Wednesday, January 18, 2012

3 Idiots vs Nanban

(It suppose to be a quick post but I ended up writing more especially after yesterday I watched again the well made 3 Idiots)

(The guy on the far right seems better than the rest. Trust me, you will be safer watching the original 3 Idiots than the “new” idiots in Nanban - they are nowhere close to the beauty of story-telling and acting in 3 Idiots. Poster source: Indiaglitz)

Indiaglitz in their review of the movie said:-

First things first. Let's not compare '3 Idiots' with 'Nanban'. Though the latter is a faithful remake of the Aamir Khan starrer, 'Nanban' has its own moments. It carries a nice theme presented in an interesting way. It drives home the point that one shouldn't run behind success and rather pursue his/her own interests. If one develops right skill anything is possible.
I guess they are just trying to be nice here and nothing more. I agree - perhaps Nanban would have made more sense and entertaining if you have not watched 3 Idiots in the first place. This post will make more sense for those who have. Indiaglitz asks us not compare '3 Idiots' with 'Nanban' but how we could not do that? Nanban is almost 100% remake of 3 Idiots in many ways including many of the dialogues, settings and characters.

And if you are intending to watch the latest Tamil flick Nanban, please don’t waste your time and money. Despite the big names in the acting roles and film-making (Enthiran’s Shankar being the director here) and having copied almost 100% of 3 Idiots which was released in 2009, Nanban sucks big time. Don’t get me wrong – those acted in Nanban is highly talented in their own standing but coming together in Nanban, something did not just click right.

Comparing the two movies side by side, you will be better off watching the more original, the more entertaining and more believable 3 Idiots starring Aamir Khan. Take the main character - Aamir Khan is like thousand times better than Vijay in the same role. You can see a glimpse of hidden intelligence when you see Rancho the first time in 3 Idiots but you see nothing (despite trying very, very hard) when you see Pari in Nanban.Nothing seemed natural here – Vijay seemed to be trying very hard to be that innocent but brilliant student who changes the life of his 2 friends. All the actors in Nanban seemed to be trying hard to follow the same style of the actors in 3 Idiots but do not achieve the same fluid. You don’t feel the same agony even after Jeeva’s character jumps from the top floor of the university. And once that key characters in the movie is ruined, you can kiss the whole movie good-bye as well.

Even the well talented Sathyaraj seemed to have wasted his energy and time here as well (you want to see Sathyaraj in his elements? Watch Kannamoochi Yenada and you will see why I say that he has wasted his energy and time here). The award winning Boman Irani who acted in same role (as the much hated “virus”) in 3 Idiots have done his role just too well – In 3 Idiots, it was a clear fight between the 3 idiots and the virus but here in Nanban, Sathyaraj hardly come close and ends up playing a very minor role.

Perhaps the film makers with all that talent and resources at their disposal should have done something different that sets Nanban apart from 3 Idiots. Perhaps the film makers should have localized Nanban to more South Indian settings (yes, they tried but it was not enough – speaking in Tamil instead of Hindi does not really count) – perhaps even dropping “All is Well” to something more localized in Tamil.The only saving grace in Nanban is Harris Jayaraj’s music – it is good to be heard on its own although you need to forget that it was made for Nanban (if you do that, 1 + 1 ends as something else and not 2). My favourite would be Irukkaannaa – nice touch of the various background instruments by Harris.

I have seen 3 Idiots several times before and I still love it but Nanban, despite a “brave” attempt to rekindle the magic that 3 Idiots did, failed miserably in almost every department. It’s sad because we were expecting something better and entertaining from the famed Shankar. If you want to watch any recent movie that is better than Nanban, I suggest instead you watch Porali – starring M. Sasikumar.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Deiva Thirumagal 2011

This should have been posted a week ago…

(The 2 lovable characters in the movie, the mentally challenged Krishna and not willing to give up despite the odds Anuradha. Image

Vikram had always been a good actor and in Anniyan, he showed his prowess by acting in two distinct roles and in the climax, switching between the 2 roles in seconds (that could have damn tough to be executed all in one take).

He is back in Deiva Thirumagal where he plays Krishna who is a mentally challenged adult with the maturity of a six-year-old boy. He plays a father to a young girl, Nila (played by the cute Baby Sarah) who harshly taken away from him through deceit and unfairness. He is helped by lawyers Anuradha (played excellently by the beautiful Anushka Shetty who we last saw in Vanam) and Vinod (played by the funnyman Santhanam).

