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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Indian film review.

<—Click here to go to the highest rated Indian movie this year, as of now.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Vampire Owl: Have you read The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James?

Vampire Bat: Yes, I had read that novel as a part of writing an assignment during my English Language and Literature post graduation.

Vampire Owl: What would adding some fire to the title mean?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that this has any relation with it. This one is actually French. This is not Korean or Chinese for a change. Let this burn bright!

Vampire Owl: So, the portrait is not really the portrait that one might be led to believe it is. I would still choose a Polaroid camera instead.

Vampire Bat: It was about a young woman who inhered a large amount of money, and becoming prey to some scheming.

Vampire Owl: I have heard about the author, but most of the people I know haven’t.

Vampire Bat: Well, he hasn’t been writing the kind of works, the vampires have been reading, and so its natural not to know.

Vampire Owl: So, you are now choosing French.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we have been going further international these days.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of masala tea].

What is the movie about? :: The story is set at some time period during the end of the late eighteenth century. Marianne (Noemie Merlant) is a young painter who takes painting classes to her eager students. As she makes them paint her portrait, one of her students asks her about a special painting from her, which Marianne used to call Portrait de la jeune fille en feu. It takes us back to the origins of that particular painting, and the same has a close relationship with Marianne’s past and her emotional side. Once upon a time, Marianne was called to an isolated island in Brittany in the west of France, to paint a portrait of a young woman named Heloise (Adele Haenel) by her mother The Countess (Valeria Golino). Marianne struggles to reach there, as she herself, and the canvas falls into the sea on her way.

So, what happens with the events here? :: There, she meets Sophie (Luana Bajrami), a beautiful young girl who works as the servant to the Countess and her daughter. They become good friends, and comes to know that Heloise was at the convent, and was forced to come back to marry a wealthy Italian nobeleman because her sister had died, supposed to have jumped off a cliff. Now, this portrait is to be sent to that possible husband of Heloise as soon as possible. The Countess says that her daughter was not ready to pose in front of any painter, and so Marianne will have to pretend that she was someone who had come to accompany her during her walks, to get rid of her boredom. It seemed to be the only way for her, and Marianne started being friends with Heloise who arrived there. She also started observing Heloise enough to paint her in parts. But there will be more than just a painting that we will be having here.

The defence of Portrait of a Lady on Fire :: There is some beautiful serenity that runs through this movie and its silence which serves more than anything else, as the main actresses really make a lovely impact with their expressions and body language itself, getting us immersed into this tale set in the late eighteenth century Brittany. The setting is incredibly beautiful, making you wish to make a visit, and one wonders where this particular island stands in history. This environment created as part of this movie is a charming one, but it is also a very simple one – it is not that usually colourful world from a grand historical past as we usually see in historical drama, action or thriller movies. We go through the eyes of an artist who is not just a painter, but someone with intimate feelings which she seems to have gained in connection to her work on the canvas – it reflects there as much as it shows up in her soul.

The claws of flaw :: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a very slow movie, as you might have expected it from the talks about it, and also by what you have further read about the same. The movie also has some moments which are not utilized the best, especially related to the artistic work, the painting. The focus could have been more on that painting, and the artists feelings should have been above the person’s intimacy. There is also a lot of time taken in the beginning, and in between, which is felt more because of the movie’s slow pace. There could have also been some more characters to provide support, and this movie’s viewpoints are rather limited when you look at it. There is a lot of silence and a good number of dialogues, but there is less happening for the people who are looking for that as the thing which defines a movie – after all, this is close to being what you call the award movie in this part of the world. Two hours were not needed for this movie for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a movie nominated for Golden Palm, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, where it lost to the Korean Oscar Winner, Parasite, and so you know that this one had to score in its performances more than anything else. It has to be noted that all the main characters in this movie are female, and you see some men for that amount of time which can be better counted using seconds rather than minutes. The movie is that much dependent on its female characters, especially the two main ladies, with more to be added from a third young character, and a little more from the much older character who plays the mother. I haven’t watched many French movies, but Noemie Merlant is the one lovely actress who has come up with a perfect performance here which cannot be matched. She has been very expressive, and very much enchanting as the painter, closely followed by Adele Haenel who manages almost the same. Luana Bajrami, the next important character is done well, and Valeria Golino is there for less time, and does fine.

