Sunny

What is the movie about? :: Sunny Varkey (Jayasurya) has finally returned home from Dubai after a long time with his Logistics business failing, and these are the troubling times of COVID-19 pandemic. He used to want to become a successful musician, but left that idea much earlier. He gets a quarantine spot in Grand Hyatt Residency in Bolgatty Island, Cochin, and gets to be all alone there. SI Sadashivan Nair (Vijayaraghavan) is the police officer who is in charge of looking out for the people in quarantine there, and he keeps an eye on Sunny. He feels lonely, and is uneasy because he is not able to get any more alcohol, with the hotel changing its policies as people were creating nuisance after being drunk. Dr Erali (Innocent) tries to help him with his withdrawal symptoms and a stage of depression. Adithi (Shritha Sivadas) is in quarantine in the room above him, and they also have regular talks.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Nimmi (Shritha Sivadas) had divorced Sunny because he had an affair which he had confessed, much to her dismay. Sunny is as much disappointed about this, as he has been with his financial affairs. She is also pregnant, and it was for the second time, after their child had died a few hours after birth. He has to pay back a lot of money, as a result of his best friend making him an investment which he now regrets. Nimmi no longer wants to do anything with him anymore, and neither does his former lover Dr Anuradha (Mamta Mohandas). It also seems that some of the passengers in his flight were COVID-19 positive, and there is a chance that he might also be in trouble. But he moves on with his lonely life, which doesn’t seem to have much left for him. Yet, it is still to found if there is something more than what meets the eye. With COVID-19 around, you never know.

The defence of Sunny :: Sunny is quite a small movie when we consider its limited setting within a room. Among the classical unities of Aristotle, unity of place and action are maintained, and with a shorter quarantine, all of them could have been there. The setting is really nice, and it is good to see this particular world where parts of one’s life is revealed. There is a whole grand episode of life which is revealed here through small moments. The past, present and future gets intertwined in these incidents which occur in the grand quarantine centre. There is the usual life being reflected here, and the protagonist is very much human, trying to survive in a world which has descended into chaos for him. It shows the life of a depressed man in quarantine really well, and never does it lags behind in doing the same. These are indeed good times for emotional films, as we know what the COVID-19 affected world has come to. Amazon Prime Video has the right films for the same too.

The claws of flaw :: Sunny doesn’t live much beyond the scope here, and it is indeed predictable. A lot of things that we see here, follow the expected routine, with not many surprises to come around. The movie also maintains its slow pace throughout its run, and it is also something which doesn’t come as a surprise when we look at this particular world. It should have had more, even with life being restricted to a room – there is a lot more to be shown with the scenery and the world around, as well as what is inside. It could have also had more events for the main character, as being in quarantine in such a grand space always has more to be added – it is not like being locked in a small room. There could have been more from other characters, even with their faces not shown, as some of them are not really there, exploring their best possibilities. We wished for the sun to shine brighter with Sunny, even though we are okay with what we have around here.

Performers of the soul :: Sunny is a fully Jayasurya movie, as one would expect it to be, from the trailer, and also with the talks regarding the same. There are only a few others who have faces at least inside their masks, or have part of their faces revealed in one way or the other. This is also Jayasurya’s 100th film, and might be his best film to come to Amazon Prime Video. He has come up with a fantastic performance, as a man who doesn’t have any hope in life, and as the only one character which truly performs on the screen, has the whole canvas to himself – we can do nothing more than just applaud the same. We see different phases of his life in the quarantine room itself, and this is a character that shows a certain amount of evolution, which he reflects really well. There is not that much of a challenge provided here for him, but there is indeed something.

Further performers of the soul :: The other characters are introduced through their voices, as they call the main character or sometimes the other way around. There is something to be revealed from each character whom we identify through their voices. Some of the characters have part of their faces being shown, and the voices are those which we identify with ease, especially that of Innocent, Aju Varghese and Vijayaraghavan. They are all part of the tale, even though we don’t see them. All these phone calls play significant roles to keep the film going forward. It is nice to see people like Shritha Sivadas whom we have loved for her early works, and had gone missing for some time. Mamta Mohandas’ voice is heard for much shorter time than we would have expected.

How it finishes :: Sunny nicely sets itself during the COVID-19 and quarantine times, and has the same feeling running through it. There is the loneliness of a quarantine that runs through it, and as we know that we are going to live with COVID-19 with more and more waves supposed to come at some point, this one is closer to reality than one might think. As a movie which has only one face completely shown, and with one person having the chance to come up with all the performance. This is basically the one man film that we don’t usually see around, and it is one risk which has been taken on with success. Amazon Prime has already provided some fine experiences during the Corona virus times, and this one goes the divergent way with ease. There is always more about smaller films like these than what meets the eye, and this one is also that drama which goes feel-good and does that with effectiveness.

Release date: 23rd September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Mamta Mohandas, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Vijay Babu, Shritha Sivadas, Aju Varghese, Sivada Nair, Purnima Krishnan, Binoy KG

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Lonappante Mamodeesa

What is the movie about? :: Lonappan (Jayaram) runs a watch repair shop in the small town of Manjapra near Angamaly, and Shameer (Hareesh Perumanna) is the one who does all the repairing jobs there. Lonappan doesn’t get much of an income from the shop, but he is not able to close it because it is family property. He is unmarried, and also has 3 unmarried sisters (Shanthi Krishna, Nisha Sarang & Eva Pavithran) – as they are not getting married, he is also not thinking about getting married. He is someone who used to be called “Tolstoy” for his story-telling abilities when he was a child. But the situation at home had forced him to stop his studies and take over watch repairing business. He is not satisfied with the same, and doesn’t even try to make things better. The watch repair shop remains exactly in the same shape as it used to be earlier.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: One day, Lonappan has a get-together with his former classmates from nearby school, and he realizes that he is the only one in their class who couldn’t get settled down. His old friends Kunjootan (Dileesh Pothan) and Neelima (Kaniha) are married, and they have settled down with good jobs in the Middle East, even though Lonappan was supposed to be the smartest of the students in their batch. The confidence given by the two makes him wonder what he can do differently to achieve success. There is frustration in his mind, but that doesn’t stop him from trying a few things differently much to the dismay of his sisters who find his actions to be strange and hopeless. Now the question remains if he can find success in his life. Whether his newly found plans will work or not, will be revealed only in the future.

The defence of Lonappante Mamodeesa :: The protagonist nicely becomes an example of people who couldn’t get to become what they wanted in life because of circumstances, and what was imposed on them by family and relatives. It is a case that is quite common, and it is a situation that too many people have faced in India, especially in Kerala – the rise of engineering was only one of such cases. With the feel-good elements, it is something that we can’t hate, and as a reflection of an everyman character, it is something that we don’t want to avoid. The emotional side is strong at times, and we can stay close to the life of the main character. It is up to the character to go through another baptism to bring the change to his character, and it is baptism by fire that can make sure about it.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is certainly confused about how it is going to bring about the change in the protagonist. The quick ending makes that clear, as we wait for something special to happen, but there is no such thing. The music is not memorable at all, and some of the characters in the film are not even needed. The subplots are not that much there, and some incidents don’t really have purpose. The transformation of the protagonist is not shown in the best way, and the movie is lacking in comedy, even though there were many chances for the same. Even the leading lady is wasted without being given much of a chance to keep staying on the screen. There are so many opportunities being wasted here, as we know that this was meant to be more. Lasting for just more than two hours, this feels longer because of missing the path on different occasions.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram is the one family favourite actor whom we love to in roles like this. But it is a disappointing truth that except for last year’s Panchavarnathatha, there hasn’t been a movie which could rise above average status since Nadan and Lucky Star in 2013. Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam, the other movie of 2018 was a big pain, and we can be glad to see that this movie comes close to bringing the glory back up, even though it never really manages to do that in the end. Jayaram surely has returned to form, being at his comfort zone, playing a character which brings him no real challenge. Playing a commoner who has to go through many struggles, something related to family and at other times related to personal life wouldn’t bother him at any moment, and we can see the lovable Jayaram model on a number of occasions, and it brings us hope that things can get only better.

Further performers of the soul :: Anna Rajan with the Angamaly Diaries and Velipadinte Pusthakam fame plays the female lead, even though there is not much there for her to make an impression. Eva Pavithran who was last seen in Rockstar, Nisha Sarang of Uppum Mulakum fame, and Shanthi Krishna who had made a comeback with Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela are there as the three sisters of the protagonist, doing a fine job. Hareesh Kanaran is there to bring the comic side to good effect, but we can see that it is limited – the opportunity for comedy itself is not that much there to be taken, and it is wastage of his skills. Kaniha is there just for the sake of being present. Dileesh Pothen has some nice moments for us to remember, as he does that each and every time he comes on the screen. Alencier Ley Lopez’s priest role is also something that goes limited. Joju George, after the greatness of Joseph, gets a role to be forgotten.

