Posts tagged ‘mahdiahmedreviews’

BIGIL (2019) REVIEW

This film is an entertaining mix of crime and sports. It’s engaging, action-packed, fast-paced, funny and dribbles its way to an exciting conclusion.

Bigil, played by Joseph Vijay, is a gifted soccer player whose career comes to a halt due to a tragic turn of events. Years later, he is forced to become the head coach of a women’s soccer team and steers them to their dream of winning the national championship, a feat he missed as a player.

The team comprising of women from impoverished rural areas with the dream of making it big, at first refuses Bigil as a coach due to his criminal life. But he eventually wins their heart and along the way not only earns their respect, but he empowers them on and off the field.

 Like a soccer match, the film has two halves. The first half is an intense build-up to the second half that entirely deals with the soccer team while examining the lives of the key players and tackling timely women related issues.

 Vijay is mesmerizing in a dual role as father and son. The scenes they share are heartwarming and at some point, heart-wrenching. 

Nayanthara as Aasirvatham is Gibil’s love interest. Here, she is not just a pretty face. Her character is pivotal to the narrative. She uses compassion when dealing with situations where Gibil fails, or most men would in general. Also, her comic timing is spot on.

The stories of Anitha and Gayathri performed with aplomb by Reba Monica and Varsha Bollamma respectively as the late inclusion to the team are both moving and inspiring.

It’s writer-director Atlee Kumar who steals the match. In the second half, he creatively puts the protagonist in the backseat and let the remarkable team of women take over to fight their way to victory. It has a rousing finale that made me jump out of my seat. 

The song Singappenney by A.R. Rahman gave me goosebumps. In it, watch for Rahman and Atlee in a cameo.

Though the film has a running time of almost three hours, I couldn’t care less. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Highly recommended.

SUPER DELUXE (2019) REVIEW

This Tamil dark comedy with three main eccentric stories arrested me from its very opening credits on a black screen.

The first story has an unfaithful wife whose life turns into a whirlpool when she finds her secret lover dead on her bed right after having sex.

The second story has a group of students who gather to watch porn only to find that the leading lady in it is the mother of one of the boys.

The third and the most sensitive story has a small kid who is eagerly waiting at the arrival of his father after a long absence. But to his surprise, his father is now a transgender woman.

All these stories then branch out with more engaging subplots until its expository and sometimes philosophical ending about existence and the origin of life, the design pattern and similarity of the universe, solar system and atomic structure of atoms.

But I must admit that the way one subplot unfolded, I wish it was done differently. Nevertheless, the powerful performances kept me glued to the seat. Even its almost three hours running time which again I thought could have trimmed down a little bit, I didn’t mind.

Though all the cast standout, its Vijay Sethupathi as the transgender woman who steals the show. His portrayal of Shilpa is heartfelt and compassionate. The scene where he dresses up in front of his shocked wife Jyothi played wonderfully by Gyathrie is stunning.

Bagavathi Perumal also turns in an outstanding performance as Berlin, a sadistic cop that I wanted to strangle him to death so badly.

But the real star of this film is writer-director Thiagarajan Kumaraja for weaving such an engaging narrative with multiple subplots. And through these subplots, he not only exposed the real problems persisting in Chennai but also India as a whole.

Another striking feature is the cinematography by Nirav Shah and P.S. Vinod. The use of colours, the lighting, the camera shots and movements are exquisite. Even the first scene grabbed my attention that I knew I was going to watch something special.

The original music by Yuvan Shankar Raja added more depth to the unfolding stories evoking sadness, sympathy and menace.

This film is a winner. It is highly recommended.

JERSEY (2019) REVIEW

This heart-wrenching yet deeply satisfying Telugu underdog sports drama kept my floodgates opened long after the end credits rolled. My wife and I kept sobbing loudly.

Arjun, played with restraint and conviction by Nani, is gifted but a down on his luck retired cricketer. When his life hits rock-bottom, he is forced out of retirement, at a cost. But his raison d’etre would never leave a dry eye in the house.

