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What is the movie about? :: Oliver Twist (Indrans) is leading a normal life with his two sons, Antony Oliver Twist (Sreenath Bhasi) and Charles Oliver Twist (Nalsen K Gafoor), his wife Kuttiyamma (Manju Pillai) and father (Kainakary Thankaraj) who has memory problems. Oliver and Kuttiyamma are also feeling the problems of their old age. Antony is trying to be successful in the film field, but he is too busy with social media that he doesn’t complete the climax of the script, much to the dismay of the producer, Baby (Maniyanpilla Raju) who keeps asking if something can be done about it. His time is running out, as it has been two years after he started writing – he had directed his first film to a grand success, and this time, nobody is sure that he will finish it in time. At the same time, Charles’ interest in social media only, and nothing else is on his list of interesting things. He keeps putting Instagram stories at all times, and during the rest of the time, he is mostly sleeping.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Finally, Antony decides to return home to finish his script, and for the same, he returns home with a seven day deadline to complete his script. There he finds out that Charles is vlogging at all times, and doing nothing else. His life is highly digitalized, and he is happy to keep himself online instead of talking to anyone in the family. Antony is no different, even though his parents remember that he used to be a different person before leaving them for the city. Antony is in love with Priya (Deepa Thomas), a relationship which has lasted very long, but now he is too bust to return her calls. Her father, Joseph Lopez (Srikanth Murali) is a very rich and influential man, popular at all places. Oliver hopes to be friendly with his sons, but they don’t have that much of an interest in talking to the elders. Often, they even ignore Oliver as if he is not a part of their life. Oliver hopes that things will change, and he goes on with his life, with that wish, but Antony has very low opinion about him, and is often hostile towards him too.

The defence of Home :: There are many things which are reflections of real life incidents in the film, and one often wonders if they have come across such incidents before. Social media addiction has been an effective theme, and these days, anyone is a vlogger on Youtube, and with many followers, they think that this is life. People have been bothered more about what happens online rather than offline, and in the same the real world is forgotten, a reflection of the same is reflected here. The message about mobile phones stealing our valuable time is also provided nicely. It adds a few things about loss of relationships and health due to the use of smartphones and social media among the youth. The film, even though set most in a home and its surroundings, is visually too good, not just inside the house, but also during the outside moments. There is a lot of beauty on the screen that surrounds everything, and occasional humour adds on well. Then, there is the ending that conquers all, emotionally as strong as it could be.

The claws of flaw :: There is a lot of repetition which happens in the film, and it is surely a slow work, as we look at it. Some of the emotions are added here and there as if it was just there for the sake of it, and some incidents just become random part of the same. This comes from the man behind Philips and the Monkeypen and Jo and the Boy, and we can see similar elements being repeated here. It still doesn’t have the charm or quality of the former, which was one of the best movies released in the year, seemingly bringing a certain amount of magic to the screen. It also has its length extended a little too much, and with too many songs being added here and there, it does feel a few minutes too long. There are moments in between when we feel that this was going nowhere nowhere, and it was going to go on with the same kind of thing again and again. There are so many things coming up, and often it does seem to miss the main point, but there is the ending that brings things together.

Performers of the soul :: Indrans was earlier seen in two very serious roles this year with two films, Malik and Yuvam, playing the roles of a police officer and an advocate respectively. This one is a light-hearted, but yet emotional role for him, and having come out of fully comic roles, he has been doing this really well. This is indeed a very heartfelt performance from him, and with him at the centre of a family movie, this will be remembered as he celebrate forty years in Malayalam cinema industry, in his 341st movie in the long career. We are finally able to see him throughout a mainstream film in the lead role, and also with the most emotional touch, as he basically lives through here. Sreenath Bhasi had some very serious roles in Virus and Kumbalangi Nights not too long ago, and he now has a rather lighter version here – he had come out of that earlier “freakan” image a long time ago, and this one has him in a controlled role. Nalsen K Gafoor who was last seen in Kuruthi with all the seriousness, and earlier in Thanneermathan Dinangal with all the humour, can be seen in a realistic role of a youngster in this film, and he once again scores big. The simple comic side that he adds here brings more life to the movie.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also nice to Manju Pillai having a good role to play in a film, as we have been seeing more in the television series and comedy shows of Mazhavil Manorama. She has blended into this role really well, and one would wonder why she was not that much in similar roles before. We have always loved to watch her in Thatteem Mutteem for a long time. There are also some nice dialogues that reflects the mood of the film. Deepa Thomas has her first leading role, and she has comes up with a memorable performance too. She has indeed provided a natural performance, and we look forward to seeing her in more roles, and with more screen space in comparison to what is seen here. Srikant Murali also has a role to remember here. Anoop Menon’s act is also a good one, while Maniyanpilla Raju also drops in here and there. Vijay Babu’s role might seem very small, but is still one role that also makes a difference, with a lovely touch of humour. Johny Antony, as usual adds more humour here, while KPAC Lalitha who comes in the final stages of the movie has something special to add. Priyanka Nair also has a fine role in the flashback.

How it finishes :: Home is a movie for the present families, which are not short of this kind of a situation at different homes, due a new generation of kids who are addicted to gadgets and moving away from parents both physically and mentally. It will be remembered for some moments for the heart. The feel-good elements from the director’s earlier films can be seen reflected here, and the same kind of reflections can be seen visually too. Vijay Babu has provided us with so many of similar movies, and we have always stayed close to most of them. During COVID-19 times, having a feel-good film to watch with family was always going to be good. The messages that the film provides are effective, and leads to that one final message which raises the level of the film. Do look out for the final scenes with credits too, and it is where the movie brings a little more for the soul. So, we have our Onam movie on Amazon Prime Video, and as you watch the same, I wish you a Very Happy Onam in advance!

Release date: 19th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Kainakary Thankaraj, Naslen K Gafoor, Manju Pillai, Deepa Thomas, Vijay Babu, Srikant Murali, Johny Antony, Anoop Menon, Maniyanpilla Raju, Aju Varghese

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sara’s

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Anna Ben) needs to get many things right, and making a name in the film field is only one of them. She has her own set of beliefs, and is not ready to step away from them, no matter the cost happens to be. From her school days itself, she was afraid of having a child, and she maintains that aversion throughout her life. She is bothered by her father Vincent’s (Benny P Nayarambalam) constant requests to get a boyfriend, without which they will come up with a match themselves. It is then that she meets Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who had left his job in Bangalore and returned home, presently taking care of his sister’s children. When the two meet later, they are united by their lack of interest in having children, and decide to fall in love. They feel that there is a connection between them, and the two decide to wait for a few years before they marry – she hopes that she can study him well during that time, and also get her new movie going.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Their world consists of only the two of them, and they hope to keep it the same without any unwanted trouble. But when their parents come to know about the relationship, things don’t go that smoothly. They are forced to get married too soon, but the two decide to go with the flow without resisting the same. Sara continues to try and get her script accepted by a producer willing to let her direct the film. At the same time, Jeevan goes back to job again. Sara is disappointed by her inability to convince the producers, but things get only worse for her when she gets pregnant. All the relatives come to know about it, and their happiness is only matched by Sara’s disappointment. She hasn’t changed a bit as far as her ideology about children is concerned, even though Jeevan is now not sure. The equations have changed now, and what they had thought earlier might not work any longer.

The defence of Sara’s :: There can always be something about feel-good movies, and that something is carried over here too, with the feeling being too good. Jude Anthany Joseph’s mastery over the same is something on which everybody would agree. The emotional side is strong, and the light-hearted elements with the usual touch of humour works really well here. The reflections of the usual life and the disagreements between generations can also be seen in the flick. It is to be noted that the light-hearted feeling is maintained throughout the film, and it never slips away from the same during its two hours of seemingly perfect run-time, even though it deviates a little bit. As a female centered film, the protagonist does have more to tell you than what meets the eye. There is the requirement to understand that the purpose of marriage is not to have children as soon as you are married, and that parenthood is a responsibility for which everyone has to be prepared well. When people have children in less than an year after marriage, and when they choose to keep having more and more of kids almost every year, it is strange. There is always an intellectual purpose in life as far as humans are concerned, and it is being left behind by these people, both men and women. This film should be an awakening for them, as well as for those who marry early, without maturity coming to them. In India, as more the youth is more dependent on parents it takes them about twenty eight to thirty three years old to be really mature. It is surprising to see some people getting married at the age of twenty one and eighteen, and the recent cases on suicides in the name of domestic violence and dowry were all from those who married too early, especially without the women not being allowed to complete their studies or work freely.

The claws of flaw :: Sara’s could have been more with its ideas, and there was also a chance to add more of light-hearted comedy with those usual kind of situations. You are never really short of some feel-good ideas in our world, and chances for humour were many, but not many of them are taken. It often struggles to make comedy out of silly stuff. The movie should have actually released one day earlier during the weekend, and it would have had more viewers due to the weekend lock-down being imposed, and this flaw in release date will decrease its viewers by a considerable number. These are the kind of choices which make sure how many people watch the film from an OTT platform. Also expectations after Jude Anthany Joseph’s previous movies were very high, and this one has to match that, but this one is more about the ups and downs. This one is certainly not that much fun in comparison with the earlier films, and we also have a little bit more of an emotional side at work here. The final moments seem to have gone for the quick solution, instead of making things innovative. The film is also too materialistic in its viewpoint with main characters going for the selfish motive, the kind which won’t hesitate to cheat and murder if needed, and its heroine wouldn’t be ideal in a morality tale, but as she is shown as a person interested only in films, maybe she is more of a reflection of people in who are part of movies rather than common people. After all, it is difficult for the protagonist to understand that she is not an island, but it is to be noted that the people around her matches her in being judgmental.

