Athiran

What is the movie about? :: The year is 1967, and a worried Lakshmi (Shanthi Krishna) finds their family murdered while Nithya (Sai Pallavi) is seen playing with a thread. The situation seems to points to her as dangerously abnormal and a murderer. Five years later in 1972, Dr. MK Nair (Fahadh Faasil), a psychiatrist from Trivandrum Medical College is sent to check out the activities in a mental asylum situated far away from civilization, between the trees in the wilderness. This grand mansion which was built by the British has limited access to other places. Dr Benjamin Diaz (Atul Kulkarni) who served in the 1972 India-China War and a master hypnotist is the resident doctor as well as the owner of the asylum. He is very strict in his methods and doesn’t like anyone from outside making a visit. Renuka (Lena) is in control of things there, and Avarachan (Nandhu) provides further help from outside.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There are strange incidents happening in the asylum. The inmates include Anna Maria (Leona Lishoy), a religious person, P Subrahmanya Iyer (Vijay Menon), an English professor, Vadakkedath Kamala Lakshmi (Surabhi Lakshmi), a person of too much concern for everyone around her, Jeevan Thomas (Sudev Nair), and a happy and strange romantic person. But it turns out that there is one more patient, and she is hidden and locked away in a cell, considered to be extremely dangerous and uncontrollable – the person is none other than Nithya who lives a restrained life, hostile to those who very rarely come to visit her. The newly arrived doctor realizes that there is something strange about her as well as the working of the hospital – he even has some dream visions and hallucinations when he is there, but some of them might be close to reality.

The defence of Athiran :: We have had a good number of psychological thriller, but after the 1990s, not many movies could rise above a certain level, and Athiran comes as a breath of fresh air – we always needed our own Shutter Island, and this one becomes the same, but with its own different twists. A Cure for Wellness is another movie we are reminded of. There is a similar beautiful setting here just like that island in Shutter Island and the mountain ranges in A Cure for Wellness, as the camera nicely brings all of the same to perfection. There is a Gothic building out there, and has a similar setting as one would have seen in movies like Crimson Peak, even though in the absence of the ghostly presence, is not used to the maximum – we had already seen 9 using a similar setting. The songs and the picturization also prove to be really attractive, and the suspense is maintained until the end as we remain thrilled.

The claws of flaw :: The similarities to A Cure for Wellness and Shutter Island can’t be ignored. There is another movie called The Ward which deals with a similar situation. All these are set in places dealing with “wellness” of the patients, and has similar moments of horror related to treatment procedure, along with secrets there that should be revealed. There is clear influence in bringing a certain Hollywood style, also resembling the Victorian Gothic Model, but the success of the movie is that it has done the same really well, and local elements have been mixed with some skill behind the same. We still have the feeling that something missing in there, and the other patients’ characters could have been better developed. With a setting like this, there was hope for bringing some intensely terrifying moments, but it is not there. Nights in a mental asylum far away from civilization can always bring more, and so can a mentally unstable murderer of family members.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is one actor who has come up with minimum guarantee in the last few months, and we look at his previous movie to make sure about that. His last three ventures in Malayalam movie industry were Kumbalangi Nights, Njan Prakashan and Varathan, all three gaining both critical and commercial success. These movies also had less hype in comparison to the others, and Athiran actually came up with no real boost in marketing – I came to know about this movie very late, and even then I didn’t know that this was a Malayalam movie; the film survived with people’s opinions. It is to be noted that there is a certain change that comes across the character he plays in each of the four movies including this one. One can also note that Fahadh has done a fantastic job here as the main character in a psychological thriller – playing a character in a mental asylum wouldn’t come easy, whether the role is of a mental patient or not.

Further performers of the soul :: Sai Pallavi has returned to Malayalam movie industry once again, and it called for a change, a welcome one, as there is no dance performance around here. She is the kind of actress who can do this role so well, as she showed such signs in Kali itself, even though it was not needed then. Well, here she excels in portraying the character with autism and more. This one is her best performance in the industry so far, clearly better than Premam, and surely better than that which didn’t really matter in the miserable Kali. Atul Kulkarni who has come up with some memorable performances in Malayalam movies before, brings a strong antagonist. Leona Lishoy, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon and Sudev Nair who have their moments as the patients never really get going though, with no real mention about their tales of the past. Lena and Nandhu gets limited in their roles, Shanthi Krishna is there for a few minutes. Renji Panicker is impressive when he is there.

