Nizhal

What is the movie about? :: John Baby (Kunchacko Boban), a district court judge gets into a car accident after being in a fight with rash bike rider. After the accident, he begins to see things, and when there is sunshine, he keeps seeing dark clouds and rain. His psychatrist Dr TP Basheer (Rajesh Hebbar) tells him that it is just post-traumatic stress which will be over in a few days. He is also forced to wear a mask to make sure his damaged nose wouldn’t suffer any more damage, and will stay stable. He is not able to continue with his job as he used to, and his senior, Ajith Kumar (Saiju Kurup) is doubtful about his mental status. His best friend Rajan (Rony David) and wife Shalini (Divya Prabha) helps him, as latter is also a psychologist. From Shalini, he gets to know about a boy named Nitin (Izin Hash) who had written a story of murder when teachers had told the students to do some creative writing exercise. The teachers are concerned because as a child, he was supposed to write about things less terrifying by a long way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As this has him interested, he meets Sharmila (Nayanthara) the boy’s mother with the help of Shalini so that he could get rid of the feeling that something is wrong. Even though she doesn’t agree in the beginning, she lets them into their home fearing the police getting into the act. Nitin seems to be a happy little boy who lives with his mother in a luxurious flat in the middle of the city, and his only contact is Megha (Aadya Prasad), a college student who comes regularly to teach him, and is his only real friend. Nitin gets close to John easily, especially due to his mask which reminded him about Batman and Robin. Soon, things take a turn, as they understand that the murder which the boy had talked about, is something which had really happened. The body which was supposed to be hidden in the area which he mentioned actually existed, as they fnd a skeleton which was about thirty years old. Now, the boy has another story, and things begin to get serious with police involved.

The defence of Nizhal :: There is a certain amount of quality that we can witness as far as b is considered as a mystery thriller – this is the style which some of the Prithviraj movies had possessed, those belonging to the same genre. The technical department is quite strong here, and we see some fine visuals and the background score as well as the other sound effects are of top quality. The mystery is well maintained throughout the film, and there is the suspense which is not revealed that easily. The movie, as a thing of mystery has that Hollywood touch in different areas. It never lets the slowing down of the tale to hurt it, because there is the artistic quality which makes everything feel relevant and running. The first half is surely better than the second, and the interval punch is of top quality, as it is where you get your expectations to the highest point. From there, the movie travels through the safer zone in comparison.

The claws of flaw :: The climax could have surely been better, instead of seemingly taking everything towards what seemed to be a rather convenient ending – not really appropriate for a movie which had taken itself out of the comfort zone in the early stages making one feel that this was going to be something divergent beyond expectations. There are also those situations which could have been more twisted than what is seen on the screen, and moments when it could have taken a big leap. We could have also seen better reasons for what has happened on the screen, but that is also not here to be taken. The comic relief, even though is pretty good, disappears too soon, and the seriousness is not transformed into that next level as it was needed, when we see the final moments of the film. One can’t really blame that as the biggest mystery and fear has been about the Corona virus for some time now. The movie also needed better advertising because there are still people who don’t know about this one.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has been winning with his thriller movies, from Anjaam Pathiraa to Nayattu, the first one being an investigation thriller and the second one being a survival thriller against all odds. With all these movies, it is clear that he is getting rid of that romantic hero image once again, as this works really well for him. I would expect to find many more of similar movies with him in the lead, as we see how well this has suited him. After Love Action Drama, Nayanthara makes another return to Malayalam cinema, and this time it is into another genre, even though this time, we don’t have the whole thing centered around her – there is no real romantic side to this tale, and it is indeed a positive thing in a mystery thriller based on murders. Her character is also limited in comparison, and maybe it could have had more dimensions rather than being important as the mother of child causing trouble.

Further performers of the soul :: Izin Hash who plays the kid does the usual job quite well too. Saiju Kurup does things well in a role which suits him. Lal makes an appearance in the end, and it is the kind of role, though significant, stays on for the last fifteen minutes or so. Maybe, he could have had something to do earlier in the film too, and that would have made the whole thing better. Rony David who is best remembered for Aanandam, plays a significant role here too, and Divya Prabha who were among the nurse characters in Take Off has a nice role here, as a child psychologist, which she does to perfection – another case of finding the right support cast. We also see Marimayam‘s Vinod Kovoor and Star Magic‘s Kollam Sudhi in smaller roles, and we can hope for more of them later too. Among others, Aadhya Prasad seemed to be a notable newcomer, and we can find out that the lesser roles are given to those who are suitable for the job.

How it finishes :: Nizhal is the latest in the list of those Malayalam movies which were forced out of the theatres due to the COVID-19 complete lock-down being brought on the state. It is a fine choice, as nothing reaches viewers like Amazon Prime. After Drishyam 2 became a huge success and Joji received some high level critical opinion, it was already too late for a movie like this to have its release in the OTT platform. So, finally it arrived, and one can be sure not to be disappointed with this mystery thriller, as it is more than the usual mysteries which you see everywhere. It was also nice to see parts of UC College, Aluva being included in parts of the movie – the college had its biggest appearance in Premam, but here also, we are happy to see that grand educational institution which only recently completed one hundred years since its beginning. Nizhal, as a mystery thriller wins its battle, and lets hope that we win ours against COVID-19 too. Stay safe, everyone.

Release date: 9th April 2021 (Theatre), 11th May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Appu N Bhattathiri
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Nayanthara, Lal, Rony David, Saiju Kurup, Izin Hash, Divya Prabha, Vinod Kovoor, Aneesh Gopal, Siyad Yadu, Sadiq, Aadhya Prasad, Rajesh Hebbar, Kollam Sudhi, Sreelatha Namboothiri

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Anveshanam

What is the movie about? :: Aravind (Jayasurya) and Kavitha (Sruthy Ramachandran) are living a happy life in one of those skyscrapers of the city with their two children. Their family seems to be the one perfect world, as their neighbour and close family friend Dr. Gowtham (Vijay Babu) says. There is the smell of a fairy-tale happily ever after, all around there. But one day, their son, Ashwin is hospitalized, and he is supposed to have fallen off the stairs of the apartment. It is Gowtham and Kavitha who brings him to the hospital, while Aravind was spending his time alone after a fight in the television channel where he was working. Dr. Ashok (Srikanth Murali) makes no delay in admitting the boy and trying to save his life, but the head nurse, Sony (Lena) has a doubt regarding the marks found on the boy’s body, and she couldn’t stop herself from informing the police.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sony suspects that the boy was brutally beaten, and it was a case of child abuse. As she herself was a victim of abuse as a child, she wastes no time in labeling this one in the same way. Latha (Leona Lishoy) and Alphonse (Nandhu) are the police officers on the case, with the former into a few months of pregnancy. They have a list of suspects starting with Aravind who had left office early without telling anyone, and had also visited his apartment. The descriptions provided by Kavitha and Gowtham also do not match one another. The hospital also seems to neglecting some facts, as the boy finally dies, things get even more complicated. The Dr. Faris (Lal) enters the scene from the side of the police to examine things further, and this complex sequence of events need an explanation before next morning – can it be done?

