Raman Raghav 2.0

What is the movie about? :: The movie makes it clear that it is not about Raman Raghav a.k.a. Psycho Raman who was a famous serial killer, who unleashed terror in the city of Mumbai in the 1960s. About fifteen years later, another serial killer named Ramanna (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who seems to follow the same kind of methods, starts his work in the same city. His way of operating is rather strange, and the police has not much clue about what his operations are. His list of victims only get longer, and it also includes Ramanna’s own sister, Lakshmi (Amruta Subhash) who is living with her husband (Ashok Lokhande) and their only son. She reluctantly lets him stay and cooks him food, only to get into an argument with the family. She leaves the place and comes back to take their money as well as kill them all one after the other.

So, what happens next? :: Ramanna is not the kind of person who has any kind of remorse for his actions, and he is surely not the kind of man who thinks twice about what he is to do. He is the worst kind of serial killer whom one could have on their trail. Even after being caught by the police and questioned, there is nothing that comes out of him, and he even escapes with the help of some local boys, thanks to the natural acting that comes to him. ACP Raghavan Singh (Vicky Kaushal) is in charge of the investigation, and has no real clue until finding the photo of Ramanna on the scene of crime, where Ramanna had murdered his sister. He figures out that the man whom they had apprehended a few days earlier has some kind of connection with these brutal murders which have been happening all around the city, keeping the residents terrified.

And, what is to follow next in this tale of terror in the streets? :: Even as he puts a tough cop act all the time, and seems to be righteous cop looking after criminal when someone looks from outside, Raghavan Singh is a a troubled person in his mind, having an unparalleled addiction to drugs, and has an even more terrible anger management issue. He is in a relationship with Smrutika Naidu (Sobhita Dhulipala) at whose place she is staying. It is another terrible relationship that they are having, with him forcing her to have more than one abortion after she keeps getting pregnant as he has his way as he likes. He also has no shame in beating her, but she stays faithful to him, and refuses to go home even after her family hopes for her return. Raghavan gets obsessed with catching Ramanna to such an extent that his issues deepen, and Ramanna at the same time, keeps an eye on the investigating officer – where does this game end?

The defence of Raman Raghav 2.0 :: The dark and terrifying avatar is given more and more life as the movie progresses, and then there is the other side which gets rather scarier. You feel the power of darkness in this movie, and there is so much of energy throughout the flick, thanks to the two main performers. It successfully makes you depressed and leaves you disturbing, with not much hope in the world of chaos. Humanity is surely capable of terrible things, and a lot of these capabilities are there right from the beginning, and are further powered by upbringing and the society. We keep wondering what is to happen next, and we are always interested to know how it all ends, or reach a new beginning. It takes only one serial killer to inspire more, and lets hope that Ramanna becomes our Hannibal to bring more of such movies which can prove to be even better. The final twist is something that breathes life like no other.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt that we had expected more from a movie like Raman Raghav 2.0 with its cast and the people who are the helm. We feel that a certain amount of hollowness do exist at times, and this one isn’t that much focused on what we would have been hoping to see with a police officer after a serial killer – this one has almost nothing about the investigation about the murderer. More focus could have been on the characters, and they could have had origin tales, even at the cost of the movie going longer – there are some parts of the movie which could have been cut down to provide space for more of the tale. This kind of movies should have more action, thrilling sequences and deeper story-line which should make us wish to remember the tale more than once; but the focus of Raman Raghav 2.0 seems to be rather a little too much divergent. Then there is the violence – nobody is a role model here.

Performers of the soul :: There is Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal doing a fantastic job in this movie, which surely keeps things going strong. We keep wondering when we will see more of them with movies which get the wider release here. If it was more about the former in the beginning, the latter of Masaan fame takes it to the next level in the second half towards the end. You will also notice Sobhita Dhulipala and Amruta Subhash, as two actresses who brings some great performances in two of the best sequences of the movie. The one thing about Bollywood is that these names which are not regularly talked about as superstars are the real actors and acting stars – I really hope that their movies get release in every theatre here rather than those which brings the crowd; if I was running a theatre, I would run a special show for sure, no matter how much of box-office collection such movies are to bring.

How it finishes :: The movie leaves one with the message that everyone has the tendency to be bad, or rather evil, as it is the inherent evil in man which has more certainty to it than anything else. It is the situation that brings the worst out of people, whether they are branded good or bad. The hopeless state of humanity is directly or indirectly reflected in this movie, which struggles to find goodness which seems to fade away further and further as the flick progresses, and by the end of this, we have lost almost all hope in mankind – it is the ultimate truth, right? We do our best, and still we live in a society which is all about money and power, and the need for it as well as the possession of it, will only turn more people against each other. Evil is so easy, right? Being good is so difficult, especially with a new generation caught inside more than one kind of addiction. Raman Raghav 2.0 has that kind of protagonists, and we know that there is a good chance that we are all going to die an early, terrible death considering where the world is going.

Release date: 24th June 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Anurag Kashyap
Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Vipin Sharma, Ashok Lokhande, Harssh A. Singh, Anuschka Sawhney, Hitesh Dave, Rajesh Jais, Kalidas Parthitan, Rhea Pagar, Arun Singh

@ 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.

Avarude Raavukal

What is the movie about? :: Ashik (Asif Ali) is the popular stage performer in a village on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border who comes to Cochin hoping to work in a movie, after the villagers collect money from their own people to make sure that he gets a chance. Siddharth (Unni Mukundan) is an engineering graduate who is spending his time doing nothing other than to stay at home up-to that extent that his father has to throw him out of the house. Vijay (Vinay Forrt) is an angry young man who was suspended for getting into a fight with another employee in the same company he was working for. Scobo Johnson (Nedumudi Venu) is an old man who is staying alone, and looking for company. Bored and with no plans for future, he comes up with an advertisement calling for bachelors to stay at his place, free of cost – it gets to the three young men who are ready to come right away.

So, what happens next? :: Ashik finds Cochin and the movie world a lot different than what he had thought, and finds problems in even doing the simplest works. He goes to various auditions, but none of them work – he does find a new friend though, in the form of Vinod (Aju Varghese) who is also looking forward to acting in movies, one way or the other. They decide to attend the acting workshop held by Manoj Kuruvila (Mukesh), who is a famous movie director. But even that doesn’t seem to help the two who are more clueless than anything else. Siddharth who does nothing other than staring at girls, even consults Doctor Jayamurugan (Kochu Preman), but his life goes on in the same way until his brother recommends him for a job under Shivani (Honey Rose), which he gets despite performing terribly during the interview. What follows is a terrible mess at the office.

