Qarib Qarib Singlle

What is the movie about? :: Jaya Sashidharan (Parvathy), a Keralite based in the city of Mumbai, spends her time alone, both at home and at office, as she has only a few friends, and has been a widow for about ten years. After so many years of lone life, and not listening to anyone who tells her to marry or get a boyfriend, she finally decides to have a look at an online dating website at the age of thirty five. After being bombarded by so many ridiculous comments by so many men, she finally comes across Yogi (Irrfan Khan) who is interested in poetry and has his own special style, making his case very different from the rest. She is careful about him and understands that both of them are different from each other in so many ways, but decides to go with him to meet three of his ex-girlfriends so that he could understand more about him as a person.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: As part of this long adventure, the two has to travel through Haridwar, Bikaner and Gangtok. But there is one particular fact about Yogi, and it is that he is a carefree person who takes no responsibility on his shoulders – he doesn’t work even after passing engineering, but has written poetry in his mother tongue, and also speaks not much of English. This leads to him missing his flight and getting on the wrong train, and creating a few other situations. Meanwhile, Jaya who has identified herself as Jayashree TK, is fluent in English, and needs everything to go as planned. At their first location itself, they do become good friends, but going past that might be a little difficult, but who knows where some paths can lead? Well, strange things do happen, especially in love and war!

The defence of Qarib Qarib Singlle :: You will find the changes in this movie as a lot refreshing, and a fine thing which is away from the usual Bollywood model. The movie feels real with its incidents and emotions, and never really jumps into that fountain of melodrama which has kept the industry buried alive in a coffin from which there was never supposed to a chance of return, and it is a situation that could be termed as a sadistic thing of terrible beauty if we take a look at things as an outsider. Yes, the fans have always enjoyed the same, as it is what they have always been trying to do, but when we are outside that thought process of becoming addicted to a celebrity who has enough strength to become a parasite on the common man, throwing nonsense and grabbing money, we want the change. Qarib Qarib Singlle is surely that divergence from the regular path, and has fun moments in its realistic world having people who come up with no wonders in love, and are good at heart, not in their muscles, clothes or freaky singing and dancing in a party or pub.

The claws of flaw :: Some people can consider Qarib Qarib Singlle to be a little slow for their liking, but thanks to the smaller length, things get better. People who want less simplicity, and go for that colourful jump mode new generation romance in a pub calling for party, can also skip this one, as the movie calls more for the combined audience of family and youth. You can actually agree to the fact that there could be more comic sequences in this flick, and the journeys to different places could have also been more beautiful with the local scenery captured further along with what all are already there. All those characters other than the two protagonists never really get to do much here, and there is no development of the background as one would expect to be there. The reason for the movie’s journey would also seem a little strange for many. More could have been thus developed with the setting itself too.

Performers of the soul :: There is no stopping Irrfan Khan, and it is a proven fact. It was a few months back that I had come across Hindi Medium, and realized that how much this man had elevated it above the Malayalam version with the same theme, Salt Mango Tree. There is something that he brings on the big screen every time, and we cannot keep ourselves away from it. While Bollywood has been bringing nonsense in the name of keeping the audience entertained with masala, he was there with movies like The Lunchbox, Talvaar and Madaari. Here, he delivers two sides of a character with ease, as the funny side as well as another side with a certain depth in his ideology, arrives safely here. With no fake image of a hero being built, he becomes the everyman character, speaking a little too much, and doing a little more than a usual person, but doing all of them with such perfection which you will find difficult to find with any superstar who depends on his or her fans to sing blind praise.

Further performers of the soul :: While Irrfan Khan’s character maintains a certain amount of mystery as we come across him only after Parvathy’s character decides to go on to meet him, the latter gets a clear personality to work with, right from the beginning. She has worked with it with such skill that one can easily understand that she is one step ahead of almost everyone with that “superstar” title on head, which all try to hold on to. Still, the question remains if Bollywood is worthy enough or at least ready to have a heroine like her, who won’t jump into that masala stuff which provides a heroine with so less to work with that she is reduced to an eye candy. Into a world which is full of “actors or actresses who are related to someone in the industry”, she thrives with her performance rather than anything else, as she did this year with the amazing upgrade to Airlift, known as Take Off, and earlier with Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. Here is one Bollywood debut of quality.

