Finals

What is the movie about? :: Alice Varghese (Rajisha Vijayan) is a cyclist from Kattappana who has evolved to become the national champion under the guidance of his father KP Varghese (Suraaj Venjaramoodu) who has worked as a sports coach in more than one school, and also at his own academy. Varghese is someone who hasn’t achieved much from his career as a trainer, and has all his hopes set on his daughter who is supposed to represent India at the 2020 Summer Olympic at Tokyo from 24 July to 9th August 2020. Before appearing at the event, she is also selected by the National Olympic Committee to have her training in Russia. At the first city in Asia to host the Olympic Games twice, she is supposed to be a clear favourite to gain a medal, finishing far ahead of others in all competitions. Before she leaves for Russia, she hopes to visit her friends and relatives at hometown for the last time, and she returns to Kattappana for the same reason.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There she meets her childhood friend Manuel Thomas (Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju) one more time. Manuel has been in love with her since school days, and wanted a reply from her for a long time, but she has been evading that question with ease. She visits the school where she studied, after a very long time, and motivates the students there, along with traveling through those places which provides her with a nostalgic feeling. Varghese who has supported the Olympic dream with everything that he had in his life, never really had anything more than that small house, because the dream was the only thing that he lived for. As she makes her return, there is one last race which she will be participating in, before leaving for the Russian training – but there are twists of events that await her, and her loved ones. Fate had a backup plan to bring the twist – well, fate always finds a way, as it would follow here.

The defence of Finals :: The best thing about Finals is that it decides to change its pattern from the usual stuff which has been followed in almost every known sports movie – there would be a sportsperson or a sports team which is facing some kind of trouble, and someone would help the person or the team to rise up to the occasion and win the competition, or at least come close to doing that so that we feel that there would be a victory next year. We have the sportsperson at the top in the beginning itself in this case, and we see what happens later. But the movie is not limited to her, and the neither is it limited to her family or the people around – the world goes further, as there are many issues being discussed despite the budget and the number of big names being so less. There is the corruption and nepotism which are part of sports, which lead to the athletes from the lower strata of the society suffering – except for cricket in which everyone gets something.

Positives and negatives :: Well, it is only when the interval hits you so hard that you realize that there is a big change coming up, making this a very different sports drama – we love both sides of the interval, as each shows something of beauty, and also feeds our emotional so well, along with providing motivation. We can feel those emotions even after we are finished with the movie, a short one lasting only a little more than two hours. The beautiful visuals of the high-ranges also contribute to the same, with some nice songs to go with them. The struggle that the movie shows feels so real, as we know how the athletes other than cricketers are sidelined with ease. The absence of necessities for the other sports-persons, is something that needed attention a long time ago, especially with those games which more than nine or ten nations of the world are interested in playing. One might still feel that this is not the kind of movie they expected from the trailer, but that indeed is the beauty of it.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan is fantastic in a movie which brings more than one face of her, and its a step forward from the State Award winning Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, the two lesser known Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran as well as the most recent charming bildungsroman adventure, June. There is deep feeling in her performance, whether in happiness or in grief, whether in determination or in the absence of the same – the emotions can be seen going very deep here, and we are happy to see that she is always one step ahead of the character, with her preparations as well as the final work. The character here is so natural and close to life, further ahead of anything she has played in the past. If Rajisha could’nt pull this off, nobody else could have, and we see that she never struggles in doing the same – she is that good as of now. This could be another award winning performance, and we wouldn’t doubt that.

Further performers of the soul :: Suraaj Venjaramoodu in serious roles has been a revelation in the past, whether it was about a small role in Action Hero Biju or a full role in Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum. This is another character which carries a certain amount of melancholy, from which there is no escape – we are also part of those emotions which go deep, as the struggling coach tries to successful at at least some point. There are those emotional undercurrents which we can feel in such a way that they return to us when we are sitting idle and thinking about those moments. Meanwhile, Niranj doesn’t just shine, but glitters in this world, coming with a performance close to life, as a commoner from the hilly side of Central Kerala. We have him touching both heart and soul here with the feelings running heavy. There are those dialogues and his combination scenes with both Rajisha and Suraaj that tests our emotional strength. Tini Tom and Sona Nair provide fine support as his parents too.

