Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

What is the movie about? :: Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) are in love after a certain misunderstanding between them. Living near Vaikom at a village where the caste feeling is high, both are at trouble due to Sreeja’s father and relatives being fully against the marriage and threatens them. The result is that both of them runs away from the place after their wedding, and goes to a remote place in Kasargod where they have bought some land and a place to stay, hoping to get into agriculture. But it turns out that there is no water available there, and things once again takes a twist. They decide to get a loan against her gold ornaments, but her necklace ends up being stolen when in the bus, messing up with their plans. This theft was committed by a man known by the same name, Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) whom Sreeja had seen devouring it to escape being caught with it.

So, what happens next? :: So, the KSRTC bus driver, conductor and the travelers join to take the man to the nearby police station. It is more of a remote area, which doesn’t have leaves too many options for the police than to wait, as Sreeja is certain that the man had stolen her necklace and the thief tells the police that he has stolen nothing, and is working at a road-side eatery making porottas. But when the police asks for an id, he has none, and so they decide to keep him at the police station and wait. With no other option left, the couple also has to wait to find a way to find the necklace from him, as nothing could be proven otherwise. The police officer in charge of the case, A.S.I. Chandran (Alencier Ley Lopez) assures them that the thief is a smart one, but he solves such cases all the time, and will get them their necklace. So, who is the smartest of them all – is it the thief, the couple or the police officer?

The defence of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum :: The question of Dileesh Potham brilliance rises again, and we can see that there is something about it everywhere that fuels this movie. It is a fine narration that takes the story to another level, as we have the perfect example on how to make simplicity so interesting. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is once again an everyman movie like Maheshinte Prathikaram, and those elite classes will not get their due here – there is almost no person in this movie who can be put into that “rich” category, which brings us the real movie for the people, which has never been the self-proclaimed “local” movies. The humour is also working, and they are also based on simple things of life – still there are twists. Once again, we see that the visuals are nice, as you know who in charge of them with the camera. The music is good, with “Kannile Poika” nicely visualized. There is the message hope and forgiveness, even though they are not readily visible.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel a little bit slow and a little bit dull at moments of the first half, as we expect it to be fun-filled entertainer like Maheshinte Prathikaram which had absolutely no moment which will make us doubtful. The emptiness that you feel in between, and the repetition that might seem to occur are also certain to be seen. You do feel at times, that this has a little too much of a remider of Action Hero Biju – so, if you don’t like that movie, there is a chance that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum will not be that interesting to you too. The story also doesn’t have that much in it to talk about, as things are rather simple, and the whole thing is focused to particular places. If you are looking for the usual kind of a movie, this will not claim to be one, which might be a good thing for a few, and not an interesting thing for some others. There could have been a bigger punch by the end, which is not there.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has his second movie running in the theatres at the same time, as Role Models is already there, having released for Eid with Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran – his earlier movies were Take Off and Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and it has been a fine run which continues into this movie too. Fahadh’s work, no matter how good or bad a movie is always something to look forward too – after all, this one is really good. There is a certain balance in his work, and even the simplest emotions from him brings the claps from the audience – the thief’s smiles score big. Suraj Venjaramoodu brings a performance which brings him back to the “fortress of seriousness”, with a full role rather than what he had in Action Hero Biju – he even has the romantic side to explore nicely. The National Award Winner for Best Actor in 2013 is the hero in this one, even though the term has less potential in a realistic story having no heroism.

Further performers of the soul :: Nimisha Sajayan makes a good debut with this movie too, as her work is simple as well as memorable. We see her taking it further with some realistic emotional scenes. It will be nice to see her in a different performance in one of the upcoming movies, and I remember having read that she has signed for another movie already. The next memorable character in the movie is played by Alencier Ley Lopez, who plays the police officer again after Njan Steve Lopez, and combines forces with Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan once again after Maheshinte Prathikaaram. You remember Vinay Forrt becoming the officer in control of things in Kismath where almost everything happens in the police stations – Alencier gets to do the same, but he has another mode on with Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. There is also the presence of some lesser known faces, who all do a fine job – it seems that the right ones are chosen for sure.

How it finishes :: We have all known what Dileesh Pothan is capable of, with his Maheshinte Prathikaaram, the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also for Best Screenplay. The same combination of him with Fahadh Faasil returned here, and as expected there is something for us to be impressed, as we were waiting with expectations being a lot high. The movie with a realistic side will always have more for us than what any of those big superstar movies possess. It is the same realization that makes a lot of people to arrive at the theatres on a rainy day, defying all odds to get a ticket for this rather simple a movie – even the advance bookings have been even more. When the first movie was a success, the second movie has become a bigger challenge, as he has to match the glory, and here, with his brilliance continuing, Dileesh Pothan has kept Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum working, even though not as much as Maheshinte Prathikaaram.

Release date: 30th June 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Nimisha Sajayan, Soubin Shahir, Shince Mathew, Jithin KC, Vettukili Prakash, Sreekanth Murali

@ 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.

Cinderella

cinderella (2)

Vampire Owl :: You know that I can’t watch Cinderella.

