Lal Bahadur Shastri

lalBS (2)

Vampire Owl :: You are going to watch another historical movie?

Vampire Bat :: No, this isn’t about India’s second Prime Minister.

Vampire Owl :: So, there is not even a Chief Minister in this one?

Vampire Bat :: No, not even an MLA. Its like Bal Gangadhar Tilak consists of Balan, Gangadharan and Thilakan; remember that old joke? So, this one should have Lal, Bahadhur and Shastri.

Vampire Owl :: Disrespectful indeed. I am not watching this.

Vampire Bat :: You have always been looking for an opportunity not to watch a Malayalam movie. So, that is a lame excuse.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I need this excuse. You sit in there to study, and with the points noted down in the mind, you write them down as reviews. May be someone will valuate it someday and give you a job. Then, I can try not to be distracted and spend the rest of my life not watching movies and always planning to owlify the world.

Vampire Bat :: You don’t need more feel-good?

Vampire Owl :: No, such movies are too cute, plus I need feel-bad or feel-evil. I quit – may be until weekend.

Vampire Bat :: Take the route through the cemetery. Your zombie team is resting there counting the bones. You never really pay them for the work.

[Gets the ticket].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of three strangers, whose paths cross on an eventful day in the city of Cochin. All of them are from around Aleppey and meeting each other at Cochin. Lal (Jayasurya) is a simple man with a good heart, still looking for a job at the age around thirty, and travels to the city for the same reason. He is the one who acts as the narrator at times too. Bahadhur (Nedumudi Venu), a former panchayat president, is an alcohol addict with a weakness for women, but spends his time without bothering others. He goes to the city to visit his fellow alcoholic friend who is in the hospital. Shastri (Aju Varghese) is a young man in the farming field who has his own problems in life. He is in the city to get some of his papers passed from the agricultural office. The next significant character who arrives at the same city is Thaara (Sandra Simon) who works as a nurse at a hospital there. A lot of incidents happen following an accident, and by the interval, things get to revolve around a lottery ticket which becomes the major factor in solving all the problems.

The defence of Lal Bahadur Shastri :: Lal Bahadur Shastri makes its entrance into the feel-good genre and make it work. With its simple characters who are like those among the audience, the movie progresses in an interesting way, and keeps the audience interested. Never losing its flow, there is no boring moment here, even as this movie is more of a drama than anything else. The joints of the stories all also nicely done, and the characters fit in there quite nicely, with situations well managed. There are also some heart-touching moments, as the movie successfully manages its emotional side with the needed ingredients, and this achievement also has its cast to thank. The humour is also good, even as more could have been included. There is only hundred percent decent comedy in this one making it an even better choice for the family audience. There is also a light tone running throughout the movie, never letting things go out of control into the darker shades.

Claws of flaw :: Lal Bahadur Shastri follows a predictable path, even as there are little twists here and there. This idea of having different characters crossing their paths on one big day on a big city has been tried on a lot of occasions, including the critically acclaimed Traffic, its successor Friday, and even in Money Rathnam up-to an extent. The beginning is also kind of unnecessary showing Jayasurya’s character grow up – there was never a need, and is of no value to the story. The plot is not thick, as it depends too much on the creation of confusions, and the “just missed” moments which are recreated to bring the needed effects on the story-line. The scope for humour is not fully utilized, especially with Aju Varghese there (his character even talks about having twins nicely reflecting his real self to bring some nice humour). Those who don’t want to watch another feel-good movie with nice morality elements can skip this movie too.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya comes up with a controlled show here, as a character which has worked so well for him, like in Janapriyan and Apothecary; the good and simple man from the village has never been a role which was supposed to challenge someone like him who has been proving his versatility for sometime. Nedumudi Venu has a role similar to what he did in North 24 Kaatham, but here it is a character with more flaws. Aju Varghese is once again doing his job, but this one has less comic scenes for him. Sandra Simon has a very good presence in this movie, even as there is not much here to test her – but does well and lets welcome her to the Malayalam movie industry, wishing her best of luck for the future in this field. One would wonder if there is a show stealer in this movie, and it is Master Minon, who won the National and State film awards for the best child artist with his performance in 101 Chodyangal – when we think that the movie is going to be about the three main characters, this kid comes up in the second half, taking his simple first half presence to a new level. Kavitha Nair’s small role is very much notable too. We can also see Noby, Mala and Lakshmipriya in shorter, but memorable comedy roles.

