Moving On..

After some not-so-serious thinking and as a result of a self-conscious decision on my part to shell out some cash for a self-hosted website, I have moved my blog to Lost in Tranquility. The new site, where I have given a brief thought on the move, should be more of a permanent placeholder for my thoughts than my past two blogs have proven to be.

Thanks for visiting and see you on the other side.

Things to look forward to in 2010

In my last post I looked back on the best of 2009, and in this one, I will briefly look forward to 2010 on the major releases that have got me excited to the skin of my teeth.

Tamil Cinema

It has been a great start to 2010 with four very different movies already hitting their mark with both the critics and the public. On the one hand, we had the unique take on the fantasy-epic genre from Selvaraghavan, Aayirathil Oruvan, which was as good as the hype it got and certainly one of my favorites in this young year; and, on the other, we had a first-time spoof in Tamil cinema not surprisingly called Thamizh Padam which was one of the intelligent funnier movies in recent memory. We also got Goa, which was all about the fun and, of course, Vinnaithandi Varuvaya, which has especially struck a chord with most people though it did not make as much an impression on me as I thought it would. So, with the exception of some high-profile disappointments like Asal and Kutty, it already looks like 2010 will be a better year than 2009 for Tamil movies.

English Cinema

Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island has already hit the theatres in the western world to mixed reviews. But, c’mon, it’s from Scorsese, so it should be good. Iron Man 2 and the long awaited third movie in the Toy Story series should hit in the summer. Add to that The Expendables – the first movie featuring Schwarzenegger and Stallone together (Legendary, huh!) - not to mention Jason Statham, Jet Li and Bruce Willis - it looks to be heaven for action movie fans; Inception from Chris Nolan – if it is even half as good as Dark Knight, I will be happy – and, of course, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, in which I hope to God the threesome of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have finally learned to act so that they can at least try to match and provide us with some of the emotions we felt in the closing chapter in the Harry Potter saga.


Vampire Weekend’s sophomore effort, Contra, is already out and sounds as good as their eponymous debut. U2 have promised Songs of Ascent which should feature more spiritual leftovers from No Line on the Horizon, and sound sick for sure. To add to that, the year also features an album from Arcade Fire (Dude, Funeral and Neon Bible were stunning and probably some of the best debuts and sophomore albums ever), Murder by Death (Red of Tooth and Claw was the best album of 2008, by far); Fleet Foxes’ sophomore effort (their eponymous debut was the second-best of 2008), another Hold Steady album, and I heard Radiohead are also recording. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?


Again, a great start already to 2010 with the sequel to Bioshock and Mass Effect already in store shelves (and my collection, by the way) and being received with rave reviews. Assassin’s Creed II for the PC is just around the corner and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 looks like it will be a PC first-person shooter in just about every way Modern Warfare 2 was not a PC first-person shooter. Not to mention Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising and Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening in a few weeks, Splinter Cell: Conviction in April, Civilization V due for Spring, Mafia II and the recently announced Portal 2 out in Winter and much more. 2009 already looks like history.

There’s certainly a lot to look forward to in 2010. As always, we hope the end-products match with the above very high expectations, but if they come anywhere near close to that mark, 2010 will be an awesome year for entertainment.

Best of 2009

The subtitle of this post is: I am lazy.

While I would have loved to do a separate “Best of 2009” entry for each of my favourite entertainment formats, I realized I have not seen/experienced enough of each of them to come up with a proper list and, of course, I am too lazy. So, without further ado, here is a consolidated list of my favourites from games, movies and music for the year 2009.

Best Tamil Film

There were a large number of really good movies in 2009 like Yaavarum Nalam, Eeram, Ayan, Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru and some others, but no movie stood out more from the crowd than Unnaipol Oruvan.

Well, obviously, any movie that boasts of a cast that includes Kamal Hassan and Mohan Lal is surely going to stand out, but that wasn’t what made the movie so special. The fact that it was released after the 26/11 attacks, at a time when the country was still coming to grips with the terror threat certainly made it one for the times and the movie put that aspect to good use. Kamal Hassan, his director Chakri Toleti and dialogue write Ee. Ra. Murugan left no stone unturned in conveying their message. The movie criticized everyone right from politicians who look out for their own position of power, to the headlines seeking nature of the news-channels, to the judicial system which takes forever to convict an obvious terrorist and, of course, the general public, whose largely ignorant attitude is one of the prime reasons for our current state.

