Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy New Year

Every year, as part of the Deepavali inaam (Diwali baksheesh), is set aside a sum as 'Deepavali Dhandam' for a Saarugaan film that releases every year on the festival day. This year was no different. Happy New Year (HNY) starring Saarugaan + 6-7 odd edubidis is in the theatres. This review is to spare you from this mega bore so that you can save the money and spend it for dog biscuits, yet-another-iphone-cover, Saravana Bhavan idli and so on.

It's a 3 hour long film where the first 15 minutes are set aside for brand credits. From Anjaal aluppu marundhu to Amazon there were 20 odd names as 'Brand partners'. 15 minutes in the end were for end credits out of which 14 1/2 minutes for 'Team SRK' with a dozen people dancing around. Have to admit the end credits are the best part of Farah Khan's films where you get to see the faces behind camera.

Saaarugaan is some brilliant boxer... No no... Expert student... No no fitness freak... No no, he plays Revenge Ranganathan ( oh how i love using 1y3ng0rz names for such "characters") who has been wanting to taking revenge on Jackie Shroff for 8 years for imprisoning his father Anupam Kher. He puts together a team of losers who decide to rob some Diamonds in Dubai, apdiye dance around, goof around , crack some stupid jokes and... Shabba, by the time the film ends you have a good 'korattai based' nap. Ulagam Suttrum vaaliban had a better storyline da, dei Saarugaan.

Deepika Padukone looks very good and has spared us, Tamizh folks, from her 'Bokwaaas baat'. She plays a Marathi mulgi and dances in a bar, is hopelessly in love with Saarugaan.  I really miss our house-help lady (nicknamed GT) who used to work with us in Madras in the '80s and '90s. GT would have made a fantastic choreographer for Deepika's intro song. C'mon, for years, GT, every Friday evening would do her 'Saami vandha aattam' at the Kadumbaadi Amman temple. No different from what Deepika was made to do in the 'Lovely' song.

This year, composer 'Durvaasar Dudlani' has been busy wielding a broom, putting a cap asking makkal to vote for Aap and in that, has given Aappu to Saarugaan. He, along with Segar have this standard template of songs for all their albums.
Heroine intro a.k.a Saamiyaattam song sung by the "latest sensation" - tick
Lou song with Shreya Ghoshal / Arijit type or both - tick
One gumbaloda Govinda dandanakka 'Hum hain Hindustani' song - tick
Not a single song was good. Time for them to take a break... Oh wait. 

'Ayyo paavam' Bachchan is now the Santhanam of Bollywood. He should stick to such roles and not try and be main hero and all. His few gags were funny. Boman Irani and Naseeruddin Shah pullai play two more edubidis. Sonu Sood should come back to Telugu films where he, with his "Ekkadanchi choosthavaa Champisstanu raaaaa" will get more screen time than in this film.

Remember the MGR-Asogan-Nambiar "Jaani,..Peterrr...Jumbooo" films where the villains were in one unknown hideout and the hero goes in search of them, opens a cave like structure (with a gadagadagada sound)? Those had better sets than HNY. Such tacky cardboard stuff by the art director. Sagikkalai.

At one point, there is a "Apne Apne Nokia phones uthayiye,vote kijiye" dialaak. Such brand plugging and all, abachaaram. This is allowed only for Delhi clients :-) okay, may be it was Nokia - Delhi client, so blanket permission to use brand names in the stationality...er.. meant film. {Okay for those of you who got the sly, Yay to us :)}

These Farah Khan films are like Hindi FM radio stations who, for some 12+ years have been 
writing radio ads with Sholay "Basantiiii... Thakur" type Aracchamaavu dialaaks. And just like the Radio copywriters this Farah Khan and team put self applause at their own spoofs and it is supposedly funny. HNY is the 3678465th film with "Bade bade Shehron mein Chhote chhote mannangatti..." Dialaak. After a point, every dialaak seemed like a spoof to me.

Aappu New Year - 2.5/5

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kaththi

A.R.Murugadoss who is known for his socially relevant films picks yet another 'emosionally appealing, applause getting' subject for his Kaththi. This time, Dr.Joseph Vijay in a dual role as Jeeva and Kathiresan a.k.a Kaththi (reminded of "Surukkama Suppi saar" in Thillu mullu) who has velutthu vaangified in the film.

Full marks to Stunt master Anl Arasu! After a long time two interesting fight sequences in the film - the tv crew & the coin ones. 
'Bro' composer's songs , some of them decent, have been pathetically filmed that they don't ottify with you. Dr.Visai Saar is the only saving grace in the songs. Background score is good though.

