Archive for the ‘Movies’ category

Ad screening at cinemas delays movie

December 10th, 2012
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

 I’m sure regular moviegoers have faced this issue countless times. We are bombarded with various ads (either commercial, public service or government based) while waiting for movies to start. At times it can go own for about 10 – 15 minutes. So movie starts late and ends late. Similar with the writer’s experience below, I usually watch movies at GSC. Does TGV or other operators run many ads before screening?


Movies have always been my favourite pastime, be it on television or in theatres. The last two movies I watched were ‘The Expendables 2? and ‘Taken 2?. I caught Expendables 2 in Kota Kinabalu and Taken 2 in Mid Valley, both theatres operated by Golden Screen Cinemas.

While the watching the movie itself was fun, the part where they delayed the screening by 15 minutes is a no no for me! Both movies started the screening well beyond the stated time, as the were loads of advertisement going on.

Right from Samsung’s new projector phone to the small KFC chicks and our Colonel struggling to open the theatre door to let the chicks enter. It was further joined by housing developers advertisement.

Now, this is not a free screening theatre as all of cinema-oers are paying for it. I don’ mind if the advertisements run before the screening time but to continue playing it beyond the stated time, is a rip off!

Is there any regulation that addresses this problem or only this specific cinema operator is doing it? As far as I know, other cinema operators don’t behave like this. I hope someone can look into this.


Tamil Movies 2011

January 17th, 2012
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

2011 was not a productive year in terms of number of movies I managed to catch either on cinema or TV. Hectic schedule forced me to skip many movies, thus this review would be limited. As usual, a plethora of Tamil movies were released in 2011 (ABOUT 135!), culminating in Mambatiyyan (Prashanth), Osthe (Simbu) and Rajapattai (Vikram) in the December 2011.

Here’s a very brief review of the movies I managed to watch (alphabetical order) up to 31 Dec 2012:

180 (Nootrenbathu) – Stars Siddarth, Priya Anand, Nithya Menen, Mouli and Geetha. Within 1st 15 minutes, you could guess the plot. The hero, Siddarth, keep mentioning, “only 6 months” and you can related it to some illness (6 months = 180 days, hence title of the movie). The first song is reminiscent of Boys song (slow-motion).  Siddarth comes back to Tamil Nadu from elsewhere, and lives a happy-go-lucky life from a rented portion of a house (owned by husband and wife, Mouli and Geetha). Nithya Menen is a photographer who take his photo accidentally, and then becomes attracted to him. Overall the songs are quite nice. There’s some flashback scene to give us an idea of the hero’s history. Some of the scenes look like ads, and rightly because the director is a well known ad-maker. Be warned that movie moves slowly. The story has a twist at the one hour mark when Nithya confesses her love, and the hero moves out the next day. Along the way, heroine gets into an accident, and hero reveals himself to be a doctor. Heroine is taken to US for a surgery, and flashback continues. We learn that hero is already married and was diagnosed with a disease. Not wanting his wife to suffer over his slow impending death, he pretends to commit suicide and goes to India (which is the present time story). While the heroine is recuperating after surgery in US hospital, he checks up on his wife from afar. She seems to be continuing with her life. His friend convinces him to return to his wife. The hero sends off the heroine back to India, and explaining in a letter that he doesn’t have feeling for her. As he was about to meet his wife,  a haunting figure that keeps popping up (Death?) scares him. He leaves, with the contented feeling that his wife is happy without him. The movie ends with hero going to Brazil. He lives each day as it comes.  A twist in the ending, but ultimately it falls flat because he lives longer than 6 months, and doesn’t want to get second opinion from other doctors to reevalute his condition.

7am Arivu– arguably one of the most hyped movies of 2011 and the reviews been mixed between excellent and below expectation. Starring Surya, introducing Shruti Haasan to Tamil cinema,  Ashwin Kakumanu along with Vietnamese actor/stunt director Johnny Tri Nguyen, its directed by AR Murugadoss. The movie is quite long and nearly 2 hours and 45 mins, thus some scenes were a drag. Songs were OK but reminded me of Ayan and Varanam Ayiram. The sad song by SPB is nice. Story is historical and sci-fi thriller, about a monk/prince from Tamil Nadu who went to China to help the people there. He was the famous Bodhi darman, founder of Shaolin temple. The story continues in modern day where China plans to attack India via biowar using their agent (Johnny) and a researcher’s (Shruti) work on Bodhi Darman’s ancestral lineage may disrupt the Chinese governments plans. Surya acts as Bodhidarman and also his descendant a circus artist. Rest of the story is how the duo team up to stop Johnny’s plan. Movie had plenty of dialogues promoting Tamil civilisation, and that seems to attract many viewers. Stunts were OK but sometimes felt like overdone. Actors all acted well, but I felt Johnny was too robotic and emotionless, while Shruti’s voice seems to struggle to speak in Tamil. Expectation was high for the movie but just felt like something lacking. Still, a commendable effort and worth watching. Read my review here.

Aadu Puli – I had big hopes on Aadi after Eeram, but this movie was a disappointment. Typical romance and fighting movie involving corrupt politicians and gangsterism. Also stars Poorna, Prabu.

Aadukalam – My pick of top movie for 2011 at the moment is this one. Starring Dhanush, GM Kumar, Taapsee and Kishore. Story about cock-fighting community. Touching, comedic, bumbling romance. Must watch. Only thing is that heroine was a bit bland.