To close it out, I would like to bring up what I wrote in my review - “With a star-studded cast, dialogues that hit the nail on the head and a very meaningful message, Unnaipol Oruvan is a must-watch for any Tamil viewer.” And it most certainly is the best Tamil Movie of 2009.

Best English Film

Quentin Tarantino may have been snubbed at the Oscars (except for the obvious Best Supporting Actor win for Christopher Waltz), but in my opinion, he directed and wrote the best movie of 2009 in Inglourious Basterds. Don’t mistake me, The Hurt Locker was certainly a pulsating movie in its own right, and most definitely better than Avatar which was the other movie considered for top honours, but the amount of pure entertainment that Tarantino offered in IB has remained unmatched for the rest of the year.

To take a genre that has been beaten to death in Hollywood, and present it in a fresh manner, and to do it while also stamping his own style and authority in each frame certainly takes some doing. But, like me, if you’ve been a Tarantino fan since Pulp Fiction, you wouldn’t be surprised. Although Kill Bill was a great action movie which oozed style, it lacked the one thing that we fans identified with Tarantino: the dialogues. And Basterds was in many ways a return to form for him, with almost every line being memorable and delivered juicily by every cast member in pitch perfect fashion.

It also showed him in his top writing form. In true Tarantino fashion, the movie was presented as several disjointed episodes until he finally brought them together in glorious fashion. He also managed to re-write actual history, but not only that, he made his version of World War II feel authentic and stand on its own apart from the events that actually occurred during the years leading up to the end in 1945. If that didn’t warrant a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, I don’t know what does. But, I digress.

Inglourious Basterds is most certainly my favourite movie from 2009, and one that I know I will watch and re-watch until Quentin Tarantino entertains us with his next masterpiece.

Best Album

This is probably the easiest pick of the lot for me, but it is also going to be my most partial pick. The best album of 2009 for me will be No Line on the Horizon from U2.

I certainly don’t confess to be a long-time U2 fan. Actually, I started listening to their music just over 3 years back I think, but it feels like it’s been longer than that. Maybe that’s part of the reason why they sound so special and why they are possibly the biggest band in the world today. And after the quality of their last two albums, I expected an album that would take it safe and follow their same style, and that thought did not improve after I heard “Get on Your Boots”, the first single from the album.

However, I got the album and started listening and got over the first 2 tracks and, for sure, my thinking continued along the same lines because they were not highlights (at least on the first listen, they have grown on me over time). The titular track sounded pretty good and Magnificent was U2 being U2 by providing one high-spirited song in the album. Then, I heard Moment of Surrender, and I was not on Earth anymore. Bono’s voice has never sounded better. For God’s sake, the man is nearly 50 and is giving every young singer a run for his money. It was like they had taken everything good about the band - every perfect strum of the guitar by The Edge and Adam Clayton, and every perfect beating of the drum by Larry Muller Jr. and Brian Eno had mastered it into a song that was perfect in just about every way imaginable. Hell, I sound like a fanboy, but that is what I am and if this song does not touch you on some level, then I don’t know what to say.

Nearly every song on the album is a winner – Breathe is awesome and the second best track on the album, the aforementioned Magnificent is also good and the rest come together perfectly in what is most definitely my favourite album from 2009. (Although I do have to give honourable mentions to It’s Blitz! from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Merriweather Post Pavilion from Animal Collective – both were the first albums I listened to from the respective bands and both did run U2 close for their money.)

Best Videogame

2009 was not a great year for PC gaming by any means. On the one hand, almost all expected AAA titles like Splinter Cell: Conviction, Assasssin’s Creed II (PC) and Mafia II were delayed; and, on the other, we got what was the most disappointing high-profile console port in a long time in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – a game whose single-player campaign was a measly 6 hours and which did not even incorporate dedicated servers for the PC. This kind of game, from a developer who are what they are because of their dedicated PC fans, was most certainly the biggest disappointment of 2009 apart from the large number of delays. Again, I digress from the actual topic.

