Velaikkaran(2017) – The Worker – A Test of Patience

The glowing reviews by a lot of my friends, senior reviewers, and general hype created around the movie made me think this was going to be a cracker of a film. In the case of ‘Aruvi’ there were polarizing views but here everyone was praising the movie.

Year-ends are usually a day to catch up with friends and watch a movie. So legendary Instagrammer and travel junkie Deepanarayanan – chaps it is a guy not a girl named Deepa Narayanan – before you get any ideas 🙂 sent a booking SMS.

Reached the theatre after an adventurous bike-ride as my charioteer – Krishnan – BP to me being Arjuna (mudiyalai yaenaake kandraviya iruuku ) as I held my phone to follow Google Maps pillion-riding through a relatively free road to reach Abirami Mega Mall.

Dr. Sai the Dr. Strange of our group a neuro-surgeon with a mind-blowing humour sense -and Prince Deepu were humming to a ‘galeej’ number tuned by Annirudh that was a cacophonic assault to the auditory nerves.

So Vyasarpadi and its surroundings is the gangland-badland of Chennai city controlled by Kashi (Prakash Raj) – Arivu (Shivakarthikeyan) sets up a community radio highlighting the happenings in the community and aims to help people come out of a life of crime.

As a web of incidents unfold he ends up joining Saffron a food consumables leader as a sales executive. The interview sequence is well done. Aadhi/Adhiban Madhav played by Fahadh Faasil does a good job, though I really think he deserved a better deal.

The movie seeks to highlight the high level of corruption and malpractices in the packaged foods industry. Essentially we see how over a course of three months a lady gets cancer by eating junk foods. A lot of twists and turns abound as we see see how the hero turns saviour and victor.

I yawned about eight times during the movie – dialogue, dialogue dull dialogue and characters that made me laugh (I am turning cynical perhaps). Marketing and Sales lessons from MBA class get an outlet on the big screen. Throw in red flags, throw in some Communist / pseudo-Communist hogwash, get people to flash their mobile flashlights and hero and heroine hug each other. Plus Nayanthara playing Mrinalinee is reduced to second fiddle here. Too many characters seem to have got a raw deal here in this movie. Wikipedia says there’s a 195 minutes Director’s Cut. God save us!

 

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R for Ratha Kaneer

This was a phenomenal movie that showcased the brilliance of MR Radha – the acting genius. One wonders if he had not embroiled himself in the MR shooting case if his legacy would be different. This movie Ratha Kaneer – Tears of Blood – released in 1954 and was directed by Krishnan-Panju. The movie introduces us to a rich man Mohan and looks at his life in flashback mode as the story starts with a speech by SS Rajendran talking about Mohan after unveiling his statue.

The movie is based on a play written by Thiruvarur Thanagrasu and MR Radha won critical acclaim playing the lead Mohan wherever the play was staged. The play’s success turned it into an even greater film.

From Wikipedia — “The story revolves around Mohanasundaram, a returned-from-abroad, westernized, rich man who shows arrogance and contempt towards anything part of Indian culture and anyone below his social standards. According to Selvaraj Velayutham, Ratha Kanneer was built on a framework of purity and impurity. The title of the film meaning “Tears of Blood” refers to the tears of the wife who is pure.”

There is a scene wherein he turns a leper and beggar and rues at his life that still brings tears to the viewer’s eyes. A true classic of Tamizh cinema that teaches us how to lead an ideal and virtuous life and the perils of committing sins!

Watch the movie!

 

M for Mogha Mull

Released in 1995, ‘Mogha Mull’ is based on a famous Tamizh novel of the same name written by Thi. Janakiraman. The movie was directed by Gnana Rajasekaran and starred Abhishek, Archana Joglekar, Nedumudi Venu in lead roles. The movie was critically acclaimed and had a brilliant soundtrack composed by Ilayaraja. As art-house cinema is more or less always treated, the movie tanked at the box office.

The title of the movie can be translated as “The thorn of attraction”. A young man destined to become a great Carnatic musician falls in love with a woman who is ten years elder to him and causes chaos! The tale narrates the journey of the musician!

Watch the movie:

K for Kasethan Kadavulada

This was Chitralaya Gopu’s first directorial venture on the big screen and had a super-duper talented cast of comic actors including Muthuraman, Manorama, Thengai Srinivasan, Srikanth, Lakshmi and Venniradai Murthy.

The tale is an ‘extended con’ wherein for 3000 rupees for a genuine reason is refused and the young heroes hatch a plan with Thengai Srinivasan as a fake swamiji to secure money from the tight-fisted Manorama.

Watch this hilarious song and see how the lyrics are fine-tuned and improvised.

The movie will remain in the top ten Tamizh comedies of all time.

I for Idhayam

Released in 1991, Idhayam starring Murali and Heera in lead roles and directed by Kathir with a fantastic soundtrack by Ilayaraja, the movie is fresh in the minds of many. Telecast with unfailing regularity on most TV channels, the movie was a departure from the regular commercial action-packed love stories of the 90s. It featured a hero who was soft-spoken, who was not able to muster courage to speak to the girl he loved. The movie redefined the theme of love. The songs rocked the charts and continue to win hearts even today!

A brilliant song – a regular at college culturals even today:

Watch the movie

B for Bhuvana Oru Kaelvi Kuri

“Bhuvana Oru Kaelvi Kuri” – “Bhuvana A/One Question Mark!”

This movie released in 1977 and was directed by SP Muthuraman. Rajini who so far played negative roles with elan and oozing menace played the hero/saviour and Shivakumar one of the perennial good guy-type roles played the smooth talking villain. Sumithra played the eponymous Bhuvana and there were some melodious and meaningful numbers tuned by Illaiyaraja.

Shivakumar plays Nagaraj a womaniser, Rajini plays Sampath – road-side garment sellers living in Tirunelveli. The two are friends and Sampath is content in playing second foil to Nagaraj. On a trip to Madras they come across Muthu who is carrying a lot of money. Muthu dies of a cardiac arrest and Nagaraj flees with the money. Samapth remains powerless and despite some protests does nothing. Nagaraj uses the money to open a garment store. Bhuvana visits them seeking answers, Nagaraj denies knowing anything about the missing money. He also seduces her and impregnates her. As part of a business deal he marries a rich heiress and becomes a wealthy businessman.

Meanwhile Bhuvana does not abort the child and Sampath to save his friend’s honour marries Bhuvana. He brings up the child as his own. Bhuvana and Sampath lead a platonic life with Bhuvana placing Samapth on a God-like pedestal. The movie takes interesting twists and turns. Does Nagaraj get punished? Does Sampath manage to find a place of love in Bhuvana’s heart? Watch the movie for answers.

I leave you with a brilliant song from the movie –

This movie paved the way for Rajini to get roles as a hero and Shivakumar was appreciated for his villainous role. But it was Sumithra who brought out all the nervous energy, gullibility and pathos of a young woman blinded by love with great elan. Truly a great role and once again a pity that we do not see such strong women-oriented movies today!