Looking Back at 2016 – Tamil Favorites of the Year

When I was done jotting down my list of my 20 best Tamil films of 2016, all I could see was the astounding amount of mediocrity and missed opportunities which hit Kollywood. The year had a lot of scope and whacky material, but unfortunately, very few directors were able to hold on to the core concept without succumbing to commercial compromises or stale storytelling. However, here is my list of the best Tamil films of 2016, ranked according to how memorable my film viewing experience was. Read on,

visaranai1

1) Visaaranai

High: On-the-face, ruthless assemblage of truths and reality.

Low: Nothing, barring minor niggles with the continuity.

2) Irudhi Suttru

High: Hardcore team effort, led by the performances.

Low: Slight rush in the second half.

3) Sethupathi

High: Best mass moments in a cop film since Singam in 2010.

Low: More family bonding than its need.

4) Aandavan Kattalai

High: Screenplay of the year.

Low: Dialogue-oriented proceedings occasionally get a little monotonous.

5) Appa

High: Striking dialogues and situational storytelling.

Low: Preachy!

6) Metro

High: Unbelievable level of detailing from a debutant.

Low: Heavy load of violence.

Dhanush-Trisha-Kodi-Movie-High-Quality-Stills-12.jpg

7) Kodi

High: Great mix of politics and entertainment. Dhanush, wow.

Low: Needed more energy.

8) Kathakali

High: Twists galore. And yes, amazing night cinematography.

Low: First 30 minutes.

9) Ammani

High: Never goes over-the-top.

Low: Slow-paced.

10) 24

High: Hollywood range technical standard.

Low: The inconsistent screenplay lacked fire.

11) Maaveeran Kittu

High: Brave take on caste discrimination.

Low: Becomes a social activist docu-drama in the second half.

12) Oru Naal Koothu

High: Lovely shades of romance and relationships.

Low: Unwanted tangles at the end.

cpe7wlsw8aantyi

13) Dharmadurai

High: Fabulous display of family dynamics.

Low: Little bit of a TV serial feel.

14) Thozha

High: A honest remake, with bright visuals.

Low: The Telugu feel was unavoidable.

15) Picchaikaaran

High: What a story.

Low: Over-dramatic maybe?

16) Uriyadi

High: Memorable action scenes.

Low: Budget issues.

17) Joker

High: The impactful second half.

Low: The watery first half.

18) Kutrame Thandanai

High: The climax reveal, where the title makes sense.

Low: Content wise small, should have been an extended short.

19) Zero

High: Writing was just at another level.

Low: Lost the believability factor in the second half.

20) Iru Mugan

High: Vikram, visuals.

Low: Lost the opportunity to crack some wholesomely exciting scenes.

 

Justu Missu: Theri, Kidaari, Accham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada, Chennai 28-II, Velainu Vandhutta Vellakaaran.

 

PS: I feel gutted to miss out the hugely raved Dhuruvangal 16 from this list, but unfortunately, the film has not made it to Dubai and hence I could not see it. There are a few more films such as Pazhaya Vannarapettai that I have missed, so it’s natural that you would not see them on this list.

Looking Back at 2015: Favorite Tamil Songs of the Year

As much as 2015 was a good year for the debutante directors, the younger musicians rose up to the occasion and made a mark. Flying through the ARRs and the HJs, there were a pack of composers who served some gems. Down below is the list of my twenty favorite songs of the year. Read on, and see if your favorite made the cut.

Before we get onto that, a special mention to two composers in Hip Hop Tamizha (duo) and Ghibran. While the former struck gold with their foot-tapping tunes and swaggy BGM, Ghibran carved out memorable music through three albums for the Ulaganayagan. Out of the trio, Uttama Villain stood out for me. His diversity and levels of experimentation took me by surprise, making it my album of the year. The songs weren’t radio-friendly, but they sure did make heads turn. In return, I haven’t placed any of Uttama Villain’s music in the 20+5, as it is something special beyond all those listed below. I have also kept away from the year-end releases such as Thaara Thappatai, Kathakali and Gethu since I’ll be giving them some more time before taking a final call.

  1. Thangamey – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan – Anirudh Ravichander

If you’d ask me to pick one song out of the year’s enormously huge list, it would be Thangamey. After taking some stick for his familiarity and youth-centered music, Anirudh bashed all the negativity away with this highly inventive track. Those violin synths along with the extremely peculiar tune made it a song which I still haven’t drawn out of my playlist.

