Thallumaala

Vampire Owl: I heard that this movie is all about fights.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the title does signify the same.

Vampire Owl: Do you think that there could be more fights in our realm too?

Vampire Bat: We don’t have such small fights. We have only wars.

Vampire Owl: Maybe the wars could be reduced to smaller fights.

Vampire Bat: The smaller fights are not of relevance.

Vampire Owl: They can help stop the bigger wars.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that zombies and werewolves won’t agree to that.

Vampire Owl: Well, Uncle Dracula might agree.

Vampire Bat: For that, he requires a champion. The protagonist of this movie could serve as one in an undead state.

[Gets a marble cake and three cups of mint tea].

What is the movie about? :: There is a fight between Manavaalan Wazim (Tovino Thomas) and SI Reji Mathew (Shine Tom Chacko), and it is a one on one battle while their friends look on. The reason for this fight goes back by a few years, and there is a score to settle. A long time ago, Wazim was someone who usually got into fights, and after the pandemonium was over, he made friends with those who fought with him – the fights develop into a friends ciricle which includes him along with Jamshi (Lukman Avaran), Sathaar (Swathi Das Prabhu), Vikas (Adhri Joe) and Rajesh (Austin Dan). At the same time, he had also fallen in love with Fathima Beevi (Kalyani Priyadarshan), a famous Instagram and Youtube sensation based in UAE, even though she has her roots in Kerala. Despite her early doubts, she soon becomes assured that he could be the one for her, and manages to convince her parents to let her marry the man, even though none of her relatives have a good opinion about her – some of them even think that he is a useless young man who is of no good to the society.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Wazim’s parents (Johny Antony and Neena Kurup) had already ceased having good opinions about him. They want him to go and do some job in Dubai rather than wander around Ponnani town and pick up fights. After starting a fight with Siyad (Noushad Ali), and after they burn down Wazim’s father’s theatre, he is forcibly sent to the Middle East. But when he comes back, he starts another fight, this time with the group led by Reji – it lands them in the hospital, but hopes for revenge. Reji who wants to make up with them is not accepted with them, as everyone other than him and Wazim seems to be upset whenever the other group is seen around. Kalapurakkal David (Binu Pappu) who was part of Reji’s gang had warned against the two groups seeing each other again, but the situation seems to be in favour of both teams fighting each other again. At the same time, there is also a pending fight with Omega Babu (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Jamshi is depressed about it as he often remembers being beaten up by him. So, can Wazim fight these battles along with being able to marry Fathima?

The defence of Thallumaala :: This is the one movie which you might want to watch if there is the need for seeing a lot of fighting on the big screen. The movie also remains colourful throughout its run, and the visuals are really good. The humour works well during most of the time, and they have really added some fine doses of comedy in between to elevate the level of the film. There is the reminder of masculine ego which is hurt, as it was in Maheshinte Prathikaaram, where two women do talk about the madness of the major male characters who decide to go on an unnecessary fight. The audience will keep getting fights over fights, and in the end, they will have the feeling of having watched a big adventure with fists and legs as the main character never stop thinking about fights even if they cease to believe in love and the other common things in a movie. Some of the songs remain very notable, especially for the different kind of treatment. There are those dance moves which were already seen in the released songs. The world becomes different with this movie, and there is no need to have any outside interference related to this.

The claws of flaw :: Thallumaala‘s trailer had already given the feeling that this was going to be about fights, but it takes a lot of steps towards meaningless fights starting out of nowhere. The trailer itself was indeed confusing up to an extent. The first half takes some time get to be interesting, and most of the engaging moments can be seen as happening in the second half. The romantic side is rather strange around here, as there seems to be no real reason for the incidents to happen and turn the hero and heroine to marriage, especially for the lady who is very rich and remains an Instagram sensation who is adored by so many people all around the world. The story is not that strong, with most of the incidents in the film having not much of a meaning. The show of the sequence of events in also everywhere, and we don’t see anything occurring straight enough. In the first half, the tale keeps moving through different timelines as if they have a time machine – everything is basically everywhere to keep the audience confused. There were many things which could be added and also removed around here as there is struggle to be overcome.

The performers of the soul :: It is indeed great to see Tovino Thomas in a different avatar around here. His roles in Vaashi, Naaradan, Minnal Murali, Kaanekkaane, Kilometers and Kilometers and Forensic were all different, as he played superhero, lawyer, journalist, forensic expert and many others in a short period of time, and he has done the same with some fine skills. This role will be something to remember for him, as he also seems to get younger with this one, as this reckless youth is also of variety. Shine Tom Chacko indeed shines in this work, and he seems to perfectly suit the character. It would seem like the right thing to have him Soubin Shahir who dropped out of the film, as a character like this one requires Shine. Kalyani Priyadarshan, even though becomes the leading actress, has much less to do for the progress of the tale, and in between the fights which are supposed to happen at all times, would be happening with or without her presence in Kerala. Among the friends, it is Lukman Avaran who stands out, as he seem to blend in here like no other. In the other gang, Binu Pappu remains notable – in both gangs, all of them are indeed of relevance. Johny Antony’s father role is lovable, and Shafi Kollam of Star Magic fame gets a fine role to perform. Chemban Vinod Jose is there but with not much to do.