How it finishes :: Even though it is announced earlier that the movie is a fictional story, the credits in the end dedicate the movie to the cyclist Shiny Siles who died in a road accident while participating in the State Road Cycle race at Manjeri in the year 2002. With or without it, this movie happens to be one of the best sports drama flicks ever produced in the country, and not watching it will be a crime, if not a cardinal sin. You feel the frustration, hopelessness, anger, fear, determination, hope, and everything else just like the characters do, and as we live a life with these characters, our second and the most realistic part of life, Finals easily becomes the best movie among the Onam releases, rising above the fighting thriller Brother’s Day and the not-so-serious comedy flicks following the same pattern – Love Action Drama and Ittymaani. The number of viewers as of now is surely low for the movie, but if we don’t support a movie like this at the theatre, we would be the barbarians, unless we are cacodemons. Here, I leave you with a song from the movie. Why you would stop yourself from falling in love with this movie and feel deep with it, is beyond me, as Finals come up with that kind of a lovely feeling in multiple ways.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: PR Arun
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Suraaj Venjaramoodu, Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju, Tini Tom, Sona Nair, Muthumani, Kunchan, Nisthar Sait, Dhruvan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sarvopari Palakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Jose Kaithaparambil Mani (Anoop Menon) is a police officer working in the special branch, based out of Palai in Kottayam. He is on the search for the right girl to marry, as everyone feels that the time has already passed for the same, and a few years later, he will have zero scope in the marriage market. His father Mani Chacko (Alencier Ley Lopez) and a friend Joymon (Balu Varghese) are the two people who are actively looking for the girl. But they are not able to find the right one for him, as Jose rejects everyone without regret. He finds all girls to be too modern, and not suitable for his lifestyle – sometimes, there is a problem with how the girl greets him, at other times there is a problem with what she wears, and on some occasions, he just feels that the girl is too proud. It is only after a long search that they find Linta (Anu Sithara) who is working at Cochin. Despite her not perfectly matching his viewpoint, they get along, and get engaged.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being transferred to Thrissur and taking charge there, ASP Chandra Sivakumar (Gayathri Arun) assigns to him the case of a human trafficking which has Mani Swami (Nandhu) as the main link, who is known to find young girls to transport to the Middle East – he also has the charge of kindapping and rape of an iillegal immigrant on his head. While chasing for the man who occasionally visits the city, he comes across Anupama Neelakandan (Aparna Balamurali) who is an activist working for the betterment women and children, and is also working with a theatre group. Jose who is searching for the wanted criminal to bring justice to the victim and Anupama who is looking to help the victim as well as many others like her, finds each other as stumbling blocks more than once. With the help of SI Ramesh Kumar (Chali Pala), he wants to get rid of her, but it is not that easy. And Mani Swami seems like someone who can’t be stopped – unless there is a twist in the tale.

The defence of Sarvopari Palakkaran :: The movie is surely a believable one in most parts. There is absolutely no heroism associated with the protagonist, and it has more of a collection of flawed characters without glorifying any particular side. It surely has a wonderful start, and an interesting finish – in between, there are some sequences which will catch our attention. There is some social relevance with this movie, but it is not given that much focus. We see two sides and two ways of thinking colliding here, and both of them come together as one. We also have some humour at work here, other than some of the comedy which is forced with situations created out of nowhere. There is also a twist, or rather two of them in the end, which works nicely, even though there is a certain stretched feeling present. There are some beautiful visuals in here too, starting from Palai, moving towards Thrissur and then Cochin as well as the highlands of Idukki, and finally into Murdeshwar with its huge Shiva statue and surroundings.

The claws of flaw :: There are moments in this movie which go nowhere. The first song during the credits is one of them, and then there are those points which has no hesitation in defying common sense – maybe the characters are supposed to be somewhat dumb when facing certain situations. Well, there is not much in the songs of this movie – they just try to keep us away. There is also that hidden camera sequence involving the protagonist’s father and friend, which could have just been removed; there is also too much of meaningless scenes between the police officer and the activist, which seems to be strangely done. Maybe, without these, a shorter length of the movie would have made things perfect. Also, they leave the town of Palai too early, and one has to wonder how much the title is justified here – this is not really about him being from a place if you look at it, for it is more about him being conservative and orthodox; could work with someone from any place or district in the same manner.

