Madras gets off to a clunky start, with some lengthy exposition explaining the history of a political rivalry in a north Chennai neighbourhood. The rivalry is centered around a large wall, where one of the political parties has painted a mural of their deceased leader, while the other political party plots to paint over it with their own propaganda. After introducing numerous neighbourhood characters during the opening credits, we finally meet our hero Kaali (Karthi) an educated young man with a white-collar job and a short temper. Kaali’s best friend Anbu (Kalaiarasan Harikrishnan) is active in one of the political parties and as a result Kaali gets drawn into the rivalry between the two parties over the wall.
an Indian dish made with highly seasoned rice and meat, fish, or vegetables
from Persian beryā(n) ‘fried, roasted’
Biriyani is the story of two friends, Sugan (Karthi) and Parasuram (Premgi Amaren, who has been in all five of director Venkat Prabhu’s film). They work, along with Sugan’s soon-to-be brother-in-law, for a company that sells farm equipment (I think? The showroom was full of tractors, anyway). The company is opening a new showroom in Ambur, so Sugan and Parasuram drive up there from Chennai. The guest of honour at the showroom opening is wildly successful businessman Varadharajan (Nassar) who takes a shine to Sugan. Sugan and Parasuram ditch a boring party following the opening and go in search of biriyani.
All in All Azhagu Raja is a romantic comedy written and directed by M. Rajesh and starring Karthi and Kajal Aggarwal, who were so delightful together in Naan Mahaan Alla. Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, All in All Azhagu Raja is nowhere near as delightful.
I was disheartened, but not surprised, to see so many discount Akshay Kumar’s latest movie Rowdy Rathore because it is a remake of a South Indian masala film. As excited as I am by the new wave of more realistic, ‘Hindie’ cinema now coming out of India, let’s not forget that many of us who are into Bollywood were first attracted to it due to its entertainment value – the genre-busting storylines, the colourful songs, the ridiculous action sequences. In fact, due to the fact that Bollywood seems to be producing less and less true masala films these days, I know of many fans who have turned to South Indian movies as a source of entertainment instead, myself included.