‘Viswasam’ Review: Nayanthara Should Be The Hero Of This Ajith-Starrer

Viswasam begins as you’d expect: full of build up for Thookkudurai. Even his detractors stand up respectfully for him subconsciously. Nothing in the village happens without his consent. He’s their protector and father figure. He is powerful and loved. Yet, this benevolent overlord is underlined by a sense of melancholy. A festival he presides over brings the melancholy to boil and he begins his journey of redemption.

This takes us into a flashback 10 years earlier, where we are given another round of nauseating build up. By this time, I had nearly come to dismiss the film as yet another lazy Ajith aggrandisation endeavour. Until Nayantara arrives.

Review is here.

From ‘Kaala’ To ‘Pariyerum Perumal’, The Best Tamil Films Of 2018

2018 began like any year does in the Tamil film world with popular male actor-led love-action fare like GulebagavaliSketch and Thaanaa Serndha Koottam, occupying large screens. Vijay Sethupathi had five releases this year, Prabhudeva and Jyotika had three, and Rajinikanth, Vikram, Vishal and Nayantara had two films each in lead roles.

Yet this year also saw many miracles. Both Jyotika and Nayantara featured as police officers — ones with agency for a change, something that women cops are rarely attributed with in Tamil film scripts. With Seethakkathi’s release, Vijay Sethupathi has played a virgin, a cop, a frugal don, the god of death and an aging actor all in one year! Keerthy Suresh too deftly juggled the wide range of roles that were offered to her — from playing the incredibly layered Savitri in Nadigaiyar Thilagam to the role of a motion poster in Sarkar.

My list of top films of the year for Huffington Post.

Making the audience do the homework

Amy Jackson, playing Nila — Nice Intelligent Lovely Assistant — in Rajnikanth’s latest 2.0 (2018), says, “vada poche” to great comic effect. It is a joke that only makes sense if you know the reference to a Vadivelu comedy from another film.

Nila is perhaps the first robot to indulge in some self-referential pastiche that Tamil cinema humans are neck-deep in.

In this year-end essay for the Firstpost, I write about pastiche as a lazy way to establish audience connections.

Thuppakki Munai Review: Vikram Prabhu’s Film Is Unremarkable

I can imagine how this film might have looked on paper: an encounter cop, a young girl’s grieving father and a migrant worker lose everything at the hands of an unequal society and an incompetent justice system. So, they pursue justice on their own.

You may think this has all the makings of an entertaining film, but no.

My review for HuffPost here.

Rebelling Without A Cause And Daddy Issues – Meet Indian Cinema’s New Angry Young Men

What is common between Siddharth of Kali (2016), Arjun of Arjun Reddy (2017), Surya of Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India (2018) and Kathir of Irumbuthirai (2018)?

Rebellion without a cause, daddy issues and gratuitous violence, though the films choose to call it “anger”. 

In this essay for Silverscreen, I write about today’s angry young men in Indian cinema.