 

  1. Unakenna Venum Sollu – Yennai Arindhaal – Harris Jayaraj

Right on the first day of the year, Harris Jayaraj bestowed this absolute beauty upon us. It is not easy to say no to this heartening composition, which also works thanks to Thamarai’s gentle lyrics and Benny Dayal’s wondrous job on the mic.

 

  1. Aye Sinamika – OK Kanmani – AR Rahman

If AR Rahman is all about slow poison, Aye Sinamika would be the best example to enlighten that. Though I found it a pedestrian track on first listens, I was unusually dragged to it after watching the film. The way it jogs towards the end still gets me high.

 

  1. Donu Donu Donu – Maari – Anirudh Ravichander

Anirudh waving his magic wand again. In the peppiest song of the year, he seamlessly blended together some local lyrics and a heavily addictive techno beat. And Alisha Thomas, she was the icing on the cake.

 

  1. Yeya Yen Kotikaara – Papanasam – Ghibran

Truly doesn’t take much time for Ghibran to engulf you with his achingly pleasant melodies. It really jolts me as to how simple he keeps his interludes and rhythms and still belts out lilting, memorable music. This song in particular, inherits the accent and the aura of the film to deliver a soothing product.

 

  1. Mora Saiyya – Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam – Amrit

2015 gave us a promising composer in the form of Amrit, whose Maalai Nerathu Mayakkam still stands as a grossly underrated album. In Mora Saiyya, the composer proficiently blends a simple melody with a high point that’s arguably instilling.

 

  1. Naanal Poovai – Kirumi – K

K is another unnoticed composer in the Tamil scene. His music might not be as diverse as you want it to be, but he makes sure that he has some gems in his discography. Naanal Poovai is one of those songs where a concoction of randomness ends up impressing totally.

 

  1. Eppo Varuvaaro – Oru Naal Koothu – Justin Prabhakaran

When most of the other composers were busy shouting out their rather average soundtracks, Justin Prabhakaran quietly delivered a stunning album in Oru Naal Koothu. Though every song is special here, Eppo Varuvaaro emerges out thanks to the wonderful recreation of one of the most mellifluous devotional songs in history.

 

  1. Innum Enna Azhage – Yatchan – Yuvan Shankar Raja

In an album packed with exciting, fast-paced numbers, Yuvan Shankar Raja revisited his olden days with Innum Enna Azhage. The violin bits are what will stay with you, even if you’ve not heard the song since you first listened to it.

maxresdefault

  1. Kannala Kannala – Thani Oruvan – Hip Hop Tamizha

As I said it above, Hip Hop Tamizha are undoubtedly one of the best things to happen to Tamil cinema in 2015. In their most successful soundtrack of the year, they came up with this lovely melody which went places on the charts.

 

  1. Vaaya En Veera – Kanchana 2 – Leon James

Though this was one of Leon’s first songs, the fact that it was brought to the limelight is a happy one. Shaktisree Gopalan’s flawless vocals are the USP here, with the minimalistic orchestration giving her maximum space to spread her wings.

 

  1. Naane Varugiren – OK Kanmani – AR Rahman

This in my view, is the best female rendition of the year. Shashaa Tirupati proving her worth so early in her career, ably supported by Satyaprakash who almost pushes her off the stage with just a handful of lines.

 

  1. Hey Umayaal – Urumeen – Achu

Another one of those instantly likable songs which come forward to prove that all you need is a talented vocalist and one catchy hook.

 

  1. Kuiyyo Muiyyo – Eetti – GV Prakash

GVP loves his dubstep. From a small portion in Udhayam NH4 to his elaborate background scores in Gangs of Wasseypur, he has always been experimenting with the transformer noises. In Kuiyyo Muiyyo, he waits for a while and then strikes hard, quite an experimental number this.

 

  1. Piravi – Masss – Yuvan Shankar Raja

I really didn’t expect Yuvan to pick Vaikom Vijaylakshmi when I saw the tracklist of Masss. But little did I know he had a track tailor-made for her to come and stamp her class with. Lovable visuals too.

 

  1. Neeye Unakku Raja – Thoongavanam – Ghibran

Kamal Haasan and his modulations, just wow. The song might not stay with you for long, but it surely does have its moments and a fun-filled making video.

 

  1. Vaada Vaa Machi – Demonte Colony – Keba Jeremiah

This is my party song of the year. Trippy to the core!

