Koode

What is the movie about? :: Joshua (Prithviraj Sukumaran) was working in the Middle East for years until he managed to get a call from his family to return to his home at the outskirts of Ooty. In a flashback, it is revealed that Aloshy (Renjith), his wife Lily (Maala Parvathy) and son Joshua are overjoyed at the birth of a girl child in the family. But that happiness is short-lived, as the child is ill, and to take care of her, Aloshy who is a mechanic in a small town in the highlands will have to sale most of his possessions. It is due to the same reason that Joshua had to travel to the Middle East to make money without finishing his tenth standard, where he was already performing really bad. He spends most of his youth in the Gulf area, separated from his family while his sister Jennifer (Nazriya Nazim) struggles to make her way through the disease and reach college level.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that the incident which caused the return of Joshua to Kerala is the death of his sister, whom he hadn’t got an opportunity to see for a very long time. But after returning home, he does have that chance, but it is only her ghost that he encounters. It is through a journey together with her that Joshua discovers the border between love and duty. He comes across his childhood friend Sophie (Parvathy) whom he falls in love with, and also Krishnan (Roshan Mathew) who was Jennifer’s love interest at college. He also meets his old PT teacher Ashraf (Atul Kulkarni). These meetings make him delay his return to the Middle East, and think about staying back with his people. But is there enough to make him feel at home, considering the fact that there hasn’t been one for him for such a long time?

The defence of Koode :: The visuals of highranges contribute nicely to make things better. The songs are nice, with good visualization to go with them. The sadness in the movie feels real, and the depression in more or less haunting. It has the ability to make us feel close to the emotions of each character that is seen in the movie. The beauty of nature that surrounds this particular world makes one feel better, and after a month of its release, has us wondering if this is that part of nature that we have lost in the recent floods. The emotions that are shown in the movie reflects our own outside the big screen. To add to it, the relationship between a brother and a sister is shown in one of the most of lovable ways that it can exist, even without the existence of one of them. The melancholy is very much strong with this one.

The claws of flaw :: The first half of the movie is too slow. There is a certain dragging that can be seen going on here. Koode does take a certain amount of time to become strong, and we can see that the emotional side only gets better in the second half. The heroine’s situation also seemed to be custom made for her to escape with the hero, rather than to have the same develop further. There is no shortage of cliches here, and the ghost itself could have been better. There are moments when you feel that life is absurd too, but that would have to do more with the reflection of the scenery with what we have in Kerala’s highlands these days after those devastating floods. This is also too long a movie, as the material is less, with not enough present to stretch the same.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj leads the way here as the tormented protagonist who wonders if it is love or duty that guides him through his path. It is his transformation that the whole movie is about, and it is his character who undergoes the change that was in waiting – the character begins with randomly performing his duty to a person who does the same out of love rather than anything else; this is the one change that takes everything to the next level for him. This is one character to whom we feel sympathetic from the beginning itself, and they also have the perfect child actor in Zubin to make things happen during the flashback scenes. Atul Kulkarni from the original movie, Happy Journey is also there, and we can feel that certain representation is here. He was part of some memorable Malayalam movies, and this role is short in comparison, but touches our heart.

Further performers of the soul :: Prithviraj plays a person with martyr complex, desiring the feeling of being a martyr, seeking out suffering or persecution because it either feeds a psychological need. But Parvathy’s character is no lesser martyr either, as she is caught in the web of her own family from where there seems to be no escape. She does a fantastic job in displaying the helplessness and sadness of the character, pairing with Prithviraj again after My Story and Ennu Ninte Moideen; Qarib Qarib Singlle did make here a bigger star in between. The child actor who plays her in the flashback is also perfectly suited. Nazriya makes a return to cinema after four years, and does her usual cute act, and nothing more. We do feel a certain amount of happiness to have her back too. Ranjith-Parvathy duo of parents is also very good to watch. Roshan Mathew plays a character which comes easily to him as young star too, resembling that of Aanandam and Kadam Katha. We see Rockstar debutante plus singer Siddharth Menon and Darshana Rajendran being notable here too.

How it finishes :: Koode brings the original Marathi movie, Happy Journey back to the big screen, and it seems to show the same spirit which was there. The movie is surely better than Anjali Menon’s much appreciated Bangalore Days, as this feels closer to the heart and is more serious in comparison. We have more than just family and relationships here, with love, compassion, duty, loneliness and hope – it is the same hope that all of us in Kerala have about rebuilding our state. With this review, I am also placing a request for all of the readers to contribute to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, for it hurts to have the people of this part of our nation struggling to get back to their feet. It is emotional for us to have been gone through all these, and witnessing our brothers and sisters in need; the same even hinders our thinking process. Any amount is not less or high – please go to the below link, read, and contribute as you can. Our Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi and our Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with the Chief Ministers of other states have reiterated the need to be with the state of Kerala during these devastating floods.
Visit and donate at: https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

