Pretham 2

What is the movie about? :: Famous mentalist John Don Bosco (Jayasurya) is spending his time in peace at Varikkasseri Mana a.k.a. Varikkumanchery Mana, one of the traditional Brahmin houses located at Manissery, a village in Ottapalam, Palakkad. Situated in an area of natural beauty in a plot of about four acres, John feels that there is something strange and mysterious about the place. With a history of popular movies being shot there including Devasuram, Aaraam Thampuran, Raappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Valliettan and Manthrikan, a group of youngsters decide to come there to shoot a short-film. They are from a Facebook group known as “Cinema Pranthanmar”, which is known to be a perfect place for movie lovers from all around Kerala. This particular adventure could feed the movie lover in them more than anything else.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The team is lead by Tapas (Amith Chakkalakal) who comes up with this idea of having a short film. He plans to create this film, and run a premiere after inviting all the members of the group which goes into thousands. Joining him are those members whom he had never met, and used the group with their fake names; the first one to join him is the man known in the group by his fake id Mangalassery Neelakandan, Ramanandan (Sidhartha Siva) who is into hotel business in the Middle East and is a big Mohanlal fan. They are joined by Karuthamma, originally Anu (Durga Krishna) who is a nurse and Shahrukh Khan, originally Niranjana (Saniya Iyappan) who is a professional dancer. The last person to join them in Joffin (Dain Davis) who has run away from home due to personal problems with his father.

So, how does the ghost come into picture this time? :: The problem at the resort of Denny Kokken (Aju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen), Shibu Majeed (Govind Padmasoorya) and Yeshu (Dharmajan Bolgatty) was one which haunted John for a long time, and here, with the youngsters making the short-film, more trouble arrives, and the supernatural only gets stronger. The youngsters are attacked by some strange forces and nobody seems to know what is happening. Their first guess is that it is the spirit of the person who owned and lived in the mansion, but it turns out that there is more than what meets eye at the first place. There is a connection which is making the spirit act there, and John has to begin with it and reach the end soon, before it is too late and someone gets into serious trouble. But it is not that easy, as the clues are less, and the answer to their questions are somewhere else.

The defence of Pretham 2 :: Pretham 2 is indeed a better movie than its predecessor which had too many terrible jokes, even though the final moments were nice for that one too. Pretham 2 has the advantage in almost every field including its setting and cast. The idea is also smarter here with the social media, internet, fake identity and online frauds at the centre. The messages about the possible dangers of being friends with fake ids and trusting strangers without names are all shown in this particular flick. The mystery is nicely solved here, and there is no exaggeration here with the elements of the other world – the first image of the spirit that we see is in the form of a shadow, and the creature from the other world doesn’t overdo things as the happenings would be in a usual horror movie. The thrills are strong, and there are also some nice jokes – we are left guessing with the suspense factor being very high till the end.

The claws of flaw :: Pretham 2 never really rises above most of the problems of its predecessor, as it follows too similar a path, and the spirit also follows the same pattern, as we see no attempt to deviate much. We would wonder if so many spirits are looking forward to have the mystery behind their deaths investigated. There seems to be no other plan for the people on the other side. Some jokes are just repetitive, especially the talks regarding those old Mohanlal movies. The movie could have also used more scares, as the film itself is marketed as a horror flick, and the name itself suggests the same. The movie could have surely used darkness better, and the ghostly presence itself could have done more, at least when the youngsters were alone. Pretham 2 doesn’t try to frighten people much, and that is not acceptable at a time when Hollywood is running movies like The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister and others.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is back with an avatar to remember, unlike Punyalan Agarbattis 2 and Aadu 2 which struggled to live up to its predecessors with all its characters. His mentalist is a rock solid character, and this time, he is better than last time too. Saniya Iyappan, with her flexible dance moves, is a joy to watch here, and has a clear improvement in acting from her previous movie Queen, which was one of the worst collection of elements deserving not to be called a movie at all. She can certainly bring variety to the Malayalam cinema, as her skills are yet to be used in the best possible ways. Durga Krishna after Vimaanam, gets one nice role to perform, and she does that well. Dain Davis and Sidhartha Siva gets to bring the elements of fun well, even though the latter gets too much of Mohanlal dialogues from those old movies, which become too repetitive. Amith Chakalakkal is very good with his character which is rather solid.

How it finishes :: Pretham 2 holds the advantage over Thattumpurath Achuthan, Ente Ummante Peru and Odiyan for this Christmas, and by being a smart horror-mystery-comedy-thriller, it is many things in one movie. With Jayasurya at the centre as one character who has a certain iconic status, and the new faces like Saniya Iyappan who has become another name for dance, Durga Krishna in her second movie, the crowd favourite Dain Davis and others, Pretham 2 makes the Pretham franchise much better than what it was in the first movie. It also leaves a few messages about the problems due to uncontrolled use of social media by teenagers, the dangers that lie behind the fake ids in Facebook, possibilities of different kinds of frauds by online groups looking for easy money etc among others. Pretham 2 makes Christmas a lot of fun, and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Saniya Iyappan, Durga Krishna, Dain Davis, Amith Chakalakkal, Sidhartha Siva, Sreejith Ravi, Jayaraj Warrier, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sharafudheen (cameo), Govind Padmasoorya (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pretham

pretham

Vampire Owl: So, you are saying that the ghost has finally arrived.