 

  1. Kannane Kanne – Naanum Rowdy Dhaan – Anirudh Ravichander

That time of the year, where Anirudh did a Santosh Narayanan. Sean Roldan totally owned this track with his unique vocals. Repeat worthy material.

 

  1. Ambane – Asurakulam – Sathya C

Sathya C bringing out his classy side to towering results. Sadly in this industry, you have to come out in the open and promote your work to make it visible, even to those who will be interested.

 

  1. Kannameya – Eli – Vidyasagar

Vadivelu’s enthusiasm and the meaningful lyrics make this a must-listen, even after the old-fashioned instrumentations.

 

Justu Missu: Karuppu Nerathazhagi, Unnai Maatrinaal, Ethanai Kavignan, Azhaga Aanazhaga, Neeyum Adi Naanum

PS: Yes, you won’t find a single SaNa song here. I was disappointed with 36 Vayadhinile, but I am expecting big things from him 2016. Fingers crossed.

Looking Back at 2015 – Tamil Favorites of the Year

In succession, 2015 followed its predecessor when it came to the young blood walking ahead to overtake the experienced batch. There was a lot to like, but I also feel it was the year where we found a large number of ‘could-have-been-better’ films. Nevertheless, here is the list of my twenty favourite films of the year. I’ve ranked them according to my liking, and the amount of engage factor I found in them. Read on,

Ten-reasons-why-you-should-not-miss-kaaka-muttai-8

1) Kaaka Muttai

High: Fitting so many socially responsible topics into the lives of two kids, and making it entertaining.

Low: Nothing. That’s why it’s here.

2) Thani Oruvan

High: The antagonist.

Low: The protagonist.

3) Papanasam

High: Perfecting a remake to high levels.

Low: Slightly over-the-top at places.

4) Maya

High: The Hollywood-ish making.

Low: Fails to attain full potential at scoring spots.

5) Uttama Villain

High: Initiated a huge post-watch discussion which excited movie buffs.

Low: The script-to-screen translation faltered a bit.

6) Baahubali

High: The world-class final 40-minute war sequence.

Low: The lethargic first half which suffered from zero plot progression.

7) Yennai Arindhaal

High: Ajith’s guts to accept a role sans any heroism.

Low: The familiarity associated with GVM’s cop trilogy.

8) Kuttram Kadithal

High: Nuances galore.

Low: Went bonkers in the third act.

9) Rajathandiram

High: The surprise package of the year.

Low: The usual drawbacks which come along with a small film.

10) Tamizhukku En Ondrai Azhuthavum

High: The excellent concept.

Low: When one side more interesting than the other, things dip a little.

11) Indru Netru Naalai

High: Treading the unexplored concept of time travel.

Low: Takes time to start.

12) Kirumi

High: The most underrated film of the year.

Low: A partially wavered second half.

13) Isai

High: Vintage SJ Suryah.

Low: It takes 50 minutes to get fired up.

14) Anegan

High: KV Anand’s compelling management of a complex base.

Low: Sometimes, complexity can be a bother.

15) Naanum Rowdy Dhaan

High: Memorable characters all over. And Anirudh’s music.

Low: Dialogue driven comedy, so it doesn’t always work and is repetitive.

16) Uppu Karuvaadu

High: Has just enough in it to show that Radha Mohan still has it in.

Low: The subpar making cycle.

17) OK Kanmani

High: Mani Ratnam getting back to his forte.

Low: Not too big a crux to stress upon.

18) Kallapadam

High: A superbly written, low-cost thriller. K’s music, wow!

Low: The acting chops.

19) Thoongavanam        

High: Kamal Haasan kicking ass, with a superb starcast and Ghibran’s techy music.

Low: Carbon copy of the original.

20) Pasanga 2

High: The intent.

Low: The extent.

Justu Missu: Komban, Demonte Colony, Enakkul Oruvan, Kathukutti, I.

 

PS: There are a handful of films which released towards the end of the year, and failed to find an international release. They include Eetti, Bhooloham, Oru Naal Iravil and a few more. I am still yet to watch these, so they will not find a place on this list.

