A Cycle of Hallucinations in ‘Ninaivo Oru Paravai’ Explained

“Ninaivo Oru Paravai,” directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja as part of Amazon’s Modern Love: Chennai, will share a similar aesthetic experience with films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love.

In these films, characters are often framed by the rectangle of the film frame, as well as by smaller internal shapes. This create a sense of separation and isolation or a sense of mystery and intrigue.

Frames from 'In The Mood For Love" & "Ninaivo oru Paravai"
Frames from ‘In The Mood For Love” & “Ninaivo oru Paravai”

As suggested by the title, “Ninaivo Oru Paravai” (Memory is just a bird), memories are ephemeral, free-spirited, and mutable.

I hope you might have seen, 2000’s Memento or if you are a film enthusiast, you might have seen 1975 “The Mirror”.

Just as Nolan manipulates our perception in “Memento,” Kumaraja crafts an immersive experience, challenging the viewer to distinguish the boundary between hallucination, film inside the film, and reality.

Like a complex maze with a thousand doors, each revealing a new riddle, “Ninaivo Oru Paravai” presents an intricate puzzle.

Let’s Open The Door: Ninaivo Oru Paravai Explained

Here is one possible interpretation from my side:

Our main character, K, scripts a story about a couple going through three breakups, one patch-up, and three intimate moments, filled with scenes that connect these elements into a coherent narrative.

Sam, who read K’s script, starts experiencing hallucinations about incidents mentioned in the script after their breakup.

Let’s see what’s in K‘s film.

The story begins with an intimate moment between Hero and Heroine, the only elements of their identity that we know is that hero is an aspiring film maker. The leftover dialogues suggest they’ve chosen to separate, marking their first breakup.

Ninaivo oru Paravai openinng scene
Ninaivo oru Paravai opening scene

What led to this?

They met on a film set in July, when they were both junior actors. They fell in love fast and became intimate.

Notes by K & Messages from Sam's mobile
Notes by K & Messages from Sam’s mobile

Six months later, they made the decision to live together. We see them enjoying their time together.

Six Months reference: Ninaivo Oru Paravai
Six Months reference: Ninaivo Oru Paravai

One rainy night, an astrologer warns them about an upcoming separation.

Jyosya Scene from Ninaivo Oru Paravai
Jyosya Scene from Ninaivo Oru Paravai

This makes the heroine worry and feel insecure, and she becomes possessive.

Sam's Possessiveness from Ninaivo Oru Paravai
Sam’s Possessiveness from Ninaivo Oru Paravai

This might have caused a rift between them.

We then see their second (or maybe first) break-up, which is tougher to bear. After this, the hero leaves the house, and the heroine watches him from the balcony. This time, she moves from right to left on the screen, with an infinity loop in the background.

After this, the hero might have had an accident, causing him to lose his memory.

The hero’s sister asks the heroine to help him recover his memory. He still remembers the heroine’s name. The heroine visits the hero, writes down their beautiful memories, and shares them with him. The hero reads each note, embedding these memories in his mind.

There is a rain scene, it’s a beautiful memory that heroine written in the note for hero.

If you look closely, you will get some hints from those frames.

Sign Board & the notice on the tea-stall which says "2000 Cats are missing in Chennai" : Ninaivo Oru Paravai
Sign Board & the notice on the tea-stall which says “2000 Cats are missing in Chennai”

A Hidden Revenge Story

At this point, you might see it as a revenge story, where the heroine tells him to believe everything she says, whether it’s true or false. He lives with the uncertainty of his memories, unsure if they’re lies or the truth. It’s like a Thursdayism philosophy that K used to talk about in the past.

There is no Tatto visible, and it;s part of the script written by K: Ninaivo oru Paravai
There is no Tatto visible, and it;s part of the script written by K: Ninaivo oru Paravai

I see it as a form of revenge because the heroine was dealing with the same feelings after their break-up. She couldn’t tell what was real and what was an illusion.

Now, she’s passing the same feelings on to the hero, telling him,

Anything you remember won’t be the truth but a figment of your imagination. I’m the only one who can tell you if it’s real or just your imagination.

But she promises him that she never cheated and that they’ll never see each other again. She gives him back the script that he wrote.

Wamiqa Gabbi in Ninaivo oru Paravai
Wamiqa Gabbi in Ninaivo oru Paravai

As she leaves, she repeats the hero’s words from their first break-up, “Avvulo thaana (That’s it?)” “I guess so.”

You can see this as the third break-up in the script.

A Happy Ending

The heroine then comes home in the rain, with the hero following her. She closes the door on him when he begs for her love.

She asks why she should love him.

He replies that even though he’s lost all his memories, he still remembers her. This shows his love for her.

Sam opens the door, and they get back together. She says they’re going to live happily ever after, just like the characters in the movie.

Climax scene written by K : Ninaivo Oru Paravai
Climax scene written by K : Ninaivo Oru Paravai

She then comes back in, possibly after making love, closes the door, and the title card “A film by K” appears.

This is K’s film.

Let’s Now Explore, What is Reality?

After her breakup, Sam seeks help from a psychiatrist to cope with her emotional distress, and she starts improving with treatment.

During her visit to the doctor, bird tattoos are visible on her neck (in the present or real). These bird tattoos might serve as symbolic keys, resembling a love bite, possibly representing the painful remnants of love and memory.

