Jai Bhim

What is Jai Bhim about? :: The movie begins with a group of people who are supposed to be from some lower castes or tribes having some police cases forced on them without any particular reason other than their community of birth. In the end, almost all the cases fall on them, as police closes the pending cases by putting them on these people. Raja Kannu (K Manikandan) catches snakes and rats in the village, and lives in a tribal area of a remote village with her wife Senggeni (Lijomol Jose). The tribe is known for their useful job, which helps the rich people of the area who boasts of their higher caste status, and won’t care about these people. But Raja Kannu is also arrested by police in the name of a robbery which happened in the house of the village head, as there is a lot of force on the cops due to the same. The police says that her husband had escaped with three other tribals on a fateful night. They are helped by as Maithra (Rajisha Vijayan) who has been working as a teacher among the tribals, and was trying to provide them with enough education and some identity to go with it.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: Advocate Chandru (Suriya) leads cases for the downtrodden people, and has managed to help many people before. But in this particular case, police has already prepared everything, and with enough proof being ariticially created, this eems to be very difficult for Chandru. SP Ashok Varadhan (Sibi Thomas) wants the case to be solved at any cost, and the local police officers go further to manipulate everything from the first point. Chandru visits the whole area with Maithra, and tries to find some clues. But will he be enough for this particular case, as many more false witnesses are being added, and it becomes a thing of prestige for the government? Can truth go above the false witnesses in an age of hopelessness and lies? The question still remains if the three are even alive and Chandru wants IG Perumalsamy (Prakash Raj) to investigate the office, and Advocate Ram Mohan (Rao Ramesh), the most prominent and respected lawyer will stand against Chandru for the government and the police.

The defence of Jai Bhim :: It is up to Suriya and Lijomol Jose to keep the film strong at the top, and there is no point where you feel that they are not fully immersed in these characters which they portray. Seeing the latter in such a role was a surprise, and one would wish her back in many more Malayalam movies. The film is a valiant take on ferocious discrimination and injustice which has been forced on people just for their birth in a particular community. In doing that, the film remains strong at all times. In staying with the subaltern against the strong and the influential, it makes some very strong points. The same is portrayed without using the useless mass fight scenes, which would have been there if this film was taken a few years ago, but the movie chooses not to satisfy the brainless mass. There are many emotional moments in the film, and the agony that the weak goes through is portrayed realistically rather than with the unnecessary extras. The intensity that the film carries is a lot too, and the strength only increases as the film progresses.

Positives and negatives :: The film does take some time to go through its beginning stages, and it does have the predictable stuff at work too. From the moment it starts, we are somewhat sure about what would happen even without knowing the history of the real-life tale, and we feel that the film could have been a little shorter. Some dialogues could have been avoided, but a few others could have had more detail, like when talking about the Rajan case which happened long ago in Kerala. Rajisha Vijayan could have also had more to be done, even with some good time being spent on the screen. It is always normal to expect more from this kind of a film, because we know the kind of topic it deals with. There is always something to take home in this kind of movies though, and this one, even though dealing with a topic which people might be aware of, leaves us with the reminder that injustice still exists, and there is the need for someone to raise the voice at the right time for the right people, and not for some celebrities who have their own ways of saving themselves, having their own influence and power.

Performers of the soul :: Suriya has one strong performance added here, and it seems that he has become the character like a fine reflection of a determined, enthusiastic, righteous lawyer. The focus that is required in the character is shown without the extreme heroism that would have taken over in some other movie, but not in this case. There is no violence related to the man either, as there is no beating up the bad guys, and there are no stylish dialogues, which makes the character blend in right into the film’s mood. It does feel that he is really into the character so well, and becomes a mirror of the ideology inside him. This is also the first Suriya film that I have reviewed here, and I am glad that this movie could be chosen for the same. Lijomol Jose, whom we know for the lovely supporting role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram and the lead role in Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, has her biggest role here, and she has performed exceptionally, making her the leading actress, the woman who was wronged, and seeking justice. I hope that she would continue in the film industry after marriage too.

