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Southern Spice: Vikram Prabhu’s golden debut

Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson shines in his debut role in this simple film

  • Vikram Prabhu and Lakshmi Menon in Kumki.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Vikram PrabhuImage Credit:
  • Mohan Lal in Karma Yodha.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Mammootty in Bavuttiyude Namathil.Image Credit: Supplied
  • Sankagiri RajkumarImage Credit: Supplied
  • Jiva and Samantha in Neethaane En Ponvasantham.Image Credit: Supplied
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It is a debut that Vikram Prabhu will cherish for a long time.

Tamil film Kumki, directed by Prabhu Solomon, is set in the hills bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Life in a tribal hamlet is disrupted when a tusker from the neighbouring forest enters the village killing many people in its wake. So the villagers hire a kumki, a trained elephant, that is used to drive them back into the forests. However, kumki fails to reach the village due to a medical emergency in its mahout’s family. Instead, Manikkam, a temple elephant, is sent to the village to pose as a kumki for a few days.

Reaching the village, Manikkam’s mahout Bomman falls in love with the chieftain’s daughter, Alli. He decides to remain in the village until he wins her heart, much to the chagrin of his uncle, who dreads of the day when the villagers would find out the truth about Manikkam and the consequences at the hands of the tribals.

Prabhu Solomon’s story spun around this elephant dwells on the bond that it shares with its master. Does Manikkam live up to the expectations of the villagers? What about Bomman and Alli?

Vikram Prabhu, (Sivaji Ganesan’s grandson) as Bomman shines on his debut in a role that demanded rigorous physical work besides acting skills. The scene where he lifts himself on the trunk of the elephant and plants a kiss on its forehead is sheer delight. While there is room for improvement, yet for a newcomer, Vikram impresses. Lakshmi Menon as Alli slips into the character easily and her fresh face adds intensity to the role. The film keeps you engaged with its unusual story line. There is humour too with Bomman’s uncle (played by Thambi Ramiah) being the butt of all jokes. D.Imman’s music is melodious. The spectacular visuals by cinematographer Sukumar linger long in the mind. Clearly, he is in the running for an award.

Glitches in the film are seen in poor CGI effects involving the fight sequences between two elephants.

After ‘Myna,’ Solomon lives up to the image of a director who dares to experiment with a new theme.






Karma Yodha with a message

“Karma Yodha is based on child trafficking,” said Ravi, a former Indian army commando who turned director with the acclaimed Malayalam film Keerthichakra.

“This is a travel story of a 13-year-old girl, who is kidnapped from Mumbai, drugged and transported through containers and wagons. Mohan Lal plays an encounter specialist with the mission of rescuing these girls.”

The actor wears a tough look throughout the film.

“This story sends out a message on the importance of joint family system and the presence of grandparents at home to keep an eye on our children,” said Ravi.

“In today’s hurried pace of life, parents neglect their children and it is here where the role of grand-parents is important.”

In his 24 years of service in the army, Ravi earned two President’s Medals, one for his operation in the Kashmir militancy and the second in the Punjab militancy operation.

“Keerthichakra was based on my life. Mohan Lal played me,” said ravi, who apprenticed under director Priyadarshan before going solo.

Produced by Haneef Mohammad and Ravi, music for Karma Yodha is scored by M. G. Sreekumar. Other members of the cast are Sai Kumar, Mukesh, Rajeev Pillai and Biju Menon. Aishwarya Devan is plays a important role.


Bavuttiyude Namathil

If Mohan Lal plays an encounter specialist in Karma Yodha, Bavuttiyude Namathil has Mammootty in the role of a driver. Produced by director Ranjith, Bavuttiyude Namathil is directed by G.S. Vijayan.

“This is a family story, with doses of humour,” said Vijayan, who assisted Malayalam director Hariharan before opening his innings in the industry in 1987 with ‘Charithram,’ featuring Mammootty.

Kavya Madhavan and Shankar Ramakrishnan play a couple, with Mammootty as their driver Bavutti in the film. Also featuring in the story are Kaniha and Rima Kallingal.

“Bavutti is a simple man. He is not a mere driver for the family but plays a crucial role in the lives of Sethu and Vanaja.”

In this story, Madhavan plays a mother to two children.

“Vanaja, my character is a strong woman,” said Kavya. “And I was thrilled to speak in my native dialect, that of Neeleswaram in Kasaragod. This is a simple story and talks about an issue that is smoothly resolved.”

“This story can be watched by every member of the family,” added Vijayan.


Vikram and Jiiva in Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘David’

The first look of Bejoy Nambiar’s upcoming bilingual, ‘David,’ was released in Chennai on Dec.13. While the Hindi version is the story of three Davids belonging to three different times, the Tamil version is a tale of two Davids. Vikram will be seen in both the versions supported by Jiiva in the Tamil version and Neil Nithin Mukesh and Vinay Virmani in Hindi. Other cast members include Tabu, Nasser and Isha Sharvani.

This is Nambiar’s second film. His Bollywood debut ‘Shaitan,’ received rave reviews. ‘David,’ is scheduled for February release.



A one man show

Tamil director Sankagiri Rajkumar, whose maiden film, ‘Vengayam,’ got re-released for its content and message is working on his next.

Titled, ‘One,’ this film is being made solely by Rajkumar who will be essaying around 350 characters. He has no crew member to assist him either. So, Rajkumar besides writing the script and screenplay will taken on the responsibility of the film’s music, camera work, sound mixing, editing and every other job the project demands. The film has been shot in several parts of India besides Malaysia and Thailand. Aimed at an international audience, ‘One’ carries a message for humanity.

Now this is a film to look out for.


Film review: Neethaane En Ponvasantham


This was a love story that was waited in great anticipation.

Childhood friends, Varun and Nithya turn lovers at school. As they carry forward their relationship to college and beyond, they go through the usual highs and lows. What makes this story convincing is the contemporary dialogues and nature of this romantic story. It is a story that GenY will certainly identify with. Director Gautham Menon has brilliantly fleshed out the characters of the lead pair, Varun the mature guy and Nithya the madly in love woman whose ego comes in the way.

Jiiva as Varun has put in a brilliant performance. Samantha as Nithya steals the show with her pretty looks and good acting, especially her transformation from a gawky teenager to an adult battling her ego.

Funny moments are delivered by Santhanam, who plays Varun’s friend and he keeps you chuckling through- out the film. Ilayaraja’s music is pleasant. However this love story does not match Menon’s earlier hits namely, ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ and ‘Vinaaithandi Varuvaya.’

Also the story could have gone for tighter editing especially the scenes between the lovers where they quarrel. Yet, worth a watch.