The defence of Anveshanam :: The movie, as expected, begins well, and brings the idea into focus very soon. There are many chances of interesting guesses to be made, as we know the main characters who are put into a situation in a hospital. We are beginning to suspect too many people, from the father and mother, to the neighbour, from the nurse to the doctor, who are all acting strange, and something fishy is going on there, as the police also begins to suspect. As the unsettling atmosphere is built early, and things begin quickly, there is an interesting journey here towards the interval, from where everything slows down and drags. It is only then that we realize that the movie could have risen further with its theme, but stays with a safe zone to which not many people can connect in the right way. But the performances eclipse the same at most parts.

The claws of flaw :: The movie losses its strength in the second half, as it moves from the investigative suspense thriller to a melodramatic and preachy family piece. It struggles to focus on what could have been its strengths, and ends with confusion, as its final moments did show signs of weariness. The movie had the premise and the idea, while the trailer could nicely create interest in the mind of audience. It is when the idea came on the screen, that it never really got its characters going well enough, even though there are many interesting ones. It couldn’t prove its point either, despite trying to go preachy – it could have at least justified its title and went on with the investigation to find what exactly they were searching for. But the movie by the end, decides to go to the middle of nowhere, and declares it fit to sit in no man’s land with some verbal gun shots all around.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya once again leads the way, and here we have his presence in a thriller, and as a father figure, this calls for a different approach with a mystery needed to be brought to light. He is not The Great Father kind of father who spends time in wearing fancy jackets and beating up people, and we don’t have that kind of an irritating gun loving strange character of a girl here, and that is the first case of relief which we have here. We have loved his ways of solving mysteries in Pretham and Pretham 2, but this one has his character in a crisis rather than the one solving it. The man who is still best remembered for Aadu has one more serious flick for which he will be remembered as the sole lead – other than Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam and a few others. Anjaam Pathiraa had Kunchacko Boban bringing one thing, and Jayasurya here continues that journey through the drama, but at the receiving end.

Further performers of the soul :: Shruti Ramachandran was seen in Sunday Holiday as the earlier love interest of the main character, and also in Pretham where she played ghost who was haunting a beach side resort and looking for revenge. Here, she has a bigger and stronger role to perform and one would remember this even more. Lena also remains strong, but her character stays underdeveloped despite supposed to be having such a trouble past and childhood. Vijay Babu is very good in the emotional sequences, and Leona Lishoy goes through a pretty good run. Lal is there only for what can be termed as an extended cameo. Nandhu also adds well in a pretty good police role. Srikanth Murali plays the doctor well, as he is the one who becomes the centre of attraction as he treats the boy who is supposed to have fallen from the stairs, a case which leads to all the drama.

How it finishes :: After Anjaam Pathiraa, the audience was expecting another top level investigation thriller, but what we see here is an investigation drama, which seems to have some nice ideas, but is not displayed that well on the screen – this could have become better as a short story, like Roald Dahl’s Lamb to the Slaughter, something which had a crime and what followed with the weapon used for murder. But instead, Anveshanam tries to be many things at ones, and also tries to be too preachy in the end – it is what makes this interesting premise struggle as it moves towards the end. Still, the movie is to be watched for how it builds the tension and suspense within limited space, and while being set in a few hours of time, almost sticking to the Aristotlean Unities except for those multiple flashbacks which keep coming.

Release date: 31st January 2020
Running time: 102 minutes
Directed by: Prasobh Vijayan
Starring: Jayasurya, Leona Lishoy, Shruti Ramachandran, Vijay Babu, Lal, Lena, Nandhu, Jai Vishnu, Shaju K S, Srikanth Murali

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Helen

What is the movie about? :: Helen (Anna Ben), a BSc Nursing graduate from Cochin hopes to work and settle in Canada some day. As she attends her English classes during the day, she also works at a fast-food restaurant, Chicken Hub, at Grand Centre Mall. Her father Paul (Lal) is an LIC agent, who doesn’t have much of earnings, and their home itself might be taken over by the bank some day. Even though Paul worked in the Middle East for most of his youth, most of their money was spent for the medical treatment of late Mrs. Paul. Helen hopes to solve all problems by going to Canada and work as a nurse. Until then, she is living a busy life, balancing studies and work. At the same time, he is in love with Azhar (Noble Babu Thomas), a local boy whom she treated when she was working at hospital. She keeps the relationship a secret from most of the people including her father.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: One night, as she lands in the police station, as Azhar who was driving was drunk, Paul comes to know about her daughter’s relationship with the person. SI Ratheesh Kumar (Aju Varghese) of the nearby police station is not someone who is fond of such relationships. The very next day, Azhar has to leave for Chennai to join a new job, and Helen is not ready to talk to him due to the previous night’s incident. Paul is also not talking to her due to the same problem. On the same day, she works longer than usual time, but ends up in the cold storage vault of the shop after the manager Jayashankar (Rony David) locks Chicken Hub. As she had checked out earlier from the shop, everyone thinks that she is no longer there, but she is caught in there at below zero degree celcius with no mobile phone and no way to contact anyone. Now, its all about survival.

The defence of Helen :: Choosing to be among the best movies of the year along with Kumbalangi Nights, Finals, Unda, Virus and Uyare, Helen is one movie that you will love from the beginning to the end. The thrilling moments are created smartly, and the emotional scenes are right up there with the grand impact. The two hour movie never feels long, and we are there to love each and every moment of it. Debutante director Mathukutty Xavier makes sure that everything is impressive about this movie. This fine package also has some nice foreshadowing to go with it – even though the idea was already given in the trailer, in the beginning of the movie, we see an ant falling into an ice cube tray, and getting frozen in water, a situation symbolic of what is to happen to the titular character, as well as a mouse which also gets trapped inside the cold storage.

Positives and negatives :: It can be safely said that nobody has come up with a negative opinion on the movie, and there is nothing in there to inspire one. We see the thrills and the emotions, but what we take home is the feel-good factor, the idea of a beautiful smile for a stranger that we take home. We have watched Hollywood survival thrillers like The Shallows with one lady caught in the sea hunted by a shark and Bollywood survival thrillers like Trapped with one man caught in a partially completed flat with no water, food, electricity or means for communication. The truth that this movie could stand tall at the same level is something that all of us can be proud of. Driven by multiple performances other than focusing only on one person who is in peril, this one makes things even better – the movie is also the most realistic among the flicks of the same type.

The performers of the soul :: Anna Ben, in her second movie after Kumbalangi Nights, come up with a performance that can’t be easily matched by anyone. She shines as the lovable girl next door, father’s sweet child, responsible adult as well as the determined survivor who refuses to give up, despite even the mouse who was with her in the cold storage room deciding not to fight anymore. The way in which she adapts to each and every moment, will have our attention. She is very much believable as the girl who is trying to survive, and the terror of the situation is reflected on her face as her expressions catch our attention. From Babymol of Kumbalangi Nights to Helen, her work has been worth more appreciation than what most of the newcomers gain with many movies, and this seems to be a case of perfect choice of scripts.

Further performers of the soul :: Lal is perfectly suited for the role of the old-fashioned, loving father, the kind of character which seems to suit him more and more every time – remember Njanundukalude Naattil Oru Idavela. Aju Varghese plays a negative character here, and his police officer might be the beginning of more of similar dark shaded characters to come. He was into full comedy in Adhyarathri, Ittymaani: Made in China and Love Action Drama, and all of a sudden, we seem doing a wonderful job in a different role. Noble Babu Thomas who wrote the script also plays the male lead, and leaves a fine mark. He can move into more roles quick enough. Rony David has a role which has him doing very nicely. Vineeth Sreenivasan who is producing a movie a long time after Aanandam can be seen in a cameo which is a nice one.

