Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Thaana Serndha Koottam review: "Entertaining remake that creates an identity of its own!!!"

It's the first month of the year & we had three major releases last weekend to cash in on the Pongal festivities. Among the three, the one that instantly caught my eye was Suriya's "Thaana Serndha Koottam. Apart from the fact that it had an catchy title, it also happened to be the remake of the Akshay starrer "Special 26" which I had really liked. With the foot thumping "Sodakku" ruling the music charts, it had generated adequate hype to garner a sizable initial. So will this walk away with the prize among the Pongal releases???


As mentioned earlier, it is based on "Special 26" which I presume most of you would have watched it. Iniyan (Suriya) is a bright young man who aspires to join the CBI but despite his credentials, fails to make the cut due to the corrupt officer Uthaman (Suresh Chandra Menon). The same fate befalls on his buddy as well, who however commits suicide unable to come to terms with the corrupt system. At this juncture, Iniya decide to form a team of CBI impostors & they conduct raids on individuals who had amassed vast amounts of unaccounted money. With none of the victims formally lodging a complaint, the actual CBI had no clue has to how to nab the culprits. However, the upfront hard nosed CBI officer Kurunjivedhan was determined to put Iniyan & his team behind bars.

About five years have passed since Neeraj Pandey's critically & commercially acclaimed "Special 26" had hit the screens. The task of remaking it in Tamil was entrusted upon Vignesh Shivan who had impressed the audience with "Naanum Rowdythaan". He has maintained the main thread but has worked on the treatment so that it catered to the sensibilities of the Tamil audience. In short, more humour elements were inserted into proceedings & it was given a vibrant colourful mood. However, the climax wasnt quite upto the mark & was rather preachy. As far as the technical aspects are concerned, Dinesh Krishnan impressed with  the visuals while Anirudh Ravichander produced some decent tracks with "Sodakku" being an absolute chartbuster. 

Suriya was fantastic as the protagonist whether it be the looks or the body language & also seemed to be in absolute ease with the humour. The idea to cast Remya Krishnan for Anupam Kher's role was a smart move & she has done utmost justice to the character of Jhansi Rani. Though Keerthy Suresh's intro was interesting, she was wasted later on. Karthik has done a fine job along with Suresh Chandra while the rest of the cast have also done their parts aptly.

Verdict: Unlike his last couple of releases, this one will garner positive word of mouth which would surely translate into more footfalls. If one is looking for some bindaas time pass, then look no further than Iniya & his team of impostors. In short, give it a try even if you have watched the original!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Velaikkaran review: "Thought provoking but more velai required in the execution!!!"

Just like most people, I spent this Christmas weekend attending mass, feasting on the delicacies & watching movies. Well the first movie happened to be "Tiger Zinda Hai", the review of which I had posted a couple of days back. The other one that tempted me to watch was "Velaikkaran" as it marked the debut of Fahadh Faasil in the Tamil film industry. To add to the excitement, it was directed by Mohan Raja who had called the shots in the impressive "Thani Oruvan". So will it live upto expectations???


The film opens with Arivu (Sivakarthikeyan) seeking the permission of Kasi (Prakash Raj), the gangster in his locality to open a FM station. Since it was a slum, his main intention to start a community radio station was to educate the people in his neighbourhood about the evils that prevented their upliftment. As expected, Kasi shuts down the FM as it threatened his influence in the region. At around this time, Arivu gets employed as a marketing executive at "Saffron", the numero uno company in the consumer world.  His new boss was Adhi (Fahadh Faasil), an ambitious manager with whom he develops a close bond. Even as Arivu enjoyed his job he soon realizes that the corporate world isnt much different from the gangsters as the former was just greedy about profits with utter disregard for the consumers. This scenario inspires him to bring about a positive change, but was it even possible???

The amount of research that has gone into the script with regard to market dynamics deserves praise & kudos to Mohan Raja for it. The message that he wants to convey is loud & clear, but the problem is the protagonist keeps repeatedly harping about it that after a point of time it becomes tedious to the audience. It almost felt like the message has taken centre stage while the story is just flimsily built around it. On the technical side, Ramji's visuals & Anirudh's music deserves applause for their craft while the BGM & the editing by Reuben & Vivek Harshan were average . A word of praise for the art department as well, that has done a fine job in creating the slum environment.

It might sound surprising but this is the first movie that I had watched of Sivakarthikeyan though he has been in the industry for close to five years now. He has given an earnest performance & was an apt choice for the role. Fahadh's credentials as an actor is well documented & he has given a thumping performance yet again in the screen space provided to him. To be frank, he actually owned the scene whenever he came on screen. Sneha was impressive, Prakash Raj was under utilized while Nayanthara was wasted. 

