Maalgudi Days

maalgudidays (1)

What is the movie about? :: A little girl, Athena Adarsh (Baby Janaki) is going through a state of depression after losing her father to the sea right in front of her eyes. As she spends her time at home staring at the possessions of her father and not talking to anyone, her mother Swathy Adarsh (Priyanka Nair) decides to send her away from home to keep the kid away from the memories. For the same reason, she gets admission for Athena in Maalgudi Residential School which is located in the highlands. But Athena doesn’t make many good friends until she comes up against Milan Joseph (Master Vishal) who is the mischief maker without friends, having a history of being brought up by a single parent and being quite unpopular. They form a gang of two, separate from the other kids around.

So, where and how does the twist of events occur? :: One day, while playing on the ground, the ball goes outside the school limits, and the kids come across an injured man called Zephan (Anoop Menon) who is wanted by the police. He has a mysterious past, and there is not much known about him except that he is an artist. The kids help him with water and food and develops a bond with him, as he leaves for another place, which is according to him towards his own child. The twist of fate happens when the kids gets caught in a situation from which there seems to be no escape. With nobody around to help them, how will they get back to their parents? Does anybody including their teachers actually even know that they are in such a situation?

The defence of Maalgudi Days :: One thing that you should have felt right from the trailer is that there is a certain amount of visual beauty to the locations, and if used well, can create a nice experience for the eyes – it happens right here. The surroundings used here happens to be perfect setting for the movie. Then there is the realistic ending to the movie, using the emotions to the right quantity rather than bringing what would go on to become melodrama. This is also a movie that touches the emotions at the base level, not within that elite level of romance to which reality is never that close. If you wish to support only superstar romance, go for it, but I would rather incline myself towards the sad realities and little goodness in life rather than the exaggerated infatuation. The goodness in this movie touches you on one side, and from the other side, the sad realities of life come in. It is from this ability to touch one’s emotion that this movie can be a favourite for the audience.

Claws of flaw :: Well, a near flawless movie was never expected in this case. The movie was never heavily promoted and never did it generate any hype. It just had an interesting song playing on television and came right into the theatres. It is nowhere close to being among the big movies with its content either, and that problem is solved by creating a fog of innocence which works. But the blind fans will neglect the same, because they can only get emotional when their superstar falls in love and losses his romance – the story of struggles of people never appeal to them. This bloody exaggerated romance seen in movies have made people feel only when the hero and heroine separate, and it will be a flaw, not with the movie, but with the brainwashed audience who are blind to the truth. This movie does have its own struggles in the middle, and a lot of scenes do seem half-baked. The material is not that well connected in between, and not made to appeal to people throughout its run. The first song with graphics was a terrible idea too.

Performers of the soul :: As you might have already noticed, Anoop Menon and Bhama forms the star power of this movie, and are the main actor and actress. Bhama does a fine job, but is present only in a few flashback sequences. Anoop Menon has his moments, and the best of them are in the second half. I am sure that a lot of blind fans would have appreciated their favourite actor in this role, and might spend most of their time praising this movie, if that particular person was acting in this, no matter how bad the performance was. But do not underestimate Anoop Menon who has done a commendable job, and at least once in a blue-moon, try to watch and appreciate movies without partiality. I had to add this to the review because of the conversation which I heard from some of the youngsters sitting behind me. Kids in trouble is a joke to some people, but their favourite hero getting beaten up or losing his romantic interesting is so sad – simply pathetic attitude.

Further performers of the soul :: Why don’t you people take some time to appreciate Anoop Menon choosing to act in this movie of debutantes, and coming up with a touching performance? Is it only with those overrated movies that your loyalty lie? Coming back to the movie, the child actors have done some very nice job here; there is a lot of skill in that age group, as the Malayalam movies which have given significant role of children in the last two or three years have revealed to us. This movie provides enough opportunities to the two child actors, and never hesitates to let them free. They have more to perform here than in a regular movie about children, and they come up strong. Priyanka Nair has a good role here; she was among my favourite actresses before she took that break. Saiju Kurup handles an important role, while Noby manages the lighter moments which are rather less and has least significance in this emotional flick.

How it finishes :: The situation looks rather bleak for the movie considering the number of viewers, but as there have been positive opinions, the number of people for the show will be more in the next few days. But the promotions have been rather less related to this one, and if you have noticed, this one is not present at Wikipedia, making this one more of a movie which is not out of the shadows yet. With the challenge posed by Charlie, Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Two Countries still there and with another possible challenge from the Bollywood movie Wazir, one has to be doubtful about how well it will do in the end, but coming from three debutante directors, this surely needs some attention considering how sincerely the attempt has been made. It surely has that single act of kindness which is supposed to shape the mindset of future generations, that too with one great self-sacrifice – are you ready for it?