How it finishes :: Helen is a well-made survival thriller, maybe the best of its kind not just in Malayalam, but also in any Indian language. With limited resources, the movie provides a fine experience, an emotional and thrilling ride, with a strong feel-good factor. Christopher Marlowe in Doctor Faustus called Helen of Troy from Illiad as the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium. Helen of Sparta and later Troy, was someone who started a war with her newfound choice, and here, Helen is someone who would wage a war against a frozen world, not causing one between a city on the northwest coast of Turkey and the allied Greek states. Helen of Troy was someone who did the unthinkable with her elopement, but here, she chooses not to go with her lover, but becomes the epitome of will-power and not beauty. There is that unparalleled charm in this movie which you shouldn’t miss. Watch a beautiful song from the movie below.

Release date: 15th November 2019
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Mathukutty Xavier
Starring: Anna Ben, Noble Babu Thomas, Lal, Aju Varghese, Rony David, Bonny Mary Mathew, Binu Pappu, Jayaraj, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Kookal Raghavan, Lakshmi Marikar, Lali Marikar

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Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam

What is the movie about? :: Fr. Vincent Kombana (Amith Chakalakkal) is the parish priest and also a much respected figure in the small remote island of Arayamthuruth. Being an ex-policeman, he believes in getting things right in his own way, and how to have control over the small law and order problems that happen in the island. He is determinted to make sure that everyone around him walks the right path. For the same, he walks around at night, and checks if nobody causes any trouble. One night, while going through his usual walk, he witnesses a murder, but it turns out that he just can’t speak about it. But he has to let the people and the police know about this crime without talking about it. Being a trained ex-policeman, he plans on finding the reason behind the murder and about how the victim ended up being one.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: On the other side of the events is Joy Kattukkaran (Dileesh Pothan), a man with many secrets. Part of the same parish, he is one of the richest men in the village, and with his wife Lissy (Lena), seems to live a happy life. The other seemingly nice men in the village (Nandhu and Nedumudi Venu) also have their own secrets. The seemingly Victorian Compromise, was not working in anyone’s favour, as most people out there were not what they seemed to be. Caught between them, and hoping to solve a mystery won’t be Fr. Vincent Kombana, but Komban Vincent, a man with a long past during his life at Mattanchery. Now the question remains about how far the priest can go to bring the murderer to justice while staying within the borders of religion. Before the feast occurs at the church, he has to do it.

The defence of Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam :: The trailers had showed that there is something out there to be witnessed in this movie with grandeur. There is no lack of style here, and we are also introduced to a different kind of priest, and a beautiful remote island which brings a lot of beautiful visuals. There are some nice moments to go with it too. After Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam and Kumbalangi Nights, this is another movie to bring that kind of a setting with backwaters and showing simple lives along with problems faced by the locals. There are some nice twists happening here, and the interval punch is a perfect one. There are some funny moments, but the focus shifts, and we are given the idea that there is more to come with a major shift in the proceedings – the movie goes forward with the links being connected nicely. Things come together nicely in the end, and we are left with something to guess too.

The claws of flaw :: With the premise and the idea, Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam could have surely achieved much more. There are moments when the movie go extra-stylish and with some more drama than needed. It also shows a certain shift from the major point at times, and also takes some time to get into the mood – it is with the interval that the movie gets clearly into that path. With a murder mystery at the centre, and having a number of talented actors for support, this could have gone forward with many twists and turns as well as shocking revelations, instead of revealing a little too much early. When choosing an unconventional path, going for something special is easier, as things will easily blend in – it hasn’t been focused on, that much. Some of the jokes were also less effective, and there was chance to add more in that department too.

The performers of the soul :: Amith Chakalakkal brings life to the role of an ex-policeman and priest nicely. We have seen him in some notable roles, but the most significant one was surely as the leader of the gang of youngsters in Pretham 2. He remains strong throughout this movie, and even goes rather extra-stylish at some moments. The character could have done with less heroism, and without that stylish hero image. Among the senior actors, it is Dileesh Pothan who is there for more than anyone else. With certain negative shades, this is something that he does with ease, in his usual style. We know what he can make out of even the simplest of roles, and the director leaves something for us in the acting department too, every time. The negative side is safe with him, in a way that it rises when needed, so well.

Further performers of the soul :: Lena is there for a short time, but leaves her mark with ease – maybe she could have been there for more, one would feel so. Anjali Nair has that kind of a role which she has done a lot of times before – her smaller roles have remained notable. Shammi Thilakan provides some fine support in between, staying close to the protagonist. This is one role that becomes significant in more than one way concerning the story. Nedumudi Vendu doesn’t have much to do though – his character itself could have been replaced by any other doing the same kind of actions. Sudhi Koppa is also left with a small role, and Nandu has more though. The second outing of the director Rejishh Midhila after Lal Bahadhur Shastri of 2015 also helps him to make a point, as the whole level has advanced from there.

How it finishes :: It is always great to have movies like this without the so called superstars doing so well – Joseph did the same, rising out of its low budget status to become the best Malayalam movie of the year 2018, something which nobody expected with so many big budget movies releasing in the year with many big names associated with them. This one won’t be the same for this year, but the effort has been good to go this far, with its title coming from Manianpilla Raju’s character Hitchcock Kanjikkuzhi in the movie No. 20 Madras Mail. During these times when good thrillers are hard to come, Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam takes the pain to bring something different, and it is to be appreciated. It is to be noted that we have had some good time with Malayalam movie industry so far, and it has been just near 2 months.

Release date: 22nd February 2019
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Rejishh Midhila
Starring: Amith Chakalakkal, Dileesh Pothan, Lal, Anjana Appukuttan, Baby, Dheeraj Denny, Gokulan, Sudhi Koppa, Anjali Nair, Nandu, Kainakary Thankaraj, Shammi Thilakan, Nedumudi Venu

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Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela

What is the movie about? :: Chacko (Lal) and Sheela (Shanthi Krishna) are a couple in the city who are going through their usual days. The former was working at Kuwait until a few years ago, and the latter is a Chemistry professor at the nearby college. While their youngest child Sarah (Ahaana Krishna) lives with them, their eldest child Mary (Srinda Arhaan) lives with her husband Tony (Siju Wilson) nearby. Their only son Kurien (Nivin Pauly) is working at London, and it has been some time since he last visited India. It is during one of these days that Sheela develops a doubt if she has breast cancer. The talk about the same frightens Chacko, who consults his good friend and dentist Varkichan (Dileesh Pothan). The man refers Chacko to a reputed doctor of a famous hospital in Cochin, Saiju (Saiju Kurup) who has cured many patients suffering from cancer. After consulting him and undergoing the tests, they confirm the same, that she does have stage two breast cancer.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is at the same time that Kurien returns to Cochin for spending a forced break, as Sheela had called and asked him to come as soon as possible without saying any reason. He gets the feeling that she had called him to get him married, as most of the other relatives of his age have been married already, and his siblings also share the same thoughts. The only other reason could be related to their grandfather, but he has been the same for years, and there is absolutely no change regarding his health. Chacko, who is afraid of the disease, struggles to even talk about it to his children – but one day, he manages to let them know the truth after a series of misunderstandings. Everyone in the family is shocked and sad, and are cent percent confused about what to do next. The family which had things going straight without any intermissions, gets a lot of thinking to do after that revelation.

