Manoharam

What is the movie about? :: Manoharan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) finds himself outdated in a world which has traveled a little too quick for his taste, making him feel unable to keep up with the pace. He is known as an artist and a painter, and as he had failed miserably in tasting any kind of success in life, not passing even plus two, he lacks any kind of confidence, suffering from a certain inferiority complex. Even as he is engaged to be married, the girl leaves him for someone who is better educated and earns more. His best friend is Prabhu (Basil Joseph) who has always been with him since childhood, and continues to support him despite all the failures which come back to him. One problem that they continue to have from those days is Rahul (Deepak Parambol) who has created trouble for them for a very long time. He is rich, and wastes no time in making fun of Manoharan.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manoharan finally decides that enough is enough, and with the support of Prabhu and Varghese (Indrans), has a flex printing store set in the town, the first of its kind around there. For the same, he decides to learn Adobe Photoshop which would help him to move from the early artistic skills to modern computerized drawing and painting. He joins an Akshaya Centre for coaching, and Sreeja (Aparna Das) is his new teacher, but even though she is good in programming languages and other computer courses, doesn’t know Photoshop. They try to learn Photoshop together, and there is more than one person’s future on the line as Rahul is also trying to begin a flex printing shop in the town, and he also has a lot of money to invest in the same. Who will succeed and who will lag in this journey of hope?

The defence of Manoharam :: There is the journey of the commoner, an artist trying to survive in a world which is dominated by the newer things, rising above the old world, and even leading to the clear submergence of what is now considered outdated. But this gets interesting as he refuses to be submerged like some slave language in the plantations or an ancient religion facing modernity – he decides to fight, and it is this battle that we see in the movie. The same is something that inspires, without doubt, even though it takes a long time – the final moments are nicely done to rise above any problems which were there in the earlier stages. The songs are just okay, and there is nothing much to stay in our minds for long. The movie is only a two hour journey, which means that there is not much of a drag which awaits us – the journey is rather direct and clear. There is no leap into melodrama, as this one takes none of it.

The claws of flaw :: It is to be noted that the movie has nothing new, and it goes on a journey which has been traveled before, in different ways, through different paths, reaching the same destination. The struggling heroes like these have been more common than any other, and the situations like these have been created for them to struggle hard and go past all these obstacles; even from ancient myth, people have been doing the same. This fight of the simple and ordinary man to survive in a world which has jobs and opportunities taken over by machines and those who are able to know the machines is still not shown in the best possible way. A lot of incidents in the movie could have been shown in some other way, and more humour could have been added related to the same. When it focuses too much on the flex, it losses the human interest, and makes one confused about the objective correlative. This one had a lot more opportunities for emotional depth.

The performers of the soul :: This is another movie which depends upon Vineeth Sreenivasan to make that simple man effect, like he already did in Aravindante Adhithikal some time earlier. He has no trouble in doing that, and this character only has that certain amount of inferiority complex to go with it. He fits into the role of the commoner with ease, and goes through his struggles in a believable manner. The character is not presented with that much of an intensity or by providing us with that much of a lovable nature for the audience to stay close to him, but the same can boast of bring unique in that way. At the same time, the director of Kunjiramayanam and Godha, Basil Joseph gets a full-length comedy role here, and he makes an impact, adding some nice, funny moments – the humour is handled by him without getting overdone at any moment, and we have one more person to be of support to heroes in a realistic as well as funny manner.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrans also has one fine role here, and we see him to be in support for the main character at all times, even more than the main supporting cast. Indrans doing serious roles have a special kind of an effect for us, similar to what Suraj Venjaramoodu has been doing. This role is not that emotional, but it is close to the heart. Aparna Das makes her debut as the heroine after having a very small role in Njan Prakashan, and she begins well, even though the character is never really taken that seriously. Deepak Parambol and Ahamed Siddique plays the characters who are against the protagonists, even though never really becoming the villains, and they only make limited impact. Delhi Ganesh and VK Prakash also do come in some notable roles. Hareesh Peradi also has a character who makes an impression in the short period of time on the big screen. Jude Anthany Joseph is once again there in a small role to come and go quickly.

