Monday, 31 December 2018

League of impressive women characters of K'town in 2018

Women-centric movies are on the rise in Kollywood in recent years thanks to the two female superstars of the industry, Jyothika and Nayanthara, who pioneered and sent out a ray of hope in the male-dominant system by starring in heroine-led movies and laid a new path of feminism in K’town.

The year 2018 had about 15 women-centric films played by leading heroines, including Jyothika, Trisha, Nayanthara, Samantha, Anushka, Keerthi Suresh and Aishwarya Rajesh. Apart from them, even male-centric movies portrayed strong women who have been shown as weak and objectified for a long time in cinema.

Friday, 28 December 2018

It was freshers reign at Kollywood in 2018

It’s almost a lifetime’s research, skill and waiting that reflect in the first work of any creator in an art form. This is so true in cinema, the art form of art forms which has witnessed masterpieces from filmmakers and artistes in their debut venture.

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Here's 10 unnoticed but critically worthy films of 2018

The pace of evolution of Tamil film industry in making movies that are critically worthy and classic in nature went a level up in 2018. In fact, this year witnessed a lot of socio-political narratives of life-like stories and people on the silverscreen.

Movies like Vada Chennai, Merku Thodarchi Malai, Pariyerum Perumal, Kanaa and Ratsasan triggered debates on social topics like exploitation of cultural identities, communalism, women empowerment and violence against girls in a very sensible way and won critical acclaim. There were also films like 96, Irumbu Thirai, Kolamaavu Kokila and Imaikka Nodigal that had mass appeal.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

He should've been our Finance Minister

A tea stall is like a benchmark to measure inflation in semi-urban and rural areas. Apparently, Sivakumar, who runs Bhagavan Tea Stall at Vamban village in Pudukottai district is pretty sure about this and says that he has come across words like, 'Neenga thara sambalathula oru tea kudikka mudiyuma' asked by daily wage labourers to landlords.

So, he has made one big decision that came after his entire village was devastated by Cyclone Gaja that made its landfall in Cauvery delta region in November this year.  And, the decision is to waive all the existing debts kept at his shop by the villagers who lost everything to the disaster. I wanted to talk to him and somehow traced his phone number to greet him. We had a simple conversation during the call.

Monday, 24 December 2018

KGF Chapter 1: Personifying a war between greed and power

Throwing a secret initially and unfolding it in the later part of the screenplay is the most interesting trait and that’s what Yash’s KGF – Chapter 1 has done. Though Prashanth Neel’s directorial venture is a Tamil-dubbed version of the first instalment of this Kannada period-action-drama, it establishes a lot of instances that anyone can relate to.

Monday, 17 December 2018

போற்றவில்லையென்றாலும் தூற்றாமல் இருப்போம்!

அண்மையில் தமிழ் மொழிக்கான தந்தி முறையை கண்டுபிடித்து பயன்பாட்டுக்குக் கொண்டுவந்த 'தமிழ்த்தந்தி' சிவலிங்கனார் காலமானார். அவரைப் பற்றியும் அவர் உருவாக்கிய முறையைப் பற்றியும் அவர் இறந்த பின்னரே நான் தெரிந்துகொண்டேன். இதில் நான் தலைகுனிந்து வெட்கப்படுவதற்கும் ஒரு காரணமிருக்கிறது. சிவலிங்கனாரின் இல்லம், நான் 2016ஆம் ஆண்டுவரை வாழ்ந்துவந்த திருச்சியின் அதே கே.கே நகரில்தான் இருந்துள்ளது. கிட்டத்தட்ட ஒன்றரை ஆண்டுகளுக்கு மேலாக ஊடகவியலாளனாக நான் திருச்சியில் பணியாற்றியபோது அவரைப் பற்றி அறியாதிருந்தது எனக்கு உறுத்தலாகவே இருக்கிறது. அவரை ஒரு முறையாவது பேட்டி கண்டிருக்கவேண்டும். குறைந்தது, தந்திச் சேவையை அரசு முடக்கியபோதாவது அவரின் கருத்துக்களைக் கேட்டிருக்கவேண்டும். நான் அதைச் செய்யத் தவறிவிட்டேன் என்பதைத் தாண்டி, அவரைப்பற்றிய செய்தி எங்கும் கிடைக்காதிருப்பது எனக்கு இன்னும் வருத்தத்தைத் தருகிறது. நேற்று பெய்த மழையில் முளைத்த காளாண்களுக்கெல்லாம் தனி பக்கம் இருக்கும் விக்கிப்பீடியாவில் கூட அவருக்காக ஒரு பக்கம் ஒதுக்க இங்குள்ள இணையதள ஆர்வலர்கள் விருப்பம்காட்டவில்லை என்பது கூடுதல் தகவல்.

Naangaam Vidhi: Yeah, that's why it happens

Sci-fi genre has always worked out better in short-films than a feature. Maybe people do not want to spend a long time to watch a movie like 24, and they prefer a film on the smaller screen that runs for just, say, 24 minutes.

Apparently, it is also a fact that when the run-time is less, we'll have a more engaging screenplay - if and only if the details of the plot-points are enough to substantiate the science elements dealt in the screenplay. When I happened to watch my close-friend and aspiring filmmaker Anu Sathya's sci-fi pilot-short film 'Naangaam Vidhi', I felt the same.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

I feared of losing 30-year friendship with AR Rahman: Rajiv Menon

When filmmaker Rajiv Menon had a simple conversation with Johnson, a mridangam-repairer owning a small shop in Mylapore, he says he never had a thought that the storyline of Sarvam Thaala Mayam (STM) would pop up as a little spark. “But it has happened, and that is from where I built the plot and its conflict,” the Minsara Kanavu director said about the movie that is a couple of weeks away from release.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

காதல் கழுதைக்கும் வரும்

அனைவரும் 96 படத்தின் மோகத்திலிருந்து விடுபட்டிருப்பீர்கள் என நம்புகிறேன். சிலர் வட சென்னை மீது காதல் வயப்பட்டும் இருப்பீர்கள். ஆதலால், இது 96ஐப் பற்றி மீண்டும் பேச வேண்டிய தருணம் என நினைக்கிறேன்.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Quick Read: Are we really ready to watch early morning show for director?

