Vellimoonga

vellimoonga (1)

Vampire Owl :: I condemn the name of this movie. They are not supposed to name a comedy movie as “the silver owl”.

Vampire Bat :: It says silver owl, not vampire owl or not even night owl. There is no way it can affect you.

Vampire Owl :: But I am still deeply offended.

Vampire Bat :: You were just looking to find a reason to be offended.

Vampire Owl :: Everyone is offended by something or anything all the time, and I choose to follow that path which is the new fashion. I shall still forgive them if the movie is a good one, because I am a generous Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: It has good reviews so far. You could actually not blame a few people this time.

Vampire Owl :: Who are they to judge and review an owl? What do they even know about owls? Are they married to owls?

Vampire Bat :: It is not really the story of an owl. It has humans. What is wrong with you these days?

Vampire Owl :: I stare at the mirror and see only the owlish truth. The absolute truth that only the owls can recognize as true.

Vampire Bat :: This is exactly why zombies eat brains.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Vellimoonga tells the story of a politician Mamachan (Biju Menon) who attempts to reach big heights by being part of political party in the north of India rather than joining a local party and using his local image to become a leader in the locality. He roams around his village, attempting to make a name using his political affliation to the big party of which he is just one of the very few members in the whole state. His best friend and the only other member of the party in that locality is Pachan (Aju Varghese) who helps him in his initiatives, hoping to go to Delhi with him some day. Jose (Tini Tom) is his big political enemy from the left wing. Mamachan who is not married even after his younger brother getting married and having two kids, finally falls of a girl who attends the same church, Lisa (Nikki Galrani), but would face big resistance from her father Vareeth (Siddique) who used to be his rival. How our hero handles the situation becomes the rest of the story.

The defence of Vellimoonga :: The movie’s ability to be a laugh riot cannot be questioned in the most doubtful situations. We come to know that right in the beginning itself. They could ornate this simple plot with nice comic numbers and some interesting twists with serene strength. The script does have enough to extract the performances from the actors and actresses. The visuals are good as the beauty of the rural area is captured nicely and the shots are beautifully adorned. There is no questioning the movie’s propensity for competence even without the presence of any so called superstar or heavy publicity, and for the same, the movie deserves some more applause. The movie could skillfully use its cast to its strength, and could thrive on the abilities of its actors to evoke laughter embedding the right situations here and there and there is also the ultimate realization that it gives to its viewers on how cute and pretty Nikki Galrani actually looks.

The claws of flaw :: Vellimoonga could have surely had a little more logic with some of its proceedings, but that should be a purely subjective opinion as far as a funny movie purely made for fun is concerned, and it does keep some of the same. The songs are just ordinary, nothing really making an impact. There is a little bit of missing in the middle, with the flow getting lost at times, but that can often go unnoticed. A little more care to the plot could have been nice, instead of deviating each situation to bring comedy here and there. A little bit more of the reflections of the major political incidents would have also done this movie more favours. A full swing political satire like Sandhesam could have been here, may be developing what Oru Indian Pranayakadha had also partially shown, sadly that much is not there to be seen. There are also a number of comedy numbers which should have been rather avoided, but may be it caters to a certain group of viewers.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon returns to the big screen as the solo leading character of a movie after a very long time, and it is not just the silver in the name of the movie that he strikes, but it is the gold itself. It was splendid to see how well he captures the mannerisms of his character and gets into the role of a political player with such an ease. Yes, it is Aju Varghese who skillfully supports him and does what he has been doing the best, but there is nothing like Biju Menon leading the comedy train, something he has been doing for such a long time along with his other variety roles. He doesn’t combine with or play second fiddle to Kunchako Boban or Dileep this time as takes things forwards with the support of Aju. This also turns out to be Nikki Galrani’s best ever outing in Malayalam as she is stunningly beautiful and cute like no other actress of these days. Tini Tom also essays an impressive role with ease, and Asif Ali’s extended cameo is likable. It is good to see Anu Joseph in the movies too. Sunil Sukhada and Sasi Kalinga scores with their comic numbers too.