How it finishes :: Athiran is one movie which has been running for so long despite releasing without making much of a noise. One month later, it can be seen that the movie is still going strong, despite Avengers: Endgame taking the most number of viewers, creating the collection record like never before, overtaking Titanic and closing in on Avatar, the effect being seen here too. Athiran, one month later, is challenging the bigger movies like the crowd puller Oru Yamandan Prema Katha and the critics favourite Uyare. It is nice to see a psychological thriller doing such a job, as it has been the genre, with a fee exceptions not bringing the major part of audience to the theatres, especially the family audience. But things have changed now, and Athiran has stood tall when the opportunity came, and it does so in Hollywood style, in a grand environment.

Release date: 12th April 2019
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Vivek
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Sai Pallavi, Lena, Sudev Nair, Leon Lishoy, Prakash Raj, Renji Panicker, Atul Kulkarni, Shanthi Krishna, Nandhu, Surabhi Lakshmi, Vijay Menon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Koode

What is the movie about? :: Joshua (Prithviraj Sukumaran) was working in the Middle East for years until he managed to get a call from his family to return to his home at the outskirts of Ooty. In a flashback, it is revealed that Aloshy (Renjith), his wife Lily (Maala Parvathy) and son Joshua are overjoyed at the birth of a girl child in the family. But that happiness is short-lived, as the child is ill, and to take care of her, Aloshy who is a mechanic in a small town in the highlands will have to sale most of his possessions. It is due to the same reason that Joshua had to travel to the Middle East to make money without finishing his tenth standard, where he was already performing really bad. He spends most of his youth in the Gulf area, separated from his family while his sister Jennifer (Nazriya Nazim) struggles to make her way through the disease and reach college level.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It turns out that the incident which caused the return of Joshua to Kerala is the death of his sister, whom he hadn’t got an opportunity to see for a very long time. But after returning home, he does have that chance, but it is only her ghost that he encounters. It is through a journey together with her that Joshua discovers the border between love and duty. He comes across his childhood friend Sophie (Parvathy) whom he falls in love with, and also Krishnan (Roshan Mathew) who was Jennifer’s love interest at college. He also meets his old PT teacher Ashraf (Atul Kulkarni). These meetings make him delay his return to the Middle East, and think about staying back with his people. But is there enough to make him feel at home, considering the fact that there hasn’t been one for him for such a long time?

The defence of Koode :: The visuals of highranges contribute nicely to make things better. The songs are nice, with good visualization to go with them. The sadness in the movie feels real, and the depression in more or less haunting. It has the ability to make us feel close to the emotions of each character that is seen in the movie. The beauty of nature that surrounds this particular world makes one feel better, and after a month of its release, has us wondering if this is that part of nature that we have lost in the recent floods. The emotions that are shown in the movie reflects our own outside the big screen. To add to it, the relationship between a brother and a sister is shown in one of the most of lovable ways that it can exist, even without the existence of one of them. The melancholy is very much strong with this one.

The claws of flaw :: The first half of the movie is too slow. There is a certain dragging that can be seen going on here. Koode does take a certain amount of time to become strong, and we can see that the emotional side only gets better in the second half. The heroine’s situation also seemed to be custom made for her to escape with the hero, rather than to have the same develop further. There is no shortage of cliches here, and the ghost itself could have been better. There are moments when you feel that life is absurd too, but that would have to do more with the reflection of the scenery with what we have in Kerala’s highlands these days after those devastating floods. This is also too long a movie, as the material is less, with not enough present to stretch the same.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj leads the way here as the tormented protagonist who wonders if it is love or duty that guides him through his path. It is his transformation that the whole movie is about, and it is his character who undergoes the change that was in waiting – the character begins with randomly performing his duty to a person who does the same out of love rather than anything else; this is the one change that takes everything to the next level for him. This is one character to whom we feel sympathetic from the beginning itself, and they also have the perfect child actor in Zubin to make things happen during the flashback scenes. Atul Kulkarni from the original movie, Happy Journey is also there, and we can feel that certain representation is here. He was part of some memorable Malayalam movies, and this role is short in comparison, but touches our heart.

