Sara’s

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Anna Ben) needs to get many things right, and making a name in the film field is only one of them. She has her own set of beliefs, and is not ready to step away from them, no matter the cost happens to be. From her school days itself, she was afraid of having a child, and she maintains that aversion throughout her life. She is bothered by her father Vincent’s (Benny P Nayarambalam) constant requests to get a boyfriend, without which they will come up with a match themselves. It is then that she meets Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who had left his job in Bangalore and returned home, presently taking care of his sister’s children. When the two meet later, they are united by their lack of interest in having children, and decide to fall in love. They feel that there is a connection between them, and the two decide to wait for a few years before they marry – she hopes that she can study him well during that time, and also get her new movie going.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Their world consists of only the two of them, and they hope to keep it the same without any unwanted trouble. But when their parents come to know about the relationship, things don’t go that smoothly. They are forced to get married too soon, but the two decide to go with the flow without resisting the same. Sara continues to try and get her script accepted by a producer willing to let her direct the film. At the same time, Jeevan goes back to job again. Sara is disappointed by her inability to convince the producers, but things get only worse for her when she gets pregnant. All the relatives come to know about it, and their happiness is only matched by Sara’s disappointment. She hasn’t changed a bit as far as her ideology about children is concerned, even though Jeevan is now not sure. The equations have changed now, and what they had thought earlier might not work any longer.

The defence of Sara’s :: There can always be something about feel-good movies, and that something is carried over here too, with the feeling being too good. Jude Anthany Joseph’s mastery over the same is something on which everybody would agree. The emotional side is strong, and the light-hearted elements with the usual touch of humour works really well here. The reflections of the usual life and the disagreements between generations can also be seen in the flick. It is to be noted that the light-hearted feeling is maintained throughout the film, and it never slips away from the same during its two hours of seemingly perfect run-time, even though it deviates a little bit. As a female centered film, the protagonist does have more to tell you than what meets the eye. There is the requirement to understand that the purpose of marriage is not to have children as soon as you are married, and that parenthood is a responsibility for which everyone has to be prepared well. When people have children in less than an year after marriage, and when they choose to keep having more and more of kids almost every year, it is strange. There is always an intellectual purpose in life as far as humans are concerned, and it is being left behind by these people, both men and women. This film should be an awakening for them, as well as for those who marry early, without maturity coming to them. In India, as more the youth is more dependent on parents it takes them about twenty eight to thirty three years old to be really mature. It is surprising to see some people getting married at the age of twenty one and eighteen, and the recent cases on suicides in the name of domestic violence and dowry were all from those who married too early, especially without the women not being allowed to complete their studies or work freely.

The claws of flaw :: Sara’s could have been more with its ideas, and there was also a chance to add more of light-hearted comedy with those usual kind of situations. You are never really short of some feel-good ideas in our world, and chances for humour were many, but not many of them are taken. It often struggles to make comedy out of silly stuff. The movie should have actually released one day earlier during the weekend, and it would have had more viewers due to the weekend lock-down being imposed, and this flaw in release date will decrease its viewers by a considerable number. These are the kind of choices which make sure how many people watch the film from an OTT platform. Also expectations after Jude Anthany Joseph’s previous movies were very high, and this one has to match that, but this one is more about the ups and downs. This one is certainly not that much fun in comparison with the earlier films, and we also have a little bit more of an emotional side at work here. The final moments seem to have gone for the quick solution, instead of making things innovative. The film is also too materialistic in its viewpoint with main characters going for the selfish motive, the kind which won’t hesitate to cheat and murder if needed, and its heroine wouldn’t be ideal in a morality tale, but as she is shown as a person interested only in films, maybe she is more of a reflection of people in who are part of movies rather than common people. After all, it is difficult for the protagonist to understand that she is not an island, but it is to be noted that the people around her matches her in being judgmental.

Performers of the soul :: With his third venture which seems to resemble the earlier successful works from him, it is Jude Anthany Joseph who has our attention here, more than the main actors and actresses of this film, and it is with high expectations that we are watching this particular flick. The work of Anna Ben remains the same, natural, and perfectly suited for a role like this. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen had her realistic acting skills bringing some surprise to us. This time, we are having exactly what we expected from here, and one more natural performance brings us an lovable film. She is the one actress who makes the perfect new generation star who blends in so well with the roles given to her. Benny P Nayarambalam, Anna’s real-life father plays her father in the film too, and that is indeed a nice addition to the movie. Siddique is also there, and you know what to expect when the veteran actor is once again there, and doing his usual stuff – he has more or less become an integral part of the feel-good Malayalam movies of these times.