And what follows the events? :: Ashik and Siddharth are not just the ones reaching a higher level of their problems, as Vijay has a bigger issue at hand. His anger issue is more or less the result of something which happened in the past, and his girlfriend Meghna (Milana Pournami) tries to get him out of the same, but with no positive result. Scobo Johnson is the silent witness to all these, and tells them that there are two ways out of it, one the difficult path, and the other, the shortcut. Are the three good enough to get out of the mess that they are in, or is at least Johnson skilled enough to take them through their journeys? Can things finally take a positive twist of events in their lives which haven’t really had much to talk about otherwise? Will their upcoming experiences leave them as better people than who they already are? Only time will tell.

The defence of Avarude Raavukal :: Vinay Forrt successfully leads the group of young men here towards their objectives, as motivation runs right through this one with inspirational dialogues, and featuring the rise of unexpected tales of success; emotional side is strong here. The movie asks its viewers to keep trying, as the fish does; it provides this message without missing its plot, and the direction that it shows is the right one for the new generation. The presence of movies like Mili, Aby, My God and Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam has proved the same, but Avarude Raavukal is more the common person’s story than the rest. There is also the presence of some nice humour in between. There is also some beautiful music in this flick, beginning from “Ethetho Swapnamo” and through “Vaadaathe Veezhathe”, both bringing different but nice feeling. The feel-good effect stays, and despite the certain delay in the movie’s arrival and the morning shows canceled, we are glad to have this movie working and going well enough to provide enough motivation.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t go that close to perfection as the director’s earlier combined venture, Philips and the Monkey Pen, and what we expected was surely more. There are certain ups and downs in between for sure, even as everything seems to have kept at a certain level as much as possible. There are some occasions when we wonder if these things, which do look more and more possible, can ever be solved by the protagonists. The inspirational story is also not something new, and the old man is also a rather strange character, whose twist in the end is even stranger; this one could have just gone simpler and close to life towards the end. Even in the beginning, the movie had taken some time to get going. The cameo roles in the end by Shine Tom Chacko, Sunny Wayne and Sanju Sivram were rather unnecessary too, and the same can be said about a cricket match when it could have been just the engineering classes. You will find the weird and missing sides of the plot, but you can avoid them as they are not that significant.

Performers of the soul :: Asif Ali who is coming out of the late, but sure success of Adventures of Omanakkuttan has done a fine job with a character which had quite something to perform out there. Unni Mukundan comes out of the dismal movie which was Achayans, and makes good use of what was a rather easy job for him. Vinay Forrt had a little less to work with in Georgettan’s Pooram brings the best of them all – his story remains the most interesting one in the whole movie, and he is the backbone of the flick. Aju Varghese should be powered by the grand success of Godha, and does a pretty good job when he is there. Honey Rose who was last seen in My God which was an under-appreciated movie, makes a comeback after two years – not much to do, but good to see her back. Milana works through limited expressions in this one. Nedumudi Venu has some nice dialogues which prove inspirational, and forms the pillars of the movie’s progress.

How it finishes :: It has been a long time since a Malayalam movie with an interesting and long list of star cast released, and being the first movie to release for the Eid holidays, Avarude Raavukal surely has an early advantage among the others which are to follow. Shanil Mohammed, who had earlier directed Philips and the Monkey Pen with Rojin Thomas has his first solo outing here. The flick had won Kerala State Film Award for Best Children’s Movie and Kerala State Film Award for Best Child Artist for Sanoop Santhosh. This one might not create that much of an impact, and has a lot of heavyweights to follow. Getting itself to the list of feel-good movies with messages, Avarude Raavukal will leave with a positive effect more than anything else. There are not many other things that we need for this special season.

Release date: 23rd June 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Shanil Muhammed
Starring: Asif Ali, Unni Mukundan, Honey Rose, Vinay Forrt, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Milana Pournami, Nedumudi Venu, Sudhi Koppa, Lena, Ambika Mohan, Kiran Aravindakshan, Nisha Sarangh, Aishwarya chandran, Kochu Preman, Shine Tom Chacko (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo), Sanju Sivram (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Lakshyam

Vampire Owl :: When did this one release? I never knew.

Vampire Bat :: This one is more like a silent assassin. Not many people are aware of its release.

Vampire Owl :: I pity the humans; even we who live in another dimension are aware of this release.

Vampire Bat :: The humans are all after one movie only; they bring the hype for one movie, call it the greatest of all-time, and then bring it down.

Vampire Owl :: That seems to be quite the thing that humans do everytime. They even have that subspecies called fans for the same purpose.

Vampire Bat :: It also has a further subspecies, abusers, also known as the haters.

Vampire Owl :: Like they abused everyone who didn’t like the movie that much, and also those who didn’t watch the movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, for them, everyone needed to appreciate its greatness.

Vampire Owl :: That makes no sense, because everyone makes the effort; some people just have so much budget, and being rich, they have to struggle less.

Vampire Bat :: A fan is a fan. Read like, an idiot is an idiot.

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: There is an accident near Peermade involving a police jeep, and it is revealed that the vehicle was carrying two convicts who seems to have escaped after the crash. Vimal (Indrajith Sukumaran) and Mushtafa (Biju Menon) are the two former prisoners, now out in the forest. The former is accused of murdering his own girlfriend Shalini (Sshivada), a crime to which he has confessed. The latter is a small-time thief who has been trying to make it big, and was caught accused of having stolen a Rolex wrist-watch, of which there is no proof except for the fact that he was there when it was stolen. Handcuffed to each other, the two will require mutual help to survive, but one happens to be a rich orphan with only one relative in the name of a brother who is in the United States and doesn’t care; the other had a mother who killed his father, and now he is alone.

So, what happens next? :: So, both have to make it through the forest, and goes on with the journey after being chased by a bear and almost being bitten by a snake. Due to the tough circumstances, Mushtafa thinks about going back, as there is no clear evidence of him being the thief and he could get away at some point. But Vimal is adamant, and offers Mushtafa, a total amount of five lakhs if he stays with him through the tough journey, let him escape the police, and find the one who had actually murdered his girlfriend. Mushtafa finds the offer interesting because it was five lakhs that he wanted to make, to begin a new life with a mobile shop and leave his troublesome past behind. With the police after them, and a forest which seems to be never-ending, will they finally be able to find the real murderer and bring him to justice, as time runs out?

The defence of Lakshyam :: There is the certainty of thrills about Lakshyam, when it is present, along with a certain suspense factor, and nobody can deny the same here, even with those troubles which make way. We also have some humour, especially with Biju Menon around. The visuals of the forest are nicely captured here, and we get to see the world from the top, as if in a game such as Age of Empires: Age of Kings with those trees, rivers and small people all around; birds flying in different directions too. The song in this movie is also good, and well taken, even though not anything that would make the big difference. The movie is also successful in making us believe that something huge is on the way right at the beginning. The movie also becomes a distant morality tale in the end, with all things being solved, even though not without some trouble as expected. The message is more about the second chance, which is provided as a reward for goodness.

