Naradan

Vampire Owl: I am glad to find this one finally coming to the OTT.

Vampire Bat: Yes, especially as it is on Amazon Prime Video.

Vampire Owl: With Minnal Murali on Netflix, Tovino has risen to be an even bigger star.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we don’t really need the local theatre stars anymore.

Vampire Owl: It has always been difficult to watch the superstar movies in theatre.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that the corona virus changed that up to an extent.

Vampire Owl: There are too many things that the virus has changed.

Vampire Bat: Smarter movies getting better appreciation all around India through OTT should surely be one of them.

Vampire Owl: Let there be more skills displayed in films.

Vampire Bat: It is all about watching the right movie and avoiding the others. In the case of some movies, we know that they are to be avoided, whatever happens.

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

What is the movie about? :: Fr Daniel Purambokkil (Jaffer Idukki) is an activist who provides sensational news for the media while trying to help the poor people in need. He is a regular part of the telvision channel talks. Chandraprakash (Tovino Thomas) is one of those new age journalist who wishes to do those kind of stories which increases the rating of his channel – he is always forced to take it to another level by the channel, News Malayalam, but decides to keep it going naturally as he has been doing for quite a long time. Pradeep John (Sharafudheen) is part of a less popular channel, Vartha 24 X 7, and manages to come up with sone interviews to improve its viewership all of a sudden. Shivadas Kurup (Joy Mathew), Chief Editor of News Malayalam is not happy about the viewers choosing another channel instead of them who have better infrastructure and has had a bigger audience throughout history. Vartha 24 X 7 seems to get debates based on maoists and related news which would bring more of the audience into interest.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Pradeep John joins News Malayalam, much to the dismay of Chandraprakash, who feels that he has been sidelined by a new person who gets the same position and salary, along with better options to excel in the media field. Babuji (Vijayaradhavan) who has different special interests in politics and business comes up with an idea to make the best use of this particular opportunity. With his business partners, he plans to start a news channel which can attract the best revenue options from advertisers. Chandraprakash who is now known as CP, begins the channel with a big news related to Thomman Varghese (Kunchan), the Minister of Finance. The minister accused of being part of a sex scandal, and is forced to resign. Despite the best attempts of News Malayalam, it soon losses the number one spot among news channels. Narada News goes through the paths less taken – it is basically without moral principles as the focus is only one being the number one; where does that lead CP and his team?

The defence of Naradan :: The journalism that goes too hungry for TRP gets a dose here, as that side has been explored without any second thoughts to go with it – with a better ending, things could have been more in the movie’s favour. When Swantham Lekhakan released in 2009, this was a lot more relevant, and when Run Baby Run came into the picture in 2012 and Love 24×7 released in 2015, it continued to stay relevant – despite the YouTube channels gaining a little too many viewers, this one manages to establish the TRP hunt well, thanks to the leading performance from Tovino Thomas. There are some interesting moments related to the field, and we are all taken to this particular world from the beginning itself. One can also find some relations to incidents which happened in real life, but with the corona virus pandemic after that Jio revolution, things seem to have changed even further. Still, one would agree to the fact that news is not to be made for emotions, but discovered for the truth that it happens to be. Maybe, the movie would have been more relevant, releasing a few years ago.

The claws of flaw :: The problem with Naradan is that despite keeping on showing the mirror to media as a whole, it doesn’t show the same with the Youtube channels which do the same – except for a very few channels of high quality, there has been the lack of truth in Youtube, a case which will affect the common man’s senses more than the usual television channels, as the Jio revolution has made sure that anyone can say anything in the name of video blogging or vlogging. Unlike the usual media, the control is so much less there. The ending of Naradan is also not that convincing – there is a certain lack of power around there too. There could have also been a better show of the fight between the channels. In movies like this one, emotional side is also important, but the same doesn’t get to rise in its level either. The movie could have been strong with its pillars, but it decides to just go on without setting the base, which is why it seems to come down with its score here and there – the strong foundation is surely missing around here, along with the overall quality being low.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas once again comes up with some excellence here, but his role should have been closer to what he had played in Kaanekkaane instead of coming up with that change all of a sudden. Forensic had him in the thrillers, but Naradan has him with the negative side effectively. Anna Ben has a short period of time to perform here, even though the Kumbalangi Nights, Sara’s and Helen star remains solid during those moments – a better finish would have helped her cause more though. Vijayaraghavan and Joy Mathew have those smaller, but effective roles, even though they should have been there for more. Sharafudheen’s controlled role is really good. Balachandran Chullikkad and Jayaraj Warrier also have those smaller, but notable roles, which could have been expanded too – they just seem to disappear in between. Jaffer Idukki comes up with another role of a priest after Bro Daddy, and that seems to work really well for him. Renji Panicker and Lukman Avaran makes some good lawyers here too.