Vampire Bat: Yes, it has come to provide us with its presence.

Vampire Owl: I heard that this one even has a mentalist?

Vampire Bat: Yes, one mentalist played by Jayasurya.

Vampire Owl: The looks do seem very interesting.

Vampire Bat: And when it is from the director who has brought us a number of good movies.

Vampire Owl: It has been a long time since we have seen an interesting ghost. I hope that this one will qualify to be there as a good one.

Vampire Bat: There is no reason to think that a ghost can’t be good. It will hurt the creature’s feelings.

Vampire Owl: Yes, we shouldn’t be judgmental towards the poor creatures from the other world.

Vampire Bat: Exactly. We need them too; they bring the balance in a boring human existence as we can’t always do the same.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Three youngsters Denny Kokken (Aju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen), and Shibu Majeed (Govind Padmasoorya) has begun their own business of a resort after working hard till their thirties. The three are best friends keeps remembering things from the past. They invest most of their money and also what they could manage from their ancestral wealth to buy this resort on which they have placed their hopes. They go through their lives with a crush on Suhanisa (Pearle Maaney) who learns dance at the resort, and doing only those things which are of interest, as they are no longer working under a person as they used to, and are completely out of control of their parents. Living a life full of enjoyment, and doing nothing other than those small things that come upon the resort, the three feels that this could go on forever.

So, what happens next? :: But as strange incidents begin to happen in the resort, they consult John Don Bosco (Jayasurya), a psychic and a mentalist who is referred to them by the local priest (Harish Perady) after failing to bring any change with the use of holy water. After making some attempts, he finds that the person behind all these is the restless spirit of Clara (Sruthi Ramachandran), who has a history that goes back to this resort when she last stayed here. Is John strong enough to get rid of this revenge-seeking ghost? What does she want from the three friends? Are they responsible for her death and the hopeless nature of her spirit? How can a mentalist work with a ghost who is not even interested in contacting and talking with humans? Is there something bigger hidden under the resort that should not be brought out?

The defence of Pretham :: This one successfully gets rid of the white saree idea which was too common in our horror movies – instead it goes for the black churidar which the spirit was wearing while committing suicide, which is fair as there are no shops supplying white sarees in the other world no matter which religious text we look at. The visuals are really good with the resort on the beachside, and we do get the horror comedy as we wanted to. There is just enough of both horror and comedy, not in high doses. The entertainment factor is there, varying for different people according to the tastes. With Jayasurya entering the scene as the mentalist, things get more interesting, and it is from there that the movie gets more engaging as a horror movie. In the end, we also get to see some of the cruel, sadistic face of the new generation youth which looks for success only, as it doesn’t matter for them that whose little dreams are crushed in the process – there is also the social issue.

Claws of flaw :: This one still happens to be predictable, and the message is also not brought to the screen in the best way. It is also not for the people who have watched so many horror movies and are looking for big scares – they are not much there for some reason. There were so many moments which could have had them, and we think that they are going to arrive, but that doesn’t happen at all. This one doesn’t really go on to become a special one with big difference, even with a mentalist as its main character, and that is a disappointment that Pretham doesn’t even try hard enough for the same. The comedy is also flawed at parts, with the adult jokes getting nowhere and some of them won’t connect with anyone at all. With a cast that has full ability to bring the fun, one has to wonder why that was not utilized to the maximum.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Jayasurya is the pick of them all – it was already clear in the trailer, and it is reiterated very often in this movie from the first moment he shows up on the beach. Just like a wide variety of characters that he has played throughout his career, this one also leaves a mark, and it is due to him that the movie gets to be at a better strength all of a sudden. He comes, and delivers as it was expected of him – there is no question of doubting this man and the character played by him. He is no Sunny Joseph of Manichithrathazu, but a mentalist is indeed something new in a Malayalam movie. Among Aju Varghese, Sharafudheen and Govind Padmasoorya, it is the first two that create the fun here. Pearle Maaney looks strangely uncomfortable with the whole situation. Harish Perady is sadly limited to a smaller existence.

How it finishes :: One can be pretty sure that this won’t get to the level of Su.. Su… Sudhi Vathmeekam which was the last effort from the same director, but I would consider this to be surely better than Punyalan Agarbathis; in these three movies, it was all Jayasurya, and he is the pick yet again. This is surely a big escape from the past this year that had what might be Jayasurya’s worst movie which was IDI – Inspector Dawood Ibrahim. If you are looking for an enjoyable horror comedy, you are sure to have it; but there won’t be anything more than that – there is enough for some fun, and we get to take the messages home. Well, we don’t get many horror movies in Malayalam; and there are surely not enough ghosts. The Prithviraj Sukumaran-Tovino Thomas starrer Ezra might change this in a very different way, but until that, lets watch Pretham as we are not looking for The Conjuring or Insidious here.