Avan Ivan – A comedy movie starring Vishal, Arya, Janani Iyer, Madhu Shalini, Ambiga, GM Kumar and cameo by Surya. Directed by Bala, it was one of the anticipated movies of 2011. Vishal acted well, but Arya’s scope was smaller. Every character played their role well. One of the better movies of 2011.

Doo – Starring newcomers Sanjay, Manasa and Nakshatra, along with Rajesh, Oorvasi, Jegan and few others. The story is about a boy whose love is declined by a girl during school days. Years later, they meet again, and this time love blossoms. The girls proposes and they become a couple. As time goes, they find that they have more things NOT in common, and ends up breaking up. At the exact time, another girl enters the guy’s life due to an accident, and the both of them seemed more compatible. The rest of the movie is about will they get back together or will the 2nd girl get the boy.

Enggeyum Eppothum – One of the best movies of 2011. No glamour or ridiculous stunts, packed with emotion, focus on typical life. Starring Sharavand, Jai, Anjali and Ananya, along with many other characters, the story is a flashback within a flashback, intertwined with realtime event. The story unfolds spectacularly with the headlong accident between 2 buses. Then the flashback begins focusing on  the passenggers in the bus, including the 4 main characters. Jai and Anjali are lovers going back to his hometown, while Ananya secretly fell in love with Sharavand. Very touching story. All the actors did well, Ananya with her “first time in Chennai” scenes, Anjali as the bold girl who intimidates and makes fun of Jai, Jai as the soft guy.  The scenes were well taken and jive very well. The ending is also powerful. Some good songs as well, “masamma, aaru masamma”, “un peyarai theriyathu”, “sottha sottha ” which are soothing and melodious songs. The director Saravanan and actress Anjali won awards from OneIndia public poll for best director and best actress respectively.

Eththan – Vimal who acted in Pasangal and Kalavani returns in this movie which is similar to Kalavani. He acts as a youth with mimicry talents who has debts all around. Also stars 16 year old Sanusha (mute girl in Renigunta), Jayaprakash and Manobala. Vimal’s aim is to start a business, but doesn’t seem to work out. Along the way he meets a Sanusha. BTW, the story starts as a flashback as the hero and heroine escape from the heroine’s rogue uncle who is intent on marrying her.  The story picks up at the one hour mark, as in a twist the hero pawns the heroine’s jewelry to help a friend. The heroine’s uncle who owns the pawn shop thinks the hero is his niece’s lover. Has a nice song, Sivappu Thamaraiye.  Movie is comedic with some irritating and entertaining antics by the hero. If you had seen Kalavani, then this movie has similar antics. Some scenes will have you in stitches. After some sentimental scenes, the couple being chased by bad guys scenes, and typical fight scene at the end, the movie ends well.

Ilaignan – Ex-CM Karunanidhi’s movie starring PA Vijay, Meera Jasmin, Namitha, Nasser, Remya Nambeesan, Suman, Vadivelu, Sarath Babu among others. Story about tyrant businessman and how a the workers led by a energetic youth rise against him.  Keep if for a really free day.

Kaavalan – Looks like a near copy of Bodyguard. Starring Vijay, Rajkiran, Asin, Roja, Mithra Kurian, Vadivelu and others. Vijay is sent from village to town to ensure he doesn’t end up in trouble. His job is to be bodyguard to bigshot’s daughter. He falls in love with a girl who calls him on handphone, not knowing its Asin. A twist in the middle wakes up the audience from sleep. First half is typical Vijay masala and comedy. Can skip it. Second half was a better.

Kullanari Koottam – A love story between useless boy (Vishnu Vishal) and a girl from police family (Remya Nambeesan).  Girl’s father allows them to get married, if the boy gets a police job. Easy yeah? Except boy’s father totally dislikes policemen (not sure why) . Rest of the story is how he goes for police selection, befriends other candidates, and exposes corruption in police selection process. Can watch on a free day.

Kandaen – A love story starring Shantanoo Bagyaraj and Reshmi Gautham as the couple, along with Santhanam for comedy, Vijayakumar and Asish Vidyarthi. Shantanoo pretends to be blind in order to find a suitable girl for marriage. He ends up falling for Reshmi. Her father doesn’t agree to her to marry a blind. The couple plan to get register married. At the office, Shantanoo is revealed to be not blind, and the heroine is upset. He manages to convince her. She forgives him for the lie and they get engaged. Soon after that, Shantanoo gets blinded temporarily after a fight. The rest of the movies deals with how Shantanoo trying to pretend to be normal. Some  misunderstandings occur along the way before the couple patch up and Shantanoo successfully undergoes operation to cure the blindness. The movie is the typical love story, with the blind twist as an attraction. The acting is OK, but since the story is normal, nothing much to attract the audience’ attention. Can skip this movie unless you got nothing to do. Movie has song catchy tunes, with the “Narmada” song doing well. Malaysia’s Dr Burn also sang a song.

