Malayankunju

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the floods and landslides of the last few years?

Vampire Bat: Yes, 2018 floods was too terrifying for vampires too.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this movie will be a Fahadh Faasil show.

Vampire Bat: You mean, more focused on him than the big works like Joji and Malik.

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why it should be any different.

Vampire Bat: There can always be balanced acts.

Vampire Owl: The focus always shifts to Fahadh Faasil at some point of time.

Vampire Bat: We remember the much earlier Fahadh Faasil movie which was focused on high ranges too.

Vampire Owl: Maheshinte Prathikaaram was one of its kind.

Vampire Bat: Well, so was Kumbalangi Nights which deserved better accolades than what it had received then. Still my favourite movies of him would still be the earlier ones in the form of Amen and Diamond Necklace.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three scoops of blackcurrant ice cream].

What is the movie about? :: Anil Kumar aka Anikuttan (Fahadh Faasil) is an expert electrician who serves the locals of the high ranges of Kerala. He is the one whom almost everyone depends on, whether it is about laptops and mobiles or related to general household items like televisions, refrigerators and washing machines, with any possible doubts being cleared using Youtube. Sumesh (Deepak Parambol) is his best friend, and helps him with obtaining the electrical equipments required for repair, as they live closer to the forest area. His father Radhakrishnan (Jaffar Idukki) had committed suicide a long time ago, and he had been unhappy about it for a long time, leading him to becoming frequently angry towards others and even resulted in him acting strangely for most of time. His mother Shanthamma (Jaya S Kurup) is particularly unhappy about how he has been living his life – as the child next door cries all the time, he feels disturbed and not able to concentrate on his work, leading to more fights with neighbours.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: All of these points to his sister Sandhya (Rajisha Vijayan) eloping with Deepu (Arjun Ashokan) on the night before her marriage, the event thus becoming the major reason for the suicide of Anil’s father. Even though his uncle Surendran (Indrans), neighbour Poulose (Irshad) and a few others are still in support of him, he doesn’t gain any fans among the people around. As his sister comes back to the area with her child, he is not ready to go and see her. He also gets into fights with the locals, and lands in the police station. But he somewhat gets along with these people, but it has been raining heavily for a long time, and an alert was already issued. Most of the people nearby had already moved from the area, and Anil’s neighbours plan to get out there the very next morning. Anil is adamant that he won’t leave his house, despite the warnings of his mother. But the landslide occurs during that night, and everyone seems to have perished. Anil tries to get out of the area underneath the land and try to save others who might have also been caught in there, but can he?

The defence of Malayankunju :: The struggle that the main character has to face, feels as real as possible. The skills with cinematography seems to have worked in favour of the movie, not just underneath the ground, but also outside with the shots, even though there are no shots of this particular world like in one of the best quality films in high ranges for sometime, John Luther. There are no exaggerations in this tale which is close to reality from the beginning to the end – the protagonist is no hero, and struggles with the problems of the mind reminding us of North 24 Kaatham which had a different crisis from inside. The movie is very much well shot in parts, and with some fine use of lighting and sound effects, creates the desired effects to take us to that world. The nature with all the greenery works close to the tale, even though environment is pushed to the background for quite a long time. This seems to be a movie custom made for Fahadh Faasil, and he assures the audience about the same. He continues with his excellence, and when he is there, you know that the movie will rise further, even if caught in the ordinary at times.

The claws of flaw :: With the premise, one would have expected this to be a disaster movie with the visuals of the terror also coming into the picture. The time spent underneath the ground could have also looked better, with some more smaller events of interest – the situation outside could have also been shown from outside, about what had actually happened, and how the news channels report the incidents – these could be easily achieved without making things complicated or exaggerated. The idea of having the father appear in the dream-like sequence doesn’t work, considering the mood which the film has been maintaining. Some of the characters are there to do very less, and it is disappointing considering their skills. The sudden interest in humanity which is displayed by the protagonist seems to be forced, as he looks like the one who is interested in his fellow humans all of a sudden. The movie had already stretched a little bit too much with the events in the early stages. After all, as people watch survival thrillers in different languages, they are no strangers to the idea. The songs are also not that interesting.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has never stopped amazing us with his works, and it is to be noted that even with the ordinary stories like Ayal Njanalla and Role Models, he has elevated the movie to a classic level, and there is no question about those works which have managed to be close to perfection with his presence. We have been seeing him as the actor who has been part of movies from different languages and having more and more fans from different parts of the world and even outside the nation. Here, he is excellent in displaying the protagonist’s desire to survive against all odds, as he is caught in the debris which remained after the landslide. Rajisha Vijayan plays another role in which she does a fine job, even though one would have wanted to see her more, as we had only recently seen how well she managed to work as the sole star in Keedam, a quality which was also seen in Kho Kho, Finals and June, all of them having her rising above all expectations. The usual veterans are surely strong in here, in the form of Indrans, Irshad and Jaffar Idukki. Nilja K Baby also gets a good role which is performed well, and we would expect RJ Nilja as part of more similar movies – more of future for the film industry.

