Modern Love Chennai - A cut above

For this anthology, Amazon Prime made the intelligent decision of passing the mantle of Creative Producer to one of Kollywood’s best: Thiagarajan Kumararaja. The result of this is a collection of short films at least a few leagues above the standard witnessed in previous attempts.

Farhana - A blessing in disguise

Nelson Venkatesan’s previous outing was a well-made family entertainer called ‘Monster,’ starring a typically cartoonish SJ Suryah as a man haunted by a mouse. The film is innocent fun, which are two words I would not use to describe his most recent work ‘Farhana.’ Venkatesan completely shifts gears, to deliver a solidly thought-out thriller. It impressively weaves through themes of masks, desires and self-control.

Custody - Arrested development

Venkat Prabhu’s latest cinematic offering arrives not too soon after his best work with 2021’s ‘Maanaadu’ and last year’s middlingly received ‘Manmadha Leelai.’ ‘Custody’ is a bilingual venture, featuring names from both the Tamil and Telugu film industry, including lead Naga Chaitanya. Despite a cult following for his films, Prabhu’s filmography has been spotty at best - ‘Mankatha’ seemed like a fluke until ‘Maanaadu.’ With ‘Custody,’ Prabhu has slipped back into cruise control.

Ponniyin Selvan Part II - An unworthy successor

Seven months after the release of the first instalment of ‘Ponniyin Selvan,’ the conclusion of the two-part film hits screens worldwide.

Soppana Sundari - Engine trouble

Note: there are some cuts made to the theatrical release of 'Soppana Sundari' in the UK to suit the family audience. The name for SG Charles’s film ‘Soppana Sundari’ hails from the 1989 film ‘Karakattakkaran,’ a film with a densely packed and iconic comedy track. Borrowing its title from a titan of Tamil comedy, ‘Soppana Sundari’ has a sizeable reputation to live up to. Unfortunately, the film flounders. We follow Agalya, played by Aishwarya Rajesh, the winner of a brand new car from a prize draw. Her family, composed of her mute older sister, stroke afflicted father and naive mother, rejoice...

Viduthalai: Part 1 - Vetrimaaran’s excellence continues 

TW: distressing scenes Since his debut with 2007’s ‘Polladhavan,’ Vetrimaaran has been steadily improving his filmic craft, which cannot be said about many of his peers. His films place equal importance to maintaining artistic integrity and showcasing social injustices, resulting in some of the best films of the 21st century. His latest film, ‘Viduthalai,’ continues the director’s impressive streak. Viduthalai is the first half of a two-part film. The film depicts the frictions between a revolutionary group called the ‘People’s Army,’ led by Vijay Sethupathi’s Vaathiyar Perumal, against the...

Pathu Thala - Flawed but entertaining

Perhaps it is due to the subpar content being dished out by the star vehicles of Tamil cinema in recent times, but Obeli N. Krishna’s ‘Pathu Thala’ was surprisingly palatable. Starting out as an associate director to Gautham Vasudev Menon in the early part of his career, Krishna’s directorial debut, 2006’s ‘Sillunu Oru Kadhal,’ was mostly remembered for its great soundtrack and the buzz behind its real life lead pair. His latest offering strays from the romance genre, instead opting for a tried and tested masala gangster story. The film is a remake of the 2017 Kannada film ‘Mufti.’

"‘Song of the Sun God’ is a novel that interrogates the injustices faced by the Tamil people" - Interview with Shankari Chandran

I will begin this piece with a confession. In times of emotional distress and crisis, I often watch YouTube clips of the 1991 film ‘Thalapathi’, a film which is a modern retelling of one of my favourite character arcs in all of literature: Karnan from the Hindu epic, ‘The Mahabharatham.’ It has become a ritual to cathartically cleanse my tear ducts more often than I would like to admit. So when I read ‘Song of the Sun God’, where the character Nala watches the 1964 film ‘Karnan’ seven times in the cinema to vicariously alleviate her emotional pains, I felt exposed from such a specific level...

Agilan - Shallow waters

Following N Kalyanakrishnan’s debut with 2015’s ‘Bhooloham,’ Jayam Ravi joins hands with the director once again for ‘Agilan.’ ‘Bhooloham’ was not particularly well received by critics or the audience, therefore one cannot help but wonder what drew Ravi back to Kalyanakrishnan. Perhaps it was because on paper the film has an interesting premise: an exploration of the world of smuggling in shipping. However, due to failures in almost every department, ‘Agilan’ leaves a lot to be desired. The titular protagonist Agilan is a crane operator at a Chennai harbour, who participates in illegal...

Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam - A masterfully crafted dream

Overall, ‘Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam’ is a film about duality: both a wonderful slice of life film and a philosophical work of magical realism. Equally importantly, it is a masterful display of fantastic filmmaking, both simple and brilliant.