Further performers of the soul :: Prithviraj plays a person with martyr complex, desiring the feeling of being a martyr, seeking out suffering or persecution because it either feeds a psychological need. But Parvathy’s character is no lesser martyr either, as she is caught in the web of her own family from where there seems to be no escape. She does a fantastic job in displaying the helplessness and sadness of the character, pairing with Prithviraj again after My Story and Ennu Ninte Moideen; Qarib Qarib Singlle did make here a bigger star in between. The child actor who plays her in the flashback is also perfectly suited. Nazriya makes a return to cinema after four years, and does her usual cute act, and nothing more. We do feel a certain amount of happiness to have her back too. Ranjith-Parvathy duo of parents is also very good to watch. Roshan Mathew plays a character which comes easily to him as young star too, resembling that of Aanandam and Kadam Katha. We see Rockstar debutante plus singer Siddharth Menon and Darshana Rajendran being notable here too.

How it finishes :: Koode brings the original Marathi movie, Happy Journey back to the big screen, and it seems to show the same spirit which was there. The movie is surely better than Anjali Menon’s much appreciated Bangalore Days, as this feels closer to the heart and is more serious in comparison. We have more than just family and relationships here, with love, compassion, duty, loneliness and hope – it is the same hope that all of us in Kerala have about rebuilding our state. With this review, I am also placing a request for all of the readers to contribute to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund, for it hurts to have the people of this part of our nation struggling to get back to their feet. It is emotional for us to have been gone through all these, and witnessing our brothers and sisters in need; the same even hinders our thinking process. Any amount is not less or high – please go to the below link, read, and contribute as you can. Our Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi and our Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan along with the Chief Ministers of other states have reiterated the need to be with the state of Kerala during these devastating floods.
Visit and donate at: https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/

Release date: 14th July 2018
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Anjali Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Nazriya Nazim, Parvathy, Roshan Mathew, Maala Parvathy, Ranjith Balakrishnan, Siddharth Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Hakkim Shah, Sarath Chandran, Arun Sunny, Darshana Rajendran, Bhadra Sandeep, Devan, Shambu Menon, Sajitha Madathil, Joy Badlani, Prajwal Prasad, Basil Poulose, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Nandhu Pothuval, Zubin N, Baby Mira, Mithuna Rajan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jazbaa

jazbaa (2)

Vampire Owl :: Holy Vampire Crocodile! This is Aishwarya Rai, isn’t she?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is her only. I don’t understand why you are asking. Did you also lose your eye sight with that werewolf scratch on your arm?

Vampire Owl :: No, it just has been such a long time since I saw her on a movie poster. I am surprised.

Vampire Bat :: You have the right to be surprised and also to watch this movie.

Vampire Owl :: So, you are planning to make me watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and it will be cheapest movie ticket which we would have bought in the last few years. I am sure that it will be worth it, no matter how we see it.

Vampire Owl :: It is good to see Aishwarya Rai returning in a heroine-centric movie. I had a crush on her when I was immortally a little bit younger.

Vampire Bat :: It is quite natural, you know.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but not for us vampires.

Vampire Bat :: Aishwarya Rai has always been beyond one world.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is a very successful lawyer who can gets any person free from prison, no matter what kind of case he is involved in. She has that kind of a reputation which can make anyone jealous. She is a single mother and her only relation in this world is her little daughter Sanaya (Sara Arjun). One day, her daughter is kidnapped and the kidnapper asks her to save a rape accused even though the proof is clearly against him. Meanwhile, her good friend Yohan (Irrfan Khan) is an officer on suspension who needs her help. As Anuradha tries to find something that could save the accused, Yohan helps her, but it turns out that things are not what they seem to be, and other people are involved in the chain of incidents.

The defence of Jazbaa :: A stylish thriller take its form in Jazbaa with its twists and the way in which the whole thing is shot. I have loved how the camera moves around the city and captures the same in a beautiful way. The return of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan should be what defends this movie for the audience more than the rest though. The movie’s final twist is working, and it also leaves the audience with a good message, even though it could have been used frequently within the movie itself. Whenever the movie threatens to go down, the cast successfully keeps it working at a good level, and it leaves us free to make our guesses with its suspense. No, I haven’t watched the original, and so further comment on how well it was adapted, is not possible. From what I have read, it seems to be a lot the same.

