Posted in Movies, Music

Halena …

And as I typed Halena, WordPress tried to correct it to Helena.

If you know the song All rise by Blue or if you get a chance to hear it, you will know the origin of the song June Pona by Harris Jayaraj from the movie Unnale Unnale.

I am not sure if Halena is an extract from a Spanish song, it could very well be, but the tune seems to set in your head. A slow hip hopish romantic duet served Harris style is very catchy and foot tapping. Do listen !

Other songs in the album will probably take a bit of time to catch up on me, but Halena seems to rhyme in fast.

Movie: Iru Mugan by Anand Shankar. I wouldn’t underestimate this movie as Anand Shankar’s Directorial debut Arima Nambi was quite a surprise package, which moved tightly frame to frame till the end.

and it’s Vikram … Who could have missed his one man show in “I”.

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Posted in Movies, Review

Would it help ?

We have learnt about the cold war in history. But we only tried to an extent write a few paragraphs for a 10 mark question, that may be left in choice. The understandings and implications are hard when you actually see it through a movie when you grow up.

There are no weapons but even an act of a surveillance hovering around enemy territory to take pictures is an act of war. The Soviet and US during the 50s differed in their nationalist ideas and any move that they could make between each other to gain the upper hand is what it is all about. A Cold war, a war on superiority of information and knowledge over each other.

That’s it. And how worse it could feel …

Spielberg’s Bridge of spies shows the tussles of an unlikely insurance lawyer hired as a defendant for a Russian spy in the court of justice of US constitution. What is merely an eye wash to support the constitutional rights of fare trial, becomes serious. One wouldn’t understand why Jim Donovan, the protagonist (played by Tom Hanks) had to take the defense seriously, after all he is a Russian spy and not in the interest of Americans. You may come to know when he meets the Judge at his residence.

What happens next in Germany with the backdrop of the Berlin wall incident is an extremely intense drama that you may not have expected. Only Spielberg could make this, or may be Zemeckis. Tom Hanks was easily Jim Donovan without a doubt and he made all the conversations interesting. Very interesting, you can actually learn and apply these negotiation skills at work.

This movie is obviously not made for everyone, but on a patient evening with nothing bothering around you, you will like it because of the central characters and their depth surrounding the story.

Luckily, Bridge of Spies is coming up on Zee Studio HD this Aug 15th at 1PM and 9PM and I would say don’t miss it.

For the love of Spielberg and Hanks, a True story portrayed very interestingly.

Would it help ? When you watch it, you will know.

Posted in Movies, Review

Since the 80’s … Untouchable … a.k.a Kabali

Kabali is an intensely laid out gangster drama that Rajinikanth need not have acted.

And yet …

One must be wondering what went into the mind of Rajini when he selected this script. The ever shining superstar gracefully let Kabali take over the Rajini and presented the audience with something that they probably did not expect to see. It must have been a bold decision and quite a transforming one for the actor. It is relishable for some of us who liked him in more characteristic roles like Mullum Malarum and Dalapathi.

Kabali did not want to be seen as just a Robinhood style crime lord who saves and protects his folks, but he was seen as the yearning one. The one who lost his life that he loved before becoming the Gangster. The longing and anticipation intensifies on the news of his wife and daughter. Kabali takes over Rajini fully in such scenes. The sighs, the facial expressions and ultimately the walk into the field and letting out oneself and the final
reunion was totally off the Rajini charts. In fact there was no Rajini and only kabaleeswaran, not even the Kabali, original Gangster.

Ranjith’s intention was clear enough to not just show the Gangster, but to show more of the man behind and the family he sought in a social setting in Malaysia. Commendable.

Background scores are usually tailored for Rajini’s presence but Santhosh Narayanan clearly wanted to stand out with the slow themes of Vaanam parthen, The romance with Maya nadhi tunes and ultimately the heavy guitar riffs for the Gangster Kabali. None of them had Rajini signature and they were wonderful and fresh in that way for
Rajini and Kabali. The Kabali Swag goes top notch on the Roof top party when Kabali walks in. Can I get a separate CD for the BGMs alone please ? I would buy one for the retail price if available.

Ranjith has used the Supporting cast from his previous movies Atta Kathi and Madras, but they were no more than a long cast shadow that disappears in the evening sun. None of them touched and were probably over shadowed by the importance of the central characters. Tony and Kishore were not a matching Villians for Kabali, as much as Anthony was for Baasha. Yogi was a surprise and Radhika apte acted naturally through her eyes.

Above all, Rajinikanth comes out with an epitome of acting, not satisfying the regular punch dialogue loving fans, but more for the fan base who loved him through movies like Dalapathi. It is evidently natural that Rajini shed Rajini, in every scene. After all, it is not in every movie that Rajini gets beaten, injured, shot at, over and over. Not at all.

Ranjith did well with Rajini. A Gangster drama that Rajini need not have acted and yet Ranjith made it to stay strong only through Rajini. A Paradoxical non-blunder.

