Sunday, June 26, 2011


It is not easy to narrate a story in 30 seconds. Ad film-making involves filming 'picture perfect' shots with colour coordinated costumes, sets and fitting music. Don't know why, but most ad film makers who, after making hugely popular advertisement films, 'goat' adichify in their first attempt when they jump to the silver screen to direct movies. Jayendra with a 'Just pass' joins this long list that includes ad film makers turned movie directors Abhinay Deo, Mahesh Mathai and so on...


Mano (Siddharth) in his mid 20s, comes to Chennai and decides to stay with Mouli & Geetha for six months as their paying guest. He is your typical Tamizh hero from Chennai - nallavan, vallavan, caring-aanavan, wears checked shirt over t shirt, rides bike, helps the underprivileged and all that. Vidya (Nithya Menen) a young photo journalist falls for him chasing him around in her Scooty. These two have coffee, do social service, hang around and all, together. Cut to Mano's flash back in San Francisco when he was Ajay a.k.a AJ in love with a girl who looks under 20 - Renuka (Priya Anand). Why did Ajay become Mano, leave his sweetheart and come to Chennai is what the supposed story is about.

'70 & '80

Long long ago, so long ago in the Tamizh films of 80s, kaamedy scenes with heroine meant she changing her voice , imitating hero and others, speaking on the phone. And to impress taaikkulam, this 'bubbly', 'youthful' heroine would speak to the hero's parents / mother in his voice. Can you imagine in this day and age, we have such scenes in hep films like 180 where Priya Anand does this not once, not twice but 3-4 times and tests your patience?

K Balachander's films usually have scenes where two people talk to each other with exaggerated muga baavams. This would usually happen as one character questions and the other answers (like esa-p-paattus). Geetha, aptly cast for this scene uses her Muga Bhaavam singing and asking Siddharth some questions and he answers. Shabaaaa!

When was the last time you cried in the theater when you saw a hero / heroine say "Enakku Cancer/ TB!"? Ninaithale Inikkum? Payanangal Mudivadillai? In 180, when we hear Siddharth say "Enakku cancer!" serious ROFL happens. C'mon I say ! The story is about Siddharth's 'cancer' and he wanting to 'life live the fullest' and wants to see his sweetheart happy or some such thing - Idayathai Tirudade rerereloaded!


Think Maniratnam. Think Revathi in Mouna Raagam. Girija in Idhayathai Tirudade. Madhubala in Roja. 'Bubbly' 'Youthhhu' 'Cheerful' Nithya Menen in 180. She walks into Siddharth's pad and tells him "idudan enakku unkitta pidichirukku" and more importantly says "Eeei Eeei" like Revathi. Director Saar, yenna, Madras Talkies Mogamo?

Hero hears a particular song in the background with the heroine around especially via his stethoscope . Ore da 90s hangover. Only solace. It is 'Pudu vellai mazhai' :-) and not a 'Tandanee Tandaane' like in Venkat Prabhu's films.


Bye bye dubbing voices. A new trend - both the heroines have dubbed their own voices. But unfortunately they speak with a heavy accent that is so associated with the girls of Stella Maris / WCC. You speak to any pucca Tamizh ponnu from the above colleges and they will speak Tamizh with a Nuni-naaku , vague accent ignoring the presence of periya suzhi 'Na', 'La'. Looks like hep assistant director girls of the director trained the heroines in their diction. Teriyardu.


out of 100 for Siddharth. He is a very honest actor and gives his fullest. But he is also a wannabe Kamalagassan. In this film, although he has done his best, I wasn't too convinced with his performance. May be it was the mismatch with Priya Anand who looked much younger than him, may be it's 'coz Siddharth looks neither a chocolate boy nor a dashing early 30s dude, may be it was his vague should-I-look-happy-or-unhappy expression..Slight disappointment happened.


out of 100 for

I. The styling, songs and look of the film. Without being over the top and extra colorful, Balasubramaniem's cinematography is very pleasant. The film travels from Varanasi to Chennai to the USA and the D.O.P has made it all look super. The makeup (Banu. Shiva, Gopi) is neat and costumes (Komal Shahani),ultra cool. On the music front, 'Nee Korinaal' is a beautiful song. 'Rules' has been shot in 1500 fps and it clearly shows these guys have put in a lot of effort in composing and filming it. Composer Sharreth (who is a regular judge in all reality shows) could have avoided composing & singing the Azerbeijanik number. What are you trying to prove Saar? That you are a Sagalakalaa vallavan? Pleej.

II. Nithya Menen (minus Tamizh accent) who thankfully does not look like a todappakuchi like these Bombay imports actors. If she chooses her films wisely, she's here to stay in Kollywood.


out of 100 for testing our patience. Though this film did not get me twiddling my thumbs or look at the watch a hundred times like some films in the past did, it did test the patience a lot. The scenes were long with a we-have-seen-this-before feel, the dialogues boring and some sequences and characters (Mother's death, little kid in the restaurant, karuppu 'Death' man) didn't make any sense. All one wanted to know was the story. Full build-up enna, phoren location enna, but no story. Why God Why?

Final score

Full ela(i) meals in front of you - Rasam, Koottu, Aviyal, Vadai, Payasam (Locations, Cinematography, Heroine, Music...) etc etc and when you taste it all, you realize you have been served 'jora(m) saapadu' - Bland and Boring.

