Yennai Arindhaal- Movie Review by Ram Anand

But, while YA is something we can savour- Gautham might need to thread carefully. Falling back into his regular trappings worked with YA, but it doesn’t always work that way.

THERE IS a certain familiarity about Yennai Arindhaal. In fact, the degree of familiarity is quite high. You’ve seen this before. It’s not original. The only difference is, this is not a remake of any Hollywood flick. This is, in fact, a remake of Gautham Vasudev Menon’s own previous movies, all rolled into one.

48242-BzfHPZssCIAAEys3

YA is all about the “missing” factors. Vaaranam Aayiram is seven years old. Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu, the last good cop-caper Gautham came up with, is ten years old now. While YA brings us to familiar territories, it’s like watching a familiar play that we have not watched for a long time. It’s like going back to watch one of your favourite movies of the past- only that this time, it’s in the theatres, freshly repackaged instead of being relegated to your old DVD copy.

It has also been more than a decade since Ajith Kumar last showed a full range of emotions in his performance. We probably need to turn time around all the way back to Mugavari, back when he was a skinny, boy next door, romantic hero, to have seen him perform with this range and depth. Everything that had come after that, almost everything, was a celebration of his deep, gruff voice, coupled with his machismo factor and his salt and pepper look.

This is all familiar territory- but yet, YA stays with you and wins you over, simply because, Gautham Vasudev Menon is pretty unique. His flair, his style, and his signature is unlike a host of other filmmakers out there. It’s so distinct that one single frame can tell you that you are watching a Gautham film. Because it is only in Gautham’s films that you find this cross-breeder middle class Tamil hero.

Gautham’s heroes are never the lunghi-donning, brash, machete swinging, village ruffian. They are also not the exclusively romantic, I’d do anything for you kind of heroes. His heroes are a marriage of that antiquated Tamil machismo, added with some urban, middle-class treatment, people who are good at what they do- and almost always, grow up through their emotional scars rather than climbing up some corporate ladder.

His heroes never become the most successful people. They are perfectly middle class- like you, me and the person who sits next to us in that cinema. Instead, they strife for the simplicities, to keep a woman happy, to keep a child happy. All that machismo and guns add flavour to the viewing, but it is the distinct handling of human emotions- from the advice of a father to his son to the affection of a father to his daughter, where Gautham thrives.

Because probably there is no other filmmaker who understands the pulse and the emotions of the 70s and 80s babies, many who belong to the urban middle class category. He does it perfectly as he puts a parchment of himself in all those movies he makes. Sometimes, it sounds and feels repetitive. Sometimes, it comes across as a fresh breath of air. On rare occasions like this, it is repetitive but not one to be complained about. It’s that last hurrah for a highly engaging cop trilogy.

Having started with a police story about an officer’s efforts to redeem his kidnapped wife (Kaaka Kaaka), and then having gone to Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu, about an officer who hunts down a serial killer, it is only fitting that Gautham ends his police trilogy with a cop caper that has the narrative of Vaaranam Aayiram, which, in my opinion, was his best piece of work to date.

Telling the life story of a man in an engaging way is a challenge, and here Gautham passes with flying colours. The lack of hangover from his previous films, despite the familiarity, is all down to the leading man- Ajith Kumar. Here, Ajith brings a new level of machismo hitherto unseen of many of Gautham’s previous movies. Probably the only one who matched that level of machismo was Kamal Haasan in VV, but then again the range of Ajith’s performance and the ample space the script provides means that Ajith’s Sathyadev is arguably one of the most well-written singular character in Gautham’s films to date.

The film allows us to see Ajith the cop, Ajith the lover, Ajith the father, Ajith the criminal, and Ajith the man trying to overcome grief. All of them are compelling, and relatable. And like most of Gautham’s heroes, he too lives in a modest crib in an urban setting, trying to make his own sanctuary with the small space available.

And in this day and age when Tamil cinema is riddled with unending chauvinistic portrayal of women in its movies, a GVM movie at any point of time will always bring that freshness- the treatment of the female characters.

And for that to happen merely weeks after Amy Jackson’s body was objectified by every inch for Shankar to make I work, is a refreshing sight. Because, yet again, GVM didn’t need his heroines to don the sexiest of attires or flaunt their assets to make them look attractive.

