Vaashi

Vampire Owl: I did like the trailer enough to go for this particular movie.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we are less interested in watching movies in general.

Vampire Owl: We can’t leave the movies just like that.

Vampire Bat: We are not leaving them. We just don’t watch that many of them.

Vampire Owl: It is a deviation from our earlier policy.

Vampire Bat: There are no permanent policies in a world of chaos.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that chaos hasn’t left our world again.

Vampire Bat: I will not hesitate to say that it is forever.

Vampire Owl: Why is it that humans can’t keep the chaos to themselves?

Vampire Bat: Maybe they are too busy with evil that chaos is no longer deemed necessary.

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

What is the movie about? :: Advocate Ebin Mathew (Tovino Thomas) and Advocate Madhavi Mohan (Keerthy Suresh) are collegues who have only started some progress in their field of expertise. While Ebin struggles to find the cases, Madhavi feels that she is wasting her time under a senior lawyer who doesn’t value her at all. Even though Madhavi is not even able to submit documents to the court properly, she blames other for it, and continuously plays the victim card. Advocate Satheesh Mulloor (Baiju Santhosh) tells them that there is a room available for setting up a lawyer’s office. They start working together, also falling in love in the process, and soon, Ebin gets appointed as the public prosecutor, as his influential brother-in-law manages to get his name ahead of the other lawyers trying for the post. Soon, as both of them are forced by their parents to get married, the two finally decide to get together with one another, even though Madhavi feels that she is not ready, as she is not settled yet. She is insecure because she always feels that she is targeted because she is a woman, but in reality, she remains an irritating person who doesn’t know how to talk to people with mutual respect. Ebin gets his first duty in the form of Anusha Shivakumar (Anagha Narayanan) who has filed a case against Gautam Ganesh (Anu Mohan), which goes forward as breach of promise to marry after intercourse.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Anusha had also tried to commit suicide after he had refused to marry her. But it turns out that Ganesh is a relative of Madhavi, and she is forced to take the case, much to the shock and dismay of Ebin, as he sees her in the court in defence of the accused. The two decide to keep the matters of court away from their personal lives in the beginning stages. Even though the two families find their marriage idea with the case going on in the background complicated, they agree to the alliance despite the community differences. But their battle against each other in the court soon begins to cause problems in their personal life, and most of the time, they try not to let anyone else know about the crisis. Ganesh assures Keerthy that he made no promise to marry Anusha at any point of time, and that they didn’t come close to a proposal either. Ebin and Madhavi continues to fight over the case, and the relationship gets to a new low. But the question remains about how far they can go on like this, and also about who will win the case in the end? Who will be the one desiring for a win the most? Where will pride and prejudice lead them?

The defence of Vaashi :: The film is pretty much effective as a courtroom drama, and has its moments to lift the level. It doesn’t make a mess of things even when there were so many chances – it sticks to the points instead of looking for mass masala dialogues like Jana Gana Mana, and there is not that much of a stress on romance and other usual nuisance which comes to ruin a film which deals with the relevant things. The movie has control over the world, and doesn’t go on to add the dialogues to get the claps. There are messages about right and wrong, while also talking about the complicated situation of law, as subjectivity and objectivity might come up with different results every time. It reminds us that people can’t be understood by just feeling that we have known them for very long, and also that balancing work and family is important. The songs are mostly good, even though not that much effective to remember for long. It is the combination of the leading performers that makes this one better – they do make us feel that they are stronger together, and the supporting cast contributes nicely. This is the kind of the movie which makes you feel the need to watch it from the trailer itself.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional side is not that effective unlike how it seems to have been intended. The movie rushes through some of the moments which should have taken more time, while it slows down for no particular reason at times. It doesn’t try to make the point strong enough, and in the end, even though there seems to be valid ideas, there are rather too many of them, and we feel that they bring conflict with each other, as ending struggles. The final talk about no right and wrong being present feels rather foolish, as one just can’t put everything in the grey zone, for good and evil makes the grey, sometimes a lighter version or at other times the darker one. Having one’s own principles matter in life, and trying to be righteous is not a bad thing. You just can’t avoid the opportunity to find the right thing to do, and it is where the spectrum of feel-good films lie, and we appreciate them for the amount of goodness it displays against the chaotic world – the female lead’s ideas also go vague from the beginning itself. In the end, it feels that the movie is trying to lose the meaning rather than to find it by the end.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas has another interesting movie for him, and manages to come up with a fine performance yet again. Minnal Murali star has had the different varieties of movies – Kaanekkaane of the emotional side, Forensic of the thriller side and Kilometers and Kilometers of the funny side. He gets to shine here, more than anyone else, as his character feels that it is the naïve young woman that needs justice as there was manipulation. Keerthy Suresh is back to Malayalam movie industry, and we only hope that she is here to stay. Even though her character does seem irritating in the beginning stages, she gets her moments in the later stages, and finishes off really well – the dialogue from Maayanadhi is nicely used in her speech, providing a reminder that women often get away easily due to the favourable laws and men are punished. Baiju Santhosh has another solid role which is done very well. Anagha Narayanan gets her moments to perform, and she contributes well – she could be the talent that Malayalam cinema industry could use more in future. Anu Mohan also gets a good role to work with after Twenty One Grams, and there is no trouble there either. Rony David also has a notable role which will be remembered. Kottayam Ramesh as magistrate is very much a fine act too. At the same time, Nandu plays the father figure in a convincing manner.

