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What is the movie about? :: Oliver Twist (Indrans) is leading a normal life with his two sons, Antony Oliver Twist (Sreenath Bhasi) and Charles Oliver Twist (Nalsen K Gafoor), his wife Kuttiyamma (Manju Pillai) and father (Kainakary Thankaraj) who has memory problems. Oliver and Kuttiyamma are also feeling the problems of their old age. Antony is trying to be successful in the film field, but he is too busy with social media that he doesn’t complete the climax of the script, much to the dismay of the producer, Baby (Maniyanpilla Raju) who keeps asking if something can be done about it. His time is running out, as it has been two years after he started writing – he had directed his first film to a grand success, and this time, nobody is sure that he will finish it in time. At the same time, Charles’ interest in social media only, and nothing else is on his list of interesting things. He keeps putting Instagram stories at all times, and during the rest of the time, he is mostly sleeping.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Finally, Antony decides to return home to finish his script, and for the same, he returns home with a seven day deadline to complete his script. There he finds out that Charles is vlogging at all times, and doing nothing else. His life is highly digitalized, and he is happy to keep himself online instead of talking to anyone in the family. Antony is no different, even though his parents remember that he used to be a different person before leaving them for the city. Antony is in love with Priya (Deepa Thomas), a relationship which has lasted very long, but now he is too bust to return her calls. Her father, Joseph Lopez (Srikanth Murali) is a very rich and influential man, popular at all places. Oliver hopes to be friendly with his sons, but they don’t have that much of an interest in talking to the elders. Often, they even ignore Oliver as if he is not a part of their life. Oliver hopes that things will change, and he goes on with his life, with that wish, but Antony has very low opinion about him, and is often hostile towards him too.

The defence of Home :: There are many things which are reflections of real life incidents in the film, and one often wonders if they have come across such incidents before. Social media addiction has been an effective theme, and these days, anyone is a vlogger on Youtube, and with many followers, they think that this is life. People have been bothered more about what happens online rather than offline, and in the same the real world is forgotten, a reflection of the same is reflected here. The message about mobile phones stealing our valuable time is also provided nicely. It adds a few things about loss of relationships and health due to the use of smartphones and social media among the youth. The film, even though set most in a home and its surroundings, is visually too good, not just inside the house, but also during the outside moments. There is a lot of beauty on the screen that surrounds everything, and occasional humour adds on well. Then, there is the ending that conquers all, emotionally as strong as it could be.

The claws of flaw :: There is a lot of repetition which happens in the film, and it is surely a slow work, as we look at it. Some of the emotions are added here and there as if it was just there for the sake of it, and some incidents just become random part of the same. This comes from the man behind Philips and the Monkeypen and Jo and the Boy, and we can see similar elements being repeated here. It still doesn’t have the charm or quality of the former, which was one of the best movies released in the year, seemingly bringing a certain amount of magic to the screen. It also has its length extended a little too much, and with too many songs being added here and there, it does feel a few minutes too long. There are moments in between when we feel that this was going nowhere nowhere, and it was going to go on with the same kind of thing again and again. There are so many things coming up, and often it does seem to miss the main point, but there is the ending that brings things together.

Performers of the soul :: Indrans was earlier seen in two very serious roles this year with two films, Malik and Yuvam, playing the roles of a police officer and an advocate respectively. This one is a light-hearted, but yet emotional role for him, and having come out of fully comic roles, he has been doing this really well. This is indeed a very heartfelt performance from him, and with him at the centre of a family movie, this will be remembered as he celebrate forty years in Malayalam cinema industry, in his 341st movie in the long career. We are finally able to see him throughout a mainstream film in the lead role, and also with the most emotional touch, as he basically lives through here. Sreenath Bhasi had some very serious roles in Virus and Kumbalangi Nights not too long ago, and he now has a rather lighter version here – he had come out of that earlier “freakan” image a long time ago, and this one has him in a controlled role. Nalsen K Gafoor who was last seen in Kuruthi with all the seriousness, and earlier in Thanneermathan Dinangal with all the humour, can be seen in a realistic role of a youngster in this film, and he once again scores big. The simple comic side that he adds here brings more life to the movie.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also nice to Manju Pillai having a good role to play in a film, as we have been seeing more in the television series and comedy shows of Mazhavil Manorama. She has blended into this role really well, and one would wonder why she was not that much in similar roles before. We have always loved to watch her in Thatteem Mutteem for a long time. There are also some nice dialogues that reflects the mood of the film. Deepa Thomas has her first leading role, and she has comes up with a memorable performance too. She has indeed provided a natural performance, and we look forward to seeing her in more roles, and with more screen space in comparison to what is seen here. Srikant Murali also has a role to remember here. Anoop Menon’s act is also a good one, while Maniyanpilla Raju also drops in here and there. Vijay Babu’s role might seem very small, but is still one role that also makes a difference, with a lovely touch of humour. Johny Antony, as usual adds more humour here, while KPAC Lalitha who comes in the final stages of the movie has something special to add. Priyanka Nair also has a fine role in the flashback.

How it finishes :: Home is a movie for the present families, which are not short of this kind of a situation at different homes, due a new generation of kids who are addicted to gadgets and moving away from parents both physically and mentally. It will be remembered for some moments for the heart. The feel-good elements from the director’s earlier films can be seen reflected here, and the same kind of reflections can be seen visually too. Vijay Babu has provided us with so many of similar movies, and we have always stayed close to most of them. During COVID-19 times, having a feel-good film to watch with family was always going to be good. The messages that the film provides are effective, and leads to that one final message which raises the level of the film. Do look out for the final scenes with credits too, and it is where the movie brings a little more for the soul. So, we have our Onam movie on Amazon Prime Video, and as you watch the same, I wish you a Very Happy Onam in advance!

Release date: 19th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Kainakary Thankaraj, Naslen K Gafoor, Manju Pillai, Deepa Thomas, Vijay Babu, Srikant Murali, Johny Antony, Anoop Menon, Maniyanpilla Raju, Aju Varghese

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Malik

What is the movie about? :: Sulaiman Malik (Fahadh Faasil) is a leader of a coastal community consisting mostly of fishermen. He is taking a break from the usual activities, and is going for Hajj, when he is arrested by the police. In his coastal village of Ramadappilly, people begin an agitation. A strike is organized to demand his release, and a curfew is imposed on the area. Soon, there are riots in the streets, and the local people take on the police. It seems that there is a political game going on in the background, with corporates having a say in the same, as PA Aboobacker (Dileesh Pothan), the minister from the area also pretends that he knows nothing, and doesn’t support the request to provide some extra security to him in prison. At the same time, there are plans being made to finish Saulaiman in the prison itself, as the police hopes that this would end their troubles, and can finally bring peace to the seaside community.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sulaiman has had a troublesome past, as he often got into trouble in school itself, and soon lands in the juvenile home, a place where he would have to go again. After dropping out from school with his best friend David Christudas (Vinay Forrt) and Peter Esthappan (Dinesh Prabhakar) he gets into smuggling with Aboobacker and Chandran (Nisthar Sait), who controls most of the happenings in the coast. But there is a rift between the groups, and they split. Sulaiman and David lead the young group which makes inroads into the business, and makes great profit at the expense of Chandran. Sulaiman falls in love with Roselin (Nimisha Sajayan), David’s sister who is the only one from the area who has studied in a college, but not many people know about this interest. At the same time, the new collector, Anwar Ali (Joju George) provides them help to start a new school. But all of a sudden, things take another twist, and Sulaiman develops into another kind of a leader, and it would change the whole equation, leading to the present events.

The defence of Malik :: Malik maintains a certain strength throughout its run, and even with its seemingly lighter moments, the same is maintained. The film goes through the strong message of political games running wild in the background, as everything seems to be planned by people in control, the government and the corporates which use religion for their own purposes, and it is more about the religious identity rather than God as long as it stays with them – of course, this is about the corporates who pay the politicians, especially those who are rather too rich. WH Auden had said about the same in his poem, Refugee Blues, on the plight of humans in comparison to animals and birds due to politicians. There are many threads of revenge and hatred which runs right through here, and some of them also takes some fine, memorable twists. The connections made here are also nice. Here, it has the struggles of the characters, and questions about who is right and who is wrong. It also takes on what happens in between everything, as something more than what meets the eye. The visuals are also really good here, as there are some fine shots of the sea and the surroundings.

Positives and negatives :: There is something that Malik seems to miss in between, some periods of time which could have been better shown here. The ending could have also been better, as the movie finishes without leaving the mark which was set earlier. In the end, there is the understanding that there is no hope, and this is where the movie seems to try and bring the beginning of a repetition. For a film which had this much of a grandeur in store, this kind of a finish doesn’t serve enough of the purpose. Maybe, the lack of triumph on the side of the common man is more or less a reflection of what actually happens in this world where the powerful will continue to reign, and it doesn’t matter who is at the helm. It does show how terrifying it will continue to be, as long as religion is in the hands of politicians, who are more of atheists rather than believers, from the way they use religion for their own advantages. Malik can surely use a more positive sequel too, even if far from reality.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has another film added to the long list of films that have made an impact. He was last seen on OTT, then too on Amazon Prime, with a wonderful performance in Joji, and this one also follows the same suite, but in a different way, as the characters go divergent in both cases. Here, he plays another strong character, and it has been one which the audience has been waiting for, since months ago – the movie has been getting delayed all the time for releasing in the theatres, and it has come to OTT, which is a perfect move, for Fahadh has his admirers everywhere. This performance from him will be listed among the big ones too. He has moments in different points of the main characters’ life, and all these time periods have something special from his side, for the audience to remember. Nimisha Sajayan who was last seen in Nayattu, also has a fine job to do here, which she manages to do without any struggle. She also has a strong role here, and the support that she provides is of high quality.

