Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vikram Vedha

#vikramvedha #pushkargayathri #visreviews #madhavan #vijaysethupathi
Do not read - SPOILERS ahead
Around 30 minutes into the movie, Vijay sethupathis awesome intro scene starts and at that point you will realise this is no ordinary cop and thief movie. What a scene it was. If you are a fan of the actor (which I am), you would recognize him from his trademark lazy stroll.
But it is #madhavan that makes the first entry as Vikram the cop in a brilliant shoot out. The first scene is important, for there are many clues in that scene which finally helps solve the story.
Vedha is the story telling ghost in the movie. And the first story is the most important one.
The movie follows the concept of the #vikramadithyan and the vetaal ghost stories. Those who have read Amar Chitra Katha books will know the story of the king who captures a ghost for a sorcerer. The ghost tells him a story and asks him a question. Everytime the king breaks his silence and answers, the ghost escapes.
His first act as a rowdy is such a psychological game play. And that is who vedha is, he is always the mastermind and instigator. Like the devil who whispers in your ears, creating doubt and making you question things. But is the devil wrong to make you question things that are not as black and white as you assume it is?
Refusing to talk to anyone, vedha only opens up to Vikram, planting the first seeds of doubt on what is good and bad through a flashback story with hidden clues and riddles for Vikram to solve. His first story spans 13 years and talks about him and his brother - pulli.
The movie has been brilliantly written and directed by the husband and wife team of Pushkar And Gayathri who have only 3 movies to their credit in 10 years! (need to go watch them!). On one hand you have this awesome thriller unfolding and then you have the brilliant crisp script with catchy phrases wrote perfectly for each character. Characters both actors have lived as. Actually everyone has done a great job in their respective characters. Everyone had a role to play, including the parotha and athu Kari.
Vikram continues till the very end to be the weapon by first his commending officer and finally by vedha. Yes he too becomes Vedha weapon, sprouting his lines from the first story at the climax. But it's not that Vikram isn't smart (he uncovers missing parts of the plot for vedha), he just isn't diabolically brilliant. Every story Vedha tells has clues in it and surprising twists. Including how vedha hires Vikrams wife as his lawyer. Vedha tells 3 stories that go 13 years back, then 2 years and finally 6 months.
One of my favourite scenes is neither of theirs though. It is when, Chandra, pullis girlfriend slaps him back for slapping him. What a character she was and unapologetically so. Played by Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, she does brilliantly even to her end. Watch her eyes in the last scene, there are clues even there. That girl deserves a movie of her own.
You will laugh and clap at the script in a story that didn't need a comedian to add irrelevant jokes. You sit there gripped to your seat, playing back parts of the previous scene in your mind while enthralled in the current frame. And you will have to go back many more times to piece the broken puzzle that shapes the movie. The clue to the climax was scattered around the film right from the beginning. Vikram remains true to his character till the very end, the honest cop but who now sees the shades of grey between both worlds. The women are strong and not hidden in the background or mere smiling, hip swaying props that kollywood loves. Vikrams wife Priya stands out as a brilliant lawyer refusing to given up her career for her husbands case and thus ensues a dilemma between husband and wife on where home and work ends.
The ending was a cliffhanger that had me go nooooo. I really hate cliffhangers but perhaps this will be the opening for a second movie so poor old vedha can finally tell his love story that no one wants to hear. Also there's a gap of 11 years between the first and second story. Much story to tell there.
Even their catchy item song tasukku by Sam C, didn't need an item girl to have us tapping our feet as vedha dances with Cheta. 😂 I loved the music especially Karupu vellai. Each song and lyrics was apt to the movie. There were many misleading details added in to confuse the audience. Like the use of goons from kerala puts in the assumption that they were hired by Cheta but that's not it. The weapon that vedha nurtured in Madhavan explodes precisely in clarity at the climax as he spews the same lines Vedha told him in his first story. The transformation was now complete.
And so I can happily quote Vijay sethupathis with a line from another movie of his - kumutha happy anachi, kumutha happy. 😀

Thursday, July 27, 2017


Watched #dunkirk the #ww2 movie yesterday #visreviews 

Now go watch it if you enjoy ww2 related movies. don't go coz its a christopher nolan movie coz it isn't his usual kind. its pretty straight forward but interestingly you wont see a single nazi in the movie. and this movie looks at the failure of the Allied army at that time and how they were saved by fishermen from britain. the movie doesnt have big war scenes but focuses on the soldiers struggle to survive. Also pilots get a more significant role in this movie. 