This tattoo plays a pivotal role in this film. It helps us distinguish between the real and imaginary worlds (or events from K’s scripts) in the film.

Let’s Pick Some More Hints

On reaching home and starting to clean, the tattoo on Sam’s neck is visible.

When she picks up the ashtray, it reminds her of the couple’s habit of smoking together after making love.

Sam holding Ash Tray: Ninanivo Oru Paravai
Sam holding Ash Tray: Ninanivo Oru Paravai

While Sam is holding the ash tray, you can see that cactus in the background is dry. But, when she see K’s sister, cactus is green. Sam’s hallucinations are vivid and colourful.

Cactus in the background (One is dry, but the very next moment it's green)
Cactus in the background (One is dry, but the very next moment it’s green)

She begins to hallucinate again. K’s sister’s arrival and the entire hospital sequence seem copied from the script. While Sam converses with K’s sister or during her time at the hospital, her tattoos are not visible.

While searching for toilet paper, we see tablets on the shelf, but she doesn’t use them. Sam starts to hallucinate the entire script (written by K) as her own memories or present experiences.

In the climax, when they meet for the last time at the bar, Sam’s tattoo is initially not visible, which suggests it’s a hallucination influenced by the script.

And this scene is there in the script or K already discussed this with Sam (So first part of the meeting is a hallucination).

From Hallucination to Painful Reality(In the Climax)

But when she says, “We won’t meet again; I came to give you back the script,her tattoo becomes visible, suggesting that the event actually occurred in their real lives. So, this is her real memory. This might have been there last meet and after this K might have met with an accident.

or else, That painful breakup scene in the script was their last meet and here nobody is there opposite to Sam, and she is hallucinating K is there oposite to her and leaving the script saying “This was one last thing I had kept in your memory”.

To make it more concrete, she is raising glass and leaving the table by keeping 500 rupees( can be going Dutch as well). There are no dialogues from K, once the tattoo appears. It’s a hallucination, she is leaving the script on empty table.

Even those orange lights are some hint, you can see the shades of orange in all her hallucinations.

K is Dead!!

Following that painful break-up, K might have met with an accident and slipped into a coma or might have died. Why?

In the subsequent scene, Sam’s tattoo is visible, and she is walking back home with a clear sky. The doctor calls her and warns her about hallucinations. She mentions a journal written by Sam (which contains what we’ve seen as hallucinations, which she might have written in reality as well).

When Sam mentions meeting K, the doctor reacts with surprise, uttering “K?” in a tone indicating impossibility. Hence, K might be dead or incapable of meeting Sam. The doctor shows shock when Sam mentions rain, suggesting there is actually no rain.

In the next scene, Sam is shown talking to K at their home, and it’s raining. It’s a hallucination.

There’s a dialogue from Sam: “We are going to be like those characters in the movie, we are going to live happily ever after from here.

However, after this, Sam comes and closes the door. Her tattoos are visible; it’s actually real. She hallucinates that K is with her and sleeping inside. She returns to her loop which ends happily. The door closes. She is going to live like that.

Now doctor (In the film) is the only one who knows K is dead or what happened to him other than Sam. If you look closely, you can see that Doctor and Josya are same.

Doctor Character & Josya Character

Ninaivo Oru Paravai: Ending Explained

I’ve another theory about the break-up scenes in the film.

I think Sam has been through a similar experience before, and the Psychiatrist helped her escape this cycle.

In the first break-up scene, Sam walks from the left to the right of the screen. But in the second break-up, which is more painful, she walks from right to left, with an infinity loop showing in the background.

It’s possible that Sam might have experienced the entire events again and again as hallucinations, undergoing the same series of pain and happiness.

Even the song’s lyrics playing in the background highlight this: “Will time stagnate at anyone’s behest?” and “Fish that swims in the mirage.” (song after their second break-up scene)

Like a pendulum, Sam oscillates from left to right and right to left through her memories (her real memories might be).

After her appointment with the psychiatrist, we observe her returning home and revisiting the pain while gathering objects linked to her memories of K.

A Redemption

And when she picks up the ash tray, she starts hallucinating again. At this point, she is disrupting the cycle, striving to create a happier ending.

Cigarette packet name is Cancer: Ninaivo Oru Paravai
Cigarette packet name is Cancer: Ninaivo Oru Paravai

She hallucinates about K’s sister and her meetings with K.
She finds a solution, just like in the movie; she hallucinates and reunites with K on that rainy night.

A song plays in the background while she stores the memories (notes) in the jar: “Till the summer skies burst, and rain pours forth, will your eternal suffering persist.

In that rainy night, she is seeding a happy ending for that eternal suffering.

One Last Theory

Let’s shift our perspective by 180 degrees and consider that the actual director or writer could be Sam, not K.

In real, Sam is the one who wrote the script, drawing from her own memories. She wrote the script and in the end she left is at the bar assuming K is there and it’s his script (Like in her movie script, in the present she is living like the chaarcter in the movie, so she believes, K wrote the script).

The doctor has been working to erase K from her mind. It’s no coincidence that Josya in her script ( who predict the break-up or being a reason for a rift in their relation) and the doctor bear a striking resemblance. There’s even a scene where the doctor discusses Sam’s journal, reinforcing the idea that Sam is the writer.