This age of cinema is all about early morning openings on FDFS. Earlier it was a privilege only for mega stars like Rajini, Vijay, and Ajith. Later, Siva Karthikeyan, Simbu, and Dhanush joined the club - fyi, the recent addition is Vijay Deverakonda. In the due course of time, every other big budget flick started to hit screens with an early morning opening, and unlike other movies they weren't like targetting the box office believing on the star-value but money-value - Baahubali-2 comes under this category. This early morning custom started to grow apparently making it a routine, like once in every 15 days occurrence - in last three months there were at least six movies opened in early mornings.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Everyone isn't rowdy in Vada Chennai

"Is this how we speak, work or live?", is the unanimous question people of north Madras raise against the makers of Vada Chennai, especially its director Vetri Maaran. Questioning the integrity and credibility of the ace director, there have been a lot of charges about the biased portrayal of the demography of the film’s plot.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Vada Chennai: Vetri Maaran's illustration for linchpin theory

Replicating nativity with its own essence has been an easy trait for a lot of filmmakers. But, a few like Vetri Maaran have done more than that. They create a universe in their movies within this nativity and tell stories of the soil. Vada Chennai becomes his masterpiece as the creator of Polladhavan, Aadukalam and Visaaranai, has reinvented himself in the first instalment of his dream trilogy.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Caste and Tamil Cinema: Where is this leading to?

Like how romance, action and thriller genre flicks are immortal, Tamil cinema, on and off, has also seen movies that have either glorified caste system or mocked it.

The latest release of Mari Selvaraj’s Pariyerum Perumal, from Pa Ranjith’s production house ‘Neelam’, joins the club of caste abolition movies. Subsequently, it also has triggered some serious debates on communalism being projected on the screen.

Monday, 8 October 2018

96: For all the Rams with frozen clocks

Ram says photography is the only form of art that is capable of freezing time. In a figurative perception, if we look at his life, he actually lives it like a snapped image. Yes, his time stopped running the moment he and his Janu parted. But, the love Ram has for Janu has not diminished a bit even after 22 years since they last met.

It is the same for Janu as well, whose feeling towards Ram is unchanged. Nevertheless, her clock has not frozen like Ram’s. There is a dialogue when she asks him, “Romba thooram poitiya, Ram?” — have you gone very far? For which he replies that he is still at the same point where he dropped her. That is where I could feel the kind of love the pair had for each other.

Filmmaker Premkumar’s 96 passes like this, reminding one of our good old days and the points in our life where time got frozen.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

96: எனக்கு என்றுமே அக்‌ஷை தான் லேட் கம்மர்

காலத்தை நிறுத்திவைக்கும் வல்லமை கொண்ட ஒரே கலை நிழற்படக்கலை மட்டும் தான் என்பது ராமின் கருத்து. அவனும் ஒரு நிழற்படக் கலைஞன் தான். இன்னும் சொல்லப்போனால் தன் வாழ்க்கையையே நிழற்படக்கலையோடு ஒத்துப்போகும் வழியில் தான் வாழ்கிறான். ஆம், அவனுடைய காலமும் தன் ஜானுவை விட்டு வந்த 1994லேயே நின்றுவிட்டது. ஆனால், இன்றும் அவள் மீது அப்போதிருந்த காதல் துளியும் மாறவில்லை.

ஜானுவுக்கும் அப்படித்தான், காதல் மாறவில்லை. ஆனால், ராமைப்போலில்லாமல் காலம் அவளுக்கு உறையாமல் ஓடிக்கொண்டே இருந்துள்ளது. ஒருமுறை அவனிடம் கேட்கிறாள், "ரொம்ப தூரம் போய்ட்டியா ராம்?". ஆனால் அவனோ, "உன்ன எங்கவிட்டேனோ அங்கயேதான் நின்னுக்கிட்டு இருக்கேன் ஜானு," என்கிறான். காலம் அவன் வாழ்க்கையை நிழற்படமாக்கிவிட்டது. காதலும்தான்.

இப்படியாக பிரேம்குமாரின் '96' திரைப்படம், நமக்கு நம்முடைய காலம் உறைந்துபோன ஒவ்வொரு நொடியையும் தன் காட்சிகளால் நினைவுபடுத்திக்கொண்டே துவங்கி முடிகிறது.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Atharkku Thaga: Be the fourth person

Some narratives stay with us creating an impact subtly rooting to our foundations and reconsider the functionalities of the ecosystem we affiliate to. It could be the society, a classroom, a friends' circle, relatives - our system. Why not, it could even be a gated community where sharing split seconds of a smile is a desert's rain.

We've, knowingly or unknowingly, always lived half our lives for the sake of this ecosystem that does not even know the depths of the emotions we go through. Speaking in the first-person account, my first second-person(s) in this structure are my parents with whom I share most of my emotions. The drama and the conversations that we have between 'us' is believed to be influenced by the third person in the ecosystem.

Ratsasan: Reach him before he reaches you

As we saw in the trailer and the teaser, Ram Kumar's Ratsasan is all about the plot set around the series of murders by a psycho-killer. But, in its film language, the movie has explored a bigger space and has touched various shades of brutality on a very smart screenplay that keep us gripped with tension.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

How did Gandhi inspire Kamal Haasan to launch Makkal Needhi Maiam?

Talking about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in relation to Tamil cinema, the first film that strikes our minds would undoubtedly be writer-director Kamal Haasan’s masterpiece, Hey Ram (2000).

The movie, set in a very unusual and Kamal’s flavoured controversy, is all about justifying the assassination of Gandhi. The screenplay traverses from the viewpoint of Saket Ram, who loses his wife to the Hindu-Muslim riots that happened during the Partition of West Bengal and East Pakistan – a similar story of Nathuram Godse whose sister was raped and killed in the commotion.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Pariyerum Perumal: Out of the BLUE, comes hope

Tamil cinema has been seeing movies that speak about the soil over the cacophony of silence. Communalism is not a new subject amidst this cacophony of the industry which, on alternate Fridays, has been showcasing stories of contaminating elements that are rooted in society.

