Mamangam

What is the movie about? :: Mamangam, a grand fair used to be held on the banks of Bharathappuzha in the north of Kerala has a history that is written in blood. It had great economic, social and political significance, along with being a religious festival associated with the temples. There, the Zamorin ruler of the Kingdom of Calicut challenged other regional kingdoms to oppose his supremacy. There were the suicidal warriors from Valluvanad region who dared to oppose him and make history. But they would mostly die fighting against the powerful army of Zamorin, and only left those messages of bravery and honour for their people to cherish. It becomes their right to die as a soldier in the battlefield, and inspire more to follow their path through martyrdom. The last Mamangam fair was held in 1755, and this movie comes up with a memorable one before that.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Chandroth Panicker (Unni Mukundan) is the latest addition to that list of the suicidal warriors known as Cheverukal, attempting to challenge Calicut’s Zamorin’s authority again. His mother, wife and sister are unhappy about the decision, but they can do nothing, as for him, it is a decision made by the gods. It is then that the son of his sister, the young Chandroth Chanthunni (Master Achuthan) also joins him to join Chaverukal, much to the dismay of the whole family. They have the tale of Chandroth Valiya Panicker (Mammootty) who betrayed their tradition ahead of them, so that they should go on with that they have been training for – to end Zamorin which is the best thing to do. On the way, they have to stop at the abode of Unnimaaya (Prachi Tehlan) and Unni Neeli (Iniya), after being attacked by Zamorin’s men. There is a long way ahead of them, but they will need some help to get anywhere close to success.

The defence of Mamangam :: There are not many movies which we have waited for so long like Mamangam, except for some which are still to be released. Malayalam movie industry always needed good historical movies other than those which keep talking about the British – The Colachel War has been long forgotten, despite it being a landmark. Considering the same, Mamangam has taken the pain to bring something with a difference. The visuals are all grand, even better than some of those overrated movies seemingly belonging to a similar genre. The beauty out there is not limited to the background, but to almost everything in particular. The action sequences are all very good, especially in the final moments, which are breath-taking, leaving one wishing for more. The message goes on against revenge, and that it is not something healthy to pass the same through the generations – forgiving and forgetting do have better meaning.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is a little bit too long, and its extra dose of dialogues make it feel even longer. It does seem to repeat the same thing multiple times, and deviates from the idea of action and adventure associated with the title. Even though the “Mookkuthi” song makes some impact, the rest of the songs are not up to the mark. The presence of a mentor character doesn’t add much to the otherwise direct and straightforward movie, and the feminine version of the character is a bad and unnecessary diversion. The lack of completeness is evident, as the movie struggles to live up to its theme and story on many occasions. The final scene after the mamangam fight also feels unnecessary, as there could be nothing bigger to be added. A movie like this should offer something better, and one is left to wonder why it is becoming more and more difficult to make movies based on Kerala History, even those which are set at a time period not even five hundred years into the past.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty was part of one of the best movies of the year, Unda, and now he is back with the movie with we have all been waiting for. As we all know, he is no stranger to historical movies and epic stories which tell the tales of heroes of the past, and this was time that he had another one to add to that list. Still, one has to wonder why he went for that exaggerated dance and some ridiculous comedy with another side of that character – this kind of ridiculous moments are not suitable for this kind of a movie, not for a historical epic action movie. Unni Mukundan does a fine work here, and his controlled performance is worth the appreciation. Master Achuthan comes up with a wonderful performance at the same time. It is him who catches our attention the most, and he excels in the action sequences even more. The last scenes are nothing less than magnificent, and it belongs to him completely.

Further performers of the soul :: Prachi Tehlan comes up as the leading female presence in this one – the former netball and basketball player has no trouble in the less amount of role given to her. Iniya provides her support, even though not much is needed from her side. At the same time, Anu Sithara and Kaniha has even smaller roles here, most of the time sticking to some dialogue or tears. There are also other actresses here including Maala Parvathi and Kaviyoor Ponnamma, but the female characters here are rather insignificant in the movie plan at work. Siddique has a villainous role here, and even though done quite well, it is not the kind of antagonist that we are going to remember for doing the terrifying job. Sudev Nair, even though nice, is wasted in a role which makes no difference to story at all – the character doesn’t add anything significant to the whole thing, for even otherwise, things could progress in the same manner without any trouble at all.

How it finishes :: Last year, in another December, on almost the same date, we had another Malayalam movie set in the past trying to make history – Odiyan. It was not that much of a successful attempt, but that was certainly a sign. We have more signs here, even though we are still far away from having that right historical movie. There is the need to improve, as Mamangam goes on through its journey. There is a better understanding of history and the reflection of the same required, and one can only hope that things could reach further level with the genre. A fine depiction of Colachel War might be the solution, but we haven’t heard about anyone trying for such a case. Until then, we have these movies which have the potential for greatness, but fall short in the process. But we would need to watch these, with all the splendour which is displayed on the big screen.

Release date: 12th December 2019
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Mammootty, Prachi Tehlan, Unni Mukundan, Master Achuthan, Siddique, Anu Sithara, Kaniha, Mohan Sharma, Tarun Arora, Iniya, Maala Parvathi, Neeraj Madhav, Idavela Babu, Manikuttan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Suresh Krishna, Sunil Sukhada, Meghanathan, Manikandan Achari, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jayan Cherthala, Sudheer Sukumaran, Vishnu Marakkal, Abu Salim, Sudev Nair, Nandan Unni, Valsala Menon, Nilambur Ayisha

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and before.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Swarna Kaduva

swarnakaduvaa-2

Vampire Owl :: There are too many creatures roaming around in the world of the Malayalam movie industry.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Pulimurugan’s leopard is also there.

