Mamangam

What is the movie about? :: Mamangam, a grand fair used to be held on the banks of Bharathappuzha in the north of Kerala has a history that is written in blood. It had great economic, social and political significance, along with being a religious festival associated with the temples. There, the Zamorin ruler of the Kingdom of Calicut challenged other regional kingdoms to oppose his supremacy. There were the suicidal warriors from Valluvanad region who dared to oppose him and make history. But they would mostly die fighting against the powerful army of Zamorin, and only left those messages of bravery and honour for their people to cherish. It becomes their right to die as a soldier in the battlefield, and inspire more to follow their path through martyrdom. The last Mamangam fair was held in 1755, and this movie comes up with a memorable one before that.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Chandroth Panicker (Unni Mukundan) is the latest addition to that list of the suicidal warriors known as Cheverukal, attempting to challenge Calicut’s Zamorin’s authority again. His mother, wife and sister are unhappy about the decision, but they can do nothing, as for him, it is a decision made by the gods. It is then that the son of his sister, the young Chandroth Chanthunni (Master Achuthan) also joins him to join Chaverukal, much to the dismay of the whole family. They have the tale of Chandroth Valiya Panicker (Mammootty) who betrayed their tradition ahead of them, so that they should go on with that they have been training for – to end Zamorin which is the best thing to do. On the way, they have to stop at the abode of Unnimaaya (Prachi Tehlan) and Unni Neeli (Iniya), after being attacked by Zamorin’s men. There is a long way ahead of them, but they will need some help to get anywhere close to success.

The defence of Mamangam :: There are not many movies which we have waited for so long like Mamangam, except for some which are still to be released. Malayalam movie industry always needed good historical movies other than those which keep talking about the British – The Colachel War has been long forgotten, despite it being a landmark. Considering the same, Mamangam has taken the pain to bring something with a difference. The visuals are all grand, even better than some of those overrated movies seemingly belonging to a similar genre. The beauty out there is not limited to the background, but to almost everything in particular. The action sequences are all very good, especially in the final moments, which are breath-taking, leaving one wishing for more. The message goes on against revenge, and that it is not something healthy to pass the same through the generations – forgiving and forgetting do have better meaning.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is a little bit too long, and its extra dose of dialogues make it feel even longer. It does seem to repeat the same thing multiple times, and deviates from the idea of action and adventure associated with the title. Even though the “Mookkuthi” song makes some impact, the rest of the songs are not up to the mark. The presence of a mentor character doesn’t add much to the otherwise direct and straightforward movie, and the feminine version of the character is a bad and unnecessary diversion. The lack of completeness is evident, as the movie struggles to live up to its theme and story on many occasions. The final scene after the mamangam fight also feels unnecessary, as there could be nothing bigger to be added. A movie like this should offer something better, and one is left to wonder why it is becoming more and more difficult to make movies based on Kerala History, even those which are set at a time period not even five hundred years into the past.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty was part of one of the best movies of the year, Unda, and now he is back with the movie with we have all been waiting for. As we all know, he is no stranger to historical movies and epic stories which tell the tales of heroes of the past, and this was time that he had another one to add to that list. Still, one has to wonder why he went for that exaggerated dance and some ridiculous comedy with another side of that character – this kind of ridiculous moments are not suitable for this kind of a movie, not for a historical epic action movie. Unni Mukundan does a fine work here, and his controlled performance is worth the appreciation. Master Achuthan comes up with a wonderful performance at the same time. It is him who catches our attention the most, and he excels in the action sequences even more. The last scenes are nothing less than magnificent, and it belongs to him completely.

Further performers of the soul :: Prachi Tehlan comes up as the leading female presence in this one – the former netball and basketball player has no trouble in the less amount of role given to her. Iniya provides her support, even though not much is needed from her side. At the same time, Anu Sithara and Kaniha has even smaller roles here, most of the time sticking to some dialogue or tears. There are also other actresses here including Maala Parvathi and Kaviyoor Ponnamma, but the female characters here are rather insignificant in the movie plan at work. Siddique has a villainous role here, and even though done quite well, it is not the kind of antagonist that we are going to remember for doing the terrifying job. Sudev Nair, even though nice, is wasted in a role which makes no difference to story at all – the character doesn’t add anything significant to the whole thing, for even otherwise, things could progress in the same manner without any trouble at all.