How it finishes :: A return to family track can be seen for Jayaram with Lonappante Mamodeesa, and we know that there is hope for more. The main idea is about dreams and how people are often unable to reach where they wanted to be, or where they deserve to be – the power of the twist of fate is so. This one appeals more to the family audience that anyone else, and goes the predictable way to bring the feel-good factor. The focus on feel-good for success has let something else go missing though – we remember how Njan Prakashan, Ente Ummante Peru, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, all tried feel-good with fine effect within a gap of one month. Even though this one wouldn’t live up to that level, it also goes on to make it count in the list of movies belonging to the same category, and striving to get into the minds of the family audience.

Release date: 1st February 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Jayaram, Anna Rajan, Eva Pavithran, Joju George, Kaniha, Hareesh Perumana, Shanthi Krishna, Alencier Ley Lopez, Dileesh Pothen, Niyas Backer, Nisha Sarang, Innocent, Sneha Sreekumar

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Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

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Kuttanadan Marpappa

What is the movie about? :: John Paul (Kunchacko Boban) is a photographer, and his studio is the best in the area. Even though he is from the Kuttanadu area of Alappuzha which is surrounded by water, he doesn’t know how to swim, with a certain fear for water. His mother, Mary Paul (Shantikrishna) is in full support for him, and tries to keep a happy face despite the problems of her life, and her husband having committed suicide a few years ago. John has fallen in love with many girls in the past, right from his childhood days – his lover at school had only gotten married a few years ago, but his biggest tale of love was with Jessy Ummen (Aditi Ravi), a dentist for whom he arranged fake degree certificates. He had always thought that what we had with her was true love, the kind of love which would bring a sleeping beauty to life with a true love’s kiss.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But that idea had to change with the arrival of Peter (Ramesh Pisharody), an NRI who intends to return to London after marrying the girl of his dreams. It turns out that the girl of his dreams is none other than Jessy whom he wishes to marry and take back to England. Jessy’s father and Panchayath President Ummachan (Innocent) has no problem with choosing between John and Peter, as he hopes that by working at London, she would earn enough money to pay him back the cash which he had spent for making her a BDS doctor. Marrying off his daughter to a photographer would make no sense to him. Only Jessy’s love for John stands between Ummachan and his dreams of getting the money back. But can the love of John and Jessy stand the test at a time when the former will be without a place to live in a few days?

The defence of Kuttanadan Marpappa :: There are some funny moments in this movie, and there is that final revelation which will satisfy a good number of people in the audience – Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan had that kind of a twist, as we remember. Kunchacko Boban has a good combination with Dharmajan with the comic side, and the romantic side with Aditi Ravi is also charming in the setting that we have here. We often feel that this is more or less a classic tale of problems in love, told in a different way, with a different setting. The visuals of the area are nicely captured, and we feel the beauty of the place to be close to being part of a fairy-tale. There is something about this world that will satisfy our needs to watch some of the best of backwaters. You have the chance to see Kuttanadu with all its beauty here, with Venice of the East scoring.

The claws of flaw :: There are occasions when one has to wonder if Kuttanadan Marpappa is a confused movie, in the model of Oru Cinemakkaran and Role Models – it seems to try too many things, and by doing the same, it also has the audience wondering where it is heading. There is so much colour, and the costumes look rather strange for most situations. There is one song which has the leading actor and actress dancing with strange steps and costumes, and the lyrics itself seems weird – the need for such a song was surely not there, especially with the video. This song itself is a reflection of the movie’s confusion, and we also feel a certain amount of drag within its tale. There seems to be an eternal struggle within this one, and a lot of things are more or less not really suited for the mood of this movie. As a whole, it seems to have collected certain items from different places, and scattered them.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban being the lifeline of this movie is no surprise, as he plays another romantic character – nothing really changes with that one. He has another familiar role in control and has to do no wonders, coming out of his last flick, Shikkari Shambhu. Aditi Ravi, the star of Alamara had only smaller roles in the later big movies, Adventures of Omanakuttan, Udaharanam Sujatha, Lavakusha and Aadhi, which has been rather surprising. With acting talent, she is surely far ahead of many other actresses who have been performing in leading roles. She undoubtedly leaves her mark in this movie, and this would be compared to a few other roles; the kind of roles which would bring discussions about a certain kind of behaviour in love. The two does make a fine pair, and lets see if we can see more movies with the two together.

Further performers of the soul :: Shanthi Krishna had made a grand return with Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, and we see her doing amazingly well with the lighter side as well as the emotional moments – she reflects that kind of a mother whom a young son or daughter dreams to have. The girl who played the sister of Aditi’s character also requires special mention, as she handles things so naturally and with a certain charm. Dharmajan has his moments of fun in this one as usual, while Hareesh Perumanna, for some reason, is underused, and so are Innocent and Salim Kumar. Aju Varghese does bring some laughter in the role of a priest. Ramesh Pisharody has some fun to provide, and so does Dinesh Nair, but we see that their characters are overdone, going beyond what was needed on a number of occasions. Soubin Shahir is there for even lesser period of time.

How it finishes :: There is not that much to be loved in Kuttanadan Marpappa, but for the family audience, this would be a good way to spend the weekend, as it would be for the youth. Without much of focus on the story, and leaving romance behind after some time, this seems to be that movie which tries to make the best use of the Maundy Thursday – Good Friday – Easter season with its special and catchy title, as well as by adding the kind of actors and actresses whom families would prefer. With Vikadakumaran being another movie which seems to have a similar plan, it is to be seen how well the plan can work. As of now, all movies seem to have pretty good viewership, and it will be the Easter Sunday which will decide the winner in this battle of movies, as Pacific Rim: Uprising, Poomaram, Hey Jude, Black Panther, Aadhi and Ira still stays at the theatres.

Release date: 29th March 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sreejith Vijayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Aditi Ravi, Shanti Krishna, Innocent, Aju Varghese, Salim Kumar, Ramesh Pisharody, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Noby Marcose, Vinod Kedamangalam, Dinesh Nair, Hareesh Perumanna, Soubin Shahir, Tini Tom, Kochu Preman. Mallika Sukumaran

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Jomonte Suvisheshangal

jomontesuviseshangal

What is the movie about? :: Jomon (Dulquer Salmaan) is the youngest son of a very rich businessman named Vincent (Mukesh) who hails from the city of Thrissur. The big family is Vincent’s other success story along with his huge business empire and assets – it includes Laly (Muthumani), Alphonse (Vinu Mohan) and Jessy (Rasna Pavithran) as well as their spouses who are all successful people in life, along with Jomon who is considered as the son who is born to spoil the name of the family along with all the money that he keeps squandering. He successfully continues the procedure, as he finishes the trouble-making with a sentence that ends with “still I love you” to his father. There is no shortage of people who think that he is good for nothing though, as he even misses his sister Jessy’s wedding function after he meets his old friend Mushtaq (Jacob Gregory) and spends time at a bar with him at Coimbatore, ending up in the police station.

Where are things heading for? :: It is during these times that Jomon falls in love with Catherine (Anupama Parameswaran) which changes the attitude of his family members towards him, as she is from one of the richest families around, and her parents have business established in various parts of the Middle East. They get really close until one day, Vincent miscalculates one of his business deals, and has his biggest failure in life. Everyone blames Vincent for the terrible decision he made, but Jomon doesn’t. He stands with his father, and hopes to reclaim at least most of what was lost. For the same, he relocates with Vincent to Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, and meets Vydehi (Aishwarya Rajesh) who helps him and vice versa. It was easy to go forward in the early stages, and now the question remains about how he can get his father to return to his lost glory, as that world is miles away.

The defence of Jomonte Suvisheshangal :: Without much of a surprise, Dulquer Salmaan leads the way as the protagonist, on whom this movie is based right from the title itself – there are messages about family, and there is some motivation to go through it; even as there is not that much visible. There is also some comedy, and the emotional side remains strong in this one, especially around Dulquer and Mukesh. Even with the smaller roles, Indu Thampi and Rasna Pavithran from Oozham get their moments too, even more than the bigger names in the cast. This will work even better for you if you haven’t watched Jacobinte Swargarajyam which has the same theme. The one bigger positive in this movie’s messages is that this one tells the audience to save more while the movie from last year was asking to earn more – it was more reclaiming the glory that was lost, while this one builds another one, something that is different from what was gone. It is also a long way ahead of the disappointing Kali, but is nowhere near that beautiful divergent dream which was Charlie.