And what else is to follow in the adventure in the land of crabs? :: Kurien’s only relief is his long lost friend Subbu (Krishna Shankar) whom he meets after a long time. Sheela tells her family to support her happily, but everyone remains sad and depressed. They decide to get a home nurse to look after the grandfather as Sheela is not well. Their search for one ends with Yesudas (Sharafudheen) whose conditions are agreed upon. Meanwhile, while taking his mother to one of the chemotherapy sessions, Kurien meets a girl from Bangalore named Raichel (Aishwarya Lekshmi) who had arrived in the hospital with her parents, as her father also had cancer. They become good friends, and Kurien feels very much attracted to her. Meanwhile, Sarah is also in love. Chacko keeps struggling to make himself adjust to the understanding and fear of his wife’s disease. In this newly confused world, the battle between chemo and the crab goes on.

The defence of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela :: There are two sides to Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – a humorous one and the emotional one. The humour is there in the movie all the way – the light-hearted side of this flick will make it a much loved title for this Onam season for the families. The emotional side is there, as the family is shaken by the unexpected trouble, and we see how they overcome the same, but never missing out on bringing a little comedy here and there. The balance which has been maintained here without letting the flick stumble into some kind of melodrama, is a remarkable achievement. The use of the right cast also makes sure that things work better. The movie leaves us with the message that it is the unexpected twist in life that makes us stronger, and it is the difficulties that makes us capable of more – positivity added there when the trap of hopelessness is present. Along with the same, it is once again re-iterated that family is that important, and it would come over almost all the other things in life; something that most of the new generation would need to realize at some point.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does take the safe route rather than trying anything special or unexpected. It might be rather too simple for the liking of some people, unlike Adam Joan, the other good movie of the Onam-Eid season which makes sure that it is more like the exact opposite of this movie – like a mirror image which reverses things. Well, we have interesting movies at both sides of the mirror, and it is a positive sign for the Malayalam movie industry. Yet, one wonders why it was so necessary to add a romantic side to this movie which adds nothing more than a little bit of cuteness along with a song – without the same, this one would have finished in less than two hours, and Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela would have had no moment of deviation from its beautiful family stuff. In a world when youth wishes for quick movies, the movie’s dilatoriness will trouble more than one person, but if you relate to the characters well enough, such a problem can vanish into thin air. There could also be people who want some parts of this movie to be more serious; well could have been even more touching for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly goes through his role comfortably, as the lazy, Lays eating, London-er with more Keralite thoughts than anything else. There is also a little bit of romantic side for him here, but it is once again the family stuff that he gets to handle, and does very well. When the movie is cute, and the hero is Nivin Pauly, I wonder what can stop the family from rushing into the theatres. It has been a long time since we saw Shanthi Krishna, and it is good to see her back, and she remains the strong point of this movie from the beginning to the end. Lal also joins in and makes this role exactly at the right place. Ahaana Krishna’s second role also seems to be a good choice, as she seems to be doing what Aima Rosmy Sebastian has been doing – she has more to do than the heroine, Aishwarya Lekshmi who has a memorable presence, but gets less time on screen. The Aluvaite Premam team has kind of a get together with Siju Wilson, Krishna Shankar and Sharafudheen there, and strengthens the funny side, and so does Srinda.

How it finishes :: You will find Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela from the debutante director Althaf Salim to be a treat for the whole family, even without trying anything huge. It stays close to life and closer to the heart with those simple moments of life, and simpler instances of comedy being nicely woven into the plot. One has to wonder how well Nivin Pauly has been choosing his movies – from those dual releases of Ivide and Premam, it has been such a fantastic journey. The last three movies, Action Hero Biju, Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Sakhavu have been different in core, and all three of them are worth the appreciation. Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela continues that sequences of interesting movies. With the Tamil movie Richie supposed to come up soon, our movie here will raise hope to an even higher level. As of now, there is no void as it has been at certain points of time, and we have enough to enjoy this vacation season. I wish all of my readers a Happy Eid, as well as a Happy Onam in advance! 🙂

PS: Relate the crab to cancer, and there is more than one meaning which you can take from “the land of crabs” in the title.

Release date: 1st September 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Althaf Salim
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Lal, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Ahaana Krishna, Shanthi Krishna, Siju Wilson, Srinda Arhaan, Krishna Shankar, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothan, Saiju Kurup, Sidhartha Siva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chunkzz

What is the movie about? :: Romario (Balu Varghese), Riyas (Ganapathi), Yoodas (Vishak Nair), and Athmaram (Dharmajan Bolgatty) are best friends, also known as Chunkzz. They are all studying in Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering Technology at Kalady, near the town of Perumbavoor. Romario, Yoodas and Athmaram are studying in the Mechanical engineering department and hoping to find at least one girl in their class – none has entered their department yet except for teaching; some students have even declared the place “no entry for girls” as they are confident that there would be none. But Riyas who is in the Computer Science department has problem in the same, as he is seen wandering around with the girls of his class all the time. The four friends study almost nothing at the college, and struggles to pass the exams by copying in one way or the other.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that the twist occur, when Romario’s father Varkey (Lal) has his friend Pappichan’s (Siddique) daughter, Riya (Honey Rose) get admission in the same college for the final year, as she had to face some problems at the institution where she was studying in Bangalore. She has returned home with her best friend Sherine (Mareena Michael Kurisingal) who seems to be hiding something too. Riya’s arrival at the Mechanical engineering department changes things, with her being established as the new or rather the only Mech Queen in the college. The four are completely after her, and she spends her time enjoying her time as the newly established queen of the department. But things change after a trip to Goa, which has more twists happening around. So, what is the role of the new queen in the lives of the Chunkzz?

The defence of Chunkzz :: The best of comedy set in an engineering college is usually considered to be in Koothara, which lost its charm, and stooped very low after its focus shifted in the second half, and then there was Happy Wedding and Aanandam which was trip-based – Chunkzz attempts to make its entry there and is mostly successful in bringing the funny side to the front. There is the attempt to bring comedy all the time, and even with emotional sequences, the same is tried – one can say that there is no real sad moment even when the characters go through some bad phase, for the overall mood never really changes. There is also a twist in the end, which despite providing the feeling of villainy, does work, and something like that was required to end this movie well enough – Happy Wedding also has a twist in the end, even though it was a rather cute one then.

The claws of flaw :: The silliness factor might feel to rather too much in this movie, and there is exaggeration in the name of comedy for sure. Despite beginning everything in the engineering college, it deviates quite a lot, and as it moves towards the end of the first half, the idea of the mechanical engineering department itself has vanished. So, if that is your aim, and it is mechanical engineering tale that you are focusing on, the movie you are looking for might be Queen directed by debutante Dijo Jose Antony that is to be released later, with a lot of new faces coming up. There is a also that kind of comedy which is rather forgettable and outdated – there is nothing fresh added here, and by the end of the first half to most of the second half, we keep seeing those predictable moments coming up again and again. The repetition here is something which we will find hard to appreciate. There would have been no shortage of some good comedy with that college setting, but they say no. Yes, as expected logic goes for a long walk far away, and the jokes doesn’t rise to the best of standards.

