Monday, July 02, 2007

Half-Time!

Halfway into 2007, here's a look back at the year so far in Tamil movies...

Pongal usually kicks off the year's movies and 2007 had a good start since movies by both Vijay and Ajith got released. In recent years, the career graphs of the 2 actors have been the exact opposite of each other and 2007 turned out to be no different. Vijay was coming off a big flop in Aadhi and a year-long break while Ajith was fresh off the success of Varalaaru, released just a few months ago. But their films again met with markedly different fates at the box-office. Pokkiri, a remake of the Telugu superhit of the same name, became a big hit and resurrected Vijay's career while Aazhwaar came a cropper and negated the gains of Varalaaru.

The stars then took a break and let directors take centerstage. Gautam Menon joined hands with Sarathkumar for Pachaikkili Muthucharam, which also starred Gautam's favorite heroine Jyothika in a negative role as the 'other woman'. Though the film started off well with Gautam's trademark style, Sarathkumar took over in the second half and transformed it into a regular masala. Radhamohan, without the pressures of promoting a producer's son as hero, gave us Mozhi and proved that Azhagiya Theeye was no flash in the pan. The realistic, subtly humorous film was filled with loveable characters and became a big hit. It was the perfect send-off for Jyothika, who gave a great performance as a deaf-mute. The reliable Ameer introduced Surya's brother Karthi in the earthy and emotionally-powerful Paruthi Veeran and cemented his status as one of the most promising directors today. Jeeva created another youthful love story and introduced another young hero in Unnaale Unnaale, which was a bit too unbelievable and talky but went on to become a big hit. But sadly, the director himself died due to cardiac arrest while shooting his next film.

Not all famous directors were successful though. Cheran donned atrocious wigs and bright costumes for Maayakkannaadi and along with Navya Nair, created the most irritating screen couple of the year so far. The detour into his brand of realistic, message-oriented cinema came too late and couldn't save the film. Suresh Krissna, who seems to be able to find directing assignments even after a string of flops, notched up another flop in the distasteful Parattai Engira Azhagu Sundaram, a remake of a Kannada hit. K.Balachander, coming back after a long break, couldn't regain his old touch in Poi, a youthful romance.

As always there were a couple of small movies that sneaked in quietly but captured everybody's attention. Debutant director Venkat Prabhu fashioned a great entertainer in Chennai 600028, a film about gully cricket. Completely down-to-earth and never taking itself seriously, the film was a great entertainer and a big hit. Karuppusamy Kuthagaithaarar gave a familiar romance in a familiar setting a fresh spin and backed by a good performance by Karan, went on to become a hit. Satyaraj's performance was the highlight of Periyaar, a biased but nevertheless entertaining look at Periyaar's life. Pori was a disappointing outing from Subramaniam Siva, who gave us the lighthearted Thirudaa Thirudi before while Deepavali proved that Ezhil has completely lost his tough.

2007 will also be remembered for having the first 'official' remake of an old Tamil film. Naan Avanillai, a remake of the old KB-'Gemini Ganesan' film, had an unimpressive cast and unbelievable romances but its fast pace made it a hit.

Then it was back to the stars... well, just one star - a superstar - actually. The coming together of Rajnikanth, Shankar and A.R.Rahman made Sivaji an event rather than just a film and its upcoming release forced several other big movies to postpone their release dates. And luckily, the movie lived up to its pre-release hype. It was quite weak on logic and was Rajni's show all the way but nobody seems to have cared. It is turning out to be as big a hit as was expected and will certainly enjoy a long run.

As we move into the second half of the year, the roster of films to be released would have a Tamil cinema buff salivating. The biggest of 'em all is ofcourse Kamal's Dasaavathaaram, which has him playing 10 roles. As of now, the film is slated to be released for Diwali. Apart from that there's Bheema with Vikram, Azhagiya Thamizh Magan with Vijay, Kireedam and maybe Billa with Ajith and Vel and Vaaranam Aayiram with Surya. Smaller movies like Evano Oruvan and Oram Po seem to have a lot of promise too. Lots to look forward to :-)

27 Comments:

At 11:48 PM, Blogger The Ink Blot said...