However, have no fear when Bioware are here. (God that sounded so cheesy!) Yes, the developer of countless PC classics like Baldur’s Gate II and Neverwinter Nights returned to form with a game that was for the PC first and foremost – Dragon Age: Origins. Although, it appeared on both consoles, the experience of playing it on the PC was much better thanks to a superior battle system, higher resolution graphics and the joy of playing it with a keyboard & mouse. For the first time in a long time, PC gamers were not the sufferers and boy did it feel ever so good.

But that is not the reason why Dragon Age is the best game of 2009. It was also home to the best story, dialogues, voice-acting and music of 2009. Bioware outdid their previous RPG Mass Effect by presenting a world which -- though it was obviously inspired by countless fantasy epics, most notably The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Fire & Ice – felt entirely fresh and original with characters as three-dimensional and complex as any you would ever encounter in a videogame and decisions that actually mattered in the context of the game world. They also gave PC gamers with the most complex battle-system seen on a PC RPG in quite a while. In true Bioware fashion, you could pause the action, survey the surroundings, queue up orders (though I am still waiting on a patch to allow me to queue up multiple orders per party character) and unpause to see the effects in all their glory. But, not only that, you could also assign tactics to each of your squad members to act on their own when a particular event occurred, like heal a party member when their health reached below 50% or protect a mage who was surrounded by melee warriors, and so on. That gave the action a large amount of flexibility that had been missing on the PC for a long time.

Combine all that together and it truly felt like the return of the prodigal son to their throne on top of the of PC developer pile. With a pure-fantasy world rich with lore to be discovered in every corner, three-dimensional and fully-realized characters that populate an epic tale, fantastic dialogues and voice-acting, and a complex battle system that makes strategizing battles an art-form, Dragon Age: Origins is the best game of 2009. (Sorry, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2, which was a very close second.)

So, that’s it as far as 2009 is concerned, but there is a lot to look forward in 2010, which I will do briefly in my next entry.

Aadhavan (2009)

Over the course of a fairly high-profile career, K.S. Ravikumar has helmed a variety of entertaining features and, in the process, created a basic formula that he adheres to. This formula is fairly straightforward – lots of laugh-out-loud funny sequences, a few decent action scenes, songs inserted wherever required, and just a pinch of emotion to keep things moving. With Aadhavan, he follows the same template to a certain extent and also proves he can keep up with the latest trends with some energetic action and modern, impressive CGI work. However, while the first half has enough to hold our interest in the proceedings, starting from the beginning of the second half – where things start going downhill – he loses control and the movie moves too far into melodrama toward the end that any interest generated initially is all but lost.

The film opens with the Damakku Damakku... song followed by Aadhavan (Surya) taking out his high-profile target from underwater, leading to a variety of similar targets, making him one of the best assassins around. Aadhavan’s gang consists of mentor and father, Ibrahim Rowther (Shayaji Shinde) and elder brother, Tharani (Anandh Babu making his first big-screen appearance in quite a while). Abdul Kulkarni (Rahul Dev) approaches them with another prominent target in Judge Subramaniam (Murali), who has been poking around in the former’s business involving the kidnapping and murder of children across eastern India. Surprisingly, Aadhavan misses his target and is forced to move into the Judge’s household – which includes Bannerjee (Vadivelu), Thara (Nayanthara), Subramaniam’s mother (Saroja Devi) and the rest of the family – to finish his job. But, his reactions suggest that he wants the latter dead on a more personal level, and is not only in it for the money.

Like Ayan, Aadhavan hits its highest point, in terms of generating adrenaline, in the initial sequences itself. The foot chase that follows the failed assassination attempt is definitely as good as the African one in Surya’s blockbuster from earlier this year. Though it shows an obvious inspiration from the first sequence inside the under-construction building in Casino Royale – the fact becomes more obvious when one notes that the location is of the same type –, Surya performs most of his stunts which enables the level of awe to be maintained on our part. Since I said that this is the apex as far as stunt sequences are concerned, it should follow that the rest of the movie’s action is fairly ordinary and generic failing to involve us like this one.

