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Visaranai - Pinnacle of filmmaking!
There comes a movie like Whiplash once in a while where there is lot of action primarily due to intensity of performances and absorbing screenplay. Then there are movies like Haider where the movie atmosphere is dense and disturbing that you are left cold and horrified at the very end. Visaranai is a movie that has successfully blended both these aspects in order to present a practical, rational view of the system that is part of our livelihood. I cannot remember the last time I watched such an intense, nerve chilling, baffling movie in Thamizh.
As I have now noticed, Vetrimaran's films have two different halves but which are part of the same story. In Polladhavan, we see the happy, everyday youth Dhanush living a jolly good life in the first half while in the second, things take a sudden turn and he gets exposed to a world of ruthless criminals. In Aadukalam, we see Dhanush's involvement in the rivalry between 2 rival gangs in the first half, while in the latter we turn audience to how one man's greed changes his surrounding people's lives. Similarly in Visaranai, as the title suggests we are presented with 2 separate interrogations with different scenarios in both halves of the movie.
The movie attempts at one thing as beautifully explained by Kishore in one scene - The system is the boss and we are just pawns playing a game in it. The powerful always prey on the powerless and there is no way that one who has been nabbed in the web escape out from it. This is explained through layers of tightly scripted scenes with lots of crude violence, not to a forced extent of skipping the movie but watching it as if the horror where happening in front of your eyes. Few minutes into the movie the story starts unraveling and you start feeling a slight chilling fear which later keeps intensifying exponentially until the very end where you are left distraught. The range of emotions portrayed by the variety of villains torturing the innocents affect you up to a level that you start trembling as if watching a horror movie. Off late we have been seeing great improvements in movies like Thani Oruvan where a lone hero fights corrupt, antisocial elements in the society and this one breaks all those clichés to state a point that the system cannot be won over. I was particularly reminded of the Brazilian film duology 'Tropa De Elite' where the story ends with an unstated "moral" that criminals, politicians and police are of the same circle and you end up on the losing side if you mess with them.
Performance wise, Dinesh continues with an impressive tough role which might prove as a highlight in his career. I somehow feel convinced that Samuthirakani must be considered the real protagonist as his role portrays how a honest person becomes prey to the system and is left torn without options at the crux. The music, camera and editing cuts add more intense chill to the atmosphere. Special mention to Dhanush for continuing to surprise us by producing such top class movies. It is highly unlikely that any other Thamizh movie can beat the class of this in 2016!
Vetrimaran sir, you are not a director now but a visionary. This is not a movie but a well learned and constructed, flawless piece of art about the society. Feeling proud of you and the growth in your class of movies. Take some more national and international awards! I would have been glad if I could rate 12/10 for this movie!
OK Kanmani (2015)
A modern day classic!
O Kadhal Kanmani - This is how an ace director returns back to form and hit backs at his critics to show that he is here to stay. So here again he is back with a lovely, fresh, contemporary tale on present day love and relationships set in a beautiful backdrop. It is amazing to realize that how a single filmmaker can study and make a movie for every generation he was in.
Cast wise, super cute acting by the limited yet talented cast with some snappy humorous dialogues. Once again Mani Ratnam, the master he is, shows more importance to the female lead and has made Nithya Menon portray a stronger character which in some ways looks many steps above the male lead - something which is very rare in present day cinema. Dulquer keeps up with the practical role of a jolly good modern day youth and succeeds in making heads turn with his acting. PrakashRaj puts in all his seasoned acting experience and it was indeed a joy to see him doing a loving elderly role, away from all the typical roles that he usually plays. The biggest surprise however was Leela Samson - who shows no signs of fear and flaws for a person facing a movie camera for the first time. Together, this older couple forms the crux of the movie and I wish this sweet loving pair will remain in people's minds for a long time.
As someone already remarked, it is kind of a contest between A.R.Rahman and P.C.Sreeram as the movie starts unfolding. Except 2 songs, all the others were utilized as a background track which made it way cooler and memorable than expected. Special mention to a soundtrack which was a fusion of Carnatic song and modern hip-hop score - which I guess must have been Mani's idea of combining both the worlds. Taking a bow to P.C.Sreeram sir & Thalaivar A.R.Rahman for breaking their limits every time to give a rich feel and goosebumps with their incredible effort.
