Madhura Naranga

madhuranarangaa

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that there are three other Malayalam movies to watch as interesting choices are there?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is why we are standing here in the queue from the morning itself.

Vampire Owl :: Tough times, isn’t it? Malayalam movies haven’t been doing well enough since that big Premam and Ivide weekend.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, non-Malayalam movies are taking away all the glory. But this might be the weekend on which we fight back.

Vampire Owl :: But are you sure about this choice?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, even if this movie is not good enough, we will watch another movie after this and make sure that we leave for home as happy vampires.

Vampire Owl :: If the second movie is not goo too, then what will we do?

Vampire Bat :: We will watch another one. Actually there are four shows at the theatres here; 11:30, 2:30, 6:15, 9:15. We can always try four different movies today. If you are ready to go to a mall with multiplex, we can do even better.

Vampire Owl :: You are seriously trying to feed me brain damage in the form of too many movies on a day.

Vampire Bat :: I have come very close so far, haven’t I?

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: After a few early minutes in Sri Lanka, the movie takes a flashback to Sharjah. Jeevan (Kunchako Boban), Salim (Biju Menon) and Kumar (Neeraj Madhav) are just three among the large number of Malayalis working in the UAE and are sharing a house. One day, as Jeevan driving his cab, he finds a girl in trouble and brings her home. The girl is Thamara (Parvathy Ratheesh), a Sri Lankan Tamil who has escaped after being trafficked from her home country. Even though she has almost killed someone while trying to escape, Jeevan is attracted to her, and decides not to let her go in spite of being aware of the consequences. They hope to arrange a fake passport and get her back to Sri Lanka, but things were only going to get further complicated.

The defence of Madhura Naranga :: There is an interesting mix of comedy, romance and drama in this one without having any overdose. The fun mostly rests with the middle part of the movie. The presence of a humane touch in the movie is interesting. The ending scenes are touching and performances are of good quality. The beauty of UAE and also Sri Lanka up-to an extent are nicely captured – I would have wished for more shots in the island country. It is also fair not to have an India-Pakistan love story here because it has been used to death in Bollywood and was also used before in Malayalam movie industry to not that much effect. There were a few claps in the end; it asserts that the ending was effective.

The claws of flaw :: This might not be exactly the kind of movie which most of the audience would be expecting. There is no full comedy movie for which our heroes here are specialized in. There are just too many songs too than needed, and there is no improvement in quality over that quantity. The basic plot could have been better developed if it had gone on among the migrant workers, and if the focus was more on the problems which they faced. Instead, they have taken the easy way out in introducing the girl. There is also no real cinematic beauty in the romance; it progresses okay, but it begins in a weak manner. May be some thrills could have been added here and there too; it is too predictable in the current form. The medium could have been better used to bring a message.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban once again plays a role which is not new to him, and his team with Biju Menon does show signs of former glory even as it is not completely there. It is not fair to expect something like Ordinary which had a full half of comedy or Seniors which was just a complete comedy movie. Biju Menon has some nice comic dialogues, and Neeraj Madhav has a few interesting ones even though not many. Parvathy Ratheesh is a good addition to the Malayalam movie industry. Even as she doesn’t have to speak even one Malayalam word in this movie, she is right there with the emotions and expressions. It will be nice to see her in roles with more variety. Suraj Venjaramoodu has a smaller, but funny character which he manages with ease. There is no struggle there.

How it finishes :: The movie which deviates from a usual Kunchako Boban-Biju Menon comedy entertainer has its biggest enemy as the rain. It has been heavy downpour throughout the day, and the audience presence was quite low. Even though they might feel strange about not getting exactly what they wanted, they can be satisfied with how the movie ends and how it manages to be emotionally strong with some fine performances, even from Parvathy Ratheesh who doesn’t really show the signs of a newcomer. The performance of this movie should depend on how the other flicks work. They could have sacrificed the overall clean stuff and the songs here for some twists and some extra comedy. They have said that this is based on a true story, but little liberties would have only made this one more engaging.