However do note that ww2 movies might give you a glimpse of a story but is not an actual representation of history. in this case Nolan as well as with most hollywood directors, the contribution of indian soldiers are not even portrayed. historically indians fought on both sides in ww2 - as soldiers under the raj and as rebel soldiers under #ina - the independence movement led by subash chandra bose. INA fought alongside the japanese against the white mans colonisation. 

Unfortunately the same japanese sent to their death, millions of indians who worked to build the death railway. their names, numbers and even death were never recorded by the japanese nor are there memorials for them at ww2 sites. 

Indians fought at Monte Cassino. They were there at Bir Hachiem, Tobruk, El Alamein, Singapore, Hong Kong. And they were there from where it all began -Dunkirk. 

So if you do watch it, come back and read up on the actual history and articles talking about it. 

more photos at my Instagram 
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Wonder Woman

#wonderwoman #kualalumpur

Have you watched #wonderwoman - i hope you managed to catch it

i had been waiting for the movie so long - i went and watched it on the very first day. and it was omg so good - the photo you see above is my favourite scene.

one of the things i realised from watching the movie was - this is who you become if you grew up in a gender biasless world. A world where you are not told - you are a women you cant do that. you are a women you are weaker than men, you are a woman, so you must behave like one, you are a women, know your place.

because she grew up in such an environment, it doesnt even occur to her that the men are shocked that she dared to walk into the ww1 meeting. her confidence shines throughout the movie.

this was one movie where any girl or women will come out feeling empowered.

So do bring your daughters or the women in your life to watch the movie. let them feel empowered too

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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Bahuballi 2

#bahubali2 #visreviews

I hope you got to watch the movie of the week. I ended up going on a crazy goose chase trying to get tickets at the last minute on Saturday. Most of the shows were sold out in my usual theatres of choice in the Klang Valley. Luckily good old #pjstate came to the rescue and we got tickets.

The movie was epic, loved so many things about it minus some funny unbelievable stunts at the end. (insert laugh at that flying of the Palm tree scene). The storyline was brilliant, I loved the sneaky mind tricks of #palavadevan Rana Daggubati. It was like watching him play chess, as each of his moves pushed him to the desired check mate - to be crowned king. The brilliance of his mind and his practiced patience was so well portrayed.

#ramyakrishnan as Sivagami shines in her role right from the first movie. Despite the storyline she continued to be an amazing character in this epic series.

Every character from Satyraj to Nasser stood out in their respective roles. I did feel that the movie was a bit rushed but there was just so much that needed to be told without having a plot hole so it is unfortunately an edit that was needed.

To be honest I would love to see more epic warrior fight dance scenes between Prabas and Anushka.
The songs were pretty disappointing though, nothing left a lasting impression. What I loved was that Swan ship and the mammoth castles - one Swan like n the other a majestic elephant.

I must mention the spectacular jewelry and costumes in the movie. I had earlier read articles on how the sarees were custom made for the movie. But I thought those jewellery outshined the costumes. So much attention has gone to details. The graphics were pretty good as well, and might I say one of the best I've seen in an Indian movie. Anyone who is sitting and criticising them must have some hell of a standard.

But most of all I loved both the two strong female portrayals in the movie. Anushka #anushkashetty was just brilliant as the female warrior princess. Her never-ending passion to better herself was inspiring. She didn't need saving and was instead more concerned on saving others. Hers was a character... (cont in comments)

Hers was a character role female actresses rarely get in this industry. She didn't need to be demure and docile nor limited to singing (though she does that too). I am so glad the director #ssrajamouli made such strong female characters.

And then he crafts a hero that is so rare in indian cinema. I loved Bahubali. Here was this talented, people loving hero who was humble and dutiful but most of all who respected and treated women as equals.

The photo I've shared is from the scene where he finally reveals himself to Devasena as a warrior and teaches her to shoot more than one arrow at a time. The choreography of that scene is amazing as they both get in sync and start fighting together. Just as he is in sync with kattapa.

Instead of being intimidated by the strong, smart and talented woman that #devasena was, Baahubali instead saw her as an equal and wanted her to grow in strength with him. That scene was a perfect example of what equal partnership between genders are and how mutual respect only benefits each other.

