Eighteen Hours

What is the movie about? :: A group of friends is shown as making a journey through the forest, and after meeting an accident on the way, they are shot. Then the scene shifts to six hours earlier to an airport. Six students from a school are traveling from Kerala to Karnataka to take part in an inter-school competition in Bengaluru. But unfortunately, their flight is cancelled, and they have to travel by a bus instead. Along with them, there are the teachers from the school and a former student, Anupama (Indu Thampy) who is also in trouble due to the flight being cancelled. On the way, they reach the exact same place where the accident had happened, and there the bus is hijacked by a group of gunmen who were seen earlier. The gunmen are basically trying to get away from police and cross the border with a collection of drugs which they hope to exchange for a good amount of money. For the same, they hope to keep the bus and the students with them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: As the bus keep moving, the police are also after them, but with the bus in their control, they are able to keep themselves going. The man in charge of the operations is Commissioner Jayakumar IPS (Shyamaprasad). Now, as the teachers, Geetha (Devi Ajith) and Vinayan (Harikrishnan) are thrown out of the bus, the remaining students are Alisha (Sanjana Nair), Elsa (Keerthana Sreekumar), Chandrika (Keerthana P Kumar), Fiza (Abhirami), Bhoomi (Anagha Ravi) and Dwani (Parthavi Vinod), along with Anupama. Now they face the biggest problem in their life, as they realize that most probably, they won’t be going back home. Even though the police do find them, they are killed by the goons. Now, they have to take the matter into their hands and try to escape, but can they do it before time runs out?

The defence of Eighteen Hours :: There is some good experimentation in the form of a survival film here, and despite having some veteran actors in smaller roles in there, we have a lot of young blood at work, as there is some risk well taken around here. But as they all come up with pretty good performances, and with the atmosphere being used very well, film turns out to be effective. The background music is effective, and there is one good song to add to it. The camera work is fantastic, and there are some fine visuals of the forest, even though the focus actually shifts in between, which affects that possibility. Almost all of the film is focused on a forest, or semi-forest area, which is a big bonus for this kind of a theme, even though more adventures through the forest would have been preferred. The final moments also bring a twist, and has hope for a possible sequel, which turned out to be a nice idea, as this film was too short with its length.

The claws of flaw :: The film doesn’t utilize all the elements to its best advantage, even though the scope was for much more – when you get people being kidnapped with the setting in the forest, you know that the possibilities are endless. After all, a forest in nobody’s permanent ally, and it doesn’t matter what your age, gender or social and economic status used to be – a criminal or an innocent, forest has its say. We have seen similar hostage situations in films before, but this one in a more stylish take on the same, with no saviours and no planning, going rather ruthlessly at it, and in a contemporary world with drug-based crimes increasing, one would expect similar things to happen more than they used to be – COVID-19 has left people highly unstable, unpredictable and ready for anything. With a run-time of just more than one and half hours, it doesn’t establish the background story that much. It could have also used more fighting sequences, along with some extra running around and hiding – this should have focused more on escaping and hiding, but it is less in comparison.

Performers of the soul :: Indu Thampy plays the leading character here, and keeps things going, as she only gains strength. The elements of Type 1 Diabetic are nicely incorporated here, as she is supposed to be playing a character with the same health problem which she has in life, and she has some action sequences which are managed really well. Among the veteran actors, only Shyamaprasad gets something to perform here, and he plays the character well when focused on him. He has good scope in playing a senior police officer, as it is shown here. We have all loved him for his skills as a director, and one has to feel that Hollywood touch which was in Ivide and Hey Jude also being reflected here as far as style is concerned. Even he has a small role to play in his films, he has always made that memorable, and it is the same case here. We had last seen him as an actor this year itself, in Chathur Mukham, and we also remember his role in Ranam, another underrated film with its own moments of glory.

Further performers of the soul :: Vijay Babu has an even smaller role even though we feel that this was going to be a bigger role from how it goes in the beginning, while Sudheer Karamana’s work is unfortunately too small for our liking, as we all expected him to make a comeback at later stages as part of the search for the bus. One has to wonder why they needed other police officers to the lead other teams when the latter was there to make an impact. Lengthier presence of such actors were required, but I guess that they can be used better in a possible sequel in the future. The newcomers do handle the work well though. While the villains do suit their role, the girls do their job really well, and considering the fact that this is the first film for most of the cast around here, everything goes very much nicely. For a number of these performers, there will be more roles coming, and bright future is there for at least some of them, depending on how things would go in their next films. Former Miss India, Mansi Sehgal is also here in a cameo.

How it finishes :: Eighteen Hours, despite missing the chance to go higher, has its own merits running through it. It should be the belief in its strengths that made sure that this one had its release not in the theatres, but on Mazhavil Manorama as well as the app, Manorama Max. With less resources and also with a lot of newcomers, the film has managed enough to be entertaining in an atmosphere which seems to make the most out of it. Even when the film seems to struggle, it manages to raise its bar later, and just like its protagonists, the movie doesn’t give up, and goes on to bring a surprise in the end. The director’s best known film was Salt Mango Tree, along with other familiar titles like Thrissur Pooram and Escape from Uganda, but this film, even though without the big names playing major roles, gets to be better, and can inspire even better flicks like this. It adds on as another interesting release during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, coming straight to home.

Release date: 1st August 2021 (Mazhavil Manorama and Manorama MAX)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Nair
Starring: Indu Thampy, Vijay Babu, Sudheer Karamana, Shyamaprasad, Advaith Ajay, Harikrishnan, Krishnan Balakrishnan, Devi Ajith, Vimal Vijay, Sanjana Nair, Keerthana Sreekumar, Keerthana P Kumar, Abhirami, Anagha Ravi, Parthavi Vinod, Mansi Sehgal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Forensic

What is the movie about? :: A little girl is separated from her elder sister at a dance school, and is later found murdered. Rithika Xavier IPS (Mamta Mohandas) is in charge of the case which had soon become a media sensation. Samuel John Kattookaran (Tovino Thomas) and Shikha Damodar (Reba Monica John), the forensic experts are asked to assist Rithika in the case. But Samuel also has a past with Rithika who was his elder brother Xavier John Kattookkaran’s (Saiju Kurup) wife until their divorce due to the loss of one of their daughters. Due to the same reason, Samuel and Rithika are not happy about working together in the case, but they manage to find out some important clues, as another child is murdered. They find out that this is the work of a serial killer who was linked to another series of murders known as the Burma Colony serial killings.