How it finishes :: The movie seems to have had its inspiration from the landslides which occurred in Kerala, especially from the year of Kerala’s biggest floods of the century till the year of the corona virus – the devastation of the times seems to serve as inspiration for creativity as much as for caution. The horror related to natural disasters has never been too far away from us. This one works as an eye opener for all people, as everyone needs to come together during the disaster which unites humanity, and let them get out of the boundaries of religion, caste, race and language. The disaster has been used to remind people of what they have been missing, and some fantastic performances make sure that it gets to the viewers. It also works as the triumph of humanity when it discovers what it had lost in the last few years – hope and love for the other. Malayankunju successfully urges the audience to reclaim the same, even though a world of chaos and destruction awaits to be unleashed on unsuspecting people.

Release date: 11th August 2022 (Amazon Prime Video); 22 July 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Sajimon Prabhakar
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Rajisha Vijayan, Indrans, Nilja K Baby, Johny Antony, Jose MV, Deepu Navaikulam, Jaffar Idukki, Jaya S Kurup, Deepak Parambol, Arjun Ashokan, Meera Krishnan, Binu Manambur, Irshad, Chali Pala, Meera Krishnan, Remya Suresh, Kiran Peethambaram

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Naradan

Vampire Owl: I am glad to find this one finally coming to the OTT.

Vampire Bat: Yes, especially as it is on Amazon Prime Video.

Vampire Owl: With Minnal Murali on Netflix, Tovino has risen to be an even bigger star.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we don’t really need the local theatre stars anymore.

Vampire Owl: It has always been difficult to watch the superstar movies in theatre.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the corona virus changed that up to an extent.

Vampire Owl: There are too many things that the virus has changed.

Vampire Bat: Smarter movies getting better appreciation all around India through OTT should surely be one of them.

Vampire Owl: Let there be more skills displayed in films.

Vampire Bat: It is all about watching the right movie and avoiding the others. In the case of some movies, we know that they are to be avoided, whatever happens.

[Gets an onion vada and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Fr Daniel Purambokkil (Jaffer Idukki) is an activist who provides sensational news for the media while trying to help the poor people in need. He is a regular part of the telvision channel talks. Chandraprakash (Tovino Thomas) is one of those new age journalist who wishes to do those kind of stories which increases the rating of his channel – he is always forced to take it to another level by the channel, News Malayalam, but decides to keep it going naturally as he has been doing for quite a long time. Pradeep John (Sharafudheen) is part of a less popular channel, Vartha 24 X 7, and manages to come up with sone interviews to improve its viewership all of a sudden. Shivadas Kurup (Joy Mathew), Chief Editor of News Malayalam is not happy about the viewers choosing another channel instead of them who have better infrastructure and has had a bigger audience throughout history. Vartha 24 X 7 seems to get debates based on maoists and related news which would bring more of the audience into interest.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Pradeep John joins News Malayalam, much to the dismay of Chandraprakash, who feels that he has been sidelined by a new person who gets the same position and salary, along with better options to excel in the media field. Babuji (Vijayaradhavan) who has different special interests in politics and business comes up with an idea to make the best use of this particular opportunity. With his business partners, he plans to start a news channel which can attract the best revenue options from advertisers. Chandraprakash who is now known as CP, begins the channel with a big news related to Thomman Varghese (Kunchan), the Minister of Finance. The minister accused of being part of a sex scandal, and is forced to resign. Despite the best attempts of News Malayalam, it soon losses the number one spot among news channels. Narada News goes through the paths less taken – it is basically without moral principles as the focus is only one being the number one; where does that lead CP and his team?

The defence of Naradan :: The journalism that goes too hungry for TRP gets a dose here, as that side has been explored without any second thoughts to go with it – with a better ending, things could have been more in the movie’s favour. When Swantham Lekhakan released in 2009, this was a lot more relevant, and when Run Baby Run came into the picture in 2012 and Love 24×7 released in 2015, it continued to stay relevant – despite the YouTube channels gaining a little too many viewers, this one manages to establish the TRP hunt well, thanks to the leading performance from Tovino Thomas. There are some interesting moments related to the field, and we are all taken to this particular world from the beginning itself. One can also find some relations to incidents which happened in real life, but with the corona virus pandemic after that Jio revolution, things seem to have changed even further. Still, one would agree to the fact that news is not to be made for emotions, but discovered for the truth that it happens to be. Maybe, the movie would have been more relevant, releasing a few years ago.