How it finishes :: Among the releases set around Independence Day and a week beyond, this particular movie seems to have the advantage over the others. It cannot be considered as the better film among these choices, but is surely the one flick that seems to attract the young audience to the theatres more than any other. The film makes us wonder if the only thing that the new generation does is to fight, and whether everything is solved by fighting with each other, a disappointing trend for a movie which has Mahatma Gandhi as the father of the nation, and after seventy five years post getting independence. Yet, there is the assurance of entertainment, and the funny side often makes sure that the fighting does not feel too cruel around here. It is to be noted that Shine Tom Chacko brings this movie back to life so well, and we end up wanting his character to win in the end. Well, this variety for sure, and it is not in the story, but in what surrounds it, as we are introduced to the one real fight movie in the Malayalam film industry. It is also realistic if we consider the number of random fights which have broken out in the state for no reason, and adorn the news.

Release date: 12th August 2022
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Shine Tom Chacko, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Lukman Avaran, Binu Pappu, Johny Antony, Neena Kurup, Gokulan, Swathi Das Prabhu, Adhri Joe, Austin Dan, Assim Jamal, Shafi Kollam, VP Khalid, Noushad Ali, Bhanumathi Payyannur, Ann Salim, Mashar Hamsa, James Elia, Unni Raja, Mohammed Eravattoor, Anand Bal, Satheesh Kumar, Balan Parakkal, Babu Annur, Nasar Karutheni, Salim Kumar (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bro Daddy

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Uncle Dracula used to be called by the same name?

Vampire Bat: As far as I can remember, that was Uncle Bro.

Vampire Owl: Well, I guess it varies by vampire and the century of existence.

Vampire Bat: The existence is the crime. You are not to speak about it.

Vampire Owl: I am talking about the undead existence without the human soul.

Vampire Bat: Well, that should be acceptable, as the absence of the evil human soul is much appreciated in our realm.

Vampire Owl: What do you think about our decision to watch this movie?

Vampire Bat: Well, with the Corona virus at its peak, the fact that they didn’t release this movie in theatres is to be appreciated.

Vampire Owl: Yes, a superstar movie in the theatre means a super spreader.

Vampire Bat: It seems that the producer and director of this movie are sensible people. Let other movies take the credit for being super spreaders.

[Gets a vegetable pizza and three cups of black tea].

What is the movie about? :: Eesho (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and Anna (Kalyani Priyadarshan) have been good friends since childhood, and have carried over the same as a romantic relationship in such a manner that they even started living together in Bangalore without anyone having any clue about it. Their motherly figures Annamma John (Meena) and Elsy Kurian (Kaniha) wish to have the two youngsters married to each other, as they belong to a similar social status, being part of rich and influential families of the area. Even their friends and relatives find the possible marriage alliance to be an interesting one. The fathers John Chacko Kattadi (Mohanlal) and Kurian Maliekkal (Lalu Alex) are not that interested in the same because latter used to be in love with the former’s wife during pre-degree days. But the two remains good friends, and Kurian handles the advertising matters of Kattadi’s business. Kattadi’s fame is rather unmatched, as they have lot of business ventures, mostly focusing on Kattadi TMT steel bars. Kurian is into the advertising business, while Eesho is working at an advertising company in Bangalore.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Everything seems to go smoothly around here. But there are secrets which needs some cover up, as both Anna and Annamma are pregnant, and John and Eesho don’t want anyone to know about it as of now. It seems that now there is the need for a plan, so that the two can get married, and the function can happen smoothly, and later, they can talk about the pregnancies and related stuff. For the same, the two need to get married as soon as possible, with the blessings of Kurian and Elsy. But Kurian is not really fond of Eesho as latter finds the former’s advertising company to a cheap one in comparison to the multi-national company where he has been working. Yet, it seems that Kurian won’t disagree to the words of John, but there is the need for much more of plans to come. Eesho would still need to get into the good books of Kurian, and for the same, he would also need to use more than one of his skills. As Elsy also comes to know about the pregnancy, all of them will have to come together, and make sure that Kurian will be happy about this alliance – will he be the happy one too?

