overpopulation much like Earth and the governing bodies of Titan didn’t listen to Thanos’ advice to wipe out half of the Planet’s population to save it from extinction. After his planet’s extinction, Thanos made it his personal mission to save the universe from a similar fate. While on Marvel’s Earth, the last few years have made some technological advances. But still like our Earth, has the same issues of poverty, unemployment, economic meltdowns, totalitarians trying to enslave the fellow humans, world wars and climate Change. All products of one monster, unchecked population growth. Overpopulation is the single most downplayed recipe for disasters.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Captain America (all goodness of humanity on steroids), Tony Stark (An average human that bends the law who happens to be a Genius Billionaire), Thor (A literal 1500-year-old God that is obviously an ideal King) combined with some sidekicks and very strong allies (like Hulk) tried their best to stop Thanos. Leaving out the bloodshed, the battle and the physical conflict, it boils down to the will of Thanos. To diminish half of Universe into nothing is no less feat than an almighty God (more than half of the world’s population believes God wiped us out in Noah’s flood 4500 years ago because we didn’t obey him. But according to us, he’s merciful, while Thanos, on the other hand, is a mad Titan). Thanos calls it mercy. And standing from where he is, it kinda makes sense. Sigmund Freud calls this 'Death Drive'. The behavior that drives one towards death and self-destruction.

And evidently, Gamora’s native planet has been well-fed without poverty and misery, proving Thanos’ point. The conviction of Thanos is unshakeable. He even sacrifices his beloved adopted daughter Gamora. A person with that kind of conviction almost always gets his way. Even after he acquires all the stones, he kept his character throughout. He was as confident as ever, as cruel as he can be. He never gloated, never bragged, never dwelled on the past, never dumped his pain on anybody. But we still believe he’s the evil Titan because what he did challenges our morals. We didn’t want to see Spider-Man, the teenage boy to die because almost all Humans have a soft spot for kids. And we want justice for Spider-Man’s death.

Anyway, life is meaningless, all the Universe is racing towards the cold and dark end. Thanos knows and truly believes that it is inevitable. Why postpone the obvious? Half of us can live happily or all of us can suffer. Nobody can make this decision, not without it weighing on you. To know that half of the Universe won’t exist because of you and still do it?? He chose the first option than the latter. He, firmly believed that only he has the will to perform it and so he should.

And he did it with absolute randomness. He has no personal favorites. All of the beings in the universe got the exact equal chance of life as the others. Equality all over. Although the halfdead beings won’t feel a thing, death always affect the living. To cause that much sorrow without guilt, one must be as tough as Thanos. Thanos is the necessary evil like U.S bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2. Without bombing the US still might’ve won, but the bombings broke the Emperor’s will, made Japan surrender unconditionally. This paved way for article 9 of the Japanese constitution which in-turn prevented Japan from starting another war in the last seven decades.

“The hardest choices requires toughest wills.” If Batman would’ve had said this…., it would’ve been a Christopher Nolan’s movie.

P. S - We claim to be merciful but we really don’t care. Morals of Humans are like Onion layers. If I point a gun to your head and ask you to choose one Universe, you’ll choose our observable Universe. Supercluster? Virgo. Galaxy? Milkyway. Spiral Arm? Orion. Star system? Our Solar System. Planet? Earth. Country?-Your Country, State-your state, City-your city, your street, your family, your wife and kids……. YOU. That’s why we care about Kerala floods while North East India have 2 floods almost every year. You relate to Kerala as you or your associates have been to one of the hill stations in Kerala while you were a kid or a student. We don’t care about other people let alone other animals. We almost wiped out half of the species since we came into existence. We know that Seals enjoy music, Dolphins are self-conscious, Whales are emotional beings. But we pretend we don’t know or tell ourselves that’s how the world works and turn a blind eye. Tell ourselves that one species dominates the other to give way to progress. But forbid one Thanos decides the fate of our existence as we do with other animals. So, how right it is for us to condemn Thanos?

-An Editorial by Suhel Abdulla
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The Logic of Bollywood - Exposing the Clichés!