The fact that Trisha could look so beautiful in just an elaborate saree and a distinctly Tamil look is a testament of how GVM sees his women and how he treats them. While watching all the other “sexy” actresses of South Indian cinema can make the men excited, it is in GVM’s movies that you find female characters that you can fall in love with. There always is an understanding, a reasoning, that you could so relate as to why the male characters in his movies fall in love with the female characters. In the character’s shoes, you’d probably have done the same.

YA’s biggest winning factor is probably its scorching dialogues. Immaculately timed, the dialogues are memorable for both the action sequences and also for the emotional sequences. The way Gautham’s characters always break the ice when it comes to emotions, is a classic expression of an auteur who has made it almost his trademark.

I normally do not rate Harris Jeyaraj highly as a music composer, but his reunion with GVM after seven years is something to savour. Because it is only through GVM’s movies that you see Harris bring his best range to the table- and I have to concede very few compositions this year can top “Unakkena Vennum Sollu”, one of the most poignant songs in recent times.

But, while YA is something we can savour- Gautham might need to thread carefully. Falling back into his regular trappings worked with YA, but it doesn’t always work that way.

When he tried to recreate the Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya effect with Neethane En Ponvasantham within two years of the first film’s release, the hangover was quite bad that a pretty well made film sounded and felt repetitive and didn’t induce a repeat viewing.

Gautham has an admirable touch as a filmmaker. Very few filmmakers are gifted with such touch. A distinct flavour of storytelling, a distinct colour, a distinct shade.

But sticking to the same story formula could also turn people away from the cinemas in the future. Maybe now, Gautham needs to re-discover himself. To keep his midas touch while taking bold risks to venture out and tell a wider range of stories.

GVM’s signature, in recent times, is probably second only to Maniratnam, but while Mani ventured out to experiment with films like Anjali, Kannathil Muthamittal, and Raavan, with one of them becoming a timeless masterpiece (Iruvar), Gautham risks sinking within his own comfort zone and not fulfilling his potential.

Rating: 8.5/10

From Jessie to Priyas- Yearning for liberation

I have in the past championed the cause of more matured female portrayals in the film, and apart from VTV, no other film had the capacity of portraying a very real, next-door female character. But yet while Gautham was consciously trying to break those grounds in this film, he also seems to consciously have some convenient aspects of characterization.

Gautham Vasudev Menon’s Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya has been showered with praises aplenty since the movie hit screens almost one year ago. The film particularly had a personal impact on me, just like how it did on thousands of other Indians who have watched this film the world over.

So I was pretty much unable to pass any in-depth comments when I first watched the film last year when it was fresh in theatres. It wasn’t until a television rerun recently that I chanced upon the movie and managed to watch it fully for a second time, and this time in a more detached manner.

But there was one thing that I agreed with a friend of mine (who is also a cinema connoisseur) when the film was fresh off the oven, and that is VTV (the abbreviation it goes by) is not a better film than Gautham’s previous film Vaaranam Aayiram.

It seemed though that for being more politically correct, VTV earned more approval from elite critics rather than Vaaranam. My friend somewhat unfavorably pointed out that the Indian audiences are so used to larger than life sentiments that they basically never find it appealing when a film tries to glorifies the subdued contribution of a father towards a son’s life. Both Abhiyum Naanum (though this film has a great problem of its own that I’m very critical of) and Vaaranam shared a similar fate in terms of its response from the audiences.

Believe it or not, many people’s grudge with Varanam is one major loophole in the film’s narration, whereby Surya travels to United States to meet his love even though it was well-documented prior that his family is struggling for complete financial liberty.

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya is, in its own right, a well-intentioned, perfectly suave, elegant movie that celebrated the beauty of love, even if the relationship couldn’t have a happy ending. In an industry where our audiences are so used either the fairytale triumph against all odds and barriers, or a rather morbid, blood shed, heartache ending, VTV treads in between both, it’s simply en ending that resonates life’s natural law and beauty.

It’s the kind of attempt that would please any Tamil cinema lover and critic like me, and be embraced with both hands by the same. The film also related greatly to many of the lovers outside there, and thus attained a cult film status.