Claws of flaw :: There is absolutely no attempt to bring anything new with Jomonte Suvisheshangal, and there is no trying to make things less predictable throughout its run. They have also wasted Anupama Parameswaran in a role which was rather not needed – well, in another Malayalam movie, she gets less time on the screen after the hero sees her inside a church; Premam and now this. Aishwarya Rajesh, despite suiting the character she played, works less as a pair to Dulquer. Another sad thing is that there isn’t enough of a funny side provided for Jacob Gregory’s character, even when there was so much chance, for he is to Dulquer, what Aju Varghese has been to Nivin Pauly. The songs are not that good, even though “Nokki nokki” is something that will do well without being related to the overall progress of the movie. There is also that level that we expect from Sathyan Anthikad, which is not there – that won’t be considered the right thing.

Soul exploration :: The idea of the prodigal son continues here, as the money laundering son comes back to his father – well, he even saves the day. It is not something that we have missed; this is something that a hero would do in a movie without fail. A rather inexperienced son becoming all responsible to help his father when his business faces a crisis, isn’t really a new thing even for the newer team of movie watchers, as we had witnessed the same in the last year’s Nivin Pauly starrer, Jacobinte Swargagrajyam. With Dulquer Salmaan replacing Nivin Pauly, we have a similar tale here; it is Mukesh who replaces Renji Panicker too. But considering both movies as the same will be doing injustice, and we can only consider them to be similar as we look at how things have been proceeding. This thought is something which is often related to real-life incidents, and so Jomonte Suvisheshangal surely has the right to take it as much as any other flick.

Further soul exploration :: Those who have watched both movies won’t find it easy to stop these comparisons coming into their minds. In a movie in which Dulquer once again leaves his home, but this time with his father, one can safely say that the success of this movie does belong to him, as most of the time, it is him or Mukesh that holds the movie together. This one could have actually worked well with its songs and visuals as Jacobinte Swargarajyam did though. As far as similarities and differences are concerned, we have two businessmen whose sons get responsible all of a sudden, one at Dubai and the other at Thrissur, both families Christian, one Orthodox and the other Catholic, both the families having four children, with a more evenly matched gender count here without a mother, the Mercedes Benz being there in both cases – there is also at least one heroine who has less to do in both movies; well, everything ends well too with the handsome son doing the heroics helped by one stranger who gets impressed, whether it is Vineeth Srinivasan or a European lady.

How it finishes :: Being the first movie to release after the theatre strike, Jomonte Suvisheshangal surely had the advantage, and no wonder there were so many people wishing to watch this one on the big screen. Having one day advantage over Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, this one certainly managed to begin well, and also continues to attract the crowds. With a simple story that will appeal to the family audience, both these movies have managed to make sure that things are going on well for Malayalam cinema, even as there was a break after Pulimurugan created that record of 150 crores – well, that one is still running, as you will notice. With no element of boredom, Jomonte Suvisheshangal is also certain to bring some fine moments for the audience. As Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is also doing well, we can expect the theatres to be full with Ezra, Georgettan’s Pooram and Fukri getting ready for release.

Release date: 19th January 2017
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Anupama Parameswaran, Mukesh, Jacob Gregory, Aishwarya Rajesh, Innocent, Irshad, Muthumani, Manobala, Rasna Pavithran, Vinu Mohan, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Vinod Kedamangalam, Indu Thampi

jomontesuvisheshangal

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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.

Oppam

oppamm

What is it about? :: Jayaraman (Mohanlal) is a blind man who works as a lift operator and attender at an eleven-storeyed apartment right in the middle of the city. He hails from a huge family, but is in debt right now as he has to pay twenty five lakhs for his friend Bappootty (Siddique) who was supposed to provide the amount to the money lender and is currently in the Middle East. He is struggling to make enough money for the wedding ceremony of his sister, which is to happen soon. Even though he is blind, he possesses a better sense of smell, hearing and touch which he uses to his advantage whenever there is the need. His good friends are Veeran (Harish K.R) and Kunju Mohammed (Mammookoya) as well as Devayani (Vimala Raman) who also work there. Whenever there is a need, Jayaraman is there, and he is that readily available helping hand for everyone.

So what happens next? :: A retired chief justice, Krishnamoorthy (Nedumudi Venu), also lives in the same apartment, and Jayaraman is his best friend and aid, as there are secrets concerning his past, and there are problems haunting him. Devayarani is in trouble with her former husband, a police officer named Madhu (Kalabhavan Shajohn) with whom Jayaraman also locks horns. One day, when Krishnamoorthy is killed, things go out of control. Jayaraman becomes the prime suspect, and the police officers in charge, Padmakumar (Renji Panicker) and Anandhan (Chemban Vinod Jose) refuses to believe in his claims of innocence, and Madhu makes things only worse. Only Ganga (Anusree), the police officer who knew him earlier, believes him. With the murderer right behind him like a shadow, will Jayaraman be able to prove his innocence? Can he face the man who seems to be a psychopath, all alone?

The defence of Oppam :: There are many moments of interest, and a lot of thrills in store with this movie which won against its competitor Oozham which released on the same day. The final moments, despite strangely set, are well executed, and the movie finishes with a certain amount cuteness and feel-good factor in store. The beginning was also well done without the unnecessary introductions, and we are taken into the whole thing in a simple and effective manner. The visuals are very good throughout the run, and Mohanlal and Samuthirakani when they are together, make a nice combination against each other. Mamukkoya has some of the nicer moments of fun in this movie which has a certain amount of comic side which is just there for some relief. Chemban Vinod Jose also has some moments of fun, and the emotional side of this movie can also be termed as strong.

The claws of flaw :: One has to say that the movie is too long, and that feeling is due to the present of too many unnecessary songs, and none of them really makes an impact either – the Punjabi wedding song might be the one that works the least. There are also too many missing points here and there in this story, and the opportunity to come up with a better movie goes missing here. There are too many things here that comes as repetitive elements; the twist concerning the child and the killer is too predictable, and the police is also made rather useless – or rather so stubborn that one is made to wonder that these people are the most remorseless and brainless officers ever to be in a Malayalam movie. The final moments are also strange, as they try to be safe where it was never meant to be safe, and with the same, risk more lives. There were surely better ways to handle the whole thing!

Performers of the soul :: As expected, and without doubt, Mohanlal is the one who lifts this movie to the next level, and hides its problems with ease, as he plays the role with no trouble at all. There are those moments involving him and Samuthirakani that stands apart. Along with him being the blind character, it is our villain that also brings things in order. Last seen in Karinkunnam 6s in this part of the world, Samuthirakani brings all the strength that is needed in a villain like this. He is only let down on a number of occasions due to the predictability that creeps in and threatens to make this villain another ordinary creature of random hate, as the opportunity to become one terrifying psycho killer is lost at too many occasions. But he rises above the problems related to his character in this tale, and brings the menace to the big screen, making things more interesting.

Further performers of the soul :: Anusree is very good at this police role. Vimala Raman is kind of misfit as the maid here, even though we are glad that we are seeing her here again after a long time and looking good. Nedumudi Venu’s role is the kind which we see often from him, and he does that with ease. Baby Meenakshi is really good here, and surely better than how it was with Amar Akbar Anthony. Renji Panicker in the police role is surprisingly not that much used here, and Kalabhavan Shajohn just gets another opportunity to beat another character played by Mohanlal after Drishyam. Mamukkoya creates some funny moments with Harish K.R and Chemban Vinod Jose has a few of them too. Aju Varghese has kind of a smaller role of the viewers’ liking though, and Innocent is also there for only a few shots. In the end, we do wish that this movie was just not like too many other movies of the same kind – there are too many characters with less to do, and a little too much of predictability at times too.

How it finishes :: It has been a long time since we saw the best of Priyadarshan, and also the combination of him and Mohanlal, even though I didn’t think that Geethanjali was that bad a movie as it was projected by the critics and the audience. Well, one can safely say that he is back in form with this one. With Pulimurugan already there and running with full strength in the theatres, Mohanlal makes a magnificent push forward, the biggest since the critically acclaimed and heavily remake-spawning flick which was Drishyam. With two of his flicks staying heavy in multiplexes and attracting the audience in the local theatres too, one can be sure that there won’t be many movies coming up with challenge, except for Aanandam, which seems to be the one other movie which is making it big. Even in the Pulimurugan rush, Oppam is another movie that needs your attention; so if you have missed it, get to where it is still playing!

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Priyadarshan
Starring: Mohanlal, Samuthirakani, Anusree, Vimala Raman, Nedumudi Venu, Baby Meenakshi, Renji Panicker, Chemban Vinod Jose, Mamukkoya, Harish K.R, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Kunchan, Idavela Babu, Aju Varghese, Manikuttan, Arjun Nandhakumar, Innocent, Kalasala Babu, Pradeep Chandran, Anjali Aneesh, Bineesh Kodiyeri, Devshi Khanduri, Sona Heiden, Arun Benny, Balaji Sharma, Poojappura Radhakrishnan, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Bindu Murali, Suchitra Pillai-Malik, Siddique (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

oppam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Urumbukal Urangarilla

urumbukalurangarilla.