Performers of the soul :: With his third venture which seems to resemble the earlier successful works from him, it is Jude Anthany Joseph who has our attention here, more than the main actors and actresses of this film, and it is with high expectations that we are watching this particular flick. The work of Anna Ben remains the same, natural, and perfectly suited for a role like this. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen had her realistic acting skills bringing some surprise to us. This time, we are having exactly what we expected from here, and one more natural performance brings us an lovable film. She is the one actress who makes the perfect new generation star who blends in so well with the roles given to her. Benny P Nayarambalam, Anna’s real-life father plays her father in the film too, and that is indeed a nice addition to the movie. Siddique is also there, and you know what to expect when the veteran actor is once again there, and doing his usual stuff – he has more or less become an integral part of the feel-good Malayalam movies of these times.

Further performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is here in a film which is not centered on him, but that comes as no surprise to him, as he was the hero in Annmaria Kalippilaanu, but was not the protagonist there too. He was very good in the earlier supporting roles, and with different roles like the villain in Kayamkulam Kochunni and the surprise entry in June, he is known for these kind of roles more than for being the sole hero in flicks like Alamara and a number of lesser known ones. Before this film, we had him everywhere with that song “Kaamini” in Anugraheethan Antony due to the producers of Chathur Mukham failing to bring it to OTT platforms at a time when films like Cold Case, Drishyam 2, Mohan Kumar Fans, Nizhal, The Priest, Aarkkariyam and Joji scored so high in Amazon Prime Video, Nayattu in Netflix and Kho Kho with Operation Java in ZEE 5. It is also good to see Mallika Sukumaran going through her usual kind of work, and we also see others who have much less to do in here, even though they all form a part.

How it finishes :: This is the third film of Jude Anthany Joseph after Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha, both of those movies being excellent feel-good entertainers, and the former had also won the Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value at the 45th Kerala State Film Awards, as well as making sure that Nazriya Nassim earned a Best Actress Award too. So, this one certainly came with high expectations, especially considering the fact that Anna Ben is a more complete actress in comparison to those who were part of his earlier ventures. The expectations do provide some good results here, as Sara’s is indeed a movie to watch without having too much of the emotional feeling while dealing with similar topics and its light-hearted take on the usual kind of stuff and with a desire for change in the attitudes of the society makes it an interesting watch during these days which still continue have a certain kind of COVID-19 lock-down restrictions going on here and there. Therefore, the audience of all age groups can give it a chance.

Release date: 5th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Anna Ben, Sunny Wayne, Dominic Arun, Siddique, Srindaa, Margret Antony, Siju Wilson, Dhanya Varma, Benny P Nayarambalam, Mallika Sukumaran, Prasanth Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mohan Kumar Fans

What is the movie about? :: Mohan Kumar (Siddique) used to be a huge superstar until he lost the race to the younger stars. He does believe that it was the result of black magic done by his rival actors. After a long gap, he does get a role to play in a critically acclaimed movie, for which everyone feels that he will get an award. His daughter Sreeranjini Mohankumar (Anarkali Nazar), is an interior designer who wishes to be a singer, for which she tries her luck in different reality shows. Krishnan Unni (Kunchacko Boban), is a youngster who is also trying to make it big as a playback singer. They meet at a reality show, and he is also sent to work for Mohan Kumar as the driver by Prakash (Mukesh), his old friend and a struggling producer who is trying to make a film with Kripesh aka Aghosh Menon (Vinay Forrt), a young superstar who is extremely arrogant, and thinks that he is above everyone. Krishnan Unni and Sreeranjini start competing in the reality show, mostly as a team, and Mohan Kumar also becomes fond of the young man who is there to help him.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Kripesh continues to try to make a name in the industry, as his fame rises, and tells everyone that his living together partner Brighty Menon (Deepa Thomas) is a sisterly figure, and fakes different events in which he is shown as a man with love and respect, raising his popularity even higher with PR work. When Arun Rajeev (Adil Ibrahim) and Prakash approaches him with a new film script, his demands only get higher. Meanwhile it is just another downwards journey for the former star, as the critical acclaimed film is taken out of the theatres much to the dismay of Mohan Kumar, who felt that he was going back to that stardom with all the appreciation he received, even more than Kripesh who was originally supposed to be the hero, but was sidelined in front of his fantastic performance. After a fight with Hamsa Randathani (Nisthar Sait), his name is nicely taken out of the Kerala state awards final list, but there is still hope for National Awards – yet, it is to be seen if they can find a way to take it to Delhi with time running out, and a lot more to be done.

The defence of Mohan Kumar Fans :: The movie’s messages are strong, for it is against the vanity and arrogance which has been going on in the film industry. The lack of quality in the visual media is also shown, and it also displays YouTube, Instagram and other social media as what it is, showing how celebrities use fake videos or good for nothing videos just to gain popularity, while skilled performers and quality actors don’t get the recognition they need. Well, if one actress stand outside her home and take a video, it gains so many viewers and appreciation, and it more or less shows the same. Well, you know that literacy means the ability to read and write, and with so many videos being preferred over written content, one has to wonder if it is because of the lack of literacy among people. Our YouTube-Instagram loving celebrities in the film might be suffering from that illiteracy too. It is shown with very nicely prepared humour with fine satire, and the feel-good factor is also high around here. The songs are just okay, and it is not short of some touching moments.

The claws of flaw :: As this movie makes fun of a certain group of people and says the truth about them, such people won’t like it – especially the blind superstar fans, creators of nonsense in YouTube and Instagram as well as those so called celebrities who try to become popular by fake means. For others, they will surely like the film, but they won’t be able to dismiss the fact that this should have had more depth with its content. Mohan Kumar Fans is that kind of a film which could have taken each of its strong elements into another level, but it is certainly not able to do that because it has chosen to travel through a safe path – the feel-good side can always get you over the line, but if you stick on to that, and play safe, it is like aiming for run-a-ball in an IPL match when there is good chance for stroke-play. Maybe, they did so because there was not much of a competition in the theatres with less number of big Malayalam films being released and less number of people watching in the theatres – but that would just be an excuse if we think so.

The performers of the soul :: This one comes after the director’s films which have maintained the feel-good factor at some point, starting with Bicycle Thieves, my least favourite film in a long time, the definite improvement in Sunday Holiday, the bigger improvement in Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and now this film, which also has Asif Ali in a cameo, making all these films Asif starrers. Well, you know that who else was there in all these movies, and it is Siddique, with his biggest role in this movie, as he is the real protagonist here, with everything centered around him, and all things being about him only. It ultimately becomes all about the positive message that is spread through his life, and in that, this movie races ahead of all among the director Jis Joy’s movies, except Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, which was much more ahead in the race. Siddique, the veteran actor, nicely stays at the core of the film, and manages everything in his usual style. If this much was done in a feel-good film, you can guess how much more could have been done if this was a serious tragedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban outside the thriller mode of Nizhal and Nayattu, does have his moments, as he is indeed the hero here, trying to keep the main character happy and ready to take the risks just for the sake of the man. Anarkali Nazar is a lovely addition here, as we see her for the first time, and despite the introduction not being that great, we see that the emotions work really well for her. Among the rest, it is Vinay Forrt who stays with us the most, with one of the best satires on the superstars who can’t really act, but tries to get mileage through videos posted in YouTube, Instagram or any social media. As video medium attracts the illiterate and those who find it difficult to read English, these celebrities get more attention that they need, and being as fake as the character he displays here, their first option will always be YouTube to fake their life in front of the blind fans, who will share the same in social media, displaying their foolishness as much as they can. After Saroj Kumar, his Aagosh Menon strikes gold with the satire.

How it finishes :: Mohan Kumar Fans does take an approach which the movies like Driving Licence didn’t have the courage to take. Instead of taking the side of the common man, it had stood with the superstar and his fans. This movie is courageous in that case, taking the side of the common people, and it focuses on the gracious actor instead of the dumb superstar, the dumbness of the latter nicely shown throughout the film, and it also shows everything fake that has been running through YouTube. We keep seeing those celebrities doing YouTube videos, and we know that they are all fake, but there will always be those people who watch such nonsense posted by such people who are only looking for fame. Well, if a celebrity post any nonsense on YouTube, everyone wants to watch that, and if something sensible is posted on YouTube by the common man, you know how it is left unnoticed – it is such an age, when quality is not rewarded, a common problem with the visual media in comparison to the written one. This is the same reason why people who are looking for easy paths to success without hard work won’t like this flick. For others, this works in varying levels of interest, mostly on the higher levels.

Release date: 19th March 2021 (Theatre), 21st May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anarkali Nazar, Siddique, Mukesh, Sreenivasan, Saiju Kurup, Vinay Forrt, Ramesh Pisharody, TG Ravi, Alencier Ley Lopez, Major Ravi, Joy Mathew, Krishna Shankar, Adil Ibrahim, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Deepa Thomas, Srikant Murali, Anjali Nair, Prasanth Alexander, Sreelakshmi, Sethu Lakshmi, Nisthar Sait

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<— Click here to go to the previous Amazon Prime film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kilometers and Kilometers

Vampire Owl: I have been waiting for this movie for a long time.

Vampire Bat: This was the next film which we were supposed to watch before COVID-19 came up in March and theatres closed.

Vampire Owl: Well, one of the many things which one virus had changed.

Vampire Bat: A change which brought the movies home.

Vampire Owl: I was thinking Amazon Prime or Netflix in that case.

Vampire Bat: For a change, we have the first television channel release here.

Vampire Owl: Well, it is good to have such a release.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after all, everyone is not into those online platforms.

Vampire Owl: Finally, a release for the common man.

Vampire Bat: Let us makes sure that we don’t miss this!

[Gets a chocolate cake and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: In the village of Thalanadu, Josemon (Tovino Thomas) doesn’t have any job, and struggles to keep everything going, including paying fees for his sister’s studies. He only manages to get some small jobs which don’t translate to anything. He finally decides to sell his Royal Enfield which the family valued a lot. It is then that Cathy (India Jarvis) comes to visit India, starting from Kerala, after winning a lottery. As this is her final destination before return to the United States of America, she hopes to spend the rest of her money there, and with the help of Appachan (Joju George), Josemon finds this as an opportunity to make some quick money. They make their journey to different parts of India, and when they are in the North, their bags get stolen. Now, they have to find the documents which they had lost, and return to Kerala, but with no clue of what had happened with the theft, the same might not be easy.