In a nutshell, OK Kanmani is a beautiful, poetic tale through which Mani Ratnam has carved his niche and shown his class again. I just wish that they had trimmed the length of a few scenes. Yet, he has successfully taught a lesson to present day movie makers on how a romantic modern day movie should be weaved with his trademark screenplay and visuals. And finally, he is back in the game big time! Hope his magic continues in his further movies in other genres as well!
Quite my tempo!
Ever felt that a movie was so intense and magical, that the very thought of it gives you goosebumps and chills in your spine? That you wanna keep watching endlessly all day long without wasting a moment? That literally makes you a character in the movie rather than one in the audience? Well, there may be quite a few such masterpieces and the recent to join my list of those unique cinematic experiences is Whiplash.
A movie which keeps you engrossed on it all the while but feeds you a thousand thoughts to think about after the credits start rolling. The main objective being pushing yourself beyond the limits. JK Simmons' Academy winning gray-shaded role may seem villainous to some and heroic to some. But as explained in the bar/club scene, he is a symbol in making you realize your full potential and breaking all barriers. Not only in music but life as well. Choosing music as a medium to inflict this thought made it sound way too cool.
I wish this movie had made it much more bigger and won a few more Academy awards. There is simply nothing to talk negative about or complain in this movie. Be it the power packed acting battle between the charismatic JK Simmons and the meek Miles Teller, the immensely grasping screenplay, the fittingly thunderous background score or the cut throat editing, everyone has drained and pushed their limits for this movie. The ultimate final fifteen minutes - the part where you forget to blink your eyelids, deserve a special mention. It will be considered as one of the most epic finales and be remembered for a long time.
Arguably one of the greatest movies I have ever scene in my life. The projection of a simple story with a powerful moral in a such an intense manner is something really unique and movies like these are hard to find nowadays. All cheers to Damien Chazelle for giving such a spellbinding masterpiece.
Irandam Ulagam (2013)
Irandam Ulagam - Without doubt, 'Another World' in everything!
Irandam Ulagam - Frankly and firstly telling, I loved the movie. Yeah, the first half was super duper top-class fun and a treat to watch. Was followed by an enigmatic and slow second half which could have been made crispier. I don't know much about screen writing but based on movie watching experience, I wouldn't call it a worst screenplay but too stretched and complicated. Never remember seeing such a fantasy oriented theme for a familiar concept in Thamizh cinema. Felt goosebumps, familiarity,realization and wasn't able to predict the following at places. CG effects and camera were worth enough for a Thamizh movie with the given budget. Music was brilliant but at some places it as too misleading. Coming to acting, Arya's role as the innocent guy was fabulous. Anushka was lovely throughout. Overall another brave, astounding effort again by Mr.Selvaraghavan. Marvel!
Now, surprised to see so many people giving negative reviews on the movie. I think people expected a movie like Avatar (3D miracle) on seeing the trailer but when that expectation wasn't wholly satisfied, they totally felt it was crap. Then there is another gang of geeks I want to focus on. If the same movie was made in Hollywood with a much better CG (even with the same flaws), I don't think they will say the same about it. There are guys who said Life of Pi, Inception (known ones) were great but dint understand anything about it. Why not the similar feedback for a Thamizh movie? Also I think even if this movie flops now, they will talk of it as a masterpiece after 5-10 years just like the same way Hey Ram, Pudhupettai, Iruvar and Anbe Sivam are talked today. Also remember the fact that commercial movies without normal logic too succeed much better than this, even if there wasn't nothing noticeably different in the script.
All these musings are totally based on my own opinion. Please don't come explaining some aspects I don't want to know. Please!
Onaayum Aattukkuttiyum (2013)
Another classic by Myshkin
Onaiyum Aatukuttiyum -(A Wolf and A Lamb) - A tense,dark,nail biting thriller with a riveting screenplay containing no songs or comedy tracks and in typical Myshkin style. A simple script but shot well entirely without any drags. Sree's acting was simply perfect. The cinematography was stunning, considering the fact that almost the entire movie was shot at night. Above all,the soundtrack by Sir Ilayaraja was great (except for the final sword fight). Watch out for few amazing scenes like the one where Myshkin narrates his story in a single long take. Just don't miss this classic!