Claws of flaw :: With story already there as this is an adaptation of the South Korean movie Seven Days, there was a fine platform for Jazbaa, which it hasn’t used to full potential. A number of twists are predictable concerning a politician and his interest in the case. There is also an extension of the ending after we feel that the movie has ended, and that was rather unnecessary. The movie’s focus is also not always there in the same way. With the return of Aishwarya, the movie could have accomplished more with smartness in action rather having sequences like the heroine running, screaming and even crying in slow motion. In a movie which otherwise leaves exaggeration, doesn’t make the best use of the court room scenes either. A better second half could have brought things to another level. The melodrama should have also been reduced. It should have gone full thriller, and there is loss of strength.

Performers of the soul :: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is back after the 2010 movie Guzaarish with Hritik Roshan. After five long years, she returns and makes an impact in this movie. Most of the time, she remains strong, but one has to wonder about those melodramatic moments and the slow motion sequence. There is no doubt about that fact that she has made her return a memorable one. But that is not all, as Irrfan Khan and Shabana Azmi often makes a bigger impact. The former’s dialogues are those which make the day instantly better. He plays the kind of cop who is not a hero, villain or a side-kick; he is much more, and he pulls that off in style. The latter is completely at ease here too. Priya Banerjee has a few moments in her short stay. The veterans Jackie Shroff and Atul Kulkarni are unfortunately used less.

Soul exploration :: The movie talks about the complications that the law has, and how justice is rarely fair for the person who suffers. It also talks about justice for a rape victim, and how too many factors affect the proceedings of a case. There is actually the need for change in attitude among the people, and it is to be the first thing. Otherwise, nothing that much positive comes to the scene. Movies will have its stars doing the job, but otherwise, it is in the hands of the common man to make a difference. But as evil is a lot easier, and so is not reacting to evil committed, such a situation is too far away. The movie’s soul could have been the social message which follows a full thriller, and with that kind of a progress, this movie could have got there as the social thriller. Such movies can make the difference.

How it finishes :: Talvar had very less number of shows here which meant that I ended up missing it. Thankfully for Jazbaa, it does get enough screens here, and the credit to the same should go to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan making the grand return in a heroine-centric movie, making the audience clearly interested. The movie has its positives and negatives, but what it surely manages to be, is a movie is worth watching this weekend. There is enough in this flick to inspire a one-time watch, and I am saying this with an attempt at the original still pending a try. I would like to hear from someone who has watched Seven Days, and I am sure that some of the people who are reading this should have had the opportunity for watching the Korean version.

Release date: 9th October 2015
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Sanjay Gupta
Starring: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Shabana Azmi, Priya Banerjee, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Jackie Shroff, Atul Kulkarni, Siddhanth Kapoor, Sara Arjun

jazbaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mythri

mythri!

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were not going to watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all the masala was doing bad for my health. So I decided to go masala free, and I guess this movie achieves that status with ease.

Vampire Owl :: This is a new idea. I wonder how this one came up.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is because more people have watched a lot of masala movies and let the movies with good themes die. It is up-to us to make amends.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, they have to learn from Lady Death. She uses no masala at all. She just takes those souls and sends the order to hell to cook them without masala.

Vampire Bat :: You still holds on to that one? Yes, but be aware than Mohanlal has only a smaller role in this one rather than being there on all posters around Kerala.

Vampire Owl :: I can relate to that. I have seen that so much among these vampires too. Everything got a poster of Uncle Dracula and there are even those programs about which he has no idea about.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I remember a few of those.

Vampire Owl :: We will still give this a try because the Kannada version of the movie got great reviews.

Vampire Bat :: That might not define much in Kerala, but lets see.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Siddharth (Master Aditya) spends his time playing pranks, but is a bright student. His mother (Anu Joseph) is working at a factory while a criminal and politician called Kalaprathapan (Kalabhavan Mani) has his eyes on her after saving the boy from the police station. But situations land Siddharth in a juvenile home. He is a big fan of Puneeth Rajkumar (Himself) who is conducting a Kodipathi program on television and is looking for kids to participate in a junior version of the game. With the help of his fellow in-mates, he manages to somehow send the messages and get selected. As the strict warden is finally impressed by the boy whom he had considered the scum of the Earth, Siddharth gets permission to go to Chennai for the show accompanied by him. Meanwhile, his enemies at the juvenile home returns and a DRDO scientist called Mahadevan (Mohanlal) also comes to the scene.