Further performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is here in a film which is not centered on him, but that comes as no surprise to him, as he was the hero in Annmaria Kalippilaanu, but was not the protagonist there too. He was very good in the earlier supporting roles, and with different roles like the villain in Kayamkulam Kochunni and the surprise entry in June, he is known for these kind of roles more than for being the sole hero in flicks like Alamara and a number of lesser known ones. Before this film, we had him everywhere with that song “Kaamini” in Anugraheethan Antony due to the producers of Chathur Mukham failing to bring it to OTT platforms at a time when films like Cold Case, Drishyam 2, Mohan Kumar Fans, Nizhal, The Priest, Aarkkariyam and Joji scored so high in Amazon Prime Video, Nayattu in Netflix and Kho Kho with Operation Java in ZEE 5. It is also good to see Mallika Sukumaran going through her usual kind of work, and we also see others who have much less to do in here, even though they all form a part.

How it finishes :: This is the third film of Jude Anthany Joseph after Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha, both of those movies being excellent feel-good entertainers, and the former had also won the Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value at the 45th Kerala State Film Awards, as well as making sure that Nazriya Nassim earned a Best Actress Award too. So, this one certainly came with high expectations, especially considering the fact that Anna Ben is a more complete actress in comparison to those who were part of his earlier ventures. The expectations do provide some good results here, as Sara’s is indeed a movie to watch without having too much of the emotional feeling while dealing with similar topics and its light-hearted take on the usual kind of stuff and with a desire for change in the attitudes of the society makes it an interesting watch during these days which still continue have a certain kind of COVID-19 lock-down restrictions going on here and there. Therefore, the audience of all age groups can give it a chance.

Release date: 5th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Anna Ben, Sunny Wayne, Dominic Arun, Siddique, Srindaa, Margret Antony, Siju Wilson, Dhanya Varma, Benny P Nayarambalam, Mallika Sukumaran, Prasanth Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Tharangam

What is the movie about? :: Padmanabhan Pillai a.k.a. Pappan (Tovino Thomas) used to be the Sub Inspector of Police working in the traffic department until getting suspended on an unfortunate night during a special operation not approved by the department, along with his good friend and subordinate officer Joy C (Balu Varghese). This incident which lead to the death of their senior officer Antony (Manoj K Jayan) has them wandering around the city in need of money, as they need to pay Ittimani (Alencier Ley Lopez) a sum of five lakhs. Their senior officer Sivadasa Menon (Vijayaraghavan) assures them that he will do all that he can to get them back in the uniform. It is him who come up with a special duty for them, which could bring them some money as part of an unofficial investigation. With things not being that great with his girlfriend Malini a.k.a Malu, Pappan decides to take the job, as some easy money with less risk is not that much of a bad idea.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This unofficial investigation is provided to them by Tharian Mathew (Shammi Thilakan), who offers them a lot of money to find what is going on with his wife, Omana Varghese (Neha Iyer) who owns a restaurant chain in the city and its surroundings. He suspects that she is having an affair, and wishes to divorce her after finding proof of her adultery. As the two friends go on their newly discovered adventure, they only find out that something is strange with the people that she meets, but there is no proof of her having an affair. But when they are watching her, someone else is watching them – Christopher Luke (Sijoy Varghese) is the man after them, and then there is their earlier enemy from the failed operation, Siju (Saiju Kurup) who comes in their way. There is so much going on with their lives that the whole thing seems to be messed up. Can they make the necessary changes to make things better?

The defence of Tharangam :: There is something different in the way this movie begins and ends, and even though the same is not something seen before, it has never been this fresh. It is a fine experiment as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned – with the hero and a lot of characters surrounding him, and add all the fun, you will find something like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu here, as our heroes as well as more than one teams of villains are looking for one thing that goes missing. The movie also has a strong side of fantasy to go with the real incidents, even though they are only related in a few occasions. There are messages about people being responsible for their own fate, as God provides them with a number of choices in their life, as one little act of kindness or cruelty, can change everything. There is a lot of dark humour present in this one too, as it nicely deviates from the usual foolish comedy which could have been served here with the subject on another day.