I wish they make more such movies in Tamil,to compete strongly in World Cinema, instead of doing the same commercial stuff over and over. I again wish that big actors have guts to act in movies like this. Hope audience turn out to watch such films.
Raanjhanaa - DHANUSH + AR.RAHMAN equals Magic!
Raanjhanaa - Saw it in Thamizh titled as Ambikapathy (though it didn't seem like a dubbed movie at all). After going through a very entertaining first half, thought that it will be just end like every typical Indian romance story. But thanks to so much drama and twists in the second half, it indeed seemed 'Unconventional' yet heart-throbbing. An intense plot supported by great acting from the cast. Dhanush, no words to praise, proves he is one for Bollywood too. No one other than Dhanush could have done the role so fittingly well. Have never seen a Sonam Kapoor movie before, but she did her role so beautifully! And Thalaivar A.R. Rahman was it his very best again with such wonderful music. Typical family audience and commercial moviegoers won't love this movie.Cheers to the director for making a neat and exceptional movie without any irrelevant masala or usual Bollywood love scenes (if you know what I mean). 10/10!!
Its KAMAL's Vishwaroopam as a genius literally!
Vishwaroopam - A bold and massive effort by Kamal Hassan.I think Kamal should have directly made the movie in Hollywood as the script is inclined to the US.
The first half was both mass and class. There couldn't be a better intro for Kamal and in his role as the dance master, he performed so good than Varalaru Ajith himself(which is his best role as an actor IMO). Such good expressions and little dialogues were awesome. And the first fight scene!!!! That was worth double the money I paid for the movie! You better watch it again for that! The scenes in Afghan were so wonderfully pictured. Haven't seen such a realistic portrayal of terrorists in even Hollywood movies. Left me wondering how and where did they ever shoot it so absolute originally! The flow was like watching a documentary and action movie at the same time. Got touched in few places really. Kamal really should have lots and lots of research and location hunting, which itself is a great effort. The second half really was not pretty satisfying as the first. The screenplay was non-linear but at some places some scenes really ended abruptly and couldn't understand few things. I am not sure whether this was due to the cuts at some places in the movie that the Muslim brothers requested or Kamal deliberately left them to be addressed in the second part(in the making I guess).
The film was so serious but Kamal really used his clever wit at some places to cool the tense surroundings. There was a lot of violence, but that is really necessary when you take such a movie to tell something originally. Have to watch the uncut version to check on the scenes which were considered offensive. The climax was not really pleasing and they could have added more suspense or action to it.
Coming to other things, Pooja did a good job(which I dint expect). Nasser, such a fantastic actor did a perfect role as he looked so perfect as a Afghan, but he could have done a bigger role is what I think. No idea why Andrea had a role in the movie but she was really sweet :) Rahul Bose's dialog were not clear even when he spoke normally and then he spoke most of his part with a broken throat which it made it much tougher to understand the plot :( Music and songs were good, but they used bits of Dark Knight's 'Why so serious?' theme in the bg at some places. Camera work,shots and VFX were ULTIMATE!
Overall it is a very different brave effort in Indian film industry. The technical aspects of the movie really are in par with Hollywood. But IMO, I feel that Kamal's Hey Ram and Virumandi were better in terms of narration and screenplay than this. Maybe watching it again will clear few doubts and show it much better. Or maybe the 2nd part will clear off all questions unanswered. There are so many things to ponder over and talk about the movie like the plight of Afghans, jihadi war, religion, GOD,etc but Kamal would have covered everything with a better narration and end in the 2nd half(like the plot in Thuppakki). But after all, there is Vishwaroopam part-2 which I think will clear all questions. All these things said, this is just my opinion on the movie and am sure that many people who give a very fantastic positive response too would have not understood the movie wholly. Anyway, just grab the tickets and you would never be disappointed for Kamal's amazing performance at least!
And there's one thing that was really really faulty in the movie. Manmohan Singh talking(on the phone) for over 3-5 minutes together which never ever happens in fact!
LINCOLN - A masterpiece from Spielberg and Day-Lewis!
Lincoln - Undoubtedly one of the best classics in Hollywood. Steven Spielberg is back with an outstanding epic again. How could any other guy than Spielberg just make a movie with such a massive cast and yet make it a grand epic?
