Privacy Policy for i_filmiholic

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OTT Releases This Week: June 9

Are you curious on what are the latest OTT releases this week? From Mollywood’s biggest blockbuster 2018 (Sony Liv) to Jio Cinema exclusive Bloody daddy, the list is long.

OTT Releases this week.
OTT Releases this week.

2018 – Everyone is a Hero (SonyLiv)

Release Date: May 5, 2023
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Language: Malayalam / Telugu / Tamil
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Lal, Narain

Detailed Review of 2018 is here.

Plot Synopsis

Set against the backdrop of the Kerala floods of 2018, “2018 – Everyone is a Hero” is a heart-rending tale of resilience and unity that emerges in times of adversity.

It recounts the story of ordinary individuals rising to become everyday heroes, driven by the collective will to survive and rebuild. It’s the highest grosser in Malayalam film industry.

Why You Should Try

The gripping narrative, interspersed with authentic performances by Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Tovino Thomas, brings forth a rare portrayal of human spirit and unity. The film’s exploration of ordinary individuals’ heroism in extraordinary circumstances serves as an inspiring watch.

Why You Should Skip

If clichéd melodramas are not to your liking, you might find certain aspects of the movie predictable & cringe. A slower pace in the first half, along with some unexplored political and social aspects, could hinder your viewing experience.

Custody: A Venkat Prabhu Chase (Amazon Prime)

Release Date: May 12, 2023
Directed by: Venkat Prabhu
Language: Tamil / Telugu
Cast: Naga Chaithanya, Kriti Shetty, Sharat Kumar, Aravind Samy, Priya Mani

Detailed Review of Custody is here.

Plot Synopsis

Custody is a thrilling action narrative set in the 90s. The story revolves around Shiva (Naga Chaitanya), an upright police constable caught in a web of duty and dilemmas. His mission to escort a dangerous criminal, Raju (Arvind Swami), to court while dodging the corrupt police officer IG Nataraj (Sharat Kumar) and the entire state police force forms the core of the plot. Adding a twist to his life is his love interest, Revathi (Krithi Shetty), whom he plans to elope with.

Why You Should Try

Director Venkat Prabhu skillfully blends humor, thrills, and unexpected plot twists to craft an engaging cinematic ride. Strong performances by the lead cast, particularly Arvind Swami, bring depth to their characters, and the film’s ability to portray unexpected elements of humor even in tense moments makes it worth watching. The surprise star-studded cameos further add to the excitement.

Why You Should Skip

Despite its intriguing plot, the film struggles with pacing issues and a certain predictability. The attempts at exploring emotional backstories feel clichéd, and some performances, while good, lack depth. If you’re expecting a nail-biting thriller, you might be disappointed with the film’s slower pace and underwhelming action sequences.

Kudimahaan (Amazon Prime)

Release Date: Mar 17, 2023
Directed by: N Prakash
Language: Tamil
Cast: Vijay Sivan, Chandini Tamilarasan, Suresh Chakravarthi

Detailed Review of Kudimahaan is here.

Plot Synopsis

Set against the backdrop of a typical Indian middle-class life, Kudimahaan is an intriguing and hilarious tale of a teetotaller turning into an alcoholic due to a rare medical condition. The movie focuses on the ensuing chaos and hilarity, as well as the man’s attempts to deal with this unpredictable twist in his life.

Why You Should Try

The movie offers an engaging blend of humor and genuine human emotions, brought to life by standout performances from Vijay Sivan, Chandini Tamilarasan, and Suresh Chakravarthy. It’s a light-hearted portrayal of ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. The narrative’s absurd humor and strong emotional undercurrent make it an entertaining watch. Director Prakash N manages to keep the audience engaged throughout with clever storytelling techniques and witty dialogues.

Why You Should Skip

If you are not a fan of situational comedies or prefer intense, action-packed dramas, Kudimahaan might not be your cup of tea. The film’s focus on humor, sometimes at the cost of a coherent plot, might come across as uneven for some viewers. Also, the sudden influx of new characters in the second half, and the seeming disconnect from the first half, may cause a disruption in the narrative flow.

Adai Mazhai Kaalam (Netflix)

Release Date: Jan 26, 2023
Directed by: Karthik Shamalan
Language: Tamil, Malaysia
Cast: Evarani, Jaykishen, Thia Lakshana

Adai Mazhai Kalam Trailer

Plot Synopsis

“Adai Mazhai Kaalam” traces the journey of Suriyan, a young man navigating the tumultuous terrain of love and relationships. The story unfolds as he embarks on a quest for unrequited love, with Chandra illuminating his path with her wisdom.