On the other side of the spectrum, fighting to keep her deceased sister’s daughter away from Krishna is Swetha (played by Amala Paul who I last saw in Mynaa – that was a stupid movie) and her rich, powerful father who thinks that Krishna being mentally challenged will endanger her late sister’ only daughter and a marriage who is disapproved by the family. They deceit Krishna in bringing his daughter to the city and then dumps him by the road side. Leading her in the court case is Bashyam (played by the serious Nassar), a well known senior lawyer who always win his case all the time.

(This scene was funny but could have been shortened to focus on other more important scenarios. Image

Although the storyline of a father who loses his daughter through someone’s deceit and then being denied his pleading to his daughter again, leaving with him with no other choice but to fight for his case in a court of law is nothing new (in fact, the basic storyline in Deiva Thirumagal is similar to Sean Penn's "I Am Sam" except the twist at the end), the director had kept the storyline simple and engaging at all times.

How would Krishna find his daughter back in a big city? With odds stacked against him, will he win the court case? Will he see his daughter again? Moments like this keep the audience sitting in anticipation, wanting to know what happens next. Thankfully there were no unexpected song scenes to disrupt the storyline.

Despite that, there were also some dull moments such as the time when Vikram and Anushka go to the hotel looking for Vikram’s other mentally challenged friends. The director could have cut short this scene but otherwise there was no other major fault with the movie. Comedy was kept to the minimum but it is very effective - M. S. Bhaskar holding the fort at the beginning and Santhanam thereafter.

The court proceedings and the engagement between junior lawyer Anushka who have not won any case and the more seasoned, senior lawyer Nassar who wins all the time was worth the watch. It was interesting to see how Anushka manages to outfox Nassar despite Nassar coming out with dubious ways to get the court to strike off Krishna’s application to get his daughter returned to him.

(The loving father and his cute little daughter - happy together, far away from the deceitful people from the big city. Image

It is Vikram’s fine acting and good storyline & direction by its director A.L Vijay from the start to end and there is also the cute Sarah who acts as the daughter of Vikram, Nila to look forward to. My wife admitted having tears in her eyes at certain scenes - something I have to admit was very moving.

We somehow tend to forget that Vikram is only an actor when we were watching this movie. We think of him as truly someone who is mentally challenged and with the maturity of a six-year-old boy. We feel pity for him and when he returns back to Bashyam’s house (where he was kidnapped and was held against his will) with the medicine for Bashyam’s son and then goes back into the room where he was kept captive, we feel humbled by his innocence.

(M.S.Bhaskar provided good laugh in the beginning. The dose of comedy was just nice for the pace of the movie. Image

Adding the cream to crucial scenes is G. V. Prakash's music. He had a good job with background music and the songs – my personal favorite is Vizhigalil Oru Vanavil sung by Saindhavi. It was reported that this is the song that made made Anushka, on whom the number was shot, to cry on the sets. The picturisation of this song was good with the shot taken in slow motion and in the rain.

Overall, Deiva Thirumagal is a very well made movie which focused more on human relationaship and the bondage between a father and his daughter and how cruel the world is when it comes to how one sees a mentally challenged person. It is a good watch.

Final Say

Pros: Whilst it is not original, the execution of the storyline was good, the usual good acting from Vikram and there’s a cute Baby Sarah to look for

Cons: Almost none but they could have cut down on some of the non-essential scenes to keep the storyline more focused on the core issue

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

KO 2011

(Jeeva is natural in his roles as far as I can remember and he gets better in KO. He holding the camera rather proper as well. Image source: Indiaglitz)

KO has 3 good things going for the movie – the talented actor Jeeva, creative director KV Anand and inspirational music director Harris Jayaraj.

The Plot

Jeeva plays Ashwin who is the star- photographer at a local daily. He and his colleague, Saraswathi (played by loveable Piaa Bajpai) soon joined by Renuka (Karthika Nair – daughter of yesteryear actress, Radha). At the very beginning, Ashwin manages to took snapshots of bank robbers but unable to identify the mastermind.

At the same juncture, Ashwin college friend Vasanth (played by Ajmal Ameer who we last saw in Anjathey) runs for political office and through a series of blunders caught on camera by Ashwin and a major bomb blast that kills Saraswathi and 30 other people. Vasanth after initially wanting to pull out from the election decides to go for it and wins the election and becomes the Chief Minister.