Theatre situation :: There are three other Malayalam movies challenging this one – Dileep’s Love 24X7 seems to have the crowd favourite star in a different role, and Acha Din will have Mammootty trying to work in a movie which has its own difference. KL.10 Pathu has Unni Mukundan in his own new style, and he also has a new face accompanying him as the leading actress just like the other movies. All four of these movies have female faces new to Malayalam movie industry, and even though the promotions have been less, the competition is going to be very high. Baahubali stays and so does Premam. It will be a big task to battle these two movies, and the continuing presence of Minions in the multiplexes will take a portion of the family audience with them and the new Salman Khan starrer also got the high capability to attract.

Release date: 17th July 2015
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Sugeeth
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Parvathy Ratheesh, Biju Menon, Neeraj Madhav, Aparna Nair, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Niyaz Becker, Saddique

madhuranaranga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Seconds

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Vampire Owl :: I can’t spare seconds. No, I am owlifying right now. Don’t you realize that?

Vampire Bat :: Seconds? What about seconds? I am talking about sparing hours for the movie called Seconds.

Vampire Owl :: I doubt if I am available. I am at work. I have already prepared the giant globe of domination to owlify the world. I just need a suitable power source. I can’t risk losing my focus due to a movie now.

Vampire Bat :: I see this as your evil plot to blame me after I watch this movie alone.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t understand why I would do that. You are the movie watcher and I am the side-kick for now. But after owlification, all of you will be my side-kicks.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t see how your plan is going to work. Lets watch the movie instead. This will make four Jayasurya movies in a month in the theatre. Isn’t it something new?

Vampire Owl :: Four? That is shocking – even I can’t play four roles in my life.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Iyobinte Pusthakam, Lal Bhadur Shastri, Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla and now Seconds.

Vampire Owl :: I see the level of movie coming down with each of them. This is why you should place your head on the rails for that movie train too.

Vampire Bat :: Even the boogeyman has been more generous with movies.

[Starts the car].

The people of the story :: An insurance agent, Veeramani (Jayasurya) lives in an agraharam with his wife (Anusree Nair) and is troubled by the lack of confidence and due to a certain amount of fear that he seems to have, he struggles to sell and achieve his target. He gets an appointment with a psychatrist and hopes to solve his problems. Meanwhile, a sales manager named Teena (Aparna Nair) is hoping to pay off her family’s debts which has risen up to a sum of twenty five lakh rupees which is clearly beyong her abilities. At the same time, a wedding photographer called Feroze (Vinay Fort) is trying to reach somewhere high in his profession with good contacts and is also hoping to buy a building for a new shop. A goon who spends most of his time in jail, Thampi (Vinayakan) is the next person on the list, and he wanders around having drugs. There is the point of view of each of these characters taken into consideration, and they are brought together in a lift.

What is it about? :: The movie is about the above mentioned people coming together in a lift of a big apartment building in the city of Cochin, and three of the four people are murdered on the location. We are only shown that Teena murders Thampi, as the other killings occur when lift gets stuck in the middle with no power. The prime suspect is Teena as expected, but the question remains if it was Thampi who murdered the rest and tried to kill Teena as he is the typical bad guy and criminal. Out of the two other people, it seems that only Veeramani has a chance for survival. As the investigations progress, the answer to all the question lie somwhere in the flashback. But there seems to be no link between these people, and the question remains about the motive as it doesn’t seem to be there at all. Four strangers in a lift, and three dead; not the best case to solve for any police team – how will it go this time?

