After two historical fantasies (Puli and Baahubali) featuring male heroes, this Friday we finally have one with a warrior woman in the lead: Anushka Shetty’s Rudhramadevi. There’s also Masala Padam, which promises to be a treat for movie buffs. It’s about how online reviews affect a film’s journey. And then there’s Kathukutti, a comic entertainer against the backdrop of a people’s struggle in Thanjavur.
Very honestly, Rudhramadevi‘s CG effects look amateurish. In this day and age, it’s unacceptable in a commercial film. But equally honestly, just about everything else looks great. It’s the 13th century. The era of the Kakatiya dynasty. There’s golden sand, a golden helmet and armour, and a coy regality as her name is shouted. And Anushka Shetty appears on her throne (reminding us just a little of Daenerys Targaryen; no one would be surprised if dragons suddenly flew on screen). Who can resist a queenly woman waving glinting swords around with a sparse desert in the background, and some awesome Illayaraaja music? If that wasn’t enough, there’s Allu Arjun. Riding a white horse. Muscular arms, blazing eyes, sleeveless black outfit waving in the wind. And then he shoots a flaming arrow.
According to director Gunasekhar, it’s not a war film. It has romance (including Daggubati’s romantic side), drama, and something for everyone. Made on a budget of Rs.70 crores, national-award winning director Thota Tharani also worked on this film. Starring Anushka Shetty, Rudhramadevi also features Catherine Tresa, Nithya Menen, Allu Arjun, and Rana Daggubati.
Masala Padam, according to Mirchi Shiva, ‘educates people on how the movie industry works’. The screenplay was written by actress Lakshmi Devy, who is one of the leads as well. The film isn’t being publicised for its great story. In fact, according to the filmmakers, the film has no story. What it does have is a ‘never before seen concept‘ and a surprise climax twist, according to director Suresh Krishna. In fact, Bobby Simha says he couldn’t actually understand the story, but went along with the director, because he trusts him. It’s a definite twist to have not reviews about a film, but a film about reviews.
Going by the trailer, the film is a meta movie: a film about the movie-making process. It has Shiva playing Mani, a simpleton whose favourite foreign film is “Mirattaladi“, a cheesy Tamil-dubbed version of Kung Fu Hustle, a Hong Kong action film, and whose favourite realist film is Baasha, a Rajinikanth potboiler. His portions in the film are sure to crack the audience up. Bobby Simha plays a daredevil rowdy named Amudhan. This is the second time the actor is playing a gangster – He bagged a national award for his rowdy role in Jigarthanda. However, this time he sports a hideous wig. There’s a third guy, who is head over heels in love with a girl. The film looks to have a mix of all the commercial film essentials: comedy, action, and romance.
Originally scheduled to release alongside Vijay’s Puli, a legal issue meant Kathukutti is now seeing a delayed release. Journalist turned director Era Saravanan wanted to take Puli on, but acknowledged that “with Puli being released a week ahead, Kathukutti might be screened in many theatres.” The film is set in Thanjavur and will focus on the agitation around the proposed coal-based methane factory in the Delta region. It was a rare victory for the underdogs, when eco-conservationists and villagers protecting agricultural lands got the government to withdraw support to the multinational mammoth, an Energy Corporation.
But, it’s a comedy entertainer. And that’s clear from the trailer. In fact, lead actor Narain liked the story so much that 20-minutes into the narration, he was ready to work on the film. Plus, after Mugamoodi, he wanted to avoid being typecast into negative roles. Which kept coming his way. He wasn’t the only one who came, saw, and was conquered. Soori had initially allocated only 12 days for the film. After two days of shooting, he decided to commit 32 days.
Fun fact: the cast includes the legendary Bharathiraja’s brother Jayaraj, as Narain’s father.