Aarkkariyam

What is the movie about? :: Ittyavira (Biju Menon) is a retired mathematics teacher who is spending his time alone in a village in the district of Kottayam. At the same time, his daughter Shirley (Parvathy Thiruvothu) and her second husband Roy (Sharafudheen) are living in Andheri, Mumbai, and are planning to come back to Kerala after some time, despite the COVID-19 restrictions being further imposed everywhere. The coming of Corona has kept all of them in their own space, without much contact with outside world, and the spread of Corona virus had also brought some financial crisis to Roy and Shirley. The former’s business was already failing and there is no success in mutual fund either. The two manage to come all the way to Kerala to Shirley’s hometown and meet Ittyvira, who is really happy to see them. But they are also not able to meet their daughter, as the borders are closed. They apply for permission, but soon, a nation-wide lock-down is imposed, and they are all stuck there in their home in the village.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The lock-down changes their lives by a long way, and the restrictions reach their place too. The already interior home now feels even more away from civilization. This is the time when people were only beginning to understand the COVID-19 situation, and everyone was expecting all these problems to be solved as the virus would eradicated in the end of lock-down. One of the consignments of Roy is now stuck with the customs, and without that, there is nothing much that can be done. Now, the only way to get some quick money so that they can pay back Vyshak (Saiju Kurup) is by selling the ancestral lands, and it is Ittyvira who provides them that idea. But there are some complications related to the same, as there seems to be some secrets from the past which need to be taken care of. Roy begins to feel uncomfortable about the same, but there is nothing that he can do, other than worry about the same.

The defence of Aarkkariyam :: Aarkkariyam would seem to be a usual film in a village setting, but it is surely more than that – we get the idea only later though. Every moment in this movie nicely contributes to keep it going, and it is not that long either with each second in there used in an interesting manner. It does have that fine punch at the interval, something that makes the film take another route from the second half. The title itself is a worthy one here, as we keep wondering who all knows about a number of things including a sinister event and a person who was involved in the same. The performance of the three main characters elevates the film further, and the supporting cast is also interesting. The surroundings are nicely created, and the feeling of Pala-Kanjirappilly area is given with the rural touch everywhere, from the people to the environment. The film also focuses on the different opinions that different people would have about one person, and how polarized the same happens to be – how one can pretend to be good among the common people.

The claws of flaw :: Aarkkariyam is not the kind of movie which you would expect, as it has a certain deviation in store there. It is also slow at times, and there are lots of moments when nothing happens, even though they do contribute to the mood. There is also the presence of some usual cliché stuff here, but the same will go on and pass. Even if it feels like family drama, it doesn’t suit into that genre completely, and one would have doubt about the kind of audience it is actually looking for – even though we can keep it for the common audience in general. A little bit more of the moments in Mumbai and their return to hometown as well as a few twists in between would have helped more, even if it would deviate further away from the genre. It was an opportunity for something more, and there was the chance to be a classic, but the film manages to keep it going straight and without adding any special ingredient into it – maybe because there was the feeling that it was not needed, like Kungfu Panda would agree.

The performers of the soul :: This movie, as expected has Biju Menon with a performance to remember, and that too with a different kind of work. He has embraced this role like Vijayaraghavan did, as he moved from the usual kind of hero to the senior roles. Much elder to Biju Menon, he would be the one we would expect in a role like this, something which he has done in earlier films, but not as the protagonist like we see here. We know that other older superstars are still playing the characters of lower age group, but Biju Menon has had the courage to take it to the next level. If we remember his last few films, we will see that this difference in looks has come unexpected, and by a long way. Even as everything is kept simple about the character, there is always something to remember with this act. There are also those simple dialogues will stay, and sometimes come back – it is one realistic performance to remember as we look at it.

Further performers of the soul :: The movie is indeed about Biju Menon, but others do play their part too. Parvathy Thiruvothu once again has a role to remember, as she blends in here nicely, just like she has done so many times with ease not limited to her most appreciated performances in Uyare, Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. She does get pushed to the background though, as the film progresses. It is also nice to see Sharafudheen in a serious role this time. We have been so much used to see him in those comic roles, except for that villainy in Varathan and the psychotic side in Anjaam Pathira, but those were kind of exaggerated when we have a look back – this is really a fine change here from the early comic side in Premam and the same later in Njandukalude Naattil Oridavela. The two match with their performances, and the cast has worked really well. Saiju Kurup plays the supporting role in the usual kind of way, but could have been part of more of the action too. Shoba Mohan is the only person here who gives the feeling that we have seen the person before.

How it finishes :: The first movie directed by cinematographer Sanu John Varghese is not something that we can leave behind. This is the kind of movie which I would have surely watched in the theatre early enough, if there was no COVID-19. It was a good decision to release this one on Amazon Prime Video along with Neestream, Roots Video and Cave OTT platforms because most of us were always going to watch it on Prime Video only – it is still difficult to find the movie there because of the spelling required to be exactly as it is when searching, and surprisingly it is also not on the list of the new film releases on Amazon. But we do get to it anyway, and during this time of lock-down and triple lock-down in Kerala, this is the kind of movie that reminds us of last year’s lock-down exactly as it is, and it is more or less a realistic experience that we go through – the kind which we had seen in Joji, and also in Nayattu even though this one keeps the thriller side at a distance.

Release date: 1st April 2021 (Theatre), 19th May 2021 (Amazon Prime Video, Neestream, Roots Video, Cave)
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Sanu John Varghese
Starring: Biju Menon, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sharafudheen, Arya Salim, Ganga G Nair, Saiju Kurup, Thejaswi Praveen, Shoba Mohan, Jacob George, Pramod Veliyanad

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Aadhyarathri

What is the movie about? :: Manoharan (Biju Menon) never really had the best of times during his childhood and youth, with everything reaching the worst situation, having his elder sister eloping with someone in the village, and his father having a cardiac arrest at the same time. Even though the marriage at his home didn’t happen, he take the profession of a marriage broker after he fixes a wedding ceremony and saves the bride’s family from humiliation. For two decades, he continues in the same profession, and there is no wedding ceremony in the area happening without him playing a part in it. He is the first person who comes to anyone’s mind when they think about wedding, and sometimes even other significant functions which are part of people’s life. Along with the same, he also runs a tutorial college for the local students.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manoharan is that kind of a person who has everything planned as far as relationships are concerned. He knows which boy will be suitable for which girl, and for the same, he supports only arranged marriage. Any case of falling in love is strictly opposed by him, and all the youth from the area are afraid of his interventions in their possible love affairs. It is during these times when he gets a chance to arrange the marriage of Kunjumon (Aju Varghese), the richest man in the village, and Aswathy (Anaswara Rajan), a modern, educated girl of the village who lives in Bangalore – the combination was always a risky one, but as Manoharan was always a godfather-like figure to Aswathy, he takes the risk. But it is not that easy to get this one done, and the question arises if he will fail in arranging a marriage for the first time.

The defence of Aadhyarathri :: The humour used in this movie is simple, and the message is indeed to ask the girl’s consent before fixing marriage, a case which would have worked better if it had released about ten to twenty years ago. The movie has its own feel-good factor to add to the same, and it is a simple movie with no pretensions, going through everything directly. The visuals are nice, and the setting contributes to the same very well. The nicely created situations make sure about it, and we have another movie for the family audience with jokes that can be accepted by everyone. During these Pooja holidays, you need a movie to look forward to with family, and this might be the right one, staying above the bigger hyped Onam releases like Love Action Drama and Ittymaani too. Also, look out for the Kuttanadan Baahubali dream song which is really attractive.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does feel a little outdated, as these are those days when the youth takes their own decisions with ease, and parents are on the backfoot in almost everything. These are also those days when parents keep agreeing to what the children want because there is just one kid or two, and they want to get them all that they wish for. With a new generation of children and youth, this movie might not serve much, and can focus on only a small number of people in need in a world when people fall in love indiscriminately and set their former lovers on fire. The movie has to work in a world in which almost everyone of the generation has a boyfriend or girlfriend, and therefore struggles. It also feels incomplete with some characters being lost and others serving no purpose. There is also the lack of focus on the progress of the narrative. Sometimes, it feels that parts of it is just forced.