Why You Should Try

This emotional saga comes to life with noteworthy performances from Loga Varman and Thia Lakshana. The movie blends comical and emotional sequences adeptly, presenting an engaging narrative. It explores the complexities of love, self-discovery, and relationships, offering a thought-provoking perspective.

Why You Should Skip

The film might feel overwhelming if you’re not in the mood for an emotional rollercoaster. The intricate exploration of themes might require your full attention, and if you’re looking for light-hearted entertainment, this might not be your go-to choice.

UP 65 (Jio Cinema)

Release Date: Jun 8, 2023
Directed by: Gaganjeet Singh
Language: Hindi
Cast: Shine Pandey, Pritam Jaiswal, Rishabh Jaiswal

UP 65 Trailer

Plot Synopsis

“UP 65” is a series based on Nikhil Sachan’s hit novel, presenting a vibrant and heartwarming picture of college life at IIT Varanasi. The series follows a group of friends and their exploits during their college years, filled with friendship, romance, and the ups and downs of student life.

Why You Should Try

The series promises to take you back to the golden days of college, as the protagonists navigate through the excitement and challenges of student life. It’s a relatable and entertaining narrative, aimed at sparking nostalgia and making viewers relive their own experiences. With its setting in the lively city of Banaras, viewers will have the chance to experience a unique cultural backdrop and the local charm of the city.

Why You Should Skip

Those who do not resonate with college-themed dramas or who are looking for a more mature or serious narrative may not find this series appealing. The series seems to focus more on showcasing the lighter and fun aspects of college life, and may not delve deeper into the more emotional aspects of the transition to adulthood.

Bloody Daddy (Jio Cinema)

Release Date: Jun 8, 2023
Directed by: Ali Abbas Zafar
Language: Hindi
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Amy Aela, Ankur Bhatia

Bloody Daddy Trailer

Plot Synopsis

“Bloody Daddy,” directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and starring Shahid Kapoor, follows the thrilling story of an NCB officer on a mission to save his son from a drug lord. This intense drama unfolds with unexpected turns as the officer finds himself in the midst of a web of complications.

Why You Should Try

“Bloody Daddy” promises high-stakes action and an engaging narrative as the protagonist battles against all odds to protect his son. Shahid Kapoor’s performance is highly anticipated, with a portrayal that seems to showcase his versatility as an actor. Fans of intense action thrillers, especially those with a heart-wrenching personal narrative, may find this movie particularly exciting.

Why You Should Skip

If you’re not a fan of violent action sequences or intense crime dramas, “Bloody Daddy” might not be your cup of tea. The film seems to center heavily around a cat-and-mouse chase, which could be seen as repetitive or less appealing to those seeking a more varied or intricate plot.

It’s a remake of the French film “Sleepless Nights”, which was previously made into the Tamil film Thoongaa Vanam, starring Kamal Haasan. Original is always original, try that instead.

#Mentoo (Aha)

Release Date: May 26, 2023
Directed by: Srikanth G Reddy
Language: Telugu
Cast: Riya Suman, Brahmaji, Naresh Agastya

#Mentoo Aha Trailer

Plot Synopsis

“Men Too”, with stars like Naresh Agastya, Kaushik Ghantasala, and Brahmaji, spins a compelling narrative about the rarely-addressed struggles men face. Aditya (Naresh Agastya), Sanju (Kaushik Ghantasala), and Munna (Mourya Siddavaram) are friends seen frequenting the ‘Stags Only’ pub. Their routine takes a turn when they encounter Rahul (Harsha Chemudu), an IT professional ousted over accusations of sexual misconduct. Rahul’s subsequent decisions shock everyone. Did Rahul really commit what he’s accused of? What unfolds next? The movie unravels these questions.

Why You Might Want to Watch

Naresh Agastya, once again, proves his versatility with his commendable portrayal of Aditya. Mourya’s portrayal of Munna, a mechanic with strong opinions about women, adds a humorous flavour. Harsha Chemudu leaves a mark with a significant role, despite limited screen time. The film’s humor, compelling dialogues, and notable visuals and music, particularly in the first half, make for an engaging watch.

Why You Might Want to Skip

If one expects an exploration of serious issues with light-hearted humor, the movie might disappoint. The director, Srikanth G Reddy, falls short of effectively showcasing men’s struggles through the lens of humour. The characters’ backstories are not particularly engaging and the motives for some actions, like the reason for Aditya and Tara’s break, appear trivial. The movie’s key theme isn’t adequately addressed in the second half and the music falls flat. Female characters seem underutilized, and some characters, like those of Brahmaji and Sudarshan, could have been fleshed out better.

For more movie reviews and sugegstions, click here.