This is probably owing to the fact that the film is a true story (according to some sources, it is the true story of one of Gautham’s assistants). It related greatly to real life situations, and it beautifully narrated how life sometimes doesn’t let two lovers unite. It is also arguable that Gautham drew inspiration from the cult Hollywood flick 500 days of Summer, which had a similar undertone and capacity of looking at life’s bad endings in beautiful way.

The film’s positives have been waxed lyrical about in the past, so I would not go there for a first. VTV has many positives, but also has its shares of shortcomings.

I have in the past championed the cause of more matured female portrayals in the film, and apart from VTV, no other film had the capacity of portraying a very real, next-door female character.  But yet while Gautham was consciously trying to break those grounds in this film, he also seems to consciously have some convenient aspects of characterization.

In 500 days of Summer for example, the female character isn’t your conventional one. She is deeply flawed, uncertain to a certain extent, very independent, and has been with men before prior to our hero here. In VTV, Trisha is yet another in the long line of heroines in the ‘naan entha ambalai kudayum palaganatha ille’ stereotype. We had had this kind of characterization countless of times in Tamil films, so much that it tires me.

We need to note that most ‘good’ films in this industry are set in rural backdrops, so it’s not often we get gems like VTV. In fact, like some point out, it’s probably the first film since Alaipayuthey to genuinely act as a story about two people. When some films charter the urban territory, filmmakers seem somewhat afraid of portraying the complexity of urban women and the history comes with it.

You have to admit that in the current urbane climate, even in Chennai, the ‘entha ambalai kudayum palaganatha ille’ types are hard to come by. Mani Ratnam’s Meera character from Aayitha Ezhuttu is probably the most in-depth female character in Tamil cinema, and yet it was short-lived.

And of course there is the whole love at first sight aspect. While the film presents itself as being so realistic, the way the two characters fall in love looks a tad out of place, though it can be forgiven thanks to a great song (Hosanna) and subsequent tempo.

Real love hardly happens in a similar way, and there is an element of disconnectedness about the movie there.

Probably I’m setting the bar too high, but it has been some ten years since Alaipayuthey hit the theatres, and we are somewhat at crossroads in terms of developing maturity in our films, and thus it is also a crucial time when our filmmakers can attempt to be a tad more bold. It’s time to push envelopes and test waters. If such hesitancy remains, it might take ten more years before we can take one more step forward, and thus wait ten more years for another genuine love story.

One of the best illustrations of female portrayal in regular Tamil films can be viewed through the films of one of the industry’s most recognized hit directors- Hari.

I had the chance of watching both Vel and Aaru in recent days and it dawned on me pretty quickly that the director’s perception of the female gender and his interpretation of ‘good’ to be as shallow as any.

In both films, one can witness countless of innuendos towards ‘skimpy dresses’ and interpretations that only girls who cover up as considered as ‘good’.

Vel flaunts most of this shallowness, where Surya’s character will charade with ‘pass marks’ for well-clad women while doing his supposedly ‘detective’ job. If that is the requirement in order to evaluate a girl’s ‘goodness’, one doesn’t need to be a detective in order to diagnose that fact. This mentality has already consumed our Indian culture like a vulture and any man with a half-baked brain would tend to make similar judgements when judging which is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ girl.

It certainly doesn’t help that our film condone rather than trying to clamp down on this dangerously consuming mentality.

I don’t need to go very far aback in order to name two films that best epitomize the mentality that clearly exists within the film industry itself when it comes to the male-female dynamism.

As recent as last year, we saw Vishal play a Casanova in Theeratha Vilayattu Pillai. Only in our industry will we witness films desperately trying to glorify a Casanova act as being forgivable, and at the same time the heroine who gets the guy at the end of the film will be well-clad, well-covered homely girl who will forgive and accept because of the genuineness of the Casanova.

If this bias doesn’t convince you, then Manmadhan will. The 2004 film was a runaway hit. The film tries so hard to justify a man’s Casanova murder acts because the girls whom he beds and subsequently kills are ‘bad’ girls who ‘cheat’ on guys.

Let me ask this question- what about the very lead character? He too beds multiple women in order to murder them, what makes his supposed goal and ambition more ‘pure’ than the woman who cheats?

What then about the countless amount of guys (and obviously larger amount) who cheat on their women?

Could a female Casanova a-la Sharon Stone’s Basic Instinct come on the screen, strip, bed, kiss them and later kill this men. Would she be celebrated a-la a hero and have a guy genuinely love her because she is contributing to a pure cause?