How it finishes :: Anwar Sadik has his second directorial venture after Ormayundo Ee Mukham which also had the same lead actor in the form of Vineeth Sreenivasan – this one also goes a similar path with the feel-good factor. The tale of a skilled common man, an artist who has a lot to prove, never gets old, and rarely gets outdated as long as there is inequality and partiality in this world – something which is as old as humanity itself, and will go on to the edge of doom. It is the same reason why even without getting near perfection, Manoharam will have a place in the heart and soul of the soul, and can stay there for a longer period of time than those entertainers which have a different kind of path to take after creating the quick impact. Just like Porinju Mariyam Jose and Thannermathan Days have stayed for long, this one should too.

Release date: 28th September 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Anwar Sadik
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Basil Joseph, Aparna Das, Indrans, Deepak Parambol, Delhi Ganesh, VK Prakash, Nandini Sree, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sree Lakshmy, Hareesh Peradi, Neena Kurup, Ahamed Siddique, Nandhu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Love Action Drama

What is the movie about? :: Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) doesn’t have much of an education, and spends his time following a sumptuously rich lifestyle as he has inherited a good amount of money from his grandparents – he doesn’t care about what goes around him, and doesn’t even know the full form of MBA even though he pretends to be interested in pursuing the course. His best friend is Sagar (Aju Varghese) who is another jobless person wandering around the city with no aim in his life, and depends on Dinesh for money and enjoyment in life. With his cousin Swathy (Durga Krishna) getting married, and not accepting his proposal citing blood relation, he decides to increase the amount of alcohol and cigarettes in his life, much to the dismay of his mother (Mallika Sukumaran) who hopes that he would be responsible some day – she gets her brothers (Renji Panicker and Biju Sopanam) to advice him, but that brings no positive result.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During the wedding night, he meets Shobha (Nayanthara), a friend of Swathy, and accidentally ends up ruining her room and landing her in the hospital. But soon, they become good friends, and she invites him to Chennai, an invitation which he is too quick to accept. But things are not that smooth there as he had expected. There is confusion between them as well as revolving around her friends Priya (Dhanya Balakrishna) and others. Along with the same, her father (Sreenivasan) wouldn’t have that much of an opinion about Dinesh either. Whenever things seem to get better and going smooth, they don’t. Now the question remains if Dinesh can finally marry the girl whom he loves, and if Shobha can find something good enough for her to stay in love with the man whom she met at her good friend’s wedding.

The defence of Love Action Drama :: The movie does have enough of whatever is mentioned in its title, love, action and drama, even though not in the favourable and admirable levels of combination. The visuals are really good, and the music is pretty good for most of the time. Even when the movie goes in the wrong direction or when the romance struggles, it is the humour that keeps the movie going, as this one has that quality of those earlier Dileep movies, which is to keep the funny side simple and connected to the audience. It can be said that Love Action Drama is not a movie that seeks clarification to whatever happens within or asks for logic behind all those – it dives deep into those ideas which have worked in the past, and while keeping the humorous side alive, has things going in its favour. Well, when you shorten the name of the movie to LAD, you get the meaning of that word as “a male person of any age between early boyhood and maturity” – it is what the movie itself happens to be.

The claws of flaw :: Love Action Drama does have its prejudices when dealing with love, and it is surely confused about where it is going. There is no real reason shown for the girl to fall in love with the hero except for the fact that he is good-looking and rich, a strange thing considering what we know of the lady’s character. Some of the comic sequences are just dumb, and the love angle goes here and there, through the opposite extremes too often. We do see some repetitions, and the lack of a solid plot can be seen here while the story goes through its ups and downs. Dhyan Sreenivasan could have made this better for sure, as we know how many people are there at his own place to give him advice. It is the reliance on comedy that saves the day every time, but when it doesn’t work with you, there seems to be the struggle that doesn’t end.

