My Top -5 – Underrated Tamil Films On The Theme Of Love Failure.


My Top -5 – Underrated Tamil Films On The Theme Of Love Failure.

Inspired by blogger Sylvianism’s post on top romance films of Tamil cinema, I wanted to write my own list. Here are a few gems which might not have made the mainstream blockbuster lists but still work in an understated way.

  • Paneer Pushpangal- this being the season of paneer, how could I resist starting off this post without paneer? Released in 1981 this was P.Vasu’s first directorial- much before china thambi and chandramukhi. The title paneer pusphangal refers to lotus flowers but the hidden meaning of the title is the early morning dew on the lotus flowers which evaporates with the full dawn as a metaphor for first love which disappears with the onslaught of reality. The story which deals with the budding of love in school kids of a boarding school in Ooty and is full of hilarious takes on hostel life in boarding schools and still resonates with those who have spent some part of their lives away from home eating terrible hostel food and pining for attention/affection even when surrounded all around by friends. The romance is such a natural expression of kids in that terrible teen years when your heart yearns for affection and gets a crush on whoever shows even the tiniest bit of affection. The lead actor suresh and his group of friends capture the slice of life of teen years in a poignant way. Not to forget the sketch of the wise and understanding teacher played, rather underplayed by pratap pothen in his trademark style. And true to style the movie ends in love failure as so often happens in real life. The songs are especial highlights of the movie- who can forget kodaikala katraey? Definitely this is one movie for the discerning types.

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  • Ninaivellam Nithya – again, an 80’s era film with love as the main theme and all the characters revolving around it. This again ends in a tragedy but is all the more sweeter for it as the entire movie seems geared up to play out the almost impossible happy ending when it comes to a pairing between two widely divergent individuals status wise. The hero is a rich kid, the heroine is a tribal and not only do they have the temerity to fall in love but they end up eloping and dying in the climax. A very young karthick and viji a debutante would have lived the roles of the star crossed lovers. Every casting choice was perfect and natural and the highlight of the movie are the songs which still make one get goosebumps. You can even consider this the breakout movie of singer SPB as the songs Pannivilum malarvanam and neethane endhan pon vasandham (yes, the original of the movie with the same title by Gautham menon) are still being played in many impromptu jam sessions and karaoke nights.

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  • Kadhal Kondein- I am partial to selvaraghhavan romances- I have no hesitation in accepting it. I thought long and hard about 7-g rainbow colony- another doomed romance with haunting songs before picking this one simply because with 7-g selva had perfected his craft and knew all the ways to tug at heartstrings but this one was raw romance with nary a thought of the box office acceptability. Danush burst on to the scene with this movie and gave us a glimpse of what he could do if left unfettered and in proper hands but sadly the image trap has consumed the actor in danush in recent times. The theme of unrequited love might be the same but the way that selva builds up danush’s character as the innocent friend who is used as a go-between of two lovers who naturally gets tempted and falls in love himself and the way that the heroine is the most matured character of all and handles the inappropriate love with parts compassion and parts exasperation makes beautiful watching. You can’t beat selvaraghavan when it comes to showing love from a feminine point of view.

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  • Parthiban Kanavu – this is a little gem for those who missed out when it was first released. The lead actor srikanth is in love with a woman but marries her lookalike who is totally opposite to his expectations. Rather than being disappointed, depressed or ending up in divorce the hero starts appreciating the new woman in his life. For a movie about post marital love it’s surprisingly subtle about the way in which the wife’s character starts growing up in her husband’s affection and ends up gaining his love even after he meets his original lover. Sneha literally owns this film in a dual role with both women affecting the hero in different ways. The movie which starts off with the love failure ends up showing marital success as the hero is mature enough to realize that what you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabouts.

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  • Ullam Ketkumey – a movie about a group of friends all of whom have love failures? I see you shaking your head and saying no way José. But this movie is not just about love, it’s about friendship, it’s about ambition, it’s about making clear headed choices in life and about redemption after love failure. There are a lot of romances in the movie- arya’s, poojas, shyams, laila’s- everyone ends up falling for one another as so often happens in close knit college buddies groups. But the movie doesn’t stop with the usual romance scenes or love failure songs. It shows life beyond love failure when people have the guts to pick themselves up and go onto succeed in other spheres of life even when romance has failed them. The scene where pooja walks into aryas room on the eve of his wedding and the scene where shyam at last realizes Laila’s love after being oblivious to it throughout the entire movie are quite heart tugging. The songs are just so and so, but the story more than makes up for the music.