The defence of Kilometers and Kilometers :: Simple fun and feel-good elements are abundant in this movie. The light-hearted fun in this movie is suitable for everyone in the family, without pretensions. There is the presence of the good message, giving importance to values and relationships over money, a message which has always been there, but is something which people these days won’t care about. What can surprise us the most is that even the people from earlier generation are still proud of their sons and daughters earning more, instead of being proud of their education or acts of goodness towards fellow human beings. The message will stay significant for a long time, because people won’t change, and this one is another addition to that particular message. The visuals are very good, and we would love to see how the places are being depicted. The performances are also very good. The emotional moments are working well too.

The claws of flaw :: People might not find many things new with this film, and it does maintain a certain amount of simplicity here. The idea is indeed in the old style mode, as you can see from the beginning stages itself. The predictability factor is high around here, as soon as the first major turning point occurs. Going innovative surely wasn’t the idea at work around here. As the promotion was not that much even for the first Malayalam movie which released on television, some people might have missed this movie at least in parts. The film could have actually done more with a greater number of characters, and more locations added, making this a travel movie too. But the journey actually gets stuck a little bit too early for our liking. There is no mingling with the cultures of different parts of India, and we only see small parts of the lifestyle being scattered here and there. The final moments, even though emotional enough, is a little too much of cliche.

Performers of the soul :: When COVID-19 started its side-effects, the earlier Tovino Thomas movie, Forensic was running in the theatres but reaching an early unexpected end, and his next film is here, this time completely off the theatres from the beginning itself. He has been one actor whose movies kept a certain level on most occasions, except for maybe one film in between which went full masala. His performance here reminds one of Ente Ummante Peru a little bit, and he does that with ease. There were clues about what was to be expected, from the trailer itself. Basil Joseph, the director of two smart movies Kunjiramayanam and Godha also brings some early humour here, and it is the one thing that lifts up the movie in its early stages – Joju George can also be seen contributing well during those stages. Longer final moments would have meant that these characters would have had a chance to add some more feel-good fun.

Further performers of the soul :: It is to be noted that Sidhartha Siva, director of the crowd favourites like Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho and Sakhavu nicely takes over the humour, and manages the same really well in the later stages of the film. His talk about the flashback is done with some fine humour, and he keeps bringing the laughter. The moments in Rajasthan are elevated with his use of the funny side. We have already seen him handling the humour really well, and this one has him around for a long period of time. India Jarvis does the job well, and plays the character as expected. From the performance, one would feel the need to see her in more Malayalam movies with similar characters being in requirement. She is not the random person who plays a European or an American just because there is space for the same, as she does much more. Sudheesh also has a very small, but notable role in the beginning stages of the movie.

How it finishes :: Kilometers and Kilometers has been a movie which had to wait quite some time due to COVID-19. At a time when we were wondering if something was actually going to happen, as theatres are still not opening any time soon, the movie has come to Asianet. During the pandemics, having a feel-good film delivered home can surely help to lighten the mood, especially during Onam. Still one has to wonder if most people did have time to watch this movie during the time of Onam celebrations at home. I would like to wish all of you who are reading this, and everyone from Kerala, a Very Happy Onam. Let us face this Corona Virus pandemic together, and rise together, as we did during the floods in the last two years. I really hope that Asianet shows the movie again, because it is a fun flick which can provide the feel-good factor to the Onam Celebrations. After all, we are having a ten day vacation here instead of the usual COVID-19 forced or flood-forced holidays.

Release date: 31st August 2020
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jeo Baby
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Joju George, India Jarvis, Sidhartha Siva, Basil Joseph, Sudheesh

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Malayalam drama.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Varane Avashyamundu

What is the movie about? :: Neena (Shobhana) is a divorced mother who is living with her daughter Nikitha (Kalyani Priyadarshan) in the busy city of Chennai. As Neena had eloped from home and married, the only relative who comes to see them is her uncle Manuel (Lalu Alex) while her husband lived far away from them. While Neena works as a teacher of French language, Nikitha also supports herself with a job, and is looking for a groom in a matrimonial website all by herself. Those whom she finds as match include Alphonse (Siju Wilson) and Aby (Rahul Rajasekharan), a Motor Vehicle Inspector and an NRI respectively. In the same block of apartments where they are living, Major Unnikrishnan (Suresh Gopi), a retired army officer also lives alone. He is known for his anger management issues due to which he often gets into trouble, and is disliked by the people living near him.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Bipeesh (Dulquer Salmaan) is the new resident at the apartments, beginning his stay with an argument with Nikitha over their two-wheelers. Nikitha is not fond of him as well as Unnikrishnan who also buys a dog which is almost as huge as him. Major Athmaram (Major Ravi) who was also in the army tries to solve Unnikrishnan’s anger management issues by sending him to his friend who is also a doctor – Doctor Bose (Johny Antony). Unnikrishnan is someone who had managed to climb Mount Everest during his youth, and is also someone who participated in the skirmishes at the Indo-Pakistan border. But he finds it difficult to mingle with people, especially with ladies. The kids of the apartments particularly hate him for his rough attitude. As he tries to change his behaviour, he ends up getting closer to Neena, which changes the lives of Nikitha and Bipeesh as well. But what does it mean for his anger?

The defence of Varane Avashyamundu :: The movie runs on its cast which is an enviable one. It has one generation of veteran performers in the form of Suresh Gopi and Shobhana, and another generation with Dulquer Salmaan and Kalyani Priyadarshan, making it something which everyone from more than one generation feeling the need to watch it. The focus being on the elder stars is the best thing about this movie, as it works really well with the tale to connect with everyone. The funny moments work really well, and the credit for the same rests mostly with Suresh Gopi, supported by Johny Antony. The setting of the apartments in the middle of a city, and people going through their flawed, but interesting lives is nicely shown here. There are some messages given, and most of the time, it is about life and relationships. But, it should have had more depth, in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: One trouble that Varane Avashyamundu seems to face is that it doesn’t have a script to match the cast that it possesses. It had to be better focused on what it was doing, and the same would have allowed us to go beyond that initial drag with ease, and that ending which seemed to be rushed, even though it cannot be termed terrible. The predictability is always there, as we know which direction this is heading – there is no need for any special skill for the same. The need to put the feel-good factor into place would always be a priority, considering the fact that this movie’s competitors were all focused on other genres including the year’s first big hit Anjaam Pathira which is clearly on the other side with the shades. The movie doesn’t have memorable songs or music, and it could have also been shorter, removing some scenes. Even some characters seemed to be rather unnecessary here.

The performers of the soul :: If there is a question about the leading performer in the movie, that is not the leading young pair – it is Suresh Gopi who makes the retired army officer a joy to watch. We had last seen him in My God, and here we have him doing the comedy and emotions exceptionally well, and his character and the changes undergone are too good. Shobana adds to the charm here, and her combination scenes with Suresh Gopi as well as Kalyani. Urvashi also has a memorable role to add here. But at the same time, Dulquer Salmaan doesn’t have much of a screen time – his character is also one which doesn’t suit the overall mood of the movie, and the romance here is also half-baked, seemingly built on fake emotions and therefore lacking in strength. Johny Antony is the next person to bring the comic side alive, while Siju Wilson and Major Ravi also have a few similar moments. Meanwhile, Lalu Alex is there with another usual, but memorable kind of role.

Further performers of the soul :: Kalyani Priyadarshan has her first Malayalam movie, and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham will be the next. As the daughter of the renowned film director Priyadarshan and the popular actress of her time Lissy Priyadarshan, her debut was long overdue. The other star children had already arrived, and we know what nepotism can do to you, as it was proven with the star kids, even though not that much as it has done with Bollywood. At least in the case of Malayalam movie industry, the sons and daughters can act, and often even excel in what they do, a case which have made the industry rise above the usual brainless acts of Bollywood. Kalyani is no exception either, as she nails her emotional and funny moments. Often reminding one of Bhagyalakshmi Prabhu who plays Meenakshi in Thatteem Mutteem especially with KPAC Lalitha around, she gets to be perfectly fit in this family feel-good stuff.

How it finishes :: Anoop Sathyan, son of the veteran film director Sathyan Anthikad is at the helm of this movie. He is known to have served as assistant director at Malayalam film industry and have also directed independent documentaries. There is a certain Sathyan Anthikad touch that can be seen in this movie, and the same can’t be denied, especially in a feel-good movie directed by his son. It is just with the setting that the difference can be seen – otherwise the model is more or less the same. A shift from the village to the city can be felt more, as it is a change from a very rural setting to a very urban metro setting. But the characters are shown in a simple and lovable manner as we have seen in those rural settings, which make this movie a fine watch for the family audience. There is no question about what the one clean family movie can be, with a modern setting.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Anoop Sathyan
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Shobana, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Dulquer Salmaan, Urvashi, Lalu Alex, KPAC Lalitha, Johny Antony, Siju Wilson, Major Ravi, Sarvajith Santosh, Meera Krishnan, Sreeja Ravi, Rahul Rajasekharan, Wafa Khatheeja Rahman, Krishna Chandran A Nair, Vidya Menon, Aravind Venugopal, Theni Murugan, K Gopal, Nalsen K Gafoor, Lal Jose (cameo)

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Driving Licence

What is the movie about? :: Hareendran (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is a superstar who is in no shortage of fans, gaining all success with continuous superhit movies breaking one box-office record after the other. He is a typical, arrogant, billionaire star who doesn’t care about people in general. His love for cars is well-known, but as nobody had asked him for a driving licence for a long time, he had lost it somewhere, and the shooting of the climax required the licence. For the same, he attempts to get a new one issued by Motor Vehicle Inspector Kuruvilla (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who is a die hard fan of the star. Even though Kuruvilla is a lot interested in meeting the star, things don’t turn out so well with media coming to know about the superstar driving all these years without a driving licence. Hareendran is particularly angry about this being flashed on the news.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, the other big superstar on the big screen, Bhadran (Suresh Krishna) is trying to get some success with his movies, as it is Hareendran’s movies which get all the attention and the best of theatres. He tries to exaggerate this problem between the two, and is successful up to an extent, as the news is everywhere on all television channels. At the same time, there is the attack on Kuruvilla’s family, and further problems between Hareendran and the producer of the movie, as he wants to leave to the United States with his wife for her treatment before completing the film. But he would really need that driving licence, but because of the confusion and humiliation which he had faced due to the superstar, Kuruvilla is reluctant, but with his contacts, the arrogant Hareendran would try to force him out of his options.

