Sunday, December 23, 2007
Amitabh Bachchan starrer 'Don' (1978) and its Tamil remake 'Billa', featuring Ranjnikanth in 1980, were major events, thanks to the screen presence of the two superstars.
Recently, Shah Rukh Khan did his own take in Farhan Akhtar's remake of the same film titled 'Don - The Chase Begins Again'.
Director Vishnuvardhan, of course, has given Ajith top billing and the corniest lines like "I am the original Thala (the star's popular nickname that triggers wolf whistles)", reducing other senior stars like Prabhu to caricatures, packing enough car chases to overtake motor sport channels, William Wong's great action sequences, Nirav Shah's excellent cinematography to accord the proceedings a touch of class, scantily clad females gallivanting on the screen.
One can go on and on but despite all this, 'Billa' flops because it lacks the zing that makes a film tick.
There are dozens of extras, Malaysian females of Indian origin, and thousands of bullets spent to destroy loud sets.
All of them have toiled to produce a movie that is as interesting a prospect as a snifter containing decanted ditch water laced with juice from rotten lemons plucked a year ago.
The other productions - based on the script of the Bollywood duo of Salim-Javed that gave birth to four siblings or movies based on one basic idea - had outstanding characters. But characters like the golden-hearted safe breakers - Pran, the late 'Coconut' Srinivasan and finally Arjun Rampal - are conspicuous by their absence in 'Billa'.
So, we have an unlikely tale of an evil gangster, Billa (Ajith), being bumped off by a conscientious cop Jai, played by Prabhu who seems to have lost his voice and screen presence, and a petty thief and occasional dancer, Ajith in the second role, trying to net a drug lord and gunrunner Jagdish (Rahuman) with the help of a moll high on the adrenalin to get even with the assassin of her near and dear one.
In between, there are motor stunts and plain fisticuffs enough to give anyone involved multiple fractures in the fingers and some good music by Yuvan Shankar Raja.
Editor Sreekar Prasad tries to infuse some life into the proceedings with the use of his pruning blades alright, but he too can only work with the canned shots available.
A green Malaysia looks enchanting, but it should have a better calling as a tourist resort than as the backdrop of a movie.
Attempts on the part of producers to tinker with past hits and making guinea pigs out of stars will come a cropper unless they are able to aptly evolve the themes with changing times.
And the tragedy with Ajith is that he needed a hit very badly after another failed essay to duplicate the efforts of another hit from another language in recent times.
Sadly Vishnuvardhan (and probably the actor's own overconfidence) has let "Billa" down very badly.
If Rajnikanth's 'Billa' was a milestone in his career, its remake starring Ajith is a millstone around the neck of the actor and the producer.
Posted by Kumar at 11:18 AM
The Malaysian Tamils can look forward to having a glimpse of their favourite films stars as over 200 actors are expected at a 'star nite' - to be held in Kaula Lumpur today - to commemorate 75 years of Tamil cinema.
The show would be followed by a similar one in Singapore Dec 23.
The two events are being organised jointly by the South Indian Actors' Association headed by actor-politician Sarath Kumar and Raadan Mediaworks run by Sarath's wife and former star Radhika.
Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan, the reigning superstars of the Tamil cinema, won't participate in the events because of shooting commitments.
Among the stars, the participants will include Vijay, Vikram, Suriya, Madhavan, Dhanush, Chimpu, and Sarath.
Among the female stars adding glamour to the event would be Trisha, Namitha, Sneha, Bhavana and Simran. Yesteryear's actor B. Saroja Devi may also grace the occasions.
According to Sarath, the proceeds from the events will go into construction of buildings for the actors' association and regular monthly relief to needy junior artistes.
The programmes will be telecast in full on Sun TV, the most popular Tamil channel.
Posted by Kumar at 11:08 AM
Let's start the review by felicitating director Nishikant for this wonderful film!
What do we do if soft drinks are sold at Rs. 2 more than stipulated? We just pay up. If vehicles are parked on the pavements, we just skirt around them. If cops demand goodwill money from owners of roadside stalls that sell food till late at night, we just stand by and watch.
With all of us watching and doing nothing about all these irregularities, life is slowly turning into a hell hole. When one among us decides to question these atrocities, what happens to him forms the story line of'Evano Oruvan.'
We have seen many films about straight forward policemen or individuals fighting the ills of bureaucracy and society. These follow the heroic qualities that one expects of a film hero, and muscle power displays.
This film goes beyond such superficialities and reveals the heartbreaking truths. This hero confines himself to his real capabilities, without exaggerations, reflecting total realism.
Unable to afford donation to put his daughter through a school and refusing to do so, Madhavan as the middle class bank officer reveals so many different dimensions to his acting.