If you observe closely, the notes written by Sam and the notes on the script have the same handwriting. Look at the ‘S’ written on notes and script. But the notes on the toilet paper, which were written by K, are in a different handwriting.The notes written by K on the toilet paper display a distinct handwriting style


This all reminds me of Kim Ki Duk’s movie ‘3 Iron.’ In the end, the hero returns to the heroine’s house and lives there unnoticed by the heroine’s husband. It implies that three people are living in the house, but the husband is unaware. This raises the question: “Is the world we live in reality or a dream?

3 - Iron Movie climax: Directed by Kim Ki Duk
3 – Iron Movie climax: Directed by Kim Ki Duk

In a similar situation, K might be living with Sam, but no one else knows. It’s hard to discern the reality.

Thiagaraja Kumaraja made this movie as a distorted jigsaw puzzle, by watching it multiple times, you will be able to fix it in order. But he removed one piece from the jigsaw: “Why They Broke Up?” this is the trigger to ACT 2 of the movie ( or even K’s script).

Maybe there might be more clues to reveal that #WhatHappened moment. Please share as a comment if you find any.

For reading More reviews and stories, click here.

-Written by Akhil Pillai

Defying the Norms: Modern Love Chennai Review

Modern Love Chennai- As a review, I would say Thyagarajan Kumaraja version of modern love, is a perfect weekend watch if you love to see the shades of romance.

This webseries is a challenge to the mainstream love stories that we are used to.

What’s striking is that each episode is a beautifully narrated tale from a woman’s perspective.

As a guy, it’s really nice to see love from a woman’s point of view. What’s really beautiful is how these stories grow, just like a flower blooming, and at the end, they spread the fragrance and make you smile.

The nostalgic background scores and music by Ilayaraja serve as a soulful thread, and keep you connected to Modern Love Chennai, making sure you feel a part of their world.

Lalagunda Bommaigal: A Tale of Trust, Love, and Betrayal

“Lalagunda Bommaigal” narrates the story of Shobha, a resident of multicultural suburban Chennai. The film, directed by Rajumurugan and featuring Sri Gouri Priya, Vasudevan Murali, and Vasundhara, begins with an abortion and then navigates waves of trust, love, and betrayal, sprinkled with a dash of dark humour.

Rajumurugan’s handling of the sensitive, dark subject, blending in dark humour without diminishing the pain and struggle of a woman, is commendable.

Nirav Shah’s exemplar Cinematography

In the first act of the movie, there is a dialogue: “You cannot live with men, but, you cannot live without men either”, and, in the climax, there is another dialogue “You cannot live with women, but, you cannot live without women either”. This summarises it.

One of the things that I loved most about the film was the cinematography by Nirav Shah. The empty roads, night shots, and transitions all reflected what Shobha was going through.
Even the ending shot of the film was beautiful. It showed us the fulfilment that Shobha had finally found. Frames act like a shadow for Shobha’s emotions.

The music composed by Sean Roldan also helps us to empathise with Shobha. It was subtle yet pleasing.

Imaigal: Love Amidst Fear and Loss

“Imaigal,” navigates the life of Devi, who’s in love with Nithya while facing the fear of a retinal degenerative disease. Directed by Balaji Sakthivel and penned by Balaji Tharaneetharan, this episode stands out for its short-sweet yet meaningful narrative.

A scene from Imaigal: Modern Love Chennai

The episode focuses on Nithya’s fear of losing her sight and her love life. It beautifully captures the moments when Nithya and Devi support each other through their struggles. The episode is emotionally resonant and is a reminder of the fragile yet resilient nature of love in the face of adversity.

T.J BHanu & Yuvan Shankar Raja

Although the episode’s pace may seem a bit quick, it’s effective due to its well-written script and sincere performances by Ashok Selvan and T.J. Bhanu.

T J Bhanu as Divya: Imaigal

But I felt that he struggled to portray the character of a middle-class man as convincingly as T.J. Bhanu. This may be because Ashok Selvan is not typically cast in these types of roles, and he may not have had as much experience with the struggles of the middle class 😉

As a result, in the second half, there was a slight disconnect between him and the role, which made the couple appear somewhat mismatched on screen.

The music by Yuvan Shankar Raja fills in the silence with a depth of emotion, while the cinematography by Jeeva Sankar expertly catches subtle emotions with close-up shots. It’s a worthwhile watch, reminding viewers about the fragile yet resilient nature of love in the face of adversity.

Kaadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkura Emoji: A 90s Love Mashup

“Kaadhal Enbadhu Kannula Heart Irukkura Emoji” is all about the romantic adventures revolving around Mallika, who is desperate for love.
If you’ve seen the Malayalam movie “June,” you may find some familiar plot elements, as this episode feels like a condensed version of the same.

Directed by Krishnakumar Ramakumar and featuring a star-studded cast including Ritu Varma, Samyuktha Viswanathan, Pawan Alex, Aniiruth Kanakarajan, and Vaibhav Reddy, this episode is a sweet nod to 90s nostalgia. However, the writing by Reshma Ghatala comes across as average, with several scenes evoking a sense of déjà vu.

The story is about Mallika, a teenager who loves 90s romantic movies. She is obsessed with the scenes and dialogue, and she is eager to experience love for herself. She falls in love with different people at different stages of her life. Through these experiences, how her character arc changes and her perspectives about love evolve is the rest of the story.

A surprising Cameo and a Striking Dialogue

There is a cameo by Bhradwaj Rangan and it was hilarious and interesting.
What makes this episode special is the reference of all those 90’s kids favourite romantic songs and multiple Maniratnam & Gautham Menon movie references. I felt like it’s a 1990-2000 love mashup.