Verdict: Mohan Raja has tackled an extremely important issue of food marketing & consumer response. It's a subject that each one of us needs to seriously think about in this fast moving world. The message was conveyed effectively but it slipped into a preachy tone after a while. It is sure to make a positive impact at the box-office though it could have been better if more thought was put into the screenplay. In short, do check it out!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Tiger Zinda Hai review: "Salman roars to yet another blockbuster!!!"

On the auspicious occasion of Xmas, I would like to wish each & everyone a peaceful & joyful festive season. Since there was hardly any movie that caught my eye in the past month, my blog was off the radar until this weekend. Being Xmas, a plethora of movies have released in all languages hoping to cash in on the extended weekend. The biggest release is undoubtedly from Khan, well it's not Aamir (who invariably releases during this time) but rather Salman with "Tiger Zinda Hai". It is the sequel to "Ek Tha Tiger" & Salman will be hoping that it will make amends for the abysmal "Tubelight". Hmm...will the box-office go gaga???


ISC was creating havoc in the Middle East under the leadership of Abu Usman (Sajjad Delfrooz) & all the nations were at a loss as to how to contain this terrorist organisation. ISC's latest act of terrorism was to take 25 nurses (mostly Indian & Pakistani) as hostages & convert the Iqrit hospital in Iraq into their terrorist base. With negotiation virtually impossible with Abu, the US army decides to launch a drone attack on the hospital which would effectively decimate every living being in the vicinity. However, they agreed to hold off the attack for a week as the Indian Government through their RAW Chief Shenoy (Girish Karnad) had requested time to rescue the nurses. Since a mission of this magnitude had to be handled by the best, Shenoy gets in touch with his former agent Tiger (Salman Khan) who had vanished from the scene eight years back. Though Shenoy convinces Tiger to come out of retirement, will the latter be as ruthless as before especially with a family now ???

Unlike the prequel, this is helmed by Ali Abbas Zafar who was last seen with "Sultan" which I personally consider as one of Salman's finest performance. It is inspired from the actual hostage situation that had unfolded in 2014, which had earlier led to the brilliant "Take Off". Being a Salman movie, you cant lament the fact that it belies logic after all "over the top" stuff is what he is known for. To be fair to Abbas, he has given what the audience expects with an all out action thriller. Though a shade too long, it remains true to being an action thriller with no unnecessary romantic scenes that impeded the pace in the prequel. The action sequences & Marcin's visuals were awesome while Vishal Shekhar's music was average. 

Tiger was a role that was tailor made for Salman with loads of action & ripping muscles. He has done utmost justice to the role & was given excellent support by Katrina who carried out her action sequences brilliantly as well. Sajjad was an apt choice as the antagonist which he performed impressively. There was a host of supporting artists as well such as Paresh Rawal, Kumud Mishra, Girish Karnad etc, all of whom have done their parts aptly.

Verdict: Without a shadow of doubt, the audience will lap it up with glee making it yet another humongous blockbuster for Salman. It is a sure shot 250C at the box-office with the question being, how much will it eventually make. It's an ideal choice for a bindaas time pass & if you know what to expect from a Salman movie, you can rest assured that you will be thoroughly entertained. So check it out for some high voltage action!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Theeran Adhigaram Ondru review: "Karthi's Kaakha Kaakha!!!"

More often than not, whenever I write a review it's about a movie that I would have eagerly looked forward to. In that sense, this review is kinda different coz I wasn't even aware about Karthi's "Theeran Adhigaram Ondru" until my friend Vamsi spoke highly about it in FB. We have had numerous quality crime thrillers in Tamil over the years & from whatever I have heard about this movie, it seems to belong to the same category. So will this be a milestone in Karthi's career just like how "Kaakha Kaakha" was for his brother???


The film unfolds with a police officer stumbling across an old crime file about a gang of dacoits who went on a looting & killing spree in highway farm houses across the length & breadth of the country that spanned for many years. The police didnt have much of a clue as to who were behind the murders until DSP Theeran (Karthi) took charge in Thiruvallur. Despite his honest efforts, there was lack of adequate support from the higher authorities. However, when a MLA & his family were murdered under similar circumstances things start to get heated up. It soon becomes evident to Theeran that the dacoits hailed mainly from Rajasthan & Haryana, which led to a pan India hunt. Will Theeran & his team be able to nab the culprits & if so, at what cost???

