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Before getting into the review of ‘Malini 22 Palayamkottai’, I need to confess that I have not seen the original version and henceforth, the review will not contain any comparisons. At a time when women are sexually assaulted on a day to day basis across the nation, the theme of the movie looks very contemporary to the current situation. However, what lets down the movie is the soulless execution.

Plot
Malini (Nithya Menen), a nurse, falls for Varun (Krish J Sathaar). As fate would have it, Malini is raped by Varun’s boss Prakash (Naresh). Malini soon comes to know that Varun is also on the wrong side. She is arrested in a false case by the police. Malini decides to take revenge on those men, who ruined her life. Will she able to do it? Watch the film to know the answer.

Performances
Nithya Menen does a fair job in the first half, before the film gets serious. However, the same cannot be said about her performance in the second half, where she struggles to come up with intense emotions. Krish’s role is more of a predictable ‘hero-turns-villain’ role. However, he justifies his role, when compared to other cast members of the movie. Naresh is a big let down and Kovai Sarala is irritatingly loud and cliched. Most of the jokes will give you ‘when will the scene end’ feeling.

Technicalities
Among songs by Aravind-Shankar, ‘Vinmeengal’ alone is impressive. The rest of the slow paced numbers that are supposed to highlight the pain and agony, fail to do so. There is nothing to rave about rest of the technical team too.

Direction – Sripriya
Sripriya has tried too hard to make the film work out as an emotional thriller, but the execution falls flat. There is absolutely no emotional connect for the audience with the lead character. It would have been a better film, if some amount of intelligence was added to the script. It looks as if the protagonist could bring down anyone at will.

Also, certain sequences are very disturbing and few dialogues are too explicit for the family audience. Some of the scenes are unintentionally funny, which shows lack of skilful writing.

When people believed that a movie with kids as the main characters might not be successful, ‘Pasanga’ proved them wrong. And will the magic repeat again if those ‘Pasanga’ boys come together again? The answer is a loud ‘Yes’. If ‘Pasanga’ was all about good-heartedness, ‘Goli Soda’ is about ego, revenge, falling and rising in life. What makes this movie a must watch? Read on.

Plot
‘Goli Soda’ is about the lives of four kids who work as daily labours at Koyambedu market. They come up in life, only to be brought down back by an egoistic local don. They decide to reach back to the peak again. Will they be able to do it, amidst all odds?

Performances
All the four kids, namely, Kishore, Sree Ram, Pandi and Murugesh have given stellar performances, without which the movie would have not worked out. They have showed considerable difference from ‘Pasanga’ in terms of body language and dialogue delivery. It is delightful to watch these kids act so spontaneously. The fight sequences are naturally shot, and there is no over-the-top heroism for any of the kids. They also score when they deliver powerful dialogues, penned by Pandiraj.

Imman Annachi fills the bill as a loud localite in the market. Sujatha does a very good job as a good-hearted vegetable seller, who stands by these kids during hardships. Due credits must be given to the director for getting the casting spot-on. Be it the police inspector, played by ‘Pasanga’ fame Sivakumar or the villain, the actors have lifted the movie several notches up.

Technicalities
The movie does not boast of hummable numbers, but most of the songs from Arunagiri are used along with the flow of the movie. None of the songs pop up out of nowhere. Even the ‘Powerstar’ song has its own significance. Seelin’s background score is appreciable during high intense sequences. Vijay Milton’s camera work is functional and has showcased the busy Koyambedu market as authentic as possible. Editor Anthony must be lauded for keeping the running time to just 2 hours and 4 minutes. Special mention to fight choreographer for effectively framing believable stunt sequences with the kids.

Direction – Vijay Milton
After his first film as a director in 2006 which received mixed response, Vijay Milton has taken his time to hit the bull’s eye. Initially, as the story starts to unfold, one might predict that the movie might be a usual dramatic film, showcasing the darker side of the city. However, you will be surprised by the way the screenplay travels. Although the movie is focused only on the four kids, there is no single moment in the film when you might get tired of them. The director has packaged the film brilliantly with myriad of emotions.

The emotions are raw, and so are the action sequences. Is it not completely acceptable to watch 4 small kids with vengeance bring down a villain, rather than a full-fledged hero hitting hundreds of goons? Go, watch this film and support a good attempt.