How it finishes :: A long way ahead of the usual romantic flick that Bollywood has been providing us, and also racing ahead of many overrated dumb romance from many languages which got only some ridiculous party songs, pub dance and meaningless infatuation for the audience, Qarib Qarib Singlle makes a point. It shows exactly how a fine romantic feel-good movie can be made, without those unnecessary elements appreciated by a certain group of half-witted audience who should be held responsible for Bollywood having so many low quality hundred crore movies with content not worthy of even being made a short-film – such cases are better suited only for an alien world which has no scope for brain development. If you prefer movies with aversion for clothes being at the same high level as the disinclination for making something sensible, do not bother, and go back to your usual world and continue watching what you call “cool”. Sometimes, the audience becomes the villain to an industry.

Release date: 11th November 2017
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Tanuja Chandra
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Parvathy, Bajrangbali Singh, Anud Singh Dhaka, Neha Dhupia, Brijendra Kala, Luke Kenny, Siddharth Menon, Pushtii Shakti, Isha Sharvani

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Iyobinte Pusthakam

Iyobinte Pustakam ()

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Iyob (Lal) and his three sons, Dimitri (Chemban Vinod Jose), Ivan (Jinu Joseph) and Aloshy (Fahadh Faasil). Iyob was a young local boy who became the right-hand of Harrison (Sal Yusuf), one of the British people who established homes in Munnar, but he managed to rise after his death and had become the most powerful and the influential man in the area. Due to the commanding nature of his father and the atrocities of his brothers which are covered up with money, Aloshy leaves home and joins the Royal Navy from where he is dismissed as a result of a mutiny, which leads him back home. There, his troubles with his brothers begin, and Iyob is infuriated by his lack of obedience and also lack of display of admiration for his father, for which he disinherits him, and his brothers attack him and leaves him for dead. But Iyob doesn’t really know his other sons yet, and an enemy called Angoor Rawther (Jayasurya) shall soon come up.

The defence of Iyobinte Pusthakam :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is brilliant, and amazing beyond words in its visual splendour – it is something that we might have never seen before in Indian cinema, and one can get a peek at the same by just looking at the trailer – the complete stuff is a lot bigger and highly extravagant in its visuals. What you see in the posters are made a lot better in this movie, and not the other way around. The movie’s use of history and the variety in settings are also something to cheer about. We rarely have such good period thrillers in Malayalam, and even in Bollywood. The only things related to history that we have these days are related to killing white people – are we so much out of ideas that we have to talk about one thing again and again? No, not all, says Amal Neerad who has come up with his magnum opus here, which tells the story of the people of the land during the British rule and after, combining history and fiction. You can appreciate this one as long as you have the ability for the same.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might still be slow for a few, but I will say that there is absolutely no drag, and it is achieved by the beauty of the visuals – it is no bloody useless drag like Annayum Rasoolum, I can assure you that; this is more of a Left Right Left of this year. As you enter the world of unparalleled visual beauty, what you want might not be the story. The plot might look ordinary, but it is never about the story. Do watch and get taken into this amazing world, and the first movie from Amal Neerad that I liked – and this is one big like for him! Yes, I have never liked Big B, Sagar Alias Jacky, Anwar and Bachelor’s Party, and you fan-boys and girls can dislike me for the same. Interstellar was just a story that could never happen, but this one is a story of humanity in real, and it is up-to you to choose the one that you wish for this weekend, as both are for entirely different set of minds! Our Malayalam critics will never rate a movie from Kerala high, so just the “very good” rating for this movie would mean “out of this world”.