The defence of Mythri :: You have to call this one a sincere effort without doubts. This surely will have a nice impact on the audience and one has to appreciate the intentions behind it. The movie tells the tale of the rise of an underdog from the middle of nowhere to the helm. The social message is powerful with relevance throughout the nation, and even though this is not a full entertainer, there is still a little bit of the same, and there is that intensity and the strength of emotions which drive a good number of those scenes. The way in which the story is told also makes a positive impact. It has the power to touch the soul, but the impact could have been heavy if it was completely remade for the Malayali audience. Yes, changes are there, with more Malayalam actors added, but a few more could have done better, and the title could have been just Mythri with no extra additions.

The claws of flaw :: The question is about the path used by this movie, for it is the Slumdog Millionaire model that has been used here, and the ending also reminds one of the Malayalam movie, One Man Show just a bit. There is also the Malayalam touch missing in this movie, and it might have hurt the chances to be more successful among the Malayali audience. This is more like something which is not ground-breaking for the Malayalam movie industry which has had so many movies with social messages. The feeling of dubbing doesn’t help the cause too. There is also a movie scene shooting which is done mostly in slow motion and with the heroism even though it is still a film within a film. The songs also come out of nowhere for no reason, and there are those dance steps which are also overused for the Keralite viewer preferences. And yes, you won’t see that much of Mohanlal in this one as in the posters.

Performers of the soul :: Puneeth Rajkumar is not really a name much known among the Keralite audience, but he surely has a left a mark here, enough to be remembered by the viewers. He is also the one who does the Kannada version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and so the right person to do this role. But no Malayali can watch this without thinking about Suresh Gopi in Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran because he has become that name related to this programme’s real Malayalam version as well as the philanthropy. What would have happened if Suresh Gopi was there with Mohanlal doing what he has been doing the best? One has to wonder – it would have surely brought the crowd in for this one. But be assured, for this wonderful actor whom we have here is very good in this. There are no clues given when questions are wrong in this case, but questions are easier for this competition!

More Performers of the soul :: We will remember Puneeth Rajkumar for quite a long time for sure. Mohanlal has an appearance which lasts not more than half an hour, and his extended cameo is something which makes an excellent impact. The kid, Aditya manages to do a fantastic job, and it is nice to see him go on to do even better as movie progresses, along with the actor who did his best friend and a brother-like figure called Johnson, the actor named Jagadish giving fine support to the boy. Kalabhavan Mani is pretty good as the villain. Atul Kulkarni leaves a mark as the warden too. It was also good to see Anu Joseph with Oridathoridathu fame who has done a memorable job here, and along with her, Archana also does a good job; one is present on in the beginning and the other just at the end. Bhavana makes an even shorter appearance, and so does Sajitha Betti.

How it finishes :: There wasn’t enough hype surrounding this movie and not much promotions took place, which has surely worked against it; if you consider the rush for Jurassic Park, Premam and then look at this one, there will be a clear picture. It had gone on to become a wonderful success in Kannada, but the same can’t be said about its status here. But it still remains the duty of the movie fans to give a chance to this movie with a social message along with those mass entertainers and full superstar flicks. The movie makes a point against judging people by where they stand as of now, and on the basis of which class they belong to. Mythri is a reason for you to watch a movie in the theatres with full family, and take a message home despite its inability to connect completely with the Keralite audience.

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: B.M Giriraj
Starring: Mohanlal, Puneeth Rajkumar, Master Aditya, Anu Joseph, Archana, Kalabhavan Mani, Atul Kulkarni, Bhavana, Sajitha Betti, Jagadish

mythri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Veeram

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Ask the magic mirror :: “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?” – now here is the answer which naturally comes to any mirror which has been taken into a theatre to watch Veeram; and it is Tamannah Bhatia. Unless that mirror prefers Kristen Stewart more than Charlize Theron, and as long as the question is not about being the “palest”, it is indeed a magic mirror which can be trusted. The first thing one notices in the movie is not our leading lady, that is for sure, but as far as being fair is considered, there is only person on the screen who takes that to another level. Whenever she is around, everyone else looks darker – no that is no measure of beauty even as Tamannah is indeed the more beautiful and the cute one around, and thanks to those beautiful locations during the songs, there is the snow to give that much needed competition; being the ice princess or the snow queen has never been this easy with anybody else.

