Classic films: Naayagan (1987)

Directed by award-winning film maker Mani Ratnam, ‘Naayagan’ follows the life of Sakthivelu Nayakar (Kamal Hassan) and his ascent to become a mafia leader. Revenge, justice and family life are the key themes in this biopic which is said to be based on Varadarajan Mudaliar, an underworld thug of Mumbai. Watch this scene from ‘Naayagan’, in which Velu Nayakar’s daughter confronts him and his lifestyle:

More to discover every time

‘Thakida Thadhimi’ from the 1983 movie ‘Salangai Oli’ remains a classical combination of music, lyrics and performance

Versatile and emotive

‘Shenbagame Shenbagame’ from the 1988 film ‘Enga Ooru Paattu Kaaran’ was another hit for Isaignani Ilaiyaraja. Composed in the raaga Sindhu Bhairavi, the song is a solo which has three different versions for the film; the male version sung by Mano, a female version sung by Sunantha (below) and a sad female version sung by Asha Bhosle, one of the best known and highest regarded Indian playback singers who reportedly cried after listening to the tune. Ilaiyaraja was very prolific in his use of the raga Sindhu Bhairavi in this song, distinctly showing the versatility of this raga. It is...

The Tamil music maestro and his gems

Ilaiyaraja is a household name for Tamils all over the world. A highly acclaimed composer, lyricist and writer, he has been in the South Indian film industry for over 30 years producing around 4500 songs to date. Any Tamil person, asked to name their favourite song by Ilaiyaraja, will probably not be able to limit their choice to just one composition, such is the range and quality of his output. He has covered such a vast range of genres and moods which appeal to a wide audience.

Houses of the Holy

Meenakshi temple, Madurai. Photo Olaf Otto Becker “There are temples throughout Chettinad, neolithic cave temples and 16th-century clan temples and tidy ancient structures erected during the artistically nonpareil reign of the great Chola kings. There are animist Ayyanar temples set in rural groves, their grotesque deities guarded by life-size terra cotta horses. There are temples as architecturally impressive as those on any tourist map, places like the 11th-century shrine to Shiva at Avudayarkoil, a place of baffling architectural geometries.” Guy Trebay visits Chettinad, see his report in...

Angaadi Theru – Tamil Cinema’s Dickensian Moment?

The commercial as well as critical success enjoyed this year by the Tamil cinema release Angaadi Theru reflects not just the maturity and range of the Tamil cinema industry but also of its audience. Dealing with the difficult themes of harsh working conditions, rural poverty and exploring the lives of Chennai’s urban poor, Angaadi Theru is refreshingly different from the usual saccharine mix of romance, music and escapism that has become characteristic of Indian cinema as a whole.

Tamil word or not?

Since 2006, the Tamil Nadu government has been giving tax exemptions for movies with Tamil titles. The latest film to run into this law is ‘Ochayee’, written and directed by Asai Thambi. The state commercial taxes department has decided to decline exempting the film from entertainment tax on the grounds that ‘Ochayee’ is not a Tamil word. This decision has irked Tamil scholars and political leaders including CPI state secretary D. Pandian and VCK general secretary Thol. Thirumavalavan, reported the Deccan Chronicle . CPI(M)-backed progressive writers union secretary Sa. Tamilselvan argued...

'Mynaa'– entertainment without commercialisation

A much ‘hyped’ Tamil movie is ‘Mynaa’, due for a deepavali release. Directed by Prabhu Solomon, the film was allegedly grabbed for distribution by producer-distributor Udhayanidhi Stalin, who allegedly said he couldn’t sleep after watching it. Similarly, actor Kamal Haasan showered praise on the film saying, "I slept well after watching the film because I was happy that good films were still being made," reported Rediff . The movie is about Mynaa (Amala Paul), hailing from a poor family and deeply in love with her childhood friend Surali (newcomer Vidaarth), a rustic village youth who goes to...

'Enthiran' amazes as it delivers

The much anticipated Rajnikanth movie, Enthiran, hit the screens in early October, to wide spread acclaim and rave reviews from the fans. While some have been less than impressed with the clichéd story, all have had to accept that the technical wizardry and action sequences make this a movie to remember from 2010. The story is that of a robot, created by a scientist (both played by Rajnikanth), who falls in love with the lover of the scientist. The man versus machine story revolves around the drive to control the robot and to deal with the humanization of an automaton. Aishwarya Rai and Danny...

Rapping with patriotic pride – MC SAI

When you think of Rap, who pops into your head first? 2Pac, Jay-z or T.I.? I am asking you about Tamil Rappers. You might come up with Sujeeth G of course, but guys I think it is about time you engrave this young fella into your head - MC SAI!