Release date: 12th August 2016
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Aju Varghese, Sharafudheen, Sharanya Menon, Govind Padmasoorya, Sruthi Ramachandran, Pearle Maaney, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sunil Sukhada, Sathi Premji, Harish Perady, Devan, Vijay Babu, Nyla Usha, Arya Rohit, Anjana Appukuttan

pretham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chapter 32 Verse 23

32-23 (2)

***Full title in Malayalam: 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam. Translated into English for convenience because of the length.

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were going to watch something else.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but I decided to promote Malayalam movies which are getting caught in the web of the movies in other languages. It is the responsibility of each and every Keralite to make sure that the Malayalam movies are saved.

Vampire Owl :: That sounds so awesome. What were you going to watch otherwise?

Vampire Bat :: It is what comes after ABCD.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, you mean EFGH.

Vampire Bat :: What? No, not all.

Vampire Owl :: Then is it IJKL or MNOP?

Vampire Bat :: No. What is wrong with you? It was ABCD 2!

Vampire Owl :: Well, in that case, I feel that this is an interesting decision.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, lets see.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Ann (Mia George) is a journalist at Cochin and her husband Freddy (Govind Padmasoorya) who is working at the United States returns home only for a few days with a small break from work and expecting a promotion. They are celebrating their first wedding anniversary and gets a book as a present from a friend. As Freddy is having a lot of free time while Ann is at work, he starts reading that book and instantly begins to have a certain liking towards the work. He begins to imagine the life of the protagonist as his own, and it affects his personal life. Ann and their family friend Ravi (Lal) feels that he is somewhat losing his mind. But as he gets more interested in the incidents of the book and its number twenty three, he finds a few things from his past and will also uncover another mystery which has been unsolved for years.

The defence of 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam :: The visuals are very good with this one. The movie explores the 23 enigma for the first time in Indian movies as far as most of us know, but there is still doubt it. As everything gets connected to the belief, this becomes one of those movies which tries to be different, and also choose to make an attempt on things which are not common in the Malayalam movie industry. The plot is good, and has scope. Still, it is an obvious risk, but a fair step in the right direction, and even if this might not work as much as expected, there is the hope for more of similar attempts. Also, you have to like how everything comes together as the movie gets near the end. The suspense is successfully maintained, and coming from a new team, this needs to be applauded. The songs are also pretty much okay and background score is nice.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t focus that much on the 23 enigma which was supposed to be the main point. Even the title of the movie itself is revealed to be relevant only in the end with the Holy Bible. The sequences which show the fiction from the book are quite bad. It was quite unnecessary, and one can guess what such things can be to audience if there is a chance to check how Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla turned out to be. It was like just adding to the drama in a ridiculous way instead of boosting the thriller side. There are moments when the movie also seems to struggle to make the point. There are no scares using the big number enigma and the first half struggles to get to the point. There could have been some horror elements added related the “number”. I haven’t watched the movie The Number 23, and so I won’t be the one talking to you about similarities and differences between the two flicks.

Performers of the soul :: Govind Padmasoorya manages to do his role well enough, except for those moments inside fiction where the same can’t be said. It was a world of disaster inside that imaginary world anyway. There is the need to expect nothing exceptional though. Mia George is very good here even though the focus was almost completely on the protagonist. The journalist role is something which seems to automatically suit her right from Memories despite the fact that there has been no movie based on media for her yet. Lal has a smaller role which he manages to do well in his usual style. The movie is basically around the leading actors, and so the contributions from the rest was always going to be less. But there is not much lost in the acting department.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s plot can be seen as an attempt for the protagonist to go through a novel and at the same time find his own past, with the support of incidents helped by fate. In the end, not only will the man have known the truth, but also would have become a better person. There is murder, but that which happened very long ago, and this movie would have worked even without that, because what matters more is a secret and also a belief which are searched and brought to light. This not about romance, and neither is it about a murder mystery. The story is about the mind rather than a sequence of thrilling events. It is sad that the same point is not really brought on the screen with its full energy, and it doesn’t make full connection with the audience as it was clear in the theatre. But the idea is the right one.

How it finishes :: 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam could have been big if the idea was better transformed on the screen, but it isn’t. Still, the movie has enough to go on till the end as an okay thriller. The Malayalam movie industry has been regularly coming up with average or above average thrillers for quite a good amount of time, and it is time to move back up to the level of Drishyam and Memories. This year is struggling to have better Malayalam movies as a while despite the big success of Premam and the nice little wonder which was Mili. I would like to hear about something the Hollywood movie The Number 23 from anyone who has watched it. May be the makers could have chosen the number thirteen because it was a more accepted one. But for now, lets try and watch the variety with this movie and see what they have tried differently, can’t we?

Release date: 19th June 2015
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Arjun Prabhakar, Gokul Ramakrishnan
Starring: Govind Padmasoorya, Miya George, Lal, Arjun Nandakumar, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, P.Balachandran, Balachandran Chullikkad, Rahul Karthik, Sreejith Pokkan, Gowry, Sasha Gopinath, Sharan

32-23

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.