America Mappillai

What is the story about? :: Rangarajan (Raja Krishnamoorthy) and Vasantha (Leela Samson) along with the children Ganesh (Arjun Chidambaram) and Sunanda (Namita Krishnamurthy) seems to be living pretty much a good life until Ganesh gets very much afraid of being forcibly married to Mythili (Gayathri), the daughter of Ragunanthan (Delhi Ganesh). He plans with his friend, Michael (Rakesh Ram) to get rid of that problem, and finally decides to tell his parents that he is gay and has a boyfriend named Karthik (Gokul Anand). He hopes to bring Karthik home, and make everyone believe the same, but as he is actually homosexual, hesitates in acting as Ganesh’s boyfriend, but the confusion which this situation was to create had only begun there, with more to follow.

How is it different from what you see all the time? :: Unlike the usual series that we get to see around here, this one is more or less direct, even when it keeps the limits – there is no unnecessary melodrama that comes in here. There are moments when you think that the drama is going to reach another stage, but thankfully, it doesn’t. There are moments when it thinks divergent so well, and we can applaud on its ability to do so, without making things complicated at all. Being simple and powerful is surely not an easy thing to do, but America Mappillai does manage to do so. It also rises above the usual predictability factor to deviate the experience to the new path, the one which is not usually taken. We are no longer slaves to that repeated world of usual serials, as we have programmes like this.

What is so special here? :: The characters are indeed special – with so much of a simple story here, they had to be better, and they really are. They are the ones that keep this story going, and the actors and actresses have done a very good job with their characters. Well, even those who are there for only those smaller roles do nicely. Some moments just go cute even when least expected. Each episode comes in the name of a colour, and the reflection of that particular colour can be seen nicely. With a usual home and its people facing different and rather complicated situations, the series try to do something difficult, but that is achieved without alienating the family audience – there is always that kind of a risk and this one nicely goes past the same without trouble. Maybe this would mean that ZEE can come up with an interesting one in Malayalam too, later.

How things have been getting further divergent :: Nowadays, ZEE is targeting the young population as they are coming up with new and original shows on ZEE5. Well, ZEE Entertainment has been known for its traditional approach, as we know the channel for bringing us all the entertainment in the old fashioned way. Well, now we see that things have changed, with welcome divergence. We also see that ZEE is focusing different language based content too, and it is the privilege that we get here by using the ZEE5 app. The app has a fine collection of television shows, originals and movies in different languages, and it is always fun to get it in the language that we want them to be using. The collection is interesting, and one would need to take a look to know more.

The problem of being in doubt :: As it was with Hamlet and many others, the protagonist is in doubt. Well, you can say that he is in more than just doubt – he doesn’t want to be committed for more than one reason. Along with the same, he is also bothered about what people would think, and still wants to do things according to his desires. It is a certain confusion that most of the people are facing these days, with unnecessary inputs from many relatives causing further trouble. Among these relative concerns, a job and marriage are two of the most significant things that keep ringing into one’s ears. The idea is that not having a job or not being married is just not the right thing, especially if most of the relatives of the same age has already done these. Well, this comparison can cause problems, as it does for our protagonist here too.

Soul exploration :: As the series shows, the idea of being divergent is difficult to accomplish. Whatever be the idea, people usually find it difficult as part of a society. The world has its own written rules, anything that doesn’t match that, is in trouble. It brings that confusion which never really ends, and even with the seemingly happy ending of this series, we can expect that to come back at some point. As we do know, there are no happy endings in real life, and there is certainly no happily ever after. This series makes sure that it gets close enough to that by giving that feeling of all coming together well enough, and satisfies the audience who wishes to have something similar to that. With the short length and good work from the cast, the series makes sure that this gets its point right there, without going away from the core.

How it finishes in the end :: Well, America Mappillai is a series that can’t be ignored. As ZEE5 brings this new kind of entertainment outside the usual and expected path, we are sure to be in need to try the same with premium subscriptions, seeing how it is supposed to work so well to bring all the fun. Praveen Padmanabhan who has directed the episodes seem to have made sure that it will work well with almost all kind of audience. Give it a try and download the ZEE5 app to watch the show as well as others. It can bring more to your world of entertainment, and there is a good chance that the next most interesting series in your own mother tongue will be there. This is the time to spend some time to explore #ZEE5 and #ZEE5Originals with #AmericaMappillaiOnZEE5.

Release date: March 2018 – April 2018
Running time: 10-15 minutes per episode
Directed by: Praveen Padmanabhan
Starring: Raja Krishnamoorthy, Leela Samson, Arjun Chidambaram, Namita Krishnamurthy, Gokul Anand, Rakesh Ram, Gayathri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Red Jacket

Vampire Owl: Revenge has been my motivation to live for centuries.

Vampire Bat: But we don’t really live – as we were already dead and transformed into vampires long ago.

Vampire Owl: I was referring to life on this world after death.

Vampire Bat: Even that way, I am sure that all of your human enemies should have dead by now. It has been centuries!

Vampire Owl: Yes, but revenge is still sweet, and I have a Hamlet type problem, but I need to have it.

Vampire Bat: Well, in that case, the only option is to ask Doctor Frankenstein to bring them alive. But I am not sure how far he will be able to go.

Vampire Owl: No, because in case of a failure, I will be forced to take my revenge on the doctor too.

Vampire Bat: Don’t you realize that revenge never really bring anything in the end?

Vampire Owl: I am not sure, but revenge has been quite a popular thing in vampire history too.

Vampire Bat: Let me tell you that it is of no good. You waste your life trying to do it, and it is a terrible loss.

[Gets three cups of Kumily tea with a piece of marble cake].

What is the movie about? :: There is a man in red jacket who is killed by another man working under him, who wishes to take his place, not by slowly working his way up, but by simply getting rid of his boss. The killer establishes himself as the new boss and take the dead man’s red jacket for himself. He gets to live the dead man’s life and establishes himself a big shot in the city, and years later, as someone even having the chance of becoming an MLA or a minister at some point – he keeps growing with the city. It is after these many years that we see Vetri (Kowshik) who is looking for revenge against a man called Gaja (Gani) who had killed his father twenty years ago, pointing back to the incident which was shown in the beginning of the movie. He has already failed many times to have his revenge, even hiring contract killers to do the work but for no use, and this time, he feels that he will do it directly.

So, what is to follow in this tale of revenge? :: With the help of his friend Reddy (Peekay), he decides that he will make one move against the killer of his father, who has gone on to become bigger than his father had ever been, with newspapers and magazines talking about the man all the time. It has been the only thing that kept him moving forward in his life, and there is nothing that he wouldn’t do to restore his father’s place. But is he strong enough to do that, and is someone as powerful and experienced as Gaja going to fall for the trap set by the young man? Reddy had already warned him against the possible consequences and did set up someone from Gaja’s group of men to help him when there – but will all these be for nothing in front of an enemy who seems rather invincible? Is the need for revenge bigger than everything else in human life? What happens when it become bigger than life itself for the youth?

On Red Jacket and beyond :: The tale of revenge has been nicely packed, and we have some nice moments and dialogues to go with it. There are also some interesting twists to come, and it keeps us guessing about what is to happen next, with the revenge as well as what could follow after that. The same is well-supported by a fine cast which goes so nicely with the tale. With so many short-films around, there is some fine work by the team here to make this an interesting and entertaining twenty minute run. In the end, we will only wonder about what it means to have revenge – isn’t there another reaction to our action, which will once again keep the chain of events going? It is a series of events that never ends, and it won’t matter what we think about revenge, or about how it can end, as it goes on, like the certainty of the tides. Well, an act of revenge can be nothing less than opening a door to another beginning, which will leave scope for another attempt at retribution, and it can get nastier, and costlier as it repeats itself.

Soul exploration 1: The need for revenge :: The central theme of Red Jacket remains about revenge, which runs directly through its centre. The movie is powered by the need for vengeance, and it drives its protagonist through troubled waters, as he never thinks about another way out – he is far beyond redemption as this need takes over him from all possible directions. Revenge has been something for which people have striven for, rather so much – but, we see that the protagonist’s friend himself ask is it isn’t better to make things better by beating their enemy through business, but our young protagonist immediately says no, as the idea of revenge has been more about one thing in our culture, and it certainly involves self-destruction along with destroying one’s enemy. It is the same thought that drives our hero here, and there are no thoughts about the consequence of the action – a reflection of the arrogant youth of all times.