Performers of the soul :: The one who stands out here is Aparna Balamurali, without doubt. Even though Jimy Augustine from Maheshinte Prathikaaram will remain her most memorable character, and it seems that it will be so for quite long time, she has been creating some fine effect with Oru Muthassi Gada and Sunday Holiday. This one would get to be her second most noticeable character after Jimsy – it is rather more versatile than each and every role she has played, if you look at it. She makes her entry later, but becomes the big screen presence without leaving a chance for doubt. The other heroine, Anu Sithara, even though looking so good in this avatar, pales in comparison, being provided with a predictable character – there is not much to do for her rather than being the love interest of the protagonist. She surely has her one or two nice dialogues with stand out though, entirely different from what she did in Happy Wedding, Fukri and Ramante Edenthottam.

Further performers of the soul :: It is rather surprising that we haven’t seen that much of Anoop Menon for some time, and his only movie this year was Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. But it has to be noted that he had three fine movies last year among others, and other than the more discussed Paavada and Karimkunnam 6s, he had the underrated Maalgudi Days – a movie which had won Janaki Menon the Best Child Actor Award at the fort sixth Kerala State Film Awards for portraying the character of Atheena. Sadly, his movies have been underrated compared to the others, and it is a grave mistake – we see him fit right into the role here, and at no point do we separate the character from the man. The best thing about him is that he is stays as close to life as possible – there is nothing strange, or super cop model being tried here, as he becomes the everyman police officer. Balu Varghese has a smaller role, and the humour seems to be forced by him and Alencier Ley Lopez along with Chali Pala. Nandhu does a fine job while Gayathri Arun makes her presence here in a role rather not needed.

How it finishes :: This movie thankfully focus on those expected features of the place where it is based – those flicks based on the place, on the district where the place stands, or even on the neighbouring districts have always been based on a protagonist who drinks alcohol most of the time, beats up a lot of people, and then go back to drinking alcohol again. When he is not doing these in this order, he is doing the same mixing things up. Still, he is not just a good man, but a hero – whether it is the more recent Thoppil Joppan or any of them in that long, older list, things have been the same. Despite the name which suggests that it is about the man being a part of the town rather than anything else, Sarvopari Palakkaran dares to move away from that stereotype which had become a curse. Along with the same, it brings an interesting story which is not big in scope, but works – surely more for the family than Chunkzz.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Venugopan
Starring: Anoop Menon, Aparna Balamurali, Anu Sithara, Vijayakumar, Alencier Ley Lopez, Balu Varghese, Chali Pala, Nandhu, Roshan Basheer, Gayathri Arun, Manju Satheesh, Manuraj, Nithin Susheel

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan

kattapanayileritwickroshan-2

Vampire Owl :: Why isn’t the name spelled Hrithik Roshan?

Vampire Bat :: Because a change of spelling will make all things right.

Vampire Owl :: I am really annoyed with any bad spelling.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, this is intentional.

Vampire Owl :: Which is why I am intentionally protesting against it.

Vampire Bat :: I don’t understand your intentions.

Vampire Owl :: You only need to get me one cup of tea, vegetable puffs and cheese popcorn. It is a good understanding of intentions.

Vampire Bat :: You needn’t fight for that. You can have them with ease.

Vampire Owl :: A fight is cent percent needed. See, all things are lies. They say there is no money, and see the number of people who are here to watch this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Well, even we are here. It is a crowd-puller as you can see.

[Gets the tickets with tea and caramel popcorn].

What is it about? :: Geo (Siju Wilson) is ditched by his lover Neethu (Swasika) who is about to get married in a grand function. Disappointed and feeling hopeless in losing the girl whom he thought was his true love, Geo decides to commit suicide. But when standing at the suicide point, he finds a letter under a stone which was written by a stranger named Krishnan a.k.a. Kichu (Vishnu Unnikrishnan). He continues to read on, as he finds his whole life there. Kichu’s father Surendran (Siddique) was a fan of Jayan and wanted to become an actor like him, but becomes a failure. So, he decides to make his son a hero in the movies, but seems to fail in that too, as everyone think that Kichu is not fair enough, and there is also a mark on his forehead which gives him only smaller negative roles in movies. But Kichu doesn’t stop trying to reach his aim.

So what happens next? :: Kichu’s only good friend is Dasappan (Dharmajan Bolgatty) who has always been there to support him, right from the childhood. They can’t stop being jealous of Giridhar (Rahul Madhav), another person who seems to have everything including the looks and money. His neighbour Kani (Lijomol Jose) has been in love with him for a long time, he fails to notice it, as his dream is to marry a very beautiful girl. She still tries to catch his attention all the time. It is when he keeps getting the roles of thieves and criminals that the director James Antony (Kalabhavan Shajohn) provides him with role of a main character in the movie. At the same time, he falls for the rich, beautiful girl who comes to live in the town, Ann Maria (Prayaga Martin). But there are twists waiting to happen in his life, and it is a little bit too early for him to be happy. Will he survive the upcoming tests?