The defence of Bro Daddy :: The movie depends on humour and feel-good, as well as a certain amount of drama to keep itself going. Whenever it seems to go down, the cast nicely lifts it up. There is some nice humour that comes in between, and this one is kept close to family even though there was the opportunity to go for ridiculous jokes like Ittymaani: Made in China. The messages that the movie provide are pretty good too. It shows that family is indeed important, and a small adjustment made in career won’t matter – as long as you have a job at what you are the best at. It is a fine message for a new generation which keeps on changing jobs for better salary, leaving families behind. The movie also keeps the whole thing light-hearted, never choosing to explore the dark side of all of these, and the emotions, even though present are kept in such a way that there is no exaggeration of the emotional side – it just provides what is required with a simple feel-good family movie that keeps one entertained without making one think too much. Well, it was always moving towards the happy ending, we know.

The claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of predictability in here, as expected from this kind of a movie. There are so many sequences which seem to progress the way we can guess. We also come up against a certain amount of lagging in between. A certain amount of lag can also been seen related to the revelation of things. The length is a little bit more than what was required. If the event management idea was removed, that would have helped the movie further. The beginning hadn’t impressed that much with the common jokes added, and more of life in Bangalore could have only done the movie favours. There is also too much focus on the luxury home visuals, seemingly trying to help an architect or the seller of a house. It does feel like the idea is to go and come up with life of the richest, giving the feeling that almost everyone else do not exist. The world itself is different around here, like being part of an alien planet. Some of the characters whom we see around also feel wasted, as the focus is indeed on the members of two families only.

The performers of the soul :: The movie does have a long list of memorable cast, something which is not often seen related to a family comedy drama. Mohanlal leads, and he does the same with the kind of role which audience has loved him doing. Prithviraj and Kalyani plays the usual youngsters in love, without anything new added around here, except for maybe the cuteness quotient. Lalu Alex is once again the father of the leading lady, and it is something he has done a lot in the past, even though most of similar roles have gone to Renji Panicker following Om Santhi Oshana. He shows that he still maintains the expertise in this kid of roles. Meena is once again looking good with Mohanlal, like it was in Drishyam, Drishyam 2 and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol. Kaniha is also as notable as the rest as the mother of the leading lady. Jagadish does have a notable role here, while Soubin Shahir’s role to add some quick humour is only partially affective. Mallika Sukumaran once again drops in as the typical old mother figure, a role which would go to her with ease every time. Unni Mukundan, Nikhila Vimal and Kavya Shetty have cameos.

How it finishes :: This is the second directorial venture from Prithviraj Sukumaran after one of the biggest films in Malayalam cinema, Lucifer, which still remains strong in our minds, with the next one coming in 2023 in the form of a sequel. With Mohanlal and Prithviraj joining forces again, this was a movie which was much awaited. It has the skill to deliver as the humorous feel-good movie with effectiveness. There will not be grandeur associated with it, as things are kept simple, keeping it within the predictable lines throughout its run. The cast has elevated the same by adding humour in their own ways, and keeping it close to life. In one way or the other, the movie seems to stand on the exact opposite path of Sara’s which would have dealt the whole episode in a different manner, but Bro Daddy takes the path which the families would to see, and the one which might feel rather selfless in nature. But one can only wonder what it means to be selfless in a chaotic, brutal world? When was the last time we had a society with humans who were not selfish?

Release date: 26th January 2022 (Hotstar)
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Starring: Mohanlal, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Lalu Alex, Meena, Nikhila Vimal, Kaniha, Soubin Shahir, Jagadish, Kavya Shetty, Unni Mukundan, Mallika Sukumaran, Sijoy Varghese, Antony Perumbavoor, Jaffar Idukki, Joji Mundakayam, Charle

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Varane Avashyamundu

What is the movie about? :: Neena (Shobhana) is a divorced mother who is living with her daughter Nikitha (Kalyani Priyadarshan) in the busy city of Chennai. As Neena had eloped from home and married, the only relative who comes to see them is her uncle Manuel (Lalu Alex) while her husband lived far away from them. While Neena works as a teacher of French language, Nikitha also supports herself with a job, and is looking for a groom in a matrimonial website all by herself. Those whom she finds as match include Alphonse (Siju Wilson) and Aby (Rahul Rajasekharan), a Motor Vehicle Inspector and an NRI respectively. In the same block of apartments where they are living, Major Unnikrishnan (Suresh Gopi), a retired army officer also lives alone. He is known for his anger management issues due to which he often gets into trouble, and is disliked by the people living near him.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Bipeesh (Dulquer Salmaan) is the new resident at the apartments, beginning his stay with an argument with Nikitha over their two-wheelers. Nikitha is not fond of him as well as Unnikrishnan who also buys a dog which is almost as huge as him. Major Athmaram (Major Ravi) who was also in the army tries to solve Unnikrishnan’s anger management issues by sending him to his friend who is also a doctor – Doctor Bose (Johny Antony). Unnikrishnan is someone who had managed to climb Mount Everest during his youth, and is also someone who participated in the skirmishes at the Indo-Pakistan border. But he finds it difficult to mingle with people, especially with ladies. The kids of the apartments particularly hate him for his rough attitude. As he tries to change his behaviour, he ends up getting closer to Neena, which changes the lives of Nikitha and Bipeesh as well. But what does it mean for his anger?