Soul exploration 2: The need for power :: The movie’s title is the next thing that becomes the focus, as red jacket is the one worn by the men in power. It stands out in almost every shot, and it gets special attention in those moments when everything else is shot in black and white. When it is there, you see it as the symbol of power, and the one thing that everyone wishes to wear, but those who wear it are all murdered – as with great power comes those who wish to take it away from you. When you are that much visible, it makes you a target. Yet, people wants to hold on to those positions of power, which provides them power over others – people feels the need to have more of fame, and there is no clue of what they are facing. What do people attempt to achieve with social media? That should be exactly the same thing, and as much as power and fame feels good, it also has the other side which has the power to end everything which is not permanent.

How it finishes :: Red Jacket is the first short-film from the team behind it, and has been made in both the Tamil version which I watched, and a Kannada version – but after watching this one, we are sure that there are more to come following the tale. The same will make it to the list of my favourite Indian short-films among those I have come across in the last few years. It deals with the idea of revenge in a way that makes it a highly intriguing run throughout those twenty minutes. The subtitle option is also available, and by the end, the message is loud and clear about revenge, that those who take up the sword and live by it, will die by the same; for violence never really solves anything, but makes way for more of blood to flow. The release date of the short-film is pending, and will be updated when it is announced. When it is up for everyone to watch, do make sure that you don’t miss the twenty minute long saga of revenge. UPDATE: Movie released, and can be watched from the below link.

Release date: To be announced
Running time: 20 minutes
Directed by: KV Raja Saravanan
Starring: Kowshik, Gani, Prashanth, Peekay, Arun, Chethan, Rafeek, Chida, Santosh


@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Iru Mugan

Vampire Owl: I have heard that two-faced humans are really dangerous.

Vampire Bat: But this movie just has Vikram playing two different characters, and it is about the two faces of the actor as two different people.

Vampire Owl: That wouldn’t justify the title from within the movie.

Vampire Bat: Well, movies have become more about actors these days rather than being about itself.

Vampire Owl: It only gets worse when a movie is so bad and a superstar is acting in it.

Vampire Bat: And in some cases, movies just get the hype and rise above everything else – over-hyped movies are no lesser evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have heard that the fans of such over-hyped movies have been abusing people for not liking the movie, and even for not watching the flick.

Vampire Bat: You see why we can’t take over the human world – they are just too evil; they do this with just some overrated movie. It is so hard to believe as movies are just for entertainment for the viewers and for the makers to make money.

Vampire Owl: According them, one particular flick is the greatest movie of all-time, and there will be another “greatest” later.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the idiots don’t even know that there is a thing called opinion, and their greatest movie could be just third rate nonsense in someone else’s eyes.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In a strange turn of events, an unknown old man goes out of control and kills many officers unleashing an attack at the Indian embassy at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A criminal scientist codenamed Love is figured out to be behind the attack, and this psychotic lover of science is known to have created a terrible mess before he was declared dead years ago. Now, as the unpredictable science terrorist threatens to unleash himself out of the dead, it is Akhilan Vinod (Vikram), a former RAW agent who was responsible for messing up the terror plans and killing Love who is entrusted with the task to bring the dead man to justice. But he has been living a life outside the grid after his wife, RAW’s senior computer analysist Meera George (Nayantara) was killed by Love at the time of that operation. The RAW chief Malik (Nassar) has a feeling that something bigger is coming up, and they need this expert officer’s service.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Malik finds Akhilan and by telling him about the return of his old nemesis and convinces him that he has to be of service again. He is to work with a junior RAW agent Aayushi (Nithya Menen), who is in charge of the case, and the two of them leave for Kuala Lumpur to go further with the strange case at the Indian embassy. There they are helped by a Malaysian police inspector of Tamil origin, Muthaiah (Thambi Ramaiah) who remains rather scared of what is to happen next. More of investigations lead them to Peter (Karunakaran), a scientist who is working under the instructions of the evil mastermind, but decides to help the police. He tells them that the man who was thought to be dead is very much alive, and is responsible for the embassy attack, which was only the beginning. They are actually manufacturing a drug, which has the ability to create chaos and destruction by hiding them inside asthma inhalers.

The defence of Iru Mugan :: Iru Mugan can be listed among those movies which have tried to be different, and has tried something which can’t be done with ease – you see everything including the settings, they are all so good. If some other movies which are termed as the greatest could be that, just because they have brought something which hasn’t been seen before, this movie here has done the same too, without that much of ridiculous hype; well, it is the lack of confidence on a movie that brings the need for this extra hype, and if one particular movie was that great, it would have come and fought the battle without boasting and abusing. This is where Iru Mugan becomes everyone’s movie as the silent assassin, being a more righteous choice than those which claim to be among the greatest. There is so much of a stylish making here, and we see a lot of beauty of the place right on the screen. This quality is something which we can cherish for long. It even reminded me of the game Half-life, and its levels visually.

Claws of flaw :: There is the lack of attention right here, in how the movie has gone forward as a science fiction tale, with more seemingly spent on style and action than anything else. There was so much else that this movie could have done within one specific genre. There was a grand award to be taken here, as one of the best scienc fiction movies in Indian cinema, but that is not taken at all. There might be the feeling of knowing similar stories otherwise, but these days people just find a movie to claim that it is the greatest movie in the history of Indian cinema; so Iru Mugan, without such overdose of claims and third rate hype, is certainly there as a fine one. Then there is that “mass” effect, which should have been reduced to minimum, even though there is certain control in this movie. Also the name of the movie does little justice to the main character unlike what was expected, as there are just two characters.

Performers of the soul :: Here is another Vikram movie which depends on him more than anything or anybody else to do what he does the best on the big screen, as he once again comes up with the grand performance, and it is once more in more than one role. We had him in three different looks for one character in I, and here we have him in two different looks for two different characters, and once again, he is at the top of the game, and you remember Anniyan too which had him playing the character with three different personalities. It is his movies that I have always trusted to watched without second thoughts, and so despite missing this at the theatres due to the month of September last year being extremely busy, I managed to watch this on Mazhavil Manorama – that was more like a twist, and it is the one that I am glad about. He is there to bring both roles to the maximum effect. Nayanthara shines in her stylish avatar and Nithya Menen’s shortened stay was okay.

How it finishes :: There are only a few movies which you watch with the whole family, and everyone ends up liking it – Iru Mugan is that kind of a movie that has come up at such a safe position; this also reminds me to watch another missed science fiction thriller the Suriya movie, 24. We have a situation when it is impossible not to cheer for Vikram at each and every moment; and there is not just one, but there is two. There is also the great chemistry that work out between Vikram and Nayanthara, whether it is with the action sequences or with those song scenes. This surely wasn’t a movie with that much critical appreciation or hype as expected though. But with the bigger hyped movies, why would the one who know that the movie is so good keep talking about it all around the social media, mostly with fake profiles and abuse everyone? Thankfully, Iru Murugan never seemed to have such pathetic fans, which is why I decided to go for it despite having other things to do. I agree that we need all kinds of movies; but we need movies which doesn’t boast all the time, and those which don’t have their base and pillars built on hype, abuse and hatred – we need those which support free opinion, and unite us in difference rather than divide us. The fans of a movie are also a reflection of what a movie is, as superstar fans also symbolise their heroes. So, definitely choose to watch Iru Murugan, an amazingly stylish thriller with beautiful songs, even though its science fiction side needed some revival and the “mass” needed to go a bit down.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Anand Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Nayanthara, Nithya Menen, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Karunakaran, Riythvika, Jasper, Karthik Nagarajan, Balaji Venugopal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jazbaa

jazbaa (2)

Vampire Owl :: Holy Vampire Crocodile! This is Aishwarya Rai, isn’t she?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is her only. I don’t understand why you are asking. Did you also lose your eye sight with that werewolf scratch on your arm?

Vampire Owl :: No, it just has been such a long time since I saw her on a movie poster. I am surprised.

Vampire Bat :: You have the right to be surprised and also to watch this movie.

Vampire Owl :: So, you are planning to make me watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and it will be cheapest movie ticket which we would have bought in the last few years. I am sure that it will be worth it, no matter how we see it.

Vampire Owl :: It is good to see Aishwarya Rai returning in a heroine-centric movie. I had a crush on her when I was immortally a little bit younger.

