Monday, May 23, 2005

Naayagan's Time



Time magazine's movie critics Richard Corliss and Richard Schikel have selected their all-time best 100 movies and our own Naayagan finds a place on the list(other Indian films selected are Satyajit Ray's The Apu Trilogy and Guru Dutt's Pyaasa). In Corliss' words, "... Ratnam has no such difficulty blending melodrama and music, violence and comedy, realism and delirium, into a two-and-a-half-hour demonstration that, when a gangster's miseries are mounting, the most natural solution is to go singin' in the rain."

Naayagan, is without doubt, my favorite Tamil movie of all time. The movie proved that Manirathnam, whose previous film was Mouna Raagam, was here to stay and drew from Kamalhassan his best performance yet. I have seen the film probably a dozen times since I watched it in Udhayam theater back in 1987 and have been irresistably hooked every single time. I have cheered Kamal's comeback to the policeman; sympathised with Saranya's innocence-laden reply to Kamal; laughed at Kamal's son's impertinent question at the lineup; smiled at Nizhalgal Ravi's gesture of respect to his father; choked up at the old woman's supreme sacrifice to save Naicker from the clutches of the police; and nodded my head in understanding at Kamal's answer to his grandson's question "Neenga Nallavaraa, Kettavaraa?"

Direction, acting, screenplay, music, cinematography - this is one of those rare instances where every aspect of cinema came together to create a true classic. While Roger Ebert chooses to throw the world's attention on a movie like Taal, which simply reinforces(and not too well either!) the world's impression of Indian movies, I'm extremely happy that Time has been able to sniff out Naayagan, a regional movie, for this attention. Hopefully, this selection drives a few more non-Indians to check out the film(it is available on Netflix) and realize that not all Indian cinema is filled with happy families, sappy romance and overt sentiments.

Way to go Velu Naickar...

51 Comments:

At 5:09 AM, Blogger Zero said...

WOW!!

 
At 6:49 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Great.. Nice to see the recognition after a good 18 years.. It was a legend.. Congrats to Mani and Kamal.. Hope this news brings them out of their recent defeats and back to their best.

 
At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

I second gp as to Mani and Kamal trying to get back to their former glories, but I guess that won't happen anytime soon.

Kinda odd that this movie was singled out. I like it, it's a pretty decent flick, but no masterpiece, really. Just consider some of the superfluous musical scenes, like Janakaraj's song on the ship or the one just before our hero met the heroine. There are, undeniably, some great scenes (Kamal visiting his estranged daughter) and marvellous acting, but it does resemble THE GODFATHER a bit too much in places (like Sonny's death being mirrored in Nizhalgal Ravi's death et al.).

There are other films, more coherent and constantly satisfying ones I would've nominated, like THEVAR MAGAN, THILLANA MOHANAMBAL, CHINNA THAMBI or even something like MUTHU or ANNAMALAI. Oh, well...

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger VC said...

bb: thanks for the fyi about Naayagan in the Time list.
It is a timeless classic, which I totally enjoyed when I first saw when I was in college, enjoy it even today and will definitely enjoy it even when I am not so young.

 
At 9:44 AM, Anonymous ram said...

The Kamal-maniac I am, I couldnt have come across a better post for a Monday morning! my thots on Nayagan:
http://www.geocities.com/ram_aishoo/Nayagan.htm
(not a review, more of a eulogy!)

When I started getting into artsy cinema, one of the first things I did, was to check out the entire Apu trilogy. All three films are masterpieces from Ray, slowly but surely drawing the viewer into his world...but my fav remains the third one- Apur Sansar...the movie has some delightful scenes between the lead pair (Soumitra Chatterjee and a gorgeous Sharmila Tagore) and it surprised me how much influence something made in the 50s had on filmmakers like Mani Ratnam...