The performers of the soul :: Biju Menon is once again at ease playing this kind of a role. Vellimoonga, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Swarna Kaduva, Anakkallan, Salt Mango Tree – all these had him playing the commoner’s role and handling the light-hearted humour in the leading role with ease. Here too, the movie is dependent on him to do what he has been doing the best, and the same is handled with the skill that he possesses, and has once again displayed without stepping back. Anaswara Rajan, after Udaharanam Sujatha, Evidey and Thanneer Mathan Dinangal makes fine impact, even thought not that much as we have seen in the two previous movies. Other than that song on the ship, she doesn’t have really have much of memorable moments in the movie, and someone elder would have been the best for this role. At the same time, it is to be noted that there is no romantic angle to the main character, which is to be appreciated.

Further performers of the soul :: Anu Sithara’s cameo seems totally unnecessary, and that is one scene added to prove a point in an easy way instead of proving it through the progress of the story itself, and it seems that she was chosen to assert the same in an even bigger manner. Aju Varghese does a nice job in the movie, and does the exact amount of comedy as it was needed – there is no overdose here even though the tendency was always there. Manoj Guinness is the one who plays the sidekick role here, and he is fine at most parts of the movie, even though some of the comedy is surely lost. Sarjano Khalid of June fame has a dull character to play here, and does less. Biju Sopanam has some funny moments to add, and Pauly Valsan does the job well as expected while Vijayaraghavan does another interesting role to fine impact. But it is to be noted that not all characters get their due.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director of the much appreciated Vellimoonga, and having the same leading actor, the expectations were very high, and this one does come close on many occasions. Still, it does fall short in comparison, and is no match for that movie which had everyone in love with the flick. Vellimoonga had set things in motion enough to make way for a good number of movies with similar theme, and Biju Menon himself had played so many of such roles. This one won’t have that much of an impact, but with Pooja holidays around, the family audience might be very much interested in this particular flick. It doesn’t seem to attract that many people right now, but in the next two days, that number should increase, and the movie should do well enough, even though not like its earlier superior relative, Vellimoonga.

Release date: 4th October 2019
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Anaswara Rajan, Sneha Babu, Manoj Guiness, Ashwin Jose, Vinod Kedamangalam, Sarjano Khalid, Sree Lakshmy, Prasad Muhamma, Shiny T Rajan, Naseer Sankranthy, Biju Sopanam, Pauly Valsan, Vijayaraghavan, Anu Sithara (cameo)

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Aanakkallan

What is the movie about? :: The central character of the movie is Pavithran (Biju Menon) who is a man spending his time in prison for committing robbery in a palace and museum. But his life gets better when a skeleton is found in the palace while the place was undergoing renovation. It is found out that the skeleton is almost as old as the time when the person was committing the robbery at the place. The police figures out that he could be either the suspect or the witness, and Pavithran agrees to the fact that he witnessed the murder taking place, and the killer getting rid of the body. As he assures them that he can recognize the killer, the police officers in charge KV Esthappan (Siddique) and Rajendra Babu (Suresh Krishna) decides to get him a parol. With a special permission from their superior officer Alex T Kuruvilla (Shivaji Guruvayoor), they make a master plan.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This master plan involves taking Pavithran to Esthappan’s wife house, from where he eloped with his wife Nancy Palakkal (Sarayu) a long time ago. By returning there, they would get a chance to stay close to Anandapuram Palace where the body was found. Pavithran would be forced to stay in the house as Esthappan’s friend who is a rich businessman from Palai. Despite their doubts, the parents of Nancy, Thomachan Palakkal (Sai Kumar) and Kochu Tresia (Bindu Panicker) welcomes them home. From there, a series of confusing events occur related to their lives. There are secrets to be revealed and mysteries to be solved, about Pavithran’s past, and that particular night on which the murder is supposed to have taken place. But as someone who is in prison for robbery and cheating, can Pavithran be trusted to help the police well enough?

The defence of Aanakkallan :: Being a movie which has a certain amount of confusion in itself, Aanakkallan can use some defence in its favour. There is no doubt about the fact that the movie begins well, and even before Biju Menon makes his entry, the beginning is set. The idea is good here, with an attempt made to solve a mystery regarding a skeleton found in a palace – to solve the case, a thief is needed too, and that man has a strange past. Well, this could have surely developed into something bigger as there is no shortage of content, and the fun is always there to be added. We remember how well Biju Menon added to the same in Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu. The funny side gets some regular contributions even when there are those problems of repetitions as well as the confusions.

The claws of flaw :: There is much that one would expect from a movie like Aanakkallan with Biju Menon in the lead, as people will have their own idea about how it would turn out to be. But the movie struggles to do the same, to meet the expectations. There are moments when the movie keeps making us feel the drag, as it goes above two and half hours, without that much of a content to boast about. The songs are all bad, and unnecessary – all of them seem to drag this piece of work towards that eternity, and most of the viewers won’t appreciate the same. There is so much of repetition here, not just with the old jokes, but also with the same kind of jokes used within the movie. The first and the second parts seem to be confused in where the movie is heading, and the long flashback in the second half is the worst part. The predictability factor is also very high.

The performers of the soul :: Biju Menon was supposed to be the one person who could hold the parts together, and one surely can’t doubt his ability in doing that – the movie surely depends on him a lot. He seems to find things easy here, as no surprises are added here in any department. Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan nicely contributes to the comedy at the same time, and Sudheer Karamana also joins in. But it is to be noted that none of these performers are used in a way that evokes that kind of fun to be remembered for long – there were opportunities present. Dharmajan’s Baahubali moment stands out, and Hareesh with his counters keep the movie on a better path. Suraaj Venjarammoodu once again has a rather serious role to perform here, and he has no problems in getting into this character of a thief.

Further performers of the soul :: The main female characters in this movie, Shamna Kasim, Sarayu and Anusree fail to have much to do. While Shamna Kasim’s role is more or less about being the fairest of them all, the other two are given even lesser work to do. It strange that we can’t have more. Siddique plays the police officer with ease, as he has the second most important character related to this one. Suresh Krishna does leave an impact with his funny police role here, being divergent from the serious one he played in Abrahaminte Santhathikal. Indrans is also here with an interesting character, even though limited in scope. Bala and Kailash are also there, contributing nicely to the story. But the focus, as we all know is on one person, and it is no surprise at all.

How it finishes :: The movie doesn’t go on to become a Vellimoonga, and it doesn’t even go on to become a Swarna Kaduva. This one is rather closer to Sherlock Toms which was a half-baked movie unable to stay within any genre, or do justice to at least one of them well enough. The director’s previous movie was Ivan Maryadaraman, and in comparison to that, this flick is surely an improvement. But the question would remain if that much is enough. The fact that there is still the use of the same kind of strange stereotypes and cliches after so many years and movies of attempts, doesn’t leave a true movie lover a happy one. But Aanakkallan does serve to waste some time for a lazy weekend, and this particular weekend is indeed one. There is just Kayamkulam Kochunni to make you think otherwise.

Release date: 18th October 2018
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Suresh Divakar
Starring: Biju Menon, Siddique, Suraaj Venjarammoodu , Shamna Kasim , Anusree, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Hareesh Perumanna, Bindu Panicker, Saikumar, Sarayu, Bala, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Indrans, Kailash

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Lavakusha

What is the movie about? :: Two jobless youngsters who would later be addressed as Lavan (Neeraj Madhav) and Kushan (Aju Varghese), meets in Chennai city, and becomes very good friends. The problems that both of them face, are almost the same, and after being kicked out of their place for not paying the rent, the two decide to return to Kerala, hoping to find something better in their home state. As the lazy people that they are, they can’t stop thinking about earning maximum money with the least effort. It is during their journey back to Kerala that they come across a number of strangers on the train. There is a girl named Sheethal (Deepti Sati), and a man who identifies himself as Venkat (Biju Menon). In an attempt to get the attention of the girl, they cross the way of a group of people smuggling gold in the train who threatens to kill them.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being captured by the smugglers, the three escapes, and Venkat reveals himself as Joy Kappan, a senior police inspector. A series of confusions follow, and it ends with Joy being able to seize all the gold, and the smugglers escaping. Inspired by the turn of events, Lavan and Kushan decides to become private detectives. But living in a rented house, they are once again very close to being kicked out – it is then that they come across Joy again, who gives them a task to perform. They are to find and take out a huge amount of gold which is stored inside a reputed institution in the middle of the city. As they feel the need for an adventure, the two men agree and goes on the mission. But there are more twists to their mission than they think that there is, and there is more to the truth than what meets the eye.