Vampire Bat :: It is quite natural, you know.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but not for us vampires.

Vampire Bat :: Aishwarya Rai has always been beyond one world.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is a very successful lawyer who can gets any person free from prison, no matter what kind of case he is involved in. She has that kind of a reputation which can make anyone jealous. She is a single mother and her only relation in this world is her little daughter Sanaya (Sara Arjun). One day, her daughter is kidnapped and the kidnapper asks her to save a rape accused even though the proof is clearly against him. Meanwhile, her good friend Yohan (Irrfan Khan) is an officer on suspension who needs her help. As Anuradha tries to find something that could save the accused, Yohan helps her, but it turns out that things are not what they seem to be, and other people are involved in the chain of incidents.

The defence of Jazbaa :: A stylish thriller take its form in Jazbaa with its twists and the way in which the whole thing is shot. I have loved how the camera moves around the city and captures the same in a beautiful way. The return of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan should be what defends this movie for the audience more than the rest though. The movie’s final twist is working, and it also leaves the audience with a good message, even though it could have been used frequently within the movie itself. Whenever the movie threatens to go down, the cast successfully keeps it working at a good level, and it leaves us free to make our guesses with its suspense. No, I haven’t watched the original, and so further comment on how well it was adapted, is not possible. From what I have read, it seems to be a lot the same.

Claws of flaw :: With story already there as this is an adaptation of the South Korean movie Seven Days, there was a fine platform for Jazbaa, which it hasn’t used to full potential. A number of twists are predictable concerning a politician and his interest in the case. There is also an extension of the ending after we feel that the movie has ended, and that was rather unnecessary. The movie’s focus is also not always there in the same way. With the return of Aishwarya, the movie could have accomplished more with smartness in action rather having sequences like the heroine running, screaming and even crying in slow motion. In a movie which otherwise leaves exaggeration, doesn’t make the best use of the court room scenes either. A better second half could have brought things to another level. The melodrama should have also been reduced. It should have gone full thriller, and there is loss of strength.

Performers of the soul :: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is back after the 2010 movie Guzaarish with Hritik Roshan. After five long years, she returns and makes an impact in this movie. Most of the time, she remains strong, but one has to wonder about those melodramatic moments and the slow motion sequence. There is no doubt about that fact that she has made her return a memorable one. But that is not all, as Irrfan Khan and Shabana Azmi often makes a bigger impact. The former’s dialogues are those which make the day instantly better. He plays the kind of cop who is not a hero, villain or a side-kick; he is much more, and he pulls that off in style. The latter is completely at ease here too. Priya Banerjee has a few moments in her short stay. The veterans Jackie Shroff and Atul Kulkarni are unfortunately used less.

Soul exploration :: The movie talks about the complications that the law has, and how justice is rarely fair for the person who suffers. It also talks about justice for a rape victim, and how too many factors affect the proceedings of a case. There is actually the need for change in attitude among the people, and it is to be the first thing. Otherwise, nothing that much positive comes to the scene. Movies will have its stars doing the job, but otherwise, it is in the hands of the common man to make a difference. But as evil is a lot easier, and so is not reacting to evil committed, such a situation is too far away. The movie’s soul could have been the social message which follows a full thriller, and with that kind of a progress, this movie could have got there as the social thriller. Such movies can make the difference.

How it finishes :: Talvar had very less number of shows here which meant that I ended up missing it. Thankfully for Jazbaa, it does get enough screens here, and the credit to the same should go to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan making the grand return in a heroine-centric movie, making the audience clearly interested. The movie has its positives and negatives, but what it surely manages to be, is a movie is worth watching this weekend. There is enough in this flick to inspire a one-time watch, and I am saying this with an attempt at the original still pending a try. I would like to hear from someone who has watched Seven Days, and I am sure that some of the people who are reading this should have had the opportunity for watching the Korean version.

Release date: 9th October 2015
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Sanjay Gupta
Starring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Shabana Azmi, Priya Banerjee, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Jackie Shroff, Atul Kulkarni, Siddhanth Kapoor, Sara Arjun

jazbaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brothers

brothers

Vampire Owl :: But wasn’t the original called Warrior?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but this is called Brothers. Family sells more than the others in Bollywood. So, having it in the title itself is a positive to bring the audience.

Vampire Owl :: So, tell me about the original.

Vampire Bat :: But I haven’t watched the original.

Vampire Owl :: What? Why? I don’t believe it. There is no reason why you might have missed that movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I understand that there was no reason, but some things happen for no reason, and this one didn’t happen for some reason which was not there.

Vampire Owl :: You should watch it some time.

Vampire Bat :: May be, but these days, I am not sure what I should watch and what I shouldn’t.

Vampire Owl :: That is a heavy crisis.

Vampire Bat :: Well, I have watched so many movies at the theatres, and I wonder what is the point other than to lose your existence in this world and live thinking about those flicks which can erase you sooner or later with no benefits.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: This official remake of the 2011 movie Warrior begins with talks about starting a new fighting league in India giving the fighters the right to fight, and meanwhile, Gary Fernandes (Jackie Shroff), an old man and a former fighter is released from prison. He is welcomed by his younger son Monty Fernandes (Sidharth Malhotra) who is hoping to prove himself in the world of street-fighting. His other son, David Fernandes (Akshay Kumar) is not in terms with his brother and father though, and lives separately with his wife Jenny Fernandes (Jacqueline Fernandez) and their little daughter who is suffering from kidney failure. He is working as a teacher, but can’t find enough money for the treatment of his daughter, and decides to go fighting as he used to do a long time ago.

Where it goes :: With the new league being formed, the two brothers try in their own ways to get into the competition, as the younger one has a viral YouTube video in his favour and the elder takes over the spot which was left open by an injury inflicted to a star fighter by the younger one. While Monty enters the tournament as the brute with strength, aggression and a never give up attitude, David enters the same with experience and a defensive strategy, using counter-attack, grapples and evasion as his strengths – he is powered by his family’s needs and the support of his students while Monty has the strength of his willpower and hate for his brother who abandoned him. With international fighters also being part of the tournament, can one of these brothers win it without going on to destroy the other? Where will the father stand in this battle of brothers?

The defence of Brothers :: There are many levels in which the movie works, and first and the most efficient one is the emotional side, which exists throughout the movie. It is powerful with the beginning, and gets stronger only to reach its zenith by the climax and the finish. The second one is the message about the family which also exists strong enough. The third is the action which is also powerful and gory, even though more could have been considering the stage. The transformation into the action stage is quite good, with the arena setting which is of high quality – the details related to this are very well done. The background is also well established, and the family man’s problems are well portrayed to create another level of emotional sequences. Brothers surely is successful in creating the desired effect on the audience, no matter where it stands in comparison with the original – the adrenaline rush is huge.

Claws of flaw :: The worst thing that has happened for this movie is the item song from Kareeena Kapoor which is not only bad, but also not suitable for this movie. One has to wonder why Bollywood thinks that it is important to bring an item song everywhere, even when the material is officially remade from Hollywood. There is also that flashback which is too long, and the relationship could have been established easily without this long a background. The movie could have been kept shorter that way, or some more fights could have been added; there is also scope for adding more to the elder’s teaching life and the younger’s daily lamentations. There are clichés, and you can predict when these two will come against each other, and may be even about how it will end; yes, without reading the story-line in Wikipedia. There was more scope for the action scenes, instead of rushing through Monty’s sequences too quickly.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, do look out for Akshay Kumar in this movie as is right there with full strength as one of the two protagonists. His sequences with his wife and daughter are very well created to make that big impact with the families, and he excels throughout, a lot more than the rest of the cast – Only Jackie Shroff comes up with a similar intense performance, as you can see the performance in his eyes itself. Akshay Kumar does very well with all sides, as the family man, as the teacher and the fighter. Jacqueline Fernandez has a smaller, but noticable role which does very well. Sidharth Malhotra has less to talk and has more chance to be part of the action as he is the tough angry young man here. He does that well, but there is nothing much to his character. Shefali Shah and Ashutosh Rana are good too. You already know about Kareena Kapoor in her worst item dance.