Like in most Tamizh films, the heroine has absolutely no role apart from standing beside the hero like a prop. But our heroiney lady should have made some effort to improve her dancing skills, acting skills no? Oohoom. She should henceforth put her name 'Summa'ntha in the titles. Akka is sooo bad esp in the songs, she even looks at Dr.Joseph Visai Saar bayandukiney as he dances like a superman (does Superman dance? Never mind). The only emotion 'Summa'ntha puts is thanks to Raveena, her dubbing artiste.

No major role for Neil Nitin Mukesh but he looks like one suave villain, MNC, Englees speaking and thus 'Rin' veluppu. Goood dubbing by (RJ?) Gautham.

Murugadoss knows what works with namma makkal, when to make them cry, laugh and when to get the required applause. And he has not gone wrong in his judgement. Makkal oraey da laughter for Satish & Vijay Saar's kaamedy and giving super applause and emosion reacsion in other scenes. Vera enna venum? Paisa vasool.

Kaththi - Saarpu Saarpu ji - 4/5, also #IlayaThalapathyVijayRoxxxx

PS - Murugadoss ji, the only time I heard one RJ speak sense was in your film. Please write all his RJ links too, henceforth.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kollywood Kisnan - 7

Dance Master Raghuram celebrated his 50th year in the film industry as a dancer/ choreographer, last year. He had assisted dance master A.K.Chopra in his initial years before moving on to become an independent dance choreographer for films.

 He had acted as Balram Naidu's assistant in Dasavatharam and also appeared in one of the shooting scenes in Avvai Shanmugi .A lot of film choreographers start as background dancers, become assistant choreographers and then become full-fledged dance directors. In the music videos of the 90s and 2000s you'll still be able to spot popular dance masters of Kollywood, Shridhar, Johny, Dinesh, Noble etc.

Here's an old song featuring the Late E.V.Saroja with Raghuram master as a teenager. He comes in the beginning and also at 2.00 


Here's Raghuram master as Lord Murugar in the famous 'Muthai-Tharu Pathi Thiru Nagai' from Arunagirinathar



Raghuram Master passed away last month after a brief illness. May his soul rest in peace.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thalaivaa

Every wannabe male actor enters Kollywood with big dreams of becoming a Rajni, Kamal or Sivaji. A decade into the industry and after having worked in the usual romance-action type films there comes this 'teeradha daagam' of doing a Nayagan , Devar Magan, Mudhal Mariyadhai type film.

'Ilayathalapathy' Dr.Joseph Vijay Chandrasekhar is no exception. 20 years in the industry and a variety of action kalanda sentiment kalanda romance mixed movies, our man also wanted to a 'different' film. Enter director A.L.Vijay with his intelligensia of the intellectual look. After having copied from films like Titanic, Lagaan (deeiiiii) and I'm Sam but still insisting they are original scripts our man decides to join hands with 'Ilayathalapathy' in this 'different' venture.

So these two meet, discuss storyline etc. Aal izzz well . But you know there is thing that they need to add to the script. It is the thing called 'Massssssss' at times called as 'Marana masssssss' . We've seen it on hoardings by fans, fb posts, tweets particularly during rockzzz vs Dr.Joseph fights. Nobody exactly knows what it is but all the directors and actors know is that , be it an 'Elipathayam' type film or an Avatar or even our own Veerapandiya Kattabomman type film, if Dr.Joseph Vijay or rockzzz decide to make a film of any kind, it should be 'Masssssss' or 'Marana Massssssss'.

So here we are. Making a GodfatherdevarmagaNayaganSarkarBaasha-ish Marana Masssss film titled Thalaivaa -film by Vijay with Vijay for Vijay-ians! 


Dharavi to Down under 

In the 90s, Sathyaraj becomes the Don of Dharavi in Mumbai after his friend and leader of Tamilians in Mumbai, Nasser gets dejected and decides to escape from Bombay with his son, after some random riots. Sathyaraj gives his son Vishwa (Vijay) to Nasser and tells him to take care of him. 

Cut to 2013- Both sons - 'Bro' Santhanam & 'Bro' Vijay are now in Australia running a mineral water bottle company. 'Bro' Vijay meets Amala Paul , love happens and they come to Bombay to seek the blessings/ approval of father Sathyaraj unaware of his Don-giri. Circumstances make him to take up Don-giri ... How he became a 'Don' from being a 'dude' is what is narrated in 3 hours 2 mins. With 'Nurai eeral panju pondra....' + Mukesh dying a dozen times on screen it ends up being a 3 1/2 hour film.

The Vettis of Ozzz

The first half set in Australia is quite a breeze . Santhanam's brand of mokkai kaamedy adds to the fun. Surprise surprise there's no 'Amala Paul, Aavin Paul' joke in the film. The Sam Anderson scene is easily the best one in the film. (Then you can imagine the rest) . Vijay and friends put one super dance for 'Tamizh Pasanga'. This anthem of sorts for Tamizh dudes definitely needed to be a better song.  What to do? Our nephew composer Pragaas thambi is so busy putting angry tweets with 'En Kadamai En Urimai'  that he has no time for unimportant things like making music. 