Decoding South Cinema: Ideologies and Hinduism

How South Film Industries are different in their ideologies?
Are they Promoting Anti-Hindu elements? Why are Brahmins often targeted in Tamil films? Why is Tamil Movies are anti-Hindu or anti-God 😀 ? Is it a threat for Hinduism?

In recent times, there has been a prevailing notion among certain fanatic cyber warriors that Tamil and Malayalam movies are anti-Hindu, while Telugu movies are considered more pro-Hindu.

However, if you look closer, you will get a different narrative altogether. In this article, we will try to see a different shade of Tamil cinema (Kollywood) and explore how it is different from other industries.

If you don’t have much time, this is a short and sweet answer.

Neo Wave Tamil Cinema: Breaking the Shackles of Casteism & Oppression.

Tamil Movie Posters
Movie Posters

The Neo Wave Tamil cinema movement, led by directors like Vetri Maaran, Ram, and Mari Selvaraj, directly addresses the issue of casteism. These films aim to break down caste barriers and raise awareness about the oppressive nature of the power.

Dravidian Identity: A Counterbalance to Hindu Nationalism

Tamil cinema has a strong connection with promoting the Dravidian identity. Filmmakers like Karunanidhi and Pa. Ranjith have used their films to support the Dravidian movement, which challenges the dominance of Hindu nationalism promoted by right-wing ideologies. Regional parties in Tamil Nadu actively support and endorse this expression as it is closely tied to their existence.

Now, let’s see other industries, in south, and let’s understand, how they are diversified in their core.

Kannada Cinema: Celebrating Linguistic Pride and Ethnic Minorities

In Kannada cinema, there is a strong emphasis on celebrating the language and Kannadiga pride, especially in popular mainstream films featuring superstars.

Furthermore, the emerging neo-wave Kannada films (Shetty gang) embrace and highlight the cultural heritage of the region, including its ethnic minorities.

These films explore the conservative perspectives from the past, emphasising the significance of preserving one’s roots and heritage.

Malayalam Cinema: A Diversified Motives in Narratives

The Malayalam film industry can be categorized into three distinct genres.

Firstly, there are films that promote communism and align with left-liberal ideologies. These movies often reflect progressive and socially conscious narratives but heavily biased with communism.

Secondly, there are films that explore stories related to the Islamic faith, particularly centered around the Malabar region. These movies shed light on the unique cultural aspects and experiences of the Muslim community.

Lastly, there is a group of creators who address a range of social issues, including casteism, oppression, bureaucratic atrocities, conservative mindsets and body shaming.

They challenge prevailing neo-wave thoughts and contribute to a diverse cinematic landscape in Malayalam. Notable creators in this realm include Jithin Issac Thomas, Krishaand, Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval, Don Palathara, Lijo Jose Pellissery, Shyama Prasad and Arun Kumar Aravind.

One distinct feature of Mollywood compared to all other industries is, Mollywood won’t promote linguistic pride, rather it talks against regionalism.

Telugu Cinema: Multiple Shades of Saviours, United by a Common Goal: Profit

Telugu cinema presents a diverse range of narratives and ideologies but with a common root: Conservatism.

Tollywood’s inclination towards conservatism can be attributed to a significant diaspora audience residing abroad. Telugu movies often evoke a sense of nostalgia and cultural pride among this diaspora community, creating a strong connection and a feeling of pride in their heritage.

The Sukumar school of filmmaking strongly promotes native culture and conservative values rooted in the past. In contrast, the Balakrishna and NTR schools perpetuate the aura of royal lineage and uphold brahmanical racial purity.

Another significant aspect of Telugu cinema is its dedication to portraying Hindu mythology and its symbols. Directors like Trivikram, Rajamouli, Koratala Siva, and Boyapati Srinu lead the way in bringing these mythological narratives or symbols to life on the big screen.

Additionally, emerging talents in Telugu cinema are increasingly busy with promoting Telangana dialect and celebrating linguistic pride.

However, it is worth noting that Telugu films often do not explicitly address the social issues mentioned in other industries. Films like Viduthalai, Taramani, Kadaisi Vivasayi may be rare in the Telugu film industry.

Why Tollywood Is Not Getting A Renaissance

The Telugu film industry is largely governed by a few influential figures, and all of them belong to any of the 2-3 castes, either Kamma (NTR Family, ANR Family, Nani & Mahesh Babu) or Kapu (Mega Family) or Kshatriyas (Prabhas, Ravi Teja & Sunil).