So, what happens with the events here? :: A retired police officer Abdul Wahab (Renji Panicker) who was dealing with Burma murders case, a child psychologist Jayakumar Menon (Prathap Pothan) and the two other police officers who are also in the case, Murali Mohankumar (Anwar Shereef) and Dano Mammen (Rony David) also become the key factors in moving forward in the investigation. But time is running out for them, as another child is kidnapped, and this time within a few minutes of her mother leaving her at a seat in the hospital, that too with so much of crowd and CCTV camers around. The cops figure out that it is not the usual serial killer, and the person couldn’t be alone. Someone working close to them might also be helping the killer. But time is running out, and the media has created enough panic among people – how long will it take to end this?

The defence of Forensic :: This movie releases at a time when a little girl had gone missing and her body was found in the nearby river, and this date of release being a strange co-incidence which adds to that feeling of fear and eerie. With twists and thrills maintained, and the suspense existing till the end unlike Anjaam Pathira which decided to make it a revenge movie too early as it showed the villain rather earlier, Forensic definitely holds strong. It takes the terror to the last moments, and has one psycho killer who could actually be called so, without a motive other than the murder which becomes the justification all by itself. There is a balance, and an order being followed here. For a movie which begins with a patricide, there is a fine foreshadowing of what is to follow, if the character shown in the opening scenes is going to be at the centre of attraction. The red herrings are given very well to improve the impact further.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the movie does hold advantage over Anjaam Pathira, the movie lacks similar moments of sudden shock, but the same can be seen running underneath the idea of the movie throughout, and coming to light more in the later stages with the psycho coming out of the darkness. But a better use of darkness and silence was required instead of focusing more on the blood and violent moments – it could have had some balance there. The final moments leading to revelation could have also been managed in a different way to create better impact. There are also some usual moments which were not needed in a serious movie of investigation like this. A few moments of the movie are also predictable, and a better treatment of its main characters like Memories did, would have also contributed here in a better way, but Forensic makes no such effort.

The performers of the soul :: After having two of the best movies of the year to his credit in the form of Virus and Uyare, Tovino Thomas does manage to begin this year in style, as 2020 has one thriller to follow the much appreciated Anjaam Pathira for him too. The character works for him well, as he plays a smart forensic expert who helps the police – it is the kind of role which doesn’t require him to bring anything special. There are some action scenes for him too, as he moves forward strongly with this character. Mamta Mohandas had only two movies to her credit last year, with a supporting role in 9 and playing the lady lead in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel, both of them not crossing the border to create further impact among the audience. She makes a police officer with a troubled past with ease – the character works well on two levels.

Further performers of the soul :: Reba Monica John who made her debut in Jacobinte Swargarajyam had things going in her favour with the role in Bigil, but other than Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam, she remained mostly unnoticed by the Malayalam movie audience. Her supposed cameo in Mikhael had also gone unnoticed. She has a good role here, and the same doesn’t have any romantic side, and it is a positive thing in a movie like this. Saiju Kurup is paired with Mamta here, and it is to be noted that the two made their debuts as leading actors in the movie Mayookham. He has a rather usual role, which he does with ease, and the same can be said about Renji Panicker who is not stranger to his character in this movie too. Anwar Shereef and Rony David also come up with the roles of police officers, which they do well enough. The kids also play the roles nicely, especially the boy with long hair and the girl who plays the leading actress’ daughter.

How it finishes :: With the success of Anjaam Pathira, there was always going to be the need for more thrillers, and with movies like Anveshanam only becoming half-thrillers while going deep into melodrama, Forensic had become a necessity. Well, it can be said that Forensic scores over Anjaam Pathira when we compare the two – this movie is clear with each element, and shows how one events lead to the other. Forensic also has a clear psycho killer with the motive not being revenge from a long gone post. The movie also doesn’t rush through things like Anjaam Pathira – the terror in Forensic also feels more real, as murder itself becomes the motive, as it was said in the trailer. With a clear revenge motive like Anjaam Pathira did, such a feeling couldn’t have been achieved. The advantage has been clearly gained.

Release date: 28th February 2020
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Akhil Paul, Anas Khan
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Reba Monica John, Mamta Mohandas, Renji Panicker, Saiju Kurup, Prathap Pothan, Mohan Sharma, Rony David, Anwar Shereef, Srikanth Murali, Ramu, Dhanesh Anand, Anjali Nair, Devi Ajith, Anil Murali, Lukman, Giridhar, Rajesh Hebbar, Sadhika Venugopal, Thennal

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Luca

What is the movie about? :: As part of a case investigation, Police officer Akbar (Nithin George) comes across a diary which goes through the lives of Luca (Tovino Thomas) and Niharika (Ahaana Krishna). Luca is a highly talented artist who makes the best art works out of scrap materials, but is a short-tempered man who lives close to his small circle of friends. He had lost his father at a very young age, and his mother within a few years after that. He has extreme fear of death and dead bodies. Niharika is a research scholar in industrial chemistry who has come to Cochin from Bangalore as part of her research. Half-Malayali and half-Bengali, she has had a troubled childhood, and had lost her father at a very young age. Akbar is very close to divorcing his wife Fathima (Vinitha Koshy), as he is unable to forget his first love Jannet (Neethu Bala) who left him for reasons unknown to him, and is often adviced by his senior officer Jayaraman (Thalaivasal Vijay).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The story goes through the love story of Luca and Niharika as well as the tale of Akbar going through his investigation with the help of his junior officer Aloshy (Anwar Shereef). The friendship and later love of Luca and Niharika develops after latter has a bad opinion about the former’s works, which she changes soon. Later, the two meets again, only to have her move to one of the empty rooms in his house, as she feels safer there. The only two people who are at the home most of the time are those who do the household duties, Martin (Chempil Asokan) and Salomi (Pauly Valsan). Niharika’s uncle Jayaprakash (Srikant Murali) despises her attitude and actions, but as she hates him, things come as no surprise. But there would be a few incidents which would change the lives of Luca and Niharika, but nothing changes regarding love.