Vampire Owl :: And other creatures with the support of Biju Menon.

Vampire Bat :: Vellimoonga’s owl and Marubhoomiyile Aana’s elephant, they were interesting creatures too.

Vampire Owl :: You know that Marubhoomiyile Aana already had a tiger in it.

Vampire Bat :: But that was not golden. And with the owl being silver, how can the tiger not be made of gold?

Vampire Owl :: With leopard and tiger there, will there be a lion?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Sinham 3 will have Suriya, Anushka Shetty and Shruti Haasan in the lead roles.

Vampire Owl :: It is more like a zoo.

Vampire Bat :: But the general trend is that Malayalam movies with creatures in the titles do some pretty good job.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Rini Iype Maatummel (Biju Menon) is assisting the rich jewellery owner Lonappan (Innocent) in almost everything. Even though he is just assisting the man, the ultimate aim is to make it huge in one way or the other. One day, when Lonappan’s car hits an unknown man, things take a twist of events which end up in the murder of another person, Divakaran (Suresh Krishna). Now Rini’s job is to make sure that the dead man’s wife Lovely (Iniya) doesn’t say anything about her husband being missing. Meanwhile, a nurse, Deepthi (Poojitha Menon) is witness to him being involved in the crime, and he marries her to make sure that she doesn’t talk about it to anyone. During all these events, Rini manages to take a few lakhs of money from Lonappan, which he hopes to use in starting another jewellery shop. With no problem in lying and cheating people, can Rini get what he wants?

The defence of Swarna Kaduva :: Here is another simple, fun-filled comedy movie with Biju Menon as the lead. There are some nice comedy sequences which are handled the most by Biju Menon, and followed up by Innocent and Hareesh. The movie also has its message, which means that the man gets to have a better character in the end. The jokes are mostly working, with exceptions – it was not really that easy with things getting a little bit dark for a movie of this kind, but the humour holds on. Another point is that there is no real drag in this movie, and things go on smoothly, without making us bored. The graph of this movie goes straight ahead, with no struggle anywhere. The main character is also a fine representation of many people of this era, who wishes to become rich easily, without going the honest way – those people who are looking for short-cuts and dishonest ways to success are reflected on our protagonist.

Claws of flaw :: The big comparison is going to be made with Vellimoonga here, and surely that much is fun is not around here. The feel-good factor is also not there, as this not that light-hearted as Vellimoonga with its twist of events. The climax is not that interesting, and things go through predictable lines on too many occasions. This movie could have been better with some more effort at the climax, and keeping closer to the light moments all the time, and having the messages in a more visible manner. There are moments which could have been avoided to make this movie shorter – the romance with Iniya’s character is one of them, and one does feel that there are more “pennu kaanal” and related stuff in this movie than intended – the last one is surely too much of an extension even though there is some fun there. This flick is just a fifteen or twenty minutes too long despite having no drag.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is all about Biju Menon as expected, and others only come in to give him the needed support – as some people would refer to, as the “key” or the “special ingredient”. Just like the other movies with him as the solo lead, like the big surprise hit which was the comedy entertainer Vellimoonga, and the strictly average flick which was Salt Mango Tree, Biju Menon never ceases to give his best. Even the other movies with him in the cast, including Marubhoomiyile Aana and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam had him scoring heavily with the comic scenes. We remember how it started off so well with the movie Ordinary, with those earlier signs in Marykkundoru Kunjaadu and Seniors – we can really go for his movies as a safe bet these days as far as the comic side is concerned. His Rini here, is similar to the character he played in Vellimoonga, and so there is no doubt about how well it goes.

Further performers of the soul :: But there is one difference, as this one here has more negative shades, and there is no good quality about this character throughout the movie. But it is safe in his hands for sure. The point to be noted is that he is both the hero and the villain of this movie – there is nobody else giving him competition. You go for this movie seeing him on the poster, and you won’t be disappointed. Meanwhile, Innocent is back to doing what he does the best, and brings the laughter – we are always happy to see him there. Hareesh also has his moments, a good number of them. The role of the leading lady is shared between Poojitha Menon and Iniya, both of them doing a fine job, with the latter being the more intense of the two. Sudheer Karamana and Suresh Krishnado provide some nice support here when they are present on the screen.

How it finishes :: Earlier it was Aanandam, and now this little movie is also all set to leave a nice mark. This one will not bring anything huge or out of the usual way, but is sure to keep you interested throughout its run. One thing that we wonder about though, is about putting in the poster that this was directed by the one who directed Mayamohini and Sringaravelan; that is more like negative word-of-mouth. It is strange considering the fact that nicely done comedy movies like Mattupetti Machan and Udayapuram Sulthan are part of the director’s filmography. If this idea was based on box-office collections, one has to remember that times have changed, and those two movies, if released now would have got no collection of that kind – the world has changed, and we need Swarna Kaduva as itself rather than resembling those two terrible movies mentioned in the poster.

Release date: 4th November 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Jose Thomas
Starring: Biju Menon, Innocent, Poojitha Menon, Iniya, Sudheer Karamana, Suresh Krishna, Kottayam Nazeer, Hareesh Perumanna, Rosin Jolly, Baiju, Anju Aravind

swarnakaduva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.