Ajith’s ‘Veeram’ shows Ajith in an all new avatar and he has donned traditional costumes throughout the movie. The movie revolves around him and his four brothers. The movie is directed by Siva, who is known for his mass entertainers. Tamannah plays the leading lady in the film and Devi Sri Prasad has come up with some peppy songs. Has the movie satisfied the fans?

Plot
‘Veeram’ revolves around the lives of Vinayagam (Ajith) and his four brothers, who rely on violence for solving any problem. However, they are good at heart and can even risk their lives for the welfare of others. Kopperundevi aka Koppu (Tamannah) and Vinayagam fall for each other, but Koppu does not like violence. When Vinayagam decides to change his lifestyle, he gets to know that Koppu’s family is in a huge danger. What will he do next and will he save her family?

Performances
Ajith has a very refreshing look in the film. For people, who wanted to see him in the traditional costumes, this movie is a treat. He definitely gives few goosebumps now and then when he delivers certain punch-lines. It would be great to see Ajith donning such roles in rural set up as it brings a very different dimension of him, when compared to his heavy-duty action films like Billa and Arrambam. Tamannah is back to Tamil cinema after a long time. She fits into the role of a commercial heroine aptly.

Santhanam keeps the audience in splits whenever he appears, and Thambi Ramaiah chips in at times. Vidharth, Munish, Bala and Sohail come as powerful brothers of Ajith and they have done full justice to their roles. Nassar has a meaningful role in the film and Atul Kulkarni as the villain is not menacing enough.

Technicalities
The songs of Devi Sri Prasad look better when watched with the visuals. While ‘Nallavannu Solvaanga’ is a mass intro song that keeps the audience on their toes, ‘Jing Chikka Jing Chikka’ is an energetic folk number. The theme song and the background music used during the fight sequences give the necessary vigour to the proceedings. Cinematography by Vetri is top notch as he has captured Ajith in the best angles possible. The audience go berserk whenever a close-up shot of Ajith is shown. Stunt choreographer Silva must be appreciated for the high intense fight sequences.

Direction – Siva
We have seen in the past that making a commercial entertainer is not easy. Siva has understood what it takes to make a commercial entertainer. Kudos to him for daring to make a film with Ajith in the lead without using guns. The first half provides ample entertainment with Santhanam appearing in many scenes. The emotional content works big time with the audience.

It looks like the director has taken inspiration from Ajith’s real life for few scenes. For instance, there is a particular scene where Ajith gifts a shop to his loyal employee. On the flip side, the second half seems little lengthier than it actually is, due to plenty of fight sequences, following one after the other. However, ‘Veeram’ delivers what it promised – Entertainment.

Vijay’s ‘Jilla’, directed by Neason, has hit the screens today amidst lot of expectations. The teasers and trailer of the movie were promising and the movie was expected to be a colourful entertainer. Malayalam Superstar Mohanlal is also a part of the cast and this has increased the star value of the film. Kajal has teamed up with Vijay after smash hit ‘Thuppakki’. The movie also has foot tapping music by Imman. Has the movie lived up to the expectations? Read on.

Plot
The movie is basically about Sivan (Mohanlal) and his foster son Shakthi (Vijay). Both of them are local dons who do not fear anyone, but, after a certain incident, Shakthi decides to turn over a new leaf and he also wants Sivan to change for good. But, Sivan is adamant in his principles. There are also other people with their own motives, who want Sivan and Sakthi dead. The climax shows what happens to them.

Performances
Vijay is electrifying in the film throughout. He gets a thunderous entry in the film when he hits tens of goons at a time. Also, the scenes in which he shares screen with Mohanlal pack a punch. He also scores during certain comedy scenes. Kajal Agarwal looks pretty and makes the songs look colourful, but does not have any big scope in the film.

Mohanlal has plenty of scope in the film and he comes up with a memorable performance. His experience shows on screen, particularly in scenes when he is opposed by his foster son. Soori does provide some light-hearted moments in the film, but does not look as effective as he would have been in a rural based entertainer. Mahat Raghavendra has some emotional moments in the film and he is good in his role. The rest of the supporting cast including Sampath and Poornima Bhagyaraj are adequate in their roles.