How it finishes :: The movie is not to be confused with The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, as the title only has the addition of fire in the end, which might have been enough to prove its point. But people are more or less attracted into feeling that this is the same thing, and only the fact that this is not a British or American movie making them feel that this is something else. But the movie is not a lesser classic when you look at it, as it feels like an old-fashioned throughout its run. It is a slow-moving thing of charm, which makes sure that the moments are there to stay. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is more or less a feeling set in that historical period, and it has that delicate beauty with the realistic touch which is to stay for the beauty of tranquility, and not for what we usually remember a movie for. Portrait of a Lady on Fire takes you through the different, classic path.

Release date: 18th September 2019
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Celine Sciamma
Starring: Noemie Merlant, Adele Haenel, Luana Bajrami, Valeria Golino

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adhura

Vampire Owl: It has been long enough since you reviewed a short-film.

Vampire Bat: I would say that the frequency of movie reviews at Movies of the Soul has decreased overall, and it is not just with the shorter versions.

Vampire Owl: I have found you to be too far away from cinema these days than ever.

Vampire Bat: Yes, I have been busy. There has been other work in between.

Vampire Owl: But I am glad that we are back to watching movies as it used to be.

Vampire Bat: This is just a small break, and you can’t expect me to review movies as much as I used to be.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this short-film has proven to be an inspiration to bring you back to the movie reviewing world, and there will be more to get you back.

Vampire Bat: It is somewhat true. But even then, that would depend on the availability of time.

Vampire Owl: Still, you remember that we have found more in short-films than the rest.

Vampire Bat: With Bengali short-films, I am sure that I can find more.

[Gets some banana chips and three cups of Munnar tea].

What is the movie about? :: It is the time of Durga Puja at Kolkata, as the City of Joy prepares for the festival. It is on one of those days that Sudipto (Praveen Srivastava) couldn’t help noticing a beautiful girl on the other side of the road where he awaits his friend to arrive on his motor-bike to provide him a ride to his office. He keeps finding the girl at the same place at the same time, and she is revealed to be Mira (Amita Bharat). As days pass, he feels that he has fallen in love with her at the first sight itself, and soon, he feels the need to gets closer to her, and desperately wishes to express his feelings for her. His friend, Bunny (Dhruv Jha) is a mutual friend to them both, who has feelings for her too, but decides to sacrifice his own feelings for Sudipto. Soon, he decides that it is time for him to propose, but then, there is a twist that awaits him.

The defence of Adhura :: Based on the Micro Story, One Rainy Day by Reetwika Banerjee, the movie is nicely brought together as an interesting short-film. With a good cast and a lovely song in between, the movie nicely brings the romantic side to full strength. It has that kind of a romantic side which some movie can only bring with a full-length. We remember that the movies like Ennu Ninte Moideen and Annayum Rasoolum took about three hours to show that there is romance out there, especially in the eyes of the male lead. This short-film takes only a few moments to do the same. We can see that the male lead, Praveen Srivastava has done an excellent job in that case – the feelings, from innocent love to heartbreak that tends to follow. The rest of the cast, Amita Bharat, Dhruv Jha and Ajoy Chakraborty, all feel so natural, something for which many bigger short-films struggle with the cast.

Soul exploration 1: The irony of love at first sight :: The story has the strength inside to keep the romance going, and nicely takes it to that final twist. It is the love at first sight, that takes on through that beautiful song, and into those final moments of agony. It is more of less the futility of what is often reflected in the feelings of infatuation that can be seen here. As love develops for beauty without knowing a person, the result, as it is always possible, could be disaster. There is the feeling of romance, but it is only half-baked, as we go deep about what has caused one to fall in love. We see the same with the protagonist, who is innocent in his dreams, but fate has that special to be more cruel that one can guess. It assures that there is no such thing as love at first sight which can stay, and there is no strength in such romance that is built on weak pillars of infatuation.

Soul exploration 2: There is no seeing behind the masks of others :: People are rarely those whom we think that they are, and most of them have a twist in waiting for us. We think that things are straight forward as it seems, but they are not. You see people with many faces, like personalities in Split, or a terrible secret to hide like in Pet. The mask that a smile brings is stronger than any other. There are not many people who are not wearing masks, and it is the tendency that comes out of innocence to believe that the masks are real faces. True love has it difficult during these days, and it is sad to say that even friendship has to struggle to find the right one. Sometimes, we are just not that good to see through people, and love is just one of those things that take the sight away from us – for, people always say that love is blind, and some others learn how bad the blindness is.