How it finishes :: Naradan would have been more effective if it came a few years earlier – the media that we know has been replaced by YouTube these days, and the common man seems to believe what is seen on the internet more than the television channels, and with so many such content in YouTube, the real Narada News would be one of the online channels. We do see so many channels which contradict with the news that they come up with, and we have also seen so many fights going on between these people. One would keep wondering where the truth lies with these channels, as there seems to be not much which can be trusted in the online world of chaos with social media being in the front to spread such news – Whatsapp universities and Facebook colleges do that more than anything else, but that is one blame which the films forgets with convenience, but we find some truth and engaging moments here. This is also not an easy task to deal with this topic, but the director of some of my favourite films like Rani Padmini, Mayaanadhi and Virus could have surely done better.

Release date: 3rd March 2022 (Theatre); 8th April 2022 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Anna Ben, Joy Mathew, Vijayaraghavan, Sharafudheen, Balachandran Chullikkad, Raghunath Paleri, Jayaraj Warrier, Kunchan, Rafi, Dileesh Nair, Rajesh Madhavan, Indrans, Lukman Avaran, Jaffer Idukki, Renki Panicker, Vijaykumar Prabhakaran, Koottickal Jayachandran, Navas Vallikkunnu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drishyam

drishyam!

The vision right here :: Translated as “The Sight” or may be as “The Visual”, and produced by Antony Perumbavoor under Aashirvad Cinemas, Drishyam is that movie which gave me big trouble in writing the title in English; whether it was Dryshyam, Dhryshyam or Dhrysyam with a lot of variations replacing one “y” or the other with “i” or both with “i”. But about the decision to watch the movie, there was absolutely no doubt. This movie released on a Thursday, a day before the flow of the weekend movies started, and had already come up with good reviews from both the critics and the audience. There was absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t watch this movie, as there were so many people asking about why I haven’t watched this movie, and I decided to book a the tickets, and there was never a better decision in the recent times, as the tickets for the movie was sold out everywhere in a flash, and much faster than Dhoom 3 – its trailer had said that the year would end with a “dhoom”, and now we know that they were talking about Drishyam, and not on some weird movie with strange characters doing stupid things on motor-bikes.

What is it about? :: Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is an orphan who has studied only till standard four, and Rani (Meena) is his wife, a simple woman who failed in standard ten. They have two daughters, Anju (Ansiba) and Anu (Esther Anil) and are leading a happy life in a village background. Georgekutty is a simple farmer who runs the business of a cable television business named after his wife along with being a farmer; he is loved by most of the people of the village has the image of a nice, innocent man. Still, he doesn’t back away from having opinions about most of the things of the world, which makes him the enemy of Sahadevan (Kalabhavan Shajon), a local cop. But as a simple incident changes their life, they are forced to prepare for the worst, and save their family together, as the common man who lags in education decides to take on the law which comes after them. Will they succeed in their mission or will the family break apart due to the power of external force lead by the Inspector General herself? Anything more said about the movie is rather giving away too much, and the rest is to be seen.

The defence of Drishyam :: Here is another thriller on the cards, after having Mumbai Police and Memories this year gaining critical acclaim as well good box-office collections. The thriller genre is indeed gaining the support of the audience, and even Up and Down: Mukalil Oralundu and Silence had enough of the average stuff inside them. Memories might still be the best investigative thriller this year for every one, as long as this one categorizes under a family thriller. The movie’s first half is a full family drama with light shades until the one major incident that happens just before the end of the half, taking the tension into the space after interval. There is the simple life of ordinary people close to nature portrayed throughout, something which is of goodness and dedication. The second half brings the thrilling twist to the world as the darker shade creeps in under the disguise of law. There is so much brilliance and beauty in the way the story is told, especially in the second half. There is the mixing of the right features that make this one a movie for more than one kind of person.

Positives and negatives :: We are indeed caught in that world of uncertainty which no real assurance of what is to happen next, as an illiterate village guy takes on the educated smart people, but still there might be a little dragging in the first half, and it is just after the interval that the movie actually takes off as it is. The songs are just ordinary, but the performances are top class. The first half does have some ineffective jokes, and there is too much coming from a man who learns how to beat the police with the help of movies. You can actually come up with the need for disbelief, but considering the world that we love in, nothing is impossible, and as the demonic Overlord would say, evil always finds a way. Power and influence always got the upper-hand, and when the common man fights for his family and his world, it is always something that inspires millions. As George Orwell will give us through his Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. That should be another reference to the 2009 movie Ividam Swargamanu, which itself is mentioned in this movie as our hero goes to work on his land. Let’s add that this one is more emotionally touching and less complicated than that one.