Ritu Varma as Mallika: Modern Love Chennai

One intriguing dialogue from Mallika caught my attention. She states, “there are no breakup songs for women in Tamil cinema.”

This line served as a humorous yet sharp commentary on a stark reality in the film industry.

Margazhi: A tale that Blooms Like Jasmine

Margazhi, is a heartfelt teenage love story directed by Akshay Sundher and penned by Balaji Tharaneetharan,and this is one of my favourites in recent times.

You can see Balaji’s signature in the dialogues and character development. The narration reminds me of European classics, with its slow pace, steady frames, poetic moments, and close-up shots.

A scene from Margazhi

The story is about Jazmine, who is depressed after her parents’ divorce. Her father suggests that she join the church choir to help her feel better.
Despite being in the choir, she finds comfort in her earphones and the music of Ilayaraja. However, a silver line arrives in the form of a summer romance that dramatically alters Jazmine’s path.

Everything changes along Jazmine’s character arc – the backgrounds, landscapes, objects, and even color shades. I was truly amazed by the depiction of this transformation.

Sanjula Sarathi’s Spring, Summer, Fall..

In her debut role, Sanjula Sarathi is simply spectacular as Jazmine. Her performance shines in the close shots, She is so expressive in her close-ups. Particularly in one striking scene where she questions, “Why do you love me?” Her portrayal of the reflections and self-fulfilment is impeccable.

Ilaiyaraaja’s musical score adds an extra layer of depth to the story, reminiscent of the “En Iniya Pon Nilave” vibes.

However, the real star of the show, beyond Balaji’s writing, is the cinematography by Vikas Vasudevan. The frames evolve like the seasons – winter, summer, spring, finally blooming into a beautiful cinematic experience.

Don’t miss Margazhi, it’s a beautiful teenage romantic film. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves teenage love stories.

Paravai Kootil Vaazhum Maangal (Gazelles living in a bird’s nest): A Forbidden Love

Do you recall the 1993 classic Marupadiyum by Balu Mahendra, featuring Rohini, Nizhalgal Ravi & Revathi? Or perhaps the iconic song “Aasai Athigam vachu by Ilayaraja from the same era?

Well, Paravai Kootil Vaazhum Maangal feels like a more compact, updated version of Marupadiyum. Directed by BharatiRaja, it’s steeped in the same intense emotions.

Pratheep Kumar’s dialogues might seem a tad dramatic, but they’re also poetic, adding depth to moments of character introspection.

The tale kicks off with Ilayaraja’s classic “En iniya Pon Nilave” song, setting the stage for the unfolding forbidden love between Rohini & Ravi amidst the Chennai metro station.

Kishore, Ramya Nambessan, and Vijayalakshmi deliver some standout performances in this episode. They beautifully fill the shoes of Ravi, Revathi, and Rohini, bringing these characters to life. Another shining star is the cinematography by Jeeva Sankar. The way he frames scenes set in the metro, at night, or within a room is captivating. The team’s use of darkness and night shades adds another layer to the storytelling.

Exploring the Labyrinth of Love

In Kishore’s (Ravi) own words, the theme of the episode can be summed up as, “It’s hard to discern when love will happen, or with whom, or even why. We never understood our hearts.”

Vijaya;ashmi as Rohini: Modern Love Chennai
Vijaya;ashmi as Rohini: Modern Love Chennai

The episode ends with a dialogue from Revathi about emptiness, which reminds me of Thulasi from Marupadiyum. It would be unnatural to find gazelles living in a bird’s nest. Rohini and Ravi are the gazelles here.

Ninaivo Oru Paravai (Memory is Just a Bird): A Modern Love

This episode is a real modern love story filled with all the required ingredients: pubs, smoking, wild sex, post-breakup traumas, and high-end philosophical talks.

Ninaivo Oru Paravai, directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja and starring Wamiqa Gabbi and PB, presents the tale of Sam & K. They’re a couple who subscribe to a “caveman” style relationship: “You are mine, I am yours, no god, no marriage, no rules”.

The episode opens with the soft melodies of “mella mella ennai thottu”, an Ilayaraja composition later used in Sarvam by Yuvan.
As the couple stirs from sleep following a passionate night, the soft music, subdued room lighting, and red tones set the tone for the film and tell you to get ready for something dark, wild, and passionate, infused with both the sweetness of love and the bitterness of tears.

In a thought-provoking scene, K questions the fate of film characters after the movie ends, which feels like the director is posing these queries to the viewers. It reminds me of the character Mugil (Fahad Fasil) from Super Deluxe.

Philosophical Brilliance of Thiagarajan Kumararaja

This film talks about idealism (what we perceive as the “real world” is essentially a product of our mind) and direct realism. The brilliance of Thiagarajan Kumararaja is that he lets you experience the same (like Nolan’s Memento, where you feel what the character is going through). The storytelling method is so unique and blends beautifully with idealism.

A Scene from Ninaivo Oru Paravai: Wamiqa Gabbi as Sam
A Scene from Ninaivo Oru Paravai: Wamiqa Gabbi as Sam

In simple terms, Thyagaraja Kumaraja is playing a mind game with you, blurring the lines between a movie within a movie and two real-life characters.