 
At 10:51 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Asokan, I disagree with most part of your post. Nayakan was immensely satisfiable both from an entertaining point-of-view and technically. Sriram's camera shows different shades when the story passes through different periods of Naikar's life.. Thotta Dharani's sets bring Dharavi to our eyes.. Mani Ratnam was awesome in bringing the best out of erstwhile less-known actors like Nasser, Delhi Ganesh, Charanya, Krithika and even Janakaraj, pradeep shakthi, Tinnu Anand and Nizhalgal Ravi..

This movie was a turning point in the careers of most of the above. Even "Naan Sirithaal deepavali" had no vulgarity and picturized very well.. Kamal's best song so far, "Thenpandi Cheemaiyile" still puts me asleep when I hear in the nights..
Your choice of Chinna Thambi and Muthu was shocking.. Chinna Thambi survived mostly because of its songs, a vibrant Kushboo and comedy. The climax was awful.. Muthu.. decent movie.. remember the horse getting divine influence and playing a role in the movie? Annamalai was good until the auction scene, when Sarathbabu loses everything in few minutes due to ego?!?!? It was suicidal..

 
At 11:20 AM, Anonymous GP said...

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At 11:24 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

One of my favorite movies. Nayagan was a comeback, kind of speaking, for Kamal. What I appreciate in this movie is not the big things that are obvious. The small things, the attention to detail is what shows the amount of effort put in. For example, look at that scar on his eyebrow. Stays throughout the film. How many show that? Kamal really brawned up for this movie to fit the image. It is good to see hard work getting paid.

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Munimma wrote "Kamal really brawned up for this movie to fit the image. It is good to see hard work getting paid."

And I am quite sure that Kamal didn't go to Hongkong to bodybuild to brawn up for the movie either :) Because I heard that was what Prashanth did for...what was that sorry f**kup of a movie he was in last year...JAI!! That was it..Jai (had to go back and look up Balaji's archives...found that movie in the bottom of the 2004 heap).

 
At 11:55 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, i can understand 'thevar magan' but 'chinna thambi' and 'annamalai'?? it looks like u have a soft corner for 'chinna thambi'. i remember u mentioning it even for another post. It was a blockbuster but by no means a classic. have u seen it recently or r u going on memories alone? cos when i saw it a couple of yrs back(its part of my now defunct 'movie of the month' series), i felt it had aged and seemed quite silly... i rate 'annamalai' the best Rajni movie but defly won't put it in the same league as 'naayagan'.

ram, read ur review again. wonderfully written. anubavichu ezhudhina reviewnu theriudhu :) considering the kannada original of 'priya oh priya', this would be mani's 5th film right? 4th tamil film i guess...

munimaa, understand exactly what u're saying wrt 'small things'. i feel that if i wrote a review after each time i saw the movie, major parts of the review would be completely different since different things jump out at me in different viewings. like the scene where kamal talks about getting ambulances for dharavi. the way he holds the bar and kinda rolls his hand around it while talking is such a wonderful observation of how people behave... Fabulous!

gopi, u were reminded of 'jai' while talking of 'naayagan'?? i pity you :-)

 
At 12:09 PM, Anonymous ram said...

"the way he holds the bar and kinda rolls his hand around it while talking"

-- didnt 'get' this...can u explain this?

yep, it is so true that the little details get a life of their own on repeated viewings...thaz why i made a small (n defn. not comprehensive) list of those lil'l moments in my review...

one such instance (from my ***-the viewing) is Kamal's understated facial expression when ARS tells him, "en ponnu ipo nallaa irukkaa."

 
At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Balaji wrote: "gopi, u were reminded of 'jai' while talking of 'naayagan'?? i pity you :-)"

Exactly, dude, when you normally give a classic like Nayagan a 10 (on a rating of 1 to 10), you will want to go out of your way and give it a rating of 117 because a bullsh*t of a movie like Jai happens. You feel what I am going through here, man?!

I went to attend a different school in Madurai for XIth standard. I remember having to go to the admissions office a few times just prior to when classes started. During those visits and the first few weeks in school, we would hear nothing but the Chinna Thambi songs being played in a public loudspeaker from a nearby shack (obviously either a Prabhu or Kushbo fan "club"). Now everytime I play a song from that movie, it always reminds me of the fabulous 2 years I spent in that school. Maybe it is something similar that asokan feels...(sigh)

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Shyam said...