Vampire Owl :: I see the title about ants not sleeping. I have to say that just like them, neither do we sleep at night.

Vampire Bat :: But I do sleep most of the night.

Vampire Owl :: What? Why do you sleep that much? We, vampires are not supposed to sleep that much at night.

Vampire Bat :: You should actually think about it. Lady Death and her evil twin sister have stopped walking around at night after someone said that it is against our great tradition. After we made a pact with them related to the blood and souls of the dead people, it is useless for us to walk around at night because anything we do could be a violation of that agreement.

Vampire Owl :: Oh! That is very sad. I don’t really read newspapers and listen to news because they are so depressing. I was hoping to go on a blood dinner with Lady Death some time.

Vampire Bat :: You can go for a dinner with her in the morning. Choose to follow the time zone of some other country which has night at that time, and call it a dinner.

Vampire Owl :: This is so complicated! I hope that there are exemptions at the graveyards!

Vampire Bat :: Zombies there got no brains. We should contact a yakshi so that more information can be obtained.

Vampire Owl :: But what bothers me a lot is if the ants really sleep?

Vampire Bat :: We shall send a message to their world to confirm.

[Gets the tickets for the movie].

What is it about? :: A man called Manoj (Vinay Forrt) meets a retired thief and master of the art, Kelu (Sudheer Karamana) who decides to help him in becoming the awesome thief that he could be. As Kelu has retired from the profession, he asks his former disciple and another experienced player in the field, Benny (Chemban Vinod Jose) to guide the new thief on his way to becoming the pride among the thieves. Benny is a man who keeps certain principles related to stealing. On his way to finding the new tricks, Manoj will know more than what he needs to, but it will prove necessary, as there more than one thing to accomplish for him. They will meet other thieves like Rajappan (Sreejith Ravi) specializing in robberies during the rainy season and Karlose (Kalabhavan Shajon) who will do anything for the riches. Sheela (Ananya) will also have an interesting role to play in these situations.

The defence of Urumbukal Urangarilla :: The interest of the audience in this movie should begin with the name of this movie itself, and there is a certain skill in how ants are made related to the main protagonists; I can’t dare to say that the process is complete, but there is a good finish to the “ant world” in the end. The story nicely begins and ends with most of the things that come in between justified. The climax sequence is the strongest point of the movie, and the flick also successfully leaves the audience with some interesting messages about being good as well as how evil gets punished in the end; the cast nicely supports the same with their dialogues. There are moments which give the audience more hope, for sure. The thrills, even though not there through most of its run-time, makes a fine return by the end.

Claws of flaw :: With such a talented cast around, one has to surprised that a lot of comic moments and opportunities to create such situations go missing. The movie is also too long and comes up with many uninteresting sequences which can’t be enjoyed by people who regularly watches movies. There are so many half-baked moments in this movie, which makes it struggle, and even drag. This movie which lasts just a little less than two hours and twenty minutes should have been limited to about one and half hours after removing some of the unnecessary sequences. The songs are not at all interesting, and just elongates this movie further. It is certain that this movie wanted to be Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, but couldn’t be there because of the clueless feeling here and there. The situations to create fun just disappear too quickly!

Performers of the soul :: Even with not that many opportunities to make the audience laugh as in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, Chemban Vinod Jose manages to do so all by himself; he makes the wonderful thief yet again – still one ends up wishing that the character was used a lot better to evoke laughter as the chance was there. Vinay Forrt comes up in a different role here, and manages things with ease. Aju Varghese has a smaller role even though bigger than what he had in Jamna Pyari, and he does that well. Ananya remains strong even though her presence is limited to the beginning and the end. Innocent has a smaller presence and so does Sreejith Ravi. Kalabhavan Shajon makes a late entry into the movie, but leaves a very nice mark. Sudheer Karamana’s character evokes mixed response. Janaki Krishnan has a small role which she manages with a certain amount of inherent cuteness.

Soul exploration :: Even though the revenge factor does have the biggest role to play in the end, what comes here as the message is that poetic justice will be served in the end. There has to be honour in whatever we do, even if it is not the most appreciated job. The crimes of war seems to say the same thing. The truth is that some people who do lesser jobs and earning less usually has more honour than the rest; at least they are not slaves to the vanity which comes with money and fame. We all listen to those vain men and women as well as their parents who provide us classes on how good they are and how pathetic we are. They should also suffer for their sins, may be a little more because they are surely worse than the people who do something wrong because there is no other choice. We hear about corruption in crores, and the question this movie asks is about who the real thieves are.

How it finishes :: Those who steal our lives are the worst criminals, aren’t they? Those who don’t allow us to do anything with our lives and lock us in a cage of meaninglessness – they are a lot like those involved in corruptions; it is just that they corrupt our lives instead. So, it is not really hard to love the characters in this movie. They required a little more polishing and won’t be like those in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha or Meesa Madhavan, but they can have some appreciation for trying things differently. One thing I am very happy about is that this doesn’t go the way of the Malayalam movie of 2013, called Bicycle Thieves. It was one of the most terrible movies as almost all of my friends have confirmed, and Urumbukal Urangarilla rises to the occasion as it decides to win with the climax and make up for its other troubles. There is Kunjiramayanam still running in full power and the new release Ennu Ninte Moideen to bring the tough competition.

Release date: 19th September 2015
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Jiju Asokan
Starring: Chemban Vinod Jose, Kalabhavan Shajon, Vinay Forrt, Aju Varghese, Innocent, Janaki Krishnan, Ananya, Sudheer Karamana, Sreejith Ravi, Vettukili Prakash, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Thesni Khan

urumbukalurangarilla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bhaiyya Bhaiyya

bhaiyya bhaiyya!

Vampire Owl :: Do they give subsidy to movies which doesn’t have a Malayalam title?

Vampire Bat :: I haven’t heard about it after that news about the same.

Vampire Owl :: There is one Sanskrit title and one Hindi title for two out of the four movies released during this Onam.

Vampire Bat :: William Shakespeare has said that we can call a rose by any name, and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Vampire Owl :: But you can’t call Uncle Dracula a mosquito just because they have been doing the same thing for so many centuries, right?

Vampire Bat :: No, the title should still be suitable. But any language would be fine; the Malayalam movies with English titles have done great business, like Memories, Philips and the Monkey Pen, Left Right Left, Celluloid and others. May be such names also bring more luck, and is also easier to release them outside Kerala and catch some attention.

Vampire Owl :: So, what language title would be 1983?

Vampire Bat :: I guess that would be like what the director calls it. That is one safe move there.

Vampire Owl :: So, it deserves subsidy?

Vampire Bat :: How can we be sure? Mumbai Police sounds English, and North 24 Kaatham is partially English – we are not qualified enough to understand that completely, I guess.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of not just one Babu, but two of them, the first one Babumon (Kunchako Boban) from the highranges of Kerala and Baburam (Biju Menon) who was adopted by Babumon’s father during his stay in Bengal. Both grew up together, and as time progresses, Baburam drops out of school and Babumon falls in love with Angel (Nisha Aggarwal), the daughter of a rich businessman and politician, Varkey (Vijayaraghavan). Baburam falls for Shanthi (Vinutha Lal) from Salem, who is working with them. They come in conflict with Monayi (Shammi Thilakan) who is Angel’s brother and also the one whom Varkey is promoting as the next young MLA and minister. Accompanied by Soman (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who wants to see Kolkata, they travel together to Bengal with the corpse of a worker who died in an accident at their site; the rest of the group has Babumon, and Angel who are eloping and Shanthi who wishes to get down at Salem on the way, with Baburam as the driver.

The defence of Bhaiyya Bhaiyya :: The movie targets the family audience during this Onam vacation and celebration. It seems to try to get into that family and kids pleasing area which is always there to be taken. It does achieve some of that with ease, as there are funny moments which keeps coming, and most of the time, it does work – the trailer had already given that idea for the viewers. The visuals are fine, especially that of the hilly areas of Kerala, and that of the Kolkata city. The narrative with the monologue by the hero is quite good. The movie doesn’t ask for big thinking or hope for logic, and yet keeps its events under control without going out of the boundary. This is the same reason why it is very good in parts, and even when it losses its footing, it shows an ability to come back and keep going. Then there is Nisha Aggarwal, and that is one reason which needs no defence as we watch Kunchako Boban – Biju Menon combo attempting to strike again.