Even the writers or lyricists belong to the same group, be it great lyricists or writers, like Aathreya, Aarudra, Sri Sri, Veturi, Sirivennela, Ramajogayya Sastry, Jonnavithula, Tanikella Bharani, Avasarala Srinivas, K Viswanath, or Trivikram (all are Brahmins, if I am not wrong, but that’s not the point; the point is representation and diversities of identities)…

Secondly, neo-producers often characterized as oligarchs, whose primary focus is on business profitability. Consequently, aspects beyond commercial considerations are often given secondary importance.

This can be observed in recent examples like Dasara, where initial expectations were high, but the final outcome turned out to be a mediocre mass film.

Where is Anti-Hinduism in South Films?

It is crucial to understand that Tamil cinema, alongside other regional film industries, is not anti-Hindu. On the contrary, it actively promotes social equality, addresses casteism, and incorporates Hindu philosophy in its unique way.

Do you remember the film “Arangetram” where a purohit’s daughter turns to prostitution to uplift her family’s fortunes?

picture of K Balachander, Kamal Hassan in Arangetram
K Balachander, Kamal Hassan in Arangetram

It’s been exactly fifty years since its release in 1973, directed by K. Balachander, a Tamil Iyer filmmaker often seen with holy ash on his forehead.

Being pro-Hindu or pro-any religion goes beyond blindly following orders or ideologies. It also entails the ability to criticize and refine, which is what makes Hinduism a liberal religion.

From Shankaracharya to K. Balachander, they all engaged in critiquing and fixing the system instead of blindly adhering to ancient manuscripts and commandments.

“Anti-Hindu” is a lens, if one holds extremely pro – Hindutva views, you will find any critic as a threat.

Now let me tell you a secret, that rarely people understands: It’s not only Telugu Films, Tamil Films are also great at promoting Hinduism. But both are not same.

How does Tamil cinema incorporate and promote Hindu philosophy?

For those interested in delving deeper, it’s worth noting that Tamil cinema is actually at the forefront of promoting Hinduism.

To learn more about how Tamil cinema promotes Hinduism, you can explore further details here.

Anti-Hindu or Pro-Hindu? Decoding Tamil Films’ Portrayal of Hinduism

This post is the continuation of “South Films & Hinduism”, if you haven’t read the first part, please read it here.

Understanding Ambiguity

The term “anti-Hindu” is an ambiguous word, leaving us wondering what truly constitutes a film as anti-Hindu. Does it require explicit portrayal of Hinduism or Hindutva or its symbols to be considered pro-Hindu?

And who has the authority to determine these categorizations?

Before answering these questions and understanding the anti-Hindu or pro-Hindu elements in the Tamil film industry, let’s talk about Hinduism and its nuances.

Exploring the Nuances

Through conversations with a diverse range of individuals, including liberals and ultra right-wing fanatics, I’ve discovered that the true depth and adaptability of Hinduism often go unnoticed.

When compared to Abrahamic religions, Hinduism stands out with its tolerance and flexibility, offering a unique perspective. Hindusim doesn’t believe in Supremacy of one god and it help the followers to be tolerant to other religions & beliefs.

Now, let us see the essence of Hindusim, through the lens of a liberalist.

Hinduism: Beyond Religion

Hinduism transcends conventional religious boundaries and encompasses a way of life and a rich cultural framework. It move into profound existential questions, explores the purpose of life, and intricately examines the relationship between humanity and the divine.

At its core, Hinduism is way of life (just like Democracy), shaping a holistic worldview (Loka samstha sukhino bhavanathu).

Fundamental Philosphies

To understand how South movies, especially Tamil films, promote Hinduism, it is essential to explore some of the unique philosophies within the religion.

These philosophies form the very foundation of many Tamil films, resonating with audiences and communicating profound messages.

The Cycle of Rebirth

Reincarnation, a central belief in Hinduism, explores the concept of the soul’s successive rebirth in new bodies after death.This aligns with the idea of a cyclic theory of time, where the divine takes multiple incarnations to restore cosmic harmony.

Sambhavami Yuge Yuge.. He incarnates again and again.

Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati Bharata, abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamyaham.” (Chapter 4, Verse 7, Bhagavat Gita)

Translation: “Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and an increase in unrighteousness, O Arjuna, I manifest Myself on earth.”

Awe, Nenjam Marapathilley, Maanadu, 24 Movie posters
Awe, Nenjam Marapathilley, Maanadu, 24 Movie posters

From 1963 film “Nenjam Marappathillai” to Films like “Maanaadu,” or the bilingual film “Awe” directed by Prashanth Varma, or Suriya’s “24,” and Vishnu Vishal’s “Indru Netru Naalai” beautifully showcase this philosophy of reincarnation or cyclic theory of time.