Absolutely agree... Nayakan is one HELL of a good movie. It may be an Indianised version of The Godfather, but by heavens, it's an improvement on the original! It's one of my favourite movies even though Kamal is no longer on my list of favourite actors :)

 
At 10:18 PM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Sure, sure, MUTHU, ANNAMALAI and CHINNA THAMBI are silly movies, but then, there's hardly a Tamil movie that isn't silly to SOME degree, even the pretentiously serious ones. The movies I favored in my posts (add THARMATHURAI and BOMBAY to that list) are very underrated in my opinion as just pure blockbusters. They are certainly that, but at the same time, they're completely unpretentious about it and try to be and often achieve to be consistent in their strengths (acting, writing, directing, etc.).

Whereas Kamal has a tendency to get all "serious" with us and tries to make "worthwhile" entertainment, which leads to uneven work like NAYAGAN (no one commented yet on my criticism of having Janakraj in the movie, who feels out of place with the rest of the film).

Most critically acclaimed "serious" films are less consistent and satisfying than mass audience hits which have much more subtleties in them than we really give them credit for. Of course, this all comes down to one's personal preference, but to me at least, some so-called Tamil drama classics like SETHU or 16 VAYATHINILE suffer very badly in comparison to allegedly light, but actually far more sophisticated entertainment like THAVANIK KANAVUGAL or MICHAEL MADHANA KAMA RAJAN.

It doesn't matter, if it's a drama or a comedy or whatever, as long as it delivers again and again, like CHINNA THAMBI does for me - it has a very disturbing climax, but it's important for the emotional crux of the story and stems from the relations between the characters.

Most Tamil films frame themselves (or are framed by its audience) as high class ("serious, subdued drama") and low class ("silly, highly emotional comedy/drama"), but such kind of classifications themselves are completely silly.

A case in point: VETRI KODI KATTU is a pretty restrained, believable drama, but that first song of Parthiban, Murali & Co. celebrating their work in song and dance is completely out of place and badly put together. Later on, though, we get a very moving scene where the disillusioned Charlie has to fake happiness in front of his friend's family. So, you see, Tamil films almost always veer between the ludcrious and the profound. Some get the mixture mostly right and have the right tone, like KAADHAL, others have great parts, but also distracting or boring bits, like NAYAGAN.

 
At 11:03 PM, Anonymous ram said...

goooodness gracious....posts like these really do emphasize the point that OPINIONS DIFFER....!!

but actually far more sophisticated entertainment like THAVANIK KANAVUGAL

--> thaz hilarious!!!!!! at least, i started laughing...oops, sorry!! counds baashaila "Decent approach...Decent approach!" naan jagaa vaangikaren paa!

 
At 11:25 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, i'm not sure why u feel janakaraj was out of place in the film. He is introduced along with Kamal as a young boy, remains his close friend and becomes his right hand man. He plays an important part in many scenes, like Karthika's revolt against her father. Just the fact that the role was played by janakaraj, a comedian, should not automatically make the role dispensable. It was a very important role in the movie and not out of place at all.

i am definitely not belittling lighter or commercial movies or their directors. Making them is hard work too. But placing 'chinna thambi' or 'thavani kanavugal' on the same plane as 'naayagan' seems like heresy(in fact, i dont think they can even be on the same plane as MMKR). when u say that those movies have more subtleties than we give them credit for, I think u r giving them more credit than what is due.

as 1 example, take 2 characters in 'chinna thambi'. prabhu seems to be aware of everything except the meaning of marriage. there's also the village idiot who is not aware of anything except the meaning of marriage. Do such characters seem real to you as compared to Kamal or his daughter?

I agree that both Manirathnam and Vasu did their jobs well. i just believe that Mani aimed a lot higher than Vasu.

 
At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

That's the thing, isn't it? A film isn't automatically great, just because the filmmaker had great ambitions in the first place.