The performers of the soul :: The movie clearly depends on Nivin Pauly’s star value as well as his skill in handling this kind of a character to move the story forward. This one comes as nothing difficult for him, as his immature character in Premam was done with ease, and this one requires even less from him except for need for more humour. It is his combination scenes with Aju Varghese that takes the funny side to the next level, as we know how well they are able to handle the comedy when together. Aju Varghese handles the scenes here with ease, reminding one of how things were going in Oru Vadakkan Selfie. Yet it has to be noted that it is not him, but Biju Sopanam who sets the wheels of comedy rolling in the beginning stages, even though he is not there for long. We also see Renji Panicker dropping in to contribute to the same even though it is only for a short amount of time.

Further performers of the soul :: Nayanthara has returned to Malayalam after a very long time, and you remember that she was last there in Puthiya Niyamam, and before that, for a short cameo appearance in Life of Josutty. Even though we are all glad to see her here after a gap of three years, one does have to wonder if this role has much for her, and whether anyone else could have been enough to do this job. Puthiya Niyamam had asked for a fine performance from her, but not this movie, which just needs her to be there with a little bit of effort. Mallika Sukumaran’s role as protagonist’s mother is worth mentioning, Jude Anthany Joseph’s short stay also leaves something to ponder about. At the same time, Dhanya Balakrishna who plays Nayanthara also deserves a mention. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s role does feel a little bit short, but it is fun when he is there. Sreenivasan also has some usual work to do, playing the father figure.

How it finishes :: Love Action Drama can be considered as a movie which is applicable to all kinds of audience, especially the family viewers, because of its qualities seemingly inherited from those earlier Dileep-esque comedy movies which has stayed for long, not considering those later repetitive versions. There is no question about the fact that the movie could have been better rather than going in a predictable path and being repetitive, but this is still a movie which stays close to a mood of celebration, and it is the kind of flick that we need for Onam vacations – we move away from a solid plot and go for the comic feel-good romance, which is forgivable at this stage. We have always had different kinds of movies for Onam, and this leaves us with what seems to be a preference, with Nayanthara making a return to Malayalam movie industry after a long time.

Release date: 5th September 2019
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Dhyan Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Nayanthara, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Durga Krishna, Basil Joseph, Prajin Padmanabhan, Sreenivasan, Jude Anthany Joseph, Mallika Sukumaran, Renji Panicker, Biju Sopanam, Dhanya Balakrishna, Motta Rajendran, Sunder Ramu, Gayathri Shan, Dhyan Sreenivasan (cameo), Bhagath Manuel (cameo), Deepak Parambol (cameo), Hari Krishnan (cameo)

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@ 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.

The Great Father

What is the movie about? :: David Nainan (Mammootty) is a successful builder, going through a happy and peaceful life with his wife Michelle (Sneha) and the only daughter Sarah (Baby Anikha). As David is a busy man with the construction work of his firm which has been growing fast and because Michelle is a reputed doctor in a big hospital, they rarely have enough time to spend with family though. Sarah is so proud of her father that she never misses the opportunity to boast about his status, not only as the successful person that he is, but even as a feared man even in the Mumbai underworld. He has told her some of those stories himself, most of which common people will feel exaggerated at the first time itself. Most of her friends don’t believe her as expected, and she even brings her grandfather’s gun to make them believe, and lands in trouble for the same.

So, what happens next? :: There is also the story of a pedophile serial killer, who ends up killing also the police officer, Samuel (Shaam) who investigates the case, and is believed to have some so close to catching the culprit. It is then that the new officer in charge of the investigation, Andrews Eapen (Arya) gets into the act. He is the new generation police officer who keeps his own style, and tries to get to the bottom of everything in one way or the other. As this series of parallel incidents threaten to destroy the happiness of his family, David tries to restore the same, as well as seek vengeance on the faceless evil which is so much becoming a part of his world. But for the same, he will have to go through Andrews Eapen who has decided to solve this by himself, and will accept no intervention in the case which he is investigating. So, where does that leave these two?