It should also come as no surprise that Aadhavan is best when in comedy-mode because, time and again, Ravikumar has proved that making people laugh is his forte. This movie also gives Vadivelu a chance to redeem himself after the disappointment of his track in Kanthaswamy, and he doesn’t disappoint. Nearly every scene in which he appears succeeds in making us laugh and though it is fairly standard in terms of what we expect from the comedian – the slightly stuttered speech to show his fear, for example –, it is impossible not to laugh as his attempts at proving Aadhavan’s real identity become increasingly futile. In fact, it would be easy to argue that without Vadivelu many people might have been heading for the exit doors in the first half itself, which they might anyway be doing as we proceed into the second half.

As far as Ravikumar is concerned, I have been entertained to a variety of degrees by each of his movies, but never have I been as bored and disinterested as I was towards the end of this one. The CGI effects used to depict Surya as a 10-year old are definitely high standard for a Tamil movie, in spite of the gimmicky nature of their appearance. (Couldn’t the same sequence have been told with “any” 10-year old in it?) Though not awe-inspiring because we always “know” this is Surya (he also voices these portions), the fact that a lot of effort has clearly gone into integrating it makes us overlook the obvious flaws. However, the flashback sequence itself is so dragging that even the special effects cannot force us to think of it any differently. The amount of people sneering in the theatre when this sequence ended should be proof enough of how languid it actually is. And, the movie drags on for quite some time in order to tie up a lot of the loose ends, eventually culminating in an action sequence that makes us laugh for all the wrong reasons (including a “sticky” rocket launcher, if there is even such a weapon). It wouldn’t be any stretch to say that, by the end, I wanted to forget the entire experience.

With the career path Surya is taking, it is obvious that he is trying to emulate Kamalhassan; which is the reason for Ayan, and now Aadhavan, after the heavier Vaaranam Aayiram. The problem with Surya is that he has not yet perfected the art of “acting” in these kinds of casual, formulaic roles. So, even though he can make the comedy portions work, he fails in the serious sequences because he always wants to “act” instead of simply going along with the flow of the movie. It also doesn’t help that the respect built up for his off-screen image takes a hit when Vadivelu compares him with yesteryear greats ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan, M.G.R, Rajinikanth, and Kamalhassan.

The supporting cast is mostly expected to run through the motions. Nayanthara looks very simple and jaded, and is expected to play the standard Tamil cinema heroine, which she can adequately. Shayaji Shinde and Murali (in what sadly turned out to be his last role) are veterans in their own right and are solid, with the latter being especially impressive. Rahul Dev joins the long list of generic Tamil cinema villains. With all the hype surrounding Saroja Devi’s return, she is more or less only used as a tool for comedy, with her now famous tendency to wear too much make-up providing a lot of mileage. Anandh Babu’s return definitely did not generate as much interest as the former’s; and with good reason, because it is definitely not noteworthy. Ramesh Khanna, whose story this is, appears as Nayanthara’s would-be, and proves a decent sidekick to Vadivelu in his comedy.

Harris Jeyaraj’s songs have become very popular, but almost all of them fall into the forgettable category. Hasile Fisile... and Yeno Yeno Panithuli... are great to look at by virtue of the breathtaking locations of South Africa and Iceland on display. Vaarayo Vaarayo... and Maasi Maasi... are largely at fault for the movie’s pacing problems, though Saroja Devi’s decked up appearance as a tribal at the end of the latter will evoke a lot of guffaws. Ganesh’s cinematography deserves some mention for the former two song sequences and also for the initial action sequences.

Usually, any K.S. Ravikumar movie has a certain charm that makes it worth for television viewing, if not for a visit to the theatre. However, it is hard to imagine Aadhavan joining that category. The comedy is certainly laugh-out-loud, but is only prevalent in the first half, and what makes up the rest of the movie largely veers into the “unwatchable” territory that even a TV viewing is hard to recommend, let alone paying money for a theatrical viewing.

Thiruvilayadal (1965)

A.P. Nagarajan is mostly famous as the director of various epics based on historical/mythological characters or Hindu Gods that are often characterized by riveting performances, spellbinding music, and by virtue of them being based on well-known history/religion. Arguably the most popular of his movies, certainly the most entertaining, is Thiruvilayadal, which provides an account of Lord Shiva’s grace in helping his devotees through a series of episodes. Starting with ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan’s arresting performance, K.V. Mahadevan’s timeless music, and Nagesh’s legendary comedy to name a few, I would be amazed if there is an aspect that can be used to qualify film masterpieces absent here. The film has been telecasted on TV every now and then, but it has still lost none of its charm and remains one of the greatest movies in Tamil cinema history.

