Night Drive

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time when the vampire team was on a night drive?

Vampire Bat: We only have night drives around here. We don’t go for morning drives.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the night drives have been rare too.

Vampire Bat: That is because we don’t drive, but fly.

Vampire Owl: Not all vampires can fly, or even glide.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we bats and owls do.

Vampire Owl: Yet, we can go for a drive in the vampire-mobile.

Vampire Bat: It is a bat-mobile, and it is my private property.

Vampire Owl: You don’t use it as you can fly.

Vampire Bat: It will not be used for night drives, and that is final.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Georgy Jacob (Roshan Mathew) works as an Uber driver and hopes to migrate to the Middle Easy for a better future. He is in love with Riya Roy (Anna Ben), a very popular news reporter, and they used to be childhood friends for a very long time. They do keep a certain amount of distance between them, as Riya’s father, Roy Mathew (Renju Panicker) who has retired from the military forces is not fond of Georgy. For Riya’s birthday which is also the Christmas evening, they decide to go on a night drive without her father knowing anything about it. At the same time, Rajan Kurup (Siddique) is caught in a gold smuggling scandal which was discovered by Riya and her channel, a case which has been transferred to NIA. He expects to be arrested by the squad on the very next day, and asks Chacko Cherian (Kalabhavan Shajohn) to find a way to get rid of the gold in his home before NIA comes for the raid. Rajan’s trusted aid Jaleel (Sudheer Karamana) assigns the minister’s personal assistant Balu (Kaliash) to get the gold to a safe house.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Meanwhile, Riya who was driving the car gets into a fight with Circle Inspector Benny Moopen (Indrajith Sukumaran) who was doing routine vehicle checking. Benny lets them go so that he can avoid any of the people there spreading the news about him bothering a lady in the middle of the night, but is clearly angry about the incident. Riya who keeps arguing with Georgy over the earlier incident suddenly spots someone in front of their car, and the vehicle seems to have hit that person, who is revealed to be Balu with a bag full of gold. The two manages to take him to the hospital, which brings Francis (Prasanth Alexander) who owns the car they were driving and Ammini (Sreevidya Mullachery) handles that particular Uber fleet operations to the hospital too. The police officer in charge of the case is Benny, who is only happy to torment Riya and Georgy over the incident. He decides to keep them in the hospital, but the arrival of Chacko at the hospital with other motives complicates things.

The defence of Night Drive :: The movie seems to move forward naturally in the beginning stages, with likable characters and the incidents which can be related by different people from various stage of their lives. The beginning stages go on with the usual, and feels like the natural order of things. It does have some fine twists, and a few red herrings are also there to make sure that one doesn’t guess it the right way. The different characters in the movie are not really what they seem to be, as the visages tend to show differently on diferent occasions. There are moments which keep you at the edge of the seat, as these are characters whom you like. The cast has been chosen well here, as you feel that there would have been tendency to go for a few others, but here we have characters getting equal importance instead of the focus shifting to one person. The visuals of Cochin are really good around here. This is the kind of movie which should have released directly on OTT, as there is a certain possibility of this going popular among the audience outside Kerala if it was first released online.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the movie had built up so well, the final scenes are not that much up to the mark. There is the plan to bring some mass action in the end, but it doesn’t suit the overall mood of the film – a darker version of the final moments would have done better for this particular movie. Let the outdated superstars do the mass action for their brainless fans, and the new generation of actors should go for class and perfection. These are not the times of such fan nonsense in the theatres, as we have the post-corona virus OTT loving audience as a strong force, and this is the flick which will be watch more on such platforms rather than anywhere else. It had a certain realistic side to the proceedings until the makers decided to go full action in the last few minutes with a specific background story added to the main characters. The first few minutes could have been shortened too, as there seems to be an extension of the less important happenings then. The conclusion could have also been kept at a higher level.

The performers of the soul :: Roshan Mathew has been continuously working hard to come up with some memorable performances, last seen in the Amazon Prime Video release, Kuruthi, a thriller with many messages. Coming out of the first big role in Aanandam and the earlier smaller ones in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Puthiya Niyamam, he has evolved a lot to reach this higher level. His performance in this movie is realistic for most of the time, and something to be appreciated, until the mass moments come in the end. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen has already let Anna Ben set a bar which is difficult for her to overcome – even with a film like Sara’s having her as the life and soul. Indrajith Sukumaran is solid as the police officer who seems strict as well as menacing, and at the same time, likes to have a strong grip on his investigation. Siddique once again plays the corrupt politician with sinister motives well, and reminds one of Jagathy Sreekumar of Passenger. Kaliash once again has a good supporting role and so is Kalabhavan Shajohn, while it is nice to see Sreevidya Mullachery of Star Magic fame playing a memorable role here – she is indeed a lovely talent, and the fair reason for anyone to watch the popular show in Flowers television channel.

How it finishes :: Night Drive becomes a movie of interest without that much of a hype associated with it. It has some fine moments of interest, and successfully deviates from the tendency to go full nonsense like in that Shane Nigam – Shine Tom Chacko film of misery and shame, the pariah of a movie called Ishq. When two lovers are on a night drive, the situation can be tackled well to make a thriller of quality beyond the usual and the expected, as shown around here. This movie seemed to have Roshan instead of Shane, Indrajith instead of Shine and Anna instead of Ann, with the main characters going for a night ride as part of celebrating the lady love’s birthday, and in the process being stopped by the man claiming to be the police officer – seems so familiar for those who have watched that movie, but this one takes a completely different route, and also involves other characters in a journey of twists which are not about just two, three or four people. Night Drive is successful and delivers nicely when we take a fine look.

Release date: 11th March 2022 (Theatre); 10th April 2022 (Netflix/Manorama Max)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Vysakh
Starring: Roshan Mathew, Anna Ben, Indrajith Sukumaran, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Sreevidya Mullachery, Kailash, Muthumani, Prasanth Alexander, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Siddique

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Virus

What is the movie about? :: Kozhikode District collector Paul V Abraham (Tovino Thomas) gets an urgent call when he is about to leave home. There are a series of events that lead to the same, and most of it happens in the Kozhikode Medical Centre. A nurse named Akhila (Rima Kallingal), was taking care of a young man named Zachariah (Zakariya Mohammed), who was admitted to her hospital for fever, but is now suffering from the same symptoms. Dr. Abid Rahman (Sreenath Bhasi) is having his normal shift in the hospital as his lover and medical student Sara Yakub (Madonna Sebastian) shows signs of ending their relationship – at the same time, more and more patients are being admitted in the hospital. But the signs that some of these patients show are not natural, as the doctors figure out that something strange and unusual is coming up. It is also not limited to one or two people anymore, and there is panic.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The samples are sent to Manipal to be tested by the experts led by Dr Suresh Rajan (Kunchacko Boban), and it is confirmed that it is Nipah virus which has affected the patients. With no vaccination or specific treatment available for the epidemic, the only hope for the goverment is quarantine, and hope to find the source, as well as make sure that it didn’t spread to many people. The team lead by Health Minister CK Prameela (Revathi) includes the collector Paul V Abraham with Dr Smrithy (Poornima Indrajith) and Dr Annu (Parvathy) in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading. First identified in 1998 in Malaysia, the disease, in most cases has taken the lives of those who were infected. With people not related to the first patient, like Unnikrishnan (Soubin Shahir) getting infected, there are questions raised how the source could be found. Are the authorities good enough to find it?

The defence of Virus :: The movie nicely deals with a situation that Keralites, especially those from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in the north of the state had to go through. With the virus showing its signs of return in the central area now, the case has gained further significance. One won’t fail to notice how the movie has kept itself close to reality, and how each character has been given significance, with each actor having a job to do. The movie is never dependent on one person, as there is no main character – there are only people who tries to help others, and a few others who try to survive in a world which is threatened by something new, and something deadly. The movie was a need, as the world needed to know the story, and making it a memorable one was Aashiq Abu’s duty, which he did with ease, as we have three good memories in a row, with Rani Padmini, Mayaanadhi and this one.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might feel slow at some points, but it quickly goes past the same. We are able to place ourselves in the place of the characters, and we go through their emotions with ease. The emotional strength of the movie is high, and it can even be more with different people, and their perspectives. The thrills are also there, and we keep close to the whole thing, each moment. Parts of the movie might be fictionalized, but our director surely knows where to stop that. The location is as nicely captured as the people themselves. The view from the top more or less makes us feel the city. You know what is going to happen in the end, and you want to know how we reach there, and to go through that journey, we are with the characters like never before – in creating that closeness to the characters, the director has succeeded.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has a fantastic cast, and the talent can be seen in each part of it. Parvathy comes up with another great job after Uyare, and this one has one more natural performance from her. Two of the three best movies of the year belongs to her, with the other one without her presence is Kumbalangi Nights. Tovino who was Parvathy’s co-star in Uyare had only memorable performances, with Lucifer, Ente Ummante Peru, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona giving him a continuous impressive run in Malayalam movie industry. Here, once again, he owns his role. Kunchacko Boban didn’t have that much of a great run with his previous movies, but he is right there, solid with this role of a doctor. Asif Ali continues his choice of some good movies with another emotional role. Vijay Superum Pournamiyum had provided a great beginning to the year for him. Joju George, after Joseph, continues to strike our emotions in a beautiful way.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran and Rahman has smaller, but memorable roles, especially with the former who manages to come up with some nice moments in between. It is also great to see Poornima Indrajith after such a long time, and this is a role to remember for sure – nice to see Remya Nambeeshan there too. Revathi manages to do the job of Health Minister in a believable manner. The similarity in appearance has also been achieved up to an extent. Madonna Sebastian doesn’t have much to do here, and neither does Sharafudheen. Rima Kallingal is quick to come and go, and stays in memories because of the emotional connect with the real-life character being attained. Meanwhile, Sreenath Bhasi gets a different role this time, and he manages to provide complete justice to the same. He had provided some signs of the same in the last movie, but that was a mute character – this time, he raises the bar. The roles of Jinu Joseph and Dileesh Pothan are small, but to be noted. Unnimaya Prasad and Soubin Shahir also catches our attention.

How it finishes :: Virus is already the biggest movie of the weekend, with so almost all shows being booked early. The success here lies in the fact that it shows everything in a realistic manner, never do we see those unreal heroes – we feel that almost every character in there are people like us, and therefore part of us. We can feel the pain and troubles of the characters, as well as reflect the same. As Nipah virus once again becomes a cause of concern, this becomes a thing of focus yet again. Virus is a movie that needs to be watched for how it shows the people showing their fighting spirit and their concern for others, in a battle for survival. It is also a memory of the people who lost their lives in the process, especially the nurse, Lini Puthussery who died while doing her duty. It is the same reason why this movie needs to be watched more than any other.