But, Mari Selvaraj’s Pariyerum Perumal, is not in the essence of those polished or metaphorical screenplays. It touches the ground bottom cause of communalism through a straight drive and opens up on the raw and real existence of casteism and untouchability.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Vada Chennai album has more than just music and lyrics

Vetri Maaran, undoubtedly, is one of the very ardent filmmakers and writers who look for perfection and nativity in all his scripts and directorial ventures. The way he does research and understands the geography of the plot and characters is what film critics usually expect from every other creator in the industry.

This filmmaker, known for documenting a lifestyle within the universe of his story narrated through a layered screenplay, has already grabbed the attention of film buffs by announcing his Vada Chennai trilogy that came in over a year ago. The movie, as the title suggests, is set in the neighbourhoods of north Chennai, had all its songs released yesterday and became an instant sensation.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Raja Ranguski: Devil is in the detail

The portrayal of a strong woman or a determined villain has always been an element that a film buff starves for in a movie. Dharanidharan’s Raja Ranguski has them both in the same plot.

Not just the characterisation, but the movie itself has an ample number of experiments for a cop story that is loaded with suspense.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Why Tamil always haunts Mollywood?

It is not unusual for a random Malayalee to go crazy listening to an Ilayaraja or an A R Rahman's Tamil number - though Rahman has scored for only one Malayalam movie so far in his 25-year career.

However, it is not just Rahman, Raja or any other Tamil musician who finds a place in the heart of Malayalees, but Mollywood has always been 'haunted' by this 'Tamil' factor ever since they started to watch 'mass appealing' movies emerging out of the shade of 'Malayala Padam'. But, when we see it the other way round, Malayalam fever was not that severe here in Tamilnadu, except for their love for Malluwood rather than Mollywood.

Friday, 14 September 2018

U Turn: It says, U are not allowed to violate traffic rules

A film's impact relies totally on how it transforms the mindset of its audience after watching. Undoubtedly filmmaker Pawan Kumar's U Turn starring Samantha is one flick that can make it to this aspect. One would really think twice before making a traffic violation after this.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Mission: Possible - Hollywood's desi love

They came here for exotic locations. Then they sought Indian ideas and artistes. Now they want to capture the box office. There is a veritable Hollywood invasion of the country now, as can be seen in many movies that have been released and are waiting to hit the silver screen.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

60 Vayathu Maaniram: Feed your white dog

When filmmaker Radha Mohan made Abhiyum Naanum, he was high on emotions between relationships, certainly a father and a daughter. It is evident, in all his ventures, Radha has always tried to explore depths of relationships and bonding among people. Here is his 60 Vayathu Maaniram, which has gone further and throws the spotlight over the entire society that is a composition of variants of mentalities.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Imaikka Nodigal: Keep your eyes wide open

Nayanthara is expanding her star value movie after movie by donning roles that were, for long, essayed only by men. After a bold district collector ('Aramm') and a drug peddler ('Kolamaavu Kokila'), now her avatar in 'Imaikka Nodigal' is that of a CBI personnel investigating a serial murder case.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

மேற்குத் தொடர்ச்சி மலை - கல்லெறிந்து விரட்டப்பட்ட யானை

புவியியல் அமைப்புகளைச் சார்ந்த வாழ்வியலையும் மனிதர்களையும் விவரிக்கும் படங்கள் என்றோ ஒருநாள் பூக்கும் குறிஞ்சி மலரைப் போன்று தான் தமிழில் வெளிவருகின்றன. சீனு ராமசாமியின் 'தென்மேற்குப் பருவக்காற்று', ம. செந்தமிழனின் 'பாலை' என அக்குறிஞ்சி மலர்களை விரல்கள் கொண்டு எண்ணிவிடலாம்.

முல்லை நிலத்து இடையர் குல மக்களின் அன்றாடத்தை, களவை, காதலை, தாய்மையை இக்காலத்தின் கதைக்களத்தில் தென்மேற்குப் பருவக்காற்று ஓரளவுக்கு அப்படியே படம் பிடித்துக்காட்டியிருக்கும். மறுமுனையில் பாலை, சில ஆயிரமாண்டுகளுக்கு முன் இருந்த தமிழர் வாழ்வியலை இலக்கிய, அகழ்வாய்வுச் சான்றுகள் கொண்டு மருதம் எப்படி பாலையாக மாறுகிறது என்ற சூழலியல் மற்றும் மாந்தரியல் செய்திகளைப் பதிவு செய்திருக்கும். அதன் உட்பொருளில் ஈழத்தமிழர் வாழ்வுரிமையையும் பற்றி பாலை விவரித்திருக்கும்.

இப்படி நிலம் சார்ந்த படங்களின் வரிசையில் பூத்த ஒரு குறிஞ்சி மலர் தான் லெனின் பாரதியின் 'மேற்குத் தொடர்ச்சி மலை'. இம்முறை குறிஞ்சி நிலத்திலேயே பூத்துள்ளது.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Merku Thodarchi Malai: More than just a movie

An outsider like Logu for whom Thevaaram hamlet was ready to offer a livelihood and make him a successful entrepreneur, ironically employs Rangasamy who is a local. And what connects their lives is this gigantic Western Ghats, the living fount of innumerable resources from, rains and cardamom to wind and electricity. Filmmaker Lenin Bharathi's Merku Thodarchi Malai is a documentation of such contradictions bound in the ecosystem of the mountain range.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Chennai isn't old but, ancient - Do we really need a Madras Day?

For a city which has more than 2,000 years of recorded history and more than 4,000 years of literary evidence, celebrating the 379th birthday is simply absurd.

On this day, when a 'certain section' of the population of the city goes on celebration mode for the foundation day of modern Chennai,  I want to throw light on the historical values of this city that is several millennia old. I just discussed with one of the greatest historians of our time, who has to be celebrated, Orissa Balasubramani.