Performances of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is nothing less than brilliant here, as he has another feather in the cap here. It is amazing how he has managed to thrive under almost every circumstance that has been put before him. How good can he be? We can never know the limits of his abilities as it seems. Lal is also nothing less than the powerful and later the helpless figure that he is supposed to be – there is nobody other who can be this character. Chemban Vinod Jose and Jinu Joseph are also good and the former is extremely efficient at times Isha Sharvani is extremely beautiful and suited for the role with her looks alone, otherwise she has much less to do; but that has still worked well for the character. Jayasurya is one impressive villain too, as he becomes the smiling assassin here. Padmapriya as Rahel also scores, coming out nowhere. Vinayakn is also nice. The characterization is so powerful and they nicely blend into the strength of visual beauty and that nice background score. I shall leave with some more thoughts below.

Soul exploration 1 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as King Lear :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is a lot like King Lear or a loose adaptation from the same – it is as much of Shakespeare as Haider is Hamlet, and it has nicely used the setting to support the same. Iyob is King Lear who divides his kingdom among two sons, disinheriting the third, and in the end, it turns out that he was always the righteous and the loving one who comes out to help the father. Goneril, Regan and Cordelia are all here, and there is the Earl of Kent who is joins with the villains this time as Lazar. Rahel does the job of Edmund here, standing between the two sons and making one kill the other. Meanwhile, going outside the play, Martha becomes the lady love that every movie needs, and Angoor Rawther is just the villain that every story should have. There are also those moments when Iyob seems to be descending into madness, and Oswald is also there, as the man who tries to kill our hero and gets himself killed. Also check for the The Brothers Karamazov kind of characters with the same names.

Soul exploration 2 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Parable of the Prodigal Son :: Iyob himself mentions Aloshy as prodigal son when he returns from the navy, and the church priest mentions that he is to be given a warm welcome if it is so, just like in the Holy Bible. But here, Aloshy is not the prodigal son, but rather the lost son, who returns after gaining wisdom rather than losing money, and this illusion of the gone son being the prodigal son is directly reversed in this movie without any complication. But considering a few other cases, he is indeed unemployed and without money compared to what he has at his own home which was left behind. The money that he extravagantly spent are the years of his life, and the time which he should have spent with his family. The father does accept his son, but once again, the elder brothers don’t. The movie’s use of the dialogues about the parable gives us this idea.

Soul exploration 3 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Biblical story of Job :: The main character of the movie is Iyob or Job even as the hero is Aloshy. Even as our character here doesn’t have the qualities of a righteous man, he is also someone who losses almost everything that he holds dear, and it includes his own children, his property, and up-to an extent, his health. But the answer to his problems is achieved sooner here, in the form of his earlier lost son Aloshy. During his last moments, he holds onto the cross and gives it to his son, something which he already had, but rarely mentions as his baptism was nothing that he or his people wanted. It is his faith in God that is replenished in his final moments, and even as there is no redemption like that of the Biblical Job here, he does manage to die a good person rather than the evil feudal lord that he had been.

*This is the finest movie of the year from India, among all those which I have watched. Don’t miss this one! It is out of the usual league. It also leaves us with thoughts about the oppressed becoming the oppressor when opportunity arises, and also with a message on equality among the masses.

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Amal Neerad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Isha Sharvani, Lal, Jayasurya, Padmapriya, Chemban Vinod Jose, Reenu Mathews, Jinu Joseph, Vinayakan, Lena Abhilash, T. G. Ravi, Sreejith Ravi, Shebin Benson, Saritha Kuku, Nebish Benson, Sal Yusuf, Aashiq Abu (cameo), Amala Paul (cameo)

iyobintepustakam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

5 Sundarikal

5 sundarikal1

5 Sundarikal which can be translated as 5 Beauties, is that romantic anthology film which might have had its existence to thank the 2009 anthology movie Kerala Cafe. There were ten stories in that one and here it is cut to half with five, and only Anwar Rasheed doing a story in both the anthologies. The Vampire Bat would not agree to the title though, as it would be left to him to say which one is the beauty and which one is the beast. The only suitable title would have been 5 Females, and fighting with three other movies which has interested the crowds, even the name of a movie has to add to the total interest generated. Even in my case, this is the first time I get a Malayalam movie with a Malayalam name to review, and the “5” is to be read as Malayalam “anchu” and not “five” as far as I know. Watching stupidity like Raanjhanaa is clearly out of the equation and this movie having five stories instead of one increases the probability of getting at least two good ones; so there is no doubt which Indian movie one is supposed to go this week. There is the power of five compared to the power of six in ASK a.k.a Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, and the obsession with beauties continue, this time with more success, and one beauty judged less is always the truth gained further. Whether it should be “sundarikal” or “sundarimaar” is a question to be asked to satisfy the quest to find grammatical errors, and I would go with the former.