The defence of Driving Licence :: The movie has two people in different fields set against each other, with certain background humour working well all the time. Some of the scenes seem to stand apart, and the interval punch is very good. Some of the situations are nicely created, and well acted too. The visuals are pretty good to add to the same. There are some elements of the evil of blind celebrity worship and the celebrity attitude being shown here, even though the focus is not that much to be seen. The common man’s plight is shown, even though heroism is once again left to the superstar. The focus is partially on different aspects of the society, and there are some messages to be taken home. The whole thing is kept simple, and there are no pretensions here, as many things are shown as they should be, even though the deviations can’t be denied.

The claws of flaw :: It is sad to see that the movie deviates from what should have been its most important message, against the fanatic fans – here, the movie takes the most extreme level, as the so called superstar talks in support of his loyal fans who almost murdered a police officer in an extreme case of crowd frenzy. The superstar’s rich and filthy arrogance is allowed to win over the common man with ease, which is a shame, because the movie without a second thought chooses to go against everyman with its support for violent fans and arrogant superheroes. Some characters are of no use too. Even though the movie focuses on the mood of Christmas, there is nothing much in there to reflect the same. Some parts of the film just looks not needed. There is also a problem with the movie’s flow, and it bothers everyone that it is only the good everyman character who gets beaten up, and all the evil people around him are shown in better light, and spared the rod.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran after his highly underrated thrillers as the lead, Brother’s Day and 9, has the superstar to play, and it doesn’t become difficult for him at any moment. It is the kind of star who is shown as the bigger superstar of the industry, and that gets done rather easily. Playing the roles of actors in movies, the extra performance which is to be put in seems to be rather less in almost every case. Suraj Venjaramoodu continues to impress in the emotional sequences, and the comedy as usual, comes natural to him in this movie too. We have been witnessing much of such skills in the last few years rather than sticking to the humorous side. The roles of simple common men have been coming very fine to him. The child actor Adhish Praveen also comes with a nice performance as the child who wants his father to win against the giant superstar at least once.

Further performers of the soul :: Mia George is the heroine who gets more dialogues, and has some funny moments of her, as she shines in a role which brings the laughter in a simple manner. Deepti Sati, the other heroine does look beautiful, and has less to do – but the purpose is served well in her case too. Salim Kumar plays a kind of cameo which becomes relevant in the end, but is irritating during most of its existence. It was good to see Lalu Alex there doing a fine job, and we need to see him more in the industry. Idavela Babu and Vijayaraghavan play two irritating characters from the movie industry. Major Ravi and Shivaji Guruvayoor have some smaller roles to play too. At the same time, Suresh Krishna is really funny in his avatar, and the same can be said about Saiju Kurup too. Nandhu has a memorable tole to play here too.

How it finishes :: Driving Licence could have been a better movie if it had shown the courage to show evil as it is. But the movie hesitates in doing the same, and finds the rich celebrity and his fans abusing and almost murdering a common man to be okay – maybe they did the same to satisfy their large number of fans, but it cannot be considered as a fair thing. The good start of the movie should have been better maintained, especially in the second half – the ending should have been better too. Still, as these are holidays, it is easier to have these kinds of movies running in the theatres, as we have that kind of family audience who have come out to enjoy the Christmas vacations. So, this works for some simple fun, but could have been more with its premise. After all, getting a driving licence never ceases to be a thing of interest.

Release date: 20th December 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jean Paul Lal
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Mia George, Deepti Sati, Lalu Alex, Suresh Krishna, Arun, Idavela Babu, Vijayaraghavan, Salim Kumar, Saiju Kurup, Adhish Praveen, Major Ravi, Kalabhavan Navas, Sohan Seenulal, Nandhu

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Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha

What is the movie about? :: The story is set in a high range village and at an old style family which is left with one old motherly figure and the young son who hasn’t married yet even though he has reached the age of thirty five. Sleevachan (Asif Ali) is someone who hasn’t thought of marriage at any point of his life. Kuttichan (Jaffer Idukki) has brought profiles of many different women for him, but he didn’t even try to go and see a single lady, much to the dismay of his mother, four sisters and other relatives. Even his neighbours, friends and the villagers are looking forward to see him getting married, as he is a much loved person and a helpful man. But as he realized that his mother was getting older, and she needed help, he finally decides that he can’t manage all the farming activities and look after his mother, as he is always outside home.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: A new proposal comes, and this time, Sleevachan is ready to marry, and the girl is Rincy (Veena Nandakumar), daughter of the church vicar’s sister who lives at Angamaly. Even though Sleevachan’s sisters are doubtful in the beginning stages, the two are supposed to be ideal match, and there is no hesitation from anyone’s side about getting them married, except for Richard (Rony David), Rincy’s brother who also agrees to the union of two families. There is a grand wedding ceremony which is attended by almost the whole village, but on the very first day itself, Sleevachan ends up drinking too much alcohol, and falls asleep early. But from what is to follow later, this might be the better night for him. His own lack of understanding of what happens after marriage would land him in trouble. The question remains about how he can change his ways and adapt.

The defence of Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha :: The success of Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha depends on how its situation and idea is presented to make a story with lesser content far more interesting than how it would have been, if presented directly. The main characters are nicely written, and without any melodrama or insensitive dialogues, the movie takes on the family mode quite easily. There was some risk involved with this movie, and the movie even though does take it, never really venture close to danger – the balance is maintained effectively. The music is pretty good, even though not the best. The visuals of the place are nicely captured, and it serves as another good-looking movie too. The messages here are there to be taken, even though not for everyone, and not at the same dose.

The claws of flaw :: There is not much of a content in this movie that stretches to its full length, as some parts of the movie could have been cut down to make this one and half hours – there is not that much in there to take it to two hours and fifteen minutes. The story can be considered to be too simple, and the beginning half an hour or even up to forty five minutes doesn’t have anything to catch our attention at all, and goes through a struggle to get to the point, until it begins to change the mood. There are also moments when one feels that the movie is not that realistic, and due the lesser content out there, it does drag, and the struggle is visible. The ending, even though good, needed to pack a better punch – the feel-good has itself working all the way here though.

The performers of the soul :: Asif Ali has done a fantastic job here, and it him who gets to drive the movie forward effectively. Even though Kakshi: Amminippilla was a terrible and aimless movie, he had two fantastic movies, Virus and Uyare, as well as the one fine feel-good movies in the form of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum. He makes this simple, highland villager close to life, and also natural enough. He has some fine moments for us to remember, especially in the second half of the movie. This role of the simpleton from a village on a hill, stays safe with him from the beginning to the end. Veena Nandakumar who is best known for the movie Kadam Katha, comes up with a fine, controlled performance. She delivers the most with less dialogues and more from looks and action.

Further performers of the soul :: Basil Joseph, the director of two wonderful movies Kunjiramayanam and Godha has another good role to do after Manoharam. He plays the supporting role well once again, and it is once again the kind of role which Aju Varghese would do in a similar movie. The girl who plays the role of his lover also does a fine job here. Shine Tom Chacko is there in a small role which you would miss if you don’t look around at the right time. Rony David also has a smaller role as the brother of the heroine. Jaffer Idukki has a bigger role, and we get to see him handling a funny as well as matured side. Sruthi Lakshmi and Maala Parvathi are there for shorter moments too. It can be seen that the rest of the cast are also natural, unlike Happy Sardar which released this week, and keeps itself artificial throughout its run.

How it finishes :: Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha has done a pretty good job in keeping close to the family audience while providing a few messages. After the critically acclaimed and top level Helen, this is the movie which will grab your attention. Even with new releases coming this week, its number of shows remaining the same is a sign of the possibility of the movie to stay, even though with Mamangam coming up soon, there is no clear guarantee of the same. Kettiyolaanu Ente Malakha‘s title won’t really symbolize the story, but the message does work out, considering the way the movie moves forward. Among the usual feel-good movies, this one strives to be different, and trying new experiments never get old in Malayalam cinema, as we work and seek more.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Nissam Basheer
Starring: Asif Ali, Veena Nandakumar, Manohari Joy, Basil Joseph, Rony David, Jaffer Idukki, Raveendran, Sruthi Lakshmi, Maala Parvathi, Shine Tom Chacko, Jayalakshmi, Sini Abraham, Jesna Sibi

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Aadhyarathri

What is the movie about? :: Manoharan (Biju Menon) never really had the best of times during his childhood and youth, with everything reaching the worst situation, having his elder sister eloping with someone in the village, and his father having a cardiac arrest at the same time. Even though the marriage at his home didn’t happen, he take the profession of a marriage broker after he fixes a wedding ceremony and saves the bride’s family from humiliation. For two decades, he continues in the same profession, and there is no wedding ceremony in the area happening without him playing a part in it. He is the first person who comes to anyone’s mind when they think about wedding, and sometimes even other significant functions which are part of people’s life. Along with the same, he also runs a tutorial college for the local students.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manoharan is that kind of a person who has everything planned as far as relationships are concerned. He knows which boy will be suitable for which girl, and for the same, he supports only arranged marriage. Any case of falling in love is strictly opposed by him, and all the youth from the area are afraid of his interventions in their possible love affairs. It is during these times when he gets a chance to arrange the marriage of Kunjumon (Aju Varghese), the richest man in the village, and Aswathy (Anaswara Rajan), a modern, educated girl of the village who lives in Bangalore – the combination was always a risky one, but as Manoharan was always a godfather-like figure to Aswathy, he takes the risk. But it is not that easy to get this one done, and the question arises if he will fail in arranging a marriage for the first time.

