Virus

What is the movie about? :: Kozhikode District collector Paul V Abraham (Tovino Thomas) gets an urgent call when he is about to leave home. There are a series of events that lead to the same, and most of it happens in the Kozhikode Medical Centre. A nurse named Akhila (Rima Kallingal), was taking care of a young man named Zachariah (Zakariya Mohammed), who was admitted to her hospital for fever, but is now suffering from the same symptoms. Dr. Abid Rahman (Sreenath Bhasi) is having his normal shift in the hospital as his lover and medical student Sara Yakub (Madonna Sebastian) shows signs of ending their relationship – at the same time, more and more patients are being admitted in the hospital. But the signs that some of these patients show are not natural, as the doctors figure out that something strange and unusual is coming up. It is also not limited to one or two people anymore, and there is panic.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The samples are sent to Manipal to be tested by the experts led by Dr Suresh Rajan (Kunchacko Boban), and it is confirmed that it is Nipah virus which has affected the patients. With no vaccination or specific treatment available for the epidemic, the only hope for the goverment is quarantine, and hope to find the source, as well as make sure that it didn’t spread to many people. The team lead by Health Minister CK Prameela (Revathi) includes the collector Paul V Abraham with Dr Smrithy (Poornima Indrajith) and Dr Annu (Parvathy) in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading. First identified in 1998 in Malaysia, the disease, in most cases has taken the lives of those who were infected. With people not related to the first patient, like Unnikrishnan (Soubin Shahir) getting infected, there are questions raised how the source could be found. Are the authorities good enough to find it?

The defence of Virus :: The movie nicely deals with a situation that Keralites, especially those from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in the north of the state had to go through. With the virus showing its signs of return in the central area now, the case has gained further significance. One won’t fail to notice how the movie has kept itself close to reality, and how each character has been given significance, with each actor having a job to do. The movie is never dependent on one person, as there is no main character – there are only people who tries to help others, and a few others who try to survive in a world which is threatened by something new, and something deadly. The movie was a need, as the world needed to know the story, and making it a memorable one was Aashiq Abu’s duty, which he did with ease, as we have three good memories in a row, with Rani Padmini, Mayaanadhi and this one.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might feel slow at some points, but it quickly goes past the same. We are able to place ourselves in the place of the characters, and we go through their emotions with ease. The emotional strength of the movie is high, and it can even be more with different people, and their perspectives. The thrills are also there, and we keep close to the whole thing, each moment. Parts of the movie might be fictionalized, but our director surely knows where to stop that. The location is as nicely captured as the people themselves. The view from the top more or less makes us feel the city. You know what is going to happen in the end, and you want to know how we reach there, and to go through that journey, we are with the characters like never before – in creating that closeness to the characters, the director has succeeded.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has a fantastic cast, and the talent can be seen in each part of it. Parvathy comes up with another great job after Uyare, and this one has one more natural performance from her. Two of the three best movies of the year belongs to her, with the other one without her presence is Kumbalangi Nights. Tovino who was Parvathy’s co-star in Uyare had only memorable performances, with Lucifer, Ente Ummante Peru, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona giving him a continuous impressive run in Malayalam movie industry. Here, once again, he owns his role. Kunchacko Boban didn’t have that much of a great run with his previous movies, but he is right there, solid with this role of a doctor. Asif Ali continues his choice of some good movies with another emotional role. Vijay Superum Pournamiyum had provided a great beginning to the year for him. Joju George, after Joseph, continues to strike our emotions in a beautiful way.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran and Rahman has smaller, but memorable roles, especially with the former who manages to come up with some nice moments in between. It is also great to see Poornima Indrajith after such a long time, and this is a role to remember for sure – nice to see Remya Nambeeshan there too. Revathi manages to do the job of Health Minister in a believable manner. The similarity in appearance has also been achieved up to an extent. Madonna Sebastian doesn’t have much to do here, and neither does Sharafudheen. Rima Kallingal is quick to come and go, and stays in memories because of the emotional connect with the real-life character being attained. Meanwhile, Sreenath Bhasi gets a different role this time, and he manages to provide complete justice to the same. He had provided some signs of the same in the last movie, but that was a mute character – this time, he raises the bar. The roles of Jinu Joseph and Dileesh Pothan are small, but to be noted. Unnimaya Prasad and Soubin Shahir also catches our attention.

How it finishes :: Virus is already the biggest movie of the weekend, with so almost all shows being booked early. The success here lies in the fact that it shows everything in a realistic manner, never do we see those unreal heroes – we feel that almost every character in there are people like us, and therefore part of us. We can feel the pain and troubles of the characters, as well as reflect the same. As Nipah virus once again becomes a cause of concern, this becomes a thing of focus yet again. Virus is a movie that needs to be watched for how it shows the people showing their fighting spirit and their concern for others, in a battle for survival. It is also a memory of the people who lost their lives in the process, especially the nurse, Lini Puthussery who died while doing her duty. It is the same reason why this movie needs to be watched more than any other.