This classy crime thriller is directed by H Vinoth, who had earlier impressed the audience with "Sathuranga Vettai". Based on the "Operation Bawaria Dacoity" case by the TN police, Vinoth has made a movie that is both engaging & thrilling in equal measure. The extensive research & meticulous planning that has gone into the making is evident as it is pretty damn realistic in all counts. Dhilip Subburayan has done a fantastic job with the action choreography along with impressive visuals by Sathyan Sooryan while Ghibran's BGM deserves praise as well.

Karthi was brilliant as the upright DSP & has done utmost justice to the role. His body language & expressions were bang on target which made it a delightful watch. Giving him adequate support was Bose Venkat & a host of other artists. The first time that I was truly taken aback by Abhimanyu Singh's performance was in "Rakta Charitra"where he was outstanding as the villain. The same amount of praise applies to him here as well as he was awesome as Oma. With regard to Rakul Preet, she manages to get noticed with a decent act.

Verdict: This is surely one of the finest crime thrillers in recent times as Vinoth has directed the movie really well. Apart from the hard hitting script, Karthi will blow the audience with his performance as this is undoubtedly a milestone movie in his career. In short, you definitely got to check it out!!!

Rating: 3.5/5

Regards...Ben

Monday, November 20, 2017

Justice League review: "Despite clunky script & mediocre villain, it's still enjoyable!!!"

Finally the eagerly awaited "Justice League", the fifth installment in the DC Extended Universe is here. Just like millions of fans, I have been waiting to watch this ever since it was announced a couple of years back. However, I would have to admit that I was a touch concerned with the mixed reviews that I had come across. Anywaz I was really impressed with the trailer & that made me believe that Snyder will make amends for "Batman vs Superman", which was horribly massacred on the editing board. So did the congregation of superheroes work for me???


Time have passed since the death of Superman but the world still mourned for their beacon of hope. Even Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) didnt get over his guilt & kept a constant vigil to ensure that the planet was safe. He gets wind of an alien invasion when he happened to combat with a parademon & comes across mysterious pictorial depiction of three boxes in several places as well as in Lex Luthor's journal. He reaches out to Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) for help & comes to learn that those were "Mother Boxes" of power. Incidentally Steppenwolf & his army of parademons were in pursuit of them which were under the guardianship of Amazoneans, Atlanteans & humans. In order to thwart Steppenwolf's evil designs, Batman & Wonder Woman decides to form a league & sets out to recruit metahumans. They bring in Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/Flash (Ezra Miller) & Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) into their team. But will they be able to stop Steppenwolf, who already had two boxes in his possession by the time they joined forces???

As is evident for most of the people by now, the project is helmed by Zack Snyder who justifiably received a lot of flak for the "Batman vs Superman" debacle. Apart from calling the shots, he has also penned the script along with Academy Award winner Chris Terrio (for "Argo"). The plot as such lacks impact & way too many things are stuffed here which made it incohesive. Just as in the prequel, the mediocre editing is to blame for that as I presume the director's cut will be much better. However, I felt the screenplay by Chris & Joss Whedon managed to improve the proceedings with some humorous sequences & team bonding. Since Snyder had to leave abruptly towards the end of production due to a personal tragedy, Joss was also in charge of the re-shoots (surprising considering he directed "Avengers"). Another major flaw was the choice of villain, which was neither intimidating nor threatening enough. 

In an movie like this, the overload of CGI is understandable but the quality wasnt quite upto the standard that we would have expected. As for the music by Danny Elfman, it left a lot to be desired. With regard to performances, Gal Gadot was awesome as ever (I might be biased) while Ezra Miller provides the light moments with his hilarious one liners. Jason Momoa rocked as the tattooed hunk with an attitude, Ray Fisher actually makes us empathize with his character while Ben Affleck was better. Henry Cavill was fine while Amy Adams & Diane Lane were completely wasted. 

Verdict: Despite the shortcomings, I personally enjoyed the movie & that is primarily due to the screenplay which brings a light mood to the proceedings when the team bonds. As of now, it has grossed close to $282M which is a decent figure though lower than BvS. However, if you ask me; in terms of entertainment, I would place it above BvS & lower than "Wonder Woman". In short, it wont hurt to give it a try!!!

Rating: 2.75/5

Regards...Ben




Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tumhari Sulu review: "Helloooo...Vidya delivers a smashing performance!!!"

The much awaited weekend is finally here as "Justice League" have hit the screens to mixed reviews. Well I intend to watch it on Sunday & hopefully it will satiate my expectations. Anywaz another movie that had grabbed my attention was Vidya Balan's "Tumhari Sulu". Since she plays the protagonist, I didnt to have think twice as to whether I wanted to watch it or not. The trailer promised it to be a bindaas flick with oodles of laughter. So does it deliver what it promised???