“You know what? As many as 42 temples in the city, including Mangaadu temple, Vadapalani Aandavar temple, Parthasarathy temple are all more than 1,000 years old. There are a lot of Saivite and other Tamil religious sites in the city that were constructed in the eighth century or before,” says marine historian Orissa Balu. Having visited a lot of harbours across South East Asia, Balu said the trade history of Chennai is several thousand years old.

There is also a claim by historians like Professor Nedunchezhiyan that most of Vaishanvite temples were actually invaded ones. These temples actually belonged to the Aaseevagam religion.

“There was a fishing and commercial port along the present Mylapore coast 2,000 years ago. Where there is a harbour, the influence of foreigners, too, would be high. That is why the area is still a mix of people from various descents. After the Aryan invasion, the Brahminical population saw a rise in the area,” claimed Balu.

He also quotes words like ‘bemaani’, ‘somaari’, ‘kasmaalam’, having origins from foreign and other Indian languages.

“All these words that are considered as current-day native Chennai words came to existence just because of the diverse ethnicity of the city,” he added.

However, Balu is not just stopping with the marine history of the city but also modern history.

“There is a claim that the word Chennapattinam was derived from the name of King Chennappa Nayakkar. But, the city got its name because of the Chenni / Chenna tree-filled forests along its coast. The Britishers bought around a 3-mile radius of this forest land and set up a harbour and later the Fort St George. And, this day is considered as the foundation day of the city,” Balu said and added that the population of the city was at least three to five lakh even before the British bought the land.

For his claim on Chennai's name, marine historian Orissa Balu pointed to various other towns and villages in the region that are named after trees: “Be it Mangaadu, Panaiyur, Puliyanthoppu, and Nellikuppam, all got their name from the trees that were grown there.”

On the literary side, Chennai is even older. As far as I know, the city was a part of Aruvaanaadu, Thondainaadu and Kurumbanaadu during various periods of time. Predominantly Cholas were ruling the city and its present suburbs.

When Pallavas, who initially worked as commanders and captains in Chola army and navy, were given the area, they made Kanchipuram their capital and started to rule it independently.

Wherever Cholas ruled, they have had a Cholapuram. Apart from the banks of the Cauvery, if you see in Kanyakumari district, there is Cholapuram. Even on Chennai's outskirts, we have a Cholavaram - a popular locality for its air-strip.

I have even heard it from my dad that some early pieces of Sangam literature, Lord Muruga, who is depicted as the leader of war, is seen cruising on an elephant and not a peacock. Since Tamils had elephants as one of the significant war animals and clans, Murugan has used to. Analysing beyond religion, we end up with a fact that Murugan isn't a God but a clan leader.

“Many Murugan temples in the State have evidence of elephants used by fleets led by Murugan. And, one such temple is Vadapalani Aandavar temple. This is more than enough to say this area is as old as the pre-Sangam age,” says my dad.

In my personal opinion, the present-day celebration of Modern Chennai does not even do justice to the very ancient city - it's like cheering up for a drop of water, standing in the middle of an ocean. It is the 4,000-year tradition of Chennai that has to be celebrated - not a mere 3-century-old foundation day.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, August 22, 2018.

A part or complete version of this article by Santhosh Mathevan has appeared in

Monday, 20 August 2018

The Eiffel Bridge of Trichy is no more

I just came across the news that two piers of the 800-meter long bridge across Kollidam river in Tiruchy have broken due to the force of the flood in the river. This bridge was one of the historically significant structures in peninsular India. I did a feature story on that for the City Express in 2015 when I was with The New Indian Express. Rightly three years after that, the bridge is now gone. It was the first feature I wrote as a journalist, so my language too would be primitive -  apologies. Here is an excerpt from that.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Marainthirunthu Paarkum Marmam Enna: It starts and ends with a kerchief

From the very beginning, all I saw was a 2016 flick Metro's look-alike crime drama, when watching Marainthirunthu Paarkum Marmam Enna(MPME). Leaving the similarities apart, this Rahesh directorial has a lot more eye-openers with some brutal and spine-chilling events. Yet, they declare it after the statutory warning that the movie isn't more vicious than the chain snatchings in reality.

Kolamaavu Kokila: Isn't dad's li'l princess but, her family's queen

One thing that I loved about Kolamaavu Kokila(CoCo) is how it breaks the cliches of cinema. This genuine attempt of filmmaker Nelson has finally served a thumping meal for the hunger of movie buffs who were expecting an unconventional flick. One cannot simply review CoCo in a single blog post. It demands a bigger forum to discuss and I am open for that. Here, I present whatever that struck my mind about the movie that made me laugh for hours even after leaving the cinema hall.

Odu Raja Odu: Different people run in different ways

Can a set-top box and a puff of weed push one to a convoluted plight? Says yes, the director duo Nishant-Jathin in their debut flick ‘Odu Raja Odu’.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Tamil Nadu Lacks Management of Surplus Water in Cauvery

It is paradoxical that we toggle between the demand for Cauvery water in Tamilnadu from Karnataka, and then let most of it go waste. With at least 2 lakh cusecs of water being let into the Bay of Bengal every day, through the Cauvery or its tributary Kollidam, the State's water management system draws serious criticism.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

And, we're at forty years of Mullum Malarum!

From an open jeep cruising through the hairpin bends of a remote hill station originates this humming by KJ Yesudas. Surprisingly, four decades have gone, and still today, this aalap of Senthaazham Poovil, along with the picturisation and the presentation intimidates goosebumps for movie buffs.

On this day, which marks forty years of the blockbuster 'Mullum Malarum'(15 August 1978), I am just revisiting on what has made this Rajini-Mahendran combo flick evergreen and refreshing even after two scores of years.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Pyaar Prema Kaadhal: Love (Kalyanam) Panlaamaa Venamaa

The moment their ideas about life get exchanged between the lead pair, filmmaker Elan leaves it to the audience for making a decision about their lives. His Pyaar Prema Kaadhal is all about this - how relationships have to be handled between family and ambition.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

M Karunanidhi: One among earliest zealots of Tamil cinema

For decades, till the late 1940s, the language used in Tamil cinema was elitist with a high influence of Sanskrit. It was the literary dialect called 'Manipavala Nadai' that dominated the dialogue blocks of the celluloid. Since the makers of cinema were from the creamy layer, the films they made were also highbrow. It was then that cinema witnessed the arrival of creators who wanted the art to be understood even by laymen.