Premam – The Beautifully Beckoning Butterfly

Alphonse Putharen’s debut Neram, was a film I liked for its taut screenplay and the way it was presented. Yes it had a very simple plot, but the way it all came together was what made it special. I really looked forward to what else the man had in store, and in 2015 came Premam, his next film as a writer, director and editor. After the superb response from both the early birds and the audience, I decided to see if there was something in it for my liking. But that was not before a few of friends telling me that it had shades of Cheran’s Autograph, Ranjith’s Attakathi and Aishwariya Dhanush’s debut film 3. Leaving that aside, I walked into the cinema hall with an open mind.

prema

After an interesting title card which began thanking a lot of well-known characters such as Superstar Rajnikanth, Karthik Subburaj, Vijay Sethupathi to name a few, Premam got off to a decent start. Alphonse Putharen and Nivin Pauly get going right away, with the latter beginning to bowl us over with his innocence. Premam begins to celebrate love in superb fashion, with simple little pleasures which take us down memory lane. Putharen superimposes his tale with small-big things such as a glass of lemon juice, cycle rides, tap-table music, cheap canteen food and what not. Maybe that’s what he intended to do, bring us a film which brings back the memories.

The first segment was more like a bridge to the heart of the film, something which helps you get into the groove. Though neither the dialogues nor the proceedings were something to help you sit up, Putharen compensated by serving us some exquisite visuals and soothing music. At best, this was just a short, straightforward take on adolescent love. About 30 minutes into the film, and this is where Premam transformed into something else. Big, better and beautiful. This film had got me love-struck. Be it the distinguished ‘swag’, the premise, the visuals or the music – everything had slotted into place. This portion of the film had me smiling throughout with the occasional genuine laugh too. The romance was unbelievably realistic, so was the feel which lingered throughout. Putharen never missed an opportunity to introduce the mass factor into the film, with the help of the action sequences, kuthu music or the merely Nivin’s moustache and beard. But the show-stealer here was Sai Pallavi as Malar, truly the fulcrum of the film. This was amusingly the first time when pimples looked good on a girl, as nothing is going to stop you from falling in love with her. She makes everything else in the film look secondary, and at times, that includes Nivin Pauly too. Premam will be remembered for Malar, and vice versa.

The third act of the film is where the complaints come in a box, with the advent of an irritating comic character, a needless song with which the film begins to go wayward. Yet, Putharen flips a nice little twist and a sweet final reveal which will nullify your squirms.

premam3

The team has doubtlessly pulled off a casting coup, to say the least. Even the smallest of characters have been carefully selected, right from the three girls to funny-for-a-moment Dolly D Cruz. Nivin Pauly comes up with his career-best performance, he is in swashbuckling form all the way. It is amazing how he can be completely ethereal at one instant, and immediately shift to being the angry young man in the next. All the three girls are brilliant on their own levels, but sans a doubt, it is Sai Pallavi who sweeps you off her feet. I would have loved more of Celine onscreen, but Putharen is a smart man cos he leaves you asking for more. And yes, I couldn’t help but laugh at the very sight of the incredibly dumb Vinay Fort, he was a scream all the way. Albeit just for a scene, Renji Panicker as Nivin’s father brought in the same amount of energy that Nasser had in Neram. The only irritating character I found in the film was the guy on the horse in the third segment, but that’s negligible keeping in mind the amount of entertainment that this film provides.

Premam is a lifelike film with dreamlike visuals. At many places, I doubted if Alphonse Putharen actually is the twin brother of Gautham Menon. Anend C Chandran’s skilful work with the camera was probably the main reason why it felt that way. There was a sense of professionalism all round with the placements and the colours all going right. The cut is an all new level of seamless, Premam is definitely a film where the editing doesn’t feel like the editing. And the fact that the director himself takes care of the scissors, is another feather in his hat. The music is worth a mention too, especially the BGM taking the attention away from the songs which weren’t too good, barring Malarey. However, you got to give it to the sound designers Vishnu Govind and Sree Sankar, who have put their best efforts to provide a surreal experience. The best examples, are the song at the church and the smooth flow of the BGMs in and out of the songs.

Putting it short, Premam is a film on love that you’ll love. The only numbers we should be talking about here, are the number of viewings it deserves. Me, I’m surely watching it again.

Looking Back at 2014 – Ten Favorite English Films of the Year

newcover

2014 was the year where I kept chasing English films. There were a truckload of movies which caught my attention, for I just couldn’t keep myself off the marquee and finally ended up watching more than I actually planned to. While a lot of films were good while they lasted, few left an impact on me and called for a re-watch or a discussion with a buddy. Down below, is the list of my top ten personal favourites of the year. These films aren’t just films, they are ‘special’.