Further performers of the soul :: The next person who has our attention is Vinay Forrt, who gets into this role with ease. He adds a natural performance to the whole thing. Dileesh Pothan comes in, and plays a typical politician with his own sinister motives, and it is done naturally too. Indrans’ role of the police officer also becomes very much notable. Joju George also has some nice contribution to provide here, and he is supposed to be doing a role which was initially meant for Biju Menon. Dinesh Prabhakar is also here, adding to the totality. Appani Sarath and Sudhi Koppa have some contributions to provide here, and they do it well, only to have only a short stay there, when we were expecting something grand to be there. Salim Kumar also has a comparatively smaller role to do around here. There is the lesser known among the cast who have also done some nice job around here, and it includes Sanal Aman who played the character of Freddy, Parvathy Krishna who played the doctor, along with some police officers and people of the village.

How it finishes :: Malik was supposed to be one grand film to be released in theatre with all the grandeur that it deserved, and even its OTT release, the film maintains some of it. The wait has been worth it, when we look at the movie as a whole. The question would be still be about if it could have been more, as the expectations were that high, and there is the certainty of deviations from what was actually expected after watching the trailer. But the film is indeed strong, and with Fahadh Faasil and Nimisha Sajayan in the lead, you would expect that. Well, it is nice to see that it has finally released, because the same wouldn’t have happened in the theatres soon enough, and releasing something like Marakkar on the big screen will be a big risk even in the month of August, as we see where the COVID-19 numbers are going – it is certainly much above what was expected, and we don’t really see things getting safer with another possible wave on the way. Until then, we can also watch Cold Case, Mohan Kumar Fans, Kho Kho, Aarkkariyam etc among others on Prime again!

Release date: 15th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayanan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Nimisha Sajayan, Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Dileesh Pothan, Anjusha CA, Divya Prabha, Amal Rajdev, Indrans, Jalaja, Salim Kumar, Appani Sarath, Sudhi Koppa, Devan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Rajesh Babu, Meenakshi Raveendran, Rajesh Sharma, Irshad, Abhijith Krishna, Nisthar Sait, Dev Mohan, Sanal Aman, Parvathy Krishna, Devaki Rajendran, Asif Yogi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Yuvam

What is the movie about? :: Aby Mathew (Amith Chakalakkal) is a young lawyer who practices under Advocate Sreekanth Panicker (Indrans) who takes on socially relevant issues, and according to petitions of social interest, trying to win cases in favour of public. Vinu Janardhanan (Nirmal Palazhi) and Paul Varghese (Abhishek Raveendran) also works in the same office, and shares the house rent with Aby. For the last few months, Aby has been a fan of the news reader of a popular channel, Nimisha Madhav (Dayyana Hameed). They end up meeting at a news conclave at which Aby questions the Chief Minister, DK Sreenivasan (Saikumar) about the harthal his party had recently conducted, leading to the loss of crores. Aby and Nimisha meets again after the latter has an accident, and they fall in love. But things get complicated as Aby decides to take the case of a former KSRTC employee who was denied pension for months. After the death of this employee, Aby and his friends decide to take this case very seriously.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But the Transport Minister (Jaffer Idukki) has the plans to privatize KSRTC, and Ragesh Joseph (Kalabhavan Shajohn), the local MLA is playing a major role in the same. The court decides that someone has to take charge of KSRTC and prove that it can be a profitable firm, and it advises the government to let the petitioners take charge of the department for six months to make sure that it achieves the target. The government is not really happy about it, but to the suprise of everyone, Chief Minister approves it, being confident that nobody can save KSRTC, and after things worse get under the new people in control, they can easily sell it to the corporates, along with the acres of land which the transport corporation owns all around the state and neighbouring states. Now, it remains to be seen where the fate of state’s road transport corporation and its employees stand. But the path won’t be that easy even with everyone trying their best.

The defence of Yuvam :: Yuvam‘s strength lies in its message which almost everyone who understands the need for reformation of the system can follow. It calls on the young generation to bring that much needed escape from a world caught it political games meant for power and corruption. The two problems that it displays are the common ones, and it successfully makes one feel the need for a change from the usual political parties’ corrupted move forward. The song “Chemmaname” stands out, and when we consider the films so far, it is indeed the song of the year, with nine more months to go for anyone to replace it. Films with social commitment are rare to see even during these days of COVID-19, reminding us that people still haven’t learned their lessons well enough. You can remember the movie Nirnaayakam which dealt with a similar problem, but that one was further implausible. Yuvam, even with making one feel that things went too easily, does make us believe that things are possible.

The claws of flaw :: The whole idea could have been planned much better. There were so many things that could have been included here as far as dealing with the common problems like KSRTC income loss and harthals are concerned. It could have been further emotional and inspirational to create a feeling that would stand much longer. But if you are slave to a political party, and do not understand that the development of the nation and its people matters more than the party itself, there is no point in watching this movie. There is a certain amount of social consciousness in requirement from the audience here, because otherwise the whole idea would be lost. The romantic side is also left behind too early, and the film could have actually been longer in that case. The comic side is also less effective, and even though this also gives the feeling of that everyman’s fight against system, there is the absence of anything special, and predictability is surely there – it should have added some special ingredient instead of moving along the usual lines.

The performers of the soul :: Amith Chakalakkal leads the way here in grand style, just like he did with the earlier movie with him in the lead, Vaarikuzhiyile Kolapaathakam. Just like that one movie which grabbed one’s attention when least expected, this film also does almost the same thing, that too at a relevant time when election is here, and different political parties are throwing trash at each other, leaving the voters to look forward to options like Twenty 20 and other independents. This movie with Amith in the lead would have attracted more audience than that previous one if it was not for the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting fear of people, especially the family audience. He also has fight scene, and it is done in a more realistic way, even though one would still wonder if it was that easy to fight against the corrupted politicians and their goons, because if that was the case, one can be sure that people would have done that a long time ago. But we have no doubt that Amith will have some even greater movies to follow.

Further performers of the soul :: Dayyana Hameed is an actress whom we have seen before, but never as much as we have seen her in Star Magic, the television show in Flowers channel. Dayyana is surely an actress to look out for, and we have seen some of her performances in that particular programme before, and teasers and songs also provided us an idea. Even though we loved to see her on the screen, she doesn’t have that much of time on the screen, especially as the film is too short to show everything it should have shown. Nirmal Palazhi handles the small amount of working comedy in the film. Saikumar as a villainous figure is strong, but there is not that much of a terrifying impact that this character makes like Jagathy Sreekumar did in Passenger a long time ago in a similar social thriller with messages. Kalabhavan Shajohn and Jaffer Idukki also have the menace limited. Abhishek Raveendran provides some good support. Yet, one person who gets a lot of attention is Indrans with yet another impressive serious role, even though it is not for long.

How it finishes :: Yuvam takes the side of the youth as well as the common man with ease. It shows the fight of everyman against a system which has been corrupted by politics. It reminds us more than once about the fight against the usual politics and its corrupted side, and the battles that non-political organizations have put forward – it is something which will only grow stronger if the politicians don’t mend their ways; AAP did it long ago, and Twenty 20 is doing it now. The movie released in the theatres earlier in February, but I haven’t considered visiting the theatres as an option after Forensic became the last one I watched in the theatres before COVID-19 and following lockdown, but thankfully it did have the television premiere today noon on Mazhavil Manorama. When you get to watch a good movie in just more than a month after its release in theatre on television, it is fair deal as you don’t have sit with stranger for two hours or so. Yuvam is a film worth that time, indeed. After all, every movie cannot release on television like Kilometers and Kilometers.

Release date: 12th February 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Pinku Peter
Starring: Amith Chakalakkal, Dayyana Hameed, Nirmal Palazhi, Indrans, Abhishek Raveendran, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nedumudi Venu, Saikumar, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jaffer Idukki, Chempil Asokan

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anjaam Pathiraa

What is the movie about? :: A policeman is murdered, with no clue being left behind for the cops to follow. The dead body is soon found, and it was supposed to be a case of revenge from one of the criminals whom he had locked up earlier, but it doesn’t end there. A second policeman is found dead, with the killer following the same pattern of murder, including the corpses of the men being left without their eyes and heart. This leads to a crisis in the police department, and a team being formed to investigate the case lead by Catherine Maria (Unnimaya Prasad) and Anil Madhavan (Jinu Joseph). The latter also includes in the team, Anwar Hussain (Kunchacko Boban), a psychologist who is serving as a consulting criminologist for the police department. He has been studying the psychology of criminals on the way to a doctorate. As the CCTV cameras are also hacked, a hacker and Anwar’s patient, Andew (Sreenath Bhasi) is also forced into the team.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The series of murders doesn’t seem to stop though, even though all the policemen of the city works twenty four hours, and are put on high alert. Anwar, with his wife Fathima (Ramya Nambeeshan) and children are also under the eyes of the serial killer who also seems to have a helper. The killers seem to be masters of disguise, and has everything planned from zero, with each step leaving nothing behind for the police. The clues that seem to lead to them only ends up being misleading. As death lurks around the corner, it is up to law and enforcement to take back control and make the civilians feel safe. But that would need taking more than the usual path, and this divergence might be a red herring left by the killers – can they rise above this at some point and stop the killing spree?