Despite being the crown prince of a much bigger empire, he listens to her concerns and promises to guard her dignity and her right to choose and defends it to his mother - the powerful and brilliant #Sivagami

I read a review that the movie gave an Amar Chitra Katha feel. I don't know why that sounds like an insult because it is time that those legends, stories and epic stories of Indias past are made into movies. India is so rich with stories and history that is barely touched on screen. I hope Bahubalis success will see more south Indian cinema makers taking the stories of Hoysala, Kalinga, Cheran , Chola, Pandiyan, Chalukya and many more to the Silver screen. Hollywood keeps remaking King Arthur and we keep celebrating it. Shouldn't we be tapping into our history for much more dramatic untold stories?

So do go watch the movie. I am dying to find the first movie, so I can watch that and this back to back again.

The review can also be found here 

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Katru velliyidai – what an anti climax

Ps: spoiler alert review – don’t read if you haven’t watched

I was excited that Maniratnam was back with a movie. The trailers showed that it was a love story. The songs didn’t make sense but I figured Mani would know where to insert them. Unless for Kadal, there has never been a movie I did not like (though I have yet to watch Ok Kanmani).

But towards the end there were reports that Karthi was playing the role of an abusive boyfriend. I was a bit hesitant of watching the movie simply because Mani loves a good love story and his lovers always reunited no matter if the ending was happy or not. There was also the fact that the plot was pretty obvious. Set during the kargil war, I was sure he would be captured by the enemy. I wanted to see whether he would make it back (though again Mani’s formula always reunites lovers).

And as expected the songs made sense, the movie, cinematography was brilliant. Kashmir is just so stunning in the lens of the camera. There were so many scenes that are still in my mind – right from how brilliantly they were framed even in an action moment to the vibrant colours. Both their actings and the very minor roles of the other actors were great as well. But I’m not here to talk about that but about the storyline itself.

And I was happy that she stood up for herself. Though refusing to leave as a snow storm was forming was pretty stupid. Common sense would have made anyone run for the lives so that scene made her an educated doctor look stupid. But then again common sense is not so common after all.

I love that she questions him on why her opinions didn’t matter – was it coz she was a woman or a civilian. Karti replied in the latter eventually – men are hunters, we are not same physically.

The argument (quiet in Mani’s style) ends with him pushing her and she walks away.

As with the characteristics of all abusive people (men or women) – sorry slips through his lips as easy as a and b and his apologies tend to come with elaborate romantic gestures. Phrases like “we are not equal, you are much superior than me” “I need you, I am nothing without you” – are spoken so easily and so emotionally manipulative. Karthi has done a brilliant job acting as the abusive boyfriend Varun @ VC with sparks of craziness often showing in stills, right from the start. The only problem with that is, mentally abusive (which is much worse than physically abusive people) people rarely show craziness to anyone around them. They most you would see a sparks of anger and instant seeking of forgiveness especially when it happens in a public setting.

Which is why victims tend to rarely actually leave. They are wrapped up in conflicting emotions of anger, guilt and love that they are sucked back in everytime. Yet deep down they know, the person hasn’t changed. That was brilliantly etched in Leela’s expression when she forgives him, thinking he truly means it when it was all a means to win a bet and save face with his mates – and he declares to them - MY WOMAN would listen to me, and you can all dream of getting a woman like this.

Interestingly Mani doesn’t show him hitting her – despite the threat and shove. What he did was show the kind of abusive people that often goes unnoticed. Everytime they argue, he grabs her forcefully but not in an abrupt manner but rather in a subtle manner. This is the kind of abuse that goes unnoticed (but he didn’t hit her, it was just verbal arguments) and women are often told to give in. And he is abusive even to her family – theres a scene where he is asked to leave from the colonels funeral and he returns in the evening (after everyone has left) to abuse her family who don’t respond to him at all. He gets angered that he is ignored and not a word is said and lashes out at them (case of feeling unrespected).

It’s not that VC doesn’t know he is abusive, he knows that he is similar to his own abusive father but he thinks he isn’t as bad. There’s a scene where he stands up for his mother and disabled brother but at the very same time attacks Leela. That’s a classic example of kids who grew up in abusive environments who tend to be protective to ones they have seen being abused but are unable to correlate their own abusive nature.

She finally walks away and doesn’t divulge her whereabouts to her friends. In that time VC is captured by the Enemy and rots in a jail in Pakistan. The movie was set around the Kargil war ( I must say I was hoping for a proper tribute to the war but this wasn’t that). In that time he is filled with remorse, seemingly showing signs of remorse, and that it is thoughts of Leela that is keeping him alive. He escapes, returns and starts searching for her.

