Invisible Actor

Vampire Owl: An invisible actor? Did the actor become invisible after a case was registered against him?

Vampire Bat: I am sure that it is not what they meant. There could be many meanings for the same.

Vampire Owl: Then, has the invisibility elixir been stolen from Doctor Frankenstein? This calls for code bloody red alert on level twenty eight!

Vampire Bat: When did he invent that? It is not even on the research list.

Vampire Owl: Well, I am sure that he would have invented that. He is just not telling us. People invent such things all the time in those science fiction books.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that Mr. Frankenstein has any role to play in this short-film.

Vampire Owl: I am writing an article on the evil side of invisibility anyway.

Vampire Bat: Some people are just invisible even without the elixir.

Vampire Owl: Just like people being alive and immortal without the Elixir of Life.

Vampire Bat: It is another myth. What we have here is real.

[Gets some banana chips and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: The crew of a movie has gathered in an old style Kerala house to shoot for the biopic of a renowned Kathakali artist known as Govindan Master (Kalasala Babu). This particular person, whose name is only taken with so much respect, had such an undying love for the art form that he used to bunk his classes to see and learn it at the academy from a distance. It is said that his father, upon realizing his passion, and his lack of interest in regular studies, let him study Kathakali from an early age, and the art form had become his life, until his last breath. This Kathakali Master had given up his whole life for the same, not asking for anything in return. His performances had inspired many to follow his path, and had elevated Kerala’s own colourful contribution to the story play genre of art to another level. His Kathakali performances had made him a legend, with no parallels.

So, what happens next with this tale of making a biopic? :: It turns out that the superstar (Saiju Kurup) who is supposed to play the character is nowhere to be seen. The whole crew has been waiting for him for quite a long time, but there is no sign of him, and he doesn’t even attend the phone – everyone else is there, and they are worried when they will be able to begin the whole thing, and sends people searching for him at the hotel where he is staying and in the surrounding areas of the town. The breakfast time is over, the lunch is done, and finally the superstar arrives with that dialogue about him being a really punctual person. He listens to the story without much interest, while clicking on his mobile phone’s screen. He looks at the photo of the Kathakali artist as if it doesn’t matter – but little does he know that the character he is playing, is watching him.

Soul exploration 1: Of actors and superstars :: One can divide the movie world into two – one which has the actors, and the other which has the superstars. In our world, both often come together, but we often see some actors who deserve better than the superstars, but it is the superstar movie which go on to become the big hit each and every time. There are those one hundred crore movies in Bollywood, which have almost nothing in them other than its superstars – take a look at those top ten movies, and almost all of them have depended on their superstar rather than the actor. I would think otherwise – if Nawazuddin Siddiqui acts in a movie, I would watch that movie for sure, maybe even twice; whether it is Raman Raghav 2.0 or Te3n from last year. I have never really been interested in these superstars – the day they become more superstars and less actor, is the day they sacrifice their best part.

Soul exploration 2: Within and outside a character :: It is a usual thing to change the character to match that of the superstar – there are so many movies which make us feel the same, and naming a few of them would only bring the fan chaos on us. The superstars will say that they practiced cricket to play a cricketer, lived with gangsters to play a mafia don, slept at a cemetery for a horror movie, had classes at a music academy to play a musician and so on, but we know how fake that could be, just like they come on television and tell everyone that this is his or her best performance ever. But to become a character, the so called superstar needs to know the mind, thinking in the way the character think, and acting the way he would. Otherwise, it is the character that would become the superstar and not the other way around. Will some of our superheroes who need to know this realize the same one day?

Soul exploration 3: An eternity within a performance :: There should always be more in a flick with a performance than just being part of a big hundred crore movie. We have the need to see each character on the screen as a different person – it is the same which has been missing in some of those movies which degrade themselves into what is often termed as mass masala. There is the need to rise above the same, as what is often known to cater to this particular genre is nothing other than pure absurdity. It is the terrible and unfair strength of these mindless mass movies which have been devouring the actor and bringing the superstar out on too many occasions. Then there are those fan clubs which are only interested in turning the cinema halls which is for entertainment and thoughts, into something resembling nuisance. It has to be countered with not a mass performance, but with the beauty of an rternity within a work.

How it finishes :: The movie has two actors who have been rather underused by the industry if you look at their movies. Kalasala Babu amazes us in his presence for the short period of time, while we have Saiju Kurup who had some nice and funny roles in Adventures of Omanakuttan and Alamara doing a wonderful job as the superstar. They make the final few moments of this short-film rise to a higher level, and we have something which is worth more than a usual short movie. I have watched a good number of short-films in the last few days, with choosing to review only less than half of them which seem to be worthy, and among them, this one should have a top place. Invisible Actor wishes for the actor to become invisible and the character to take over when the shooting begins – it should be how we should differentiate actors from superstars; movies need actors, and they could let everyone keep the superstar side out, letting the acting flow, no matter how popular the actor is.