The defence of Anjaam Pathiraa :: The movie nicely brings the tale of serial killing together, and the elements of shock and twists are nicely brought into the tale, especially in the first half. There is a certain amount of suspense at work here right from the beginning. To bring the terror to the screen, the movie nicely uses the darkness, even the quick return of lighting is used to bring a startling effect. The creepy masks and their quick appearance out of nowhere could provide something new. By the interval, we have enough to know that this is a game in which the serial killers will be tough to beat, and it is here that movie has its full strength – nobody would want to leave during the interval as the need to know further is always there. It also has to be noted that the movie does have some funny moments in store in between the serious moments, and all the tension which has been ruling the big screen from the beginning to the end.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s strength in the first half is not maintained in the second half, as the latter part of the second half is rather predictable, and by bringing the element of a planned revenge, it losses out in the psychotic side. Such a predictability which seems to be like finding unnecessary meaning for the lotos eaters is rather unnecessary. Having a smart psychopath without a clear motive for the rational human was always the better choice, as that would bring chaos to darkness, and keeps the lights away all the time. After all, Anjaam Pathiraa is no Memories either, as such a brutal strength is not there, not with the protagonist or with the antagonist. The movie could have also had a better background score, even though at some points, it is good – at that point, it could have been there for longer. The sequence involving the ripper could have also been there for more time.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban leads the way well here. There is no heroic style entrance with heavy background music for him here, and it is the beauty of his work here – there is no pretending to be the superhero star anymore unlike what was shown in another movie’s trailer which was showed in the beginning in an absurd state. It is certainly not the usual kind of role for him, but there is no staying behind here. He doesn’t play the police role, but this role of the psychologist assisting police is no less investigator. There are some interesting dialogues in store for him too. His previous work, Virus was a different kind of a thriller in which he was only playing a part. Ramya Nambeeshan is someone whom we don’t see in Malayalam movies much these days, and it is nice to see her in the movie, playing the wife of the protagonist. She was one actress who could have been in more movies, and it is something I felt long ago.

Further performers of the soul :: Unnimaya Prasad who is best known for two short time high impact characters in Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Parava also comes up with some of the best of moments leading the investigation team. Jinu Joseph plays a rather calm police officer with a twist in store, and this avatar definitely feels different. Sreenath Bhasi has a good run here as the hacker always looking for something more. There is also a funny side to his character, which comes out at times. Indrans’ screen time felt rather less, as his ripper character steals the moments in the beginning with ease. Mathew Thomas, even though there only for a short period of time, leaves a mark, after Thannermathan Dinangal and Kumbalangi Nights. We also have a good number of supporting actors who has contributed to this movie, which needed a lot of it.

How it finishes :: The director Midhun Manuel Thomas has been known for light-hearted movies like Ann Maria Kalippilaanu, Aadu and Alamara, but it can be clearly seen that the feeling has changed now. Anjaam Pathiraa could find no difficulty in going on to become the first interesting Malayalam movie of the year, and it was clear from the dark shades of the trailer too. This is not just the first movie of the year 2020, but also the write-up about the first movie around here that deserves your attention. May the best of films be there in the theatres this year, and let us have some of the best of the decade as it comes to an end with 2020. As far as this movie is concerned, I would say that those movies which deal with horror and thriller elements have a lot of work to do, and it is to be noted that these have worked very well, and is worth the appreciation for the effort.

Release date: 10th January 2020
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Ramya Nambeeshan, Unnimaya Prasad, Jinu Joseph, Mathew Thomas, Harikrishnan, Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Sharafudheen, Divya Gopinath, Sharafudheen, Jaffer Idukki, Abhiram Pothuval, Sudheesh

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Manoharam

What is the movie about? :: Manoharan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) finds himself outdated in a world which has traveled a little too quick for his taste, making him feel unable to keep up with the pace. He is known as an artist and a painter, and as he had failed miserably in tasting any kind of success in life, not passing even plus two, he lacks any kind of confidence, suffering from a certain inferiority complex. Even as he is engaged to be married, the girl leaves him for someone who is better educated and earns more. His best friend is Prabhu (Basil Joseph) who has always been with him since childhood, and continues to support him despite all the failures which come back to him. One problem that they continue to have from those days is Rahul (Deepak Parambol) who has created trouble for them for a very long time. He is rich, and wastes no time in making fun of Manoharan.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manoharan finally decides that enough is enough, and with the support of Prabhu and Varghese (Indrans), has a flex printing store set in the town, the first of its kind around there. For the same, he decides to learn Adobe Photoshop which would help him to move from the early artistic skills to modern computerized drawing and painting. He joins an Akshaya Centre for coaching, and Sreeja (Aparna Das) is his new teacher, but even though she is good in programming languages and other computer courses, doesn’t know Photoshop. They try to learn Photoshop together, and there is more than one person’s future on the line as Rahul is also trying to begin a flex printing shop in the town, and he also has a lot of money to invest in the same. Who will succeed and who will lag in this journey of hope?

The defence of Manoharam :: There is the journey of the commoner, an artist trying to survive in a world which is dominated by the newer things, rising above the old world, and even leading to the clear submergence of what is now considered outdated. But this gets interesting as he refuses to be submerged like some slave language in the plantations or an ancient religion facing modernity – he decides to fight, and it is this battle that we see in the movie. The same is something that inspires, without doubt, even though it takes a long time – the final moments are nicely done to rise above any problems which were there in the earlier stages. The songs are just okay, and there is nothing much to stay in our minds for long. The movie is only a two hour journey, which means that there is not much of a drag which awaits us – the journey is rather direct and clear. There is no leap into melodrama, as this one takes none of it.

The claws of flaw :: It is to be noted that the movie has nothing new, and it goes on a journey which has been traveled before, in different ways, through different paths, reaching the same destination. The struggling heroes like these have been more common than any other, and the situations like these have been created for them to struggle hard and go past all these obstacles; even from ancient myth, people have been doing the same. This fight of the simple and ordinary man to survive in a world which has jobs and opportunities taken over by machines and those who are able to know the machines is still not shown in the best possible way. A lot of incidents in the movie could have been shown in some other way, and more humour could have been added related to the same. When it focuses too much on the flex, it losses the human interest, and makes one confused about the objective correlative. This one had a lot more opportunities for emotional depth.

The performers of the soul :: This is another movie which depends upon Vineeth Sreenivasan to make that simple man effect, like he already did in Aravindante Adhithikal some time earlier. He has no trouble in doing that, and this character only has that certain amount of inferiority complex to go with it. He fits into the role of the commoner with ease, and goes through his struggles in a believable manner. The character is not presented with that much of an intensity or by providing us with that much of a lovable nature for the audience to stay close to him, but the same can boast of bring unique in that way. At the same time, the director of Kunjiramayanam and Godha, Basil Joseph gets a full-length comedy role here, and he makes an impact, adding some nice, funny moments – the humour is handled by him without getting overdone at any moment, and we have one more person to be of support to heroes in a realistic as well as funny manner.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrans also has one fine role here, and we see him to be in support for the main character at all times, even more than the main supporting cast. Indrans doing serious roles have a special kind of an effect for us, similar to what Suraj Venjaramoodu has been doing. This role is not that emotional, but it is close to the heart. Aparna Das makes her debut as the heroine after having a very small role in Njan Prakashan, and she begins well, even though the character is never really taken that seriously. Deepak Parambol and Ahamed Siddique plays the characters who are against the protagonists, even though never really becoming the villains, and they only make limited impact. Delhi Ganesh and VK Prakash also do come in some notable roles. Hareesh Peradi also has a character who makes an impression in the short period of time on the big screen. Jude Anthany Joseph is once again there in a small role to come and go quickly.

How it finishes :: Anwar Sadik has his second directorial venture after Ormayundo Ee Mukham which also had the same lead actor in the form of Vineeth Sreenivasan – this one also goes a similar path with the feel-good factor. The tale of a skilled common man, an artist who has a lot to prove, never gets old, and rarely gets outdated as long as there is inequality and partiality in this world – something which is as old as humanity itself, and will go on to the edge of doom. It is the same reason why even without getting near perfection, Manoharam will have a place in the heart and soul of the soul, and can stay there for a longer period of time than those entertainers which have a different kind of path to take after creating the quick impact. Just like Porinju Mariyam Jose and Thannermathan Days have stayed for long, this one should too.