How it finishes :: I apologize for not agreeing with most of the reviews out there, even though there is absolutely no need for that. I am just doing it because this movie had a powerful emotional impact on me, which I am releasing in a positive way. I loved the movie’s emotional impact, and the way in which the stage is set for the action which makes the second half better than the first. Well, I haven’t watched Warrior, and so that should be taken into consideration when you look at how I have felt related to this movie. May be, if you have watched that original movie, you will consider this in a different way, but let me tell you that this has a lot for the family as well as the young audience as I see it; I am also sure that Bollywood had a big chance of messing up this remake, but I am glad that they didn’t.

Release date: 14th August 2015
Running time: 159 minutes
Directed by: Karan Malhotra
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Sidharth Malhotra, Jacqueline Fernandez, Jackie Shroff, Shefali Shah, Ashutosh Rana, Kiran Kumar, Kareena Kapoor (special appearance in an item song)

brothers.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Papanasam

papanasam()

Vampire Owl :: We have missed two remakes of Drishyam and might miss another one after watching this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, if and only if there are no more remakes of the same movie.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t think that there will be another remake as the Bollywood version is coming this month-end.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Bollywood is the finishing line for all copies and remakes, I guess.

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely. Wait! What is the notice that you are carrying?

Vampire Bat :: It is a mandatory statement which I recreated for this movie. It says that as we have watched the original so many times and as it is the one more related to our lifestyle, it is possible that the rating which we give here might not be suitable to be compared to the oiriginal, or with any other movie which is not a remake.

Vampire Owl :: I like that statement. With this warning, we can be sure that the brainless fan-boys won’t go psycho.

Vampire Bat :: Not just the fan-boys, but also the pseudo-intellectuals.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, the judges on the other side of the river of blood who think that they are the only intelligent people on the surface of Earth. I understand.

Vampire Bat :: The statement will work as long as they read at least the beginning and the end of this review.

[Waits in the queue].

The defence of Papanasam :: Even though I had watched all these before multiple times, I felt very good, and it is the success of Papanasam. Jeethu Jospeph once again has things running well, and we can see shots of his other movie Memories when the protagonist is thinking about saving his family – another shot is from the movie Anwar. I could actually go through that wonderful feeling that I had while watching the original without losing strength at any moment. The suspense and the thrills are abundant, and there are some beautiful shots of nature too. The story of the man who tries to save his family from breaking down after an unintentional murder committed by a member out of hopelessness, goes on to work wonders once again. I am not going to go through the story again; you can read it from my review of the original at Drishyam Movie Review. Outside the review which I wrote at that time, I don’t need to say much in defence here because the story is the biggest hero and you know that plot.

Positives and Negatives :: Papanasam happens to be a remake which had a tough task to meet the quality of that amazing original. So, what we have here is a nice achievement, but unless the remake manages to come up with something special which was not there in the original, I wouldn’t consider it as good as the original. The original felt more original to me, with no bones broken during the beatings and slightly better for me as it was less brutal, less emotional and still having the same intensity. But still, if I say that one of them is better than the other, it might not do justice, which is why I am using “me” a lot. Drishyam was better for me, and I am sure that a lot of people who have watched the original and about ninety five percent of the Malayalis will think so. But from a neutral point of view, they might be the same. I did feel that the songs were just bad though. The first half was too stretchy too. I am also personally against the title change.

Soul of the movie :: Kamal Haasan was the right choice to do the role which Mohanlal did to perfection in the original. I do wonder why there was a doubt about the same – if someone had asked me, I would have told the same much earlier, despite an initial doubt about the same. But in that case, if you ask for the same about the Bollywood version, I would have chosen Aamir Khan. But that was never to happen, and Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar were to be my next best choices considering the need to cater to the audience. I haven’t watched many Kamal Haasan movies in the last few years, and I am glad that this is the movie which I had chosen to spend my money for. I loved his performance the most in the last few minutes, and if someone else was chosen instead of him, that would have left me not just disappointed, but angry – I can feel that.

Performers of the soul :: There is no comparison between Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan in their roles, because they have managed things in their own ways, in such a way that fault finding is not there as a property to be taken. You know when you see class, and you know the same in both these movies. Even though Gauthami was good, Meena has a slight edge over her, when we look at it without second thoughts. Niveda Thomas is undoubtedly a step ahead of Ansiba Hassan; there was a lot of emotion and power in her portrayal of the character. It is nice to see her doing this role; this should help her a lot in the future. I haven’t found such a fine performance from a very young supporting actress for a very long time. Winner of the Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist in Veruthe Oru Bharya has now reached this stage.

More Performers of the soul :: Esther Anil plays the younger daughter in three out of the five versions of the movie, and here also, she is so good. Bollywood should have had her in the cast too, but I guess that they were not looking for a fine proven supporting cast, but to make use of the power of the script which is always there as the winner. Esther might be the best available child actress at this time, and it has been made clear again and again. It is time to give her even more chances. Asha Sarath maintains the same intensity, just with more emotions this time, and Anant Mahadevan also becomes more emotional character compared to the sensible and stable one played by Siddique in the original. I loved Kalabhavan Shajon’s character in the original for it was balanced, but Kalabhavan Mani is rather ruthless here and it also works. Roshan Basheer also reprises his role as the bad boy.

[After the show].

Vampire Owl :: Why were those people sitting behind us comparing Mohanlal and Kamal Haasan?

Vampire Bat :: They are just clueless. They don’t know anything. Just think about how can we compare Lord Ruthven and Lord Dracula?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, both are legendary vampires with great skills, even though we are closer to Uncle Dracula – it won’t affect the quality of the performance.

Vampire Bat :: I hope that the fans won’t find our vampire comparisons offensive though.

Vampire Owl :: I am sure that those with even a small part of the brain active won’t. This is the best comparison that we can come up with because we are vampires with root-canaled fangs.

Vampire Bat :: You can never predict the living humans. If you want to predict behaviours, go and predict that of a dead human.

Vampire Owl :: I like that idea. May be we will watch the Bollywood version too.

Vampire Bat :: We have come so far. I don’t see why not.

Vampire Owl :: I shall call the whole team for that.

Vampire Bat :: Well, do that if it is even remotely possible.

Release date: 3rd July 2015
Running time: 181 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Kamal Haasan, Gauthami, Niveda Thomas, Esther Anil, Kalabhavan Mani, Asha Sarath, Anant Mahadevan, M. S. Bhaskar, Roshan Basheer, Charle, Delhi Ganesh, Ilavarasu, Arul Dass, Sree Raam

papanasam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Darling

darling!

Vampire Owl :: You mean Darling Darling?

Vampire Bat :: No Darling just once, unless you want to create an echo.

Vampire Owl :: Vampire Owls don’t echo. We are immune to such inferior special effects.

Vampire Bat :: Then its easy to follow. This is the remake of the Telugu horror comedy romance, Prema Katha Chitram.

Vampire Owl :: That movie in which Nanditha Raj plays a Nanditha?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and here Nikki Galrani plays someone not Nikki.

Vampire Owl :: You mean Nikki Galrani of Om Santhi Oshaana, 1983 and Vellimoonga, the not-so-owlish movie?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, with no doubt. How many other Nikkis do you know?

Vampire Owl :: Well, what about Nikki of Neal ‘n’ Nikki?

Vampire Bat :: That ruins my day. Why did you have to even try to mention that movie?

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Kathir (G. V. Prakash Kumar) is looking to commit suicide and for the same, he is joined by two other people consisting of his friend and another girl, seemingly leading to a nice small group suicide. Kumaran (Bala Saravanan) and Nisha (Nikki Galrani) who become part of the suicide gang, try to make their last wishes happen before committing the awesome act of self-destruction. There are things which they do, like having a new car which they steal and slapping an MLA in front of the news channels. They escape from the police and goons and go to a house accompanied by another man trying to suicide, Athisaya Raj (Karunas). Nisha is in love with Kathir, and her real plan is to stop him from killing himself, and Kumaran is also hoping to stop his friend from doing the act. But the house where they are staying has a back-story and things won’t go as planned.

The defence of Darling :: There are some improvements on Prema Katha Chitram that this movie has made here as the remake. The best of them is the climax and the ending which has some interesting changes. It is quite faithful to the original, but not a blind copy. The movie is funny and scary in parts, and does full justice to its genre of horror-comedy which hasn’t been an easy thing to do. It is time Bollywood also has some horror-comedies of this quality. There is ghost, romance, comedy, mystery and even the ghost slayer Ghost Gopal Varma. All four of the main actors are very good, and one thing that you can’t fail to notice from the posters of the movie in Kerala is that Nikki Galrani is the Queen of Luck or the Goddess of Fortune – judging from the Malayalam movies which she has acted in: Om Santhi Oshaana, 1983 and Vellimoonga; the three big hits – can we dare to disagree?

