Vampire Owl :: Is she the sister of Jacob Black?
Vampire Bat :: Absolutely not.
Vampire Owl :: Then, is she related to Sirius Black?
Vampire Bat :: I ponder over why you ponder over the name of a movie without making any sense at all. Note the double pondering – you know it is injurious to our vampire brains when not fed enough.
Vampire Owl :: It is because I have become very smart after successfully resisting the urge to watch Bang Bang! – they tried, but I was mentally “owl strong”.
Vampire Bat :: “Owl strong”? What does that even mean? I think that it is racist. I even think that you mentioning black is racist. See, vampire bats are black and you vampire owl is white.
Vampire Owl :: But you are not even brown enough. You should stand under the sun and do the “sun fall on my head” incantation to be even close to be black.
Vampire Bat :: Dude, Fair & Lovely usage among bats is increasing. Soon, they will have white vampire bats. It is all due to seeing the face of Yami Gautam on television during that fairness cream ad and getting addicted.
Vampire Owl :: Holy vampire dragon! White vampire bats? You will look like that cute little white bat from Honduras! Yuck! These fairness creams truly are the greatest brand ambassadors of racism.
Vampire Bat :: Well, can we just call the movie by its Tamil name, Nee Naan Nizhal?
[Goes to the ticket counter].
What is it about? :: We see that there is a series of murders of unrelated men happening in Kuala Lumpur, and the Malaysian police are hoping to find a solution to the same as soon as possible, as the dead are all Indians, and people might soon end up calling it a racist hate crime and would affect the tourism a lot. The man in charge of the investigation is the Assistant Superintendent of Police Anwar Ali (Sarath Kumar), a Tamil Malaysian with a fine track record, and he finds out that these dead people had one common friend with whom they chatted – Asha Black. The other story is about Rohit (Arjun Lal) who is working with a music troupe consisting of his best friends, and is highly attracted to one girl with the nickname Asha Black (Ishita) who sends him a friend request and chats with him so often. As he seems to have almost no interest in his life in India any more, his friends ask him to go to Malaysia and meet the girl of his dreams rather than ruining his life in dreams. But as he reaches Malaysia, he understands more about the girl, and also what all happens around here, and it changes his life.
The defence of Asha Black :: The movie takes charge of a social message here, and it is a bold step by a director doing his first movie. There is complete and absolutely clear success in the way the social message is given to the audience here. The movie’s change from a romantic drama to a dark thriller is also easier, as the somewhat parallel narratives are used a lot in this movie, and this darkness is something that we are perfectly aware of right from the beginning. The way in which certain cartoon-like style is adapted for telling flashback of the mysterious girl is nicely done, and unlike a few other movies which used the same, it works here a lot better as the detail of the illustrations is nice and realistic to the characters. The cinematography is nice, and the theme of the movie has been given a lot of care as it never forgets what it is planning to do with its message, and even as there are things lost, this message is not among them. The characterization also doesn’t falter, and even as some people will question a few characters, I would say that they are the best like that. It even deals with the sensitive stuff like porn and paedophilia without going to the extremes.
The claws of flaw :: The message takes over the movie and becomes better than the movie itself – even as that would mean that the message is better conveyed, it degrades the movie as the work that it is, and sometimes message demands even more from the movie, and thus some scenes are created for further support to the message which gets better in the expense of the visual medium. Yes, that makes the movie slower and having more sequences than it should have, and those which involve our hero’s chat love story is rather too stretched, and the addition of songs doesn’t help much there. The thriller effect goes for a walk there and rarely comes back, as this becomes that drama with a small romantic side. There is a certain slowness rising now and then, even as I wouldn’t go on to call that a drag, as might be necessary to make the end much more effective with an extra emotional touch. The search for Asha Black should have been more detailed and so should have been the investigation, and the mystery around her should have been revealed in a more beautiful and yet emotional way. This could have been more interesting as a movie, no doubt.
Performers of the soul :: The movie has Arjun Lal of Thanmathra fame as the hero, or rather the romantic star of this movie, and he has done a good job, especially in the second half as he challenges more than one thing. There is a long path ahead of him, and this is just a start; a good one. Manoj K. Jayan is good as usual in yet another supporting role here as the man who helps our hero in his quest. Isthita has limited things to do as Asha other than being the symbol which is Asha Black, and she also has done enough. I did wish that Bhagath Manuel had a bigger role, and also had better lines. Sarath Kumar is nicely in control of his role, even as the investigation sequences had more power rather than just moving along. Kottayam Nazeer doesn’t really have his usual funny elements working in this one, and it is a disappointment. Overall, I would say that the performances are neat, but not much to cheer for there. There could have been more, but this is still quite satisfactory.
Soul exploration :: Some people might think that this movie is more of a seminar, but never in any moment that this movie directly goes to that level. What it has is its titular character Asha Black whose profile name completely reflects the darker side of the life that she is forced into, with incidents during her childhood and the lack of care from her parents. At the same time, we see a few others who choose that path because of being part of that generation which doesn’t care for their parents. Belonging to the former group and without hope, Asha Black is the symbol of the youth who are on a darker path due to circumstances, and as online world becomes more of a relief for them, what had followed them in real life comes to them there too, and just like lightning striking with all its speed and might, destroys the whole thing. It is the “black” areas of the internet that the movie focuses on along with the evils paedophilia and porn, and the tale is that of the innocent who is caught in a dilemma with asha or hope to be loved. Its message is powerful, emotional and worthy of being watched by families who don’t care for their kids or fails to watch their actions and instruct them. They are preyed upon by the shades of technology – take care of them!
How it finishes :: Asha Black is not everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t have the flavour that everyone would want to put in their tea, and the result is a possibility of liking or not liking this movie, but nobody can challenge the power of its message which is strong as well as relevant. Coming from a debutante director, it is indeed a wonderful effort, as the movie seems to have tried with all its heart to send the right message to its audience which should hopefully consist of the family, especially the parents and the teenage children. This movie, just like Mummy & Me is a need of the age, and even as this can’t considered that good as that Jeethu Jospeph movie, the message is even stronger in this one. It does have mostly positive and mixed opinions from the audience, but not that much from critics for whom this is just negative or almost mixed, and lets hope that this movie does good enough – it has disappeared from some theatres, and I had to travel far to catch it; hope it stays where it is now, for at least one more week, because it deserves it, and it is out duty appreciate such works for the effort itself its Tamil version is also there, as Nee Naan Nizhal.
Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: John Robinson
Starring: Arjun Lal, Bhagath Manuel, Sarath Kumar, Manoj K Jayan, Ishita, Devan, Lakshmipriya, Kottayam Nazeer, Riza Bawa
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.