The defence of Varane Avashyamundu :: The movie runs on its cast which is an enviable one. It has one generation of veteran performers in the form of Suresh Gopi and Shobhana, and another generation with Dulquer Salmaan and Kalyani Priyadarshan, making it something which everyone from more than one generation feeling the need to watch it. The focus being on the elder stars is the best thing about this movie, as it works really well with the tale to connect with everyone. The funny moments work really well, and the credit for the same rests mostly with Suresh Gopi, supported by Johny Antony. The setting of the apartments in the middle of a city, and people going through their flawed, but interesting lives is nicely shown here. There are some messages given, and most of the time, it is about life and relationships. But, it should have had more depth, in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: One trouble that Varane Avashyamundu seems to face is that it doesn’t have a script to match the cast that it possesses. It had to be better focused on what it was doing, and the same would have allowed us to go beyond that initial drag with ease, and that ending which seemed to be rushed, even though it cannot be termed terrible. The predictability is always there, as we know which direction this is heading – there is no need for any special skill for the same. The need to put the feel-good factor into place would always be a priority, considering the fact that this movie’s competitors were all focused on other genres including the year’s first big hit Anjaam Pathira which is clearly on the other side with the shades. The movie doesn’t have memorable songs or music, and it could have also been shorter, removing some scenes. Even some characters seemed to be rather unnecessary here.

The performers of the soul :: If there is a question about the leading performer in the movie, that is not the leading young pair – it is Suresh Gopi who makes the retired army officer a joy to watch. We had last seen him in My God, and here we have him doing the comedy and emotions exceptionally well, and his character and the changes undergone are too good. Shobana adds to the charm here, and her combination scenes with Suresh Gopi as well as Kalyani. Urvashi also has a memorable role to add here. But at the same time, Dulquer Salmaan doesn’t have much of a screen time – his character is also one which doesn’t suit the overall mood of the movie, and the romance here is also half-baked, seemingly built on fake emotions and therefore lacking in strength. Johny Antony is the next person to bring the comic side alive, while Siju Wilson and Major Ravi also have a few similar moments. Meanwhile, Lalu Alex is there with another usual, but memorable kind of role.

Further performers of the soul :: Kalyani Priyadarshan has her first Malayalam movie, and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham will be the next. As the daughter of the renowned film director Priyadarshan and the popular actress of her time Lissy Priyadarshan, her debut was long overdue. The other star children had already arrived, and we know what nepotism can do to you, as it was proven with the star kids, even though not that much as it has done with Bollywood. At least in the case of Malayalam movie industry, the sons and daughters can act, and often even excel in what they do, a case which have made the industry rise above the usual brainless acts of Bollywood. Kalyani is no exception either, as she nails her emotional and funny moments. Often reminding one of Bhagyalakshmi Prabhu who plays Meenakshi in Thatteem Mutteem especially with KPAC Lalitha around, she gets to be perfectly fit in this family feel-good stuff.

How it finishes :: Anoop Sathyan, son of the veteran film director Sathyan Anthikad is at the helm of this movie. He is known to have served as assistant director at Malayalam film industry and have also directed independent documentaries. There is a certain Sathyan Anthikad touch that can be seen in this movie, and the same can’t be denied, especially in a feel-good movie directed by his son. It is just with the setting that the difference can be seen – otherwise the model is more or less the same. A shift from the village to the city can be felt more, as it is a change from a very rural setting to a very urban metro setting. But the characters are shown in a simple and lovable manner as we have seen in those rural settings, which make this movie a fine watch for the family audience. There is no question about what the one clean family movie can be, with a modern setting.

Release date: 7th February 2020
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Anoop Sathyan
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Shobana, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Dulquer Salmaan, Urvashi, Lalu Alex, KPAC Lalitha, Johny Antony, Siju Wilson, Major Ravi, Sarvajith Santosh, Meera Krishnan, Sreeja Ravi, Rahul Rajasekharan, Wafa Khatheeja Rahman, Krishna Chandran A Nair, Vidya Menon, Aravind Venugopal, Theni Murugan, K Gopal, Nalsen K Gafoor, Lal Jose (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.