Technicalities
Imman’s songs are huge chartbusters, but one of the disappointing factors in the movie is the placement of songs. Barring the title song, almost all songs crop up randomly, which might make you feel that the songs are forced in to the movie. Also, the theme song is overused at many places. Ganesh’s camera work is swift during high octane fight sequences. ‘Kandaangi Kandaangi’ song is a visual treat in Japan. Don Max could have at least trimmed half an hour from the running time of the movie. There are too many scenes in the film that do not add value to the central plot.

Direction – Neason
Neason has tried to make a movie with two of the biggest stars in the south – Vijay and Mohanlal. His attempt is laudable, but he should have created a storyline that would justify the casting of both the actors. The entire first half is filled with insipid jokes and abruptly inserted songs. The interval block scene provides a good twist and momentum, but the director fails to capitalize on it.

Neason could have concentrated on making a screenplay that is more logical. It looks as if obstacles crop up from nowhere, just to make sure Vijay overcomes them every single time. Although it might appeal the fanatics, it is more of a downer for a common viewer. There are plenty of twists in the second half, but none of them hook you to the movie. Also, in a running time of 3 hours, the movie does not have many hair-raising moments.

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Music director GV Prakash has ventured into production with ‘Madha Yaanai Kootam’ and the movie created some buzz before its release, thanks to the interesting promos. When a movie is set in a premise which is alien to the audience, it is very important for the director to make the audience get into the scheme of things immediately. Madha Yaanai Kootam, set in a rural background, deals with a subject which everyone can’t relate to. Has the director managed to hook the audience to the film? Read on.

Plot
The movie revolves around Parthi (Kathir) and his community people in his village. Parthi’s father has two wives and this creates enmity among the people there. There is constant rivalry among the people there and there is bloodshed forever. When Parthi is caught in a circumstantial crime incident, men are on the run to kill him. Will he survive?

Performances
Kathir is very natural in his role and comes up with a neat performance. Oviya’s character does not have any major significance in the film, and she comes as a run-off-the-mill heroine. Viji Chandrasekhar has done a commendable job, especially during the second half. It is shocking to see why she has not been doing many films. The rest of the actors are newbies and they suit the raw theme of the film. The apt casting gives the authentic feel to the film’s milieu and storyline.

Technicalities
NR Raghunandhan’s background score gives the much needed tense mood to the scenes in the second half. Most of the songs are folk numbers, but sadly, none of them stand out. You would have expected at least couple of hummable numbers from the man, who produced lovely melodies in ‘Neerparavai’. Ragul Dharuman’s camera work is functional and Kishore TE should be lauded for his seamless cuts.

Direction – Vikram Sugumaran
Vikram Sugumaran was the man behind powerful dialogues in Vetrimaaran’s ‘Aadukalam’. ‘Madha Yaanai Koottam’ also boasts of few crisp dialogues, but the director misses out on coming up with a screenplay that would appeal universally. The movie does have some tightly drawn sequences, but also has too many unengaging scenes.

The death scenes and the rituals are very elaborately shot, but at the same time, they can also very disturbing to the people who have not witnessed them before. Also, excessive violence and bloodshed fill the second half. The Police and law take the backseat in the screenplay, as people kill each other mercilessly. After a while, the audience gets tired of murders and the motives behind them.

At a time when the film-makers opt for extravagance and slapstick comedy, director Ahmed has stayed away from them and delivered a meaningful film. The movie did not have a huge buzz surrounding it, except for few good melodies from Harris Jayaraj. This low buzz has in fact done wonders for the film. If you go into the cinema hall without any expectations, you are sure to come out with a broad smile, and probably a tear drop.

Plot
The movie revolves around childhood friends Gowtham (Jiiva), Sri (Vinay) and Baby (Santhanam), who run an advertisement production company. There are the best of friends in the town, and you can see them together everywhere. Gowtham is strongly against getting married as he does not like women. He also makes Sri and Baby promise him that they won’t get married too. However, Sri and Baby get married, which leads to the parting of the three friends. In a parallel track, Priya (Trisha) comes into the life of Gowtham and impacts his life. The climax has a little twist, which gives a heart-warming end to the film.

Performances
Jiiva looks as youthful as ever and in the role of an egoistic guy, he pulls off a great show. He is splendid in the scenes in which he gets transformed as a different person in the second half. Jiiva is at his best when he does classy roles like this one. Santhanam is back with a bang, to say the least. The spontaneity and the witty one-liners, which were missing in his past few films, drives this film. Even in serious scenes, he comes up with funny dialogues to lighten up the mood.