Release date: 7th June 2019
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Joju George, Jinu Joseph, Rahman, Soubin Shahir, Indrajith Sukumaran, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Remya Nambeeshan, Revathi, Madonna Sebastian, Sreenath Bhasi, Indrans, Rima Kallingal, Dileesh Pothan, Senthil Krishna, Sharafudheen, Shebin Benson, Zakariya Mohammed, Sudheesh, Savithri Sreedharan, Darshana Rajendran, Basil Joseph, Lukman Lukku, Ann Saleem, Haris Saleem, Sajitha Madathil, Leona Lishoy, Nikhil Raveendran, Sreekanth Murali, Vettukili Prakash, Sreedevi Unni, Ambika Rao, Divya Gopinath, Unnimaya Prasad, Sundara Pandyan, Binu Pappu,Vimal Muraleedharan, Nilambur Ayisha

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lucifer

What is the movie about? :: Kerala is ruled by IUF, and its leader and Chief Minister PK Ramdas (Sachin Khedekar) is a respected figure with a great fan following, not just among the people of his party, but also outside. It is his death which changes things in Kerala’s politics, all of a sudden. Mahesh Varma (Saikumar) who is next in charge finds this to be a golden opportunity to become the leader of the party as well as the Chief Minister of the state. Ramdas’ eldest daughter Priyadarshini (Manju Warrier) along with her daughter Jhanvi (Saniya Iyappan) is the first to come to the scene. Her second and current husband Bimal Nair a.k.a. Bobby (Vivek Oberoi) keeps close watch of the situation at the same time. Even though Priyadarshini and Jhanvi are not after political power, Bobby looks forward to it so that he can use it to spread his narcotics business to Kerala and earn a great amount of money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, the only son of Ramdas, Jathin (Tovino Thomas) is living abroad. Bobby figures out that he is the one big chance that they have here, and by making him the new leader, could go through the drug business without anyone coming to know. He already has the support of Mahesh Varma and Priyadarshini regarding the same. He uses Jhanvi as a means to go through the family smoother. Govardhan (Indrajith Sukumaran) is one of those people who knows all these, as he had been searching for truth for a very long time – but he finds himself locked inside a mental asylum, thanks to Bobby. But before he is locked up, he finds the one other person who might be part of this power struggle – Stephen Nedumpally (Mohanlal), an orphan who was raised by Ramdas, a people’s favourite leader from the highrange constituency of Central Kerala.

And what else is to follow? :: Stephen Nedumpally is the kind of person none of the power seekers here want to have in the game, and the family also wants no part of him out there. The politicians on both sides, Mahesh Varma on one side and Medayil Rajan (Shivaji Guruvayoor) on the other wants him gone. Bobby is also hoping to make no mistakes, as he is playing a dangerous game involving Abdul (Suresh Chandra Menon) and Fyodor (Frank Free) who are masters of the game in Mumbai. He would have Stephen’s opposition out of the way as the party would be sponsored by the drug mafia. The people in the middle part of all these including Aloshy Joseph (Kalabhavan Shajohn) and Murugan (Baiju Santhosh) will have interesting roles to play as Kerala prepares for the big change. But the question remains about who would gain and loss the most in the battle between evil and evil.

The defence of Lucifer :: Unlike what was expected, Lucifer doesn’t jump into the shoes of a mass movie all of a sudden, and that is the clear advantage that this one has over Pulimurugan. Clearly a better movie having content of quality and rich in ideas, this one rises over the expected mass masala, and becomes more, but at the same time, it never hesitates to provide what the fans want. There is working on two levels, something which Odiyan could have focused on, to become a favourite. There are elements from politics nicely used too, and we get to go through a certain dirty side that attempts to take over politics every time, and may be even succeeds up to an extent. The action scenes are nicely done, and except for a very few, keeps itself in control to make us believe. The control that is maintained in the final scene with the song nicely contributing to it, is also worth mentioning. There is a higher level of making here, and the thrills are of great strength.

The claws of flaw :: The slow motion sequences, even though less in number, could have been avoided. There could have been more of Tovino Thomas on the screen too. Vivek Oberoi’s character could have been bigger terror, something that could pose a challenge that goes a long way ahead. The presence of predictable elements in between, should have been avoided. The references and allusions made in the movie also seems nice, but could have been better connected. There are quotes shown in the end including the one from Lucifer as the tragic figure of John Milton’s Paradise Lost who famously declares “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”; we also have “Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here” from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest being shown on the screen in the end – is there something left for a sequel? One is left to wonder. The use of media could also been better shown. The movie is also too long.

The performers of the soul :: It is late to review a movie which has reached the 100 crore collection mark already, Pulimurugan, Drishyam, Oppam and this one leading the glory with the rest – almost everyone knows what Mohanlal has brought to this movie as the titular character, and needs no more talk about the same, as Stephen Nedumpally is grand. Meanwhile, the one person who steals the show with less amount of screen time is Tovino Thomas whose moments are nothing less than glorious. Manju Warrier has her fine emotional moments in here following Odiyan. Vivek Oberoi’s villain doesn’t maintain that terror that he seemed to possess in the beginning, but he is a fine choice for the role as we can see. Kalabhavan Shajohn, Saikumar, Baiju Santhosh, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Nandhu – all the characters play the roles of politicians with ease. Meanwhile, we see Shaun Romy of Kammatipaadam making an appearance after a long time. There is a long line of extended support here too.

How it finishes :: When someone like Prithviraj Sukumaran comes up with his directorial debut, you know that there is something special coming up. His previous movies as the leading actor had the Hollywood touch, whether it was the never before science fiction apocalyptic thriller called 9 or the diasporic crime drama set in a deteriorating, decaying city called Ranam – this one has the elements beyond the usual Malayalam movie, and as a flick written by Murali Gopy, we know that there is more. Lucifer is the kind of movie which combines its elements very well, and thus becomes a rare piece of a flick. It can be liked for more than one reason, and there is much to cherish for almost every kind of viewer. Well, this is Vishu and Easter is also on its way, and we have much to watch. For now, I wish all of you a Very Happy Vishu, and hope you enjoy the holidays well – but at the same time, be careful about the heat which is rising.

Release date: 28th March 2019
Running time: 174 minutes
Directed by: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Starring: Mohanlal, Tovino Thomas, Manju Warrier, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Saniya Iyappan, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Giju John, Saikumar, Baiju Santhosh, Fazil, Sachin Khedekar, Suresh Chandra Menon, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Nandhu, John Vijay, Aneesh G Menon, Kainakary Thankaraj, Bala, Adil Ibrahim, Shaun Romy, Adarsh, Helen, Frank Freem, Waluscha De Sousa, Sijoy Varghese, Thara Kalyan, Parvathi T, Binu Pappu, Parvathy Menon, Sreeya Remesh, Sshivada, Antony Perumbavoor, Shakti Kapoor

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mohanlal

What is the movie about? :: Meenakshi (Manju Warrier) a.k.a. Meenukkutty is a die-hard fan of Mohanlal who was born on the same day on which the actor’s first movie, Manjil Virinja Pookkal released. Right from childhood, she used to be that huge a fan of the actor that she couldn’t stand anything said against him – she could only be pleased by things related to Mohanlal. After growing up, nothing changed for her, and she is finally married to Sethumadhavan (Indrajith Sukumaran) who has been in love with her since their childhood times at the same classes in the same school. As Meenakshi just goes on watching Mohanlal movies on the first day first show, and fighting with people who speaks against the actor, the marriage itself seems secondary to her. Sethumadhavan who couldn’t even think about not loving her, decides to keep her happy by allowing this strange addiction which goes over everything else.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But things only get worse, and Sethumadhavan decides to end his life by jumping in front of a train. There he meets a stranger (Soubin Shahir) who is sitting in the railway station with his dog. Sethumadhavan tells his story to the new friend who seems to be a little crazy himself. The story begins from their childhood when he develops certain interest for Meenakshi, and to their marriage and beyond. Meenakshi’s interests only get stranger, and it gets to the worst situation with her getting pregnant after a long wait, and them losing their child because of her need to watch another Mohanlal movie on the first day first show. But that wouldn’t change her, and after moving to a new place, there would me more to affect their family life in a terrible manner. How can they fight through this struggle which keeps repeating itself?

The defence of Mohanlal :: There is nostalgia being awakened in this movie, as Mohanlal movies had been defining our childhood. We see a fine beginning to this movie, with reference to Manjil Virinja Pookkal in which Mohanlal made the entry as a villain. The song in the beginning is the best of them all, and sets a fine mood for everything. The scenes involving the children are too good, as they grow up watching Mohanlal in his movies, and the youth also has a few moments during its short existence. It is the first half maintaining a certain level that makes sure that people are very much interested in knowing what is to follow. The movie is also a clear improvement from the director’s earlier movie, IDI: Inspector Dawood Ibrahim. The comedy is also better than the earlier fan stuff movie, Pokkiri Simon, even though there is no twist or suspense to this one.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be not much care given for the story here, as it is rather too ordinary, with nothing innovative happening, even though there was surely the chance for something special. The reflection of fan stuff is also done in a strange manner. The fan thing is more or less irritating at times, and the length of the movie is also a little too much for such a story which never tries to raise its level. The justification provided for extreme fan worship is even stranger, and never does it seem to bring things together – its ending is rather forced to become a happy one, and the reality, as one would expect, can only be much worse. There was the chance to lighten up the nostalgia with each moment of life, but such a plan is never there. This never seems to have the plan to show a normal fan who has controlled love for the favourite superstar. The first half is some fun, while the second half drags on.

The performers of the soul :: Even though we can say that Manju Warrier is perfectly suited for this role, there will be opinions that the character has been overdone, and is more or less irritating for anyone’s taste. Some of the actions of the character just can’t be justified, and providing justification here would do more harm than good. Coming out of C/O Saira Banu, Udaharanam Sujatha and Villain last year followed by Aami, this character has no strength, no matter into which genre we put this one. Yes, there are moments which stay, and the comic side is handled better in the early stages, while the latter moments never even come close. Indrajith had two thrilling adventures last year in the form of Tiyaan and Lakshyam, both taking different paths, and here we have a change again. He seems comfortable in this role, and he plays the helpless husband facing fan nonsense with no problems.