Further performers of the soul :: K Manikandan in the husband’s role has death coming to his character after a fine performance. Prakash Raj plays a solid police officer with his own ideology, which we love, and he is the one cop whom you would love to have in your universe of reality. Rajisha Vijayan, who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her debut film, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also has her moments, being a strong part of this. We know what she has done in Kho Kho, June and Finals, and she could suit at any place with grace. She has a superior status among this generation of actresses in Malayalam film industry, and so when she is there, you wish to check out the movie. The villains are all good too – when you look at them, they are not the same kind of antagonists, for the work at different levels. They are all united by a few things, but you see the divergence that runs through them, with them acting different even when doing the same job. There are lots of supporting cast members who also do some jobs worth appreciation, staying strong in the background throughout the film.

How it finishes :: There have been many courtroom dramas, and Pink might be the most famous among them – this one nicely adds to the list of those films. Unlike most of such movies which have dealt with similar topics including bringing justice to the subaltern, this one has its complete focus on such divisions and atrocities committed in the same name. The film is also supposed to be based on a petition which was filed in 1995, and the characters are also known to be based on real-life people with real-life incidents forming the background of the film. There is always the feel for some need for films on discrimination, and this one makes a welcome addition, as it makes some strong points about the same. It is also available with audio in Hindi, and therefore, it should be accessible to a much bigger audience on Amazon Prime Video. Theatres have opened, but you still have moves like this one on OTT, and you know you have to trust the OTT.

Release date: 2nd November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: TJ Gnanavel
Starring: Suriya, Lijimol Jose, Rajisha Vijayan, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, Guru Somasundaram

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Tamil film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Tamil full-length film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

AUFDRUCK

AUFDRUCK

What is the movie about? :: Beginning with a quote from Heimito von Doderer, the movie features two women, Pansen (Mary Krasnoperova) and Schluppe (Kira Mathis) who are having some talk about various things as they sit facing each other at a cafe. These two young women who are somewhere in their twenties will talk about anything under the sun, and the focus also remains on the cup of coffee and the cigarettes which they are having; they don’t seem to ever end up with enough of these and they are of the opinion that people should be better. They don’t seem happy at all with what happens around them, and have that kind of opinions which are not just strange, but also too direct and won’t be really acceptable to many.

So what are the points of discussion about? :: The exact translation of AUFDRUCK is “label”, and LABEL is also the English title of the fourth short-film directed by Jaschar L Marktanner, who have taken six films so far; this is also his first work as an editor. Each dialogue in the movie reminds us of the labels, the symbols of those miserable conclusions that the society come across related to what we do; something which is often declared by our own relatives themselves. A “label” is something from which there is no escape, as it has been pasted on us with so much ease, as the repetitive words work as the glue. There are times when we wonder if the society had already made a decision on us when we were little kids; sometimes we feel that the relatives always knew what to label us according to certain factors which we know nothing about. It is really difficult to get rid of the labels.

Soul exploration :: The movie is shot in black and white, except for the little colour in the end, and there is a certain piano sound playing on the background. The subtitles are in colour though. The language used won’t go on well with everyone, especially a lot of people from this part of the world. But it can be seen a reflection of the new generation types which we see all around these days. Even around here, we can see such abusive language being used in local languages throughout the social media. It has become part of our lives, and people just randomly use it against people whom they don’t like. The two lady characters in the video are reflections of such people who can do nothing much other than being disrespectful and abusive to the strangers about whom they come up with random opinions in a negative way. The funny thing here is that they even brand the aliens!

More soul exploration :: Such opinions which become nothing less than labels, are put upon people based on just random thoughts. It is clear from the opinion about waitress job that is said with such clarity and confidence that it will make one wonder how people can so easily have a personal opinion regarding people just based on their jobs. The case of dignity of labour is still not there, even after so many years of modernity, and even with the teaching in schools that no job inferior. The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, never really maintain any influence on most of our countrymen as we have a look around and see how the labels fly and how some people are mistreated. The class divide has only increased with the new millionaires, and so many people still living below the poverty live a miserable life.