Sethulakshmi: directed by Shyju Khalid :: [59/100] :: No, there isn’t going to be a total score based on the average of these stories, as that should annihilate the purpose of this movie as an anthology as well as this review as a subjective reality. There would be separate worlds for each story and for the movie, there would be another reality of totality, to which this simple story adds on first coming as an adaptation of M. Mukundan’s short story, Photo. The story of two school kids is shown in its own natural innocence until their world-changing event happens. The simplicity turns itself into the tough theme which the story has to deal with, and that is the place and may be where it scores. There is the depth of evil portrayed in a way that will haunt one with innocence. But the question remains if this belongs to this movie, as the presence of a beauty or even pseudo-beauty here itself negates the need for this story in the movie and all the purpose it would have served, and however one tries to look at this, a more deserving platform for this one would have been Kerala Cafe, and might have been the second best story in that movie after Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey. It is kind of misplaced here, and this might have been added here to arouse the curiosity of the viewers as well as to create that new generation element – otherwise this among the other stories is like Roger Federer guarding the goal post for the Spanish national football team.

Isha: directed by Sameer Thahir :: [79/100] :: Along with the former one, this story also has the scope of becoming a one and half to two hours of good cinema. It stars Nivin Pauly as the thief a.k.a the Santa, and Isha Sharvani who makes her debut as the beauty of this segment, and undoubtedly the smartest and the most charming of them all. They start off as two strangers and with many things in common, and the question would be what they end up to be, and that is the surprise, that twist of plot which raises the story from its existence just inches about the average level. Nivin Pauly has remained similar to what we saw in Thattathin Marayathu, as this time he has another Isha, Isha Sharvani instead of Isha Talwar, another lady from the North, and this female lead does a lot more than the other one did. This story and what is to follow are the only two segments which are actually centered on the beauties, and this is the only segment in which the beauty is in control and remains so throughout most of the story. One has to say that this one has the best of the lighter moments too, and the claps which came after this segment are well deserved. The whole story is centered on the two leading characters, and there we see the most beautiful lady and the one romantic hero; they make this work like nobody else could have.

Gouri: directed by Aashiq Abu :: [10/100] :: This is the weak link in the whole movie, and without this, the movie could have been declared the best anthology in Malayalam movie industry ever. This is Aashiq Abu’s worst so far, and from what we have seen of him already, it might remain his worst. Biju Menon is there as the husband with nothing to do that really matters to the story. Tini Tom and Rimi Tomy makes an unnecessary visit, as Kavya Madhavan who plays the wife expresses her need to have a kid. Kavya is there as if she is to be that strange character who is more unsure about herself and the world around her than Popeye without his spinach. Jayasurya also makes a small appearance thus making this one the most powerful segment in terms of celebrity power, but in performance, it is a dynamite of the next generation which failed to blow. This is a painfuel half an hour of torture, which could have been avoided or may be replaced. It is surprising that it came from the same director who gave us Da Thadiya in the same year. This might even make Estragon and Vladimir say that there is something to be done – sorry, Samuel Beckett. Kammath and Kammath and Lokpaal were not that bad now, as you go through this one. This story in the middle shows us the middle finger, but fortunately it was preceded and followed by brilliant segments.