The defence of Aadhyarathri :: The humour used in this movie is simple, and the message is indeed to ask the girl’s consent before fixing marriage, a case which would have worked better if it had released about ten to twenty years ago. The movie has its own feel-good factor to add to the same, and it is a simple movie with no pretensions, going through everything directly. The visuals are nice, and the setting contributes to the same very well. The nicely created situations make sure about it, and we have another movie for the family audience with jokes that can be accepted by everyone. During these Pooja holidays, you need a movie to look forward to with family, and this might be the right one, staying above the bigger hyped Onam releases like Love Action Drama and Ittymaani too. Also, look out for the Kuttanadan Baahubali dream song which is really attractive.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does feel a little outdated, as these are those days when the youth takes their own decisions with ease, and parents are on the backfoot in almost everything. These are also those days when parents keep agreeing to what the children want because there is just one kid or two, and they want to get them all that they wish for. With a new generation of children and youth, this movie might not serve much, and can focus on only a small number of people in need in a world when people fall in love indiscriminately and set their former lovers on fire. The movie has to work in a world in which almost everyone of the generation has a boyfriend or girlfriend, and therefore struggles. It also feels incomplete with some characters being lost and others serving no purpose. There is also the lack of focus on the progress of the narrative. Sometimes, it feels that parts of it is just forced.

The performers of the soul :: Biju Menon is once again at ease playing this kind of a role. Vellimoonga, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Swarna Kaduva, Anakkallan, Salt Mango Tree – all these had him playing the commoner’s role and handling the light-hearted humour in the leading role with ease. Here too, the movie is dependent on him to do what he has been doing the best, and the same is handled with the skill that he possesses, and has once again displayed without stepping back. Anaswara Rajan, after Udaharanam Sujatha, Evidey and Thanneer Mathan Dinangal makes fine impact, even thought not that much as we have seen in the two previous movies. Other than that song on the ship, she doesn’t have really have much of memorable moments in the movie, and someone elder would have been the best for this role. At the same time, it is to be noted that there is no romantic angle to the main character, which is to be appreciated.

Further performers of the soul :: Anu Sithara’s cameo seems totally unnecessary, and that is one scene added to prove a point in an easy way instead of proving it through the progress of the story itself, and it seems that she was chosen to assert the same in an even bigger manner. Aju Varghese does a nice job in the movie, and does the exact amount of comedy as it was needed – there is no overdose here even though the tendency was always there. Manoj Guinness is the one who plays the sidekick role here, and he is fine at most parts of the movie, even though some of the comedy is surely lost. Sarjano Khalid of June fame has a dull character to play here, and does less. Biju Sopanam has some funny moments to add, and Pauly Valsan does the job well as expected while Vijayaraghavan does another interesting role to fine impact. But it is to be noted that not all characters get their due.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director of the much appreciated Vellimoonga, and having the same leading actor, the expectations were very high, and this one does come close on many occasions. Still, it does fall short in comparison, and is no match for that movie which had everyone in love with the flick. Vellimoonga had set things in motion enough to make way for a good number of movies with similar theme, and Biju Menon himself had played so many of such roles. This one won’t have that much of an impact, but with Pooja holidays around, the family audience might be very much interested in this particular flick. It doesn’t seem to attract that many people right now, but in the next two days, that number should increase, and the movie should do well enough, even though not like its earlier superior relative, Vellimoonga.

Release date: 4th October 2019
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Anaswara Rajan, Sneha Babu, Manoj Guiness, Ashwin Jose, Vinod Kedamangalam, Sarjano Khalid, Sree Lakshmy, Prasad Muhamma, Shiny T Rajan, Naseer Sankranthy, Biju Sopanam, Pauly Valsan, Vijayaraghavan, Anu Sithara (cameo)

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Manoharam

What is the movie about? :: Manoharan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) finds himself outdated in a world which has traveled a little too quick for his taste, making him feel unable to keep up with the pace. He is known as an artist and a painter, and as he had failed miserably in tasting any kind of success in life, not passing even plus two, he lacks any kind of confidence, suffering from a certain inferiority complex. Even as he is engaged to be married, the girl leaves him for someone who is better educated and earns more. His best friend is Prabhu (Basil Joseph) who has always been with him since childhood, and continues to support him despite all the failures which come back to him. One problem that they continue to have from those days is Rahul (Deepak Parambol) who has created trouble for them for a very long time. He is rich, and wastes no time in making fun of Manoharan.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manoharan finally decides that enough is enough, and with the support of Prabhu and Varghese (Indrans), has a flex printing store set in the town, the first of its kind around there. For the same, he decides to learn Adobe Photoshop which would help him to move from the early artistic skills to modern computerized drawing and painting. He joins an Akshaya Centre for coaching, and Sreeja (Aparna Das) is his new teacher, but even though she is good in programming languages and other computer courses, doesn’t know Photoshop. They try to learn Photoshop together, and there is more than one person’s future on the line as Rahul is also trying to begin a flex printing shop in the town, and he also has a lot of money to invest in the same. Who will succeed and who will lag in this journey of hope?

The defence of Manoharam :: There is the journey of the commoner, an artist trying to survive in a world which is dominated by the newer things, rising above the old world, and even leading to the clear submergence of what is now considered outdated. But this gets interesting as he refuses to be submerged like some slave language in the plantations or an ancient religion facing modernity – he decides to fight, and it is this battle that we see in the movie. The same is something that inspires, without doubt, even though it takes a long time – the final moments are nicely done to rise above any problems which were there in the earlier stages. The songs are just okay, and there is nothing much to stay in our minds for long. The movie is only a two hour journey, which means that there is not much of a drag which awaits us – the journey is rather direct and clear. There is no leap into melodrama, as this one takes none of it.

The claws of flaw :: It is to be noted that the movie has nothing new, and it goes on a journey which has been traveled before, in different ways, through different paths, reaching the same destination. The struggling heroes like these have been more common than any other, and the situations like these have been created for them to struggle hard and go past all these obstacles; even from ancient myth, people have been doing the same. This fight of the simple and ordinary man to survive in a world which has jobs and opportunities taken over by machines and those who are able to know the machines is still not shown in the best possible way. A lot of incidents in the movie could have been shown in some other way, and more humour could have been added related to the same. When it focuses too much on the flex, it losses the human interest, and makes one confused about the objective correlative. This one had a lot more opportunities for emotional depth.

The performers of the soul :: This is another movie which depends upon Vineeth Sreenivasan to make that simple man effect, like he already did in Aravindante Adhithikal some time earlier. He has no trouble in doing that, and this character only has that certain amount of inferiority complex to go with it. He fits into the role of the commoner with ease, and goes through his struggles in a believable manner. The character is not presented with that much of an intensity or by providing us with that much of a lovable nature for the audience to stay close to him, but the same can boast of bring unique in that way. At the same time, the director of Kunjiramayanam and Godha, Basil Joseph gets a full-length comedy role here, and he makes an impact, adding some nice, funny moments – the humour is handled by him without getting overdone at any moment, and we have one more person to be of support to heroes in a realistic as well as funny manner.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrans also has one fine role here, and we see him to be in support for the main character at all times, even more than the main supporting cast. Indrans doing serious roles have a special kind of an effect for us, similar to what Suraj Venjaramoodu has been doing. This role is not that emotional, but it is close to the heart. Aparna Das makes her debut as the heroine after having a very small role in Njan Prakashan, and she begins well, even though the character is never really taken that seriously. Deepak Parambol and Ahamed Siddique plays the characters who are against the protagonists, even though never really becoming the villains, and they only make limited impact. Delhi Ganesh and VK Prakash also do come in some notable roles. Hareesh Peradi also has a character who makes an impression in the short period of time on the big screen. Jude Anthany Joseph is once again there in a small role to come and go quickly.

How it finishes :: Anwar Sadik has his second directorial venture after Ormayundo Ee Mukham which also had the same lead actor in the form of Vineeth Sreenivasan – this one also goes a similar path with the feel-good factor. The tale of a skilled common man, an artist who has a lot to prove, never gets old, and rarely gets outdated as long as there is inequality and partiality in this world – something which is as old as humanity itself, and will go on to the edge of doom. It is the same reason why even without getting near perfection, Manoharam will have a place in the heart and soul of the soul, and can stay there for a longer period of time than those entertainers which have a different kind of path to take after creating the quick impact. Just like Porinju Mariyam Jose and Thannermathan Days have stayed for long, this one should too.

Release date: 28th September 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Anwar Sadik
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Basil Joseph, Aparna Das, Indrans, Deepak Parambol, Delhi Ganesh, VK Prakash, Nandini Sree, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sree Lakshmy, Hareesh Peradi, Neena Kurup, Ahamed Siddique, Nandhu

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Ittymaani

What is the movie about? :: Ittymaani (Mohanlal) was born in China to Malayali parents who settled down in the Eastern nation because his father was a martial arts expert. After spending a childhood close to the Forbidden City, they return home, his father begins a Chinese restaurant and catering services at Kunnamkulam in Thrissur district of Kerala. Ittymaani himself adds more to this business including creating duplicates of almost everything he wants to, as it was a popular thing happening in the town itself. With Sainuddhin (Dharmajan Bolgatty) and Sugunan (Aju Varghese) for help, Ittymani continues his business as well as some commission programmes which become part of it. He is happy with his life, even though he never even came close to being married, much to the dismay of his mother Theyyamma (KPAC Lalitha). He does agree for marriage, but even after seeing more than thirty girls, there is nothing positive coming out of the procedure.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Ittymaani is also in charge of the church committee, but things are messed up when Joji Pothen (Hareesh Parumanna) takes revenge on him for rejecting his sister Lissie Pothen (Honey Rose). But with the help of his old friend who becomes the new vicar, Fr. John Paul (Siddique), he manages to get back some of his pride. But it is at the same time that the extremely wealthy Plaamoottil Annamma (Raadhika Sarathkumar), their neighbour and good friend has a heart attack. She has been a widow for a long time, and has lived alone for a long time with her sons and daughter having left her in the name of their jobs and childrens’ education. They tell her that they would come and see her soon, but nothing happens – even when Annamma lands in the Intensive Care Unit, they leave everything to Ittymaani and go for a pleasure trip, leading to the worsening of her condition. Ittymaani decides to help her, but how can he?