Would our audiences make such a film as big a hit a Manmadhan-, which is an immature, shallow, one-sided film, made by a 21-year-old young adult (Simbhu’s age back in 2004) who is probably just bitter about one past failed relationship?

Unless a day comes when we have the maturity to reject an entertaining film because of its blatant chauvinistic attitude, our industry will linger with the same biasness that has haunted us for years.

Obese with Spices

Over the years, we have known Kamal Haasan to be someone of immense ability to act. Some of us acknowledge, although to a lesser extent, that he is a great all-rounder. I personally have been a fan of his screenwriting and directorial abilities. But if there was one important film of his that I somehow managed to miss over the years, it was his 1995 film Sathi Leelavathi.

Sathi Leelavathi is more popular due to the fact that the film was later remade in Hindi as Biwi No.1 (such a catchy title eh?) starring Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor, which in turn, became one of the biggest hits in Bollywood at that time. Having watched Biwi and later recently having watched the original, the least I could say is that the remake is a travesty to the original.

There used to be days when I would ask randomly to my friends what Sathi Leelavathi is about, and the reply I would get is that it is a ‘nice comedy movie’. That’s probably what the Bollywood producers had in their minds when they remade the film, thinking that the film is just a nice comedy movie. How much farther from the truth can they be?

Admittedly the film, many believe is loosely based on the 1989 American comedy She Devil. But frankly, I’m tired of all this nonsense. Just because the film borrows the basic plotline from a Western movie doesn’t make it a bad film.

Take Anbe Sivam for instance- would you dare argue that Planes, Trains and Automobiles (the original upon which Anbe Sivam borrows plot from) is a better film that Kamal’s version? No, by a million miles. Nothing is original in this world, and all of us take inspiration from one thing or another. Just because it isn’t completely original doesn’t mean the film’s quality needs to be disregarded.

And nor did She Devil get anywhere close to Sathi Leelavathi. The writers for this film fabulously lift the Hollywood plotline and transform it into a plot that is relevant to the current Indian society, and by this I do not mean adding fight scenes and masala mixes (like how Shankar borrowed Endhiran’s plotline from Bicentennial Man adding masala elements, and oh, how conveniently did the proud Tamil fans and reviewers ignored THAT fact eh?) but instead making the plotline realistically relevant to the current society.

Sathi Leelavathi, just like many of films which has the brand Kamal attached to it, is an underrated gem.

Consider this few important scenes:

A elderly woman (mami) advises Leelavathi (Kalpana) that even though machines have been invented to do jobs for us in every part of the house, no machine has been invented for one’s bedroom pleasure. She points out boldly to Leelavathi that whilst many women take pains to look after themselves prior to marriage, they leave it all once marriage happens.

This raises such an important issue of the healthy sex life and also takes a swipe at the Indian women’s tendency to put on weight after marriage (which, I believe, is a phenomenon that is hard to miss). It points out Indian women’s lack of understanding regarding the importance of staying fit whilst participating in a healthy sex life in order to prolong the marriage.

The song ‘Marugo’ involving Kamal and Kovai Sarala’s characters healthily depict a couple’s healthy sex life after marriage, and how important they consider sex life to be even though they are now parents to a child who is entering teenhood. Notice also how Kovai Sarala’s character is independent enough on her own even though she came from the village. There is a scene in the climax where she would drive off, leaving Kamal behind, where he would rue why he taught her how to drive.

As it is common in the often-chauvinistic Indian society, the so-called traditional housewives are rarely ever thought how to be independent enough, as it is with the case of Ramesh Aravind and Kalpana’s marriage. This scene shows the other side of the coin, where an educated doctor takes the effort to cultivate his wife into an independent woman. While Kalpana rarely even leaves the house on her own and tends only to housework, Sarala’s character is shown shopping on her own, and also heading to Marudhamalai alone without her husband (during the climax).

There is also that scene where Kalpana confronts Ramesh Aravind for cheating on her. She laments her size, saying that she became fat because she was busy tending to housework all these years, and that she would have kept fit if he had told her that she keeping fit is also important to their married life. She was doing things that she ‘assumed’ would be important for him and would make him happy, only to see him get involved with a younger, good-looking woman mainly for sexual satisfaction. This scene depicts another element that is lacking in many traditional marriages, communication. A guy can’t expect a woman to take care of his parents, children, and home hygiene while staying fit at the same time. It is important to communicate and indicate what are the expectations for such marriages from the beginning.