10) The Guest – Directed by Adam Wingard, Written by Simon Barrett

10.theguest

This film is a cracker, right from the word go. Coming with the little twists thrown in at the right instants, the director manages to keep you guessing for most parts of the film. Playing the lead role, Dan Stevens as David Collins is terrific. The attitude which he flaunts adds some more spice to the film, along with the calm and composed dialogue delivery. The music comes off as another asset, albeit being simple and not too noisy. With something in it for everybody, The Guest offers entertainment on high levels. Badass is the word.

09) Nightcrawler – Written and directed by Dan Gilroy

9.Nightcrawler

Undoubtedly the surprise package of 2014. Helmed by a first timer who has taken care of both the writing and the direction, Nightcrawler belts you with two hours of exhilarating fun. Jake Gyllenhaal is simply superb in this film. Stitching himself into the shoes of Lou Bloom, he delivers a fantastic performance in a role which is hard to like. The cinematography is flawless too, as it easily sweeps you into the mood of the scene. Though the film is devoid of twists and possesses a linear narrative pattern, it gallops at a solid pace and ends on a high. Crawl is just in the name.

08) The Imitation Game – Directed by Morten Tyldum, Written by Andrew Hodges & Graham Moore

8.TIG

Benedict Cumberbatch. Now this guy is an absolute freak. Acting runs in his blood, and that is evident in The Imitation Game, where the man comes up with arguably the best performance of the year. Reliving the role of the infamous Alan Turing, the film traverses on an interesting path built with strong performances, good making and a few uncanny jolts. Really wish the director had concentrated on the detailing to make this a better film, rather than the over-emotional final moments.

07) Fury – Written and directed by David Ayer

7.Fury

Unlike the majority of war films, Fury dealt with just a short episode in the lives of five soldiers and a Sherman tank. However, what makes this click is the brilliant performances of Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman, in addition to the healthy emotional connect that the film leaves you with. The war scenes are skilfully choreographed; there are a couple of edge-of-the-seat moments too. Except for the logic tosses, Fury is a highly recommended watch which is definitely worth your time.

06) Enemy – Directed by Dennis Villeneuve, Written by Jose Saramago & Javier Gullon

6.enemy

After watching this film, the reaction on your face will be nothing less than a ‘WTF’. Even a 100 re-watches will still leave you pondering over the actual plot of the film. Mind-numbing to the core, Enemy deserves a non-distracted viewing, some brain boggling and finally a debate to arrive at a conclusion, which still might be wrong. Jake Gyllenhaal knocks you out with his stupendous performance in a dual role. The body language, facial expressions and the confidence levels which he exhibits are on a different level. The gloomy and yellowish tone of the film is yet another bullet in this gun which will shoot you off your seat, sans a doubt.

05) Gone Girl – Directed by David Fincher, Written by Gillain Flynn

5.gonegirl

An intense, disturbing and impactful film about marriage and its darker side. David Fincher’s ability to keep the audience glued with the dialogue driven narrative is the USP of the film. The twists are unveiled in brilliant fashion, as the director keeps you guessing on what is going to happen next. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike come up with career defining performances, for I wouldn’t be surprised if the latter goes on to win the Oscar. Visually stunning too, Gone Girl will scare you on the very thought of marriage. You have to watch it to know it.

04) The Grand Budapest Hotel – Written and directed by Wes Anderson

4.gbh

Wes Anderson’s films are known for their peculiarity. The director has a style of his own. The Grand Budapest Hotel walks in as a film which is wonderfully scripted, narrated, edited and presented. Boasting of a breath-taking act from Ralph Fiennes, the film brims with light humour all the way. The colourful tone of the film and the aspect ratio do bring in the feel of the olden days, along with the music which deserves a special mention. With interesting cameos at the high points, The Grand Budapest Hotel deserves a watch, for the making if not for anything else.

03) Interstellar – Directed by Christopher Nolan, Written by Jonathan Nolan

3.interstellar

A 100 words aren’t enough to describe this film. Acclaimed worldwide on various terms, Interstellar takes you on a journey of a lifetime within the three hours at the cinema hall. Christopher Nolan’s idea of combining science with the undying concept of love worked wonders in his favour, as the film turned out to become one of the biggest success stories of 2014. Matthew McConaughey’s performance will leave you smiling, crying and rooting at different instances; nothing less than a spellbinding one that. Interstellar, truly an out of the world experience.

