Starring: Ravi Krishna, Sharvanand, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Tejashree, Nasser, Ilavarasu, Crazy Mohan.

Direction: Ilankannan

Music: Mani sharma, E.S.Murthy, Vidyasagar

Production: Raj Television Network

Kadhalna Summa Illa; the title might suggest a love story that is strong in its emotional content. But, the movie is much more than just love. It is also about a man who discovers life as it should be during his quest for love. Even though this is basically about a man who falls in love with a woman, there is very little romance in it as we see in regular movies and that is what makes Kadhalna Summa Illa, a remake of the Telugu hit Gamyam, different.
Telugu actor Sarvanand debuting in Tamil (also part of the Telugu original) plays a millionaire who knows very little about the realities of life. He lives in a world of his own which consists mostly of over the top partying and similar stuff. A typical spoilt brat, one might think. But he seems truly smitten when he sees Kamalinee Mukherjee (also part of the Telugu original), it is like some part of him wants to change for the better. But as he discovers, Kamalinee is poles apart from him in terms of background, upbringing and lifestyle.

She is someone who believes in serving society and is quite active in this direction, and he sees no way to woo her but to take up her cause as his own. Even if unwillingly, he does. And gets quite close with her. But his past comes back to haunt his present and Kamalinee is quite upset, and she leaves him for good. He is not able to sleep easy after that; he wants to find her out and claim her back and his journey in search of her takes him through the many colors of life. He sees many people, one of whom is played by Ravikrishna (played by Naresh in the original), who is a petty thief but helps him honestly in the search for his love.

The film is an honest execution of a neat script. The director, Ilangkannan, has not felt it necessary to fill in any commercial ingredients like duets, and rightly so. What makes the movie different is its theme itself: a man’s journey through life. There is no opposition to his love, there is no regular villain in the movie, it’s just a man’s destiny that takes him through many experiences. And, there are a couple of very good messages. At a point in the movie, the hero and his friend come upon a group of naxalites, an incident which ends in a shootout with the police. The naxalites claim to be fighting for the peoples’ cause, but the director has managed to convey effectively that they have chosen the wrong path. The movie also shows how the rich and prosperous can make themselves much more valuable to society.

Performances are competent throughout the movie. Sarvanand is apt for the role and does his part neatly, having played the same character once before. Kamalinee does what is required but one feels there is a lot more in her than what she has delivered. Her look is inconsistent throughout the movie.

The surprise packet however is Ravikrishna. Many doubts have been raised about his abilities but he proves that he is not as wooden as many think he is. All he needs is good opportunities. The scene stealer is M.S. Bhaskar. Appearing in just one scene, he makes the most memorable moments of the movie, recreating with aplomb what Brahmanandam had done in the original.

Technically, there is not much that can be said about the movie, the music is just about average. Even with all the positives, the movie has its innate limitations that do not allow more than a certain level of liberty to spruce up proceedings. It is not a regular entertainer, but it is definitely a good attempt that won’t disappoint you if you are not intent on a full-length commercial movie.

Raj TV must be commended for showing the courage to venture into film making with such a project and more so for releasing it amid high competition. However, one fears that the movie could find it very hard to survive, given the opposition that it faces.

Verdict – Kadhalna Summa Illa: Worth a watch for Pongal

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Villu Movie Review

January 12, 2009

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Villu movie is as usual a treat for all vijay fans. But for others..??? Check out the review here

Silambattam Movie Review

December 19, 2008

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Starring: Silambarasan, Sneha, Sana Khan, Prabhu, Santhanam

Direction: Saravanan

Music: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Production: Lakshmi Movie Makers Limited

Silambarasan’s Christmas gift is here; so how good is the gift, or is it a gift at all? The answer depends a lot on your preferences and tastes. The director had vouched pre-release that he had made a full length entertainer and he has given everything that he believes towards making one. The intentions are spot on, but as the saying goes ‘small good deeds are better than large good intentions’ and it is the deeds of the director that we are interested in, we don’t doubt his intentions.