The defence of Luca :: There is beauty in every frame of Luca. It is more or less like having a wizard, an overlord of aesthetics at work here, as we see beauty on the big screen, which never gets even close to fading away. We have home which is a work or art by itself, and the presence of rain makes the scenes even more beautiful. At the same time, we see some of those elements which have certain significance in the society, and the role that childhood plays in the lives of people and how it affects them as grown-ups can be seen. The movie is also strong with its emotional moments, especially in the end, as it deals with love in a deeper way rather than what is usually seen on the outside. There are also those moments which are there to stay for now, and we feel that a few things are rather symbolic of something else. The narrative strength of the tale keeps the movie together, and one has to love the way it progresses.

The claws of flaw :: Luca does not become your usual flick about romance. Well, it goes beyond that, and can make Romeo and Juliet feel that they can do better at a few things – it is that kind of love that is deeper that what our common movie watchers can take on. There is also a certain tragedy associated with it, and it stretches a bit with the story. One would also think that the tale could have been better, with a deeper investigation side. The mystery could have unfolded in another way too, and with such visual beauty on the screen, the movie had all it needed to go bigger. There is also that usage of flashback which is a little more than one would want to have. There might have been the feeling that Luca was going to be Charlie, but that didn’t happen, as this one develops its own identity.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas’ avatar is nothing less than stunning, as we see the character go through the journey of colours. Even though this is not your usual character, he makes his character both lovable and believable, set close to all that defines Kochi Biennale. He is here after three highly appreciated critical and commercial success movies, Virus, Uyare and Lucifer, and this happens to be one fantastic year for him already – we still have half an year to go. Well, the last year was not less grand either, as we had more. Ahaana Krishna hasn’t been there in many movies, and we remember seeing her last in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – she has nicely blended in here and has done a fantastic job. She has become the character with ease, and we see her excel in the emotional as well as romantic moments, as she makes a fine combination with Tovino.

Further performers of the soul :: Nithin George who plays the police officer in charge of the investigation comes up with a brilliant performance. He plays the man who lives in his memories, and hopes for answers from the past, and we go on the journey with the character. There is the beauty of serenity in that performance, and the situation that he is in also has us interested. Vinitha Koshy who played the teacher in Aanandam once again has interested in her character. Chempil Asokan and Pauly Valsan makes a perfect pair as the helping hands of the house. Anwar Shereef gives good support as the junior police officer. Jaffer Idukki is there for only a short period of time, and Thalaivasal Vijay only has a little more time with bigger dialogues. Srikant Murali leaves a mark with certain moments. Neethu Bala makes some good impact with one song which she is part of.

How it finishes :: Luca easily gets to the list of the best movies of the year, and it does the same with the love story side rather than getting into some other genre – the investigation and twist are there, but the focus continues to be with the romantic side. With some wonderful music in there, the flick had already caught out attention, and it is one movie which you shouldn’t miss for the beauty on the screen. Along with the same, the socially relevant issues also stays there. As it stands, Luca will continue to stay strong in our theatres. One would wish to watch it again for the emotional content as well as the power of aesthetics, both never backing away from giving the best, just like the actors in there. Have a look at a song from the movie, among the best of the year so far.

Release date: 28th June 2019
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Arun Bose
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Nithin George, Ahaana Krishna, Neethu Bala, Anwar Shereef, Rajesh Sharma, Vinitha Koshy, Sooraj S Kurup, Shalu Rahim, Chempil Asokan, Devi Ajith, Jaffer Idukki, Neena Kurup, Pauly Valsan, Srikant Murali, Thalaivasal Vijay, Raghavan, Hansika Krrishna

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Take Off

What is the movie about? :: Sameera (Parvathy) is a divorced nurse who is trying to work hard in the local hospital and pay the debts of her family, as well as ensure that the studies of her younger sisters are also dealt with. She was formerly married to Faisal (Asif Ali), and has a child, but they were separated due to problems in both families related to her work as well as the differences in way of seeing things. Shaheed (Kunchacko Boban) who works as a male nurse in the same hospital, is in love with her, and is hoping to marry her if she agrees some day. Both of them are expected to go to Iraq for work soon, and in that way, earn a better salary. Sameera finally decides that it is better for her to marry Shaheed and move on, as he is also moving to Iraq, and her relatives would make her get married to someone else anyway; at least she finds Shaheed as a good person and he is in love with her.

So, what happens next? :: After marriage, Sameera gets pregnant, but they soon have to move to Iraq and join the new job. They have heard that the place is not that safe, but there are other nurses who work there and earn a good salary. It is the year 2014, and ISIS has launched itself into the major cities of the nation. It is at the same time that Sameera’s son Ibrahim a.k.a Ibru (Master Eric) comes to live with her. Their location, Tikrit, as well as Mosul where Shaheed had traveled to with the military, all are under attack despite the repeated assurances that the army of the country will keep them safe. Sameera is shocked when she realises that Mosul is captured by the extremists and has become impossible to reach on phone. She approaches the Indian ambassador to Iraq, Manoj Abraham (Fahad Faasil) who assures her that he will do his best to find her husband.

And what is to follow between the chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t take the ISIS long to take full control of all significant landmarks in the city of Tikrit with the military falling and later becoming a non-existent force there. The militants also make it inside the hospital and keeps the nurses as hostage. Shaheed is still in Mosul, captured by the militants there. But Manoj is determined to rescue and bring all these people back to India in one way or the other. For the same, he works with Ranjan (Prakash Belawadi), his superior officer as well as Jayamohan (Prem Prakash) who is a rich Malayali businessman with many connections in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. With the External Affairs Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Kerala in contact with him, he will try a plan which is claimed to be risky by more than one person, but is considered to be the best option to bring the nurses home by Manoj himself.