What is it about? :: This is the story of Vinayakam (Ajith Kumar), the one-man army with a possible extension to five with his four brothers, and even to an army of six if their lawyer is included in the gang. The man has become more of a landlord who takes care of his people and is extremely caring about his brothers. He is a stern businessman and a reputed man of his area. He has weakness for the name Kopperundevi (Tamannaah Bhatia) and as a lady comes up with the same name, thanks to the work of his brothers and the adopted brother lawyer, he falls in love with her, and with the good guy impression created by the brothers, she also falls for him and takes the decision to take him to meet her family. But later she comes to know that he is the rough and tough guy who beats up people whenever he sees something wrong. As she wants a more peace loving person so that he can be approved by her father, he decides to become one. But the need for fight doesn’t leave him, or does it?

The defence of Veeram :: Translated into English as “Valour”, the movie is a action masala movie, and that basically forgives most of the troubles of the movie. Another thing is that this is the movie of Ajith, or rather by Ajith, about which there is lot more to talk about. Meanwhile, the movie has immense style, and it is reflected not only in the display of the same, but also in the narrative. The use of rain, thunder and lightning along with the clouds adds such a strength to the movie that this use is nothing less than deserving applause. The locations are beautiful and those of the songs are breathtaking. The mixing of action, sentiments and humour is intelligent, and it makes up for what is lost in the old plot. Even with so much lacking in innovation as far as the story is concerned, there is a lot working out well in the other departments. There are many mass scenes and even as the action gets repetitive, the sequences are powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is all about Ajith’s character, and the rest are kept in the shadows most of the times, and their existence is more to make our hero better rather than for themselves, as our leading lady exists so that he could fall in love and dance with her, and a villain to be afraid of him and another to be beaten up and killed by him. The purpose of brothers is more to show that he is superior, but that is understandable as this is more of a movie for the fans; and our hero is that awesome indeed, thanks to a powerful portrayal. The romantic side is weak, mostly due to the fact that it is forced and not rightly fit in the movie. The action scenes repeat as if put in a loop, and it could have been better if some shots of beating up villains were cut. The sentiments also go in a strange way, and the lack of logic is right there in the centre. The story should also be older than most of the actors in the movie, and its similarities to many other Tamil and Malayalam movies can be noted down.

Performers of the soul :: Ajith’s movie as one would expect, as he outperforms everyone with such an ease that what exists there is mostly a one-man show. From his entry, he keeps scoring, and his looks are perfect for this role. It does remind one about Mammootty in the 2000 Malayalam movie Valyettan, but to a small extent; with the romantic side of the brothers slightly resembling the 1991 Malayalam film Godfather. Tamannaah is dazzling, and you can often take that literally. This is the first time I am watching a movie starring her, and I am glad I finally did that; had to leave the Kajal Aggarwal starrer behind even as it was running in the same theatre at the same time, but no beauty lost in the end. Its good to see Bala too, as its been a long time since I watched one of his movies, and he plays a character with the same name which made him famous in the 2007 Malayalam movie Big B, which might once again be a luck factor. Santhanam comes up with lots of funny moments to make sure that the comic side doesn’t go weak. Nassar and Atul Kulkarni also comes up with strong performances.

Soul exploration :: The most shocking thing to the soul was the name of the heroine, especially when her nickname was revealed to be Kopu. But what’s interesting to the soul is its assertion of family values and putting one’s people over everything else. It starts off with the brothers and later extends to the family of his lover, our hero becomes a model brother and son in no time. He sacrifices his happiness to see the family happy, and keeps them away from all the problems as well as their knowledge of their troubles. We have known Jeffrey Nero Hardy as the charismatic enigma, but our hero here is nothing less throughout the movie. Another thing is the significance of “tea” as a symbol in the movie; it not only becomes a symbol of his simplicity, but also his hard-work as well as love for his brothers and family. How often do you see a movie poster with the hero happily drinking tea in it? Now that is a plus for the soul and the Vampire Bat loves it.