Bollywood has always tried to make the perfect Biryani of all times. Yes, it needs all the spices and masala, it needs strong characters like the chicken and rice obviously, it needs a lot of time to marinate all the stuff and concentrate on how to place the final touches of coriander. Although, the quality is based on the brand name and not its actual worth, mostly it goes bland and sometimes causes diarrhea. The spices used for a Bollywood movie are an overwhelming mix of emotions, drama, attempt at comedy, foreign locations and a lot of clichéd dialogues. It is sad to see the clichéd dialogues used in commercial movies as a cliché! Remember 'Ae Dil He Mushkil'? Using your own movie’s plot to do another movie and using the same dialogues and songs, come on!


To make a great movie in Bollywood, you need a Khan or a Kapoor obviously (or a nephew and niece will just do). It is only once in a decade or so that a movie without a Khan or Kapoor as the lead role or their production house makes it big. No matter how beautiful the storyline is, there needs to be a mandatory item song by a famous model turned actress and the only novelty at times they bring in, is by adding a male item song instead of a female celebrity and call it unbiased.

The spices are always too strong for India’s audience’s sensitive digestive system and are thrown in roughly at times when they are not needed, causing questionable hiccups. A Hindi cinema can flop at the box office and yet have songs running at the top of the chartbusters that way at least the actors and actresses, singers and choreographers get the limelight even if the directory and the script couldn’t; so it is a win-win situation after all.

Lately, the logic of Bollywood has moved towards making biopics of great personalities and the hardships they faced during their rise as a star. It definitely feels fresh to view commercial actors and actresses’ in non-glamorous roles, getting their hands dirty by actually working hard for their role like 'Mary Kom' and 'MS Dhoni'.

It is an old trick to make a movie with a designated target audience based on a particular culture and highlighting the most stereotypical aspect of the said culture in an attempt to woe them but alas! Mostly it gets them on the wrong side and a controversy erupts harming sensitivities and calls for the severed nose of Padmavati! Sorry 'Padmaavat'!

The controversy helps the movie gain a bigger audience and it is infamously criticized by many (that is a good PR team right there, guys!). While the research team analyses minute aspects brilliantly, like the accent, specific synonymous words and slangs, the color of the bangles and the shape of the bindi worn by the women folk, bringing together two actresses who are each other’s nemesis, the major story plot is thoroughly modified to fit in the Bolly-mould of love/action/emotion/twist *cough Bajirao cough Mastani cough*

However, the audience is not to be fooled so easily. We know when an actor is giving his best shot at acting and we know how deeply the director is involved with his team to bring out their best performances. While an amateur director can be contended with the basic acting of his actors, only a proficient director can get the maximum effort from his team of actors and actresses, making every single shot perfect. We shall keep a thorough check on Bollywood and update you if at all the logic evolves into a better version of itself.

-An Editorial by Anusha Shanbhag
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A Look Back at the Past Six Films of Ilayathalapathy Vijay

On the occasion of 'Sarkar' releasing this week on November 7, 2018. We decided to take a trip down memory lane and visit all our reviews of Ilayathalapathy Vijay, see how he did in regards to ratings and performances, also see how we reviewed movies back in the day. So, buckle up and scroll down, we also will preview an average rating of 'Sarkar'. 

Thalaivaa (2013) | Rating - 2.5/5

Directed by A.L. Vijay, the primary storyline of Thalaivaa (2013) draws inspiration from Kamal Haasan's 'Nayakan' and is loosely based on RGV’s 'Sarkar'. The film manages to entertain at times but fails to create an impact. Performances from Vijay, Satyaraj and Amala Paul are noteworthy, but, the mundane three-hour runtime didn't do the film much favours. Overall, Thalaivaa had nothing new to offer but does succeed in transforming Vijay from “Thalapathy” to “Thalaivaa” giving him a complete mass look again.


