Masterpiece

What is the movie about? :: An arrogant Roshan Cherian (John Kaipallil) and an adamant Mahesh Raj (Maqbool Salmaan) leads two rival gangs at the Travancore Maharaja College in the centre of the city. These two gangs, Royal Warriors and Real Fighters fight for domination, with hockey sticks, cricket bats, cycle chains, table legs or whatever they can find, sometimes in the remote corners of the huge college campus, and at other right times, right in front of the students and faculty, much to the dismay of the Roshan’s father, Vice Principal Cherian Philip (Mukesha) and Principal Narayana Kaimal (Sunil Sukhada). There is no shortage of chaos already, but the love story of a Real Fighters member Unnikrishnan (Gokul Suresh) with a girl named Vedhika (Mahima Nambiar) from the nearby college makes things even worse. They soon find the dead body of Vedhika in the college premises, and first suspect for the crime is Unnikrishnan who is arrested.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Soon, Unnikrishnan is found hanging inside his cell in the police station, and things get worse. A.C.P. John Thekkan I.P.S. (Unni Mukundan) who was leading the investigation lands up in the hospital after college students attack the police, and S.I. Ramakrishnan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is suspended after being held responsible for the death of the student. There are wide protests in the city by student organisations which take over the whole thing, and as Vedhika comes from a reputed and rich family, and is the daughter of an influential politician, pressure mounts on the officials, and a new team lead by A.C.P Bhavani Durga I.P.S. is brought to action. With John Thekkan expected to return and join the team soon, the group decides to take quick and firm action against the possible culprits before new orders come from the top again.

And what comes next with this murder mystery? :: After questioning the peon of the college, Sankarankutty (Santhosh Pandit), canteen in charge Maniyan (Saju Navodaya) and helper Reji (Bijukuttan), the police comes to know that Roshan had alcohol mixed in Unnikrishnan’s drink making sure that he wouldn’t get to meet Vedhika who was waiting for them at the beach, where she was last spotted. Roshan becomes the suspect, and the police tries to enter the campus to arrest him, only to be stopped by protesting students, with the exception of Real Fighters who welcome the move to arrest the leader of Royal Warriors. As police and students fight inside the campus, the new English professor arrives to take charge – Edward Livingstone (Mammootty) who has a record of police cases for himself. He decides to change the whole setup in the college, and re-unite its students, as police looks for the murderer.

The defence of Masterpiece :: It is after Mammootty arrives that this movie gets better, as the latter part of the movie is surely better. There will also be a lot for the fans, and that is for sure – as I skipped the early fan shows and watched the movie with normal hardworking people, there was no focus on those mass scenes in the theatre. The suspense is maintained till the end, and the revelation awaits at the final moments. Just like Aadu 2, this one is for more the fans, and the other categories of viewers will find only limited impact. The festival mood of this holiday season is also maintained in this movie. This leaves no surprise about how well the movie began at the theatres, as the first of the many flicks of Christmas including Mayaanadhi, Vimaanam, Aadu 2 and Aana Alaralodalaral. Well, it is always good to go back to the campus isn’t it? And nothing better than a murder mystery in a college campus to provide a grand entry for the hero who is all prepared to go invincible and immortal in a world of cheap mortal humans.

The claws of flaw :: You will find Masterpiece to be too similar to Mohanlal starrer Velipadinte Pusthakam, but the mass elements are rather too much in this one. A college professor with a complicated past coming into a college where students battle each other as part of two separate gangs with a murder behind – just the same idea that you had seen on the big screen earlier. The shots of hero throwing the goons to the Mahindra Scorpios parked there, destroying the vehicles too easily will have the makers of the vehicles wonder what would happen if a Scooty is to hit them in the middle – will the SUV be split into two then? Then there is a modified vehicle which goes through walls – are they promoting this vehicle against Mahindra? Is that a foreign-made SUV that is declared to be better than Mahindra SUVs? The hero also throws a heavily built villain around with one hand a little too many times, and the movie could have done without these scenes. In this too long a movie, the jokes are less effective and there is confusion about where it is going. Slow motion is used badly as expected.

The performers of the soul :: It takes just above an hour for Mammootty to come in, and it might be because of the presence of too many characters that it takes so long. It is after he arrives that things begin to get interesting, as he immediately makes the impact as the college professor. The two female characters who are there till the end, Poonam Bajwa and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar got not much to contribute, playing stereotypes. Mahima Nambiar gets better but the character goes dead. Unni Mukundan has to go a little too much towards the stylish side, but has our attention. Kalabhavan Shajohn is someone who never struggles in this one, as a cop suits him so well just like in Oppam and Drishyam. Gokul Suresh did believable work here. John Kaipallil and Maqbool Salmaan were good playing what Arun Kurian and Sarath Kumar played in Velipadinte Pusthakam. Saju Navodaya brings some comedy here and here with Bijukuttan, but not that much as we would expect. Captain Raju brings some laughs, even though we see more going over the head.

How it finishes :: The movie is something which seems to be exactly opposite what the title says. Masterpiece is exactly what this movie isn’t, but if we separate the word into two, and say “Master in pieces”, that would be more appropriate. But as Velipadinte Pusthakam itself was, this is not really a terrible movie. There is something here and there for the fans, and we know that the core idea had more potential. The hero worship in this movie is exactly what brings this movie down – it is always the superstar’s fans and their needs that brings a wonderful actor down, as it is proven on so many occasions. We need to forget a few moments defying gravitational force along with slow motion, and some unnecessary dialogues about respecting women without meaning the same when there is no need, and we have one twist awaiting us in the end, and a villain whom we least expected. As a thriller, the idea at the base is surely good, but we have to often wonder at the final product.