Atman and Brahman

Hinduism introduces the concept of Atman, which refers to the individual self or soul. Hinduism believes that Atman is eternal and intricately connected to the god or divine power known as Brahman. Unlike the Abrahamic religions that view the soul as a distinct, separate entity created by God, Hinduism emphasizes the inseparability of the individual self (soul) from the divine.

The self is never born nor does it ever die; nor having come to be will it ever cease to be. The self is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying, and primeval.” (Chapter 2, Verse 20)

“Ayamatma Brahma” or “Aham Brahmasmi” are some vedic texts which supports this.

This fundamental philosphy is different from the idea of resurrection.

While Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Judaism believe in the resurrection of the physical body in a transformed state, Hinduism presents a different perspective.

Tamil Films Promoting this Core Philosophies are many. Let’s explore a few remarkable examples:

Image credits: Amazon prime, anbe sivam quotes
Image credits: Amazon prime

Kamal Hassan’s “Anbe Sivam” (2003)

This thought-provoking film revolves around the concept of “Ayam Atma Brahma,” highlighting the belief that the divine essence resides within each of us. It celebrates the profound connection between individuals and the divine, fostering empathy, compassion, and spiritual growth.

Image credits: Amazon prime, Anbe sivam quotes
Image credits: Amazon prime

Bala’s “Naan Kadavul” (2009)

Directed by Bala, “Naan Kadavul” embodies the essence of Hindu philosophies with its exploration of divine intervention, the paths of karma, and the transformative power of devotion. It delves into the complexities of human existence, while emphasizing the cosmic interconnectedness between mortals and the divine.

Naan Kadavul Poster with "Aham Brahmasmi" tagline.
Naan Kadavul Poster with “Aham Brahmasmi” tagline.

“Karnan” by Mari Selvaraj

“Karnan” weaves a powerful narrative rooted in social justice and equality, drawing inspiration from ancient Hindu epics. It highlights the struggles of the marginalized and champions the notion of dharma (righteousness) against oppression, the hero is supported by the soul of his sister.

This list won’t ends here, it’s long.

Diverse Paths to Salvation

In Hinduism, individuals have the freedom to choose from multiple paths to attain spiritual liberation.This is in contrast to Abrahamic religions, which often advocate a more singular path to salvation

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga advocates selfless service as a means to spiritual growth. It emphasizes performing actions with a sense of duty, without seeking personal gain. Tamil heroes often deliver dialogues that reflect this philosophy, inspiring audiences with the importance of altruistic heroism.

Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani.” (Chapter 2, Verse 47)

Krishna advises Arjuna to focus on his duty without being attached to the outcomes or being driven by personal desires. He emphasizes the importance of selfless action.

Bhakti Yoga

Bhakti Yoga focuses on devotion and love for the divine. It involves cultivating a deep and personal relationship with a chosen deity or form of the divine. While this philosophy was more prominent in the 80s and 90s, its representation has become relatively rare in contemporary Tamil cinema.

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga centers around knowledge and wisdom. It emphasizes the pursuit of self-realization and understanding the true nature of oneself and the universe. Modern Tamil heroes and heroines often embody this philosophy, celebrating personal freedom and intellectual introspections.

Tamil Films Showcasing Diverse Paths & Moksha

Films like “Oh My Kadavule” (2020), Thiagaraja Kumaraja’s “Super Deluxe,” Vikram’s “Anniyan,” Manikandan’s “Kadaisi Vivasayi” and Suriya’s “7 am Arivu” serve as noteworthy examples that showcase the philosophy of diverse paths to salvation and talks about Moksha. These films explore different aspects of the paths to liberation, offering audiences thought-provoking narratives that inspire introspection and self-discovery.

A quote from the movie Kadaisi Vyavasai
A quote from the movie Kadaisi Vivasayi

Karma vs. Divine Judgment

Hinduism introduces the profound concept of Karma, where the consequences of one’s actions and intentions shape their future experiences and circumstances. Even God can’t escape Karma.

In contrast, Abrahamic religions emphasize the concept of divine judgment, where individuals are held accountable for their actions and face rewards or punishments in an afterlife.

In simpler terms, irrespective of prayers, good deeds, or repentance, Karma remains as a nasty b**ch which follows individuals throughout their lives. Tamil cinema frequently explores these themes, offering thought-provoking narratives that showcase this nasty face of Karma.

Prominent Examples which explore Karma in Tamil Cinema

Tamil films have explored the depths of Karma, presenting captivating stories that reflect the consequences of one’s actions.

Let’s explore some noteworthy examples:

Nalan Kumarasamy’s “Andavan Kattalai” examines the struggles of two individuals as they face the repercussions of their choices, illustrating the complex workings of Karma.