Kabali, to be watched again after the Rajinism expectations fizzle out, to understand and enjoy the real story behind.

Spoiler: It was only logical for the lawmakers to strike at the root. After all, It was under the good natured human, Tamilnesan that the Gangsters of Good and Evil formed and it is only going to be of the same way under Kabali as well. It was not a choice but more of the right action that had to be taken. Tiger became the unsuspecting pawn for the last frame.

 

Posted in Movies

Vishwaroopam

Kamal Hassan is a creative and intelligent artist with a large ego. I am a fan of his more humble counterpart and his friend, Rajinikanth. But Kamal Hassan is supposed to be this way. He is one of the very few artists that India has produced who has been keeping up with the recent trends in technologies and happenings around the world to make his movie appealing and of fine quality. He is one of those film makers who can test the limits of audience acceptance right from the science fiction spy action thriller Vikram, which was released at the wrong time to a bewildered audience  till Viswaroopam which merely portrays the story with a bit of recent history in the background.

After a completely dissatisfying experience from a 10 times egoistic Dasavatharam, I expected the least from Viswaroopam. The trailers showed a glimpse of what may be and the protests and ban fueled my curiosity to watch the movie. I would have watched it anyway but the drama that unfolded in the news over the movie’s concerns from a political group only increased my curiosity to watch.

Viswaroopam was unlike any of Kamal’s earlier movies but you can definitely see how Kamal blends the scenes as he has done before, with the right amount of thrill, story flow, dialogues, humor and continuity of the movie. The drama and intensity of the story is kept intact as you would follow the movie closely with every scene, trying to connect, a characteristic of any Hollywood action thriller. Thank god there are no dampening songs which may be why he chose Shankar Ehsaan Loy to just score the background soundtrack focussing only on the close knit screen play.

It is of no doubt that he has chosen the highest quality technicals in visuals and sound, which makes it a must to watch on big screen. It would be useless to watch it from a pirated copy or even DTH and cannot be enjoyed fully. If Kamal is any wise of a businessman which he has proved time and again, I would see him release the blu ray copy (perhaps the uncut version) right around the corner when he plans his Part 2 release. May be he can go further by releasing a HD digital copy of the movie in iTunes. But honestly I don’t know what this movie will keep after 7 cuts and a few mutes for the folks in Tamil nadu. It may also be a warning sign for other states folks to watch it before they may make these cuts spread to the other states as well.

As with all Kamal movies, in the objective of glorifying the character that Kamal plays the other characters become perceived a bit shallow, except the villain of course. I was left to feel in the end that this movie may not need a second part and may have been finished utilizing the space of certain draggy second half scenes. It could have helped the pace of the screenplay as well. But nevertheless I am now curious to see part 2 and hope he releases it within a couple of months.

Viswaroopam. Thrills.

Posted in Movies

Kadal

The story of Good conquering evil is perhaps the easiest and most traditional of the stories to tell. But portraying the depth and intensity of the Devil that arises out of deprivation and desperation is not something that is usually told. In fact the good is glorified only in the hands of a strong evil. It is probably the drama of realization of the good that the good subconsciously unveils the evil and lets it take over, while it fights its way back, but not by killing. Because it is supposed to be the way of the good that it is more forgiving than killing, that even the purest of the evil cannot fight the tiniest ray of light and that the evil begins to vanish and transform by trying to fight the tiny ray of light.

Kadal is a story of a wild swing into the deepest level of the devil and a transformation into good by a simple and significant ray of forgiving light.

The strength of the movie lies in cast and portrayal of the main protagonists. It gets more exciting to watch Arjun play the devil than it is to watch Arvindswamy play the divine. Kadal is the Manirathnam movie in which the characters are in their own strength and at no point it becomes aligned to being the movie of a particular star. This makes Kadal not only top class but keeps your focus on the simple yet dramatically portrayed storyline.

Kadal is a technical treat to the senses with beautifully composed scenes from Rajiv Menon and a sound recording that is absolutely class one. The visuals and the movement of the story board especially the climax, simply shows Manirathnam’s elegance and his thirst to differ from himself from his previous movies. The dialogues give a hint of the possible locality in Tamil Nadu but one keeps wondering how the art was set and where would this location be. It gives a hint that it could be artificially set for the movie and yet it looks normal and natural. Songs fall in place appropriately to remind us that it is a regional tamil movie but when it is AR Rahman, Rajiv Menon and Manirathnam, you enjoy it is a wholesome package.

Kadal. Depth.

 

Posted in Movies

Oh Veera!

Dan dan dan dan dan danakka!

There are five dan’s in Raavanan’s dandanakka chanting. Raavanan is a roller coaster ride of emotions, of the audience who are feverishly trying to find out who is the real Raavanan. Mani is a beautiful essayer of People’s emotions. When it comes to putting it together visually through the actors, the light, set and the music, he is a master. Raavanan is exactly that and much more and some less.