Further performers of the soul :: Meenakshi, known the best for Amar Akbar Anthony and Oppam, makes the childhood moments memorable, with Vishal Krishna of Maalgudi Days and Annmaria Kalippilaanu fame. Shebin Benson and Krittika Pradeep also have some shorter moments of glory, with latter earlier being seem in Aadhi as the girl who admires the leading character. Soubin Shahir provides some fun, but the character never really suits this movie. The same can be said about Salim Kumar who has too short a role, which makes no contribution to the overall story. Even Aju Varghese who plays a major character has the role being given less attention, with ineffective jokes – Hareesh Perumanna is also wasted in a small presence. There are many characters, with faces that can be recognized easily, but most of them seem to be present for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: This is the movie that needs Mohanlal to fuel it, but it doesn’t deserve the star due to the ordinary stuff that it provides in the name of an extraordinary actor. When you name a movie Mohanlal, there is a certain expectation about keeping a level, but we see that it is the only thing this one tries to focus to bring the fans. We do feel those movies with which we grew up with, and at the same time, we keep wondering if this is the best tribute that was there to be watched. After all, this is Vishu, and we Keralites deserve more. This year had many movies, but as of now, it has been struggling to catch up with the flicks which released last year during the same months. Is this the loss of creativity around here, or because the big ones are yet to come? We will see that, and until then, Mohanlal might be the movie that families can enjoy up to an extent along with some Mohanlal fans, depending upon what you are looking for.

Release date: 14th April 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sajid Yahiya
Starring: Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Aju Varghese, Krittika Pradeep, Baby Meenakshi, Shebin Benson, Master Vishal, Unni Krishnan, Salim Kumar, Soubin Shahir, KPAC Lalitha, Hareesh Perumanna, Sreejith Ravi, Anjali Aneesh, Siddique, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Pradeep Kottayam, Riyas Doha, Sudhi Koppa, Sunil Sukhada, Manoj Guinness, Sajan Palluruthy, Kottayam Nazeer, Anjana Appukuttan, Praseetha Menon, Sethu Lakshmi, Asha Aravind, Unni Rajan P Dev, Sreya Remesh, Molly Kannamaly, Prithviraj Sukumaran (voice)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Tiyaan

What is the movie about? :: Pattabhiraman Giri (Indrajith Sukumaran) is living a happy and normal life with his wife Amba (Ananya) and his only daughter, Arya (Nakshatra Indrajith). They belong to a small group, including Malayalis who reside in a small village, somewhere in North India. He comes from a long line of Brahmins who have a huge legacy. But the respect and the admiration that he has in the village due to his good nature, closeness to God and kindness lands himself in trouble as Mahashay Bhagavan (Murali Gopy), a famous godman with millions of followers wishes to build an ashram there. While a number of people are forced to run away from the village in one way or the other, a few others like Jayanthan Nair (Suraj Venjaramoodu) decides to become the poweful godman’s latest disciple, and find a place to stay within his ashram after selling his assets to the spiritual organisation and being assured of some monthly earnings.

So, what happens next? :: Mahashay, whose original name is Remakant, was a disciple of the great spiritual guru, Vasundhara Devi (Padmapriya Janakiraman) who was found dead in her ashram, after which the man has been everything about the organisation. He is so powerful that almost every V.I.P. in the belt worships him – the Chief Minister himself visits him so often, and has declared his victory even before the election began as he has the blessings of this godman. With all these people in his pocket, the police is also helpless, focusing more on dealing with smaller cases, or those which will make the politicians happy, making the common man suffer in the absence of law and order. He has branches of his ashram in different parts of India, and has spread abroad a lot during the recent times. He has everything planned all the time, and keeps getting what he wants.

And, what is to follow next in this tale? :: Pattabhiraman is determined to keep his ancestral home at any cost, and he finds it his duty and privilege to do the same. Mahashay provides him with time until Shivaratri to come up with the right decision, which is to leave his place and go back to Kerala after accepting the compensation and the blessings from him; otherwise, there is only the curse that will await him. Almost everyone who is left in the village has accepted this new godman as their new saviour and guru, as they feel that it is the only option as well as the right choice for the future. It is during these troubled times that he comes across Aslan Mohammed (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who offers him help. One day, while looking for Aslan and not finding him, Pattabhiraman is told the tale of Aslan by another man, Jameel Askari (Shine Tom Chacko). Aslan might not be the man whom Pattabhiraman thought he was, but can he be of help?

The defence of Tiyaan :: The thought-provoking moments of Tiyaan are intense, with that intensity like never before. The dialogues are stronger than ever, and we feel all the correct emotions in each of them, whether it is anger, hate, fear or grief. There are signs of what is to come from the beginning itself, and we feel how this is going to be something different, and it is. The whole thing remains a thought-provoking saga, and we are left with hope in a world which doesn’t have much of the same with almost everyone being hypocrites. There might be complexity within, but the final message is rather too simple, with all religions leading to one God, and love being the path. There are only some people who use the name of God in vain, and use it to hate and kill others; but our culture has always been in favour of diversity, and in our world, we have always been one. It is only the corporate side and the rest who are seeking mileage political or social, spreading the hate, as it is shown in the movie – it is all for the rich and influential as the rest suffers. The visuals are really good too.

The claws of flaw :: Tiyaan is too long a movie, and this much of a length doesn’t work in favour of such a flick. It is predictable at parts, and the flashback story is not that interesting. There are those parts of the movie which could have had more focus on them than the rest, but the movie just leave some of them behind. The philosophical side just hesitates to go any deeper, and the mass takes over when things could have been rather natural and realistic. One can only wonder what more this flick could have achieved with the material that it possessed, and considering the way it began and set everything ready by the interval. The final scene about the link between the two protagonists from the past might actually be the lowest point of the movie, and it was never needed to exist. Even though this is a Malayalam movie, there is less presence of the language, and the common audience will have trouble with the same.

Performers of the soul :: The movie focuses on Indrajith in the first half and on Prithviraj in the second. While the former returning after Lakshyam has quality time on screen in those beginning stages, the latter returning after Ezra finishes off in style, and also brings something for the mass in the second half. The fact that even after the performances, considering our common nature, some fans will also have to write imposition to remember the message for daily life. There is one dialogue from Indrajith about what is spoken by God and what is added by humans for their convenience – that one stays for so long. Then there is Prithviraj talking about selfish people and the rest of the world, so much charm there. Murali Gopy’s godman act is something that will be remembered for his way of bringing that character to its full strength right from the beginning. We also see Indrajith’s daughter Nakshatra doing so well, and Ananya is there in a short role done fine. Suraj Venjaramoodu does nice when he is there, and the same can be said about Shine Tom Chacko.

How it finishes :: On one side, we get those movies made in a hurry as if they have just got the dates of superstars and there is no time – on the other side, there are movies like Tiyaan which seems to be well-thought, and made to suit the times. They could have done without those overdone action sequences and the larger than life flashback which serve as nothing less than road blocks on a long journey. It is the messages that balance the equation, and when they rise above the rest, brings the thoughts that our world needs, and our people have been waiting for. As the message that all religions are one, leading to one final destination, spreads, there is no longer the need for change of faith, for it is replaced by change of mind – there is no more conversion, but transformation of the soul. There are the good and evil in each religion, and then there is God who plays no part in the terrible acts of people who claim to be like the Almighty One, or as following his path. There was Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum, and now there is this movie – divergent ways are surely back!

Release date: 7th July 2017
Running time: 168 minutes
Directed by: Jiyen Krishnakumar
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Shine Tom Chacko, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Murali Gopy, Ananya, Padmapriya Janakiraman, Ravi Singh, John Kokken, Mridula Sathe, Rahul Madhav, Ranjeet, Amit Tiwari, Nakshatra Indrajith, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Paris Laxmi, Bhavika, Anand Attukal, Adesh S Nair

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vettah

vettah (1)

What is the movie about? :: The City Police Commissioner, Sreebala IPS (Manju Warrier) is investigating a case about one missing actress and her old friend; the possibility of a kidnap and a murder is there, and all signs lead to one man only, Melvin Philip (Kunchacko Boban) who claims that he killed both of them and has buried the corpses at a certain location which he cannot remember. Further questions don’t reveal much as he keeps repeating one particular part of his tale. ACP Xylex Abraham (Indrajith Sukumaran) helps Sreebala in the case, and is troubled by his own family problems. The story of Melvin goes back to his own life, and his relationship with his wife Sherin (Kaadhal Sandhya) after an inter-faith marriage and the loss of their daughter, finally leading to the death of her too.

So, where does the investigation go from there? :: Here, during the questioning, Melvin talks to the police officers about trust and its role in life. With the case of Melvin, it is not incident of two people missing that comes to the light, but many facts which were rather hidden. There is the case the accident of Sreebala’s father (Vijayaraghavan), the relationship between Xylex and his wife as well as a lesser known past of Melvin, all coming to light, and each of these being connected to the other, the past to the present and the future, all things being revealed as the story progresses towards the end. So, will Sreebala and Xylex find the missing people, and are they really dead as Melvin says? Is Melvin really the culprit, and has he killed these people or is he just some random person who lost his sanity after the death of his wife and daughter?

The defence of Vettah :: The mind game factor remains the core of the movie, as manipulations make the most impact around here; the intelligent entertainer comes to the picture here. There is nothing of masala here though; for there exists no comedy and no action sequences at all as the brain game keeps going here. The final twist is a working one and does justice to the rest of the movie. The suspense is maintained well throughout the movie and we will keep guessing about how it will go towards the end. As this one released without a trailer, and a lot less known about the flick, there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding this one, and that brings the surprise to light. There are also some messages related to how the world works, as the movie takes one through the darker side where justice is rather difficult, and revenge becomes the more realistic option. The visuals are also very good.

Claws of flaw :: I am pretty much sure that a lot of people will have problems in following this movie due to its choice of following a different and more complex path. Some people would surely ask for more explanations, and if you miss some points, you will miss a lot. The movie also leaves a few occasions without making much impact, even though the moments could have been better. There is also a certain amount of slowness that you feel in here, and the pace could have actually increased better in the earlier stages too. A number of scenes could have been avoided or presented in another way, but it still works in the way that we see them. The story of each main character could have been separately developed, and that of Indrajith’s character could have used a lot more of ideas too. There is nothing much in the music.