Kamal always has great ambitions and intriguing ideas for his films, but they seldom result in good films: to me, VIRUMANDI and ANBE SIVAM and lots more of his films were interesting failures, but nothing more. Yet you liked both films cause they were different.

And even such a godawful and boring film like PARTHIBAN KANAVU got good marks from you, just because it had that interesting, but not well-executed twist (it's just tooooo far-fetched to have the hero never talk to his future wife in person before the marriage, even for a Tamil film) and was more subdued (in this case: nothing much was happening) than other films.

Sure, someone like Vasu is hardly ever as ambitious and careful in his filmmaking as Manirathnam, but despite his approach the latter still delivered clunkers like well-meant, but ineffectual IRUVAR, AYUTHA EZHUTHU and nearly ruined the second half of his otherwise splendid KANNATHIL MUTHAMITTAL.

You asked, if some characters from CHINNA THAMBI seemed real to me or not. Well, frankly, I don't care if they're real, since I wouldn't believe in the first place, that a hot girl like Kushboo would fall in love with a village idiot like Prabhu. But we're talking movies here, folks! And especially Tamil films seldom replicate reality, but rather are influenced by other films and therefore present us with a heightened, fairy-tale like reality, where people burst into songs and are all of a sudden in front of some foreign, exotic places. Where's reality there?!?!

NAYAGAN wants to be more realistic and it is, certainly (expect for some of its more contrived situations, like Nasser being the husband of Velu's daughter AND the police officer chasing him), and the song "Thenpandi Cheemayile" is well incorporated into the film, but some of the other songs take you out of the picture, and that ain't a good thing.

As to Janakaraj being out of place in NAYAKAN: I love the man as a comedian and even as an actor (remember his moving reply to Sarathbabu when he throws out Rajani in ANNAMALI?!), if he is used right, and he is well used in parts of this film, but wouldn't the film have better momentum, if it had cut some of its song sequences, including the ones which feature Janakaraj prominently?

I can't believe that a filmmaker like Bhagyaraj is so underrated. Yes, I consider THAVANIK KANAVUGAL to be quite a masterpiece with more well-balanced sadness and fun than the uneven NAYAGAN. I hope someday, there'll be more critical attention put to Tamil cinema, when it will become clear, how there are many remarkable filmmakers who deserve attention as genuine auteurs (directors with a very personal approach and specific style). Not just Manirathnam, but also Bhagyaraj, Barathiraja, K.S. Ravikumar, Cheran, Visu, Saran and even Shankar.

None of them make always good films, but even their failures are interesting within their whole body of work. So, everybody, let's stop being pretentious and only hail the so-called classics, and start appreciating the pleasures of widely underestimated directors.

P.S.: I think director Bala (SETHU, NANDHA, PITHAMAGAN) is very much an auteur, too, but in a bad way: depressing tales with good atmosphere and solid performances, but not much variation in their themes and hardly any insight.

The director of KAADHAL, though, is poised for great things.

 
At 3:03 AM, Blogger Zero said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 3:04 AM, Blogger Zero said...

in fact, i dont think they can even be on the same plane as MMKR

Balaji, why EVEN?
MMKR is a classic!! And 99.5% of tamil movies can't be on the same plane as MMKR.

May be, I wouldn't go to the extent saying MMKR should stand alongwith Nayagan mainly coz of its main objective being humour and nothing else. But the ambition of the makers is very evident the way the movie is made. To compare MMKR with any other serious movie might be futile. But its an inimitable comedy and a classic in its own right!

-- An ardent MMKR fan who is thinking of starting a blog in the name mmkr.blogspot.com :)

 
At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a sin that Annamalai was overlooked.

Annamalai has everything that Nayakan had - Love, Friendship, Betrayal, Grief. But it could also in-generate an economic revolution in Tamil Nadu. Rajni Showed how the poor milk men of TN should diversify into making Diary products to make more money. You will find every sweet shop in the smaller towns of TN hoarding a picture of Thalaivar Rajnikanth!

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger F e r r a r i said...

