Mohan Kumar Fans

What is the movie about? :: Mohan Kumar (Siddique) used to be a huge superstar until he lost the race to the younger stars. He does believe that it was the result of black magic done by his rival actors. After a long gap, he does get a role to play in a critically acclaimed movie, for which everyone feels that he will get an award. His daughter Sreeranjini Mohankumar (Anarkali Nazar), is an interior designer who wishes to be a singer, for which she tries her luck in different reality shows. Krishnan Unni (Kunchacko Boban), is a youngster who is also trying to make it big as a playback singer. They meet at a reality show, and he is also sent to work for Mohan Kumar as the driver by Prakash (Mukesh), his old friend and a struggling producer who is trying to make a film with Kripesh aka Aghosh Menon (Vinay Forrt), a young superstar who is extremely arrogant, and thinks that he is above everyone. Krishnan Unni and Sreeranjini start competing in the reality show, mostly as a team, and Mohan Kumar also becomes fond of the young man who is there to help him.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Kripesh continues to try to make a name in the industry, as his fame rises, and tells everyone that his living together partner Brighty Menon (Deepa Thomas) is a sisterly figure, and fakes different events in which he is shown as a man with love and respect, raising his popularity even higher with PR work. When Arun Rajeev (Adil Ibrahim) and Prakash approaches him with a new film script, his demands only get higher. Meanwhile it is just another downwards journey for the former star, as the critical acclaimed film is taken out of the theatres much to the dismay of Mohan Kumar, who felt that he was going back to that stardom with all the appreciation he received, even more than Kripesh who was originally supposed to be the hero, but was sidelined in front of his fantastic performance. After a fight with Hamsa Randathani (Nisthar Sait), his name is nicely taken out of the Kerala state awards final list, but there is still hope for National Awards – yet, it is to be seen if they can find a way to take it to Delhi with time running out, and a lot more to be done.

The defence of Mohan Kumar Fans :: The movie’s messages are strong, for it is against the vanity and arrogance which has been going on in the film industry. The lack of quality in the visual media is also shown, and it also displays YouTube, Instagram and other social media as what it is, showing how celebrities use fake videos or good for nothing videos just to gain popularity, while skilled performers and quality actors don’t get the recognition they need. Well, if one actress stand outside her home and take a video, it gains so many viewers and appreciation, and it more or less shows the same. Well, you know that literacy means the ability to read and write, and with so many videos being preferred over written content, one has to wonder if it is because of the lack of literacy among people. Our YouTube-Instagram loving celebrities in the film might be suffering from that illiteracy too. It is shown with very nicely prepared humour with fine satire, and the feel-good factor is also high around here. The songs are just okay, and it is not short of some touching moments.

The claws of flaw :: As this movie makes fun of a certain group of people and says the truth about them, such people won’t like it – especially the blind superstar fans, creators of nonsense in YouTube and Instagram as well as those so called celebrities who try to become popular by fake means. For others, they will surely like the film, but they won’t be able to dismiss the fact that this should have had more depth with its content. Mohan Kumar Fans is that kind of a film which could have taken each of its strong elements into another level, but it is certainly not able to do that because it has chosen to travel through a safe path – the feel-good side can always get you over the line, but if you stick on to that, and play safe, it is like aiming for run-a-ball in an IPL match when there is good chance for stroke-play. Maybe, they did so because there was not much of a competition in the theatres with less number of big Malayalam films being released and less number of people watching in the theatres – but that would just be an excuse if we think so.

The performers of the soul :: This one comes after the director’s films which have maintained the feel-good factor at some point, starting with Bicycle Thieves, my least favourite film in a long time, the definite improvement in Sunday Holiday, the bigger improvement in Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and now this film, which also has Asif Ali in a cameo, making all these films Asif starrers. Well, you know that who else was there in all these movies, and it is Siddique, with his biggest role in this movie, as he is the real protagonist here, with everything centered around him, and all things being about him only. It ultimately becomes all about the positive message that is spread through his life, and in that, this movie races ahead of all among the director Jis Joy’s movies, except Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, which was much more ahead in the race. Siddique, the veteran actor, nicely stays at the core of the film, and manages everything in his usual style. If this much was done in a feel-good film, you can guess how much more could have been done if this was a serious tragedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban outside the thriller mode of Nizhal and Nayattu, does have his moments, as he is indeed the hero here, trying to keep the main character happy and ready to take the risks just for the sake of the man. Anarkali Nazar is a lovely addition here, as we see her for the first time, and despite the introduction not being that great, we see that the emotions work really well for her. Among the rest, it is Vinay Forrt who stays with us the most, with one of the best satires on the superstars who can’t really act, but tries to get mileage through videos posted in YouTube, Instagram or any social media. As video medium attracts the illiterate and those who find it difficult to read English, these celebrities get more attention that they need, and being as fake as the character he displays here, their first option will always be YouTube to fake their life in front of the blind fans, who will share the same in social media, displaying their foolishness as much as they can. After Saroj Kumar, his Aagosh Menon strikes gold with the satire.