The claws of flaw :: You are certain to ask if the movie has used all its possibilities as a thriller of this kind – it is far behind in making the best use of the same. Even a certain amount of humour is done in a bad taste, something which is disappointing considering the potential of the two actors here, and the possibility with this situation and environment. The comic side was also something that managed to begin so well, but doesn’t really manage the same throughout the run. The main suspense is also revealed too early, and the potential places to insert the thrilling elements were not looked at. Coming from the pen of the man behind Drishyam, the remake Papanasam and Memories, we surely have expected a lot more with this one, even though this surely has the advantage over his last effort, Oozham. With Mummy and Me, Detective and My Boss, it was a faultless resume for Jeethu Joseph, and even Life of Josutty had held on – one wonders what is happening with the same.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon once again leads the way, and his comic timing is exceptional as usual – even otherwise, he never goes back, and there is not even a sign of the same. There is cent percent safety concerning him handling this particular role. We are also glad to see Indrajith back here, as he is one actor who has so many good movies in his pocket, and remains very much underrated – there is no hype surrounding him, and he delivers each and every time. Sshivada’s role is once again limited, as in the ridiculous movie Inspector Davood Ibrahim, and becomes nothing like Su Sudhi Vathmeekam – but she surely has a few charming moments, not something that is expected to stay for long. The supporting cast is also so small, and the most famous name in that list, Shammi Thilakan also has so much less to do. In a movie that has almost every scene with one of these characters, and three quarter of the movie with these two together, the rest just had to keep going on.

How it finishes :: Biju Menon is coming right out of three family movies which were not less than entertaining with the humour; Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kavi Uddheshichathu? and Swarna Kaduva. Indrajith’s last three movies were Vettah, Amar Akbar Anthony and Kohinoor, all being multi-starrers, his big surprise as the sole hero coming in the form of Angels. Both seems to have been choosing very well with their last few movies, which have kept us interested in their flicks that go on to be good enough for minimum guarantee. With the name Jeethu Joseph is added, Lakshyam also stays somewhere there, even though not as much as expected. The thrills are here and it should keep you interested at moments. As a movie with not much of a hype, Lakshyam making a pretty much okay run will surprise not just one or two people, but all who were looking forward to other movies. The big challenge to this movie’s existence, CIA, will still be there as the one with the hype.

Release date: 6th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Anzar Khan
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Biju Menon, Sshivada, Kishor Satya, Shammi Thilakan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Alamara

Vampire Owl: A movie named after the almirah. It is an interesting case.

Vampire Bat: What is it about you and an almirah?

Vampire Owl: An almirah is a nice option for executing our evil plans.

Vampire Bat: You are not planning on scaring a few people by jumping out of an almirah, are you?

Vampire Owl: Well, what I plan is world domination using the almirah.

Vampire Bat: That idea won’t work. It is just an almirah.

Vampire Owl: You will know the depth of my evil plans, and then you will realise how far it can go.

Vampire Bat: It hasn’t gone that much with any of the plans.

Vampire Owl: You see, this one is different. I will get some special plan from this movie.

Vampire Bat: Let you find the best evil plan from a feel-good comedy movie.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Arun (Sunny Wayne) is a bank employee who is working at Bangalore, and despite having seen forty seven girls so far, hasn’t been able to get married to one. The last one got messed up after the girl whom he was supposed to marry, eloped with someone else. He is a member of various matrimonial websites, and there are his relatives who are trying to get him to be married to some girl or the other, but things don’t go well as something bad happens every time. It is during these times that his good friend Suvin (Aju Varghese) gets rejected by a girl Swathi (Aditi Ravi) because he ends up being shorter than her. Swathi gets transferred to Bangalore, and asks for some help from Arun who is the brother of her old friend Divya (Sonu Anna Jacob), and knows the city well enough to find her a place to live for the time being.

So, what happens next? :: He soon proposes to Swathi, and working in nearby banks in the same city, she accepts, and so do the parents and relatives of both of them. The date of wedding is fixed on a day six months later, so that Divya can also be married on the same day, after she also passes a bank test and gets to work in a financial institution just like them. As the date gets nearer, everyone on the girl’s side gets restless, but it seems that Divya is in no mood to pass the bank test any time soon – she just keeps studying and nothing much happens. The two families almost decide not to go forward with this relationship, but Arun and Swathi are adamant, and finally both families have to agree to conduct the wedding. The wedding goes on well, and both of them move to Bangalore after a few days at Arun’s place. But things aren’t that smooth as they thought they were going to be.

The defence of Alamara :: The feel-good element in this movie works very well, and so do the jokes used here. The message here is that the married couple has to live their lives, and the rest of the people around will be only there to give some free advice and also to have the food for the function. The movie asks the pairs to take the decisions about their later lives themselves, and listen the least to the others – also, not to compare, but to live a life which is meant for them and not for those who watch from outside. A lot of situations in the movie can be related, and the comedy used here might feel a lot closer to real life for many. It was also a nice and divergent idea to have the almirah do the narration as the silent witness to all the foolishness that the humans come up with inside their relationships. The movie is visually good, and the songs have good timing.

The claws of flaw :: You will see that there is a lot of predictability associated with this tale which has been going on for a long time in one form or the other. There is no shortage of stories like this in our world – we can see them in all directions. You once again see a married couple having their relationship in trouble due to the interferences from their families who were not sure about this wedlock at the first place. The subplot concerning the property sale at Bangalore was not at all interesting though, and it could have been kept to the minimum to decrease the overall length of this movie. There could have also been something really new and fresh here, considering the fact that the same couldn’t be done with the story and how it goes on. The actors like Bijukuttan and Vijilesh are a little too less used, with more scope there for their characters.

Performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is good here, and he maintains the level in most of the sequences too. It is Aditi Ravi who makes a bigger impact here though, and we can expect to see more of her considering how good she has been in this leading role. In the comedy department, it is Manikandan Achari as the protagonist’s favourite uncle, who stands apart in a role completely different from what he did in Kammattipaadam. Aju Varghese and Saiju Kurup scores the most as protagonist’s friends when at Bangalore – also look out for Indrans in another different avatar here. Ranji Panicker and Seema G. Nair makes a fine pair that brings the fun here. Sonu Anna Jacob also has a notable role here. Then there is Salim Kumar providing some fun as the voice of almirah, the poor creation from the wood which gets to see all these and suffer – these humans are truly bad, aren’t they?