Vijay and Amala Paul's costumes (Deepali Noor) were semma cool and thankfully she was not wearing sleazy Deepika Phadukone type 1/4 sarees . 

Bro to Bhai 

The film start losing steam once the story shifts to Bombay. It's director A.L.Vijay's film and since he is known for his 'original' scripts, you already know the story from what we saw in the trailer. Vishwa 'bro' becomes Vishwa 'bhai' bashes up random people in Bombay, walks out wearing cool black goggles with 2-3 people behind him (minus the 'Baasha' background score . Miss you Deva! ) 

There's also this 'You are God, You are leader, You are our next CM' feel song. What ya Bro? Not all songs can be MGR's 'Neenga nalla irukkonum' and make you CM no? Poes Garden Poongodhai watching this time no? You didn't foresee all this?

At one point of the film both hero and villain were after some video tape. Apparently I was yawning so much I had missed that "key" video tape scene in which an amateur cameraman films something being plotted against some people or some such thing. No no not in Mudhalvan bro. This scene is in Thalaivaa only bro.

As long as he was a dude in down under all was ok. This Bro becoming Bhai became a big bore.

Side 'Bros'

Villain bro - You know our director Vijay Saar. He thinks original. He directs original. For villain bro also, he wanted one unique identity. We've seen 'deeei' villains, 'eeeei' villains, cool villains, kaamedy villains. This villain is very different. He meditates and chants enemies' names always. Very different no? Pppah!

India's Matt Preston a.k.a our own 'Panneer Pushpangal' Suresh 'bro' - He plays V.K.Ramaswamy, Saroja Devi's father in Pudhiya Paravai... sorry, meant Amala Paul's father in Thalaivaa. 

Y.Gee.Mahendra - You hear his voice in the trailers. His entire 'we-are-Superstar-Rajnikant's-relatives' family was present during the audio launch of Thalaivaa. So one obviously assumed 'ore da' important role. But bro, his screen time in the trailer was more than what he had to do in the main feature film.

Bros Manobala, Ponvannan as Janagaraj, Delhi Ganesh in Nayagan... cha cha, again again mistake... meant Thalaivaa. 

Company artistes bros - Our director A.L.Vijay's films are like anda kaalathu Gemini studios / AVM films. Just like the pazhaya kaalathu films,  he ensures the same faces are repeated over and over again in his films. It honestly gets tiring to see the same mix.

The one and only 'Nephew composer' Bro 

GVP with all the 'bandha' instead of spending time demanding Royalty can, I'm sure spend more time creating better songs than these 'Thalaivaa thalaivaa' or 'Sol Sol Sol' ones in the film. The only good song was 'Vaanganna Vanakkanganna' very well choreographed by Dinesh. (Also is it like an unwritten rule these days that the dance master must put a guest appearance in every song?)

Slick and Slack

You remember these old films with constable being called out as "4 nought 4" or police making entry in the climax with their "Hands up!" . The film is full of such clichés'. There is one "crucial" scene where two people say "We are from Crime branch". Instead of  getting ore da shocked you actually say "ivangaLa vecchu kaamedy geemedy panliye" . What's the point when you get the best of technicians and make the film look good but has such para kadi done-to-death scenes?

Vijay-iyawns

Vijay looks semma fit, neat and trim in the Jeans-Tshirt (bhai) costume. He dances really well and as always better than the dancers behind him. His last film Thuppakki, again a marana massss hit was fairly decent. Copy or not , I don't know but it kept the audience engaged and interested in the film especially the non-Vijayians (or is it un-Vijayians?)

This one's made for Vijay's fans but the director should keep in mind that you can make a marana massss masala , with no logic etc. You copy and all, no problem. We have enough English / Spanish / Korean (new fad) movies to be copied from. But if you are going to copy from Mudhalvan , Sarkar, Pudhiya paravai (which completed its 5000th broadcast on ktv last week), every MGR film (where he bashes up villains for 15 minutes after being beaten up for the first 5 minutes ) , I'm sorry bro, the film ends up being a...

Thalaivali - Time to sleep - 2.5/ 5

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chennai Express

This is what the movie's trailer promised.

A flim on Soueeth Indian log - Check
Saarugaan acting as ..Sa..er..rug..kkhan - Check
Tamizh characters who speak bad tamizh - Check
Tamizh characters who speak terrible tamizh - Double Check
Deepika in something called half saree which is less than 1/4 saree - Check * 100 times
Cars, cars and more cars toppling - Check
Bad music - Triple check

For everything unimportant like logic, authenticity, decent sets, dialogues, acting, accent that's questioned in Indhi films, the reply these days I get is "Kya yaar this is a Rohit shitty film.. what did you expect?" Ok then !