Soul exploration :: Vellimoonga does work as a satire, there is no doubt about it. The movie doesn’t hesitate in making fun of the political situation that is prevalent in the country concerned with unholy alliances between the parties and seat sharing, along with the influence of regional parties. The situations related to politics remain funny throughout the movie, and the personal life of the protagonist and his infatuation towards the girl comes only as a part of the same. The significant thing is that the whole thing is concerned with what happens in one village, something which provides a certain feel-good factor to this movie, as the audience also seems to need such locations. The movie doesn’t give the feeling of drinking some bourgeoisie coffee which is provided by some random machinery, but that of a certain kind of tea which has the flavour of the villages and its hardworking common people.

How it finishes :: Vellimoonga is the winner of the weekend before Gandhi Jayanthi and will carry over its success to the Pooja season – who would have thought that this Biju Menon starrer will be the winner facing bigger movies which released at the same time, or were already in the theatres when it came to the audience? Yes, Biju Menon wins this round with ease, and for giving us this one with all its power, we can thank his versatility as a wonderful actor. Let’s hope that this movie is not lost in mindless remakes coming from Bollywood with the dumb stuff like Bang Bang! We are in need of comedy movies which don’t stoop into buffoonery of any kind, and Vellimoonga guarantees that such movies can exist without superstars with its own existence. May be it will inspire more movies which can come up with some more genuine comedy which won’t make the brains of the audience feel like vegetable noodles.

Release date: 26th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Nikki Galrani, Tini Tom, Lena, Asif Ali, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Siddique, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, Kalabhavan Shajon, Anu Joseph, Chembil Ashokan, Shivaji Guruvayoor

vellimoonga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bhaiyya Bhaiyya

bhaiyya bhaiyya!

Vampire Owl :: Do they give subsidy to movies which doesn’t have a Malayalam title?

Vampire Bat :: I haven’t heard about it after that news about the same.

Vampire Owl :: There is one Sanskrit title and one Hindi title for two out of the four movies released during this Onam.

Vampire Bat :: William Shakespeare has said that we can call a rose by any name, and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Vampire Owl :: But you can’t call Uncle Dracula a mosquito just because they have been doing the same thing for so many centuries, right?

Vampire Bat :: No, the title should still be suitable. But any language would be fine; the Malayalam movies with English titles have done great business, like Memories, Philips and the Monkey Pen, Left Right Left, Celluloid and others. May be such names also bring more luck, and is also easier to release them outside Kerala and catch some attention.

Vampire Owl :: So, what language title would be 1983?

Vampire Bat :: I guess that would be like what the director calls it. That is one safe move there.

Vampire Owl :: So, it deserves subsidy?

Vampire Bat :: How can we be sure? Mumbai Police sounds English, and North 24 Kaatham is partially English – we are not qualified enough to understand that completely, I guess.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of not just one Babu, but two of them, the first one Babumon (Kunchako Boban) from the highranges of Kerala and Baburam (Biju Menon) who was adopted by Babumon’s father during his stay in Bengal. Both grew up together, and as time progresses, Baburam drops out of school and Babumon falls in love with Angel (Nisha Aggarwal), the daughter of a rich businessman and politician, Varkey (Vijayaraghavan). Baburam falls for Shanthi (Vinutha Lal) from Salem, who is working with them. They come in conflict with Monayi (Shammi Thilakan) who is Angel’s brother and also the one whom Varkey is promoting as the next young MLA and minister. Accompanied by Soman (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who wants to see Kolkata, they travel together to Bengal with the corpse of a worker who died in an accident at their site; the rest of the group has Babumon, and Angel who are eloping and Shanthi who wishes to get down at Salem on the way, with Baburam as the driver.