How it finishes :: This is the third movie from the director Midhun Manuel Thomas after Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyanu and Annmariya Kalippilaanu. Sunny Wayne, Aju Varghese and Saiju Kurup remains the common factors once again, and there is the humour element of the first movie and the feel-good factor of the second one maintained nicely in this particular flick. This movie is surely better than Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyanu, but not that good as Annmariya Kalippilaanu. With the entertainment, the feel-good factor and the messages for a new generation of families as well as those of the older generation, Alamara will be an interesting movie for more than one kind of audience. The message provided by this movie is valid not just for now, but for a longer period of time, and therefore Alamara should continue to work as the right family flick for many despite not being a huge one! Also look out for C/O Saira Banu this weekend, both movies taking different paths here!

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Midhun Manuel Thomas
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Aditi Ravi, Sonu Anna Jacob, Ranji Panicker, Aju Varghese, Saiju Kurup, Sudhi Koppa, Manikandan Achari, Indrans, Sadiq, Seema G. Nair, Manju Satheesh, Kunchan, Bijukuttan, Vijilesh, Salim Kumar (voice only), Arya Rohit (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

A Monster Calls

amonstercalls-2

Vampire Owl: Do you know that a monster did call me before?

Vampire Bat: Yes, the potato chips monster.

Vampire Owl: No, a real monster.

Vampire Bat: What did he say?

Vampire Owl: He said that he would eat me for dinner.

Vampire Bat: Oh! A monster that eats the undead for dinner. This should have been in the news.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but it was April Fool, coming right from Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat: According to the humans, we are surely monsters. So, from another perspective, it is true.

Vampire Owl: But we are vegetarian.

Vampire Bat: Yes, that is indeed our specialty which is to remain the same.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with potato chips].

What is the movie about? :: A young boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is in a state of worry due to his mother Elizabeth Clayton’s (Felicity Jones) cancer. She keeps telling him that she is getting better, but the truth is that she is not. It is only getting worse, and she is slowly and steadily moving towards her end. It is difficult for him to accept the same, and with his father Mr. O’Malley (Toby Kebbell) being separated from him and living far away from them, he has not many people to look forward to. He is also targeted by Harry (James Melville), a bully at the school, and he is asked by his grandmother Mrs. Clayton (Sigourney Weaver) with whom he doesn’t have a great relationship, to move to her home with her. But Conor is more frustrated by the idea of moving to his grandmother’s home than about being bullied by his classmate and his friends.

So, what happens next? :: One night at exactly 12:07 a.m., Conor comes across a strange tree-like monster (Liam Neeson), that tells him it is going to come up with three stories, after which Conor has to tell the monster his own story, which is the truth behind the nightmare that he keeps seeing. The first story is that of an old king who has lost all his sons battling giants, dragons and great wizards who led men and creatures of darkness. The only heir he had was his grandson who was loved by all people of the kingdom. But at his old age, he gets married to a beautiful woman, after which he falls ill and dies. With the prince not old enough to claim the kingdom, the queen becomes the ruler, and the prince runs away with his love, a farmer’s daughter who seems to be murdered. This queen who is claimed to be a witch, is supposed to be behind the death of both the king and the lover, is saved by the monster, as he claims – Conor wonders why.

So, how do things go from here? :: The second story is that of an ill-tempered, greedy apothecary who follows the old ways of medicine, and pesters a local parson to let him cut the yew tree in the churchyard. The parson who is a man of strong faith is against the apothecary who grows in hatred towards everyone around. But when the parson’s two children gets ill, he asks the apothecary for help, and even offers the yew tree and a change in his own belief. But the apothecary refuses to help him, and the children die. The tree then takes his monstrous form and begins destroying the house of the parson, much to the dismay of Conor who doesn’t understand why the creature is not destroying the house of the apothecary instead. As the third tale nears, Conor’s relationships with his father and grandmother worsens further, and his mother’s disease also gets worse – now, the question remains if the creature can actually heal his mother.

The defence of A Monster Calls :: There is sadness in A Monster Calls, and you can feel it all the way from the beginning to the end. The monster has the message to move on with one’s life, and survive through the unexpected pains – on what it takes to live through the certainty of losing a loved one. It uses all the available themes to its advantage, and tells the message with ease. All the characters used here points to that one message. It has all which are needed to strike you emotionally, and at the same time, despite being a fantasy movie, has more of real life in it with all the fiction that seem to be part of the world. It becomes more of a fairy-tale for the adults rather than children, as each point that its main characters make is worth pondering about. It makes one turn into one’s own mind and ask the same questions about humanity again and again, and at the same time, we get to see the nice creature detail to go with it.

The claws of flaw :: You can keep feeling a certain amount of drag throughout this flick, and those who are looking for the usual kind of fantasy movies are going to feel strange. If you can’t take some preaching, this one is going to be not the movie for you. There also seems to be an attempt to get more and more emotional with things, but that was really not needed, as there was a lot of the same, which came naturally. This is also based on a novel of the same name, written by Patrick Ness, and so it is up-to the author who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well as the fans to decide on how it did justice to the work. There is also the chance to miss out on the symbolism that one comes across in the movie, and so maybe the flick could have hinted on what it was planning to do – a lot of people should have felt that the monster is the usual one, but this one is not just a monster, but much more than that, and one needs to take that.

How it finishes :: The fangs of the message here is quite strong, and it is the performances which support the same more than anything else. You will see how well Lewis MacDougall takes the protagonist to the viewers so well. There is no doubt anywhere about how Sigourney Weaver gets us closer to things, and Felicity Jones makes us feel the pain. As the movie deals with a situation which most people will face in one way or the other, one can be certain that there is the need for A Monster Calls at some point, and we will have to take these messages from the movie right back home. Well, above them all, there is Liam Neeson as the monster, and there is nobody else who could be a monster who provides us with the best messages – proven here without doubt. What would you do when your own monster calls? Well, it is something to keep thinking about.

Release date: 23rd December 2016
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, James Melville, Geraldine Chaplin, Max Golds

amonstercalls

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Masaan

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What is it about? :: Set in the city of Varanasi, this tale separates into two, bringing two stories together. One of them is the tale of Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda) with her boyfriend checking into a hotel room, but the police also follows them. As the police inspector tries to record their faces in his mobile phone, the scared boy locks himself in the bathroom, and in fear of humiliation in front of his family and friends, commits suicide much to the shock of Devi. But her trouble doesn’t end there as her father Vidyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra) and herself are blackmailed by the corrupt police officer (Pankaj Tripathi) who demands what seems to be a huge amount of money for them, for not leaking her video into Youtube and other social media. As she keeps switching the jobs and running away from people, things just don’t get any better.