The claws of flaw :: Bhaiyya Bhaiyya is more of a standard procedure, as it goes on predictable lines, and even the surprise that is added doesn’t work in favour of the movie. The whole thing is adjusted to suit the story which has no real innovation in it, and the characters are not really used that well either. There was the need for a stronger bonding in romantic love, and more incident to support the brotherhood. This is supposed to a comedy, but that can’t be used as an excuse because this movie is not entirely that. Even the comic side is rather repetitive, and there are numbers that we are quite familiar with. It needed more seriousness or more comedy, but this takes the middle path, and even then the mixing is not correct. The songs are not at all interesting, and this is the area which could have given a movie like this, a much needed boost, but that wasn’t to be. The climax needed more impact, and it can only be said to work in a funny manner, not that much of a brilliance right there.

Performers of the soul :: It has been a long time since Kunchako Boban and Biju Menon acted together, and even their most dumb and irritating work Romans was a superhit loved by the masses, and therefore a lot was expected from this movie which was supposed to go the way of Ordinary, and also be funny like Mallu Singh, Seniors and 101 Weddings in which they had created some nice fun. There is no doubt here that both of them did give some nice performance in the roles which gave them some lesser challenge as they also had success in such roles without the other. Nisha Aggarwal has a good debut in the Malayalam movie industry, and she has done fine in a role which might have been new to her, but common in the Malayalam movie industry. Vinutha Lal is also fine as the other female lead, even as she has eve lesser to do. Jacob Gregory was nice in his role, but it was short and of lesser significance. Innocent and Salim Kumar are also present to handle the fun, and Suraj Venjaramoodu has more presence with some good numbers. Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan also play the typical roles.

Soul exploration :: The movie seems to have that message that all Indians are brothers and sisters, even as the relationships are not that effective here. The movie’s main characters are from Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu showing the strength of India’s unity in diversity, even as it is not that visible from their talks and action. May be the movie could have worked it that way, without losing its fun elements, but I guess there was the chance of some mockery in the same, which would work against the flick. The shots are also from the three states, even as Kerala has more, for the obvious reasons. The value of brotherhood is also implied here, and it is not just the usual relationship between two brothers that work here, as there is no blood relationship involved at all. The romantic side also takes the second place as bromance takes over right from the beginning, and that way, this is Bhaiyya Bhaiyya making the title of the movie true.

How it finishes :: There will be the need to watch Kunchako Boban – Biju Menon partnership yet again on the big screen, and the opportunity to see the beautiful Nisha Aggarwal on the screen in her first Malayalam movie, and one has to admit that she looks a lot like her elder sister, the stunning Kajal Aggarwal. The cast might not attract those extremist fans of the big stars who will abuse you if you say that the movie is bad, but only nicer people who are not the fans for popularity, but for only the good reasons – its good to be there without hardcore fan evil. The movie doesn’t disappoint, and neither does it loss out this Onam, but still it might be one of those movies which will somewhat miss out due to the lack of publicity; this one even lacks a Wikipedia page – how often do you see that? It is the first thing that a movie should have, followed by the Facebook page. The feel-good elements and the comedy keeps it going, along with the fact that this is the vacation time; the wonderful season of Onam.

Release date: 5th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Johny Antony
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Nisha Aggarwal, Biju Menon, Vinutha Lal, Jacob Gregory, Shammi Thilakan, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Salim Kumar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Thesni Khan

bhaiyya bhaiyyaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Polytechnic

polytechnic (2)

Vishu’s last comrade :: In the beginning, there were four Malayalam movies for the festival of Vishu, and this is the last one that list, as the least hyped, but I have found this one the second most interesting after 7th Day. But before I get into it, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Suraj Venjaramoodu on winning the National Award for the Best Actor for his performance in Perariyathavar along with everyone behind the same movie. As everyone considered him to be someone inside a particular genre, there might not be many people from Kerala who expected the same. What makes me most happy is the selection of North 24 Kaatham as the best Malayalam movie, as unlike what some people said about it, I have always thought it was a wonderful movie and needed to gain a lot more attention, even as it did do quite well. Now with the award won, not many can reject the claim of awesomeness about that movie. So there is something from a long time Malayalam movie fan, and back to what I have been doing, and the road diverge into that fourth Vishu Malayalam movie which I watched, Polytechnic.

What is it about? :: Poly (Kunchako Boban) is the son of a soldier and a homemaker. He is a member of the local leftist party and is filled with socialist ideas and a desire to eliminate corruption from his village, thus not doing any job and not contributing to the income of the household in any way other than eating quite a lot. He is usually locked in fights against the Panchayat president and the local leader of the opposite party, Sukumaran Nair (Vijayaraghavan), but is in love with the daughter of the same man, Aswathy (Bhavana) whom he has liked since childhood. As Poly gets more and more involved with the events in the village, he has to face more problems. But the big problem comes when his father dies in a terrorist attack, and is left with the duty to take care of the household. With the money that they get after the death of his father, Poly starts a new business with the help of his friend Backer (Aju Varghese) and the blessings of their local leader. But soon he realizes that it is difficult to run an industry like it is easy to close one. He finds out that one can’t run a business in the right way, but decides to go against all odds and make sure that his venture turns successful.

The defence of Polytechnic :: Sometimes spelled as Pauly Technic at many places, Polytechnic is all about the technic the protagonist Poly uses to get his thing done. May be it is more about the protagonist being Poly or Pauly rather than anything else. The first half is more political and surely the funnier one, as it reminds one more of Oru Indian Pranayakatha‘s first half as it moves on to being somewhat the Punyalan Agarbathis as the first half gets closer to the interval and the whole second half. But the movie does maintain its own identity, thanks to all the funny dialogues and incidents as well as the total village set up. The message to fight corruption runs throughout the movie. There is a heavy dose of corruption incidents in the movie, and it keeps telling the viewers about the need to fight the same, and it is in the hands of the youth to do so. The movie has a lot of funny moments, and never does it cross the border of decency, something which has been difficult for Malayalam movies with the new generation movies all around. It makes sure that the movie is suitable for the families.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t have a wikipedia page. There are not many movies which doesn’t have one, and that is disappointing as such a page is necessary for any average movie which hits the theatre, and often the worst Malayalam movies have one. I would consider such a situation a serious threat to the movie’s promotions, just like not having a facebook page. The movie’s take on politics and corruption is half-baked. The whole thing becomes a fight only in the end, and the climax is rather too ineffective and forced. As this movie is more or less like last year’s Jayasuriya starrer Punyalan Agarbathis, the same trend seems to continue – the protagonist tries to start a business which has almost everything going against it, including the laws, officials, fate and those people who don’t like him. There is also the heroine giving full support as well as a friend who is always with him (both times played by Aju Varghese). The protagonist’s techniques are rather weak and none of them should actually impress the audience as the “great poly technic”. There it goes slow and pretty much predictable.

Performers of the Soul :: Kunchako Boban once again excels in a character with all the qualities necessary for the same. Remember Elsamma Enna Aankutty and Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum, but here he has a character with more heroism, and he performs here with the same ease. He has fit into the role of the simple and ordinary man well. Bhavana seems to have got slimmer, and shines in a role in which most of the other Malayalam actresses haven’t really played to a good effect – a police officer and a lover who struggles to keep both roles afloat, caught between her lover and her father. She successfully portrays and remains true to that character. Vijayaraghavan and Aju Varghese heavily contributes to the funny side, and the latter has a role which is similar to what he did in Punyalan Agarbathis, and has made it better. These two are also seen in the other Vishu movie, Ring Master, the same is the case of Suraj Venjaramood who contributes in his usual manner. Kochu Preman is there to add a little more to the same. Hareesh Peradi remains strong and has yet another powerful role to essay. Innocent has a guest role in the end.

Soul exploration :: The feel-good movies are mostly for the soul, but this is actually less for the same. The message for the youth to fight against corruption is the one thing that stands alone, and the light shades make sure that the situation is enjoyable rather than frowned upon; but there are the moments which make one feel that its not that light a movie, especially when the protagonist’s struggles get too much and lands him in jail as well as ruins his reputation. There was the need for a stronger script and a better twist in the end to make sure that it works better rather than sticking to that feel-good thingy like a glue. It seems to have clinched on the simplicity, but there is still the twist, and the with its occasional drags and predictability, the movie is kind of confused at its soul, and the fact that they have somewhat managed to pull it off is a nice thing. Its attempt is on a message against what may be the biggest social evil in the nation, and that is well done as an attempt. There is also the reminder of Dakshayani Biscuits, the factory from Mohanlal’s old classic movie, Midhunam.