The defence of The Great Father :: The movie definitely looks nice, and there is the stylish treatment to go with. There is the suspense maintained, even though this investigation never really progresses on the clues gathered, as the focus is more on how awesome the superhero dad is so that he will know everything and anything is possible for him. Coulrophobia is something that you can successfully gain with this movie, and if that happens, it is also a case of success for this flick; still, a psychopath clown has never really been part of our culture, which could lead to partial alienation here. With the recent news, the theme that the movie chooses is also something which is relevant. For someone who is coming up with his first movie, the director has managed things well, without letting things go through the path of movies like Gangster. Mammootty fans are surely going to love this, as this one has proven to be a nice entertainer.

The claws of flaw :: This movie needed to get rid of its slow motion – it is not part of the style, not anymore. There is also too much of sunshades being used, and using the same for style is rather shameless when repeated so many times. A character in the movie asks about the need for jacket in this hot climate, and it is the correct question, and it is another shameless addition. There is also too much of superhero stuff here, and everything is just too easy for the hero here, which is often irritating – the movie’s social relevance gets degraded by this, as style, mass and heroism are not those elements which could best support a cause. One often wonders why what should have been the main focus becomes something of secondary interest with the two heroes right there in front? Along with the same, there is the certainty of the lack of ideas with the villain, his name being used and also with his mask and imagery – joker and the clown! From early Batman to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight to Stephen King’s It? Even about the guns being too quick? Seriously? And who would blur the image of a gun?

Performers of the soul :: Most of the movie is more like custom made for Mammootty, and he undoubtedly shines in this avatar – all the style gets brought to him here. It is what makes this a celebration for his fans, and this might be the grand return to form that the great veteran actor wanted for quite some time after that break that succeeded Pathemari and Puthiya Niyamam. Arya gets the secondary chance to shine, and he doesn’t go that far beyond despite being given too strange a police officer role to perform. Anikha is a child actor who could have had better than what she had in this movie considering the potential; sadly, the same is not there, even after she gets to perform more after those first thirty minutes of considerable irritation with boasting and boring talks. The movie, from the beginning itself, doesn’t allow kids to be kids, which is rather strange in what has been called more of a movie that was to appeal to the families.

Further performers of the soul :: Sneha gets limited to being the wife of a superhero, and that is all for her – this never really seems to come close to changing. Malavika Mohanan with all the looks and intensity, also gets side-lined here. With Pattam Pole, the one big bad movie, and Nirnaayakam which became the torrent hit, she surely needs more movies to bring the potential. Miya George is just quick to come, make a visit again, and then just go again not to be seen again – her last big role was in Paavada in 2016 opposite Prithviraj Sukumaran, and wonders why she is not seen on the big screens here that much she should have been. Kalabhavan Shajohn also gets less of a screen presence here. When you look at this as a whole, it is a solar system with Mammootty as the sun, and the rest are planets who just rotate and revolve around him; at least Arya get to be Jupiter; sometimes he even gets to be Saturn – he even gathers his own satellites in the process starting with one lady police officer character.

How it finishes :: The Great Father is known to have broken many collection records already, starting from the first day itself. I couldn’t find a ticket on the first day of its release. This one follows the path set by C/O Saira Banu and Take Off while dealing with incidents having social relevance. The Great Father does stick to what the earlier promotional material was promising to deliver, and the movie is surely better than the teaser. What you will really need to avoid are those terrible dialogues by the kids in the beginning, and those slow motion fight scenes that go towards the end. What you need to look forward to, along with Mammootty, is the looks of the whole thing here, and the theme that it deals with. Well, the thrills and the suspense factor will play along in between, even though this is no Memories with one serial killer ready to bring the big twist, and having no overdose of super-heroism! With Georgettan’s Pooram also there, this one tries and edges ahead in style.