The defence of Lavakusha :: There are enjoyable moments here and there in this one, and after the comic side gets awakened early, there is also the presence of twists later. It is in the final moments that everything comes together, and we get to see the movie rising above the possibility of just ending up as a foolish thing. The movie is clearly dependent on the trio of Neeraj Madhav, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon, and the three remains the pillars of this flick which leaves less for the rest. The former two get to begin and go on with the humour without restrictions. Even then, it is the second half which manages to use its resources better, improving as it moves towards the finish. You will see the signs of the same by the interval itself. When you are looking for some fun of the simpler kind, Lavakusha might be exactly the movie to turn to.

The claws of flaw :: Lavakusha never really uses its cast to the best possible advantage. When we have a leading cast like this, one has to wonder why there is inability to use it to the full advantage with fun. The jokes often struggle to identify as what they are actually supposed to be – even without logic and with foolishness allowed in there, we see struggle. We see that none of the characters are never really well established for the audience – that applies even to the leading characters. It is for the same reason that there are too many ups and downs in this movie, and the momentum that is often gains is not maintained and carried on to the next moments. The first sequence of the movie itself is rather not needed, and the same thing is repeated again in this movie, without bringing any chance for laughter. The music in this movie is rather forgettable – there is nothing to keep us there with that too. You will also find that the female characters also have less screen presence.

Performers of the soul :: It is Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav whose combination works really well to make things better. Even the comedy which might have gone over our head otherwise, works well, thanks to how well the two manages everything together. Aju Varghese has been present throughout the year’s movies from Aby and Alamara earlier to right now, while Neeraj Madhav comes out of that impressive performance in Oru Mexican Aparatha – we have seen them together at their best in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Kunjiramayanam; this movie is not of such level, but together, they are not behind, at any point. You will notice that the former has a more responsible character in comparison, but then too, you will know that it is only by a small distance. You will feel that this particular combination also meant that the expectations were a little too high with this one – well, it is no surprise, right?

Further performers of the soul :: The movie focuses mostly on the characters played by Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav, but the only one with heroic quality in this movie is played by Biju Menon – he gets to be the hero in the movie lead by the two youngsters. As concerning the titles, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Lakshyam and Sherlock Toms, he had caught our attention with three different roles in the year, and here he gets another one to perform – there is no difficulty for him here, and he has all under control. Sadly, Aditi Ravi is restricted to a smaller role which could have been developed instead of a few other things in a movie which is rather so long for its content, and even Deepti Sati’s presence seems to be strange when she disappears and appears; there even seems to be a certain lack of efficiency in dubbing for her. Vijay Babu and Major Ravi are good with their work at the same time.

How it finishes :: Lavakusha could have been a nice action comedy in Hollywood style – our heroes could have gone through this in Get Smart model, becoming the unlikely saviours when the others in the investigation turn hopeless. Two police officers in undercover mode, finishing their missions in a funny and interesting way was the need here, but that much work isn’t done, and there seems to be not that much focus on attention either. Even with such a longer run-time, this one couldn’t build up enough. Still, this makes mostly an entertaining watch for the weekend. It could be an interesting time-pass movie without doubt. You can also feel a little bit of Tharangam in this one. As of now, Parava seems to have the lead as the most interesting one in the last thirty days. Just like the other Biju Menon starrer in the theatres, Sherlock Toms, this one attempts to combine comedy with the twists, and by the end, you will feel that it is the latter that has caught your attention, unlike what you were expecting.

Release date: 13th October 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Gireesh Mano
Starring: Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Biju Menon, Deepti Sati, Aditi Ravi, Vijay Babu, Major Ravi, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Ashwin Kumar, Janardhanan, Neena Kurup

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Sherlock Toms

What is the movie about? :: P.L. Thomas (Biju Menon) a.k.a Toms is a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and has spent a lot of time reading the novels, not known to be interested in studies. With a certain amount of skill being displayed by him to solve problems, he had managed to end up exposing Sugunan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) a teacher who was cheating on her wife with another teacher, while solving a mystery of some missing money. He was expelled after that incident and also trying to cheat in examinations. But he makes a grand return, and manages to do well, even qualifying for the Indian Revenue Service though his need was to join Indian Police Service to solve case. After being persuaded by Father Kunnel (Saju Kodiyan), he decides to take IRS and not go for PSC. It doesn’t satisfy him, and is also very disappointed to be married to Rekha (Srinda Ashab) who hates his friends as well as his inability to earn enough money by bribery or in any way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Toms and Rekha go on with regular fights, and as each day passes, her hatred for him grows, but is not ready to sign the divorce papers, not happy with the possibility of him leading a better life in her absence. She believes that he isn’t worthy of his position, coming from a lower level in the society and mingling with local, illiterate people. Toms is not interested in making money or fame, as he only wants to be a sharp investigator like Sherlock Holmes, his childhood hero. For the same he gets a transfer to a new department, and has himself after a certain financiers. Shiny Mattummel (Miya George) is a reporter who covers almost everything that happens in and around the city, to that extent that people believe that she is at more than one place at the same time. The two find themselves in the opposite sides, as Toms’ attempt at a raid is messed up. Now he has to make things better, and for the same, he wishes to suicide.

The defence of Sherlock Toms :: There are some jokes that work in this movie, but one has to wonder if that, as well as the final twist would be enough to make it compete with Tharangam, Udaharanam Sujatha and Ramaleela, all three having their own fans. It is actually very good to have had that final twist, or all these things would have provided a wasted feeling. The family audience would love this movie in parts, and the assurance can only be partial because the movie changes in mood too often – it is is sometimes comedy, at other times drama, and there is also the presence of the elements of a suspense thriller, even though none of these are used to their full strength. The beginning stages of the movie are actually the ones most close to the title of the movie. Who wouldn’t wish to watch the tale of a boy who grew up reading Sherlock Holmes stories? Well, even I was one. Biju Menon is certainly the savour for this movie, as for many others.

The claws of flaw :: Sherlock Toms just seems to try so less with its material. There is one Indian Revenue Service officer who is as smart as Sherlock Holmes, and there is no attempt to make the best of the same. There is no Biju Menon becoming Sherlock Holmes, and investigating unsolved mysteries with some smart moves which would make everyone jealous. There is also not enough funny moments for a Biju Menon movie. To add to the same, there is one flawed wife character whose existence is only as much justified as an impaled zombie looking to eat anybody’s brains, and a number of cliches. [Spoiler Alert] The one movie that the second half of Sherlock Toms reminds the audience about is Man on a Ledge with Biju Menon being Sam Worthington and Miya George being Elizabeth Banks. It is not a direct copy like Anwar from Traitor or Cocktail from Butterfly on a Wheel as there is the different back story and comic side, but the idea actually deviates too much into what we have already seen. [/Spoiler Alert].

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon who has had simple, family movie success with flicks like Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Swarna Kaduva, Salt Mango Tree and Vellimoonga to go into the list of feel-good solo hits with messages, has no problem in dealing with this role too; the movie is a lot dependent on him, and he delivers, even when the movie is sailing through troublesome waters. Both leading actress of this movie has to go through a deep struggle. Srinda Ashab has her character that badly shown that at some point we feel that all the roles which she has done is going to vanish with a certain dose of irritating moments which stay till the end – its not really funny. She had such good work in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela and Parava. Meanwhile, Miya has another struggle going on, which is to escape from having that less of a presence on screen as in Memories and Anarkali. But she manages to go through her role with ease, with not that much demanded there. When we look closer, both of their characters don’t do much constructive, but they are mandatory.

Further performers of the soul :: Sherlock Toms is another movie in which heroines have so less to make an impact, and it is not just them who are restricted – instead the weight is put on the shoulders of Biju Menon. The next significant character would be Salim Kumar though, along with the team of Noby Marcose, Dinesh Prabhakar, Molly Kannamaly and others by his side. Kalabhavan Shajohn brings fun to what might be one of the most terribly written characters of a school teacher – he rises to make it better. Another person who is full fun in this movie is Suresh Krishna, as he brings something whenever he is present on the screen. Hareesh Perumanna contributes with some nice little funny lines, and so does Kottayam Nazeer who combines forces with him. Saju Kodiyan and Vijayaraghavan are effective with some fun here and there during their smaller presence. There is no shortage of characters introduced in this movie, even when they are of not that much contribution.