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The Other contenders –

Although there were many other contenders for the top 5 love failure movies, I didn’t want to go with the usual suspects like vinnaiy thandi varuvaya and premam which you would be hard pressed to find anyone in tamilnadu who has not watched or has an opinion on. Rather I wanted to showcase a few which no one would have seen or heard off before as my recommendations to watch. I give thanks to my friend sylvian Patrick for the blog prompt for this post and also to raj tv channel which by repeated telecast of all these movies has made me appreciate and become a fan of these little know gems. There is life after love and there is always another love failure movie to watch on Raj TV. Happy Valentine ’s Day folks.

A Round-Up Of My TV Show Recommendations


A Round-Up Of My TV Show Recommendations

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So the newest season of Game of thrones has started off as expected – John Snow has been brought back to life which was pretty much anticipated and eagerly awaited for, the only question being how he would he resurrected from the dead. Episode 2 has revealed that his spirit had escaped into his direwolf Snow as his body was being stabbed multiple times and from there it returned back to his human body when the Red Woman, Melisandre the sorceress of the Light-cult, worked her magic on his wounds. The other character, the only other character we sympathize with and hope to see survive the Game Of Thrones, Daenerys is well on her way to acquiring her promised bridal gift- the entire dothraki nation to rally behind her cause. Just to recall, Khal Drogo, he who was prophesied to be the father of the stallion which rules the world and hence always fucked daenerys from behind (like a stallion?), had promised the use of the dothraki hordes against the westeros as a marriage gift to daenerys to regain her throne, but as he unfortunately dropped off dead and daenerys couldn’t hold on to what was left of the khals army she had to go and recruit eunuch warriors and mercenaries who all proved inadequate to the upcoming campaign against the might of the seven kingdoms across the dothraki sea to finally put a Targaryen on the throne.

Another interesting show I regularly watch, the latest season (season 3) of Penny Dreadful has got off to a kick-ass beginning as well. Count Dracula, the main villain is back on the show after disappearing for most of last season leaving the field open to minor witches and monsters and he has finally hooked up with Renfield, his future nemesis Dr. Seward’s confidential secretary. And Adam, the Frankenstein’s monster at last lives up to his name by twisting off the head of a ten year old child before walking back to england all the way from the arctic where he was marooned on a sunken ship bound in the ice field, at the end of last season. And the protagonist of the show Miss. Ives played by the delectable Eva Green, has at last got out of the stupor of a broken heart and is out and about, ready to face up all the evils of the night which haunt 1880’s London, most of whom she has had sex with in the previous two seasons. All in all the show promises to send more than a few heartbeats racing (and i don’t mean just in the horror sense) this season as well.

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I have also finished watching the entire season 1 of the latest BBC adaptation of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I have to admit that I cant wait too long for season 2 to start. The TV show has added a new interpretation to the traditional story by making sure that although played by the same character, Robert Jekyll’s alter ego Hyde is shown in a delightful new avatar of understated villainy instead of the usual over the top villainous antics we are used to seeing in previous adaptations. The show again has ended in a flaming season finale and we cant wait long enough to see Robert Jekyll get up and show his other side in season 2.

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Dickensian

Dickensian season 1 has ended in BBC one, leaving a half hour void in my night time TV schedule. For those not familiar with the series it is an adaptation of all the Charles dickens novels in an amalgamation where all the various characters interact with one another in un-looked for ways. We are shown the beginnings of Miss. Havisham’s hatred for men with the love affair which caused it ( from Great Expectations) along with the death of Jacob Marley and the coming into fortune of his sole partner Ebenezer Scrooge ( from A Christmas Carol) and Fagin and gang, the likes of the Artful Dodger, Bill Sikes and Nancy (of Oliver Twist) who are suspected of killing Marley on behalf of Scrooge – all in all an interesting mish mash of characters and situations all intertwined together.

So to fill up my half an hour nostalgia tv show slot I have recently started binge-watching Blanding’s, the show based on the P.G. Wodehouse novels of the same name. The antics of the Earl of Emsworth and his price pig the Empress of Blandings have been hilariously brought alive on TV for the first time. Throw in Aunt Connie, Emsworth’s sister and Freddie Threepwood his son and an assortment of wodehousian favorite characters like Sir Roderick Glossop, who keep dropping in and out of the show, you have a crackerjack of a comedy masterpiece crammed inside half an hour. Highly recommended for a last show before bed night time slot to leave you with a pleasant smile on your face as you sleep.