The cinematography by Nirav Shah and Jeeva Sankar brilliantly enhances the film’s ambience, helping us to dig into the deeper layers of the scenes. The corridor shots in the hospital, the indoor shots of unfinished rooms, the close-ups of cigarette packs, the rain shots tinged with pink and yellow, all signal that this is a work by Thiagarajan Kumararaja. The pervasive darkness and red colour tones echo the episode’s underlying themes around idealism & realism.

Memory is just a bird, It is free and unbounded. It flits around, sometimes coming close and at times flying away, but it’s always a part of our world.

Modern Love Chennai Review: Final Word

Overall, considering a review of Modern Love Chennai, I would say it excels in execution and casting, even though not all episodes are great in their vision.

While many episodes were acclaimed for their dialogue and storytelling, some might have seemed cliché or overly familiar. More innovative and nuanced writing could have made these episodes stand out. For example, Ritu Varma’s episode, climax of first episode.

For more movie reviews and suggestions, click here.

‘Custody’: The Hits and Misses of a Venkat Prabhu Hunt

“Custody” is a 90s-set action thriller that weaves unexpected twists, humour, and charm while falling short in delivering a consistently engaging cinematic experience.

Plot: A Twisted Tale of Duty and Dilemmas

Our story unfolds in the late 90s, with our hero Shiva (Naga Chaitanya), a morally upright police constable. Chaitanya’s character name might be inspired by Ram Gopal Varma’s Shiva, starring Nagarjuna Akkineni as a young rebel.

His introduction isn’t a typical fight scene, he doesn’t flex muscles but halts a Chief Minister’s ( Priyamani) car to make way for an ambulance.

Next, we’re shown his love life, where he’s planning to elope with his quirky girlfriend, Revathi (Krithi Shetty). The plot thickens when Shiva, in a twist of fate, gets entangled with a dangerous criminal, Raju (Arvind Swami).

Now, Shiva’s mission is to escort Raju to court while dodging the corrupt police officer IG Nataraj (Sharat Kumar) and the entire state police force.

Sounds like quite the thrill ride, doesn’t it? But don’t get too excited;
It’s like expecting a giant fireworks show and only getting a sparkler.

End credits from Custody

Custody: A Hunt with Missed Opportunities

Venkat Prabhu always aims to mix comedy and thrills in his films. This is like trying to make a tricky cocktail, where the humour is a refreshing breeze on a hot day. However, in “Custody”, the comedy didn’t hit the mark as expected. Premji seems to have lost the special spark we used to see in other Venkat Prabhu films.

The movie takes some time getting to the main conflict, which can test the patience of the audience. It fumbles when it attempts to explore an emotional backstory, making it feel a tad cliched. The comedy track could also have been sharper, and the action sequences more impactful.

In simple words, it could have been more focussed to the core theme (like Maanadu) and it demands a more brutal editing.

Performances: The Best, The Better, and The Missed Opportunities

In all Venkat Prabhu films, the actors’ performances are the beating heart, and it’s no different in “Custody.” But there is a difference, in Maanadu, you can see a competition between STR & S J Suryah, but here you won’t.

Naga Chaitanya as Shiva wears the role of the morally upright constable. His attempt to portray a character is commendable. While he convincingly plays the underdog, there are moments where we feel a seasoned actor could have added more depth and intensity to the role. It’s not that he doesn’t bring his A-game, but the character of Shiva could have had more facets explored. There are places where the character’s emotional depth doesn’t quite resonate convincingly. Still, it is arguably one of his best performances yet.

Arvind Samy as Raju from Custody

Arvind Swami as Raju is truly the show-stealer in this film. He beautifully balances the serious nature of his character with unexpected elements of humour. This is where the movie triumphs – in its character portrayals. Aravind Swami’s portrayal of the hardened criminal is not just intense but also delightfully entertaining. He adds a dash of humour even in the most tense moments, which keeps the narrative engaging. His character is a testament to Swami’s versatility as an actor.

Krithi Shetty as Revathy does a good job within the limited scope of her role. Her performance is impressive, and she adds charm to the screen. While her character remains a “nice to have” one in the film to add tension, the screenplay does not offer her much to contribute significantly to the plot. However, she does manage to leave an impact despite being the love interest that does not directly influence the main plotline.

Sharath Kumar as IG Nataraj delivers a strong performance. He embraces the character of the corrupt police officer with ease and manages to exude both menace and class. His screen presence is strong and adds value to the film. But I really wish S J Suryah could have tried the role of I G Natraj.

In addition, the film boasts some starry cameo appearances (I don’t want to spoil the surprise) that are sure to thrill the audience. One such cameo is by Ramki, which, despite being cliched, adds a massy feel to the scene.

Aesthetics and Score: An Ode to the 90s

The technical aspects of the film are appreciable.

Rajeevan, the production designer, and Kathir, the cinematographer, did a great job making it feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Yuvan Shnkar Raja mixed in some of Ilaiyaraaja’s older hits that fit right in and sound even better than the new songs.

Lastly, Venkat Prabhu used some references to take you back to the 90’s . Like, the main guy’s name is ‘Shiva’, as I mentioned before, it’s from a popular 90’s movie. Premji’s sequences with Mani Ratnam’s Mouna Ragam music. 

Why Watch ‘Custody’: The Final Verdict

In a nutshell: So, should you watch “Custody”?

It’s an average thriller cop story with an intriguing plot, some thrilling twists, and memorable performances.

It may not be the best movie you’ll watch this weekend, but if you’re a fan of Arvind Swami, or classy villains, or if you’re in the mood for an okayish thriller with some twists and turns or gripping background score, then go for it.

