Sunday, February 26, 2006

2 Movies

So turns out the news wasn't that far out there. According to Gautham Menon, Sarathkumar is the hero in the hotshot director's next film after Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu. Though the earlier news item said Simran would be playing Sarath's wife, the role has instead gone to Shobana, who will be returning to Tamil after a long time. Rounding up the interesting cast is Jyothika, Gautham's favorite actress. The film has a rather poetic title Vilai Uyirendraalum(though according to Indiaglitz, the film's name is Parundhu).

There are a few reasons why the movie would be something to look forward to. If it is indeed a love story as Gautham claims, it would be a welcome change in genre for Gautham after two cop films back-to-back. It would also mean Sarathkumar is putting his money where his mouth was, when he said he wouldn't mind going for an image change. It'll be nice seeing Shobana onscreen again. IMO, the actress was underrated and not utilized well in Tamil cinema. And ofcourse, any project with Jo automatically gets on my radar :-)


Meanwhile, Cheran has quietly launched his next film Maayakkannaadi. With Autograph and then Thavamaai Thavamirundhu, the director is definitely on a roll right now and the film will have high expectations attached to it. It is said to be a city-based subject and pairs the director with Ilaiyaraja again after Desiya Geetham. Navya Nair is the heroine. One of the publicity stills shows Cheran in front of a mirror, with a similarly attired Rajnikanth as his reflection and is certainly intriguing. A socio-fantasy perhaps?


At 7:21 PM, Blogger Bharani said...

Balaji, Illayaraja and Cheran has already joined in "Desiya Geetham". Mayakannadi is their second film.

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, it seems like Cheran's head is getting too big for his body:-) Read his latest interview in Kumudam. His take on reviewers is a bit off. Also, he claims to act only because other actors refuse to accept the roles. If so, please, there are hundreds of talented youngsters waiting to get a chance to act. Why only introduce heroines? Introduce them as well.

Gautham's film is one I am looking forward to, simply because I am a huge fan of Shobana. I also think she is a very good talent that was not exploited by any other industry besides Malayalam. Plus, she was and is beautiful. Sarathkumar is a put off though. I would rather he had chosen Vikram, who would have been a perfect match for both Jo and Shobana.

BTW, was it just me, or did you also notice how matured Vikram has gotten? Though he looks fit, he looks very old in the state and kalaimaamani award shows.


At 8:19 PM, Blogger மு.கார்த்திகேயன் said...

Ya Balaji. IR worked with Cheran in Desiyageetham, which is a flop in his career.

Actually Sarath is a good actor, when compared to his earlier movies, where he will deliver the dialogue in a speedy way, with no facial reactions..
You can see a different Sarath in Aiyaa and also in Paarai..I very much impressed in his Thasarathan also..
Selvaraghavan also mentioned in AV interview that Sarath is not well used in movies..So we can expect Sarath in Selva movie also..
Lets see how Gautham going to use Sarath..

At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what the hell ever happened to jeevan?? he was the best part of kk (at least for me)

but I have not heard of him since… supposedly he was making a film as a hero, but did that ever release??

will he even be in “vettaiyaadu vilaiyaadu”?


At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeevan's film "Thiruttu Payale" is ready for release.. but don't count on its release anytime soon.. With exams and cricket matches, the risk is too much to take for smaller actors like him..

I think Sonia Agarwal is right when she says she looks wierd when she smiles, grins too much.. Check out some of the Thiruttu Payale pics at you'll know what I'm talking about.. Overdoing the smile, makes Sonia even wierder.. god help the film, Susi Ganesan and Jeevan! :-O..

Back to Shobana.. somehow, I have never been a great fan of hers, per say. She seems to have entered the field in 1984 (Ennakul Oruvan, was that her first film?).. and went on to do many hum-drum films like Idhu Namma Aalu, Siva, Thalapathy, Engitte Modhaadhe.. but absolutely nothing stuck in the Tamil fan's mind.. that was worth even a dime.

Sorry to be a naysayer about Shobana, (or maybe I was too young to appreciate the aethetics of acting at age of 18 when Manichitra Thazhu got her accolades in 1993!).. I didn't think much of her acting even though I saw the film only a couple of years later. Somehow, she lacks the charisma and go-getter spirit of say, a Revathi or a Simran/Jyothika (the latter two are definitely way lower on the acting calibre scale as compared to Shobana!)..