 

Release date: 6th July 2017
Running time: 15 minutes
Directed by: Avinash Chandran
Starring: Saiju Kurup, Kalasala Babu, Jayasankar, Akhil Lekshman, Arun, Naresh

Watch Invisible Actor here:

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla

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Vampire Owl :: This sounds like Lal Bhahadur Shatri’s continuation. I am not coming.

Vampire Bat :: There is just Jayasurya playing a very good guy, otherwise this should be different. Anyway, you didn’t watch even that movie yet. There is also a shot of Jayasurya and Bhama having tea together. Remember the word “tea”.

Vampire Owl :: So what? I don’t need to watch feel-good. I can sense them. They are all going to be the same.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you are prejudiced?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, and it has saved me from watching bad movies. But I see that it is not working for you, and the same is spreading for you and affecting me.

Vampire Bat :: Then what are you going to do now as you are free?

Vampire Owl :: I am going to visit the Thommankuthu Waterfalls and think about more ideas on owlifying the world. The tea there is good; it helps one to think.

Vampire Bat :: What about your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: They have been called for some work at the Dracula Castle. We can’t deny the services when Uncle Dracula asks, can we?

Vampire Bat :: He gets all the movies at the castle. He is one lucky guy, isn’t he?

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: The story is that of an auto-driver in Thrissur called Mathai (Jayasurya) who is too good a man at heart and wants to solve all the problems in the world in whichever way possible. He spends his time trying his best and often gets into trouble for the same, never really giving him a positive effect, but he keeps trying again and again as if his life depends on him; he hopes that one day, everything will be awesome. His fiancee Anna (Bhama) is an assistant to a leading advocate in Kottayam, and as he comes to bring her back to Thrissur on a harthal day, it seems that he has lots of time in hand and wanders around in the area. At the same time, Nandakumar (Mukesh) is a heart surgeon who lives with his wife and child and is always having problems in his life due to his mother-in-law creating troubles. When Mathai comes to visit the doctor whom he had once helped when in trouble, the wife and child were no longer with him due to an issue concerning a wedding anniversary, and he decides that he should solve this problem for the doctor. But is a simple man like Mathai good enough to solve the rich woman’s ego?

The defence of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla :: The movie is both a preacher and a family counselor as it keeps trying to bring up all the problems in the family life and solve it from the beginning to the end. This is kind of a pre-marital course, and one has to say that it will be very of nice of the church to cancel the pre-marital course and use this movie instead, or it can directly give approval to anyone who has watched this movie – may be they can show the movie tickets to get approval. Yes, it is that kind of a movie, and not like Lal Bahadur Shastri as one might have expected. There is the good attempt to make things work and make it connected to the family audience. It starts off well, with our protagonist involving in the problems of one of his acquaintances and try to solve things only to make it worse. It is actually more funny in the first half. The cast has managed things well, and there is some humour lurking around all the time. Note that there is no romance in this one despite having the pair of Ivar VivahitharayalJanapriyan and Oru Black and White Kudumbam.

Claws of flaw :: The preachy nature of the movie often works against it, as people can get irritated at times, especially when the emotions fail to work and the humour almost disappears. Then it gets weaker, and makes so much of a lesser impact, and ends the movie in a predictable manner, with not much to cheer about – it is kind of a forced end, as if the classes are dispersed after all those lessons taught, and now it is time to go home and try the same. There is nothing that we haven’t seen before; remember the Mohanlal-Meera Jasmine starrer Innathe Chinthavishayam in which the hero and heroine attempted to save the marriages of three women? Yes, it is the same thing here, as our hero and heroine tries to unite a doctor and his wife. But this is not that good as the Mohanlal starrer, and is also restricted to two houses in action. Yes, there is the Aristotlean Unities at work here, of time, place (somewhat) and action. If you liked Innathe Chinthavishayam, there is a chance that you will like this one, otherwise, it is questionable – with no innovation and no good script.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is the character we are talking about in the title, and he once again shines as the simple character full of goodness – check Lal Bahadur Shastri and Apothecary models, and he once again uses the Thrissur slang like in Punyalan Agarbathis and it works like a dream for him. Mathai is another character in the comfort zone for him, and it is him who handles things here in the movie with the best quality. The feeling of the common man or the guy next door might be something that comes naturally to him. Bhama doesn’t lag behind in that, and even as she comes into the picture in a big way only in the second half, she joins the preaching and does fine. She also seems comfortable in this simple role. Mukesh is fine and has no challenge here at any moment; this is something that a versatile actor like him could do with ease. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is fine with her predictable character. Sreejith Ravi was very good in another avatar here, and he handles a lot of humour in this one and never falters – his character could have had a better handling though.