After a string of failures, Vinay has proved that he can be more than convincing in the right scripts. Be it in the first half, where he is seen as a flirtatious guy, or in the second half, when he turns serious, he fits in his role perfectly. Trisha looks angelic as usual and she has good screen presence in the second half. Her cute expressions go a long way in making the film effectively reach the audience. Andrea is good in her extended cameo act, while Nassar as a doting father is brilliant in his role.

Technicalities
It is not without a reason why Harris Jayaraj does lesser number of films each year, when compared to his counterparts. It is pretty evident that he takes time to compose soulful tunes and also give the best BGM. ‘Vaan Engum Nee Minna’ and ‘Ennai Saaithaalae’ are lovely melodies, while ‘Yealae Yealae Dosthu Da’ is a peppy friendship song. Due credits should be given to cinematographer Madhi for canning these songs in an exquisite manner. Editors Praveen-Srikanth have made sure that the first half is thoroughly engaging. They could have trimmed a few scenes in the second half though. The costume designer needs a special mention for the colourful clothes.

Direction – Ahmed
It is not very often you would come across a film like ‘Endrendrum Punnagai’. When most of the films show the lead actors falling for each other at the drop of a hat, Ahmed’s guts to bring it out in a very poignant manner is laudable. There is never a dull moment in the first half, which completely revolves around the friends. The introduction song is very hilarious as well as fresh, and sets the right tone for the film.

One of the main positives of this film is that it does not revolve around any one actor, as the screenplay takes the center stage. There are no unnecessary fight sequences in the film or crass double entendres. On the flip side, things do drag a little in the second half. However, on the whole, ‘Endrendrum Punnagai’ is a must watch due to its emotional content.

A lot is riding on Venkat Prabhu’s ‘Biriyani’ as there are various factors associated with it. Karthi wants ‘Biriyani’ to turn around his fortune, while Venkat Prabhu is back after blockbuster ‘Mankatha’. The movie also marks Yuvan Shankar Raja’s 100th film as a music director. Putting all these big names together, has Venkat Prabhu prepared a tasty ‘Biriyani’? Read on.

Plot
The basic plot of ‘Biriyani’ is how two youngsters Sugan (Karthi) and Parasuram (Premji Amaren) get tangled in the murder of business tycoon Varadharajan (Nassar). There are plenty of other characters in the film, that revolve around these central characters.

Performances
It is very safe to say that Karthi is back. ‘Biriyani’ is more of a film that suits Karthi’s charm and mannerisms, and he has performed with ease. Although the movie has its share of stunts, it is glad to see there is no over-heroism for Karthi. Hansika does not have any major scope in the film and Venkat Prabhu should be lauded for not using her in couple of namesake romantic numbers.

Premji Amaren has a very meaty role and he travels with Karthi throughout the film. He is little too predictable in the first half, however, the second half has some moments for him. Mandy Takhar in a very glamorous avatar spices up the things and the screenplay gets going after her entry. Uma Riyaz Khan has a surprising role in the film and she has given a bold performance. Nassar brings his experience to the foreground, while Ramki is good in his comeback film. The rest of the cast including Madhumitha, Jayaprakash, Sampath Raj, Subbu Panchu and Nithin Sathya are adequate in their roles.

Technicalities
The pick of the songs is ‘Ethirthu Nil’ and Yuvan’s background score is terrific during the second half. However, the rest of the songs do not linger on your mind for long. Sakthi Saravanan’s camera work is brilliant, especially in the car chase sequences. He has also maintained a pleasing colour tone throughout the film. Praveen-Srikanth’s editing is crisp and with a running length of just under 2 hours and 30 minutes, the movie does not make you lose patience.

Direction – Venkat Prabhu
Venkat Prabhu is always known for his witty and skilful screenplays. Although the first half does not have so many ‘Venkat Prabhu’ moments, the second half makes up for it. The film takes time to introduce the central characters and establishing them. It would have been better if the first half had lesser scenes of Karthi showing his playboy-ish nature. However, the first half ends with a bang and makes the audience expect more twists in the second half.

Venkat Prabhu builds up on the tempo and comes up with a wholesome package in the second half. The second half provides enough fun for the audience, and there is a surprise for Ajith fans as well. We do not want to reveal that here in the review. Overall, the movie ends on a high!