Saturday, 1 September 2007



Thankar Pachan will be happy to be called as the ‘Nostalgia Man’ of Tamil cinema (Cheran will finish as close second if there was a poll). The good thing about Thankar being nostalgic is that he is true, sincere and tries to be realistic within the imposing boundaries of the rectangle of the silver screen.

A dilapidated school is on the verge of being shut down. The teachers and villagers try to save the school, which is more than just a place of learning to them. For everyone who studied there the school has an intimate story of their boyhood. Shutting down the school means allowing a portion of their nostalgic boyhood to die a silent death.

Kumarasamy, a former student tries to rope in Vetrivel, his classmate
at the village school and now a district collector into their endeavours
to save the school. Muthu, also a former student, now a famous cinema director joins the team. Kokila, a former student as well as a teacher in the school, is there and is dedicated to the cause.

As the protagonists journey through their boyhood memories in the backdrop of the school, evocatively, it brings back our own school days and wistfully we relive those fantastic days of innocence, compassion and of course, the budding of love in that tender age.

How we all waited all these days to witness a love affair on the screen like that of Vetri and Kokila. There could be a very few parallels to this rather subtle yet compassionate love affair in the exhausting saga of Tamil cinema love. In the span of the broader story line, this love affair has a very little space for its foothold but in the end, you are prepared to give away anything from the movie just to savour this love for posterity. And one should not forget that it is Sneha as Kokila who infuses life into the affair like a seasoned orchestra conductor whereas Naren could only play the second fiddle.A wistful gaze and the almost invisible quiver of the lip, as Kokila, Sneha wins hands down. Kokila will remain etched in memory as one of Thankar’s finest female portrayals.

Naren, director Seeman, Thankar Pachan all have done their jobs neatly. True, Thankar has added one more feather to his crown but he could have done more justice to the screenplay and the seriousness of the plot by just removing and rectifying a few scenes and sequences.

Finally, can how much be nostalgia sold?
As long as it is not nauseating and irritating you can go on selling it Thankar.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Dr. Mohammed Haneef and the under-trials of India

At last, Dr.Mohammed Haneef has walked out of the Australian prison in which he had been in solitary confinement for almost a month. Much to the relief of his relatives, friends, and fellow citizens he has come out of the worst nightmare of his life. Thanks to the glare of the media around the world and protests by native Australians in Australia Haneef’s ordeal ended soon. This heart wrenching yet sensational story had ended with a happy note. Our thanks to the media and the public (especially the Australians, and I never heard or seen anything from our own public in support of Dr. Haneef, or did I?).

The extraordinary case of Dr. Haneef brings to mind the fate of thousands of under-trials lurching in Indian prisons inevitably and raises discomforting questions. From petty criminals to terror suspects they all await the proverbial light at the end of Indian Justice Delivery System tunnel. Their stay behind the bars count to several months and years. The state of poverty of most of the under-trials keeps them away from walking out of the prison on bail. The snail-paced justice delivery system of our country needs to be revamped. A fair and quick trial not only helps the under-trial to prove his innocence quickly but also gives the victim the much-awaited justice if the under-trial is proven guilty.

Justice delayed is justice denied; it is high time that our government and judiciary think over this clichéd saying.

Saturday, 14 July 2007


Tamil tinseldom’s obsession with big , super heroes and the longing for big hits by them have come a full circle, we thought, but fortunately or unfortunately we were proven wrong by three bigwigs of Tamil cinema namely AVM, Sankar and Rajnikanth. For an outsider, say, a Rajini hater, the hype built around ‘Sivaji’ from the very moment it was conceived is nothing less than nauseatingly irritable. The media seemed vying one another to grab a bit of trivia or a piece of an image from the movie unpublished so far. It seemed every youth in the neighbourhood suffered the painful yet frenzied waiting for the date of release which the people at the helm too were unsure of. Finally it turned out to be a well orchestrated hype that helped an inflated movie to have its day at the box office.
Director Sankar is the big accident to happen to Tamil creative cinema after Maniratnam.
They are the ones who mastered the art of making movies which served to our minds while our hearts took a nap. Their obsession with craft and perfection rendered their movies lifeless. While Maniratnam’s perfection has its victims within the frame of the movie Sankar’s has outside the silver screen too. Sometimes we have to pick out the latter’s movie amidst the heap of technological rubbish. It’s not a surprise that he managed to sell his films and it’s only a re-assurance that the state is not lacking in the number of the so called intelligent movie goers.
As usual, in ‘Sivaji’ Sankar takes a dig at the government, this time he takes in hand the issue of the cost of higher education and the deprivation of the same to the poor (Yes, you have its traces to ‘Gentleman’, the director’s first movie). The hero rather soberly tries, incurring the wrath of an education-business tycoon, to offer higher education to the needy at no cost and every scene of his tireless endeavour is sandwiched between two juicy scenes of romance with the heroine. The heavenly sets for song sequences, the comedy of the hero’s sidekick, the superficial fights (all richly graphic induced) and the so called punch-lines hardly come in the way to absorb the bottom line of the movie. And you shouldn’t say that the climax is a big gimmick.
The Producer, Director, Hero, Distributors, Theatre owners all have made and making good money out of ‘Sivaji’ and that’s good. Rajini fans, all over the world, having a good time watching the movie and that’s good too. Our so called intelligent movie goers haven’t changed a bit to bother about good movies, is that good?