How it finishes :: Adhura might feel a little long for a few, but its shots make sure that they have our attention. Simple and yet immediately catching our attention, this one has all that it takes to keep things strong throughout its run-time in its story. You feel that you have watched what could be the perfect, cute, love story, but then you know that you have been slowly moving towards a twist which was destined to turn things upside down. This surely has the firepower to go full movie, with necessary elements added – maybe something in the lines of Premam with different stages of realization of the protagonist. With such a good cast, maybe it could go ahead of a number of other movies which have dealt with a similar theme as a full movie.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: So, I see that this is your first review of a Bengali movie of any kind.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the fourth one that I have watched.

Vampire Owl: Interesting. I remember that you also started reviewing movies in foreign languages this year.

Vampire Bat: Yes, this has been an interesting year. Just like the last year, so many things happened around here.

Vampire Owl: Who would have thought that Take Off would be our favourite movie of the year?

Vampire Bat: A lot of things including this review were not on our list. I am sure that there is more to come this year with more than two months left.

Vampire Owl: I can already say that you are going to review more Bengali movies.

Vampire Bat: That would depend on the permission given by time.

Vampire Owl: Time is a fraud. He would never stop for us.

Vampire Bat: Unless, we go so fast that it would make us feel that he has almost stopped.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Watch the movie Adhura here:

Release date: 24th September 2017
Running time: 19 minutes
Directed by: Abhijit Sinha
Starring: Amita Bharat, Praveen Srivastava, Ajoy Chakraborty, Dhruv Jha

<— Go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ima

Vampire Owl: I always knew that this was going to happen; I actually thought that it could happen much earlier.

Vampire Bat: What exactly are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: A movie on IMA – Indian Military Academy, about the training and other incidents at the place.

Vampire Bat: No, this is not about the officer training Academy of the Indian Army at Dehradun.

Vampire Owl: You mean that this about the same, a new academy based out of somewhere else?

Vampire Bat: This has no relationship with the military.

Vampire Owl: So, this is about Indian Medical Association? Thus it could be based out of anywhere.

Vampire Bat: I see that your Malayalam has hit a new bottom. You don’t even know what “ima” means?

Vampire Owl: I am one of those evil people who read and talk less of mother tongue.

Vampire Bat: Oh! I am sure that it makes you more evil than most of the villains.

[Gets some potato chips and three cups of Ceylon tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of Madhavan (Pratap Pothen) and Radhu (Menaka Suresh), a couple in their fifties, who are living all by themselves in a house in their village, disconnected from the busy world. They have nobody for help, and their best friends are their two pets, a parrot and a dog. Their best access to the town is through a rowing boat, and they rarely go out that far. Radhu is blind, but she is very much adjusted to live in the house without her sight, accustomed to each corner and each object there. Madhavan has his own eye problems, and has only a terribly blurred vision without his glasses – the spectacles are the first thing that he searches for, right after he wakes up; not tea, newspaper, his loved ones, or anything else. It is only after he puts them in front of his eyes that his day begins.

So, what happens next? :: It is just the love for each other that they need in this life. They balance each other and their life, which goes on as they are there for each other. But there is a complication when Madhavan’s glasses are broken. He finds himself more vulnerable than ever, and he feels more blind than his wife. But when there is the love for your life on your side, there is no need to panic. True love is the one in which both always care for one another. There is no blindness that can stop the light from coming in and staying in their lives, and they will realize that again. It is those little things in life that makes one feel the love again, and being together for eternity is what fairy-tales have wanted us to believe. These two need no fairy-tales, Shakespearean Sonnets, or tales of true love to bring certainty, as they know that they have each other, forever.

Soul exploration 1: True love and where it stands beyond lust and infatuation :: These days, one can only keep wondering where the true love lies. It is mostly in those movies which are rather overrated in the name of love, but the same is not reflected in our lives – sometimes the so called love is compared to leaving the one whom he or she is supposed to marry on the location of wedding itself, but that would be nothing less than lust and infatuation. True love is a case of understanding and care which has to be there all the time. But the new generation struggles to find the same, giving into those things which have no part in the soul, like beauty and wealth. When providing support to the better half isn’t the first thing to do in marriage, it is no real life after wedding at all. True love is when it is a person whom one loves, and not his or her money or body. When souls unite, everything is else is just optional.

