Tag Archives: Baasha

Asuran Review

Asuran Review – Asuran is a Tamil crime thriller released in 2019. When powerful landlords in the village, try to overpower the poor farmers to take over the land, the family of Sivasami doesn’t budge and the following events turn into an endless revenge saga between families.

I always wish that Indian directors make movies on already written material than trying to create material on their own every time. Director Vetrimaaran has taken a step if followed by other fellow directors in this country could change the landscape of Indian Cinema in a positive way. Kudos to him for making a movie based on a novel Vekkai by Poomani. This makes the content very rich, characterization very deep-rooted and overall movie a very engaging one.

I haven’t read the novel so I may not be able to comment on how much true to the book the movie has been. My analysis is mostly on the structure of the movie. The structure of the screenplay is much akin to the structure of the cult classic commercial movie Baasha. Due to the rural treatment and the message in the movie, it also resembles Devar Magan in many ways. An innocent protagonist, who doesn’t raise voice against atrocities has a dark past in which he is akin to a menacing Villain, the secret breaks right at the interval block and then dwells into the past to establish the gory side of the protagonist, coming back to the present to close the proceedings. While many directors have tried to emulate the success of these movies have miserably failed, Vetrimaaran banked on the content which eventually created a successful product.

I was very intrigued by the fact of the choice of the name Asuran. In Hindu mythology, the Asuras were always looked down upon by the Devas and were constantly at war between each other. Devas also made peace with Asuras whenever they needed some work to be done with them like in the case of churning the ocean to create Amruth. In the movie too, the landlord keeps a good pact with Dhanush till he is preparing liquor that helps his business grow. It is only later he realizes where his real place is and things change. Even the scenes involving the insult of the upper cast before women, the insult he takes for her laughing and the way he avenges for it are all in correlation to the Deva and Asura wars. In that way, it is a befitting the title.

The characters are sketched well. Although Dhanush becomes of prime importance in the second half, other characters still have a convincing life cycle. It is nice to see Pasupathi and Prakash Raj on screen after a while. The choice of Manu Warrier to play Dhanush wife as well is a great choice. She has a lot more scope in the first half of the movie.

The locations in which the movie is shot adds a more convincing tone to the whole narration. In particular, the forest sequences are taken very well. The background score is the soul of the movie and GV Prakash has done a phenomenal job in scoring the BGM.

High Points – Strong content, Interval Block, background score, depth of characters, visuals of the forest sequence, action blocks, raw treatment

Low Points Too much violence might not appeal to everyone.

Overall Asuran is a very well made commercial crime thriller. It has all the ingredients that would keep you glued to the chair until the end and leave you with a powerful message. It is now available in Amazon Prime.

Must Watch

Petta Review

Petta Review – Petta is a Tamil action drama released in 2019. Kaali an elderly man joins as a temporary hostel warden in an arts college. There seems to be a hidden agenda behind his move which forms the core plot of Petta.

Petta, a fanboy film of Rajnikanth works its magic in bringing back many nostalgic memories of Rajnikanth movies in terms of shots, action blocks and situations. One big thing that it misses out is on the emotional connection to the character played by Rajnikanth on screen. Barring that it is an out and out entertainer. Like as in flashback sequences for Shankar, twists have become the regular feature in director Karthik Subburaj’s films. Personally, for me, the twists haven’t worked while it seems to have worked with many audiences. The twist of the tale in Jigarthanda and Pizza too did not work for me.

Petta’s first half is a wholesome entertainer, it has comedy, love, action sequences, songs, Thalaivar Swag all making it very enjoyable. The second half narrates an entirely a different story on a different canvas, that almost makes the first half irrelevant to the whole plot. The high orchestration builds up music is generously used in the second half BGM that might have worked well for the first day first show crowd but becomes cloying and making the climax appear to be elongated one. As it has been touted to be the second Baasha of sorts, I can’t resist doing a comparison to the old cult classic which again portrayed a dark side of Rajnikanth. But the first half characters lead back into the flashback as well and when the story connects back all of them are still relevant. That made you connect with the purpose of the lead character. That missed in Petta.