The Claws of Flaw :: As a remake of Prema Katha Chitram, the movie might seems redundant for a few. There are some scenes which doesn’t improve the original, and there is no big improvement in quality here. The original was a movie which a lot of people had watched here too, but Darling should still be a new experience for another good number of people. The movie does have some of the same problems as the original, with some misplaced jokes and some loss in the horror department, but those were expected as the remake. One big change which they could have done was with the face of the ghost, and even the first possession moment was no surprise. A scarier ghost could have been there, and the total spooky atmosphere should have been enhanced. Some innovation could have only done this move good, with a shorter flashback and more elements of mystery. Yes, more scares would have brought the awesomeness here, and there was the need to match the comedy.

Soul exploration :: The resurrection of horror genre in the right manner is a need among all the Indian movie industries. Bollywood seems to combine it too much with erotica and spoil the whole thing, or just copy something from Hollywood and add below average things here and there. Horror no longer seems to a genre that is interested in being spoken in Hindi. But a better working combination at this part of the world is horror with comedy and simple romance as it has been proven here. It is a good form for the horror genre to exist, without the extra seriousness that comes in and often fails to connect with the audience. There will always be people who want to laugh at the horror movies, and may be what people deserve more is the horror comedy. I would expect better times for horror with this mixture of genres in work, and I hope for such a movie in Malayalam too, without going too stupid or absurd.

How it finishes :: It is surprising how well the movie has attracted the audience here even as there is only one popular face for the people here, which is Nikki Galrani. It has come to only selected theatres here and at some places just to fill in the blanks, and may be that is a reason. The multiplexes hadn’t had much shows. I would say that Darling was a movie which could have done wonders here with some better promotion – after all, Nikki is one of the favourite actresses of the common movie fans here, and that has been accomplished by her presence in just one year – 2014. It is a sure entertainer and has its existence at a number of theatres in Kerala – you might have to search for them, but if you haven’t watched Prema Katha Chitram, this a movie that you should give a chance for the effort and the difference that it brings to the screen.

[After the movie]

Vampire Owl :: You didn’t tell me about the special 3D effects in the theatre.

Vampire Bat :: 3D at that theatre? We were in the same theatre, right?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, didn’t you see those effects?

Vampire Bat :: What exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl :: Didn’t you see the black kitten and the smoke outside the screen?

Vampire Bat :: That actually seemed like a rat. The smoke was just people with the cigarettes. This is why you should go to local theatres more often.

Vampire Owl :: It is still a special effect. We should have brought the Vampire Cat.

Vampire Bat :: So do you think that the hiking of ticket price by twenty rupees was justified?

Vampire Owl :: Absolutely not. These conditions deserve a maximum of fourty five rupees, thats all. We have better effects at the Dracula Castle.

Vampire Bat :: Then lets hope for another theatre next time.

[Runs to the Indian Coffee House].

Release date: 15th January 2015
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sam Anton
Starring: G. V. Prakash Kumar, Nikki Galrani, Karunas, Bala Saravanan, Srushti Dange, Rajendran

darling

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

I

i (2)

*** I is not just another movie as some critics have judged in the form of the random revenge thing coming to the viewers again. We all know that it has received mixed responses from the audience and critics alike, but let’s not fall into that trap to think twice about watching the movie. I might not be as good as some other movies from Shankar, but it is different, and deserves to be seen and treated with respect that it deserves. It is nothing like we see in Indian Cinema, and the way in this one entertains is different and effective. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes on to become the highest grossing Tamil movie in Kerala, considering the number of theatres where it has released and the number of shows present in each of the multiplexes.

✠ I has got its plus points:
The awesomeness of Vikram: You are introduced into a pure Vikram show here, and personally I feel that I might never see another actor like him in Indian cinema during my age. Even as this is an entertainer with those masala elements, one can’t stop admiring how great a performer he is, in all roles – he keeps making us feel for his character even when the hero is more than a normal man, beating up too many people. Like the most common words which are used in this movie, one has to wonder what stands above everything; a long way above this movie – and it is Vikram. It is this one actor who raises the level of the movie along with himself, and imagining someone else in this role is nothing less than a crime and a sin of the highest level.

The beauty that is Amy Jackson: This lady makes an impression in her way, and there are times when the Magic Mirror chooses a less expected person as the fairest of them all (Tamannaah Bhatia is the one who comes to my mind whenever I hear that) – here it is Amy Jackson who is stunningly beautiful and even cute at times, redefining most of those occasions when the same words were used in the case of a few other actors. She gives aesthetics a new meaning. This is indeed a big role for her, and amazingly suitable; something that we realize very early. There is nothing special for her to do though, and that is understandable considering the nature of the movie and how much it is dependent on Vikram. Lets give some applause to Suresh Gopi too, who also has his moments.

The stunning visuals: The visuals of China’s outskirts are mesmerizing here, and almost everything happens in relation with the natural beauty during those shoots, and it is a big boost to the movie. This is even better with the visuals of songs. It is like another special world for the viewers brought with big splendour. The graphics are also advanced, and the make-up and costumes can be considered as an even bigger boost – they are so good that you will raise your expectation a lot for any other movie. The definition of an entertainer changes here, and you are are surely going to ask for more after this, instead of deciding to watch some random action and romance. These visuals on the screen increases the need to watch this on the big screen even more. The background score nicely supports the visuals.

Fairy tale and its narrative: The way of narrative is something that I enjoyed a lot. I have always enjoyed these non-linear narratives, and it rightly suits the movie here, even as I doubt how the usual audience would take it. The fairy tale elements also has the charm, and there is the song which seems to a clear tribute to The Beauty and the Beast, even as in totality, our hero is no beast, but someone deformed. That is one awesome song on the screen, just like the one in China. There is the certainty of love thriving against all adversities, and that bad guys getting their due as part of that poetic justice. I is that kind of a revenge-seeking fairy tale with its dark side, as you might be familiar with if you have watched Maleficent. It also has its hunchback of Victor Hugo who deserved to be treated better and in another way, its Frankenstein monster – another deformed person who looks for love.

✠ Where it misses:
It misses out in the second part of the first half, and once our hero and heroine reaches China and finishes their first song, it drags and goes on and on with the usual stuff. Yes, the plot itself is a revenge story, but the latter part of the first half can’t even present things in an interesting manner. Couldn’t some elements be less predictable? The movie is too long too, and they should have cut the romance a bit. There are also too many advertisements shown in the movie – yes, there was the need for a few, but here we see too many; still enjoyable ones there. The beast is also limited to the song, but then the question remains where it could come in when the movie plot is considered. But I had expected a lot more from the beast. The action scenes should have been lesser in number along with the songs. But this movie is beyond all these limitations, as the positives that I mentioned runs through with extraordinary power.

*** The movie becomes a very good lesson on how an entertainer can be made without being dumb and ridiculous. Bollywood can use this for ideas, and learn how not to make a Krrish 4 and Dhoom 4. Anniyan actually managed to be better, years ago, and therefore, I wouldn’t consider this movie as something which changes anything. But I is a movie that could be watched for great entertainment, as well as the great performance that Vikram has put into the movie here. The humour also works and there is a powerful emotional connection that is maintained, which strives to focus on the power of true love that is beyond appearance and money. Don’t go with the reviews, but go with Vikram on this one. Here is a big salute to the actor on how well he has tried and made his transformation, and how much strength he has brought to an ordinary revenge plot. I have given the movie a rating, but I cannot be judged by ratings, and the right method is to watch it in the theatres.

Release date: 14th January 2015.
Running time: 189 minutes
Directed by: Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Amy Jackson, Suresh Gopi, Upen Patel, Santhanam, Ramkumar Ganesan, Mohan Kapoor

I

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Veeram

veeram (2)

Ask the magic mirror :: “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?” – now here is the answer which naturally comes to any mirror which has been taken into a theatre to watch Veeram; and it is Tamannah Bhatia. Unless that mirror prefers Kristen Stewart more than Charlize Theron, and as long as the question is not about being the “palest”, it is indeed a magic mirror which can be trusted. The first thing one notices in the movie is not our leading lady, that is for sure, but as far as being fair is considered, there is only person on the screen who takes that to another level. Whenever she is around, everyone else looks darker – no that is no measure of beauty even as Tamannah is indeed the more beautiful and the cute one around, and thanks to those beautiful locations during the songs, there is the snow to give that much needed competition; being the ice princess or the snow queen has never been this easy with anybody else.

