Category: cinema

Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal

As The Swivel Chair Spins #5

Let me be honest, I underestimated what Kannum Kannum Kolaiyadhitaal was going to be. The first five minutes is just Dulquer Salman driving a car which says DQ on its license plate, there is also mention of his Kerala female fandom (yaawn), there was the genuinely irritating Vijay TV sidekick quota, it confirmed my fears that this was a generation film i.e not for me. 

I sat through nevertheless and things got interesting. 

After a song (or two, sorry didn’t notice) and usual love interlude, we really come to know what our heroes are up to: they are small cons who utilize the gaps in the ecommerce system to profit and they are of course not bound by any morals. But with them is that small niggling thought at the back  that they would be caught. 

If they have shown a thief, they will show police also- enter Gautham Menon as DCP Pratap Chakravarti (DCP PC?), how he will catch these small time crooks is the rest of the story. 

Or so I thought. 

Kannum Kannum Kollayadithal is that kind of movie that stacks up a bunch of carpets and pulls it one by one from under my feet. 

But thankfully I was seated.  

KKK is a very competent investigation thriller, the policemen use logic to get from one clue to another, it is also a competent heist film- be it in the objective, team assembly, planning and showing things when they don’t go according to plan. 

Lessons from the screenplay has a great video comparing two mission impossible films and how they execute their best heists, I would say KKK too has some elements of them in it and kudos for getting elemental genres right, it’s rare in a tamil film. 

But KKK is one of those rare things which try to show that they are about something, but is about something else and succeed in both- I am not getting into the morals portrayed but in a way a concept is presented. 

If you have not seen Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal then you should stop reading after this sentence. <SPOILERS> 

<SPOILERS, there is no other way to explain without going into spoilers sorry>

The concept of no one is a yogiyan (sorry couldn’t find an immediate english equivalent) is worked into the story and comes full circle, everybody is in some way a criminal and in some way there is no big or small crime- the magnitude of that doesn’t matter. 

But where the move falters is when it tries to become a hero and co winning just because they are hero and heroine types, but why, anyone could have won. It also falls into the Petta trap of suddenly making solid characters look weak so that the hero can win. 

I can disagree with the concept and still like the film. So in a film full of bad guys, does the hero heroine looking types win just because they are hero heroine types? 

Maybe DCP Pratap might ultimately catch up with them in the end? Maybe their money will dry out in Thailand and they will fully realize the folly in their lives? Maybe some natural tragedy will befall them. 

I closed the TV thinking, yeah they are happy for now, but not for long.Just like that final shot in the Graduate. Things happen to people. That’s just my coded narrative watching habits. 

In Moondru Deivangal, one of the finest Tamil movies ever made; Sivaji-Muthuraman-Nagesh play thieves who are out of jail and trying to con a very simple retailer, the goodness of their family ultimately changes the trio- but still they use their history tricks to protect this simpleton and ultimately go back to prison. 

Bad guys winning is fine, but for me it is more rewarding when they end up turning into good people, it’s a movie, it gives closure, it gives purpose for them to have been crooked in the first place. 

But closure as they say

But Dada Mirasi did it first

It is unfair to compare two movies, even if they are similar, there are other movies in which the relatively good-bad guys win like for example the Ocean’s trilogy which is a lot more than heist films, but it clearly establishes the meanest of the mean, the annoyerest among the annoyers.

Meanwhile in KKK, even GVM is smart, the drug dealer is smart and powerful but the guys getting away with it are just because they are like hero and heroine of this generation. That didn’t sit well. No it didn’t and pulling Oceans and Moondru Deivangal into this was a bad idea. 

Should have never done that. All I wanted to say is that you have introduced a concept very well- whatever be the morals, very convincingly but not going the full distance. Pch.

Still a very engaging watch.

FRS: Mafia Chapter 1

So you all know what an FRS is right? Right? 

+1: Movie begins with Louis Armstrong singing “What A Wonderful World” in the background, we don’t know why, maybe the movie is about how great the world is, if that is the case we should probably reduce marks.

<Extracted from audio excerpts from FRS Room audio>

……. But then the first point need not be negative…..

……..Only uncles will have such sentiment..maybe we should hire more young writers into the FRS…

…Darn it you kids…

Wait, uncle, that doesn’t mean you will be fired from the FRS writing panel! Not now, we mean. …..

</Extracted from audio excerpts from FRS Room audio>

And now for some….recruitment

Key Skills 

Are you cynical? (Weightage: 80%)

Can you write? (not an actual requirement, weightage 20%)

Are you funny? (not an actual requirement, weightage ***)

Do you believe in the magic of movies? (If yes, DON’T apply please save us some time)

Note 

You will remain anonymous for life

You will receive no privileges

Of course this job does not pay 

Thanks 

-50: Movie’s name is Mafia (now you know how we hate this gangsterism) and that’s not even the scary part, it is accompanied by the words Chapter 1, which means there is more to this…this thing.