The claws of flaw :: The problem with Naradan is that despite keeping on showing the mirror to media as a whole, it doesn’t show the same with the Youtube channels which do the same – except for a very few channels of high quality, there has been the lack of truth in Youtube, a case which will affect the common man’s senses more than the usual television channels, as the Jio revolution has made sure that anyone can say anything in the name of video blogging or vlogging. Unlike the usual media, the control is so much less there. The ending of Naradan is also not that convincing – there is a certain lack of power around there too. There could have also been a better show of the fight between the channels. In movies like this one, emotional side is also important, but the same doesn’t get to rise in its level either. The movie could have been strong with its pillars, but it decides to just go on without setting the base, which is why it seems to come down with its score here and there – the strong foundation is surely missing around here, along with the overall quality being low.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas once again comes up with some excellence here, but his role should have been closer to what he had played in Kaanekkaane instead of coming up with that change all of a sudden. Forensic had him in the thrillers, but Naradan has him with the negative side effectively. Anna Ben has a short period of time to perform here, even though the Kumbalangi Nights, Sara’s and Helen star remains solid during those moments – a better finish would have helped her cause more though. Vijayaraghavan and Joy Mathew have those smaller, but effective roles, even though they should have been there for more. Sharafudheen’s controlled role is really good. Balachandran Chullikkad and Jayaraj Warrier also have those smaller, but notable roles, which could have been expanded too – they just seem to disappear in between. Jaffer Idukki comes up with another role of a priest after Bro Daddy, and that seems to work really well for him. Renji Panicker and Lukman Avaran makes some good lawyers here too.

How it finishes :: Naradan would have been more effective if it came a few years earlier – the media that we know has been replaced by YouTube these days, and the common man seems to believe what is seen on the internet more than the television channels, and with so many such content in YouTube, the real Narada News would be one of the online channels. We do see so many channels which contradict with the news that they come up with, and we have also seen so many fights going on between these people. One would keep wondering where the truth lies with these channels, as there seems to be not much which can be trusted in the online world of chaos with social media being in the front to spread such news – Whatsapp universities and Facebook colleges do that more than anything else, but that is one blame which the films forgets with convenience, but we find some truth and engaging moments here. This is also not an easy task to deal with this topic, but the director of some of my favourite films like Rani Padmini, Mayaanadhi and Virus could have surely done better.

Release date: 3rd March 2022 (Theatre); 8th April 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Anna Ben, Joy Mathew, Vijayaraghavan, Sharafudheen, Balachandran Chullikkad, Raghunath Paleri, Jayaraj Warrier, Kunchan, Rafi, Dileesh Nair, Rajesh Madhavan, Indrans, Lukman Avaran, Jaffer Idukki, Renki Panicker, Vijaykumar Prabhakaran, Koottickal Jayachandran, Navas Vallikkunnu

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pada

Vampire Owl: I had heard some good opinions about this movie from outside Kerala.

Vampire Bat: These days, good Malayalam movies get nice opinions from outside.

Vampire Owl: And the bad ones get the mass opinions from inside the state.

Vampire Bat: Yes, about the masses, it has been so for quite a long time.

Vampire Owl: I thought that humans have survived to go past the mass masala.

Vampire Bat: Well, not everyone has a fully grown brain to do that.

Vampire Owl: The existence of such a strange genre itself is a crime.

Vampire Bat: It is rather the useless genre.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that humans can have some intellect with movies?

Vampire Bat: Maybe with movies like this one around.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: The Adivasi Land Act Amendment seems to have changed the life of the tribal people by a long way, as in the year 1996, in Palakkad, Rakesh Kanhangad (Kunchacko Boban) gives an interview and says that he is now a fugitive for strange reasons. He talks about the situation of the adivasis and the new laws passed without any protest from any Member of the Legislative Assembly, something which could actually drive them away from their lands within the forests. Aravindan Mannur (Joju George) is also someone who is frustrated with the system, and hopes that there will be a change through the actions of the people. Balu Kallaar (Vinayakan) is also a determined man who leaves his wife Sheeja PK (Kani Kusruti) and children behind citing some important work. Narayanan Kutty (Dileesh Pothan) is also someone who wants to see some change, and the same is the case of Mini KS (Unnimaya Prasad) who supports what these people seems to be planning.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Rakesh Kanhangad, Aravindan Mannur, Balu Kallaar and Narayanan Kutty are determined to get inside the collectorate with some sinister plan for the collector. But it seems that the collector won’t be there for the day, and they are forced to return on the very next day. The team feels that it is a good thing as they are not that prepared or organized – one more day for preparation can only help their cause better. They decide not to be seen together, and make their own preparations for the next day all by themselves. Mini remains anxious about Narayanan Kutty being a direct part of this, but is forced to return home as he insists on the same. Sheeja also remains worried about her husband, but can do nothing about it. Rakesh manages to nicely evade the police despite being caught in the name of a case in which he was acquitted. But the plan won’t go as straight forward as they had wanted it to happen.