Release date: 28th September 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Anwar Sadik
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Basil Joseph, Aparna Das, Indrans, Deepak Parambol, Delhi Ganesh, VK Prakash, Nandini Sree, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sree Lakshmy, Hareesh Peradi, Neena Kurup, Ahamed Siddique, Nandhu

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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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Aanakkallan

What is the movie about? :: The central character of the movie is Pavithran (Biju Menon) who is a man spending his time in prison for committing robbery in a palace and museum. But his life gets better when a skeleton is found in the palace while the place was undergoing renovation. It is found out that the skeleton is almost as old as the time when the person was committing the robbery at the place. The police figures out that he could be either the suspect or the witness, and Pavithran agrees to the fact that he witnessed the murder taking place, and the killer getting rid of the body. As he assures them that he can recognize the killer, the police officers in charge KV Esthappan (Siddique) and Rajendra Babu (Suresh Krishna) decides to get him a parol. With a special permission from their superior officer Alex T Kuruvilla (Shivaji Guruvayoor), they make a master plan.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This master plan involves taking Pavithran to Esthappan’s wife house, from where he eloped with his wife Nancy Palakkal (Sarayu) a long time ago. By returning there, they would get a chance to stay close to Anandapuram Palace where the body was found. Pavithran would be forced to stay in the house as Esthappan’s friend who is a rich businessman from Palai. Despite their doubts, the parents of Nancy, Thomachan Palakkal (Sai Kumar) and Kochu Tresia (Bindu Panicker) welcomes them home. From there, a series of confusing events occur related to their lives. There are secrets to be revealed and mysteries to be solved, about Pavithran’s past, and that particular night on which the murder is supposed to have taken place. But as someone who is in prison for robbery and cheating, can Pavithran be trusted to help the police well enough?

The defence of Aanakkallan :: Being a movie which has a certain amount of confusion in itself, Aanakkallan can use some defence in its favour. There is no doubt about the fact that the movie begins well, and even before Biju Menon makes his entry, the beginning is set. The idea is good here, with an attempt made to solve a mystery regarding a skeleton found in a palace – to solve the case, a thief is needed too, and that man has a strange past. Well, this could have surely developed into something bigger as there is no shortage of content, and the fun is always there to be added. We remember how well Biju Menon added to the same in Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu. The funny side gets some regular contributions even when there are those problems of repetitions as well as the confusions.

The claws of flaw :: There is much that one would expect from a movie like Aanakkallan with Biju Menon in the lead, as people will have their own idea about how it would turn out to be. But the movie struggles to do the same, to meet the expectations. There are moments when the movie keeps making us feel the drag, as it goes above two and half hours, without that much of a content to boast about. The songs are all bad, and unnecessary – all of them seem to drag this piece of work towards that eternity, and most of the viewers won’t appreciate the same. There is so much of repetition here, not just with the old jokes, but also with the same kind of jokes used within the movie. The first and the second parts seem to be confused in where the movie is heading, and the long flashback in the second half is the worst part. The predictability factor is also very high.

The performers of the soul :: Biju Menon was supposed to be the one person who could hold the parts together, and one surely can’t doubt his ability in doing that – the movie surely depends on him a lot. He seems to find things easy here, as no surprises are added here in any department. Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan nicely contributes to the comedy at the same time, and Sudheer Karamana also joins in. But it is to be noted that none of these performers are used in a way that evokes that kind of fun to be remembered for long – there were opportunities present. Dharmajan’s Baahubali moment stands out, and Hareesh with his counters keep the movie on a better path. Suraaj Venjarammoodu once again has a rather serious role to perform here, and he has no problems in getting into this character of a thief.

Further performers of the soul :: The main female characters in this movie, Shamna Kasim, Sarayu and Anusree fail to have much to do. While Shamna Kasim’s role is more or less about being the fairest of them all, the other two are given even lesser work to do. It strange that we can’t have more. Siddique plays the police officer with ease, as he has the second most important character related to this one. Suresh Krishna does leave an impact with his funny police role here, being divergent from the serious one he played in Abrahaminte Santhathikal. Indrans is also here with an interesting character, even though limited in scope. Bala and Kailash are also there, contributing nicely to the story. But the focus, as we all know is on one person, and it is no surprise at all.

How it finishes :: The movie doesn’t go on to become a Vellimoonga, and it doesn’t even go on to become a Swarna Kaduva. This one is rather closer to Sherlock Toms which was a half-baked movie unable to stay within any genre, or do justice to at least one of them well enough. The director’s previous movie was Ivan Maryadaraman, and in comparison to that, this flick is surely an improvement. But the question would remain if that much is enough. The fact that there is still the use of the same kind of strange stereotypes and cliches after so many years and movies of attempts, doesn’t leave a true movie lover a happy one. But Aanakkallan does serve to waste some time for a lazy weekend, and this particular weekend is indeed one. There is just Kayamkulam Kochunni to make you think otherwise.

Release date: 18th October 2018
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Suresh Divakar
Starring: Biju Menon, Siddique, Suraaj Venjarammoodu , Shamna Kasim , Anusree, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Hareesh Perumanna, Bindu Panicker, Saikumar, Sarayu, Bala, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Indrans, Kailash

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Vikadakumaran

What is the movie about? :: Binu Sebastian (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) is a lawyer who gets only those smaller cases which don’t get him any appreciation in life. Even though his dreams are huge, he never really gets close to achieving them. He goes through a mundane existence in and out of court, and this has lead to a certain lack of interest which makes him careless in dealing with those lesser cases which gets too. His best friend and support is Manikandan Pillai (Dharmajan Pillai) who helps him to get some new cases. Binu is in love with Sindhu (Manasa Radhakrishnan) who runs a canteen near the court. The fact that he only has his mother and a sister with hearing problems, and that his father had left nothing much for the family makes his consider all options to get to fame and money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that Roshi Balakrishnan (Jinu Joseph) and Aishwarya Nair (Rosin Jolly) enters the scene. There is an incident involving the death of a home guard, a hit and run case in which both of these are involved. The former is a rich and young businessman who is known for many illegal activies, and the latter is a popular film actress who is looking to leave cinema field after getting engaged. Soon, the actress is also found dead, and Binu finds himself fighting against Roshi in the beginning, and later defending his case. His friends as well as the media remains divided on this, but it is to be seen how Binu would end up in his career with this kind of a big case. Will there be justice served for anyone in the end?

The defence of Vikadakumaran :: There are enough funny moments in this flick to keep it going. The credit for the same goes to Vishnu and Dharmajan attempting to repeat what was done in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There are some nice moments in the court, both funny and effective, even though there is nothing that raises the bar, in a world where there have been movies like Yes Your Honour, Melvilasom, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2, and Pink – it is still better than that over-hyped disaster of a movie throwing a court-scene out of nowhere, called Queen; the Malayalam one. The movie also nicely ends up with poetic justice being served at the final moments. A common person’s story is depicted well enough, and in doing the same, the main performers do good job. The songs are just okay, not providing too much. There will be fun in store for sure, with some twist to come in the end which will be satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that this movie could have done more with each and every aspect, whether it is the comedy, thrills, twists or the court-room drama. There is the presence of a little too many co-incidences, and we could have had better explanations and even better situations both inside and outside the court. There is also the problem of the villain’s overall smartness going with the wind, and the hero getting the smartest of them all, without nothing much happening in between. We could have also had some social issues being dealt with, considering the premise, and those who thought that something was going to be done by the lawyer regarding the first scene in the movie, one is certainly going to be disappointed. Considering its similarities with other movies with a lawyer as the protagonist, it had to do better, but it never really even try to bring a special ingredient – it could have, but that might not have been the priority.

The performers of the soul :: Vishnu Unnikrishnan is back this year after the memorable fun ride which was Shikkari Shambhu. He rightly suits this role, and has no problems in blending in here. If he was co-staring with Kunchacko Boban in that movie, this Easter weekend, he is in competition with the same actor who has Kuttanadan Marpappa at the theatres, both flicks focusing on the comic side. The combination of Vishnu and Dharmajan gets all the attention from us with the funny side which never ends. Baiju also contributes to the fun without second thoughts, and Rafi has his funny moments too. Jinu Joseph plays a powerful negative character in this movie, and he does that in style as he did in Iyobinte Pusthakam. He is the kind of villain that we always need, with a level of antagonism that stays afloat at all times. Indrans’ small role is very much memorable.

Further performers of the soul :: Manasa Radhakrishnan, the lady lead might be remembered more for playing Jaseela, the protagonist’s sister in Tiyaan. She does a fine job here, even though there is not that much of an opportunity provided for her – being just the love interest of the hero seems to be the priority. Lets have more of her in the industry. Rosin Jolly has an interesting role to play in this one, which she manages well, even though it is surprising that so many of the popular reviewers have mistaken her to be Leona Lishoy. It is understandable to make mistakes for the common man and the bloggers, but when the big names who are claimed as professionals do it, one has to doubt one’s purpose of writing a review. Megha Mathew’s role is restricted in such a way that there is almost nothing for her to make even the least impact. The female characters never really get the boost they need with this one.

How it finishes :: The movie is more or less a fight for justice, for two dead people, one a common man and the other a celebrity, and the responsible person being the same. We expect a lot of sparks as well as emotional sequences, but they are never really things of concern here. We also notice that it never really reaches the level of the movies like Yes Your Honour, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2 and Pink. But if you are looking for some simple fun with a purpose, you can surely choose Vikadakumaran – just don’t expect too much, and enjoy the entertainment, for this one is never really boring at any moment. The same mood seems to be carried on towards the end, as we get to that end. It is more or less the harmless family movie, the kind of flick that Sreenivasan would do again.