Performers of the soul :: When we look at the cast, and see the progress, we understand that this movie would be dependent on Balu Varghese to do more than the rest – he is more of the protagonist, as it is based on his life that everything follows. He is surely in control of this one, even though his character goes too low on too many occasions. Vishak Nair of Aanandam fame gets his next big noticable role here, and he has no problems in joining the funs. Ganapathi adds to the crew in style, while Dharmajan has his next biggest role in recent times after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan and Pretham, which he handles in his usual funny way – there are some nice dialogues given to him, which stay a level higher. The four are responsible and are leading the battle against the two other rather bigger releases this weekend, Sarvopari Palakkaran starring Anoop Menon, Aparna Balamurali and Anu Sithara, as well as Varnyathil Aashanka which has a long list of performers lead by Kunchacko Boban.

Further performers of the soul :: Hareesh Perumanna extends his own comic style, but here we see him having so less to do, just like the case of Kadam Katha which released last weekend – one just got to wonder why he is not there for more. Then there are the two veterans, Lal and Siddique who are in control of their moments – the former has more fun to provide with his role. Honey Rose does very well coming back from Avarude Raavukal; her work as the Mech Queen at the college is better than the rest. Mareena Michael Kurisingal returns after her most noticable role in Aby this year earlier after having her first heroine role earlier than that in Mumbai Taxi. Even though she plays the secondary role, surely gets her own moments without doubt. It would have been nice to have her in the college too. Kailash, Shammi Thilakan and Anjali Aneesh are also there in notable roles in the movie.

How it finishes :: Chunkzz is not different from the director’s earlier movie, Happy Wedding. Even in the absence of the big stars, it rested on the talent that could handle the comic side really well – Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen and Soubin Shahir. This time, it is up to Balu Varghese, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi and Dharmajan Bolgatty to do the same. When the previous movie had Anu Sithara and Drishya Raghunath, this one has Honey Rose and Mareena Michael Kurisingal, the latter having played a role in the previous movie too. Even the run-time is so similar at just above two hours. There is just not that much of a different fun in this one, as nothing more is there. If you are expecting the same only, you can go for this one without second thoughts. But just like it was the case of Happy Wedding, there is nothing much to take home, and not much that will stay. This would be more for the youth of this generation rather than families.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Omar Lulu
Starring: Balu Varghese, Honey Rose, Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Lal, Siddique, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vishak Nair, Ganapathi, Kailash, Harish Perumanna, Anjali Aneesh, Shammi Thilakan

<— Go back to the last review

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Cinemakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Alby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the son of a Jacobite Christian priest (Renji Panicker) who had the wish to make him a priest when he grew up, for which he had done so many prayers alone and also with his son. But Alby’s interest is cinema and cinema only, and he has been working as assistant director in a number of movies, but hasn’t been able to go further than that with his life. Things are even more complicated in their family as he is in love with Sarah (Rajisha Vijayan), who is the daughter of a rich fisheries owner and businessman (Lal), despite actually supposed to marry Gonzalez (Jacob Gregory) who has a job offer in Italy. As Alby is a Jacobite and Sarah a Catholic, both families are against the relationship which seems to have been going on for a long time, but they just don’t care and decide to start a life of their own after a quick run-away marriage and getting a flat at a low rent.

So, what happens next? :: Their immediate neighbours are Sudheer (Vijay Babu) and Nayana (Anusree Nair) who make a rather rich couple having some easy time compared to the struggles of the newly-wed protagonists. Alby has no job and no hope in the cinema industry even after years, and the bank manager (Joy Mathew) has already threatened him to renew the loan he had taken, or the gold ornaments he had given would be sold. With the families not close to them, and his friends not able to, or ready to help him, Alby decides to take a risky step here, and that would be to steal from his neighbours. But that doesn’t go that well as he had planned, and it lands the police inspector Manikandan (Prasanth Narayanan) at the apartments. The cop has his own style of investigating, but how does it lead to Alby being in big trouble as his plan never really was to take the money for himself, and with the money still there when the police looks for it?

The defence of Oru Cinemaakkaran :: We have a tale that has its own unexpected twists here, and it goes on with some nice fun elements in the first half, and fine suspense factor in the second. The movie’s attempt seems to be to bring more than one genre into action. Most of the viewers, especially the family audience of the festival season might still love the first half more. The deviation from the movie-making is rather good considering the fact that it would have been a rather predictable tale with one wishing to be someone huge in the film industry. There are some nice songs to go with this movie, and they are all nicely taken visually too. The lead pair is really good together, and there are those sequences involving them which are certainly the highlights of this movie. They have also nicely transformed the simple things into more interesting factors, and it is the way in which most of the things which are presented that needs the applause.

The claws of flaw :: The movie, unlike expected, is not about what happens with a person going through his movie experiences, and that is certain to have a lot of people confused, or even disappointed at some point. If you were expected something like Udayananu Tharam or Padmasree Bharat Dr. Saroj Kumar, that is surely not going to happen. There is also the deviation in the second half leading to those twists, which is rather too much of a divergence, that affects the overall stuff and its quality. With its funny and exciting beginning, we would expect things to go deeper and stronger, at least with its comedy. Also, the movie could have just ended nicely without trying too much of unnecessary things – we find the need to fill in for some missing logic, and those wastage of characters that remain rather underdeveloped. We needed more here too, that is for sure.

Performers of the soul :: After Kunjiramayanam and the smaller roles in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Oru Muthassi Gada as well as playing the titular character in the underrated feel-good movie, Aby, Vineeth Sreenivasan is back playing the protagonist once again. We see him being comfortable throughout the movie, and he has this character completely in control. We see the humour as well as the emotional side working so well for him here. Rajisha Vijayan who had won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also had a formidable presence in Georgettan’s Pooram, and this one also has her playing a Catholic girl falling in love with someone outside her caste as Elizabeth, Merlin and Sarah respectively. She remains simple, and strong in her display of character here. There is a certain amount of happiness that she spreads with her incredbly cute performance here.

Further performers of the soul :: There is not much difference in Renji Panicker’s role here, as he had played the father of a jobless son who doesn’t listen to anyone in Georgettan’s Pooram too – he played a Mar Thoma priest then, and is playing a Jacobite priest this time; it seems that there are not many people who can play the role of a priest or a father than him. Here, we have him doing them both very well as expected, even with lesser screen presence. Lal makes an impact for the short period of time when he is there too. Vijay Babu, despite having a nice character to play, gets to be there for lesser period of time too. Anusree is good in this role, and we have her playing the city girl for a change. Noby Marcose and Hareesh Perumanna share some moments of fun in this one, and Prasanth Narayanan comes rather late, as if he was called as an extra add-on in the form of a rather strange character. We expected Jacob Gregory to stay though.

How it finishes :: When you have someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan in the lead, or even has his name associated with a movie, you can be sure that there will something in there, and it is on him and Rajisha Vijayan that this movie depends the most. For this Eid festival season, we are sure to have an interesting list of movies beginning from Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran to go for even more to come in the weeks to follow. As more movies are to follow like Role Models, we have Oru Cinemakkaran seemingly attracting more audience. As of now, it seems that we will have the holidays extended to Tuesday, and as the vacation is longer, we are certain to have more viewers, and a bigger need for more movies to choose from. There has been a shortage of Malayalam movies, and this one will stay for longer considering the need to have more and more of these.