The defence of Take Off :: The movie is based on the captivity of forty six Indian nurses by ISIS, and their evacuation by the Indian government, which was one of those celebrated events and a major achievement for the nation – it takes a lot of effort to recreate and add something extra for the creative and cinematic side, and still keep it simple and real. The director has succeeded in doing the same here. The movie has nicely handled the situations of war, and also related to the hostage crisis – with terrorism to be worked with here, things could have gone different ways, but all goes well in this movie; we see balance and maturity in everything here. The emotional side is also strong, and things are kept realistic as well as interesting at the same time, a quality which has been only fakely attributed to certain movies these days.

Positives and negatives :: The first half of the movie is more about the family drama, with the final few minutes getting the protagonists to reach Iraq, with the terrible disaster of a war waiting to happen. From there, it is a thrilling adventure, and the movie works as two here. This movie is visually geat, and also has some nice music as well as background score to go with the same. The movie, despite not trying to bring anything out of the box, got all of us interested, with how this tale is told, and how the characters feel simple and real as the common man who wishes to make money for their families while protecting the same. Even with its smaller budget compared to the Bollywood movies like Airlift which deals with the evacuation of Indians too, Take Off can easily give a fine competition – in simple words, it is surely better than the Bollywood movie dealing with this. There is a better re-imagination here for you to watch.

Performers of the soul :: There is no shortage of interesting performances here, and Parvathy manages to keep her character at the right place, even living through the war on most of the occasions. The different stages of life of her character are nicely portrayed, and this is sure to bring more and more applause as the movie runs in the theatres and will be watched by more followed the highly positive opinions – following Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. Kunchacko Boban has a controlled performance here as he once again plays a character who will appeal really well for the family audience, after Kochauvva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. Then there is Fahadh Faasil who arrives in the second half, and steals the show – there are so many moments for him as he goes strong after Maheshinte Prathikaaram once again, and the last few moments are undoubtedly his. The child actor Eric is also too good. Prakash Belawadi, Prem Prakash, Asif Ali and Alencier Ley Lopez also catch our attention with their smaller roles.

How it finishes :: We had the Akashay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur starrer Airlift directed by another Malayali, Raja Krishna Menon, which had dealt with a similar crisis and somewhat same kind of situation which released in 2016 and had received many positive opinions. While Airlift was based on the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, this one is based on the 2004 ISIS invasion of Iraq. Both are about evacuating the Indians left in the nation torn by war, and both has the patriotism as well as the final success that goes with the same – both have also received a lot of critical acclaim, and has been in the news even before the release. The comparisons maybe many, and it is certain that what we need are movies like Take Off and Airlift which deals with the situations related to common people who struggle anywhere in the world, and it is also significant how realistically their tales are told. This is the best movie of the year so far, as it joins C/O Saira Banu, Alamara and Honey Bee 2 which are running in the theatres stronger than the rest.

Release date: 24th March 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Parvathy, Fahadh Faasil, Prakash Belawadi, Asif Ali, Prem Prakash, Alencier Ley Lopez, Parvathi T, Anjali Aneesh Upasana, Master Eric, Joju George, Sidhartha Siva, Devi Ajith, Divya Prabha, Prashant Nair, Rukhsar Rehman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guppy

guppy-1

Vampire Owl :: Oh, you mean the Vampire Guppy.

Vampire Bat :: There is no Vampire Guppy. Fishes don’t become vampires. None of us are interested in water including you.

Vampire Owl :: But all I have been hearing about in the last few days is related to the great bath.

Vampire Bat :: That is just the blood bath. Fishes don’t live in blood.

Vampire Owl :: It is really unfortunate. We could have used some fishy help. There are already too many things fishy with the humans.

Vampire Bat :: Still, we can watch this movie. I have read that this is one of the better human movies.

Vampire Owl :: If it is a better movie, I am sure that most of the fan-boys and fan-girls haven’t watched it yet.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is universal law; the quality and the fans won’t go together.

Vampire Owl :: Which is why good movies need us.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we watch more good movies, and it is our superpower to differentiate between the best and the worst of them.

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: This the tale of a boy named Michael (Chethanlal), who is known to everyone as Guppy, as he has a collection of the small fish called guppy and earns money by selling them to the customers in need. The boy has one dream, that of buying an automatic wheel chair for his mother (Rohini) who can’t walk after the stroke she suffered with the death of his father. The death of his father left his mother on the wheel chair, and she never let him go to the sea which took the man. The seaside village has people who admire his hardwork, and tries to help him in achieving his dream. The two people supporting him the most are Paappan (Alencier Ley Lopez) who runs a shop where Guppy also works, and Lalichan (Sudheer Karamana) who provides him the help needed to grow and sell the fish from the village office where he works.

So what happens next? :: Everything remains simple in this beautiful, scenic village by the side of the sea. The boys are all after Aamina (Nandana Varma) who is the grand daughter of the man who works at the railway gate (Sreenivasan), but the man makes sure that nobody gets to see her by covering her face with a purdah. The boys are happy spending their days in the usual way though – there is nothing special happening as life goes on as has been for a long time. But things don’t go well for him as an engineer Thejus Varkey (Tovino Thomas) comes to the his village for constructing a railway bridge. From the beginning itself, the boy and the engineer doesn’t like each other, and a certain rivalry begins between the two. Both are determined not to yield to the other. The story goes on to tell us how the differences go and how things get for the two.

The defence of Guppy :: There is a certain amount of artistic feeling that we get with the visuals of this movie, and how the incidents are set in motion. Remember Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Riders to the Sea? There is something special with the movies with this type of setting as long as they are done well enough; there is the struggle, there is the hope and there is the attempt to survive. The relationships and emotions are just on another level, even when the special situations are not attempted. There is no clear protagonist and antagonist here, and no hero and villain to be exact, as we see the flow of emotions making people do things which they wouldn’t want to do on another occasion. There is something so poetic about the life and situations here, and we move through the same, with some beautiful shots of the sea and the shores, along with some nice music.