Lol Balaji... you forgot to mention the various outings of your favourite director SJ Suryah.

Either way, lets hope the next half proves even better than this one.

 
At 1:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pls send me the meaning and lyrics of Nila Kaigirathu and Suttum Vizhi. I'm just fascinated by the tunes. But being non-Tamilian, cannot follow the meaning. Pls help...

 
At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

// to have a lot of promise too. Lots to look forward to :-) //

And you will continue to review & criticize movies of present generation stars while equally appreciating the CRAP your THALAI-VALI-THALAIVAR had delivered.

You will break the rules that u once used to review vijaykanth & TR films just to write a +ve review

Go on & continue ur bias work !

P.S: ---ha unakellam present generation stars movie ah criticise panna enna thaguthi irukku !

 
At 2:06 AM, Blogger Rajesh said...

@anon
Reviews are very subjective. It is not surprising that you don't agree with some of bb's thots. However, I felt that "unakellam present generation stars movie ah criticise panna enna thaguthi irukku" comment very rude.

Just because you dont agree with bb's thots does not mean that bb does not deserve to review. And, IMO he has every right to do so because he pays money to watch the movie.

@BB
I am looking forward to watch "oram po" in particular becaus the trailer, as you already have mentioned, was very catchy.

-Rajesh

 
At 2:27 AM, Blogger srivatsan said...

BB,

Of the movies mentioned I suppose only Kireedom (For Raj Kiran and Sharanya. I hope Ajith underplays the role as in Malayalam original stripping out punch dialogues :), Dasavatharam might live upto expectations. For Dasavatharam, I expect another MMKR. It might be a touch greedy, but surely gettable for Kamal-Crazy combination.

 
At 5:57 AM, Blogger S.Ganesh Kumar said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Prin said...

Cool!....

Have you forgotten about Madhavan's zillion projects (barring Rvano Oruvan), especially the RGV film, Leelai?

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

That was a good recount of the year's releases, Balaji. By the looks of it, Dasavatharam will be released alongside ATM. Would be interesting to see how it fares against ATM. Surya's 2 movies look hopeless to me, what with Vel's promo stills looking as ordinary as they can get and Gautham Menon's movies progressively getting worse. BTW, is Naan Kadavul releasing sometime this year? That is the one movie I am looking forward to.

 
At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Filbert, you are looking forward to "Naan Kadavul" (of all films!)?.. I hate to break it to you.. this one is going to the dumps never to return.

After all, even Arya has started to tell friends that he wished he had never signed the film (because he is losing out on so many projects because of it!). Time and tide waits for no man.. and personally, I think Ajit was shrewd (and lucky!) to have gotten off NK when he did.. Imagine having your career standstill for 1.5 years.. can any tamil actor afford that in this day and age?

Bala is dragging people to the ground and under.. I wouldn't hope for anything at all from NK, except a half-baked, half-rotten and half-conceived product.. which is exactly what it is right now..

Balaji, I was surprised that you didn't have Kaalai & Kettavan on your list for 'most looked forward to'.. also, no "Pollaadhavan?" (Hee! Hee!.. couldn't resist! :-) ;-)

BTW, read the latest on Hrithik-Shankar-ARR's "Robo" with a leading Hollywood production company showing interest (Disney, anyone? :-)

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year has been so bad!

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger Filbert said...

Not sure Sandhya. It is just a matter of reputation that Bala has earned through his first 3 films. IMHO, even Nandha was as good as Sethu. Bala might be very high-handed when it comes to dealing (& dumping) with heroes and dis-organized when it comes to conducting the shooting on schedule. But his movies speak for themselves.

I was reading an interview given by Arya in Vikatan 2-3 weeks back, in which he was all praise for Bala and the theme of the movie. Looks like Bala let Arya roam around Varanasi for a week and was just capturing his body language. All this was kind of like a homework for Bala it seems, before he actually ventured into the full-fledged shooting. All these kind of groundwork might put the schedule of the movie into doldrums but I am sure the end-product will be worth the 4 year wait :) And I think a hero like Arya can put up with this delay at this stage of the career than someone like Ajith who did the right thing by opting out of the project.