Performers of the soul :: There are many directors who might have the best records for many, but for Jeethu Joseph, it is a perfect record when I look at it, with the most interesting thriller of a decade Detective, the best family drama of its age Mummy & Me, the funniest movie of last year My Boss and the best investigative thriller of this year, Memories – there is his perfect record, none of the movies deserves below 80/100 in my opinion. Even with the lesser number of movies, he is already among the best, no doubt about that. Mohanlal is back with a role where he perfectly fits in, reminding us of his performance in Ividam Swargamanu, or rather a role which is even more worthy of being loved – once again the farmer who fights for his small world. There is no longer a hero who transforms into a superhero who beats up the opponents, and he excels as the common man. It is good to see Meena back opposite Mohanlal after Chandrolsavam (2007) and the performance of Kalabhavan Shajon in a negative role is worth mentioning. Asha Sharath also remains strong throughout her presence. Meanwhile, the kids are just brilliant, and they are strong pillars of this movie – I hope that they will stay for long.

Soul exploration :: In its soul, Drishyam is more or less Ividam Swargamanu, even if not so in the presentation as well as the genre. The two characters instantly likable, and we are on their side right from the beginning to the end. Here Mohanlal plays Georgekutty who fights the law for his family in the place of Mathews who fights the law for his land. Both are quite innocent characters who are looking to save their respective worlds. Both movies have the protagonists who are not that educated common men who are on the back-foot most of the time. But this movie has the whole thing more under the control of the protagonist, and the external help he receives is much less. There is no law being used in the favour of him, but there is surely the appropriate use of media. Georgekutty is better planned, all by himself throughout the movie, and even as he suffers more, right from the beginning to the end, everything has been under his control. There is no real corruption in this movie, but there is just power and influence which troubles the common man. The end is indeed a very good, and not without the twist that was needed.

How it finishes :: Drishyam is indeed the winner of the weekend and the movie of Christmas. The movie is in many ways the triumph of goodness when placed against all kinds of problems. There is always evil and sin which often takes many forms and can sometimes rise above the law, and all that decisions belong to the fine thread that fate has woven for each man and woman unless Grimm Reaper decides to cut that thread with his scythe. But the movie ends up as the victory of the common man in his ability to do the right thing. The movie also asserts that there is nothing like family. The real immediate world is family, and without love and mutual co-operation, there is no such world in reality. We do not live for the moment or anything, as we live for the world, which is family – and most of us might have troubles with our blood, but none of them can stand the power of time, and problems and our struggles bring us together. It is never too late to find our little world as well as our role in it. Drishyam is the visualization of the struggle of a common man for the family, and there is brilliance in store.

Release date: 19th December 2013
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Kalabhavan Shajon, Siddique, Asha Sharath, Ansiba, Esther Anil, Roshan Basheer, Koottickal Jayachandran, Neeraj Madhav, Irshad, Kunchan, Antony Perumbavoor

drishyam copy

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezhamathe Varavu

ezhamathevaravv

Do you have nostalgia about the old Malayalam movies or do you feel nostalgic very often and feels that the Malayalam movies have degraded a lot and the effect of the new generation movies has not been that good? Do you feel that Malayalam movies should go back and be inspired from a former golden age of movie history or at least appreciate that age which was undoubtedly a memorable one? If the answer of these questions is yes, this is a movie you should watch and this is a review you should read. Otherwise, I would suggest that you return to what you were doing before falling into this ocean of nostalgia instead of poking your nose at a place which is not good for the kind of move loving soul which you have. The movie hasn’t done that well as it should have, and it reveals the lack of nostalgia around or rather the inability to sell this nostalgic feeling due to that horrible change which the audience has undergone with the rise of new generation movies and that mindless entertainer power which has cast a shadow on the beautiful woods of nostalgia. If you haven’t left this page yet, I suggest you reclaim it with this movie.

The film’s script which was written by M. T. Vasudevan Nair in the 1970s and was filmed by Hariharan himself with Sukumaran playing the role of the major antagonist, a role which has been passed on to his son with this new version. But as we have heard about it, the older version of the movie didn’t get released. So this remake of the Sukumaran-Venu Nagavally starrer Evideyo Oru Shatru has Indrajith-Vineeth combination instead. The movie might seem a little bit old generation for the liking of most of the people, but one thing that most of the viewers have to keep in mind is that in spite of all the changes that has come upon the world, may be with laptops, mobiles and tablets taking over what was to be their absence, the environment remains the same. The story of the subaltern undergoes no significant change as a whole, no matter how much the man can claim to have improved and changed their attitude towards their fellow beings. Another thing is that there will always be something in this world that humanity shall never understand, and it is supernatural, either divine or devilish.