What is it about? :: This is the story of Vinayakam (Ajith Kumar), the one-man army with a possible extension to five with his four brothers, and even to an army of six if their lawyer is included in the gang. The man has become more of a landlord who takes care of his people and is extremely caring about his brothers. He is a stern businessman and a reputed man of his area. He has weakness for the name Kopperundevi (Tamannaah Bhatia) and as a lady comes up with the same name, thanks to the work of his brothers and the adopted brother lawyer, he falls in love with her, and with the good guy impression created by the brothers, she also falls for him and takes the decision to take him to meet her family. But later she comes to know that he is the rough and tough guy who beats up people whenever he sees something wrong. As she wants a more peace loving person so that he can be approved by her father, he decides to become one. But the need for fight doesn’t leave him, or does it?

The defence of Veeram :: Translated into English as “Valour”, the movie is a action masala movie, and that basically forgives most of the troubles of the movie. Another thing is that this is the movie of Ajith, or rather by Ajith, about which there is lot more to talk about. Meanwhile, the movie has immense style, and it is reflected not only in the display of the same, but also in the narrative. The use of rain, thunder and lightning along with the clouds adds such a strength to the movie that this use is nothing less than deserving applause. The locations are beautiful and those of the songs are breathtaking. The mixing of action, sentiments and humour is intelligent, and it makes up for what is lost in the old plot. Even with so much lacking in innovation as far as the story is concerned, there is a lot working out well in the other departments. There are many mass scenes and even as the action gets repetitive, the sequences are powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is all about Ajith’s character, and the rest are kept in the shadows most of the times, and their existence is more to make our hero better rather than for themselves, as our leading lady exists so that he could fall in love and dance with her, and a villain to be afraid of him and another to be beaten up and killed by him. The purpose of brothers is more to show that he is superior, but that is understandable as this is more of a movie for the fans; and our hero is that awesome indeed, thanks to a powerful portrayal. The romantic side is weak, mostly due to the fact that it is forced and not rightly fit in the movie. The action scenes repeat as if put in a loop, and it could have been better if some shots of beating up villains were cut. The sentiments also go in a strange way, and the lack of logic is right there in the centre. The story should also be older than most of the actors in the movie, and its similarities to many other Tamil and Malayalam movies can be noted down.

Performers of the soul :: Ajith’s movie as one would expect, as he outperforms everyone with such an ease that what exists there is mostly a one-man show. From his entry, he keeps scoring, and his looks are perfect for this role. It does remind one about Mammootty in the 2000 Malayalam movie Valyettan, but to a small extent; with the romantic side of the brothers slightly resembling the 1991 Malayalam film Godfather. Tamannaah is dazzling, and you can often take that literally. This is the first time I am watching a movie starring her, and I am glad I finally did that; had to leave the Kajal Aggarwal starrer behind even as it was running in the same theatre at the same time, but no beauty lost in the end. Its good to see Bala too, as its been a long time since I watched one of his movies, and he plays a character with the same name which made him famous in the 2007 Malayalam movie Big B, which might once again be a luck factor. Santhanam comes up with lots of funny moments to make sure that the comic side doesn’t go weak. Nassar and Atul Kulkarni also comes up with strong performances.

Soul exploration :: The most shocking thing to the soul was the name of the heroine, especially when her nickname was revealed to be Kopu. But what’s interesting to the soul is its assertion of family values and putting one’s people over everything else. It starts off with the brothers and later extends to the family of his lover, our hero becomes a model brother and son in no time. He sacrifices his happiness to see the family happy, and keeps them away from all the problems as well as their knowledge of their troubles. We have known Jeffrey Nero Hardy as the charismatic enigma, but our hero here is nothing less throughout the movie. Another thing is the significance of “tea” as a symbol in the movie; it not only becomes a symbol of his simplicity, but also his hard-work as well as love for his brothers and family. How often do you see a movie poster with the hero happily drinking tea in it? Now that is a plus for the soul and the Vampire Bat loves it.

How it finishes :: There was always going to be a doubt about which movie to watch, with Jilla running on the other screen, and choosing this was a risk, but nothing regrettable happened in the end. It was nothing strange to see that the viewers for both movies were almost equal, and with only a few vehicles in the yard, with not even one mediocre Malayalam movie release in the same week, and both the Hollywood and Bollywood side being weak in comparison as far as normal people are concerned – shortage of big movies (Drishyam and Oru Indian Pranaya Katha are still there along with many English movies from much earlier, still in the multiplexes). The movie is reckless and violent in its action, and the use of sharp weapons cloud the movie like nothing else – if that is a positive or a negative is for the audience to decide, as it doesn’t go beyond a level. The opinion is divided about the movie, but I would say that this one deserves a check as it keeps the interest high even as it might be too long for one’s liking.

Release date: 10th January 2014
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Siva
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vidharth, Bala, Santhanam, Ramesh Khanna, Atul Kulkarni, Nassar, Abhinaya, Pradeep Rawat, Munish, Manochitra

veeram copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Arrambam

arrambam (2)

✠ Before I go on with this one, I have to tell you that October was the month with the most visits for this blog, for which I wish to thank each one of you. My other two blogs also had a fantastic beginning to the month of November, even as I can’t say the same about this one. I also wish all of my readers a very Happy Deepavali (Diwali) and a belated Kerala Piravi Day and a very belated Happy Halloween. I should have wished with the earlier post, but it was written a lot earlier and I didn’t want to mess up with it. I hope you had three wonderful days, October 31st, November 1st, and yesterday the 2nd. Coming back to this week’s choices of movies, this really is a dull week, with no Hollywood releases coming this way and no Malayalam movie releases at all. With that sadness concerning the beginning of a month which didn’t have a good start as Ender’s Game didn’t come this way as expected, I have to take you back to the legendary vampire after my journey to the local theatre to watch another movie, this time a Tamil action thriller flick.

Count Dracula: So you are back. I had checked and found no good English movies this weekend. Did you watch that guy who flies like Superman and acts like Man of Steel and fights an army of mutants including a Professor X – Magneto hybrid, Mystique, Miss Wolverine, Juggernaut, Toad etc? Did you enjoy that movie which should rather be titled as Superman vs X-Men?

Vampire Bat: No, why would you think so? I had seen the trailer and observed its inability right there. I am not a Hritik Roshan fan, a little kid or someone with no other option. Neither do I get free tickets for any movie. It showed that it had no potential from its poor trailer with some graphics which is inferior to Arrambam, a movie which doesn’t need CGI support at all.

Count Dracula: I heard that Koi Mil Gaya is a shameless copy of E.T. and Krrish is just a pathetic excuse to cash in the power of a man who has given us so many better roles. At a time when actors like Arshad Warsi and John Abraham are choosing the right movies, it is a shame that one of the best looking actors had to go with this one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after watching Besharam, I had decided that I shall not be part of such shamelessness For the same reason, I didn’t watch Boss which was the remake of one of the most pathetic movies in Malayalam. Some bad movies do teach us lessons. Arrambam is the good result of that lesson which was provided with the pain which was Besharam, and I guess I am looking forward to a few more Tamil movies soon.

Count Dracula: So what has it got? You rarely watch a Tamil movie. Anniyan was your favourite, and you watched ony two this year; David and Maryan – see my memory? I never get to use it these days and its nice you keep it working by coming here and talking about these movies of the soul.

Vampire Bat: Let the brain of blood work, as the story revolves around Ashok Kumar (Ajith), a former member of anti-terrorist squad, who is on a mission to avenge the death of his friend due to faulty bullet proof jackets which are provided to security forces – but he was imprisoned and left for dead along with his friends and family. He is supported by his lover Maya (Nayanthara) and a smart, but reluctant computer hacker Arjun (Arya). When the latter feels that he is doing something very bad, and is left with no choice as they keep his lover Anitha (Taapsee Pannu) at gunpoint, he lets the police know and Ashok is arrested after a bomb blast and a car chase. The remaining story deals with him taking revenge on the corrupt Home Minister (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his supporter and the senior police officer (Atul Kulkarni) who were involved in the scam.