Besides the flaws, Petta is still a well made Tamil film that has many brilliant portions that would make you watch it again. First and foremost is the villaneous avatar of Rajnikanth and he plays it with so much ease and brings a terror on the screen as he gets involved in fights. It was refreshing to see Simran on screen after a long time. You just wished she had more screen time. Nawazuddin is the ideal choice for the Villain, the role is tailor made for him and he plays it to perfection. If you remove the fan flair of Petta, there is a raw gangster tale beneath it, that seems to be a very powerful one and left unexploited for the want of a breezy first half.

High Points: Rajni’s presence, the interval block, entertaining first half, the market fight scene, a Flashback sequence, inclusion of Simran

Low Points: Overuse of the build-up BGM, Twist after twist just for the sake of it

Overall, Petta is a true fanboy flick that captures all fanboy moments in a Rajni film. Lack of emotional connection to the main character makes it fall short of being a milestone movie. Yet there is lots to look for in Petta.

Worth a Watch

Theri Review

Theri Review – Theri is a Tamil action film released in 2016. Joseph Kuruvilla lives with his daughter in a remote Kerala Village. He always stays away from fights or disputes. But circumstances lead him to pick up a tiff with the local don and in the course his original identity Vijaykumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police  is exposed.

Vijay has gone back to his comfort zone after his experimentation with fantasy adventure Puli. This time, he has joined hands with director Atlee after his successful first venture Raja Rani. When a successful filmmaker gets to direct a successful mass hero there is a huge burden to please the fans of the star. Only a few directors like Shankar, Mani Ratnam have been able to stay focused on the script and deliver an appealing product both to the fans and general audience. Atlee doesn’t fall into that category. He has struggled to find his story in the commercial entertainer. In the end, it happens to be an out and out Vijay’s mass masala movie which has all the minimum guarantee elements for success but would be a forgettable one in the long run.

The movie reminds one of many blockbusters in Kollywood and Hollywood. It has influence from Baasha. Baasha seems to be a milestone for Kollywood like how The Godfather is for Hollywood. It is still inspiring movie makers. Then there are influences from Yennai Arindhal and the directors own Raja Rani and finally, there are glimpses of The Dark Knight Trilogy. In the scenes which mimic the dark knight movies, you will find Vijay modulating his voice as well like Batman :). If you have seen all these movies and is not a Vijay fan then you won’t find anything appealing in the movie.  If you are an ardent Vijay fan then there are more opportunities for you to whistle throughout.

For me, the best part of the movie is the romance portion between Vijay and Samantha. It does bring a different face of Vijay which we don’t get to see much. He tries to be a hero who can also cry just out of emotion. That’s new for a mass hero movie. The comedy during these portions has also turned out well. Where he describes the outcome of the fight before fighting is definitely enjoyable. Atlee’s core strength is in this area which he had utilized well in Raja Rani. Mottai Rajendran has a new role of being a sidekick to the heroes previously in Vedalam and now in Theri. I personally would like to see him as a fearsome Villain or in comic roles like Ghost Gopal Varma than seeing him flattering the hero. The biggest surprise of the movie is Director Mahendran donning the role of the Villain. Years of experience is seen in his acting. I would have loved a build-up portion for the villain rather than him just jumping in and only targeting Vijay.

High Points: The romance portion between Vijay and Samantha, Visuals and production quality, Comedy sequences in the flashback, Director Mahendran playing Villain.

Low Points: The overall movie might only appeal to hardcore Vijay fans as they have been generous in creating masala elements.

Overall Theri is created to appeal to the Vijay fans worldwide. It just increases Vijay’s mass masala template movies by one rather than standing out. If you are not a Vijay fan then you can watch it when played on TV.

Wait for DVD/TV



Money Shot

Money Shot

In this week’s Friday Fundas I chose to discuss an interesting part in a movie or something the producers look for in a script. This is called Money shot or a Payoff shot.

Originally the money shot was a term referred to the shots for which maximum money was spent. This term was mainly used in the pornographic movies. However later this term was used for mainstream genre of movies and also changed its meaning to relate to the shot in a movie which had the most commercial value of the movie. This is the shot after seeing which the audience says “Paisa vasool” (worth the money spent). This has also become a standard practice when reviewing a script the producers look for the money shot which usually is the most dramatic part of the movie. This need not be restricted to the shots with the greatest special effects. Also this shot need not occur in the climax of the movie.