The defence of Pada :: It can be seen that Pada nicely and slowly gets into action, and by the interval, it has the main thing being initiated. The movie keeps on going through the realistic treatment of the whole thing, never really trying to build up the tension in a twisted or forced manner. There is no unnecessary action, and there is no romance at all, which means that the movie is kept close to reality – the two would have only brought a deviation away from the real world. The movie does make a strong point towards the requirement of the subaltern, and there is the strong political statement related to the governments which have come and gone, but never cared about the people who really needed the attention of the people in power. Well, it can serve as more of a reminder that the government doesn’t care about most of the people, and the politics has rarely helped the common man, and never came to the service of those who were even further below in status. A reminder of how the government machinery works can only help us at all times.

Positives and negatives :: There is indeed grandeur related to the cast here – the leading four, Kunchacko Boban, Joju George, Dileesh Pothan and Vinayakan were always sure to bring quality around here. The two main women, Kani Kusruti who won the Best Actress at Kerala State Film Awards for her exceptional work at Biriyaani and Unnimaya Prasad who has come up with some of the most memorable performances out of even small roles. Then there is the classic Prakash Raj and Indrans who has come into serious roles with a lot of strength and class. Shine Tom Chacko and Sudheer Karamana are the kind of actors who work strongly in the background every time – could have been used better for sure. At the end of the movie, there are the clips to show that this was a real incident, and we also have the realization to understand that nothing much changed after that in real life too. The world belongs to a few, and the majority are fooled easily – a reminder of the same is always good, and serves a fine purpose. Well, after many movies like this one, you have the same world – some people won’t even like the film’s slow pace, and lack of surprises or innovations.

The performers of the soul :: Coming out of the less interesting and often struggling Bheemante Vazhi, Kunchacko Boban is back to form again within a thriller of quality. Related to the earlier Nizhal, Nayattu, Virus and Anjaam Pathiraa, there was the rise of thrillers in his bio-data – he has very soon become no stranger to this genre, unlike his early romantic journeys which continued for so many years then. He leads the way strong and sharp around here. Joju George has been choosing some of the right movies since Joseph, and the last classic choice was Madhuram – this one is no exception, and he does a fantastic jon as usual. Dileesh Pothan, the legendary director of our times, Maheshinte Prathikaaram, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and Joji comes up with another realistic performance, and Vinayakan also does the same. Shine Tom Chacko and Sudheer Karamana are limited to small, but still notable roles. Prakash Raj has a solid presence in the second half, while Unnimaya Prasad and Indrans do their job in a rather usual manner. Biriyaani movie’s classic actress Kani Kusruti’s role is also limited, but there is charm in the actress’ small presence itself.

How it finishes :: This is another one of those realistic movies which has a hostage situation in the centre. If we imagine Bollywood doing a similar film, we can only feel threatened about the intellectual poverty that we would have to come up against, and end up being devastated in the process. But with Pada releasing here, we can only be thankful. Whether it is the case of the subaltern or the struggle for independence, they are best done in a realistic manner, showing the struggles that people go through, rather than making some mass masala entertainer out of them. We don’t need to make superheroes out of people who struggled for us – we should respect them for these struggles rather than portray them as metahumans who have had it easy because they were too powerful. I would never understand why people have the wish to demean the people who fought for us, and thus make an attempt to annihilate their dignity. I wouldn’t support such a cause, because for me those who struggle and win are the true triumphant ones, and not those who are shown to fly and fight hundreds of people at once in the process.

Release date: 10th March 2022 (Theatre); 30th March 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Kamal KM
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Joju George, Dileesh Pothan, Vinayakan, Unnimaya Prasad, Kani Kusruti, Prakash Raj, Indrans, Arjun Radhakrishnan, Jagadish, Salim Kumar, Savithri Sreedharan, TG Ravi, Shine Tom Chacko, VK Sreeraman, Gopalan Adat, Dasan Kongad, Siby Thomas, Bitto Davis, James Elia, Sajitha Madathil, Hari Kongad, Vivek Vijayakumaran, K Rajesh, Kottayam Ramesh, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Devendranath Shankarnarayanan, Unni Vijayan, Kannan Nayar, Sunil Annur, Rajeevan Vellur, Haris Saleem, Nithin George, Ishitha Sudheesh, Master Davinchi, Santhosh Keezhattur

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Salute

Vampire Owl: This movie surely had our attention early enough.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we noticed something about this one quite long ago.