Vampire Bat :: What? From where did you find a reason this time?

Vampire Owl :: It is one of those Happily Ever After stories. I don’t believe in that. And vampire owls don’t read fairy tales.

Vampire Bat :: But it has enough changes making the movie different.

Vampire Owl :: I have known changes, like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Vampire Bat :: No, not like them. There is no darker interpretation for this one, and there are no monsters or black magic.

Vampire Owl :: I think you should have watched Focus instead of this one. Without the dark side, this is like children’s movie.

Vampire Bat :: No, the story has evolved; it is made better without losing the core.

Vampire Owl :: I have absolutely no idea what you meant by that.

Vampire Bat :: I say that you read my review and see if you still want to skip this movie.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: The great fairy-tale gets another treatment as things change for Ella (Lily James) with the death of her mother and everything gets a lot worse with her father’s second marriage which is followed by his death. The new step-mother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett), who comes to reside with them along with the two daughters of her own, Drizella (Sophie McShera) and Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) turns out to be very unlike someone they were expecting as a mother figure. The two sisters were not any better either, as they detested her and the new house; even their new cat Lucifer proves to be an enemy for Ella’s rat friends. As the attitude of the new mother gets worse everyday, Ella who is now called Cinderella due to her life close to the cinders, our protagonist only has the faith in magic, as well as her belief in courage and kindness to bring her the twist to her tale.

The defence of Cinderella :: Among the fairy-tales, Cinderella is surely not the easy one to adapt and come up successful because the idea of a Prince Charming and the thoughts about the evil step-mother won’t sell that easily these days for the adults, and it is too simple a story and not something that can have too many additions without affecting the essence. This is a season when the new age evil want to shoot down Prince Charming because he is a good person; some people really can’t stand extra goodness because it is not in them. During such a season, this movie manages to rise and fly high, for which a lot of applause is deserved. With an amazing world already made with splendour, what you should keep in mind is that this is still a fairy-tale, and the soul goes directly to the original story. You have to keep that in mind, and keep a part of your mind for believing in magic.

Positives and Negatives :: Unless you have had a highly uninteresting and ridiculous childhood, you are going to love this movie. Yes, Cinderella is also nostalgia, and you have to repsect your own past without which you are nothing – remember and admire those tales which shaped your early lives. It is a fairy tale and if you want Cinderella to be too much like a modern age character, go and stick to your limited list of movies – but let me tell you; this is the best portrayal of Cinderella ever. Yes, the fairy godmother needed more screen-time and polishing, and there could have been a little more of interactions between Cinderella, sisters and the step-mother added. But then you see the costumes, especially that of Cinderella going for her moment with the prince – it is stunning, and how good Lilly James looks in the same makes one wonder if Cinderella is indeed real.

Performers of the soul :: Lily James is stunning as Cinderella, and it is like she beautifully carves herself into the character. There is the scene when she is magically dressed in that stunningly beautiful blue dress, and you need to think of nobody else as the titular character. Then there is her again in another blue dress, this time a normal one by the end – here she is the happy young girl and she looks amazing there. She completely takes over all those emotional moments, whether it is of sadness, joy, hopelessness, love or sympathy, and it is a blessing for the audience to see her as Cinderella on the big screen. Then there is Cate Blanchett with a believable step-mother role which she does to perfection, and the two sisters are also very good here. Richard Madden is a fine Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter needed to be there for more, but is fine when she is there, and the narration is interesting.

Soul exploration :: Selflessness, sympathy, forgiveness and simplicity which Cinderella displays in this movie are something rarely seen in this world. The tale once again tells the story of the protagonist who is mistreated, rising above the limitations. No, this is not a story of one girl, but of a large number of men and women who are mistreated because of any reason. Prince Charming is just a symbol of glory in attainment; it could have been anybody else, like Princess Beautiful or any other thing which can be personified into something else. But the fact remains that the movie brings that idea to us only by polishing this movie and keeping the soul of this fairy tale alive. It could have gone darker like in Snow White and the Huntsman, Jack the Giant Slayer, Maleficent and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but chooses to keep the soul the same, and still make that great impact. And yes, do believe in some good magic.

How it finishes :: Along with all those things for which you admire Disney, add this one to that list. There was also a short animation movie called Frozen Fever which worked like a little sequel to Frozen – it was shown before this movie, and there were no usual trailers. As it comes with Cinderella, Anna and Elsa makes things perfect with the birthday pary of the former. “Making Today a Perfect Day” is not “Let it Go”, but it is still so much fun with out favourite characters right there on the screen. Disney never ceases to bring more and more magic to us, right? This was such a nice pleasant surprise for the audience and everyone seemed to love it. You can add Cinderella to your list of best Disney movies without much thinking twice about it. The fact that it still stays at the theatres even after two big Malayalam movies released, points to the truth that it is special. Courage and kindness – take these two things home from Cinderella.

Release date: 20th March 2015 (India); 13th March 2015 (US)
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Ben Chaplin, Sophie McShera, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter

cinderella

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.