The era that was kickstarted by Kalaivanar N S Krishnan with comedy in simple language and impact society. And, in the same era, Tamil film industry saw one of the most influential writers of all time, M Karunanidhi.

Monday, 6 August 2018

சென்னைக்கு மிக அருகில்... செங்கல்பட்டில்

குற்றங்களற்ற ஊரில் காவலர்களின் துணை தேவைப்படாது என்ற காரணத்துக்காகவே இங்கு மூடப்பட்ட காவல் நிலையங்கள் பல உள்ளன. அமைதியான சூழல், மகிழ்ச்சியான மக்கள் என நிரம்பியிருக்கும் தமிழ்நாட்டின் பல சிற்றூர்கள் காவல் நிலையங்களே இல்லாமலிருக்கின்றன. இது கொஞ்சம் விசித்திரமான சட்டம்தான். ஆனால், தருக்க அடிப்படையில் பார்க்கும்போது குற்றமில்லாத இடத்தில் காவல் நிலையம் தேவையில்லை என்பதே உறுதியாகிறது.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

When You Love Your Work More Than Life

For the past three days, a couple of photos are going viral on social media. The photos show journalists having food on the roadsides, sleeping on pedestrian platforms, and standing with minimum support over compound walls and barricades.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Renditions For Life - My Playlist of Chitra's Numbers

Pleasure is the word one remembers when listening to her vocals. Metaphorically referred to as 'Chinna Kuyil', the records K S Chitra has created in the Tamil film industry in the past 33 years of her career would be difficult to break by any playback singer of this age.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A filmmaker who told intense stories of common lives

It was an era when melodrama was ruling Tamil cinema as most of the filmmakers migrating from stage plays to celluloid were making movies with hyped human emotions. And then, came an era when filmmakers like Bharathiraja brought movies from sets to the villages by telling stories of the soil.

Monday, 23 July 2018

நா. முத்துச்சரம் #2: அன்பால் படிகளைக் கட்டுவோம்

எல்லாம் நன்மைக்கே என்ற எண்ணம்தான் மனிதனின் ஆற்றல்கலனாக இருக்கிறது. தன்னை எத்தனைப் பெருந்துன்பம் சூழ்ந்திருந்தாலும் அதிலிருக்கும் நன்மையைக் கண்டறிவது மனிதனுக்கு இயற்கையிலேயே இருக்குமொரு இயல்பு. துன்பம் வரும் வேளையிலும் சிரிக்க வேண்டும் என்பதை, 'இடுக்கண் வருங்கால் நகுக' என்று வள்ளுவர் வழியில் பல பாடலாசிரியர்கள் பதிவுசெய்துவிட்டனர்.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Vinveli Payana Kurippugal: From Elon Musk to Thevaangu

It should be something that makes you feel idiosyncratic when you see Duraipandi aka Durai, a village thug wanting to visit space through Elon Musk's SpaceX. The plot of Vinveli Payana Kurippugal (VPK) is about his attempts to reach this goal, the path along which he has conflicts arising in form of caste associations, girlfriend's husband and politicians, apparently for which Durai needs to find a resolution.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

அவர்களெல்லாம் சுவர்கள்தான்

ஒரு குற்றத்தால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட ஒருவருக்கு  அந்த பாதிப்பைவிட பெரும்வலியைத் தருவது, அதனைத் தொடர்ந்துவரும் ஊர்ப்பேச்சு. வைரமுத்துவின் வரிகள் படி பார்த்தால், 'ஒவ்வொரு வாயிலும் ஒற்றை நாக்கு... உலகின் வாயில் ரெட்டை நாக்கு'.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

My favourite six by the King of Melodies MSV

During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the entire music fandom in Tamilnadu was relying on Bollywood numbers. Even marriage halls in remote villages have R D Burman playing his chords via mammoth loudspeakers.

At the time, it was the King of Melodies (Mellisai Mannar) M S Viswanathan, along with his musical-half, T K Ramamoorthy, who grabbed the attention of people with their Tamil tunes and laid the foundation for expanding to a bigger audience in the State which was taken beyond boundaries of Tamilnadu by MSV's successor Ilayaraja.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

நா. முத்துச்சரம் #1: யாரும் கண்டிராத கண்ணீர்

"யாரு உனக்கு இத சொல்லிக்குடுத்தது?" என்று ஆசிரியை கேட்டபோது "என் அப்பா மிஸ்" என்று குழந்தைப் பருவத்தில் பெருமிதத்தோடும் திமிரோடும் பள்ளியில் பல கேள்விகளுக்கு பதில் கூறியிருப்போம். அப்பாக்கள் கற்பித்த கருத்துக்களுடன் அப்படிப்பட்ட பெருமிதம் பெரும்பாலும் இலவச இணைப்பாகவே வந்துவிடும்.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Agila Ulaga Superstar On a Serious Note

"I never expected that people will sacrifice their sleep to watch the first-day-first-show of Tamizh Padam 2 at 5 am," said Shiva in a surprised tone. He is the new hero to have a 5 am release after Rajinikanth, Vijay, Ajith, and Sivakarthikeyan. With much excitement and on a very serious note unlike his previous interactions, Shiva, 'hailed' as 'Agila Ulaga Superstar,' shared with us about his experience of Tamizh Padam 2 and his future plans.

Excerpts from the interview:

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

A Pinnacle Among Directors

Credited as the pinnacle among directors (Iyakkunar Sigaram) of Tamil cinema, K Balachander, was one of the pioneers in filming emotional context, especially the struggles of women in Brahminical families and social issues like unemployment. Apart from this Balachander also has experimented with a lot of other human emotions on screen. On his birth anniversary(July 9), I just want to list some of his off-beat movies that I enjoyed watching.