 
At 12:31 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

ink blot, yes i did. i guess i was thinking mostly in terms of stars and directors and since he didn't fit either category, i didn't recall either of his movies :)

anon, not sure who u mean by present generation stars since i think i can name atleast 1 movie where i've praised actors like simbhu, dhanush, etc. sure i like them less than rajni, kamal and other actors but thats cos the present gen actors haven't been around long enuf to prove themselves. but i do take their movies one at a time and don't criticize everything they appear in.

"You will break the rules that u once used to review vijaykanth & TR films just to write a +ve review" - not sure what u mean by that statement.

btw, not sure what 'thagudhi' i need to criticize present(or any generation) stars. movies r just a product i pay for and i write what i feel about them. praise/criticism ellam just my opinion :)

rajesh, thanx for echoing my thots. and yes, the trailer has made me really look fwd to 'oram po' :)

srivatsan, good point about 'kireedam'. the subject has to be handled in a good way for it to have the emotional impact the original did. lets hope they do it right :)

ganesh, i heard it was a BO hit and many reliable websites and mags said the same. rediff too has called 'pokkiri' the 2nd biggest BO hit of the yr so far :)

prin, i heard of maddy's 'arya' but never heard of 'leelai' :)

filbert/sandya, i agree with filbert. it is frustrating to read about bala's highhandedness and the delays in NK's shooting. but bala's prev films have had many problems too but the end product was great as far I was concerned. i'm hoping its the same here and so i'm really looking fwd to the film. i just don't think it has any chance of releasing this year.

also, bala's 3 movies proved to be huge turning points for the actors' careers. that might still happen for arya who really needs a big movie to be able to stay for a long innings :)

 
At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Prin said...

Yep Balaji,

I doubt Arya will create any sort of impact as it is releasing on July 12 with Kireedom and the much awaited Nandha-Shireen starring Ranjit Barot-musical, Urchagam and Parthiban's novel film Ammuvigaya Naan.

Evano Oruvan looks like it will be a fine attempt - considering it's a novel story and that there is no songs in the movie and has a BG score by GV Prakash.

Leelai is the Maddy-Sadha- Shamita Shetty (Shilpa's sis - sadly, she appeared in Captain's Raajiyam before) starrer, produced by Ram Gopal Varma........http://behindwoods.com/features/Gallery/tamil-movies/movies-2/leelai-1/index.html (some stills)

There's several other film's he's set to act in:

Seeman's Vaazhthukal with Bhavana
Vikram's Yaravun Nalam ( a bilingual)
Pratap Pothan's Oru Naal Podhuma

I really wonder why Maddy's despite being popular India wide is not classified as a top Tamil star?...

 
At 2:18 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Balaji, Good roundup.
I also look forward to Vasanth's "Satham Podathey", Priya's "Kannamoochi Yenada", Prasanna's movies - Manjal Veyyil & Seena thaana, Balaji Sakthivel's movie that is in the making (if these make it to screens this year). Prasanna's movies mentioned above are by debut director Raja and T.P. Gajendran - hence more hopes on him than the directors.
The first half was mainly satisfactory due to the refreshing "Chennai 28", "Mozhi" and "Paruthi Veeran".
"Sivaji" delivered what it promised (to me atleast) and "Pokiri" kept the year beginning moving.

 
At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Balaji,
I am a regular reader of your reviews and am a malayalee staying at fremont. Will you be interested to see BIGB ,a malayalam movie with mammootty as the main lead... I loved that movie. I would like to know your comments about the movie.
Thanks

 
At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Fiona said...

Hi Ganesh,

After reading your comments in Balaji's posts, i have visualized you as follows ( No offense ) :

When Balaji and others are discussing in a room, you are intervening in the middle, trying to grab their attention like a drunken mouse and some saying "shoo! shoo!" , some ignoring you and some trying to tap on ur tail

I have also thought of a possible reply you would give me.. ;)

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read with much interest the momentum building up for kamal's magnum opus - Dasaavatharam - and the inevitable comparisons to MMKR. But desite all the adulations MMKR is getting now, back when it was released, I don't recall any accolades, for what I believe, to be a riot ride in smart comedy. So, in all fairness, I am not excited about the prospects of Dasaavatharam being another MMKR.