-201: Hero’s name is Aryan. But brother’s name is Dilip or something, not Dravid

Lost opportunity is lost.

<crickets chirping> <crickets chirping> 

-31: Hero is a honest narcotics officer cliche

-507: Hero is a honest narcotics officer who narrates his own story cliche. We wish we could cut more for this, but too much obvious narration is obvious in this movie. Very very troubling. Makes you wonder if this movie was produced by GVM

(note: this movie was not produced by GVM) 

+12: Gautham Menon type friendly and understanding father (note: movie not produced by GVM) 

-3.5: Hero’s batchmates also become his teammates at the Narcotics division, but they treat him like superior and not peer; he also like that except with PBS

+5: For everytime PBS is on screen (PBS is Priya Bhavan Shankar for those who didn’t catch our point) 

PBS fans unite! She has a decent role too. 

-48fps: Slow motion overdose with BGM. Heroooooo’s caaaaaaaar stopppppps aaaaannd heeeeerooo gettttttsss oneeeeeeeee shoeeeeeeeeeee out 

It’s actually even slower in the movie. 

Accompanied by Nanananaaaa nanana…type music 

48fps*2: same thing happens for villain too (although we are tired to type like that) 

Makes us wonder if the director thought that the only difference between short film and feature film is the slow motion. By the time, we were done with the movie, we hated slow motion everywhere and we started to think if we should take up running .

Note: all writers worked from their undisclosed location separately and submitted their drafts. WFH is the default for FRS, boys.

Urgh and we hate running. Imagine. 

+12: Director says story and all no need, just hero needs to find villain (actually not so difficult) 

40: Movie falls into the usual trap of suave villain means should wear a coat and have wine glass and listen to some western classic music. 

Usual. 

Also usual slow motion for villain too. Slo-mo while going in a boat, slo-mo while getting out of a private jet.etc, the scenes write themselves (in slow motion)

“How much of build-up is too much build-up? Asked the gym trainer”

+23: Thalaivasal Vijay plays a concerned citizen activist who has made it his life’s mission to bring down drug menace types

-23: Thalaivasal Vijay lives in a big bungalow, totally unlike normal citizen activists, maybe we need to investigate further here. How did he fund his activism? 

-10: Movie becomes cat and mouse for sometime and then suddenly ends, but before it suddenly ends hero and villain will do animal type comparisons to themselves etc 

Hmm, they didn’t use cat and mouse analogy but. 

+15: Ending might be humorous for some.  

All numbers are incidental and arbitrary, except the facts provided by our data analytics team

Subam

Team FRS

On Visu

Was dreading this for sometime. Writer-director-actor Visu no more

His films were the first I could sense a real director’s touch, later I came to realize the confidence he had in his plots and characters as a screen and dialogue writer, no matter what criticism was kept against him. Like a mother he would defend his films till his death.

Visu had his own way to show the problems of the middle class even when KB was still making movies. (KB even produced some of Visu’s works). KB made ‘better’ movies (Visu would probably disagree), KB approached it from the head, while Visu would bring his bleeding heart. It wasn’t just sentimentality, but also with humor.

In a video on what makes a great movie, critic Mark Kermode noted that how words like sentimentality and humor where not used in the charitable sense by movie critics because movie criticism was purely treated as an intellectual enterprise. Emotions were not treated as part of the craft.

In my view Visu was most disadvantaged by this, he did not receive the appreciation for his craft, when he needed it the most.

Critics would carry KB to another generation, but Visu would be largely ignored by critics, but even more by his audience, whom he lost to either apathy or television.

Even at the earliest viewing of Kudumbam oru Kadambam I could see that Visu was not offering solutions- the movie was basically a debate on whether men should marry women who worked or women who stayed at home. The movie really stacks up arguments on both sides and the solution is left to the characters themselves- it depended on that family.

I still think this is one of the most mature ways to approach a domestic issue and by the time we come to the end I would have cried and laughed a dozen times.

Visu had made me see these characters as he had seen them or created them, I think this by itself is the greatest achievement for any creator. Visu sir, you rocked in your time.

The TV which depleted his audience did some good deeds by fate or design by repeatedly showing his movies which made it possible for me to catch it, enjoy it repeatedly. Yes they had some issues in quality, but never in confidence or the lack of color in characters.

Kudumbam Oru Kadambam.
Dowry Kalyanam
Varavu Nalla Uravu
Manal Kayiru

These are his movies that made an immense impact personally and of course he wrote Simla Special which for me is the gold standard in friendship movies in Tamil Cinema.

He would have liked to have read this perhaps, but alas I should have written earlier. Obits don’t matter to those for whom it is intended.

As an affected party (audience), the first duty towards a creator is a mere acknowledgment and I am guilty of being late and I will do more to write about his films.

Go well Visu sir. Om Shanti.

Vartuthapadala, vendapadala, kavalapadale, perumapadren to be your fan Visu Sir