Further soul exploration :: If it is looked at directly from the point of view of a common man here, the points are that the two things here coffee and cigarettes have been considered as more of the capitalist matter. The replacement for cigarettes have been beedis, which were the common man’s cigarette for quite a long time, and has had a relationship with the socialist and communist movements here. Nationalists also used to support beedi in favour of the home-made products. The situation is even more radical in the case of tea. Coffee became popular here because of the IT companies and call centres which have the machines offering free coffee to which the professionals are addicted. The common man’s drink has always been tea, as it remains the cheapest available drink in the country.

And a little more about it :: Tea has been considered the socialist drink, and the communist parties here have used them through the ages, with some movies featuring the same providing tea with the title of being the drink of the masses. Tea still remains the most consumed drink here, and is also the national drink. India’s ruling nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also successfully used tea as part of its campaign, with “conversation over tea” idea for the common man. So, the idea of having coffee and cigarettes and being abusive towards the working class is a symbol of the class divide which has been widening, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The poor gets the labels put on them by the rich and the successful people – even the parents of the successful men and women comes up with such labels, don’t they?

How it finishes :: But these people who belong to the higher class can actually act very well, and they will pretend to be good. They can hide their contempt as much whenever they want to because they are trained to pretend. They will just blame the society which consists of the working class, and as they are the more influential ones in the society, this society will take over the labels which these people create, and paste them right on the common man. When they see people who are different, they are even quicker to come up with the labels; it is the depressing state of our society. It has the first leading role for Kira Mathis and the first role for Mary Krasnoperova, and the two ladies have done some excellent job in reflecting the true nature of the society – the latter is my favourite here. It is an interesting work from Jaschar L Marktanner, which will work for you depending on how you think about it, and what you decide to take from it. I consider this flick as a representation of the class divide and the basic human contempt/vanity that leads to labeling others. You will also see the reflections of the online trolls and abusers who do nothing, but keep talking in an abusive tone. The message here which you can take home is to stop judging people, especially based on money and job! If you get deeper into it, you will want this short-film to be at least a little bit longer. You can watch the trailer of the short-film below, and the full movie will be available online soon.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 4 minutes
Directed by: Jaschar L Marktanner
Starring: Mary Krasnoperova, Kira Mathis, Steffi Charlotte Fluri, Jaschar L Marktanner

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mythri

mythri!

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were not going to watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all the masala was doing bad for my health. So I decided to go masala free, and I guess this movie achieves that status with ease.

Vampire Owl :: This is a new idea. I wonder how this one came up.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is because more people have watched a lot of masala movies and let the movies with good themes die. It is up-to us to make amends.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, they have to learn from Lady Death. She uses no masala at all. She just takes those souls and sends the order to hell to cook them without masala.

Vampire Bat :: You still holds on to that one? Yes, but be aware than Mohanlal has only a smaller role in this one rather than being there on all posters around Kerala.

Vampire Owl :: I can relate to that. I have seen that so much among these vampires too. Everything got a poster of Uncle Dracula and there are even those programs about which he has no idea about.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I remember a few of those.

Vampire Owl :: We will still give this a try because the Kannada version of the movie got great reviews.

Vampire Bat :: That might not define much in Kerala, but lets see.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Siddharth (Master Aditya) spends his time playing pranks, but is a bright student. His mother (Anu Joseph) is working at a factory while a criminal and politician called Kalaprathapan (Kalabhavan Mani) has his eyes on her after saving the boy from the police station. But situations land Siddharth in a juvenile home. He is a big fan of Puneeth Rajkumar (Himself) who is conducting a Kodipathi program on television and is looking for kids to participate in a junior version of the game. With the help of his fellow in-mates, he manages to somehow send the messages and get selected. As the strict warden is finally impressed by the boy whom he had considered the scum of the Earth, Siddharth gets permission to go to Chennai for the show accompanied by him. Meanwhile, his enemies at the juvenile home returns and a DRDO scientist called Mahadevan (Mohanlal) also comes to the scene.