How it finishes :: Most of us would have expected Sherlock Toms to provide us with more, which is one of the reasons for some disappointment. This one just manages to do fine, but is never really close to those expectations generated with Shafi returning to the helm after the big laugh riot blockbuster which was Two Countries, joining forces with the evergreen comedy side of Biju Menon. Sherlock Toms is that kind of a movie which can be watched for some time-pass, without expecting too much. If you expect the movie to bring something extra, or out of the box, you will have not much to be satisfied about. The movie is the usual Biju Menon model movie, but with deviations which make the movie lesser of that kind. There is no variety being tried, but there are some changes in the path, and people can feel that they are not the kind of changes that they had wanted.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Biju Menon, Miya George, Srinda Ashab, Salim Kumar, Noby Marcose, Vijayaraghavan, Suresh Krishna, Anu Joseph, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nelson, Hareesh Perumanna, Saju Kodiyan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vijayakumar, Molly Kannamaly, Kottayam Nazeer, Sohanlal, Rajesh Paravoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rakshadhikari Baiju

Vampire Owl: This character reminds me of myself during my early days.

Vampire Bat: You mean the days before you became a vampire.

Vampire Owl: No, my early days as a vampire apprentice.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that you performed really bad during those days.

Vampire Owl: No, I had balance in all aspects of life just like this man in the trailer.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see how this can be termed as balance.

Vampire Owl: Well, my case was all about balancing everything in life with so much skill that I managed to develop just from the inside.

Vampire Bat: There is no balance in life; one thing goes the right way, and something else losses the way.

Vampire Owl: I am actually writing a book on it, with special thanks to you.

Vampire Bat: That is an action completely against balance.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Baiju (Biju Menon) is everything for a group of people at Kumbalam, a region which is commonly considered as a part of an extended Kochi, but still retains its simple, village-like life. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake, the place is connected at both sides by bridges, which is slowly and steadily transforming the lives of the people there. Here, this man leads a group of youngsters who are part of a cricket team which has been trying to win local tournaments, but not with that much success – it hasn’t stopped them from trying though. The team’s members include Manoj (Deepak Parambol) and Unni (Aju Varghese) among the others. Manoj has fallen for a girl in the neighbourhood named Rose (Anagha L K Maruthora) who also seems to have some interest in him, while a co-worker, Sreekala (Krishna Padmakumar) has fallen for Unni who is not interested in her and is looking for a girl to marry all around the state.

So, what happens next? :: His lack of interest in his job despite being in government service doesn’t make his wife Ajitha (Hannah Reji Koshy) happy, and the same is the case with his parents. He also spends money from his pocket to help his friends in need, and is the major force behind leading a boy in his team to Ranji trophy and later into an IPL team. Despite avoiding all the responsibilities at home as well as office, he is still a loved man everywhere. Being an irrigation department official and also a patron of the Kumbalam Brothers Club will keep him going through a journey which started when he was just a kid, along with George (Dileesh Pothan) and other friends of him, who have all settled outside India or at least outside Kerala. But he remains in his hometown, doing the same things as if it is to go on for eternity – but how long can these continue during a time when modernisation comes up, and who all will be with him?

The defence of Rakshadhikari Baiju :: There is an abundance of humour in Rakshadhikari Baiju, and it is no surprise with the cast that we see here. With the simple things that could happen in anyone’s life, the tale progresses nicely, even as there is nothing like Chinthavishtayaaya Shyamala unlike expected at one point. With the performances and events, things just seem natural here, with nothing artificial added. The message that the movie provides is also something for this age, when children try to replace the outdoor sports for computer games and more and more of mobile gaming – the movie asks its viewers to encourage outdoor sporting events which will improve the health of an upcoming generation, and also to save those free spaces, the green open grounds with trees in villages and towns. There is also that feeling of nostalgia that will come back to us seeing all these happenings. A realistic tale about common people is always better than a fake story claiming to be realistic, whether it is about a slow love story that will take an eternity to finish doing something or related to a tale filling a town with criminals who love pork.

The claws of flaw :: What surprises one the most is that there are villains in the movie, and along with one coming right out of a modern world which has no real face, there is another one played by Padmaraj Ratheesh, which goes absolutely nowhere – there never seems to be any need except for one funny sequence or two which works due to Biju Menon’s comic timing. There is also the love angle added with the character named Rose, which is also pretty much wasted just as our protagonist’s own love story flashback that comes into the present. Without these, the movie would have saved a lot of time, and the extra length of the movie could have been cut down to make this a very good entertainer with no dull moments; but here we see those sequences which are not really needed. The simplicity of the movie also needed more of the touch of feel-good and nostalgia to power it to the next level, and the same is also not there.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again becomes what the character needs him to be, and this role is no surprise for sure. Just like he did in Vellimoonga and Swarna Kaduva, he uses the simple incidents in life to evoke laughter, and he is well supported here. Aju Varghese keeps doing what he does the best, and provides the fun-filled support. Deepak Parambol does the role that could be of the second hero fine enough, despite his character losing way by the end. It is Hareesh Perumanna who has some of the funniest moments in the movie though, and his character has the comic side strong and written all over. Dileesh Pothan has only his presence for only a few minutes though, and still there is a lot of fun with his sequences starting with the dialogue about having changed by being rich. Hannah Reji Koshy whom we had seen for the last time in Darwinte Parinamam has a nice stay here as the leading actress too.

How it finishes :: This is one of those lesser hyped movies which can stay long just by being the movie that everyone can watch and enjoy, somewhat close to what Vellimoonga did even if not being that much of a force, considering the fact that families only have Sakhavu as the newer movie that is left to go for, Puthan Panam being pretty much a clear terrible movie, and also having an ‘Adult certificate’. The Great Father and 1971: Beyond Borders should also be there along with the undisputed best Malayalam movie of the year so far which is Take Off, but our movie starts a new innings here with not much of a challenge for a week which is in the safe zone. If you liked the Biju Menon starrers Vellimoonga and Swarna Kaduva, there is no doubt that you will like this one too, and so this one is a safe bet; there is a little bit of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam feeling in this one too. Simple, and without complicating things, the movie here stays close to life, and also allows the viewers to take the messages home.

Release date: 21st April 2017
Running time: 162 minutes
Directed by: Ranjan Pramod
Starring: Biju Menon, Hannah Reji Koshy, Aju Varghese, Deepak Parambol, Hareesh Perumanna, Dileesh Pothan, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Alencier Ley Lopez, Janardhanan, Indrans, Vijayaraghavan, Chethan Jayalal, Vishal Krishna, Aabid Nassar, Ambika Mohan, Nebish Benson, Krishna Padmakumar, Anjali Aneesh, Anagha L K Maruthora, Sankar Induchoodan, Sasi Kalinga

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kavi Uddheshichathu?

kavidudhesichathu-1

What is the movie about? :: The action takes place at a village called Allimoola which is known for the game of volleyball, and its crazy fans, as well as the players who have dedicated their lives towards the game – but it is all in the past now, with the new generation of youngsters looking only for the easy ways to make money, without doing anything really valuable to the society. The women of the village considers the game to be a big wastage, and the men are no longer interested in it as part of their lives. There are only those players of the past who keep talking about their lost glory. Still, there is a section of people who believes that the game is in the blood of the villagers and they don’t believe that they game can ever disappear suddenly – they are hoping for the emergence of better players from the place who can rise above the best.

So how are things moving forward in this movie? :: It is the richest guy in the village, Vattathil Bosco (Narain) who conducts the tournaments now, in memory of his father who used to do the same years ago. But unlike his father, he has no real interest in the game, and only wishes to show the power of his money and wants to be more and more famous, but gets not much of respect from the villagers. He is in love with Lillykutty (Sija Rose), the sister of Kavalam Jimmy (Asif Ali), who is his major opponent in life, a story of dislike which has been going on for many years. Meanwhile, Jimmy is in love with Jasmine (Anju Kurian), who is the sister of Bosco. Jimmy and his friends, including Karala (Balu Varghese), Dineshan (Sudhi Koppa), Aneesh (Benson), Charles (Abhishek) and Sukoor (Ganapathy) form the better known faces of youth in the village who do simple work to make their living.

So, what happens next? :: With the love story of Jimmy and Jasmine being known to people, things get further complicated. At the meeting where the decision on the tournament was to be made, the two opponents end up betting against each other – what they ask for is the hand of the other person’s sister in marriage. The whole village consider takes this in the sportsman spirit, and decides that time has come to celebrate the tournament this time. Looking for a sponsor, Jimmy and his friends find one in Gladys (Lena) who doesn’t like Bosco’s family. Bosco finds a new ally and the team’s coach in Noble Jacob (Saiju Kurup) who had problems with Jimmy and his friends earlier. Joshy (Bijukuttan) arranges a special coach for Jimmy’s team, Minnal Simon (Biju Menon) who is a drunkard and is ready to lose the game for money. So, where does things go from here?