Soul exploration 2: Love as a journey of togetherness for eternity :: Through marriage, one also promises to take care of the other until death, and it is something which has to be done all the time. The older generation, despite having their own problems, seemed to understand it better, no matter the degree of love which they show. Whatever problem one has, the other has to nullify the same. It is those who are ready to take this step, that needs to be in such a relationship – it is the others who marry in the name of the spouse having a big job, wealth in the name of cash, big house, luxurious car or property that won’t understand this idea of eternity. But there are those people who look for these features on the one they are to marry, and some people even ask for a government job for the groom – some people just never consider goodness to be a positive thing in a relationship.

How it finishes :: The movie’s cast is rather small, as except for Pratap Pothen and Menaka Suresh, there are no real human presence – the exceptions there are the one who delivers the newspaper in the morning and the one who rows the boat. It is the pair that excels above everything else in this movie. Also, the visuals are too good, with the simplicity as well as the beauty that it possessed. What we have to note is how a simple incident in the lives of two simple people has been made so interesting in such a less run-time. It is also the kind of life that we hope everyone would have, and we feel that maybe this little short-film about the love and care for each other that a couple shows, will stay in the mind of many more people and inspire them to be of love and support for each other, living up to the wedding vows which they exchange. It is the message that a messed up world needs, and it is what everyone should take home and keep with them.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: Humans can love like this? I wouldn’t believe that.

Vampire Bat: Human capability for love is very much there, but it is just that they won’t try that hard to love.

Vampire Owl: These humans are rather too selfish. When was the last time love was really love?

Vampire Bat: It is easier to hate due the inherent evil in man. It was proven in The Belko Experiment too.

Vampire Owl: But they find writing about love to be rather easy. They even make so many movies with love being the theme, like Anarkali, Ennu Ninte Moideen, London Bridge, Premam, Kismath, Thattathin Marayathu, Basheerinte Premalekhanam, Madhura Naranga, Om Shanti Oshana and all.

Vampire Bat: Romantic movies are the easier ones to make. It is the reason why Bollywood have so many of them.

Vampire Owl: Moonnamathe Vazhi was a nice romantic short-film and so was The Story of 90 Coins, I remember.

Vampire Bat: You remember Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol injecting romance into family drama and CIA: Comrade in America doing the same into communism; Sakhavu also did the latter.

Vampire Owl: Still, there is nothing like Brooklyn with its romance.

Vampire Bat: And Crimson Peak with its good old Gothic Romance Horror.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 10th June 2017
Running time: 11 minutes
Directed by: Liju Krishna
Starring: Pratap Pothen, Menaka Suresh

Watch the movie Ima here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Invisible Actor

Vampire Owl: An invisible actor? Did the actor become invisible after a case was registered against him?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that it is not what they meant. There could be many meanings for the same.

Vampire Owl: Then, has the invisibility elixir been stolen from Doctor Frankenstein? This calls for code bloody red alert on level twenty eight!

Vampire Bat: When did he invent that? It is not even on the research list.

Vampire Owl: Well, I am sure that he would have invented that. He is just not telling us. People invent such things all the time in those science fiction books.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Mr. Frankenstein has any role to play in this short-film.

Vampire Owl: I am writing an article on the evil side of invisibility anyway.

Vampire Bat: Some people are just invisible even without the elixir.

Vampire Owl: Just like people being alive and immortal without the Elixir of Life.

Vampire Bat: It is another myth. What we have here is real.

[Gets some banana chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: The crew of a movie has gathered in an old style Kerala house to shoot for the biopic of a renowned Kathakali artist known as Govindan Master (Kalasala Babu). This particular person, whose name is only taken with so much respect, had such an undying love for the art form that he used to bunk his classes to see and learn it at the academy from a distance. It is said that his father, upon realizing his passion, and his lack of interest in regular studies, let him study Kathakali from an early age, and the art form had become his life, until his last breath. This Kathakali Master had given up his whole life for the same, not asking for anything in return. His performances had inspired many to follow his path, and had elevated Kerala’s own colourful contribution to the story play genre of art to another level. His Kathakali performances had made him a legend, with no parallels.