So, what is it about the second tale? :: The next story is that of Deepak Chaudhary (Vicky Kaushal) in the same city of Varanasi, hailing from a low caste that deals with the burning of corpses. But he wishes to go beyond the restrictions of his caste, and studies Civil Engineering at a polytechnic college. He soon meets and falls in love with Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi), an upper-caste girl. Even though it takes time, she accepts his proposal. Even though he does find the courage to tell her about his caste and what his people do, she doesn’t hesitate in going forward with the relationship. She asks him to stay focused and look for camus placements to get a good job – she would accept him as his husband even though her parents won’t, as long as he has a job. But there is a twist waiting to wreck havoc in their lives too, and the question remains if Deepak can get himself out of the depression.

The defence of Masaan :: The biggest advantage of this movie is that it sticks to the common man and a town rather than going for the ultra-modern city life and its people – this one has also told the story in a realistic way without adding those usual Bollywood flavours. One can safely say that Masaan is a long way above a usual Bollywood movie. It works so well emotionally because its characters are not people wearing colourful dress and jumping around with loads of money, and still complaining about their “zindagi” which is not enough. These are not about the kind of spoilt people who blame their past and their parents for what has gone through in their lives – instead, these are responsible people, ready to fight, which is why we fall for them, and we want them to win – there is no moment in this movie that we don’t feel for them, as we go through the tragedy of life which still has hope here and there.

Claws of flaw :: This is not for the usual Bollywood fan-people who support movies which make no sense; this one stays away from that, and uses the real world instead of the exaggerated visions of life – it is not a flaw, but for some people, that means no entertainment. Yes, the movie is pretty much slow, and it won’t have people dancing to strange party music – I would certainly thank God for that. Maybe the ending could have brought something more, even though hope is still there at the finish, stretching its arms towards our protagonists. Finding fault with Masaan is not an easy job; unless you are the masala entertainment seeker who wish to label this one as not interesting and even boring – but trust me, as both these are not the things that we relate to this movie, even when we are sleepy. Masaan is that good, and its nice philosophical claws point towards a reflection of perfection rather than the flaws.

Performers of the soul :: Richa Chadda has an amazing outing in the movie, as her character makes us feel each moment of loss and sadness, and this one is also one of the stronger character that we have been seeing in Hindi movies – she is not the kind of person who blames her parents for her past and falls in love with everyone around, becoming so ambitious with “zindagi” that she cannot sleep and then needs a therapist. It is a character that we admire, and with this performance, the person we see on the screen gets better. Then there is Vicky Kaushal whose character’s feelings reflect on us so well. His bliss in love and his sadness in separation – all feel so real that we feel the need to get further away from the so called superstars of the industry; the best actors and actresses are seen in realistic movies, in the tales of the lives of common man, and not with those ultra-modern people who creates problems for themselves and needs someone to solve them.

Further performers of the soul :: Richa Chadda and Vicky Kaushal might be two names which not many people here knows, but they are among those real performers who act in the movies which are rather real, and not exaggerated. This is exactly the reason why we need new faces with skills instead of superstars; as it is proven here again that a movie shouldn’t be about the big stars and who they are, for there are only characters who need to be played with the needed features. Yes, there is also Shweta Tripathi as Shaalu Gupta who brings such cuteness to the screen that we begin cheering for the two to get married – she has some beautiful combination scenes with Vicky Kaushal that makes us feel for them, not just within this movie, but rather eternally. The next one who impresses us is Sanjay Mishra, and he is there doing the same throughout this movie. To add to it, the world itself is a character, as we see how it influence the people.

How it finishes :: There is a certain happiness and sadness that Masaan leaves one with. It is the happiness of having watched this beautiful movie, and at the same time, the sadness that we share with the protagonists of this movie who are troubled by what fate or destiny has provided them with. There might have been the tendency to move away from the beauty at the centre of everything, but the movie stays there and becomes a realistic film rather than moving towards that side which is too common in Bollywood. Masaan is a very significant movie as it tells us that there is real skill out there, and the best that comes from anywhere around Bollywood can be found among the movies collecting less at the box-office, and has not much of the so called superstars, both male and female. Masaan shows how good content can get better, and so close to perfection, and it becomes another reason why people need to watch realistic movies more, and leave the usual exaggerated and overrated works behind.

Release date: 24th July 2015
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Neeraj Ghaywan
Starring: Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Pankaj Tripathi, Nikhil Sahni, Satya Kam Anand, Vineet Kumar, Niharica Raizada

masaan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Dear Zindagi

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Vampire Owl: This is not acceptable to the vampire community.

Vampire Bat: I see no problem in some vampire censoring here.

Vampire Owl: There is too much about life here. If they get too much caught up with life, how can we recruit our minions?

Vampire Bat: Consider this life after death.

Vampire Owl: That would be beautiful, even though these people don’t look like zombies.

Vampire Bat: Well, beauty of life after death is more than just about zombies.

Vampire Owl: To that, I can drink tea.

Vampire Bat: We are drinking tea to that.

Vampire Owl: And we are watching this movie only for that.

Vampire Bat: In the end, I am sure that most of us will end up watching this for different reasons.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: Kaira (Alia Bhatt) is a rising cinematographer who wishes to shoot a full movie instead of the smaller projects that she usually does. Raghuvendra (Kunal Kapoor) is the person who becomes her chance to get to the big scene at New York, and it is with him that she is cheating on her boyfriend, Sid (Angad Bedi). But things don’t go on as planned, and she ends up in Goa, where her parents are – as many other people in her life, she can’t get along with them too. She is unable to sleep and except for her very few friends, she is angry at most of the people. But one day, she comes across Dr. Jehangir Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) whom she figures out as the right choice to solve her problems. She decides to be open to her therapist, and he has a few sessions with her, and life will never be the same for her again.

The defence of Dear Zindagi :: Here you get another inspirational movie. There is no shortage of messages, no matter how they are presented – it is more about claiming back one’s life while getting rid of the ghosts of the past, and the rest of the messages can be discovered by oneself. There is some humour here and there, but nothing that remains memorable enough. The visuals work nicely, and the songs are okay, with “Love you zindagi” being a clear winner. There are also some dialogues which you can use as a quotation on another day. The fact that this movie made this much without much of a plot is actually interesting. Then there is the cast which is another big advantage for this movie. It is also an interesting thing to notice that Bollywood is thinking differently these days – we had many movies with difference this year, and that is a welcome change; but the fact that this was so close to being a lot better movie should be rather disappointing.