The defence of Bhaiyya Bhaiyya :: The movie targets the family audience during this Onam vacation and celebration. It seems to try to get into that family and kids pleasing area which is always there to be taken. It does achieve some of that with ease, as there are funny moments which keeps coming, and most of the time, it does work – the trailer had already given that idea for the viewers. The visuals are fine, especially that of the hilly areas of Kerala, and that of the Kolkata city. The narrative with the monologue by the hero is quite good. The movie doesn’t ask for big thinking or hope for logic, and yet keeps its events under control without going out of the boundary. This is the same reason why it is very good in parts, and even when it losses its footing, it shows an ability to come back and keep going. Then there is Nisha Aggarwal, and that is one reason which needs no defence as we watch Kunchako Boban – Biju Menon combo attempting to strike again.

The claws of flaw :: Bhaiyya Bhaiyya is more of a standard procedure, as it goes on predictable lines, and even the surprise that is added doesn’t work in favour of the movie. The whole thing is adjusted to suit the story which has no real innovation in it, and the characters are not really used that well either. There was the need for a stronger bonding in romantic love, and more incident to support the brotherhood. This is supposed to a comedy, but that can’t be used as an excuse because this movie is not entirely that. Even the comic side is rather repetitive, and there are numbers that we are quite familiar with. It needed more seriousness or more comedy, but this takes the middle path, and even then the mixing is not correct. The songs are not at all interesting, and this is the area which could have given a movie like this, a much needed boost, but that wasn’t to be. The climax needed more impact, and it can only be said to work in a funny manner, not that much of a brilliance right there.

Performers of the soul :: It has been a long time since Kunchako Boban and Biju Menon acted together, and even their most dumb and irritating work Romans was a superhit loved by the masses, and therefore a lot was expected from this movie which was supposed to go the way of Ordinary, and also be funny like Mallu Singh, Seniors and 101 Weddings in which they had created some nice fun. There is no doubt here that both of them did give some nice performance in the roles which gave them some lesser challenge as they also had success in such roles without the other. Nisha Aggarwal has a good debut in the Malayalam movie industry, and she has done fine in a role which might have been new to her, but common in the Malayalam movie industry. Vinutha Lal is also fine as the other female lead, even as she has eve lesser to do. Jacob Gregory was nice in his role, but it was short and of lesser significance. Innocent and Salim Kumar are also present to handle the fun, and Suraj Venjaramoodu has more presence with some good numbers. Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan also play the typical roles.

Soul exploration :: The movie seems to have that message that all Indians are brothers and sisters, even as the relationships are not that effective here. The movie’s main characters are from Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu showing the strength of India’s unity in diversity, even as it is not that visible from their talks and action. May be the movie could have worked it that way, without losing its fun elements, but I guess there was the chance of some mockery in the same, which would work against the flick. The shots are also from the three states, even as Kerala has more, for the obvious reasons. The value of brotherhood is also implied here, and it is not just the usual relationship between two brothers that work here, as there is no blood relationship involved at all. The romantic side also takes the second place as bromance takes over right from the beginning, and that way, this is Bhaiyya Bhaiyya making the title of the movie true.

How it finishes :: There will be the need to watch Kunchako Boban – Biju Menon partnership yet again on the big screen, and the opportunity to see the beautiful Nisha Aggarwal on the screen in her first Malayalam movie, and one has to admit that she looks a lot like her elder sister, the stunning Kajal Aggarwal. The cast might not attract those extremist fans of the big stars who will abuse you if you say that the movie is bad, but only nicer people who are not the fans for popularity, but for only the good reasons – its good to be there without hardcore fan evil. The movie doesn’t disappoint, and neither does it loss out this Onam, but still it might be one of those movies which will somewhat miss out due to the lack of publicity; this one even lacks a Wikipedia page – how often do you see that? It is the first thing that a movie should have, followed by the Facebook page. The feel-good elements and the comedy keeps it going, along with the fact that this is the vacation time; the wonderful season of Onam.