So, what happens next with this tale of making a biopic? :: It turns out that the superstar (Saiju Kurup) who is supposed to play the character is nowhere to be seen. The whole crew has been waiting for him for quite a long time, but there is no sign of him, and he doesn’t even attend the phone – everyone else is there, and they are worried when they will be able to begin the whole thing, and sends people searching for him at the hotel where he is staying and in the surrounding areas of the town. The breakfast time is over, the lunch is done, and finally the superstar arrives with that dialogue about him being a really punctual person. He listens to the story without much interest, while clicking on his mobile phone’s screen. He looks at the photo of the Kathakali artist as if it doesn’t matter – but little does he know that the character he is playing, is watching him.

Soul exploration 1: Of actors and superstars :: One can divide the movie world into two – one which has the actors, and the other which has the superstars. In our world, both often come together, but we often see some actors who deserve better than the superstars, but it is the superstar movie which go on to become the big hit each and every time. There are those one hundred crore movies in Bollywood, which have almost nothing in them other than its superstars – take a look at those top ten movies, and almost all of them have depended on their superstar rather than the actor. I would think otherwise – if Nawazuddin Siddiqui acts in a movie, I would watch that movie for sure, maybe even twice; whether it is Raman Raghav 2.0 or Te3n from last year. I have never really been interested in these superstars – the day they become more superstars and less actor, is the day they sacrifice their best part.

Soul exploration 2: Within and outside a character :: It is a usual thing to change the character to match that of the superstar – there are so many movies which make us feel the same, and naming a few of them would only bring the fan chaos on us. The superstars will say that they practiced cricket to play a cricketer, lived with gangsters to play a mafia don, slept at a cemetery for a horror movie, had classes at a music academy to play a musician and so on, but we know how fake that could be, just like they come on television and tell everyone that this is his or her best performance ever. But to become a character, the so called superstar needs to know the mind, thinking in the way the character think, and acting the way he would. Otherwise, it is the character that would become the superstar and not the other way around. Will some of our superheroes who need to know this realize the same one day?

Soul exploration 3: An eternity within a performance :: There should always be more in a flick with a performance than just being part of a big hundred crore movie. We have the need to see each character on the screen as a different person – it is the same which has been missing in some of those movies which degrade themselves into what is often termed as mass masala. There is the need to rise above the same, as what is often known to cater to this particular genre is nothing other than pure absurdity. It is the terrible and unfair strength of these mindless mass movies which have been devouring the actor and bringing the superstar out on too many occasions. Then there are those fan clubs which are only interested in turning the cinema halls which is for entertainment and thoughts, into something resembling nuisance. It has to be countered with not a mass performance, but with the beauty of an rternity within a work.

How it finishes :: The movie has two actors who have been rather underused by the industry if you look at their movies. Kalasala Babu amazes us in his presence for the short period of time, while we have Saiju Kurup who had some nice and funny roles in Adventures of Omanakuttan and Alamara doing a wonderful job as the superstar. They make the final few moments of this short-film rise to a higher level, and we have something which is worth more than a usual short movie. I have watched a good number of short-films in the last few days, with choosing to review only less than half of them which seem to be worthy, and among them, this one should have a top place. Invisible Actor wishes for the actor to become invisible and the character to take over when the shooting begins – it should be how we should differentiate actors from superstars; movies need actors, and they could let everyone keep the superstar side out, letting the acting flow, no matter how popular the actor is.

 

Release date: 6th July 2017
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Avinash Chandran
Starring: Saiju Kurup, Kalasala Babu, Jayasankar, Akhil Lekshman, Arun, Naresh

Watch Invisible Actor here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fan

fan

Vampire Owl: We are looking forward to our fans. I am going to call them my friends, brothers and potato chips.

Vampire Bat: No, we are not. Our policy is against having fans.

Vampire Owl: Oh! What about one special fan?

Vampire Bat: No, especially not one special fan.

Vampire Owl: But they are all poor, brainless zombie minions in my case.

Vampire Bat: It is the same problem with the fans. They are also mostly brainless.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have seen them posting “bomblastic”, “elastic”, “fanta-stick”, “amaze-singh” and all for their favourite stars’ movies even before the flicks release.