Ko – One of the anticipated movies of 2011 due to the different storyline. It stars Jeeva, Kartika Nair (80s actress Radha’s daughter), Piya Bajpai, Ajmal, Prakash Raj, and Kota Sreenivasa Rao. The story is about politics and elections. Jeeva acts as photographer with a newspaper and the two heroines are journalists. Ajmal plays a young leader of an NGO who enters the election fray. Prakash Raj is Chief Minister while Kota Sreenivasa Rao is opposition leader. We see how media helps to reveal wrongdoings of politicians, and at the same time, can be manipulated to those with wrong intentions. The storyline is a bit different, with some twists. I think the love angle actually disrupted the movie instead of enhancing it. The action thriller has some nice songs (which seems to come at wrong places), but the direction is a bit weak and editing could have been better. The leads actors did well, but some of the stunt and scenes can be better. The movie did well in the cinemas and considered a hit. Worth watching.

Mankatha – One of the much hyped and expected movies of 2011. Its Thala’s 50th movie, and personally I think it conveys a wrong message that crime does pay. Not a milestone that one would prefer. Stars a experienced and high profile ensemble – Ajith, Trisha, Arjun, Andrea, Vaibhav, Anjali, Subbu Panchu, Premgi, Jayaprakash, Lakshmi Rai, Mahat Raghavendra and Ashwin Kakumanu. Directed by Venkat Prabu and music by Yuvan. Background music and 2 songs are OK, the rest typical run of the mill songs. Lakshmi Rai seems to be making a comeback with some meaningful role. Trisha, Andrea and Anjali’s role nothing much to shout about, can say wasted role. Ajith plays a negative role with his usual mannerism to the border of irritation. Arjun and the rest did well. Story is about illegal betting industry involving cricket. A group of friend plan to rob a big sum of illegal betting money being transferred. Their plan is discovered by Ajith who joins them. The rest of the story is about double-crossing and few twists. Initial part quite draggy. Fight scenes also quite long and boring. Some loopholes in the story, but overcome by Ajith’s presence. Dialogue got plenty of references to other movies (Ajith) and also current issues. Rated 18, so not for family viewing due plenty of foul language (muted).

Maveeran – a movie dubbed from Telugu (Magadheera which was the top grossing Telugu movie in history) starring Ram Charan Tej, Kajal Aggarwal, Dev Gill and Sarath Babu.  Basically its about a 400 year old unrequited love. First 1.25 hours was ridiculously taken, with logic-defying (and unnecessary) stunts by the hero. There’s some flashback to the historical part with some nice settings. Kajal Aggarwal looked and acted as required, and did quite well. Not sure why it became a blockbuster in Telugu, as there’s nothing ultra special in the movie. Watch if if too free or if you are a fan of Ram Charan or Kajal Aggarwal.

Mayakkam Enna – Arguably one of the blockbuster for 2011, but I caught it only in 2012. Starring Dhanush and Richa Gangopadhayay, directed by Selvaraghavan. Story is about amateur photographer Dhanush who yearns to be a famous photographer like his idol. Along the way, he falls for his friend’s girlfriend and they end up getting married. Dhanush becomes an alcoholic due to failures/setbacks (especially when his idol uses Dhanush’ photo as his own) and also has an accident, but his wife stands by him through the turmoil (even caused miscarriage). In the end, he succeeds in winning an international awards and all is well in the end. A good performance by Dhanush and also the heroine Richa. Simple storyline, emotional and heartwarming. Some great songs like Pirai Thedi and Naan Sonnathum. A must watch in my books.

 Muran – starring Cheran, Prasanna, Haripriya, Nikita, Jeyaprakash and newcomer Suma Bhattarcharya, this is a thriller movie which started off well, but fizzled out towards the end to a predictable ending. Still its a watchable movie. Story is about two people who accidentally cross paths. Cheran is a musician while Prasanna is a son of a rich businessman (Jeyaprakash). Cheran end up hitching a ride with Prasanna, and along the way they exchange their sad story. Cheran is living an unhappy married life with wife (Nikita) and is in love with a fashion designer (Haripriya). He is unable to divorce his wife since she doesn’t agree due to some inheritance problems.  Prasanna, meanwhile says his ladylove (Suma) committed suicide after being raped by his own father (Jeyaprakash) on a business trip. Prasanna suggests that he kills Cheran’s wife and in return Cheran is to kill his father. In this way, Cheran will be relieved of his misery and Prasanna will get his revenge. However Cheran disagrees and they part ways. Some time later, Cheran’s wife dies in an accident. Cheran believes it was an accident, until Prasanna enters his life, admitting to killing Nikita. Prasanna also proceeds to kill Nikita’s brother, a policemen who is suspicious of Cheran. Cheran is forced by Prasanna to try kill his father, but he fails to do so a few time. One day, one of Lavinia’s friend who works in Prasanna’s company reveals what actually happened to Suma. Cheran learns that Prasanna is the bad guy and not his father, and refuses to take part any further. Prasanna goes away, but leaves a subtle threat, saying accidents will happen, even to Lavinia. Cheran becomes paranoid as Prasanna attempts to hurt Lavinia. In the end, Cheran plans to get rid of Prasanna, but as the struggle in a fight, Prasanna falls down from the rooftop. Acting wise, the main actors did well, but the story became lethargic and draggy halfway. We could more or less predict that Prasanna is not who he seems to be.

Muthukku Muthaga – Typical sob story that drags like a megaserial. With cry queen Saranya in it, you can expect sad ending. About a family with 5 sons and how their lives turns for the worse when most of them get married.  Stars Vikranth, Ilavarasu and Saranya.