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The last show i want to talk about is the BBC adaptation of the sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel -Death Comes To Pemberley. The book which was a gripping whodunit murder mystery solved by Elizabeth Bennet of the Pride book had me salivating at the opportunity of watching a TV adaptation. And it didnt disappoint as it stuck pretty much to the template of the book. But if there was one thing which soured my pleasure of the TV adaptation it was the casting. Every character was aptly cast except for the lead one, the heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. If you remember reading Pride and Prejudice you would remember that Miss Elizabeth Bennet was a saucy little beauty who made not only the proud Mr.Darcy fall madly in love, but also carries on a brief fling with the much experienced ( in a ladies way) man about town – George Wickham the eventual villain of the novel. But the tv show has erred erroneously in casting an ugly old hag has elizabeth bennet. Granted its been a few years since her wedding and she is now the mother of a five year old child, but i cant help thinking that elizabeth would still be a milf oozing sexuality and not such an ugly old has been especially after remembering Keira Knightley in the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. God only knows what the makers were thinking when they cast the characters. Maybe they were looking to make it on a low budget and this waas all they could afford to hire? I leave it to you dear readers.

The Hobbit Part2- In 4-D – An Unexpected Visit


The Hobbit Part2- In 4-D – An Unexpected Visit the-hobbit-2-desolation-of-smaug-banner (1)

Last weekend I watched the movie- “The Hobbit Part 2- Desolation of Smaug” in a 4-D version. If you are your average 3-D movie go’er and haven’t ever seen a 4-D movie before allow me a moment to dance and caper in your face. Ok, gloating done, let me share my 4-D experience in detail, especially on how I ended up watching a new release on the second day itself. On Saturday I found myself with a little free time on hand- at the awkward time between noon and late noon when there is not much to do or see in the city. As I was on my way back home ready to do some serious TV watching, I happened to notice accidentally that the recently released film The Hobbit- 2 was running in my neighborhood theater Sangam.

Now for those who don’t know Sangam it’s an old theater (predating modern multiplexes) on Poonamalle High Road near the erstwhile Dasaprakash Restaurant (now turned into luxury apartments). It’s on my route back home and as I had a window seat on the bus I could see the hoarding with all the latest Tamil films running at the theatre and in one corner, the bottom right hand corner, there was a small, very small poster of The Hobbit.

Hold on, I thought is the hobbit running here? If so what would be the probable timing of the show? Will they have any show running now or will the fact that it is an English film (clearly not meant for the masses) would have consigned it into a late night show for the English film watching “hoi-polloi” crowds. Do I take a gamble to get off the bus at the next stop and walk back to the theatre to ask if they have a show right now or if it’s already begun or if they even have tickets or whether they were all sold out or should I keep going on the bus in my right comfortable seat till my stop came and I could watch the film next week after pre-booking a ticket? That’s the dilemma I had to resolve within the next one minute.

But hey, you know that I like to live life dangerously, so I abandoned my seat (in that crowded/standing space only bus) without a pang and jumped out at the Neyveli Lignite Corporation House bus-stop to walk back to Sangam theatre with a hope and a prayer. Being a Saturday the theater was overflowing with crowds and i hoped that I wasn’t too late for the show and end up missing a few opening scenes.

sangam1But at last I reached the ticket booking counter after and I asked for a ticket to The Hobbit and was told that only the front row tickets were available and was I sure I wanted one? What the heck after coming this far, I wasn’t going back empty handed was i? So I said yes, I would take any damned seat in theater if I could enjoy the movie on the opening weekend- for I am frankly sick of all the one-line film reviewers on social media who keep spoiling films for us- the average viewers who usually cannot catch any release in the first week.

Once inside the theatre seated in the very second row in front of the big screen with my 3-d glasses on I experienced the well you could say the experience of my lifetime (my young and youthful lifetime ok?) as the film begun on screen. It is a unique experience to watch a 3-d film when you are on the very edge of the screen. Unlike normal 3-d where the images just leap at you in front of you, the edge of screen experience means that the images often enfold you, immersing you inside them at times -like you were living inside a holographic projection.