Performers of the soul :: We haven’t seen Kunchacko Boban as someone with this much negative shades on that many occasions; and he has managed this one really well – he comes up with the biggest score here. There is a certain amount of wicked beauty about his character on a number of occasions, and it works really well for him. His smile is something that gives you the clue about what you are witnessing, which is part of a bigger plan, and it has the nice dark side waiting to unleash itself. It is a lot his movie rather than of any other. The idea that many people might have had earlier with the investigation belonging to the two police officer characters will take a u-turn related to this one. It is Kunchako’s biggest and the most interesting role in a commercial movie for a long time. He makes a lot happen here in style.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier has a good run in the first police role in her career, and the one role which remains serious through the run-time – it also becomes her only full serious role during her return, as Vettah allows no comedy as it goes direct and is strictly a serious flick. Coming right out of Rani Padmini and Jo and the Boy which were heavy in messages as well as Paavada which had her in a special appearance, she leaves a mark with the first flick with her as the leading actress. Beginning her second innings with How Old Are You?, I will say that she has had a very good run which continues – there is too much jealousy on the same as far as the fans of the rest are concerned though, which explains a certain amount of dislike or hate. Well, she is surely a lot better than the other other fake lady superstars who claim such a title!

How it finishes :: The final lead here, Indrajith Sukumaran is solid, but the character is left to less importance, and that is a case of something interesting gone missing. The one sad thing here is that with his demise, Vettah will be Rajesh Pillai’s last movie, and it is a terrible loss to the Malayalam movie industry. His Traffic was undoubtedly one of the best with the narrative, and also brought an amazing change at a time when Malayalam movie industry had more terrible movies than the good ones. His Mili was also one of the best of its kind, the only real movie to bring the introvert opinion to light in the right way – it was so good that it bothered a lot of people who couldn’t stand seeing an introvert as the leading character; which is why I consider it as the one righteous movie which gave voice to the lesser shown “others”. We will miss the visionary director.

Release date: 26th February 2016
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Sandhya, Deepak Parambol, Rony David Raj, Prem Prakash, Vijayaraghavan, Kottayam Nazir, Baby Akshara Kishore, Baby Nandana Sajan, Akash Keralan, Jith Pirappancode

vettah

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Amar Akbar Anthony

amarakbaranthony (2)

Vampire Owl :: Are we using the time machine this time?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t understand what you are talking about.

Vampire Owl :: You wanted to watch a Bollywood movie of 1977 in the theatre. It would require a time machine.

Vampire Bat :: I am talking about the Malayalam movie of 2015 with the same name.

Vampire Owl :: That is actually strange because Amar Akbar Anthony was already remade in Malayalam as John Jaffer Janardhanan starring Ratheesh, Ravindran and Mammootty.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but this is not a remake, but a new story which goes full comedy.

Vampire Owl :: It is a strange title then. With a new story, this name of the movie makes me wonder about the possible reason behind such a choice.

Vampire Bat :: Even the name Jenny makes it to this movie.

Vampire Owl :: I need to consult my zombie minions on this.

Vampire Bat :: Well, this is from Nadirshah, and I am sure that he knows the pulse of the common audience.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of three young men who hope to go to Pattaya and enjoy the pleasures of life. These three men Amarnath (Prithviraj Sukumaran), Akbar (Jayasurya) and Anthony (Indrajith Sukumaran) focus on this one aim while their families hope that they do something for home instead. They keep wandering behind one beautiful lady of the locality, Jenny (Namitha Pramod) without any shame. They have a sister figure in the form of Resmiya (Srinda Ashab). With their parents asking them to become good men like their young neighbour Unni (Ramesh Pisharody), all these three men are looking for is to escape from their current situation. For the same, some time in Thailand seems to be the best option for them. But situations keep delaying their journey all the time.

The defence of Amar Akbar Anthony :: The performances from the three actors remain the big highlight of this movie. Most of the jokes are working, especially when involving these three, and the fans will love them. The best of them includes the dialogues like [indirect translation] “Can we have revenge tomorrow?”, “Its just what people say, I don’t know English at all” [/indirect translation] and the jokes related to their way of life, even though jokes related to drinking and Facebook are repetitive. There is also a message coming in the end, and even though it is not complete, there is something positive about it. The debutante director deserves the applause too, making something out this which could have gone awry without these performances and the way of presentation. Even if it isn’t really Kunjiramayanam with bringing laughter, this is the kind of thing which should attract the mass audience, the fans and the new generation youth. It provides the time-pass.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing special related to the naming of the characters here. Even if they were with even stranger names, or belonged to a religion which is not known, it wouldn’t have mattered. Those who think that it would have any relation with the 1977 popular Bollywood movie with the same name are going to be disappointed. It was actually a chance to connect that is missed here. A lot of jokes are not really funny, and at times, the quality is significantly reduced. The songs were not really there to make an impact; they will just appeal to the big fans. The movie does deviate from its path in the end too, and this change of direction could have actually arrived a lot earlier, with some unnecessary jokes avoided. The slow motion action sequences in the end also negatively contribute to the movie. The message which comes too late could have also been provided in a better way. The story struggles in totality, and the twists are without effect.

Performers of the soul :: The pick of the movie is indeed Indrajith Sukumaran who brings the funniest scenes to us. There is something about him in this movie, and may be this character suited him very well even before the shooting ever started! Then there is Jayasurya who has handled his comic role with terrific control. Prithviraj has improved a lot from his comedy flicks like Teja Bhai and Family, and at moments he makes the biggest impact. The trio makes sure that this movie and its comedy works very well. Namitha Pramod is the biggest disappointment of this movie, and it is so wrong that she is made to play a character who has almost no memorable dialogue – it is a character which would have worked even if nobody played that role. They could have managed this character without even showing the lady! The twist involving her is also clearly a waste of time. She is the female lead, and she is given nothing – it is disappointing.

Further Performers of the soul :: But the good thing is that Srinda Ashab has a more serious role here, but she also has less screen presence because the whole thing is about the three main characters. Baby Meenakshi does a nice and cute job. Among the other female characters, K. P. A. C. Lalitha plays Prithviraj’s mother making the biggest impact followed by Bindu Panicker. Pashanam Shaji has his moments, but some jokes do fo overboard. Asif Ali’s guest appearance is memorable. Meanwhile, Kalabhavan Shajon’s character also goes nowhere, even though the beginning had him at a better status. Akanksha Puri and Mareena Michael Kurisingal makes small appearances as the former lovers of Prithviraj and Indrajith respectively, and Mareena is actually part of two of the funniest moments of the movie. Siddique also makes his small appearance memorable. Ramesh Pisharody nicely does his job too.

How it finishes :: This movie has surely worked with the common audience because of the humour, and one can thank Nadirshah’s display of skills with his first ever directorial venture and also with the three men whom he selected to play the lead roles. A blockbuster status is there to be taken. There is still some disappointment left with how much better the movie could have handled its message; for the social issue could have been worked with in a better way, and it could have been less mindless. There is a lot more which Amar Akbar Anthony could have achieved with some more care. I have a dream, that one day the makers will realize that slow motion action sequences are not fair to the audience, no matter how much the fans will admire them, and I also wish that when bringing a social issue to light, it comes early and with the strength which makes it stay above the rest of the movie! For those who are looking for seriousness and not entertainment, there is Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi.

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Nadirshah
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Jayasurya, Kalabhavan Shajon, Namitha Pramod, Srinda Ashab, Baby Meenakshi, V. K. Sreeraman, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Bindu Panicker, Ramesh Pisharody, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Pradeep Kottayam, Sasi Kalinga, Abu Salim, Pashanam Shaji, Thesni Khan, Siddique, Asif Ali (cameo), Akanksha Puri (cameo), Mareena Michael Kurisingal (cameo)

amarakbarantony

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kohinoor

kohinoor.

What is it about? :: The story is set in the late 1980s, as Louis (Asif Ali) is a small-time thief who is looking forward to making it big. With the support of his best friend, Aandikkunju (Aju Varghese), he is hoping to make one huge heist which will mean that he won’t have to be a thief any more. Meanwhile, Haider has arrived in the town from Mumbai and is looking to commit a big robbery, and for the same, he seeks the help of two other thieves Nicholas (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Freddy (Vinay Forrt). As they hope to find a master thief who can pick almost any lock, Aandikkunju comes into the picture, and Louis comes up with a plan to create a twist and big gain for the two best friends. At the same time, Louis falls in love with Daisy (Aparna Vinod) who works at the place where they are to commit the heist. But Haider has more just a heist in his mind.

The defence of Kohinoor :: In an attempt to make an interesting heist movie which never bores, Kohinoor remains a success. There are enough funny moments and good songs to keep things moving forward well. The movie as a whole is a mixture, with comedy always being there and as a heist movie, there are enough twists and turns around. The final moments actually has the best of them, and the best thing about this movie is that it finishes off really well, and manages the entertainment well throughout its run. “Hemanthamen” is the pick of the songs. The use of nostalgia from the early age also works very nicely, with the looks of the times re-created and having references to the hit crime thrillers of the time, Irupatham Noottandu and Athirathram. The movie also nicely maintains a light-hearted feeling throughout it, and nostalgia works very well in favour of this. This is also a big improvement from the director after Kili Poyi.

Claws of flaw :: There has been certain love for thieves with Sapthamashree Thaskaraha releasing last year and the recently released Urumbukal Urangarilla – the audience might think that there is a little too much of the same, but Kohinoor is surely ahead of the recent flicks with the same theme. The movie could have also done without a few scenes which are meant for the masses, because this could have remained simple fun with just realistic twists. The romantic angle doesn’t really work either, as it only seems to stretch the movie and gives the opportunity for the hero to have a heroine, along with one extra song. One can also think that this could have gone full comedy, and also that there could have been more twisted heists added. Yes, there was even more scope. Some actors who were there only for a short time could have stayed there for a longer period of time.

Performers of the soul :: I would consider this as the best performance of Asif Ali in a movie having him as the leading actor. Some people will praise Nirnaayakam, but it was just a movie which had no direction, and that had affected Asif in return. But Kohinoor knows what it is and towards which direction it is moving, and it is its strength and also of the actors associated with the movie. Being self-aware is one the things that can make a movie better and its actors do better, and this movie clearly has that awareness. Asif is in full control, and Aju Varghese makes sure that the movie is a lot of fun with new looks and his impeccable comic timing. Chemban Vinod Jose and Vinay Forrt joins in taking the fun get to the next level. These three actors have been the difference makers for quite some time, and they have done the same here too.