Kullante Bharya: directed by Amal Neerad :: [84/100] :: This is the moment which strikes you hard. Amal Neerad has come up with a story which is narrated by Dulquer Salmaan who sees everything from the top floor of a group of apartments. The awesome presentation and the story’s ability to relate with the contemporary society of Kerala, and may be even India as a whole, has helped this one to get the most claps in the theatre, and remain the highlight of this five star experiment. Dulquer Salmaan has eased through this segment, and even as a person moving on wheelchair, there is so much of impact with every word he says. Reenu Mathews leaves an imprint without even a word said. The newcomer Jinu Ben brings tears to the audience with no direct revelation. The story also works as a satire on the self-proclaimed righteous, highly moral society which considers itself as the role-model, and has a lot of prejudice against the people whom they are not familiar with, and those who think or act different. If there has been so much interest in this story which has only one actor who has performed in a leading role in more than one movie, it shows how much impact this one has created, and how much it could relate with its audience.

Aami: by Anwar Rasheed :: [61/100] :: This might be the most awaited story of the movie, with a businessman, Ajmal (Fahadh Faasil), who travels from Malappuram to Kochi and vice versa. His too much affectionate wife who is known only by her nickname (Asmitha Sood) keeps asking tricky questions to him and leaves him puzzles to solve – a strange abnormal habit, to which anybody would agree. The night journey then transforms into something that changes his life. The presence of Honey Rose and Vinayakan just adds to powerful cast of this segment which is already the talking point due to Fahadh Faasil’s presence and his new looks. It is him who excells in this story, and everything else is a little let down. With meaningless puzzles and strange happenings, this is not something which the viewers can relate with, but thanks to the leading actor and some interesting dialogues, this one lets the movie with its head held high, not annihilating the world which was created by the second and the fourth segments. As Fahadh Faasil fights extreme anger, greed for money, violence and his own old relationships and gets back to his beloved, the whole thing ends happily. This is surely better than the highly predictable Bridge segment in Kerala Cafe by the same director.

The movie is that roller coaster ride of Final Destination 3, in which death tries to pull the movie down, as some of the stories lose charm, and suddenly a story comes up which changes the things around. It is the advantage of having five different stories directed by five different people, and this is well done, and it would live on as long as this theme doesn’t come up with a overdose, either with the stories or with the concept of pseudo-beauty. To be frank, there is nothing in this which binds this collection together, as same was the case with Kerala Cafe, and it doesn’t give that much of anything that Cloud Atlas gave its viewers. This movie uses the concept of enchanting viewers with its title and the trailer, and tries to undo the failure of Poppins which had its own wrecked set of anthologies in which only the story of Kunchako Boban and Nithya Menon made any impact, with Indrajith-Padmapriya and Jayasurya-Meghna stories staying there not without troubles. Still, the question remains, who is the beauty? If they were all eligible for the same title, won’t they be good enough for that word which comes as just the opposite? Why would we be forced to believe with that willing suspension of disbelief that they are all beautiful? Will Isha Sharvani and Kavya Madhavan look like beauties to two people who have different concepts of beauty? Even myself is clearly sceptical about the latter; but leave that for the intellectuals, and concentrate on the medium for now.

Release date: 20th June 2013
Running time: 145 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Sameer Thahir, Shyju Khaled, Aashiq Abu
Starring: Isha Sharvani, Asmitha Sood, Reenu Mathews, Honey Rose, Kavya Madhavan, Baby Anika, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Master Chethan, Tini Tom, Rimi Tomy, Jinu Ben, Vinayakan

5sundarikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

David

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The Vampire Bat was re-introduced into this world, but he is struggling to be a movie-watcher with so many horrible movies around. David was a relief, and therefore he shall write about it, but considering the fact that only seven of the fourteen movies he watched in the last thirty days managed to be satisfactory, he surely wishes to sleep for a century and wait for that day when no movies are made. There should be discount for tickets for the Vampire Bat, for he saves so many movies of the world from being left unwatched. He is doing a great service, for which even free tickets might be not enough. May be free tea with tickets would do. The Vampire Bat shall look towards the firmament for now and wait for that moment when it starts raining movie tickets.

Why wouldn’t the Vampire Bat be disapponted. He had to watch Race 2 – old wine in an old bottle, while Kammath and Kammath and Lokpal were old wine in older leaking bottle. Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla was more like fish out of water gasping for air. While Da Thadiya had fish evolved with legs and thus made good contact with the people of the land, this little fish could make not keep people of the land or a flying Vampire Bat interested. Midnight’s Children had already lost its battle in a comparison to the novel. The Vampire Bat has been digging his own grave so that he could be buried in there forever, until something called David came to his attention. Then he went to watch it in Hindi and ended up watching it in Tamil. But it is not something he complained about, as he enjoyed the movie and considered it the best Indian movie he watched so far this year even as there is a long way to go.