Ashwin in the meantime finds out that Saraswathi was not killed by the bomb blast but was killed by an unknown person. He continues to hunt for the killer who killed her and managed to link the unknown man with a scar on the face with the earlier bank robbery. One day, he goes to see his friend Vasanth and surprised to see the man with the scar in the office. Only then he realised that Vasanth is not the man he claims to be but rather someone who is evil, who do not stop at anything to achieve his political ambition.

The climax is where Ashwin follows the man with the scar to his hideout, unknown to both of them; Vasanth had ordered a police assassination of the man with the scar. But the police operation goes wrong and the both the man with the scar and Ashwin still alive with Ashwin manages to sent the information back to Renuka. Vasanth in the end gets killed but Ashwin decides to keep the real story away from the public because he realizes that only Vasanth is the bad guy whilst the others who were in the same party with Vasanth in election are still good guys and determine to make positive change in the Government.


In Tamil movies, I hate to see actors (including the so-called superstars) doing their part without doing their homework. You would have seen them – musicians who do not know how to hold or play the music instruments (often the guitar or the piano) or the policeman who do not know a shit about police tactics or weapons and more.

In KO, it is a different ball game – Jeevan who plays a photographer not only holds the camera in the correct way but also plays with the camera settings to get the right snapshots (like the time where he increases the ISO setting for a night shot or when he changes the lens for the right angle)

Jeeva is funny, serious and loveable and is the main star in this movie. Jeeva have always been so natural in his role in past movies (last being Siva Manasula Sakthi). He looks younger in KO. Renuka who is the new “heroine” in this movie, fortunately was given less role time so that the “romance” scenes are kept to the minimum. Renuka, despite being a newbie here is at ease in her role but given the short screen time and the complexity of role she has in KO, she did quite alright.

There is Prakash Raj as politician in this movie but his acting prowess was not capitalised to the maximum – he comes in at the start, more as news piece for Jeeva’s role as photographer. KV Anand could have linked him to the real villain in this movie, Vasanth and made a more interesting climax.

Ajmal Ameer had his moments in Anjathey but in KO, it is not his movie to boast eventhough having a prominent role in the movie. Something seems to be missing and it could be due to the nature of his character in KO.

(One too many - we need more story line, not female line. Image source: Indiaglitz)


We last saw cinematographer turned director KV Anand in action in Surya’s Ayan which was a well made and he is back in KO with an equally made storyline and direction.

But if you ask me if KV Anand is a great director, I would say no – he still makes the same mistakes that you can find in low quality Tamil movies – illogical scenes, poor police tactics (hundreds of police cannot even take down a couple of poorly prepared criminals), the hero end up portrayed as super heros (able to take couple of villains all by himself).

KO’s strong storyline had somehow redeemed KV Anand’s minor flaws but there was plenty of room for improvement. I personally thought Ayan was of a better quality compared to KO despite having a strong and well known crew. KV Anand have the right substance but he needs to be a bit consistent and he needs to discard the hero is the superhero mentality that plagues Tamil (and mostly all Indian) movies.

And then there is the issue of redundancy – Jeeva pairs with 2 ladies who are interested in him and works in the same office but KO is not a pure love story. So why waste screen time on them? Then there are 2 politicians (played by 2 main actors) portrayed as the evil, dirty politicians but Jeeva do not fight them in the climax. So why need 2 dirty politicians when in reality, 1 is more than enough in most movies.

This issue of redundancy causes less screen time for the crust of the story and a lost of focus on part of the audience. It is a shame because KO has a strong storyline and rest of the components seems to fit together just nice. More time could have poured on Jeeva - Ajmal Ameer cat and mouse game and a better climax.


If you ask most of the Tamil movie fans, the key players in Tamil movie music would usually fall on two big names – A R Rahman and Yuvan Shankar Raja. But there are other good music directors in the industry (Illayaraja still composes music for new movies) and after A R Rahman and Yuvan Shankar, very close in the race is Harris Jayaraj.

Harris already had good tracks in the past – Minnal, Anniyan, etc and more recently, Engeyum Kathal and now in KO, he maintains the same good to hear soundtracks. Strongly recommended soundtracks would be Venpaniye, Gala Gala and Ennamo Aedho. The good use of instruments does not overcome the lyrics and it is not loud (even the fast track numbers) – a well known signature of Harris. Nothing experimental and probably that is why Harris Jayaraj is a winner here.

Final Say

KO is one of the better movies in recent years but it is not the best – it is logical in its main plot but also plagued with illogical scenes.

Pros: Strong storyline (with interesting outcome), Harris easy listening music and Jeeva adapting his character very well.