Release date: 30th March 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Jinu Joseph, Jayan Cherthala, Megha Mathew, Nelson, Arun Ghosh, Indrans, Mahesh, Rafi, EA Rajendran, Nizhalgal Ravi, Sunil Sukhada, Seema G Nair

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Aadu 2

What is the movie about? :: The team of Shaji Pappan (Jayasurya) go on with the journey after the events of the first film. Their world hasn’t really gotten any better, as they keep struggling to find the money to keep their club, and once again their option is to participate in the tug of war competition. With the Pinky episode closed both with the girl and the goat, Pappan just continues to have his back pain, but leads his team to victory in the competition, only to have his golden trophy stolen by the rival team lead by Anali Sabu (Anson Paul). Meanwhile, S.I. Sarbath Shameer (Vijay Babu) manages to get back to service after begging the new Home Minister of Kerala, P.P. Sasi Aashan (Indrans) to have his uniform again. He decides to keep his eyes on Shaji Pappan who had thrown the former S.I. of the station into the dam reservoir, and prove to everyone that he is an even better police officer than he used to be.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Damodaran Unnimakan Delmen Edakochi a.k.a. Dude (Vinayakan) is having an even more terrible time, working at a restaurant, and with his friends and the new comrade Dragon Paili (Nelson) is planning something huge, without being depressed of his failure – he is ridiculed by the owner of the restaurant, but he is waiting for his opportunity to get back to what he does the best. Satan Xavier (Sunny Wayne) surely has better times with the help of Kanjavu Soman (Sudhi Koppa) and Battery Simon (Bijukuttan) who work for him at small wages. But their world along with that of a criminal mastermind, a villain known as Shetty (John Kaippallil) are to come together soon, with that day on which five hundred and one thousand rupee notes ceased being legal tender. It would begin a series of blunders and confusion that would lead to a twist of fate for some.

The defence of Aadu 2 :: After Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu disappeared from the theatres, people have been slowly trying to like it, and there has been a lot of talk about the same – for them, this would prove to be a nice treat, as they have all wanted it a lot. There are some funny moments in here for sure, and they come and go. The beginning with the introduction of the protagonist, and the return of the police officer to duty are all good, making sure that the sequel starts well. The music and visuals are all pretty good, and there seems to be more and more of an effort to make the youth appreciate it rather than an individual or the family. From a reviewer’s perspective, this movie would come only under Midhun Manuel Thomas’s each and every other work – Annmariya Kalippilaanu, Alamara and Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu are better than this. But you know that it is not the thing which always counts, but on the other side, we know that more people liking or pretending to like a movie to go with the crowd doesn’t make it a better one.

The claws of flaw :: There is not that much of fun in Aadu 2 as it was there in its prequel. It falls short there, and also the story itself is not that interesting. The limited number of working jokes is rather a sad thing. The excuse in favour of this movie might be that it is meant to be nonsense – but even making quality nonsense requires better thinking, and when we look at this movie, that part has come down a level from the first movie too. There are so many ways of making a funny thing work, and whether it is funny in a smart way or if it is nonsense, the thing has to work. Here, Aadu 2 has the nonsense which struggles to be funny even as nonsense, and that is a crime, which is repeated a number of times. Also, even a dumb story can be smart in how it is made to seem ridiculous. This one falls short of its predecessor in doing the same too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya leads the way as expected after another sequel, Punyalan Private Limited, playing the character that nobody has refused to like. There is no surprise about the fact everyone wishes to see Shaji Pappan again – even I remember that entry that he had in the first part; there is not that much of an entrance here that we will keep remembering, but we love him anyway, as the one character who seems to be part of us in one way or the other. Vinayakan’s Dude could have used even more screen-time, as among them all, the man makes us laugh the most – almost everything from him works, unlike some of the other characters that got to struggle to keep up with the standards set in the first movie. Vijay Babu is in full form with this character which he seems to hold close, and with the support of Noby Marcose, he gets to score with nice moments. Indrans has his presence limited, maybe due to the absence of the sidekick character – and that is disappointing too.

Further performers of the soul :: One can’t help noticing the absence of two of the characters that made the best impact in the first part, played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Sandra Thomas. The former’s moments which are widely used in memes for trolls and latter being a reflection of a certain group of people who prefer animals to men, are clearly missed in this flick, and Chemban not being found here is a bigger surprise. Sunny Wayne’s character, despite being a big name again, never really gets to get bigger. The big team of the protagonist including Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan and others won’t make that big impact this time, as they also struggle to live up to what they did in the first movie, with some jokes here and there. Sometimes, irritating moments do come in as if they are jokes, and the characters just manage to play with the same. Well, fans will just find awesomeness in everything and abuse, but we can’t, can we descend that low?

How it finishes :: The first movie, Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeevi Aanu, was kind of late to gather all the positive opinions, as it had failed at the box-office, and didn’t make much an impact with the critics of that time. This one has picked up due to the fans going in favour of it, and youth taking it as their duty to support it. But in the end, you will find that it is not that funny, and there is a lesser effect here than what was created in the first movie. It is enjoyable in parts, but as a whole, the first movie was surely better, and it also had a better effect on us, as it was something that felt new. But here, we see a movie which seems to try to repeat the same thing without trying anything better or new. It is the curse of the sequels that has caught this movie, and we know that sequels are rarely better than the originals – well, this one is no exception. Well, if you are not going to think about any of these, and desperately wishes to watch the second part, just go for it. After all, it is Christmas, and the festival season and holidays can use some meaningless fun. It is surely why it is more difficult to get tickets for this one than its competitors Vimaanam, Mayaanadhi, Aana Alaralodalaral and Masterpiece.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Jayasurya, Sunny Wayne, Vijay Babu, Saiju Kurup, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Bhagath Manuel, Vineeth Mohan, Harikrishnan, Noby Marcose, Aju Varghese, Vinayakan, Indrans, Sudhi Koppa, Anson Paul, Srinda Arhaan, Nelson, Bijukuttan, Gopesh, Mamukoya, Baiju, Irshad

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Paippinchuvattile Pranayam

What is the movie about? :: Very close to the city, but still, very far away from the urban setting, there is the small island which is known by the name Pandarathuruthu, and the first half of that name itself is enough to know how that place is considered to be, by not just the people from outside, but also those who live there. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge has said in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the people of the island also faces the same situation – “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink”, surrounded by salt water, and having only a few boats – as all roads lead to Rome, all of those boats get them to the city, and nowhere else. This is the tale of the simple people in that particular place, where everyone spends more time waiting for water in a long queue in front of the common tap at the centre of the island, rather than doing anything else. The rest of the people do simple jobs, including fishing, painting and also a little bit of farming which doesn’t need much of fresh water.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is around that place of local gathering around the tap meant to collect water, that Govindankutty a.k.a Govutty (Neeraj Madhav) and Teena (Reba Monica John) falls in love. While there is the scarcity of water there, one can see no difficulty in getting some love, as far as these two are concerned. Govindankutty leads a happy life with his good friends Ayyappan (Sudhi Koppa) and Bashi (Rishi S Kumar) earning enough through painting work and a few dance performances when opportunities are available. There is not much of a complaint from them about their lives, despite the unavailiability of water bothering them all the time. They know that people have tried to bring better facilities to the island before, but nothing has happened with those politicians who keep making excuses, and life goes on. Any further attempt would be waste of time, according to them.

And what is to follow in this small adventure at the island? :: Babumon (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is the one to suffer the most, as no girl wishes to get married to someone without access to drinking water. Teena’s parents are also not ready to get her married to Govindankutty, and they are also looking for someone who got access to clean water, from anywhere outside the village. Despite his mother (Sethulakshmi) asking for the bride, Teena’s parents (Jaffer Idukki and Thesni Khan) are not ready to accept the proposal. It is more or less the reflection of their realization that nothing good can happen in Pandarathuruthu and the people of the island will never have access to clean water. But when one tragedy strikes, they have to think differently, and understand that it is the time to act. It is upon the youth to make the difference, but are they up to it? One journalist named Shyam Prakash (Aju Varghese) is ready to help them, but will that be enough?

The defence of Paippinchuvattile Pranayam :: There are moments in Paippinchuvattile Pranayam that keep rising like the certainty of tides – we see them coming and going. The humour is present here and there, and the lead has a good chemistry going on in movie’s favour. Some good visuals of the place will have our attention, and we see the huge buildings of the city on one side and this small world on the other. The music is good, even though they are used without care at some places. There are messages in store, and we have social issues being discussed, after the lack of availability of clean water in many areas. There were those islands around Cochin which had problems in getting drinking water, something we have been reading about since childhood. Even though a lot of problems have been solved now, it remains something that is present at one place or the other. Paippinchuvattile Pranayam adds something there.

The claws of flaw :: With a little more than two hours of length, some parts of the movie do make us feel a certain amount of drag. There is also the whole thing not used to its advantage, as this one could have been funnier, as well as having a thrilling end which could be a lot more of a difference maker with its ideas. The final moments could have been polished to bring an effect which would have made this one a social thriller with romance to go with it. The romantic side also makes way for the rest of the things too easily – there is not that much of strength with it if we consider the fact that the title Paippinchuvattile Pranayam as well as the expectations were all related to that only. There is also the need for the ability to relate to the problems of the common man, without which, this movie can go flying far away; this one would be more for the common audience, the everyman who can reflect these elements better as well as the invisible villains.

Performers of the soul :: Neeraj Madhav right out of Lavakusha and Oru Mexican Aparatha this year leads the way, and he is comfortable in being this kind of a hero, as all things are in control here. Reba Monica John seems naturally suited for this role, and is there throughout, winning points with big smiles and enchanting expressions, unlike that small presence which she had in Jacobinte Swargarajyam despite being the leading actress there too. As one might have figured out with the trailer and songs, she fits in, even without that many dialogues. Sudhi Koppa is the one actor who supports so well as he rises to the occasion, and he does a fantastic job with those emotional side, more than that comic side which was there earlier. We already saw him in Alamara, Lakshyam and Udaharanam Sujatha in notable roles this year among the others, and he gets his best here. Dharmajan strengthens the funny side, which would have struggled a lot without him. Aju Varghese has a smaller role which is managed easily. Sarath falls prey to a badly written negative character.