How it finishes :: Mohan Kumar Fans does take an approach which the movies like Driving Licence didn’t have the courage to take. Instead of taking the side of the common man, it had stood with the superstar and his fans. This movie is courageous in that case, taking the side of the common people, and it focuses on the gracious actor instead of the dumb superstar, the dumbness of the latter nicely shown throughout the film, and it also shows everything fake that has been running through YouTube. We keep seeing those celebrities doing YouTube videos, and we know that they are all fake, but there will always be those people who watch such nonsense posted by such people who are only looking for fame. Well, if a celebrity post any nonsense on YouTube, everyone wants to watch that, and if something sensible is posted on YouTube by the common man, you know how it is left unnoticed – it is such an age, when quality is not rewarded, a common problem with the visual media in comparison to the written one. This is the same reason why people who are looking for easy paths to success without hard work won’t like this flick. For others, this works in varying levels of interest, mostly on the higher levels.

Release date: 19th March 2021 (Theatre), 21st May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anarkali Nazar, Siddique, Mukesh, Sreenivasan, Saiju Kurup, Vinay Forrt, Ramesh Pisharody, TG Ravi, Alencier Ley Lopez, Major Ravi, Joy Mathew, Krishna Shankar, Adil Ibrahim, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Deepa Thomas, Srikant Murali, Anjali Nair, Prasanth Alexander, Sreelakshmi, Sethu Lakshmi, Nisthar Sait

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

<— Click here to go to a 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.

Pink

Vampire Owl: You know, Lady Death was very much interested in this colour.

Vampire Bat: Why is she interested in colours, when she has been colour-blind since her resurrection from the other world?

Vampire Owl: There are just rumours regarding the same, as she was referring to this movie.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that the news about this movie had reached the land of the dead?

Vampire Owl: Yes, the land of the dead as well as the land of the undead.

Vampire Bat: It is quite an achievement for a human movie.

Vampire Owl: Except for those movies in which vampires are shown to be bad.

Vampire Bat: Almost all of them think that vampires are bad because they don’t understand our culture.

Vampire Owl: They instantly hate anything and everything that they can’t understand.

Vampire Bat: It is quite natural for a race which has fought each other for so long.

[Gets three cups of Ceylon tea with Arrowroot biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the tale of three indepdendent women, Minal Arora (Taapsee Pannu), Falak Ali (Kirti Kulhari) and Andrea Tariang (Andrea Tariang), working hard and self-sufficient, living in South Delhi. While Minal and her family are from Delhi itself, Falak is from Uttar Pradesh and Andrea from Meghalaya. They go through a happy life with their little moments of fun, and care for each other, but things quickly take a twist, with people looking at them in a rather strange way. Their landlord is asked to get the three girls out of his home, and when he doesn’t do the same he is attacked by two young men who reminds him of the same. Andrea sees that she is being stalked by unknown people and Falak ends up losing her job; Minal gets it even worse, as a flashback goes to what had happened a few days ago.

So, what happens next? :: The flashback incident involves Raunak Anand (Raashul Tandon), Vishwajyoti Ghosh (Tushar Pandey) and Rajveer Singh (Angad Bedi) who had met the three girls at a rock concert. Rajveer was hit on the head with a bottle by Minal which left him in a hospital, and that had put his friend Ankit Malhotra (Vijay Verma) on a revenge trail, causing a lot of trouble for the girls. This person who has decided to teach the girls the worst lesson possible, will not stop at anything, as the boys are quite rich and powerful, with influence among politicians as well as the police. Troubled with all which have been going through, the girls still refuse to complaint, but Minal, despite all the warnings about what could happen if she approaches the police, goes to the police station. The result is that she is kidnapped and molested by the men who are after her.