Cons: Too much minor distractions in the storyline (2 female characters, 2 rotten politicians, etc) waste screen time, KV Anand is better than some of directors out there but he needs to be consistent – his Ayan was better than KO.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Vaanam 2011

(Poster source: Wikipedia)

Watching Vaanam reminded me of the movie Crash – gripping sub-stories within the main story and the director Krish who directed the Telugu blockbuster titled Vedam have managed to pull it off well with the remake of Vedam in Tamil with an impressive set of actors namely Silambarasan, Bharath, Anushka Shetty, Prakash Raj and Saranya Ponvannan.

First the main characters:-

1. A young musician (Bharat) who wants to forms a music band and be a full time musician despite his mom wanting him to join the army. He is close to one of his band member, Laasya. He manages to get a gig for his band in Chennai.

2. A beautiful prostitute (excellently and bravely played by Anushka Shetty who reprise her role in Vedam) who is trying to get a better life, a business of her own, runs away with her best friend to Chennai to start the new business here.

(Barath looks young and refresh although he should take up guitar lessons so that he will look more believable with his guitar. Image source: Indiaglitz)

3. A poor woman (Saranya Ponvannan fits in well here) with her father-in-law gets desperate to repay a local moneylender after her young brilliant son is taken by force by the moneylender who gives them 3 days to repay otherwise he will force the young son into bonded labor. Having no money in their hands, the poor woman decides to sell off one of her kidneys to a “customer” and heads to Chennai for the operation.

4. A devout Muslim (played by Prakash Raj) whose wife is pregnant again and recently learned that his long-lost brother (who runs away after a bad encounter with the police and a mob) has just been sighted in Chennai and heads for it.

5. A young man from the slums in Chennai (played by Silambarasan very well) who don’t have a proper job and cheats others to get on with life. He pretends to be a rich man and tries to marry with a real rich man’s daughter. He is joined by his good friend (played by the funny Santhanam)

By getting all the main characters coming to Chennai with the right (more importantly, more logical) reasons, Krish works up the right scenario to get them to interact with each other at the climax and that makes it a well made movie.

(Simbu with Santhanam looking for ladies to snatch - this is one of the funniest segment in the movie. Image source: Indiaglitz)

Silambarasan despite had to contend with sharing the movie moments with other stars, is still the gem of the story. He is funny, loveable and full of emotion and he does it without overdoing it and with far more maturity than his role in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa. Silambarasan’s attempt to snatch women’s gold chain to pay for very expensive party tickets is damn funny made even better with his bungling partner in crime, Santhanam. Their last attempt was almost successful - they crash into a police jeep just when they almost get away with it and ends up arrested after Santhanam’s slip of the tongue.

And towards the climax, his character changes from the funny, romantic man from the slum and into a dangerous robber who robs without a pity from Saranya Ponvannan, now lies in hospital recovering from surgery. The money that they receive from a broker is far below their earlier expectation but they have no choice. We also see just how cruel middle men are – they not only take their cut from the money but also charge them for the petty expenses.

But somehow justice seems to be done at the end for Saranya and his aged father in law when her father in law goes and confronts the cruel money lender, throwing down money less than what was expected earlier and when the money lender demanded more, he gets his grandson to compute the interest and realised that he had paid more, take back the extra and heads back home with his grandson safely back in his arms. The money lender impressed with the grandson’s interest computation decides to accept the payment as final.

The climax where the “Muslim” terrorists attack the hospital is rather lame but perhaps it was just convenient touch for Krish to tie all the characters up. We can live with that but given that it is a remake of Telugu movie, Krish could have done something more brilliant. The story of Prakash Raj’s final confrontation with his now turned terrorist brother was not developed well and it seems rushed. But we can’t really fault the storyline for this since there are too many subplots running at the same time.

(No need to doubt Prakash Raj's prowess in acting sensitive moments - he cries when he finds out that his wife had a miscarriage after a fight with the religion mob. Image source: Indiaglitz)

The other gem in the movie is the gifted music director, Yuvan Shankar Raja who has come with good music for this movie. Unlike compositions by the Oscar winner A R Rahman who needs time and close listening before one catches the genius of his music, YSR’s compositions are more straight forward. It does not take long for one to appreciate his music. All the 5 songs are really beautiful to hear – my pick however would be the very meaningful “Vaanam” (sung by YSR himself) and the fast paced, rock themed “Who I Am”

Pros: Good storyline, great acting by Silambarasan and “must listen” music by Yuvan Shankar Raja

Cons: Sub plots may be confusing for some people

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yuddham Sei 2011

This was one of the most waited movies in my list for 2011!

