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Cruel Cinema: New Directions in Tamil Film 

Sunday, January 30, 2011
2:00 p.m. Pudhupettai
Selvaraghavan (India, 2006)

New Print!

Operatic in its plot and expressionistic in its visualization, Selvaraghavan’s box-office smash follows the unlikely rise of Kokki Kumar (Dhanush) from petty criminal to powerful gang lord in the Pudhupettai slums of Chennai. Kokki returns home one night from the movies to find his mother dead at his father’s hands. This cruelty of fate follows him every step of the way in his ascent to power and infamy. He spends brutal time in and out of jail, casually slits the throats of rival gang members in street fights, and slaps around his mistresses once he tires of sleeping with them. Eventually, ambition, greed, and revenge catch up with Kokki. In the words of Cameron Bailey (Toronto International Film Festival), “The look of the film is amazing . . . I would compare it to City of God, Amores Perros . . . Dhanush has the energy of a young Al Pacino.”

—Lalitha Gopalan and Anuj Vaidya


• Written by Selvaraghavan and Balakumaran. Photographed by Arvind Krishna. With Dhanush, Sneha, Azhagam Perumal, Sonia Agarwal. (168 mins, In Tamil with English subtitles, 35mm, From 3rd i Films, permission K. Muralidharan, V. Swaminathan, and G. Venugopal)