How it finishes :: There was always going to be a doubt about which movie to watch, with Jilla running on the other screen, and choosing this was a risk, but nothing regrettable happened in the end. It was nothing strange to see that the viewers for both movies were almost equal, and with only a few vehicles in the yard, with not even one mediocre Malayalam movie release in the same week, and both the Hollywood and Bollywood side being weak in comparison as far as normal people are concerned – shortage of big movies (Drishyam and Oru Indian Pranaya Katha are still there along with many English movies from much earlier, still in the multiplexes). The movie is reckless and violent in its action, and the use of sharp weapons cloud the movie like nothing else – if that is a positive or a negative is for the audience to decide, as it doesn’t go beyond a level. The opinion is divided about the movie, but I would say that this one deserves a check as it keeps the interest high even as it might be too long for one’s liking.

Release date: 10th January 2014
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Siva
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vidharth, Bala, Santhanam, Ramesh Khanna, Atul Kulkarni, Nassar, Abhinaya, Pradeep Rawat, Munish, Manochitra

veeram copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Arrambam

arrambam (2)

✠ Before I go on with this one, I have to tell you that October was the month with the most visits for this blog, for which I wish to thank each one of you. My other two blogs also had a fantastic beginning to the month of November, even as I can’t say the same about this one. I also wish all of my readers a very Happy Deepavali (Diwali) and a belated Kerala Piravi Day and a very belated Happy Halloween. I should have wished with the earlier post, but it was written a lot earlier and I didn’t want to mess up with it. I hope you had three wonderful days, October 31st, November 1st, and yesterday the 2nd. Coming back to this week’s choices of movies, this really is a dull week, with no Hollywood releases coming this way and no Malayalam movie releases at all. With that sadness concerning the beginning of a month which didn’t have a good start as Ender’s Game didn’t come this way as expected, I have to take you back to the legendary vampire after my journey to the local theatre to watch another movie, this time a Tamil action thriller flick.

Count Dracula: So you are back. I had checked and found no good English movies this weekend. Did you watch that guy who flies like Superman and acts like Man of Steel and fights an army of mutants including a Professor X – Magneto hybrid, Mystique, Miss Wolverine, Juggernaut, Toad etc? Did you enjoy that movie which should rather be titled as Superman vs X-Men?

Vampire Bat: No, why would you think so? I had seen the trailer and observed its inability right there. I am not a Hritik Roshan fan, a little kid or someone with no other option. Neither do I get free tickets for any movie. It showed that it had no potential from its poor trailer with some graphics which is inferior to Arrambam, a movie which doesn’t need CGI support at all.

Count Dracula: I heard that Koi Mil Gaya is a shameless copy of E.T. and Krrish is just a pathetic excuse to cash in the power of a man who has given us so many better roles. At a time when actors like Arshad Warsi and John Abraham are choosing the right movies, it is a shame that one of the best looking actors had to go with this one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after watching Besharam, I had decided that I shall not be part of such shamelessness For the same reason, I didn’t watch Boss which was the remake of one of the most pathetic movies in Malayalam. Some bad movies do teach us lessons. Arrambam is the good result of that lesson which was provided with the pain which was Besharam, and I guess I am looking forward to a few more Tamil movies soon.

Count Dracula: So what has it got? You rarely watch a Tamil movie. Anniyan was your favourite, and you watched ony two this year; David and Maryan – see my memory? I never get to use it these days and its nice you keep it working by coming here and talking about these movies of the soul.

Vampire Bat: Let the brain of blood work, as the story revolves around Ashok Kumar (Ajith), a former member of anti-terrorist squad, who is on a mission to avenge the death of his friend due to faulty bullet proof jackets which are provided to security forces – but he was imprisoned and left for dead along with his friends and family. He is supported by his lover Maya (Nayanthara) and a smart, but reluctant computer hacker Arjun (Arya). When the latter feels that he is doing something very bad, and is left with no choice as they keep his lover Anitha (Taapsee Pannu) at gunpoint, he lets the police know and Ashok is arrested after a bomb blast and a car chase. The remaining story deals with him taking revenge on the corrupt Home Minister (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his supporter and the senior police officer (Atul Kulkarni) who were involved in the scam.