(One of the best scenes in the movie – Cheran facing off the criminals with just a small knife on a bridge. One to one and almost immediate – no stupid scenes like one hero flying or punching 20 guys at one go. Image source: Indiaglitz)

Sometimes, we can determine a good movie upfront by seeing who is the director of the movie – throw some names like Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and in Tamil movie scene, Shankar (although he screwed up his last movie), Mani Ratnam, Gautham Menon and many more up into the air and you can be assured that you going to see a movie that is not only entertaining but well made and with the right storyline.

One such director that have been consistently been churning out “must watch” Tamil movies in recent times is Mysskin. In the last 5 years, he only made 4 movies – Chithiram Pesuthadi in 2006 (still remember the “fish” song?), then one of the best, Anjathey in 2008 and did one personal movie for himself titled Nandhalala in 2010 and now we have Yuddham Sei in 2011.

There is a good reason why Yuddham Sei is also known as Anjathey 2 – quality and well-directed storyline continue to ooze from Mysskin’s magical hands.

The synopsis

From Wikipedia:-

The film starts with a brooding CB-CID officer J.K. who is worried about his missing sister. His senior officer promises J.K. that he can take up his sister’s case after he solves another one, so J.K. agrees. Amputated male arms are packed in cartons and left in public places. J.K. suspects that they are done so deliberately, as a message to the police. Based on identification from families of missing persons, they find that the arms belong to Raja Manikam, Moorthy et cetera. By triangulating the co-ordinates they find a lead in this case.

Durai Pandi is a leading textile shop owner who was beaten and insulted in public and handed over to the police after it was found that he had used a peephole to look into the dressing room for women. He is caught by the victim Suja’s family, who are totally shattered by this incident. The inspector in-charge of this case is Isakki Muthu. Later, Durai Pandi’s manager surrenders to the police accepting the charge of the crime, and thus clearing Durai Pandi’s name.

Later, Suja’s father Dr. Purushothaman was arrested on charges of bribery, and later released. A sex affair complaint was lodged against Dr. Purushothaman’s wife. These events shatter the family, and they suicide by setting themselves on fire. But Suja is still missing, so J.K. decides to reopen Dr. Purushothaman’s case.

Read further here

(There is “dirt” in this police station – Cheran facing off a dirty cop who is part of the criminal gang involved in the kidnapping of young girls. Image source: Indiaglitz)

The storyline

Very similar with Anjathey with a little twist here and there but the ending was something that was not expected. Many slammed Mysskin for using similar plot with Anjathey for this movie. Yes, admittedly it is indeed similar but what is more important is how it is presented to the audience – in the past, we have seen remakes of older movies but not all turned out to be well). In that sense, Mysskin maintains his grip on quality and good story-telling to be better or in par with Anjathey.

So, what we have in Yuddham Sei? In this movie, there are 4 groups of characters with 4 subplots twisted together as one big plot in this movie and it was well presented by Mysskin:-

1. There is the story of a brother looking for his missing sister – JK, the main character well played by Cheran is a police detective who had to content with investigating gruesome murders in the city whilst investigating the disappearance of his sister (In Anjathey, Sathyanathan investigates the kidnapping of young girls whilst had to content with his good friend turning to the “dark side” of life)

2. There is the story of the police who seems to be at loss with finding of human parts in a box, left in the public areas around the city. Mysskin was careful to show the details of the police investigations, the frustrations and the pressure from the police chief and politicians and the public to get the people who been cutting up the victims (Same thing in Anjathey – one of the best scenes there was when Sathyanathan asks the IGP to investigate when he was asked to get out from the room. In Yuddham Sei, IGP is a much cooler head than in Anjathey but no less, keeps up the pressure on his men to solve the case fast)

3. There is the story of a criminal gang who kidnaps young women for sexual purposes and portrays the act to a group of old wealthy men who pay good money (Similar in Anjathey where young girls get kidnapped for ransom)

And then

4. There is the dark story of revenge – something that is not noticed until it is explained in the second part of the story. Revenge is indeed sweet.

The camera angle

Similarly in Anjathey, camera angle of the various scenes remains perfectly executed. Sathya handled the camera but you can feel Mysskin’s artistry all over the place. Scenes like the back shot of JK as he is pondering his next move as he in a vehicle traveling towards for a police operation, the fight scene at the over head bridge – one of the fights is shown upside with the criminal shown running in the background, the dead girl lying on the dining table surrounded by her family members and of course, the classic trademark ground level shots.

