Vendhu Thanindhathu Kaadu: Gautham Menon’s finest work to date

I have always considered Gautham Vasudev Menon a vastly overrated director. Other than ‘Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu’ , his films seemed cold and ultimately hollow. His most recent feature film ‘Enai Noki Paayum Thota’ continued this trend of stylish metropolitan storytelling, despite some interesting visual choices. For Vendhu Thanindhadhu Kaadu , Menon collaborates with Silambarasan TR and AR Rahman for the third time following 2010’s ‘Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya’ and 2016’s ‘Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada’ . Third time might indeed be the charm, because VTK is mostly a success.

Cobra: Over-ambitious, overcooked

An hour into Cobra, I started compiling a list of films where Vikram had played a character who spent the film sporadically ‘murdering’ seemingly random targets - a style of film popularised by Shankar’s 1995 film Indian. The first film that came to mind was Balaji Sakthivel’s Samurai, a pale imitation of the Shankar plot, which besides the soundtrack, was mostly forgettable. Next, there is Shankar’s own, and perhaps the best iteration, 2005 film Anniyan. Finally, the 2009 Susi Ganesan contribution, Kandhasamy, an unintentional so-bad-it’s-good film, where Vikram can be seen as a vigilante serving out his own brand of justice dressed as a chicken. And suddenly, I had a list of films to compare Cobra to. And despite having a bigger budget and wider scope, Cobra may be the worst of the bunch.

Thiruchitrambalam: A breezy, lighthearted rom-com

Mithran Jawahar started his career on a high note. Remaking his mentor Selvaraghavan’s only Telugu film ‘Aadavari Matalaku Arthale Verule’ in Tamil as ‘Yaaradi Nee Mohini’ starring Dhanush, Selvaraghavan’s brother, Jawahar benefitted from the solid and nuanced screenplay. Jawahar has since remained in the rom-com lane, his other film of note being another Dhanush starrer ‘Uthamaputhiran’, a riotous sequence of laughs which bolstered Jawahar’s reputation for comedy. However, I was not a fan of Jawahar’s ‘Kutty’, causing some apprehension entering this film.

Viruman: An underwhelming feat

It's a terrible sign when the interval card rolls up and you let out a sign of exasperation, realising there’s another hour and fifteen minutes to sit through. The film opens with the usual cocktail for Tamil commercial ventures: the hero enters to an action block (in this instance, a wrestling match) followed by a song where his strength, bravura and good nature are praised, and soon after we are introduced to the romantic interest.