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.

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 love with Baalu, played by the incredible Vidharth — I felt like I was cheating on Jo. 

Column here.

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 question of my life, “Am I SK?”
I was entertaining that idea and wandering into the jungle of that thought when I heard SK scream into my ear.

Column here.

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 Vishal fan, I still am. My friend readily agreed: He was a Vadivelu fan, he is still a fan of what Vadivelu was. We figured the film is going to be awful. But we promised to close the year out on a high note; we expected this film to be so bad that it’s going to be great.

My column is here.

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, the hero.

My column is here.

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 — the scene with the broomstick is hardly the only time she hits him.

My column is here.

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, where I ask the questions and answer them as I imagine he would.

There may be spoilers ahead about old films that play every month on KTV and no one watches.

Column is here.

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 column Ms. en Scene for Silverscreen with this piece.

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.