The defence of Kavi Uddheshichathu? :: You know that there will fun around with this movie as you look at the title itself. There is that nostalgia of those old village movies that runs right through this movie, and there is also that feel-good effect that gets to the highest level in the end – it might be what the movie has been aiming for all the time. The locations are nicely captured, with the movie being shot at Iritty in Kannur district, located on the banks of Valapattanam River. The entertainment is guaranteed here, even though it is not provided without the breaks in between. It is the middle part as well as those moments with Biju Menon that stays the strongest here. There is simplicity all around this movie, and even the bad guys in this movie are not that easy to be hated – this is that kind of a comedy movie which leave one without much to think about, and focuses more on what is there to bring some laughter.

The claws of flaw :: There could have been a more interesting story-line, without doubt – instead, this one goes into the territory which Karinkunnam 6s had explored just a few months earlier. The climax is rather predictable, even with an extra dose of feel-good added in the end – everything gets sorted out in the end, and there are no more enemies. There is a certain amount of emptiness in the movie at times due to the same reason – the effort here seems to be to make the feel-good comedy thing work all the time rather than focusing on anything else. We are also left too far away from the characters – there is no real feeling for the character even in a funny way as they do the predictable on the screen. There is also the lack of a strong enough climax that could have finished this the way it should have done – instead this one floats all the way there.

Performers of the soul :: Even though he arrives late, Biju Menon is the soul and heart of this movie – coming after one and half hours in a movie which has only about forty to forty five more to get to the finish, he raises the level of the comedy in this movie. Asif Ali does his job naturally, and there was nothing huge there for him to perform. Narain looks perfect for this role, but it is not really so when he goes on as the character; there is a consistent struggle with comedy going on here, and it never ends until the movie finishes. Lena plays a strong and admirable character with ease. Anju Kurian makes a beautiful addition to this movie, and even in a movie that focuses more on its male stars, leaves a mark; and also leaves the big smiles behind. Sija Rose is also notable in the small role. Among the supporting cast, Balu Varghese stands out, even though the viewers might have expected more from him. Dinesh Prabhakar and Veena Nair forms a nice combination too.

How it finishes :: Thomas Liju Thomas, the director of this movie had already come up with a short-movie, Ramaniyechiyude Namathil before this. It was a critically acclaimed short-film which had managed to grab a number of awards and honours. It is known for winning the first prize in the “Shoot an Idea” competition which was organised by Kappa TV. In his first full-length movie, he has made sure that it remains a complete entertainer, and finishes with a feel-good effect. It did appeal to the audience with its simple jokes, which is undoubtedly the reason why it ran for quite some time in the local theatres as well as multiplexes. Without too much application of brain, this one can work very well with the comic side, even though not that much as a sports movie – the sporting event is just a reason for things to come together; you know what you are going for in this movie instead. Well, simplicity works and so does feel-good, as already proved this year in Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho and Oru Muthassi Gadha.

Release date: 8th October 2016
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Liju Thomas
Starring: Asif Ali, Anju Kurian, Biju Menon, Narain, Lena, Bijukuttan, Balu Varghese, Sija Rose, Sudhi Koppa, Benson, Abhishek, Ganapathy, Bindu Panicker, Sneha, Saiju Kurup, Manoj Guinness, Akku Melparamb, Chithra Shenoy, Dinesh Prabhakar, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Sasi Kalinga, Balaji Sharma, Prasanth, Arul Mash, Alleppey Ashraf, Tom Joseph

kavidudhesichathu

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho

kochavvapauloayyappacoelho

Vampire Owl: This is one long list of people. I know some of them, I think.

Vampire Bat: You know Paulo Coelho for sure.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is a much talked about figure in the New Vampire World.

Vampire Bat: The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage – you know them.

Vampire Owl: I know more than that, and I shall read more of it.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that your reading habit is coming back.

Vampire Owl: So, how is he related to this movie?

Vampire Bat: It is for us to find out by investigating while watching this movie.

Vampire Owl: It is one title of a movie that is sure to catch your attention too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even we wonder what it is about, and the curiosity catches the audience.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Ayyappa Das (Rudraksh Sudheesh) is a kid who has always had the dream to travel in an airplane. He has been growing up thinking about nothing other than this one thing, and almost everybody in the village knows that. There is one toy that he always has with him, and that is a tiny model of an airplane. He and his best friend, his cousin sister Ambily (Abeni Aadhi) spends their time hoping to find him a chance, by praying to different dieties. He had two chances to go in the plane though, the first one spoiled by a disease, and the second one when his father died, having taken visa and paid for the airline tickets in both cases. With his father dead, his chances for traveling in an airplane seems to have reached a new low, but he still believes that there is some chance here or there and is not ready to give up.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The other significant character in this movie is Kochavva, whose real name is Ajayakumar (Kunchako Boban). He is a very helpful person, and is loved by almost everyone in the village. A man known for his good heart and the intense desire to help people in need, everyone calls him by the name Kochavva, no matter they are older or younger to him. Having given up his love Anju (Anusree) due to the goodness in his heart, he is the man who is now going to help Ayappa Das in getting closer to his dream. One day, while teaching children swimming, Kochavva tells everyone about how significant swimming is, and how it can help one to achieve more, along with doing it as an exercise. Ayappa Das sees it as an opportunity to travel in an airplane by going for competitions outside Kerala.

So how is the dream to be achieved? :: The problem is that Ayappa Das is afraid of water, and it is not just some fear – it goes deeper. When almost every kid in the village was taught swimming by Kochavva, he had always stayed away – he has often felt water as death. The movie goes on to bring to its viewers on how the boy managed to overcome his fear of water, and how Kochavva uses the quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” to make him believe in himself, and also in the rest of the people around him. With his dream of traveling in an airplane on the line, can Ayyappa Das finally become the person that he and Kochavva want him to be? Is it possible for him to finally achieve that one thing which seemed to be not happening as everything in the universe earlier seemed to conspiring against him?

The defence of Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho :: With the whole tale based on and hoping to thrive on Paulo Coelho’s popular and best known quote from The Alchemist, there was something inspirational coming up for sure, and it could be seen from a long distance – it is the same that is delivered here, with the protagonist’s hope to achieve his biggest dream, but at the same time, there is the assertion on goodness which is in keeping one’s dreams as second priority for the sake of others. The village setting nicely supports the whole thing, and with a certain light-hearted momentum, this one manages to move towards becoming that motivational movie which is expected. “Neelakkannulla Maane” is an amazing song, which might be the best of the year so far. Everyone needs an inspirational movie, and when it is based on dreams, the feel-good effect only gets better, and surely there is more approval for such an idea.

Claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t have a full flow if we look at it, and it does drag at parts. There is also that ending which could have been something bigger, but it is not. We could have had the effect of many other motivational movies like Mili, Rani Padmini and Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, but that didn’t happen here. There are points when the pace comes down, which shouldn’t have been the case. There is no shortage of inspirational movies in Malayalam, and so this could have done better to keep itself strong, but it has managed to be surely better than the partially inspirational movies from Bollywood like Dear Zindagi which cares only about the new generation richer class minority who moans for no valid reason. The amount of humour is also a little too less considering the scope which was there – with Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese there, one has to wonder why the funny lines were kind of hard to come by. The final cameos were not needed either.

How it finishes :: As Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho marks the return of Udaya Pictures which was the first ever movie production company in Malayalam cinema, this one is also the seventy fifth movie of Kunchako Boban who has brought his legacy strongly. He is very good here, playing a role in which seems to be very comfortable – it is a simple role, with the protagonist driven by the simple need to help others as Fahadh Faasil’s character was driven by the simple need for revenge in Maheshinte Prathikaram. In the movie, it is the kid, Rudraksh who steals the show though. With some funny moments here and there from Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese not being used to the best effect, this is one movie which thrives on the feel-good factor and positive messages, for which one should feel the need to watch Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. This is where you see intelligence in simplicity.

Release date: 9th September 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Sidhartha Siva
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Anusree, Rudraksh Sudheesh, Suraj Venjaramood, Aju Varghese, Nedumudi Venu, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Abeni Aadhi, Muthumani, Mukesh, Sudheesh, Irshad, Musthafa, Maniyanpilla Raju, Mithun Ramesh, Biju Menon (cameo), Parvathy Ratheesh (cameo)

kochavvapauloayyappacoelhoo

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Swarna Kaduva

swarnakaduvaa-2

Vampire Owl :: There are too many creatures roaming around in the world of the Malayalam movie industry.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Pulimurugan’s leopard is also there.