MUCH MORE:

It is a story revolving around 3 powerful characters. Dev the cop, who doesn’t give up and who wants to “encounter” everything related to Veera. Veera, the tribal leader who has 10 screaming heads in him, that of good and bad (and also one head chanting dandanakka). Ragini the ‘classy’cal dancer who becomes the target of Veera and who begins to see the two men from different perspectives.

It moves from what we would normally perceive as a fight between good and evil and associate them to people. Dev being good and Veera being bad. But very soon as the story unfolds in the background of beautiful forest landscape, the perspective of the story gets tilted in favor of Veera. Veera’s life, his people, his family, their sufferings and the justice that he seeks for them against oppression. As the story moves towards the end, the line blurs and you won’t know what is good and what is bad and who is good and who is bad. Everything merges and what you see is just events happening like a chain reaction.

The visuals and art work are stunning. Perhaps Mani’s best picturisation till date. Vikram rocks as Veera. It stopped me from even considering to watch the Hindi version, as I really doubted whether Abi could match his performance. (It seems to be so, as I am seeing bad reviews of the Hindi Raavan) Prithviraj’s Dev was quite a surprise. His portrayal of a cold blooded cop reaches its heights when he smiles as he shoots Veera and his brother. Aish was beautiful as a daring woman with growing softness for Veera and reaches her peak when she fights Veera in a slow background of “Kattusirukki”.

SOME LESS:

Beyond these three characters, Karthik as Hanuman and Prabhu as Kumbakarna seem to have been wasted a little bit, although they did their part well. In my opinion I feel Karthik needed a much more screen time to assert the role of Hanuman. There were some loose ends and abrupt moments in the screenplay when Karthik appears as a surprise where Aish is being Hidden by Veera and when Aish just stops the train and walks out in search of Veera, easily giving away the prize money to Dev. It was difficult to digest them in an otherwise tightly written script.

Raavanan is a treat to Mani’s fans. But I really wished Mani could have made just Raavanan and focused on it alone. We are missing “the Mani” ever since he started putting one foot in Bolly and one foot in Kolly. Perhaps this is the reason for the few minor discrepancies that I had described. I am not an expert to say this though.

Also, for god sakes, please begin putting OST like Hollywood. The background score is just awesome, too bad I can’t have them in my iPod. Is someone listening to this? Do you feel they should do this?

Alright that’s it, let me stop my buk buk buk buk buk!

Posted in Movies

Why this Woman?

Of all the woman, why did I fall in love with you?

says Karthik. I bet, a lot of those who are in love with a complicated woman will say just this. The entire movie “Vinnaithandi Varuvaya” rides on this expression and the drama resulting from this. The expression should not be mistaken for the boy’s frustration. It is an expression of pain resulting from unbounded love for the woman. Certainly, the expression itself is unbounded and is probably the only way to convey this unexplainable feeling. This is why, every important character in the movie, repeats this dialogue at key frames in the movie.

The Director was excellent in creating situations that would cause this pain, be it Jessie’s father or her brother or herself or even himself. Every scene inadvertently makes us feel “Of all the woman, why did Karthik fall in love with Jessie?”

A Simple Love story. People like simple stories with just a few complicated characters and in this one, it is just one complicated girl Jessie, the woman who pulls Karthik at first sight. Gautham Menon picks a simple story but excels in the way it is being told. Karthik and Jessie are intensely portrayed making the audience feel exactly what they feel, with the right expression, right words, right locations, right light and the right background score. No patched up scenes at all. Everything was fluent with the screen play and fit in very nicely. Excellent editing.

Simbu and Trisha have lived the story. They did not just act. Kudos to Gautham again for that, especially for bringing such a stuff out of Simbu. Even the one single fight scene was very captivating. No Simbuism, but just some realistic Boxing. After a long time I am really enjoying a fight sequence, as it didn’t have any stupid rope tricks.

The only other character that probably plays a major part was Ganesh as Ganesh the Cinematographer (from Kaaka Kaaka) himself. He lighted the moments with good humor and was a nice catalyst to the story’s pace. It was a really good idea to keep this character this way.

AR Rahman’s music goes beyond the skies. The audio when I first listened to, felt like just another ARR album. But when you watch the movie in a theatre with the flow of the story, the characters and the scene, ARR’s music becomes mind-blowing. Half of the scene’s intensity is conveyed in it. It pulls you halfway in the feeling and the rest of the elements soak you in completely. My favourite song is Aaromale and the background score based on that song.

This movie cannot be reviewed quantitatively. It cannot be given any percentage of marks or stars. You just have to go, watch and feel what the characters feel. Halfway through the movie, I told my wife, I want to fall in love with her all over again. That is review enough for an unbounded feel of love, that can cross the skies. The last time it caused a similar feeling would be for Alaipayuthey from almost a decade back.

Watch it once, watch it again and again and then buy the DVD and put it in your collection.

I did not know when I would come back again to blogging. Well, here I am. I guess this movie made me cross the cyber skies!

Edit: I guess there are 2 endings being shown for this movie. I watched at Innovative Multiplex in Bangalore and my friend had watched at the Forum Value mall, and we both saw different endings.