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Visakh, Vivek, Vinod
Starring: Anoop Menon, Bhama, Priyanka Nair, Noby Markose, Saiju Kurup, T.P. Madhavan, Irshad, Sathyadev, Abhi Madhav, Anand, Binoy, Janaki, Vishal, Alji Francis

maalgudidays

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla (2)

Vampire Owl :: This sounds like Lal Bhahadur Shatri’s continuation. I am not coming.

Vampire Bat :: There is just Jayasurya playing a very good guy, otherwise this should be different. Anyway, you didn’t watch even that movie yet. There is also a shot of Jayasurya and Bhama having tea together. Remember the word “tea”.

Vampire Owl :: So what? I don’t need to watch feel-good. I can sense them. They are all going to be the same.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you are prejudiced?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, and it has saved me from watching bad movies. But I see that it is not working for you, and the same is spreading for you and affecting me.

Vampire Bat :: Then what are you going to do now as you are free?

Vampire Owl :: I am going to visit the Thommankuthu Waterfalls and think about more ideas on owlifying the world. The tea there is good; it helps one to think.

Vampire Bat :: What about your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: They have been called for some work at the Dracula Castle. We can’t deny the services when Uncle Dracula asks, can we?

Vampire Bat :: He gets all the movies at the castle. He is one lucky guy, isn’t he?

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: The story is that of an auto-driver in Thrissur called Mathai (Jayasurya) who is too good a man at heart and wants to solve all the problems in the world in whichever way possible. He spends his time trying his best and often gets into trouble for the same, never really giving him a positive effect, but he keeps trying again and again as if his life depends on him; he hopes that one day, everything will be awesome. His fiancee Anna (Bhama) is an assistant to a leading advocate in Kottayam, and as he comes to bring her back to Thrissur on a harthal day, it seems that he has lots of time in hand and wanders around in the area. At the same time, Nandakumar (Mukesh) is a heart surgeon who lives with his wife and child and is always having problems in his life due to his mother-in-law creating troubles. When Mathai comes to visit the doctor whom he had once helped when in trouble, the wife and child were no longer with him due to an issue concerning a wedding anniversary, and he decides that he should solve this problem for the doctor. But is a simple man like Mathai good enough to solve the rich woman’s ego?

The defence of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla :: The movie is both a preacher and a family counselor as it keeps trying to bring up all the problems in the family life and solve it from the beginning to the end. This is kind of a pre-marital course, and one has to say that it will be very of nice of the church to cancel the pre-marital course and use this movie instead, or it can directly give approval to anyone who has watched this movie – may be they can show the movie tickets to get approval. Yes, it is that kind of a movie, and not like Lal Bahadur Shastri as one might have expected. There is the good attempt to make things work and make it connected to the family audience. It starts off well, with our protagonist involving in the problems of one of his acquaintances and try to solve things only to make it worse. It is actually more funny in the first half. The cast has managed things well, and there is some humour lurking around all the time. Note that there is no romance in this one despite having the pair of Ivar VivahitharayalJanapriyan and Oru Black and White Kudumbam.

Claws of flaw :: The preachy nature of the movie often works against it, as people can get irritated at times, especially when the emotions fail to work and the humour almost disappears. Then it gets weaker, and makes so much of a lesser impact, and ends the movie in a predictable manner, with not much to cheer about – it is kind of a forced end, as if the classes are dispersed after all those lessons taught, and now it is time to go home and try the same. There is nothing that we haven’t seen before; remember the Mohanlal-Meera Jasmine starrer Innathe Chinthavishayam in which the hero and heroine attempted to save the marriages of three women? Yes, it is the same thing here, as our hero and heroine tries to unite a doctor and his wife. But this is not that good as the Mohanlal starrer, and is also restricted to two houses in action. Yes, there is the Aristotlean Unities at work here, of time, place (somewhat) and action. If you liked Innathe Chinthavishayam, there is a chance that you will like this one, otherwise, it is questionable – with no innovation and no good script.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is the character we are talking about in the title, and he once again shines as the simple character full of goodness – check Lal Bahadur Shastri and Apothecary models, and he once again uses the Thrissur slang like in Punyalan Agarbathis and it works like a dream for him. Mathai is another character in the comfort zone for him, and it is him who handles things here in the movie with the best quality. The feeling of the common man or the guy next door might be something that comes naturally to him. Bhama doesn’t lag behind in that, and even as she comes into the picture in a big way only in the second half, she joins the preaching and does fine. She also seems comfortable in this simple role. Mukesh is fine and has no challenge here at any moment; this is something that a versatile actor like him could do with ease. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is fine with her predictable character. Sreejith Ravi was very good in another avatar here, and he handles a lot of humour in this one and never falters – his character could have had a better handling though.

