World Cup is high on the table and India is off to a rocking start. Beating Pakistan was significant (more from a non cricketing sense) but downing the Proteas was good performance as they are a quality side and will give India the right impetus to progress ahead. Early days but looking forward to some positive news from our stable.

I haven’t been writing much but have been catching on with some stories, and some inspired stuff. Interestingly, small packets make a good headline.

I credit Gautham Vasudev Menon for 2 achievements in Tamil Cinema. One for creating the most sublime love story of the 21st century and other for churning out raunchy crime thrillers that has been one of its kind for our audience. Honestly, ‘Yennai Arindhal’ doesn’t relive the usual charisma of his earlier classics but is certainly watchable for more than couple of reasons. It brings the actor Ajith out with some hard hitting sequences and interesting playback. Rest, is all that’s packaged in a new container. Background score is impressive but songs have a tinge of earlier notes, though hummable. Arun Vijay isn’t the veracious baddie but delivers a commendable performance. Overall, a flick that takes you relive some glorious moments from GVMs earlier classics.

Anurag Kashyap and his dark men are made for each other. ‘Ugly’ brings them together under roof with his usual tangy vitals and fatal notes. His characters are truly ugly and have their share of grey curvatures. Though, his credibility lies in getting them straight out of life with an uncanny urge of uncomfortable bliss. The crime in the background still stays afloat as protagonists revolve in a riveting tale of torrid drama. Great editing, apt casting and king size performance makes ‘Ugly’ a great collage of emotional dynamite. Must watch!

‘American Sniper’ brings Clint Eastwood in the forefront of an American war hero who is a champion shooter who fights the ghosts of battlefields in his daily life. We have seen such epics in the past (Munich, Madras Cafe to name a quick few) that depict such heart wrenching tales of loyalty and sorrow. Consumption is the major vehicle here, and who consumes who is an enigma. Despite 4 horror stricken tourneys of death and survival, he still emerged a winner but with little to take away for his own. The Iraqi sequences are beautifully shot (reminded ‘Body of Lies’) and Bradley Cooper’s performance stood out in this poignant biopic. Not the best ever, but certainly stands out of the mediocre queue.

Masala films have never been my kind, but some stand out for sheer depiction and execution of characters. Simplicity is their powerful weapon, and sometimes, it does deliver the knock out punch. I will rate ‘Badlapur’ in this genre. Sriram Raghavan’s slickly made action thriller is a neatly made film. He does bring the age old revenge-to-avenge formula to decorate his plot but does it with some no nonsense barriers. Good job with the casting, he bought some very talented actors together to show we can do with an ordinary yet smart script. Varun Dhawan is a surprise, and he shows he can act. His dad could be less proud but I liked him in this brooding avatar. Others have small yet significant portions and do well. Songs are taken off and is such a breather, Indian films could do so much better by stripping of those lyrical jingles in such genre. My pick is Nawazuddin Siddiqui, his screen space is not huge but he packs a punch in his scenes. Perhaps, the way he looks is probably the biggest asset to Hindi cinema. Small film but could be a big winner.