Asokan,

I dont know what you ahve against Maniratnam. But talking about chinna thambi and nayagan in same breath. Manasatchi thottu sollunga. Neenga panradhu nyayama?

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Oh well, it looks like I struck a chord here... I have nothing against Manirathnam per se. I think he's one of the most gifted and challenging filmmakers Tamil cinema ever had, but I don't agree with praising every one of his pictures, cause they don't all deserve it. I liked ALAI PAYUTHEY and BOMBAY, and even KANNATHIL MUTHAMITTAL for the most part. NAYAGAN, too, is a pretty good movie. I never claimed otherwise. I just say that it ain't the masterpiece everyone claims it to be.

Maybe it's because our definitions of what makes a great film differ: to me, it has to enrich me, move me, startle me, just strike a chord within me. NAYAGAN did just that in some parts (the ending, the Velu-daughter relationship, Velu crying for his dead son), but it didn't deliver consistently.

Now, MUTHU, ANNAMALAI, CHINNA THAMBI, MICHAEL MADHANA KAMA RAJAN, THAVANIK KANAVUGAL and many more films are little masterpieces in themselves, if you ask me, cause they never let up and get sidetracked. One is constantly entertained by the comedy or riveted by the drama. It's just splendid filmmaking and a coherent, satisfying experience. NAYAGAN fits the first, but doesn't completely fit the second one.

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous ram said...

lez forget all of this and salute the team that created Nayagan...
we're proud of u guys!!
looking fwd to the next Mani-Kamal combo...

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous ram said...

bj, u still hvnt answerd my q:

"the way he holds the bar and kinda rolls his hand around it while talking"

-- didnt 'get' this...can u explain this?

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

zero, i was completely disappointed by MMKR's climax. I happen to think the climax is a very important part of a film. so, while i do luv the film, i don't hold it in as high regard as a 'naayagan'. my favorite kamal 'light' movie would probably be 'aboorva sagodharargal'.

asokan, true ambitions alone r not enuf. but i did say that both mani and vasu meet their ambitions but mani ends up with better films since his ambitions r higher.

defending parthiban kanavu, iruvar, etc. would take too much space so i'm just gonna stick to 'naayagan' here:-) i'm just curious as to what portions of 'naayagan' did not deliver? just the songs? as for the contrivance of karthika marrying nasser, i think she says that she is trying to atone for her dad's sins by marrying a policeman. the fight she has with kamal sets this up very well and so it didnt seem like a contrivance at all.

 
At 11:58 PM, Blogger Zero said...

Balaji!
my favorite kamal 'light' movie would be aboorva sagodharargal as well, but alongwith MMKR :).

Defending Iruvar and Parthiban Kanavu in the same breadth?

 
At 1:16 AM, Anonymous ram said...

zero, i think it is crazy mohan's talent as a dialogue writer and kamal's fine screenplay that makes u think of aboorva sahodharargall as a "light" movie...think abt it, the story is actually heavyduty...but the presentation makes all the difference...and i think above all, its an ENTERTAINER in every sense of the word....thaz what makes it special, i think...

 
At 1:53 AM, Blogger Zero said...

Hey! Ram,
I was just adding MMKR to Balaji's phrase..
Balaji was telling that AS was his favorite kamal 'light' movie.
I quipped in that I ll add MMKR to it as well.

But on second thoughts, AS was of course a light movie ('light' is not a bad adjective) -
1. an ingenious mix of poignancy and comedy
2. an ingenious mix of commercial elements and sheer creativity/inventiveness

I always thot AS and MMKR as twin-works by Kamal/Singeetham/Crazy taking up an age-old formula (purely from the repertoire of Commercial Indian Cinema) and give a whole new shape to it by dazzling inventiveness and trascend themselves to a whole new plane.

AS takes double-action-cum-revenge formula (which kinda makes it 'light', the usage of word being in the context as used by Balaji) and put it in a whole new fashion with liberal doses of humour.
And, MMKR was like they telling us, "Hey! Now you got 4 instead of 2 and nothing else matters!"!!