The defence of Seconds :: The movie starts with a full power sequence, a death and the murder which happens; from there, it goes on to the usual stuff which gets the power back in the second half, and ends nicely with a twist. The struggling middle manages to connect the beginning and the end to create the desired effect, even as the theatre response still seemed pretty bad. Its non-linear pattern of narration is actually nicely woven to create the desired suspense, even as the frequency of the same could have been reduced along with the repetitions that we notice. The reason why we avoid some of the faults is due to the hope that the mistakes are corrected by the next movie. Malayalam movies still have a lot to explore in the thriller territory, and let this movie be another step in the same direction – a very small one. The cast performances are also a plus for sure. Lets categorize this one as an action-drama-thriller; should work better that way.

Claws of flaw :: Seconds struggles to keep the audience interested, as it doesn’t have that much of a powerful characterization, and neither does it gives us the characters to cheer for. It also works on the drama side too much, and its thriller side is virtually absent throughout the half sans the first few minutes. There is a lot of drag between the first nice sequence and the final ones, as what comes between is just ordinary drama that we see too many times at different occasions. In that case, we can consider the movie to be too long, as without a better characterization, this show of the life of characters is rather dull. We could have gone from the first sequence to the second half without bothering much about the life of these characters, but that certainly wouldn’t have been possible considering the already short length of the movie – there comes the need for a longer investigation and more thrills. It is a problem with the plot as a whole, but it is good as parts. There is also too much of the breaking of narrative and the re-telling of the same scenes which affect the flow.

Performers of the soul :: Making us wonder if there was clumsiness or laziness in characterization as well as the script, the four protagonists emerge here, and among them, Aparna Nair needs the most applause as she does her job with a fine touch. It is nice to see her in a major role after some time. In a role that is no challenge to him Jayasurya also excels. Vinay Fort is very good, but is often undone by the character’s lack of stability. Vinayakan also goes through his role with ease like nobody else. Salim Kumar just has a cameo in which nothing much is to be done, and Indrans and Sasi Kalinga are also limited to a few minutes on the screen. Anusree also has less dialogues and presence. Shankar Ramakrishnan is okay. May be the actors had a better chance with a better characterization and a better idea about what the makers were trying to achieve with the mixture of things.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with a strange feeling, like it seems that the movie is okay, but there is so much of incompleteness about it, and it did contribute with some boring moments to add to the already monotonous life. The movie should have been more clear in what it tries to achieve. Its power is the suspense and the twist about the murder mystery, which should have been further explored – here, the investigative side is too weak. The message here is still about the looks though, on how it can be deceiving, and how each second affects the life of a person according to one decision that he or she makes during the same. This could have been better than Angels, and still it isn’t – but the fate for both movies seems to be the same, especially with Lingaa and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies coming next weekend, and the former is expected to take a lot of audience away as it focuses on a similar audience. But lets hope for the best.

Release date: 5th December 2014
Running time: 105 minutes
Directed by: Aneesh Upasana
Starring: Jayasurya, Vinay Fort, Aparna Nair, Anusree Nair, Ambika Mohan, Vinayakan, Indrans, Salim Kumar, Riyaz Khan, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Sasi Kalinga, Narayanan Kutty

seconds

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thattathin Marayathu

thattathinmarayathu (1)

The case of love :: The stories of love has been exaggerated for centuries, and we are not strangers to how William Shakespeare described a lot of things in his Sonnets. The better qualities which are needed for this world including brotherly and sisterly love or the love for the down-trodden or the subaltern would always have to make way for a kind of love which is based on the outside beauty and powerfully fixed on infatuation and lust. Then they can ask “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” but does all the immortalizing of such love make any sense? How someone can fall in love for another just by looking at his or her is one of the weirdest things in the world. That is undoubtedly a case of infatuation and lust, however one tries to support the theory of love at first sight. But it is such a story that we are going to talk about, and it is the same thing that this movie is about, and as this turned out to be a good movie even without the “truth of love” in it, this case of love is to be left to the audience who made this one a hit, and as a film, it deserved it.