Release date: 24th June 2017
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajisha Vijayan, Renji Panicker, Anusree Nair, Lal, Vijay Babu, Kottayam Pradeep, Prasanth Narayanan, Noby Marcose, Hareesh Perumanna, Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, Jaffer Idukki, Jennifer Antony, Jacob Gregory (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fukri

fukri-2

Vampire Owl: What about Fukrey?

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that there is a relation between the two. That one was a coming of age comedy film.

Vampire Owl: You mean just like Premam.

Vampire Bat: The genre is rather too vast. People who have no idea about that genre were blaming Premam for being close to its category.

Vampire Owl: Yes, some people even praised Blinglore Days for downgrading Premam.

Vampire Bat: It is Bangalore Days.

Vampire Owl: Whatever it is, our concern should only be about the nights, right?

Vampire Bat: It is the presence of the day that makes sure that there is night.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but we all have our preferences, don’t we?

Vampire Bat: Yes, as long as the night has darkness.

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

What is the movie about? :: Lucky (Jayasurya) and Franklin (Bhagath Manuel) are best friends who are also engineering dropouts looking forward to making some quick money. For the same, they try many things. One day, they end up complicating things so much that they have to keep running from people. During his adventures in making easy money, he meets Nafsi (Prayaga Martin) and Sana (Salini RT) who needs someone to act as an elder cousin to bail them out of some trouble which they had due to bunking classes for watching a Salman Khan movie first day first show. There, posing as their cousins, they come across their real cousin, Ubaid (John Kaippallil), and ends up telling a lie that Lucky is the son of Ali Fukri (Lal) who is the son of Sulaiman Fukri (Siddique). Sulaiman and Ali has a long gone past, which has left them as terrible enemies who wouldn’t hesitate to beat each other up if there was a chance.

So, what happens next? :: Despite being hostile to his son, Sulaiman the patriarch, isn’t angry with his grandson. But Aliya (Anu Sithara) whom Lucky meets on his way back from the college, reveals that Ali has no son, and she is his only daughter. She asks him to get into the Fukri mansion posed as Ali’s son, and there is also an opportunity to be there at Ali’s wife house. Ali had married a Brahmin girl which was one of the many reasons for the problems with his father. Aliya provides enough details for Lucky to be at both places, and during his stay there, he solves almost all his financial debts. As Lucky is in love with Nafsi, he feels that this could work in favour of him in more than one way. At the same time, he decides to unite both families as well as the father and the son. But one day, Ali returns, and he is certainly not happy with it – he wishes to destroy all happiness in Fukri family, and one has to wonder what would happen next.

The defence of Fukri :: There is the presence of comedy, and the jokes work most of the time, and at other times, we have to make ourselves believe that there is some fun stuff going on. The songs are mostly okay, but there is nothing much to remember for long. It is still nicely done for the family audience, and without any bad joke added here and there and hurting no religious or community sentiment, manages a clean work – it needed someone like our veteran director to do the same, even though it is surprising that he had chosen to go through such a safe path with no risk taken. Even though it stays for more time that it should have, lasting above two and half hours, we don’t end up complaining about the length. Denied its release during the Christmas season due to the theatre owners’ strike, this one has a festival mood too, with all the colour and style that we see around. This might be the right choice to spend the time you have in extra.

The claws of flaw :: The main problem with this movie is that it has the kind of idea that has been tried again and again so much. It is certainly an old wine in a pot which he seems to have borrowed from a number of older movies – he has just added a little bit of flavour, and so we know that we have seen this before on lots of occasions. From the beginning itself, it is so predictable, and one twist with the daughter might be the only exception. The first half is rather brainless with comedy thrown in here and there, and the second half has a little bit too much of melodrama and it ends as if they had to force an ending out of nowhere. There is a little too much of Udayapuram Sulthan here, with one son trying to unite families from Hindu and Muslim families posing as someone else; his father was the main problem-maker there too. Posing as the cousin was the main idea in Dilliwala Rajakumaran too, and Kaaryasthan also had the protagonist trying to unite families – the examples are many, and it is a rather outdated idea for these times.

Performers of the soul :: There are three people who control this movie with ease – Jayasurya, Lal and Siddique, playing the fake grandson, and the next two generations of parents. The three generations effectively make this one worth our time. Jayasurya still has it easy compared to the kind of roles with which he had surprised us earlier. Lal and Siddique are perfectly suited for their roles, as their looks and style also compliment being the two big characters. Among the heroines, it is Anu Sithara who plays the daughter figure who scores the best – we had last seen her in Happy Wedding. Prayaga Martin pales in comparison, except for the looks – even though she looked even better in Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. It was also good to see Bhagath Manuel playing the second fiddle. Joju George is the one person to create the best effect on screen with minimal screen presence.

How it finishes :: There has been something different going on with the Siddique movies in the last few years – Ladies and Gentleman and Bhaskar the Rascal were clearly terrible movies, and even after bringing a combined effort with Lal in King Liar, nothing really changed with that. Bodyguard was an overrated movie too, with similar overrated remakes coming in many languages. And then there is Fukri. Coming directly into this situation, Fukri is definitely is a better flick. As we consider all these movies, Fukri is also the closest to a pretty good family flick which you can watch for the weekend. With Munthirivallikal Thalirkumbol and Jomonte Suviseshangal running in the theatres and Ezra all prepared to release, it is back to the busy times for Malayalam cinema industry after that terrible break due to the strike! Still, this could have been a laugh riot with its premise already established long ago – but that is not the case.

Release date: 3rd February 2016
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Siddique
Starring: Jayasurya, Lal, Prayaga Martin, Bhagath Manuel, Siddique, John Kaippallil, Anu Sithara, Joju George, Krishna Praba, KPAC Lalitha, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Thesni Khan, Reena, Naseer Sankranthi, Salini RT, Sajan Palluruthy

fukrii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pulimurugan

pulimurugan-1

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that the Vampire Crocodile and the Vampire Penguin failed to get tickets for this movie?

Vampire Bat :: It was never part of their skills. You have seen their CVs.

Vampire Owl :: But we had assigned them to cinema ticket duty.

Vampire Bat :: It is absurd. Nobody on Earth gets tickets for Pulimurugan in the first attempt.

Vampire Owl :: But this is our first attempt and we are getting them.

Vampire Bat :: We have been trying this indirectly in many forms though.

Vampire Owl :: Like transforming into mist and other strange things?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, among those large number of tricks which Count Dracula had taught us during those special classes.

Vampire Owl :: Very risky ones though.

Vampire Bat :: You need them to get a chance to watch movies like this one.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: The tale is set in the fictional village of Puliyoor, named as the lands of the tiger, as it is consistently haunted by predators which come out of the forest. When these creatures attack them, they turn to Murugan (Mohanlal), a.k.a. Pulimurugan to become their saviour. Murugan lives with his wife, Myna (Kamalinee Mukherjee), their one daughter and his younger brother Manikkuttan (Vinu Mohan). His best friend and help is Balaraman (Lal) who helps him in being the hunter that he is. One day, he comes across Benny (Nobi) and Shiva (Bala) who are Manikkuttan’s friends, and are looking for his help. By providing them help, he will get closer to a man called Daddy Girija (Jagapati Babu) who is not the person whom Murugan thinks he is. He also locks horns with Krishnakumar (Kishore), and his number of enemies only increase as the movie comes to an end.