Count Dracula: That should remind you of Kamal Haasan’s best Malayalam movie, Chanakyan. Wasn’t that the day you said Urmila Matondkar is the best looking actress of the time after watching that in a VCR? It dealt with one man taking revenge on the politician who destroyed his family, using electronic gadgets and a reluctant helper.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is different in a number of ways. The first thing is that there is that relevant social message at the time of scams and corruption, but not something that would inspire you to the horizon. Then we have Ajith Kumar at his best. This is the first time I watch his movie in the theatre, and I can say the same about Arya. Chanakyan was undoubtedly the intellectually superior movie and it was an extraordinary performance from our legendary actor. This one is more of the entertainer type.

Count Dracula: Well, I love that actor – see how he never seems to get too old; the only other person who doesn’t seem to get old at all is Vijay. How does he manage to stay as a young man wonders me. That reminds me that I have to watch Thuppakki, as some gypsies had told me that it is awesome. Get me a DVD some day.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if I decide to watch that. One has to admire Arya’s performance too, as he provides a lot of fun and lighter moments, even as some of them doesn’t work. But, without him this might not have worked this well. One can’t resist liking Taapsee Pannu, being the cute drama queen of the movie, even as there is the doubt if there was some overdose, and if there was the need to explore that drama in another way. Nayantara is there perfectly suited for the role that she plays. The cast saves the movie, and so does the style.

Count Dracula: So there is style too. I have seen that photo of Ajith riding Ducati, and I have my own reasons to believe that there were cooling glasses, bikes and slow motion. I am pretty good at this stuff, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is a treat for Ajith fans, and none of them should miss this movie. There is the abundance of cooling glass, and there is only one bike, plus the slow motion is comparatively less considering what we see these days. The songs are pretty good too. To add it, Arya doesn’t do his BA Romantics like Ranbir Kapoor did in Besharam for horror, as even in the exaggeration, he keeps his cool, and Taapsee Pannu has a good chemistry with him, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So tell me what works other than the cast and style. Also tell me what doesn’t work other than the overdose of cooling glass and a little exaggeration.

Vampire Bat: Did I forget Kishore who is strong throughout? Did I forget the good performances of the villains? Add them to the list of positives too. The story starts off well with bomb blasts and a flashback which is romantic to the core, and also funny. The movie has a climax which can give positive or negative feedbacks, but for me, it is slightly on the positive. The first half is undoubtedly better than the second. The flashback story of our main hero is less interesting, and one has to wonder why one has to put a festival into every song – is that because the world is running out of ideas? ninety five percent of the time, it is Holi too.

Count Dracula: I see there is too many things mixed about it. But considering the fact that there has been so many bad superstar masala movies in your own language from Lokpaal, Kammath and Kammath and Sound Thoma to the recently depressing Sringaravelan, I guess this can prove as a lesson about how entertainers can be well made.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there will still be movies like Besharam, and the shame shall continue in this world of humans, but your universe shall live forever as you don’t have to watch such things. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): This is not a perfect movie, but there is no reason why one shouldn’t watch this movie this weekend, even while claiming that it is nothing new or innovative. This is a wonderful Deepavali gift for the fans of Ajith, and I welcome everyone to the theatres to choose this one over Krrish 3. Still, one question remains about Bollywood movies. Why is it that movies like Shahid and The Lunchbox doesn’t release in local theatres, but those like Besharam, Krrish 3 and Chennai Express does? We are so profit-oriented and the common man needs better brains; hope some zombie gives one to them instead of eating – a much needed sacrifice.

✠ In this battle of heavyweights, Arrambam clearly outweighs as well as outsmarts Krrish 3 with its theme, and it is evident from the kind of audience who are going to watch both movies. But in the box-office, both will be winners, as this is Deepavali and there are no Hollywood movies gaining entrance, and Malayalam movies have kept away. This is my third Tamil movie of the year in the theatres, after David and Maryan – I have to say that there has not been much disappointment related to them, they were all good enough to be watched with one kind of mood or the other. I shall wait for Thor: The Dark World for now, and until then, if you face two choices at once, you know which movie to go for. No, this doesn’t come from an Ajith fan, and for fans this should be a movie which is not to be missed at any cost; for others, this is an entertainer fulled by performances and style; learn from it dear self-proclaimed mass entertainers and masala action flicks, for this movie can teach you many things.

Release date: 31st October 2013
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Arya, Nayantara, Taapsee Pannu, Kishore, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni, Suman Ranganathan, Akshara Gowda

arrambam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.