Mamangam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vikadakumaran

What is the movie about? :: Binu Sebastian (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) is a lawyer who gets only those smaller cases which don’t get him any appreciation in life. Even though his dreams are huge, he never really gets close to achieving them. He goes through a mundane existence in and out of court, and this has lead to a certain lack of interest which makes him careless in dealing with those lesser cases which gets too. His best friend and support is Manikandan Pillai (Dharmajan Pillai) who helps him to get some new cases. Binu is in love with Sindhu (Manasa Radhakrishnan) who runs a canteen near the court. The fact that he only has his mother and a sister with hearing problems, and that his father had left nothing much for the family makes his consider all options to get to fame and money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that Roshi Balakrishnan (Jinu Joseph) and Aishwarya Nair (Rosin Jolly) enters the scene. There is an incident involving the death of a home guard, a hit and run case in which both of these are involved. The former is a rich and young businessman who is known for many illegal activies, and the latter is a popular film actress who is looking to leave cinema field after getting engaged. Soon, the actress is also found dead, and Binu finds himself fighting against Roshi in the beginning, and later defending his case. His friends as well as the media remains divided on this, but it is to be seen how Binu would end up in his career with this kind of a big case. Will there be justice served for anyone in the end?

The defence of Vikadakumaran :: There are enough funny moments in this flick to keep it going. The credit for the same goes to Vishnu and Dharmajan attempting to repeat what was done in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There are some nice moments in the court, both funny and effective, even though there is nothing that raises the bar, in a world where there have been movies like Yes Your Honour, Melvilasom, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2, and Pink – it is still better than that over-hyped disaster of a movie throwing a court-scene out of nowhere, called Queen; the Malayalam one. The movie also nicely ends up with poetic justice being served at the final moments. A common person’s story is depicted well enough, and in doing the same, the main performers do good job. The songs are just okay, not providing too much. There will be fun in store for sure, with some twist to come in the end which will be satisfactory.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that this movie could have done more with each and every aspect, whether it is the comedy, thrills, twists or the court-room drama. There is the presence of a little too many co-incidences, and we could have had better explanations and even better situations both inside and outside the court. There is also the problem of the villain’s overall smartness going with the wind, and the hero getting the smartest of them all, without nothing much happening in between. We could have also had some social issues being dealt with, considering the premise, and those who thought that something was going to be done by the lawyer regarding the first scene in the movie, one is certainly going to be disappointed. Considering its similarities with other movies with a lawyer as the protagonist, it had to do better, but it never really even try to bring a special ingredient – it could have, but that might not have been the priority.

The performers of the soul :: Vishnu Unnikrishnan is back this year after the memorable fun ride which was Shikkari Shambhu. He rightly suits this role, and has no problems in blending in here. If he was co-staring with Kunchacko Boban in that movie, this Easter weekend, he is in competition with the same actor who has Kuttanadan Marpappa at the theatres, both flicks focusing on the comic side. The combination of Vishnu and Dharmajan gets all the attention from us with the funny side which never ends. Baiju also contributes to the fun without second thoughts, and Rafi has his funny moments too. Jinu Joseph plays a powerful negative character in this movie, and he does that in style as he did in Iyobinte Pusthakam. He is the kind of villain that we always need, with a level of antagonism that stays afloat at all times. Indrans’ small role is very much memorable.

Further performers of the soul :: Manasa Radhakrishnan, the lady lead might be remembered more for playing Jaseela, the protagonist’s sister in Tiyaan. She does a fine job here, even though there is not that much of an opportunity provided for her – being just the love interest of the hero seems to be the priority. Lets have more of her in the industry. Rosin Jolly has an interesting role to play in this one, which she manages well, even though it is surprising that so many of the popular reviewers have mistaken her to be Leona Lishoy. It is understandable to make mistakes for the common man and the bloggers, but when the big names who are claimed as professionals do it, one has to doubt one’s purpose of writing a review. Megha Mathew’s role is restricted in such a way that there is almost nothing for her to make even the least impact. The female characters never really get the boost they need with this one.

How it finishes :: The movie is more or less a fight for justice, for two dead people, one a common man and the other a celebrity, and the responsible person being the same. We expect a lot of sparks as well as emotional sequences, but they are never really things of concern here. We also notice that it never really reaches the level of the movies like Yes Your Honour, Jolly LLB, Jolly LLB 2 and Pink. But if you are looking for some simple fun with a purpose, you can surely choose Vikadakumaran – just don’t expect too much, and enjoy the entertainment, for this one is never really boring at any moment. The same mood seems to be carried on towards the end, as we get to that end. It is more or less the harmless family movie, the kind of flick that Sreenivasan would do again.