Jilla (2014) | Rating - 3/5

Jilla, directed by Neason brings together the Superstar of Mollywood Lt. Col. Mohanlal and “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay in the lead roles and the storyline revolves around the aspects of guns, violence and relationships. The film lacks a racy and engaging screenplay because of its mighty three-hour runtime. Mohanlal and Vijay's performances are the backbone of the film while Kajal Aggarwal and the remaining supporting cast had nothing much to offer. Overall, Jilla had the proper ingredients needed for a mass commercial entertainer and although its mighty length works against it, it will surely impress Mohanlal and Vijay’s hardcore devotees.


Kaththi (2014) | Rating - 3.25/5

Kaththi has “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay playing a dual role as Kathiresan and Jeevanandham, supported by Samantha, Satish and Neil Nitin Mukesh. Director A.R. Murugadoss deals with the most unrecognised problems in the society like farming lands being taken over by MNCs, farmer’s suicides and the news media working only for TRP Ratings. It’s indeed a bold attempt by Murugadoss to take up a sensitive subject. But, he deals it with ease. The screenplay was engrossing despite a few sluggish scenes in the first half. The dialogues were sharp, especially the one line definition of communism which is not to be missed. On the whole, Kaththi is a perfect commercial entertainer with a strong social message. Vijay, Murugadoss and the entire team of Kaththi deserve applause for bringing in the much needed social awareness.


Theri (2016) | Rating - 2.5/5

Directed by Atlee Kumar, “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay as Vijay Kumar IPS packs a punch as Deputy Commissioner of Chennai City. He scores with his body language, dialogue delivery, and a couple of mass scenes. But, as the drawback, he looked short of expressions in melodramatic scenes. Samantha Akkineni and Amy Jackson were used just like any other heroines would be used for a commercial entertainer.  Nainika, daughter of actress Meena was very cute and adorable with her facial expressions. On the downside, I feel that Atlee made a mistake by choosing to make a movie with Lemuria old formula and story. The storyline looks like many revenge flicks we have seen earlier and you may even feel that the plot is similar to other Vijay films. Nevertheless, even though the plot is racy and has a certain refreshing romantic and sentimental scenes, the pale overall story makes the film a hard one time watch.


Bairavaa (2017) | Rating - 2/5

It’s not new watching Vijay in commercial films with nothing new to offer and Bhairava is one of them. The long-lost director Bharathan could have worked more on the screenplay and though his intention to come up with a social message is appreciable, the way he presented it failed to create an impact. Vijay, being the darling of Mass movies does his part well. But seeing him repeatedly in these kinds of commercial films offering only punch dialogues, unwanted or over crafted fight sequences makes the general audience and neutral fans tiresome. To conclude, Bhairava is yet another commercial pot-boiler in which Vijay acts every now and then. I didn’t even find one good aspect in the film to praise wholeheartedly. Watch it if you really want to.


Mersal (2017) | Rating - 3/5

Mersal follows the Lemuria continent old story of two brothers avenging the brutal murder of their parents. Atlee’s search for a fresh script without any adaptation continues with Mersal too. Yet, what makes Atlee’s movie entertaining is his way of presenting it to the audience. The scenes and dialogues about the present condition of the state (TN) and the country are highly commendable. Even though the storyline had nothing new to offer, Atlee extensively worked on the screenplay with Vijayendra Prasad and executed it well with a top-notch technical team. Overall, by being an inspired and off-the-record adapted movie, Atlee managed to pull off a worthy commercial entertainer with a social message. Despite the fact that it has certain logic issues, Mersal is surely a praiseworthy film.

Average Rating of 'Sarkar' - 2.7/5

-An Editorial by Nirmalraj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911) and Team JFMF
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What Is Wrong With Bollywood?

Bollywood is like that middle-aged annoying lady who goes to kitty parties and often compares her lifestyle with that of other ladies in the group; prides upon the fact that she is somehow above them and appreciates the youngsters while secretly making unpopular comments and narcissist attempts at restoring her older glory. The problem with B-town is not the empty-shelled actors and actresses who are better equipped to be a model or a fashion icon but that they are hiding behind their well-established Godfather guardian trying very hard to act and the media who encourage cheap tricks played by these movie zealots who get down to the lowest levels to promote their upcoming movies which don’t last even three days at the theatres. What comes naturally to these supposedly entitled brats is pulling out tantrums, gushing over Hollywood singers or worse self-promoting themselves by involving in a high-profile scandal to grab to limelight which will bring them in front of the news-hungry paparazzi. Below are five things that is absolutely ridiculously wrong with the infamous Bollywood.

