Ranam

What is the movie about? :: Aadhi (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is part of the drug trade in Detroit, Michigan even though he doesn’t want any part of it. Being part of what he calls a dying city has him caught between his need for money and existence as well as the desire to get out of this dangerous game which will lead to his end. He is very much attached to his only one relative in the United States who cares for him, Bhaskaran (Nandhu) and his family which includes Aju (Mathew Arun), who is striving to be like Aadhi, a strong figure who deals with cars and secret activiies. Aju is madly in love with his classmate Deepika (Celine Joseph) who doesn’t care for him, and spends her time with parties, drugs and alcohol, not caring for what can be the result of her actions. There are no strings attached to her as she keeps flying further away beyond hope.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Seema (Isha Talwar), Deepika’s mother has been trying to raise her daughter well, and has been failing miserably in the same – her daughter doesn’t care for her, and her husband Rajan (Shivajith Padmanabhan) who wanted her to abort their child doesn’t care about her or Deepika as he goes on with his business empire and having relationships with other women. Rajan considers Seema to be someone who is there for his money and influence. Along with Aadhi who has a terrible past with his father murdering his mother, Damodar (Rahman) is another man who has lost his Tamil Sri Lankan identity back at his home country, during the Sri Lankan civil war and is hoping for a greater identity in Detroit’s underworld. Rajan and Prabhakaran has been on Damodar’s side for long.

And what else is to come up in this tale? :: Meanwhile, Detective Ahmed Siddique (Giju John) is appointed to take care of the problem of the underworld concerning Damodar and his right-hand man Selvan (Ashwin Kumar) their own gang, a Polish gang that goes against them, and their mediator Chandran (Shyamaprasad). His special skill is that he is good in both Malayalam and Tamil, a quality that is not commong with many police officers of the city. There is case of a new party drug called Redex and both gangs are trying to become the gang to control its collection and sale. Aadhi and Bhaskaran who are trying to move away from the gang will not find that too easy, as Damodar needs them both with him to become the crime lord of the city, the undisputed king to whom Detroit should bow down. But is that as easy as he thinks? Can he find a way to bring Aadhi back to his gang and evade Ahmed? Will Aadhi find peace and is there hope for Seema?

The defence of Ranam :: Just like the less appreciated Prithviraj thriller Ivide, this one also has the elements of an emotional thriller even though the whole thing seems to be a crime drama from outside. The visuals are really great, and there is also a history of the city as well as the same from the characters’ past. The idea of the missed American Dream is always there, as the characters see their dreams vanish, and we feel the ghosts of their lost dreams in the air itself. The music is really good here, and the theme song is one of the best that you can ever have – watching and listening to the same in the theatre is something glorious. There is no pretension in showing the dark world with the diasporas and collisions happening between ideologies, gangs as well as with the misguided innocence of youth battling against the depression that comes from terrible experiences.

The claws of flaw :: There are many characters in the movie that could have been dealt with in a better way. We have a few who could have done more with better screen presence. The common audience of Kerala will also have problems with following a movie is only Malayalam by about fifty percent – the rest of the dialogues are in English and Tamil. We have the clear lack of subtitles here, and I have missed out on some of the Tamil dialogues myself. There are moments when the movie seems to be confused about where it needs to be going. It is when the movie seems to have a certain drag in between. With everything so well set with all the history and background being dealt with, one just can’t be blamed for expecting more, with the wonderful theme music in the background. It could have matched the strong feeling given by the music with its content further. Prithviraj’s London Bridge set in the United Kingdom could do it better

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran once again shows the emotions of someone without roots in the best possible way, following what he did so well in Ivide, which was one less appreciated movie. In Koode, we saw how well he handled the depressing side of emotions, as he kept raising the bar higher to get closer to our soul. The curious case of “still the Thattathin Marayathu” fame Isha Talwar keeps us wondering – she seems to be miscast in most parts of the movie, but after a big loss to her character, she brings us some moments to remember. Giju John as the detective is a strong presence in this movie. Celine Joseph’s Deepika nicely becomes a representation of a new age and a new generation. Her reflection of the character has us impressed. At the same time, Rahman brings a fiery side to the new probable leader of Detroit underworld.