Kamal Hassan’s iconic film “Nayagan” portrays the journey of a gangster grappling with the Karmic consequences of his actions, ultimately seeking redemption.

Manikandan’s “Kutrame Thandanai” delves into the life of a man caught in a web of events driven by Karma, highlighting the impact of past actions on the present.

Two scenes from Thiagaraja Kumaraja’s Super Deluxe

Films like “Dashavatharam,” “Super Deluxe,” and “Katradhu Tamizh” also explore the themes of Karma, inviting audiences to contemplate the interconnectedness of actions and their consequences.

Dharma: Morality and Ethical Duties

Hinduism embraces the concept of Dharma, encompassing moral and ethical duties. It recognizes that moral standards can vary based on circumstances, life stages, and social roles.

Abrahamic religions often adhere to a divine commandments and sins, where moral standards are considered fixed and rooted in the commands of God. In Hinduism it’s not black and white, rather it’s grey.

The conversation between Arjuna and Krishna during at Kuruskhetra is the proof for this.

Better is one’s own dharma, though imperfectly performed, than the dharma of another well-performed. Better is death in one’s own dharma; the dharma of another is fraught with fear.” (Chapter 3, Verse 35)

Filmmaker Thiagaraja Kumaraja aptly captures this philosophy in his own words, “Yethu Thevaio Athu Dharamam” (What we need is Dharma).

Films like “Aaranya Kaandam” and “Super Deluxe” illustrate this philosophy, where the concepts of right and wrong become blurred. These works challenge viewers to navigate through the shades of gray, exploring the complexities of morality and the multifaceted nature of human actions.

A Scene from Super Deluxe

There is nothing absolute right or wrong; it’s all depending upon the lenses and the needs. Essentially, It’s about you and your survival.

Maya: The Illusion of the Material World:

Hinduism introduces the concept of Maya, acknowledging that the phenomenal world is an illusion, and true reality lies beyond the perceptions of the senses.

In contrast, Abrahamic religions generally consider the physical world as real, created by god and not inherently illusory.

The wise mourn neither for the living nor for the dead.” (Chapter 2, Verse 11)

Once again, director Thiagaraja Kumaraja delves into the concept of maya in his recent film “Ninaivo Oru Paravai,” questioning the boundaries between reality and imagination.

To read more about Ninaivo Oru Paravai click here.

Even Thiagaraja Kumaraja’s “Super Deluxe” talks about the same in the end with the characters alien and Gajji.

Vijay Sethupathi's disappearing scene from Kadaisi Vivasayi
Vijay Sethupathi’s disappearing scene from Kadaisi Vivasayi

Films like “Bogan” by Lakshman, “Awe” by Prashanth Verma, “Kadaisi Vivasayi” (Vijay Sethupathi track) by Manikandan, “Diary” by Arulnithi, “Eeram” by Arivazhagan, “Karnan” by Mari Selvaraj, and “Deja Vu” by Arvind Srinivasan also touch upon the theme of Maya. One personal favorite is Nalan Kumarasami’s “Soodhu Kavvum.

These films challenge our perception of reality, inviting us to contemplate the illusory nature of the material world and the deeper truths that lie beyond.

Panentheism: Divine Presence in Nature

One striking aspect of Hinduism is its belief in panentheism, acknowledging the divine presence within all aspects of the natural world.

This one is my personal favourite philosophy considering Hinduism as a way of life. All the ancient civilisations followed this.

This sets it apart from the monotheistic beliefs of Abrahamic religions, which emphasize the existence of a singular God or Supreme God.

Hinduism perceives the divine as immanent within nature and all living beings.

I remember when I was a child, I was scared of a centipede and tried to kill it. Then my grandma shouted at me, “Lakshmi Devi” will curse me if I kill a centipede. Because the centipede is Lakshmi Devi’s chariot. This might sound ridiculous, but there is a strong impact on nature. After that incident I never intentionally hurt any animals or reptiles, be they a snake, a spider, a lizard, or a dog. It’s a fear, for a good cause.

Everything in nature is related to God. From Ganges, Himalayas, Rats, Snakes to even Ashes.

This pantheistic approach fosters a deep sense of interconnectedness, reverence, and responsibility towards the nature..

Environmental Conservation and Sustainability

Hinduism’s panentheistic perspective aligns harmoniously with efforts towards environmental conservation and sustainability. By recognizing the divinity in nature, Hinduism instills a profound respect for and protection of the environment. It promotes the idea that humans have a sacred duty (dharma) to preserve and care for the natural world, perceiving it as an integral part of their spiritual journey.