The defence of Ittymaani: Made in China :: There is a certain amount of humour in this movie which keeps it going, and even though there are actors working for it throughout the film’s run, there is also a certain amount of the same from other more serious characters. There is also the message about how parents are treated by the sons and daughters once they get old, and after the children get well-settled with their own kids in the city. It also becomes a tribute to the old parents abandoned in such a way, as the reference is there even when the movie is not referring to the same; we have to forget those jokes made in bad taste though – in the end, there is also a full strength preaching regarding the care that the elderly people deserves. The movie does stick to the Onam festival mood though, as this is also a kind of movie that the family audience wants to watch during vacations – it could be reflected in the number of people who came to watch the movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have that tendency to reveal the saint out of the protagonist in the end, as it is a heart attack which becomes deus ex machina too – Its a little bit like Madambi where the main character is misunderstood, even though the golden heart is revealed to the audience a little too early this time. A number of characters are also wasted in this movie, and some of them are played by some fine actors, which is disappointing. Some of the jokes are also disappointing, and one could have avoided them to make this one feel more appropriate in relation to the message that it wanted to convey. The movie had to live up to the cause, but it never tries that. The movie is also too long, and with not much of an interesting story in there, it has to depend on comedy all the time. The drag that the movie shows in the middle part makes the whole setting go less interesting. There are also no good songs in between to bring a better mood.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal once again has himself as the centre of everything, and all the other characters make way for him, as he finds something out of this lesser tale. With his character being highly popularized with much hype, the audience was also banking their hopes on him. But this is certainly not a challenging role, and also for KPAC Lalitha, this mother-son combination comes easy. Madhuri Braganza plays her younger version with no trouble, after that touch with Joseph. Raadhika Sarathkumar doesn’t get that much of a lead even though the movie soon gets centred around her. Aju Varghese and Dharmajan Bolgatty get to add some fun as usual, but some jokes seem to be rather cheap and missing the mark. Kailash and Swasika do have some little moments of humour to add here too. Hareesh Perumanna is the other actor to add to the comic side, but his role is also side-lined.

Further performers of the soul :: As far as Honey Rose is considered, there is nothing more decorative than she is, contributing nothing to the movie, other than being there for about ten minutes, half of the same being in video chat – even during the rest of her moments in the movie, she has very less to speak. If this is not a cameo, one would wonder what it is – another actress, a model could have done the job, serving the ornate purpose. It wouldn’t have been that difficult with Viviya Santh being there in the cast, with not much to do. We see the need for the actress to be on the screen and act disappearing, and that is disappointing. There are also many other actors and actresses whom we might miss if we miss a few seconds of action on the big screen. The actors like Saju Navodaya and Salim Kumar are restricted in the same fashion, and Sunil Sukhada gets even lesser moments. But thankfully, Siddique gets his due yet again, as he once again shines in the priest role, and has some fine scenes of comedy.

How it finishes :: The movie does struggle hard to get to its message, and goes through the journey with a certain amount of humour, and a part of it going the wrong way. But it is still an entertaining movie considering the fact that it has a good number of moments to cheer for, and a message for the society coming in the end. Even though Love Action Drama also focuses on the funny side, it never felt trying to be serious or logical, but Ittymaani is trying a little bit too much to be dealing with something serious, and it is a serious challenge to its quality of completeness, as the story itself never really becomes a whole. Still, as it is Onam, we get to see movies like this one, and enjoy them to the fullest, leaving with a mood of celebration – after all, the students get only eight or nine days for holidays during this Onam season. I wish you all a Happy Onam, do watch all these Onam releases in the theatres along with those which have carried on from earlier, like Porinju Mariyam Jose and Thanneermathan Days!

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jibi Joju
Starring: Mohanlal, Honey Rose, Madhuri Braganza, Swasika, Raadhika Sarathkumar, Aju Varghese, Johny Antony, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Salim Kumar, Sijoy Varghese, Saju Navodaya, Sunil Sukhada, Siddique, Hareesh Perumanna, Kailash, Vinu Mohan, Aristo Suresh, Sethulekshmi, Saju Kodiyan, Anjana Appukkuttan, Asokan, KPAC Lalitha, Rajesh Paravoor, Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Love Action Drama

What is the movie about? :: Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) doesn’t have much of an education, and spends his time following a sumptuously rich lifestyle as he has inherited a good amount of money from his grandparents – he doesn’t care about what goes around him, and doesn’t even know the full form of MBA even though he pretends to be interested in pursuing the course. His best friend is Sagar (Aju Varghese) who is another jobless person wandering around the city with no aim in his life, and depends on Dinesh for money and enjoyment in life. With his cousin Swathy (Durga Krishna) getting married, and not accepting his proposal citing blood relation, he decides to increase the amount of alcohol and cigarettes in his life, much to the dismay of his mother (Mallika Sukumaran) who hopes that he would be responsible some day – she gets her brothers (Renji Panicker and Biju Sopanam) to advice him, but that brings no positive result.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During the wedding night, he meets Shobha (Nayanthara), a friend of Swathy, and accidentally ends up ruining her room and landing her in the hospital. But soon, they become good friends, and she invites him to Chennai, an invitation which he is too quick to accept. But things are not that smooth there as he had expected. There is confusion between them as well as revolving around her friends Priya (Dhanya Balakrishna) and others. Along with the same, her father (Sreenivasan) wouldn’t have that much of an opinion about Dinesh either. Whenever things seem to get better and going smooth, they don’t. Now the question remains if Dinesh can finally marry the girl whom he loves, and if Shobha can find something good enough for her to stay in love with the man whom she met at her good friend’s wedding.

The defence of Love Action Drama :: The movie does have enough of whatever is mentioned in its title, love, action and drama, even though not in the favourable and admirable levels of combination. The visuals are really good, and the music is pretty good for most of the time. Even when the movie goes in the wrong direction or when the romance struggles, it is the humour that keeps the movie going, as this one has that quality of those earlier Dileep movies, which is to keep the funny side simple and connected to the audience. It can be said that Love Action Drama is not a movie that seeks clarification to whatever happens within or asks for logic behind all those – it dives deep into those ideas which have worked in the past, and while keeping the humorous side alive, has things going in its favour. Well, when you shorten the name of the movie to LAD, you get the meaning of that word as “a male person of any age between early boyhood and maturity” – it is what the movie itself happens to be.

The claws of flaw :: Love Action Drama does have its prejudices when dealing with love, and it is surely confused about where it is going. There is no real reason shown for the girl to fall in love with the hero except for the fact that he is good-looking and rich, a strange thing considering what we know of the lady’s character. Some of the comic sequences are just dumb, and the love angle goes here and there, through the opposite extremes too often. We do see some repetitions, and the lack of a solid plot can be seen here while the story goes through its ups and downs. Dhyan Sreenivasan could have made this better for sure, as we know how many people are there at his own place to give him advice. It is the reliance on comedy that saves the day every time, but when it doesn’t work with you, there seems to be the struggle that doesn’t end.

The performers of the soul :: The movie clearly depends on Nivin Pauly’s star value as well as his skill in handling this kind of a character to move the story forward. This one comes as nothing difficult for him, as his immature character in Premam was done with ease, and this one requires even less from him except for need for more humour. It is his combination scenes with Aju Varghese that takes the funny side to the next level, as we know how well they are able to handle the comedy when together. Aju Varghese handles the scenes here with ease, reminding one of how things were going in Oru Vadakkan Selfie. Yet it has to be noted that it is not him, but Biju Sopanam who sets the wheels of comedy rolling in the beginning stages, even though he is not there for long. We also see Renji Panicker dropping in to contribute to the same even though it is only for a short amount of time.

Further performers of the soul :: Nayanthara has returned to Malayalam after a very long time, and you remember that she was last there in Puthiya Niyamam, and before that, for a short cameo appearance in Life of Josutty. Even though we are all glad to see her here after a gap of three years, one does have to wonder if this role has much for her, and whether anyone else could have been enough to do this job. Puthiya Niyamam had asked for a fine performance from her, but not this movie, which just needs her to be there with a little bit of effort. Mallika Sukumaran’s role as protagonist’s mother is worth mentioning, Jude Anthany Joseph’s short stay also leaves something to ponder about. At the same time, Dhanya Balakrishna who plays Nayanthara also deserves a mention. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s role does feel a little bit short, but it is fun when he is there. Sreenivasan also has some usual work to do, playing the father figure.

How it finishes :: Love Action Drama can be considered as a movie which is applicable to all kinds of audience, especially the family viewers, because of its qualities seemingly inherited from those earlier Dileep-esque comedy movies which has stayed for long, not considering those later repetitive versions. There is no question about the fact that the movie could have been better rather than going in a predictable path and being repetitive, but this is still a movie which stays close to a mood of celebration, and it is the kind of flick that we need for Onam vacations – we move away from a solid plot and go for the comic feel-good romance, which is forgivable at this stage. We have always had different kinds of movies for Onam, and this leaves us with what seems to be a preference, with Nayanthara making a return to Malayalam movie industry after a long time.

