Paappan

Vampire Owl: So, we are going to see Suresh Gopi’s true return.

Vampire Bat: Well, this is indeed the return which we have been waiting for.

Vampire Owl: So, the earlier return won’t count at all?

Vampire Bat: Some returns are more important than others.

Vampire Owl: In some cases, there are too many returns which make it insignificant.

Vampire Bat: Well, this should be the one grand return.

Vampire Owl: We are no strangers to grand returns.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula’s returns would not count.

Vampire Owl: A vampire return is of fine significance too.

Vampire Bat: Not for a vampire that comes alive many times.

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

What is the movie about? :: A dead body is discovered in a forest by some youngsters, and it is rumoured to be that of super star Ravi Varman (Rahul Madhav), but turns out to be that of his driver Rajan (Sreejith Ravi) who was the initial suspect for this particular murder. ASI Raghavan (Nandhu), SI Sabu (Abhishek Raveendran) and SI Soman (Tini Tom) are the first two police officers on the scene, and the case is transferred to be handled by ASP Vincy Abraham IPS (Neeta Pillai) under the order of SP Bhaskar Shenoy IPS (Vijayaraghavan). The murder seems to have been committed with much brutality. The evidences including the mode of operation and use of weapon seem to point to a former serial killer Iruttan Chacko (Shammi Thilakan) who is known to choose lone male victims at night randomly. CI Abraham Mathew Mathan (Suresh Gopi) who is affectionately called Pappan is asked to assist in the case as he was the one who caught Chacko earlier after a series of incidents which led to the death of his wife, Nancy (Nyla Usha).

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: These incidents which followed her mother’s death made Vincy move away from Abraham, who had taken Michael (Gokul Suresh) and his mother Sussan (Kaniha) under his wing, which complicated things further. Abraham is sure that it is not Chacko who committed these murders, but someone who might be inspired by it. Vincy is married to a thatre artist named Sidharth (Chandunath), and the news that she is pregnant makes things only a little better between them. A retired forensic expert Dr Pattabhiraman (Janardhanan) provides further evidence to Abraham related to Chacko’s case. Things get further complicated when another forensic surgeon Dr Sherly Somasundaram (Asha Sharath) seems to be attacked, and that is completely beyond the facts which the police had figured out. Sidharth is worried about Vincy taking too much of worries when pregnant. Can Abraham, Vincy or anyone find the truth behind these murders? Who would copy Chacko and become a similar murderer just because there is some grudge which has stayed for long?

The defence of Paappan :: The quality which has been associated with the movie needs to be appreciated. It is also a feature of the main characters of the film who maintains a higher level. The movie maintains the thrills and the suspense is present till the end. There is the presence of some fine red herrings around here, and the viewers are kept guessing without exaggerating the elements of strength. The procedure of investigation is portrayed well along with a certain emotional side associated here and there. Some spirit of a few older movies is maintained here. The film is also quick to get going as the murder happens rather too early, and the flashbacks just fit into the forward movement. The visuals are really good, and the area as well as the moments of terror are well-captured. There are no exaggerated dialogues or action being overdone. There is also the importance of maintaining balance between one’s family and duty being asserted, and the reminder that past could always manage to return to haunt all humans. There is the journey away from stereotypes during multiple occasions.

Positives and negatives :: The inability of Paappan to keep the last few minutes effective is rather disappointing, and the revelation of the secondary villain also lacks the same effectiveness in a movie which was going in a classic mode until then. There is the feeling that there are not enough actors to play some of the important roles even with so many big names out there. The fight scenes in the end seem to keep repeating as if in a loop, and we are made to keep wondering if it would ever end – the length of the movie is felt to be long in the last few moments than the longer periods of time when investigation goes on. For a movie like this, the usual ending was not supposed to be the right one. The flashback tale is too weak as we have a look at it. But one could still think about this movie without paying too much attention to the unnecessary details. After all, this is all about the murders, killers and the police officers set to solve the riddle – the basic thing remains to hold on to the strengths without fail.