Fashion vs Acting

Agreed that there is a close connection between fashion and Bollywood. Most of the B- town beauties are chosen from Miss India, Miss World list and the likes. As their leading ladies, movie makers need actresses with long dainty legs, surgical smiles and very less acting. In fact, fluency in the Hindi language and the ability to deliver a dialogue is just too unnecessary for today’s actress because it often gets dubbed. It is an added advantage if the main lead is a Khan; any Khan will do for that matter.

Nepotism

If half the leading actors and actresses are from the modelling industry, the other half are the children or nephews and niece of yesteryear’s stars. Some have the audacity to complain that it was rather too difficult for them to take a step in to mainstream cinema while riding in daddy’s luxury cars and managing dates with the movie directors which apparently clashed with their foreign vacations. ‘Are my diamond shoes too heavy!?’

Stereotypical Garam Masala

An orphan boy, a socially awkward teenage girl, a love story between rich and poor family prodigy, bling- bling dance numbers occurring at random point of time, foreign locations for romantic songs, unnecessary melodramatic scenes and overly spiced intimate scenes; haven’t we seen it all! The climax scene ending at a railway station from the 90s has been replaced with airport meetings because there is lot of money in Bollywood, so why not!

Following a Trend

A very famous TV series which set the world record for highest viewed series has given way to epic movies in Bollywood which are following a certain trend that is a dead giveaway of the original series. Apparently, in Bollywood, there is no shame in copying the most obvious of the trend that is a sure shot way of minting money, leads to very low quality in terms of the screenplay which is imperfect even from the perfectionists. They call it inspiration. We have seen a series of historical movies come and go for a few years which hit the box office list and made millions. Aren’t the viewer’s aware from where it is copied? Come on Dude! It is not the 60s anymore.

Private vs Personal

Rather than the movies, it is the personal life of actors and actresses that are in the media now-a-days rather than the upcoming movies. All of a sudden when an actor is in for a trial for a crime that can get him jailed for a long time, there comes news of his charity work, his upcoming movies that portray him as a lover of the country, the savior of the poor, the holy man dancing in front of a powerful deity showcasing his love for another culture than his. While a famous 1-year-old is having a play date with another celebrity toddler, they are working hard to show off their baby fat so that the sidetracked parent’s career sees some limelight. While the cheap flicks, the way too unnecessary hype for a change in a haircut or a probable breakup of a young couple makes news, the highly talented actor’s movies don’t even get released because of insufficient budget and not enough permissions.

All in all, a lot of factors influence the progress of Bollywood. It is not the directors, the actors or media alone who are responsible at the low quality of movies that are getting released each year. If we have to increase the quality of movies, the stereotypical aspects have to fall apart and make way for fresh talent so that Indian cinema can flourish.

-An Editorial by Anusha Shanbhag
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A Closer Look at The Shining: A Masterpiece!

Heeere's Johnny! appals a horrifying and maniacal Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson in one of the most memorable scenes in film history, also in one of the more influential, inspiring and the best Horror Movies of all time, The Shining (1980). Directed by the Legendary Filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick, the film seems to follow a simple narrative of the Torrance's moving into the aesthetic spectacle known as the Overlook Hotel as Jack Torrance is the newly appointed caretaker for the entire season of winter. With nobody else around, things start to go downhill for the Torrance's, as Jack's psyche quickly begins to deteriorate and eventually becomes a horrifying threat to both Wendy (his wife) and Danny (his son).

When I say the most influential film of all time, The Shining and director Stanley Kubrick inspired generations of filmmakers and movies for a wide variety of different reasons. Firstly, the visual marvel of the Steadicam. Invented by Garrett Brown, The Shining is the first Horror film to use the Steadicam throughout the runtime and is one of the first generation films to utilize the format alongside movies like Bound for Glory (1976) and Marathon Man (1976). The fluid tracking shots and the seamless panorama that Kubrick created using Steadicam captivated not only the viewer, but also gave the movie a chilling feel from beginning to end. 