Release date: 30th March 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Haneef Adeni
Starring: Mammootty, Arya, Sneha, Baby Anikha, Malavika Mohanan, Miya George, Shaam, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Santhosh Keezhatoor, IM Vijayan, Balaji Sharma, Sunil Sukhada, Rony Davis, Prajod Kalabhavan, Mukundan, Sohan Seenulal, Shaji Nadesan, Anup Pazhayakada, Deepak Parambol, Aaryan Krishna Menon, Anu Joseph

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vettah

vettah (1)

What is the movie about? :: The City Police Commissioner, Sreebala IPS (Manju Warrier) is investigating a case about one missing actress and her old friend; the possibility of a kidnap and a murder is there, and all signs lead to one man only, Melvin Philip (Kunchacko Boban) who claims that he killed both of them and has buried the corpses at a certain location which he cannot remember. Further questions don’t reveal much as he keeps repeating one particular part of his tale. ACP Xylex Abraham (Indrajith Sukumaran) helps Sreebala in the case, and is troubled by his own family problems. The story of Melvin goes back to his own life, and his relationship with his wife Sherin (Kaadhal Sandhya) after an inter-faith marriage and the loss of their daughter, finally leading to the death of her too.

So, where does the investigation go from there? :: Here, during the questioning, Melvin talks to the police officers about trust and its role in life. With the case of Melvin, it is not incident of two people missing that comes to the light, but many facts which were rather hidden. There is the case the accident of Sreebala’s father (Vijayaraghavan), the relationship between Xylex and his wife as well as a lesser known past of Melvin, all coming to light, and each of these being connected to the other, the past to the present and the future, all things being revealed as the story progresses towards the end. So, will Sreebala and Xylex find the missing people, and are they really dead as Melvin says? Is Melvin really the culprit, and has he killed these people or is he just some random person who lost his sanity after the death of his wife and daughter?

The defence of Vettah :: The mind game factor remains the core of the movie, as manipulations make the most impact around here; the intelligent entertainer comes to the picture here. There is nothing of masala here though; for there exists no comedy and no action sequences at all as the brain game keeps going here. The final twist is a working one and does justice to the rest of the movie. The suspense is maintained well throughout the movie and we will keep guessing about how it will go towards the end. As this one released without a trailer, and a lot less known about the flick, there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding this one, and that brings the surprise to light. There are also some messages related to how the world works, as the movie takes one through the darker side where justice is rather difficult, and revenge becomes the more realistic option. The visuals are also very good.

Claws of flaw :: I am pretty much sure that a lot of people will have problems in following this movie due to its choice of following a different and more complex path. Some people would surely ask for more explanations, and if you miss some points, you will miss a lot. The movie also leaves a few occasions without making much impact, even though the moments could have been better. There is also a certain amount of slowness that you feel in here, and the pace could have actually increased better in the earlier stages too. A number of scenes could have been avoided or presented in another way, but it still works in the way that we see them. The story of each main character could have been separately developed, and that of Indrajith’s character could have used a lot more of ideas too. There is nothing much in the music.

Performers of the soul :: We haven’t seen Kunchacko Boban as someone with this much negative shades on that many occasions; and he has managed this one really well – he comes up with the biggest score here. There is a certain amount of wicked beauty about his character on a number of occasions, and it works really well for him. His smile is something that gives you the clue about what you are witnessing, which is part of a bigger plan, and it has the nice dark side waiting to unleash itself. It is a lot his movie rather than of any other. The idea that many people might have had earlier with the investigation belonging to the two police officer characters will take a u-turn related to this one. It is Kunchako’s biggest and the most interesting role in a commercial movie for a long time. He makes a lot happen here in style.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier has a good run in the first police role in her career, and the one role which remains serious through the run-time – it also becomes her only full serious role during her return, as Vettah allows no comedy as it goes direct and is strictly a serious flick. Coming right out of Rani Padmini and Jo and the Boy which were heavy in messages as well as Paavada which had her in a special appearance, she leaves a mark with the first flick with her as the leading actress. Beginning her second innings with How Old Are You?, I will say that she has had a very good run which continues – there is too much jealousy on the same as far as the fans of the rest are concerned though, which explains a certain amount of dislike or hate. Well, she is surely a lot better than the other other fake lady superstars who claim such a title!