Creative camera shots making story telling even more compelling – coupled with well timed background music and that gives a whole new meaning to thrillers.

(I love the camera angles in this movie – Cheran sitting down at the spot where his sister was kidnapped, contemplating on how to find her. Image source: Indiaglitz)

The acting

The key person in this story is Cheran – we all have seen his fine acting (and direction) in Autograph and Thavamai Thavamirundhu but this is first time, we are seeing him in the role of a policeman, out to solve 2 cases at the same time. Acting is fine but perhaps we are seeing Cheran in a totally new role, initially we are unable to erase Cheran from his other roles that he had played in the past but as the movie picks up pace, we start to believe that Cheran is one tough cop and he is just one of us when faced with tough calls.

Another twist in the line of actors in this movie is YG. Mahendra – the actor from the often played funny roles in movies in 1980s and lately involved in TV serials. Lakshmi Ramakrishnan who plays his wife in this movie excels as well in her role.

The music

Background music in Yuddham Sei picks where Anjathey had left off – not much song scenes but plenty of heart-stopping background music for the tense moments in the movie. Mysskin seems to favor violin based music – we found it in Anjathey and we loved it alot and now we can find it in abundant in Yuddham Sei. I managed to get hold of Yuddham Sei’s soundtrack – the music alone is worth listening on its own.

Final say

The plus points: The direction (It’s Mysskin man, what else you need?), camera work, music and acting (Cheran did one fine work here)

The negative points: The storyline (Damn! It looks identical to Anjathey but it highly, highly acceptable)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Enthiran 2010

I know, I know…this review is more than a month old late!

(I know there was trouble when I saw a “Borg cube” at the opening credit of the movie. Poster source: Wikipedia)

Before I start with the review, let me tell you upfront that we have been duped, major time, by Shankar and the studio marketers (ya, they did a good job with that) with the whole hype before the movie was released. I keep asking myself – is this the movie that Shankar been thinking for the last 10 years of doing ? The movie that now holds the title as the most expensive Indian movie to be made (approximately USD40 million) and unbelievably the second highest grossing Indian movie of all time (thank God, 3 Idiots are still holding the top place to save grace).

My son have been asking me to take him to see the movie even before the movie was released in Malaysia (he have seen the trailers and he knows who is Rajini). I told him to do well in the exams and I promised to take him to see the movie (I would have taken him no matter what the exam results was but I wanted to buy time and I had to fly overseas for some work). So when I came back, he reminded me (and he got good marks in the exam) and I immediately book our seats on an almost empty cinema hall. Good thing was I went to see it after the ticket price got cheaper and I did not had to tussle with others for a good seat.

(The place where the song Kadhal Anukal was shot – the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. Couple the background with great music and you have magic moments in a movie. Image source:

The Good

So, let me quickly tell you upfront what is good about this movie:-

1. Art and background during song scenes – the best is for the movie, Kilimanjaro. Good use of the Mayan era costumes and beautiful dancers. The picturisation of the opening song, Kadhal Anukal is also good – deserts with crystal blue patches of water (damn, where did they find these places?).

2. Music – As usual, I hated AR Rahman’s music at the beginning but listen to it a couple of times, it ends as your top of list music for your MP3 player. There are plenty of techno like and scientific kind of lyrics to put the music closer to the theme of the movie. You need patience and time to listen to AR Rahman music, otherwise you will hate them the first time you listen to it. My top pick – Kadhal Anukal, Kilimanjaro and Arima Arima (good use of marching drums and Ash looks stunning in pink).

3. CGI – Seeing many “Mat Salleh” names on the opening credit was not a big surprise. Hollywood technicians are at a class of their own with CGIs and SFXs. The last fight by Chitti 2.0 was a good, a bit over done but refreshing one (why didn’t those robots in Will Smith’s I, Robot did not think of that when wanted to defend themselves from the human).

4. Ash & Rajini – a colleague of mind said that it is like the “Beauty and the Beast” but seeing it in the cinema and despite Rajini is old and Ash is an ex-Miss World, there is certain chemistry between the two. Rajini (thanks to skilled make up artists) looks young and good. Ash is able to conquer the scenes with her own beauty. Rajini acted well for both the parts of Dr Vaseegaran and Chitti – no wonder he is called the Super Star. Chitti 2.0 is the best character in the whole movie.