The film “Kadaisi Vivasayi” directed by Manikandan, serves as a remarkable example that exemplifies these themes.

Kadaisi Vivasayi’s title card is shown with a shot of a peakcock on the rock and a song in the background, which translates to “Whether you are a figment of imaginations or an idol made by humans, Muruga, you have a boundless devotion.”

In the movie, later, the farmer asks the court, “How can I kill Murugan’s peacocks?” Will write another post on this soon.

Through the portrayal of peacocks, paddy fields, trees, and stones as divine entities, the movie beautifully captures the interconnectedness between humans and the natural world.

Farmer talking about his paddy fields

It emphasizes the significance of living in harmony with nature, showcasing the traditional practices of elderly farmers who deeply respect and protect the environment.

Personal Freedom and Fanaticism

It is essential to note that the philosophies discussed here aim to empower individuals rather than impose religious dogmas or the authority of a godman.

That is why I said, Hinduism is a way of life.

Unfortunately, some fanatics distort these philosophies in the name of culture and heritage, thereby disrupting the true essence of this “way of life” nature of Hinduism.

I have heard stories from my friends about the challenges they face when it comes to inter-religious marriages. They often share the consequences they encounter from church communities and religious dogmas.

In many cases, if they marry someone from another religion, the expectation is that the non-islamic partner must convert, or else the community may resort to ostracizing the family.

It’s disheartening to witness the impact of such rigid beliefs on personal choices and the potential for social exclusion.

Thankfully, as a Hindu, I have the freedom to marry a girl from any community without interference from temples or pandits. However, I am concerned that these fanatics may soon infringe upon this freedom of choice in the name of religion and culture.

In my opinion, those who attempt to confine this vast philosophy within rigid structures and commandments are the ones who are anti-Hindu.

On the other hand, those who promote the philosophy and question or criticise the evils in beliefs can be considered pro-Hindu.

Comment your thoughts.

Actor Vikram: A True Underdog Tale From Kollywood

We’ve all heard of actor Vikram, the star who has won hearts with his versatile performances.

Though he born in Film Family, why he couldn’t succeed initially?

Why he couldn’t become a superstar though Rajanaikanth predicted the same?

But do you know how he made it to the top, against all the odds?

Vikram’s journey to stardom is a tale of grit, determination, and hard work that is sure to inspire and thrill you.

Vikram Movies

The Inspiring Journey of Actor Vikram

Born into a family connected to the film industry, his father’s failed career made it hard for him to break in. His father was a producer, his maternal uncle was director-actor(Thiagarajan), his cousin was top-star Prashanth.

But he didn’t get much support from his maternal family. Despite these setbacks, Vikram pursued his dream of becoming an actor and caught the attention of directors as a model.

He also learned karate (his karate classmate Besant Ravi, later turned out to be a sidekick villain in films) and dance to improve his skills.

Actor Vikram

Overcoming Challenges: Vikram’s Early Struggles in the Film Industry

Although Vikram demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication, his 1990s acting career was characterized by setbacks.

Vikram’s debut movie, En Kadhal Kanmani, premiered in 1990. Over the course of his first 15 films, 11 were box office disappointments, with Ullasam being the lone average performer.

Vikram’s luck improved when Amitabh Bachchan produced Ullasam, starring Ajith and Maheswari as the lead pair. Initially, the filmmakers had intended to cast Arun Vijay in a co-lead role, but he was not interested in dual-hero projects and that led to Vikram’s signing instead.

This opportunity allowed Vikram to work on smaller film projects.

However, his luck was short-lived, and he soon found himself taking on minor roles in Malayalam and Telugu cinema.

To make ends meet, Vikram even resorted to dubbing for other actors, such as Prabhu Deva and Ajith. Despite these challenges, Vikram remained steadfast in his determination to achieve success.

Actor Vikram to Chiyaan Vikram

Actor Vikram’s cousin Prashanth was already a top star, but they didn’t communicate with each other. Fortunately, luck favored Vikram once more in 1997, as it had during Ullasam.

Assistant director of Balu Mahendra, Bala, penned an unusual romantic script titled “Sethu” (originally “Akhilan”), inspired by his classmate’s story.

First, Bala offered the leading role to his housemate Vignesh, who declined. Next, actor J.D. Chakravarthy was approached, but he was unavailable due to another commitment. Murali was also considered but ultimately did not join the project. In 1997, Bala finally offered the role of Sethu to Vikram, who was struggling at the time.

Vikram believed that Sethu would be his big break. He declined smaller roles and took a risk.