02) Whiplash – Written and directed by Damien Chazelle

2.whiplash

Shot over a span of just 19 days, Whiplash is a tense and gut-wrenching tale packed with goosebumps. With the astounding performances of Myles Teller and JK Simmons, the director pulls you into the film and drops you into the room of the proceedings. While the music of the film is highly professional, the editing truly deserves an Oscar. The climax is an ultimate ripper and immediately rings bells for a re-watch. Whiplash is sublime, it is something much more than a good job.

01) Boyhood – Written and directed by Richard Linklater

1.boyhood

Boyhood follows the life of a young man from age 5 to 18. Thoughts of that going to be boring, and here comes the twist – Boyhood was shot with the same characters over a period of 11 years. Yes, Richard Linklater and his team deserve every bit of appreciation and more for this painstaking, herculean effort which is unfortunately one of the lesser known films of the year. The film is so close to reality that it actually feels like the events onscreen have taken part on the other side of the globe. The amount of detailing and the point that the director never makes a single wrong move is absolutely amazing. Boyhood has to be watched for the effort. It has to be watched for the perfection. It has to be watched for the experience. You just, have to watch it.

Reaching the end of the list, there are a few films which deserved a place on the list but just missed the cut. Here they are,

Locke – Two hours of Tom Hardy driving a car and you don’t get bored for a single minute. The Buried of 2014.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Though I badly missed James Franco in this one, it was a highly compelling biggie.

John Wick – Plain, hardcore action. Kickass comeback for Keanu Reeves.

Million Dollar Arm – Always loved the Indian connect in Hollywood’s films. This one was a harmless watch.

Foxcatcher – Steve Carrell. What an actor!

The Fault in Our Stars – Probably the best romantic film of 2014.

The Mule – Interesting attempt from the Aussies.

Predestination – Except for Ethan Hawke who looked out of place, this film works.

Notable films I still haven’t watched – Selma, Inherent Vice

There are two films of 2014 which didn’t work for me, although it did for the majority of the people around me. They are Birdman and American Sniper. While the first one is appreciable for its concept and the cinematography, the second is a complete yawnfest barring a few war scenes. These two, were the biggest disappointments of 2014 to my eyes.

We have now reached the end of this long piece and it’s finally time to say thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading my list, and do go back to watch the films you’ve missed out. You can catch me on FB or Twitter to drop in your feedback. Cheers!

Siddarth Srinivas

Follow @sidhuwrites

Article – The Crying Need for Subtitles

Being an ardent moviegoer and an individual who understands the language pretty well, one does not realize the true value of subtitles. But then, why do the majority of the lot run to SPI Cinemas Chennai on Thursday to watch Telugu, Hindi or English films? Yes, subtitles (or subs are they are colloquially called) are an important element to make you understand better, more than just comprehending the gist of the film.

With this write-up, I wish to throw some light on the importance of subs in regions outside Tamil Nadu and overseas centers, and also stress on the types of subs and the added reach that they take the film to. Now, put yourselves into the shoes of a viewer who wishes to watch Tamil films on the big screen but does not understand the language. There are a truckload of such people round the globe who want to watch Tamil films, as the changing age in Tamil Cinema does bring up the excitement thanks to the innovative storylines and rich visuals that Kollywood has now started to serve.

But problems begin right from the word go. On one side, there is the problem of the DCPs being dispatched without the subtitle files. On the other, there is the choice between the single sub and dual sub, which is ultimately in the hands of the producer. To add fuel to the fire, there exists cases where the subs are horribly synced, or are lost in translation. Let’s dive a little deeper into these issues.

Prints arriving without sub files – This usually happens when the producer is either unaware or unperturbed over the importance of subtitle files in overseas prints. The DCP arrives at the destination without the file, and has to be resent upon personal request. The end result, is the subtitle arriving late or in a worse case where they are hurriedly written with a lot of errors. In such instants, the subtitle is discarded without notice and the film goes onto be screened without the subtitle.