Nanjupuram –  A movie about snakes, set in village boy-love-girl story. Stars TV drama actor Raghav (who doubles up as music composer), along Mohini. Story about superstitions and caste issues.  The hero doesn’t believe the stories about the snake and ends up killing some. He also hurts a snake while saving his lady love, and according to village lore, have to stay hidden for next 40 days. The villages build a tower to keep him safe. The story revolves on how the couple try to stay alive for the next 40 days. BTW, the hero is from high caster family while the heroine from low caste family, so there’s a side story where the families try to marry of the heroine in the absence of the hero. The ending is a bit unexpected. Story has promise, but moves slowly and lacks oomph factor. Watch it if got nothing else to do.

Nil Gavani Sellathey – A thriller movie ala Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Wrong Turn. Plenty of red herrings as the story of 5 friends going on a trip goes awry. Stars the director himself (Anand Chakravathy), Dhansika, Jagan and others. Watchable.

Osthe – A Simbu action flick, so expect plenty of dialogues, mannerism and style. The movie is a remake of Hindi film Dabangg. Simbu is a cop who plays by his own rules. VTV Ganesh has a role as Richa’s father.  Jithan Ramesh is Simbu’s half-brother, Nasser is step-father and Revathi is mother. Saranya Mohan is Jithan Ramesh’s love interest and Nizhalgal Ravi is her father.  Comedy is provided by Santhanam who is Simbu’s assistant. Simbu and his step-father doesn’t have a good relationship. Due to Simbu’s actions, the bad guys end up killing his mother, and also turn his brother against him. In the end, Simbu reconciles with his family and the baddies lose. The story intertwines cop versus baddies with sibling rivalry. Songs are catchy such as Neduvali, Pondatti, Osthe Maame, Kalasala Kalasala (Mallika Sherawat special appearance) and the melodious Unnale Unnale. Watchable movies if you are looking for some entertainment flick.

Pathinaaru – Another movie that seems to have much promise but falls below expectation. Starring Shiva and Madhu Shalini, two college going youths in love. The girl’s parents oppose love marriage and pass a story book for the couple to read, with hope that they give up their love. The book is the story of the girl’s father. The couple do some detective work to trace the father’s ex and in the end, the go on their own ways.

Payanam – A supposed to be thriller of a plane hijacking terrorist story. The acting is OK only, but the story, screenplay, props, action mostly fall flat and not convincing. Only to be watched if got nothing to do. Stars Prakash Raj, Nagarjuna, Sana Khan, MS Baskar, and few others.

Ponnar Shankar – One of the lousiest movies of 2011 or even in recent memory. I’m still at lost as to why Sneha acted in this movie. Prashant (dual role as per the title) should be careful with the directors and roles he chose to act or he can kiss his acting career goodbye. For first 1.5 hours, Prashant spoke about 5 lines only I think. The movie’s action scenes, directions and story had plenty of loopholes. Some of the scenes look like cut and paste from other movies. The two new heroines Pooja and Divya (one a Miss India, the other a famous model) are pretty faces and did well considering its their debut. The story is based on historical events but spoilt by bad direction, acting and action. However, cinematography is quite good. The movie has a star-studded cast: Nasser, Vijaykumar, Rajkiran, Kushboo, Napoleon, Ponvannan, and Prabu among others, but their acting overshadowed by the weak plot and direction. Skip it unless you are die-hard Prashant fan.

Poraali – A Samuthirakani direction starring his buddy Sasikumar, Allari Naresh, Swathi (from Subramaniyapuram) and Vasundra (aka Adhisiya from Thenmerku Paruva Kaatru) along with Ganja Karupu. Its not your typical storyline (but we’ve come to expect that with Samuthirakani and gang). The story start quite suspensefully as we see Sasikumar and Allari Naresh escape from a group of people. They end up staying with Ganja Karupu and work in petrol station. The heroines come in the form of a fellow petrol station worker and a resident staying in the same building. After some time, Sivakumar starts a business venture and does well. Ganja Karupu helps to advertise his business and that’s when the baddies turn up. The second half of the movies provides flashback and we realise the two heroes are actually escapees from a mental asylum! How they ended up there, why baddies are after them and how thing end up well forms the rest of the movie. Plenty of action in the second half as Sasikumar and gang outwit turn the tables on the bad guys and triumph. Story is good, direction crisp, not many potholes. But songs are not memorable. Worth watching if you want something different.

Rowthiram – Starring Jeeva, Shriya Saran, Jayaprakash, Prakash Raj among others. Its about a young guy (Jeeva) whose trained by his grandpa(Prakash Raj)  to stand up for justice and face any wrongdoers, much to the chagrin of his parents (Jayaprakash as father). He ends up getting into the wrong books of the baddies in town (a plethora of them, ranging from MLA, big goons to local goons), and what ensues is lots of fighting. Not to disappoint the guys, there’s a romance track involving the guy and a student (Shriya). There’s also the sentiment track with his siblings getting married without telling him, and parents disappointment with his rough ways. Typical movie that leaves nothing for audience to think about. Story is normal bash-em-up type. Jeeva acted well, but I think he should choose the scripts carefully (oops  Music is average. Nothing much to talk about. Watch it only if you are Jeeva or Shriya fan.

Sadhurangam – This movie was released about 5 years later due to some unknown reasons. It stars Srikanth as a journalist for a magazine and Sonia Agarwal (yup that’s how old the movie is!) as is love interest. The movie is about Srikanth who investigates and exposes wrongdoings by politicians, local thugs and government officers. He ends up stepping on the wrong toes, and one day his lover gets kidnapped. The rest of the story is about he rescues her. An average movie in my opinion. Had one or two nice songs.