Starting from his house, to the outside world and work place, Madhavan observes the wrongs as well as wrong doers and feels crushed, and we ourselves feel impelled to share in his emotions and reactions.
When Madhavan holds the knife to the neck of the Corporation Councillor, who collects money for delivery of water to the public, and explodes in anger,"Aren't you ashamed… aren't you ashamed…?" we feel our own inner sense of straightforwardness and outrage awakened and full credit for this goes to Madhavan, without a doubt. When he looks heavenward and roars at god, one feels like applauding Madhavan's display of raw emotions.
The scene shows someone dying from being run over by a train. As if to suppress this tragedy, the travelers engage in normal conversations and laughter. The director's point of view reflects a million meanings in making the hero observe this farce keenly.
Madhavan, Sangeetha "In the 10 years of my marriage to you, what happiness have I seen?" laments Sangeetha as the long suffering wife who has still not understood her husband. Her acting maintains its freshness and realism.
"Driven by the inability to manage life with meager income, those who demand money to do their duty, but not rendering them or prevented from doing so, are being protected by us."
"Even before we get answers to an existing question, we move on to the next question."
"When some guy holds his head up to do some good, his head is immediately crushed."
Some such dialogues delivered by Seeman who plays the role of inspector Vetrimaran, are like blows to our sleeping senses.
The director does not confine himself only to the honesty in the story core. Without diluting the strength of the narration by mixing it with the usual songs and fights, he has shown his skill and honesty in direction too.
Background score by GV Prakash is spontaneous.
The director's technical knowledge is seen in the cinematography and dialogue pitches of the characters too.
'Evano Oruvan' is a must see for everybody! Don't miss it!
Posted by Kumar at 2:01 AM
This is not the college that one sees in usual Tamil cinema. It is a very realistic college without mask or figment of imagination.
Rich man's daughter Tamanna joins the local college for higher studies; Akil is the son of a stone cutter; Hemalatha is one of 5 daughters of an auto driver; Alex is a rich boy who gets married during his college days itself.
Coming from various luxurious and poor backgrounds, these 4 are friends in college. They vow to remain steadfast friends till the end, but at one stage, Akil and Tamanna fall in love with each other.
Does that mean this is a love story? One can say this is something more than that. There is no particular hero or heroine label to anyone in the film and this becomes evident as the film progresses.
In the 2 ½ hour film, there was plenty of opportunity to show the pretty Tamanna in glamorous scenes, but credit goes to director Balaji Sakthivel for exercising restraint.
"I will never forget the help you have given me as long as I live. That's how much respect I have for you," says Akil and forms a reason for Tamanna to fall in love with him. The director's soft touch is evident here.
When they go for a college mate's wedding, the music group asks Tamanna to sing. One could have just used a dream song or a remix in this place. But neither happens. Tamanna sings an old song "un paarvayil oraayiram…" to convey her love to Akil. Not liking that, he walks away but the song continues to chase him through speakers set up all over the place, making for an interesting screenplay.
Tamanna In getting angry and then making it up to her friend Tamanna, Hema has done a great job of showing what friendship is all about.
All characters including Barani who speaks Madurai slang and the twins who conduct debates, are impressive.
Since dialogues are very natural and not written with intent to sound clever, we don't feel as if we are watching a film, but feel rather as if we are also students along with them. Director Balaji Sakthivel deserves kudos for breaking cinema formula traditions.
Joshua's background score and natural cinematography by Chezhian are like two arms for the director's work.
Balaji Sakthivel is responsible for certain situations now and then that bring the tears welling up into your eyes in this 'Kalloori.'
Posted by Kumar at 1:54 AM
Like melting the grandmother's ornament to remake a bracelet for the grandson, director Vishnuvardhan has handled 'Billa' in the image of old 'Billa.'
As many of this generation may not have an opportunity to have seen 'Billa,' here is the story of the new 'Billa.'
The authorities are chasing David Billa, the international crook who began life as an ordinary man and went through murder, burglary, smuggling and so on. To Billa, it is easy to evade police search in Malaysia.
Is it not common to believe that there should be a mightier person than a mighty one? The special police officer sent to Malaysia to apprehend Billa is none other than Prabhu. Finally when Prabhu apprehends Billa (Ajith), he dies.
Prabhu thinks that this will create suspicion among higher officials; he creates another Billa who is a duplicate of the original Billa. The story is about what all the duplicate Billa (Ajith again) does to encounter the problems that come to him in his new avatar.
Ajith looks so perfect like a Hollywood actor, you need a bagful of chilli power to ward of any evil eye on him! The way he holds himself, walks around in a suit and wearing coolers, Ajith deserves to be called the 'James Bond' of Tamilnadu.