There is just something about Shobana that never made her an attractive proposition to Tamil film fans or to producers/directors in general. Unfortunately for her, Amala and Revathi, who are also Bharatanatyam dancers just like her, clicked with the filmgoers because of the extra spark and screen presence that (till today) Shobana really lacks.. Don't get me wrong, she has oodles of talent (example: Mitr my friend!), but she is a director's actress, but that's where the buck stops.. at least for her..

About Cheran.. well, he's always been hot headed.. it comes with being a successful big shot in the tamil movie industry. If he can continue to stay haughty and still make good films.. now, there's quite an accomplishment. As long as his behavior with the press doesn't get in the way of his films' quality.. why does it matter?.. At the end of the day, is there anyone (who is even worth a few paisas) in the tamil film biz who doesn't come with quirkiness, unpredictability, big mouths and bigger egos?.. It's all part and parcel of being a celebrity! :-)

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the heads up sandya

though there is no need to be so hard on the guy

just take one look at this pic…

Thiruttu Payalae

if this guy is not a superstar in the making, then I don’t know who is : ))


At 12:08 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

bharani/karthik, my mistake. have corrected it. thanx :)

kajan, count me in as a member of the shobana fan club. She's given some fabulous performances in malayalam and esp. had terrific chemistry with mohanlal.

i'm guessing vikram would've said 'no' anyway if the earlier news about sarath playing the dad of a 5-yr old was true. and no, u're not alone. vikram seems to have aged tremendously during the 'anniyan' shoot!! definitely looks old compared to 'saami' or 'dhool' though those movies r only a few years old.

At 12:40 AM, Blogger bhuvan said...

Having caught up with "Thavamaai Thavamirundhu" recently, I've come to realize that Cheran is way overrated by you lot, simply because his films are not as rushed, eventful and loud as almost every other Tamil film.

But "restrained" doesn't equal "subtle" or even "thoughtful" in Cheran's case, since he hammers his theme and overriding message home at almost every juncture, making for some painfully didactic viewing experience.

I've only seen a couple of Cheran's films so far: the dull, boring and predictable PORKALAM which had one stand-out moment (Vadivelu asking Murali why he didn't consider marrying his handicapped sister to him); the watchable, if overlong VETRIKKODI KATTU which had yet another stand-out moment (distraught Charlie trying to put on a happy face for his friend's relatives); the very compelling, if deeply flawed PAANDAVAR BHOOMI which had a great cast and a strong first hour, but then sorta lost steam; and, finally, the accomplished, but fatally overlong AUTOGRAPH which was engaging, but also clichéd.

While these films showed his continuing maturation as a filmmaker, which is very much on show in the assured filmmaking of "Thavamaai Thavamirundhu", his inability to tell his simple story visually instead of making the same point ("father's best!") over and over and over again through jarring voice-over, endless happy-family-sequences, and a fatally boring 3-1/2-hours-running-time ruins an otherwise very well put together film with a strong cast stuck in characters that remain undeveloped through the film.

There are films which run only 90 minutes, but have more character and story development, momentum and far more insight into its topics than the whole of "Thavamaai Thavamirundhu". KAADAL while telling a very simple story managed to do so in a comparatively far more subtle way.

Cheran, while being undeniably talented and self-assured, is no better than most Tamil filmmakers who lack subtlety, depth and intelligence in telling their slight stories. Even the great Manirathnam sometimes fails in this regard - just compare the beautiful and touching first half of KANNATHIL MUTHAMMITTAL to its laborious and didactic second half!

At 6:51 AM, Blogger anantha said...


One of the publicity stills shows Cheran in front of a mirror, with a similarly attired Rajnikanth as his reflection and is certainly intriguing. A socio-fantasy perhaps?

Or mebbe Thalaivar in a guest role? :p
Romba edhirpaarpoda ponen. But its just graphics and that too, poorly done graphics. Hmmm... But u know what, more than Sarathkumar, would love to see Gaptain in a Gautam Menon movie. Will show all these chotta bachas what Gaptain is really capable of! Now all that people do is laugh at his movies!

Sandya: AFAIK Shobana's debut was in Malayalam. I think one of her first movies was one where Mamootty played a bachelor/widower who pays for Shobhana's education in a orphanage. He never shows his face and when she grows up and finally meets him, she ends up falling in love with him.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

anti: that was one of my fave mammooty movies - kanamaryathu, adapted from the book Daddy long legs.