Soul exploration :: The movie focuses on good people and how they are rewarded, despite going through troubles. It has the message that goodness will rarely go unnoticed, and this movie has so many things which seem to work against the reward, but it finally finds the way. There is also an assertion on the need to do the right thing when the time comes, not thinking about the benefits. If the divine will is on your favour, or may be if destiny is awaitings, good things tend to happen. It is a reassuring message given into a world of chaos, in a society where people rarely care about the other, and there are doubts about any divine intervention and the value for karma. This is why Lal Bahadur Shastri is a good effort, and at at time it is cool to be evil, when being good is not considered the fashion, this movie tells the viewers that it is to be done because it is the right thing. Well, how many people think about the same? The only thing people and media care about are things like people who want to kiss, people who want to watch kiss and people who want to stop kiss – when focus should be on something good or productive.

How it finishes :: Lal Bahadur Shastri is strong in the theatres due to the presence of Jayasurya and Aju Varghese. It is actually present in more theatres than one might have expected it to. A major problem should be with its name though, as it is almost impossible to feel that a movie with such a name would be interesting – no creativity in there; otherwise why would someone choose the name of a former Prime Minister of India, and there is the joke which is years old, taking Lal, Bahadhur and Shastri as three names which seems to have influenced the title. Are we short of good titles, and does it seem that each and everyone of them are used? I wouldn’t think so. Nevertheless, Lal Bahadur Shastri has enough power to impress the family audience, and anybody who wishes to have some feel-good experience will surely try to give this one a chance. That should be where this movie should be targetting and winning its battle in the process.

Release date: 21st November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Rejishh Midhila
Starring: Jayasurya, Nedumudi Venu, Aju Varghese, Sandra Simon, Kavitha Nair, Adwaith Jayasurya, Lakshmipriya, Aiswarya Nath, Nandhu, Mala Aravindan, Master Minon, Noby Marcose

lalBS!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Asha Black

ashablack (1)

Vampire Owl :: Is she the sister of Jacob Black?

Vampire Bat :: Absolutely not.

Vampire Owl :: Then, is she related to Sirius Black?

Vampire Bat :: I ponder over why you ponder over the name of a movie without making any sense at all. Note the double pondering – you know it is injurious to our vampire brains when not fed enough.

Vampire Owl :: It is because I have become very smart after successfully resisting the urge to watch Bang Bang! – they tried, but I was mentally “owl strong”.

Vampire Bat :: “Owl strong”? What does that even mean? I think that it is racist. I even think that you mentioning black is racist. See, vampire bats are black and you vampire owl is white.

Vampire Owl :: But you are not even brown enough. You should stand under the sun and do the “sun fall on my head” incantation to be even close to be black.

Vampire Bat :: Dude, Fair & Lovely usage among bats is increasing. Soon, they will have white vampire bats. It is all due to seeing the face of Yami Gautam on television during that fairness cream ad and getting addicted.

Vampire Owl :: Holy vampire dragon! White vampire bats? You will look like that cute little white bat from Honduras! Yuck! These fairness creams truly are the greatest brand ambassadors of racism.

Vampire Bat :: Well, can we just call the movie by its Tamil name, Nee Naan Nizhal?

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: We see that there is a series of murders of unrelated men happening in Kuala Lumpur, and the Malaysian police are hoping to find a solution to the same as soon as possible, as the dead are all Indians, and people might soon end up calling it a racist hate crime and would affect the tourism a lot. The man in charge of the investigation is the Assistant Superintendent of Police Anwar Ali (Sarath Kumar), a Tamil Malaysian with a fine track record, and he finds out that these dead people had one common friend with whom they chatted – Asha Black. The other story is about Rohit (Arjun Lal) who is working with a music troupe consisting of his best friends, and is highly attracted to one girl with the nickname Asha Black (Ishita) who sends him a friend request and chats with him so often. As he seems to have almost no interest in his life in India any more, his friends ask him to go to Malaysia and meet the girl of his dreams rather than ruining his life in dreams. But as he reaches Malaysia, he understands more about the girl, and also what all happens around here, and it changes his life.