But the movie doesn’t follow the path of the older movies with exaggeration or overdose of any element. Yes, there is one good man who comes into a forest with tribals around, and finds his former lover as the wife of the evil man who has control over the lands; and he tries to protect both a young tribal girl as well as the environment from the eyes of the man-devil – a plot which has been used for ages. In this remake, there is a certain amount of realism which has been added for sure, and even during this age of disgusting relationships, the plot remains striking enough. All of the characters are simple ones who doesn’t make a big mess around. None of them try to be heroic and try something which is too unexpected of them, and they stick to the stereotypes of the earlier ages, but carries over the impact which they would have created at that time, to this age which has no fixed quality in its movies. Hariharan and M T Vasudevan Nair have indeed created another beauty in the form of Ezhamathe Varavu, literally translated as The Seventh Coming and not to be confused with the Tamil movie Ezham Arivu.

Our story follows the path of an archeologist, Prasad (Vineeth) who has reached the forests of Wayanad, in an attempt to find the remains of a kingdom which is supposed to have existed in the area which now stands in the wilderness. As he tries to find helpers for the cause, he comes across a simple and innocent tribal girl Maala (Kavitha Nair) who helps him with the forest and its people. He lives in the mansion of Gopi (Indrajith Sukumaran) a rich planter and land owner of the area. Gopi is a wife-beating ego-maniac, heavy drinker, womaniser and a self-proclaimed expert in hunting. He is ruthless in getting what he wants, and always look forward to asserting his wishes on others. He also comes across his former lover Bhanu (Bhavana) who is married to the same man, but has turned out as an alcoholic due to his behaviour towards her. Meanwhile, a tiger makes frequent visits to the tribal village, claiming people during regular intervals. Gopi sets out to kill the animal for the thrills along with having his eyes set on Mala, while Bhanu gets closer to Prasad. But the tiger seems to succeed more despite of the efforts of Gopi and the villagers. What happens next shall end a few lives and change the others.

Indrajith Sukumaran plays the antagonist of the movie, and still wins the round for souls with another performance of brilliance which he carries over from his awesomeness in the movie Left Right Left. To be frank, he is the biggest reason why we had rushed to the theatre despite the number of shows being reduced to one. He portrays that dark shade of a hunter, a predator of no regret with such beauty that one would begin to wonder if anything could be worth missing watching such villainy. Vineeth plays the exact opposite, the side of the light, as the man who decided to give up his love for her own good, along with loving poetry as well as the symphony of the forest along with history. He seems to be in a familiar territory, as he progresses which ease, as a model archaeologist, a great lover of history and a big admirer of poems. Bhavana plays her character with ease and a certain amount of serenity, but Kavitha Nair has more screen presence as the symbol of innocence, the beautiful tribal girl whom the landlord has his eyes set on. The simplicity and the innocence of the newcomer’s portrayal of the girl is sure to have a long lasting influence on the viewers.

There is also the presence of some beautiful music, as we go back in time to the love story of Prasad and Bhanu, but the more touching one would be the song by Maala who is portrayed on screen by Kavitha Nair with such lack of blemish and so much of simple innocence that there is an instant liking that the audience develops with the character. As she is ravished by the predator of the human world and the revenge is half-done, the rest is taken over by the nature, or the symbol of the tribal beliefs or rather the vehicle of the Goddess whichever way the poetic justice prevails, more in a divine manner rather than anything else. If there is an outdated feeling at any point, the more appropriate word would be antiquity, and deserving an excavation as well as a mind which supports the same. What everyone can be sure about is that the evil is punished, and even in the suffering, the good finally survives, may be to thrive later. The possible pessimism which could have fallen into this movie is averted due to the use of the old formula, as the thrills, love as well as the vengeance is well balanced and well thrown on screen.

The movie’s hold on traditions, customs as well as the beliefs is also worth mentioning, as we wonder what the tiger actually depict, as William Blake had written as a part of his collection Songs of Experience in 1794; “Tiger, tiger, burning bright, In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies, Burnt the fire of thine eyes”? Yes, we are talking about the visual experience here, for the vision of the burning eyes of the tiger in the darkness comes before the first display of the majestic creature. It is the creature which delivers the final judgement, from the nature itself, for the man who loved nature and the woman who was part of nature. So that adds to this visually superior movie which you can blame for having a predictable plot, and for lacking in mass masala qualities. You can cry about it dragging a bit. But you can never avoid this one, and let me tell you one thing, that this is still a faster movie than Annayum Rasoolum by kilometres and kilometres. Think about it – nostalgia; don’t you need it more than a little?

Release date: 15th September 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Hariharan
Starring: Vineeth, Indrajith Sukumaran, Bhavana, Kavitha Nair, Mamukkoya, Nandhu, Suresh Krishna, Koottickal Jayachandran, Captain Raju

ezhamathevaravuu copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.