Vampire Owl: We have all been fond of such thrillers.

Vampire Bat: This seems to be something on the lines of Meppadiyan.

Vampire Owl: Yes, a thriller which seems to reflect the usual happenings.

Vampire Bat: A thriller that makes us more conscious then!

Vampire Owl: We should be better aware of the human world for sure.

Vampire Bat: We can never be aware enough about human evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it is always better to be prepared.

Vampire Bat: Well, you will know that you can never be enough prepared for anything what the humans can offer.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of iced tea].

What is the movie about? :: SI Aravind Karunakaran (Dulquer Salmaan) was one of the investigating officers on a murder case which was investigated by him and his brother who is also in the police force, DySP Ajith Karunakaran (Manoj K Jayan) along with a few others. They find the only person who holds a definite grudge against the murder victim and had also spoken against him – the same person had so many motives to commit the murder. The police feels cent percent sure that he was the one who committed the murder, and plants evidence against him, leading to his arrest. It is at the same time that another person seems to be linked to the murder, but the same police officers decide not to investigate on the case any more as it is closed, leaving everything to the court. Aravind is not happy about it though, and wishes to make a difference. But his brother and other senior police officers make sure that he won’t have any access to any clues, and keeps him busy with other work.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Aravind is fed up with the situation and decides to take five years leave without salary. He pursues a course in the North, and in the process meets Dia (Diana Penty) with whom he falls in love. She is the daughter of a military officer, and they start a live-in relationship. Things seem to go on in a usual manner, and then his niece Malavika Ajith (Saniya Iyappan) invites him to her wedding which is to happen soon. Ajith also asks him to come home early and be part of the preparations. He decides to return home, even though he had decided to leave his past behind. When he gets back to his hometown, he takes Dia with him, and the family members except Malavika are not pleased about the same. There, he gets the news that the man who was framed in the murder is now convicted in the case. He decides to cancel his leave and ho after it once again. But can he solve the case better this time, after so many years?

The defence of Salute :: It can be seen that Salute keeps the whole thing procedural, and there is no masala which is often added with the usual police movies which are more categorized to action rather than anything else. Some of the Bollywood movies have brought us shame in the recent years with their depiction of police officers, and I am sure that most of the sensible people wished for a change – mass masala is indeed not a genre, and is the lack of creative imagination and skills. Even for those films without much of action added, this remains very realistic in comparison. The emotional side also remains strong throughout the movie, as not all battles here are meant to hurt the others, and yet requires to serve justice. The way in which the story is told, as it moves from one point to the other, is to be applauded. It also have very less predictability in its working. There is the reflection of the intelligence of the writers and director displayed at regular intervals though the progression of the tale.

Positives and negatives :: The movie talks about impersonation, which happens rather too often than one would think about. It is something which can easily happen in our world, as people tend to believe others rather too easily. Some people have the skills to talk very well, and in the end, the common man will only end up believing the person and as a result, is cheated. The movie is still slow, and it has a little too much of a length than what was needed – maybe it could have been shortened by removing a few moments with the romantic side or family drama. This is also not the movie for everyone, as some people will be looking for a much different thing. You don’t get an invincible hero here, but you do get the faceless villain, and there is a certain amount of beauty related to it. Along with the same, there are many red herrings, and as we move from one clue to the other, we feel that we are so close to finding the person responsible for all of these, but the slip is so nicely orchestrated around here.

The performers of the soul :: This indeed among Dulquer Salmaan’s best movies in some time, and he has given the right controlled performance required for this particular role. There is no beating up the villains or taking the extreme measure to catch one of them – he is a flawed character like the one Prithviraj Sukumaran played in Memories or Joju George played in Joseph, even though much younger and more energetic. Dulquer plays the police officer who is held between the requirements of duty and family really well, and in between all of these, romance was indeed unnecessary. I am not fond of people who remember Dulquer for movies like Bangalore Days – he needs to come the mind for works like this one! On the other side, there is Manoj K Jayan, and the tension between the two brothers are shown very nicely, as the veteran actor also comes in strong as the elder brother and superior police officer. Diana Penty’s Malayalam debut is good to watch, but nothing much is added by the character. Saniya Iyappan plays the happy and cheerful niece well. There are a good number of people who play the police officers well here too.