 
At 8:05 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

zero, well said! "taking up an age-old formula(twins separated at birth and taking revenge on the bad guys who killed their father) and giving a whole new shape to it' was exactly what AS was all about. dealing with the revenge formula in a comic way was pure genius. and its screenplay never ceases to amaze me to this day.

 
At 8:09 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

and yes, though they tackle different genres(and probably because of it), i did like both 'iruvar' and 'parthiban kanavu' the same amount :-)

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous ram said...

anything +ve abt Kamal, here I come! :-

no seriously, the screenplays of Aboorva Sahodharargall and MMKR (amazing coincidence Bj, i too was disappointed with the chaotic climax) are amazing in their ingenuity...

esp the way Appu brings all of his circus -training skills into play with the murders...I hope some MN Nambiar doesnt come in and say that it was copied from a 1925 Hollywood movie titled, "A midget strikes back!" :))

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Zero said...

I hope some MN Nambiar doesnt come in and say that it was copied from a 1925 Hollywood movie titled, "A midget strikes back!"

Been there, felt that!

 
At 11:14 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i love this pic of kamal and saranya:
http://www.cinesouth.com/masala/hotnews/new/25052005-1.shtml

 
At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Well, ram, actually there IS a movie about a midget's revenge from 1932 called FREAKS (USA, Tod Browning), but then, that was more of a horror film than a comedy.

Balaji, I must've forgotten Velu's daughter's disdain of her father's ways as a reason to marry a policeman. Yeah, I admit, it ain't that contrived anymore. As to the film lacking momentum because of the songs, that is really my main argument. Get lost of the songs and it works twice as well, at least for me.

And you mentioned how "Aboorva Saghodarargal" is your favourite Kamal 'light' movie or something. Now, I used to like the flick as a child, but I recently revisited it and had the same reaction you had to CHINNA THAMBI: I was rather disappointed by it, especially the whole narrative thread involving the tall Kamal character and how the dwarf turned into a crazy killer. This was especially annoying, since what went before was a very touching 'love story' between the dwarf and his betrothed. And that one may actually be a lift from FREAKS.:-)

 
At 10:06 AM, Anonymous ram said...

asokan, you are my MN Nambiar for the day!! I wish I had an MGR to bash up you villains!!

 
At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Yeah, well... what would MGR do without a Nambia to bash up? Just sit around and drink tea? :-)

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous ram said...

"Thalai Mattumey Irundhu Poo Illaavittaal Adhu Kaayaga Irukkaadhu...Poo Mattumey Irundhu Thalai Ilaavitaal Adhu Naagareegamaaga Irukkadhu!"
(Prakashraj in "Iruvar")
PS: coincidence that he's referring to Mohanlal's MGR Character!!!

 
At 11:50 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, i kinda explained janakaraj's role before. and now u see that karthika's marrying the cop isnt really contrived. so the only gripe u have about the film now is the song sequences. and that goes back to the basic question of whether song sequences r required at all.
so i guess u like nayakan a li'l more than before. Aah! my good deed for the day :-)

As for AS, i'm not too fond of the tall kamal character either. But the dwarf turning killer was pretty much the main story wasnt it? the romance(though superbly done) i would say was just filler. and it was in the killings that the screenplay, my fav aspect of the movie, turned really clever.

 
At 12:16 PM, Anonymous ram said...

the romance(though superbly done) i would say was just filler.

--> but his failure in romance is what forces Sri Vidya to come out with the truth regarding his past...so, whether its really filler material is questionable too...the feelings of love was anyway expressed in an economy of scenes + 2 contrasting song sequences (pudhu maapillaikku...and unna nenachen...)

 
At 1:53 PM, Anonymous GP said...

Aboorva Sagotharargal... my favorite action-comedy movie.. I cant forget this:

Janakaraj to the constable (Sivaji): Raja - Ambu - Villu - Paattu - Villupattu... Pidichittenn...

Sivaji bows down saying "saaaaar... neenga engeyo poyitteenga" and falls on a laughing Janakraj's feet.. Good comedy at its best..