How it finishes :: You can see that Ranam follows the path of Ivide with its setting and how things progress with its characters. But Ranam can’t be considered to be as good as Ivide, because that one had emotions going so strong with all its characters; Ranam‘s focus is rather limited with its characters and their flashbacks. But there is a better focus on the Hollywood style of movie-making, and with style and class being present there to be seen, and that too without holding back at any moment. There is quality in what is presented on the screen, and when we look deeper, there is even more than what is shown on the movie, as the emotions go further and with better strength. Ranam becomes something more than what meets the eye on more than one occasion, and it takes a better pair of eyes to witness the same. Watch the title song from the movie below:

Release date: 6th September 2018
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Nirmal Sahadev
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Rahman, Isha Talwar, Celine Joseph, Giju John, Mathew Arun, Ashwin Kumar, Shyamaprasad, Shivajith Padmanabhan, Justin David, Sajini Sacharaiah, Santhosh Keezhattoor, David Alessi, Christian Brunetti, Christopher Brophy

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Two Countries

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Vampire Owl :: So, which are these two countries? Are they from the time of the World Wars, the Hundred Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War or the Cold War?

Vampire Bat :: The two countries are India and Canada. But this movie has a more funny side to the title. It says “the story of two country fellas”.

Vampire Owl :: So, it redirects towards the characters and their special qualities. There are two ways of saying it then, I see.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and do not think on the lines of 2 States.

Vampire Owl :: Well, Dileep has returned to the kind of roles which work for the real family audience, and so, this should be an interesting watch.

Vampire Bat :: I hope for something on the lines of Marykkundoru Kunjaadu, Thommanum Makkalum, Kalyanaraman, and Pulival Kalyanam which were from the same director.

Vampire Owl :: And Dileep and Mamta Mohandas unites for a movie once again years after My Boss.

Vampire Bat :: And it will be some Christmas fun.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we couldn’t go for a movie yesterday and we will try to make sure that the celebrations get better with this one.

Vampire Bat :: It is all that we will do on this day!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ullas (Dileep) is one of the jobless people who wander around his hometown doing some business or indulging in some other activity. His best friend is Avinash (Aju Varghese) who is part of most his adventures and ends up in trouble because of Ullas. Most of the things which they work on, never really bring anything positive; it is not just about business. As they take huge loans from a man at Fort Cochin (Makarand Deshpande), Ullas decides to marry his daughter Simran (Isha Talwar) who is on a wheel chair; he finds this an easy path to getting rich. For the same, he sends his elder brother Ujvalan (Jagadish) to speak for his marriage against the wishes of his parents. But things change as another marriage proposal arrives on the scene.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: The situation changes with the arrival of the proposal of Laya (Mamta Mohandas) to whom Ullas speaks on phone pretending to be someone else. But as she as well as her parents become very much interested in the man on the other side of the phone and the stories which he tells them, she decides to come to Kerala. It turns out that they knew each other from childhood, and Ullas uses this opportunity to pretend that he has always loved her from the time they were kids so that he can fly to Canada as her husband. So, he chooses Laya over Simran, but after marriage, he understands that things are not like he had thought, and his new wife has a lot of problems, with her family being just one of them.

The defence of Two Countries :: There is no shortage of fun in Two Countries, as it is evident from the scene of introduction itself. The comedy shifts to Canada from India, and it only gets better; the story also reaches a better level then. The strength of the movie remains the humour, as most of us expected. There are also some emotional moments which work pretty well. The cast itself becomes a bonus to this movie as the list which begins with Dileep. The best scenes happen at the party, court and friends’ home. It is a nice flick to watch with family, and the youth will also love the fun provided. The visuals of Canada are good too, even though more could have been utilized. It was clear that people in the theatre enjoyed the comedy and the claps were there. This is also a lot better entertainer than the overrated comedy of the year, Amar Akbar Anthony.