Claws of flaw :: The characters might not seem that well developed for everyone throughout the movie. There are some of them who are there just for the same of being there. One might notice that there is a little bit too much time taken to get us into the whole thing. There is also a certain amount of drag in between, and the movie is a little bit too long for this kind of a subject. Going at a better pace would have made this movie feel even better. The number of songs could have been reduced for the same reason. The ending might not satisfy everyone, and there are things that the viewers won’t be clear about – the movie leaves one with enough to guess and more to think about. The key is to get the connection with these characters in the movie, and only after that can one get the full feeling of this movie – therefore, this movie needs its own thinking audience.

Performers of the soul :: All of us will notice how amazing a performer Chethan is with this movie, even though it is not the first time that he has brought the surprise right to us. He excels with those emotional moments, and this is more of a controlled performance which raises no questions. Tovino Thomas is not far behind here, as this character simply adds to his wonderful works, as he scores throughout this movie. There is no shortage of skills here, as we see him in this new avatar. Alencier Ley Lopez and Sudheer Karamana are there to bring some fine support to the cast. Rohini is there to add to the same, and Sreenivasan brings even more here. Sreenivasan’s role is of the most significance after the main characters too, and he remains comfortable throughout the flick. Noby Marcose adds some fun here, and the director of Maheshinte Prathikaram, Dileesh Pothan is also present in a notable role.

How it finishes :: Guppy goes through to tell its viewers the need for forgiveness. As long as that quality can get all the needed attention, life gets better. But the first kind of people whom we need to forgive are those who are yet to watch this movie. It is never too late to watch and support good movies, and with its well-designed world, Guppy provides us with more than just good times. We remember that Annmariya Kalippilaanu was another such movie that too many people missed! Guppy is the kind of movie which has the moments which will stay with us for long. It is close to the heart, and it is more about how life goes on, and how things change for the good and the bad, and Guppy shows us that it is never about being restricted to black and white, good and evil – it is more like being different people and going through our lives to get to the other end. But there is the need to be good to others, to forgive mistakes to make things better for everyone.

Release date: 5th August 2016
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Johnpaul George
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chethanlal, Sreenivasan, Rohini, Alencier Ley Lopez, Sudheer Karamana, Dileesh Pothan, Sudhi Koppa, Noby Marcose, K. L. Antony Kochi, Poojappura Ravi, Nandana Varma, Chempil Asokan, Bijitha Bhanudas, Vijayan Karanthoor, Antony Kochi, Devi Ajith, Vijilesh

guppy

Btw, do watch Pulimurugan if you haven’t yet!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Action Hero Biju

actionherobiju (1)

Vampire Owl :: I have read and heard mixed reviews about this one.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and I have even heard that the other flick at the theatres is a better movie than this.

Vampire Owl :: Do you know what that means?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it means that we should watch this movie before going for any other.

Vampire Owl :: If someone says that the other movie is better and keeps telling us that we should watch that particular movie, we should watch this movie only.

Vampire Bat :: Exactly; we know that our tastes are different as individuals, unless we blindly follow a trend.

Vampire Owl :: I remember us liking Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi more than Amar Akbar Anthony.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, they told us that the former was not a movie at all. Strange people.

Vampire Owl :: And they declared a repetitive comedy movie as one of the best entertainers of all-time.

Vampire Bat :: Which is why we should watch them all, and what they don’t like, we should surely try.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Sub Inspector Biju Paulose (Nivin Pauly) is a teacher turned police officer who is determined to serve the people and has dedicated his life to his duty. He intends to keep the law and order in the city of Cochin, and for the same, he intends to keep himself close to work all the time. The movie goes through his daily life as a police officer, and deals with the cases that he comes up against everyday, as he gets ready for his marriage with Benitta Dominic (Anu Emmanuvel). There will be enough trouble to keep him busy. And yes, you get all of these without slow-motion sequences, beating up twenty five people at a time, and not catching dangerous serial killers, international criminals or extreme terrorists. Do you know about realistic movies with messages, but having no real dull moment in between? Yes, this works in that way!

The defence of Action Hero Biju :: The one thing which you can be sure about this movie is that it is realistic to the core. The protagonist doesn’t go on fighting the big villains beating them up on the roads or defeating his minions by fighting them all over the city. There is no villain here, but the crimes. There are no heavy dialogues around there either. You shall find no Bharathchandran, Balram, Mohammed Sarkar, Madhavan, Easo Panicker, Baba Kalyani, Chandrasekharan, Sharafuddin Tharamasi and the rest who are part of that long list of heroes from the past, or even those divergent ones of the later times like Sam Alex, Solomon Joseph, Hameem Hyder and Anthony Moses. The movie has no complications, and things are simple, as one would expect to happen as part of the usual life. The comedy as well as the emotional side are very much working; the visuals are really good and the songs are just okay. This one also works as a tribute to the police force.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s realistic approach won’t appeal to all. It is not that kind of a realistic approach which is forced upon us like in the case of Annayum Rasoolum which declared the same to be just drag and more drag. It was a case of exaggerated realistic world which seemed to work with a section of people, but Action Hero Biju chooses not to use that, but go for what can be believed by the common man. That should still disappoint the fans as they might have been looking for something else, with action, thrills, twists and turns, punch dialogues and everything else; even otherwise, they might look for the exaggerated heroism or a heavy dose of cheap comedy – none of these happens to be here. It is the substantial problem with expectations, as that becomes a flaw in the eyes of the fans. The movie might also be a little bit too long for the kind of subject it deals with and the way of treatment. There could have been a better focused ending too.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly returns with one of his most anticipated titles in a long time as he joins forces with Abrid Shine yet again, after the much appreciated 1983 as the director comes up with his second movie. He has managed the role of the rather human police officer without that much trouble. There are moments which are not that good, but there are some in which he looks very well in form. Anu Emmanuel looks good, but this is the debut in which she has not much to do, and it is only the smile and the name of the character that stays with this one – she needs a movie with more screen presence. The comic side is at its best with Joju George, and Suraj Venjaramoodu comes up with a huge performance in one of the best, emotional moments in the movie – there is another one with Meghanathan and Rohini, and the girl who plays her daughter has some nice moments. Major Ravi and Saiju Kurup plays protagonist’s superior officers well. There are a few lesser known faces who provides some interesting performances too.