Vampire Owl :: And other creatures with the support of Biju Menon.

Vampire Bat :: Vellimoonga’s owl and Marubhoomiyile Aana’s elephant, they were interesting creatures too.

Vampire Owl :: You know that Marubhoomiyile Aana already had a tiger in it.

Vampire Bat :: But that was not golden. And with the owl being silver, how can the tiger not be made of gold?

Vampire Owl :: With leopard and tiger there, will there be a lion?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Sinham 3 will have Suriya, Anushka Shetty and Shruti Haasan in the lead roles.

Vampire Owl :: It is more like a zoo.

Vampire Bat :: But the general trend is that Malayalam movies with creatures in the titles do some pretty good job.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Rini Iype Maatummel (Biju Menon) is assisting the rich jewellery owner Lonappan (Innocent) in almost everything. Even though he is just assisting the man, the ultimate aim is to make it huge in one way or the other. One day, when Lonappan’s car hits an unknown man, things take a twist of events which end up in the murder of another person, Divakaran (Suresh Krishna). Now Rini’s job is to make sure that the dead man’s wife Lovely (Iniya) doesn’t say anything about her husband being missing. Meanwhile, a nurse, Deepthi (Poojitha Menon) is witness to him being involved in the crime, and he marries her to make sure that she doesn’t talk about it to anyone. During all these events, Rini manages to take a few lakhs of money from Lonappan, which he hopes to use in starting another jewellery shop. With no problem in lying and cheating people, can Rini get what he wants?

The defence of Swarna Kaduva :: Here is another simple, fun-filled comedy movie with Biju Menon as the lead. There are some nice comedy sequences which are handled the most by Biju Menon, and followed up by Innocent and Hareesh. The movie also has its message, which means that the man gets to have a better character in the end. The jokes are mostly working, with exceptions – it was not really that easy with things getting a little bit dark for a movie of this kind, but the humour holds on. Another point is that there is no real drag in this movie, and things go on smoothly, without making us bored. The graph of this movie goes straight ahead, with no struggle anywhere. The main character is also a fine representation of many people of this era, who wishes to become rich easily, without going the honest way – those people who are looking for short-cuts and dishonest ways to success are reflected on our protagonist.

Claws of flaw :: The big comparison is going to be made with Vellimoonga here, and surely that much is fun is not around here. The feel-good factor is also not there, as this not that light-hearted as Vellimoonga with its twist of events. The climax is not that interesting, and things go through predictable lines on too many occasions. This movie could have been better with some more effort at the climax, and keeping closer to the light moments all the time, and having the messages in a more visible manner. There are moments which could have been avoided to make this movie shorter – the romance with Iniya’s character is one of them, and one does feel that there are more “pennu kaanal” and related stuff in this movie than intended – the last one is surely too much of an extension even though there is some fun there. This flick is just a fifteen or twenty minutes too long despite having no drag.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is all about Biju Menon as expected, and others only come in to give him the needed support – as some people would refer to, as the “key” or the “special ingredient”. Just like the other movies with him as the solo lead, like the big surprise hit which was the comedy entertainer Vellimoonga, and the strictly average flick which was Salt Mango Tree, Biju Menon never ceases to give his best. Even the other movies with him in the cast, including Marubhoomiyile Aana and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam had him scoring heavily with the comic scenes. We remember how it started off so well with the movie Ordinary, with those earlier signs in Marykkundoru Kunjaadu and Seniors – we can really go for his movies as a safe bet these days as far as the comic side is concerned. His Rini here, is similar to the character he played in Vellimoonga, and so there is no doubt about how well it goes.

Further performers of the soul :: But there is one difference, as this one here has more negative shades, and there is no good quality about this character throughout the movie. But it is safe in his hands for sure. The point to be noted is that he is both the hero and the villain of this movie – there is nobody else giving him competition. You go for this movie seeing him on the poster, and you won’t be disappointed. Meanwhile, Innocent is back to doing what he does the best, and brings the laughter – we are always happy to see him there. Hareesh also has his moments, a good number of them. The role of the leading lady is shared between Poojitha Menon and Iniya, both of them doing a fine job, with the latter being the more intense of the two. Sudheer Karamana and Suresh Krishnado provide some nice support here when they are present on the screen.

How it finishes :: Earlier it was Aanandam, and now this little movie is also all set to leave a nice mark. This one will not bring anything huge or out of the usual way, but is sure to keep you interested throughout its run. One thing that we wonder about though, is about putting in the poster that this was directed by the one who directed Mayamohini and Sringaravelan; that is more like negative word-of-mouth. It is strange considering the fact that nicely done comedy movies like Mattupetti Machan and Udayapuram Sulthan are part of the director’s filmography. If this idea was based on box-office collections, one has to remember that times have changed, and those two movies, if released now would have got no collection of that kind – the world has changed, and we need Swarna Kaduva as itself rather than resembling those two terrible movies mentioned in the poster.

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Jose Thomas
Starring: Biju Menon, Innocent, Poojitha Menon, Iniya, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Kottayam Nazeer, Hareesh Perumanna, Rosin Jolly, Baiju, Anju Aravind

swarnakaduva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anuraga Karikkin Vellam

anuragakarikkinvellam (1)

What is it about? :: Raghu (Biju Menon) is a police officer who gets angry easily and takes things into his own hands instead of going on to register a case. Despite a lot of advice from his colleague James (Sudheer Karamana) and repeated warnings from his superior officer Irfaan (Irshad), he doesn’t back off and beats up goons. He has to face disciplinary measures, but he just doesn’t care. He keeps a rough and tough image at home too, with his wife Suma (Asha Sarath) and his children. His son, Abhilash (Asif Ali) isn’t too happy about that either, and spends his time with his friends Kichu (Sreenath Bhasi) and Fakruddin (Soubin Shahir) and even though he is an engineering graduate, is not really interested in going for a job related to what he studied. This is more of a Cold War situation, to be honest.

So what happens next? :: Abhilash’s former classmate Elizabeth a.k.a. Eli (Rajisha Vijayan) is madly in love with him, but he is more interested in ending that relationship which he had at college – she doesn’t let go though. As she keeps calling him all the time and even comes to his house, he tells her that he has had enough of her. He decides to get a job at a call centre nearby much to the dismay of his parents who wishes that he made better use of what he had studied. Meanwhile, an old friend and former lover gets into the life of Raghu in the form of Anuradha (Nandhini), and a few phone calls change his life as well as those close to him. There will be a lot of twists in the lives of the main characters, as they will find different meanings of life, and see people more clearly without prejudices.

The defence of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam :: The best thing about Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is that there is almost no dull moment in this movie which doesn’t go on to tell anything out of the ordinary – that is something for which the people behind this movie deserves a lot of applause. The type of simple, happy and funny moments we have here are like those that we had in Maheshinte Prathikaram, even though not that big in fun content. This is another feel-good entertainer of the same kind, dealing with love, family relationships and friendship in such a way that there is not much of sadness, and the assurance is about a smile on your face. There will be characters whom you can relate to, and there will be those whom you are going to meet at some point of your life – they are all simple, and part of this world. There is nothing to pretend here, as people here are just people. And Cochin looks great as usual.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special being tried here, and going through things in a steady manner, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is not for people who are expecting a great story; this is something that moves on to its finish in an entertaining manner instead of making something big with its plot. The one character that wasn’t utilized in the right way was that of Sony, as he plays a genuinely good character in this movie who deserved a better finish. There is a little bit of a struggle in the climax as there is a little too silliness that crawls in there, but things do end in a good way, as you get the message and you have the feel-good factor right where you want it. I was also looking for some better songs in this one considering how things took a turn in the second half.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon and his comic timing keeps this movie at a top level as far as the coming timing is concerned. As the hero’s father, he is more like the one who handles things the best as his character does in the household. Asif Ali is very good in this role of the usual youth that he has to play. As Sreenath Bhasi and Soubin Shahir support him nicely, there is some definite laughter in store there too. Asha Sarath keeps it simple and believable throughout the movie. Meanwhile, the newcomer Rajisha Vijayan surprises us with her work. In the beginning, you feel that she is going to be that usual annoying girlfriend, and then she takes her character to another level – even as the other characters might get all the claps, she will be the one face that is certain to stay in your mind. She doesn’t just begin well as an actress, she scores huge, for her Eli is a delight to watch.