Soul exploration :: Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla has its own value in the contemporary society. People can question the product, but not the intentions, and scope for giving a good lesson, and this is where Akku Akbar gets the applause. The Dolphins did do the same, but it came too late to make that movie better. But our movie here shows how the world is changing in favour of ego and selfishness in a relationship, which in turns destroys it as the unconditional love itself is taken out and the whole thing remains as nothing more than a contract for mutual satisfaction. The movie has a husband who is a very busy surgeon having no time for family and a wife who want her husband to prefer her lavish parties over saving a human life. The advice that the wife gets from her mother contributes in the worst possible manner. There is also the idea of having a high status in a society and developing hatred for the common man. In the name of status and money, people tend to become less human, not just towards the outsiders, but also to one’s own people. Well, what is this “maintaining status” than showing off?

How it finishes :: Akku Akbar has to be appreciated for taking this topic which never losses the charm and the value in a society which keeps going further down with its family values in an age of ego leading to divorce. It is something which should be saved from the attack of the new generation movies which often ends up working in the exact opposite manner. But one can only wish that this was told in a better way rather than being too preachy. Our audience don’t accept such things, because it is like being told what to do. There is too much of it. If it was told in another way, things would have worked so much better, there is no doubt about it. Coming from a director who has been doing movies with family themes so well, let’s hope that he will come up with something a lot better next time. Until then, Angels seems to be the winner, even as there will be the question about how much it can score at the box-office seeing the status at the theatres. Penguins of Madagascar will take some family audience away from this one too, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Akku Akbar
Starring: Jayasurya, Bhama, Mukesh, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Sreejith Ravi, Thesni Khan, Sasi Kallinga, Jayaraj Warrier

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Naku Penta Naku Taka

nakupentanakutaka

Vampire Bat :: There is a problem with your tongue?

Vampire Owl :: No, its the title of the movie we are going to watch. I couldn’t say it at the ticket counter. So I said this time for Africa.

Vampire Bat :: Isn’t that title in Swahili?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but if it was in Malayalam, it would include the tongue being at Penta Menaka.

Vampire Bat :: I had first thought that it could be any non-English, non-Malayalam, non-Hindi movie.

Vampire Owl :: People do complain that Malayalam movies are using English titles. So, this should satisfy them.

Vampire Bat :: May be Swahili movies can use Malayalam titles.

Vampire Owl :: This was a big risk though, they were going to cancel the show stating there are not enough people.

Vampire Bat :: Happens with me for at least three out of every ten movies I watch.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Shubha (Bhama) is determined that she will marry only a man working in the United States of America. She and her father are so obsessed with the nation that her mother, uncle and the broker decides to present the next guy as an engineer working in America, instead of being the staff of a company in Africa. As Vinay (Indrajith Sukumaran) sends a visa to her right after their marriage, she can’t wait to get to America, but after told that they are going to the United States through Kenya, she arrives there only to be told that he works there and it was a plan spearheaded by her mother who was disgusted with her not getting an allience due to her need for a groom working in America. Even as he despises him in the beginning, she soon beings to get along. She also becomes friends with the Malayali neighbours who stay nearby, and even gets close to some natives. But then, a death will happen which will change their lives, and they will be on a run from police, gangsters and also a group of natives. At the same time, a man named Anton Kulasingam (Murali Gopy) also enters their lives, giving them no clue as to what is happening. They only know that they somehow need to get to India.

The defence of Naku Penta Naku Taka :: The name of the movie means “I Love You I Need You”, not the title which suits the movie the best, but still there is a nice song in there with the same lines, and it is beautifully done. The big advantage of this movie is that even when the thrill factor is low, the movie uses its ground advantage to work in its favour; with its power of variety, even when it is a little stupid, this one remains cool. The first half an hour of the movie remains really funny, with our leading characters taking control. Then the world goes the thrilling way, and it manages the transformation quite well and the suspense is maintained quite nicely, especially in the first half. Even as the three major incidents which change their lives are different, they are nicely managed and connected as one couldn’t have occurred without the previous one, and the highest points of tension are reached, but not without some amateurish weakness that can be mostly forgiven. The beauty of Kenya is nicely captured and the cinematography department needs some special applause, as Africa’s landscapes and wildlife becomes known to us through this piece of work. We need such movies which are not shot in the usual places like Europe, North America, Middle East and the South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) – good to see this one going different.