Release date: 5th September 2019
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Dhyan Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Nayanthara, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Durga Krishna, Basil Joseph, Prajin Padmanabhan, Sreenivasan, Jude Anthany Joseph, Mallika Sukumaran, Renji Panicker, Biju Sopanam, Dhanya Balakrishna, Motta Rajendran, Sunder Ramu, Gayathri Shan, Dhyan Sreenivasan (cameo), Bhagath Manuel (cameo), Deepak Parambol (cameo), Hari Krishnan (cameo)

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Thanneermathan Dinangal

What is the movie about? :: Jason (Mathew Thomas) is a student in plus one humanities, who manages to get to science stream as one of the students in the class wished to escape from the baffling science, thus exchanging their places. He joins the science batch, but doesn’t really manage to pick up the pace, even though he is able to get into the school cricket team as a medium pace bowler and play frequently in tournaments. Despite being branded as the studious boy in the early stages as he came from a reputed central syllabus school, he soon proved to be below average or sometimes even worse in his studies. He finds some new friends who are like him, and also falls in love with Keerthy (Anaswara Rajan), a girl from the same class, a relationship which stays one-sided, much to his dismay, as he hopes to make some progress in it. There is another girl named Steffy (Gopika Ramesh), but he feels that Keerthy is his true love.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But this is the least of his problems as he has problems with another student from the nearby class room. Still, the biggest of his problems is something else, the new Malayalam teacher who comes in the place of the teacher on leave – Ravi Padmanabhan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the new teacher whom everyone loves. He keeps teaching in an interesting manner, with stories and even stops other teachers from punishing students. He gets a heroic image in the eyes of the students, and is appreciated by the Principal who considers Ravi to be of the same wavelength as he is. Jason feels that he is a fraud as Ravi doesn’t teach much in the class, and everything that he does is more or less attention-seeking. Keerthy as well as his best friends admires Ravi too, and he has a cold war against the new teacher who seems to have a prejudice against him too. How will his school life progress now?

The defence of Thannermathan Dinangal :: It can be seen that Thannermathan Dinangal doesn’t deviate from its focus at any moment, and this focus is the main things that leads to its success. The movie feels realistic and funny throughout its run, and it also does come up with some nostalgia. We remember how June did the same effectively some time back, and here we are there again. It feels close to life with ease, and the kids of the school are all too good – we notice most of them and we remember them with ease, as they keep coming up with something to memorize. The music is really good, and the song “Ee Jaathikka Thottam, Ee Jaathi Ninte Nottam” stands out with ease, not just with the lyrics and music, but with what we see on the screen with the two youngsters doing a fantastic job. It is one song which can go on to become the song of the year along with a few others.

The claws of flaw :: Some parts of the movie does go a little too much, especially with Vineeth’s teacher character. There is the feeling that this kind of teacher is rather unrealistic, and we are immediately reaching for our dose of willing suspension of disbelief, but in a realistic movie, it is not that easy to use and work on our imagination. The movie could have also shortened the time spent outside the school, and some of the outside characters make less or no impact at all. There are also those extra moments which could have been added, as we look back to our school days. But considered the movies like Oru Adaar Love dealing with plus two life, we understand how difficult it is to come up with a movie like Thannermathan Dinangal – it is even more difficult to have these work for all kinds of audience, and as it seems to be achieved, there is no more searching through the flaws.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas of the Kumbalangi Nights fame plays the main character in this movie, and he excels as the protagonist. His expressions and dialogues are all too good, and he keeps on impressing us throughout he movie with realistic performance. There is no moment when you feel that he is not living through that school kid. There is the certainty of a lot more coming up as far as this youngster is concerned. We remember him having played a perfect role in his previous movie, and we are always ready to wait for his next movie. Anaswara Rajan of Udaharanam Sujatha fame plays the female lead, and after the recently released Evidey, she has another role in uniform, this time in plus two. She is also natural with her performance here, and the emotional moments are also handled with a certain amount of maturity.

Further performers of the soul :: Then you see Vineeth Sreenivasan doing the teacher character in style – the character might look a little bit strange, but he gives life and energy to that one in an admirable way. We don’t see him in movies that often these days, and we always need a little bit of him at regular intervals – this movie has him back. We had Aravindante Athidhikal last year with the feel-good, and here he has the humour in his hands. Irshad plays the principal of the school nicely. Nisha Sarangh of Uppum Mulakum fame is left to do nothing much here. All the kids here also come up with impressive performances, especially the one who played the main characters’ best friend and the one who has a problem with our protagonist. The watermelon juice from the shop outside the gates of the school and the nutmeg garden contributes as characters in a special way – we see them, and we remember them later, like William Wordsworth would, with the daffodils.

How it finishes :: This kind of a feeling was earlier achieved only with something like Philips and the Monkey Pen, but that was with smaller kids – June had gone beyond the school days as it progressed. Thannermathan Dinangal comes up with the journey that everyone can enjoy, which is the reason why it is still running with housefull shows, something which bigger superstar movies struggle to achieve. It has been a difficult job to find tickets for this movie during this weekend too, and we can be certain that the movie is here to stay. If after watching this movie, you feel the need to go back to your school again, there is no real surprise about it. Thannermathan Dinangal is not a movie of one generation, but of more than one, and you avoid the use of mobile phones, and change the drinks – you get back to the eighties or nineties with ease – well, after all, the 1990s kids nostalgia which have been circulating on the internet has been clearly applicable to the 1980s kids! This one is universal too! I leave you with this beautiful song from the movie.

Release date: 26th July 2019
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Girish AD
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Anaswara Rajan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Sajin Cherukayil, Irshad, Nisha Sarangh, Kichu Tellus, Shabareesh Varma, Gopika Ramesh

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Unda

What is the movie about? :: A team of police officers from Kerala travels to certain Maoist affected area in Chhattisgarh for election duty. Mathews Anthony (Ranjith) leads the team through the journey in the train, and right through the village area. But accommodation is not provided for all of them at the same place, and they are separated into different teams. The team is lead by Manikandan CP (Mammootty) gets to stay in a polling booth which is isolated and situated near the forest which is known to be infested by Maoists. Leading the support is Jojo Samson (Shine Tom Chacko) who is angry about his wife sending him a divorce petition which he is not ready to sign. Among the other police men are Varghese Kuruvila (Jacob Gregory), Aji Peter (Rony David) and Gireesh TP (Arjun Ashokan) among others. Aji and Gireesh are not in good terms with each other either. The other members of the team also have their own differences.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The location has an ITBP commando Kapil Dev (Bhagwan Tiwary), and nothing else for their support. The arms and ammunition that they have with them might not be enough either, as the ITBP Commander Dakota Akanito (Chien Ho Liao) advices them to ask for something more from Kerala, as there are land mines everywhere, and Maoists attacks keep happening during random intervals at random places. But it seems that help from Kerala might not be coming anytime soon, and the ITBP wouldn’t helping those police men whom they called for support. So, as Maoists threaten to attack, the team is on their own, with their own little personal problems also coming into the scene. Now, the question remains if they can survive these days till the end of election, as the landlords and their goons will also have a say in this. I will be up to Manikandan to lead the way, but he is not the kind of person who is into violence.

The defence of Unda :: There is certain beauty and quality in how the police men are portrayed here, and even the leader is not shown as someone who could know most of the things and go on beating up people. Each member of the team is different, and we see how people from different parts of Kerala have to face the strange and hostile environment for the first time – we witness how they have to adapt and survive, but there is something from home that continues to go strong in them. The setting is used nicely to create the impact, and we feel that we are traveling through the same place with the same team. We want these people to survive like never before, and we hold them close. There are thrilling moments, and we also have a certain dose of humour, which is also something of interest. The final scene of action is highly entertaining, with action, thrills and humour added, all at the right quantity.

Positives and negatives :: The story-line might seem to be not much, as there is just the tale of a few police men facing the Maoists in the middle of nowhere. But it is more than that when we look close, and we see what the subaltern has to face; the poor, the low caste, the scheduled tribes, all of them – the word “poor” defines them well enough, as it is common to all of such deprived men and women. They are surrounded by all kinds of people, hunted, and maybe killed, only to find the blame still with them, even after death – the perpetual blame is the weight that they have to carry to the grave and beyond. We see a certain moral crisis, and there is always the question about where the newly landless people can go. The movie provides no answers, and finds no solution to the problems that the world face, but we know that we will need them – they are not to come from the movie, but from a real world beyond all limits of fiction.

The performers of the soul :: As expected, and with top quality and realistic performance, Mammootty leads from the front. He has had some characters which would beat up everyone and throw them all around, in the last few years, with the recently released Madhura Raja and the earlier movie Masterpiece which came across the biggest of such a problems. This movie goes the exact opposite way, and it is beautiful in doing the same – the way in which Mammootty plays this role will have us wishing for the character to have the final victory, and the same we wish without hope. In those other movies, things were direct, but in this case, it is beautifully complicated, and we love to watch him here. Right from the introduction of his character, we know that things are going to be different this time, and Mammootty thrives on this divergence which keeps us close to the common man’s police officer, someone who is not going to kick or punch people into the sky to make Superman proud.

Further performers of the soul :: Shine Tom Chacko has had a good run during the recent days, and the roles which he played has been very much memorable. This one is no exception, and the last moments have the whole of our attention. At the same tim, , Arjun Ashokan and Rony David also catches our attention, and so do almost everyone in the small police team in the voting booth. We do get only a few moments from Dileesh Pothan and Kalabhavan Shajohn as well as a little more from Ranjith as far as these names are concerned. Actors like Omkar Das Manikpuri and Bhagwan Tiwari comes up with some emotional side to remember too. Easwari Rao who plays Mammootty’s wife in a cameo-like performance is the only female character with a name, and the only one that we can remember. The cameo from Vinay Forrt and Asif Ali were rather unnecessary, and just the news of missing bullets could have been enough.

How it finishes :: With the name of the movie being Unda, there has been many speculations, but it is indeed about the bullets – it is certain that the name has left some people away from the movie, as this is a film which deserved a better opening. But the bookings are picking up now, as the opinions have all been positive. There will be higher booking in the coming days, and the movie is surely here to stay, as this is a flick which is to be taken seriously. Lets hope that the movies that deal with similar topics remain close to reality like this one, and don’t go on to finish off the laws of gravity by sending villains flying in the air. Unda nicely manages to bring everything together, and use its elements to gain advantage. The result is that there is the thrilling ride with humour and messages stored in there. This is the kind of movie that serves better, and does the same faithfully unlike those mindless mass entertainers which serve as darkness to the senses. Well, it has been a fine year in the first half itself with movies like Kumbalangi Nights, Virus and Uyare rising very high.