5. Fight scene in the train – with such a confined area and too many “baddies”, stunt masters Peter Hein, Yuen Woo Ping and Alex Martin pulled it off rather beautifully. It reminded me of the epic fight between Neo and many of the rouge formerly known as Agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy.

(Chitti 2.0 is evil but it was my favorite – Rajini acted the character almost flawlessly. Image source:

The Bad & Ugly

End of good things, now, let’s talk about the bad things of this movie:-

1. Logic of storyline – The biggest letdown in Shankar’s Enthiran and it shows bare chested after the second half of the movie (as if Shankar spent all those years – 10 years – only thinking about the first half, got lost thinking about the second half and decided to fall back to the typical Bollywood kind of story telling).

In fact, IMDB quote “however, in October 2007, Khan commented that the script was “half-baked” and “dull” in comparison to his other films at the time” and one review website said “Shankar’s obsession with visual creativity overtakes logic and reason to the point that towards the end, the extravaganza on screen totally stops making sense”whilst another says “the climax is definitely a sure-fire way to lose your sanity”.

Let me illustrate couple of examples:-

a. When Chitti kidnaps Sana and that got the whole of TPD (yeah, the Tamil Police Department) coming after them with all it’s might. I was surprised when I noticed that the TPD starts shooting at the car that Chitti and Sana is in. Countless of bullet holes on the car (and it is a convertible and is not a bullet proof car) and nothing happens to Sana (forget about Chitti, he may have internal body armor but Sana?).

b. When a clone of Chitti hijacks a oil tanker and is running away from TPD, the commander will ask the rest to fall back, stating that it will be dealt by the Coast Guard. At that point, I had expected a heavily armored gunship to appear at the scene but once again, Shankar decided to make a fool of himself – a lonely civilian helicopter with a missile launched (hello friend, I don’t see any missile launcher on the helicopter!)

c. One man show – the hero and the villain who work on their respective robot projects is doing on their own (never mind the 2 idiotic assistants that Dr Vaseegaran has in his lab – they look more like the tea boy and the toilet washer to me). Now compare to the real work by real scientists– almost everyone works as team and to build a humanoid that is almost talks and acts like a human, you going to need an army of scientists with many different skills and specialties (even in Dasavathaaram, Kamal is working with a big team on the killer virus in a proper lab). No, I guess since it is a Bollywood movie; the Super Star can do everything by himself.

d. Army evaluation. I am pretty sure that when the Army want to test a new weapon or something that can kill the enemy, they will make sure it is tested in a proper lab or in a proper testing ground and with the evaluators and the top Generals far away from the test grounds. Not in Shankar’s Enthiran! Top generals sits right in front of Chitti who is sitting in front of a table full of weapons and the whole testing is done in an army training camp with new recruits in the background. What happens if Chitti goes haywire (it did once when it tried to kill the maker) and decides to throw a grenade towards the generals or the new recruits, just for fun?

e. The mayhem in the end where it seems the whole police and military in Tamil Nadu is trying to take out one crazy robot. Where is the tactics, man? In the movie, Shankar gets the men in arms to surround the Chitti clones and starts shooting at it. Then Shankar decides to be “brilliant” – he gets 2 gunships (finally a proper gunship helicopters!) and starts them to shoot down – right at where the police and the army on the grounds are busy fighting. I predicted half of the men dead on the ground was killed by the gunship helicopter. It is obvious that Shankar need to watch more of Hollywood’s war movies to understand how the military really operates. They operate on well defined tactics and proper teamwork.

2. Unnecessary scenes – instead of giving an intense film and keep us engrossed, Shankar fills up with unnecessary scenes – perhaps he did not know what to do. The scene involving the mosquitoes and Chitti 1.0 is one good example. Another is where Sana tries to make her boyfriend jealous and distracted by trying to make friend with a drunken villager.

3. Where is the underlying story? One good thing I liked on Shankar’s past movies has been the call for Indians to be better and make India a better place – evident in Anniyan and Mudhalvan which deals with corruption and dirty politics. But here in Enthiran, Dr Vaseegaran spends 10 years of his research on a robot for the Army – a weapon of mass destruction as we see later in the climax but that’s about it. When his mentor, Dr Bohra rejects the application by Dr Vaseegaran for the very fact that Chitti goes haywire (defies the 3 laws of robotics – made famous in I, Robot) and tries to kill Dr Vaseegaran, surprisingly Dr Vaseegaran gets upsets and protests profusely (you mean Dr Vaseegaran rather be dead than get his application rejected? What is the underlying message by Shankar here?)