How it finishes :: The movie manages to be an engaging courtroom drama for most of its run-time. There are moments when the struggles appear, but with some other sequences, the movie gets over them. Here, we have something at almost all times to make up for what goes missing, and it is a film of ups and downs, but it talks about two sides of a problem effectively. The idea becomes even more relevant in the contemporary world, as similar cases have been in the news for some time, and one can only wonder if there will be answers to some questions which are raised by such situations. The world is a strange place, and it often struggles to provide truth in a world of lies. The movie also seems to have focused on taking a safe side, as there is no clear conclusion derived around here. It seems to try and make sure that it makes some point, but as it is reluctant to take any risk, the questions remain. Well, this is one movie which was of interest due to the cast and the premise, and considering the same, it has delivered well enough.

Release date: 17th July 2022 (Netflix); 17th June 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Vishnu G Raghav
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Keerthy Suresh, Anagha Narayanan, Anu Mohan, Baiju Sathosh, Rony David, Kottayam Ramesh, G Suresh Kumar, Maya Menon, Sreelakshmi, Nandu, Maya Viswanath, Arya, Vanitha Krishnachandran, RJ Raghu, Meera Nair PS, Amal Rajdev, Vijaya Kumari

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Malik

What is the movie about? :: Sulaiman Malik (Fahadh Faasil) is a leader of a coastal community consisting mostly of fishermen. He is taking a break from the usual activities, and is going for Hajj, when he is arrested by the police. In his coastal village of Ramadappilly, people begin an agitation. A strike is organized to demand his release, and a curfew is imposed on the area. Soon, there are riots in the streets, and the local people take on the police. It seems that there is a political game going on in the background, with corporates having a say in the same, as PA Aboobacker (Dileesh Pothan), the minister from the area also pretends that he knows nothing, and doesn’t support the request to provide some extra security to him in prison. At the same time, there are plans being made to finish Saulaiman in the prison itself, as the police hopes that this would end their troubles, and can finally bring peace to the seaside community.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sulaiman has had a troublesome past, as he often got into trouble in school itself, and soon lands in the juvenile home, a place where he would have to go again. After dropping out from school with his best friend David Christudas (Vinay Forrt) and Peter Esthappan (Dinesh Prabhakar) he gets into smuggling with Aboobacker and Chandran (Nisthar Sait), who controls most of the happenings in the coast. But there is a rift between the groups, and they split. Sulaiman and David lead the young group which makes inroads into the business, and makes great profit at the expense of Chandran. Sulaiman falls in love with Roselin (Nimisha Sajayan), David’s sister who is the only one from the area who has studied in a college, but not many people know about this interest. At the same time, the new collector, Anwar Ali (Joju George) provides them help to start a new school. But all of a sudden, things take another twist, and Sulaiman develops into another kind of a leader, and it would change the whole equation, leading to the present events.