Love in the South :: Malayalam movies have had that incredible strength to come up with successful love stories which stay on our minds for long. One of the earliest movies of that kind after the early age of the legendary Chemmeen should be Nakhashathangal, but the trend came back stronger than ever with two movies Aniyathipraavu and Niram, both starring Kunchako Boban and Shalini who established themselves as the perfect star pair for love stories. The specialty of these two movies was that there was so much goodness in them, and on both occasions, the pair chooses not to disobey their parents, and such sacrifice should be at the base of love, and not carnal desire. But about the pathetic nonsense which came as pseudo-love stories, like Annayum Rasoolum, one shouldn’t bother – it was a pathetic case of looking at each other in an extended version of love at first sight moments, and that movie will do more bad than good for the romantic movies which are to follow including Oru Indian Pranayakadha. Meanwhile, Dr. Love was a superior story of love with sacrifice involved in it, just like Dhosth.

What is it about? :: This movie written and directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan as his second venture as the captain of the ship, has the story of a ordinary Hindu Nair boy falling in love with a rich Muslim girl. Vinod Nair (Nivin Pauly) has fallen for Aisha Rahman (Isha Talwar) with an incredible moment of falling in love as he hits her while running and she falls down the stairs to land in a hospital. Supported Abdu (Aju Varghese), Hamsa (Bhagath Manuel) and Mustafa (Ahmed Siddhique), he goes on a mission to win her love despite the problems caused due to religion and social status, and that fact that he belongs to the party which is fighting against her family’s business. After doing some strange and stupid things, he finally gets a chance to talk to the girl, and soon he tells her about his love to get a positive response. His supporters grow, as S.I. Prem Kumar (Manoj K. Jayan) helps further in his cause as he leaves his house. So, will this love story succeed, or does it have to become another Romeo and Juliet? Almost everyone in Kerala knows the answer.

The defence of Thattathin Marayathu :: The movie has everything which is needed for a perfect love story of exaggerated character. It is also the best love story in Malayalam since Niram, with all the possible additions of the age, including the witty dialogues, “when she replied, I felt like Sreesanth who got the wicket of Andrew Symonds” or “why should boys of Kerala need six-pack?”, and another one “you can think before making decision about my love and tell me that you do love me”. Despite the popular thoughts about this being a powerful love story, I would say that this movie is never serious – it is incredibly light and always on the humorous side; even when it tries to get serious, there is that feeling of “all’s well that ends well”, and as there is no real dark shade to the movie, this is a perfect love story which is nothing less than a fairy tale, and if we think that way, the movie is the perfection of exaggerated love, rightly presented on screen, and therefore flawless in its core.

Claws of flaw :: Despite having the best songs of the year and the great cinematography and direction, the movie is nowhere near perfection in a natural world. It clearly lacks logic and fails to make sense on multiple occasions, a flaw which can be forgiven just because of the reason for its existence. It follows the old style tradition of a boy from one religion marrying a girl of another faith, and to add to it, here one is poor and the other is rich, another stereotype explored. The boy feels the usual love at first sight for the girl and starts dreaming about her as if his life depended on her. He forgets his duties and even his parents and becomes the stupid guy, while the girl remains just the opposite, not breaking traditions or disrespecting her parents or relatives. The exchange letters through a messenger, sings songs in dreamy sequences, and hopes for being together. In that case, the movie has nothing new or innovative in its base. it is not intense, and it has no real villain except for one man who just objects to the marriage.

Thattathin Marayathu and love :: The world of the movie is strange, as the hero sells helmets after making police catch people for not wearing a helmet, and with the cash he earns, he begins a pardah shop – and that is an act of love. This movie’s definition of love is being infatuated by a random girl at a random place just because she is good-looking. Is this love or some strange feeling which has been created a girl in veil, and without that what would be she to him? Well, who cares about what should have got all the attention, as she might have been a horrible creature in soul, but the only thing that matters in this love is that she is beautiful and has a fair complexion. Thattathin Marayathu is never a story of true love, and most of the people might agree, but it is unrealistic love of exaggerated love, presented in a beautiful manner. Well, the real life can never be this simple as a whole, and it is also not this complicated in many other things that they show. Well, as long as the new bottle where you put the old wine is pretty good, how can one complain? The leaks are there, but there are provisions to make sure that the wine don’t get lost on the ground.