Claws of flaw :: The music never really gets to be that good, and the climax seems to be rushed to an end which comes to a solution which the audience wanted rather than finishing it in the right way. A lot of fun is also directed towards the mindless side, even though it is kept enjoyable. There is not that much of a new story here with predictability running high. Some parts of the movie are also half-baked, and one will wonder if the movie used the whole of its premise to its advantage; for this isn’t that much complete as My Boss with its fun. A lot more of comedy would have been here, and the beginning situation is more like what was there in too many movies. With the names Rafi and Shafi involved with this movie, people would have expected even more; this is surely not as good as Marykkundoru Kunjaadu – but it delivers; no doubt about that.

Performers of the soul :: Dileep is once again at his full form here, as he follows the good run after Chandrettan Evideya, Love 24×7 and Life of Josutty. This is also the complete comedy movie which has full fun without overdoing the comic side, a quality which hasn’t been seen since his My Boss in 2012. This is the kind of role which he can go through with ease, and it is once again proven. His support at home is Aju Varghese and the same is provided by Suraj Venjaramoodu in Canada while Mukesh replaces Jagadish in the second half as the brotherly figure away from home; Aju and Suraj are the big comic support here. We missed Mamta Mohandas for too long with her last big role being in Celluloid. She does her character amazingly well; there are not many actresses who can do this type of comedy so well. Isha Talwar has a small role, and Srinda Ashab just supports in bringing the fun.

How it finishes :: With the support going on to Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Asokan and Vinaya Prasad, this one brings Canada into the picture, a change from Life of Josutty which had the heroine based in New Zealand and My Boss which had the heroine as an Australian citizen; it is a welcome variation as there is no journey to United States and United Kingdom here either, which would have been the usual choices. Among the Christmas movies, Two Countries is sure to have a nice status, as it should appeal to different kinds of audience. As it seems, Christmas seems to be a blast with Jo and the Boy, Adi Kapyare Koottamani and Charlie also getting good opinions. Two Countries is surely going to entertain you, and the reviews about this have also been positive! The time period between Christmas and New Year will shine for the Keralite audience; no doubt.

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Isha Talwar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Srinda Ashab, Jagadish, Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Makarand Deshpande, Asokan, Vinaya Prasad, Riyaz Khan, Ajmal Ameer, Rafi, Hareesh, Carrie Marston, Megan Weckwerth, Eldon Hunter

twocountries

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bangalore Days

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Vampire Owl :: So we won’t watch Bangalore Days, right?

Vampire Bat :: We will watch it. There will be force from Nivin Pauly fans, Dulquer Salmaan fans, Nazriya fans and Fahad Faasil fans and even Anjali Menon fans who will force us to go for the movie no matter what is shown in the movie.

Vampire Owl :: You mean there is no escape. Won’t the monsoon calm them down?

Vampire Bat :: No, they constitute ninety five percent of the Keralite young population. Unless we hide ourselves in a bunker, there is no escape from the fan bombs.

Vampire Owl :: Let’s not listen to them who rate the movie high just because of the people involved, and hiding that fact, just say that movie is awesome.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s watch this soon enough but not falling to those extremely high fan ratings.

Vampire Owl :: So, can we order an extra plate of fried rice with more gravy?

Vampire Bat :: I guess I will need two cups of tea too.

Vampire Owl :: Why two? One for Count Dracula?

Vampire Bat :: One before finishing the food and the other after the grand finish.

[The food happens again].

What is it about? :: There are three cousins, Krishnan (Nivin Pauly), Arjun (Dulquer Salmaan) and Divya (Nazriya Nazim) who have been great friends since childhood and shared almost everything with each other. Divya is married to the busy executive Das (Fahadh Faasil) and that lands her in Bangalore. Krishnan who gets a new job in the IT sector also gets posted in Bangalore, and that comes as no surprise. Arjun, who has the habit of leaving his home and keeping his relatives worried, also comes to the same city and does a little mechanic job bringing the three cousins together again. Arjun falls in love with a physically disabled Radio Jokey, Sarah (Parvathy). Krishnan meets an airhostess who is half-Malayali, Meenakshi (Isha Talwar) and is instantly attracted to her even as the lady of his dreams is simple and having a Malayali character. Meanwhile, the relationship between Divya and Das becomes strained due to multiple reasons, and Krishnan’s mother comes to Bangalore after his father goes on a spiritual trip. Sarah has to go to Australia while her mother despises Arjun for his background and lifestyle, and Meenakshi is not serious in the relationship with Krishnan, making things further complicated.