Friday, 6 July 2018

I sacrificed three movies for Tik Tik Tik: Editor Pradeep

Having sacrificed three movies, it took at least one-and-a-half years of dedication for editor Pradeep E Ragav to work on Jayam Ravi's Tik Tik Tik, directed by filmmaker Shakti Soundar Rajan, and make it a milestone in Tamil cinema. I had a short interaction with him over a phone call recently. Here are the excerpts from that:

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Balakumaran: A writer who lives after death

One of the iconic writers and novelists of his age in Tamil, Balakumaran has traversed a lot of realms, including novels, short stories, spirituality, and cinema. He represented an era of Tamil literature that predominantly wooed the middle-class.

Monday, 2 July 2018

நா. முத்துக்குமார் ஒரு சொற்சிற்பி!

நா. முத்துச்சரம் - முகவுரை

அது தமிழ்த் திரையிசைக்கு ஒரு இக்கட்டான காலக்கட்டம்.

இளையராஜா ஏ.ஆர். ரகுமான் போன்றவர்களின் மெட்டுக்களில் மட்டும் வசப்பட்டுக்கிடந்த மொழி, பெரும் பாடலாசிரியர்கள் முதல் தமிழறியா புதுப் பாடலாசிரியர்கள் வரை அனைவரின் இச்சையினால் வணிகத்துக்கு வளைந்து கொடுக்கத்துவங்கிய காலக்கட்டம்.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Asuravadham: Sword is mightier than word

Blood sheds and fierce sword attacks are nothing new for a Sasikumar flick. But, his Asuravadham by filmmaker Maruthupandi has a lot more to say than just the dreadful violence sequences - a social message.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Nadigaiyar Thilagam (Mahanati): A Gemini Fan's Perception

A whole lot of movie buffs and fans of legendary actress Savithri had a great time watching the bio-pic of the actress, Mahanati(Nadigaiyar Thilagam) last month. There were some counter opinions on the movie among family members of yesteryear actor Gemini Ganesan, who was Savithri's husband.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Budget Decides Quality of Music: Composer Balamurali Balu

Working for a Rajinikanth starrer and making Kamal Haasan sing to his tune is the two big dreams that music composer Balamurali Balu has for his lifetime. The man who impressed with sizzling songs in Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu, and some revolutionary and dramatic numbers in Peechankai and Traffic Ramasamy has already established a peck of versatility in the industry to become a promising composer for the next couple of years. I recently caught up with Balamurali for a short informal interview. Here are the excerpts.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Traffic Ramasamy: Red Signal

Filming the biopic of an activist-for-life like Traffic Ramasamy should demand a lot of guts and an intense research on the society and politics. While, SA Chandarshekar starrer Traffic Ramasamy by debutante filmmaker Vicky has tried to go the other way showing the unknown story of Ramasamy's personal life struggles and sorrows.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Vijay's Super Six - A Throwback

Almost 33 years ago, when Vijay was simply actor Vijay, one would not have thought he will turn out to be one of the massive stars of the subcontinent after three decades.

It all started with Vetri (1984) when Vijay had done an extended cameo as a child artiste, and later became a hero in Naalaiya Theerppu (1992). It then took five long years for Vijay to evolve into 'Ilayathalapathy' Vijay in Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai (1997) and 20 years from there to become 'Thalapathy' Vijay in Mersal (2017).

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

பாதுகாக்கப்படவேண்டிய பட்டாம்பூச்சி

கியாஸ் கோட்பாட்டைப் பற்றி உங்களுக்குத் தெரியும் என்று நம்புகிறேன். தெரியாதவர்களுக்கு - 'உலகின் ஒரு முனையிலிருக்கும்  ஒரு பட்டாம்பூச்சியின் சிறகுவிரிப்புக்கும் மறுமுனையில் நிகழும் ஒரு நிலநடுக்கத்துக்கும் தொடர்புள்ளது' என்பதை விளக்கும் அறிவியல் கோட்பாடு அது. இதனாலேயே இந்தக் கோட்பாட்டுக்கு பட்டாம்பூச்சிக் கோட்பாடு என்றும் பெயருள்ளது.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Trolling movies is a serious business since 1942

The recently released teaser of Tamizh Padam 2.0 has made it be the most anticipated movie of the year. Within a stretch of just 42 seconds, the teaser has trolled at least 30 Tamil movies released after it's first installment Tamizh Padam(2010), the first full-length spoof of Tamil industry.

Third Law #9: How many more lives would NEET haunt?

“How many times can I bear failure?” was one of the last statements in the note she had penned hours before she committed suicide after being unsuccessful in clearing NEET twice. In a close watch, if we perceive in a socially conscious note, this is not just the second failure of Pratheeba, but, she herself is the second failure of Tamilnadu as a State. We already lost Anitha last year. And, still did not requite to that. Eventually, our dumbness costed this second life.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Nadigaiyar Thilagam: Goosebumps a gogo

There are movies you get stuck, well, in the first line of the review, just simply thinking where on earth should I start this from. Like reporter Vani of Prajavani daily, who goes on a roller coaster ride to record Savitri's biography, writing a viewer's note for Nadigaiyar Thilagam(Mahanati, in Telugu) is like something that costs a lifetime.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Avengers - Infinity War: This won't put a smile on your face

When there was a fight between Ironman and Thanos, it was more of with manliness. While, when it comes to Thor vs the mad Titan, it was a staunch godliness. The entire flick of Avengers - Infinity War was this manliness and godliness put together in an equal balance. A suggestion - watch this in the best possible screen, preferably an IMAX.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Diya: It isn't horror, yet paranormal

A horror movie does not need to be a spine-chilling one, but also can push the hormones of emotions and relationships of those who spectate, is what filmmaker AL Vijay has tried to prove through the plot of Diya(previously Karu).