Vampire Bat: You do see the problem, don’t you? And after the dumb movies release, they abuse people who say that a dumb movie is not good enough.

Vampire Owl: Yes, the lack of brains. Can they grow some? We can provide the nutrients.

Vampire Bat: We are still discovering a special magic for the same.

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Gaurav Chadana (Shah Rukh Khan) is a big fan of the popular Bollywood superstar Aryan Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan in the second role). He has managed to keep a certain obsession with the superstar for such a long time, that he often forgets everything else in his life. His career or the people around him rarely becomes his priority in a life filled with strange obsession. Even though a lot younger, his face has some similarity with that of Aryan, and that helps him to win local competitions and talent shows talking, acting and dancing as Aryan. He has a crush on the girl in the neighbourhood, Neha (Shriya Pilgaonkar), but his big passion and admiration is for the superstar whom he had grown up watching. He has been thinking about the same only, and one day goes on a journey to Mumbai in order to meet Aryan in person.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Gaurav reaches Mumbai, and resides in the hotel room where Aryan had lived long ago before becoming a star, and begins his attempts to meet the superstar – but he just can’t get past the top-level security. As a younger rising superstar makes some rude remarks about Aryan, Gaurav gets into his place, posing as his fan, and beats him up – he also makes him apologize for talking against Aryan. But as the video is uploaded on the internet for the world to see, Aryan retaliates by getting him arrested. After getting beaten up by the police, Gaurav is only so happy to meet Aryan for the first time in his life. But Aryan scolds him, and tells the boy that it was he who got him arrested, and it is better for him to leave for Delhi. An angry Gaurav is not happy about it, and decides to retaliate – but how? And where will this angry revenge lead?

The defence of Fan :: This is the movie of Shah Rukh Khan as he single-handedly makes this movie successful, as he conveys the message against dumb fan worship perfectly. It is him versus him in two roles; Shah Rukh Khan against Shah Rukh Khan as both wins here – two grand performances here. Everyone else might be there, but the focus is always on him, and he plays these character with such honesty that one really feels the need to applaud now and then. He also makes us see that these fans make their own families and loved one suffer, and it is a major really relevant in this age. The whole thing is done nicely and quickly, with no drag. There are no silly songs to slow down things, and there is no dumb humour which had the chance to be here. So, this one becomes Shah Rukh Khan’s best performance in the last few years, and one of his smartest movies in the same period of time. Yes, Waluscha de Sousa and Shriya Pilgaonkar are good too, but this is a Shah Rukh show in full power.

Claws of flaw :: Even though one side of the movie feels so real, there are part of the movie that are overdone, especially with a simple boy from a common family with so less number of friends able to cause this much trouble to a very influential superstar – something which would be near impossible to do undetected in real life. Some sequences do make one wonder if this particular person has been doing the same for many years – maybe he has a habit of bothering people all the time, but sometimes, fans are really good at that, aren’t they? There was the need to keep this one completely within the realistic angle, and the failure to do so has also hurt here. This could have also been done as a thriller, with the superstar as well as us knowing what hit the man only later. To add that, the fans who usually watch a movie twenty five times might have not watched this movie either.

Soul exploration :: There is one major reason why this won’t be a major hit like the other movies of Shah Rukh Khan or even the rest of the big names – it is because this is the most honest attempt by any actor in Bollywood to make people understand the evil that exists in the form of fans. This is not brainless thing like Chennai Express or eternally overrated like Dear Zindagi; for the kind of audience that likes Dilwale and Happy New Year, this was not the case. People still want a million sequels to Dhoom and Krrish and its keeps being proven again and again. This is the only reason why this movie didn’t gross more than these other movies; the increasing need for people to grow brains is there. Without that, when the zombie apocalypse finally arrives, there will be nobody to eat these people – just think how sad that will be for the zombies; no you only think about yourselves. Brains and fans – too far away from each other, unless one day, there is no hate and abuse, but only the desire to do good in the name of the superstar.

[A few minutes after the movie].

Vampire Owl: There is another way, you know.

Vampire Bat: No, whatever you are thinking about, drop that idea right now.

Vampire Owl: We could be someone’s fan. Then we can do no job throughout our lives and tell everyone that we are fan club secretary of Transylvania wing.

Vampire Bat: Did you not understand anything from this movie?