Soul exploration :: Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla has its own value in the contemporary society. People can question the product, but not the intentions, and scope for giving a good lesson, and this is where Akku Akbar gets the applause. The Dolphins did do the same, but it came too late to make that movie better. But our movie here shows how the world is changing in favour of ego and selfishness in a relationship, which in turns destroys it as the unconditional love itself is taken out and the whole thing remains as nothing more than a contract for mutual satisfaction. The movie has a husband who is a very busy surgeon having no time for family and a wife who want her husband to prefer her lavish parties over saving a human life. The advice that the wife gets from her mother contributes in the worst possible manner. There is also the idea of having a high status in a society and developing hatred for the common man. In the name of status and money, people tend to become less human, not just towards the outsiders, but also to one’s own people. Well, what is this “maintaining status” than showing off?

How it finishes :: Akku Akbar has to be appreciated for taking this topic which never losses the charm and the value in a society which keeps going further down with its family values in an age of ego leading to divorce. It is something which should be saved from the attack of the new generation movies which often ends up working in the exact opposite manner. But one can only wish that this was told in a better way rather than being too preachy. Our audience don’t accept such things, because it is like being told what to do. There is too much of it. If it was told in another way, things would have worked so much better, there is no doubt about it. Coming from a director who has been doing movies with family themes so well, let’s hope that he will come up with something a lot better next time. Until then, Angels seems to be the winner, even as there will be the question about how much it can score at the box-office seeing the status at the theatres. Penguins of Madagascar will take some family audience away from this one too, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Akku Akbar
Starring: Jayasurya, Bhama, Mukesh, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Sreejith Ravi, Thesni Khan, Sasi Kallinga, Jayaraj Warrier

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angry Babies

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Vampire Bat :: Did you just say Angry Birds at the ticket counter?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but he heard Angry Babies.

Vampire Bat :: How can you be so sure?

Vampire Owl :: Because he gave me tickets. Angry Babies sounds dumb. I am not going to say that with Angry Birds in my mobile.

Vampire Bat :: But what if there are real babies in it and justifies the title?

Vampire Owl :: I have watched the trailer. It didn’t seem like the protagonists were ever going to have a baby.

Vampire Bat :: It should have been Angry Babes then, unless they act like babies.

Vampire Owl :: I am afraid this will remind me of What Happens in Vegas.

Vampire Bat :: I think it will be like Just Married.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The rich and the poor love story begins in the highranges of Kerala as Sarah Thomas (Bhavana), daughter of a wealthy businessman and Jeevan Paul (Anoop Menon), a still photographer decides to run away on the day of the lady’s betrothal. They arrives in Mumbai and starts a Coffee Shop with name Sarah Jeevan by selling the ornaments she was wearing for her engagement function. As Sarah is more into the shop and Jeevan rarely goes there and attempting to get a job as a photographer, they slowly moves away from each other; his photographing beautiful models acting as a powerful catalyst for the same. They slowly begins to detest the presence of each other, and files a divorce only to be asked to wait for six months which seems longer to them than ever. After failing in an attempt to push the other person out of their flat, they decide to share the place until the legal separation, and their problems are mediated by Madhavan (P. Balachandran). Sarah attempts to take over things by appointing a servant Selvi (Anusree) and being close to Alex (Joju) much to Jeevan’s dismay. But as their friends who helped them elope comes to Mumbai, they decide to act like all is well so that they are not hurt.

The defence of Angry Babies :: The one thing which was guaranteed from the beginning and delivered with ease was the fun. The movie has clean entertainment and comedy, unlike the new generation comedy which laughs at things or use multiple double meaning words in an attempt to evoke laughter. This is where the has been quite an attention, and even if there is some loss of fun, such tidy status is to be managed if families are to watch this one, and the flick manages some security there. This is lots of fun right from the beginning to the end, but as it moved towards the climax, it doesn’t fail to give some message about adjustments in marriage, and the weaknesses that the love marriages will show sooner or later as long as there is no support from the families of the bride and groom. The blessings of one’s parents is always a major factor in marriage. There is difference between love and marriage and it is easier to talk stupid things about love and wander around together doing nothing, but wedding takes it to another level, and this one deals with the problems in Ivar Vivahitharayal in a funny and sometimes stupid manner – the same director handles this one too. There are lots of funny situations, and the beauty of Mumbai is nicely captured too.