The defence of Bangalore Days :: This one is a joy to watch in the beginning stages. There are three cousins, with lot of love for each other and enjoying life. There are many funny moments in the movie, mostly including Nivin Pauly, as he falls for the one true love he meets who is surely not a lady of his dreams. The jokes work throughout the movie, even as the second half takes them down. There is a lot of intelligence in bringing fun in the first half, and they have smartly used the Thattathin Marayathu stuff in this one which is a nice addition. The cast is as close to perfection as it can be, especially with three male leads, Nivin Pauly, Fahadh Faasil, and Dulquer Salmaan. Among the female leads, Parvathi shines the most, and this is a different avatar for her considering the roles we usually see her in. There might still be no better happiness than seeing all these stars together, seven in total, three male and four female, and all of them young and bringing their energy all the way to the screen. This leaves a lot of the young generation fans, and the fanboys as well as fangirls will love this stuff. This is the movie that they can celebrate by bunking classes and wasting time.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has no interesting story to tell the viewers. It has just three people who are the centre of attraction, seemingly made even before the plot ever existed, and into their lives, the whole story is packed and sent. The twist that they bring for Fahadh’s character was possibly the worst thing they could do to the story as an ineffective turn-around. The bike racing stuff was quite unnecessary, as Dulquer was cool without it. But here, he will jump bike just because they can make him. He was nicely turning into a likable character from one of the worst young man in this story. May be because even non-racing fans liked Rush and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikhander had such an awesome climax, they should have thought this was the way to go. The scene after the final marriage is equally worse, and Nivin Pauly character’s “happily ever after” is ended in such a poor manner. There is a lot of drag in this movie which was supposed to be a lot of fun. The major point of this flick was to be entertainment, but this movie forgets that in the second half, making this more of a soap opera, and tries hard to make audience cry, but without substance. The ending leaves us needing more and emptiness in this movie is mostly filled by unnecessary songs. Well, this is a fire-breathing dragon which decided to breath cliches for a change, and each character seems to contribute to it when they go through the story.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim has been the hit pair, but here the latter is paired with her real life future husband, Fahadh Faasil, and Nivin repeats the hit pair of his first big lead movie Thattathin Marayathu with Isha Talwar. Nazriya is fine, but still not that awesome as we saw in Om Shanti Oshaana. Meanwhile, Fahadh Faasil is brilliant in a role which makes him only the fourth significant person in the movie, but an admired one for sure. He remains strong, and it is something we expect from him no matter what happens around him. Nivin Pauly is awesome, and is the best of them all, especially in the funny scenes. He should have had a little more presence in the whole thing rather than being restricted. Dulquer Salmaan hasn’t impressed me since Ustadh Hostel, and everything that came after that had me uninterested, and felt that he was choosing the wrong movies for whatever reason. But he certainly scores in this one, even as his character deserves a lot of hatred for the first half – he comes up with a memorable performance especially in the second half. Nithya Menon and Parvathi haven’t been around for some time, and it was good to see them. While Nithya has only a small role, Parvathi is very nice as the love interest of Dulquer’s character.

Soul exploration :: Everyone loves the city of Bangalore, and it is one of the cities of the South which I visited at an early age, and also that city which has most of my relatives and friends. I might just go there and find at least one person I know every day just by walking around, almost all of them engineers. Well, none of my friends who are staying there or have worked there has rated this movie high, and that is a negative for this one. I have actually found that most of the people whose opinions I care about have given this movie around average rating. But does this movie has more of a soul? Yes, it has the cousin friendship love stuff mixed and boiled in a bowl full of water, but how good is it? They are all there, but not presented in such a way that we can feel or connect. Even the most touching moments are rather dull because not enough care has been put in how the story progresses. It might be meant to make the viewers feel good, but that should require staying with the audience, but this one moves on and on, and in the presence degrading itself from being an awesome movie. Sooner or later, the question will be more about us deserving better than just expecting better.