Sulochana aka Sulu (Vidya Balan) is a middle class housewife whose hallmark was her exuberance & confidence to take up any challenge. This was very much evident from the hoards of prizes that she had won from random competitions that she participated in. The latest prize that she had won was a pressure cooker from a radio station & as she went there to collect it, she happened to come across an ad calling for candidates who were interested to become a RJ. Despite having no prior experience, being the optimistic person that she is; she decides to give it a try. As always, her husband Ashok (Manav Kaul) was her pillar of support & urged her to pursue her ambitions. Her charismatic & "happy-go-lucky" nature lands her the job though it was a late night slot that she had to fill in. How she manages her job & household chores forms the crux of the movie.

Scripted & directed by ad-man Suresh Triveni, the film gives us a slice of reality with the incidents that happens in the life of a middle class household. The best part was undoubtedly the husband-wife relationship, as both of them look out for each other & keeps their romance alive. It's a feel good movie that doesnt delve too much into the problems that arise in Sulu's life after she takes up the job. The tensions that her husband faces in his job & the problems that her son finds himself in at school, all of which affects the dynamics in their life. But Suresh has opted to wade over it & keeps the mood light throughout the whole 140 minutes. There are quite a few tracks in the movie that has been handled by many individuals, but my favourite was "Ban ja Rani" by Guru Randhawa. As for other technical aspects, all of them were aptly executed.

Vidya is the heart & soul of the movie, & she has nailed her performance yet again. The way she expresses array of emotions with utmost ease makes her a delight to watch. Equally impressive was the performance of each & every artist irrespective of how brief their role was, as they have done utmost justice to their roles. Manav Kaul pleasantly surprised me with his act as I never thought he would be able to pull it off so effectively. Neha Dhupia continues to grab eyeballs whenever she is given a substantial role & hopefully more directors will cast her. 

Verdict: It might not a glitzy type of movie or one with mass heroes, but it is surely one that will entertain the audience. There is no doubt that it will have positive word of mouth in its favour & should be able to make decent collection at the box-office. In short, do check it out for Vidya & her exuberance!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Aramm review: "Realistic take on the plight of the poor in the socio-political environment!!!"

Our planet has experienced unprecedented changes in the past decade or so, primarily due to the utter negligence of the human race. Pollution has touched alarming levels across the globe with our very own capital creating headlines when the PM 2.5 particles in air touched 30 times the WHO safety limits last week. The story is equally bleak when it come to water as rampant pollution & climate change has made it a scarce commodity in many parts. This has led to numerous bore wells being dug in such places which at times left open has led to several causalities. This is the angle that Gopi Nainar explored with his "Aramm" that had hit the screens this weekend.


Madhivadhani IAS (Nayanthara) is the district collector of a coastal region in TN that is reeling under severe water crisis. She was called in for inquiry by her superior over her handling of a rescue mission that had ruffled the feathers of the political clan & potentially endangered the life of a child. The rescue mission was for a little girl, Dhansika (Mahalakshmi) who had fallen into an abandoned bore well that was left open by irresponsible contractors. Her father, Yugendran (Ramachandran Durairaj) was a painter who struggled to make their ends meet while his wife Sumathi (Sunu Lakshmi) did her bit with some odd jobs as well. Apart from Dhansika, they also had a son named Muthu (Ramesh) who aspired to be a swimming champion. On the ill-fated day, she fell into the bore well as she was playing with other kids & Madhivadhani swings into action. However, despite being the collector she realised that she was trying to make things work in a system where most of the people in power were corrupt. Amidst all this hungama, the no-nonsense female tried her best to rescue the girl but it was easier said than done.

Directed by the debutant, Gopi Nainar, it is a realistic take on the plight of the poor who gets shoved around by the rich & powerful. It's a fact that irrespective of whoever is in power, the benefits rarely percolates to the lower economic strata of society. We have been pushing our boundaries with our successful space missions which is definitely essential, but what's the point if you cant provide the basic necessities to all your citizens. All of this has been effectively highlighted by Gopi, who had penned the script as well against the backdrop of a rescue mission. Actually Bharathan's "Malootty" in Malayalam is also about a similar incident. The visuals by Om Prakash were exquisite while the other aspects were fine as well.

Nayanthara was brilliant as the empathetic & straight forward district collector. She just emphasised the fact that she is indeed the 'Lady Superstar', whether the role is glamorous or not. Each of the other artists have done their part well be it Ramachandran, Sunu, Mahalakshmi or Ramesh. 

Verdict: A socio-political drama which is relevant to our times with a thriller weaved into the plot will interest the audience for sure. It is likely to be a winner at the box-office as positive word of mouth should work in its favour. In short, check it out!!!

Rating: 3/5

Regards...Ben