How it finishes :: Salute is not your conventional police investigation thriller, as it follows a path which is much better, even though not for the taste of the typical fan boys. This is also a good reason for the movie to release on the OTT platform rather than the theatre. Movies like this one will not have that much of an appreciation from the usual crowd of the theatres, but with the release on SonyLIV, it has reached a bigger audience all around India – it is the kind of crowd that would be happy with divergent movies like this. With a fine narrative style, and having no police officer who throws people around, we are into the realistic mode – the cop here is not perfect, and neither is the world around him. We see the reflection of our own universe, for the usual police movies with throwing people around seem to belong to another multiverse, a parallel universe where the protagonists are superheroes with special powers which will bring the DC and Marvel metahumans to shame. We are real, and so is this movie – there is no wrong turn.

Release date: 17th March 2022 (SonyLIV)
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Rosshan Andrrews
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Diana Penty, Saniya Iyappan, Manoj K Jayan, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Saikumar, Binu Pappu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Sudheer Karamana, Deepak Parambol, Irshad, Rajesh Sharma, Boban Alummoodan, Ganapathi S Poduval, Indrans, Vijilesh Karayad, Maala Parvathi, Nitin Thomas

<<< Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Meppadiyan

Vampire Owl: So, this is officially the third Malayalam movie that we watch this year.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Bheemante Vazhi was watched last year, and review posted this year.

Vampire Owl: Well, it was not really that good an adventure.

Vampire Bat: That was indeed a path which shouldn’t have been travelled.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that this one is a better path in comparison.

Vampire Bat: I have travelled through too many paths of similar quality.

Vampire Owl: You only travel through the clouds these days.

Vampire Bat: I make my own path through the clouds.

Vampire Owl: I hope that this movie shows enough of human evil.

Vampire Bat: I have read that this film has enough of that.

[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].

What is the movie about? :: Xavier (Aju Varghese), Democratic Malayora Congress Youth Wing President burns down a small hotel namely Ammini tea shop. Even though he is blamed for this, there is no proof for his involvement in the act. At the same time, Jayakrishnan (Unni Mukundan) continues as an expert autombile mechanic who has a high reputation for his skills in the village. One of his best friends is Varkey (Saiju Kurup) is someone who spends his time with alcohol and cigarattes, and also tries all the business activities which don’t work. Still, his wife Annie (Arya) supports him all the time. He also gets into regular fights in bars, and wants to make some easy money. He also runs a small business venture known as Varkey Stores without any responsibility. People say that he has destroyed all the reputation that his father had created, and lost most of the money and property which belonged to his family. But he continues to think big, and hopes to make quick profits. Jayakrishnan is in love with Renuka (Anju Kurian), who is a temporary school teacher.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Renuka wants him to get a government job and get settled in life, but he is not so sure about it, as he is confident about his abilities. She is also featured in the rank list of the last examination which she wrote. But he feels that by doing what he does the best, he could be successful in life, and getting a government job or going to the Middle East is totally unnecessary. It is then that Varkey and Satheesan (Jordi Poonjar) comes up with a plan to buy the land where the Ammini tea shop was standing, belonging to Yacob (Kundara Johny) and Stella (Nisha Sarang), and Jayakrishnan who requires ten cents of land also becomes part of it. As they decide to buy the land and gives an advance, they are forced to get money for half of the plot immediately as Yacob’s daughter is going to get married soon, and they have made arrangements having this in mind. But Jayakrishnan will only get the required money after a few months, and Varkey’s home and lands are going to be taken away by the bank. Now, they have to find some quick money, but the path which they choose will lead to many complications.

The defence of Meppadiyan :: The movie is a reflection of the common man’s suffering as he is the one who lands in trouble due to all these problems, and the terrible complications which government offices and the government itself brings on. Then there is the reflection of the inherent evil in humans which has gotten bigger in scope due to the greed for money that has cast a pure evil shadow on everyone. It is so close to truth that most probably, after watching this movie, you will no longer trust most of the people around you, as an understanding of evil humanity is provided without a chance to doubt it. I desire to call this the warning movie for everyone, and if you are going to sell or buy something that costs a lot, maximum care is to be taken. The film captures the essence of a village really well, and there are some nice twists which are added here and there, mostly related to problems being added one after the other to trouble the common man. It was only a few days ago that we read about a man who committed suicide due to problems related to his land, and this is also a grand reminder.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s beginning stages seems to be stretched with a certain amount of predictability, and some parts of the movie can be guessed. Some of the websites about this movie also provided the spoilers without that much of a warning, and there was also an unnecessary controversy created related to that, even though I wouldn’t see any such problem related to that. The emotional side is also a little bit more stretched than how it should have existed here. The female characters could have also had something to do here, instead of being worried for most of the time and depending on the main characters for help. Also, much earlier, the movie was expected to be a thriller, but those elements are very much limited. Even though we do understand the evil which is present in this movie, we should have been able to see its reflection as pure evil, like how we associate them with goblins and orcs – well, even though they belong to fantasy, some of the humans are exactly like them, not that much with appearance, but with what goes on inside. Trust a human, goblin or orc too much, you might be gone forever. The ending could have been better, and not quickly forced like seen here.