Shobana did good in mallu movies, but somehow didn't get a good role in tamil, where usually, the females are dummies :-) I just watched that song in manichitrathazhu yesterday, and I was quite disappointed in her dancing skills. I hope she improved it after that, considering she received the kalaimamani award this year.

As for Cheran, I somehow do not find over-sentimentalism interesting.

Bhuvan, what does "fatally overlong" mean?

At 8:38 AM, Blogger bhuvan said...

munimma, "fatally overlong" means that AUTOGRAPH could have been a good film if Cheran could've cut about an hour of running time. The overlength destroyed the movie for me, since too little was happening in too much time. That's a general problem with Tamil cinema, though: most filmmakers just don't know how to keep one's attention.

At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Vic..

My comments were about Sonia Agarwal's smile, not anything about Jeevan... (please read my comments again.. they are only about Sonia!) Could care less about Jeevan right now.. He's going to have to pull out many many rabbits out of the hat to make it in the industry right now.. His competition is increasing by the day.. Arya, Bharath, Srikanth, Dhanush, Simbu, Navdeep and now add the lewd S.J.Suryah.. the list goes on from new, newer, newest on a daily basis..

If his Thiruttu Payale doesn't release anytime soon.. he would very well end up falling under the "superflop in the making!" category! :-)

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

sandya, u're right about shobana having a line of weak movies in Tamil. i think her strength in Malayalam was they she played the girl-next-door types(it helped since the heroes played guy-next-door types too!). but she took the glamour route when she came to Tamil, trying to play the 'typical' heroine. she should've probably taken the route that revathi did, choosing performance-oriented roles over the regular heroine role in hero-centric movies. that might've given her more worthwhile movies...

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheran... hmmm, the dude rubs me the wrong way... enough said! :)

- merino

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shobana did good in mallu movies, but somehow didn't get a good role in tamil, where usually, the females are dummies :-) I just watched that song in manichitrathazhu yesterday, and I was quite disappointed in her dancing skills. I hope she improved it after that, considering she received the kalaimamani award this year.

my god, if you're disappointed in shobana's dancing in manichitrathazhu, who (on screen, not on stage) are you not disappointed in? name some movies, i am eager to know.

i just hope shobana gets a good stylist, in several of her thamizh movies (idhu namma alu, that horrid satyaraj movie) she has been perversely dowdied up.

as for vikram, i believe the correct description is, "grown and sexy", not "old". :-p

At 7:37 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

bhuvan, i'm just gonna stick to TT here since its still fresh in my mind...

cheran has proved b4, esp. in 'paandavar bhoomi' and 'autograph' that he has a good grasp of the visual medium. there were some splendidly imagined and visualized scenes and sequences in both of them. i agree that TT was a straightfwd telling but based on his record, i'm willing to give him the benefit of doubt and say that this probably was by choice. maybe he felt that this was a story from the heart and so deserved a straightfwd narration?

as u probably guessed from my review, i felt the movie deserved those "endless happy-family-sequences". what he wanted to convey was the pure joy his parents got in the sunset yrs of their life and all the sequences contributed to that. and though a lot of time was spent on that, it was still subdued and lowkey, which was the best part.

and why do we need to look at it as a message? he made the movie as an expression of his love for his father. he spent the amount of time he felt he needed to do justice to it.

and since u brought up 'kaadhal', lemme just play devil's advocate for a sec. we could say that the 2nd half spent too much time chronicling the couple's travails. after the 1st few incidents we know they r struggling. so why keep harping on that? i think the reason it didn't feel so is that we came to really care about the characters by then. same was the case with TT for me. i came to care for rajkiran & saranya's characters and so enjoyed every minute of the time they spent in cheran's house.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger bhuvan said...

Balaji, I'm happy for you liking TT, and one can certainly point out many more flaws in KAADHAL - the male lead of the film remains hardly developed, the story is clichéd etc., but at least Shakthivel found a compelling way in conveying the world they were living in and had many powerful moments.

TT wasn't a bad film per se, just an underwhelming one. It was indeed beautifully shot and well-acted, but there wasn't a trace of originality to be found. Every character was already so well-known from other films that I just couldn't care much about these particular people with their universal problems, mostly money-related ones.

I just think that Cheran is such a coward to deliver something conventional like this when he could've as easily told the story in half the time with more focus on what was so special about (t)his particular and ditched the whole love-story subplot and other contrivances he loads the bloated running time with. As usual in Tamil cinema, the story just can't support the length the director takes to tell it.