The claws of flaw :: Tharangam doesn’t go through the path which the common audience would expect – the trailer had given less idea about what it was going to be in totality, but even then, this seems to have deviated a lot, and will not leave the viewers with the usual and expected kind of experience for them to cherish. Maybe, they could have shortened the fantasy side, and maybe even limited the same to a few dialogues. The romance also disappears earlier than one would expect. There are opportunities of humour being lost, and there are moments when the audience can feel lost. The two cops could have handled the whole thing with lots of funny moments, but such an attempt is not made, as this one tries to bring one thing after the other, creating a mixture which not everyone can take home. The divergence is a fine thing, but the doubt about where to go with the same, is rather strange when we look deep. It is the story that needed to rise more when needed.

Performers of the soul :: It is nice to see Tovino Thomas coming up with different types of roles, as he could do with the two big movies Godha and Oru Mexican Aparatha, as well as that much respected movie on the internet, Guppy. But we know that his best is still to come, and that can even go bilingual. We see him go through the comic side rather easily. Balu Varghese supports him well, even though one wonders why there is no big memorable comedy sequences in this movie even there was more than one chance. The “Luketta” call from the two is just one of them. The one person whom we miss early is Manoj K Jayan, who has only a few minutes of presence there. Dileesh Pothan surprises us in his avatar and is very good with the same, even when the movie could have gone on without extending that sequence a little too much in the beginning.

Further performers of the soul :: Santhy Balachandran makes a much memorable debut here, and she has some very nice moments as well as dialogues in the movie – one can be sure that there are miles ahead for her in Malayalam movie industry. We keep feeling that she is capable of more if provided the bigger roles. One is going to find it hard to believe that this is her first movie. The other new face, Neha Iyer is also strong with her character into which she seems to have dived deep – there is more than face to this character, which she reflects with skill. Saiju Kurup has another character who catches our attention with ease, as he had in Pokkiri Simon, Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Alamara earlier. Sijoy Varghese is strong with the negative side of the character throughout his existence in this movie. Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan get rather shorter, but important roles in this movie.

How it finishes :: Tharangam is that kind of a movie which you can either love or hate, and there is also the option to stand in between – it is more of a movie of the audience, as each viewer can have a separate opinion regarding the same. The level of enjoyment regarding this movie is different, as you notice those simple things which affect your opinion. We know that crime comedy thrillers are not that easy to bring to the common audience, and this one has surely tried hard to do the same, even with those flaws. Dhanush has also made his Malayalam debut as a producer with Tharangam. It has been on the list of much awaited movies for quite some time, and one song with Tovino Thomas and Santhy Balachandran had brought further need to watch this movie as soon as possible. Now, we have this one for Pooja holidays, and if you like movies like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu, there is a good chance that you will like this one too, and the overall quality of Tharangam feels more – be ready for some experimentation on screen. I will leave you with the wonderful song from the movie.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Balu Varghese, Santhy Balachandran, Neha Iyer, Dileesh Pothan, Sijoy Varghese, Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan, Manoj K Jayan, Shammi Thilakan, Saiju Kurup, Sanju Shivram, Unni Mukundan (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mrithyumjayam

Vampire Owl: I am sure that they are talking about us.

Vampire Bat: Why would you think that when going through a non-vampire movie?

Vampire Owl: Because it seems to be about someone who defeated death.

Vampire Bat: We haven’t defeated death; at least not yet.

Vampire Owl: Dude, we have come back from the dead. Anyone would coming back from the grave as a miracle and a victory.

Vampire Bat: It might be a case of victory for us, the same is not the defeat of death.

Vampire Owl: Why wouldn’t death be defeated by our victory?

Vampire Bat: We haven’t left the world of the dead. We are still connected to it. We never came back to the living, and we are just undead.

Vampire Owl: Does that really make a difference?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it surely makes a lot of difference. Death is only a passage, and we went through one of it to another stage – it is different from coming back.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: The idea of becoming a respected gangster is to kill the most feared gangster of all-time. But the question remains about what would happen if that man of terror is considered rather immortal? The doctors had told him that he would die in a few months, and he has gone one to live for so many years, and that too at the top of the food chain, doing his business with ease. He was stabbed multiple times, and has so many scars on his body. He was also shot so many times, and people say that he even took bullets on his head and still managed to be what he is now. There is also a tale which goes about twenty years back, about him being surrounded by fifty people armed with weapons, and he murdered them all without even a stick in his hands. He is also known to possess special weapons which are so sharp and poisoned that he can deliver the fatal blow in a second or two.

