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Serial Chiller: Queen review — Slow and brooding, Ramya Krishnan stars in a craftily made, J Jayalalithaa-inspired hagiography

With over ten hours of content, Queen is certainly not for binge-watching. In that, it’s slow and brooding, making you invest more of yourself in it. It invites you to sit down and feel for the Shakti. “Oh, poor girl,” the show wants us to think, and condemn the injustices of her past. … Continue readingSerial Chiller: Queen review — Slow and brooding, Ramya Krishnan stars in a craftily made, J Jayalalithaa-inspired hagiography

Serial Chiller: Karoline Kamakshi review — Meena, and Tamil audiences, deserve better than this hotchpotch of ineptitude

A reckless French intelligence agent in Pondicherry. A lazy disrespected CBI agent in Chennai. A missing treasure named Virgin Mary. Gruesome smugglers. International incidents. A looming war. What could possibly go wrong in this time-tested premise? Everything apparently. … Continue readingSerial Chiller: Karoline Kamakshi review — Meena, and Tamil audiences, deserve better than this hotchpotch of ineptitude

Serial Chiller: Police Diary 2.0 — Without skill or sense, the show is a mishmash of unnecessary sex, institutional violence and machoism

As institutional violence and police brutality rise at alarming rates in this country, I place Police Diary 2.0 within the context of Tamilnadu's law enforcement history. And lament how creative folks repeatedly align themselves with the casteist, patriarchal, oppressing establishment. … Continue readingSerial Chiller: Police Diary 2.0 — Without skill or sense, the show is a mishmash of unnecessary sex, institutional violence and machoism

Serial Chiller: I watched mega-serials every day for two months; why I plan to continue

This is the edition edition of my monthly column on Tamil television for Firstpost. First published here. What if the Bahubali franchise was made for, with and by women? Benevolent and just warrior queen Amarendrika would have been the hero. She would be so pious and devoted that Lord ShivaContinue readingSerial Chiller: I watched mega-serials every day for two months; why I plan to continue

Ms En Scene: The Road To Tamil Cinema Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

So, Aaruthra is also full of good intentions. Pa Vijay intends to make an awareness campaign for child sexual abuse — “Like how Strawberry (his previous film) imparted a huge relevant message, Aaruthrawill also have one for the society,” he told the Deccan Chronicle. From the way he treats the film, it’s easy to understand thatContinue readingMs En Scene: The Road To Tamil Cinema Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

Ms En Scene: Baalu Of ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’ Is The Ally Tamil Cinema Heroes Need

Within the first five minutes of watching Kaatrin Mozhi (2018), I fell in love. As a Jyotika fan — even during her Kushi (2000) days — I went to watch Kaatrin Mozhi expecting to love her. I’d watched Tumhari Sulu (2017), the Hindi original. Naturally, I expected Jyotika to do one better. So, when I fell in loveContinue readingMs En Scene: Baalu Of ‘Kaatrin Mozhi’ Is The Ally Tamil Cinema Heroes Need

Ms En Scene: Tips To Unleash Your Inner Hero With Some Help From Tamil Cinema

For some strange reason, I found myself empathising with him. No, in fact, I found myself relating to him. Yes, you read that right. The need to achieve higher purpose, but the pressure of this misunderstanding society on my shoulders…. Finally, I had to address my life’s biggest existential questionContinue readingMs En Scene: Tips To Unleash Your Inner Hero With Some Help From Tamil Cinema

Ms En Scene: Confessions Of A Kuppai Padam Addict

Nearly two years ago, one December evening, my friend Vinay and I went to watch Katthi Sandai(2016). For the uninitiated (good on you, mate!), Katthi Sandai is an action-drama-musical-thriller-romance-comedy film, featuring Vishal, Tamannah, Soori and Vadivelu, among others. I had invited my friend to watch the movie with me: I was a VishalContinue readingMs En Scene: Confessions Of A Kuppai Padam Addict

Ms En Scene: A warm welcome To Kokila & Mahathi, Tamil Screen’s Postmodern Anti-Heroes

A manipulative, self-aware and sharp female anti-hero is new for Tamil cinema. Historically, they tend to be arrogant vamps — Neelambari of Padayappa (1999), tamed heroines — Shanti Devi of Mannan(1992) or lost opportunities, like Mary of Padikkadhavan (1985). Kokila is nothing like any of her predecessors. She isn’t a villain, she is in fact,Continue readingMs En Scene: A warm welcome To Kokila & Mahathi, Tamil Screen’s Postmodern Anti-Heroes

Ms En Scene: In Praise Of Saranya Ponvannan, The Mother That I Never Had

My love for Saranya Ponvannan began in a very Tamil Padam sort of way. I truly took notice of her only when she waved her velakkamaaru (broom stick) and brought it down with inimitable vigour on the transgressing Dhanush in Velai Illa Pattadhaari (2014). In the film, she plays Dhanush’s tough-loving mother — theContinue readingMs En Scene: In Praise Of Saranya Ponvannan, The Mother That I Never Had

Ms En Scene: An Imaginary Conversation With Baradwaj Rangan’s Imaginary Conversation

Editor’s note: You may want to read this for context Southern Lights: Baradwaj Rangan, Let’s Talk About Bias! – Film Companion. This was Baradwaj Rangan’s response to the flak that his review of Kaala got online. Because it is impossible to have a proper conversation in the real world, I have an imaginary tête-à-têtewith Baradwaj Rangan, whereContinue readingMs En Scene: An Imaginary Conversation With Baradwaj Rangan’s Imaginary Conversation

Ms En Scene: The Art Of Finding Your Showtime Soulmate

Mid-way through Abiyum Anuvum (2018), Anu assuredly proclaims that no woman would think of motherhood as a burden. Spontaneously, my colleague — a good decade younger than me — and I broke into loud Renuka Chowdhary-esque laughter. At that moment, I knew I’d found my showtime soulmate. I begin my monthly columnContinue readingMs En Scene: The Art Of Finding Your Showtime Soulmate