How it finishes :: The two things that would attract the audience should be that Bhavana is back, that too with Kunchako Boban a long time after Doctor Love, for the first time in a police role; and that Kunchako Boban is back in his second most comfortable territory, the family comedy entertainer (the first one being the usual romantic stuff). Polytechnic doesn’t seem to be ready to finish strong during this festival-vacation season. I wonder how much better it would have been if it had released before Punyalan Agarbathis. But this is still a season of big holidays, and as nothing other than 7th Day has successfully attracted enough audience, this might still hold on like Count Dracula to his coffin. To prepare for the same, lets keep the expectations low and take the opportunity, and be prepared for another addition of a feel-good movie to the long list of such movies which never cease coming as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned.. I might be back only after Maundy Thursday and Good Friday or possibly only after Easter, and I hope that you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday, and may there be blessings in abundance on the day, plus belated Vishu greetings.

Release date: 11th April 2014
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: M. Padmakumar
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Bhavana, Aju Varghese, Suraj Venjaramood , Tesni Khan, Devi Chandana, Vishnu Prabha, Hareesh Peradi, Kochu Preman, Ambika, Innocent

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Indian Pranaya Katha

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An Indian Love Story :: Now, that is the direct Malayalam to English translation of the title of this movie, but let it not make you think about this as a romantic love story full of melodious songs and a hero and heroine looking at each other, the sky, the beach, or the river. This is partially a political satire and otherwise a drama concerning family relations. Coming from the director who never disappoints us (except for may be No. 1 Snehatheeram Banglore North), as the man with such a fine record, this movie was always going to be watchable whatever be the content, and even as it turned out to be kind of usual, this movie also doesn’t disappoint (yes, I do think well of his last venture Puthiya Theerangal too). His best of this century was Manassinakkare, and before that we know it has always been NadodikkattuOru Indian Pranaya Katha fits among the good movies, not at the higher level though. But be assured that the love between the lead pair happens just because the movie ends, and that is where the romance should begin.

What is it about? :: Ayamanam Sidharthan (Fahad Fazil) is the leader of the local youth wing of a party who hopes to become an M.L.A. soon by being the candidate in the upcoming by-election. He is supported by Uthup Vallikkadan (Innocent) who is the district head of the party always making an attempt to show his face on television. But his hopes are crashed when the national leaders choose another person who has no political background to contest in the elections instead of him, just because she is the daughter of a big shot politician. As Sidharthan is fed up and decides to take a break, he comes across Irene Gardner (Amala Paul) from Canada who is attempting to shoot a documentary and needs someone to help her, for which she can provide rupees two thousand per day. He feels that this could be a nice opportunity for him to keep away from politics as well as gain some much needed money, and he takes that offer. But he realizes that there is something about her that is much more than what meets the eye. So why is Irene in India and what is she looking for, and how can our hero help her? There remain the questions.

The defence of Oru Indian Pranaya Katha :: The movie has a wonderful first half, and it is a gem that shines and takes all the claps with grace. There are lots of moments of fun, and in each of them, Fahadh Faasil scores, and Innocent provides good support. There is the humble and yet beautiful beginning to the story which is carried on towards the interval. The moment when the hero takes up the job for the heroine is hilarious, and most of the moments involving politics are times of laughter. It remains clean throughout the movie, and there are no unnecessary vulgar jokes which has been plaguing Malayalam movie industry and keeping the audience away. There is basically nothing which is bad for kids, and there is no stupid romance getting in the way of the movie flow. There was obviously the chance for bad jokes on many occasions, and at a time when even movies like Sringaravelan become family entertainers, this effort to keep the dirty things away has to be appreciated. To add to it, the goodness and social message that the movie delivers is worth some applause.

Claws of flaw :: The movie fails to keep the momentum going in the second half, and right after the first half, the world starts twisting and breaking apart. Even as the latter half also has some good jokes, it seems to suffer from a big curse which hinders its movement, and it drags and gets converted into a family drama from the political satire which it was in the first half. There is lot of emotional undercurrents going on, and none of them romantic in character. The leading lady’s search for her roots lacks in both strength and innovation and the flashback story is too much off the dusty old books. The songs stay below average, and there is nothing that can pounce in our hearts. There is a void left in our desire to follow the satirical side, and our need for things which are left behind can be felt by the end of the movie. It has a happy and a righteous ending for sure, but surely not an effective one. The people who are looking for the romantic side will be disappointed, as the love between the leading characters blossoms only in the last few moments of the movie, or rather the last few seconds before the movie ends.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Sathyan Anthikkad’s style rescues another movie yet again. But Fahadh Faasil is the man who leads the show yet again, just like he did in North 24 Kaatham without even speaking much, and in Amen with simplicity. He has portrayed a different character yet again, and his comic side in this movie is something that takes over. He once again transforms to a character who rules the first half of the movie and stays good in the second half. Innocent’s support is as good as usual, and there is no boring moment when he is around. Amala Paul looks even better than ever in this movie, and it is good to see that her presence is there right from the moment she is introduced. Her character seems to have been rightly portrayed, right from the moment she appears with a video camera in an orphanage. Her characteristics of a lady searching roots as well as a fun loving girl are rightly captured and reflected to the audience. Shafna and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy are also there with significant roles which catches attention, but the latter could have had more screen time.

Soul exploration :: The movie does leave us with many messages, one of them being the core of them all, not to take politics as a job, but as a means to serve people along with working. The real ambition is to be serving people rather than to be at the top, but that will rather be a need. Well, ambition is the root of all evil, and as Doctor Faustus did prove long ago as in the lives of Lucifer and Mephistopheles, there is nothing like ambition that makes a man evil. The leading characters do undergo significant changes in their journey, but not something as huge as North 24 Kaatham, as they were both this good right from the beginning to the end. Even as a movie which is considered as a romantic comedy, there is no glorification of romance or similar stuff, and that is another bonus. The useless nature of exaggerated love is made known to us throughout the movie, and the stress is more on family values, along with helping others at the same time. The movie also stresses on the importance of roots and the need to know them thoroughly. Whatever be the situation, or however the world changes, there is nothing like our parents, as the movie shows.

How it finishes :: When the hero says “There is beef in the scene” – that was a hilarious moment, and so was the dialogues in the library – the movie drops such laughter bombs regularly to keep the movie in the hunt in a weekend powered by two other big releases, Jeethu Joseph’s Mohanlal starrer Dryshyam and Lal Jose’s Dileep starrer Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal along with the Bollywood’s own Dhoom 3 and Hollywood’s only release Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. There is also the Tamil movie Biriyani, which means that there is a lot going on in the theatres this weekend – I have already booked tickets for Dryshyam, and I am looking forward to watching Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal on the same day. There is a lot to be done for me this Christmas, that is for sure, and as far as Oru Indian Pranaya Katha is concerned, it is a good choice for a family outing, and there is not much rush for it due to the less hype – you can go for it soon enough. Forgive the movie for its weaknesses in the second half, and do give it a chance to be that love story that scores without that much of romance. This is a small movie of goodness, that can do with a lot of support from the audience.

Release date: 20th December 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Amala Paul, Innocent, Shafna, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Krishna Prabha, Muthumani

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Punyalan Agarbathis

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The time of the saints :: It is the time for the saints, and it was proved by one of the best satirical movies in Malayalam belonging to this century. There was indeed a saint in that movie, and it was Pranchiyettan and the Saint. Now, with the word “punyalan” translated as the saint, this movie also tries to take on the saint + trichur slang which shaped that wonderful satire. The saint is for sale this time, as our hero sells “Saint Incense Sticks” which is how “Punyalan Agarbathis” would get translated, and also if we consider it in another way, it is the sale of a useful saint imagery that happens here, now just as a Christian saint, but rather as the saintly figure in the centre which gets explored so many times, mostly remembered by this year’s movie Immanuel with its title character and Pranchiyettan was himself nothing less than a saint. There is still a lot of interest for the saintly figures among our usual audience, even as the hero who beats up people and says vulgar dialogues might come back any time now – I just hope they stay dead.

What is it about? :: Hailing from Trichur, Joy Thakkolkaran (Jayasurya) is a man who keeps trying his luck in many business ventures, but none of them really working. His latest attempt is on creating incense sticks from elephant dung, and it is named Punyalan Agarbathis hoping that Saint George will help him in his attempt to make it big. He wanders around looking for collecting what he calls “raw materials”. His wife, Anu (Nyla Usha) supports him with a regular job, but it is often insufficient for what he has to spend for his business. He is helped by his long time friend and assistant Greenu Sharma (Aju Varghese) and a driver Abhaya Kumar (Sreejith Ravi) as well as two workers who rarely works. But he has to fight a lot of narrow minded people, politicians and after all, fate which means that his troubles might never end. He is forced to spend most of his time in the court seeking justice, and his ideas keep getting struck down by destiny’s lightning, as he begins to feel that the whole world is against him. The story deals with how he finally survives in his battle.