How it finishes :: In this visually awesome movie, another thing that catches our attention is the performance of Aju Varghese as he has done a perfect comic supporting stand there. Manoj K. Jayan and Bhagath Manuel are also nice support. Nivin Pauly comes up with a side which wasn’t there to be expected from him, and establishes himself as the romantic hero of this age. But as far as Isha Talwar is concerned, her character is a real disappointment, not talking much or doing much even as she has the most righteous character in the whole movie. The result is that he has created more of a statue image, which affected her in the movie I Love Me. She will always be remembered as a beautiful sculpture rather than a character, and the fact that she was perfect for the role doesn’t come as a positive. The movie has successfully presented its world with the support of most of its cast, and as the image it shows is of innocence and goodness even as it is covered is stupid love of exaggerated nature. It is a magnet, and it will attract viewers even after being shown on television multiple times unlike dark creatures of pathetic romance like Annayum Rasoolum.

Release date: 6th July 2012
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Isha Talwar, Aju Varghese, Bhagath Manuel, Aparna Nair, Manoj K. Jayan, Sreenivasan, Sunny Wayne, Niveda Thomas, Ahmed Sidhique, Manikuttan, Sreeram Ramachandran

thattathinmarayathu copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Silence

silence (1)

Questions of the day :: The first question of the day is less relevant, and it is about the day of release. Why would this movie be released on a Saturday? That gives the impression that the movie is less confident about fighting face to face with movies that release on the Friday as usual, and this was more of a “weak week” except for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire striking the multiplexes; that won’t help – it gives more of a feeling that by releasing on a Saturday or a Sunday, more family audiences can be lured to the theatres without reading a review. That is rather pure lack of confidence, something which we audience have more on all those who are behind this movie than they might have had on us. The next question is about the lack of publicity – this might be the least publicized movie of Mammootty as well as V.K. Prakash in a long time. Nobody really knew that this movie was going to release last Saturday. It was updated on multiplex lists much later, and there was no talks about it. Seriously, why release a superstar movie in secret? There are some posters, but in a week such as this, the movie could have done incredibly well with better marketing.

What is Silence? :: From the director who gave us Beautiful (my favourite movie from him), comes this flick which is more of a thriller. No it is not just Silence if you look closer into the poster, as it is The Power of Silence, with Silence written in big letters. I didn’t like his last few movies, but I was sure that there will be something good coming up from him soon. Only if they had marketed this well as they did for the inferior movies like Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla and Poppins. This has to be the least popularized Mammootty movie too, breaking the record of Kunjananthante Kada which also came sneaking into the theatres. But Silence is still moving silently, and there needs to be voices if it has to take it to the next level. Just because the name of a movie is The Power of Silence, would that mean its better to sneak into the theatres and run for a week with not many people knowing that it has released? Except for jobless people like me, of course. The fans will know, but for a neutral, this one had to be told about. What is the motive behind making this movie if nobody knows it has released? Who knows? Well, lets move on to what might point to our movie concerning corpus delicti!

What is it about? :: Aravind Chandrasekhar (Mammootty) is the newly appointed Chief Judge of the Karnataka High Court after a great run as a lawyer with absolutely no blemish. He is praised as the youngest person to achieve that honour and everything goes smoothly as he goes to his ancestral home with his wife Sangeetha (Pallavi Purohit) and two children. He is harassed by a phone call from an unknown person who seems to know almost everything about him, and tells him that he is not fit to be a judge. There are cars chasing him, people around his house, his daughter is given gifts by strangers and his son is found missing only to be found later. With the help of Neil George (Anoop Menon), an IPS officer and a good friend, he attempts to solve the mystery behind the people who are shadowing him. He finds that there is something about his past there, and goes back to look at the cases which he dealt with, and with the advice of his former rival Markose (Joy Matthew) and his juniors, he would find out the same just after the first half and gets to make things right.