How it finishes :: Last year, in another December, on almost the same date, we had another Malayalam movie set in the past trying to make history – Odiyan. It was not that much of a successful attempt, but that was certainly a sign. We have more signs here, even though we are still far away from having that right historical movie. There is the need to improve, as Mamangam goes on through its journey. There is a better understanding of history and the reflection of the same required, and one can only hope that things could reach further level with the genre. A fine depiction of Colachel War might be the solution, but we haven’t heard about anyone trying for such a case. Until then, we have these movies which have the potential for greatness, but fall short in the process. But we would need to watch these, with all the splendour which is displayed on the big screen.

Release date: 12th December 2019
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Mammootty, Prachi Tehlan, Unni Mukundan, Master Achuthan, Siddique, Anu Sithara, Kaniha, Mohan Sharma, Tarun Arora, Iniya, Maala Parvathi, Neeraj Madhav, Idavela Babu, Manikuttan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Suresh Krishna, Sunil Sukhada, Meghanathan, Manikandan Achari, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jayan Cherthala, Sudheer Sukumaran, Vishnu Marakkal, Abu Salim, Sudev Nair, Nandan Unni, Valsala Menon, Nilambur Ayisha

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Johny Johny Yes Appa

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of three brothers, Peter (Tini Tom), Johny (Kunchacko Boban) and Philippose (Sharafudheen). Having a strict award-winning teacher of the nearby school as their father (Vijayaraghavan), there is a struggle in living upto the expectations. Johny ends up being the father’s favourite son by choosing a twisted path to success, and the result is that Peter suffers. In the end, Peter is thrown out of home, and Johny maintains the image of a nice guy even though he is actually a skilled thief. Johny becomes active in social activities and the good image is maintained, especially in the church where he is a very popular person. But during the nights, he continues to steal, and gives no clue to the police regarding his presence in those robbed houses.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Johny is in love with his childhood friend Jaisa (Anu Sithara) who has decided that she would marry him only. Even though her education is only until the ninth standard, her father Chavaranprackal Jose (Kalabhavan Shajon) is so rich that he could buy most of the educated men in the town as possible grooms for his daughter. But she is desperately in love with Johny, much to the dismay of Jose who doesn’t consider the man to be worthy. Everything goes according to the plan until he comes across Adam (Sanoop Santhosh), Nandana (Anikha Surendran), Amala (Mamta Mohandas) and Sujatha (Lena). It is then that things begin to change, and there is the twist of fate that would mean problems for the image he has kept for so long. It would mean that he has to come up with something special, but can he?

The defence of Johny Johny Yes Appa :: The movie has a high amount of dramatic irony in store, as nobody knows about the secrets of this particular person. As a family-friendly movie, it has that kind of jokes, and there is the deviation towards bringing a message or two too. The jokes are working, and we have the same in a regular dose especially in the first half. The emotions also run strong, and the family audience will be able to connect to that too. The songs are pretty much okay with this one. We also see the small twists here and there, and some good visuals support the flick well enough. There is no problem here that would prevent the family audience from taking over this movie, even though Kayamkulam Kochunni is still running extremely strong, all set to go over the big movies like Premam, Oppam and Drishyam, even though Pulimurugan has set that seemingly unattainable score with the box-office collections of Malayalam movies.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems to deviate a little too much in the second half, seemingly changing the whole things a little too much than one would expect. There are times when one ends up thinking if this was one complete story or combined from different things, creating a Frankenstein monster with technology added to the whole thing in the end. It is the director of Paavada and the script writer of Vellimoonga who have joined forces here, and the expectations were high with this one too. But we can see that so much is not there, even though the improvement from Kunchacko Boban’s earlier movie of this month, Mangalyam Thanthunanena is clearly visible. We could have used better story with a better protagonist whose actions made better sense. The thief whom we cheer for could have better defined qualities, and we wonder why his world doesn’t fly high as it should have.

The performers of the soul :: This movie depends on Kunchacko Boban to keep things going smoothly, and to provide it with that effect that can bring all those family viewers in. His best of the year was Shikkari Shambhu which was a fun-filled entertainer with all needed elements. But other than that, it was quite a dull year for him even though Panchavarnathatha did come close. Kuttanadan Marpappa struggled to fly high enough, and rest of the movies were not even close to being memorable. It is to the same list that this movie brings some more of light as the attempt is to keep the darkness away. Kunchacko Boban has no problem at all, as far as this particular movie is concerned. He goes through this one with ease, as not much is asked. He also has that kind of a character which gets the right amount of claps in the end, no matter what path he travels earlier.