As the director kindly informs us through a background voice heard during the beginning, Lord Shiva’s benign and kindly nature toward his devotees has been widely written about in the form of various epics, ithihasas, and puranas. This film borrows some of the most prominent episodes from such writings and tries to recapture the same playful nature of the Lord on-screen, and is entirely successful in doing so. Throughout the course of these four episodes, which see Lord Shiva appear in various forms, the film is highly entertaining, while also conveying a variety of messages through each of them.

The film opens with an introduction for Lord Shiva (‘Sivaji’ Ganesan), followed by the fabled “wisdom-fruit” sequence. The ever-mischievous Naradha provides the God with what he calls a unique “wisdom-fruit.” The God, playing along with the former, hands it over to Goddess Parvathi (Savithri), who decides to test her two sons and give the winner the prize. The test is who can complete a round-trip around the world first. Lord Murugan takes his trusted peacock and “actually” completes the task, while Lord Ganesha completes a circle around his parents and equates it to completing a trip around the world, thereby winning the prize. Murugan gets angered on his return as he sees this as his parents favouring their first child, and abandons them without heeding calls from his mother or avvaiyar (K.B. Sundarambal) that this is also one of his father’s playful acts.

If there is a single downside in the entire film, it is that these initial sequences can be inordinately slow by any standard. The elaborate set-design and dances that accompany the Sambo Mahadeva... song which introduces Lord Shiva are good, but this sequence itself is quite long and drawn-out. And, three songs immediately follow the “wisdom-fruit” sequence, further slowing down everything to a degree where we want the actual episodes to start. However, once the “movie” itself kicks off, with Parvathi recounting Lord Shiva’s playfulness to a very furious Murugan, it never flags and keeps things moving at a decent pace.

The first episode will be the most instantly recognizable to even people who have not seen the movie. The King of the Pandya land, Shenbaga Pandyan (Muthuraman), announces a flattering amount of gold to anyone who can solve his puzzle relating to the scent emanating from a woman’s hair (in this case, his wife, played by Devika). Inspired by the prize amount, a poverty-stricken poet, Dharumi (Nagesh), does what any person in his situation with his level of talent would: pray to God - who as usual solves his troubles by appearing in humane form. The highlight of this episode (or the movie, for that matter) is of course the verbal duel between Sivaji and Nagesh which has become the stuff of legend, with many a modern movie paying homage to it in its own way. And the “Nettrikkan Thirappinum Kuttram Kuttrame” dialogue is probably one of the most famous quotes in Tamil cinema and popular culture. Notwithstanding the other episodes, the movie touches its apex inarguably in this sequence.

The second and third episodes stand to be the weakest of the four, not because they are not entertaining (which they certainly are), but because they obviously lack the visual energy that pervades both the other episodes. The former sees Dakshan (Parvathi’s father) start a yaagam without inviting Shiva, which angers his daughter. Parvathi doesn’t heed Shiva’s calls and still visits her father requesting him to put an end to this madness. When it proves to be futile, she returns to her Lord, but the difference of opinion still remains. This is probably the only episode which doesn’t have any noteworthy aspect except, possibly, Lord Shiva’s “thaandavam” which serves the singular purpose of highlighting Sivaji’s weak dancing capabilities.

The third episode, in comparison, is definitely much stronger, and sees Parvathi forget her origins and be born as a fisherman chieftain’s daughter. Though it starts off slowly with another song, Sivaji’s reappearance as a fisherman provides some much-needed energy, and the episode itself concludes with an imaginatively picturized fight sequence in water, as Sivaji fights off and defeats a killer whale to win back Parvathi.

Finally, the fourth episode has Lord Shiva return back to Madurai, this time under the rule of Varaguna Pandyan. Hemanatha Bhagavathar (T.S. Balaiah), a carnatic singer of worldwide fame, has finally made his way to Madurai to sing in the King’s presence and prove his superiority once and for all. He poses a challenge to the King that if somebody from Madurai can defeat him, his voice and talent will be laid at the city’s feet and he will never sing again. However, if that person loses, then every man in the Pandya kingdom should henceforth refrain from singing. After everybody in the King’s court refuses to oblige, Baanapathrar (T.R. Mahalingam), who sings devotional compositions in the temple is chosen. The latter, realizing that he is no match in a straight battle with the famous out-of-town singer, prays to God to find a way out of this trouble. Of course, Lord Shiva appears as a woodcutter and rewards his devotee, while also teaching a lesson to Hemanathar.