The claws of flaw :: The name of the movie has undoubtedly kept people away from the theatres – even I was sure that this was no Malayalam movie until I was told. It hasn’t succeeded in making the fans believe that the poster is not of a dubbed movie, and only those who follow the films news regularly can know that this is a Malayalam movie with a Swahili name, even as the English name for the other African movie Escape from Uganda was not interesting either. Most of the theatres don’t have this movie being screened either, and that should mean missing lots of business in the local theatres. The movie doesn’t make full use of its resources, neither of the funny side that it begins to explore nor of the thriller side where it attempts to reach. Both areas could have been a lot stronger, considering how well it started and maintained the variety in its presentation. The villain also doesn’t become evil according to the day’s standard, and shooting people is not that bad these days since Joker made The Dark Knight appearance. The ending has no strength, and it is as if it was getting drainer of its power from a few minutes ago. The second half is also inferior to the first half and a few more minutes after the interval which keep us thriller and hoping for something huge. The thrill factor is often low in the latter parts of the movie.

Performances of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran, that name is oftten enough to watch a movie which promises variety. Amen and Left Right Left were his class acts last year, and when he comes up with the first big variety of this year (Masala Republic not included), we are indeed interested. He excels in the funny scenes and continues his form into the rest of the story in a nice way. His inherent acting skills is only matched by the cuteness of Bhama who gives a peaceful performance with all its beauty and her own. You have to love her a lot in the beginning stages when she comes to Africa and realizes that her husband lied to her about America. A little more of such stuff could have given her more opportunities, that is for sure. Anusree has just some screen time, and would disappear for a long time only to appear later for a few minutes. Murali Gopy looks stunning throughout the movie, and proves that he is the right option for being Hitman Codename 47 if the game is adapted into Malayalam – well, people copy anything and everything these days, so who knows? It would have been better if he had more evil deeds to commit rather than shooting people; he is menacing in his style and way of talking and acting, but that is all the character has.

Soul exploration :: Naku Penta Naku Taka is a story of love and survival, even as it doesn’t go deep into either of them. As Indrajith and Bhama forms a nice on-screen pair, and the latter is incredibly cute in her expressions, especially with anger and blushing, may be it didn’t feel the need to get them through terror which has even half the power of the hell’s abyss. But the main theme of the movie remains the same, something which it decides to keep away from the dark side up-to an extent. It is the struggle of a husband and wife to escape from the problems that they face in Africa, seemingly similar to Escape from Uganda, but still finding an identity of its own, and the character of Murali Gopy plays a major part in helping the movie to do so. The expectation that this will work out in the level of Left Right Left is clearly wrong, and with the same protagonist who impressed us in that movie as well as Amen, this movie is just the entertainer with variety, not something which one can ponder over for long – Amen and Left Right Left still remains in my mind, and the characters stay there and so do the situations. Naku Penta Naku Taka is not without ideas, but doesn’t make an attempt to try hard with it, or add fire to the same.

How it finishes :: The 2013 movie Escape from Uganda was the first Malayalam movie to be extensively shot in Africa, and may be the only Malayalam movie to be shot in Uganda. If we look at those reviews on the internet, it has received almost the same kind of reception from the internet critics as for this one, or may be worse if we include some specific reviews. If we go outside Malayalam, the one movie we can remember easily should be Maryan, but that is clearly a different story. Naku Penta Naku Taka has to be appreciated for the effort which it has taken, and its bravery to choose to be different. There is one other thing that I like, and that is that this movie is sponsored by tea, as we can see the logo of Gokulam Love Tea on some of the posters of the movie – yes, how can I not watch a movie which has tea advertisements? Tea is such a big part of the life of the Vampire Bat, and this one inspires to drink more; not the best occasion to say this, but what is life without tea? Indrajith fans and future Bhama fans, take this opportunity to check out this movie. This is the movie that you need, to take a break from the inferior work that superstars have been providing us with, and lets take time to appreciate such lesser known works without huge stars; it will only be good for the industry.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Vayalar Madhavan Kutty
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Bhama, Murali Gopy, Shankar, Anusree Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sugada

nakupentanakutaka copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.