Nov 12 2012
Along with new clothes, sweets and fireworks, new movies are an integral part of Diwali. This Diwali too we have a couple of high-profile movies – and a few smaller movies – hitting screens. And though the number of movies seems to be small, there is something for everyone. There’s Vijay-Murugadoss’ Thuppaakki for action fans, Simbhu’s Poda Podi for fans of romance and Thankar Bachan’s Ammavin Kaipesi for those looking for a fix of sentiments.
For Vijay, Thuppaakki continues his recent habit of stepping outside his comfort zone and working with established directors with good track records. This started after the dismal Suraa and has paid off well so far with films like Velayudham(director Raja) and Nanban(director Shankar) becoming successes at the box-office. While Velayudham was a pucca commercial masala film, Nanban was the complete opposite of what we’ve come to expect from a Vijay film. Thuppaakki appears to be falling somewhere between the two. While it has the actor playing a heroic, action-heavy role, it also seems to have a pan-Indian touch and so has a good chance of satisfying both his fans and average viewers.
Starting with the blockbuster Ghajini, Murugadoss was on a truly golden streak with big hits in both Telugu(Stalin) and Hindi(Ghajini) as director and a sleeper hit in Tamil(Engeyum Eppodhum) as producer. But his return to direction in Tamil wasn’t quite so successful with 7aum Arivu getting only a tepid response at the box-office. But he has built up a reputation for making masala entertainers out of some interesting subjects. He has worked with big stars(Ajith, Vijayakanth, Suriya, Chiranjeevi, Aamir Khan) in all his movies so far and has been able to fashion films that fit their image while also being entertaining. That talent is even more key for Thuppaakki since he has to find the right balance between Vijay’s mass image and the serious subject he has taken up.
Kajal Agarwal, fresh from Maattrraan, adds another high-profile star film to her resume. Most of Murugadoss’ films so far have had good roles for heroines with both cute characterization and an important part in the storyline. So Kajal will hopefully have more to do than is normal for a Vijay film. Vidyut Jamwal, the villain in Billa 2, was one of the most impressive bad guys in recent times and should be a worthy opponent for Vijay. Satyan once again teams up with Vijay after Nanban. Harris Jayaraj follows up the weak Maattrraan album with an even weaker soundtrack. Google Google…, sung by Vijay and Andrea, and some parts of the theme music are the only moderately bright spots in it.
Poda Podi was the first film Simbhu signed early in 2009 when he revealed his surprising intention to switch to soft, romantic roles after a series of crass masala movies. Though the film appeared to be in limbo, the actor kept his promise to switch to softer roles and appeared in roles markedly different from the kind of roles he had been doing until then in both Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya and Vaanam. After a brief return to masala territory with Osthi, he is back in a full-blown romantic role in Poda Podi. He is paired with Varalakshmi, Sarathkumar’s daughter.
The long delay has dimmed the excitement surrounding the film, which was launched with fanfare with some innovative and youthful posters. But the success of Dharan’s soundtrack has restored most of that excitement. Though I’m not a big fan of the soundtrack(because of the coarse lyrics and the conversational nature of the tunes), the songs are apparently big hits and the album is the most successful among recent releases.
2012 hasn’t been very kind to big stars with films like Billa 2, Thaandavam and Maattrraan failing to light up the box-office. Hopefully Thuppaakki and Poda Podi reverse the trend and make it a happy Diwali for both the stars and the viewers.
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