The performers of the soul :: Unni Mukundan who plays the main character, just lives as the man, as this seems to be one role which suits him so well. He plays the one man who is determined to get things right for everyone, and we are left to support him above everyone else as he seems to be the only one who doesn’t have any negative shades – those other positive people are all more helpless than him. His character serves as a mortal instrument to understand the evil humanity around us, and this understanding which will prevent us from trusting people again will be helpful to us in future, and considering the same, Unni Mukundan’s performance is a blessing in a fake world of chaos. Aju Varghese plays a good friend who also takes commission, and so not so good – interesting performance there. Anju Kurian’s role is good, but limited in presence. Saiju Kurup plays the usual dumb and lazy person who hopes to get rich by one good deal, but doesn’t have the ability to do that, and once again he is good. Indrans is very much notable in his role. Kottayam Ramesh also contributes nicely, while Kundara Johny and Nisha Sarang also got their moments.

How it finishes :: Meppadiyan‘s basic idea is that most of the people, as well as the government and politics remain evil at all times. It is a perfect understanding of the world that surrounds us. One should understand that in this money-oriented world, there is no hope for good common man, unless he has a huge amount of luck or gets a favour from the heavens. Everyone around you is looking for monetary benefits, and it will be nice if everyone takes the warning out of this movie and be careful with dealing with people all around. Living in this world and trusting humans will be more difficult than ever after watching the film – what we can do is to take the best precautions, for you cannot trust any person, not your friend, government official or the government itself. Everyone is after your money, and these are the kind of people who will beg for cash out of a beggar’s bowl. Along with being an interesting emotional thriller, Meppadiyan works as a warning against the devils that are around you. The movie leaves a doubtful, but really careful person, which will help for your future dealing with those who live around you, as this seems to be inspired from things heard and seen in our world – stay awake to possible evil, and make sure you take no wrong turn.

Release date: 18th February 2022 (Amazon Prime Video); 14th January 2022 (Theatres)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Vishnu Mohan
Starring: Unni Mukundan, Aju Varghese, Anju Kurian, Arya, Kottayam Ramesh, Saiju Kurup, Indrans, Nisha Sarang, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Kundara Johny, Pauly Valsan, Jordi Poonjar, Manohari Joy, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Major Ravi, Krishna Prasad, Sreejith Ravi, Aparna Janardhanan, Naveen Illath

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madhuram

What is the movie about? :: Kevin (Arjun Ashokan) is the bystander for his mother, who is going to have a surgery at the government medical college hospital very soon. He is married to Cherry (Nikhila Vimal) who isn’t accepted by his mother yet. He is very much tensed about it, and spends most of the time wondering about what is to happen next. Sabu (Joju George) is there as a bystander for his wife Chitra (Shruti Ramachandran). There are also others who have become part of the hospital during their time spent out there. Ravi (Indrans) is a retired postman who is waiting for his wife to be discharged, while celebrating forty years of marriage. Thajudeen (Fahim Safar) is a bystander for his father who is forced to come there because the doctor in the hosptial is very famous, and a quick surgery is required. Despite how much how much Ravi talks about the importance of staying in long marriage and how much Sabu reasserts the same, Kevin and Cherry are on the verge of a divorce. Cherry wonders if it will happen as soon as his mother is healthy and asks him to leave her.

So, what happens happens around here? :: Thajudeen is to first one to leave the hospital from the group, as his father has a stroke and dies, causing moments of silence and depression everywhere around them. Kevin’s tension only further increases as the surgery is delayed, and after knowing about the death of Thajudeen’s father. The same also affects Ravi upto an extent, as he is also a little bit worried. Sabu talks to the others about his love story with Chitra which happened at Kunjikka’s (Jaffar Idukki) restaurant, where she used to come and have biriyani in secret. They married after causing a lot of problems in the neighbourhood. Ravi’s tale is about him falling in love with his wife while delivering letters at a locality, and it was another case of love story wrecking havoc around. When Kevin’s anxiety problems get better, they are surprised to find that Sabu is surprisingly angry at the hospital staff, which leads to the big revelation by Doctor Rajah (Lal) about Chitra. This makes them wonder how long he has been in the hospital.

