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Tamil Features

New This Week: Sivappu, Bruce Lee: The Fighter, & Maiem

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sivappu-movie-stills-009Yellow parchment. A voiceover from the past. The golden tint of historical figures – Tamil kings, a map of Sri Lanka, and hordes of people. Fade into darkness. Colour disappears as the trailer moves into the present. Sivappu promises powerful acting, and a crisp screenplay and editing. But most of all, it’s clear that a nuanced, empathic portrayal of the plight of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees is about to be unfurled. Their day to day struggles as construction workers in Tamil Nadu. It’s hard-hitting when a woman (Rupa Manjari) says, ‘In my country, the sound of a helicopter means bombs.’ Even more, when the trailer closes with Rajkiran saying, ‘These people have nobody. Either support them, or don’t support them. But don’t use them for your politics.’

With the Syrian refugee crisis polarizing Europe and the rest of the world, Sivappu looks destined to have an international impact. When Rajkiran asks, ‘If we chase them away too, then where can they go?’, we know we’re in for a soul-searching reflection on citizenship, borders, and the ‘not in my backyard’ attitude. Directed by Sathyashiva of Kazhagu fame, Sivappu also stars Naveen Chander.

*****

Bruce Lee Movie Stills
Bruce Lee Movie Stills

No interval, just climax. That’s the motto of Srinu Vaitla’s Bruce Lee: The Fighter. Ram Charan has trained hard for this action-packed film. In addition to intense fitness work, he also practiced martial arts and kickboxing. The result promises to be a dizzy display of style and motion, whether in dance scenes or fight sequences. We have the trademark thumb grazes across the nostrils as the hero readies himself for some elaborate roundhouse kicks. And, of course, the collar lifting shoulder shrug.

For fans, perhaps the biggest hype around in the film is that Chiranjeevi, Ram Charan’s father, will appear in a five-minute action sequence. Chiranjeevi himself described his appearance as a ‘delicious dessert’ after a good meal. And his getup has been styled by none other than Ram Charan. Chiranjeevi had worried about Ram Charan’s dancing abilities, but from the looks of the trailer, he needn’t be concerned. With Rakul Preet Singh, Tisca Chopra, Nadiya, Kriti Kharbanda and Arun Vijay, Bruce Lee: The Fighter looks to be a thrill-packed treat for action lovers.

*****

maiem-movie-stills-017A two-hour feature film spanning just one day. Made with the artistic and technical talents of students, Maiem is a thriller, about a bank robbery in the night. Six people trapped – three inside the ATM, and a security guard in the adjacent room. Based on a real-life ATM-related crime, screenplay writer and producer AP Sreedhar calls Maiem a ‘mocktail’ that combines ‘claustrophobic thrill, romance and comedy’. The fast-paced trailer spans across a range of emotions. From the desperate ‘I’m not connected with this murder in any way’, to the comic ‘Come right over with the bottle’, to the baffled ‘Everything feels straight out of a Hollywood movie’. The hero has a refreshingly earnest intensity. If only women didn’t get slapped so much.

Kamal Haasan had no problems with the film borrowing the title of his e-magazine Maiem. And why would he? Maiem is directed by a final year engineering student, Aditya Baskaran. A tenth grade student, Varuna Shreethar, designed the costumes.

Fun fact: the music has been composed by Kashif Rafiq, a second year college student, and AR Rahman’s nephew.

*****

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