The defence of Pulimurugan :: From a long time ago, nothing has changed – Pulimurugan has been the talk of the town months before its release, and that remains the same even now, as shows run full with fans, youth, families and the lone watchers. Mohanlal makes sure that this one stays afloat all the time. Here is something that has tried the best to keep the overall quality high, as Pulimurugan undoubtedly looks really nice on the big screen. There is no shortage of visually stunning moments here, and almost everything has been well-captured. It is indeed great to see the action sequences which are without doubt of high quality, especially in the final moments. When they say that this is not something which hasn’t been seen before, they are not really joking about the same. It might be what you can choose to agree with, sans second thoughts.

Claws of flaw :: The expectations are indeed running high, and with this one hundred crore tag added, people are sure to feel the need for something huge. The tag of the “mass movie” is an abomination, because that specific classification itself is a lie which is used to cater to brainless people – no, Pulimurugan is not brainless, for its smartness is evident. Still, Pulimurugan has some of the most ridiculous sequences, especially the ones involving Namitha, and one involving Mohanlal lifting Vinu Mohan – along with these, there are some terrible comedy scenes which become a curse on this movie. There are also a little bit too much of unnecessary additions in the fine action sequences in the end. The songs are not that interesting, and the theme music is terrible, not original, and also not suiting the movie as a whole. The movie is the best when in the forest, and it should have stuck to that and its creatures – beyond that, with human villains of cities and towns, its not that much there.

Performers of the soul :: It is a Mohanlal show all the way, as we see him stretching beyond the limits to breathe more and more life to this character. He has brought this character close to us, and he has done the same with no problems at all – you see hard work here too, and there is a lot of it. Pulimurugan‘s female stars disappoint though, whether it is Kamalini Mukherjee whose character is more irrititating than anything else, or Namitha who is wasted from the very first moment of her existence, we see nothing positive from the female cast, and that is depressing without doubt. The truth is that even if they were not here, there was not going to be any change happening to the tale – Pulimurugan could have existed as the same man, especially with his own people of the village to care about. But the ladies are there, and they contribute nothing much positive.

Further performers of the soul :: It is absurd that there is nothing much with movie’s female department. Lal plays Mohanlal’s second-in-command, and he does his role with no trouble at all. After Mohanlal, he is the next person we are happy to see in this movie. Jagapati Babu is okay here as the antagonist, as the tiger becomes the one true enemy. Vinu Mohan does not much, and Bala has a rather predictable character here. Nobi has some fun moments, and Suraj Venjaramoodu has more, but none of them working this time here. There are a few others who came in smaller roles, but caught our attention – they are Siddique, Sudheer Karamana and Kishore. Hareesh Peradi is added to play another unnecessary character – there are too many of them here, that is for sure. We could have had less such characters and the existing ones having better things to do.

How it finishes :: This is the time when Pulimurugan has gone on to become the first Malayalam movie to get the collections over a hundred crore, and at the same time, the other Mohanlal movie in the theatre, Oppam gets to overtake Premam and become the third highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, after our movie here, and Drishyam. It is certainly the best of times, and Malayalam movies have been climbing up the ladder by a very long way. It feels great to have another golden age for the industry back here at this time. Lets hope that Pulimurugan scores even more, and also that there are other movies to follow, and get to the special one hundred crore club which should be expanded soon enough! May the strength be with these movies, and those special ones which are to follow in the next few months. Still, Drishyam is better by some way, no doubt about it.

Release date: 7th October 2016
Running time: 161 minutes
Directed by: Vysakh
Starring: Mohanlal, Kamalini Mukherjee, Lal, Jagapati Babu, Vinu Mohan, Nobi, Bala, Siddique, Kishore, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Namitha, Nandhu, Sudheer Karamana, Makarand Deshpande, Hareesh Peradi, Sasi Kalinga, Sethulakshmi, M. R. Gopakumar, Baby Durga Premjith, Master Ajas, Santhosh Keezhattoor (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo), Anjali Aneesh Upasana (cameo)

pulimurugann

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chapter 32 Verse 23

32-23 (2)

***Full title in Malayalam: 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam. Translated into English for convenience because of the length.

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were going to watch something else.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but I decided to promote Malayalam movies which are getting caught in the web of the movies in other languages. It is the responsibility of each and every Keralite to make sure that the Malayalam movies are saved.

Vampire Owl :: That sounds so awesome. What were you going to watch otherwise?

Vampire Bat :: It is what comes after ABCD.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, you mean EFGH.

Vampire Bat :: What? No, not all.

Vampire Owl :: Then is it IJKL or MNOP?

Vampire Bat :: No. What is wrong with you? It was ABCD 2!

Vampire Owl :: Well, in that case, I feel that this is an interesting decision.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, lets see.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Ann (Mia George) is a journalist at Cochin and her husband Freddy (Govind Padmasoorya) who is working at the United States returns home only for a few days with a small break from work and expecting a promotion. They are celebrating their first wedding anniversary and gets a book as a present from a friend. As Freddy is having a lot of free time while Ann is at work, he starts reading that book and instantly begins to have a certain liking towards the work. He begins to imagine the life of the protagonist as his own, and it affects his personal life. Ann and their family friend Ravi (Lal) feels that he is somewhat losing his mind. But as he gets more interested in the incidents of the book and its number twenty three, he finds a few things from his past and will also uncover another mystery which has been unsolved for years.

The defence of 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam :: The visuals are very good with this one. The movie explores the 23 enigma for the first time in Indian movies as far as most of us know, but there is still doubt it. As everything gets connected to the belief, this becomes one of those movies which tries to be different, and also choose to make an attempt on things which are not common in the Malayalam movie industry. The plot is good, and has scope. Still, it is an obvious risk, but a fair step in the right direction, and even if this might not work as much as expected, there is the hope for more of similar attempts. Also, you have to like how everything comes together as the movie gets near the end. The suspense is successfully maintained, and coming from a new team, this needs to be applauded. The songs are also pretty much okay and background score is nice.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t focus that much on the 23 enigma which was supposed to be the main point. Even the title of the movie itself is revealed to be relevant only in the end with the Holy Bible. The sequences which show the fiction from the book are quite bad. It was quite unnecessary, and one can guess what such things can be to audience if there is a chance to check how Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla turned out to be. It was like just adding to the drama in a ridiculous way instead of boosting the thriller side. There are moments when the movie also seems to struggle to make the point. There are no scares using the big number enigma and the first half struggles to get to the point. There could have been some horror elements added related the “number”. I haven’t watched the movie The Number 23, and so I won’t be the one talking to you about similarities and differences between the two flicks.

Performers of the soul :: Govind Padmasoorya manages to do his role well enough, except for those moments inside fiction where the same can’t be said. It was a world of disaster inside that imaginary world anyway. There is the need to expect nothing exceptional though. Mia George is very good here even though the focus was almost completely on the protagonist. The journalist role is something which seems to automatically suit her right from Memories despite the fact that there has been no movie based on media for her yet. Lal has a smaller role which he manages to do well in his usual style. The movie is basically around the leading actors, and so the contributions from the rest was always going to be less. But there is not much lost in the acting department.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s plot can be seen as an attempt for the protagonist to go through a novel and at the same time find his own past, with the support of incidents helped by fate. In the end, not only will the man have known the truth, but also would have become a better person. There is murder, but that which happened very long ago, and this movie would have worked even without that, because what matters more is a secret and also a belief which are searched and brought to light. This not about romance, and neither is it about a murder mystery. The story is about the mind rather than a sequence of thrilling events. It is sad that the same point is not really brought on the screen with its full energy, and it doesn’t make full connection with the audience as it was clear in the theatre. But the idea is the right one.

