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“Thilagar”… Or what ‘Thevar Magan’ might have been without a big star

Spoilers ahead… Perumal Pillai’s Thilagar is the story of two brothers in a village by the Thamirabarani. The older one (Bosepandian, played by Kishore) is the most respected man around, and he wants more for his brethren. He encourages a relative to stop this aruvaa business and become a cop. Thilagar, the younger one (Dhruvva), […]

“Komban”… So dull… that’s the real controversy

Spoilers ahead… Why do the men in these rural dramas bother with veshtis? This isn’t something we wondered about in the Bharathiraja movies, which narrated stories set in the deep south but were primarily about the characters, not the capital-H hero. Watching these films was like being taken on a thrilling anthropological tour, with the […]

Shakespeare (plus Bollywood) Wallah

Reflections on Shashi Kapoor, recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2014. I’m not getting into the whole “does he deserve it?” debate, but the news about the Phalke filled me with a vague kind of happiness. There’s always been something wholesome, something nice about Shashi Kapoor. You probably remember the Friends episode that was […]

“CSK – Charles Shafiq Karthiga”… A modestly mounted but well-written thriller

Spoilers ahead… So many small films are dumped on us every Friday – without proper marketing or publicity – that it’s become difficult to sense which small movie is worth checking out. This week, first-time director Sathiya Moorthy Saravanan makes the decision fairly easy for us. His CSK – Charles Shafiq Karthiga is a beautifully […]

“Ivanuku Thannila Gandam”… Enough jokes to warrant a YouTube viewing at some point

Spoilers ahead… Titles come in cycles. There was, at one time, the “pa” series of names, and alongside, we had long titles that left us in little doubt about what we were in for – Thaai Magalukku Kattiya Thaali, or Manaalane Mangaiyin Baagyam, or Paanai Pidithaval Baagyasaali. About the latter, I don’t care for the […]

“Valiyavan”… An easy contender for the year’s worst screenplay

Spoilers ahead… Most mainstream movies are based on the philosophy followed by the makers of potato chips. When we pick up a packet, it seems so full, so ready to burst, but when we rip it open, we realize it’s mostly air – there’s just half a bag of chips in there. So too our […]

Tetchy thoughts on time

Some months ago, at an airport, I got chatting with a Pakistani man who was a nurse in Finland. He was wearing one of those watches you see in the glossy mags. You know the kind of watch I’m talking about, the kind that looks like a rakhi designed by the monolith in 2001: A […]

“Kallappadam”… A meta movie with good ideas that needed better filmmaking

Spoilers ahead… In Jigarthanda, we got a meta movie that was about moviemaking itself, and the meta-ness was underlined by the protagonist being named after the director. Kallappadam tries to go one-up – or maybe we should say four-up. The film features a quartet of protagonists, and they’re all named after the behind-the-scenes people. Actually, […]

Thoughts about the news out there

I hate it when they build statues for great men like Gandhi. This isn’t about the man, really, or what matters about him, what he left behind, what we should imbibe from his life. This is about you, showing that you are awesome enough to have a statue built for Gandhi. This is about a […]

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