Seedan – Not sure how Dhanush ended up in this movie, as Lord Muruga nonetheless! No heroine for him in this movie. Basically how Lord Muruga help fulfill the marriage dreams of a girl (Ananya). comedy scenes with Vivek are enjoyable a bit.

Singam Puli – Jeeva in a dual role comedy cum thriller. One good and one bad sibling story. Also stars Divya Spandana, Honey Rose, Ponvannan and Santhanam. Comedy is OK.

Siruthai –  One of the 3 Ponggal releases, along with Danush’s Aadukalam and Vijay’s Kavalan. Reminds of one the Surya movie with double role (Vel). Karti Sivakumar plays a small time conman Rocket Raja with Kaatu Puchi (Santhanam) in Chennai. They live a happy go lucky life, until Karti falls for Tamannah during a wedding function. There’s some irritating antics until we see the intersection of the other Karti, DSP Rathnavel Pandiyan. The DSP dies midway and Karti takes over the role of the DSP to beat the baddies. Boring songs, typical Tamannah acting, the normal Karti acting we are used to, some weird/comedy villains. Good thing Santhanam and Karti’s comedy brings some laughter.

Thambikottai – Forgettable movie starring Narain, Poonam Bajwa, Prabhu,  and Meena in a sister role. Typical village problem end up revenged by youth after a series of flashbacks.

Thoonga Nagaram – Starring director Gaurav, along with Vimal, Anjali, Barani and others about the live of few people in the city that doesn’t sleep, Madurai.  Has an interesting twist about plotting friends against each other. Watchable.

Uyarthiru 420 – I’m not sure why they bothered making this movie. The hero is lyricist Snehan,  who acts as a con artist. The premise has lots of promise but direction and storyline makes it a below average result.

Vagai Sooda Vaa – A story set in the rural parts of Tamil Nadu in 1960s where the folks live by working in a village brick-making industry. This is a heart-warming story of a trainee teacher (Vimal) who is posted to that village in order to earn his teaching certificate.  The story on his trials and tribulation, including humorous scenes of being bullied by children, parents and even the village goat is a wonder. Iniya acts as a tea stall owner who falls for him. His sacrifice would put many teachers to shame. It also stars Iniya (also acted in Yuddham Sei), Bhagyaraj, and Ponvannan. The movie is different from the normal masala movies, though some of  songs were superb. “Poranne Poranne” and “Sara Sara Saara Kathu” were frequently heard on radio.  The movie may not appeal to the younger generation due to to its seriousness (poverty and education) and lack of glamour/hero appeal/stunts, but its a must watch movie in my book.

Vaanam – Simbu and Bharath starrer which was a hit. Along with Anushka Shetty, Prakash Raj, Saranya, Santhanam, Jasmin Bahsin, Vega Tamotia, VTV Ganesh and Jayaprakash. About lives of few individuals and how they intervine towards a tragedic end involving terrorists when all of them end in Chennai. Watchable.

Velayudham – Vijay continues his unenviable run of making dud movies. This time around, he gets to portray a hood-wearing, sword-wielding, Robin Hood lookalike, who suddenly can fight like martial arts exponent. To accompany him on this disastrous adventure, we have poor Saranya Mohan as his “love of his life” younger sister, Genelia as a reporter who falls for him, and Hansika Motwani (Namitha lookalike) as his village relative who also in love with him. Genelia acted well here, different from her normal crazy girl routine. Saranya’s talents are wasted in this movie, while Hansika is basically eye-candy for male audiences. Other supporting cast include Santhanam, MS Baskar, and Pandiyarajan. The story is about Velu who comes to town to get his investment for his sister’s wedding.  Due to some incidents and luck, he saves the public from bombs set up by terrorist. And he is mistook to be Velayudham, the fictional character created by journalist Genelia who is supposed to avenge the public. Genelia tries to convince Velu to take up the mantle of “superhero” and become Velayudham. He refuses until he is affected when the investment company closes shop and he witnesses an investor commit suicide. From then on, he goes after the baddies who are linked to politicians and terrorists. Ending is predictable as the good guy prevails. The songs are OK, with hits like “Rrathathin ratthame”, “Chillax”, “Mayam Seidhayo”, and “Sonna Puriyadhu”. The movie was voted as Best Movie of 2011 in OneIndia public poll. Watch it if you have nothing else to do, or die-hard Vijay fan.

Vellore Maavattam – An action flick starring Nanda and Poorna. Nanda is an police officer while Poorna is his love interest. Typical cop and baddie film. Lousy movie. Watch if only either die hard Nanda or Poorna fan.

Venghai – A normal action film starring Dhanush, Tamannah, Ganja Karupu, Rajkiran, Prakash Raj, Livingston, Oorvasi, YG Mahendran, Ponnambalam, Charlie and others. After some different interesting movies from Dhanush, he returns to typical masala movie. Dhanush is sent to city by his father (Rajkiran) to learn some responsibility from his uncle (Livingston). Prakash Raj is the local politician who needs support of Rajkiran but is actually the bad guy.  In the city, Dhanush sees his primary school classmate Tamannah and after some scenes, fall in love with her.  Due to some problem, Prakash Raj ends up want to revenge Rajkiran and Dhanush. There’s a twist towards the end where Tamannah is seen plotting against Dhanush’s father due to some history. You will get the normal stuff – fights, romance, fights, glamor, fights, emotion, fights, comedy. One or two OK songs. Only for Dhanush and Tamannah fans.