This is the part that I am unable to accept. Right up to this point Mani has created a strong woman who stands up and eventually walks away. He has also tackled a few other social policing in this movie. Leela left VC despite being 3 months pregnant, and that is one of the strongest moments in this movie – done very subtly (again a Mani trademark), that it doesn’t hit you that she left while being pregnant till you sit down and contemplate the movie. There’s also a wedding scene (loved the cinematography there btw) where the bride is 9 months pregnant and is rushed to the hospital in labour on her wedding day. So up till the ending, Mani has done a movie that shows characters that defy social stigma, social expectations on what is expected of a woman.  

So Vc finds the camp where Leela works but he doesn’t approach it and instead sits and waits in the sand. Leela spots him and rushes to him. The scene is similar to that moment in Alaypayudhe when Shalini rushes to Madhavan and professes her love. Only the moments in the relationship is different. There, they were at the beginning of the courtship. Here we are at the reuniting moment of lovers who are no longer together.

That strong women we saw in the last 2hours and 15 minutes is gone. Instead this woman is gushing in happiness, wants to hug him, wants him back. VC asks – did they say I was dead – missing in action (probably wondering why she is happy to see him) but she says no, I knew you were back, I saw it on tv. She then introduces their daughter Ro (yes she kept the baby – another social stigma addressed – unmarried mother). And the next thing we know, in the shortest Mani climax ever, they are hugging and back together. And VC asks why didn’t you call and she says – I didn’t know if you will accept Ro and me.

I’m all for forgiveness but at no point does she question whether he has changed. They barely met for a few minutes. Seriously this was the shortest and what felt like a rushed climax I have seen in a Mani movie. Instead she was worried that he wouldn’t accept her. Hello what happened to that strong women who walked away while being 3 months pregnant? Who tells VC that she doesn’t care about marriage or having a baby – she just wants him – where’s that liberal woman?    

I was just sitting in disbelief at that scene and mumbling when my friend says – dai why you hating on her getting sex after three years? As funny as that is, lets take sex into equation, Leela had no qualms of sleeping with VC, in that three years if sex was the issue, it could have been with anyone else. To suddenly show that she was a traditional woman who only slept with one man would make the whole character build-up of Leela mean nothing!

Or was it that society got to her? Did the last three years of being a single mother make her feel it was better to be with an abusive man than be alone? That will be contradictory to the fact that she was travelling in remote places in India with the Red Cross together with her child. That’s a woman who refused to abandon the kid she decided to have out of wedlock nor her passion to serve where medical help was much needed.

So how did that women, accept VC without even asking him – how do I know you have actually changed?

Or did his being a captive prisoner, make her forget all the bad memories and remember only the jaded good moments in their relationship that seeing him was actually seeing that jaded vision of him built in her mind?

Or was Mani just showing that as with many abused victims, the victim often goes back at the first sight of remorse?

Tragic isn’t it if that was the case?

#kaatruveliyidai #maniratnam

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Thursday, March 16, 2017


#adiwiraku #cherylannfernando
#teachformalaysia #malaysia 
Adiwiraku - my superheroes

Yesterday I watched the #malaysianmovie#adiwiraku - wanted to catch it on another day until i realised yesterday was the last day the movie was showing in most theaters. today onwards theres only about 5 theatres showing it.

I roughly knew the story as its based on the true life story of Cheryl Ann Fernando who left her job to join #teachformalaysia and become a teacher. i had briefly followed her story earlier. 
now the movie will touch your hearts. you will love the kids, you will love the two teachers, you will cry, you will be sad, you will laugh. 

iqbal, khairi and imran were my favourites. 

there was just a few people in the theatre but we all ended up just sitting there and watching the credits. we were moved by the movie, saddened and probably reflecting on our own privileged lives. 

yes we are very privileged. these kids like many poor rural kids, have very little money, food or even support and most of all people who believe in them. i have written on this many times. while our education system has its issues, what we are not taking into account is that just attending school doesn't create students. its much more complicated then that. you have kids that can barely read.

which is why i get upset with people who put down others for bad english. that person might not have had the same priviliges that you did. there is no need to mock someones language, instead if you are that concerned, help them privately. 

poverty, family situations, hunger eventually leads to kids dropping out of schools at 14/15. some work, some end up in a life of crime. 

Please go watch the movie, its a simple well taken #Malaysian story with a very deep meaning.

its still playing in midvalley. please do support such beautiful local movies. 

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