Silambattam is about retribution, an oft repeated theme in Tamil cinema and a very regular element of Silambarasan starrers. It is all about the feuds within a family that take on unmanageable proportions and result in death and despair for many. An extended family in a village is leading a happy and united existence. The head of the family is a much loved man in the village and in his last days he leaves a large chunk of his property for the welfare of his villagers. Most of the family is happy to abide by the decision of their godfather, but there are factions that believe that the old man has shown more largesse than is agreeable and decide to oppose it. Push comes to shove and the inevitable sickle takes center stage. As many members of the family are killed, some of them make off with their lives, never to return. But destiny brings back one boy to his roots and when he learns of what has passed, then retribution is the only thing on his mind.

The director has admitted that the plot is not novel. Well, we don’t expect a path breaker either. The director has handled the story and screenplay and while it cannot be denied that the plot and the script do show signs of promise and potential, the ultimate realization has been found wanting. Somehow, one gets the feeling of an opportunity that has been wasted. The narration is not sound, though it is difficult to put one’s finger on exactly what the weaker points are, lack of application on the director’s part seems to be the culprit here.

Silambarasan has turned in a whole hearted performance. Appearing in two roles for the second time in his career, he makes good use of the scope provided. His role as the villager in the ‘flashback’ mode must be appreciated, especially his combination with Sneha who also has managed to make an impact with a limited role. Their chemistry is surprisingly good, with machan machan song having come out really well. Sana Khan, paired with the present day Silambarasan, has been largely sidelined by the main plot. Then there is the seasoned Prabhu, the able Kishore, the veterans Nedumudi Venu, Nirosha, Yuvarani etc. But in spite of having such a cast at his disposal, the director has failed to make an impact in many scenes. The talent of these artistes cannot be doubted, the fault has to be with way they were utilized. Santhanam and Karunas shoulder the comedy in the flashback and current modes respectively. There are certain lewd and at times unsavory dialogues that have been passed off as comedy, definitely in bad taste. But Karunas salvages pride for the comedy department with interestingly devised comic situations which blend in with the plot.

Highlights of the movie are undoubtedly Silambarasan’s dance skills and the foot tapping tunes. Silambarasan does not disappoint, nor does Yuvan. The Machan Machan song in Ilaiyaraja’s voice is a delight while ‘Where’s the party’ is a typically trendy pub number, thoroughly enjoyable. The action sequences too have been crafted well. But one gets the feeling that director Saravanan has relied too heavily on these elements to carry the weight of the movie, while the execution of a fairly good plot has left a lot to be desired though there are certain scenes (few and far in between) that reflect the director’s ability. Saravanan fails to join the list of cinematographers turned successful directors.

Overall, Silambattam is not a bad product, but it could have been a lot better had it not been for the lackluster handling. At the box office, Silambarasan fans might not feel let down by the content and regular additives, but when it comes down to the others, it’s a bit of touch and go. Saravanan, Silambarasan and the rest of the Silambattam team will have to wait and watch.

Verdict – Silambattam – Nothing special

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Starring: Nana Patekar, Arjun, Kajal Agarwal

Direction: Bharathiraja

Music: Himesh Reshammiya

Production: Therkathi Kalai Koodam

No white-gowned and winged fairies, no sugary sweet songs posing as interludes, no emotional turmoil of brother-sister or love struck couples. Bharathiraja’s Bommalattam is not what is usually expected out of the legendary director who delivered such fairy tale romances and intense movies with powerhouse performances. Instead, it’s a riveting and fast-paced suspense thriller set in the backdrop of the film industry. Not that the turf is new to Bharathiraja whose thriller Tik Tik Tik is still considered to be one of the most-watched pulp movies of his period.
Bharathiraja’s skill at crafting watertight screenplay is evident as the movie travels at jet pace without a moment of sluggishness in the narrative. Besides, the narrative is smart that is capable of holding the suspense quotient until the truth is unfurled on its own during the course of the movie.

Much can’t be revealed about the movie’s plot as it would be unfair; since the movie’s watching pleasure largely lies on the idea that the viewer is not informed beforehand – as is the case with most of the suspense thrillers.

The movie follows the murder and investigation of Nana Patekar’s crew members. Nana plays a renowned film director whose crew members are murdered in immediate succession. CBI is summoned for investigation and the truth unravels revealing the identity of the murderer – in the due course scoring out the prime suspects one by one.

Bommalattam also provides an insider’s look into the world of cinema. Nana asks the female lead of his movie for an ‘emerging out of the sea’ scene. However she refuses reasoning that her pedicure was done recently and the salt water could damage her cuticles. After much prodding she agrees but with a condition – she will wet her feet only in bottled mineral water. Same way, Vivek and Manivannan’s characters also tell a lot about the menaces a crew has to face during outdoor shoots.