The defence of Asha Black :: The movie takes charge of a social message here, and it is a bold step by a director doing his first movie. There is complete and absolutely clear success in the way the social message is given to the audience here. The movie’s change from a romantic drama to a dark thriller is also easier, as the somewhat parallel narratives are used a lot in this movie, and this darkness is something that we are perfectly aware of right from the beginning. The way in which certain cartoon-like style is adapted for telling flashback of the mysterious girl is nicely done, and unlike a few other movies which used the same, it works here a lot better as the detail of the illustrations is nice and realistic to the characters. The cinematography is nice, and the theme of the movie has been given a lot of care as it never forgets what it is planning to do with its message, and even as there are things lost, this message is not among them. The characterization also doesn’t falter, and even as some people will question a few characters, I would say that they are the best like that. It even deals with the sensitive stuff like porn and paedophilia without going to the extremes.

The claws of flaw :: The message takes over the movie and becomes better than the movie itself – even as that would mean that the message is better conveyed, it degrades the movie as the work that it is, and sometimes message demands even more from the movie, and thus some scenes are created for further support to the message which gets better in the expense of the visual medium. Yes, that makes the movie slower and having more sequences than it should have, and those which involve our hero’s chat love story is rather too stretched, and the addition of songs doesn’t help much there. The thriller effect goes for a walk there and rarely comes back, as this becomes that drama with a small romantic side. There is a certain slowness rising now and then, even as I wouldn’t go on to call that a drag, as might be necessary to make the end much more effective with an extra emotional touch. The search for Asha Black should have been more detailed and so should have been the investigation, and the mystery around her should have been revealed in a more beautiful and yet emotional way. This could have been more interesting as a movie, no doubt.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has Arjun Lal of Thanmathra fame as the hero, or rather the romantic star of this movie, and he has done a good job, especially in the second half as he challenges more than one thing. There is a long path ahead of him, and this is just a start; a good one. Manoj K. Jayan is good as usual in yet another supporting role here as the man who helps our hero in his quest. Isthita has limited things to do as Asha other than being the symbol which is Asha Black, and she also has done enough. I did wish that Bhagath Manuel had a bigger role, and also had better lines. Sarath Kumar is nicely in control of his role, even as the investigation sequences had more power rather than just moving along. Kottayam Nazeer doesn’t really have his usual funny elements working in this one, and it is a disappointment. Overall, I would say that the performances are neat, but not much to cheer for there. There could have been more, but this is still quite satisfactory.

Soul exploration :: Some people might think that this movie is more of a seminar, but never in any moment that this movie directly goes to that level. What it has is its titular character Asha Black whose profile name completely reflects the darker side of the life that she is forced into, with incidents during her childhood and the lack of care from her parents. At the same time, we see a few others who choose that path because of being part of that generation which doesn’t care for their parents. Belonging to the former group and without hope, Asha Black is the symbol of the youth who are on a darker path due to circumstances, and as online world becomes more of a relief for them, what had followed them in real life comes to them there too, and just like lightning striking with all its speed and might, destroys the whole thing. It is the “black” areas of the internet that the movie focuses on along with the evils paedophilia and porn, and the tale is that of the innocent who is caught in a dilemma with asha or hope to be loved. Its message is powerful, emotional and worthy of being watched by families who don’t care for their kids or fails to watch their actions and instruct them. They are preyed upon by the shades of technology – take care of them!

How it finishes :: Asha Black is not everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t have the flavour that everyone would want to put in their tea, and the result is a possibility of liking or not liking this movie, but nobody can challenge the power of its message which is strong as well as relevant. Coming from a debutante director, it is indeed a wonderful effort, as the movie seems to have tried with all its heart to send the right message to its audience which should hopefully consist of the family, especially the parents and the teenage children. This movie, just like Mummy & Me is a need of the age, and even as this can’t considered that good as that Jeethu Jospeph movie, the message is even stronger in this one. It does have mostly positive and mixed opinions from the audience, but not that much from critics for whom this is just negative or almost mixed, and lets hope that this movie does good enough – it has disappeared from some theatres, and I had to travel far to catch it; hope it stays where it is now, for at least one more week, because it deserves it, and it is out duty appreciate such works for the effort itself its Tamil version is also there, as Nee Naan Nizhal.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: John Robinson
Starring: Arjun Lal, Bhagath Manuel, Sarath Kumar, Manoj K Jayan, Ishita, Devan, Lakshmipriya, Kottayam Nazeer, Riza Bawa

ashablack

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.