There is also a scene where Kalpana will coldly generalize men, by saying men would feel okay if they were to cheat and find pleasure elsewhere, but it would pain them to see the woman they are involved with be with another man. Well, this phenomenon is not something new isn’t it? It exists till today in this society. Like the famous saying goes, there is a word for ‘bitch’, but there isn’t a word for manwhores.

Subsequently, in another scene, Priya’s lover Raju would say that he is ready to accept Priya back if she repents on her mistakes. He remarks that just like how Leelavathi is accepting enough to get back her husband even he had slept with Priya, the same applies for Raju. Such characters, I would boldly say, are a rarity in our society. Men who would admit and swear by equality are hard to find, let alone men who are accepting enough of loved ones.

‘Love is about accepting one’s flaws’- one particular dialogue in the film would say.

When I finished watching Sathi Leelavathi, I knew people were wrong to call it a ‘nice comedy movie’, but instead it is a socially important film with a very important message that we often tend to ignore.

This brings us to my new bone of contention, Manmadhan Ambu. It is no secret that whilst the film wasn’t a flop, they are many who are not satisfied with the movie because they consider it not to be funny enough. And some say the comical second half breaks off the good first half.

MMA carried with it similar marbles like the film I talked about earlier. The entire Kamal Kavidhai portion neatly describes men-women expectation and bias that is so prominent in today’s society.

There is the opening scene of the movie when Madhavan would suspect Trisha of two-timing him, and would ask her why is there an interconnecting door between her and Surya’s caravan. She would retort by saying ‘for the same reason there is a button on my blouse and a zip on his pants, for convenience’s sake’.

Have we ever come across such mature dialogues in Tamil cinema before?

When Urvashi tells Kamal of Ramesh Aravind’s health status, Kamal sits at the middle of a road in Paris and says ‘nadutheruvile nikuren maa’ (I’m standing in nobody’s land, symbolizing that he is hapless in the situation)

Notice also the lyrics of the song Dhagudhu Dhattam:

Dei Paanakara, Kozhi Thotta Sami Ke Enna Dhaanam Pannare,

Dei Paanakara, Ira Vakil Caaril Poi Beeram Pannare.

(Hey rich man, you are donating money to a priest who has touched the chicken (priests are supposed to vegetarians and clean people, implying corrupted priests who feast upon flesh)

Hey rich man, you travel in a posh car and you negotiate prices with a poor man

(In Kamal’s own words, when a rich man is renovating his house, he would opt for marble flooring. He would be ready to pay the money no matter how much the contractor quotes the price. The same rich man later can be seen at a wet market, fervently negioating the price of a vegetable- which would cost him peanuts anyway. It tells of the hypocrisy among the upper middle class in India)

But then again, if Kamal were to make a movie entirely of these marbles, would the masses be satisfied? It’s fair to say the man has taken enough financial battering whenever he dared to be different (see Hey Ram, Anbe Sivam, and Kurudhi Punal, all arguably his best films). The masses have indicated they needed laughter, and he inserted them towards the end of the story.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand a great story and a laugh-riot at the same time. Watch boss Boss Engira Baskaran if you want the latter. Obviously that film didn’t have a story. MMA, just like Sathi Leelavathi, had a story, a very solid story. Both tackled important issues. But as usual, Tamil cinema fans, like they have done so many times before, have missed the whole point.

Movies like Endhiran, despite giving financial ‘thonti gahanapathigal’ (bellies), will not carry the cinema industry forward all on its shoulders. For all of its graphical glory, Endhiran is not the ‘mature’ movie that we really need to make the world take our industry seriously.

Hollywood has had their shares of Terminators and RoboCops, why would they consider Endhiran a threat, or even an effort on par? The Kollywood obsession with getting ‘on-par’ with Hollywood will get us virtually nowhere.

We were too busy looking for telling movie, but like the famous saying goes, what you were looking for all along usually is what you failed to see in front of your eyes. Catch some of Kamal Hassan’s films on telly sometime and bother to open up your brains and hearts and intellectuality while paying attention to details.