Ajith, Namitha Like the way he conducts himself in public in the recent past, he has not exceeded the limits in dialogues. His silence like that of a deep sea, leads to lot of meanings.
Vadivelu, who becomes the duplicate Ajith, earns the appreciation of the audience. The theatre goes into a rapture when Prabhu remarks that if it were to be Billa he would have said exactly how many bricks were used in the building, and Ajith's cool reply is, "Perhaps he was a mason."
Both Prabhu who appears as a Police superintendent and Raghuvaran who comes as his police colleague, are chosen as a perfect fit for the roles.
Nayantara who is given to titillating dances appears as an iron woman. But in that one scene at the swimming pool where she appears in a two-piece, she eclipses Namitha, the other heroine, in the glamour quotient.
In Yuvan's music, only the number "My name is Billa" is good, whereas the song "Vethalaiya pottendi" is slightly off key and dull.
Having paid special attention to cinematography and style to the level of Hollywood films and not to the screenplay makes 'Billa' very slow moving.
'Billa' stands tall only in the making.
Posted by Kumar at 1:48 AM
Captain Vijayakanth, after a successful stint in filmdom, floated his political party with an ultimate dream of capturing power in the State and set up his own government. An elected MLA from Vridhachalam, he has appropriately titled his 150th film as Arasangam.
Directed by Madesh, the movie was initially titled as Vithagan. Now they have opted for a new title – Arasangam. Vijayakanth is in the role of an instructor in Police Training College. Plans are on to shoot the movie in USA and Canada.
Newcomers Navneet Kaur and Seril Brindo will play Vijayakanth’s heroines.
Also in the cast are Rahul Dev, Biju Menon and a couple of Hollywood actors. Srikanth Deva will score the music while A Venkatesh will handle cinematography. Pattukottai Prabhakar is penning the dialogues.
Stunts by Rocky Rajesh will be the highlight.
Cast: Vijayakanth, Navneeth, Seril Brindo
Music: Srikanth Deva
Production : Caption Cine Creations - Sudeesh
Posted by Kumar at 12:34 AM
Sathya is the Tamil remake of Malayalam movie Sathyam starring Prithviraj and Priyamani in the lead roles. The others in the cast include Anandraj, Thilakan, Lalu Alex.
The film produced by Future films has Prithviraj donning the role of a cop and Priyamani playing his lover. Malayalam director Vinayan who made earlier films like Kaasi, En Manavaanil and Arputha Theevu is the director. Kanal Kannan has done the stunts.
Posted by Kumar at 12:30 AM
Mirugam movie which opened with good acclaim in the theatres on 14th december did not attract many women because of the story of the movie about a HIV-AIDS patient. In order to attract women a special show has been organised by producer Karthik Jai especially for ladies.
The movie went through a series of troubles before release with Padmapriya complaining about director Samy hitting her on the sets, blue cross refusing to clear the certification. The film Mirugam has newcommer Aathi and Padma priya as the leading pair of the movie.
This show will be a ladies special with no men allowed during the show and will be free of cost for all the women willing to watch it. The movie will be screened in udayam theatre on December 22nd afternoon.
Posted by Kumar at 12:25 AM
Padmapriya is currently basking in the appreciation she is getting for her acting skills in her recently released ‘Mirugam’ movie.
Discussing this she says that she has put in her extra efforts in portraying her character in Mirugam and people who can understand that will definitely appreciate her efforts.
Her next project is Durai with Arjun and her character is colorful and fun loving. She chose this movie mainly because she feels only acting is not enough and she does not want to be branded only with acting skills. She wants to show that she can do glamor too.
Her Bollywood movie ‘Striker’ is almost ready. She is paired with boy’s fame Siddharth in this movie. Padmapriya marks her entry into Bollywood with this sports film based on a carom player.
Posted by Kumar at 12:22 AM
Despite numerous reports of cut-throat competition among Kollywood actresses, reality seems to be just the opposite. We already know that Shriya and Trisha are the best of pals in film business today. Their friendship, which began when they were shooting together for Enaku 20 Unaku 18, still lives on.
Now, it seems Shriya has added one more member to her buddy list. It is none other than Nayantara, who has sent fans into raptures with her sizzling performance as the glamorous Sasha in the recently-released Billa.
The two actresses have been spotted quite frequently in the city’s top restaurants, having a whale of time in each other's company. It seems the two hang out together whenever they do not have any shoot taking place. Well, it seems those reports about rivalry in Kollywood are totally make-believe, even more than films' plots.
Posted by Kumar at 12:07 AM