How it finishes :: Among those movies about common people made with what seems to rather lower budget, Paippinchuvattile Pranayam will surely have a good position. It is always nice to see tales being made about common men and not those money laundering bourgeoisie class attached to pubs and parties. It can’t claim to be perfect or close to being perfect in what it deals with, but it is as close to reality that we can get, and it is close to the heart of everyone who feels for those who are in need. But concerning others who have no heart for the sufferings of others, this wouldn’t be the movie. This is the age of superheroes with Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League running in the theatres, and one can go for them without thinking too much, for the big entertainment. But if you care, try giving a chance to the smaller movies about everyman, like Paippinchuvattile Pranayam. In simple words, call it “Love, water & other social issues”.

Release date: 24th November 2017
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Domin D’Silva
Starring: Neeraj Madhav, Reba Monica John, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sarath Appani, Sudhi Koppa, Sruthy Jayan, Jaffer Idukki, Rishi S Kumar, Tesni Khan, Sethulakshmi, Indrans, Anoop Chandran

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Parava

What is the movie about? :: Irshad a.k.a. Ichappy (Amal Shah) and Haseeb (Govind V Pai) are friends from a neighbourhood in Mattanchery, and also goes to the same class until the former fails in a subject to stay back in the class for an year. Their main time-pass together is breeding pigeons for the big pigeon race which is held every year. With different gangs with older people trying to do better in the competition every year, the two boys find it tough to keep their birds from being stolen or the cages destroyed at night by some other gang. Still, they don’t back down, and also don’t miss some chance to have fun with romancing a new beautiful girl in the school, participating in the usual sporting events, or watching one of those movies which they are not allowed to watch. But in the end, everything comes to the pigeon race, which stands tall over other sports, whether it is cricket or football.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: While the newer generation seems to have some fun out there, we have the youth, who have had a terrible flashback. The same which includes Shane (Shane Nigam), Hakeem (Arjun Ashokan), Mujeeb (Jacob Gregory), Imran (Dulquer Salman) and a few more, has had a brutal and bloody side written all over it with one incident on the beach with a group of drug addicts (Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi and others). Such an incident wasn’t known to happen in the locality for so many years. This has kept Shane silent and uninterested in almost everything which has been going around for a long time, including the fights with the rival team leader in the pigeon race (Shine Tom Chacko). The same had left Irshad as the last hope for parents, and his hope is on his pigeons. What would happen when things get intertwined?

The defence of Parava :: There is the bold choice of subject being taken here, on the lines of Guppy, which is not known for its box-office success. The visuals of the place takes over, and with some nice music, gives us the feel of the neighborhood. Yes, these locations like Mattanchery and Fort Cochin, or even Thoppumpady and Kumbalangy can give that kind of a feeling if captured on the camera well enough. There are some cute moments involving the pigeons as well as those situations in school which evoke laughter. The funny side is strong with the kids, and the emotional side runs parallel, and gets into form when needed. The strength of the cast assures that the same happens well. We see the happenings as simple, and the movie as a feel-good entertainer, knowing its strength in its cast. Even its extended cameo is placed exactly where it could do the best impact; one would have felt the need to add it in the beginning or the end, but this one appears at the right place.

The claws of flaw :: Parava does stretch itself a little too much than needed, as it should have been shorter with the realistic world which it gets to have – but the positive thing is that it holds ground, and never gets to be the long dragging thing which was Annayum Rasoolum. There is also the absence of notable female characters who are able to make any impact on the flow of the tale, other than being the reason. There is no real heroine in this one, and there is no leading actress to talk about either. Also, when there was the chance for the movie to become another Maheshinte Prathikaram or Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum with its reflection of reality, it just doesn’t take it, and floats away. Even Guppy was simpler, with simple people and their simple dreams. The movie could have also shortened the final fight scene and finished it with a final shot of them playing on the ground; this one extends both scenes.

Performers of the soul :: As it was Chethan Jayalal for the movie which was less watched in the theatres, but appreciated later, Guppy, we have Govind and Amal doing the job. Among the two, one can’t stop noticing the shades of Chethan in the former. You feel the strength of the skills from an upcoming generation right here in this movie, as the two handles not just the funny moments, but also the emotional side without holding back at any moment. Whether it is about those lighter incidents at school or those harder situations in the reality of life, they remain solid, and holds the movie together. They rise above everyone else, as they have more screen presence as well as more situations, none of which goes missing from them. You see scope to make more movies with children at the centre after this one, maybe even come up with many sequels of Philips and the Monkey Pen.

Further performers of the soul :: Among the elder cast, it is Shane Nigam who shines, taking it to the next level from Kismath and C/O Saira Banu, two fine movies which he has been part of, after the smaller role in Kammatipaadam. He has his best moments with one of sadness and final release of anger. Dulquer Salmaan who is restricted to less than half an hour, gets a strong character, but we lose him as we get to know and love him. More of Dulquer’s character would have been good, but we adjust with what we can have with a big cameo. Jacob Gregory also has less of the funny side to explore here unlike expected, and Siddique does the classic father role with ease. Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi brings the negative shades smartly, while Shine Tom Chacko is there in another noticeable role with his pigeons. Among the female characters, it is Srinda who gets the better.

How it finishes :: Parava is that kind of a movie which attracts us towards it, right from the first sequence involving the kids and the fish, and towards that final fight scene. It has to be noted that how well Soubin Shahir in his first movie as a director takes something which is lesser known in other parts, and elevates it to a higher and more popular level – there is nothing huge being added to the mixture at the same time. As a feel-good entertainer, this one makes us forget its tendency to stretch, and makes us feel as part of the place ourselves, whether we have visited the place or not. We need experimentation like this one to make sure that the wings of our industry stay stronger, as this one releases with Pokkiri Simon. After all, we expect our pigeons to improve and do better every time. Parava is that kind of a movie, which makes on feel that there is surely something to keep close to heart.

Release date: 21st September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Soubin Shahir
Starring: Shane Nigam, Govind V Pai, Amal Shah, Dulquer Salmaan, Jacob Gregory, Shine Tom Chacko, Harisree Ashokan, Jaffer Idukki, Indrans, Srinda Ashab, Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Zinil Zainudeen, Arjun Ashokan, Siddique, Len Prasad

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Basheerinte Premalekhanam

What is the movie about? :: Somewhere around the city of Calicut, at some point during the 1980s, there is a village which uses its only radio, that is owned by Hussain Haji (Joy Mathew) who is also the Panchayath President, for entertainment. Everyone from the village , without any discrimination according to their social status, religion or caste, usually goes to his house to listen to the drama performance which is a usual thing in the radio during the later evening. They all sit on the verandah with the radio in the centre, listening to the performances. One day, Usman (Manikandan Achari), Hamid’s sister’s son who is in Dubai, sends them a black and white television. He is also supposed to marry Suhra (Sana Althaf), Hamid’s only daughter who is studying in the second year of BA English Language and Literature at the nearby college. The arrival for the television changes things at their home as well as the whole village which has its first television.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Now, everyone is at Hussain’s house again, but this time to watch television. But nobody knows how to make it work, and for the same, they call for Basheer (Farhaan Faasil) to connect and begin the show for the whole village. There are still people who oppose the same, as it makes everyone sit in front of it for such a long time – but there is a change in the situation of the village, something which nobody can deny. Hussain is proud of being only house in the village to have a radio and a television. Meanwhile, Basheer falls in love with Suhra, but it is clear that Hussain will only marry her off to Usman when he returns from Dubai. Basheer who is from a simple family, seems to have no scope in getting the girl. With only her grandmother (Sheela) in support of the relationship, Suhra will have trouble in making her relationship with Basheer go on. Who will support them and who will support the most influential man in the village? What effect will Basheer’s love letter to Suhra bring?

The defence of Basheerinte Premalekhanam :: There is something about the romantic movies set in the eighties and before – it has a lot of nostalgia with simple humour related to the life style of the people of the time; kids up to those till the nineties would relate the best to it. There would also be those emotional moments concerning people who are more of common men than anything else. It is on the emotions and the humour that this movie seems to rely on, and it keeps working nicely, here and there. There is the simple romance of those times getting the strength here, unlike movies like Ennu Ninte Moideen which made things complicated, Anarkali which made it the visual stunner and Annayum Rasoolum which made it a terrible drag that never ended. The simple people and everything simple about them, remains the strength of this movie. There are also some nice songs to go with it, and the romantic saga is established between the two youngsters – thus, the love letter is ready with some good visuals of the village, but has nothing new.

The claws of flaw :: The strength of the romance depicted in this movie is something which is disputed, because the scope for more is missed out. The secondary tale of romance is actually more striking, and that is a surprise because it is there only in the end for a few minutes only. For a romantic movie which tries to use the name of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer’s Premalekhanam not just in the title but also inside the movie could have done more during this age. It is the title itself which leads to the higher expectations, which would clearly work against this movie in more than one way – not enough for the older generation inside the movie, and not much for the younger audience even in the title itself, except for the Malayalam literature lovers who are a group which are decreasing in number. The theatre didn’t seem to have called that many people either. A better tale of romance, with more depth in the story would have helped this one for sure. Some characters are also less developed.