Soul exploration :: There is a lot of optimism in this movie. There are broken relationships, problems in the family, confusion between friends and all, but everything around this one happens for the good, and something positive comes out of all these incidents. Every loss in life is a valuable lesson here, and it depends on how we see them – there might be a better chance waiting for us, or a better person who is going to make our lives more colourful. We are defined by our past, and each incident helps to make us better people – we learn from our mistakes and move on, as we try to make things better again with the experience that we have earned; like in a computer game. There is also no presence of those usual cliches that we expect to see in the end, that is fine relief.

How it finishes :: Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is the kind of movie that one needs to watch with family – even with the possible deviation there, it never really goes the other way which was to be not family-friendly; it keeps itself in control at all times, and at the same time, uses all those possible elements which would make this one a full fun ride. It is the kind of movie that a debutante director can be proud of, and Khalid Rahman has a great beginning here. It is as sweet as the name suggests, and successfully maintains that mood, to get to that end with no problem. Even the little kitten scores with its cute expressions – there is no missing there, as we look less for the perfection in its story, and instead leave satisfied with the cuteness. The movie still bringing a big crowd into the theatres almost a month after its release is not fluke, but the result of the realistic and sweet depiction of life which is reflected here.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Biju Menon, Asif Ali, Asha Sarath, Rajisha Vijayan, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Naaji, Aas Mohammad Abbasi, Chinnu Nair, Nandhini, Sudheer Karamana, Irshad, Maniyanpilla Raju

anuragakarikkinvellam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anarkali

anarkaliii (2)

What is it about? :: Shanthanu (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who arrives at Lakshadweep Islands as a diving instructor actually has another plan in his mind. His old friend Zachariya (Biju Menon) is already on the island and they are joined by Koya (Suresh Krishna) to whom they tell that love story which goes back by many years. The tale is about a girl named Nadira (Priyal Gor) and her love with Shanthanu before being separated by her father. Far away from her, and with no idea where the girl is, Shanthanu hopes to find her through her brother who is an officer at the Naval base at Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep. With her rich and influential father standing on the way, and very less chances to find his lady love, Shanthanu knows that he will need all the help that he can get.

The defence of Anarkali :: The success of Anarkali lies in being direct and not taking the easy way out like many other movies. It is a believable love story with strong presence of the “true love” elements and along with maintaining that status, goes beyond states and languages. The comic sequences are very nicely done, and Biju Menon with his amazing comic timing, makes sure that the funny side is perfect. The visuals are amazing, and if you look deeper into this movie, there are similarities with Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal and there is an abiding sad mood of “impossible hope” throughout the movie which reminds one of Prithviraj’s another flick, London Bridge. But Anarkali manages to soar ahead of all these movies. The visuals here might be the best you can have from an island location and the songs are good. The emotions are strong throughout this movie.

Claws of flaw :: A disadvantage of the movie is its length, even though there is no feeling of drag anywhere – that is quite an achievement for the people behind the flick. The movie’s love story is still cliched up-to an extent with the hero and heroine waiting for the approval of the girl’s father, and making that one last effort defying all odds. It could have also used Sufism more. There is also a little bit of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal here, but Anarkali does manage to rise above that by being an entertainer and a full love story for all kinds of audience. But aren’t these things which can be forgiven in the case of a true romantic story? There is no romance without cliche, and with a lot of other aspects staying away from the cliches, Anarkali is not going to be just another love story, because it is better! You really don’t need to judge this movie based on the opinions of the others, because this one is for the heart and that changes according to individual.

Performers of the soul :: You see another chance for Prithviraj Sukumaran here, and he has once again provided an amazing performance to make sure that this one will work well along with his other movies in the theatre, Ennu Ninte Moideen and Amar Akbar Anthony. There is a lot of energy from him here, and he has also kept this character close to our hearts. Intensity and tranquility are just two sides of this character, and with Prithviraj’s exceptional skills, reaches the audience really well. Biju Menon is there in the supporting role after playing the lead in Salt Mango Tree, and he has managed to give the right amount of the same; most of the funny side of the movie is handled by him, and you will surely love his character. He brings so many of those memorable comic situations in this one. Meanwhile, Renji Panicker and Major Ravi has notable cameo roles.

Further Performers of the soul :: Coming to the heroines, even though only one fits the exact definition, there are two others who share some nice screen presence. Priyal Gor might be the cutest heroine ever to step into the Malayalam movie industry. Another positive thing is that she could bring the emotions to the scene very well. Meanwhile, Miya George has a strong character to perform here and she manages that very well; she is also the first to arrive on screen. Samskruthy Shenoy who plays the third significant female character brings her best performance here – the abiding sadness of her character is elegantly reflected on her face. The Kerala State Film Award Winner of this year, Sudev Nair does a very nice job. Kabir Bedi is very strong in his role, Suresh Krishna brings a notable performance. As Prithviraj scores his hat-trick success, there nothing negative in the cast.

Soul exploration :: Once again, the symbol of true love is “waiting” – there is something about the romance here. The two lovers are radically determined in this movie, as the sea becomes the metaphor for the distance between them and it is the final obstacle for them just like the girl’s father was the metaphor for the same earlier. As the ocean kept them away, it is the island of loneliness to which the protagonist was restricted to, and it has a form when he reaches Lakshadweep. The sea and the girl’s father are his obstacles among which only one needs to be conquered at a time, and as true love is not without troubles, he goes through them, but not without risking his own life and earning a name on the pages inside the chronicles where the saga of sacrifice is written. True love is near impossible because it demands a lot, and our protagonist runs right through, as the emotional side remains strong.

How it finishes :: Anarkali is above Amar Akbar Anthony and Ennu Ninte Moideen both in content and presentation; the feel-good factor also comes as a nice advantage. Rising above the latter as well as Premam, this is undoubtedly the best romantic story which has released for quite some time. If you don’t blindly adore these three movies, you can easily fall in love with Anarkali, because it is made clear in the beginning itself that nothing other than true love awaits in the flick. There is no need to go for the general opinion in this case because a lot of people are still lost in the other movies from Prithviraj and might find it not that easy to digest a movie which has a better philosophical side. If you place these four movies and think neutrally without consulting anyone else, you will know, and in the end, you will re-assert the fact that true love is beyond all barriers and that there is the need to visit the beautiful Lakshadweep Islands.

Release date: 13th November 2015
Running time: 168 minutes
Directed by: Sachy
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Miya George, Priyal Gor, Biju Menon, Samskruthy Shenoy, Kabir Bedi, Sudev Nair, Suresh Krishna, Rajeev Menon, Major Ravi, Assim Jamal, Renji Panicker, Madhupal, Shyamaprasad.

anarkali

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Salt Mango Tree

saltmangotree (5)

Vampire Owl :: You had talked about a movie with this kind of a combination.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, about that popular funny dialogue from Mohanlal in the movie Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam.

Vampire Owl :: I remember the comedy scenes. Memories come back to me from the hidden spaces of immortality. I hope none of them stay to haunt me forever.

Vampire Bat :: It had also won the National Film Award that year for Best Film on Other Social Issues.

Vampire Owl :: I need to watch that one again.

Vampire Bat :: You should. It should be the best movie with a satirical side from Sibi Malayil.

Vampire Owl :: What about this movie and the possible relation to that flick from the eighties?

Vampire Bat :: The educational system seems to be related, and there are kids, teachers and parents as it seems.

Vampire Owl :: And why did we choose this one over Hotel Transylvania 2?

Vampire Bat :: Well, Biju Menon might create another Vellimoonga here; so this might be the nice and interesting choice! There is also a chance that we might find the animated movie sequel offensive to vampire-kind.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Aravindan (Biju Menon) runs a medical shop in the city while his wife Priya (Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli) is working as an accountant. The only thing which they think about is to get their son Ashwin (Master Varkichan) admission in one of the best schools in the city. As the two become more and more obsessed with this, they arrange English tuition for the boy, try to ask everyone if there is any chance for the admission one way or the other, and even try to change themselves to become the modern parents. The Malayalam medium or state syllabus doesn’t seem to work for them, but a person named Kumaran (Sunil Sukhada) promises to try to help them. With the admission for only one of those big schools in the city left, can they finally do this?