Release date: 14th July 2018
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Anjali Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Nazriya Nazim, Parvathy, Roshan Mathew, Maala Parvathy, Ranjith Balakrishnan, Siddharth Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Hakkim Shah, Sarath Chandran, Arun Sunny, Darshana Rajendran, Bhadra Sandeep, Devan, Shambu Menon, Sajitha Madathil, Joy Badlani, Prajwal Prasad, Basil Poulose, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Nandhu Pothuval, Zubin N, Baby Mira, Mithuna Rajan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maradona

What is the movie about? :: Maradona (Tovino Thomas) is a young man who finds some illegal ways of getting easy money every time, and for his support, there is his childhood friend Sudhi (Tito Wilson). Breaking law came easy to them, and they did the same without any regret. Both gets in trouble as they end up in a dangerous situation involving a lawyer as well as a rich politician. The influential people are looking for revenge on the young men, and it sets Martin (Chemban Vinod Jose) and his aid Anto (Kichu Tellus) are after them. They search for Maradona and his friend throughout Kerala, and follows the trail to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. While Sudhi travels to Kanyakumari with a journey to the South, Maradona seeks refuge in the flat of his distant relative at Bangalore. Martin searches and finds the links getting close to finding both of them at different points.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Maradona is not happy with his stay, but he has nowhere to go. The result is that he finds his own moments of happiness in the flat. Soon, he finds new friends in the nearby homes including a girl who works as a home nurse at the adjacent flat, Asha (Sharanya R Nair). The relationship goes further, as both can’t help falling in love with each other. But with the people chasing him getting closer, Maradona will have think about more than just love to make something good out of life. Is there a chance for a happy ending for Maradona? What can satisfy the people who are chasing him? Hope might be the thing with wings, but is Maradona good enough to have some? How much more trouble can he take after being injured in a clash?

The defence of Maradona :: The movie’s game is that of life, and the man named after the great footballer needs to score his goals – life is a tough game, and we can see the same reflected without exaggeration here. The visuals are nicely captured, and the songs are lovely to listen here. The “Kaadhale” song along with its visuals are nothing less than the bliss of solitude, as Wordsworth would compare. The thrills are present with a chase going on right from the beginning. The action scenes are good, and as a movie with more, we see the drama and the romantic scenes working very well too. Above them all, we see the gradual transformation of the character as he goes through the situations which he hasn’t been familiar with. It is a coming of age story in a different way, and there is nothing here that restricts the movie’s slow, but steady movement towards the same.

The claws of flaw :: The movie feels a little bit stretched with its idea, and even then, a flashback to the flawed hero is not that much there. The title Maradona might have mislead many people, but there is absolutely no presence of football in this one; it is just that people kicking others are present all the time. There is also more scope for Maradona, not just with its thrills and action, but also with the cute romantic side – more of the comic side could have made the presence felt right there. The ending might seem a little bit too far-fetched for a movie like this, and it is more or less an attempt to quickly move towards a happy ending loved by the audience, something which Mayaanadhi never really tried to achieve. Dealing with a certain divergence, this one could have thrived on it, but takes a step back as it moves towards the end – there is no doubt of the same being enjoyable though.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino once again scores as the flawed hero – the question here once again whether his flaws lead to his fall or can he rise above it? There are similarities to his character in Mayaanadhi, but clearly, this role is tougher, and there is no asking for sympathy – all actions of this particular character are intentional, and most of them are not good even for the standards of the typically bad hero. The movie celebrates his deeds, whether good or bad, and it is on his character that the movie progresses. We also see the gradual change that come across the character – it is also nicely shown by him. We have the character that is close to life, and we never doubt the flawed hero’s reality that is displayed here, no matter how much it stays away from the usual heroic stuff.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose as strong as he has always been, playing an antagonist without backing down at any moment. He has his own moments here too, showing more than one side of the character. Tito Wilson with the Angamaly Diaries fame excels once again, and his supporting role is once again natural and realistic. Sharanya R Nair is the new face in this flick, and this addition to the list of heroines nicely makes her presence felt. All her work here is nicely balanced, and we are glad to welcome her into the industry, being confident that there is a lot more for her to contribute. Leona Lishoy also makes her presence felt with her supporting work again. The cuteness factor does help, but it is not restricted to that, and we see her going through the different emotions at various points of time without any problem that a newcomer would be exhibiting, and all’s just natural.

How it finishes :: There is something about the movie chosen by Tovino Thomas, for they bring the difference almost every time. Maradona also shows such qualities, with the seemingly usual characters and usual tale choosing to go through a divergent path, with quite a different treatment. This one might not be the movie for everyone, but just like Tharangam, it chooses to make something more out of what seems to be a usual story. In a monotonous world, there are only a few movies which try to experiment with its content, covering the possibility of predictability so well – Maradona will be remembered as one of those movies. With some moments which can stay in our minds for long, this one will continue to be the one movie which will go on into the Onam vacations despite nature having its own way with the never-ending rainfall.

Here is a video song from the movie:

Release date: 27th July 2018
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Vishnu Narayan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chemban Vinod Jose, Tito Wilson, Sharanya R Nair, Leona Lishoy, Shalu Rahim, Kichu Tellus, Parthavi, Niranjan Harish, Hari Thampuran, Nistar Ahmed, Jins Baskar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.