The Shining is also notoriously famous for its ominous background score which basically is an amalgamation of vexatious sounds and no rhythm or tune whatsoever. It only surges up the disconcerting vibe and creates an unsettling atmosphere, that Kubrick intentionally wanted to create even for his cast and crew on set. Sound Mixing and Editing is also yet another significant aspect of the film, particularly noticed when Danny strolls through the meticulously designed hallways of the Overlook Hotel. The sooth-calming sound of the carpeted floors and the irritating sound when he rides on his tricycle on the hardwood floor is so-well mixed and edited, which also displays the incredible attention-to-detail that Stanley Kubrick showcased in this Horror Classic.

Adding to all the technical efforts were the story and the performances. Despite the fact that the base storyline is conventional, the screenplay written by Kubrick is complex to the core. The dialogue and certain clues or messages that Stanley direct towards branches out tons of questions, be it the ending and other character cameos inside and out. Jack Nicholson's terrifying performance is one of the best, and the most talked about in his illustrious career so far. His dialogue delivery, demented body language (especially during that staircase scene with Wendy) cements the fact that we're dealing with a fickle psychotic character on-screen. Shelley Duvall's character is the one that we (as an audience member) can root for in the midst of this madness, and she portrays her fragile petrified character flawlessly as we can see the appalling look on her face in company with Danny Lloyd, who is another standout of the film.

Overall, The Shining is a masterpiece of a film from top to bottom and brilliantly displays the incredible ability of the genius that is Stanley Kubrick. A Horror Classic which will remain remembered for generations to come.

-An Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Throwback Thursday: Unnai Pol Oruvan [Review]

Verdict - "Fantastic!" | Rating - 5/5

Unnai Pol Oruvan (2009) is one of those films where once you’re done watching it, you’ll prolly sit up and wonder out aloud why there aren’t more films like this? A police commissioner gets an anonymous phone call from a caller who claims to have planted many bombs around a city. In exchange for information about the bombs, he demands four high-level militants to be released from custody. The entire film rests on the heavy dialogues between Kamal Hassan and Mohanlal and it was very interesting to see how there was an equal power to both their words. No one had the drop on the other and it felt like a fast-paced tennis match.

The theme of the movie is to explore the common man’s angst. There’s a lot of truth in the intellectual battle between the two, and much of it has to do with how numb society has become towards extreme crimes. Kamal Hassan’s monologue towards the end of the film is bone-chilling and it deserves a standing ovation. Performance-wise, Mohanlal was excellent in his role as the commissioner. His aura was powerful and there was never any doubt on his capabilities as a lawman. Kamal Hassan has a huge role and he hit it out of the Ballpark. There are alot of clever dialogues from him that he pulls off with ease. The film talks about harsh realities that are happening all across the world but what it takes a stand for are the harsher penalties that should be employed as solutions. Fighting fire with Fire. As a concept, while it may not be ethically or morally feasible in reality, works well in this film. Just like the audience that was seated around me, I found myself reflecting and deep in thought.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Throwback Thursday: Halloween 1978 [Review]

Verdict - "Mundane!" | Rating - 2.75/5

Directed by one of the most influential filmmakers of Hollywood, John Carpenter, Halloween 1978 stars Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role, and the story revolves around a deranged psychotic serial killer Michael Myers as he terrifies a quiet neighbourhood of Haddonfield, Illinois with his violent killing spree.

Admired as one of the Best Horror / Slasher Movies of all time, Halloween, in my opinion, is overrated and doesn't stand the test of time. For a viewer (like me) who are watching the movie for the first time in 2018, it didn't hold up for me unlike other Classic Movies like 'The Shining' or 'The Exorcist'. I agree that it's hemmed in with a simple storyline, setting and a villain who is straightforward, which brings me to the drawback of the film. It is not psychological, methodical or convoluted and deals with an intelligible concept which for the most part is mundane to watch.