The defence of Malik :: Malik maintains a certain strength throughout its run, and even with its seemingly lighter moments, the same is maintained. The film goes through the strong message of political games running wild in the background, as everything seems to be planned by people in control, the government and the corporates which use religion for their own purposes, and it is more about the religious identity rather than God as long as it stays with them – of course, this is about the corporates who pay the politicians, especially those who are rather too rich. WH Auden had said about the same in his poem, Refugee Blues, on the plight of humans in comparison to animals and birds due to politicians. There are many threads of revenge and hatred which runs right through here, and some of them also takes some fine, memorable twists. The connections made here are also nice. Here, it has the struggles of the characters, and questions about who is right and who is wrong. It also takes on what happens in between everything, as something more than what meets the eye. The visuals are also really good here, as there are some fine shots of the sea and the surroundings.

Positives and negatives :: There is something that Malik seems to miss in between, some periods of time which could have been better shown here. The ending could have also been better, as the movie finishes without leaving the mark which was set earlier. In the end, there is the understanding that there is no hope, and this is where the movie seems to try and bring the beginning of a repetition. For a film which had this much of a grandeur in store, this kind of a finish doesn’t serve enough of the purpose. Maybe, the lack of triumph on the side of the common man is more or less a reflection of what actually happens in this world where the powerful will continue to reign, and it doesn’t matter who is at the helm. It does show how terrifying it will continue to be, as long as religion is in the hands of politicians, who are more of atheists rather than believers, from the way they use religion for their own advantages. Malik can surely use a more positive sequel too, even if far from reality.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has another film added to the long list of films that have made an impact. He was last seen on OTT, then too on Amazon Prime, with a wonderful performance in Joji, and this one also follows the same suite, but in a different way, as the characters go divergent in both cases. Here, he plays another strong character, and it has been one which the audience has been waiting for, since months ago – the movie has been getting delayed all the time for releasing in the theatres, and it has come to OTT, which is a perfect move, for Fahadh has his admirers everywhere. This performance from him will be listed among the big ones too. He has moments in different points of the main characters’ life, and all these time periods have something special from his side, for the audience to remember. Nimisha Sajayan who was last seen in Nayattu, also has a fine job to do here, which she manages to do without any struggle. She also has a strong role here, and the support that she provides is of high quality.

Further performers of the soul :: The next person who has our attention is Vinay Forrt, who gets into this role with ease. He adds a natural performance to the whole thing. Dileesh Pothan comes in, and plays a typical politician with his own sinister motives, and it is done naturally too. Indrans’ role of the police officer also becomes very much notable. Joju George also has some nice contribution to provide here, and he is supposed to be doing a role which was initially meant for Biju Menon. Dinesh Prabhakar is also here, adding to the totality. Appani Sarath and Sudhi Koppa have some contributions to provide here, and they do it well, only to have only a short stay there, when we were expecting something grand to be there. Salim Kumar also has a comparatively smaller role to do around here. There is the lesser known among the cast who have also done some nice job around here, and it includes Sanal Aman who played the character of Freddy, Parvathy Krishna who played the doctor, along with some police officers and people of the village.

How it finishes :: Malik was supposed to be one grand film to be released in theatre with all the grandeur that it deserved, and even its OTT release, the film maintains some of it. The wait has been worth it, when we look at the movie as a whole. The question would be still be about if it could have been more, as the expectations were that high, and there is the certainty of deviations from what was actually expected after watching the trailer. But the film is indeed strong, and with Fahadh Faasil and Nimisha Sajayan in the lead, you would expect that. Well, it is nice to see that it has finally released, because the same wouldn’t have happened in the theatres soon enough, and releasing something like Marakkar on the big screen will be a big risk even in the month of August, as we see where the COVID-19 numbers are going – it is certainly much above what was expected, and we don’t really see things getting safer with another possible wave on the way. Until then, we can also watch Cold Case, Mohan Kumar Fans, Kho Kho, Aarkkariyam etc among others on Prime again!

Release date: 15th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayanan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Nimisha Sajayan, Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Dileesh Pothan, Anjusha CA, Divya Prabha, Amal Rajdev, Indrans, Jalaja, Salim Kumar, Appani Sarath, Sudhi Koppa, Devan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Rajesh Babu, Meenakshi Raveendran, Rajesh Sharma, Irshad, Abhijith Krishna, Nisthar Sait, Dev Mohan, Sanal Aman, Parvathy Krishna, Devaki Rajendran, Asif Yogi

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

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.