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KARTHIK SUBBARAJ – YOU COLD HEARTED B….

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noir
noun; a genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.
 
As soon as the movie starts with an encounter in the background of ‘Malarum Malaraadha..’ from ‘Paasamalar‘ you know you have not bought ticket to any other tamil movie. As legends go, the director Karthik Subbaraj first went to a director with the script of this movie, but was discouraged by producer who wanted a paranormal thriller, (a similar scene at the opening of this movie where cinematic “Karthik” is discouraged and asked to do a gangster movie) and he went to do ‘Pizza‘ which announced his arrival in Indian Cinema but which was nowhere as good as this movie.
In both his movies so far the quality of production of movie is so high that it adds gloss to even simple locations. A film devoid of neither high budget nor foreign locales, neither of which this film doesn’t require, the cinematography is so good that it shows ordinary streets of Madurai as colorful as the streets of Paris.
Usually film about film making falters a lot, but for rare exceptions like ‘Udhayanu Tharam’ because to see the process of film making is a extremely boring process unless the script is smart enough to focus on subplots within characters than film making itself.
The first half of the film is a pseudo-sleuth cat and mouse game between the most feared goon in Madurai and a wannabe amateur director in search of his script explodes post intermission where characters keep changing their tones, where hero becomes villain, villain becomes hero, then goes onto become a psycho and then a comedian and heroine turns villain and finally at climax everybody becomes human.
The centre piece of the film is the Villain Hero Bobby Simhaa as ‘Assault Sethu’ where he lives, kicks, kills, roars, gets kicked and finally cries as the most menacing at the same time most funny villain Indian Cinema has ever seen. A rendition that very much deserves National Award if not any.. Its amazing to see the transition of this actor who started as dim-wit ‘Pagalavan’ in ‘Soodhu Kavvum’ to this ego-maniacal super-villain that makes us wonder if he himself underwent all those acting “classes” Sethu underwent in the second half of the movie.
His gang of goons acted by Ramachandran Durairaj , Soundara Raja , Sangili Murugan given unique characters equally funny and menacing with a side story of their own, showing this isn’t yet another gangster film.
Siddharth as the underdog hero, starts off as the clueless wannabe director, goes on to transform into person struggling to control the gang of goons acting in his film, and then finally in the climax as the uber-cool “Gangster Director” shows how matured as an actor he has come.
And Lakshmi Menon as “saree-stealer” heroine of the movie given considerable weight in the limited time frame she comes.
Karunakaran once again excels in his role as hero sidekick post ‘Yaamiruka Bayamey’ as Oorani especially in his monologue about “hallucinations”, his dream about being cut-throat and his reference to Thalapathy intro.
Vijay Sethupathy returns his gratitude to the director who gave him his first major break, by acting as himself, in a role as much funny as his cinematic ones.
With a tag line “A Musical Gangster Story” the director should have placed a lot of trust in his musical director and debutant Santhosh Narayanan renders a music fest as good as World classics go. Some of the best BGMs I liked in the movie were the situational BGMs where he uses nothing but the background chattering of TV, old songs running in TV or radio, odes to other music directors, which exactly sync with the situation of the movie.
But finally this film belong to the imagination of Karthik Subbaraj. Creating a very realistic world of gangsters life since ‘Pudhupettai‘ with a interwoven plot of director trying to capture it cinematically, without once being boring or stereotyped, is a brilliant mind I respect and as a Cine lover worship to _/\_
As noir films go, they are genres which are not suited for family audience because of its sleaze and gory violence but director succeeds in creating for the first time a “Family Noir” film which doesn’t make us cringe one bit.
At the last dialogue of the film the hero says “Jigarthanda” name depicts the cold hearted nature of the assassins, a corner of my brain said that literally Jigar-thanda means ‘Liver-cooler’ but for a film that is 99.999% flawless we can forgive that one factual error, can’t we?
VERDICT: THIS IS A GOLDEN ERA OF TAMIL CINEMA CREATIVITY WISE AND TECHNICAL BRILLIANCE WISE AND ONE BETTER ENJOY AS LONG AS IT LASTS AND HOPE FOR MUCH MORE OF THE SAME. A FILM WHICH LITERALLY, POETICALLY, AND CINEMATICALLY HAS IT ALL..
(As Tarantino is a term loosely used nowadays to compare the level of film making, the director at many places purposefully uses anecdotes, graphical references and cinematic references to his film making. But my personal point of view this is one film which even Quentin Tarantino would be proud of)
 
P.S: No, this is not a copy of the Korean film ‘A Dirty Carnival’ that is not even 1% as good as this.
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PARADESI – What is Reality?