The performers of the soul :: Suresh Gopi and Gokul Suresh have come together for the first time in a movie here. The return of the former is a grand one this time, and it has the troubles of the previous Kaaval return removed well. He is once again the police officer that we continue to love. The one person who catches our attention more than the others is Neeta Pillai, who does such a fantastic job as the leading investigator of a series of murders. Years after her first work in Poomaram, this is one work which makes her a solid performer above many other actresses who debuted in the last few years. In comparison, the role of Gokul Suresh is smaller, but maintains a fine presence in a role which also makes a difference. Shammi Thilakan’s role is a very much impressive one, and he maintains a realistic side to it. It is always nice to see Dayyana Hameed of Star Magic fame and Yuvam in the small, but notable roles too, but we would hope for more of her. Sadhika Venugopal of Star Magic is also notable here. Nyla Usha’s role in flashback is pretty much okay. Asha Sharath has her moments, while Ajmal Ameer’s role feels forced. Kaniha does the predictable role well.

How it finishes :: We never have enough of investigation thrillers which make an impact with the smartness factor effectively used. The thrillers like John Luther and Twenty One Grams successfully became the murder investigations of quality rising above the more hyped films with murder investigations, like CBI 5: The Brain. This movie also gets to that better level rather than going for the superstar exaggeration which often becomes the biggest flaw of thrillers leading with murder mysteries. There are no shortage of psycho killers who can become part of such movies, as we have had films like Forensic with the murderers who had no true motive, like revenge or hatred. A little bit more of attention could have made sure that this movie could become one of the best of its kind. Well, there are more movies which can come up with similar investigations, and after corona virus pandemic having its say, thrillers have surely done better.

Release date: 7th September 2022 (ZEE 5), 29th July 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 170 minutes
Directed by: Joshiy
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Neeta Pillai, Gokul Suresh, Asha Sharath, Nyla Usha, Kaniha, Vijayaraghavan, Chandunath, Janardhanan, Nandhu, Ajmal Ameer, Abhishek Raveendran, Tini Tom, Shammi Thilakan, Dayyana Hameed, Sadhika Venugopal, Baiju Jose, Sreejith Ravi, Rahul Madhav, Jewel Mary, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Malavika Menon, Rosin Jolly, Preetha Pradeep, Chali Pala, Nirmal Palazhi, Sajitha Madathil, Srikanth Murali, Madan Mohan, Benzi Mathews, Nandhu Pothuval, Kottayam Ramesh, Sinoj Varghese, Savithri Sreedharan, Sanuja Somanath, Parvathi T, Saniya Babu, Baby Kanmani, Jordi Poonjar, Sundarapandiyan, George Abraham

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lavakusha

What is the movie about? :: Two jobless youngsters who would later be addressed as Lavan (Neeraj Madhav) and Kushan (Aju Varghese), meets in Chennai city, and becomes very good friends. The problems that both of them face, are almost the same, and after being kicked out of their place for not paying the rent, the two decide to return to Kerala, hoping to find something better in their home state. As the lazy people that they are, they can’t stop thinking about earning maximum money with the least effort. It is during their journey back to Kerala that they come across a number of strangers on the train. There is a girl named Sheethal (Deepti Sati), and a man who identifies himself as Venkat (Biju Menon). In an attempt to get the attention of the girl, they cross the way of a group of people smuggling gold in the train who threatens to kill them.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being captured by the smugglers, the three escapes, and Venkat reveals himself as Joy Kappan, a senior police inspector. A series of confusions follow, and it ends with Joy being able to seize all the gold, and the smugglers escaping. Inspired by the turn of events, Lavan and Kushan decides to become private detectives. But living in a rented house, they are once again very close to being kicked out – it is then that they come across Joy again, who gives them a task to perform. They are to find and take out a huge amount of gold which is stored inside a reputed institution in the middle of the city. As they feel the need for an adventure, the two men agree and goes on the mission. But there are more twists to their mission than they think that there is, and there is more to the truth than what meets the eye.

The defence of Lavakusha :: There are enjoyable moments here and there in this one, and after the comic side gets awakened early, there is also the presence of twists later. It is in the final moments that everything comes together, and we get to see the movie rising above the possibility of just ending up as a foolish thing. The movie is clearly dependent on the trio of Neeraj Madhav, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon, and the three remains the pillars of this flick which leaves less for the rest. The former two get to begin and go on with the humour without restrictions. Even then, it is the second half which manages to use its resources better, improving as it moves towards the finish. You will see the signs of the same by the interval itself. When you are looking for some fun of the simpler kind, Lavakusha might be exactly the movie to turn to.