If he wants to stress the happiness of family life, he doesn't have to do it over an over again, since: azhavukku miethina amuthamum nanchu, eh?!

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thiruttu Payale is expected to hit the screens some time in April. Let's wait and watch!

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thiruttu Payale is expected to hit the screens some time in April. Let's wait and watch!

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anti, i guess i should've mentioned that it was graphics-aided :)

but shobana's first film in tamil was 'enakkul oruvan'. she disappeared for a long time b4 bagyaraj brought her back in 'idhu namma aalu'.

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Munimma said...

Anon, you got to be a dancer to know the diff :-) or at least have a good teacher, which I do. Kamal in Salangai oli, Bhanupriya was good in swarnakamalam. Revathy in Devasuram. Vineet (ok) in chandramukhi. Also, considering Shobhana had the 3 greats for aunts, expectations are more. But she did polish her act in the last few years, I will give her that. :-D

At 6:36 AM, Blogger anantha said...

munimma: Vineeth (almost) had the same 3 greats for aunts, being related to Shobhana etc.

But from a male point of you, shobhana's expressive eyes jacked up the drool factor...

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reply to Bhuvan

TT was probably one of the most soulful and meaningful movie going experiences in quite a while.
I don't know how you can call Cheran a coward for delievering a film like TT. In my opinion it is a courages film when viewed through the context of the current climate of Tamil cinema. It's simplicity, it's message, it's techinal aspects and delivery are all elements of a film wanting to break through the current restraints of tamil movie making.

" I just couldn't care much about these particular people with their universal problems, mostly money-related ones."

I thought one aspect of art is to in fact break down cultural barriers and bring about a universality to being human. Cheran did a wonderful job in that sense where not only creating relationships that could be understood culturally but also universally. The mother's constant torture her kids to eat everytime she seems them, the father's continous plunge into debt for bettering his family, etc. are all situations where people can knod their heads and totally understand the truth of those moments.

You keep making constant reference to time. Why does a movie have to be neatly and tiddly packaged into a convenient running time. There are many meaningful scenes where Cheran's character (whether it be with his father, his wife or even by himself)where there is absolutely no dialogue, just a continuous shot that runs for 1 or 2 mintues. Those few scenes were able to define the character, his situation and the humanity of the moment. I don't see how the scenes are useless or "bloat up the film".

At 2:51 PM, Blogger bhuvan said...


yeah, soulful and meaningful TT certainly was, but it always only struck the same not over and over again. And it is indeed a courageous film, but only if compared to the usual glut of loud Tamil films. Technically and in its general approach it is indeed accomplished, but its content and statements are just familiar to the point of boredom and indifference.

You point out some moments anyone could identify with - the nagging mother, the broke father etc. - but these are cliché characteristics of stock characters we've seen hundred times before, especially, if not only, in Tamil cinema. For a far more credible and shaded father-son-relationship I would cite the one between Nasser and Aravind Samy in BOMBAY or a complex father-daughter-relationship I would look to NAYAGAN, just to take Tamil examples. But nothing between Cheran and his dad made them anywhere special or interesting.

"Why does a movie have to be neatly and tiddly packaged into a convenient running time?"

Well, excuse me, but I could re-cut the film to a managable two hours running time without losing any vital information on character or story and you wouldn't notice the difference. Why? Because most of the film's "character moments" never add or flesh out the character, but rather repeat a point that has already been made.

After three-and-a-half-hours with Cheran I couldn't tell you much about the complexities of his character, but after about the same time with, say "Lawrence of Arabia" I not only knew about what a complex and contradicting person the hero of the film was, but also what kind of person every minor character in the film was. How I can do that? Because the writing is so spot-on, not repetitive and always adding fascinating perspectives to what we've already seen.

That is great cinema! I have yet to see a Tamil film that's as complex or smart or illuminating as the really great films. And don't tell me I shouldn't compare Tamil cinema with world cinema, because even with the restrictions of popular Indian cinema (there have to be songs, a love story, comedy moments, etc.) you can make great cinema that can delight any viewer from any country, just like Bollywood's LAGAAN managed to do.

I wouldn't find one person in the Western hemisphere who would sit through TT without getting bored by the repetitive pointlessness and dragging storytelling of the film. While anyone who's only seen the first hour of LAGAAN wouldn't stop watching the next three...


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