Drenched In Love

Given the sheer number of love stories that we have had in cinema, it makes us wonder how a film is going to present it differently. That presentation is what makes 96 special. It shows us a love story that has moments which are universally relatable. And, this is one film that is beautiful in many ways. That includes the performances, direction, writing, cinematography and of course, the music. It makes me wonder how this film would have played out if it had a mediocre soundtrack since the work by Govind Vasantha is sheer brilliance. What makes this film stand out against others from the same ilk, is the way a lot of emotions are underplayed. This gives it a more realistic feel. Prem Kumar’s skill lies in the way he never lets anything delve into melodramatic territory. The impact of the scenes is felt on the audience and is not forced by the characters.

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Is the film without flaws? No, it does have some issues with pacing especially in the second half. Apart from that, there is nothing wrong with the film as such. The motivations and decisions of the characters may be something that you do not agree with, but that is another debate altogether. The best thing about 96 is that it made me feel a wide range of emotions. Some of them felt good while others were not as good, a little bit like love I guess. Tamil cinema over the past few years, has been giving many examples that it can tell stories of different genres in a different way and 96 is yet another step in that direction. At the end of the film, I felt happy. This is the feeling you have when you have seen good cinema. When the sun peeks out after it has rained and the world is drenched in this golden awesomeness, that is how I felt when the screen cut to black. I hope that makes sense.

Until next time, bye.

Back To The Future

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS NO SPOILERS

There is a particular feeling that I get whenever I watch a Mani Ratnam film. I guess it could be described as contentment. But it does not stop there as it goes on to spark this discussion within myself and with others. I want to talk about the various aspects of the film and that for me is the hallmark of a film by the master. As for Chekka Chivantha Vaanam, there is a lot to talk about. It ranges from the technical details to the scenes that made it and some that should have made it. But one thing was clear to me seeing the film, this is Mani Ratnam reinventing himself. Even a filmmaker as famed as himself is not above criticism and there were a few aspects that I did not like about his previous film. To see him go in a more commercial vein, feels exhilarating. This is his way of showing that he can make a film that is more crowd pleasing and yet have his own flourishes in them.

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As for the film, this is one of the more intriguing films that Mani Sir has made since the turn of the millennium. I read a review that said the film would have worked better if it had been made in two parts and I’m inclined to agree with that line of thought. These characters are fascinating from the outset, so it would have been nice to explore them a little more. It is to the credit of the screenplay that we are left wanting more. The film manages to feel like both a throwback to the Nayagan and Thalapthi days but it feels fresh. If this is the direction that Mani Ratnam is going to go in, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

PS: It is genuinely heartening to see this crimson sky turn into box-office gold.

Until next time, bye.