The claws of flaw :: Lavakusha never really uses its cast to the best possible advantage. When we have a leading cast like this, one has to wonder why there is inability to use it to the full advantage with fun. The jokes often struggle to identify as what they are actually supposed to be – even without logic and with foolishness allowed in there, we see struggle. We see that none of the characters are never really well established for the audience – that applies even to the leading characters. It is for the same reason that there are too many ups and downs in this movie, and the momentum that is often gains is not maintained and carried on to the next moments. The first sequence of the movie itself is rather not needed, and the same thing is repeated again in this movie, without bringing any chance for laughter. The music in this movie is rather forgettable – there is nothing to keep us there with that too. You will also find that the female characters also have less screen presence.

Performers of the soul :: It is Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav whose combination works really well to make things better. Even the comedy which might have gone over our head otherwise, works well, thanks to how well the two manages everything together. Aju Varghese has been present throughout the year’s movies from Aby and Alamara earlier to right now, while Neeraj Madhav comes out of that impressive performance in Oru Mexican Aparatha – we have seen them together at their best in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Kunjiramayanam; this movie is not of such level, but together, they are not behind, at any point. You will notice that the former has a more responsible character in comparison, but then too, you will know that it is only by a small distance. You will feel that this particular combination also meant that the expectations were a little too high with this one – well, it is no surprise, right?

Further performers of the soul :: The movie focuses mostly on the characters played by Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav, but the only one with heroic quality in this movie is played by Biju Menon – he gets to be the hero in the movie lead by the two youngsters. As concerning the titles, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Lakshyam and Sherlock Toms, he had caught our attention with three different roles in the year, and here he gets another one to perform – there is no difficulty for him here, and he has all under control. Sadly, Aditi Ravi is restricted to a smaller role which could have been developed instead of a few other things in a movie which is rather so long for its content, and even Deepti Sati’s presence seems to be strange when she disappears and appears; there even seems to be a certain lack of efficiency in dubbing for her. Vijay Babu and Major Ravi are good with their work at the same time.

How it finishes :: Lavakusha could have been a nice action comedy in Hollywood style – our heroes could have gone through this in Get Smart model, becoming the unlikely saviours when the others in the investigation turn hopeless. Two police officers in undercover mode, finishing their missions in a funny and interesting way was the need here, but that much work isn’t done, and there seems to be not that much focus on attention either. Even with such a longer run-time, this one couldn’t build up enough. Still, this makes mostly an entertaining watch for the weekend. It could be an interesting time-pass movie without doubt. You can also feel a little bit of Tharangam in this one. As of now, Parava seems to have the lead as the most interesting one in the last thirty days. Just like the other Biju Menon starrer in the theatres, Sherlock Toms, this one attempts to combine comedy with the twists, and by the end, you will feel that it is the latter that has caught your attention, unlike what you were expecting.

Release date: 13th October 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Gireesh Mano
Starring: Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Biju Menon, Deepti Sati, Aditi Ravi, Vijay Babu, Major Ravi, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Ashwin Kumar, Janardhanan, Neena Kurup

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rakshadhikari Baiju

Vampire Owl: This character reminds me of myself during my early days.

Vampire Bat: You mean the days before you became a vampire.

Vampire Owl: No, my early days as a vampire apprentice.

Vampire Bat: I have heard that you performed really bad during those days.

Vampire Owl: No, I had balance in all aspects of life just like this man in the trailer.

Vampire Bat: I don’t see how this can be termed as balance.

Vampire Owl: Well, my case was all about balancing everything in life with so much skill that I managed to develop just from the inside.

Vampire Bat: There is no balance in life; one thing goes the right way, and something else losses the way.

Vampire Owl: I am actually writing a book on it, with special thanks to you.

Vampire Bat: That is an action completely against balance.

[Gets the tickets with cardamom tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Baiju (Biju Menon) is everything for a group of people at Kumbalam, a region which is commonly considered as a part of an extended Kochi, but still retains its simple, village-like life. Surrounded by the Vembanad Lake, the place is connected at both sides by bridges, which is slowly and steadily transforming the lives of the people there. Here, this man leads a group of youngsters who are part of a cricket team which has been trying to win local tournaments, but not with that much success – it hasn’t stopped them from trying though. The team’s members include Manoj (Deepak Parambol) and Unni (Aju Varghese) among the others. Manoj has fallen for a girl in the neighbourhood named Rose (Anagha L K Maruthora) who also seems to have some interest in him, while a co-worker, Sreekala (Krishna Padmakumar) has fallen for Unni who is not interested in her and is looking for a girl to marry all around the state.