 
At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb,
naan avanillai is not the first remake.
MKT's "ambikapathi" was remade with sivaji under the same name. MKT was asked to play Kambar in the second version. he refused. Thinking of which, Lakshmi is the common factor after playing Poornam's (the judge's)daughter in the original she plays the judge ( gender change for the judge) in the second version.
I think there were at least two Srivallis and at least two "sampoorna ramayanams.
i am also not counting azhagan which was "sollathan ninaikiren" revisited.
also devar's five in one included three tamil films. deiva cheyal-haathi mera saathi-nalla neram-maa- anbukku naan adimai. the story line of deiva cheyal and nalla neram is 90% same.
my friend saravanan (of dubai and dhool fame) will give at least 5 other instances off hand.

mottai rocks in ND too.

vengayam

 
At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bb,
naan avanillai is not the first remake.
MKT's "ambikapathi" was remade with sivaji under the same name. MKT was asked to play Kambar in the second version. he refused. Thinking of which, Lakshmi is the common factor after playing Poornam's (the judge's)daughter in the original she plays the judge ( gender change for the judge) in the second version.
I think there were at least two Srivallis and at least two "sampoorna ramayanams.
i am also not counting azhagan which was "sollathan ninaikiren" revisited.
also devar's five in one included three tamil films. deiva cheyal-haathi mera saathi-nalla neram-maa- anbukku naan adimai. the story line of deiva cheyal and nalla neram is 90% same.
my friend saravanan (of dubai and dhool fame) will give at least 5 other instances off hand.

mottai rocks in ND too.

vengayam

 
At 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji,

Am not sure whether you watched Rajni imitating ANR, NTR and Chiranjeevi in the telugu version of Sivaji before. Here is the link for that.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YCJzQ8_G5FY&mode=related&search=

Also watch the actual song for which NTR and Sridevi dance at this link.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Habxs6P1TpU&mode=related&search=

Just look at the way he mimics a telugu legend without any inhibitions. Thalivar is just amazing.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Zero said...

And, there's this Prabhu-starrer B-film "Soorakkottai Singakkutty" (with the beautiful number, "Kaalidaasan Kannadasan") which is a clear-cut remake (adapted to modern times and all that jazz) of "Manohara".

 
At 8:11 AM, Blogger Zero said...

"Ellaam Inba Mayam" (starring Kamal) was a remake of "Hello Partner" (starring Nagesh).

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Karthik Sriram said...

Good round up balaji.

I think amongst coming up movies, Dasa and Kireedom are my next priorities. Vijay can deliver only the standard EEEi, OOOI dialogs and some dabbanguthu dance - nothing more - so ATM which is supposed to be a supernatural thriller, gives me cold feet. And as somebody said, if Ajith can cut out the crappy punch dialogs, all for the best!

Njan Kadavul - Only Kadavul knows when it will be released. Again as was the case with Pithamagan, the movie will have a super character in a substandard story/plot.

Surya - He has lost the plot - Vel looks like Tamizh/Arul Part 2 and Asins make up is exactly Simrans makeup in Tamizh.

Vikram - I think Bheema will make it to the theatres finally!

Amongst smaller movies, waiting for Oram Po and Nepali (bharath is surely coming up the talent ladder).


@anon,

Balaji has every right to review movies. ANd if you are confident enough, try talking here with some sort of an ID.

LKS

 
At 4:33 PM, Blogger kiwilax said...

Balaji: am just about to see THE MOVIE (need I say which one)over the weekend (That's how long it takes to reach Wlg in NZ). IN spite of reading umpteen reviews (some unfavourable) i am looking fwd to it.
Btw, have linked you up on my blog.
Cheers

 
At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Ravi said...

Looking forward to Dasavatharam to see Kamal doing 10 roles, though I have no expectations of a good story. Kamal-written films usually have something interesting but end up overcooked.

 
At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Ravi K said...

Looking forward to seeing Dasavatharam later this year, though as usual the Kamal-penned script will probably be overbaked. Also looking forward to seeing Chennai 6024-whatever on DVD. I look forward to the music of ATM by ARR.

 
At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Ravi K said...

Sorry, please delete the top comment. Double post!

 

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