Claws of flaw :: Well, we get so many of inspirational movies here; if you take a look back, there are enough of them to keep some extra inspiration for later use – there are separate movies for children like Philips and the Monkey Pen, for women like Rani Padmini and also for many different categories of people. It is near impossible to relate to the character played by Alia Bhatt too, as we get too much of a world which is less ours. This could have been more fun if it felt more real with its happens. We see that something unreal comes up here and there even in an inspirational movie – a bad habit without doubt. This certainly goes exaggerated, and thus that bad quality of Bollywood is also retained. There are slow parts and you know the unconvincing side – not easy to feel for the characters; our protagonist herself has too easy a life and no pain. The drag makes one feel that this an even longer movie, with an already big run-time – too many dialogues there too.

Performers of the soul :: Alia Bhatt’s character does spend a lot of time buying things from e-bay and cleaning the roads with her clothes as she move around in them, but you see that she plays this interesting, but irritating character very well. Her long speech about her childhood might be the boring side of the same though, followed by her anger at her parents. But the energy that she brings to this character is a lot. Still, it is only when Shah Rukh Khan’s character enters the scene after an hour, that things get interesting. After that, things get going, until that climax which is nothing more than ordinary. Even as Alia Bhatt remains the soul of this movie, it is Shah Rukh Khan that holds the parts together, and whemever he is there, we are cent percent glued to the screen. Among the supporting cast, it is Yashaswini Dayama who plays Jackie that scores the most.

Soul exploration :: The protagonist’s problems are also more Bollywood kind, as she keeps falling in love – one has to wonder if she actually does anything else in her life; too much falling in love and leaving them behind. Then she also gets to be rude to her parents living in the past. There are moments when one feel that these kind of people don’t deserve a movie at all, unless provided with a warning in the beginning. But Bollywood’s aversion to common man goes on as it looks only for special people. As usual, for a Bollywood movie, there is also too much melodrama in this one, and the real solution of this problem was there so early – as the problem in this movie for Alia Bhatt’s character is she herself. Some people have to be taught how to be good to others, even when their life is actually going very smooth, and that indeed is the problem of this world, isn’t it?

How it finishes :: There is one thing that we keep wondering about – why is the Bollywood movies too much about the aspirations and disappointments of people of another level? At the same time, the Malayalam movie Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan is running in the theatres, and this one is closer to the common people despite it focusing more on the comic side without feeding advice with brains. You saw the same with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, as the heroes just had to travel all around the world – maybe Bollywood wishes to tell less about the common man and make its stars people with a lot of money or special skills? Meanwhile, movies like North 24 Kaatham and Mili could easily tell such stories of finding oneself, that too with the common people as protagonists. If you have watched Mummy & Me with Archana Kavi being advised by Suresh Gopi on how to get her life better, you will know how such movies can be done with realistic protagonists with whom we can relate to. This one will work, but the theory to “overdo things for attention with less focus on the story” is here with Bollywood.

Release date: 25th November 2016
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Gauri Shinde
Starring: Alia Bhatt, Shah Rukh Khan, Ira Dubey, Yashaswini Dayama, Rohit Saraf, Kunal Kapoor, Angad Bedi, Ali Zafar, Aditya Roy Kapur

dearzindagii

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jo and the Boy

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What is the movie about? :: Joan Mary John (Manju Warrier) used to be a kid who loved Mickey Mouse a lot and later took it as her ambition to create a cartoon character like that. When asked at school about whom she wanted to be, she had the answer as Walt Disney. Later, she grows up to be an animator who hopes to make a big series or movie with a character created by her, and for the same, she makes different approaches, but with not much of a result. As she goes above the age of thirty with no job and no interest in marriage, her parents Johnny (Lalu Alex) and Mary (Kalaranjini) become more and more worried. But she continues in her own small world trying to make that big difference to it with one right moment. Then the life changing moment appears, and the story has another direction to proceed.

So what is this sudden change of direction in life about? :: Joan needed something special with her life. Things take a turn with the arrival of a boy called Chris (Sanoop Santhosh) who was adopted by Catherine (Rekha), one of Joan’s relatives. The visit happens at a time when Joan is struggling to make a mark as things continue to work against her. After the initial dislike due to the boy’s attitude, Joan becomes good friends with him, and they become good friends. Later, he becomes the inspiration for the cartoon character whom Joan is planning to create, and she ends up designing her creation just like him. Calling the character Criz, she keeps making the attempt to impress the firm, with the man at its head not interested in her ideas. With the help of her friends and the boy, Joan will try again, as it is her only dream in life.

The defence of Jo and the Boy :: There is a very nice beginning to this movie, with the child and Mickey Mouse; it keeps that level or somewhere around there until the cartoon character gets its own problems. There was the possiblity of this one becoming the right movie embedded in the spirit of Christmas in the beginning stages. The ending is also pretty good, even though the climax has a little bit too much melodrama. This is inspirational and feel-good, that is for sure – there is no shortage of such stuff here and there even though not in totality with the story. The Philips and the Monkey Pen feeling exists right through this one, even though that much strength is not there to be a worthy successor to that amazing movie – don’t keep the expectations that high about this one. There is also the strength of some amazing visuals in this flick. You are going to fall in love with locations used here, and there is no question about that. The performances will be another plus point.

Claws of flaw :: The movie will have problems in connecting to a good number of viewers who might not have expected this from the trailers. The humour here is rather too less. The songs are not that good either, and visuals are the ones which give the feel to the music. There are problems in the middle part and the first part of the second half does have some lagging portions along with cliches. A lot of scenes which were shown in the trailer in a nice way have almost no significance in the movie in its totality. The Philips and the Monkey Pen magic is not really recreated here, with some magical moments here and there, but that connectivity, clarity and emotional strength isn’t that much present here. It should be also why this movie try to be the great overreacher with its story, when it could have stayed on the ground with the common man; instead it does try to fly too high, and becomes the Icarus with burnt wings – unlike the son of Daedalus, this one survives though. A better or even simpler story would have made this a fairy-tale beauty.

Performers of the soul :: As you might have already expected, Manju Warrier is the big performer here, as she once again manages an inspiration role to take it to a fine level, after How Old Are You? and Rani Padmini. All those “different” characteristics of this role comes to life with her, even though common man question the action here – that is explained with the “difference” factor; “divergence” isn’t really a crime, right? Sanoop Santhosh also does an interesting job here as the boy who brings the diversion in life. Even though the character is not that likable as in Philips and the Monkey Pen, he does his character well. It is nice to see Lalu Alex doing the “cool father act” once again. Sudheer Karamana is too underused here as his character disappears after making a nice impact. Sunil Sukhada also has a short appearance in the beginning stages of the movie. Pearle Maaney provides some good support. A point to be noted is that there is no pair for the heroine here, and as you expected, the romance is null.