Further performers of the soul :: The one who scores big in this movie is indeed Tini Tom who has the funny as well as the emotional sides going strong for him. It has to be noted that he was there in three movies with Kunchacko Boban this year itself. He does the work naturally here, and so does Veena Nair who plays his wife. Mamta Mohandas has only very less time to be there. Anu Sithara has the role done really well, and she seems to suit this kind of characters so well. Sharafudheen makes the funny side seem so easy, coming right out of the villain role in Varathan. Kalabhavan Shajon and Abu Salim add even more fun to the whole thing. Anikha is back again after The Great Father, but doesn’t contribute much. Lena is solid again after Aadhi and Ira. Nedumudi Venu seems to be there just for the sake of being present, giving us only a few minutes of him. Sanoop Santhosh of Philips and the Monkey Pen fame does leave a mark again.

How it finishes :: This is the season of the thieves, and Johny Johny Yes Appa joins Kayamkulam Kochunni and Aanakkallan to make more than one theatre full of thieves and nobody else, unless there is Halloween and one serial killer joins the team. There has always been one thing about Kunchacko Boban, and it is certainly what brought us to watch this flick. His movie would be something to watch for the family audience every time, and even this time, the focus is on that group only. The fight is still more this time, and the flick would struggle to keep going. But it is still a safe bet, and the weekend should have more for this movie with the family audience being a stronger presence during this week with the Sunday as a bank holiday. There could have been more with this one, but there is just enough, as you would notice easily.

Release date: 26th October 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: G Marthandan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anu Sithara, Tini Tom, Kalabhavan Shajon, Sharafudheen, Mamta Mohandas, Vijayaraghavan, Veena Nair, Geetha, Sanoop Santhosh, Lena, Abu Salim, Nedumudi Venu, Jaise Jose, Anikha Surendran

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Amar Akbar Anthony

amarakbaranthony (2)

Vampire Owl :: Are we using the time machine this time?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t understand what you are talking about.

Vampire Owl :: You wanted to watch a Bollywood movie of 1977 in the theatre. It would require a time machine.

Vampire Bat :: I am talking about the Malayalam movie of 2015 with the same name.

Vampire Owl :: That is actually strange because Amar Akbar Anthony was already remade in Malayalam as John Jaffer Janardhanan starring Ratheesh, Ravindran and Mammootty.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but this is not a remake, but a new story which goes full comedy.

Vampire Owl :: It is a strange title then. With a new story, this name of the movie makes me wonder about the possible reason behind such a choice.

Vampire Bat :: Even the name Jenny makes it to this movie.

Vampire Owl :: I need to consult my zombie minions on this.

Vampire Bat :: Well, this is from Nadirshah, and I am sure that he knows the pulse of the common audience.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of three young men who hope to go to Pattaya and enjoy the pleasures of life. These three men Amarnath (Prithviraj Sukumaran), Akbar (Jayasurya) and Anthony (Indrajith Sukumaran) focus on this one aim while their families hope that they do something for home instead. They keep wandering behind one beautiful lady of the locality, Jenny (Namitha Pramod) without any shame. They have a sister figure in the form of Resmiya (Srinda Ashab). With their parents asking them to become good men like their young neighbour Unni (Ramesh Pisharody), all these three men are looking for is to escape from their current situation. For the same, some time in Thailand seems to be the best option for them. But situations keep delaying their journey all the time.