The opening scene of the movie, Lincoln meeting the soldiers, was a perfect start which itself marked it an exceptional class movie.Few history related dialogs were confusing\puzzling and I needed Wikipedia's help for those. Else that, every other scene was spectacular. Especially Lincoln's anecdotes, the voting speech, the search\hunt for supportive Democrats and the Euclid theorem parts were awesome!
Daniel Day-Lewis, man what an actor are you? Couldn't simply co- relate his performance and role in 'There Will be Blood' or 'Gangs of New York' to this one. He has just devoted his heart and soul for this lifetime role. No one else could portray Lincoln in such a honest yet witty way. A President, a philosopher, a family man, a caring father, a fellow companion, a funny guy, Daniel was everything that Lincoln actually was. There should be no other nominations for Best Actor this year when DDL is there. And Tommy Lee Jones, I had seen few of his movie earlier, but never never never dint know that he could act so really well. Sally Field and Joseph Gordon did their parts quite well.
The screenplay was brilliant as usually people tend to doze off during a movie with so much war history. A right mix of humor, thrill and emotion in the drama filled all the gaps to present such a neat movie. As always John Williams' background just blended beautifully to their respective scenes.
I haven't seen all Oscar nominated movies yet, but I hope and guess that this one will win big! Arguably the best of 2012. Cheers to Steve and Daniel!!
Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained is QT unleashed!
Django Unchained - Should have been named Tarantino Unchained at the end of day!
Along with The Dark Knight Rises it was my most expected movie of 2012 and it dint even come close to disappointing. A ripping bloody ruthless epic!
Was a bit slow and predictable at the start but after Caprio and Samuel's entry, the tale took a stunning turn. There was lot of racism,blood,cruelty and violence but its always fun in a QT movie as these are his basic ingredients. After all, he is one guy who can make the audience laugh when there is some thing brutal going on the screen.
Its very hard to name out any single character's acting as the best in DU as everyone did their roles to their best-est. Wow, what great ravishing roles for Waltz and Caprio. Would have loved if Caprio had appeared for some more time as his character raced off like a flash. Foxx was not that impressive at first but he totally rocked in the last half hour. Jonah Hill and QT's little cameos were funny and impressive. But indeed it was Samuel's role as Stephen which I liked the most. Its pretty hard to differentiate his other roles with this one. Oscar awaiting for someone from here.!
As usual Tarantino's selection of soundtrack suited the movie so well. Overall,QT has redefined the Western genre in his style and the output is a classic! If justice is balance, this movie should at least get an Oscar for his brilliant screenplay.
Instead of dubbing silly action movies in Indian regional languages, they could go ahead dub this one. Maybe if it was 20 years back, both Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan would have suited better in reprising the roles of Django and Schultz.
Django Unchained along with The Dark Knight Rises are the best & greatest movies of 2012 in my opinion. 100% positive!
Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (2011)
A Separation - A dramatic masterpiece!
First of all I have to say that, if I were to keep this movie on the #1 spot of movies released in 2011, then there cant be any movie to earn their place in the next 5 spots. A Separation is way beyond great than any other movie released in 2011 (movies which I have seen).
Its a long time since I have seen a drama which is both realistic and gripping. Asghar Farhadi has succeeded in bringing out the true colors of each and every human and it is portrayed so brilliant by the characters on screen. Everyone of the cast deserves a huge applause for their perfect 10/10 acting skills. It was not just like watching a movie, but going places everywhere with each and every character and watching their activities.Even the youngest character in the movie, the small kid ('Somayeh' character) in the movie has done so well.The movie ideally explores the human and inhuman attitudes of all people. All the events in the movie seemed so real.We may just say a lie so easily, even if it were a serious thing. But the aftermath, is depicted so clearly and truthfully in the movie.
The screenplay and dialogs were so good that I feel like these things can happen in anybody's life. Having seen many Hollywood movies, the one thing that always amuses me is that, most good dialogs in acclaimed movies,seem unreal to occur to the mind to such a person(the character) in such a condition (an exception being Tarantino's movie dialogs). But in this movie, the dialogs are so real,heart-felt and clear (I hope the subtitles with which I watched gave the correct translation).
A superb movie with content that each and everyone of the family can watch.Great direction that makes you ask for more.And I feel bad for people who gave a negative review to this movie cos they are really nuts.Oscar worthy stuff and this movie should feature in the top 50 of every movie list ever made.