Count Dracula: That should remind you of Kamal Haasan’s best Malayalam movie, Chanakyan. Wasn’t that the day you said Urmila Matondkar is the best looking actress of the time after watching that in a VCR? It dealt with one man taking revenge on the politician who destroyed his family, using electronic gadgets and a reluctant helper.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is different in a number of ways. The first thing is that there is that relevant social message at the time of scams and corruption, but not something that would inspire you to the horizon. Then we have Ajith Kumar at his best. This is the first time I watch his movie in the theatre, and I can say the same about Arya. Chanakyan was undoubtedly the intellectually superior movie and it was an extraordinary performance from our legendary actor. This one is more of the entertainer type.

Count Dracula: Well, I love that actor – see how he never seems to get too old; the only other person who doesn’t seem to get old at all is Vijay. How does he manage to stay as a young man wonders me. That reminds me that I have to watch Thuppakki, as some gypsies had told me that it is awesome. Get me a DVD some day.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if I decide to watch that. One has to admire Arya’s performance too, as he provides a lot of fun and lighter moments, even as some of them doesn’t work. But, without him this might not have worked this well. One can’t resist liking Taapsee Pannu, being the cute drama queen of the movie, even as there is the doubt if there was some overdose, and if there was the need to explore that drama in another way. Nayantara is there perfectly suited for the role that she plays. The cast saves the movie, and so does the style.

Count Dracula: So there is style too. I have seen that photo of Ajith riding Ducati, and I have my own reasons to believe that there were cooling glasses, bikes and slow motion. I am pretty good at this stuff, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is a treat for Ajith fans, and none of them should miss this movie. There is the abundance of cooling glass, and there is only one bike, plus the slow motion is comparatively less considering what we see these days. The songs are pretty good too. To add it, Arya doesn’t do his BA Romantics like Ranbir Kapoor did in Besharam for horror, as even in the exaggeration, he keeps his cool, and Taapsee Pannu has a good chemistry with him, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So tell me what works other than the cast and style. Also tell me what doesn’t work other than the overdose of cooling glass and a little exaggeration.

Vampire Bat: Did I forget Kishore who is strong throughout? Did I forget the good performances of the villains? Add them to the list of positives too. The story starts off well with bomb blasts and a flashback which is romantic to the core, and also funny. The movie has a climax which can give positive or negative feedbacks, but for me, it is slightly on the positive. The first half is undoubtedly better than the second. The flashback story of our main hero is less interesting, and one has to wonder why one has to put a festival into every song – is that because the world is running out of ideas? ninety five percent of the time, it is Holi too.

Count Dracula: I see there is too many things mixed about it. But considering the fact that there has been so many bad superstar masala movies in your own language from Lokpaal, Kammath and Kammath and Sound Thoma to the recently depressing Sringaravelan, I guess this can prove as a lesson about how entertainers can be well made.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there will still be movies like Besharam, and the shame shall continue in this world of humans, but your universe shall live forever as you don’t have to watch such things. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): This is not a perfect movie, but there is no reason why one shouldn’t watch this movie this weekend, even while claiming that it is nothing new or innovative. This is a wonderful Deepavali gift for the fans of Ajith, and I welcome everyone to the theatres to choose this one over Krrish 3. Still, one question remains about Bollywood movies. Why is it that movies like Shahid and The Lunchbox doesn’t release in local theatres, but those like Besharam, Krrish 3 and Chennai Express does? We are so profit-oriented and the common man needs better brains; hope some zombie gives one to them instead of eating – a much needed sacrifice.

✠ In this battle of heavyweights, Arrambam clearly outweighs as well as outsmarts Krrish 3 with its theme, and it is evident from the kind of audience who are going to watch both movies. But in the box-office, both will be winners, as this is Deepavali and there are no Hollywood movies gaining entrance, and Malayalam movies have kept away. This is my third Tamil movie of the year in the theatres, after David and Maryan – I have to say that there has not been much disappointment related to them, they were all good enough to be watched with one kind of mood or the other. I shall wait for Thor: The Dark World for now, and until then, if you face two choices at once, you know which movie to go for. No, this doesn’t come from an Ajith fan, and for fans this should be a movie which is not to be missed at any cost; for others, this is an entertainer fulled by performances and style; learn from it dear self-proclaimed mass entertainers and masala action flicks, for this movie can teach you many things.

Release date: 31st October 2013
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Arya, Nayantara, Taapsee Pannu, Kishore, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni, Suman Ranganathan, Akshara Gowda

arrambam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aurangzeb

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Talking about Aurangzeb, one has to wonder why this name for a movie which resembled Don and its remake in its first trailer shown in the theatres, but then you remember the Mughal Emperor who fought for kingship over kinship (“kingship knows no kinship” as declared by the movie itself in some of the posters), as the young emperor battled his brothers and also put his father under house arrest in the Agra Fort for the control of the throne; then after his formal coronation in Delhi, he does execute his brother, the eldest son and the heir apparent of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, Dara Shikoh – as it is recorded in the annals of history. But his striving towards achieving his aim, and his master tactics might have also been considered while giving this name to the movie. His continuation of warfare might be another thing – the desire to achieve more heights, as he built up a massive army for more and more military expansion throughout the boundaries of his already vast empire. He was among the wealthiest of the Mughal rulers if what is written about him is true. By 1690, Aurangzeb had territories stretching from the South to the Afghan area. But after his death, the empire built on blood and intolerance breaks apart, something which has to be considered with the kingship of this movie.

The movie starts with a quote from The Odes, a collection of Latin lyric poems by Horace a.k.a Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the famous Roman poet from the age of the first emperor and the founder of the Roman Empire, known to us as Augustus Caesar. I can’t bring myself to remember that quote, but here we have another emperor! Never mind, our story follows the illegal real estate developer Yashvardhan (Jackie Shroff) and his always pleasure-seeking arrogant son Ajay (Arjun Kapoor). Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj and Sikandar Kher is one cop family and challenges the family of criminals in a battle which is more unseen than seen. The police department succeeds in capturing Ajay and torture him, while they send out Ajay’s twin brother, Vishal (Arjun Kapoor), to Yashvardhan to find his secrets and bring his empire down to earth from the sky which it has set as the limit. Vishal joins the crew and becomes an informer, with a desire to take revenge for his mother who had to run away from his father Yashvardhan due to his dirty deeds. Here, the two brothers create the idea of Aurangzeb – the king, who puts his throne, sceptre and crown ie kingship above kinship. But in another way, Arya (Prithviraj) is also Aurangazeb – the concept not being limited to one person. Even his family of police officers has interest in real estate and they are all businessman on the end of the day. They fight their own battles, and the result is clearly unpredictable with the high emotional element involved.

Prithviraj Sukumaran has come up with a simple, yet excellent performance. There was evidently no mistake when he was declared as the future of Malayalam movie industry, and now he has moved further north and extended his domain more than once. He has been both the most liked and the most disliked movie actors the Malayalam movie industry has ever seen, and there has been unnecessary controversies for sure. For the Bollywood audience who don’t know him, right from the beginning of his career through Nandanam to establishing himself as part of the elite class in Thalappavu, he had a good number of ups and downs in Malayalam movie industry, and is now at the zenith of his glory with Ayalum Njanum Thammil and Celluloid, which brought to him the Kerala State Film Award for the second time, after a gap of six years. Lets just forget Aiyyaa and consider this his Grand Hindi debut, as he is indeed leaving a permanent mark with this one. Along with these movies mentioned, if you need to watch more of his movies, I would recommend Vargam, Akale, Indian Rupee and Classmates, two of his interesting performances which also have their own entertainment value.

There are also a number of critically acclaimed off-beat movies, like Akasathinte Niram, Veettilekkulla Vazhi and Manjadikuru. City of God and Manikyakallu are also worth mentioning here. But still, there might be no other movie like Celluloid, and as watching it might also be a tribute to the Indian movie industry, I would recommend it the most – Prithviraj is also at his best there, and therefore it is a must watch for all the true lovers of movies. His presence in Tamil is also to be noted and he is there in Telugu too, even as I have not explored that much. His other release in Malayalam, Mumbai Police also seems to be running pretty good in the theatres. After having a bad patch, he is now back in full power, and he is slowly blending into that police officer role which didn’t seem to suit him in a number of movies which failed miserably, but has now become part of his new series of roles in more than one language. Prithviraj had the opportunity and the option to step up, and he has successfully done that. There shall be more of him in Bollywood too, there is no doubt about that.