Performers of the soul :: Farhan Faasil and Sana Althaf are two people who haven’t really got enough with the Malayalam movie industry – they never really had enough of those movies to show their calibre. Rajeev Ravi’s Njan Steve Lopez, the debut movie and the only other movie of him had the former as a famous name, and this happens to be only his second film – here he is in a look that resembles Kunchako Boban; got confused myself when I saw him in the first song which was released long ago, he does okay here, and the role is still not that interesting as his earlier movie. Sana Althaf’s Mariyam Mukku was quite the disaster that nobody would want with the first leading role, and she was seen only in a small role in Rani Padmini after that. She is the cute presence here, and manages to do her role with the necessary elements for the character, not more or not less. She is someone capable of repeating the cute Nazriya act of Om Shanthi Oshana and Bangalore Days in her absence. They look good together, no doubt about that.

Further performers of the soul :: The one person who leaves the biggest effect on us, is Manikandan Achari, known for the power-packed performance in Kammattipaadam and the strong comic side displayed in Alamaara. Here, he once again shows how good he is, with the emotional sequences as well as the funny side – when the protagonists’ love story gets less from the emotional side, his tale of love gets all, and elevates this movie. Sheela also comes up with a performance which will remind us of her Kochu Tresia in Manasinakkare, but it is not that much when you look at both movies. Madhu’s presence good, but could have been in some other way as real part of the tale – same is the case of Indrans. Joy Mathew scores big time in the movie too as the father. Hareesh Perumanna and Noby Marcose gets some nice humoruous lines, along with the others including Shivaji Guruvayoor and Sreejith Ravi who make it a combined effort. The other two actresses, Renjini Jose and Asha Aravind also make their presence felt. Aju Varghese also makes a cameo which feels rather unnecessary.

How it finishes :: Basheerinte Premalekhanam is a movie which had a lot more possible with its content, but is a fair thing as it is. It is to be noted that the three other Malayalam movies, Tiyaan, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum haven’t really stopped the hunt, and are still in the game. There are also the other new releases, including Minnaminungu – The Firefly which won Surabhi Lakshmi the National Award for Best Actress, Team 5 starring Sreesanth who gets into another area other than cricket and music, Pulimurugan getting its much awaited 3D release, Theeram which already has its name among the superhit songs and a lesser known horror movie known as Mythily Veendum Varunnu. The point to be noted is that none of these movies got any superstar from the Malayalam movie industry – maybe with the recent incidents related to actors’ real life, they are all waiting. Until then, this one brings the feel-good factor.

Release date: 21st July 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Aneesh Anwar
Starring: Farhaan Faasil, Sana Althaf, Renjini Jose, Sheela, Madhu, Manikandan Achari, Noby Marcose, Joy Mathew, Sooraj Harris, Shanavas, Sunil Sugatha, Sasi Kalinga, Hareesh Perumanna, Sreejith Ravi, Sivaji Guruvayoor, Indrans, Asha Aravind, Ponnamma Babu, Aju Varghese (cameo)

PS: You might also want to check out a cute Chinese romantic short-film, The Story of 90 Coins.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rakshadhikari Baiju

Vampire Owl: This character reminds me of myself during my early days.

Vampire Bat: You mean the days before you became a vampire.

Vampire Owl: No, my early days as a vampire apprentice.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that you performed really bad during those days.

Vampire Owl: No, I had balance in all aspects of life just like this man in the trailer.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see how this can be termed as balance.

Vampire Owl: Well, my case was all about balancing everything in life with so much skill that I managed to develop just from the inside.

Vampire Bat: There is no balance in life; one thing goes the right way, and something else losses the way.

Vampire Owl: I am actually writing a book on it, with special thanks to you.

Vampire Bat: That is an action completely against balance.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Baiju (Biju Menon) is everything for a group of people at Kumbalam, a region which is commonly considered as a part of an extended Kochi, but still retains its simple, village-like life. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake, the place is connected at both sides by bridges, which is slowly and steadily transforming the lives of the people there. Here, this man leads a group of youngsters who are part of a cricket team which has been trying to win local tournaments, but not with that much success – it hasn’t stopped them from trying though. The team’s members include Manoj (Deepak Parambol) and Unni (Aju Varghese) among the others. Manoj has fallen for a girl in the neighbourhood named Rose (Anagha L K Maruthora) who also seems to have some interest in him, while a co-worker, Sreekala (Krishna Padmakumar) has fallen for Unni who is not interested in her and is looking for a girl to marry all around the state.

So, what happens next? :: His lack of interest in his job despite being in government service doesn’t make his wife Ajitha (Hannah Reji Koshy) happy, and the same is the case with his parents. He also spends money from his pocket to help his friends in need, and is the major force behind leading a boy in his team to Ranji trophy and later into an IPL team. Despite avoiding all the responsibilities at home as well as office, he is still a loved man everywhere. Being an irrigation department official and also a patron of the Kumbalam Brothers Club will keep him going through a journey which started when he was just a kid, along with George (Dileesh Pothan) and other friends of him, who have all settled outside India or at least outside Kerala. But he remains in his hometown, doing the same things as if it is to go on for eternity – but how long can these continue during a time when modernisation comes up, and who all will be with him?

The defence of Rakshadhikari Baiju :: There is an abundance of humour in Rakshadhikari Baiju, and it is no surprise with the cast that we see here. With the simple things that could happen in anyone’s life, the tale progresses nicely, even as there is nothing like Chinthavishtayaaya Shyamala unlike expected at one point. With the performances and events, things just seem natural here, with nothing artificial added. The message that the movie provides is also something for this age, when children try to replace the outdoor sports for computer games and more and more of mobile gaming – the movie asks its viewers to encourage outdoor sporting events which will improve the health of an upcoming generation, and also to save those free spaces, the green open grounds with trees in villages and towns. There is also that feeling of nostalgia that will come back to us seeing all these happenings. A realistic tale about common people is always better than a fake story claiming to be realistic, whether it is about a slow love story that will take an eternity to finish doing something or related to a tale filling a town with criminals who love pork.

The claws of flaw :: What surprises one the most is that there are villains in the movie, and along with one coming right out of a modern world which has no real face, there is another one played by Padmaraj Ratheesh, which goes absolutely nowhere – there never seems to be any need except for one funny sequence or two which works due to Biju Menon’s comic timing. There is also the love angle added with the character named Rose, which is also pretty much wasted just as our protagonist’s own love story flashback that comes into the present. Without these, the movie would have saved a lot of time, and the extra length of the movie could have been cut down to make this a very good entertainer with no dull moments; but here we see those sequences which are not really needed. The simplicity of the movie also needed more of the touch of feel-good and nostalgia to power it to the next level, and the same is also not there.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again becomes what the character needs him to be, and this role is no surprise for sure. Just like he did in Vellimoonga and Swarna Kaduva, he uses the simple incidents in life to evoke laughter, and he is well supported here. Aju Varghese keeps doing what he does the best, and provides the fun-filled support. Deepak Parambol does the role that could be of the second hero fine enough, despite his character losing way by the end. It is Hareesh Perumanna who has some of the funniest moments in the movie though, and his character has the comic side strong and written all over. Dileesh Pothan has only his presence for only a few minutes though, and still there is a lot of fun with his sequences starting with the dialogue about having changed by being rich. Hannah Reji Koshy whom we had seen for the last time in Darwinte Parinamam has a nice stay here as the leading actress too.

How it finishes :: This is one of those lesser hyped movies which can stay long just by being the movie that everyone can watch and enjoy, somewhat close to what Vellimoonga did even if not being that much of a force, considering the fact that families only have Sakhavu as the newer movie that is left to go for, Puthan Panam being pretty much a clear terrible movie, and also having an ‘Adult certificate’. The Great Father and 1971: Beyond Borders should also be there along with the undisputed best Malayalam movie of the year so far which is Take Off, but our movie starts a new innings here with not much of a challenge for a week which is in the safe zone. If you liked the Biju Menon starrers Vellimoonga and Swarna Kaduva, there is no doubt that you will like this one too, and so this one is a safe bet; there is a little bit of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam feeling in this one too. Simple, and without complicating things, the movie here stays close to life, and also allows the viewers to take the messages home.

Release date: 21st April 2017
Running time: 162 minutes
Directed by: Ranjan Pramod
Starring: Biju Menon, Hannah Reji Koshy, Aju Varghese, Deepak Parambol, Hareesh Perumanna, Dileesh Pothan, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Alencier Ley Lopez, Janardhanan, Indrans, Vijayaraghavan, Chethan Jayalal, Vishal Krishna, Aabid Nassar, Ambika Mohan, Nebish Benson, Krishna Padmakumar, Anjali Aneesh, Anagha L K Maruthora, Sankar Induchoodan, Sasi Kalinga

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Alamara

Vampire Owl: A movie named after the almirah. It is an interesting case.

Vampire Bat: What is it about you and an almirah?

Vampire Owl: An almirah is a nice option for executing our evil plans.

Vampire Bat: You are not planning on scaring a few people by jumping out of an almirah, are you?

Vampire Owl: Well, what I plan is world domination using the almirah.

Vampire Bat: That idea won’t work. It is just an almirah.