The defence of Silence :: The movie does have the power of silence as it moves on silently, but with some hidden fire throughout the first half. It is a good attempt by the crew to make a thriller after the same director and scriptwriter did join earlier to make comedy movies. The movie is serious and is successful in making people think that there is something big coming up and there are surprises in store. The questions have been brought to light and the train of answers have been set up in such a way as to make sure that there will be no derailing except for some shaking in the second half. There is that feeling which has been missing in the thriller movies in Malayalam, which audience might have been waiting for. There is that point where the interval is set and it is where the movie is at its peak, and at the top it sends people to buy popcorn, kappa varuthathu, kadala and tea, waiting to pounce on them again after the interval, and people are left with high hopes.

Claws of flaw :: The second half takes an unnecessary leap and takes away the hopes. The beginning of the second half is okay, but as it progresses and reaches the second part of the second half, the curse takes over and by the climax, it is almost completely gone with the ship barely holding on at the top of the sea level with only the mast remaining on the top. The way they end this movie is rather despicable, and there is an underwater fight scene as they attack each other as if they were born to live underwater, but that place looks rather like an aquarium. Why all the stupidity and dialogues of nonsense in the end is a question which can spring up. The loopholes catches on, and the background music which comes out of nowhere and becomes disturbing for the ears with noise pollution is another despicable thing. The movie becomes rather amateurish as a thriller as it reaches the finishing line. The points that the movie scores is for the first half, and the for the second, it gets some points just because it doesn’t fall into the bottom of the abyss.

Performers of the soul :: Mammootty is the one who saves the movie again and again as the flick keeps losing steam on regular occasions. He makes sure that he does all that he can to keep this ship from sinking from the holes created by itself during a moonwalk with a glacier, and there is a lot of them which can make a regular Titanic sink. Anoop Menon has given him great support right from the beginning and his performance is as good as it can get, while Pallavi’s debut in Malayalam is just decent with nothing special added to the menu, and one often wonders if that character is there just because our protagonist needed a family and someone was to be kidnapped and left for dead by the villain. Aparna Nair has nothing but a presence, like the dead twin sister in Geethanjali. Joy Mathew has a very small role, but when he is there, he makes that impact that he always makes, and his character could have been further explored rather than left behind with a few dialogues. He would have been a better villain than anyone else in the movie. The child artists are also good.

How it finishes :: Silence is a silent scene for most of the viewers as the movie which doesn’t have even a wikipedia page (even small budget movies without superstars often manage one). Its power as a thriller might be disputed and its strength as a superstar movie might be questioned. V.K. Prakash and Y.V. Rajesh surely make a great combination (yes, I liked Gulumal: The Escape and Three Kings, no matter what). Not among the more interesting thrillers in any manner, and don’t compare this to Memories though, as it remains the best Malayalam thriller movie not only of this year, but also of a long time. Silence doesn’t rise even as a mediocre contender to that. But this one does have its moments of thrills which doesn’t go beyond a certain point. The thrillers with psychological as well as the investigative sides always make it interesting to watch, as proved by Memories, Nadia Kollappetta Rathri and Sahasram. Silence has a certain doubt if it should go with these three or last year’s Grandmaster, and there it confuses itself as well as the viewers, and gets drained of energy, yet holds its ground. There is information that it is inspired from multiple Hollywood flicks, but none I have watched. We need more thrillers in Malayalam, and so I suggest we should make this one a success!

Release date: 7th December 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: V.K. Prakash
Starring: Mammootty, Anoop Menon, Joy Mathew, Pallavi Purohit, Aparna Nair, Kavitha Nair, Ravi Vallathole, Basil, Prakash Bare

silence copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.