What do we know about David in movies? There was the 1988 Malayalam movie David David Mr. David starring Balachandra Menon and Sumalata. But that would be totally unrelated to this one. Then there was King David of Bible, the ruler of Israel. The righteous king even with all his flaws, the warrior poet was mostly responsible for the Book of Psalms. But that was never the beginning, as the story of David and Goliath might be of more popularity. How it would relate to the upcoming Malayalam movie of the same name will be another story. Back to the original story, there stood Goliath, the strongest and the tallest of all, and there was young David with his sling and stones. Then fell the strongest; and the weak became strong. This has been repeated in the history with the rise and fall of huge empires all around the world.

The Hindi version has three Davids, but here there are only two to deal with. The first one belongs to 1999 Mumbai. He is a musician just like the Biblical figure. But his peaceful life is disrupted when his father, a priest is attacked by an anti-Christian group as part of communal politics. The second one belongs to 2010 Goa, a fisherman leading a happy life. He falls in love with a deaf and dumb girl who is soon to be married to his good friend. Both of them have to make decisions which will change their lives forever – one of them seeking revenge while the second one seeking love. But both of them would be committing their own acts of evil which they might repent for the rest of their lives. The battle is between the conscience and desire – between goodness and the basic desires. The world around plays a major part in dragging them to both sides. But eventually what triumphs forms the central point of the story.

Both Davids have to face their own inner demons which take the form of Goliaths – one of revenge and the other of lust (the one-sided infatuation based on looks could never be termed as love, but as sin – for King David himself had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and later married her). The same David had killed her husband, a murder which one of our Davids would have also committed. Even as the external opponents, the minions who are responsible for this situation of revenge to be created – they look stronger in the case of the musician, but the internal demon would work better in the case of other. The ultimate result of the battle against the two demons occur only in the end, even as the scene is shown to be set right at the beginning of the movie. It is the battle of the two Davids against two Goliaths, both internally and externally. This is a battle which is fought both physically and mentally, but is finally won in the mind.

Vikram has once again proved that he is such a versatile actor. Even as he is shown mostly as an alcoholiac, his character is never boring or withour passion. Jiiva has come up with a strong performance too. There are moments of pure awesomeness in the movie. The rest of the cast has successfully supported these two, on whom the stories are based on. It might not still be found an entertainer but I never found it boring at any moment. The transition between the stories are quite well done, and as both of them keeps the interest-level high, there is not much of a confusion in the change. Last year, we had Cloud Atlas which had too many stories to deal with. After that experience, one couldn’t be blamed of being confused and left in a slough of strange thoughts. This one has just two – both of them simple and never leaving the audience in an abyss. This is an inner journey of twins of the situation who never meet.

There are the messages of morality, making it nothing less than a morality play indirectly transformed to suit the modern world. There is good and there is evil – but as said in Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire: “Evil is always possible, and goodness is eternally difficult”. In the same book, Vampire Lestat had also added that “Evil is a point of view”. As the movie agrees with the first, I wouldn’t say the same with the second. If there was something like a point of view involved in it, the first choices would have been to succumb to revenge and lust. The first one would have been righteous payback and the second one irresistible eternal love. Some of the jokes are too foolish to suit the philosophy of the movie, but the rest add to the lighter side and throughout the movie, there is this eternal battle and the question “to be or not to be”. But our musician is no Hamlet and the man you saw at the beach is no selfish lover. There is a warning though – if you are allergic to moral advice and preachy tone can give you head ache, this movie might create no waves in your head filled with that “point of view”.

Release date: 1st February 2013
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar
Starring: Vikram, Jiiva, Isha Sharvani, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Sheetal Menon, Nishan, Nassar, John Vijay, Shweta Pandit

david copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.