(Clones of Chitti 2.0 charging up – Enthiran was no doubt ground breaking but Shankar had to go and messed up the storyline. Image source:

Final say

The plus points: Music & picturisation, Chitti 2.0 and camera work

The negative points: Storyline that defies logic

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pasanga 2009

(The main characters in the movie – Image source:

I used to hate Tamil movies…

Ya, they had great music and if you throw in Sivaji Ganesan and Kamalahasan, great acting too but one thing I hated the most was the storyline. There is no logic explanation on how one hero can take on 20 or so armed gangsters and still come out alive or how a very beautiful girl from a very rich family loves a hardcore gangster from the slum on the very first day.

But in recent times, Tamil movie makers seems to have rediscovered something that been missing for a long time now in the industry – a sensible and logic storyline – a point that was well made when I saw Pandiraj directed, Sasikumar produced, award winning Pasanga. That movie simply blew me away with its simplicity and one of the best storyline involving children.

The Plot

The story starts with a group of men going to the police station to complain about 3 young boys who been creating havoc in their village. One of them, Jeeva is also the son of a strict teacher in the local school, Nithyanandam. Life becomes a nightmare for Jeeva when Anbu’s father (Anbu is the hero in this movie) decided to move out from their old village and moves to the house opposite of Nithyanandam’s house.

On the very first day, Anbu gets into a fight with Jeeva who earlier had intended to bully Anbu. Anbu finds himself in the same class with Jeeva and where the teacher is none other Nithyanandam. Anbu who is kind hearted, strive to befriend Jeeva but Jeeva, angry with Anbu’s success just wanted to get even with Anbu (how he does it is funny too). Without realizing the impact of the fight with Anbu, Jeeva slowly changes – he started to dress well and improves on his studies (with intent to outsmart Anbu in studies), to much delight of his father / teacher, Nithyanandam. However, the fight between Anbu and Jeeva eventually spills over to a fight between the two families with Jeeva’s father intend in chasing away Anbu’s family from the rented house facing his house.

Interwined with the main story of Anbu & Jeeva, is 2 other stories – Anbu’s uncle relationship with Jeeva’s elder sister and the fight between Anbu’s parents. The turning point comes when Anbu’s parents fight gets worse and Anbu’s mother asks for a divorce. The fight is overheard by Jeeva who spreads it at school; with intend to embarrass Anbu to the maximum. Both Jeeva’s and Anbu’s fathers decided to talk things over and things starts to improve for both family (Anbu’s uncle even gets engaged with Jeeva’s elder sister) but the fight between Anbu and Jeeva did not let down until Anbu meets with a tragic accident.


The story is pretty simple – it is nothing that we are not unfamiliar with in real life (and movies) but at the end of the day, what we need to ask is whether there is a lesson to be learned after watching the movie. Yes, movies are nothing but a mode of entertainment but if it is packed with the right message, movies can be a very powerful medium for betterment of life.


On the onset, the premise has been set that the main characters in this movie would be the children. The adults in the movie play the supporting role. And despite having a heavy role to play, the children excelled in their acting, so much so you would think that there is a real fight between Anbu and Jeeva.

One of the interesting things that were portrayed in this movie is the children’s imagination. Anbu imagine himself as a self-defence expert, someone driving a car or as someone who is riding a brand new motorcycle. I still recall myself imagining driving a bus (Toong Fong bus in particular) when I was still small and was staying in my grandma’s house.


My pick – Anbaale Azhagagum Veedu (sang by veteran singer, Dr. Balamuralikrishna) is simply brilliant – both in lyrics and in picturisation. It comes in after Anbu’s parents reconciled and things started to get better for both Anbu and Jeeva (other than their fight, of course).

One of the heartening moments in the song is where Anbu’s father would be outside a shop and sees his son running to the school, imagining that he is riding a motorbike. Anbu’s father decides to buy a bicycle for Anbu, making his wish to come true and making him in par with Jeeva who already had bicycle and been teasing Anbu on this.

The background music especially the violin is well deployed at the right time – like when Anbu is being teased in the classroom by Jeeva on the fight between Anbu’s father and mother – we share the pain faced by Anbu.

Final say

The plus points: Storyline, acting and music (especially the main song)

The negative points: The love scenes between Anbu’s uncle and Jeeva’s elder sister should have been kept to the minimum