Soul exploration :: As we go further into this, we feel that what we have seen on the screen has no part in being unrealistic. It is a ride through the life of a police officer as expected under the normal circumstances, and there are multiple incidents and cases which the protagonist has to deal with, among which none of them is related to solving a mystery which only the hero can bring out to light. Instead, the police officer deals with the usual cases that comes up in life – yes, no serial killers, no big gangster lord, no catching international criminals, no standing face to face with powerful politicians, no reaching at scenes of crime at the exact time, no chance of becoming the only man in the whole world who can catch a fiery terrorist, no beating up twenty people just because he can in a movie and surely no unlimited dose of dialogues. Last year, there was the realistic Pathemari, and in Hindi, there was the realistic Airlift; this one also follows the more realistic model, but with fun.

How it finishes :: The one problem which has undoubtedly worked against this movie is its title itself. The movie is not what the title suggests, as it seems to make us feel that this will either be masala action entertainer or a full comedy movie, but as it ended up becoming a realistic movie, it is sure to make one wonder what kind of audience the makers were looking to target. If people feel that the pathetic eternal drag like Annayum Rasoolum was good and Action Hero Biju is not, I will ask for a change of the meaning of the word. Another fact about Action Hero Biju is that it is cent percent better than the overrated flick which was 1983. But these days, people rarely look for a realistic movie which is closer to life, except for those pseudo-realistic movies like Annayum Rasoolum, the bloody movie in which nothing happens and we have more and more tea to the end. And is it just Premam that we always need? It was clear that people in the theatre enjoyed in this case too.

Release date: 4th February 2016
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Abrid Shine
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Anu Emmanuel, Jude Anthany Joseph, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Major Ravi, Rony Davis, Joju George, Prajod Kalabhavan, Saiju Kurup, Kochu Preman, Valsala Menon, Azeez, Rohini, Meghanathan, Sajan Palluruthy, Balachandran Chullikad, Abhija Sivakala, Madhu Mohan, Bobby Mohan, Devi Ajith, Manju Vani

actionherobiju

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adi Kapyare Kootamani

adikapyarekoottamani (1)

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of four friends who study in the same college and stay at the very same hostel. Bhanuprasad (Dhyan Sreenivasan), Bruno (Aju Varghese), Remo (Neeraj Madhav) and Koshy (Vineeth Mohan) are those friends who enjoy their lives to the full with drinks and other activities. The warden of the boys’ hostel is Father Alfred Kattuvilayil (Mukesh) who is a very strict person, but the students manage to go on with their activities making sure that he doesn’t notice. Shaanthappan (Bijukuttan) desperately tries to let the priest know that his students are not what he thinks they are, but they youngsters manage to escape each and every time. But they will soon be part of something from which they can’t escape that easily.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: Bhanuprasad meets a girl named Adhishtalekshmi (Namitha Pramod) who offers him twenty thousand rupees just to get her inside the hostel and get her out in a few minutes. As he is desperately in need of money, he agrees to that, and gets her in when the other students are out for a movie. She has a special motive which she accomplishes, but it turns out that it is not that easy to get her out. The students return early and the next morning has a strike in the college which ruins their plans to escape. Their secret passage through the window is also blocked as Shaanthappan gets it repaired after informing the priest. Now, it is up-to Bhanuprasad and his three best friends to find a way to get her out before her father and his goons get to the place.

The defence of Adi Kapyare Kootamani :: This movie goes on the lines of Kunjiramayanam and Vellimoonga with the fun and its simplicity, with everything appealing really well for the family audience just like the youth. From the beginning itself, the movie’s direction is clear, and it is towards a really enjoyable comic side which can only get better as we gets deeper into the story. Even though the director is a debutante, there is not much of a problem there with how well this one has turned out to be. It needs skill to bring something special out of ordinary situations, and a lot of appreciation should be provided for the same. Cheers to Friday Film House in finding another new director and gifting him to the Keralite audience. The traits of Manichithrathazhu, Kaththi and In Ghost House Inn are smartly used too, and there is a strong funny side to the way of dealing with the same.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing much about the story which is happening here, as it just goes on creating the funny situations. A good number of people might find this one too simple, but that is also an advantage of this movie. The rush in the end and a little bit of too much confusion can belittle the final moments. But as a sequel has already been announced, we can be sure that some of them will be solved. In the movie, the whole thing is mostly located at one place, and you are not going to see much variety there except for the comedy which has the special strength. The songs are not really memorable either. We can also note that the smaller number of scenes which happen outside the hostel doesn’t really work that well. Maybe the sequel can work harder to solve the problems left in its predecessor – we can wait for that!

Performers of the soul :: The group of Aju Varghese, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Neeraj Madhav and Bijukuttan are here in this movie too, bringing the same fun to us yet again. Vineeth Mohan nicely joins them in this adventure. Dhyan does a pretty good job here, and Vineeth Mohan supports, but it is Aju Varghese with Neeraj Madhav brings the best fun here with their coming timing; look out for the former fainting and providing signal along with the latter tearing his shirt apart and also looking for the Kaththi blue-print. The ideas to get the lady out of there are rather too funny. Namitha is really good, and it is nice to see her back after that “nothing” role in Amar Akbar Anthony, as she once again gets the chance to be the integral part of a movie rather than walk around. Bijukuttan scores, and he does the best in the Manichithrathazhu scene which is a big bonus; he even has a special Christmas song.

Further performers of the soul :: Mukesh is rock solid fun as the priest who believes that his students are angels and also that everything is under is control all the time; he scores the best with the moments of advice for the students and the situations of fear. The one thing which you can be sure about here is that this one is a real team effort. Most of the characters get similar chances to perform here, and the power of the youth in the Malayalam movie industry is more than just evident here. As everything is simple and possible to be connected for the audience, everything depended on the cast and how well they managed the comic side, and the movie gets all the success there. On one side, there will be movies releasing with huge hype, and on the other side, there are the small movies like this one which brings us so much of fun. Well, we will be looking forward to this director’s next movies, and it is not any easier to wait for the sequel to this movie.

