Tamil cinema after the 'super star' storm!

Tamil cinema after the 'super star' storm!

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The early part of 2014 saw the clash of the titans Ajith and Vijay for the festive Pongal, for their fans more than for the actual actors! Both turned out to be just average commercial pot-boilers, refusing to resort to any sort of novelty or freshness in script or screenplay. Post Jan 15th, we have a had a few releases, some falling duds and others showing quite a lot of promise.
Here is my look at the year 2014 that was for Tamil cinema, barring the biggies 'Jilla' and 'Veeram'!
1) Golisoda:
Released without much fanfare in the last week of January, the film got its revenue and due, mainly by way of 'word of mouth'!
The film was based on the theme 'How will you react, if you are forcibly stripped off your hard-earned identity!?'
Despite being guilty of a few logical loopholes and cinematic exaggerations, and accused of promoting on-screen teenage violence (definitely not as bad as those main-stream masala flicks), director-cinematographer Vijay Milton, director Pandiraj (Dialogues) and director Lingusamy (distributor) joined hands to give us a racy engaging entertainer and the first refreshingly promising Tamil movie of 2014! The whole team of Pasanga were a treat to watch! And the director definitely deserved a pat on the back for choosing the unusual premise and keeping away from formulaic songs!
2) Malini 22 Palyamkottai:
Released again in the last week of January, It was a totally forgettable film, except for its laudable theme. Again, it did no justice to the original. The timing of release was also not smart at all, with the film out of theatres within days! Questions were raised as to whether feminist movies will ever get their due! But some pedestrian romance and 'for the sake' comedy made this one, dig its own grave! 
3) Rummy:
Rummy, the last release of January 2014, left me down on a number of fronts. In the name of freshness, cliches were plenty and in the cover of romance, 'mundane' dramatic stuff was dished out. The laborious pace of the proceedings and failure to utilize the in-form VIjay Sethupathy did their part to add to the disappointment. Finally, it turned out to be just another familiar rural tale.
4) PannayarumPadminiyum:
February 2014 started with class with the release of 'Pannayarum Padminiyum'!
The success of a film and its director lies in making the audience laugh, cry, cheer, support and sincerely feel for the characters on screen. The director who is at the helm of affairs should make sure the audience don't feel cheated, allowing their intelligence and involvement being taken for a ride! This is where debutant director Arun Kumar scored. Through out the running time of a little over two hours, he never let the audience off the hook.
PannaiyarumPadminiyum was an example of how an ordinary one-line story on paper can be translated into an 'endearing' piece of cinema onscreen, just by a little intelligent scripting,  adding some 'out of the box' sentiments and  characters written right out of our neighborhood. The director never let any of the commercial elements come in his way of storytelling, still managing to pull off a riveting drama, especially in the last 60 mins.
The real hero of the movie, other than of course Arun kumar, was the all-talented Jayaprakash, who living the role of the Pannaiyar, shared some sizzling on screen romance with Thulasi, who again gave another cracker of a performance. These two, with their subtle reactions and poignant bursts of 'youthful' love showed how middle aged romance could work out so well, which was only so evident with the claps and cheer these two brought on, every time they appeared on screen. You had to watch the ‘Onakkaga Porandhene’ number to believe!
Vijay Sethupathi was good, and shared great chemistry with the lead pair, more than his own pair. Iswarya looked pretty, but a couple of songs where they appear in the first half, though gelling with the narrative, did look thrust in. Thats the only time. I felt the film dragging for a few minutes. The 'Pesuren Pesuren' number managed to showcase two contrasting emotions (elation and grief) at the same time and still came out unscathed.
And the 'sexy' Padmini. You couldn't  but fall in love with this one. The gamut of emotions, this character ushered in the viewer, as the climax unfolded, was proof enough of what the director, the cinematographer and a sincere script was capable of!
Most of us took the time and the patience to enjoy the ride! And none much cared about it being a  bit slow and bumpy, as long as  it made us feel happy and inspired! But, some felt the laborious pace off-putting too.
5) Idhu Kadhirvelan Kaadhal:
The second noteworthy release of February, which also turned out to be the second outing for Uday.
Sometimes it's tough to explain what exactly are we looking for, in a movie! For example, what would you expect from a movie which has Udayanidhi, Nayan and Santhanam in the lead? Not a Nayagan or a Onaaiyum aattukuttiyum kind of cinema for sure! But then, what was I really expecting?
At its core, IdhuKathirvelanKaadhal was caught between being a full fledged comic caper in the lines of Uday's 'OkOk' and a full-on family drama in the lines of Nayan's 'Yaaradi nee mohini'! It tried to be both, but sadly failed to create the impact of either! 
As a rom-com, it was a field day for Santhanam all the way, and he did put all his might to make the movie entertaining! As a family drama, the story did have potential for quite a lot of seasoned actors, but without any freshness in the script or pace in the screenplay, it miserably fell short!
The songs continued as the indispensable bane of mainstream cinema, posing as major roadblocks in story telling! 
Finally, IKK turned out to be just 'another' cliched family drama, sugar coated outside with the successful Uday-Santhanam chemistry, which worked partially!
You might want to give this one a shot, if you are someone who would be happy- having a few laughs, giggling on a handful of 'intelligent' jokes, clapping at some inane sexist pokes, rolling your eyes on some 'done to death' sentiments, ogling at the pretty damsel, Nayan, and awing at some splendid scenic locales which spring out of nowhere, all in a single movie.
No doubt, 'entertaining!', for want of a better word! 
Mani Prabhuv

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