The defence of Punyalan Agarbathis :: Well, the defence of Punyalan Agarbathis is easy up-to an extent. Other than its social relevance which is mostly about the tragic situation of the common man and the social evil which is harthal, the whole thing is about fun. The simplicity of the movie is worth appreciating. There are lots of funny dialogues stored in between. The beginning credits scene itself is well-crafted with scenes from Trichur. Most of the characters are interesting, and the movie has successfully built up a very good first half after its interesting beginnings. It has moments which makes one wonder how more awesome it can get, and keeps the audience asking for more. The movie’s biggest advantage might be its name, and its trailer which keeps the audience interested, and once the movie starts, there is also the ability to keep close to that standard till the end of first half. The songs are fine and the cinematography is admirable. The saint hasn’t avoided this movie, that is for sure.

Claws of flaw :: The movie seems to create the idea that there is a saint in most of the common man who suffers due to the rich, corrupt hands of the same society, but that kind of fades a few minutes after the first half. By that time, movie had deviated from its wonderful world to an abyss of incapacitated story with the undercurrents of that logic which decided that it is better to leave the flick and go to Mars and stay with Martians. There was always the chance to go astray right from the beginning, but it happened only in the second half, and the way they tried to finish it quickly almost as if a limited offer deus ex machina is used, is a real blemish on the movie. It was more like a cargo ship with great items on board going adrift and losing its good cargo by the time it reaches the destination. Why this sudden disorientation? Even if there was no happy ending to the story, may be if they had just let the leading character miss out and leave his business, it wouldn’t have been a lesser level second half or ending.

Performers of the soul :: If I have to tell who is the performer of the day, that would be a surprise, as Jayasurya is the man in form yet again. He transforms into another interesting character with ease, and Aju Varghese is a wonderful support to him. Sreejith Ravi also contributes to the fun in an avatar he is not usually seen in. Nyla Usha joins the party with charm, and Rachana Narayanankutty does a great job, both serious and funny sides handled with care. Innocent and Tesni Khan also contributes with their relatively small presence, even as we would have liked to see a lot more from the former. T.G. Ravi was there for the last Trichur based satirical comedy and he is there to impress us yet again. Idavela Babu is here as a villain for a change and doing a wonderful job, even as the evil face doesn’t just belong to him, but to so many forces of the society. You have to like Sunil Sukhada in his job. The acting department is so close to perfection, and the other areas of the movies are well supported, yes Mala Aravindan’s funny KAPA character included.

Social relevance :: We have had many movies of social relevance, with Sandesam, Varavelpu and Vellanakalude Naadu quite a long time ago, and Arabikkatha, Passenger and Pranchiyettan and the Saint not too far away from the present. Punyalan Agarbathis falls behind all these movies, but is the next movie which comes to the list. The movie takes on harthal as a social disturbance right from the beginning stages itself. The assertion on the harthal stands tall among others, and another focus is on the corrupt politics and the plight of the common man, and also about how difficult it is to begin an industry in Kerala. But the use of elephant dung there might be strange, but still okay enough as the movie is not to be taken that seriously, and the use of such an insignificant and free thing means that one can’t even try little things in a world of corruption and among influential people who are there to create trouble. If it was presented a little differently, with a better second half and a much better climax, the movie would have been remembered for a very long time.

How it finishes :: Ranjith Sankar has given us messages through his movies, and his best shall yet remain Passenger, a fine Molly Aunty Rocks and a below average Arjunan Saakshi. All of them had something other than the story to tell us, and this one is not different either. The elephant dung thing gets irritating after some time, and you know at which point the movie losses focus. Otherwise, this is the right Malayalam movie for the weekend, if we consider the reports. As the title Bicycle Thieves hurts my feelings about Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist drama and the name Escape from Uganda makes one feel worse, with the only thing further strange being the name Namboothiri Yuvavu @ 43 – this movie is a winner right from the title. The reports also seem to suggest that there is something in the title that is carried into the movie. Still, if you are not fixed on watching a Malayalam movie, I would suggest Frozen as the movie of the week. Meanwhile, our desire to watch another Pranchiyettan and the Saint remains unfulfilled.

PS: The leading character in Pranchiyettan and the Saint was Francis, and here we have the character as Joy. Something tells me that next satires based on Trichur might having the protagonists, as Jos and Paul, and you can make a guess why I predict so! 😀

Release date: 29h November 2013
Running time: 160 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Nyla Usha, Aju Varghese, Innocent, Rachana Narayanankutty, Sreejith Ravi, T.G. Ravi, Tesni Khan, Mala Aravindan, Idavela Babu, Sunil Sukhada, Shivaji Guruvayur

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Geethanjali

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What is Geethanjali? :: Even as all of us literature students have to answer this with Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, the collection which made him the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the only Indian to win the same so far. But as the Vampire Bat is not alive enough to talk about such great works of Indian literature, he is talking about a movie of the same name, not about the National Film Award-winning Telugu movie of the same name, but the recently released indirect sequel to the masterpiece which was Manichitrathazhu. It once again has Mohanlal as Dr. Sunny Joseph, one of the most loved characters in the Malayalam movie industry. Its been a long time since there was a Mohanlal movie too. Thanks to the hype and the well-made trailer, this became one of the most anticipated releases of the time, even when colliding with the other movies which released during the same weekend – Thira, Insidious: Chapter 2 and Ram-leela.

What is it about? :: There were two twins, Geetha and Anjali (both Keerthy Suresh) (together making the movie Geethanjali – if one of them was Chitra, the movie would have been Chitranjali, like the name of the studio which was used by the film?) and only Anjali is alive now, as the other is supposed to have committed suicide by jumping into the sea – and body not found. Anjali comes back to her home where she lived till her youth after her mother falls down from the terrace and goes into a comma. Her fiancee is also with him, and at the house, she has visions of her dead sister who also loved the same person. The vision of the ghost who seem to try to end her life to keep the lover away from her, makes life uncomfortable for the young lady. The fiancee Anoop (KP Nishan) calls Nakulan (Suresh Gopi) who recommends Dr. Sunny Joseph (Mohan Lal) for the case, but the question remains if the future bride can remain alive or at least in his senses before the man arrives, and if he can solve this mystery before anything horrible happens.

The defence of Geethanjali :: It is hard to defend a movie which has been so much critically panned in a nation where even Krrish 3 gets positive reviews in another corner. Yes, this corner is famous for movies which usually get two or two point five out of five, and this miserly area doesn’t give away much. But let me tell you that Geethanjali scores with its environment, the almost effective scary scenes and the added twist, with the funny elements supporting it quite well. The cinematography helps the movie a lot, and this should be the first visually superior horror movies in Malayalam movie industry. The last good horror movie was Sahasram, released in 2010, starring Suresh Gopi. This doesn’t live up to that either, but the attempt is there, even if not original or with the right flow. Check out for Keerthy Suresh too, as she scores in her first movie – there is something called legacy, and she might be some of the few who might be proving it. There should be no comparisons to Manichitrathazhu though – who compares Dracula or Interview with the Vampire to Twilight? And as Alexander Pope says in Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot: “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

The claws of flaw :: The worst thing that could happen to this movie is that it released with Thira, which is already a hit as it comes from a man who has cent percent success rate. I can remember that Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Thattathin Marayathu was a hit months before it released. I am also sure about watching it myself. The problem is that the more we praise that one, the more we tend to downgrade this movie. To add to it, there are the copied things, along with the ghost who looks like the daughter of the Avatar guy and The Ring girl. The mirror and the ceiling fan leaks instead of the television and there is a lot of hair like The Grudge. More details about similarities can be found in the details with spoilers section. One can say that the movie tried too much to be like Manichitrathazhu, and there is a big problem, for it can’t be the same as the world has changed and so did a lot of things. People are also looking for something of variety just like the original classic, and more flawless stuff including no small mistakes (like Armenian Orthodox Church cross having Latin inscriptions and there might be quite some concerning the twins).

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal is the star psychatrist yet again, but this time he has less screen presence, and this surely won’t be the Dr Sunny that we remembers. He makes his entrance just before the second half of the movie, and once he enters, there is a lot of hope being built up – even as he lives up to it with his performance, there is not that much in the story. His combination with Innocent is very good and Swapna Menon is a pleasant surprise and a fine addition to the funny side of the movie. Harisree Ashokan also contributes in a lesser manner to the comic side. Nishan has a weak role, but does the romantic part very well, but not that much in he climax scene where the debutant Keerthy Suresh takes over with a wonderful performance to support the beautiful screen presence. She doesn’t go on to become another beautiful young actress who can’t act – she does incredibly well as the two sisters, too good for a debutant. Well, the beauty gets more than just the pass marks. Its her movie, as she is both the protagonist and the antagonist. Siddique and Nassar provides nice support, and Seema’s role is too limited – Madhu’s character was almost not needed.