How it finishes :: Coming from Sandra Thomas and Vijay Babu under who produced Philips and the Monkey Pen, Zachariayude Garbhinikal and Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeevi Aanu under Friday Film House, the expectations were to be pretty good on this one. The movie also has three of the big stars of the big comedy entertainer of the year, Kunjiramayanam. With positive opinions already going on, this one will provide the competition to the other competitors like Two Countries, Charlie and Jo and the Boy with the next competitor Style changing the release date. Christmas will surely be interesting season with all these movies which have got pretty good opinions battling each other, and there is also one Star Wars movie which is wandering around the corner along with two Bollywood flicks which can also be found at places!

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: John Varghese
Starring: Dhyan Sreenivasan, Namitha Pramod, Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Vineeth Mohan, Mukesh, Bijukuttan, John Vijay, Devi Ajith, Bhagath Manuel, Pradeep Kottayam, Vijay Babu, Sabu

adikapyarekooottamani

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ennu Ninte Moideen

ennunintemoideen! (3)

What is it about? :: In the 1960s at Mukkam in the Malabar region of Kerala, Kanchanamala (Parvathy Kottuvata), one of the many children of a landlord, studies medicine. Meanwhile, Moideen (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a socialist political worker from a renowned family of the region spends his time with the common people. Their parents are good friends and the families know each other. They fall in love, but are restricted by the society as Kanchanamala is Hindu and Moideen is Muslim. Moideen is thrown out of the house by his father for declaring his love for the lady, and Kanchanamala is locked inside her room in the house. The options available here were to run away or to forget each other, but they decide to wait. A lot of things happen in the world around them, but they just wait for things to change, and this wait goes on as fate keeps intervening in their lives.

The defence of Ennu Ninte Moideen :: The best argument in favour of this movie is that it is unbelievably clean. The humour is good and love is strong. There is nothing other than pure love that takes the centre stage – there is almost no romance, and there is no talking nonsense; there is just the decision to get married and live together. It is something worth all the applause at a time when true love is dead and buried under the fake emotions. This movie becomes a lesson to the people who can’t wait or adjust, as the world are full of the “partially loving” ones who leave their lovers to follow their ambitions. The visuals are really good, and there some very nice dialogues which the audience can remember for long. The fact that this is a true love story also makes this movie better than what it actually is – there should be thousands of great love stories which go forgotten, and it is nice that this one didn’t. Also, the first half is superior to the second.

Claws of flaw :: One problem with the movie is its length. Even though it is not at all empty like Annayum Rasoolum, there are moments which drag, and this happens mostly in the second half after a well-made first half. There are certain moments of stretching in the latter part which could have been avoided. The signs about that powerful socialist-capitalist clash which the trailer gave goes completely missing as the same only appears here and there only to disappear without leaving any trace. It is unfortunate that there is nothing about righteous politics as expected. The songs don’t have much here. Cliches are also abundant. The overrating of this movie by the fans reflects as a flaw for the flick – you exceed expectations and give a movie some “greatness” title, and it becomes a flaw for those who watch the movie with expectations of unlimited greatness. Flaws will rise easily in a movie which you declare flawless, my dear fans; keep that in mind.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj brings Moideen to the screen with great sincerity and wonderful skills. If you ask me, I will prefer his performances in Ivide and Picket 43 more as they were a lot more intense; but this one is serene, staying within the limits of his character – the three are his best of the year. We await his much expected movie Amar Akbar Anthony as we watch this! Parvathy impresses most of the time, and is just fine on some other occasions, and she reminds me of Sangeetha of Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala fame. Bala also does a very strong job in this one. But the one who steals the show with two shots is Tovino Thomas who strikes an arrow into our heart and soul twice with one moment at the heroine’s house and another at the hero’s club. Sai Kumar and Lena Abhilash also leaves strong impact on our minds with their characters.

Soul exploration :: The origins of the love story of the lovers of this movie are not much explored, as they go straight towards the point. There is not much shown about what made them so much interested in each other, and the focus is on the fact is that they decides to wait rather than run away with each other or forget each other. They wait for the society to accept them, and take that risk with two reputed families belonging to two different religions. There is more than one dramatic interference from fate along with some additional melodrama as if this love was not supposed to happen, but the story remains true to love. The thing to be admired more than anything else is that they get older and older by waiting for approval, but the society remains the same and doesn’t accept their relationship. It is a strange world, isn’t it?

Further soul exploration :: The situation which is seen in the movie still exists in this world, even without talking about love and marriages. There is a certain amount of rise in the number of people who talk about religion and make decisions or judge people based on the same. It is a surprise that it happens in this modern age; the divisions were not this strong when I was a child – yes, the number of inter-religious marriages have increased, but it is not the case with the rest of the talks about religion as you can see less love for one’s religion and more hatred for other religions. We are getting divided further and further with more and more ridiculous reasons added. The non-believers only join in to make fun of everyone creating further trouble in between, instead of working to find a solution for any possible problem. Hating people is never a solution.

How it finishes :: There is a big problem with this movie, and it is with the fans. There is too much promotion going on related to this movie, and I have always found this overrating of movies rather irritating. I have seen the same with Premam, and now I am witnessing the same with this movie. It is time people stop overdoing the promotion and stick to talking about what they liked and didn’t like in a movie. When the word “best” is used without any limitations, it can make your favourite movie suffer, and fans should keep that in mind. I have had very high expectations about this movie due to some of those random comments, and this high number of comments have led to me liking this movie less. My advice to the fans is not to overrate a movie so much that it becomes irritating; Premam had early gains from it, but understand that luck changes and so do the games of fate.