The defence of Mythri :: You have to call this one a sincere effort without doubts. This surely will have a nice impact on the audience and one has to appreciate the intentions behind it. The movie tells the tale of the rise of an underdog from the middle of nowhere to the helm. The social message is powerful with relevance throughout the nation, and even though this is not a full entertainer, there is still a little bit of the same, and there is that intensity and the strength of emotions which drive a good number of those scenes. The way in which the story is told also makes a positive impact. It has the power to touch the soul, but the impact could have been heavy if it was completely remade for the Malayali audience. Yes, changes are there, with more Malayalam actors added, but a few more could have done better, and the title could have been just Mythri with no extra additions.

The claws of flaw :: The question is about the path used by this movie, for it is the Slumdog Millionaire model that has been used here, and the ending also reminds one of the Malayalam movie, One Man Show just a bit. There is also the Malayalam touch missing in this movie, and it might have hurt the chances to be more successful among the Malayali audience. This is more like something which is not ground-breaking for the Malayalam movie industry which has had so many movies with social messages. The feeling of dubbing doesn’t help the cause too. There is also a movie scene shooting which is done mostly in slow motion and with the heroism even though it is still a film within a film. The songs also come out of nowhere for no reason, and there are those dance steps which are also overused for the Keralite viewer preferences. And yes, you won’t see that much of Mohanlal in this one as in the posters.

Performers of the soul :: Puneeth Rajkumar is not really a name much known among the Keralite audience, but he surely has a left a mark here, enough to be remembered by the viewers. He is also the one who does the Kannada version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and so the right person to do this role. But no Malayali can watch this without thinking about Suresh Gopi in Ningalkum Aakaam Kodeeswaran because he has become that name related to this programme’s real Malayalam version as well as the philanthropy. What would have happened if Suresh Gopi was there with Mohanlal doing what he has been doing the best? One has to wonder – it would have surely brought the crowd in for this one. But be assured, for this wonderful actor whom we have here is very good in this. There are no clues given when questions are wrong in this case, but questions are easier for this competition!

More Performers of the soul :: We will remember Puneeth Rajkumar for quite a long time for sure. Mohanlal has an appearance which lasts not more than half an hour, and his extended cameo is something which makes an excellent impact. The kid, Aditya manages to do a fantastic job, and it is nice to see him go on to do even better as movie progresses, along with the actor who did his best friend and a brother-like figure called Johnson, the actor named Jagadish giving fine support to the boy. Kalabhavan Mani is pretty good as the villain. Atul Kulkarni leaves a mark as the warden too. It was also good to see Anu Joseph with Oridathoridathu fame who has done a memorable job here, and along with her, Archana also does a good job; one is present on in the beginning and the other just at the end. Bhavana makes an even shorter appearance, and so does Sajitha Betti.

How it finishes :: There wasn’t enough hype surrounding this movie and not much promotions took place, which has surely worked against it; if you consider the rush for Jurassic Park, Premam and then look at this one, there will be a clear picture. It had gone on to become a wonderful success in Kannada, but the same can’t be said about its status here. But it still remains the duty of the movie fans to give a chance to this movie with a social message along with those mass entertainers and full superstar flicks. The movie makes a point against judging people by where they stand as of now, and on the basis of which class they belong to. Mythri is a reason for you to watch a movie in the theatres with full family, and take a message home despite its inability to connect completely with the Keralite audience.

Release date: 12th June 2015
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: B.M Giriraj
Starring: Mohanlal, Puneeth Rajkumar, Master Aditya, Anu Joseph, Archana, Kalabhavan Mani, Atul Kulkarni, Bhavana, Sajitha Betti, Jagadish

mythri

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.