How it finishes :: Bangalore Days has been one of the most anticipated movies by the fans of different actors. There are Nazriya Nazim fans who know that their favourite actress is going to get married and coming back to acting is not a sure thing. There are Nivin Pauly fans who have been standing tall since his two huge hits in the form of Om Shanti Oshaana, and those Dulquer Salmaan fans who are hoping for at least one good movie from him for a very long time. Then there the more intellectual ones, the fans of Fahadh Faasil who will be a calm force here. People also want to watch Nithya Menon and Isha Talwar so much, and Parvathy is also a bonus. Then there are people who keep praising Anjali Menon – all these people are going to force so many Keralites into the theatre that more records are going to be broken – there have been quite a few already. The movie is showing what the advantage of having young and good-looking actors, actresses and director is. There are too many fans who just look for that, and the days are bright for Bangalore Days, no matter how much the monsoon stays strong with the hope for thunderstorms with Koothara.

Release date: 30th May 2014
Running time: 172 minutes
Directed by: Anjali Menon
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Parvathy Kottuvata, Isha Talwar, Fahadh Faasil, Nithya Menon, Dulquer Salmaan, Prathap Pothen, Vijayaraghavan, Maniyanpilla Raju, Kalpana, Praveena, Vinaya Prasad, Rekha

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thattathin Marayathu

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The case of love :: The stories of love has been exaggerated for centuries, and we are not strangers to how William Shakespeare described a lot of things in his Sonnets. The better qualities which are needed for this world including brotherly and sisterly love or the love for the down-trodden or the subaltern would always have to make way for a kind of love which is based on the outside beauty and powerfully fixed on infatuation and lust. Then they can ask “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” but does all the immortalizing of such love make any sense? How someone can fall in love for another just by looking at his or her is one of the weirdest things in the world. That is undoubtedly a case of infatuation and lust, however one tries to support the theory of love at first sight. But it is such a story that we are going to talk about, and it is the same thing that this movie is about, and as this turned out to be a good movie even without the “truth of love” in it, this case of love is to be left to the audience who made this one a hit, and as a film, it deserved it.

Love in the South :: Malayalam movies have had that incredible strength to come up with successful love stories which stay on our minds for long. One of the earliest movies of that kind after the early age of the legendary Chemmeen should be Nakhashathangal, but the trend came back stronger than ever with two movies Aniyathipraavu and Niram, both starring Kunchako Boban and Shalini who established themselves as the perfect star pair for love stories. The specialty of these two movies was that there was so much goodness in them, and on both occasions, the pair chooses not to disobey their parents, and such sacrifice should be at the base of love, and not carnal desire. But about the pathetic nonsense which came as pseudo-love stories, like Annayum Rasoolum, one shouldn’t bother – it was a pathetic case of looking at each other in an extended version of love at first sight moments, and that movie will do more bad than good for the romantic movies which are to follow including Oru Indian Pranayakadha. Meanwhile, Dr. Love was a superior story of love with sacrifice involved in it, just like Dhosth.

What is it about? :: This movie written and directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan as his second venture as the captain of the ship, has the story of a ordinary Hindu Nair boy falling in love with a rich Muslim girl. Vinod Nair (Nivin Pauly) has fallen for Aisha Rahman (Isha Talwar) with an incredible moment of falling in love as he hits her while running and she falls down the stairs to land in a hospital. Supported Abdu (Aju Varghese), Hamsa (Bhagath Manuel) and Mustafa (Ahmed Siddhique), he goes on a mission to win her love despite the problems caused due to religion and social status, and that fact that he belongs to the party which is fighting against her family’s business. After doing some strange and stupid things, he finally gets a chance to talk to the girl, and soon he tells her about his love to get a positive response. His supporters grow, as S.I. Prem Kumar (Manoj K. Jayan) helps further in his cause as he leaves his house. So, will this love story succeed, or does it have to become another Romeo and Juliet? Almost everyone in Kerala knows the answer.