And, what is to follow next in the tale that goes deep? :: Minal is shocked, but doesn’t have the time to think or react, as she is arrested by the police on the very next day, as she is accused of prostitution as well as attempting to murder Rajveer. Andrea and Falak remain rather clueless about what to do in the police station, and at home, they find Deepak Sehgal (Amitabh Bachchan), their neighbor at their door. He helps them and even decides to take up their case, returnning back to his life as a criminal lawyer years later. He had left his job due to declining mental health and also because of his wife Sara (Mamta Shankar) being bed-ridden. In the court, he would have to face Rajveer’s lawyer, a younger and healthier Prashant Mehra (Piyush Mishra) who would go to any length to show his loyalty for the money which received as fees. So, where does the fate of the girls stand?

The defence of Pink :: The movie smartly chooses not show the incidents until the credits show up – it is a nice move to establish the idea that “no means no”, which is rather the one thing that gets the focus because we are there without getting much of an idea about how things really happened. It helps us to come to a viewpoint without taking sides, and it is the smart way to proceed. Pink is the kind of movie that is needed, for it shows how much of a hypocrite the society aspires to be. It has different rules for the boys and the girls, rich and the poor and also for people from one part of the nation and those from some other area. The movie shows how difficult it is to get rid of those prejudices, no matter how smart and educated you are. The movie’s biggest asset in establishing its ideas is Amitabh Bachchan, who is so good that you feel the need to clap again and again – you saw his grief in TE3N already, and this one once again shows the determination in grief that powers his character to become more than what the lawyer has been. The girls are all good, just playing to the need, raising the level so much at some scenes in the court.

The claws of flaw :: The movie before the courtroom drama begins, doesn’t manage to be that interesting, with the whole thing taking so much of time to get going. Maybe things could have been made more tense in the first half to keep one feel the tension. People would also feel not that happy with Amitabh Bachchan being there to save the girls – but you will have to admit that it is him who takes it to the next level as far as performances are concerned. Also, the talk about the girl being from North East, is not taken that much further, maybe because the cultural identity is a little bit less important, just as the fact that the men in question as just too rich an influential – these two things come into the picture and just disappears, but needed better mention here. There is another question which should have been raised in this movie – “Why should anyone drink at all?” It could have been great if the message should have also been against alcohol consumption, rather than having things as okay if everyone is allowed to drink. There is even more that Pink could have achieved, but it chooses to finish with just one message that takes off.

How it finishes :: The big thing about Pink is that, the movie is surely what you call the giant leap – something which has been very much difficult for Bollywood which has been caught in repetitions for such a long time; it might be the only thing that is repeated, with consistency in repetition like no other. Pink not only makes the giant leap, as it also gets to the other end with ease. The movie which was widely appreciated by both the common audience as well as the critics, and had also the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues – it is good to watch this movie and understand why there is so much appreciation going around. When people say that Pink is the kind of movie that everyone needs to watch, they are surely not wrong. It is the kind of movie that not just Bollywood needs to save its face, but it is also the one that the society needs – it is bigger than what would be the biggest cinematic experience we have for a society which needs its lessons regularly.

PS: There are three movies for this Eid, Role Models, Oru Cinemakkaran and Avarude Raavukal – do check the reviews on the same.

Release date: 16th September 2016
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Andrea Tariang, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Angad Bedi, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Piyush Mishra, Mamata Shankar, Arjun Chakrabarty, Mamta Malik, Dibang, Tushar Pandey, Raashul Tandon

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mumbai Taxi

mumbaitaxi (2)

Vampire Owl :: You have brought me to this theatre because you are a bloody regionalist.

Vampire Bat :: What? Not at all. I am a global citizen. My namesakes are there in English novels and Hollywood movies.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t believe that. You have taken me to this theatre at Alwaye because you are an Aluvaite and it says Always Alwaye’s on the poster. I doubt your secret intentions to promote your town.

Vampire Bat :: But I don’t even live at Alwaye anymore.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but you have lived at Alwaye enough to be psychologically attached to it, and I understood that with your expression while watching Premam.

Vampire Bat :: But that expression was related to the UC College.

Vampire Owl :: I doubt that because UC College is at Alwaye, and you haven’t been to that college for more than a year, but you do visit the town very often.

Vampire Bat :: Well, my favourite restaurants are at Alwaye. There is the Surya, Mahnami, Indian Coffee House, Anna Gowri, Shenoy’s, Anna Lakshmi, Al Falah, Aaryas…

Vampire Owl :: No. I visited Shenoy’s last week and they told me that they haven’t seen you for an year. Why do you come to Alwaye to watch movies when there are theatres closer to your current location? Is it an automatic procedure?

Vampire Bat :: What? Can you just get the ticket please? You can analyze my decision to watch this movie at this theatre later. I am planning a detailed review on Mumbai Taxi!