There were scenes when I turned around to see if the hideous orcs were sitting right beside me (on my left hand seat there indeed was one) and it was an out-of the mind experience. I have never enjoyed 3-D in any theatre as much as I enjoyed the 4-D experience of the hobbit. At times I flinched when the arrows shot by the Elf Lord Legolas almost passed over me in the front seat to go hit the orcs seated behind me. When the were-wolves of the Orc chieftain Azog the Terrible jumped out of the screen i bent my head to let them overshoot me and pass behind. At one time i very nearly pulled out my magical sword and started stabbing and hacking the spiders all around me (I hate spiders btw) before I realized I was causing a mini riot in the theater and calmed down.

The-Hobbit-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-2For those of you who still have not watched the movie and don’t mind a few pointers here are my wiki-leaks. The movie starts from where it left off in the first part (logical right?) as the hobbits are being chased by the orc-hordes under Azog and they take refuge in the house of Beorn the Shape-shifter who takes the form of a humongous gigantic bear and protects them through the night from the chasing goblin hordes. Come morning the dwarfs and Bilbo flee into the relative safety of the large forest Mirkwood but which is now overrun by gigantic spiders (who knew spiders were soo loathsome on close up view?) which capture them and tie them up.

Bilbo as befits the hero of the tale frees the dwarfs from the spiders and takes them onwards deeper into the forest where they are next captured by the wood elves under their fearful lord Thranduil who says that all he wants is to be left alone without being disturbed by each and every passing traveler knocking on his front door. Bilbo again (with the help of his magical ring this time) frees the dwarfs from the elf prison and they escape through an underground river riding on empty barrels. The movie closely follows the book till this point.

the-hobbit-2-poster-desolation-of-smaug-luke-evansIn the second half the movie departs from the book version and expands into new territory which is surprisingly good. The dwarfs reach the newly re-built town of dale – the old one burnt by the dragon in the past and there they get the help of Baud the Bowman (spoiler alert) the future dragon-killer who helps them reach the slopes of the Lonely Mountain – the once-home of the dwarfs. After getting there it’s again the ingenuity of Bilbo which helps them find the back door into the mountain only visible on a full moon’s light on Durin’s day and as a reward Bilbo gets to go inside and find out if the dragon is still alive and kicking so to say.

Turns out the dragon Smaug is indeed more than alive and after some funny interludes with Bilbo (Seriously I don’t want to spoil your pleasure if you have still not seen the movie) the dragon and the dwarfs get into a fight over the ownership of the mountain and the pissed off dragon decides to go after an easier prey -the men of the floating city Dale at the foot of the mountain rather than fight with crusty old dwarfs who pour boiling gold on it, coating it and turning it into a golden dragon for a brief while. The rest as they is – for the next part- part 3.

SmaugTo say I enjoyed this movie would be an understatement- I really, really enjoyed the movie- despite my initial misgivings. For when i went inside the theater I did not know whether I would be watching the movie in the original English or a dubbed Tamil (the local language) version with all the characters speaking in local patois. Thankfully they screened the movie in English but with the addition of English subtitles (a first for me- watching an English movie with English subtitles) at the bottom of the screen which did not irritate me much as the movie sucked me into itself with nonstop action sequences. At one point i even enjoyed reading the translations of orc talk running at the bottom of the screen as subtitles- words like hmmfff, angg, faffff translated directly from Goblish into English.

The Graphics (CGI) was top class in the film and you can almost believe that there is a middle earth somewhere out there in the real world. The acting for the most part was top notch with the dragon Smaug a cinch for an Oscar award this year. All in all it was a totally enjoyable experience for all that it was unexpected. And finally- if you haven’t seen it yet- go immediately to watch. And book an extra ticket and call me- I wouldn’t mind watching again with you.

P.S.- And in future if you want to enjoy a similar 4-D experience buy a front row ticket for a 3-d movie and watch it on a big screen – you’ll love it.