But, the film's strength is its antagonist, Michael Myers, who looks like a psychomaniac that I don't want anywhere near my surroundings. His bone-chilling stare, effortless slow-walk and the quietness surrounding him was was nerve-racking to watch. John Carpenter tremendously captures the eerieness of Myers with his slow tracking shots and thrilling background score, and Jamie Lee Curtis as his counterpart does a decent enough job to keep the movie moving.

Nevertheless, Halloween 1978 didn't work for me as an overall movie, the character of Michael Myers is fascinating, the background music and the filmmaking techniques were impressive, and that's about it. Let's see if the new 2018 film works!

-An Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Throwback Thursday: Anniyan [Review]

Verdict - "Entertaining!" | Rating - 3.75/5

When you have an acclaimed actor in your ranks and you partner him up with a good director, you get commercial cinema’s gold standard. Anniyan (2005), follows Ramanujam A.K.A Ambi, a lawyer suffering from multiple personality disorder and his vengeance against society’s wrongdoers. Bringing forth the themes of social justice from his previous ventures such as 'Gentleman' and 'Indian, Director Shankar experiments with tales of Hindu epics; giving his story an added kick and his protagonist ample scope to showcase his versatility.

Vikram’s powerhouse performance as the hero with three different personalities keep you enthralled throughout and he portrays the different characters so convincingly. The antagonist, Prakash Raj serves up as the perfect foil for Vikram and the interrogation scene at the police station was carried out flawlessly by both veteran actors. The dialogues written for characters such as Ambi and Anniyan are sharp and succinct. The cinematography is great and the I absolutely love the play on colors in the film. The camera work is intense and it contributes immensely to the film’s awe-inspiring feel.

However, the film moves at a snail’s pace and there are certain scenes that just seem so draggy that i wished it could have been edited out. Additionally, it does irritate me that the actress (Sadha) does not recognize the resemblance between Ambi and Remo. All he did was curl his hair and color it? I didn’t think that the Remo personality was actually necessary for the film. It felt like a speed breaker and I felt the film would have been fine without that character written into it.

Aside from all these small irksome details, Anniyan does not disappoint and there’s a really good story told in a grandiose manner. “Rose means beauty. Beauty means Nandy, as sweet as Candy.”

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Throwback Thursday: Aayutha Ezhuthu [Review]

Verdict - "Daring!" | Rating - 4.5/5

Once again, we delve into a master storyteller’s bag of class films. Mani Ratnam’s Aayutha Ezhuthu (2004) is a technical magnum opus. For someone like me who intently looks out for the colors used for the mood board, this film is right up there with the best. All 3 main characters (Madhavan, Surya and Siddharth) have a particular Color ascribed to them and their personality. Just take a look at how much of red there is in Madhavan’s timeline, Green in Surya’s and Blue in Siddharth’s. There’s so much detail involved in this non-linear political thriller.

Absolutely loved Surya’s role as a student leader. It’s mature and bold and has a distinct Surya style to it. Madhavan takes the cake with this one with his baddie role. Siddharth plays your dopey-eyed lover boy next door and he performed his duties with ease. My personal favorite however, would have to be Bharathiraja, with his sweet talk and ruthless act, his gait contrasts nicely with Surya’s charming screen presence.He made the antagonist role his zone and you see him in a new light with his performance.

I don’t see the full Mani Ratnam stamp on this movie though. Once again, he has played with the time sequence in the film but the dialogues do not have the staccato tone that The Director usually employs. He has tried something new and his approach is heartening. Unlike so many other movies, the pace of the film is fast in the beginning but slows down towards the end where the film takes time to tie up loose ends.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Throwback Thursday: Virumaandi [Review]

Verdict - "Brilliant!" | Rating - 4.8/5

The Rashomon effect (named after Kurosawa’s Rashomon) occurs when the same event is given contradictory interpretations by different individuals involved. When employed well, it can really elevate a film. Enter Virumaandi (2004), a Kamal Hassan directorial that revolves around a farmer who gets involved in a clan feud back in his village. 