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: It is just another normal day in the city when a stranger reaches the town with plans to plant bombs at different parts of Mumbai. The Anti Terrorist Squad manages to get information on the same because of an anonymous caller, and even though they are not sure if it is real or hoax, they take no risks and prepare for the day as if the information is quite clear. The anonymous person even sends them a photo of the suspect, and they prepare to catch the person without leaking the information and causing panic among the public. For the same, they make a special plan. Meanwhile, a Malayali taxi driver is going on his daily duty, and hopes to find the perfect trip which can make his day better. But the day is not like any other day with the dark clouds of terror getting even darker, and whatever be the fate of the city, it will be known on that one day.

The defence of Mumbai Taxi :: A very interesting story unfolds well in this movie, and the biggest advantage of the movie is the skill in maintaining the suspense – there are many things here that you know, but there are things that are going to deviate from that knowledge. By the end, there is the enthralling introduction of that unexpected final twist which works very nicely. Well, it is not the only twist there, but when someone can bring the climax to a good effect a time when a number of other bigger movies have been tumbling down from the final stairs, that procurement deserves the most noteworthy applause. There are a number of things in this movie that comes together very nicely by the end, and what you think of as a cliche, might not be that! Well, you can guess about your own twists, but this one might have a different one in most cases. The shots are also very good, and even when there is chance, this movie doesn’t sink into a romantic song – applause for that!

Claws of flaw :: The jokes come as a big disappointment and they could have been avoided to make the movie more interesting, and flow would have also been better. It works as a slough of despond in this journey with all the unnecessary weight. The absence of the same would have made it a very engaging thriller finishing at almost one and half hours. The final slow motion sequences also come against the original flow of the movie which was supposed to be going fine without any of such extra ornaments. I won’t say for the others, but I personally wouldn’t prefer a one-man show for a movie which was more about going through a smart combined operation by a team of policemen, especially when the heroism of the particular person is not established beforehand with a sequence of events or at least stories. An interesting flashback for the villains, organization and their motives would have also been nice – at least for the main antagonist.

Performers of the soul :: Badhshah Mohammed is a new face with fine potential, and the audience will remember the kid in Pappayude Swantham Appoos who has returned right here as the hero. That was a smart move to include the much remembered song “Olathumbathu” in the movie, which he himself sings on more than one occasion – and talking about his return, makes a very nice point. The second attempt at the same didn’t work that well, but the first dialogue about being back was like the punch dialogue, even better than those bigger dialogues at the end of the movie. He has done well here, and he is sure to do better as time passes, with bigger opportunities. I would like to take this occasion to wish him best of luck with his next movies. We will never forget that kid, that movie or that song; I am sure that all Keralites know him from long ago – child actors making a good return is like a double success story, isn’t it?

More performers of the soul :: I also felt that Riyaz Fazzan who played the police officer was solid – you can feel the determination there. The one thing I would like to add more than the others is about how good Mareena Michael Kurisingal performed in this movie. I haven’t known anything about her before I checked the releases for the weekend and saw the main cast. I had my doubts, but she has been a gargantuan surprise here. From the beginning to the end, she has kept things under control; there is the tough look and wicked smile – she makes a fine addition to our list of actresses. There are a few well known actors who have smaller roles mostly related to comedy. I apologize for not knowing more of the performers who have all done very good except for those smaller stumbles here and there. I wish they had listed the names somewhere, but there are only two at BookMyShow and there are the usual names which I know. For the rest, I had to keep searching only to find very little.

How it finishes :: I have often wondered if I should watch the movies from the debutantes because I doubted if I don’t like it, and they won’t be able to take criticism positively. But I am glad that I made the decision to watch this movie because it was one of the best movies ever with lesser known faces. I feel that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks, but it is our duty to watch the movies without the hype and the big superstars and promote them if they are good. Mumbai Taxi is such a movie, and with a group of newer faces, it has done a very good job. We can thank Fazil Basheer for not going after the stereotypes which were surely the safer bets. At a time when the Malayalam movie is moving beyond the star value to bring quality, it is the need of the times to support the good beginnings by youngsters. I have done my job by watching this movie and giving it the positive support which it deserved. So, what will you do? I have watched most of the Malayalam movies which released after Premam, and among them, I rate this the highest. #MumbaiTaxi definitely works!

Release date: 7th August 2015
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Fazil Basheer
Starring: Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Badhshah Mohammed, Riyaz Fazzan, Sreejith Ravi, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Sunil Sukhada, Tini Tom
***I would appreciate an expansion of this list to make this review on Mumbai Taxi better 🙂

mumbaitaxi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.