You will realize, what gems were we looking for? We have had movies that proved we can take a Hollywood movie and do a remake that is even miles better than the original (Anbe Sivam). We have great movies that weave fiction into reality (Hey Ram). We have had movies that tackle the demon-god realm of the human mind (Raavanan). But we didn’t see?

We don’t need 300 obscene fat crores to make the world notice us. Even 4 crores is enough. But the problem is, we, like a greedy fat man who can’t look beyond his belly to see his own feet, can’t seem to see our own completeness as an industry.

That’s not victory, that’s failure.

What you think is just a nice comedy movie might very well have been the best quality film you have seen. Only if, you actually understand what quality means in the first place.

Manmadhan Ambu – Movie Review

Known for delivering laugh-riot hits such as Avvai Shamugi, Panchathanthiram, and Thenali, Kamal Haasan and KS Ravikumar have both teamed up for the fifth time, though this time they have returned to the light-veined rom-com genre after the heavy, yet below-par Dasavatharam.

I was among one of many who wailed in agony about Kamal’s decision to stick with KSR for Dasa a couple of years back. A script that was potentially worth weighing in gold seemingly got lost in translation as KSR was caught out of his depth trying to direct an utterly intelligent, meaningful movie.

The heavy dose of humor in Dasa literally saved the film from being a sinking ship, since it got the important elements all wrong. Dasa was not supposed to be a comedy film and yet it looked like one. And that’s a cardinal sin.

So I was questioning Kamal’s decision to go back to KSR instead of reviving his home production Marmayogi. I had taken Unnaipol Oruvan as the ‘light’ film Kamal often does after a heavy one a-la Dasa. I was not expecting another light venture from him, even though judging by the budget allocated for this flick it was anything but light.

MMA starts by piloting straight to the point. You get introduced to vital characters and one important element of the plot that would resurface later on flashes by without any time wasting. From there on, the story flows seamlessly.

Here is the crux of the story:

Madanagopal (R. Madhavan) is the ever-suspicious lover of Ambujakshi (Trisha), a film actress who goes by the pseudonym Nisha. After he suspects her having an affair with fellow actor Suriya, Ambu requests that her marriage with Madan be put on hold until she completes all her film commitments.

Some three years later, Ambu is on cruise ship touring Europe along with her childhood friend Deepa (Sangeetha), a divorcee and a mother of two.

Wanting to get her mind off her ever-possessive fiancée and decides to make this a get-away trip. However, Madan hires Major R. Mannar (Kamal Haasan), a retired army officer, to spy on Ambu during the trip.

But the turn of events soon bring Ambu and Mannar together, at the same time Mannar spins a lie in a desperate attempt to save his ailing friend Rajan (Ramesh Aravind)

One important factor of MMA is that the pace of the film is maintained throughout. Characters aren’t just thrown into a comedic mix like in the previous comedy films by Kamal and KSR, but instead Kamal, through his script, takes time to develop each character, and even the character charade is much smaller than the ones that came in his previous films.

Kamal as usual sleepwalks in his role as the charming, yet grieving Major. In the span of one song, he evokes sympathy for the man who had lost his wife. Every twitch of muscle in his face conveniently portrays emotion, and he doesn’t need too many scenes to move you.  Trisha is a fresh breeze in what is, in my opinion, her career-best performance. She is very likeable as Ambu and you end up wishing the real-life actresses did have another side to their character, like one that Ambu has.

Madhavan’s role looks like an extension to his role as the jerk of a lover in Jhootha Hi Sahi, and he delivers plenty of laughter with his dialogue delivery as the drunkard.

Sangeetha completely steals the show in almost all the comedic parts, especially in the climax. Ramesh Aravind’s shaven head itself evokes sympathy as he plays a cancer patient. Usha Uthup exudes a kind of coldness never seen before in mother roles.

However, there are myths that need to be solved about MMA. The film isn’t an out and out comedy, and there are actually more scenes that will try to bring tears to your eyes than ones that will make you laugh. In contrast to all other comedies, the love track is given importance in this film and Kamal takes his sweet time to develop the love story.

Even at 56, Kamal still manages to create chemistry between him and Trisha. But the film stands out because the story is realistic, and doesn’t proceed at any knee-jerk manner like many laugh riots do. The film doesn’t try to be a comedy; Kamal and KSR allow the story to take precedence over the laughter effect.