The defence of Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan :: There is fun in store in this movie, that is for sure, and an attempt at message is made, just like it was done in Amar Akbar Anthony. But this one is a better movie than the directorial debut of the man at the helm, and an improvement in the overall quality. This one also pretends less than the other one, as Amar Akbar Anthony is supposed to have done something gargantuan, but it didn’t, except for pretending to be this and that all the time. Here we have some genuine scenes which invokes laughter, and they are the ones which save the day more than any other. Even though occasionally overdone, most of the characters in this movie are common people with whom we can relate. With them right in the camera, the humour works better than Amar Akbar Anthony which was a little bit of a low class pretender. Kattappana is also well captured. Yes, the message is there to be taken, if you want it.

The claws of flaw :: For some reason, Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan suffers from a complete lack of brains, something which would surely save it from the zombies, but makes the intelligent viewer feel the pain, for even a movie in the comedy genre like this one can use it to make the funny side clever rather than foolish – but that is a rare thing between the cliches that stretches its arms towards climax and the finish. The movie is also hypocritical in its core, often working against whatever it seemed to convey, a terrible beauty of a quality which Amar Akbar Anthony also possessed. A lot of comedy scenes are repetitions, or something we have heard before – we knew that from the trailer itself with the use of the word “photogenic” which is a comedy that goes years back. The emotional side is also only partially working. The songs are just terrible, and the predictability factor is so strong.

Performers of the soul :: Vishnu Unnikrishnan does a fine job in this movie, and we are glad to see him performing as the protagonist. He has no trouble in going through the different stages of the hero’s career. Meanwhile, Salim Kumar makes a great comeback, and in the flashback scenes, he and Siddique are too good – the two manages to use their years of experience to the best, and makes us laugh. All humour is kept steady by Dharmajan Bolgatty though, and most of his jokes are right on target – the exceptions can be forgotten considering how well he has managed his character with nonstop fun, and even an emotional side that comes in the end. Among the actresses, Lijomol Jose is the pick, and once again after Maheshinte Prathikaram, in this second movie, she is amazingly good as the simple girl. Prayaga Martin doesn’t have much to do, and she is there looking good – no part of the movie is really about her character. Siju Wilson drops in to score too.

How it finishes :: The movie’s first half is cent percent superior to the second half, and we end up hoping for more in the second due to the same. The humour here is the reason why you can go for this movie, and for everything else, there are other movies. If you can go beyond the stereotypes and a certain amount of drag which comes along in the second half, this is surely going to be a fun experience without much to take home, of a better level than Amar Akbar Anthony. I would have liked to skip the final scene though, where Nadirshah makes an appearance – that was totally unnecessary, as it should not have been due to the trust on the audience that he would have casted our hero, but due to the need for bringing a skilled young man as the hero in a good movie – by placing the trust in the viewers, it has gone completely against the overall message of the movie, which is disappointing. But think not about it when you enjoy this entertainer.

Release date: 18th November 2016
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Nadirshah
Starring: Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Prayaga Martin, Lijomol Jose, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Rahul Madhav, Siju Wilson, Salim Kumar, Swasika, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Thara Kalyan, Sethulakshmi, Neena Kurup, Devika Nambiar, Kottayam Nazeer, Nadirshah, Kottayam Pradeep, Jaffer Idukki

kattapanayileritwickroshan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maheshinte Prathikaram

maheshinteprathikaram ()

What is the movie about? :: Mahesh Bhavana (Fahadh Faasil) owns a small studio named Bhavana, living his life in and around Kattappana in Idukki. He is a simple man who finds happiness in the usual happenings of daily life, and is a popular person in the neighbourhood. His best friends include the older man who runs a shop near his studio, Baby (Alancier Lay) and his employee who is a cheerful young man named Crispin (Soubin Shahir). He has been in love with his childhood friend Soumya Kunjumon (Anusree Nair) for a long time, but it turns out that she decides to marry someone who works abroad instead. At the same time, he also gets into a fight with a group of strangers, and he makes a promise not to wear footwears until he has revenge on Jimson Augustine (Sujith Shankar) who beat him up.