Release date: 7th June 2019
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Joju George, Jinu Joseph, Rahman, Soubin Shahir, Indrajith Sukumaran, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Remya Nambeeshan, Revathi, Madonna Sebastian, Sreenath Bhasi, Indrans, Rima Kallingal, Dileesh Pothan, Senthil Krishna, Sharafudheen, Shebin Benson, Zakariya Mohammed, Sudheesh, Savithri Sreedharan, Darshana Rajendran, Basil Joseph, Lukman Lukku, Ann Saleem, Haris Saleem, Sajitha Madathil, Leona Lishoy, Nikhil Raveendran, Sreekanth Murali, Vettukili Prakash, Sreedevi Unni, Ambika Rao, Divya Gopinath, Unnimaya Prasad, Sundara Pandyan, Binu Pappu,Vimal Muraleedharan, Nilambur Ayisha

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Vijay Superum Pournamiyum

What is the movie about? :: Vijay (Asif Ali) represents a generation of young men who were forced to do engineering even as they want to do something else. He struggled hard and finally managed to pass the exams after multiple efforts. But his dream is to become a chef and for the same, he keeps trying. But his father Chandramohan (Siddique) is convinced that he shouldn’t do cooking after studying engineering, and gets him a job in a call centre. He meets Reshma (Viviya Santh) there and falls in love, only to end up realizing that she was cheating on her – his expression of his anger becomes viral on Youtube, and he also losses his job. His parents feel that the only way to make him responsible is to get him married to a rich and educated girl who would also be able to provide him with financial support. Finally, they find such a family and a girl.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This leads them to the house of Venugopal (Renji Panicker) who wishes to see his daughter Pournami a.k.a. Pinky (Aishwarya Lekshmi) married as soon as possible. Being an MBA holder and wishing to become a successful entrepreneur, she has the record of failing in every business she tried to begin, and in the process, losing the money her father invested in her ventures. As the two meet and talk, the door of the room which was being repaired, gets closed and is automatically locked. As the two are locked inside with the carpenter being called for, they are left with a few hours to talk about their past, present, future and ambitions. This talk changes the journey of life for both of them. They don’t find them as good match for each other and are not in a mood to marry soon, but destiny has other plans.

The defence of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum :: Remake of a Telugu movie Pelli Choopulu starring Vijay Devarakonda and Ritu Varma which is also known to have a Hindi remake called Mitron, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum does manage to make it completely Keralite with its moments nicely reflecting life easily. The feel-good elements work nicely, and the movie is light-hearted throughout its run, despite having moments which could have driven it through another path. The first half is full of fun, and the second one comes with an emotional touch as expected. With a simple plot, the characters are of interest right from the beginning itself. There are things that you can relate to, and it is a fine watch for the family audience in more than one way. The messages are good, and these also go for all kinds of audience of the present age.

The claws of flaw :: The second half, except for the final moments, doesn’t have the fun as the first half had. The radio talk sequence also could have something better to replace it, as it made things look too easy in the end. There is too much of a journey on the expected path, and the divergence could have been shown in a better way. There is the confusion, inability to talk about one’s love for each other, business deals relating to wedding and more, all of them going in a predictable manner. After the food truck business started, there was actually scope for more too. The songs are okay, and there is a nice one; the background music is good enough to give the feeling – there are those strange and ridiculous dance sequences in one song though, which don’t even come close to being funny. There are times when the movie seems to get into the melodrama mood, which was kind of out of place. Well, this is the first big Malayalam movie of the year, and you can expect more every time.

The performers of the soul :: Asif Ali plays the immature youth unable to do anything positive in life, and lacking confidence – it is something that he does with ease and in a believable way. We remember how he did the confused young man roles in the movies like Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Avarude Raavukal and Adventures of Omanakkuttan. The irresponsible youth role was safe with him even in the earlier movies like Kavi Uddheshichathu..? and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Aishwarya Lekshmi coming out of the Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Mayaanadhi, Varathan trio of big hits critically appreciated, does another fantastic job in portraying the lady who is set to leave a mark – she is once again a long way ahead of the rest, getting into her role so well. She has all those moments in control, no matter what is thrown at her.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique and Renji Panicker handles the father roles here really well, with former going through his familiar territory nicely and latter doing what he has been doing so well since Om Shanti Oshana – the father who is very much caring for his children and supports them in more than one way. Another father figure who is there for a lesser amount of time is Devan who has not a lot to do. Aju Varghese has only a smaller role, but it is significant, and the funny side is strong during his presence. Balu Varghese and Joseph Annamkutty Jose support with enough jokes to add to the fun too. Shantikrishna has another mother role which she continues after the recently released Ente Ummante Peru in which she was there only for a few minutes. Darshana Rajendran also has some friendly, cute support in store for the protagonists. Then there is KPAC Lalitha doing the perfect grandmother yet again.

How it finishes :: As the third movie that united Jis Joy and Asif Ali as director and leading actor, following Bicycle Thieves and Sunday Holiday, this movie was expected to have something special in store. Bicycle Thieves was a dumb movie with foolish twists which were not needed, but Sunday Holiday had nice feel-good factor in store. With Vijay Superum Pournamiyum too, it was the same thing that the audience expected, and it is the same that they received, but in an even better package. Njan Prakashan is still running in the theatres with strong feel-good elements and Ente Ummante Peru had no shortage of the same; Thattumpurath Achuthan despite lagging behind had also tried the same – in this season of feel-good supported by Christmas and New Year, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum has its own high position to be proud of.

Release date: 11th January 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Balu Varghese, Aju Varghese, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Siddique, Darshana Rajendran, Devan, Joseph Annamkutty Jose, KPAC Lalitha, Maya Menon, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Austin Dan, Viviya Santh, Shaheen Siddique, Rajesh Sharma, K. S. Chithra, Harisanth Sharan

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Koode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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