The defence of Salt Mango Tree :: There are three things that this movie does have, and they are the comedy, messages and the feel-good factor in the end – even with not that much of an effective presence as expected, they are all present. We can say that it is a good attempt at dealing with the modern Malayali aversion for Malayalam, considering it not useful at a time when English and Hindi are running strong outside the state; this love for mother tongue and the message that good score in examinations won’t make one a better person is fine. The fact that nobody becomes a better person by speaking English in style or with fluency, and studying at a school which takes more fees doesn’t make a child something more, is the right message. There are some nice jokes in this movie too, and Biju Menon’s skills once again elevate them to a higher level. The movie is also short in length, and that is also good.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing that deep in Salt Mango Tree, and its elements are not used to its best advantage. The feel-good factor is just too late to arrive, and a lot of incidents are overdone instead of keeping things realistic. There are parts of the story which were kept believable and without being preachy. The message also struggles to become the moral which it could have been. The songs are not that much making an impact, but can work depending on individual tastes, while the scenes in the village are just half-baked, and so is the attempt at the career guidance school. The story could have focused on its core, and should have brought the significance of learning one’s mother tongue, as well as letting the children following their dreams as a step by step procedure, but this one doesn’t. Even the title itself is not explored as it should have been!

Performers of the soul :: You know the person to look out for! Biju Menon has been the one cool actor whose movies are loved by the people without giving him that superstar status; it is more of the love for simple and funny moments from him which are so much memorable, and he is also one actor who never disappoints within his fortress of simple and family-based entertainment. In his most recent performances, whether it was about providing support in Madhura Naranga and Bhaiyya Bhaiyya, bringing the best of a cameo performance in Kunjiramayanam or leading the way in Vellimoonga, he was right there, strong in the comic side in all these flicks which came right before Salt Mango Tree. In this movie too, things are not much different as he manages the character with ease, and connects to the audience.

Further Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon is undoubtedly the man who saves this movie from going low, as he is in charge of all those dialogues for which the audience provided claps; he often lifts the movie out of nowhere when it gets close to spoiling its main idea with the weak story-line; this is still quite a step down from Vellimoonga for him. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli was last seen in the Malayalam movie industry in Angels with Indrajith Sukumaran; even though she was paired with him, she was not really the leading lady on screen. She has managed her first leading role in Malayalam very well and has excelled in the emotional sequences. The rest of the cast lead by the one who played the character of assistant in the medical shop are all good, including the child actor Master Varkichan and Suhasini who comes late and makes an impact in the climax. But most of the situations focus on to our two leading characters, and the rest has less to do. Maybe a better story could have widened the focus, but the cast manages to be good.

How it finishes :: The attempt here might have been to create another comedy flick with satirical elements as we had earlier seen in the big solo hit featuring Biju Menon, Vellimoonga. Salt Mango Tree does try and only somewhat reach there. Just somewhere there in its own field, Salt Mango Tree achieves what the other movie of a similar theme Jilebi completely failed to do; to be funny with the message even though everything not coming together reaching the expectations. Taking the title from the literal translation of the food “Uppumavu” which was used by Mohanlal in the 1986 movie Doore Doore Oru Koodu Koottam, the movie should work in a weekend which has less to offer otherwise. Do not expect another Vellimoonga and things should be just okay.

Release date: 6th November 2015
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Nair
Starring: Biju Menon, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Master Varkichan, Suhasini Manirathnam, Indrans, Saiju Kurup, Sarayu, Sunil Sukhada, Sudheer Karamana, Pradeep Kottayam, Paris Laxmi

saltmangotree

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kunjiramayanam

Kunjiramayanam (1)

What is it about? :: Kunjiraman (Vineeth Sreenivasan) and Laalu (Dhyan Sreenivasan) are cousin-brothers who have turned out to be enemies, as one incident changes their lives forever. While the former leaves to the Middle East to make money, the latter keep failing the tenth standard and ends up as being the assistant of the village’s tailor, Kuttan (Aju Varghese). Along his friends Sasi (Deepak Parambol) and Kunjoottan (Neeraj Madhav), Kunjiraman has a fun-filled time during his holidays from the Middle East and gets engaged to Sajitha (Srinda Ashab) who makes him promise that he will not drink, ever. Before the marriage date, he would leave for his job only to return and find the situation different. Meanwhile, Mallika (Arya Rohit) and Reshma (Sneha Unnikrishnan) also will have some say in his future, as well as that of Laalu.

The defence of Kunjiramayanam :: It is easy to defend this movie as we did for Vellimoonga as the soul of both is in light-hearted, clean comedy. But the similarities end there, in the way of approaching the comic side and making it interesting and appealing for the family audience. The movie creates that kind of situations which has the ability to evoke laughter without second thoughts. The song Salsa is an amazing addition to this movie, and gives us the idea what to expect. It might be one of the funniest and the most catchy songs of recent times, and if you watch the movie, you will understand its relevance better. It is the master idea, and all the characters shown in the song come together here – to be frank, there is no real hero in this movie as all of them contributes in a similar manner with only slight variations in the degree.

Claws of flaw :: It is not in the story that the movie tries to assert its strength, and due to the same, there is nothing much there if you look at it. If you are searching for logic all the time, you shouldn’t be here either; but if you look for smartness in film-making, it is right here; of which reflections are strong. The movie also doesn’t begin that well or ends that nice as one would expect considering the middle part. I would have wished for a more feel-good ending rather than the somewhat funny one. In a movie which has this kind of a setting, the upstanding use of robust feel-good factor could have been not just a gemstone, but the Philosopher’s Stone for the totality which would have in return, made the rating better. The situations created in this movie are not all right there with the requisite strength, but stands the test of time due to the execution and the performances of the actors.

Performers of the soul :: There is no particular hero in this movie, if you look at it. Yes, the central character is played by Vineeth Sreenivasan and his Kunjiraman the is part of the title too. The movie’s ability to create laughter has been shared here, and so is the whole plot. As the titular hero spends a lot of his time not being part of his village, the others are forced to take control, and this radical transposition of control surprisingly brings the equilibrium. This transfered control from Vineeth in full form is taken over by a team of actors who handles the comic side amazingly well. Consider the senior actor himself, Mamukkoya who has some of the most memorable dialogues in this movie, and the biggest of them is related to death, and there is the veteran hitting the Bull’s Eye.

More performers of the soul :: Among the young faces, Aju Varghese is once again the biggest asset; he was restricted to a very small presence in Jamna Pyari, but he is here, making full impact. He is the heart of the comic side, and his best moment is related to the night before the marriage of the character played by Sneha Unnikrishnan – she has also done a small, but impressively funny job in what I believe to be her second movie. You can’t forget his moment with the crow either, as you might have seen in the Salsa song – it is also mostly his song. Neeraj Madhav and Deepak Parambol basically shares their glory; they work together really well – these two with Aju got the comic side to the perfect strength; add Bijukuttan to it and you have no reason not to laugh.

Further performers of the soul :: With all of them doing their jobs so well and Vineeth Sreenivasan reminding us of some of those nice and funny characters played by his father, we have Dhyan Sreenivasan doing a fair job – I am sure that I liked him a lot better in Thira; he is still a lot of fun here, and got some hilarious moments. Biju Menon’s voice introduces the characters and he as well as Rimi Tomy has smaller appearances in this movie. Srinda Ashab has her moments of laughter, but she is only repeating what she has already done. Arya has a smaller role too, but her presence makes three heroines here. Sneha is the more charming one among the three because the comic side takes a little bit too much of the rest. Well, they don’t even show the most significant female character for most of the movie and keeps it as a surprise!

How it finishes :: I am not the one to talk about collections right now, because the certainty is only in the fact that Kunjiramayanam is the movie to win the hearts with its light-hearted comedy for the family audience. It basically has two things which it converts into its comic side, and they are alcohol and marriage – they have also kept these things in control. Well, we can be sure that Basil Joseph is a director with a lot of skill right there, as we notice what he has created through this movie which had to fight bigger flicks during this Onam, starting from the most awaited Loham itself – may this debut be the stepping stone to the heights which are waiting for him. Once again, I wish you Happy Onam as the festival season fades away!

Release date: 28th August 2015
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Arya Rohit, Neeraj Madhav, Bijukuttan, Sneha Unnikrishnan, Srinda Ashab, Mamukkoya, Deepak Parambol, Sudheer Karamana, Indrans, Seema G Nair, Sasi Kalinga, Biju Menon (cameo), Rimi Tomy (cameo)

kunjiramayanam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madhura Naranga

madhuranarangaa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Gets the tickets].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

madhuranaranga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.