Veppam – A movie starring Karthik Kumar and Nithya Menen along with some actors from Telegu movie industry, like Nani and Bindu Madhavi.  One of the songs became a hit (Mazhai Thuli Mazhai Thuli). Story is about 2 brothers Balaji and Kartik (Muthukumar and Nani) who were left to fend themselves since children after their mother committed suicide due to drunken father.  Once grown up, the father (now a pimp/gangster) wants to build a relationship with them. The brothers have a good friend, Vishnu (Karthik Kumar), who is in love with Viji (Bindu) a call girl under the brothers’ father’s care. The brothers also have a friend in Revathy (Nithya). Kartik and Revathy love each other. The movie’s choppy direction, lack of continuity, constant dialogu censoring and wooden acting made it an unpleasant watch. Even though there was an element of thrill after the hour mark, where Kartik is arrested for the death of his friend Vishnu, the interest picks up temporarily only. The rest of the movie focuses on why Kartik was arrested, which involves a drug deal gone wrong. Not worth watching.

Yuddham Sei –  One of the better movies of 2011. Cheran in a moody role, plenty of unexpected twists and turns. YG Mahendran and Jayaprakash also acted in this movie. Well made thriller about revenge and prostitution syndicates.

Yuvan Yuvathi – Love story starring Bharath and Rima in the lead roles, along with Sampath as Bharath’s father and Santhanam as his friend. Its basically about two people who accidentally meet during visa application to US (The hero applying to escape from father who forcing him to get married, while the heroine applying to get married in US). The hero falls in love with the heroine after some mishaps and scenes, but gets a shock when he realises she’s getting married. The father misunderstands the situation and kidnaps the heroine, causing her to miss the flight, hence the wedding cancelled. She is angry at the hero and disappears. After some time, coincidentally, the two of them end up in a foreign country, where the hero tries and succeeds in wooing the heroine. They go back to his hometown, and after some action+emotional scenes, the father accepts her. Pretty boring movie with a typical storyline.  Two nice songs in “Oh My Angel” and “Un Kannai Parthe Piraghu”. Only for Bharath fans.

Movies I have not seen yet (as of 31st Dec 2012):


Nadunissi Nayagal

Engeyum Kadhal

Paasakaara Nanbargal


Aaranya Kaandam

Deiva Thirumagal

Konjam Mazhai Konjam Veyil


Vandhan Vendran





My list of top movies for 2011 (so far):  7am Arivu, Aadukalam, Avan Ivan, Enggeyum Eppothum, Ko, Thoonga Nagaram, Vagai Sooda Vaa, Vaanam, Yuddham Sei, Mayakkam Enna, Poraali.

My vote for best actors for 2011 (so far): Dhanush, Vishal, Jai, Jeeva, Vimal, Simbu, Cheran.

List of movies for 2011 can be viewed here:

My previous reviews  are here:



7am Arivu

November 6th, 2011
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

WARNING: spoilers ahead!

Saw 7am Arivu today at IOI Mall Puchong, about a 10 days after its release, the cinema was about 75% full. The highly anticipated movie starring Surya Sivakumar, and introducing Shruti Haasan (Kamal Haasan’s daughter) to Tamil cinema, also stars Ashwin Kakumanu (Mankatha) and Johhny Tri Nguyen (Vietnamese actor/stunt director),is directed by AR Murugadoss.

First the story: The movie starts with a background narration about a story set 1600 years ago, where Bodhidarma (Surya), a Buddhist priest of the 3rd Pallava King in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu is sent by his guru to China.  Bodhidarma is well known for his medical knowledge using herbs, martial arts knowledge and power of hypnotism (Nokku varnam). He goes to Nanyang, and helps the local villagers battle diseases and robbers.  When time comes for him to leave the village, they try to poison him in order to keep him in the village because they think that keeping his body there will be good luck. Bodhidarma (now known as Damo in China) accepts the poisoned food and dies. The villagers bury him. Story then cuts to present day where the public are interviewed about Bodhidarma and practically every Indian interviewee have not heard of him, but the Chinese interviewees have heard about Bodhidarma or Damo. The directors wants to impress upon the audience that Tamils have forgotten their might history and others have taken over them.

The story now focuses on a Chinese plan to infect India with a virus (same one that Bodhidarma cured 1600 years ago) as a bioweapon, in order to subjugate India, named operation Red. The planners choose a Shaolin temple exponent, Dong Lee (Johnny) to activate the virus in Tamil Nadu. Why Tamil Nadu? Because Dong Lee has a second task – to kill a genetic engineering researcher, Subashini (Shruti Haasan). Subashini has been researching about Bodhidarma’s DNA and her research indicates it is possible to activate the genetic memory of Bodhidarma’s descendants, thus able to tap into his medical knowledge which can be used to find cures for many diseases. Her research thesis reaches China and they think her research can be a threat to their Operation Red plan. So, off Dong Lee goes to Tamil Nadu, injects the virus into a stray dog and causes the death of few policemen (Day 0).