The defence of Amar Akbar Anthony :: The performances from the three actors remain the big highlight of this movie. Most of the jokes are working, especially when involving these three, and the fans will love them. The best of them includes the dialogues like [indirect translation] “Can we have revenge tomorrow?”, “Its just what people say, I don’t know English at all” [/indirect translation] and the jokes related to their way of life, even though jokes related to drinking and Facebook are repetitive. There is also a message coming in the end, and even though it is not complete, there is something positive about it. The debutante director deserves the applause too, making something out this which could have gone awry without these performances and the way of presentation. Even if it isn’t really Kunjiramayanam with bringing laughter, this is the kind of thing which should attract the mass audience, the fans and the new generation youth. It provides the time-pass.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing special related to the naming of the characters here. Even if they were with even stranger names, or belonged to a religion which is not known, it wouldn’t have mattered. Those who think that it would have any relation with the 1977 popular Bollywood movie with the same name are going to be disappointed. It was actually a chance to connect that is missed here. A lot of jokes are not really funny, and at times, the quality is significantly reduced. The songs were not really there to make an impact; they will just appeal to the big fans. The movie does deviate from its path in the end too, and this change of direction could have actually arrived a lot earlier, with some unnecessary jokes avoided. The slow motion action sequences in the end also negatively contribute to the movie. The message which comes too late could have also been provided in a better way. The story struggles in totality, and the twists are without effect.

Performers of the soul :: The pick of the movie is indeed Indrajith Sukumaran who brings the funniest scenes to us. There is something about him in this movie, and may be this character suited him very well even before the shooting ever started! Then there is Jayasurya who has handled his comic role with terrific control. Prithviraj has improved a lot from his comedy flicks like Teja Bhai and Family, and at moments he makes the biggest impact. The trio makes sure that this movie and its comedy works very well. Namitha Pramod is the biggest disappointment of this movie, and it is so wrong that she is made to play a character who has almost no memorable dialogue – it is a character which would have worked even if nobody played that role. They could have managed this character without even showing the lady! The twist involving her is also clearly a waste of time. She is the female lead, and she is given nothing – it is disappointing.

Further Performers of the soul :: But the good thing is that Srinda Ashab has a more serious role here, but she also has less screen presence because the whole thing is about the three main characters. Baby Meenakshi does a nice and cute job. Among the other female characters, K. P. A. C. Lalitha plays Prithviraj’s mother making the biggest impact followed by Bindu Panicker. Pashanam Shaji has his moments, but some jokes do fo overboard. Asif Ali’s guest appearance is memorable. Meanwhile, Kalabhavan Shajon’s character also goes nowhere, even though the beginning had him at a better status. Akanksha Puri and Mareena Michael Kurisingal makes small appearances as the former lovers of Prithviraj and Indrajith respectively, and Mareena is actually part of two of the funniest moments of the movie. Siddique also makes his small appearance memorable. Ramesh Pisharody nicely does his job too.

How it finishes :: This movie has surely worked with the common audience because of the humour, and one can thank Nadirshah’s display of skills with his first ever directorial venture and also with the three men whom he selected to play the lead roles. A blockbuster status is there to be taken. There is still some disappointment left with how much better the movie could have handled its message; for the social issue could have been worked with in a better way, and it could have been less mindless. There is a lot more which Amar Akbar Anthony could have achieved with some more care. I have a dream, that one day the makers will realize that slow motion action sequences are not fair to the audience, no matter how much the fans will admire them, and I also wish that when bringing a social issue to light, it comes early and with the strength which makes it stay above the rest of the movie! For those who are looking for seriousness and not entertainment, there is Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi.

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Nadirshah
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Jayasurya, Kalabhavan Shajon, Namitha Pramod, Srinda Ashab, Baby Meenakshi, V. K. Sreeraman, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Bindu Panicker, Ramesh Pisharody, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Pradeep Kottayam, Sasi Kalinga, Abu Salim, Pashanam Shaji, Thesni Khan, Siddique, Asif Ali (cameo), Akanksha Puri (cameo), Mareena Michael Kurisingal (cameo)

amarakbarantony

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Loham

loham (2)

What is it about? :: Jayanthi (Andrea Jeremiah) has reached Cochin from Mumbai in search of her husband Ramesh (Ashvin A. Mathew). She chooses the taxi of Raju (Mohanlal) as she continues that search. Nobody knows anything about him including his own mother (KPAC Lalitha). Meanwhile, there is certain gold smuggling taking place from Dubai to Calicut/Malappuram and Ramesh who is a customs officer is somehow linked to it. But Raju himself has a special objective which he hopes to accomplish. Meanwhile, another man called Albert (Renji Panicker) lands in Kerala from Cochin and is looking for help in achieving something. At the same time, a group of gold smugglers lead by Unni Mohammed (Siddique) keeps searching for their lost gold.

