3 New Reviews
Reviews for Agaram, Muni and Sabari are now online @ bbreviews.
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Reviews for Agaram, Muni and Sabari are now online @ bbreviews.
The situation of our actors is not as bad as it is for our actresses. Even the ones who make us wince with their debut seem to get more opportunities to try their luck (though it is true that many of these actors continue to act because of their filmi connections, there are others who have shown up in more than a few movies inspite of unimpressive debuts and no apparent filmi links). And we've had actors who stuck around for a long time with few hits to their name before striking it rich and making it to the top(Vikram would be the most obvious example though Surya would kinda fit that definition too).
Last week, I wrote about actors who I thought had little chance of sticking around for the next generation of Tamil cinema. That was a fun article to write but I'd be the first to accept that it was also a little mean-spirited. After all, its not very nice predicting the ends of actors' careers. So to make amends, I thot I'd write about something more positive today.
So, for all practical purposes, India is out of the World Cup. Losing to Sri Lanka today, it pretty much sealed its fate, having lost 2 out of its 3 matches. The sad part is, it looks like the match today wasn't even close. Checking the scores regularly, it was pretty apparent that Sri Lanka was completely in control throughout the match. Both our batting and bowling (more the former than the latter though, mainly because of its strength on paper) seem to have let us down today as our bowlers let SL score 254 and our batsmen then surrendered meekly for 185 without a fight.
Finally caught up on 3 of the Best Picture nominees at the Oscars...
I'm not a big fan of interviews of movie stars on our Tamil channels. They usually feature an uncharismatic interviewer asking cliched, predictable and uninteresting questions while sitting in gaudy sets. Clips and bits of song sequences from the actor's movies, seen a million times before, are screened at regular intervals, further reducing the time the actor has to actually talk. So once the initial excitement of seeing the artists in a real setting(as opposed to the movie screen) wears off, the programs become very pedestrian.
When I saw the composition of the groups for the World Cup, I assumed, like everybody else I'm sure, that India would breeze into the second stage. After all, it would definitely win atleast 2 of its 3 matches since the other teams in its group were Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bermuda. But even that assumption is now on shaky ground after our team's shocking loss to Bangladesh yesterday. And the scary part is, it was our much-vaunted batting lineup that let us down. So India now has to win both its matches against Bermuda(tomorrow) and Sri Lanka(March 23) to move into the next stage. Considering India's history of buckling under pressure, that's scary news indeed...
Reviews for Lee, Murugaa and Paruthi Veeran are now online @ bbreviews.
A few months ago, I wrote about the 5 young heroes who I thought had the best chance of making a mark in the next generation (as I mentioned, that is quite a volatile list since if I made it today, Karthi would definitely be on there!). Now here's the flip side of that list - the 5 heroes (only actors who have appeared in atleast a few movies were considered) who I think have the least chance of making it big in Tamil cinema.
Paruthi Veeran(Karthi) lives a carefree life in the village of Paruthiyoor. Ready to raise his hand and aruvaal at the slightest provocation, the jail is his second home. His parter-in-crime is his uncle Sevvaazhai(Saravanan) and together, the two of them spend their time drinking, dining and sleeping. Enmity exists between Paruthi Veeran and his aunt's family but the aunt's daughter Muthazhagu(Priyamani) has decided that Paruthi Veeran is the man for her. So inspite of Paruthi Veeran brushing her off, she pursues him doggedly.
Paruthi Veeran is a familiar story(lovers from two families who are bitter enemies) in a familiar setting(a village where family and caste, not necessarily in that order, come before everything else). But Ameer imbibes the film with so much of a rural atmosphere that the film still seems fresh. Paruthiyoor here doesn't serve as just a background but is an integral part of the film as Ameer takes us deep into rural TamilNadu. It is a village where the chief form of entertainment is a folk dance by eununchs and a woman who has drunk poison gets her stomach pumped out by the villagers rather than the local doctor(if there was even one!). With the authentic characters, their everyday conversations, their realistic accents and the events surrounding them, graamathu maNam wafts right off the screen!
Ameer deserves credit for fashioning a lead who feel familiar to Tamil cinema but still fit right into a village like Paruthiyoor. Karthi has the usual traits of all Tamil cinema heroes but is also given some surprising shades of gray. Priyamani, for her part, is a strong woman who knows exactly what she wants and is willing to go to any lengths to get it. Her love for Karthi has a strong foundation and when she goes against her parents or begs Karthi to accept her, we know exactly where she's coming from(she conveys that in her response to the teacher who asks her "Enna edhutherinju pesurae?", the best piece of dialog in the film). The supporting characters seem as real as they can get and even the ones with little screen time(like the kurathi in the flashback) are memorable.
The climax works in parts. It manages to surprise us more than once in the path it takes but then overstays its welcome and takes the edge off the surprises. Karthi's past doesn't come back to bite him in the way we expect and not all characters meet ends we expect them to. But at the same time, the climax is too long and detailed to have a strong impact. Ameer manages to create a real sense of dread leading up to the climax. But once we get there, the tendency to spell everything out gives the impression that he is trying to wring every emotion he can from the viewer and that kind of overt, emotional manipulation doesn't work.
Karthi is fantastic and definitely shows none of the first film jitters. One thing that I've noticed in newcomers in front of the camera is that they seem inhibited. But Karthi has just let himself go and as a result, is arresting. Scenes like the one where he and Saravanan enjoy a dance by the eununchs are enjoyable solely because of his energy and his ability to be completely unrestrained. Priyamani is more of a mixed bag. She is fantastic in some scenes but appears a bit too stiff and artificial in others. She actually seems more comfortable with the heavier scenes and is explosive whenever she defends her love to anyone. Saravanan is quite natural and creates a likeable character. Ganja Karuppu makes us laugh as he is constantly harasses, both intentionally and unintentionally, by Karthi and Saravanan. All the other actors, from the youngest to the oldest, fit their parts admirably and contribute to the realistic atmosphere on screen.
Yuvan Shankar Raja has definitely has his father's genes when it comes to rustic music. Ariyaadha Vayasu... is wonderfully picturized as it portrays the initial stages of the friendship between Karthi and Priyamani in their younger days. Aiyaiyo.... also starts off wonderfully but the lead pair starting to mouth lines in the middle robs if off some of its initial natural charm. Sarigama is the weakest number of the lot. The entire sequence has an artificial feel and sticks out awkwardly. Ramji's camera captures the action in just the right way. Brown is the predominant color (which makes all those flashes of bright color, like in the village fair, stand out even more) and barrenness has rarely been captured this beautifully.
As of today, I've been blogging for 2 years. I'd say that's about 21 months more than how long I thought I'd be able to blog, when I first started blogging. But its lasted 2 years. And that's definitely due to you readers. I do love movies and I do love to write. But without the comments and the increasing number of hits, its doubtful if I would've had the interest or the energy to keep blogging for 2 whole years. So thank you all, for continuing to come back and for the enthusiastic comments, interesting discussions, entertaining arguments and fun trivia.
A walk down memory lane with Jo as a fond farewell to the actress...
Reviews for Veerasamy, Pachaikkili Muthucharam and Mozhi are now online @ bbreviews.
One of the trends that is supposed to eventually lead to Netflix's downfall is the ability to download and watch movies online. While the threat is still a few years away even according to experts, Netflix has gone ahead and shown that it is ready to face the challenge when it comes. The DVD rental site has now added a feature where members can watch movies online.