Release date: 5th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Johny Antony
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Nisha Aggarwal, Biju Menon, Vinutha Lal, Jacob Gregory, Shammi Thilakan, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Salim Kumar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Thesni Khan

bhaiyya bhaiyyaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

5 Sundarikal

5 sundarikal1

5 Sundarikal which can be translated as 5 Beauties, is that romantic anthology film which might have had its existence to thank the 2009 anthology movie Kerala Cafe. There were ten stories in that one and here it is cut to half with five, and only Anwar Rasheed doing a story in both the anthologies. The Vampire Bat would not agree to the title though, as it would be left to him to say which one is the beauty and which one is the beast. The only suitable title would have been 5 Females, and fighting with three other movies which has interested the crowds, even the name of a movie has to add to the total interest generated. Even in my case, this is the first time I get a Malayalam movie with a Malayalam name to review, and the “5” is to be read as Malayalam “anchu” and not “five” as far as I know. Watching stupidity like Raanjhanaa is clearly out of the equation and this movie having five stories instead of one increases the probability of getting at least two good ones; so there is no doubt which Indian movie one is supposed to go this week. There is the power of five compared to the power of six in ASK a.k.a Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, and the obsession with beauties continue, this time with more success, and one beauty judged less is always the truth gained further. Whether it should be “sundarikal” or “sundarimaar” is a question to be asked to satisfy the quest to find grammatical errors, and I would go with the former.

Sethulakshmi: directed by Shyju Khalid :: [59/100] :: No, there isn’t going to be a total score based on the average of these stories, as that should annihilate the purpose of this movie as an anthology as well as this review as a subjective reality. There would be separate worlds for each story and for the movie, there would be another reality of totality, to which this simple story adds on first coming as an adaptation of M. Mukundan’s short story, Photo. The story of two school kids is shown in its own natural innocence until their world-changing event happens. The simplicity turns itself into the tough theme which the story has to deal with, and that is the place and may be where it scores. There is the depth of evil portrayed in a way that will haunt one with innocence. But the question remains if this belongs to this movie, as the presence of a beauty or even pseudo-beauty here itself negates the need for this story in the movie and all the purpose it would have served, and however one tries to look at this, a more deserving platform for this one would have been Kerala Cafe, and might have been the second best story in that movie after Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey. It is kind of misplaced here, and this might have been added here to arouse the curiosity of the viewers as well as to create that new generation element – otherwise this among the other stories is like Roger Federer guarding the goal post for the Spanish national football team.

Isha: directed by Sameer Thahir :: [79/100] :: Along with the former one, this story also has the scope of becoming a one and half to two hours of good cinema. It stars Nivin Pauly as the thief a.k.a the Santa, and Isha Sharvani who makes her debut as the beauty of this segment, and undoubtedly the smartest and the most charming of them all. They start off as two strangers and with many things in common, and the question would be what they end up to be, and that is the surprise, that twist of plot which raises the story from its existence just inches about the average level. Nivin Pauly has remained similar to what we saw in Thattathin Marayathu, as this time he has another Isha, Isha Sharvani instead of Isha Talwar, another lady from the North, and this female lead does a lot more than the other one did. This story and what is to follow are the only two segments which are actually centered on the beauties, and this is the only segment in which the beauty is in control and remains so throughout most of the story. One has to say that this one has the best of the lighter moments too, and the claps which came after this segment are well deserved. The whole story is centered on the two leading characters, and there we see the most beautiful lady and the one romantic hero; they make this work like nobody else could have.

Gouri: directed by Aashiq Abu :: [10/100] :: This is the weak link in the whole movie, and without this, the movie could have been declared the best anthology in Malayalam movie industry ever. This is Aashiq Abu’s worst so far, and from what we have seen of him already, it might remain his worst. Biju Menon is there as the husband with nothing to do that really matters to the story. Tini Tom and Rimi Tomy makes an unnecessary visit, as Kavya Madhavan who plays the wife expresses her need to have a kid. Kavya is there as if she is to be that strange character who is more unsure about herself and the world around her than Popeye without his spinach. Jayasurya also makes a small appearance thus making this one the most powerful segment in terms of celebrity power, but in performance, it is a dynamite of the next generation which failed to blow. This is a painfuel half an hour of torture, which could have been avoided or may be replaced. It is surprising that it came from the same director who gave us Da Thadiya in the same year. This might even make Estragon and Vladimir say that there is something to be done – sorry, Samuel Beckett. Kammath and Kammath and Lokpaal were not that bad now, as you go through this one. This story in the middle shows us the middle finger, but fortunately it was preceded and followed by brilliant segments.