Soul exploration :: Jo and the Boy is another movie which talks about dreams. The whole story is about the lady protagonist who has a dream in her childhood and keeps going towards it even as she reaches the age of thirty – unmarried and without a job. It is the story of many good men and women who couldn’t achieve a particular thing just because they don’t have enough contacts or blood-relationships with people at good positions – we know how it works in this world, as people with reservations and powerful relatives will get things done easily and earlier while others have to work hard to achieve it. But our protagonist keeps trying, and despite the worries, her parents also supports her. In a world in which sons and daughters of actors/directors/producers become actors without any skill, and children of ministers become leaders and then ministers, Joan is a symbol of everyone who keeps trying without accepting defeat and changing the path.

How it finishes :: As you might know already, there is no shortage of inspirational movies in Malayalam Cinema; even this year, it is a process which started with Mili, and continued to go on through Rani Padmini, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam and My God. Among these five big inspirational movies including this one, three of them are heroine-oriented, one has a person who rises above his disability, and another movie has a kid at the centre of everything. Malayalam movie industry does know how to inspire its audience, that is for sure. With Jo and the Boy, I am glad that there has been a lot of inspiration gained from movies this year, and there are also those feel-good entertainers which have provided us with some more happiness, and some movies are both! I am extremely glad to have watched more Malayalam movies than the flicks in any other language this year, in the theatres.

Release date: 24th December 2015
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Manju Warrier, Sanoop Santhosh, Pearle Maaney, Kiran, Lalu Alex, Kalaranjini, Rekha, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sukhada

joandtheboy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

About Time

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Vampire Owl :: I waited so long for this movie to get released in India that I got very old.

Vampire Bat :: May be it just didn’t release in Cochin or we were on a trip when it released.

Vampire Owl :: But I got very old, nevertheless.

Vampire Bat :: Aren’t we already centuries old?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but I still got a lot older, and this time it is depressing.

Vampire Bat :: Didn’t your great ancestors have the power to go back in time and change the release date and screens of a movie?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, he could predict the situation that the worst movies will get released and there was nothing that we could do. He used to be a fan of an old form of vampire theatre. It was like, for tragedy everybody laughed and then he tried to change the meaning of tragedy and they just cut his head. He could travel in time no longer.

Vampire Bat :: So, he was the first revolutionary against bad drama, that theatre which represents movies now.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but the point is that he got his head cut off. You know the fans these days and what can happen to us.

Vampire Bat :: That is a fair point.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man is told a family secret at the age of twenty one – that all the men of their family have a special gift, which is the ability for time travel, something which he needs to unlock and try now. But he will only be able to go back to his own experiences, those memories which he can remember well enough. He decides to use this newly found ability of his, to improve his chances of getting a lover. As he falls for his sister’s friend, Charlotte (Margot Robbie) who spends her holidays with them, he uses the time travel ability to make her fall in love with her, but understands that it will never happen as she will just keep making excuses as she already made her decision on him. But later, he would meet Mary (Rachel McAdams) by fate and both are interested in each other, but losses her while trying to help his friend by time travel. But he would use his skills to recreate some events which will take him back to meeting her and both once again fall in love with each other. But his time travel adventures doesn’t end there.

The defence of About Time :: This movie manages to be the smart and cute, happy and heart-warming love story that stands above most of the romantic love stories with its theme as well as its presentation, which is closer to true love and family relationships that it can get, making one wonder if Hollywood actually cares about such things when making movies of this genre – but About Time says, it was about time. The movie is powered by its powerful emotions, and leaves one with a sense of responsibility towards life and also to one’s own family. The movie flourishes in its emotions and runs strong like a river during the monsoon, whenever the family stuff comes to the scene. The romantic comedy is not far behind, as there are moments there, which makes us remember that it is not far away either. The movie has its layers, and each one has something there, hiding some messages which we can take home. The combining of sci-fi-, rom-com and family drama works like a dream here.

Positives and Negatives :: Yes, finding negatives with this movie has not been too difficult with the critics, but it is not easy as far as I am concerned. Yes, the combination of three genres might be strange at times, and the movie not be what some people had expected with its family drama which overtakes the romance and the science fiction most of the people wanted to watch. You can find the time travel paradox and also ask a few question about that, but that is never expected to take the centre stage. The exact central point of the movie is its message for life. About Time is powerful in its heart and soul, and that much you have to give to the movie, no matter what else good or bad you can find here. Keep your own heart and soul at the right place while watching this movie, and these are the kind of movies which can rise above the limitations of a usual romance-sex-comedy.

Performers of the soul :: The movie has a brilliant performance from Domhnall Gleeson, but wait till Rachel McAdams arrives to take your beath away, and the chemistry between the two works like a true love dream. This lady was also there in The Time Traveler’s Wife, but I would say that this is a lot better movie and she is too good in this one. She might have looked better as the younger self in that movie, but look out for her performance in this one. Yes, the presence of the same lady lead might have confused a few, but About Time reigns supreme if there is a war of the romantic time travel fiction. Then there is the surprise package in the form of Bill Nighy as the father, that dad that everybody would want to have, and I would die and be reborn to have. He is someone who has known to love his son and has always found the little joys of his time with his son worth living. He has wonderfully portrayed the perfect father for whom we reserve our tears. Margot Robbie also gets attention in her smaller role, and Lydia Wilson as the sister of the protagonist – Kit Kat is lovable.

Soul exploration :: About Time leaves us with a strong message to live in the moment, and there are things that cannot be changed. Even if you had a certain time travel ability, the things that are to happen, will happen; those things that you have changed were supposed to be changed, and this knowledge whether it can be changed or not can be obtained only by trying, and it is a need to try. It is never late to appreciate life, and the best things come to those who wait, and not those who feel the emergency and hurry up on life. It shows that true love waits, and no matter how much you think that some thing are less important, they are not. It is our responsibility to know that family always comes first, especially with the kind of parents who have cared for you. This is as close to a righteous romantic comedy as one can get, with emotional, love for family and true love. This tale uses the science fiction elements to support this cause.

How it finishes :: Even as this is a romantic comedy, I would advice watching this one with family – it is because its message of love transcends and chooses to rise higher as well as deeper, making it a powerful family movie in its core. It take its elements of true love and science fiction and it digs deep, and comes out of it as a movie for everyone who loves one’s family. I suggest you get a fictional time machine which you can use to erase your questions about many things and replace it with a positive attitude about life. I thought I could do that, but I have come too far to do that. I haven’t listened to myself enough for that throughout my past. But this movie reminds me that, it is never too late, and may be, I will have a chance at everything when the wheel of time turns. Life will give you that opportunity, and I can choose to listen to those idiots, backstabbers and supposed to be successful people (or parents of successful people), waiting for my opportunity. It has to come, because life goes on and you shouldn’t worry too much about the past.