But don’t expect too much, or you might be disappointed. Just sit back, grab your popcorn, and enjoy the Venkat prabhu’s Hunt.

For more reviews, click here.

Ponniyin Selvan Part II: Mani Ratnam’s Vengeful Visual Feast

Mani Ratnam’s “Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” has finally arrived, and in one word, it’s not as loud as Bahubali, but it’s wiser than any Rajamouli film.

PS-2 is an emotionally driven, character-focused epic that delves into the intricacies of political intrigue and human connections in a captivating and thought-provoking manner.

In my view, Mani sir’s storytelling expertise is evident in this film, making it a must watch for his fans.

Sara Arjun & Santhosh Sreeram

PS-2: A Layered Story Filled With Emotions

The plot of “Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” starts with the childhood stories of Nandhini and Aditya Karikaalan. It prepares the audience for the upcoming events. Then it shifts to the present, and continues from where the first part ended, exploring the power struggles and alliances that determined the Chola Empire’s destiny.

The film features three major events: the return of Arunmozhi Varman (Jayam Ravi), who was thought to be dead; the confrontation between Nandhini and Aditya Karikaalan; and how Vandhiyathevan (Karthi) exposes the plot to topple the Chola Empire and wins the war against the Rashtrakutas.

Though the plot is undoubtedly complex and multi-layered, Maniratnam keeps the audience engaged through skillful storytelling. The emotional intensity of the film may be too much for some viewers, particularly those who prefer a more action-filled historical epic. Don’t expect a Baahubali-style period drama here; instead, the emotions and performances from the lead actors grip you throughout the journey.

Fiery Aishwarya Rai & Raging Vikram

One standout aspect of “Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” is the exceptional performances from its talented cast. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s portrayal of the cunning and enigmatic Nandini is especially noteworthy. Her expressive eyes and ability to convey various emotions make her character unforgettable.

Characters Ponniyin Selvan

In my opinion, this is undoubtedly one of her best performances ever. Similar to the confrontation scene between Kundavi and Nandini in the first part, there is a scene where Aditya Karikaalan meets Nandini after a long time. Even without any dialogue or eyebrow movements, the way Aishwarya Rai captures vengeance and inner fire is impeccable. I couldn’t take my eyes off those beautiful close-up shots.

Vikram, as Aditya Karikalan, exudes determination and intensity in his role, showcasing his versatility as an actor. Jayam Ravi and Karthi also deliver impressive performances as Arunmozhi Varman and Vandhiyathevan, respectively, adding depth to the overall story.

Unfortunately, in this sequel, Trisha doesn’t contribute much beyond a romantic scene with Karthi, which was already trending on social media, leaving no element of surprise.

Last but not the least, 17 year old ‘Deiva Thirumagal’ actress Sara Arjun truly surprised me with her stunning emotional scenes.

The Unforgettable Face-off: A Pinnacle Moment in Ponniyin Selvan: Part II

One of the most striking scenes in “Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” is the intense confrontation between Aditya Karikalan (Vikram) and Nandini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). This face-off highlights Mani Ratnam’s exceptional direction and scripting, as well as the strong performances of the lead actors.

As the tension between the characters peaks, the audience becomes absorbed in their complex relationship. It’s filled with suspicion, power struggles, and subtle emotions. Their eyes express a blend of anger, determination, and vulnerability, revealing their character arcs.

The build-up to this moment is well executed. Mani Ratnam uses subtle cues and visual storytelling to craft a tangible sense of anticipation. In this scene, you can experience A.R. Rahman’s best work from the recent times. The scene is further enriched by the remarkable cinematography and the art works, intensifying the emotional impact.

This unforgettable scene in “Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” exemplifies Mani Ratnam’s story building skill. The way mani Ratnam pull off the emotions is that make this film an epic worth watching.

Character Arcs, Scripting, and Pain: Mani Ratnam’s Mastery

In a Mani Ratnam film, the character arcs of female leads often excite scriptwriters. Characters like Shakthi, Divya, Meghna, and Dr. Leela evolve while the male parts typically have flat arcs throughout the movie. In PS-2, there is no exception; Nandini’s character arc is especially noteworthy, revealing the complexities and layers of the main player, Nandini.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s Nandini transforms from a mysterious figure in Part I to a fully-realized, multi-layered character in Part II. This change demonstrates Mani Ratnam’s skill in developing character arcs. His ability to balance various plotlines and characters without losing sight of the core story is praiseworthy.

Technical Elements: A Visually Stunning Experience

“Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” excels in its technical elements. The film’s visuals are breathtaking, with each frame carefully designed to reflect the grandeur of the Chola Empire. The cinematography and art direction significantly contribute to the immersive atmosphere of the movie. Watching it in IMAX further enhances the overall visual experience.

However, I believe there is room for improvement in pacing and editing. A more streamlined narrative would have benefited the complex plot and numerous characters, keeping the audience fully engaged.

In conclusion, Mani Ratnam’s “Ponniyin Selvan: Part II” is a masterfully crafted historical epic showcasing the best of drama and politics. It’s a must-watch for enthusiasts of this genre.

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Yaathisai: A Riveting Period Drama by Dharani Rajendran

This summer is a real treat for fans of Tamil culture, as they’re in for two back-to-back period dramas within a week’s time.