How it finishes :: 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam could have been big if the idea was better transformed on the screen, but it isn’t. Still, the movie has enough to go on till the end as an okay thriller. The Malayalam movie industry has been regularly coming up with average or above average thrillers for quite a good amount of time, and it is time to move back up to the level of Drishyam and Memories. This year is struggling to have better Malayalam movies as a while despite the big success of Premam and the nice little wonder which was Mili. I would like to hear about something the Hollywood movie The Number 23 from anyone who has watched it. May be the makers could have chosen the number thirteen because it was a more accepted one. But for now, lets try and watch the variety with this movie and see what they have tried differently, can’t we?

Release date: 19th June 2015
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Arjun Prabhakar, Gokul Ramakrishnan
Starring: Govind Padmasoorya, Miya George, Lal, Arjun Nandakumar, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, P.Balachandran, Balachandran Chullikkad, Rahul Karthik, Sreejith Pokkan, Gowry, Sasha Gopinath, Sharan

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Iyobinte Pusthakam

Iyobinte Pustakam ()

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Iyob (Lal) and his three sons, Dimitri (Chemban Vinod Jose), Ivan (Jinu Joseph) and Aloshy (Fahadh Faasil). Iyob was a young local boy who became the right-hand of Harrison (Sal Yusuf), one of the British people who established homes in Munnar, but he managed to rise after his death and had become the most powerful and the influential man in the area. Due to the commanding nature of his father and the atrocities of his brothers which are covered up with money, Aloshy leaves home and joins the Royal Navy from where he is dismissed as a result of a mutiny, which leads him back home. There, his troubles with his brothers begin, and Iyob is infuriated by his lack of obedience and also lack of display of admiration for his father, for which he disinherits him, and his brothers attack him and leaves him for dead. But Iyob doesn’t really know his other sons yet, and an enemy called Angoor Rawther (Jayasurya) shall soon come up.

The defence of Iyobinte Pusthakam :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is brilliant, and amazing beyond words in its visual splendour – it is something that we might have never seen before in Indian cinema, and one can get a peek at the same by just looking at the trailer – the complete stuff is a lot bigger and highly extravagant in its visuals. What you see in the posters are made a lot better in this movie, and not the other way around. The movie’s use of history and the variety in settings are also something to cheer about. We rarely have such good period thrillers in Malayalam, and even in Bollywood. The only things related to history that we have these days are related to killing white people – are we so much out of ideas that we have to talk about one thing again and again? No, not all, says Amal Neerad who has come up with his magnum opus here, which tells the story of the people of the land during the British rule and after, combining history and fiction. You can appreciate this one as long as you have the ability for the same.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might still be slow for a few, but I will say that there is absolutely no drag, and it is achieved by the beauty of the visuals – it is no bloody useless drag like Annayum Rasoolum, I can assure you that; this is more of a Left Right Left of this year. As you enter the world of unparalleled visual beauty, what you want might not be the story. The plot might look ordinary, but it is never about the story. Do watch and get taken into this amazing world, and the first movie from Amal Neerad that I liked – and this is one big like for him! Yes, I have never liked Big B, Sagar Alias Jacky, Anwar and Bachelor’s Party, and you fan-boys and girls can dislike me for the same. Interstellar was just a story that could never happen, but this one is a story of humanity in real, and it is up-to you to choose the one that you wish for this weekend, as both are for entirely different set of minds! Our Malayalam critics will never rate a movie from Kerala high, so just the “very good” rating for this movie would mean “out of this world”.

Performances of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is nothing less than brilliant here, as he has another feather in the cap here. It is amazing how he has managed to thrive under almost every circumstance that has been put before him. How good can he be? We can never know the limits of his abilities as it seems. Lal is also nothing less than the powerful and later the helpless figure that he is supposed to be – there is nobody other who can be this character. Chemban Vinod Jose and Jinu Joseph are also good and the former is extremely efficient at times Isha Sharvani is extremely beautiful and suited for the role with her looks alone, otherwise she has much less to do; but that has still worked well for the character. Jayasurya is one impressive villain too, as he becomes the smiling assassin here. Padmapriya as Rahel also scores, coming out nowhere. Vinayakn is also nice. The characterization is so powerful and they nicely blend into the strength of visual beauty and that nice background score. I shall leave with some more thoughts below.

Soul exploration 1 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as King Lear :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is a lot like King Lear or a loose adaptation from the same – it is as much of Shakespeare as Haider is Hamlet, and it has nicely used the setting to support the same. Iyob is King Lear who divides his kingdom among two sons, disinheriting the third, and in the end, it turns out that he was always the righteous and the loving one who comes out to help the father. Goneril, Regan and Cordelia are all here, and there is the Earl of Kent who is joins with the villains this time as Lazar. Rahel does the job of Edmund here, standing between the two sons and making one kill the other. Meanwhile, going outside the play, Martha becomes the lady love that every movie needs, and Angoor Rawther is just the villain that every story should have. There are also those moments when Iyob seems to be descending into madness, and Oswald is also there, as the man who tries to kill our hero and gets himself killed. Also check for the The Brothers Karamazov kind of characters with the same names.

Soul exploration 2 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Parable of the Prodigal Son :: Iyob himself mentions Aloshy as prodigal son when he returns from the navy, and the church priest mentions that he is to be given a warm welcome if it is so, just like in the Holy Bible. But here, Aloshy is not the prodigal son, but rather the lost son, who returns after gaining wisdom rather than losing money, and this illusion of the gone son being the prodigal son is directly reversed in this movie without any complication. But considering a few other cases, he is indeed unemployed and without money compared to what he has at his own home which was left behind. The money that he extravagantly spent are the years of his life, and the time which he should have spent with his family. The father does accept his son, but once again, the elder brothers don’t. The movie’s use of the dialogues about the parable gives us this idea.

Soul exploration 3 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Biblical story of Job :: The main character of the movie is Iyob or Job even as the hero is Aloshy. Even as our character here doesn’t have the qualities of a righteous man, he is also someone who losses almost everything that he holds dear, and it includes his own children, his property, and up-to an extent, his health. But the answer to his problems is achieved sooner here, in the form of his earlier lost son Aloshy. During his last moments, he holds onto the cross and gives it to his son, something which he already had, but rarely mentions as his baptism was nothing that he or his people wanted. It is his faith in God that is replenished in his final moments, and even as there is no redemption like that of the Biblical Job here, he does manage to die a good person rather than the evil feudal lord that he had been.

*This is the finest movie of the year from India, among all those which I have watched. Don’t miss this one! It is out of the usual league. It also leaves us with thoughts about the oppressed becoming the oppressor when opportunity arises, and also with a message on equality among the masses.

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Amal Neerad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Isha Sharvani, Lal, Jayasurya, Padmapriya, Chemban Vinod Jose, Reenu Mathews, Jinu Joseph, Vinayakan, Lena Abhilash, T. G. Ravi, Sreejith Ravi, Shebin Benson, Saritha Kuku, Nebish Benson, Sal Yusuf, Aashiq Abu (cameo), Amala Paul (cameo)

iyobintepustakam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.