 
At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Okay, let's just conclude that NAYAKAN is a pretty decent movie and that I liked it the only time I ever saw it. Maybe if i get to see it sometime again on DVD, I might like it more. But for now it's a good Tamil movie, and we all know, there ain't a lot of them out there. But, while only celebrating these kind of "serious" and ambitious pictures we shouldn't forget the pleasures other, less acclaimed Tamil pictures offer us. Peace out!

 
At 11:20 PM, Blogger Zero said...

Balaji!
i'm not too fond of the tall kamal character either
I dont think I completely agree with you.
Its in those parts involving Raja we get to see some wonderful humour in the initial parts, though detached from the story which revolves around Appu. But the threads are connected in a very convincing manner when Janakaraj catches Raja each time instead of Appu.
But, one might still ask why all those scenes about how Raja met Janaki and all that when Raja's character enters into the main thread only when Janakaraj comes in.
But for the humour, I would savour it up. [Just like something what Bala attempted in Pithamagan].

Just sampling some lesser-noticed parts:
"Nikkara Vandiya'daa!" - Kamal says when Janaki hits his car for the second time.. LOL!
"Naa saapittuttu irukkaen'la?" - The watchman in front of a building says to Janaki when her parked car starts moving back in the reverse dir. LOL!

 
At 8:57 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Kuttai Kamal: Idhu Circus thuppakki.. Pinnaleyum Sudum..

(Jaishankar reverses it, aiming at his chest and shoots himself)..

Kamal: Munnaleyum Sudum..

Nice criminal brain..

 
At 11:48 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

asokan, done :-) do watch 'nayakan' again. and for the record, i never forget the pleasures the less acclaimed ones offer us. after all, i gave both 'nayakan' and 'annamalai' 4 stars!

zero, couple of reasons why i don't like segments involving raja.
1. a very personal reason is that i hate it when kamal speaks 'madras bashai'. for me, his looks and the slang never gel!!
2. there is some humor but the cleverness of the humor in the second half simply makes the jokes by raja pale in comparison.

fully agree that raja was an integral part of the story though. the way he becomes suspect for each of the murders was just brilliant screenplay, esp. the puli-puliaattam connection. i was blown away in amazement at that!

gp, good one. kamal's lines before he kills all 3 villains r filled with several delicious one-liners.

 
At 12:00 PM, Anonymous GP said...

Werent there 4 villains? (Delhi Ganesh, Nasser, Jaishankar and Nagesh).. Interestingly, all of them had a strong connection from K.Balachander.. Kamal said he wanted to make Nagesh the main villain since he was jealous of Nagesh's acting skills and wanted to beat him by any means.. so he took his revenge in AS!!

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Yeah, Nagesh was brilliant in that one... he's always magnificent as a villain!

 
At 5:48 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

gp, duh! it was 4. i actually forgot nasser which is really strange since he's associated with the puli-puliyaattam part which i love so much!

asokan, has he acted as villain in any other movie? i think he had a neg. role in 'thillaanaa mohanambal'. any others?

 
At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Asokan said...

Uh... well, I can't recall Nagesh playing a villain other than in AS. In THILLANA MOHANAMBAL he was more of a parody of a villain, but very, very effective at that. But there have to be some more, I guess...

 
At 3:42 AM, Blogger Zero said...

I remembered one movie in which Nagesh plays the villain

Mounam Sammadham.

 
At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Gopi said...

Balaji, I think a younger kamal would be a better fit for speaking Madras Bashai. Watched AS last night...What a coincidence you guys are talking about it!! Anyway, I don't normally find Janakaraj's character very funny but I was doubled over in laughter last night.

"Saar, yengaeyo poiteenga saar"

Also I think that "Crazy" Mohan was in it too. It looks like Kamal works quite a bit with the same people (he was recently seen in that awards function with Nagesh, too).

Well, I am off to Cape Cod. Have a good weekend, everyone!!

 
At 1:35 AM, Blogger blogme said...

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