So, how and where will the things be going from there? :: Mahesh is determined to have his revenge as he trains in Kung-fu hoping that he can win a fight against his newly found opponent. As Jimson has moved to the Middle East for a job, he keeps waiting for his moment of return. Meanwhile, Mahesh meets Jimsy Augustine (Aparna Balamurali) who needs him to take a photo for the cover page of a magazine. As they fall for each other, he comes to know that she is the sister of the man whom he wants to beat up. But he decides to go on with the relationship, even though he is determined that he will beat up the man when he returns to India. So, will Mahesh have his revenge? Will he manage to do that and finally wear the chappals? Is the decision not to have revenge as Jimsy wouldn’t want? Or will he just fail in the quest?

The defence of Maheshinte Prathikaram :: This one is more than just a movie; as it is more of life – there is nothing exaggerated in this movie as it uses the simple events of life, which could happen anywhere, and brings everything out of them. The movie’s biggest asset is its ability to make one laugh, and that too without using those silly jokes – even above that, it can bring a certain smile on the face of the viewers. There is a lot of skill in how the comedy is handled in this movie; there is nothing dumb, and there is no words used with hidden meanings. The revenge here is not something of hate, but simple, and out of a simple promise which has been made – nobody gets to suffer for the same; and the movie is that light-hearted. The songs are good and the visuals of the high-ranges are very well captured. Life is rarely reflected on screen this simple and lovable; especially look out for the anthem and the theatre scenes – that’s just two of the long list.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing huge in the story of this movie; it is just the simple life of the common man in the high-ranges. Well, as Life of Josutty had said in the posters, this one is also just life without twists and suspense. There will be no big melodrama or romance as those exaggerated movies – dealing with a simple man’s life, this movie won’t satisfy the blind fans looking for all which is not there in life. As the movie brings real and natural humour instead of the silliness which is needed for the fans, there will be the group which won’t like it. But the final fight scene could have been shortened, and Aparna Balamurali could have had her entrance much earlier, especially considering the fact that they don’t see each other during their first meeting. But that is no flaw for you to decide not to watch a feel-good movie which is a lot sensible than the rest.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil returns to be the crowd-favourite after Monsoon Mangoes which never really got close to connecting with the audience. As always, he is too good – he has taken control of this character and has done a really fantastic job. You have to love how well he manages each of his characters, and this one is simply awesome. Here is the man whose movies have viewers and admirers of movies rather than fans – it means that we can watch his movies without being troubled by the blind fans who are howlers, abusers and haters; how many celebrities can manage to offer a movie without trouble from terrible people? I had even read that he said that fans associations are not needed, and people need to watch his movies only if they are good. It is the kind of policy which every sensible actor needs to follow.

Further performers of the soul :: Anusree manages her role here with ease, as she plays Fahadh’s love interest in the first half. The second half has Aparna Balamurali whom we remember from Oru Second Class Yathra in which she played the character Amritha Unnikrishnan; it is related to the song “Ambazham Thanalitta” with Vineeth Sreenivasan rather than the movie. Here, she is the one to look out for, after our protagonist. She has a simple and charming way of playing her character here, and it is a lovable performance in store here. I am sure that she will go a long way after this performance. 2015 had some interesting new female faces in Malayalam movies, and 2016 has one more promising star, even though not that much of a new face – she has her first big role and she has done a really good job; this work feels so real and energetic.

And the rest of the movie :: The combination of Alancier Lay and Soubin Shahir is really good in this movie, and they handle the funny side here amazingly well. In a movie which has a lot of new faces, another newcomer Lijomol also has some nice funny moments here. The debut from the director Dileesh Pothan is a wonderful one, and he has also played one role. The supporting cast is really strong here, even with so many new faces. This different kind of revenge story is the kind of movie which you should really watch. It is something like a simple and humorous page taken right out of the book of life. Maheshinte Prathikaram is the kind of movie which could have been made more, but only people who have the ability to notice the simple things in life with skill, can come up with such a creation, and for the same, this movie needs the appreciation as it becomes the best of the year so far! These are good times for movie-watchers, with options of Action Hero Biju and Puthiya Niyamam also there!

Release date: 5th February 2016
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Aparna Balamurali, Anusree Nair, Soubin Shahir, Alancier Lay, Lijomol, KL Antony, Jaffer Idukki, Dileesh Pothan, Sujith Shankar, Saiju Agustine

maheshinteprathikaram

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.