Kullante Bharya: directed by Amal Neerad :: [84/100] :: This is the moment which strikes you hard. Amal Neerad has come up with a story which is narrated by Dulquer Salmaan who sees everything from the top floor of a group of apartments. The awesome presentation and the story’s ability to relate with the contemporary society of Kerala, and may be even India as a whole, has helped this one to get the most claps in the theatre, and remain the highlight of this five star experiment. Dulquer Salmaan has eased through this segment, and even as a person moving on wheelchair, there is so much of impact with every word he says. Reenu Mathews leaves an imprint without even a word said. The newcomer Jinu Ben brings tears to the audience with no direct revelation. The story also works as a satire on the self-proclaimed righteous, highly moral society which considers itself as the role-model, and has a lot of prejudice against the people whom they are not familiar with, and those who think or act different. If there has been so much interest in this story which has only one actor who has performed in a leading role in more than one movie, it shows how much impact this one has created, and how much it could relate with its audience.

Aami: by Anwar Rasheed :: [61/100] :: This might be the most awaited story of the movie, with a businessman, Ajmal (Fahadh Faasil), who travels from Malappuram to Kochi and vice versa. His too much affectionate wife who is known only by her nickname (Asmitha Sood) keeps asking tricky questions to him and leaves him puzzles to solve – a strange abnormal habit, to which anybody would agree. The night journey then transforms into something that changes his life. The presence of Honey Rose and Vinayakan just adds to powerful cast of this segment which is already the talking point due to Fahadh Faasil’s presence and his new looks. It is him who excells in this story, and everything else is a little let down. With meaningless puzzles and strange happenings, this is not something which the viewers can relate with, but thanks to the leading actor and some interesting dialogues, this one lets the movie with its head held high, not annihilating the world which was created by the second and the fourth segments. As Fahadh Faasil fights extreme anger, greed for money, violence and his own old relationships and gets back to his beloved, the whole thing ends happily. This is surely better than the highly predictable Bridge segment in Kerala Cafe by the same director.

The movie is that roller coaster ride of Final Destination 3, in which death tries to pull the movie down, as some of the stories lose charm, and suddenly a story comes up which changes the things around. It is the advantage of having five different stories directed by five different people, and this is well done, and it would live on as long as this theme doesn’t come up with a overdose, either with the stories or with the concept of pseudo-beauty. To be frank, there is nothing in this which binds this collection together, as same was the case with Kerala Cafe, and it doesn’t give that much of anything that Cloud Atlas gave its viewers. This movie uses the concept of enchanting viewers with its title and the trailer, and tries to undo the failure of Poppins which had its own wrecked set of anthologies in which only the story of Kunchako Boban and Nithya Menon made any impact, with Indrajith-Padmapriya and Jayasurya-Meghna stories staying there not without troubles. Still, the question remains, who is the beauty? If they were all eligible for the same title, won’t they be good enough for that word which comes as just the opposite? Why would we be forced to believe with that willing suspension of disbelief that they are all beautiful? Will Isha Sharvani and Kavya Madhavan look like beauties to two people who have different concepts of beauty? Even myself is clearly sceptical about the latter; but leave that for the intellectuals, and concentrate on the medium for now.

Release date: 20th June 2013
Running time: 145 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Sameer Thahir, Shyju Khaled, Aashiq Abu
Starring: Isha Sharvani, Asmitha Sood, Reenu Mathews, Honey Rose, Kavya Madhavan, Baby Anika, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Master Chethan, Tini Tom, Rimi Tomy, Jinu Ben, Vinayakan

5sundarikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.