The defence of Madhuram :: The movie has to be appreciated more for its optimistic viewpoint about relationships, and life that goes on with love and endurance against all odds. With Joju George who seems to go through the whole thing as if living through it rather than acting, and Shruti Ramachandran who blends in to this role in a realistic manner like no other, this one feels like a safe watch from the beginning itself. The movie’s messages about relationships is beautiful, as it celebrates being in marriage, and with love. The movie also knows where to place the emotions, without any overdose of melodrama coming into the picture to ruin things. The humour which the movie uses in the initial stages brings some early delight, and as it passes on to the sad and emotional side, it makes sure that the balance is not lost, and we are not put into a world of eternal depression, for there is faith, belief and hope at all times. The taste of love between husbands and wives never losses its charm, for love in marriage is shown as a thing with wings more than that of the other kinds of relationships.

Positives and negatives :: Some dialogues might feel like a little too much in the view of life, but the actors who deliver them make it even more effective – the emotions are so well portrayed through them, and we appreciate the choice of performers here again and again – you see how Joju and Indrans make us feel, and the rest are following them so well, effectively. The visuals of the hospital are also nice, and songs with all the picturization makes us feel the emotions which are present at all times. The food also stays with us, and the focus in the same also contributes to the overall mood, which is surprisingly a happy one for most of its run, even though it is set in a hospital and there is the long wait for some risky surgeries going on throughout the film. You also see that this one basically maintains the balance between optimism and realism, unlike Jis Joy movies like Sunday Holiday, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and Mohan Kumar Fans which have so much of optimistic attitude that one feels that there is too much of positivity in life which is not really there. Without the same, this one makes you feel the love, and you are into the emotions.

The performers of the soul :: The director here is blessed with a fantastic cast which anyone would wish to have in a work of drama. It is led by none other than Joju George, the man who touched our emotions the best, not with an emotional drama, but with an investigative thriller, Joseph – that was one turning point which still holds strong in our minds, and this drama holds strong with its emotional content, thanks to him more than anyone else. We have always known what he is capable of, and here is one more testimony to his skills. The combination of Joju George and Shruti Ramachandran is something to remember for long, as their relationship has a lot to take away in this tale of different relationships between many couples. Shruti Ramachandran was already there in the highly emotional drama, Kaanekkaane, which was another film which released in the same platform. This love story of the two over one biriyani and more food, is a thing of high quality and the flashback keeps us glued to the seats and in love. They also have some nicely visualized songs to support their cause – you also remember some simple, yet lovely dialogues.

Further performers of the soul :: After the Joju George and Shruti Ramachandran story, we have the other tale of husband and wife, with Arjun Ashokan and Nikhila Vimal playing the couple without that much of love, and with one mother standing in between them, leading to a possible divorce in future. Arjun Ashokan had the role of a lover in June which came from the same director and has no problems here, while Nikhila Vimal was last seen in the horror movie, The Priest. Her ability to deliver some natural performances were seen in two different roles in the movies Aravindante Athidhikal and Njan Prakashan, and she continues to establish herself as a leading actress with such roles. Even though this is the secondary love story, and is often rushed, raises itself with the performances of the two. Indrans has another touching performance to deliver here after Home, and this character also stays close to us. Jaffar Idukki, Jagadish and Lal also come up with some delightful performances, even though in smaller roles. Fahim Safar, Navas Vallikkunnu and Malavika Sreenath are also notable.

How it finishes :: The movie does have its surprises, but the intention here is to bring an emotional surprise rather than the usual one, and the director is successful in doing the same. There is emotional strength which is equal to, or at times even at a higher level than Kaanekkaane also of Sony LIV, for this movie is purely a relatable drama for many people, and it is about husband and wife relationship. The Tovino-Suraj starrer of the same platform had elements of a thriller, and therefore not relatable for all times, but when we look at Madhuram, its emotional intensity is of the common man’s soul. Well, the work that these OTT platforms have done to make our Christmas celebration better, is to be appreciated, for we have already had the greatest superhero film in India in Netflix, and this one is a collection of emotions, which we are to cherish. Well, with these movies being available everywhere in the online platform, you can give some credit to the Corona virus pandemic for bringing these national and international level of attention.

Release date: 24th December 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Khabeer
Starring: Joju George, Shruti Ramachandran, Nikhila Vimal, Arjun Ashokan, Lal, Indrans, Jagadish, Malavika Sreenath, Jaffar Idukki, Babu Jose, Sminu Sijo, Thirumala Ramachandran, Navas Vallikkunnu, Fahim Safar

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Home

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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@ Cemetery Watch
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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
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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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@ Cemetery Watch
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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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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.