The entire cast hit sixes with their exceptional performances, especially Shraddha Srinath as Arjun’s abandoned wife who carries the burden of supporting the family. Sathyaraj as Murthy who is the long-time mentor and the only person who never stops believing in Arjun. And Ronit Kamra as Arjun’s son who adores his father despite his pitiful struggle to keep his family together.

Anirudh Ravichander hits all the right chords with his engaging music, and the cinematography by Sanu John Varughese adds a solemn depth to the intense drama and the sports sequences.

The screenplay is creatively written by Gowtam Tinnanur, keeping his nonlinear narrative poignant and straightforward. He even hits a biggie out of the stadium with his solid direction.

Highly recommended.

BAVATHI review

First and foremost, I want to congratulate first-time writer-director Ilyaas Waheed for his above par effort to bring a movie not only dealing with an ominous subject but presenting it with such a never before seen visual flair and style. His work as a writer and a director is promising and deeply felt. Our film industry has found a force to be reckoned with.

This film also marks as the first Dhivehi psychological thriller that focuses mainly on the psychosis of the protagonist and delving deep into a few clinical practices used in psychology. It’s a slow burner, though. But once it starts to simmer and comes to a full boil, it’s an experience both spine-chilling and thought-provoking.

The narrative is hard to explain without spoilers. But I say this much, it’s surprisingly imaginative. In most part, there are glimmers of brilliance in Ilyas’ writing and directing. And it’s the way he peels off the narrative layer by layer using beautiful and sometimes creepy visuals mixed with intense drama that stands out. For a first-timer, I say he is impressive.

Nuzhath Shuaib has established herself as one of the most versatile actors in the local film industry today, showing her acting prowess in a vast range of roles. It’s not surprising that she accomplished her stardom in such a short span of time. Here, her performance, which is evenly balanced with restraint and nuance, will put her a notch above the rest. She plays an alienated woman who begins to experience strange occurrences around her once she relocates to Male’ after marrying a fitness trainer she meets from her island.

As the narrative progresses, she keeps raising the level of her performance as her life starts spiralling both physically and mentally to a point where her reality becomes blurry. In some sequences, she made me disconcerting and in one pivotal scene, gasping for air even.

However, its at the climax where she bites to the bone of her meaty role showing her acting brilliance with aplomb. It’s a role that any actor would die for. But she made her performance so convincingly powerful that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in it. I am her biggest fan now.

My admiration goes to all the newcomers in the cast, especially Ahmed Ifnaz Firag and Fathimath Latheefa. The former plays the fitness trainer that Nuzhath marries who is not only sympathetic, he’s likeable and will stop at nothing to protect the love of his life. And the latter plays Nuzhath’s uncompromising mother. For their debut, both give decent performances.

Even though veteran actor Mohamed Rasheed appears briefly, his role is crucial to the narrative and heavily supports the new actors. He gives assurance to them.

One of the highlights and in my opinion, also an essential character in this movie is the visual effects combined seamlessly into the narrative. I applaud Orkeyz, the VFX and the technical team behind this film to bring the unique vision of Ilyas to the screen with such finesse. If my memory serves me right, no other Dhivehi film to date has used visual effects so extensively, if not effectively as this.

Kandi Visan’s cinematography is another plus. The way he has set the mood elevates the mystery and the creepiness around Nuzhath. And the long tracking shots used sparingly are lively and a joy to watch.

Regardless of how much technical effort employed, a film is soulless without music. This is where Mistee, the music composer shines. After a praiseworthy composition for Illnoise, Hahdhu and the recent blockbuster, Gohraalhu, he has done it again. Unlike the previous films, which are of contrasting genres as well, he has composed a piece of brooding and moody music that’s so fitting to the sensitive theme of this film. It’s at times heart-pounding too.

In short, this film shines in all the filmmaking departments. For a film from a first timer, it’s technically good and well-performed by the entire cast with a gripping narrative. Highly recommended.