Further Performers of the soul :: While Asif Ali has made this work in his own style beginning from that nice entry, Indrajith Sukumaran brings a top level performance. He has some very nice dialogues in the movie, and the way in which he handles things during trouble at the heist scene is the pick here. There will be moments to remember from him, that is for sure. There is rarely a movie in which Indrajith doesn’t bring the big impact, and we all know that. Aparna Vinod has just so less to do with the smiles, looking cute and remaining so till the end – instead the one who makes the impact is one of the twist-bringers, the lady who brings more to the heist out of nowhere; the name of the actress is not mentioned anywhere, but she is the beauty who manages to do a very nice job in this movie. If you find the name, let me know so that I can add her to the cast.

Soul exploration :: Most of the characters in this movie remains on the grey side, with only the shades of light and dark grey being available. Unlike Sapthamashree Thaskaraha which has more of the thieves made by situations, this one has people skilled in the profession in one way or the other. But almost all of them are still likable, no matter which side they are on. The world in this movie has a certain shortage of people on the good side, but there are still some nice moments of goodness in this movie. If there is a mixed genre called feel-good comedy heist, this one can fit right in there. When everything comes together, things only get better, in more than one way. Just as the name of the movie, there is something “Kohinoor”istic in this movie, majestic and like the mountain of light, and it is something which is rare if we consider only those heist movies.

How it finishes :: Kohinoor goes battling against Life of Josutty and Ennu Ninte Moideen this weekend which is a tough job, even though it has more creativity and smartness behind it compared to these two movies. It replaces Urumbukal Urangarilla, and has enough in it for a long run. The best thing about this movie is that it is not overrated like Ennu Ninte Moideen; I watched the Kohinoor with less expectations and ended up with a certain happy feeling. This is one advantage of not overrating movies and not putting stuff about the movie everywhere on Facebook while copying from others. There is a certain nice feeling when someone reads different opinions from different people about a particular movie and come up with an opinion by oneself – it is how things are to be done, and not by keeping on telling others about one movie and forcing others to watch it.

Release date: 24th September 2015
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Vinay Govind
Starring: Asif Ali, Indrajith Sukumaran, Aju Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Aparna Vinod, Vinay Forrt, Pradeep Kottayam, Sudheer Karamana, Riza Bava, Mamukkoya, Saiju Kurup, Kundara Johny, Bijukuttan, Bhavana (cameo), Harikrishnan (cameo)

kohinoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angels

angels (2)

*Avoiding the “Soul Exploration” paragraphs will be a nice idea if you wish to avoid spoilers. Deeper spoiler in the third soul exploration.

Vampire Owl :: No, absolutely no chance.

Vampire Bat :: But you promised to be back for the weekend.

Vampire Owl :: My weekend starts tomorrow. And why would I watch a movie named Angels? It is totally against my evil mastermind, evil plans and evil cupcake. Did I mention the evil icecream? No, because it would sound like “I scream”.

Vampire Bat :: But the movie still seems dark, worthy of evil.

Vampire Owl :: Even funny movies are too dark these days. I am not falling for that.

Vampire Bat :: You are still looking for an opportunity not to watch a Malayalam movie.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, if I come to watch this movie with you, I will have to watch two Hollywood movies with you this weekend along with this. There is no control. You should have some rest. You are watching movies like Uncle Dracula going to the Theatre of Blood.

Vampire Bat :: Why wouldn’t a vampire go to the Theatre of Blood every hour is beyond me. Uncle Dracula is actually setting a fine example.

Vampire Owl :: This is what I am talking about. You are addicted. It is like a deadly virus and you are spreading it to me too.

Vampire Bat :: You should be more bothered about what all diseases your zombie team is spreading.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Hameem Haider (Indrajith Sukumaran) is investigating a case called “the cemetery murders” which involves the corpses of the victims being disposed on a random grave of cemeteries. He comes very close to catching the murderer, but is shot on the leg and it takes time for him to recover, only to lose the case to Ashok Kumar (Baiju) who continues the investigation reaching nowhere in the process. Meanwhile, a reporter for the ruling party’s television, Haritha Menon (Asha Sarath) who is looking for some crime scenario for her show in the channel meets Father Varghese Punnyalan (Joy Mathew) who promises her some shocking revelations about the lost murder case as he publishes his book, for which he asks for Haider. But at the show, he says that he himself is the killer, but Haider disagrees and tells him that as the investigating officer, he knows better. From there, the next group of attempts to solve this case begins again.

The defence of Angels :: Angels manages to hold the suspense strong from the beginning to the end. The climax is brilliant, and overtakes the build-up in style. The final moments gives us a lot more to cheer for. It is shot in a stylish manner, and the background score is nice. The investigation progresses nicely, and the characterization of the three main characters is splendid. Among them, Indrajith continues to give power-packed performances. This is what comes for him between Memories and 7th Day – a hybrid for this elder brother this time. Asha Sarath comes with another strong work, but among them all, the pick should be Joy Mathew who has the best lines in the movie, and takes over the whole thing by storm with his portrayal of the priest. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli who play’s the protagonist’s wife also comes up with a fair job. The message that it leaves us with, also gives us something to think about. This is something that the debutante director Jean Markose can be proud of.

Claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more of the right promotion, giving more idea about what it is about. I was actually disappointed about the number of people in the theatre, which was too low for a first day show – hope it changes with the word of mouth. The story does seem to get a little stretched in the middle, but that is solved soon. It follows the style of Memories and 7th Day, and might be repetitive for some, and for those who didn’t like those movies by much can think twice about this one. There might be a few questions unanswered, especially with the connections between the murders and the strength of the motive, but still by not affecting the story by much. The villain also deserved a better scope in the climax instead of just being pointed out. There are a few points in the movie which can be guessed, but I could find out things about 7th Day in a much easier way, and so it is no big deal.

Soul exploration 1: A case against infanticide of all kinds (possible indirect spoilers here) :: The movie comes up with a message against aborting. No, it doesn’t say that it should be avoided at any cost, but it makes the stand that there is no reason why a child with a chance to live should not be given the opportunity to see the world. They have the right not to be killed, more than the right to life. It is also extremely powerful in how it comes up with the same, and one has to admit that it has more than enough to get the attention of people. It has the strength to make people realize how bad that act is, and how worse it can be when someone is forced to do the same. We know how prevalent is female infanticide in the developing countries, and India also needs to deal with that situation in a lot of backward areas. Here, it deals with how profitable an enterprise it could become, and how heartless the common man could be when they think about the unborn babies as “human waste”. It is a shame, and the lack of humanity; this movie takes over the message and brings it to the viewers.

Soul exploration 2: The depiction of “different” angels on Earth (possible indirect spoilers here) :: The idea of angels also go with the aborted babies in this movie. They are considered as the cherubs who go to a special and beautiful condition after death, as they are denied this situation and are given something else. The symbolism of the angels also work nicely here, and so does the comparison. The question about their choice to live in this world or directly become the angels that they deserve to be, which are not directly given to them, but are often decided by some people of this world. The movie’s title is justified only in the second half, and comes strong there. It is that powerful punch that they come up with here, that makes such a great impact. It is actually an innovative step taken considering that this is supposed to be an investigative thriller in full strength. Well, the three main characters are actually angels in another way, aren’t they?

Soul exploration 3: The crucifixion of the self and resurrection (possible direct spoilers here) :: The priest’s conviction of himself is a case of crucifixion, which will bring the truth to the light as he takes the punishment for the sinner, but the interesting part is that he is resurrected to his former self in a few days as the criminal is found. Well, the resurrection was near impossible if the truth was not to come to light, but in this case, it works, and his suffering for the sins of the others is short-lived. Fr Varghese Punnyalan not just becomes a symbol of a medium to find truth, but also the only reason why there is truth and justice. Do notice that there are crucifix and cross symbols at a lot of places in the movie, and the character of the priest itself says that he is different from the others, and hence more prone to the problem of being in trouble due to even simple misunderstandings than the others. Do watch this movie, and there might be something you need to add.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jean Markose
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Joy Mathew, Asha Sharath, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Baiju, Dinesh Panicker, Vijayakumar, Tharakalyan, Parvathy Menon, Baby Annie, Prem Prakash, Aneesh G Menon, Jinto K Thomas

angels

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sapthamashree Thaskaraha

sapthamasreethaskara

Vampire Owl :: I can’t pronounce the name of this movie. Is it a bad omen? Does that mean that we will suffer brutally?

Vampire Bat :: No, the movie is good as per all reports. There is absolutely no question about it. The inability to pronounce is because you are an owl.

Vampire Owl :: I am the Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, everybody knows that already.

Vampire Owl :: Well, what you don’t know about is the significance of owls in vampire mythology.

Vampire Bat :: It is not about you, but some random old, toothless owl.

Vampire Owl :: You shall not understand because you were brainwashed thrice by Uncle Dracula. Do you think the movie will go wrong?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think so. Prithviraj hasn’t missed anything since Ayalum Njanum Thammil. There is that perfection even in cameo roles; even in Bollywood. Even his lesser appreciated movie London Bridge was a very good flick which some people failed to follow with its themes because of their lesser intellect.

Vampire Owl :: So, this is the day we really celebrate Onam?

Vampire Bat :: This should be it. But this is not the end as there are also a few other movies to pick from.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: We see a man coming to confess at a church in the early morning, and he decides to tell the priest about his story of crime. He talks about how his life changed with one big heist that he committed. There are seven people who meet in the prison, and the list includes Krishnanunni (Prithviraj Sukumaran), Shabab (Asif Ali), Noble (Nedumudi Venu), Martin (Chemban Vinod), Narayanankutty (Neeraj Madhav), Vasu (Sudheer Karamana) and Salam (Salam Bukhari). They decide to steal from a business tycoon called Pious Mathew (Joy Mathew) who was the one responsible for the terrible predicament of some of the people in the same cell as well as many other poor people. For the same, they come up with a plan for which they are helped by Noble’s daughter Annamma (Sanusha Santhosh), Salam’s friend Paki (Flower Battsetseg) and a few of the other former acquaintances as they decide to teach the city’s top devil a lesson.