The story now goes back 93 days from the day Dong Lee goes to Tamil Nadu. Here, we see a circus promotion and we are introduced to Aravind (Surya) via a hip-hop song. He is part of the circus troop. Then we see Subashini’s research team trying to “borrow” a monkey from the circus, and then Aravind awestruck by the girl, and then some following around by the hero. To make it short, they become friends, and soon the hero misunderstands it for love. As he is about to confess the love the next day, his relative who coincidentally sees the couple together, alerts him that Subashini had come to their village in Kanchipuram about 1.5 years ago, for a research. She was interested in Aravind after seeing his picture and close resemblance to Bodhidarma. Aravind, sensing something wrong goes to meet Suba and gets the truth out of her. She’s pretending to friend him in order to get him to agree to be part of the research into Bodhidarma’s DNA.  The get into a heated argument after Aravind becomes upset at the idea of being “used” and that she’s not in love with him. He goes off, and a sad song follows.

The next day, Subashini comes looking for him and asks him to help her. She explains her project and convinces him to help. She presents her research to a committee for approval for human testing, but is ridiculed and storms out the meeting. Some of the younger researchers (4 of them including Ashwin) console and support, offering to help. The story now shifts back to current day (remember, earlier was flashback for 93 days). The police came looking for Subashini for an inquiry. The go to the police station and a neighbor says that a China guy came looking  for her at home and suddenly the people died. The China guy (Dong Lee) comes to the police station and makes the police kill each other using his hypnotic power. The couple manage to escape. They follow him and finds out that Subashini’s professor is helping the Chinese and getting paid in return.  Aravind blackmails the professor to meet up the next day. The next day, he kidnaps the professor, and manage to evade Dong Lee. The couple along with the 4 researchers get the truth from the professor. They also find out that the virus has started to spread and rush to one of the hospital. Dong Lee also arrives at the hospital and finds that his hypnotic powers doesn’t work on Aravind. The couple escapes and Dong Lee calls back his temple. The temple master warns him that it won’t work on Damo’s bloodline and asks him to come back immediately. Dong Lee ignores his master and says will get rid of the bloodline. What follows next is some car chase, and plenty of hypnotism based attack by Dong Lee on Aravind and Suba, using cars, lorries, motorbike etc. Plenty of damaged vehicles and dead people but the couple manage to escape.

The team decide to proceed with the research within 12 days in order to invoke Bodhidarma’s knowledge. They come out with some plans to stay undetected from Dong Lee. At this point, there’s some dialogue by  To cut the story short, Dong Lee manages to find their location, killing 2 of the researchers and also the professor. As the remaining 3 researchers carry Aravind to escape from Dong Lee, he attacks their vehicle. He continues to attack Aravind who is still recovering from the research. Suddenly, Aravind fights back and kills Dong Lee after a series of kung fu style fight.

The story cuts to news report that a cure for the virus was found by a circus artist, and ends with an TV interview with Aravind and Subashini, where Aravind says we must do more to educate ourselves on our rich history and knowledge.

I found that the audience were quiet and stay muted after the movie ended. Maybe the masala and glamor was not enough or the message too serious.

Summary: A good effort since its a different story from the usual masala stuff. However, the expectation was high and the movies just fell below such high expectation. I’m not sure how long the “Tamils are great” motivation will stay among the audience.

Story:  A bit of history, a bit of science fiction, a bit of thriller, a small bit of romance and some touching bits on Tamil civilization is the recipe for this movie. A bit long and some parts like the stunts and fights could have been reduced. It seems the story had about 1.5 years of research, but I think the director took some creative liberty on the history and science parts, thus it weakens the plot in some moments.

Direction: The director tries to instill “Tamilism” into the the movie and reduced the masala. Story tries to be serious but some of the scenes are flawed – stunts that are repetitive and artificial, the science parts which are not realistic or half-truths, the dialogues which are not strong or believable. Some of the fast camera movement seems to interrupt the flow, and I think caused my headache.

Acting: Surya did well and seems like he did some of the circus acts too. However, its seems like typical acting as to his other movies. like Ayan and Singam.  Surya’s acting managed to carry the movie well. Shruti looks like a less beautiful version of Tabu, and the voice doesn’t seem to suit, other than that she did well for a newcomer to Tamil cinema (must be the genetic memory of the parents 🙂 ). Good thing she didn’t overdo the glamor aspect. And she also got plenty of screen time which helped to display her acting skills. Villain Johnny was too robotic (maybe overdid the super soldier aspect?), but he excelled in the fighting scenes. The rest of supporting actors acted well. All three main characters had a good character development, screen time and scope to act in a versatile manner.

Songs: The sad song Yemma Yemma by SPB was interesting even though it had less airtime. Reminds me of the love failure song in Varanam Ayiram. The others like Ringa Ringa and Yellae Lama are catchy songs for youngsters. There’s also a song sung by Chinese singer Hao Wang for the historical period. Mun Andhi song is for the romantic ones. The background music was excellent and apt for the scenes.

Conclusion: Worth watching if you don’t have a very high expectation from the team of AR Murugadoss, Harris Jayaraj and Surya. Good acting by the cast, but story lacks more strength.

Cast: Surya Sivakumar, Shruti Haasan, Johnny Tri Nguyen, Ashwin Kakumanu.

Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi, Action.