Vampire Owl: Yes, I understood the easy way.

Vampire Bat: Who are you going to be a fan of?

Vampire Owl: What about Uncle Dracula?

Vampire Bat: Dude, his existence is Z-level secret. That creepy old dude Van Helsing will come back from the dead if he knows that Uncle Dracula is alive and has a fan-base.

Vampire Owl: I wouldn’t want that. He smells bad.

Vampire Bat: So, keep it a “no fan” area. Keep every fan away.

[Gets on the Vampire Bat Mobile and travels to the tree-top].

Release date: 15th April 2016
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Maneesh Sharma
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Waluscha de Sousa, Sayani Gupta, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Deepika Amin, Yogendra Tiku

fan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

London Bridge

londonbrdg

Malayalam movies in 2014 :: This year hasn’t started really well for me, as I don’t think that any movie from Kerala in 2014 has been even average, may be because of that extending the limits by Drishyam, but with London Bridge, there is a some comeback. I do have to warn you in advance that it is a love story, but not your usual romantic love story – the romance factor is not the point here, and what takes over is humanity or rather compassion and goodness in its most innocent form. So, if you are expecting too much of intimate scenes and the dialogues professing eternal love, you are going to be disappointed. But the love in this movie still manages to be more genuine than what was seen in most of the love stories, especially those repetitive romantic love tales of the same kind. This love might look kind of ordinary, but there is so much going through the background, a flurry of emotions which takes one’s heart by storm, and it is clear that even nature comes in just to help and leave after taking a bow. Why wouldn’t gaia wish to contribute when it can see the loss of mankind’s loss of inherent evil? If there is another movie to which this one can be connected, that should be Diamond Necklace – you will know!

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Vijay Das (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a promising young businessman in the city of London who after starting off in a student visa has made it big with the help of his mentor Francis (Mukesh). As he runs a number of shops and money lending business, and in his path, Vijay comes face to face with a huge business tycoon CS Nambiar (Prathap Pothen), one of the richest Keralites in the United Kingdom. Even as they start off against each other in the beginning, Nambiar is impressed by the ambitions and hardwork of his fellow Malayali, decides that he will be a nice choice for his daughter Pavithra Nambiar (Andrea Jeremiah) who is determined to be a social worker and is not interested in marriage. As Vijay works on Nambiar’s instructions and attempts to please Pavithra, he comes to know that she is interested only in art, literature and charity works, while he is always after money. He struggles to keep with her, but as Vijay’s car hits Merin Elsa John (Nanditha Raj), he finds a chance. Merin has just come to the country and is just about to start her job as a nurse when this ends up in he hospital – she is regularly visited by Vijay to show his compassion to Pavithra who starts falling for him, but Merin also starts developing feelings for him, which he also develops.

The defence of London Bridge :: I am sure that a lots of people will be asking me to this, after watching this or while reading the other reviews. Yes, I am going to start by admiring this movie for its assertion of compassion and goodness. One can’t avoid the emotional power of the movie either. There are simply good-looking people and breath-taking scenery – I have never seen the beauty of England and Scotland being captured in this manner. There is the countryside at its best and also London, especially the London Bridge, Big Ben, Tower of London and London Eye. There are also the support of some brilliant shots which help the movie. It creates an incredible amount of nostalgia in me, related to my last visit to the United Kingdom. I know my brethren will be having nostalgia about many things, but this is one completely belonging to me, and increasing my desire to visit the place again; may be there was something that I left unfinished. The movie should make the United Kingdom tourism proud, especially the countryside and London in the way in which they are portrayed. This will remain one of the most visually stunning movies as far as capturing nature is concerned. Now you know why William Wordsworth and company had to write poems; how could they not see such beauty while being such visionaries?

The claws of flaw :: London Bridge doesn’t try to be different with its script, as it goes on and on with what the audience has known for quite a long time. There are dialogues which doesn’t really like to pick up, and there moments which were to be awesome, but remains ordinary. The movie drags a bit, and it can make the audience looking for entertainment asking for more, especially as this movie lacks exaggeration of any kind with its good length. There is no creation of a romantic world for these three people and the romance might look kind of weak from the outside. There are simple human emotions, fear, compassion, love, pain and frustration; even if it is quite normal to have these in a normal way, most people are not going to like it, that is for sure. This might also be my favourite movie from this director who has touched a new area, but I know there are skeptics who will disagree. They might feel that this is not “cinematic” enough, but I would disagree as usual. I am a person who love to agree to disagree when it comes to movies, so you should know. It needed some polishing that is for sure, still there is a typical flow and the movie can do a Hobbit-dwarves-barrel-escape, as it is pushed into the river of love and emotions powered by humanity. May be they could do better with a few wood-elves with nice archery skills, especially as this is such a competitive world that hitting the bulls-eye is so important (unless you wish to be devoured by impatient entertainment-orcs).