The claws of flaw :: Angry Babies doesn’t have that much of an innovation, and the story is mostly predictable except for the smaller details. The story has is own dose of exaggeration, but nothing that thrives on inflammation to the wrong emotions like Bangalore Days had been trying; why do you need to over-think Angry Birds though, for it serves it purpose and do what it is supposed to do, with no unnecessary additions to make it something it is not. The ending is also a bit forced with the love returning to the life like a boomerang quickly remembering that it was actually supposed to come back – well, this was supposed to maintain that comic factor throughout the movie and the ending is no different as it ends up in another funny moment. This is not for the people who are not looking forward to such a movie, and if someone feels the need to inject anything other than just fun into this movie, it is their problem and needs to stop watching movies in the theatre. There is no denying that it could have created a few more funny moments, and the flashback story of love needn’t even exist – it never bores with such stuff, and then why not the creation of a little more funny moments like What Happens in Vegas and Just Married could come up with?

Performances of the soul :: Most of the screen time is reserved for Anoop Menon and Bhavana, and there is almost no moment which doesn’t include one of them and most of the time, they spend together. Anoop Menon shows his skill for comedy like never before, especially in the first half and in the end works well with the emotional stuff. Bhavana is a beauty; not just with the looks, but with her handling of both comic and emotional scenes. She plays a character which reminds one of Mamtha Mohandas in My Boss, and yet keeps so many good elements with her unlike that “boss”, and this middle path that she has taken for her character is rather a smart idea by the director not making her the more egotic person, and gives enough to Anoop’s character too. None of these characters preach though, and keeps things simple, fighting and getting over with it. Anusree’s character is a little overdose at times, but manages to funny throughout the movie, and she is one actress who can thrive in simplicity. The Vodafone Comedy Stars fame Noby was the funniest one in the second half, and it makes one extremely happy to see him coming up with so much to make us laugh, and Joju comes next in the comic contribution. Noby needs a lot more chances, for he has earned it. Meanwhile, Nishanth Sagar makes a nice come back looking so much younger, and Parvathy Nair looks beautiful in her short stay. Kalabhavan Shaju also contributes to the fun.

Soul exploration :: One thing is very clear about this movie, and it is the lack of pretending to be something. Unlike our most recent pretender to the throne of awesomeness called Bangalore Days, this movie knows where it stands and where the strengths lie. This one also doesn’t depend on a hufe starcast to hide its weaknesses, but it uses very good use of the resources available. The disadvantages of a multi-starrer cast has always been its special ability to hide its weaknesses; just like what was evident from the early opinions about Bangalore Days. The people would be staring at their favourite stars and it will be impossible for them to tell the truth that the movie had problems, and will say that the movie is awesome just because they are typical fanboys and fangirls. The real movies shouldn’t have too many superstars because it spoils its essence even as there will be a good amount of box-office collections, and there will no real review about it as nobody wishes to go against the fans because people only need to read what they want to read, and this case, they are intoxicated just because their favourite actor or actress looks great on the screen. When those involved with the movie other than the cast are also popular, the movie needs zero substance. This movie moves away from such lies, and that is a point for the soul.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director who has handles the funny side nicely, like in Ivar Vivahitharayal, Happy Husbands and Husbands in Goa, this was expected to be interesting stuff which is certain to make the audience laugh as long as it kept close to the genre. This is his sixth movie and the first one without Jayasurya being a part of the cast. This would be his first movie with Anoop Menon and the second with Bhavana as a part of it. In a weekend when movies like Koothara released, it was good to have this movie from Saji Surendran, with a movie that doesn’t think that the audience are stupid and the flick is too intellectual. As I was not a part of the Mermaid Welfare Association of India, I wasn’t happy at all with Koothara, but that is one story I am not going to talk about now. For now, what we need to remember is that Angry Babies is the movie which promises and delivers what it is supposed to come up with, as anything else would have been an unnecessary overdose which the superstar movies come up with, and not a movie which has an identity of its own rather than wearing a fake visage intended only for making money. Now, for the question about the title of the movie, the protagonists are indeed like babies in both love and hatred 😀

Release date: 14th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Saji Surendran
Starring: Bhavana Menon, Anoop Menon, Noby Tharian, Joju George, Parvathy Nair, P. Balachandran, Kalabhavan Shaju, Nishanth Sagar, Anusree Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.