How it finishes :: The final lead here, Indrajith Sukumaran is solid, but the character is left to less importance, and that is a case of something interesting gone missing. The one sad thing here is that with his demise, Vettah will be Rajesh Pillai’s last movie, and it is a terrible loss to the Malayalam movie industry. His Traffic was undoubtedly one of the best with the narrative, and also brought an amazing change at a time when Malayalam movie industry had more terrible movies than the good ones. His Mili was also one of the best of its kind, the only real movie to bring the introvert opinion to light in the right way – it was so good that it bothered a lot of people who couldn’t stand seeing an introvert as the leading character; which is why I consider it as the one righteous movie which gave voice to the lesser shown “others”. We will miss the visionary director.

Release date: 26th February 2016
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Sandhya, Deepak Parambol, Rony David Raj, Prem Prakash, Vijayaraghavan, Kottayam Nazir, Baby Akshara Kishore, Baby Nandana Sajan, Akash Keralan, Jith Pirappancode

vettah

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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

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Thira

thira (1)

What is Thira? :: On a vague translation, it is what the fifth century Greek dramatist heard on the Aegean Sea, and what Matthew Arnold felt on the English coast and wrote down in his Dover Beach. What do we have here though? Thira is the latest addition which joins Vineeth Sreenivasan’s success as a director, as this is another add-on to Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu, two of his earlier success stories. Lal Jose brings us no bad movies, so there is the guarantee yet again. Instead of the terrible loss of faith in Dover Beach, we have the loss of humanity, its righteousness which has been quickly disappearing with its belief in God. The situation is yet again that of the darkling plain, for the situation of the Victorian Age was more of faith, belief and humanity than it is now. This flick from Vineeth Sreenivasan is not light as his other two crowd-pulling ventures, as this is dark and on the other side of humanity, where there is no happiness of friendship or the beauty of love, rather the bad or the evil side of society which leaves us with nothing but disgust about a lot of things that is happening in this world, but not without a ray of hope – remember the movie Passenger.  When Shobana says “have faith” in the movie, remember…

What is it about? :: Thira tells the story of Dr. Rohini Pranab (Shobana) who is a cardiac surgeon trying to find the mystery behind the death of her husband. But as she tries to unravel one mystery, another one comes forward, as girls from her welfare home are kidnapped, and she herself is brought under suspicion by the media. Meanwhile, Naveen (Dhyan Sreenivasan) comes to meet his younger sister after a long time, as he had run away from his house a few years ago. But just before he get a chance to get to her, she is kidnapped by a group of people in a car, vanishing before he could do anything. As police refuses to help him, he picks up clues and reaches a place where he finds two girls held captive and releases them until he is captured by the goons along with Rohini who comes searching at the same place. They escape and join forces to find the missing girls with the help of an honest cop and Rohini’s co-workers. Naveen is told that he has a maximum of twenty four hours to save his sister, as Rohini finds out that there were some clues left behind by her dead husband who was after the same group of human traffickers.

The success of Thira :: There are not many other actor or actresses that we have noticed before in another movies except for Shobana (releasing at a time when the half-a-sequel to her classic Manichitrathazhu also came to the theatres in the same weekend and struggled). But still, this one has managed to get the best out of the rest, supported by its wonderful narrative and background score, supported by the right use of its partially adapted story-line. Its theme might be too much used, but the treatment here is different, as in the movie Passenger, this one also takes the path of the common man who fights against the system and those people who tries to take advantage of the corrupt system with their illegal works. To add to it, the movie never bores, as it is fast – may be too fast that it often forgets to create suspense and create the thrilling moments; but that still works. It takes on a social message very well, and successfully creates the much needed objective correlative with its connection rightfully established. For that, it is three out of three for Vineeth Sreenivasan, and the ratings from me would be 59 out of 100 for Malarvadi Arts Club, 80 out of 100 for Thattathin Marayathu and 81 out of 100 for this one, that is how I personally see the improvement.