The defence of Sapthamashree Thaskaraha :: Here, the usual heist movie is made interesting due to the skills of the director, as there is some nice narration and progress going on in the movie, and the jokes are nicely added in between the situations. The confession setting is nicely done, and the dialogues there are worth some applause. There were lots of claps all around in the theatre. Anil Radhakrishnan Menon has nicely managed these characters here and has made sure that all the robbers have some individuality of their own to compliment each other. The whole thing remains interesting throughout, and there is no drag, loss of interest or any similar thing. The fact that this turns out to be more of a heist than a social satire might be interesting for a few, but not working for some others – remember that things are rather too easy for the robbers. The movie is a clear winner for the Onam box-office, and nothing can change that, and considering the opinions about the other movies, a defence might not be even needed.

The claws of flaw :: The addition in the end is pretty immature, as if there is that 7th Day hangover which never leaves, and has come back to haunt for this Onam – the movie should have just finished before it. There is never the need for a climax over another climax just to add another twist. What we needed were simple lovable little robbers working for a cause, and the end ruins it, destroying that feel-good element completely. The movie was going in the same mood until it happened. The whole thing does remind us of many Hollywood heist movies, and as a comparison is rather unnecessary, I shall leave out of it. This doesn’t like up-to our director’s first movie North 24 Kaatham in front of which, this is trailing. The movie takes too much time to get into the action, and almost an hour is over by the time all the flashbacks are dealt with – not really appropriate for a heist movie to have such a long background for each character. None of the songs are interesting except for the title song which is okay.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran continues his winning run in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, as his success story continues from what he had started with the Lal Jose movie and goes on even when put in less familiar territories like Bollywood (Aurangzeb), romance (London Bridge) and even in negative roles most of the actors would hesitate to do. That perfect journey that he started in 2012, as there is no other actor who has achieved such a good winning ratio, as they move around with their ups and downs – this where Prithviraj has risen above them all, the only other person who has achieved a similar record should be Nivin Pauly, but even he hasn’t got such variety opportunities as our man here who has made the impossible look easy through the last few years. Yes, if you choose the right movie to act in, there will always be appreciation or at least there won’t be too many bad things being told in the worst case scenario.

And the same that is continued :: This Onam is not just about this movie’s success for Prithviraj Sukumaran, as he became father to a baby girl a few days ago. Here, he has a role which is not at all a challenge for him, and does that with ease. The rest of the cast is also very good, and it is on the performances that this movie stands. Reenu Mathews and Sanusha do fine with the limited roles that they have, and the pick of the supporting cast should be Chemban Vinod and Neeraj Madhav who give us a lot to laugh. Asif Ali should have had a bigger role here, but he remains just as one of the seven robbers, unlike his nice entrance in the beginning. Joy Mathew is a nice villain, and this might be better than his previous such performances. Sudheer Karamana and Nedumudi Venu also provides nice support here. Indrajith Sukumaran comes in a guest role by the end of the movie. Flower Battsetseg, a Mongolian circus artist also does some nice work in this flick.

How it finishes :: This Onam is not that good as the last year, as it is evident from the reception for the released movies, and it goes on with the total lag that this year has experienced with Malayalam movies. The last year’s Onam had North 24 Kaatham, Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus and Ezhamathe Varavu being very good flicks, the first one being simplay awesome. There were also terrible stuff like D Company and Sringaravelan, but this year only has Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and up-to an extent, Bhaiyya Bhaiyya to save the season, as others turn out to be mass masala movies for the fans. If the reports are to be correct, Sapthamashree Thaskaraha should be the movie of Onam, and it is clearly re-iterated by a lot of movie watchers who are regular audience. It is a good sign for this Onam. I shall take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads this a Happy Onam, and hope that this last weekend before the Onam vacation ends, brings some awesome movies which will only extend our celebrations. Enjoy the Onam Holidays and God bless! 🙂

Release date: 6th September 2014
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Reenu Mathews, Sanusha Santhosh, Asif Ali, Joy Mathew, Neeraj Madhav, Nedumudi Venu, Chemban Vinod, Flower Battsetseg, Sudheer Karamana, Salam Bukhari, Lijo Jose Pellissery, Indrajith Sukumaran (cameo)

sapthasreethaskarahaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Naku Penta Naku Taka

nakupentanakutaka

Vampire Bat :: There is a problem with your tongue?

Vampire Owl :: No, its the title of the movie we are going to watch. I couldn’t say it at the ticket counter. So I said this time for Africa.

Vampire Bat :: Isn’t that title in Swahili?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but if it was in Malayalam, it would include the tongue being at Penta Menaka.

Vampire Bat :: I had first thought that it could be any non-English, non-Malayalam, non-Hindi movie.

Vampire Owl :: People do complain that Malayalam movies are using English titles. So, this should satisfy them.

Vampire Bat :: May be Swahili movies can use Malayalam titles.

Vampire Owl :: This was a big risk though, they were going to cancel the show stating there are not enough people.

Vampire Bat :: Happens with me for at least three out of every ten movies I watch.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Shubha (Bhama) is determined that she will marry only a man working in the United States of America. She and her father are so obsessed with the nation that her mother, uncle and the broker decides to present the next guy as an engineer working in America, instead of being the staff of a company in Africa. As Vinay (Indrajith Sukumaran) sends a visa to her right after their marriage, she can’t wait to get to America, but after told that they are going to the United States through Kenya, she arrives there only to be told that he works there and it was a plan spearheaded by her mother who was disgusted with her not getting an allience due to her need for a groom working in America. Even as he despises him in the beginning, she soon beings to get along. She also becomes friends with the Malayali neighbours who stay nearby, and even gets close to some natives. But then, a death will happen which will change their lives, and they will be on a run from police, gangsters and also a group of natives. At the same time, a man named Anton Kulasingam (Murali Gopy) also enters their lives, giving them no clue as to what is happening. They only know that they somehow need to get to India.

The defence of Naku Penta Naku Taka :: The name of the movie means “I Love You I Need You”, not the title which suits the movie the best, but still there is a nice song in there with the same lines, and it is beautifully done. The big advantage of this movie is that even when the thrill factor is low, the movie uses its ground advantage to work in its favour; with its power of variety, even when it is a little stupid, this one remains cool. The first half an hour of the movie remains really funny, with our leading characters taking control. Then the world goes the thrilling way, and it manages the transformation quite well and the suspense is maintained quite nicely, especially in the first half. Even as the three major incidents which change their lives are different, they are nicely managed and connected as one couldn’t have occurred without the previous one, and the highest points of tension are reached, but not without some amateurish weakness that can be mostly forgiven. The beauty of Kenya is nicely captured and the cinematography department needs some special applause, as Africa’s landscapes and wildlife becomes known to us through this piece of work. We need such movies which are not shot in the usual places like Europe, North America, Middle East and the South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) – good to see this one going different.

The claws of flaw :: The name of the movie has undoubtedly kept people away from the theatres – even I was sure that this was no Malayalam movie until I was told. It hasn’t succeeded in making the fans believe that the poster is not of a dubbed movie, and only those who follow the films news regularly can know that this is a Malayalam movie with a Swahili name, even as the English name for the other African movie Escape from Uganda was not interesting either. Most of the theatres don’t have this movie being screened either, and that should mean missing lots of business in the local theatres. The movie doesn’t make full use of its resources, neither of the funny side that it begins to explore nor of the thriller side where it attempts to reach. Both areas could have been a lot stronger, considering how well it started and maintained the variety in its presentation. The villain also doesn’t become evil according to the day’s standard, and shooting people is not that bad these days since Joker made The Dark Knight appearance. The ending has no strength, and it is as if it was getting drainer of its power from a few minutes ago. The second half is also inferior to the first half and a few more minutes after the interval which keep us thriller and hoping for something huge. The thrill factor is often low in the latter parts of the movie.

Performances of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran, that name is oftten enough to watch a movie which promises variety. Amen and Left Right Left were his class acts last year, and when he comes up with the first big variety of this year (Masala Republic not included), we are indeed interested. He excels in the funny scenes and continues his form into the rest of the story in a nice way. His inherent acting skills is only matched by the cuteness of Bhama who gives a peaceful performance with all its beauty and her own. You have to love her a lot in the beginning stages when she comes to Africa and realizes that her husband lied to her about America. A little more of such stuff could have given her more opportunities, that is for sure. Anusree has just some screen time, and would disappear for a long time only to appear later for a few minutes. Murali Gopy looks stunning throughout the movie, and proves that he is the right option for being Hitman Codename 47 if the game is adapted into Malayalam – well, people copy anything and everything these days, so who knows? It would have been better if he had more evil deeds to commit rather than shooting people; he is menacing in his style and way of talking and acting, but that is all the character has.

Soul exploration :: Naku Penta Naku Taka is a story of love and survival, even as it doesn’t go deep into either of them. As Indrajith and Bhama forms a nice on-screen pair, and the latter is incredibly cute in her expressions, especially with anger and blushing, may be it didn’t feel the need to get them through terror which has even half the power of the hell’s abyss. But the main theme of the movie remains the same, something which it decides to keep away from the dark side up-to an extent. It is the struggle of a husband and wife to escape from the problems that they face in Africa, seemingly similar to Escape from Uganda, but still finding an identity of its own, and the character of Murali Gopy plays a major part in helping the movie to do so. The expectation that this will work out in the level of Left Right Left is clearly wrong, and with the same protagonist who impressed us in that movie as well as Amen, this movie is just the entertainer with variety, not something which one can ponder over for long – Amen and Left Right Left still remains in my mind, and the characters stay there and so do the situations. Naku Penta Naku Taka is not without ideas, but doesn’t make an attempt to try hard with it, or add fire to the same.