Release date: 30th March 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Boban Samuel
Starring: Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Manasa Radhakrishnan, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Baiju, Rosin Jolly, Jinu Joseph, Jayan Cherthala, Megha Mathew, Nelson, Arun Ghosh, Indrans, Mahesh, Rafi, EA Rajendran, Nizhalgal Ravi, Sunil Sukhada, Seema G Nair

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Loham

loham (2)

What is it about? :: Jayanthi (Andrea Jeremiah) has reached Cochin from Mumbai in search of her husband Ramesh (Ashvin A. Mathew). She chooses the taxi of Raju (Mohanlal) as she continues that search. Nobody knows anything about him including his own mother (KPAC Lalitha). Meanwhile, there is certain gold smuggling taking place from Dubai to Calicut/Malappuram and Ramesh who is a customs officer is somehow linked to it. But Raju himself has a special objective which he hopes to accomplish. Meanwhile, another man called Albert (Renji Panicker) lands in Kerala from Cochin and is looking for help in achieving something. At the same time, a group of gold smugglers lead by Unni Mohammed (Siddique) keeps searching for their lost gold.

The defence of Loham :: There are those moments which make the defence, and almost every one of them is related to the twists related to Mohanlal’s character. The first half is surely the superior one, and it surely keeps us very much interested in how these things are going to come together, and the division of the two halves is surely done at the best moment. The funny moments are working and they nicely come to keep the movie more interesting. There is also some criticism of the things happening in the state which is sure to catch one’s attention. The thrills are working, the twists are interesting even though we can’t say the same about how the turns happening at every situation – there are times when the focus could have been at one twist only and build on that. There are some memorable dialogues in Loham too, even though some of them could have used a little polishing.

Claws of flaw :: The audience might feel that this is not what they wanted considering the hype. A better result was expected from the direction of Ranjith. There are moments which make one feel more and more that this is not something new, but consisting of thing that they have watched. The predictability exists here and there. Even though the premise is new, the most common comparisons made should be related to Prithviraj Sukumaran’s two movies, 7th Day and Sapthamashree Thaskaraha. There are too many characters in this movie, and they just keep coming to add nothing special. There are experienced performers doing these roles too, and one has to wonder if they were needed in this movie even though they did their job with ease. The movie doesn’t really finish that well as expected, and the songs are very much forgettable. The pace also has too much variation. The mass moments do more bad than good.

Performers of the soul :: Once again, there is no doubt about who steals the show, as Mohanlal seems to go through this character in his usual style, and due to the same, the protagonist is safe in his hands. There seems to be some moments which seems to be custom made for him, which he manage with elegance. He is surely bigger than this movie itself, and manages to bring that charm to his character which helps to keep the level of this movie higher. Even though it takes about fifteen minutes or a little more for him to come to the screen, he holds things together from his very first appearance. This movie needed him a lot, and he has brought the movie the much needed strength. The support that he gets in this movie is from a lot of people that if you note them down with their performances in detail, you can be sure to have a lot of ink and paper ready.

More performers of the soul :: Andrea Jeremiah is the lady lead in this movie, but she is not Mohanlal’s heroine, and neither does she have anything substantial to contribute to the basic story-line despite what we might expect in the beginning. But she manages to do her job very well – still, one has to wonder if she was needed in her third Malayalam movie for this role which could have been done by one from that long supporting list cast, and they could have done without one character which was not needed? After all, this is no Annayum Rasoolum or London Bridge. Ajmal Ameer, Suresh Krishna, Joju George and others make the team of villains among which the one big performer is once again Siddique who does well at many levels. This is another different role for him, and you have to admire his versatility once again!

Further performers of the soul :: Tini Tom, Sasi Kalinga, Thesni Khan, Muthumani and Shankar Mahadevan are just there for a few dialogues. Manikuttan, Pearle Maaney and Srinda Ashab are there, and you might not even have noticed. Mythili and her character’s flashback in the first few minutes never really gets us interested. One has to wonder if she could have just managed the role of the leading lady and this character could have been cut off. Aju Varghese could have also been better used considering the fact that his character had scope. Even someone with the calibre of Harish Perady has very short screen presence. Abu Salim and Renji Panicker are the two most interesting performers in the team of the protagonist – they make very good impact. Vijayaraghavan does the police role in his usual style easily.

How it finishes :: The long list of well-known cast actually work against the movie at times, as people tend to think that the characters are of more importance, but they never really are. Still, the one person who is not a big name, but still catches our attention is the debutante Niranjana Anoop who provides a cute, natural and lively performance – even though she is there only in a small role and the character having not much for the main plot. We know how big the expectations were related to this movie and what kind of hopes they were. We have been watching so many thrillers these days in different languages, and the number won’t come down. So, the opinions will surely be divided about Loham. But I don’t think that this is not entertaining unlike some opinions, because this surely is an interesting ride despite the flaws.

Release date: 20th August 2015
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith
Starring: Mohanlal, Andrea Jeremiah, Siddique, Vijayaraghavan, Gauri Nanda, Renji Panicker, Joju George, Tini Tom, Ajmal Ameer, Abu Salim, Aju Varghese, KPAC Lalitha, Suresh Krishna, Mythili, Musthafa, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Muthumani, Niranjana Anoop, Mohan Jose, Thesni Khan, Manikuttan, Pearle Maaney, Srinda Ashab, Soubin Sahir, Smiju Tom Joy, Harish Perady, Irshad, Ashvin A. Mathew, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Sasi Kalinga, Kollam Thulasi, Jayan Cherthala, Shyamaprasad (cameo)

loham

@ Cemetery Watch
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