That said, MMA is technically superior to any movie Kamal and KSR have ever done together to date.

Hollwyood rom-coms have always been the flavor of lovers who go for such rom-coms so that they can relax. If you are looking for a rom-com in the Tamil language, you might not be able to exactly find one such film with the exception of MMA. That pretty much defines what the film is all about.

MMA is Kamal’s treat for Christmas. And yes, you do feel the cupid’s arrow in the film. I do not know why the naysayers of the film look for a ‘comedy’ flick. The film’s title is cupid’s arrow, and that is exactly what you will find here. Go for the cupid’s arrow and you won’t be disappointed.

The film is an absolute whiff of fresh air.

But that said, Kamal is too good to be doing these movies. This is good entertainment, but as a fan, I’d love to see him do a Marmayogi soon.

Kamal Kavidhai lyrics translation in English

Kamal Kavidhai (Kamal Hassan’s poem) from the film Manmadhan Ambu.

Deciphering this poem was no easy task, the translation appeared thanks to efforts from from KL, Sungai Petani, and Rantau (if I’m not mistaken). Kamal would have been so proud to have seen such effort to decipher his poetry.

Thanks Rathi and Thiviya. And thanks Kamal for the poem and the courage to write a poem regarding an issue so taboo, and above all thanks to me, cause this is the FIRST translation on net!

A man’s warning to another man about a woman:

If she looks straight into your eyes,

She has no dignity, so beware;

Did she hold hands with you in an instant?

She is a (bitch); beware,

If she talks aplenty while undressing,

She has plenty of experience (on bed); beware,

If she talks aplenty after intercourse,

She might fall in love with you; so beware

If she speaks of literature and poems,

She is one who will have no respect for money; so beware

Does she say she loves being with you and wants to remain with you?

That’s definite trouble; beware.

A woman’s desire on all this perceptions:

Just like how you wait for the seeds to grow after you plough,

Treat lust just as such, Reap it only when the time is Ripe;

If being together is the only purpose of all,

Lust can wait to be secondary;

Do not think too much about what women think about you,

Take life as it comes your path,

Men and women are like the dice,

It goes either way; There is no superiority,

In an act as bygone as lust,

Assure that love doesn’t get mixed into it;

A woman’s prayer to song to Varalakshmi (Kamal recites):

I want a husband, With white perfect teeth,

Who will whisper slowly into ears after intercourse,

And gently bite my neck,

I want a husband,

Who smells like a baby, sans any smell in his mouth,

I want a husband, who after intercourse,

Stays back and helps me wash off the acts of lust,

And not be disgusted by it;

I want a husband;

Who will help me while I’m cooking;

I want a husband,

Who will provide me with a shoulder to lie on;

At times when I want release my anger,

He should have a chest as strong as rock to take my hits;

But beyond that chest, I want a soft, compassionate heart,

I want him to have a head with big brains;

I want him to have loads of savings in his bank account;

And plenty of money to live life with;

I want loyalty, I want devotion;

At times when I demand for my own freedom,

I want him to have the presence of mind to grant me my freedom;

So that I’ll get a husband as such,

I prayed for nine days; (Navarathri),

And I went searching for the one believing that my Varalakshmi will grant my wishes;

(To the beach)

As I placed my feminine steps on the beach and walked,

I saw men with big fat bellies walking the beach;

I saw saints,

Who gave up all their posessions, and submitted themselves to the will of God;

(naked, sans property of clothes)

Who were sleeping on bed with naked women;

I saw my elder sister’s husband;

Even though he fits most of my criterias;

At moments when my sister is not around;

He desires for a (keep, extra marital fling);

I stopped caring about religion and race,

And I searched everywhere;

But I realized men with husband material are a rarity in the marriage market;

I ask my Varalakshmi again;

From you I asked a wish to be granted;

I shall ask you Varalakshmi;

How did you find your husband?

How far did your wishes come true as far as your husband is concerned?

How is your man, whom I can only see lying down all the time?

(Referring to Lord Vishnu)

All the stories that are told about your husband,

All the tales;

Did they happen for real?

Does any woman, you (Varalakshmi) included, ever get the husband who fits all the criteria?

If it really came true for you, you are truly lucky;

If as such; do give similar luck in finding,

Sri Varalakshmi Namostutey.