Release date: 19th September 2015
Running time: 167 minutes
Directed by: R. S. Vimal
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Parvathy Kottuvata, Tovino Thomas, Bala, Saikumar, Shashi Kumar, Lena Abhilash, Sivaji Guruvayoor, Sudheer Karamana, Sija Rose, Sudheesh, Kalaranjini, Surabhi, Indrans, Devi Ajith, Emine Salman, George Tharakan

ennunintemoideen

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mili

mili (3)

What is it about? :: Mili Nair (Amala Paul) is a girl who has underachieved throughout her life and has developed a certain amount of inferiority complex about not living up-to the expectations. Being a high level introvert and never having even one real friend, Mili is disliked by her room mates in the hostel, the group of three lead by Renuka Menon (Shamna Kasim) who hates her, and the other two Shelly (Swapna Menon) and Raji (Sija Rose) who feel irritated by her behaviour. Her only two means of happiness are the day-care where she works and the sisterly relationship with Nancy (Praveena). But one day, she is forced to leave her job, and the guy whom she has a crush on, seems to be in a relationship with Renuka. She is highly disappointed and thinks about suicide, but Nancy’s brother Naveen (Nivin Pauly) helps her, and after bring introduced to the friends circle of Anupama (Sanusha Santhosh), her life gets a twist or two as she finds the strength within her.

The defence of Mili :: Here is a movie with so much strength to make you feel and directly go through that path of the protagonist who becomes a kind of answer to Bollywood’s Queen, even as this won’t have that much of good reviews, because three out of five is what awesome Malayalam movies can get from the critics here. I would actually consider this movie better than Queen and also Highway with its empowerment of the central female character. It is also better than the last year’s Malayalam flick How Old Are You are which was less realistic and had a protagonist was too talented that what she comes up with is no real surprise. Meanwhile, Mili has the rise of the real subaltern who comes out of her problems which go back to her childhood and rise like the real queen. Mili is a completely realistic movie, and its incidents and emotions connect directly to the audience. Cheers to Gopi Sunder and Shaan Rahman for the highly effective music too.

Positives and Negatives :: The movie is a straight take on its content, even as it is an ordinary story in its base. There are some silly moments in the beginning which might have been meant to bring some fun there. May be Mili should have been shown as “just another introvert” or with a further clear background. Well, the movie touches you and it shakes your heart with its emotional power. “Manpaatha Neettunna Mohangale” is a bloody good song, and when heard in relation to the movie is a wonderful experience, something that makes you feel the power of the journey of the protagonist, as long as you have a heart with enough of empathy. It is a stake through the heart, but is something of exhilaration on one end. The movie ends with a speech which is the soul of the movie, and it is up-to you to decide if you want it in the end. But the power of the final words cannot be questioned as it is incredibly strong and the return of that song in the end is a remarkable addition to the emotional strength of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is impressive in its characterization, and it is reflected in the performances of the actors. Mili’s character goes through a great path, right from the awesome child actor to the amazing performance from Amala Paul who has undoubtedly managed her best in Malayalam with this one protagonist. It is nothing other than inconceivable bliss to watch her as Mili. Here is she acting without make-up and making it work in an amazing way. Nivin Pauly gives a great support, and him doing this role in a heroine-centred role is worth an applause. Sai Kumar is also very good; the same can be said about Praveena. One thing that is to be noticed is the presence and the nice support of the young actresses in this movie, starting with Sanusha Santhosh about whom we are well aware of, and has already left her mark. The others including the better known Shamna Kasim and the rest of the list having Sija Rose, Swapna Menon and Soumya Sadanandan makes us realize that Malayalam movie industry has so much power in its core for years to come.

Soul exploration :: It is clear that some people are not able to be inspired by Mili and can’t like it. I can understand that. It is mainly because of their inability to connect with those who have problems in their life. May be they are hundred percent extroverts or some who were born with silver spoons in their mouth, or those who had a very easy path throughout their lives. They might be big genius people who knows everything. But for us others, who can connect easily with a person having troubles, this movie is a big thing. May be some people don’t need to be motivated because they are so awesome, but I am really motivated with this, as I know my weaknesses. It is okay that some people can’t connect with people having problems, but I can. May be it is because I am not that good, and the positive thing about that is that I can surely feel the power of motivation that is present in this movie. I am an introvert, a proud introvert – and I feel the pain and the abiding inspiration. Let me tell you something about Mili – she remains the introvert even in the end, but a confident one.

How it finishes :: You can read my earlier preview and expectations about this movie here: (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/introvert-queen). But I have a request; it is that if you can’t relate to the feelings of someone who has a behaviour problem and with people having any trouble with being “normal”, don’t watch this movie. If you think that people who are different are idiots and don’t deserve anything, please stay with your higher level of people. If you think that getting high scores in exams and getting a big job with a high salary are the only things that matter in your life, please stick to the great people who have managed to do so. Mili is for people who have empathy, and it is not for those who take pride only in one’s own achievements by degrading others. Mili has a few lessons for the parents, not to scold the children for the problems that they couldn’t solve in Mathematics or for the ten marks that they lost in Physics – love your children and teach them to be good, not scoring machines.

A few more words :: The movie ends with the lines from William Wordsworth’s The Rainbow: “the child is father of the man”, and you ask yourself; how can that not be true? The other name of the poem is My Heart Leaps Up – hope that gives you a clue. Romanticism never seems to leave me. Mili has a lot for women, introverts and all the subaltern, with a mighty message to rise. The modern world asks for winners and in the world of competition as the weaker ones are avoided, a good person is the true winner. Society provides us with labels, but it doesn’t reflect the real us. During the movie, I often wondered if Mili is a manifestation of the kindred of my soul’s unexplored side. There are those moments which tunnel through your brain and heart to send shock-waves right through. You have the right not to agree with me, but my rating stands, because I completely follow my mind and heart on this one. I will leave you with one awesome song from the movie.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Amala Paul, Nivin Pauly, Shamna Kasim, Sanusha Santhosh, Sija Rose, Riya Saira, Praveena, Sai Kumar, Amol Parashar, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Idavela Babu, Anju Aravind, Ambika, Bindu Panicker, Devi Ajith, Baby Nandana, Master Neil Kaushik, Baby Ammu, Sangeetha Mohan, Soumya Sadanandan, Swapna Menon

mili

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.