So, what happens next? :: The movie tells the story of a young man named Appu (Jitin Puthanchery) who has always wanted to be a gangster. He was born into a mafia family, and had grown up listening to their big tales of crime. These tales were talked about a lot of the common people who feared them, and there were even books and movies in their name. All these has made the young man want to be more and more like them. For the same, he takes on the mission, and it is to murder the man, Mrithyumjayam (Selvaraj Raghavan) known more to everyone as the the gangster who can’t die. It is his uncle (Sudhish Gopinath) himself who gives him with this objective even though he and his people have the doubt if he is really ready. But he decides to take it on – but the question remains if he can kill the man who can’t die? Can he accomplish what so many people and diseases couldn’t, and thus rise above the legend of the immortal gangster?

Soul exploration 1: Desire to follow the wrong path to fame :: Well, what people want is more about fame and money, and for the same, young people tend to take the wrong path, as they just seem easier – there is no need to study, and there is absolutely no need to follow the rules. This quick need for money and fame are driving forces behind them taking the terrible path. Once they take this path, there is no changing, and there is no coming back. We can see the protagonist in this short-film too, taking the same road, inspired by his own people and also by movies. Well, considering the state of our own movie industry, there seems to be too much criminal activities there too. It is a sad thing, as common people tend to lose their interest in movies too – you can see that the theatres are not that full as they used to be, and there are shows getting cancelled, or movies getting completely removed from a theatre. In the end, the wrong path can never be justified, and it all comes together to haunt you.

Soul exploration 2: A new generation lost in desire for more :: The new generation seems to find these things rather cool – there is the glorification of violence in the movies like Django Unchained, Kill Bill and many others which seems to show the same as the only solution to problems. This has made the youth choose the same to get what they want to have. The inherent evil in man just makes things easier – it is only that special push that most of them need to go against law, and you will feel such things happening with ease when you read the newspapers these days. The need for becoming the gangster which the protagonist in this movie has, does seem rather foolish and due to dumb reasons; he doesn’t even seem to be ready, but we see that he is ready to kill when there is the need. The most terrible acts of violence seems to be ready to come out when there is a chance – the question remains if it is how our new generation is turning into!

How it finishes :: Mrithyumjayam is taken in such a stylish way that you will have the feeling of this being more global in character – the black and white on the screen works nicely for the movie, and throughout the movie, it provides that kind of a feeling which keeps us immersed right inside. The only colour used otherwise is red, and that is nice to see – the only exceptions are the colours shown on a television screen and on the protagonist’s shades. The first thing that the movie reminds us of, is Sin City. It is actually nice to see that our own people are capable of making short-films like this – it is actually worthy enough to make a full length movie, with this particular gangster’s legend going on, leading the rise of a new one, and showing how things change, but the core remains the same while history repeats itself without any kind of remorse as it sheds so much of blood.

[Walks into the balcony with another cup of tea].

Vampire Owl: Throughout my life, I have never wanted to be a gangster.

Vampire Bat: It is a good thing because Werewolf Anger would have killed you otherwise. He hates gangsters.

Vampire Owl: Do they make him angry too? Like vampires, zombies, wood elves, dark elves, high elves, satyrs, orcs, goblins, halflings, witches and centaurs do?

Vampire Bat: He is always angry. He just hates the gangsters.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he hate them so much that no gangster will ever see the light of the day in his territory?

Vampire Bat: Yes, something like that, but only until the Lich Queen re-animates their remains. She raises the undead from such people.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that the gangsters never really die either?

Vampire Bat: As long as the Lich Queen gets her hands on them.

Vampire Owl: So, there is really the defeat of death.

Vampire Bat: As I said earlier, this is not the defeat of death either, but the opening of another passage while traveling to the other world.

[Walks into the silence of darkness].

Release date: 30th January 2016
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Rafeeq Aman, Dominic Arun, Ananthu Balachander, Sudhish Gopinath, Anil Narayanan, Jitin Puthanchery, Selvaraj Raghavan, Shabin, Nandhan Unni, Balu Varghese

Watch the movie Mrithyumjayam here:

PS: Check out the reviews of the latest movies in the theatres, Kadam Katha, Sunday Holiday and Basheerinte Premalekhanam.

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.