To prepare for his character, he shaved his head, lost 21 kilograms to become half his size, grew his nails, and spent hours in the sun to darken his skin as the script required. Vikram lived on fruit juice for six months and maintained his appearance with a minimal diet.

Sethu Movie Poster

Regrettably, Sethu encountered financial obstacles and was stalled due to Bala’s perfectionism and rustic approach to coworkers.

Director Ameer, Bala’s assistant at the time, implored various producers to invest in the film. Even after post-production, the film had difficulty finding a distributor, and only after 67 screenings did it secure a buyer. Most rejected the film due to its tragic ending.

Bala and Vikram used funds from Vikram’s wife, Shailaja, to organize press previews. Despite favorable reviews, no one showed interest in buying the film, leaving it completed but unreleased.

Ultimately, the film premiered on December 10, 1999, with a single afternoon showing in a B- Class theater. Thanks to word-of-mouth publicity, the film ran for over 100 days in multiple Chennai theaters.

As a result, Vikram was swarmed by fans on the streets. Sethu’s blockbuster success proved that Vikram’s dedication and faith had paid off. Following Sethu’s success, Vikram added the prefix “Chiyaan” to his screen name.

The Rise of Chiyaan Vikram: Success with Saamy and Anniyan

Vikram’s success didn’t come easily, and it wasn’t everlasting. After Sethu, Saamy elevated Vikram’s career. The film broke box office records in Tamil Nadu, surpassing Rajnikanth’s highest-grossing movie, Padayapa.

After watching Saamy, Rajnikanth himself predicted that Vikram would become the next superstar. Saamy remained Tamil Nadu’s highest-grossing film until 2005 when Anniyan broke records across South India.

The Two Critical Errors in Vikram’s Career

Although Vikram didn’t have as many fans as Vijay or Ajith, he dominated the far more extensive family audience, which comprised 65% of weekend watchers back then.

However, he made two critical errors in his career after 2005:

First, he didn’t focus much on mass masala films, while Ajith and Vijay pursued a mix of scripts.

Ajith delivered big hits like Dheena, Citizen, Villain, Attagasam, Varalaru, and Billa, which generated substantial profits.

Ajith’s flops included Red, Raja, Anjaneya, Jana, Ji, Tirupathi, and Aalwar.

As you can see, with six hits and seven flops, Ajith managed to survive by the skin of his teeth, till the release of Mankatha.

Vijay delivered average or hits during this period, including Tirumalai, Tirupachi, Bagavathi and blockbusters like Ghilli and Pokkiri.

Vijay’s flops during this period were Azhagiya Tamil Magan, Aathi, Udhaya and Sachein.

With four hits and only four flops during this period, Vijay thrived and managed to become one of the first choices for producers and distributers.

Secondly, He invested too much time in films like I (and even Robot) and Raavanan, causing him to miss out on many films, for example Ratsasan. The good decision is he rejected the villain role in Pushpa.

Similarly, after the collapse of Kanthasamy, he chose stereotypical projects or ordinary plots, such as Rajapattai, Thandavanam, Sketch, or 10 Endrathakulla. Out of this only Thandavam could manage some positive reviews.

Chiyaan Vikram: Versatile with No Haters

After 2010, his only decent hits were Daiva Thirumagal and Iru Mugan.

Vikram encountered numerous challenges, including financial struggles, small role offers, and missed opportunities with renowned filmmakers.

Yet, even during those difficult times, he trusted his chosen path and pushed himself to improve. Despite setbacks, his performances in films like Saamy, Anniyan, and Bheema solidified his position in the industry as a versatile actor.

Vikram’s journey exemplifies grit, determination, and perseverance. His performances, transparency, and dedication to his profession continue to inspire us.

While many actors have foreign accounts, Vikram still uses his SBI account at the Besant Nagar Branch for transactions. He is a man of honesty and simplicity.

Actor Vikram’s Latest Movies: High Hopes for Thangalan and Dhruva Natchathiram

Even with numerous box office failures in recent years, actor Vikram remains a beloved figure in the Tamil film industry. This could be attributed to the audience’s admiration for his dedication to his roles and passion for cinema.

In both successful and unsuccessful films, Vikram’s enthusiasm and commitment are evident, garnering the respect and admiration of fans, including myself.

We have high expectations for his upcoming releases, such as Pa. Ranjith’s Thangalan and GVM’s Dhruva Natchathiram.

Ponniyin Selvan – 2 Poster

With Maniratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan 2 (PS-2) releasing tomorrow, we’ll witness the star Vikram shining once more as Aditya Karikalan, showcasing his capabilities to the world.

As the saying goes, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” Vikram’s passion for his craft sets him apart, making him a true underdog hero in the film industry.

Read movie reviews here.