So, what happens next? :: His lack of interest in his job despite being in government service doesn’t make his wife Ajitha (Hannah Reji Koshy) happy, and the same is the case with his parents. He also spends money from his pocket to help his friends in need, and is the major force behind leading a boy in his team to Ranji trophy and later into an IPL team. Despite avoiding all the responsibilities at home as well as office, he is still a loved man everywhere. Being an irrigation department official and also a patron of the Kumbalam Brothers Club will keep him going through a journey which started when he was just a kid, along with George (Dileesh Pothan) and other friends of him, who have all settled outside India or at least outside Kerala. But he remains in his hometown, doing the same things as if it is to go on for eternity – but how long can these continue during a time when modernisation comes up, and who all will be with him?

The defence of Rakshadhikari Baiju :: There is an abundance of humour in Rakshadhikari Baiju, and it is no surprise with the cast that we see here. With the simple things that could happen in anyone’s life, the tale progresses nicely, even as there is nothing like Chinthavishtayaaya Shyamala unlike expected at one point. With the performances and events, things just seem natural here, with nothing artificial added. The message that the movie provides is also something for this age, when children try to replace the outdoor sports for computer games and more and more of mobile gaming – the movie asks its viewers to encourage outdoor sporting events which will improve the health of an upcoming generation, and also to save those free spaces, the green open grounds with trees in villages and towns. There is also that feeling of nostalgia that will come back to us seeing all these happenings. A realistic tale about common people is always better than a fake story claiming to be realistic, whether it is about a slow love story that will take an eternity to finish doing something or related to a tale filling a town with criminals who love pork.

The claws of flaw :: What surprises one the most is that there are villains in the movie, and along with one coming right out of a modern world which has no real face, there is another one played by Padmaraj Ratheesh, which goes absolutely nowhere – there never seems to be any need except for one funny sequence or two which works due to Biju Menon’s comic timing. There is also the love angle added with the character named Rose, which is also pretty much wasted just as our protagonist’s own love story flashback that comes into the present. Without these, the movie would have saved a lot of time, and the extra length of the movie could have been cut down to make this a very good entertainer with no dull moments; but here we see those sequences which are not really needed. The simplicity of the movie also needed more of the touch of feel-good and nostalgia to power it to the next level, and the same is also not there.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again becomes what the character needs him to be, and this role is no surprise for sure. Just like he did in Vellimoonga and Swarna Kaduva, he uses the simple incidents in life to evoke laughter, and he is well supported here. Aju Varghese keeps doing what he does the best, and provides the fun-filled support. Deepak Parambol does the role that could be of the second hero fine enough, despite his character losing way by the end. It is Hareesh Perumanna who has some of the funniest moments in the movie though, and his character has the comic side strong and written all over. Dileesh Pothan has only his presence for only a few minutes though, and still there is a lot of fun with his sequences starting with the dialogue about having changed by being rich. Hannah Reji Koshy whom we had seen for the last time in Darwinte Parinamam has a nice stay here as the leading actress too.

How it finishes :: This is one of those lesser hyped movies which can stay long just by being the movie that everyone can watch and enjoy, somewhat close to what Vellimoonga did even if not being that much of a force, considering the fact that families only have Sakhavu as the newer movie that is left to go for, Puthan Panam being pretty much a clear terrible movie, and also having an ‘Adult certificate’. The Great Father and 1971: Beyond Borders should also be there along with the undisputed best Malayalam movie of the year so far which is Take Off, but our movie starts a new innings here with not much of a challenge for a week which is in the safe zone. If you liked the Biju Menon starrers Vellimoonga and Swarna Kaduva, there is no doubt that you will like this one too, and so this one is a safe bet; there is a little bit of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam feeling in this one too. Simple, and without complicating things, the movie here stays close to life, and also allows the viewers to take the messages home.

Release date: 21st April 2017
Running time: 162 minutes
Directed by: Ranjan Pramod
Starring: Biju Menon, Hannah Reji Koshy, Aju Varghese, Deepak Parambol, Hareesh Perumanna, Dileesh Pothan, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Alencier Ley Lopez, Janardhanan, Indrans, Vijayaraghavan, Chethan Jayalal, Vishal Krishna, Aabid Nassar, Ambika Mohan, Nebish Benson, Krishna Padmakumar, Anjali Aneesh, Anagha L K Maruthora, Sankar Induchoodan, Sasi Kalinga

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.