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Mercury: 100° C of Silence and Sound

In a meme creator's language, metaphors and Karthik Subbaraj's scripts always have made the best pair. And now, this silent horror, Mercury from the filmmaker too is no exception to that. With a plot that throws light on the victims of chemical industry accidents across the globe, this no-language movie sets to speak the issues of people of all lingual backgrounds, who were sufferers of corporate greed.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

அரசியல் ஒன்றும் விளையாட்டல்ல

முதலாம் உலகப்போர் நடைபெற்றுக்கொண்டிருந்த காலக்கட்டத்தில், ஜெர்மனி நாட்டின் பெர்லின் நகரில் நிகழவிருந்த 1916ஆம் ஆண்டுக்கான ஒலிம்பிக் போட்டிகள் நிறுத்தப்பட்டன. அதற்கு உலக நாடுகளின் தரப்பில் கூறப்பட்ட காரணம் நிதி பற்றாகுறையும், அடிப்படை கட்டமைப்புகள், வசதிகள் மற்றும் வளங்களுக்கான பற்றாக்குறையும் தான். நவீன ஒலிம்பிக் போட்டிகளின் வரலாற்றில், ஒரு நிகழ்வு தடைபெற்றது, அதுவே முதல் முறையாகும். ஆனால் ஒரே முறையல்ல. ஏனென்றால், அந்த நிலை, இரண்டாம் உலகப்போரிலும் தொடர்ந்தது. ஆனால் இந்த முறை, நான்கு ஒலிம்பிக் போட்டிகள் தடைபட்டன.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Let me teach you, Amish Tripathi

This was my reply post to fantasy-writer Amish Tripathi to a couple of columns he had penned in The Times of India in 2016. I wrote this a Facebook post at the time. This just popped up today on Facebook memory. Just wanted this to be an easily accessible write up in search engines, and so posting it here.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Ben's Corner #17: Monster among motorcycles, soon on road!

After close to a decade, legendary hyper sports bike, Suzuki Hayabusa is going to get a comprehensive update. In a fresh set of patents filed a couple of weeks ago, Suzuki has hinted that the Busa, for the first time in its life, is going to get a semi automatic gearbox, most probably, an optional bolt-on kit. That's not all, breaking into the territory of Kawasaki Ninja H2, the Busa is also going to get a force-fed engine with all the latest electronics as per sources.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Third Law #8: So, South India is gonna be a separate country?

A century-old idea, that was in cryosleep for over 55 years, has now become the talk of the town. This time, the idea was regenerated from all four ethnic roots of the south calling for 'a separate union of southern States.'

Former Tamilnadu Chief Minister CN Annadurai before he revoked the agitations, demanding Dravida Nadu, in 1963, said prophetically, "The need for Dravida Nadu is still seen sparsely. If not now, it will resurrect sometime in far future."

Friday, 16 March 2018

This doc advises to cut doctor-dependency for a healthy life

I was invited to meet Dr. Jeffrey I Mechanick, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA, when he recently visited Chennai for a conference. He was accommodated in a star hotel in Guindy where I was asked to meet him. I went at around 4 in the evening and was waiting for a long time. Though our meeting was scheduled at 4, I had to wait for an hour to meet him, who finally showed up at 5 pm, after getting done with his conference with a few doctors in town.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Third Law #7: #ISupportCTC - When FB behaved more ethical than media

It's time for me to feel, personally, happy, and share the pride to be a volunteer. It was actually, this army of selfless and socially responsible people who came to rescue when a crew of their kind was falsely implicated by the self proclaimed, neutral, unbiased and all other adjectives that mean neither left nor right, 'Fourth Pillar'.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Put out the burning vendetta - TJJ's Exclusive

A conspiracy theory ahead!

With a lot of controversies evolving overnight, the Chennai Trekking Club (CTC), one of the popular trekking and environmental awareness organisations in south India, has come under the scanner as it is said to be the organiser of the trekking event, members of which were caught in the forest fire in Theni district.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

How a reporting duty ended up in rescue mission

If the heartrending screams of an elderly woman led to many others being rescued from St Joseph's Hospice at Paleswaram village in Kanchipuram district, my attempt to trace the two rescued persons, who were later abandoned, met with success owing to a lot of ‘lung power’ and ‘young power’.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Being minority, a greater sin - TJJ's Exclusive

It was Koovathur, a year before and Paleswaram this year, an infamous village from Kanchipuram district to hit the headlines in February with a much controversial subject.

In the midst of controversies and allegations lodged against them about organ trafficking and ill-treating senior citizens, the management of St Joseph's Hospices here in Paleswaram, defend themselves stating that they do not have anything to hide and are not doing anything illegal.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

மெத்து - சொல்ல மறந்த கதை

பெண்களின் மாதவிடாய் குறித்து திடீரென நாடே பேச ஆரம்பித்திருக்கிறது. எங்கும் அது குறித்த உண்மைகளின் தேடல்களும், மாதவிடாய்க் காலத்தில் நலம் பேணுவதற்கான வழிமுறைகள் பற்றிய விளக்கச் செய்திகளுமாய் "பேட் மேன்" (Pad Man) திரைப்படம் ஏற்படுத்தியிருக்கிற அதிர்வலைகள் சிறிதல்ல.

Friday, 23 February 2018

என்றும் என் வாதம் எதிர்வாதம்

தொடர்ச்சியாக அரசியல் சார்ந்த பதிவுகளை எழுதிவருவதால், பலர் கேட்கும் கேள்வி. "உன்னுடைய அரசியல் நிலைப்பாடு என்ன?"