How it finishes :: The 2013 movie Escape from Uganda was the first Malayalam movie to be extensively shot in Africa, and may be the only Malayalam movie to be shot in Uganda. If we look at those reviews on the internet, it has received almost the same kind of reception from the internet critics as for this one, or may be worse if we include some specific reviews. If we go outside Malayalam, the one movie we can remember easily should be Maryan, but that is clearly a different story. Naku Penta Naku Taka has to be appreciated for the effort which it has taken, and its bravery to choose to be different. There is one other thing that I like, and that is that this movie is sponsored by tea, as we can see the logo of Gokulam Love Tea on some of the posters of the movie – yes, how can I not watch a movie which has tea advertisements? Tea is such a big part of the life of the Vampire Bat, and this one inspires to drink more; not the best occasion to say this, but what is life without tea? Indrajith fans and future Bhama fans, take this opportunity to check out this movie. This is the movie that you need, to take a break from the inferior work that superstars have been providing us with, and lets take time to appreciate such lesser known works without huge stars; it will only be good for the industry.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Vayalar Madhavan Kutty
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Bhama, Murali Gopy, Shankar, Anusree Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sugada

nakupentanakutaka copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezhamathe Varavu

ezhamathevaravv

Do you have nostalgia about the old Malayalam movies or do you feel nostalgic very often and feels that the Malayalam movies have degraded a lot and the effect of the new generation movies has not been that good? Do you feel that Malayalam movies should go back and be inspired from a former golden age of movie history or at least appreciate that age which was undoubtedly a memorable one? If the answer of these questions is yes, this is a movie you should watch and this is a review you should read. Otherwise, I would suggest that you return to what you were doing before falling into this ocean of nostalgia instead of poking your nose at a place which is not good for the kind of move loving soul which you have. The movie hasn’t done that well as it should have, and it reveals the lack of nostalgia around or rather the inability to sell this nostalgic feeling due to that horrible change which the audience has undergone with the rise of new generation movies and that mindless entertainer power which has cast a shadow on the beautiful woods of nostalgia. If you haven’t left this page yet, I suggest you reclaim it with this movie.

The film’s script which was written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair in the 1970s and was filmed by Hariharan himself with Sukumaran playing the role of the major antagonist, a role which has been passed on to his son with this new version. But as we have heard about it, the older version of the movie didn’t get released. So this remake of the Sukumaran-Venu Nagavally starrer Evideyo Oru Shatru has Indrajith-Vineeth combination instead. The movie might seem a little bit old generation for the liking of most of the people, but one thing that most of the viewers have to keep in mind is that in spite of all the changes that has come upon the world, may be with laptops, mobiles and tablets taking over what was to be their absence, the environment remains the same. The story of the subaltern undergoes no significant change as a whole, no matter how much the man can claim to have improved and changed their attitude towards their fellow beings. Another thing is that there will always be something in this world that humanity shall never understand, and it is supernatural, either divine or devilish.

But the movie doesn’t follow the path of the older movies with exaggeration or overdose of any element. Yes, there is one good man who comes into a forest with tribals around, and finds his former lover as the wife of the evil man who has control over the lands; and he tries to protect both a young tribal girl as well as the environment from the eyes of the man-devil – a plot which has been used for ages. In this remake, there is a certain amount of realism which has been added for sure, and even during this age of disgusting relationships, the plot remains striking enough. All of the characters are simple ones who doesn’t make a big mess around. None of them try to be heroic and try something which is too unexpected of them, and they stick to the stereotypes of the earlier ages, but carries over the impact which they would have created at that time, to this age which has no fixed quality in its movies. Hariharan and M T Vasudevan Nair have indeed created another beauty in the form of Ezhamathe Varavu, literally translated as The Seventh Coming and not to be confused with the Tamil movie Ezham Arivu.

Our story follows the path of an archeologist, Prasad (Vineeth) who has reached the forests of Wayanad, in an attempt to find the remains of a kingdom which is supposed to have existed in the area which now stands in the wilderness. As he tries to find helpers for the cause, he comes across a simple and innocent tribal girl Maala (Kavitha Nair) who helps him with the forest and its people. He lives in the mansion of Gopi (Indrajith Sukumaran) a rich planter and land owner of the area. Gopi is a wife-beating ego-maniac, heavy drinker, womaniser and a self-proclaimed expert in hunting. He is ruthless in getting what he wants, and always look forward to asserting his wishes on others. He also comes across his former lover Bhanu (Bhavana) who is married to the same man, but has turned out as an alcoholic due to his behaviour towards her. Meanwhile, a tiger makes frequent visits to the tribal village, claiming people during regular intervals. Gopi sets out to kill the animal for the thrills along with having his eyes set on Mala, while Bhanu gets closer to Prasad. But the tiger seems to succeed more despite of the efforts of Gopi and the villagers. What happens next shall end a few lives and change the others.

Indrajith Sukumaran plays the antagonist of the movie, and still wins the round for souls with another performance of brilliance which he carries over from his awesomeness in the movie Left Right Left. To be frank, he is the biggest reason why we had rushed to the theatre despite the number of shows being reduced to one. He portrays that dark shade of a hunter, a predator of no regret with such beauty that one would begin to wonder if anything could be worth missing watching such villainy. Vineeth plays the exact opposite, the side of the light, as the man who decided to give up his love for her own good, along with loving poetry as well as the symphony of the forest along with history. He seems to be in a familiar territory, as he progresses which ease, as a model archaeologist, a great lover of history and a big admirer of poems. Bhavana plays her character with ease and a certain amount of serenity, but Kavitha Nair has more screen presence as the symbol of innocence, the beautiful tribal girl whom the landlord has his eyes set on. The simplicity and the innocence of the newcomer’s portrayal of the girl is sure to have a long lasting influence on the viewers.

There is also the presence of some beautiful music, as we go back in time to the love story of Prasad and Bhanu, but the more touching one would be the song by Maala who is portrayed on screen by Kavitha Nair with such lack of blemish and so much of simple innocence that there is an instant liking that the audience develops with the character. As she is ravished by the predator of the human world and the revenge is half-done, the rest is taken over by the nature, or the symbol of the tribal beliefs or rather the vehicle of the Goddess whichever way the poetic justice prevails, more in a divine manner rather than anything else. If there is an outdated feeling at any point, the more appropriate word would be antiquity, and deserving an excavation as well as a mind which supports the same. What everyone can be sure about is that the evil is punished, and even in the suffering, the good finally survives, may be to thrive later. The possible pessimism which could have fallen into this movie is averted due to the use of the old formula, as the thrills, love as well as the vengeance is well balanced and well thrown on screen.

The movie’s hold on traditions, customs as well as the beliefs is also worth mentioning, as we wonder what the tiger actually depict, as William Blake had written as a part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794; “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies, Burnt the fire of thine eyes”? Yes, we are talking about the visual experience here, for the vision of the burning eyes of the tiger in the darkness comes before the first display of the majestic creature. It is the creature which delivers the final judgement, from the nature itself, for the man who loved nature and the woman who was part of nature. So that adds to this visually superior movie which you can blame for having a predictable plot, and for lacking in mass masala qualities. You can cry about it dragging a bit. But you can never avoid this one, and let me tell you one thing, that this is still a faster movie than Annayum Rasoolum by kilometres and kilometres. Think about it – nostalgia; don’t you need it more than a little?

Release date: 15th September 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Hariharan
Starring: Vineeth, Indrajith Sukumaran, Bhavana, Kavitha Nair, Mamukkoya, Nandhu, Suresh Krishna, Koottickal Jayachandran, Captain Raju

ezhamathevaravuu copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Up and Down

up&down (3)

We all get stuck in the lift. Those who haven’t are the ones who are waiting to get stuck there. Two years after the release of his Thalsamayam Oru Penkutty, this director has returned with what is listed as a psychological thriller – Up & Down: Mukalil Oralundu, which deals with the same issue. But I would not say that it is psychological, as it is more of a murder investigation; a suspense thriller of the recent Mumbai Police model, but the style resembles Banking Hours 10 to 4. But this surely has a good advantage over that; the advantage of the powerful base plot which forms the undercurrents. But the question would be about how it surfaces and faces those ships and boats, the critics and the common man who watches them after watching Neram, English and Mumbai Police in the other theatres. The more famous movie review sites doesn’t seem to have taken this one well, but as long as I am concerned, this is surely above average, and this successfully entertains more than any other Malayalam movie after the age of Amen. Even with its flaws, and the times when sharks become little crocodiles, this wide sea of thrills manages to make an impact on the viewers.

The whole thing happens in the tallest building in the city, a flat where a major event is taking place at the top, that is the twenty fourth floor. There is a lot of preparation going on, and there are many important guests arriving on the day. But it is not in a room, in a hall or at the premises of the flat that the story takes place, as the film is a story of eight people and a kid who gets stuck in the lift on a day when there is a major program there. The trapped people include the lift operator of the flat (Indrajith), the city police commissioner (Ganesh Kumar), the flat’s builder and a major businessman (Baiju), his wife who is a dancer and is dressed for an item in the program (Remya Nambeesan), an alcoholic writer and a stoic personality with a “Carpe diem” attitude to life (Prathap Pothen), an IT professional who plays the role of Godse in a drama for the program and also the secretary of the residents association of the apartment (Rejith Menon), his girl friend and the one in charge of the program (Sruti Menon), a former NRI from the United States who play the role of Mahatma Gandhi for the program’s drama item (Nandhu) and a little kid (Master Devaraman).

The writer keeps telling everyone that he reached there early morning; the kid keeps enquiring about his mother (Meghana Raj) and the lift operator himself tells the police commissioner about his doubts on the missing person. They are on their way to the top of the flat for the program when the lift gets stuck. The man who comes to repair the lift is an alcoholic (Koch Preman) and this delays the process further. The lift has a lot of problems, and this time, it causes bigger trouble as the function has to begin, and soon the writer has chest pain. They also find that there is a dead body on the top of the lift, and the police commisioner guesses that one of the people in the lift is responsible for the murder. He pledges to find the real victim before the lift is opened. But the question remains if it is possible in such a small space with so many people being related to the murdered person in one way or the other. The talks and actions of the people in the lift keeps on raising more and more suspicions. Even the investigator and the most respected people in the lift doesn’t seem to the kind of righteous people who can’t commit a brutal murder. Slowly, a good number of secrets are revealed, which would change their lives once they get out of the trapped area.

This one is more of Meghana Raj’s movie than anybody else. She is present in most of the flashbacks where the core of the movie is revealed. It might also be Ganesh Kumar’s best police role ever. Indrajith has very little to do as the serious lift operator who never has a moment of happiness in life. Prathap Pothen has the most interesting role in the movie, as an alcoholic who enjoys his life without worrying about the past, present or future. He provides the best comic relief with Nandhu. In many ways, this might be one of the most interesting intellectual alcoholics, a reminder of the wise fools of William Shakespeare (that was a little far-fetched) who provides those funny lines as well as the words of wisdom. It is the strangeness of his character that works the best in a situation of being trapped in such an environment. His character is most well-drawn, and the rest are just a little less developed. Some of them really don’t have any interesting character traits at all. The presence of flat characters subtract some points from the situation, and the scenes outside the lift losses in comparison to what happens inside the lift.