Single sub and dual sub – This is a sad case in world subtitling where all the effort put in by the subtitlist goes in vain and doesn’t find its place on the screen. In countries like UAE where Arabic subs are mandatory, the only way for the English subs to appear onscreen are if they come in a dual sub format where subtitles can be projected in two languages, one on top of the other. In case the file is sent in a single sub format, it is directly discarded in order to make place for the Arabic subs. While the dual sub format was employed in UAE for films like 7am Arivu and Lingaa, a majority of the films made it with the Arabic subs alone. It’s high time the producers realize the importance of dual subs which will definitely pull in a larger audience who would like to watch the film with its original vocals, rather than a dubbed version.

Lack of synchronization or bad writing – This is a case which is worse than the two mentioned above. In the above cases, someone who is interested can enquire with the theatre on the availability of subs and proceed to buy their ticket. But in this one, the viewer is presented with subtitles which are not perfectly synced to the dialogues onscreen, or are wrongly penned, thereby resulting in a forgettable movie experience.

Other smaller issues – There are a lot of other issues such as the theatres forgetting to screen the subs, incorrect coloring or unreadability. Though these are rare, the occurrence of such problems are nothing less than frustrating.

My fingers aren’t enough to count the number of friends, colleagues and common public who have enquired about the availability of subs for films in the UAE, and returned with a frown. While Hindi films have kept up their promise and continue to add dual subtitles to all their releases, Kollywood is yet to adopt the practice and still has to realize the importance of subtitles to be screened (not only sent) in the overseas shows.

With the rising worry for the unavailability of subs and the inconsistency to release the DVDs and the Blu-Rays just because they will be ripped and uploaded on the net the very next day, where does a non-Tamilian go to watch a film which interests him? The answer lies on the bottom of the screen. Fill that space up.

Follow @sidhuwrites

Looking Back at 2014 – Tamil Personal Favorites of the Year

2014 has been a decent year for Kollywood, where debutant directors have stepped up and carved a niche for themselves in the industry. Following the yearly practice, I’ve come up with my list of twenty personal favorites of the year. The films are ‘ranked’ according to my liking alone, and do not include the Christmas releases as I was not able to watch them.

1) Jigarthanda

High: Simha. Siddharth. Santosh and Subbaraj.

Low: That ‘something missing’ feeling.

2) Madras

High: Karthi’s performance and Santosh’s music. Also, Blue Boyz.

Low: Wish the climax had been a subtle one.

3) Goli Soda

High: Gritty, aggressive and real.

Low: Chinna pasangalukku heroism ah?

4) Sathuranka Vettai

High: Vinoth’s dialogues, Natty’s act.

Low: Melodrama in the second half.

5) Inam

High: A-one technical values.

Low: Yaaro poatta kodu.

6) Thegidi

High: Infusing lovable romance into a crime thriller.

Low: Predictable climax.

7) Arima Nambi

High: Superbly crafted action thriller.

Low: Except the climax.

8) VIP

High: Lovely mix of the ‘Dhanush the star’ and ‘Dhanush the actor’.

Low: Run of the mill plot.

9) Oru Kanniyum Moonu Kalavanigalum

High: Screenplay. Screenplay. Screenplay.

Low: Deja-vu.

10) Kaththi

High: Nice tightrope walk between being preachy and massy. Also, Jeevanandham’s characterisation.

Low: First 40 minutes. Yawn!

11) Vaayai Moodi Pesavum

High: Heights of creativity.

Low: Lil bit of a sloth.

12) Jeeva

High: Vishnu’s commendable performance.

Low: Tepid love track.

13) Poriyaalan

High: Interesting twists and turns.

Low: Takes time to take off.

14) Poovarasam Pee Pee

High: The budget.

Low: The budget.

15) Pannaiyarum Padminiyum

High: Lot of heart.

Low: Its a Padmini, it will move slow.

16) Vallinam

High: Believable basketball. And Thaman did a good job.

Low: Heroine and whatever she does.

17) Naan Sigappu Manidhan

High: So bold. So bold.

Low: Goes haywire with the flashback.

18) Mundasupatti

High: Muniskanth.

Low: Lot of people say “perusa onnum illa”.

19) Nedunchalai

High: First twenty minutes. Last twenty minutes.

Low: Everything in between.

20) Veeram

High: Exciting mass scenes.

Low: Commercial films have their limits.

Justu Missu – Kochadaiiyaan, Saivam, Ra, Naaigal Jaakiradhai, Kadhai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam.

There ends my list for the Top 20 films of the year. If you think that I’m someone who has gone bonkers and would like to debate on this, feel free to catch me on Twitter. Wishing you a Happy New Year 🙂