Spoilers ahead (idula oru build-up vera)

Ready Steady Ponga da dei!

Saarugaan is 40 year old Rahul (wow, what a name!) living with grandmother and his very-funny-you-see Dadaji with Harry Potter thaatha level beard . Thaatha dies when he's 99 years old when Sachin tendulkar gets out at 99.  Rahul is more interested in going to Goa than going to Rameshwaram to karachify the ashes of dadaji. He poi-pulugifyes to his paatti that's he off to Soueeth ke India and gets on to Chinnai express. He meets Meenamma (Padukone) who is chased by her 'gunda' cousins for escaping from their village because she doesn't want to marry 'Thangha Bhali' her morai-payan or some such thing. Rahul wants to help Meenamma and both arrive at her village. Whether Rahul successfully fell in love with Meenamma and if she managed to escape from getting married to Thangha Bhali is the story.

Dadar station-il oru DDLJ 

This DDLJ film. I have never bothered to see it nor do I intend to watch its 1000th premiere on tv and scream "awwwwwwww.... DDLLJJJJJJ... cho chweet!!!" especially when Lata Mangeshkar & Kumar Saanu sing "Tujheeennn dekhaaan to yeehh" . Saari ba! The scene where Deepika Padukone and thugs are saved by Saarugaan is a DDLJ spoof-aam. Makkal ore da laughing. We were laughing looking at the crowd laughing. Seri kaamedy.

Thamil language ko thenth day manaya

So we thought Mehmood killed Tamil. Dheephika Phadukhone ghoes a steph fhurther and does thenth day, thirteenth day khaariyam and all phlaying an authentic Thamilian speaking lhike this. Was Vicks one of the sponsors of the film? There was a hundred brands in the initial credits so I may have missed it. Dheephika Phadhukhone perpetually spoke like someone had inserted a tudappa kuchi in her nostrils. 

Ennamma Kannu Sowkyama to EKSI

Sathyaraj is the dreaded Don a.k.a 'Pheriyah Thalai' in this film. In the first scene as he appears you say "Wow, nammaaLu kalakka-p-poraaru" . He says "Ennamma kannu sowkyama?" You clap and whistle and all. But then when scene after scene he walks & says "Ennamma kannu sowkyama" you feel so sorry for him having been reduced to one dummy piece. In Thillu Mullu Thengai Srinivasan's words our manasatchi asks us "Idhula enna perumai?" every time you think of "our" Sathyaraj in a mainstream Indhi cinema. EKSI!

V&S for VRS

This was one of the most boring soundtracks in recent Indhi padams. Song after song sounded exactly what these guys have been producing for 15 years now. No wonder there was an additional song added for the much-needed buzz to the music of the film. Time for VRS , V&S.  

Toy Train 

Dheepikha Phadhukone's village 'Komban' (and like most of us wonder if it's an elephant or a village) makes Doordarshan Tuesday drama set backdrops with the same flower vase and azhukku curtain look like epics . There are some characters who come as cousins, friends, villagers of Komban who make you want to give an Oscar award to Sam Anderson's makeup and costumes. I actually wanted to check if the movie was called 'Chennai Express' or Toy Train. 

Bogut Bogut Funny hai

When there is no umpteenth DDLJ spoof or SRK's self-reference for the millionth time, there's super funny amazingly hilariously comedy of a dialogue "Don't underestimate the power of a common man" for which junta puts a super laugh. Kyun why yean endukku ? Someone tell me yaar!

Eid ka chand aur Idli ka chutney

Also this pyaar for SRK. I see these "Maine aaj SRK dekha. Kal Eid hai" "SRK ko dher saara pyaar" "SRK tu Eid ka chand ... main Idli ka chutney" type messages from ladies log on fb and twitter. So people actually love and like this fellow and his face-a? Mereko samajh nahin Aatha Amma!

End mein kya bolta

Ok it's an Indhi padam and a Saaruk kaan padam. Add Rohit shitty also. So leave brain, liver, logic, kidney & all home firstu. The movie is not an aruvai like 'Ra.Ayyayo One' or 'Jab tak hai Javvu' but that does not make this an epic film. 

The film is a cardboard version of all Tamizh and telugu masala films which include Ghilli, Chandramukhi, Muthu, a dozen MGR films etc. Ya there is some Sivaji Ganesan type acting also by Saarugaan in the end. 


Bockwass express - Tamizh cinema vaazhga ! 2.5/5

(Now if someone could please tell me why these Naarth Indians were laughing so much in the theatre. Total entertainment happened looking at them loffing lyk anything)