The defence of Loham :: There are those moments which make the defence, and almost every one of them is related to the twists related to Mohanlal’s character. The first half is surely the superior one, and it surely keeps us very much interested in how these things are going to come together, and the division of the two halves is surely done at the best moment. The funny moments are working and they nicely come to keep the movie more interesting. There is also some criticism of the things happening in the state which is sure to catch one’s attention. The thrills are working, the twists are interesting even though we can’t say the same about how the turns happening at every situation – there are times when the focus could have been at one twist only and build on that. There are some memorable dialogues in Loham too, even though some of them could have used a little polishing.

Claws of flaw :: The audience might feel that this is not what they wanted considering the hype. A better result was expected from the direction of Ranjith. There are moments which make one feel more and more that this is not something new, but consisting of thing that they have watched. The predictability exists here and there. Even though the premise is new, the most common comparisons made should be related to Prithviraj Sukumaran’s two movies, 7th Day and Sapthamashree Thaskaraha. There are too many characters in this movie, and they just keep coming to add nothing special. There are experienced performers doing these roles too, and one has to wonder if they were needed in this movie even though they did their job with ease. The movie doesn’t really finish that well as expected, and the songs are very much forgettable. The pace also has too much variation. The mass moments do more bad than good.

Performers of the soul :: Once again, there is no doubt about who steals the show, as Mohanlal seems to go through this character in his usual style, and due to the same, the protagonist is safe in his hands. There seems to be some moments which seems to be custom made for him, which he manage with elegance. He is surely bigger than this movie itself, and manages to bring that charm to his character which helps to keep the level of this movie higher. Even though it takes about fifteen minutes or a little more for him to come to the screen, he holds things together from his very first appearance. This movie needed him a lot, and he has brought the movie the much needed strength. The support that he gets in this movie is from a lot of people that if you note them down with their performances in detail, you can be sure to have a lot of ink and paper ready.

More performers of the soul :: Andrea Jeremiah is the lady lead in this movie, but she is not Mohanlal’s heroine, and neither does she have anything substantial to contribute to the basic story-line despite what we might expect in the beginning. But she manages to do her job very well – still, one has to wonder if she was needed in her third Malayalam movie for this role which could have been done by one from that long supporting list cast, and they could have done without one character which was not needed? After all, this is no Annayum Rasoolum or London Bridge. Ajmal Ameer, Suresh Krishna, Joju George and others make the team of villains among which the one big performer is once again Siddique who does well at many levels. This is another different role for him, and you have to admire his versatility once again!

Further performers of the soul :: Tini Tom, Sasi Kalinga, Thesni Khan, Muthumani and Shankar Mahadevan are just there for a few dialogues. Manikuttan, Pearle Maaney and Srinda Ashab are there, and you might not even have noticed. Mythili and her character’s flashback in the first few minutes never really gets us interested. One has to wonder if she could have just managed the role of the leading lady and this character could have been cut off. Aju Varghese could have also been better used considering the fact that his character had scope. Even someone with the calibre of Harish Perady has very short screen presence. Abu Salim and Renji Panicker are the two most interesting performers in the team of the protagonist – they make very good impact. Vijayaraghavan does the police role in his usual style easily.

How it finishes :: The long list of well-known cast actually work against the movie at times, as people tend to think that the characters are of more importance, but they never really are. Still, the one person who is not a big name, but still catches our attention is the debutante Niranjana Anoop who provides a cute, natural and lively performance – even though she is there only in a small role and the character having not much for the main plot. We know how big the expectations were related to this movie and what kind of hopes they were. We have been watching so many thrillers these days in different languages, and the number won’t come down. So, the opinions will surely be divided about Loham. But I don’t think that this is not entertaining unlike some opinions, because this surely is an interesting ride despite the flaws.

Release date: 20th August 2015
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith
Starring: Mohanlal, Andrea Jeremiah, Siddique, Vijayaraghavan, Gauri Nanda, Renji Panicker, Joju George, Tini Tom, Ajmal Ameer, Abu Salim, Aju Varghese, KPAC Lalitha, Suresh Krishna, Mythili, Musthafa, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Muthumani, Niranjana Anoop, Mohan Jose, Thesni Khan, Manikuttan, Pearle Maaney, Srinda Ashab, Soubin Sahir, Smiju Tom Joy, Harish Perady, Irshad, Ashvin A. Mathew, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Sasi Kalinga, Kollam Thulasi, Jayan Cherthala, Shyamaprasad (cameo)

loham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.