Nootrenbadu - Poraadu - 2.5 out of 5

Saturday, June 18, 2011


" Kandippa inda padathukku Hero-vukku award kedaikkum" - the Pillayar suzhi/ Om sakthi / 'Bodyguard Muneeswaran Tunai' in the first page of director Bala's bound script (was there one?) was replaced by this particular line, me thinks.

Award director Bala set out to make Pithamagan part 2 with the same sembatta tala hero, heroines who fall in love with odavaakarai heroes, over the top characters, kutthu dance, old songs in the background for feel, adding more kaamedy, one mega death,super opppaaaari and that he, his team and ofcourse Hero saar get Awaardu. But what's the point? We need something called a STORY for a film illaya Bala Saar?


Walter Vanangamudi (Vishal) & Kumbudren Saami (Arya) are step brothers who don't get along. Their mothers who are sakkalathis are seen screaming at each other forever with mega kevalamaana expletives. There is one wasteu Jameendar (G M Kumar) who is the step brothers' father figure of sorts. Walter is passionate about acting and Kumbudaren is a petty thief. Interval block. Post interval what happens is... well.. er.. the story is.. er..we reach Vanakkam, Subham, a film by Bala etc etc.


Vishal's character has feminine qualities untypical of a man and he has put in his best. Very good performance - so untypically Vishal (you know what I mean). His intro kutthattam is very well choreographed. Nothing great about Arya's performance. But sadly both characters are overly caricature-ish and they have nothing in them that draws you towards them

Aval-Ival, Ambiga & others

Constable Baby (Janani Iyer) is Walter's lover. Themozhi (Madhu Shalini) is paired opposite Arya. There is something seriously wrong with these women characters. There is no reason for them to fall in love with these cartoon heroes. These two ladies just like their guys float around aimlessly.

Ambiga plays Vishal's beedi-pidiching mother. Own dubbing. Clap Clap. Big achievement after kuppa kotting in the industry for more than three decades. One more clap for her acting.

Golt actresses have one typical looku. You see Prabha Ramesh, playing Arya's mother. You see all Golt Amma actresses like Vanishri types. Ore jerox with big eyes putting NTR type expression. And I have one important question to Kollywood. Whoever decided to cut off Ambiga's lauvvly front curls in her hair? Kalai-drogis.

And there is also Airtel Super Singer pugazh Ananth Saar with his semi-mallu accent trying to pass off as a gramathu Appa of the brothers (Palakkad is Mallu wonly, so all Mallus don't jump with full veeram and say "He is Palakkad, not Mallu"). Not working.


Suchitra Chandrabose's choreography in Vishal's intro Kuttaattam is sooper ! But didn't get the point of a kuttaattam every ten minutes. Actually I get the point. No story and hence put Saavu aattam. If there was no dance there was toilet humour. Crass. Can't blame the director. Makkal laugh at the very mention of things associated with human excreta. Yuck.

As far as most of the other jokes, felt Kalakka-p-povadu yaaru script writers did a much better job.

And I guess the 'M____' word is officially part of the 'ok' list of our Censor board. I hear it in all Tamizh films these days. Vaalga tameel! Valarga kalaacharam!

Arthur Wilson's cinematography makes you fall in love with Tenkasi, Kuttralam and other locations.

Yuvan Shankar Raja, the hottest music director around fails to deliver in the songs. Boredom happens during songs.

There is a Villain character giving severe competition to T Rajendar with his dashing persnalty and daadi. He is supposed to give menacing looks. Makkal ended up laughing in the theater for him also. He does everything a villain does in a Bala film. Kodumaya kill somebody and get killed in the end by the hero. Pah!


Bala, after filming the first half must've felt it was going nowhere and decided to rope in Surya. Infact, theater-la Surya entry-kku full applause. Surya's scene revolves around promoting Agaram foundation. At the end of this scene, Vishal does some Navarasam act of sorts. Why why why? Semma torture. This scene must've been an assistant director's contribution in the story (?) discussion. And of course the Asst. director must've said "Bala Saar, only for this scene,Vishal-ukku kandippa National award kedaikkum Saar". So makkale , be prepared! For the next one week, we are going be bombarded with Madhan, Sugasini and other TV 'jaalra' reviewers and their "Kandippa Vishal-ukku National award kedaikkum" dialaak.

And for the next one year, Vijay awards, Rani Muthu awards, Vigadan Virudus, Mylapore Academy awards, Y Gee Magendra's daughter kudukkara some award and every Virudu Vazhangara Vizha's curtain raiser on all magazines, television channels and radio stations are going to say just one thing... "Inda padathukku Vishal-ukku..."

And if they fail to give Nashional award to Vishal next year, Tamizh makkal will pongify! Watch out! I am going to start the #NationalawardforVishal trend on twitter.


The question is no longer "Ungalukku Kamal pidikkuma? Rajni pidikkuma?" The only question that is going to be of National importance henceforth is "Avan-Ivan padathoda kadhai enna?" May be Neeya Naana Gobinath should put off one special program and get cinema experts to answer this kostan.

Avan-Ivan - Losers ! - 2 out of 5