When a film decides to use the Rashomon effect as the selling point, the only way to do it justice would be to choose the correct cast members to enact their own perspective in their own style. This really helps to divide and conquer audiences and get them involved in the film as well. I don’t think I have to talk about Kamal Hassan and his performance. I’ve mentioned more than once about his intensity and the performance levels he brings to a film. 

Who I’m more impressed with is Pasupathy and his interpretation of the character, Kothala Devar. Pasupathy more than often outshines Kamal Hassan with his strikingly devious and menacing demeanour. Virumaandi is not an easy film to make. It is a technical knockout and the quality of excellence in this film comes with two thumbs up. Showing the same incident with Two different point of views can always end up boring the viewer, but the director has managed to pull it off by introducing new details and an interesting narration process that is well executed. Virumaandi is a highly violent film. 

There’s blood and mutilations and severed bodies all over but what’s interesting is how the film used a whole lot of violence to preach about non-violence. Once again, Kamal Hassan has mixed folklore with the themes in his movies and Virumaandi, another name for lord Bhrama, is taken to life in art form by Kamal Hassan. The tragedy that surrounds Both Virumaandi (the deity and Kamal Hassan’s character) are stuck in a conundrum where they can live a physically freed life but in a hopeless future and it is reflected very well from the start of the film.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Throwback Thursday: Nayagan [Review]

Verdict - "Cinematic Brilliance!" | Rating - 5/5

Based on a real-life don, Nayagan (1987) is a superb Godfather-inspired crime film situated in the slums of Bombay. One of the best ever to do it, Kamal Haasan’s portrayal of 'Velu Naicker' is legendary and there is absolutely no one that can top that performance. This is one of those films that did everything right and there isn’t anything to pinpoint and criticise. 

Tracing the life trajectory of an underworld Don, we follow the protagonist from his rise all the way up to his demise and it is done in realistic fashion. The script is taut and gritty and it does not contain any unnecessary scenes that seems forced we like in most movies. The narrative style is dark and as the viewer, you’re pretty much watching the movie with the feeling of a twisted gut as you sit in eagerness to watch what comes next. 

The cinematography is excellent as it captures the essence of slum life in Bombay exactly how it should be, and The colours used in the film are dark as to how the entire tone of the film is. Illayaraaja’s background score is haunting and his music plays a very important and effective role in the film. The relationships between the various characters in the film are complex but delivered subtly. Be it a father-Daughter, Father-Son, Husband-Wife relationship, the struggles and the bond are handled maturely and these are the scenes that will leave a lump in your throat. Timeless and a true classic, Nayagan will blow you away no matter how many times you watch it.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Throwback Thursday: Michael Madana Kama Rajan [Review]

Verdict - "A Laugh Riot!" | Rating - 5/5

Tamil cinema, since the dawn of time, has rehashed so many themes and plot points that it really takes something or someone special to breathe new life Into it. So when you have an idea to tweak such a project, there is no one better to do it than a veteran actor with immaculate acting chops. 

Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990), a story of quadruplets separates at birth, only to find their way to each other through a series of comical events. Kamal Haasan plays all four main characters, making them exceptionally different in the way they look, their accent, body language and expressions.

One of the finest comedies to date, the script for the film is crisp and moves at an even pace. It is rare to see a star-studded film with so many quirky characters working together perfectly to accentuate the hilarity of the cinematic stipulations and the comic connotations of the dialogues. The dialogues penned by Kamal Haasan and ‘Crazy’ Mohan is gold standard comic writing with multiple joke schemes emerging from a single pun or even consciously misunderstood meanings of the same word is a lesson in slapstick comedy 101, and it just reiterates that the writing here in every aspect of the film is top-notch material.

While some of the gender-based jokes might be indecorous in today’s world, one will be able to look past it with its the film’s dizzying ability to weave multiple story arcs on a narrative that is centred upon merry jokes and impressive acting. 

MMKR is a fantastic mash of smarts, wit, narration and choreography condensed in three hours and there could only just be a handful of other films that can compete with this one for the throne.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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