Vampire Owl: You will know the depth of my evil plans, and then you will realise how far it can go.

Vampire Bat: It hasn’t gone that much with any of the plans.

Vampire Owl: You see, this one is different. I will get some special plan from this movie.

Vampire Bat: Let you find the best evil plan from a feel-good comedy movie.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Arun (Sunny Wayne) is a bank employee who is working at Bangalore, and despite having seen forty seven girls so far, hasn’t been able to get married to one. The last one got messed up after the girl whom he was supposed to marry, eloped with someone else. He is a member of various matrimonial websites, and there are his relatives who are trying to get him to be married to some girl or the other, but things don’t go well as something bad happens every time. It is during these times that his good friend Suvin (Aju Varghese) gets rejected by a girl Swathi (Aditi Ravi) because he ends up being shorter than her. Swathi gets transferred to Bangalore, and asks for some help from Arun who is the brother of her old friend Divya (Sonu Anna Jacob), and knows the city well enough to find her a place to live for the time being.

So, what happens next? :: He soon proposes to Swathi, and working in nearby banks in the same city, she accepts, and so do the parents and relatives of both of them. The date of wedding is fixed on a day six months later, so that Divya can also be married on the same day, after she also passes a bank test and gets to work in a financial institution just like them. As the date gets nearer, everyone on the girl’s side gets restless, but it seems that Divya is in no mood to pass the bank test any time soon – she just keeps studying and nothing much happens. The two families almost decide not to go forward with this relationship, but Arun and Swathi are adamant, and finally both families have to agree to conduct the wedding. The wedding goes on well, and both of them move to Bangalore after a few days at Arun’s place. But things aren’t that smooth as they thought they were going to be.

The defence of Alamara :: The feel-good element in this movie works very well, and so do the jokes used here. The message here is that the married couple has to live their lives, and the rest of the people around will be only there to give some free advice and also to have the food for the function. The movie asks the pairs to take the decisions about their later lives themselves, and listen the least to the others – also, not to compare, but to live a life which is meant for them and not for those who watch from outside. A lot of situations in the movie can be related, and the comedy used here might feel a lot closer to real life for many. It was also a nice and divergent idea to have the almirah do the narration as the silent witness to all the foolishness that the humans come up with inside their relationships. The movie is visually good, and the songs have good timing.

The claws of flaw :: You will see that there is a lot of predictability associated with this tale which has been going on for a long time in one form or the other. There is no shortage of stories like this in our world – we can see them in all directions. You once again see a married couple having their relationship in trouble due to the interferences from their families who were not sure about this wedlock at the first place. The subplot concerning the property sale at Bangalore was not at all interesting though, and it could have been kept to the minimum to decrease the overall length of this movie. There could have also been something really new and fresh here, considering the fact that the same couldn’t be done with the story and how it goes on. The actors like Bijukuttan and Vijilesh are a little too less used, with more scope there for their characters.

Performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is good here, and he maintains the level in most of the sequences too. It is Aditi Ravi who makes a bigger impact here though, and we can expect to see more of her considering how good she has been in this leading role. In the comedy department, it is Manikandan Achari as the protagonist’s favourite uncle, who stands apart in a role completely different from what he did in Kammattipaadam. Aju Varghese and Saiju Kurup scores the most as protagonist’s friends when at Bangalore – also look out for Indrans in another different avatar here. Ranji Panicker and Seema G. Nair makes a fine pair that brings the fun here. Sonu Anna Jacob also has a notable role here. Then there is Salim Kumar providing some fun as the voice of almirah, the poor creation from the wood which gets to see all these and suffer – these humans are truly bad, aren’t they?

How it finishes :: This is the third movie from the director Midhun Manuel Thomas after Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyanu and Annmariya Kalippilaanu. Sunny Wayne, Aju Varghese and Saiju Kurup remains the common factors once again, and there is the humour element of the first movie and the feel-good factor of the second one maintained nicely in this particular flick. This movie is surely better than Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyanu, but not that good as Annmariya Kalippilaanu. With the entertainment, the feel-good factor and the messages for a new generation of families as well as those of the older generation, Alamara will be an interesting movie for more than one kind of audience. The message provided by this movie is valid not just for now, but for a longer period of time, and therefore Alamara should continue to work as the right family flick for many despite not being a huge one! Also look out for C/O Saira Banu this weekend, both movies taking different paths here!

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Aditi Ravi, Sonu Anna Jacob, Ranji Panicker, Aju Varghese, Saiju Kurup, Sudhi Koppa, Manikandan Achari, Indrans, Sadiq, Seema G. Nair, Manju Satheesh, Kunchan, Bijukuttan, Vijilesh, Salim Kumar (voice only), Arya Rohit (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

C/O Saira Banu

What is the movie about? :: Saira Banu (Manju Warrier) is a post woman who lives for her adopted son, Joshua Peter (Shane Nigam). Joshua is the son of a photographer who went missing in the forest and was declared dead long time ago, and this particular award winning photographer, Peter George (Mohanlal – voice only) had adopted Saira a long time ago, after her whole family had committed suicide. Joshua is in love with Arundhati (Niranjana Anoop) who studies in the law college just like him, but it goes on only with interest from his side. His other love is for photography like his father, and he tries hard to make something out of this passion with the support of his young mother. He is finally rewarded one day for his hard work as he wins a contest and is selected to go to Paris. But on the same day, some twist of events happen.

So, what happens next? :: There is a case registered against Joshua, which happens to be not as simple as Saira had thought, as this one is a hit and run case, and the victim had died, with witnesses there to testify. As it threatens to destroy his life and career even though he claims that he is innocent, Saira decides to prove that her adopted son is telling the truth. But fighting the case against Joshua is Annie John Tharavady (Amala Akkineni), one of the most successful lawyers, and is determined to win this case too. Joshua and Saira has no option with all lawyers backing out due to one reason or the other. But she will not surrender – still the question remains if she stands a chance against Annie who is determined to get his side to win every time? Where does Joshua’s future go from this situation from where there seems no chance of redemption?

The defence of C/O Saira Banu :: The movie goes through some interesting incidents in the society, including the case of migrant workers, noodles ban, kiss of love protest, and one other thing which was in the news, but can’t be revealed due to its effect on the suspense factor. There is some comedy that is working in the first half, and there is a second half which has a good amount of thrills to go with that unexpected twist to go with the climax – it succeeds in making people guess and come up with an ending which will be acceptable to most of the viewers along with being a nice surprise for everyone. There is also the message about the reality of this world, on what has been happening with a society which has been divided on the basis of class more than anyone can imagine. Along with the same, C/O Saira Banu is a good-looking movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The first half of the movie will feel a bit longer for one’s liking, as the time taken in establishing the mother-son relationship is a little too much, and some of jokes are not that effective either; same is the case of melodrama too. Better comic stuff in the first half would have helped to keep a momentum in the first half, maybe with some more sequences in the college or the post office – even the neighbourhood was a place which had some good scope. The end credits scene also ends without a warning, when you feel that there was going to be something to be added in the end. You will also feel that there is more than one side to a happy climax and ending; there will be questions if that good feeling is really that good, or is it just an illusion of the same.

Performers of the soul :: This one has Manju Warrier playing the titular character, and the most important role in this movie, and we are glad to see her in another role which provides her the prominence that she deserves and works on really well – Rani Padmini was the last one to get her to that level, even though Karinkunnam 6s and Vettah did show the signs. It is for those emotional moments that we need to look out for the most, and there is that bit of determination in her character against all odds which works so well for her. It is her return that has helped the Malayalam movie industry so much to bring the heroine-oriented roles to the front, something that has been struggling to be there. I don’t see anyone doing such roles like she did for quite some time, something that started so well for her with How Old Are You? and might continue in the same way, as we are seeing now.

Further performers of the soul :: Meanwhile, Amala Akkineni makes her return to Malayalam movies after a very long gap – her last two movies were Ente Sooryaputhrikku and Ulladakkam, with Suresh Gopi and Mohanlal respectively, both releasing in the year 1991 – those were also her only two Malayalam movies before this one. She remains solid in her lawyer character in this one, and the character’s determination has a clear reflection on her. Shane Nigam has his second big role after Kismath despite being there for longer – here he plays a character that has almost no happiness, and there are so many similarities to his role in his previous movie; but he manages the same well. Niranjana Anoop has less to do, which she does fine. It is Biju Sopanam who scores the most outside the main list. There are also those names which are underused, from Joy Mathew to Sujith Shankar.

How it finishes :: Unlike what some people had said, Mohanlal is not making a special cameo appearance in this movie, even though his voice is there. There is enough for everyone with C/O Saira Banu, and the family audience will be the one to benefit the most. Coming from a debutante director, this one is more than one can expect while dealing with a topic like this. It is surely the best movie in Malayalam to have released so far – forget those people who are claiming the same for movies which claim to be realistic when they are not, because C/O Saira Banu is the flick that follows the path of Drishyam, as a family movie as well as a thriller, becoming part of two different genres in two halves. This one is certain to weave its magic among the audience, even if a little bit late – watch it now, and try not to figure out why you didn’t watch this one earlier.

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Antony Sony
Starring: Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni, Shane Nigam, Niranjana Anoop, P. Balachandran, Joy Mathew, Indrans, John Paul, Ganesh Kumar, Jagadeesh, Sunil Sukhada, Biju Sopanam, Sujith Shankar, Mohanlal (voice only)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.