எனக்கென்று ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட நிலைப்பாடு இருக்கிறதா எனக் கூறத்தெரியவில்லை. என்னுடன் பேசுபவர்களுடைய அரசியல் நிலைப்பாட்டுக்கு எதிர் நிலைப்பாட்டை எடுத்துப் பேசுவதையே வாடிக்கையாக்கி பழகிவிட்டேன். இன்று நிலவும் பல அரசியல் கருத்தியல்களின் மீது விவாதம், எதிர்வாதம் போன்றவைகளில் ஈடுபடுவதில் எனக்கென்னவோ அத்தனை ஆசை. ஏனென்று தெரியவில்லை. ஒருவேளை என் தொழில் அப்படியென்பதாலோ என்னவோ.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Ben's Corner #16: Meet Ntorq 125 by TVS

For the first time in India, TVS Motor Company launched a scooter with Bluetooth connectivity at an event in Chennai on Monday. Christened as Ntorq 125, yesterday's offering also boasts of several segment-first features, some even never-heard-of so far in the two wheeler industry. The surprise doesn't end here as the Ntorq is TVS' first 125 cc scooter.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

In Flesh and Blood - A quick chat with Arunachalam Muruganantham

With a number of questions and controversies surrounding the recent mass Bollywood flick Pad Man, Arunachalam Muruganandham, the man who inspired the bio-pic, answers them all.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Grey Scale #7: Sanitary Napkins - The Untold Story

Ever since Bollywood movie Pad Man was out, the entire country has been buzzing with facts and news about the menstrual hygiene of women.

The movie, an adapted bio-pic of Coimbatore-based social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, portrays the episodes of how he made a revolution by producing low-cost, quality sanitary pads for women from rural and downtrodden backgrounds.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Solli Vidava: Fifty Shades of Saffron

War field love stories have always been awful disasters in Tamil cinema with poor reception among the audience and box office as well. With a range of such movies even from ace directors who have struggled to do justice to the plot, like Kaatruveliyidai, Uyire and Wagah, here joins Solli Vidava from actor-director Arjun, featuring Aishwarya Arjun and debutant Chandan in the lead.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Third law #6: Bus fare hike - Loud outrage and silent submission

So, there was stiff opposition to the bus fare hike. There were loud protests and a lot of breast-beating. But a fortnight later, it looks like people have resigned themselves to the new fares and are continuing to use the bus services.

The bus fare hike struck at the middle and weaker sections of society, but they now are on the verge of accepting the high fares. They have no other go? I was curious about this. I even wanted to know why they accept it at all.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Yemaali: Male Chauvinists Gathering

Manifold screenplays are not new to Tamil cinema. But, for VZ Durai's Yemaali, which has made such an attempt, unlike previous movies has two screenplays.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Ben's Corner #15: Classic 350 to finally get a rival

If there is one bike in the world that can be called a golden goose, it's none other than the Royal Enfield Classic 350. Selling more than 30,000 units every month in India, none can even come close to the Classic in sales, let alone overtaking it. This scenario is despite the engine being more than a decade old. Heck Royal Enfield hasn't even touched the bike in all these years while still hiking the price up to Rs 40,000. Today, the Classic 350 is one of the costliest old-school push-road-engine bikes not only in India but in the whole world.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

எண்ணாது துணிந்த கருமம்

அதுவொரு பரபரப்பான பன்னாட்டு நிறுவனம். பல்லாயிரம் பணியாளர்களைக் கொண்டதும்கூட. அந்த ஊழியர்களெல்லாம் சிறப்பாக பணியாற்றி அந்நிறுவனத்தின் முதலீடுகளை இரட்டித்துக்கொண்டிருந்தனர். பிற நிறுவனங்களெல்லாம் அதிக வரவு ஈட்ட தங்கள் தயாரிப்புகளில் கலப்படம் செய்தபோதுகூட இந்த நிறுவனம் மட்டும் நேர்மையான முறையில் வணிகம் செய்து வந்தது. அதன் பணியாளர்களை அந்த நிறுவனம் சரியான முறையில் நடத்தியும் வந்தது. நான் உனக்கு மேலதிகாரி, நீ எனக்கு கீழ் வேலை பார்ப்பவன் என்ற எண்ணம் இல்லாமல் அனைவரும் நிறுவனத்தின் ஊழியர்கள் என்ற நிலையிலேயே பணிபுரிந்தனர்.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

அவள் இட்ட ஆயிரம் முத்தங்கள்!

அவளைப் பிரிந்து நாட்கள் ஓடிவிட்டன. எங்களுக்குள் இருந்த தொடர்பு முற்றிலுமாக துண்டிக்கப்பட்டு, இப்போது அவள் என் வாழ்வில் மீண்டுமொரு அங்கம்வகிப்பாளா என்ற வினாவுக்கு விடையறியாது உலாவிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறேன். இனியும் அவளுடன் இணைவதென்பது விகிதாச்சார அடிப்படையில் நிகழ்வதரிது என்ற ஏக்கத்தில்தான் இந்தப் பதிவை எழுதுகிறேன்.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

I prefer making movies organically: Arun Prabu - An interaction with Aruvi's filmmaker

I wanted my film to be relatable to audience in all slabs of the society and that's why Aruvi looks so down to Earth, says filmmaker Arun Prabu Purushothaman, who is the recent sensation of Tamil cinema industry who was the latest admission to the list of successful debutante directors. When I recently caught up with the budding talent in the sidelines of INSPIRE '18 International Films Summit at MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Arun shared a lot about Aruvi, creative freedom, his upcoming projects and much more. Here are the excerpts.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Ben's Corner #14: What's the new discovery? - TJJ's Exclusive

Tomorrow is going to be a great day for automobile enthusiasts as Bajaj is going to re-launch the legendary commuter bike, Discover 110 after a very long gap of 13 years. Yes, it was back in 2005 that the technological marvel, which re-wrote the history books of the Indian automotive scenario, was first showcased to the public. The surprise doesn't end here as tomorrow's product is going to set new records just how its predecessor did.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Ben's Corner #13: Punto gets zero star

The entire automotive world got shocked when Fiat Grande Punto secured a zero star safety rating in European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) results released a few days ago. While one may dismiss these results citing the lack of development of Punto's platform as the reason, there is more to it than meets the eye. I researched on this topic and will walk you through the things to ponder.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

தென்றலுக்கு மூச்சுமுட்டுகிறது

மூன்றாவது மாடியிலிருந்து என்றாவது நீங்கள் வீட்டுக்குவெளியே, சன்னல்வழியே எட்டிப்பார்த்ததுண்டா? பார்த்ததில்லையென்றால் உடனே பாருங்கள்.