Release date: 14th June 2019
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Mammootty, Shine Tom Chacko, Jacob Gregory, Ranjith, Arjun Ashokan, Bhagwan Tiwari, Dileesh Pothan, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Chien Ho Liao, Easwari Rao, Sudhi Koppa, Rony David, Lukman, Abhiram Poduval, Noushad Bombay, Asif Ali (cameo), Vinay Forrt (cameo)

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Balan Vakeel

What is the movie about? :: S Balakrishnan (Dileep) is a lawyer who works under the reputed advocate Pramod Sujanapalan (Arjun Nandakumar). But he hasn’t been able to achieve much in his professional career due to his stammer, even though he was known to be a smart & intelligent person during his college days. His father and mother (Siddique and Bindu Panicker) are concerned about him, but are sure that he can only be a failure in life, with former also being a chain smoker who tries different drugs. His first successful case is that of Ansaar Ali Khan (Aju Varghese), a local goon who is involved in a robbery case. Ansaar doesn’t have the cash to pay as his fees, and therefore provides him with a place to stay at low rent. But this new place has Irumbu Babu’s (Bheeman Raghu) presence, and he considers it to be his own room and wants him to leave. But it will be the smallest of his problems.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that his brother-in-law P Mohanan Pillai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) comes up with a plan to make some easy money. He asks Balakrishnan to be a part of it, and she accepts the same reluctantly. He sends a notice to a given address asking for compensation in the name of a woman (Priya Anand) who claims to have been abused by the person at the address. But it turns out that it is the address of the DGP of Kerala Police, KE Eapen (Renji Panicker) who is suprised to get the same. The charge of investigation goes to Indhulekha Marar (Lena) who gets only a limited amount of time to solve the case. Meanwhile it turns out that the person whose name is in the letter is Anuradha Sudharshan (Mamta Mohandas), a woman who is completely unaware of this. There seems to be some conspiracy behind all these. But there is no clue regarding where to begin.

The defence of Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel :: There are the twists in store in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel for sure, and there is mystery awaiting to be revealed, related to a conspiracy. We also have incidents which seems to reflect reality, but there is the certainty of exaggeration regarding the same. The emotional flashback in the movie becomes effective with the last twist, but otherwise it feels strange, and makes you wait the whole time trying to find something out of it. There is also the presence of a fine cast to support everything out there, making sure that they manage all that this movie can provide. There is some good humour out there, even though not throughout the flick. It is seen more in the initial stages, starting from the introduction of the main character itself. The interval punch is strong enough to make one interested in the second half, even though the first half wasn’t that much there.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that there is no attempt to make this movie go through a fully entertaining path, and there is no plan to make this a perfect journey as an investigation thriller either, as this is caught somewhere in between. The jokes are also just partially effective, and we see that the funny side in the name of children hitting older men, people falling on electricity lines and surviving, a drug addict father instead of the usual alcoholic one etc – they are just there for the sake of adding some strange funny side. There is also the presence of some unnecessary mass scenes, and the hero sending people flying around comes in, and the struggling protagonist that we wanted to watch from the trailer is lost. Having such a protagonist beating up people all of a sudden works against the overall mood of the movie, and what we know about the protagonist. The songs are not that good either.

The performers of the soul :: This seems to be a movie nicely made for Dileep, as he has this in control, just like many other movies of the same kind. There is no problem here, as he had played advocate trying to serve justice before in Passenger, and there was Mamta Mohandas there too, with the same name for her character, Anuradha. Well, Passenger is a movie long way ahead of this one, without doubt. Mamta Mohandas is here for a full role unlike what she had in 9. There is not much for her to do regarding the investigation here though, as she is the victim and there is the protagonist to save the day. A little romantic side added there seems to be rather forced though, as this movie could have done without it. The focus on its main idea would have been enough, and trying to play cupid between the main character didn’t do both of them any good.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique’s father character is kind of strange, but brings the funniest moments of the movie with ease. There is his comic timing that lightens up the movie really well. Aju Varghese is the next person in the comedy department, and it works well for him most of the time too – he does get some memorable funny ones. Suraj Venjaramoodu also has the comedy working in his favour, even though at parts it seems out of order. Priya Anand gets another smart role after Ezra and Kayamkulam Kochunni, but with lesser time spent on the screen. Veterans like Ganesh Kumar and Renji Panicker right there, doing what they do the best in police roles. Another person who shines so well inside the uniform is Lena, who is also there Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, and mystery-solving journey of puzzles which is also running in the theatres.

How it finishes :: For B Unnikrishnan, this movie comes after Villain, which was a smart one for sure. Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel does take the path of Vikadakumaran and Jolly LLB, a trend related to a struggling lawyer whenever the same is the protagonist. This one has its moments of thrills and twists are brought into the scene, but there is not doubt about the fact that this could have done better. There is the fine premise already set, and the idea that has scope for a lot, but it is not utilized in the best way. Maybe we have to wait to get something better out of a story related to courtroom, and we can do that. Until then, lets watch Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel and enjoy the interesting side. For those who wants the more realistic side, there is always Kumbalangi Nights & June running, and seemingly good enough to keep doing the same for a long time.

Release date: 21st February 2019
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: B Unnikrishnan
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Priya Anand, Aju Varghese, Siddique, Ganesh Kumar, Renji Panicker, Bindu Panicker, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Saiju Kurup, Vamsi Krishna, Harish Uthaman, Lena, Arjun Nandakumar, Pramod Sujanapalan, Bheeman Raghu, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Thesni Khan, Sajid Yahiya

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

June

What is the movie about? :: June Sarah Joy (Rajisha Vijayan) considers herself to be an ordinary girl with no special talents, which is the reason why she is upset that most of the other students who join her class are able to do so much more. Her parents (Joju George and Aswathi Menon) care very much about her as she is their only child. Noel (Sarjano Khalid) is her newfound best friend who is elevated to the level of her boyfriend. They get to connect well with each other as they are both considered to be lagging with their talents. As time progresses, she is able to make new friends, and her Plus Two batch of 2007 is finally able to become a batch to remember not just for the students, but also to the teachers. But at the same time, when her parents find out about Noel, she decided to end their relationship. She joins a nearby college while he travels to Mumbai to stay with his parents and to continue his studies.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The best friends go in their own ways, and June is left with the memories of Noel. She goes through her college days without much of an enthusiasm as she is still caught in her life in Plus Two. After completing her degree, she decides to go for an interview in Mumbai and meet Noel at the same time. She stays with her Plus Two classmate Abhirami a.k.a. Mottachi (Vaishnavi Venugopal) who is also working there, and finds Noel to begin the next phase of their relationship. But things are not that easy as she thought they would be. She has to deal with his family as well as hers, and at the same time, maintain her own independence. About their life, what Noel thinks might not be the same either. So, the question remains about what awaits her in the rest of her life.

The defence of June :: The strength of June lies not just in the performances lead by the female lead, but also in the memories that it creates. It takes us back to the school days, and even though it is not an exact reflection of the memories as it was recreated in Om Shanti Oshana, this one is surely an effective one, thanks to a better performance from the female lead in comparison to that older version. The movie is also a clean entertainer for the family audience, with nothing that makes them doubt about their plan to watch the movie – keeping it so, and at the same time, funny would have been a difficult job, but is done with skill. The climax and the final scenes are beautifully done too, and it talks not just of love, but of nostalgia and friendship that comes back after a long time. The music is nice, and suits the mood of the movie. The songs come too often, but they are nice to hear.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s idea to skip the college days completely is one strong negative point on this movie – the second half could have used some of that too, and in that case, being a coming-of-age story in the lines of Premam and Om Shanti Oshana, this one has a little missing part. There is no life that serves as a coming-of-age story without the college days, because it doesn’t matter who denies the same, there is something about those moments all the time. It is where bildungsroman struggles. The movie is also a little bit too long, which is why one can feel certain drag with the romance. There was surely more scope to make this one better. It has to be noted that not everything in the movie brings the memories of school days, and not all jokes serve to be that effective. But as the industry is once again becoming hesitant to experiment, June is surely one another welcome move.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in her debut film Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, which was also her first movie, once again makes an impression, as we had expected from the trailer. Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran never really gave her any challenge as movies which kept at a certain level, never trying to rise or give its female protagonists opportunity to do much. She takes over the protagonist, and has the sixteen year old going through to the next ten years of her life, even though three years at college are absent. The moments during the Plus Two time period are done with amazing skill, and the latter moments are not far behind, and they seemed to come naturally to her. With the whole movie completely dependent on her performance, she makes sure that she comes up with only the best.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Rajisha, there are others to add to this one very well. Joju George gets another fine role after Joseph, unlike the insignificant one he had to do in Lonappante Mamodeesa. He nicely gets into the father role here, and has some funny as well as touching moments to go with it. Aswathi Menon who is best known for Sathyam Sivam Sundaram and its highly popular song “Walking in the moonlight” has the mother role here, and she makes it a good one. Sarjano Khalid, the debutante who plays a male lead does well, as if he’s been there before. Arjun Ashokan has also done a good job, especially in the second half. Among the actors and actresses who plays the protagonist’s friends, it is Vaishnavi Venugopal who shines the most. That should be among the most natural performances not by a main or secondary heroine, in a long time. The other newcomers are also good talents, as we can see here.

How it finishes :: Releasing at the same time as Oru Adaar Love released, this one uses less hype and more quality to be assured of a more solid run. After Aadu 2, Vijay Babu becomes the producer again here, and we expected a performance to remember from Rajisha Vijayan – it is the same that we get here. This one stays close to life and memories, along with being another feel-good movie which touches our hearts after Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Njan Prakashan and Ente Ummante Peru. June is also one movie which does so much justice to the trailer, as it is more or less the same thing that we watched earlier and expected. Even though Kumbalangi Nights and 9 are there, this movie should take over some of the presence of the latter, and keep going, because the movie is many different things to different people.

Release date: 15th February 2019
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Kabir
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Joju George, Sarjano Khalid, Aswathi Menon, Vaishnavi Venugopal, Nayana Eliza, Arjun Ashokan, Sanju KS, Akhil Manoj, Harisankar, Sruthy Suresh, Margret Antony, Raveena Nair, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.