The defence of Thattathin Marayathu :: The movie has everything which is needed for a perfect love story of exaggerated character. It is also the best love story in Malayalam since Niram, with all the possible additions of the age, including the witty dialogues, “when she replied, I felt like Sreesanth who got the wicket of Andrew Symonds” or “why should boys of Kerala need six-pack?”, and another one “you can think before making decision about my love and tell me that you do love me”. Despite the popular thoughts about this being a powerful love story, I would say that this movie is never serious – it is incredibly light and always on the humorous side; even when it tries to get serious, there is that feeling of “all’s well that ends well”, and as there is no real dark shade to the movie, this is a perfect love story which is nothing less than a fairy tale, and if we think that way, the movie is the perfection of exaggerated love, rightly presented on screen, and therefore flawless in its core.

Claws of flaw :: Despite having the best songs of the year and the great cinematography and direction, the movie is nowhere near perfection in a natural world. It clearly lacks logic and fails to make sense on multiple occasions, a flaw which can be forgiven just because of the reason for its existence. It follows the old style tradition of a boy from one religion marrying a girl of another faith, and to add to it, here one is poor and the other is rich, another stereotype explored. The boy feels the usual love at first sight for the girl and starts dreaming about her as if his life depended on her. He forgets his duties and even his parents and becomes the stupid guy, while the girl remains just the opposite, not breaking traditions or disrespecting her parents or relatives. The exchange letters through a messenger, sings songs in dreamy sequences, and hopes for being together. In that case, the movie has nothing new or innovative in its base. it is not intense, and it has no real villain except for one man who just objects to the marriage.

Thattathin Marayathu and love :: The world of the movie is strange, as the hero sells helmets after making police catch people for not wearing a helmet, and with the cash he earns, he begins a pardah shop – and that is an act of love. This movie’s definition of love is being infatuated by a random girl at a random place just because she is good-looking. Is this love or some strange feeling which has been created a girl in veil, and without that what would be she to him? Well, who cares about what should have got all the attention, as she might have been a horrible creature in soul, but the only thing that matters in this love is that she is beautiful and has a fair complexion. Thattathin Marayathu is never a story of true love, and most of the people might agree, but it is unrealistic love of exaggerated love, presented in a beautiful manner. Well, the real life can never be this simple as a whole, and it is also not this complicated in many other things that they show. Well, as long as the new bottle where you put the old wine is pretty good, how can one complain? The leaks are there, but there are provisions to make sure that the wine don’t get lost on the ground.

How it finishes :: In this visually awesome movie, another thing that catches our attention is the performance of Aju Varghese as he has done a perfect comic supporting stand there. Manoj K. Jayan and Bhagath Manuel are also nice support. Nivin Pauly comes up with a side which wasn’t there to be expected from him, and establishes himself as the romantic hero of this age. But as far as Isha Talwar is concerned, her character is a real disappointment, not talking much or doing much even as she has the most righteous character in the whole movie. The result is that he has created more of a statue image, which affected her in the movie I Love Me. She will always be remembered as a beautiful sculpture rather than a character, and the fact that she was perfect for the role doesn’t come as a positive. The movie has successfully presented its world with the support of most of its cast, and as the image it shows is of innocence and goodness even as it is covered is stupid love of exaggerated nature. It is a magnet, and it will attract viewers even after being shown on television multiple times unlike dark creatures of pathetic romance like Annayum Rasoolum.

Release date: 6th July 2012
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Isha Talwar, Aju Varghese, Bhagath Manuel, Aparna Nair, Manoj K. Jayan, Sreenivasan, Sunny Wayne, Niveda Thomas, Ahmed Sidhique, Manikuttan, Sreeram Ramachandran

thattathinmarayathu copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.