Yaathisai Poster

The interesting twist is that Dharani Rajendran’s ambitious venture, Yaathisai comes with a modest budget, an unknown producer, and several debutant actors, telling the story of the Pandyan and Einar clans.

On the other side, we have a highly anticipated Ponniyin Selvan -2 by a renowned director, a team of experts, LYCA productions and a star-studded cast, including Karthi, Vikram, and Aishwarya Rai, who delve into the Chola Kingdom.

Yaathisai: A Compelling Period Drama on a Budget

If you’re short on time, here’s the gist:

Director Dharani Rajendran has shown that crafting a compelling period drama doesn’t require a massive budget, famous stars, or a team of experts – all it takes is a vision.

That vision is evident in Yaathisai, and as a filmiholic, I wholeheartedly appreciate the effort. I believe you should experience this in theatres and encourage such commendable attempts.

Dharani Rajendran: Hidden Talent of the Tamil Film Industry

Yaathisai is truly a refreshing period drama that stands out and serves as a lesson for big-budget period dramas. Directed by Dharani Rajendran, this film showcases the hidden potential of the Tamil film industry.

Yaathisai takes us back in time, where the Einar clan fights the powerful Pandiyan kingdom.

In my opinion, the film was marketed incorrectly, as it seems less focused on Pandian warriors and more on the underdog tale of the Einar clan.

Powerful Performances and Technical Excellence

The director’s extensive research is evident throughout the movie, keeping audiences engaged from start to finish.

The lead actors, Seyon as Kodhi and Shakti Mithran as the Pandiyan king Ranadheeran, deliver powerful performances that breathe life into the story. In one word, their performances are raw-rustic and loud.

The world of Yaathisaasi

The technical team also deserves praise for creating a world that looks and feels real. The movie gradually picks up its pace, slowly taking us into the world of Yaathisai.

I truly appreciate the action choreography; the fight scenes are intense and make you feel like you’re part of the action.

Of course, the movie isn’t perfect. Sometimes the special effects take away from the story, but that can be considered given the budget constraints.

In the second half, the pacing could be better. After the interval punch, it moves through some melodrama and the marriage scene reminds me of Santhosh Shivan’s Asoka. There are some slow-paced melodramatic moments in the second half, but the movie picks up its action soon.

Finally, enhancing the dubbing and sound effects could elevate the movie further, especially during the forest sequence and ambush event, which could provide an even better theatre experience with a bit more effort in the sound department.

Why I Love Yaathisai

Yaathisai shows that you don’t need a lot of money or famous actors to make a great historical drama. You just need a team that’s passionate and creative.

In conclusion, Yaathisai is a must-watch for fans of period dramas and anyone looking for a fresh, raw-rustic movie experience. Dharani Rajendran’s bold attempt is a great example of what Tamil cinema can do. So get your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the world of Yaathisai – Just like Baahubali, PS-1, Yaathisai also has a second part; it’s just the beginning.

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Viduthalai: Vetrimaran’s Hard-Hitting Expose on Bureaucratic Atrocities

Vetrimaran’s Latest Release Sheds Light on India’s Oppressive System

Viduthalai Title card

In India, where the colonial hangovers still loom, we need more directors like VetriMaran who create films that shed light on bureaucratic atrocities in our society. Tamil films, such as Visarai, Vilangu, and Writer, are examples of movies that explore such issues. Viduthalai is the recent addition.

The Need for Viduthalai : A Hope

Over 30 Israeli Air Force pilots recently refused to participate in training or reserve duty as a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reforms. If more people acted ethically and humanised rather than blindly following laws on paper, our world could have been better.

Think about Russian soldiers protesting against Putin’s fascist and uncongenial decisions to invade another country.
Think about all our police constables refusing to work like a maid (more like a slave I should say) at IPS officers home.

I hope at least some of you remember how human right activist Father Stan Swamywho died while he was in judicial custody in Taloja jail.

I believe, changes may not happen soon, we need to wait for another generation to eradicate the GOI Act 1935 and its colonial hangovers. But these movies may act as a catalyst for those changes.

Viduthalai’s Gripping Storyline and Setting

Vetrimaran’s latest release, Viduthaalai shed light on India’s bureaucratic system, which is infamous for its hierarchical slavery and political nepotism.

Viduthaali, set in 1987 in a remote forest village, portrays a community of oppressed people, rebels, and a subservient police force conditioned to follow orders led by a treacherous, sadistic, perversive commanding officer (Chethan).

The movie starts with a gory extended single-shot sequence of a train bombing.

Then we follow Kumaraesan (Soori), an innocent man who starts work as a driver and cook in that police camp at the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.

Soori as Kumaresan

With Kumaresan as our POV character, we understand the nuances of police operations, atrocities, sufferings of low rank officials.

Then we have the mysterious Perumal (Vijay Sethupathi), who is fighting against a proposed mining project.

Stellar Performances and Unique Casting Choices

When it comes to the performances in Viduthaalai, everyone did an outstanding job. I believe the whole credit should goes to Vetrimaaran’s outside the box casting choices.

Gautham Menon, who glorified cop-killing in his movies, plays a brutal cop.

Soori portrays the central character with a magnificent makeover.

Bhawani Sri, who played a small role in Ka Pae Ranasingam, plays a village girl and love interest for Kumaresan (Soori).

Bhawani Sri as Tamilarasi

Even Rajeev Menon’s performance as a Principal Secretary is subtle and elegant.