Release date: 21st December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Ajai Vasudev
Starring: Mammootty, Unni Mukundan, Poonam Bajwa, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Mahima Nambiar, Megha Mathew, Lena, John Kaipallil, Mukesh, Gokul Suresh, Maqbool Salmaan, David John, Santhosh Pandit, Kailash, Nandu, Divya Pillai, Sunil Sukhada, Arjun Nandhakumar, Saju Navodaya, Thesni Khan, Divyadarshan, Ameer Niyaz, Bijukuttan, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Udaykrishna, Renji Panicker, Manikkuttan, Anjali Nair, Captain Raju

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oozham

oozhamm

What is it about? :: Surya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an engineer working in the United States. His family includes his father, the health inspector Krishnamurthy (Balachandra Menon), his mother Subhalakshmi (Seetha) and his sister Aiswarya (Rasna Pavithran). He also has an adopted brother Aju (Neeraj Madhav) who has returned home after resigning from a big job in Microsoft. All seems to go well until one incident changes their lives forever. The world knows it as a mysterious illness killing three members of a family – the father, mother and daughter, but Surya and Aju know that it is not so. Bound by the need for revenge, they team up with Gayathri (Divya Pillai) who has also lost her sibling to an incident on the same day. Soon, they realise that both these incidents are connected.

So what happens next? :: As doubts are raised about who would want to kill the members of this family, all fingers finally point to Wilfred Marcus (Jayaprakash) and his sons Andrew Wilfred Marcus (Tony Luke) and Edwin Wilfred Marcus (Anson Paul). As they set on a path of war against the multi-national company run by these three, there is sure to be a tough job ahead – Surya uses his skills as an expert in creating controlled explosions as part of his job in the United States, while Aju and Gayathri supports the cause. So, this huge firm which supplies medicines after spreading diseases, will have no regret in wiping families out – will they stand these three people going on a war against them? How can a multi-billionaire empire be brought down to its knees by people with no influence? It is to be seen.

The defence of Oozham :: The better side of the movie might be the drama, but that also seems to be on the lines of many other movies; a perfect family with things going worse all of a sudden. With the presence of one cute little sister and a rather modern younger brother goes in lines of Jacobinte Swargarajyam. The idea is good, there is no doubt about it, but had to be presented in a better way, as an original work with more thrills. The cast is all good, and the effectiveness depends on them. The visuals are also nicely done. There is also the message which rather goes lost. The hero-heroine romance never really gets going – that is a relief, as the movie would have drifted further otherwise. This one surely has some interesting moments, and it is for the same that we can go for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The biggest problem of this movie is that things come too easy. The protagonists all of a sudden seems like people who have been doing the same thing for centuries, may be from the time when the first civilisation was born on the banks of a river – only the immortals could do things this easily against what is claimed to be such a giant organisation. Even the idea itself goes back to the time when the first man was born. Oozham remains outdated in its idea, and even in the way of presentation, it just adds a non-linear narrative which is rather too strange, just like that unnecessary magic realism in Life of Josutty. There are no twists around here, and things finish too comfortably as we wait for the big climax to take our breath away – that is never really there. From the realistic, flawed heroes of Memories, Drishyam and Life of Josutty, we are back to those perfect heroes, sadly.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj, as expected remains the central figure, and the biggest selling point of this movie throughout its run. The character, no matter how less developed it is, remains safe in his hands. It is his screen presence that gives something to this protagonist, even when the trouble gets worse with the weak script full of all the cliches you have seen in the movies in so many languages. Neeraj Madhav is provided with another half-baked character who seems to be there in the name of secularism rather than anything else, and he gives some flavour to the one dimensional character that hacks anything because he can – couldn’t this character have a better identity of his own? One has to wonder. These two actors could have brought a huge blockbuster with fine reviews if the script was better.

Further performers of the soul :: Coming right out of Ayal Njanalla, Divya Pillai’s character goes on a struggle here; she has kept it going in a straight line, but there is nothing much for her, and she doesn’t come up with anything out of the box. Rasna Pavithran seems to do a simpler version of the cute act which Aima Rosmy Sebastian did in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and that certainly works. The idea of some cute sister moments has been a family favourite these days, and this movie attempts to use that to its advantage. Actually, one has to say that each member of the cast gets drawn into the set of cliches here, and that has limited the performances to an extent. Pasupathy is strong here, but is rather underused as a character that could have been presented better. Jayaprakash remains a nice villain throughout, but is let down by how the character is not strengthened by the necessary dose of corporate evil. Balachandra Menon and Seetha plays a fine couple with ease.

How it finishes :: There are better things which this movie could have done with its idea which has always been there in movies of other languages. Yes, it is more of a revenge drama than the thriller, but even in that genre, this movie has its limitations. When things come too easily, there is less scope for drama; there was the need to make one feel for the protagonist, but there is nothing there. Still, this movie doesn’t go uninteresting; we can watch it just because we have time – it doesn’t go terrible; Oozham has enough in it to make an average watch as long as you are in a good mood. The worst movie of Jeethu Joseph so far is here, but that is just a statement about his skill as a director, and not a judgment about this movie which can be watched without much expectations and some extra time to spare. This is where you find the cliche collection again; so just don’t look for anything new, even in the dialogues.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Divya Pillai, Rasna Pavithran, Neeraj Madhav, Balachandra Menon, Kishor Satya, Irshad, Jayaprakash, Pasupathy, Seetha, Tony Luke, Anson Paul

oozham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.