Flaws of victory :: The camera shakes – that is the first thing I didn’t like. That doesn’t really make the scenes more realistic or interesting, and it is a major flaw whatever the movie is. The beauty on the screen can’t be loved that easily with so much shaking around. Meanwhile, this is going to be trilogy, and with the expectations high, and the second part of movie never really becoming as good as the first, we have to bite our nails a lot. Yes, there are too many movies to which this movie seems related, mostly with the theme and the outline plot. The movie also delivers less as a thriller, as a good number of moments becomes predictable and defy common logic, even as that doesn’t affect the flow or the totality of the story. Fighting against such a huge racket supported by politicians and police seemed to be too easy, and once they get together, almost all their ideas go in the right direction. It makes us sad about the state of the kidnapped, but it doesn’t add enough suspense or enough twists to make this the thriller which rules its genre. But how many people can claim about a flawless victory? Not even Liu Kang or Kitana can achieve the same with ease, in a Mortal Kombat game.

Performers of the soul :: This is Shobana’s movie as one would expect. She plans and takes steps as a lighter female version of Taken‘s Liam Neeson, who doesn’t care who she has to fight to get her girls back (Remember “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you” from Taken). It is a fantastic return to our favourite leading actress of 1980s and 90s. She plays the strong protagonist, while Dhyan Sreenivasan plays the weaker one who still has to take on the goons physically due to the love for his sister – like Suresh Gopi’s character in Rudraksham. One has to say that he is very good as a newcomer too. With Vineeth Sreenivasan directing, I did wonder if this was one of those roles which could have perfectly suited the only leading actor he had in his movies, Nivin Pauly. May be we can have him in the sequel, as Dhyan’s character is done with this one, and that should be great, and very interesting indeed. There are so many other characters, but none of them really getting the needed screen time to be talked about much. The only exception might be the girl who played the sister role, and she’s good indeed. Thira rests on two performers, and as they scores, the movie takes off.

Details with spoilers :: I don’t know about its alleged borrowing from Amazing Grace and The Whistleblower, and it being the unofficial remake of the 2007 film Trade. But it will remind people about the 2012 action thriller Karmayodha which was rather a weak attempt on the same subject of human trafficking, especially of women. This movie is rather a very good reminder about how good Karmayodha could have been and how badly it missed out. Well, there are two other movies which I would like to mention – they are the 1994 Malayalam movie Rudraksham and 2009 English movie Taken. The former deals with a man (Suresh Gopi) looking for his younger sister in a strange city and ends up in the abode of a gangster who runs a brothel. The latter is the story of one man (Liam Neeson) who uses all his skills to save his daughter and her friend. The former could be Dhyan who tries to save his sister as a one-man army and the latter could be Shobana who tries to save more than one girl with her skills. The hopelessness of the former and the determination of the latter combines here. The dark tone of these movies seems to make them blood-brothers.

How it goes :: Vineeth Sreenivasan has surely come a long way from Malarvadi Arts Club, but even as the first thriller from him, this won’t be a Thattathin Marayathu in the box office, despite the comparative richness in content. Geethanjali‘s failure to live up-to the expectations will help this one a lot though. It is a clear winner at the box office, and may even exceed our expectations if the next releases doesn’t work that well. To add to it, we have the ability to accept the different, unless it doesn’t become Olipporu – our audience accepted Traffic, Chaappa Kurishu, Amen and North 24 Kaatham (about Annayum Rasoolum and Kili Poyi, God knows why they were praised). Just like they say in Neram, there is good time and bad time, and this is indeed the good or even the best time for Thira. What it makes out of it is up-to the viewers, but so far it has been good. Now waiting for Salaam Kashmir – if it has stopped its procrastination, a procedure it has followed for such a long time and made the movie lovers wonder if it is a “mission impossible” or going to release on a future possible “6th day”.

Release date: 14th November 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Shobana, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Deepak Parambol, Gaurav Vasudev, Sijoy Varghese, Amritha Anil

thira copy

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