Details with spoilers :: The story has so much in common with Nadiya kollappetta Rathri and Chaarulatha, the former was one of my favourites, and this impersonation for love was well performed by Kavya Madhavan and rightly investigated by the character of Suresh Gopi. The latter which was a remake of a 2007 movie Alone, had a lot of things which this movie now has in common. The twins who impersonate and kill for love was told as an investigative thriller in the first case, and as a pure ghost story in the second. The good thing is that they are not conjoined twins like the latter. Our movie has a psychological twist to the same, seemingly attempting to make it just like Manichitrathazhu, and also adding some comedy in between. If you haven’t watched the two movies, this shall be a new experience for you, or if you want to repeat the experience in another way, this movie can help. Those who don’t like the two movies much and don’t want any more of it, might want to skip it though. I felt so from some of the reactions from a few.  This is not going to be remembered in the later days like the well-crafted Devadoothan either.

How it could have been :: This could have been a lot better, there is no doubt about that. The ghost and the supernatural would have been better not shown and not observed by the family other than the girl. The blue ghost could have done better if shown just in the shadows without the support of water and the fallen hair. The sea on one side is a clear negative on a house which formerly made us feel that it is at a remote location on some hill or mountain. The darkness itself could have been an ally to a possible psychological thriller in this one. The songs might have done better if not coming up when not needed. The suspense could have been made more shocking even without the support of deaths. Mohanlal could have made an entry earlier. Overall, there should be no following the policy of the early classic, instead having some life of its own, keeping further distance from the movies which were used as inspirations. I would be surprised if even the C.I.D Moosa sequel can be any good considering the limited imagination involved with making sequels. Meanwhile, a horrible drop for this movie might discourage horror movies in Malayalam, and I am not going to stand that!

Release date: 14th November 2013
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Priyadarshan
Starring: Mohanlal, Keerthy Suresh, KP Nishan, Swapna Menon, Siddique, Innocent, Ganesh Kumar, Nassar, Madhu, Seema, Harisree Ashokan, Chris Gayle Kuttappan, Suresh Gopi (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Monkey Pen

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I can still remember looking at one of those advertisement boards set up for this movie on the side of the road. It was quite big and it made me wonder what it is actually about and what can it do with such a title which is strange but not weird for the new generation Malayalam movies. It was the time when I had just watched Captain Phillips, and I wondered what this title Philips and the Monkey Pen was about. Yes, it was strange indeed for a Malayalam movie – it did have the picture of a kid and Jayasurya who plays his father. Another poster had Remya Nambeesan and also Vijay Babu, there was one more which had Joy Mathew in it with them. Yet the question would remain what was it all about? There have been many pathetic children’s movies in this part of the world, none of which was close to being interesting, and now they have come up with a strange title too. But how did it turn out? Now thats a surprise, not just the regular one, but a cute, sweet and more interesting than any fake films which are projected as family movies. I now give you with something from the movie – “I thought the truth would pain you”; reply: “The truth isn’t bitter; its just that the lies are excessively sweet”.

So here you welcome the first real family movie of the year, and it is indeed what they have projected; the all generation movie of the age, and it is a shame that it had to be postponed for movies of other languages; Arrambam, and more tragically Krrish 3. If any movie is to be shifted for such a fake hero movie like Krrish 3, it shows how messed up our audience is. Let me tell you that I am glad to see the number of audience even for the morning show during a working day, and I am happy to see the response of the viewers. I would be surprised if it didn’t them in one way or the other, and the claps in the end signified the same. I can only hope that it won’t lose the battle and give up early to the bigger movies which are to come this weekend, Geethanjali, Thira and may be Salaam Kashmir, plus the movies from other languages about which we can’t be sure now. Well, it is the duty of all the good movie watchers to make movies like this success, instead of going for movies like Krrish 3, Besharam and Boss. Please do support this movie! Show it to your kids for sure.

I begin talking about this movie by introducing you to the antagonist, the evil villain who is the manifestation of the wretched demon from hell, Mephisto-maths, or rather Mathematics which lived in the capital of hell, Pandemonium before its arrival to Earth. Pardon my use of language, as I have been as much troubled by this third rate piece of junk known as Mathematics as much as our protagonist Ryan Philip (Master Sanoop). Without that subject, world would have been awesome, I know it and so does Ryan. He has started his battle in the fifth standard as he tries to find a way to find a way past his class teacher Pappan (Vijay Babu) who teaches the most loathed subject of the school. He is not alone in this battle against Satan Maths and his helpers, the Maths teacher and the Maths expert of the class. There are four of them in total, as they are the freaks of the class who come late in dirty clothes and fails to do the home work. They are always thinking about how to send this demon back to hell.

The first idea is to find a girlfriend who can help him in Maths, but as Ryan is not that much of a popular kid in the class and neither is he studious or good at sports, that doesn’t really work out. Ryan is the son of a Christian father Roy Philip (Jayasurya) and a Muslim mother Sameera Roy(Remya Nambeesan), and none of the families are in touch which the couple after they married against the wishes of their parents. The only contact they later come across is Richard Philip (Joy Mathew), Roy’s father and a former captain of a ship. It is from him that Ryan gets a pen called monkeypen which is said to have helped in achieving impossible things. For Ryan, there are not many impossible things which should be possible – as it is just about the bloodsucking monster from the other dimension, which has surrounded his life in a python form – the evil Mathematics. The story deals with how Ryan overcomes all the problems of his life which starts and ends with Anaconda Maths with the help of a pen. Well, there is no real supernatural or magic involved in this one, and don’t let such thoughts stop you. Meanwhile, did I feel shades of existentialism? I doubt that.

There are lots of lessons to be learnt from this movie, and it is more of a morality tale wearing the visage of a children’s story, and with its veneer of simple childhood talks and experiences, the movie explores themes like love, truth, faith and duty. But the movie rarely preaches, as it shows rather than try to teach; it inspires rather than try to put something on the viewers heads. On one side, it tells the story of a kid who is hoping to do well, but is a mannerless boy who doesn’t respect elders, comes late to the class in terrible uniform and obviously doesn’t want to study. With the disrespect to authority and the elders, he is a sample of the bad next generation which is to come with no respect for values and traditions. On the other side, it is the story of the change that faith, love and care from parents can bring upon children. Ryan’s transformation is the major theme of the story, and most of the questions of this age comes up within the same. As a whole, this is not just the story of Ryan, or it shouldn’t be so, as its goodness prevails. The other characters of the movie are not avoided too, and in that case, it is further interesting.

Master Sanoop plays the protagonist of the movie, the man with the monkeypen. His performance is something which has to be judged just by viewing and not by talking about it. The same can be said about the other kids too, from his partners in crime to his arch nemesis in studies as well as the one of unattainable love. Jayasurya makes an awesome father in this movie, and this is another one of different, yet fantastic performances. Almost the same can be said about Remya Nambeesan who plays the mother who herself is immatured to an extent, but stands for his son when in need. Joy Mathew doesn’t lag in his role but rather scores when needed, and Vijay Babu is very good as the teacher, one of the most dynamic characters in a children’s film. Innocent has a small role as the boy’s imaginary friend whom he calls God, and joins him in his pains and agonies, removing his doubts and making him confidence, and the wisdom from this divine one adds, but is underused and pales in comparison to the pen. It might remind us of the character of Saint Francis of Assisi in Pranchiyettan and the Saint, in a lesser manner. Mukesh’s Principal is funny, and well done. To add, there is the beauty of cinematography!

I was highly impressed by how the story-line progresses. I thought this was a children’s story and I might get disappointed, but wow! They even managed to put a background story to the legend of monkeypen with the records of the construction of Willingdon Island, the first man-made island in India. The scenes involving the pen and Sir Robert Bristow is brilliantly taken, with no scope for any questioning. There is some brilliant writing behind this one, there is indeed magic of some sort involved with this one rather than inside it. When nostalgia calls, I have wondered about the Maths side of this story, and thought if I could have loved Maths if I had better teachers? By the time I got to the end of eighth standard, I had almost completely hated the subject even as I scored well enough for the board exams, and finally lost touch with it intentionally due to my lack of interest. Then, how did my love for English Literature come up? That was due to two of the English teachers whom I admired – such is the story of most of us, as good teachers make students love their subjects and score better in most of the cases except for some who are beyond hope. Meanwhile, the name of the grandfather Richard Philip, captain of the ship – ring any bells? 😀

Release date: 7th November 2013
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Rojin Philip, Shanil Muhammed
Starring: Master Sanoop, Jayasurya, Remya Nambeesan, Innocent, Joy Mathew, Mukesh, Vijay Babu

monkeypen copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.