Acting : 7/10

Story : 6.5/10

Special Effects: 6.5/10

Cinematography: 7/10

Overall Oomphness: 6.5/10

The censored part where Malaysia is mentioned as among the countries where Tamils are attacked is below:

Memory of Malaysia Vasudevan lives on

February 21st, 2011
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

News of Malaysia Vasudevan’s demise yesterday brought back memories of his songs. Some of the timeless hits (my favorites) are below (maybe the younger generation won’t remember these songs). Hailing from a singing family from Seremban, he is among the very few Malaysians who had made it in Tamil cinema. Read about him at Wikipedia:

Thanks to THR Raaga who played his songs today lunch time and also to Astro Vanavil for airing a movie he acted in (Oru Kaithiyin Diary) today.

He will be missed, but his songs will live on.

Some of his top songs:

The song that made him a household name!:

Singing for Kamal Haasan:

Famous thapangkuthu song!:

Another song for Kamal:

Well known songs from Muthal Mariyathai:

A melodious song showing he is more than capable of singing variety of songs:

One of my faves:

A sad song:

Sings this famous song for Rajini!:

And who can forget this song from Murattu Kalai!:

A slow song for Rajini:

Another lovely sentimental song!:

Ennama Kannu for Rajini:

Another song for Kamal in the 4-role Michael Madana Kama Rajan:

He even sang for AR Rahman’s song:

There’s many more hits from Malaysia Vasudevan, who sang more than 8000 songs in the last 4 decades.

BTW, maybe the relevant parties can recommend to NS government to forward his name for Datoship, as appreciation of his success in a foreign country and bringing fame to our country.

Tax rebate for local Chinese and Tamil movies

February 4th, 2011
|  Subscribe in a reader | Subscribe to by Email

I’m not sure if this news will be well received by the proponents of Malay language. Bahasa Malaysia is considered national language according to constitution, so according the other languages similar tax breaks will be angering these groups. However, if we are to accept the diversity of our country (as I always said, we can’t just shout about diversity and multi-cultural, but no doing much to cultivate it) then we can accept the suggestion to offer tax breaks to Chinese, Tamil, English and other language movies locally produced.

This step can help promote the local entertainment industry for Tamil and Chinese community. By having that extra cash, they can use it for more promotional activities or invest in better quality tools/actors/services to improve movie quality.

However, the current ruling which says the movie’s content must be 60% in BM is a problem if still maintained. The ruling need to be rescinded if the proposal is to be accepted.

Homegrown movie Ice Kacang Puppy Love and other Malaysian productions in Chinese and Tamil are expected to be given a 20% entertainment tax rebate following a request by Information, Commu-nications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim to the Finance Ministry.

“The news is timely,” film director Tan Kheng Seong (pic), popularly known as Ah Niu, told the Daily Chilli, a news portal of The Star, yesterday.

However, he suggested that the rebate be given across the board – to all Malaysian-made films – instead of only to those with 60% dialogue in Malay as stipulated by National Film Development Corporation (Finas).

He also suggested that the rebate be backdated to 2010 instead of this year because there was a boom in the local movie industry last year.

A news portal had reported that the Cabinet had an in-depth discussion of the issue and Rais, who is responsible for the matter, had asked the Finance Ministry to allocate a refund for the film.

Ah Niu, interviewed on arrival home from Beijing, said: “The budding local Chinese film industry really needs the support of the Government in order to grow.”

Citing strong international interest in Malaysian-made Chinese films after the phenomenal success of Ice Kacang Puppy Love, the talented musician and filmmaker added: “Malaysia and Singapore can produce good Mandarin films. But our production costs are really high, partly because of the tax.

“If the Government can help us with tax relief, we stand a good chance of competing with Hong Kong and penetrating China’s market with more quality projects.”

Ice Kacang Puppy Love, which starred Ah Niu, Lee Sinje, Victor Wong, Gary Chaw and Fish Leong, raked in RM4mil at the box office last year.

But Ah Niu said he ended up paying RM800,000 in tax (20% entertainment tax) because his movie did not meet the current criteria for a tax rebate.

Echoing the sentiment, James Lee, who had a crossover success in the Malay and English markets with horror movies Histeria and Sini Ada Hantu said: “It’s a great idea. We need to support and protect our local films, be they in Malay, English, Chinese or Tamil.”

According to Minister Rais Yatim, the movies should have BM subtitles. Anyway, let’s see how the proposal is actually implemented. There may be some “small prints” that end up disqualifying most movies.

Malaysian-made movies in Mandarin, Cantonese or Tamil with Bahasa Malaysia subtitles are now recognised as local movies, Minister of Information, Communication and Culture Rais Yatim said today.

Citing an example, he said that ‘Ice Kacang Puppy Love’ (Cinta Ais Kacang), directed by Tan Kheng Seong or popularly known as Ah Niu, is already classified as a local movie.

“I have decided with our committee and I have informed the cabinet about this decision,” he said.

“Therefore, if the movies make money at the box office, they will be given the entertainment tax rebate,” he told reporters in Shah Alam.

It was reported earlier that the locally-produced Chinese movie, ‘Ice Kacang Puppy Love,’ which raked in RM4milion, did not qualify for the 25 percent tax rebate as it had been classified as a foreign movie.

It was also reported that the movie did not comply with the provisions of Finas, the National Film Development Corporation, which stipulated that local movies must have at least 60 percent dialogue in Bahasa Malaysia to meet the conditions for rebate.

However, there were also reports that the movie could enjoy the rebate.

Asked when the Ministry would make the refund, Rais said: “I think we can make an announcement (on that) in March.”