So where does the 2010 American supernatural thriller film come into the picture? No, The Night Chronicles: Devil doesn’t really come into the scene here. It had the supernatural within modern city life while this one has the usual crime within the modern urban life. There is no people getting killed one at a time, and there is surely no devil. The only common thing is the lift and the only similar event is the people getting trapped in the lift. So there is no place for Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan or whoever he is. But in a world where the humans can do his job better than him, who needs that personality from the depths of the pain’s own abyss called inferno? There are satan’s little helpers who are both intellectually and spiritually better people of evil than the prince of darkness and eternal pain. Well, this one is successful in building that tension which remains there for most of the time. It is close to being brain dead in the end due to its attempt to come up with something strange and the requirement of another twist, but still, considering the fact that we have seen much worse Malayalam movies, and the greatest disasters of the Malayalam movie industry, this is not at all a bad thing in its glory.

The movie would have been better if the creators had simply forgotten about everything outside the lift and there were more incidents inside rather than the outside. That would have been more of the psychological piece as expected. May be the makers thought that the common movie watcher of this world who hasn’t watched movies like Buried might not stand a chance if they had to face with a monotonous environment such as a plain lift. The need for some colourful factors always comes to the scene when entertaining crowd-puller movies are considered. The movie’s subtitle “Mukalil Oralundu” would signify God, but there is no such direct involvement. The operation of the lift can be related to that divinity, but it is not something that can be directly connected. If the title means the dead body on the top, that would make more sense, but that would turn the usage into a rather funny thing. The more interesting thing might be about considering the lift as a character, which works as it wants itself to. Such a thing can’t be avoided even if that factor is also not explored. The supernatural clearly takes the backseat when the not-so-natural human beings takes control and leads the way.

To be frank, I have been waiting for this one for quite a long time, as the release date was changed from 17th May to 24th May; something unusual for me to long for a movie which had no special cast or nothing to boast about – I was impressed by the trailer and this being a thriller added to the longing. But the movie doesn’t seem to give what the trailer conveys to the viewer. The mystery should have been a little more bifurcating for my mind if it was so. But here, the mystery is straight, but still strange. This suspense works very powerfully throughout the first half and the movie soars high despite of some small troubles, and goes through with half of the second half without too much trouble, but it is the end that fails to justify the means. It was as if everything was made just to make the end happen, or the finish was just made for the movie to end. It is somewhat uninspiring, but everything else throughout the movie is worth all the attention. It might not be what one expect after watching the best of the world, but with the limited resources, it has been turned into something which can be watched for the fun and thrills, especially that first half which keeps one guessing about what happens next, or what can’t happen next.

Release date: 24th May 2013
Running time: 115 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: T. K. Rajeev Kumar
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Meghana Raj, Prathap Pothen, Remya Nambeesan, K. B. Ganesh Kumar, Baiju, Nandhu, Sruti Menon, Rejith Menon, Master Devaraman, Kochu Preman, Vijayakumar

up&down copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Amen

amen0

There are few movies which the Vampire Bat would watch a few thousand times other than the horror flicks and the Malayalam movies of the 1980s. The end of this movie was that moment when the Vampire Bat actually felt the same – that moment when he was light enough to fly. It was the moment this bat felt that he was that feather which felt the wind lifting one’s self towards the starry sky. It is not exactly the feeling he had after watching Celluloid, as it is more comparable to that status where he was, after watching Pranchiyettan and the Saint. This rarely happens to the Vampire Bat, for this one has the status of being the second. With its visual beauty of nature, it is comparable to Ordinary, as this one highlights the backwaters while the Kunchako starrer had concentrated on the hills, mountains and the related greenery with fog. There is thunder, dark clouds, water bodies in its maximum body – how can one person do justice to this movie with a subjective review is a question which might remain answered; but what would an objective review do other than being too scientific and technical? This soul would keep closer to the former as possible, and in that way find himself in the process. Here, we have the story of an ancient church parish and the people, a love story and a band’s struggle for survival. The whole story can be read better from the beautiful characterization rather than as a plot.

Swati Reddy as Sosanna – such a character and so much of wonder in that performance! I can’t remember seeing such a female character on screen in any Malayalam movie. One has to wonder who she really is! The first guess would be that of a Keralite Juliet who comes out to the balcony (here, as the house is more of a traditional style, looking through the window) listening to the divine music by the artist that is Solomon (Fahadh Fazil). Well, they don’t die and so lets leave the tragic side of Romeo and Juliet behind. They can still have the title in the name of divine love, but on second thoughts, Sosanna is more of Rapunzel, imprisoned in a tower by the evil ones; her use of frying pan even bring the memory of the newer Rapunzel of Tangled (please avoid the hair details). Her character is the centre, around which the whole movie is built, even if our heroes get more screentime. Each and every second of her presence indicates something which is to happen, and the whole divinity rests on herself and the music. She, the angel in white dress, the absence of black and greyness. She is complexity in simplicity – all in one; more than one simple village damsel – lovable and admirable with all her positives and negatives.

She is no different from the Rapunzel of Tangled on most of the occasions – she pushes the kapyar into water and asks her lover if he wants to be the Father in a church or her children’s father; she pours chicken curry over a gunda and hits him with a frying pan; she eats “naranga mittayi” with that happiness which William Wordsworth might have felt after seeing Daffodils; she uses paper rockets as love letters; she reads only from Solomon’s Song of Songs when asked to read the Bible; she talks about love in a cemetery (the Vampire Bat’s recommndation for this one) – the saga continues for Sosanna is not the weaker one to be subdued; for she is the frying pan fighter striking fear in the minds of the most powerful gundas. She is the passionate lover, the advisor, the fighter, the damsel in distress and still in lesser distress than her lover who is the man in distress. She is our blessed damozel; of this world and not the other, not the one Dante Gabriel Rossetti pictured in heaven, but the one person who continues to bless this movie with her presence. How can one not consider this one as a non-animated character at any stage? The words describe less and the scenes visualize more.

Fahadh Faasil as Solomon – he has done it again, and I might end up using this same sentence for the same actor for so many occasions that I would lose count of it. This is not brilliance unexpected, and I would always keep the expectations high on one actor. Fahadh in that Christ costume for the festival was something which made divinity come down from heaven. All the jokes related to his character and Sosanna are so genuine and wonderful – or even beautiful, if jokes could be termed “beautiful” with all its aspects. Here is a character of simplicity, lack of self-confidence and unparallel love. He is the new Romeo in many aspects, and he is the Jack of his ever-sinking Titanic that is a life of poverty which can only be made to be of any hope by getting himself into the music band sponsored by the local parish church. This character’s life surely is a divine comedy as it is subtitled, as the title character travels through his own inferno, purgatorio & finally the paradiso achieved by his merit. He is our own Dante Alighieri. Hell, purgatory, and heaven – they are all in this world for Solomon, the ultimate underdog. If Sosanna is more of an unpredictable character than her lover, Solomon steals the show by being predictable and still rising to the occasion. This might be Fahadh’s best performance ever, even as I am sure that I will be forced to say that again on another occasion.

Indrajith Sukumaran as Father Vincent Vattolli – always been in my list of favourite actors, and I am short of words for talking about this one – no do not bring me the dictionary, for I have word substitutes working for me. He is the exact opposite of the Vicar Father Abraham Ottaplakal (Joy Mathew). While the former tries to save the band, unite the two lovers and keep the church as the ancient structure, the latter tries to dismantle the band, separate the two lovers and rebuild the church. Both have brought the levels to new heights as one becomes so likable and the other detestable – the two characters are played with such perfection that one can’t resist believing them as what they are. There are times when one has to wonder how close to evil and away from the neutrality of the beginning, the Vicar happens to be as the second half progresses. The big paradox here is that the revolutionary new entrant is the stronger believer and the traditional, orthodox Vicar is the lesser believer who has his own agenda. Their church at Kumaramkari is not just a simple old structure, as they say that the legend is that Saint George had made Tipu Sultan’s attempt to raze the church a failure. This belief is what runs in the veins of the parishers and this is where Father Vattolli has reached – this is also where Father Ottaplakal makes his own decisions with no divine intervention; not a desired situation for sure. But there is more to Father Vattoli than it would seem to be, as the end twist would create that dream climax.

Saint George and the church are more like characters in the movie, but more shall not be talked about that divinity. Kalabhavan Mani’s Looyi pappan is a very powerful character throughout the movie; someone who fails to accept defeat – the man who wins the war even as he loses most of the battles. He seeks redemption after the death of his best friend who was the soul of the band – a music band which has been continuously on the losing side for a long time after the tragedy. Rachana Narayanankutty as Solomon’s sister and Natasha Sahgal was Father Vattoli’s admirer, joins the cast’s beautiful performance. Makarand Deshpande’s nemesis character is immensely powerful and Sunil Sukhada’s Kapyar works in more than one way. Lijo Jose Pellissery has given the viewers an early Easter gift, and it might be the best in the theatres right now. What else could be said about such a performance? But it is surely not free from the slightest of negatives – even among the best of jokes, lie the totally unnecessary, ridiculous jokes which tends to take away some of its beauty. But they could be avoided and the movie could be continued to be watched as the divine comedy as it is, for there is more to it than just the usual stuff. No, this is not the typical new generation either – for this is typical divinity, if one could call it so.

This exuberance is magic, and that is just to give the movie its due. But the truth is much better; for exuberance is just a word and so is magic. Amen is something which has dropped from the firmament, not like the fallen angel Lucifer, but as the medium of divinity which the world of the upper level has provided us with. Can you find faults within the story? If yes, isn’t there the flurry of intelligence and brilliance to cover them all? That would be a clear yes for an answer. No, the movie still doesn’t pretend, and it never needed to. It never needed to wear a mask like Annayum Rasoolum; a mask of goodness and reality which that one dragging movie has been wearing! But this one wears its own skin as a mask – no fake faces to cover its simplicity. Everyone has been incredibly good at what they were doing with this movie, both outside and inside – even the songs and the movie posters have contributed in such a way as to make this movie one of its kind – something which can lead and not follow; bring that thunder of wonderful change. I felt the magic realism and dream visions as well as its re-assertion of faith, belief and hope with divine intervention. Oh beauty of a movie, thy name is Amen – anything else would be so inappropriate right now. If I am to die after watching a movie, this might be one of them worth dying for!

Release date: 22nd March 2013
Running time: 160 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Lijo Jose Pellissery
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Indrajith Sukumaran, Swati Reddy, Rachana Narayanankutty, Natasha Sahgal, Joy Mathew, Kalabhavan Mani, Makarand Deshpande, Sunil Sukhada

amen copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.