Regardless of all the movie’s minor problems or for that matter its high points, it can be watched and re-watched any number of times just for ‘Sivaji’ Ganesan’s acting alone, whose radiant screen presence and majestic voice are aptly suited for such a role. Ever since its release, much has been written and said about this portrayal, so I would like to highlight my personal favourite sequence from the movie in order to demonstrate just how good a performance this is: The Paatum Naane, Baavamum Naane song.

Sivaji was one of the very few actors who could make us believe he was actually singing the song. Though T.M. Sounderarajan’s voice and its resemblance to Sivaji’s had a big say in this, the actor’s lip movements and genuine throbbing of the throat are the main reasons. The aforementioned sequence is the perfect example of both this fact and Sivaji’s acting talent. The twinkle in the eye as he gives a fleeting look at the room in which Hemanathar is staying when he sings “Paadum Unai Naan Paadavaithene,” or the rolling of the eyes accompanied by the inimitable smile when he utters “Naan Asainthal Asaiyum Agilam Ellame,” or even the ease with which his various forms handle the Veena, the Flute, and the Mridangam – all provide ample proof as to why he is arguably the greatest actor in Tamil cinema history and why this is decidedly one his best ever portrayals.

With such a commanding performance, the only other actors who make any sort of impact are Nagesh and Balaiah. As Dharumi, the former creates what is easily one of his most memorable on-screen characters. A variety of accolades has already been heaped on the role, but what I find most impressive about it is the consummate ease with which Nagesh accomplishes the seemingly impossible task of making us take our eyes of Sivaji and fixating them on Dharumi. A hard task in any of Sivaji’s roles, but to achieve it in this movie, and to a degree where we find ourselves incapable of removing our eyes off Dharumi, is proof enough of the late character actor/comedian’s greatness. Balaiah can generally be considered as a much underrated supporting actor who can leave a mark in any movie. As the egoistic singer who thinks the whole world is beneath his talent, he puts in a terrific shift, which injects a lot of energy to the movie, especially after the slower middle episodes.

With the exception of Sivaji, Savithri has the largest amount of screen time. However, this is definitely not one of the actress’ memorable performances, though she is quite suited and adequate for the role. (It has to be mentioned that this owes a great deal to Sivaji, with whom she shares much of the screen during the movie.) Director A.P. Nagarajan makes a cameo appearance as Nakkiran in the first episode and delivers the one critical dialogue with enough zest to firmly etch the role in our minds. Muthuraman, Devika, and Manorama all have minor appearances which further serves to the highlight the significance of the lack-of-ego argument I mentioned in my review of Saraswathi Sabatham.

As is a given in all of A.P. Nagarajan’s movies, the combination of K.V. Mahadevan’s music and Kannadasan’s lyrics stands him in good stead throughout, delivering a truly outstanding soundtrack. The standouts definitely are Paatum Naane Baavamum Naane..., Isai Thamizh Nee Seitha..., and Indroru Naal Podhuma..., all from the last episode. Of special note is the latter in which Balamuralikrishna’s voice and Balaiah’s expressions contribute effectively to craft an all-time great song. The other songs that have become very popular are Pazham Neeyappa... and Gnana Pazhathai Puzhindhu... from the first episode, which sing Murugan’s praise. Podhigai Malai... is also a very melodious number, while Sivaji has a lot of fun in Paarthal Pasumaram. The other songs work well within context of the movie, but are definitely not suited for casual listening on the Ipod.

Looking back at the history of Tamil cinema, few movies would come close to providing the same level of entertainment offered by this one. In a career that has seen him direct such movies as Kandan Karunai, Thillana Mohanambal, Thiruvarutchelvar, and Saraswathi Sabatham, just to name a few, this movie can be argued to be A.P. Nagarajan’s greatest movie. If not, then it is certainly close to the top. And, combined with what can be undeniably termed as a tour-de-force performance from Sivaji at the height of his craft, Thiruvilayadal is certainly one of Tamil cinema’s long standing masterpieces.