• Movie Review

    Ponniyin Selvan: I (2022)

    It has been a dream for generations of Tamilians to have writer Kalki’s Ponniyin Selvam come to the silver screen. Many years ago, I watched the adaption of the novel into a stage play which was breathtaking. Ponniyin Selvan 1 (2022) by veteran director Manirathnam benefits not only from Kalki’s rich imagination but a dazzling lineup of stars: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Trisha, Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Karthi &  many others. Writer Jeyamohan‘s dialogues and the screenplay aided by Elango Kumaravel were the real strength of the film – their work has answered how the characters should be speaking, do they speak in contemporary Tamil or alienating the audience by speaking the…

  • Movie Review

    Middle Class Melodies (2020), an underrated entertainer

    Middle Class Melodies (2020) starring Anand Devarakonda (Vijay Devarakonda‘s brother) and Varsha Bollamma is a movie with a simple story and it was entertaining.  I liked this feel-good movie, a genre which has become a rarity in recent times. Raghava, a graduate living in a small town dreaming of becoming big by cashing his culinary skills. Did he succeed by setting up a restaurant in the nearby city of Guntur and did he marry his sweetheart is the story? Director Vinod Anantoju has a done job in the casting. Every character including Chaitanya Garikipati as Gopal, Divya Sripada as Gauthami and Goparaju Ramana as Kondalrao were perfect for their roles. A…

  • Movie Review

    Sita Ramam (2022), a period love story of a soldier that was muddy

    I have been hearing from a few friends about the recent period film Sita Ramam (2022), starring Dulquer Salmaan to be good. I caught up with the movie on Amazon Prime Video. This is a romantic suspense story that happens in two time periods 1965 & 1985 and mainly in two places Kashmir and Hyderabad. The art direction, cinematography and music were excellent, but the story and screenplay are convoluted lowering the entertainment quotient. It gets a Raw rating in our Mangoidiots scale. As a young Lieutenant Ram serving in the toughest conditions, Dulquer Salmaan has given a convincing performance. Following last year’s Kurup (2021) this is one more feather…

  • Movie Review

    Naane Varuvean (2022), a mediocre paranormal film

    I like Dhanush, and I admire Selvaraghavan, an underrated director of Kollywood, so I was expecting a lot from their combination in this film, Naane Varuvean (2022). Instead, the film, a paranormal turned out to be average to say kindly. The story and screenplay proceed on the expected lines with no twists or surprises. Dhanush, known for his acting versatility has given a similar performance for both the roles (double-action) he plays. The movie gets a mangoidiots rating of Raw. Other than Dhanush, none of the other characters in the film leaves an impression. Prabhu comes as a trained Psychiatrist, but his prescription to the father whose daughter is possessed…

  • Movie Review

    Natchathiram Nagargiradhu (2022), a chaotic monologue by Pa Ranjith

    Director Pa Ranjith is a well-known and welcome voice in Tamil cinema talking about the atrocities committed against Dalits and the oppressed in his cinema.  In his latest film Natchathiram Nagargiradhu (2022) he has taken it to new levels and made a film that feels like a lesson on the subject. He deserves appreciation for openly presenting the important issues of intercaste marriages and the resulting honour killings, but an entire film with no discernable story makes it uninteresting. It gets our mangoidiots rating of Raw. As a director, Pa Ranjith displays his magic in the opening scene where a couple who are in bed, start a casual conversation followed…

  • Movie Review

    Cobra (2022), a three-hour film that was tame

    Seeing Cobra (2022), it was clear that like all his previous films, Chiyaan Vikram has worked super hard on this one too – in the various make-up, he was totally unrecognizable – excellent performance by him. The film is about a mercenary killer, whose identity is not known to anyone. The killer is chased by an Interpol officer (the cricketer Irfan Pathan) & by a world’s rich businessman. The film gets a Raw in mangoidiots scale. Starting with an engaging plot, the movie was enjoyable for the first hour, but then it loses its orientation and gets chaotic for no reason. The visuals and the overall arrangement of the scene…

  • Movie Review

    Thiruchitrambalam (2022)

    Thiruchitrambalam by director Mithran R Jawahar is a feel-good romance film that we normally don’t see in Kollywood, which likes to over-exaggerate love, loss, friendship, and family.  Nithya Menen and Bharathiraja have given phenomenal performances, the former casually overtaking Dhanush in most scenes. I like the two-hour-plus running time which benefitted from a no-nonsense screenplay. Even with these, I am giving a Raw rating as the story was unmemorable and on expected lines. In a middle-class household, Thiruchitrambalam Sr. (played by Bharathiraja) is the grandfather of the hero Thiruchitrambalam, and he manages the household and cooking. His son Inspector Neelakandan (played by Prakash Raj) and grandson (the hero) have past baggage…

  • Movie Review

    Viruman (2022), a formula village film!

    If you go to a library on Tamil films, reach the rack on village stories, pick the first book covering father-son differences and go directly from there to the location for shooting, you will get Viruman (2022). The film gets a raw rating in the mangoidiots scale. Karthi has done well the role of the village hero who is honest to a fault, strong as hercules, yet crumbles on the first instance for love & family. Debutant Aditi (Director Shankar‘s daughter) fits the role of the rural girl, impresses with her natural appearance and unpretentious acting. Surprisingly, comedian Soori has underplayed and shouts less, making him tolerable. Manoj Bharathiraja comes…