Performers of the soul :: The performance department is led by Prithviraj Sukumaran who fits into his role with ease. The transformation that his character has, and the variation that happens to his attitude as well as his relationship with others are admirable; especially from a heartless businessman to the man with the golden heart. He has once again rightly chosen not to be a superhuman character, but a normal human. Nanditha Raj as Merin is one of the most lovable characters ever, and with a stunning cuteness, she has done her agonized character so much life that, her eyes and expressions tell the story better than the words. I would be surprised if anyone would be cuter in a role such as this. But she is still never a weak character as she holds on to life without giving up or asking for favours, and never does she cease to care or be good. One has to love that change in expression when she comes to know that he is the one who hit her, and that was a nice sweet moment. She’s most impressive in those moments of sadness, and incredibly cute in those moments of happiness. Merin Elsa John is a character in pain from the moment she is introduced to us, but there is always a certain amount of innocence associated with her which touches our heart, and the way she finds cute smiles between tears and agony is wonderful success to Nanditha’s debut in Malayalam. She makes us feel for Merin each and every moment like a needle piercing through out hearts, and you have to say that the teeth adds to that innocence!

Other performers :: I have to say that I was also touched by the performance of Andrea Jeremiah which is second only to Nanditha. There has always been something mysterious about her, and the way she deals with Pavithra is worth mentioning anywhere. Her character as the rich heiress to a huge business should have been the exact opposite of our other lady character, but she develops something more of her own, and actually surprises us in a pleasant manner, right in the beginning and particularly in the end. She comes up with something by the end which gives this movie an extra emotional boost. I didn’t like her in Annayum Rasoolum, but not this time. Prathap K. Pothan has a strong role to play, as his character is special, and different from what you usually see with such a character, a rich businessman looking to marry off his daughter. Sunil Sukhada catches the attention with his character and Lena Abhilash has a very good presence as Gracy which is boosted by her own performance. Mukesh contributes as he always does, and it is nice how he fits into such characters. Yes, they all did well and it made me feel very good in the end, I was happy when it finished, and the performance of each of them made sure that I was with them, that is for sure. The songs are nice performers too, especially “Kannadi Vaathil” and “Venmegham”; while “Ennum Ninne Orkkanayullil” is cute and “Chinni Chinni” is fine. They look the best with the visuals.

How it finishes :: I am recommending London Bridge for anyone who likes to watch a feel-good movie and not some random glorification of anything, whether it is cricket, violence or sex. The credit of the same goes to our three leading actors, the superstar who accepted the role of a normal guy in an ordinary movies, and the two leading actresses, one giving life to an innocent girl from Thiruvalla and the other to a true humanist and charity worker who is more alive than anyone else. The movie is strong at soul, even as it displays its strengths so less due to its execution problems. Its ends up telling us that we will know the importance of someone in our life only when we feel that we are going to loose them. Prithviraj and Nanditha makes us feel it, so much more and more as the movie progresses to the end. But I would like to add that this is not that much for mindless entertainment; this is for serenity, and this is a tribute to that love which is not based on lust and infatuation, as we see in most of the other love stories. Thank you Anil C. Menon, for this perfect cast, and it is the best thing, along with the incredibly beautiful visuals of the United Kingdom and the feeling that it leaves us with. It makes me wish to go to the British Isles again, and re-create my time there. The flaws might be many, but the pain is perfect and it strikes as it touches your good side as long as it exists! I would also ask the viewers to keep away from the usual conventions about a love story, as it is not how this works!

Release date: 1st February 2014
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Anil C. Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Andrea Jeremiah, Nanditha Raj, Prathap K. Pothan, Mukesh, Sunil Sukhada, Lena Abhilash, Amritha Anil

londonbridge copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.