Nana’s acting needs no elucidation – he fits perfectly into the shoes of a patient director, who is exasperated at the snootiness of his film’s lead and devastated at the murder of his allies. Arjun plays an intelligent and neat CBI officer and delivers a subtle performance, quite atypical of his usual deliver-a-kick-and-leap-into-the-air roles.

The songs Va Va Thalaiva and Check Check proclaims Himesh’s prowess in tuning catchy numbers. Mandy’s background score deserves a special mention, especially for its subtlety. Kannan’s camera captures the proceedings in perfect angles and assists in enhancing the movie’s flow.

On the downside, the movie largely seems to cater to the Hindi speaking audience – given the locale and the milieu in which it is set. Irregular lip-sync of actors also reveal that the movie is in fact dubbed into Tamil after having been shot in Hindi directly.

All said and done, Bommalattam is a perfectly crafted and executed investigative thriller. The surprise factor being Bharathiraja’s tautly woven screenplay – it negates the chance of tedium, even for a fraction of a second.

Verdict – Bommalattam – Hold on to your seats!

Kadhalil Vizhundhen Review

September 27, 2008

After all the Nakka Mukka hype, it is time for Kadhalil Vizhundhen, the movie to stand up on its merits and be counted. It is a movie full of debutants, made by the youth for the youth. The title itself indicates a theme that rides on romance, the trailers have shown that there is a fair share of action and drama and one need not elaborate more on the popularity of the music, a commercial mix. But it is not the commercial mixes but the neat presentation that makes a movie do well in theaters.

The theme of Kadhalil Vizhundhen is not something very novel, but the director has taken care that things do not get boring at any point of time. At the outset, the movie is the regular boy meets girl, love blossoms, three duets, villain enters, fights, drama and a climax fare, but the sequence of events and the characters make the movie interesting to watch. The hero, Nakul, is one with a disturbed past, a childhood that was marred by the loss of one parent and the callousness of another; he has to work hard to get himself an education. His passion for fast bikes is what makes him fall (literally) in love with heroine, Sunaina. The sequences of events that lead to the blossom of romance are highly cinematic but undeniably enjoyable. As expected, the romance which is separated by a wide socio-economic gulf does not find acceptance. Then, there seems to be more to the opposition than just social status and other regular factors. Is there some conspiracy afoot with larger and more sinister goals? The answer to all these questions awaits you in theaters.

The director has maintained a consistent tempo from start to finish, with some scenes making a definite impact like the one where the police inspector, played by Sampath gets the rough end of the stick from Nakul and also the scene where a rather petrified Livingston too faces the same treatment – the scene evokes amusement. Heroine Sunaina has done what is required of her. But the stand out performance is by Nakul, actress Devayani’s younger brother. At first one may find it difficult to believe that this is the same boy who rolled about with his plump body in Boys. Five years down the line, the transformation is extraordinary. He has tried his hand in Telugu in the interim, you hear. Here, he looks perfect hero material, be it in the songs, fights or scenes; the hard work shows as he delivers an energetic performance. This guy has definitely got a future in Tamil cinema. The surprise packet in the cast is Saimira Venkat who makes a one scene cameo which makes us wonder whether he can start a career as an actor.

Technically, Kadhalil Vizhundhen rises above the standards that we generally see for a debutant venture. Camera and editing have done a world of good to the movie. But the single largest factor here seems to be Vijay Antony who has simply turned it on with his musical score. Apart from the foot-thumping Nakka Mukka, Thozhiya En Kadhaliya and Un Thailamudi make a good impact, hats off and keep up the great work.

Overall, Kadhalil Vizhundhen is a movie that deals with a regular theme in a refreshing manner. Debutant director G.V. Prasad has understood perfectly the requirements of the script. He has taken quite a few cinematic liberties but has handled all of them well which keep boredom or ridicule well at bay. Great work for a debutant. Kadhalil Vizhundhen has introduced to Tamil cinema a talented director and a young hero who has all that it takes to go the distance.

At the box office there is no doubt about the target audience, the youth of all classes. They are most likely to enjoy this one to the fullest, especially the love struck ones. With the marketing led by Sun TV, the movie stands great chances of making it big at the box office.