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Life is cruel, unfair, unjust. For some it bludgeons repeatedly till they give up, for some it keeps giving everything they want and more. Call it Karma, call it the residues of previous birth, we have seen it again time and again.
This brings me to the question, what is this so called “Real Life Cinema”?
Is it one where protagonist suffers for 90% of the film, suddenly in the climax he beats up few bad guys, ans the film ends with hero overcoming his demons and emerge victorious?
No. In most real lives, bad begets worse, worse begets worst.
Bala is one kind of a Director when whole world knows, he will make us cry, he is one guy who will make us strangled in grief, but yet he has that irresistible charm which makes us want to endure that sadistic pleasure.
When I saw the trailer, the sepia tone, the autistic hero I dreaded for the worst.
Yet when I came out of the movie hall yesterday I felt a sense of contentment. YES BALA IS BACK!
From the first frame when he introduces us the village in a single long shot, to the way he showed how weddings happened those days, to the way he made the Villagers Travel to Tea Estate so impactful, to the plights of slaves in tea estate and finally the sarcastic way he depicted how Christianity was “spread” those days.
We feel like we are not seeing a film. We were living the pre Independence era.
Adapting a book can be such a pain. To bring the magic of words into a narrow celluloid, but boy does he get it right.
The plights of tea estate workers is a disgusting reality something which might be happening even now, something we could have done without knowing.
The casting is another excellence, Atharva as “Ottu-Peruki” is so good it’s time we name him “Paradesi” Atharva (like Jeyam Ravi), both female protagonists are apt, and every tea estate worker and villager are more of a real life character than actor.
Finally I get to see G.V.Prakash create a mature album and BGM which at times (dare I say) reminded me of Maestro Ilayaraja sir!
And finally about director, I always felt the movies which Indian Cinema celebrates as “World Movies” are all movies which are with Dark tones bordering on “Never ending tragedy” (Aaranya Kaandam was a welcome exception) but if we have directors like Bala I’m not complaining.
VERDICT: THAT KIND OF A FILM WHICH MAKES US SEE A GLASS OF TEA WITH SO MUCH GUILT & MAKES ME RELIEVED I’M A COFFEE ADDICT.
P.S:
1. After seeing the film I really admire the Christian community. Although this movie ridicules their community more than VISHWAROOPAM did Muslim community(both based on real incidents), there was not a single protest from the community leaders.
2. And by releasing this film post KADAL Bala has really trolled MANI RATHNAM by showing what Christianity really was in India.

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ZERO DARK THIRTY: THE ‘TITANIC’ OF KATHERYN BIGELOW

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ZERO DARK THIRTY: THE “TITANIC” OF KATHERYN BIGELOW
I happened to watch Zero Dark Thirty, and it wouldn’t be a hyperbole to suggest ZDT is to Katheryn what Titanic was to her ex husband.
First let me tell you the similarities between the two.
Both were based on real life incidents.
Both were incidents of real significance.
And both required extensive behind the camera work to make it possible.
And it’s safe to say the similarities end there.
Where ZDT scores over TITANIC(and it’s bold for me to say it’s better than Titanic) is that this movie required so much research to make it as life like as possible, that too considering the fact that most were classified information and any slip ups and misquotings of facts will be dealt with severely by CIA.
While in Titanic most of the shooting happened inside closed doors with entire Titanic almost created from graphics, Bigelow had to go from street to street inside two of the most Anti American countries Afghan and Pakistan.
Now most could have and would have made a superficial glossary of the entire episode of catching Osama and concentrated on some unknown or made up emotions and relationships to make it engaging to the viewers, but Katheryn makes a movie devoid of emotions yet so engaging to watch for the sheer grit and determination of lead lady.
Where Cameron went for the magical quotient of “LOVE” Katheryn went for much less glamorous but equally effective
“REALISM” and that’s where I suppose in the eyes of many ZDT will be viewed a tad bit lower than TITANIC because the latter took upon a tragic story and introduced Love and made us root for them every scene and virtually made us sink with the TITANIC.
Here Katheryn also makes us root for the lead lady but there was always a ruthless professionalism in her eyes which made us respect her more than love her.
Of the lead characters it’s safe to say that Jessica Chastain as Maya, has Best Actress Oscar written all over her performance, from unflinching stare at tortured terrorist, to scribbling over CIA chiefs door everyday, to the final relief after seeing Osama’s dead body, she nails it as yet another unknown, unnamed CIA agent whose services will forever be unrewarded by public.
I think Kyle Chandler(Joseph Bradley) will be typecasted as as CIA official if he keeps acting in similar roles (Argo, Super 8, to name a few)
Mark Strong, Jason Clarke lend her able support.
VERDICT: THE MOVIE WHICH PROVES THAT AS A DIRECTOR KATHERYN BIGELOW IS NO LESS OR EVEN BETTER THAN EX HER HUSBAND JAMES CAMERON. WHAT SHE LACKS FOR IN IMAGINATION AND MESMERIZING THE VIEWERS, SHE MAKES IT UP FOR THE SHEER ON YOUR FACE REALISM.
P.S:
1. I think the torture scenes are shown in the mildest way possible eventhough that itself has got severe opposition from American Govt.
2. It’s so fascinating to see how Katheryn reconstructed the entire incident brick by brick and get permission from American Govt to shoot within the heart of America’s most secure Cantonments.
3. I think ZDT shows Muslims in even poorer light than VISHWAROOPAM, all militants from suicide bombers to masked gunmen chant Allahs name before killing themselves. Why no protest for this movie Muslim Groups?
And I think Katheryn expecting Muslim protest, similar to Kamal made the head of CIA a very pious Muslim who does Namaz himself before ordering strike on Osama.

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