Friday, June 17, 2011

Avan Ivan - a class apart.

Title: Avan Ivan.

Director: Bala.

Cast: Vishal, Arya.

Bala promised us a total comedy script. And he is such an evil minded person. You can never find someone as ruthless and with so much hatred for man kind. What does Bala do in the movie? he makes you laugh. From frame one. Makes you laugh so hard that eventually tears roll down your cheek. And even after that you continue laughing. And then, and then he makes you cry. CRY! 

The story-line is a simple one liner. My guess is he wouldn't have taken more than 30 minutes to narrate the story to the cast. But the screenplay should be appreciated separately. This is not another 'Nanda' or 'Naan Kadavul'. But this movie will stand apart in Bala's career as a unique milestone. Calling this script a complete comic element would be like calling Anbe Sivam a quickie. I don't know how deeply Bala was involved while designing Vishal's character. Bala puts the epic in epicness.

I should say Arya plays a smooth secondary role in the movie. We should recall how big a milestone Naan Kadavul was in Arya's career and Bala has polished the good actor shield of Arya again after movies like Chikku-Bukku and Boss.. which killed the actor in Arya. I have always thought Arya should be made to act and he on his own will can not. I am not blaming his skills but Bala has played the role of the teacher who makes the student study in his life. Excellent timing in the scenes involving humour. And Arya has let himself loose in this movie.

The guy who played the role of 'Highness'. Thamizh cinema will remember this guy for long, rally long. He may not have used his acting skills much but he lives with us through out the movie. He has been bold. Bala uses one such character in almost all his films. I just can't find words to describe how pivotal a role this guy has pulled off. Watch the movie for this guy.


Its Bala's nature that he works hard on a character, writes up a narrative and kills us by showing everybody that he will change the image of an actor upside down. Bala can make Charlie Chaplin cry and give us a hit. Vishal's introduction is one of the high points of the movie. A brilliant take off. And then it starts. Its a riot throughout. The sentimental scenes of Arya blow us away. Brotherhood takes a different meaning. Simply put, there are two scenes I will never forget in my life. Who can?! Vishal demonstrates 'Nava-rasam' in a scene. Go for a cardio test if you don't cry in the end. And then the block before the climax and the climax. I personally thought Vishal couldn't act to save his life. And then the Bala phenomenon happened. If Vishal doesn't get an award, not one but many, I would say his standards have grown ahead of the awards. I would watching not once, not twice but thrice at least for Vishal.

Yuvan has done what Raja did to Naan Kadavul. Music that defines and doesn't disturb. The Vishal-Yuvan combo will make you cry in the scene aforementioned. 

I'm dividing the rating into 5 parts. Story, screenplay, Arya, Vishal and the guy who played the role of 'highness'.

Story - 15/20. Screenplay - 17/20. Arya - 18/20. 'Highness' - 18/20. Vishal - 20/20.

Overall the film scores an 88/100. Which gives it an 8.8/10.


Bala has risen to a level from where there is no coming back. He should never stop writing. Never stop to surprise us. I'm sorry for all the accusation Bala. You are godlevel, probably beyond. 

Thamizh cinema needs stories. Stories need good actors. Actors need Bala.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Aaranya Kaandam - A new chapter 'also' in Tamil Cinema

Aaranya Kaandam ( Translating to Jungle chapter) is the third chapter in the epic Ramayana. It deals with Raavan kidnapping Sita and the beginning of Ram and Laxman's search for Sita with the help of so many.

The USP of this particular chapter is deception. How Raavan employed Mareech to deceive Ram/Laxman in order to kidnap Sita. And the movie that released with the same name today lives up and does justice to its title.

Title : Aaranya Kaandam.

Director : Thayagarajan Kumararaja.

Cast : Jackie Sheroff, Sampath, Ravi Krishna and Yasmin Ponnappa.

The movie was launched with a great backing from the South Asian Film festival. It won the Grand Jury award at the said function and my hopes were high on this movie and now I'll try to put into words how far it remained true to the hype. I was sitting there taking notes and wrote a rough review of the first half during the interval break. Yes, I was impressed.

The movie starts with the introduction of Singaperumal (Jackie) and Subbu (Yasmin). The first half is racy like you want any fast movie to be. There are no stereotypical fight scene introductory scenes to insist that the plot is over a group of gangsters. Pasupathi's (Sampath) role comes off as a good person among the bad ones. Someone who is smarter than the rest. Ajay Raj of Chennai-28 fame pulls off a comic stint as Chittu. The kid Kodukkapuli and his dad were one of my favorite additions. The dad guy showing innocence, the kid playing a role way above his age and the couple of scenes where the father-son intimacy are shown leave a mark in your mind.  First half is a relatively short one compared to conventional Tamil Cinema and it moves twice its pace and before you even know you hit the interval block. The first half gets interesting in the first fifteen minutes with a number of parallel plots. The interval block couldn't have been better. The cock fight just before the interval block will remind you of the one in Aadukalam, only here its real and graphics were not used. The first half will already leave you guessing the climax. If only it was the usual Tamil cinema story your guess would most certainly come true in the second half and that's where the script scores.

The chase in the beginning of the first half is a remarkable attempt at innovation, at both camera and screenplay. I should say that we all got used to watching the hero being chased by a group in almost one in three movies differing only in the location or the distance or both. This chase focused more on the story and I should say the path on which the story is to travel for the next one hour or so is decided during that chase. All this while Ravi Krishna who played  the character Sappa remains a vestigial character in the movie excepting a few scenes which of course were important. A few scenes in the second half involving Yasmin and Ravi were the ones pulling the reins tight on the horse. They could've let it loose a bit.

The movie then races to the climax. A plan unfolds in front of your eyes, a simple but effective one. Something that will make you go 'bravo'. Before you know the movie reaches the climax. And man, this is one unexpected climax. I waited for my guesses to come true and the script laughed at me every time it proved my guesses wrong.

The dialogues need a special mention. They are raw, crude and exposes the lifestyle of the most primal class of people. And it makes you stick to the movie and relate to the characters.

Now I have to mention Jackie Sheroff separately. He has pulled off a role that none else could. I should say not that none can but none will. The introduction scene indicates the character's impotency and I bet any actor would think twice before saying yes for the inclusion of such a scene.

The Kamalhassan, Rajnikanth, Vijaykanth joke was indeed well played.

And the music. The best thing about this movie was the exclusion of songs. I was glad. There were too many strong scripts that faced criticism because of the inclusion of ridiculous songs. Being a gangster subject one would expect an item number with the mobs dancing and drinking around her. But the director has scored yet again in that area. Yuvan's music did not intervene the  movie at any point. The subtle violin made the dialogues and the monologues even more clear.

A very special mention to S.P. Charan for having believed in the script and for taking a bold attempt to carry the movie on his shoulders. I think he will be paid back with good criticism and sadly this movie doesn't promise commercial success.

The movie ends with THAT character walking away voicing out THAT line and THAT says all about the movie in one line.

To sum up, I think I'll give it a 9.5/10. The 0.5 being taken off just to keep the crew on their feet. I really don't know how Thyagarajan Kumararaja will handle his next movie after having set such a high benchmark for himself.

Bottom line:

I can gladly say we have got a near perfect movie in a very long time.