Vijay Sethupathi appears in only a few moments in the film. Still he may give you goosebumps with his classy ‘mass’ performances and that one-liner in the climax was epic.

Vijay Sethupathi as Perumal

Soulful Music and Captivating Cinematography

Viduthalai is packed with many raw and hard-hitting moments, but it also sprinkled with some emotional-romantic moments. In both cases, Ilaiyaraaja’s soulful tunes elevate the emotions. His music is not loud but is subtle and prudent enough to leave an impact.

R Velraj’s cinematography effectively take us to the world of Viduthalai, with unshowy visuals of forest terrains, single-shot visuals in the introduction, and documentary-style realism in the frames.

Viduthalai is a great film backed by a talented team on and off-screen.

Why We should clap for Viduthaalai: Relevance in 2023

Although the movie is set in 1987, it remains relevant today. Police atrocities against SC/ST communities remain prevalent in many areas of India.

I hope you are aware of Police atrocities in Wayanad, where Attappadi tribal head claimed that Kerala police were taking revenge as they fought against the land mafia.

If you think Chethan’s portrayal of the film’s commanding officer is unrealistic, consider a real-life incident where a police officer in Wayand subjected a 16-year-old girl to violence.

Shockingly, the punishment given to the officer by the system was just a “Suspension order”. Is that really justice for the young girl?

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Pathu Thala: Silambarasan TR Shines, But Is It Enough for an Action Thriller?

The  rivalry between a daring cop and a brutal gangster is a cliched one-line, but what makes it thrilling is how the team brings the audience closer to the characters’ world or how the cat & mouse events unfold.

Pathu Thala is crafted using the same one-line, and Pathu Thala, delivers a mixed bag of emotions, drama, and entertainment. Read on to find out if it’s worth the watch.

Plot Overview

Set against the backdrop of Kanyakumari, Pathu Thala revolves around an undercover agent, Guna (Gautham Karthik), who infiltrates a mafia group led by AGR (Silambarasan) to locate a missing Chief Minister (Santhosh Prathap). Though the genre demands tense and fast-paced moments, the movie gets diluted with dramatic rain shots, clichéd romantic sequences, and Thankachi paasam(sister-bro sentiments). Thankfully Director Obeli Krishna didn’t add any mother sentiments.

Comparisons to Mufti

Director Obeli Krishna claims that Pathu Thala is an adaptation, not a remake, of Mufti. However, the resemblance is striking. I believe he should watch the Hong Kong movies ‘Internal Affairs’ and ‘Departed, which will be perfect examples of adaptation. Here, I strongly feel like Pathu Thalla is a remake of The Mufti.

Character Sketch: White Pathu Thala

AGR and his team used to carry a copy of the Kamba Ramayananam, maybe because of the R in AGR, which stands for Ravanan. This is where the script disappointed me more; the script demands a grey or a black character, bad luck; Atman is in spiritual transformation, I guess.

AGR is a white character here, and the melodrama that whitening AGR brought spoiled the mood of the film in the second half. That Black to White character arc was a reminder of the real Ravana from the Ramayana. How Ravana gets the white shades in contemporary literature.


Silambarasan TR carries the entire film on his shoulders, supported by AR Rahman’s music.

Silambarasan T R in Pathu Thala

Gautham Karthik does a decent job, but his characterization could have been more powerful in the second half.

Director Krishna has always ensured the female characters in his movies are powerful, be it Sillinu, Kadhal, or Nedunchaalai, but I was curious how he was going to portray Priya Bhavani & Anu Sithara here.

Priya Bhavani Shankar gets a substantial role in the first half but fades away as a mere romantic interest later on. Anu Sithara has nothing to do much, and even she couldn’t deliver the emotional output that a few scenes demand.

Priya Bhavani Shankar in Pathu Thala

Gautham Menon started with a heavy aura, but, in the climax, he just vanished in the shadow of STR’s terrific performances.

Technical Aspects

The film’s technical elements, such as AR Rahman’s music and Farooq’s cinematography, skillfully elevate the flat moments. For instance, the scene where Guna enters AGR’s world, accompanied by Rahman’s background music, is particularly thrilling. Similarly, the interval block is a high octane moment for fans. With A R Rahman music, Farooq’s visuals and STR-Gautam Karthick charismatic performances are just like a blended cocktail.

Audience Appeal & Box office Potential

Pathu Thala has the ingredients for a family entertainer, but it may disappoint those expecting a rampage. Marketed as a “neo-noir action thriller” or an Atman STR Sambhavam (Rampage), the film is actually a semi-action thriller with a significant dose of family drama.

Gautham Karthick and STR

With a budget of ₹50 crore and running at around 400 screens, Pathu Thala has the potential to give a hat-trick to STR. The Satellite Rights (ZEE Tamil) of ₹12.50 crore and OTT rights (Amazon Prime) of ₹13 crore add to its appeal.


During the trailer and audio launch of Ponniyin Selvan 2, where Simbu appeared as the chief guest, he was greeted with enthusiastic cheers of “Pathu Thala” from thousands of fans. It’s quite rare to witness fans attending an audio launch to show support for a movie and cheering for another movie. Simbu enjoys such a loyal fan following; however, it seems he has yet to find the perfect script that can truly harness his star power. 

Pathu Thala offers a decent watch for STR fans & family audiences but falls short of being a gripping action thriller. Thus Obeli Krishna may fail to satisfy STR’s hunger for a heavy blockbuster.

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