பாண்டிய நாடு – திரை விமர்சனம்


பாண்டிய நாடு – திரை விமர்சனம்

15494_thumb_665நேற்று எக்ஸ்பிரஸ் அவெனுவில் உள்ள ஈஸ்க்கேப் திரையரங்கிர்க்கு நண்பர் கோபால கிருஷ்ணருடன் சென்றிருந்தேன்- தல அஜீத்தின் தீபாவளி ரிலீஸ் படம் “ஆரம்பம்” பார்க்க. ஆனால் டிக்கெட் கிடைக்கவில்லை. என்னடா கிளம்பி இவ்வளவு தூரம் வந்து விட்டோமே, அதுவும் நண்பரின் பிறந்த நாளாச்சே வெறும் கையோடு போவதையும் விட டிக்கெட் கெடைக்கும் வேறு எந்த படத்திற்க்காவது போலாமென்று விஷால் நடித்த “பாண்டியநாடு” படத்திற்க்கு டிக்கெட்டை வாங்கிக்கொண்டு உள்ளே சென்று அமர்ந்தோம்.

படத்தைப் பற்றி ஒன்றும் தெரியாது, விமர்சனமும் படிக்கவில்லை, அதலால் முற்றிலும் ஒரு புது அனுபவம் தான் எதிர்பார்த்தோம். எதிர்பார்ப்பை ஏமாற்றாமல் நிறைவேற்றிவிட்டார் இயக்குனர் சுசீந்திரன். ஒரு நடுத்தர வர்க குடும்பம், பாசக்கார பெற்றோர், காதல் செய்வதிலேயே முனைப்பாக இருக்கும் மகன், அவனுக்கு உறுதுணையாக நண்பர்கள் என்று போன படத்தை – நான் மகான் அல்ல- படத்தை முற்பாதி ஞாபக படுத்தினாலும் இடைவேளைக்கு பின் கதை பெய்துக்கொண்டு ஓடுகிறது.

விஷாலின் அண்ணன் மற்றும் நண்பன் – விக்ராந்த் கௌரவ வேடத்தில்- தொடர் மரணங்கள் (அறிமுக வில்லன் ஷரத்தின் கையால்) பயந்தாங்கொள்ளி ஹீரோ விஷாலை சண்டக்கோழி விஷாலாக மாற்றுகிறது. வீறுகொண்டு ஹீரோ ஒரு பக்கம் வில்லனை போட்டு தள்ள மாத கணக்கில் தொடர்ந்து கட்டம் போட்டு கொண்டிருக்க மறுபக்கம் மூத்த மகன் சாவிற்கு காரணமானவர்களை பழிவாங்க தந்தை பாரதிராஜா வெளியூர் கூலி படையை ஏவ படம் விறுவிறுப்பாக செல்கிறது கிளைமாக்ஸ் நோக்கி. கடைசியில் வில்லனை உயிருடன் புதைத்து தன் வஞ்சத்தை தீர்த்துக் கொள்கிறார் ஹீரோ.

சாதா மசாலா கதை தான் என்றாலும் திரைக்கதையை பட்டை தீட்டி நமக்கு அலுப்புத் தட்டாமல் எடுத்து செல்கிறார் இயக்குனர் சுசீந்திரன். ஒரு மாஸ் ஹீரோ விஷால்லை காதலியை கேலி சேய்யும் ரவுடிகளிடம் சண்டை போட தன் நண்பனை அழைத்து வரும் அளவிற்கு கோழையாக காட்டி இருப்பது நல்ல டச்ச். அதேபோல் கிளைமாக்ஸ் சண்டையிலும் ஹீரோ கராத்தே, குங்பூ எல்லாம் கட்டாமல், கைக்கு கெடைய்த்ததை எடுத்து அடிக்கும் சராசரி மனுஷனாக காட்டியது வரவேற்கத்தக்கது,

இசை சுமார்தான்- அந்த முதல் “ஒப்பாரி” பாட்டை தவிர. விஷாலின் தந்தையாக நடிக்கும் இயக்குனர் பாரதிராஜா, நண்பர்களாக நடிக்கும் விக்ராந்த் மற்றும் பரோட்டா சூரி கொடுத்து பாத்திரத்தை கனகச்சிதமாக செய்திருக்கிறார்கள். விஷாலின் அண்ணி வேடத்தில் வரும் நடிகை சிறு பாத்திரமாக இருந்தாலும் நம்மை நெகிழ வைய்கிறார். தேவையில்லாத ஒரு சில டூயட் பாட்டுக்கள்தான் அங்ககங்கே தலை நுழைத்து கதையை தடை செய்து ஆடீயன்சை வெருப்பெற்றுகிறது.

தீர்ப்பு : பாண்டிய நாடு– கட்டாயம் ஒருமுறை பார்க்க வேண்டிய படம்– 4/5