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Showing posts from March, 2011

Hollywood spine chills gone awry

Appeared in expresso, the daily supplement of The New Indian Express on 28th March, 2011

You can also read this review at: http://expressbuzz.com/entertainment/reviews/nil-gavani-sellathey/260322.html

Rumours floated that Nil Gavani Sellathey (stop, observe, don’t move) was a rip-off of several Hollywood movies, including Wrong Turn and Uninvited, which in actuality is a frame-to-frame copy of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The movie is all about a trip undertaken by a group of friends that turns awry.

Sam (Anand Chakaravarthy), Jo (Dhaniska), Arun (Ramssy), Priya (Lakshmi Nair) and Milo (Jagan) are friends, and are introduced to us in a slick manner, almost Shankar’s Boys-like. Sam gets engaged to Jo and Arun to Lakshmi, who is on a project trip to Chennai. The gang decides to go on a trip to, hold on, a temple village located on the TN-Andhra border, which apparently, we are told, is necessary for Lakshmi’s ‘project’. The gang gets a Mercedes B800 and hit the Golden Quadrilateral.

Just …

Sighappu Rojakkal: Unshackling cinematic stereotypes the red way

With Sighappu Rojakkal (Red Roses), director Bharatiraja, who had earlier directed 16 Vayadhinile, a movie that continues to be regarded as the watershed of Tamil cinema, and Kizhakke Pogum Rayil – both of which focused on bucolic backgrounds – can be said to have attempted the cinematic equivalent of Operation Entebbe; none so telling as the manner in which its title credits roll: the discolouration of a rose in a dark background, accompanied by the harsh scream of a feminine voice in the background, conveying subtly that she may be getting raped, or even murdered, and sowing the seed of thought that its lead could be an anti-hero.

A trendsetter in ways more than one, the director adopted urban Chennai - replete with women in attractive attire with little or no inhibitions, glitzy bars and restaurants, and people in odd jobs striving to make ends meet - as the canvas for Sighappu... The departure in the theme was, as many a chronicler of Tamil cinema would say, the director’s message…