Jake jumps on to Toruk and connects his mind to it to become Toruk Makto
Jake jumps on to Toruk and connects his mind to it to become Toruk Makto

Let us look at some of the examples, in the English movie Avatar the sequence in which Jake connects his mind to the Toruk is the most high point of the entire narration and this would be the money shot of the movie in my opinion.

The bomb scene in the movie swordfish
The bomb scene in the movie swordfish

In the English movie swordfish the bomb blast scene is a very well shot scene and it is the money shot of the movie.

Skydiving scene in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Skydiving scene in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

This also applies to Indian movies as well. In the Hindi movie Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara the sky diving scene of the 3 friends is the money shot of the movie.

Baasha Medical College scene
Baasha Medical College scene

In the Tamil movie Baasha the medical college sequence is the money shot of the movie. This shot occurs in the first half of the movie. This does not have any great visual effects but the high point in utilizing the potential of the star value of Rajinikanth makes this one the money shot of the movie.

Identifying your money shot in the movie is very much important. Every successful movie has a money shot, but every movie with a money shot need not be successful as the success depends on the entire movie and the money shot being the highest point of the movie which elates the audience.

Friday Fundas: Interval in Movies

Interval in Movies

The recent Tamil movie Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam covered many aspects of Indian Cinema and there was an interesting piece on Interval blocks in Indian Cinema. The movie mentioned in this context was a Tamil movie Namma Veetu Deivam released in 1970. The husband (Muthuraman) kills his wife (K R Vijaya) in the outskirts of his village and returns home. As he approaches the door he finds his wife open the door and is shell shocked. This is where the interval break is. This raised some thoughts around interval breaks in cinema and how they have influenced the grammar of script writing.

In the Initial years all movies across the world had Interval breaks. The reason was the operator needed time to change the reels in the projector. In the modern days with the advancement in film and projection technology this time is non-existent. However the concept of Intermission or Interval break for 10 – 15 minutes is still prevalent in Indian movies and possibly Italian movies. Also in early days as the film roles were expensive two theaters could screen the same movie with a time difference and exchange the reels during the breaks. The reason it is continued still is for commercial reason. The break is an opportunity to attract the audience to the snacks counter and increase revenue.

Though the reason is commercial it has a heavy influence in the script writing for Indian cinema. The structure of the screen play is not the traditional 3 act structure but has an interval block in it making it a 5 act structure where the interval block is one of the peak points of the build-up phase and post the interval there is a revised context leading to the climax. The script writers make the interval block with high impact to raise the interest levels of the audience.

Let us look at some of the high impact interval blocks in Indian Cinema.

3 idiots
3 idiots

In the movie 3 Idiots the two guys go in search of their closest friend after years of graduation. As they reach the town where he lives in which is exactly at the midpoint of the movie they find an entirely different person in the name of their friend and they are also shocked to see their own photographs with this new person.


In the Tamil blockbuster Baasha, Rajnikanth is introduced as an auto driver who stays away from violence and undergoes torturous punishments to save his loved ones. But around the interval block when his brother and sisters are in danger we see him beating up the bad guys and it is revealed that he is a terrific don who is in hiding, his soft voice turns into a commanding voice that echoes through the hall “Naan oru thadava sonna… nooru thadava sonna mathiri…” (If I say it once its equivalent of saying it 100 times) It is one of the most powerful interval block for a Rajnikanth starrer.


In the Tamil movie Earem the first half has a series of murders happening and at the interval block it is revealed the murders are being committed by the ghost of the ex-girlfriend of the investigating cop. When I was in the theater watching this movie during the break a kid sitting in the cinema hall exclaimed with excitement “Wow! This is a ghost movie…” Interval blocks should contain such an excitement. The recent blockbuster Jigarthanda also had a very dramatic interval block.
While interval block is significant part of a script sometimes over hyping it has a danger of spoiling the movie. When the audience is left with a high expectation and they are down in the second half, the movie would fail. That’s where the audiences say only the first half of the movie was good. In general in a good script the tempo of second half of the script is higher than the tempo set at the interval block.