For the people who are confused already, Prithviraj is not the hero and neither is he the villain in this movie. But he surely does more than one job, as a businessman police officer, as the saviour and upholder of the law, the husband who forgets to smile at home (even as he has a grin when dealing with crime) and finally, as the family man who does what is expected of him. The big screen presence might have actually come up as a surprise for both his fans as well as the common movie watcher. He also narrates throughout the movie, and has presence on the big screen very often. Thus he does something more than being the supporting actor here. His character is there from the beginning to the end, as if he is the one who watches everything. His character has his understandings and transformations, and none of them seem to put the actor out of ease. The role of the two protagonists belong to Arjun Kapoor does the two characters with so much ease, especially the more evil side – the other one is just fine. There is no doubt that he is among the best of the young talents and he has proven it once again through this movie. After his performance in the action romance drama Ishaqzaade, here he comes up with another treat for the viewers. So, here are two actors, doing their job very well.

Sashaa Agha, the daughter of the Pakistani singer and actress Salma Agha also makes her Bollywood debut in this movie. Other than being the gorgeous presence in the movie, the twenty one year old also sings in the movie, the song being well received already. Even if one has to wonder if she is a little uncomfortable out there and there is a sure confusion around, the plot would have run well without that character, and considering that, she has done more than enough. She has surely earned her spot to be there, and her bikini-shot has already made it to the trailers; her song video already watched a lot; her debut surely a great one which has touched the stars with the role in an Yash Raj Films production. In total, it should be a perfect beginning for her. Jackie Shroff is a solid presence in the movie and same is the case of Rishi Kapoor, both of them contributing with more of themselves than anything else. The two would seem to be on the sides of evil and good in the beginning, but later fade into a grey from which the roles would seem to be reversing a bit, even as none of them really gets out the greyness which engulfs them. The latter stands out as the mastermind and the visionary. The cast makes the movie mostly about performances rather than the plot or anything else, as they have all done a very good job.

Despite the rise of my new blog; http://divineepic.wordpress.com/ and a possible further development which awaits it, the movie reviews shall continue and the movies of the soul shall continue to influence the minds without any halt, as they form an integral part of the weekend which restores the soul from its low energy stage to the supreme stage. Aurangzeb doesn’t fall behind in doing the same either. We have loved Don, and this movie leaves us no option, but to like it for what it is. With all the thrills and action sequences, Aurangzeb leaves the viewers with another thing – a message about the importance of brotherhood and the divine superiority of kinship over kingship in a complicated simplicity as it adds a certain kind of “thrill of eventual goodness” to whatever might have been a game of blood otherwise. With a little more vision, it could have been a classic for sure. The last week might have belonged to space travel and zombies with one English and one Hindi movie, and the earlier week belonged to a shootout or rather an encounter, but this is undoubtedly the week of Aurangzeb – not the emperor of history, but the new king of this century. The new blog belongs to another world, not of the movies; but this one belongs completely to this one world of celluloid, even as it shall never be free from the effects of that outside world which decides more than what it can handle.

Release date: 17th May 2013
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Atul Sabharwal
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Arjun Kapoor, Sashaa Agha, Amrita Singh, Jackie Shroff, Swara Bhaskar, Deepti Naval, Tanve Azmi, Rasika Dugal, Sikandar Kher

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

David

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The Vampire Bat was re-introduced into this world, but he is struggling to be a movie-watcher with so many horrible movies around. David was a relief, and therefore he shall write about it, but considering the fact that only seven of the fourteen movies he watched in the last thirty days managed to be satisfactory, he surely wishes to sleep for a century and wait for that day when no movies are made. There should be discount for tickets for the Vampire Bat, for he saves so many movies of the world from being left unwatched. He is doing a great service, for which even free tickets might be not enough. May be free tea with tickets would do. The Vampire Bat shall look towards the firmament for now and wait for that moment when it starts raining movie tickets.

Why wouldn’t the Vampire Bat be disapponted. He had to watch Race 2 – old wine in an old bottle, while Kammath and Kammath and Lokpal were old wine in older leaking bottle. Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla was more like fish out of water gasping for air. While Da Thadiya had fish evolved with legs and thus made good contact with the people of the land, this little fish could make not keep people of the land or a flying Vampire Bat interested. Midnight’s Children had already lost its battle in a comparison to the novel. The Vampire Bat has been digging his own grave so that he could be buried in there forever, until something called David came to his attention. Then he went to watch it in Hindi and ended up watching it in Tamil. But it is not something he complained about, as he enjoyed the movie and considered it the best Indian movie he watched so far this year even as there is a long way to go.

What do we know about David in movies? There was the 1988 Malayalam movie David David Mr. David starring Balachandra Menon and Sumalata. But that would be totally unrelated to this one. Then there was King David of Bible, the ruler of Israel. The righteous king even with all his flaws, the warrior poet was mostly responsible for the Book of Psalms. But that was never the beginning, as the story of David and Goliath might be of more popularity. How it would relate to the upcoming Malayalam movie of the same name will be another story. Back to the original story, there stood Goliath, the strongest and the tallest of all, and there was young David with his sling and stones. Then fell the strongest; and the weak became strong. This has been repeated in the history with the rise and fall of huge empires all around the world.

The Hindi version has three Davids, but here there are only two to deal with. The first one belongs to 1999 Mumbai. He is a musician just like the Biblical figure. But his peaceful life is disrupted when his father, a priest is attacked by an anti-Christian group as part of communal politics. The second one belongs to 2010 Goa, a fisherman leading a happy life. He falls in love with a deaf and dumb girl who is soon to be married to his good friend. Both of them have to make decisions which will change their lives forever – one of them seeking revenge while the second one seeking love. But both of them would be committing their own acts of evil which they might repent for the rest of their lives. The battle is between the conscience and desire – between goodness and the basic desires. The world around plays a major part in dragging them to both sides. But eventually what triumphs forms the central point of the story.

Both Davids have to face their own inner demons which take the form of Goliaths – one of revenge and the other of lust (the one-sided infatuation based on looks could never be termed as love, but as sin – for King David himself had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and later married her). The same David had killed her husband, a murder which one of our Davids would have also committed. Even as the external opponents, the minions who are responsible for this situation of revenge to be created – they look stronger in the case of the musician, but the internal demon would work better in the case of other. The ultimate result of the battle against the two demons occur only in the end, even as the scene is shown to be set right at the beginning of the movie. It is the battle of the two Davids against two Goliaths, both internally and externally. This is a battle which is fought both physically and mentally, but is finally won in the mind.

Vikram has once again proved that he is such a versatile actor. Even as he is shown mostly as an alcoholiac, his character is never boring or withour passion. Jiiva has come up with a strong performance too. There are moments of pure awesomeness in the movie. The rest of the cast has successfully supported these two, on whom the stories are based on. It might not still be found an entertainer but I never found it boring at any moment. The transition between the stories are quite well done, and as both of them keeps the interest-level high, there is not much of a confusion in the change. Last year, we had Cloud Atlas which had too many stories to deal with. After that experience, one couldn’t be blamed of being confused and left in a slough of strange thoughts. This one has just two – both of them simple and never leaving the audience in an abyss. This is an inner journey of twins of the situation who never meet.

There are the messages of morality, making it nothing less than a morality play indirectly transformed to suit the modern world. There is good and there is evil – but as said in Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire: “Evil is always possible, and goodness is eternally difficult”. In the same book, Vampire Lestat had also added that “Evil is a point of view”. As the movie agrees with the first, I wouldn’t say the same with the second. If there was something like a point of view involved in it, the first choices would have been to succumb to revenge and lust. The first one would have been righteous payback and the second one irresistible eternal love. Some of the jokes are too foolish to suit the philosophy of the movie, but the rest add to the lighter side and throughout the movie, there is this eternal battle and the question “to be or not to be”. But our musician is no Hamlet and the man you saw at the beach is no selfish lover. There is a warning though – if you are allergic to moral advice and preachy tone can give you head ache, this movie might create no waves in your head filled with that “point of view”.

Release date: 1st February 2013
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Vikram, Jiiva, Isha Sharvani, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Sheetal Menon, Nishan, Nassar, John Vijay, Shweta Pandit

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.