Release date: 3rd November 2013
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Lydia Wilson, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hughes, Vanessa Kirby, Will Merrick, Lisa Eichhorn

abouttime

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angry Babies

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Vampire Bat :: Did you just say Angry Birds at the ticket counter?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but he heard Angry Babies.

Vampire Bat :: How can you be so sure?

Vampire Owl :: Because he gave me tickets. Angry Babies sounds dumb. I am not going to say that with Angry Birds in my mobile.

Vampire Bat :: But what if there are real babies in it and justifies the title?

Vampire Owl :: I have watched the trailer. It didn’t seem like the protagonists were ever going to have a baby.

Vampire Bat :: It should have been Angry Babes then, unless they act like babies.

Vampire Owl :: I am afraid this will remind me of What Happens in Vegas.

Vampire Bat :: I think it will be like Just Married.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The rich and the poor love story begins in the highranges of Kerala as Sarah Thomas (Bhavana), daughter of a wealthy businessman and Jeevan Paul (Anoop Menon), a still photographer decides to run away on the day of the lady’s betrothal. They arrives in Mumbai and starts a Coffee Shop with name Sarah Jeevan by selling the ornaments she was wearing for her engagement function. As Sarah is more into the shop and Jeevan rarely goes there and attempting to get a job as a photographer, they slowly moves away from each other; his photographing beautiful models acting as a powerful catalyst for the same. They slowly begins to detest the presence of each other, and files a divorce only to be asked to wait for six months which seems longer to them than ever. After failing in an attempt to push the other person out of their flat, they decide to share the place until the legal separation, and their problems are mediated by Madhavan (P. Balachandran). Sarah attempts to take over things by appointing a servant Selvi (Anusree) and being close to Alex (Joju) much to Jeevan’s dismay. But as their friends who helped them elope comes to Mumbai, they decide to act like all is well so that they are not hurt.

The defence of Angry Babies :: The one thing which was guaranteed from the beginning and delivered with ease was the fun. The movie has clean entertainment and comedy, unlike the new generation comedy which laughs at things or use multiple double meaning words in an attempt to evoke laughter. This is where the has been quite an attention, and even if there is some loss of fun, such tidy status is to be managed if families are to watch this one, and the flick manages some security there. This is lots of fun right from the beginning to the end, but as it moved towards the climax, it doesn’t fail to give some message about adjustments in marriage, and the weaknesses that the love marriages will show sooner or later as long as there is no support from the families of the bride and groom. The blessings of one’s parents is always a major factor in marriage. There is difference between love and marriage and it is easier to talk stupid things about love and wander around together doing nothing, but wedding takes it to another level, and this one deals with the problems in Ivar Vivahitharayal in a funny and sometimes stupid manner – the same director handles this one too. There are lots of funny situations, and the beauty of Mumbai is nicely captured too.

The claws of flaw :: Angry Babies doesn’t have that much of an innovation, and the story is mostly predictable except for the smaller details. The story has is own dose of exaggeration, but nothing that thrives on inflammation to the wrong emotions like Bangalore Days had been trying; why do you need to over-think Angry Birds though, for it serves it purpose and do what it is supposed to do, with no unnecessary additions to make it something it is not. The ending is also a bit forced with the love returning to the life like a boomerang quickly remembering that it was actually supposed to come back – well, this was supposed to maintain that comic factor throughout the movie and the ending is no different as it ends up in another funny moment. This is not for the people who are not looking forward to such a movie, and if someone feels the need to inject anything other than just fun into this movie, it is their problem and needs to stop watching movies in the theatre. There is no denying that it could have created a few more funny moments, and the flashback story of love needn’t even exist – it never bores with such stuff, and then why not the creation of a little more funny moments like What Happens in Vegas and Just Married could come up with?

Performances of the soul :: Most of the screen time is reserved for Anoop Menon and Bhavana, and there is almost no moment which doesn’t include one of them and most of the time, they spend together. Anoop Menon shows his skill for comedy like never before, especially in the first half and in the end works well with the emotional stuff. Bhavana is a beauty; not just with the looks, but with her handling of both comic and emotional scenes. She plays a character which reminds one of Mamtha Mohandas in My Boss, and yet keeps so many good elements with her unlike that “boss”, and this middle path that she has taken for her character is rather a smart idea by the director not making her the more egotic person, and gives enough to Anoop’s character too. None of these characters preach though, and keeps things simple, fighting and getting over with it. Anusree’s character is a little overdose at times, but manages to funny throughout the movie, and she is one actress who can thrive in simplicity. The Vodafone Comedy Stars fame Noby was the funniest one in the second half, and it makes one extremely happy to see him coming up with so much to make us laugh, and Joju comes next in the comic contribution. Noby needs a lot more chances, for he has earned it. Meanwhile, Nishanth Sagar makes a nice come back looking so much younger, and Parvathy Nair looks beautiful in her short stay. Kalabhavan Shaju also contributes to the fun.

Soul exploration :: One thing is very clear about this movie, and it is the lack of pretending to be something. Unlike our most recent pretender to the throne of awesomeness called Bangalore Days, this movie knows where it stands and where the strengths lie. This one also doesn’t depend on a hufe starcast to hide its weaknesses, but it uses very good use of the resources available. The disadvantages of a multi-starrer cast has always been its special ability to hide its weaknesses; just like what was evident from the early opinions about Bangalore Days. The people would be staring at their favourite stars and it will be impossible for them to tell the truth that the movie had problems, and will say that the movie is awesome just because they are typical fanboys and fangirls. The real movies shouldn’t have too many superstars because it spoils its essence even as there will be a good amount of box-office collections, and there will no real review about it as nobody wishes to go against the fans because people only need to read what they want to read, and this case, they are intoxicated just because their favourite actor or actress looks great on the screen. When those involved with the movie other than the cast are also popular, the movie needs zero substance. This movie moves away from such lies, and that is a point for the soul.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director who has handles the funny side nicely, like in Ivar Vivahitharayal, Happy Husbands and Husbands in Goa, this was expected to be interesting stuff which is certain to make the audience laugh as long as it kept close to the genre. This is his sixth movie and the first one without Jayasurya being a part of the cast. This would be his first movie with Anoop Menon and the second with Bhavana as a part of it. In a weekend when movies like Koothara released, it was good to have this movie from Saji Surendran, with a movie that doesn’t think that the audience are stupid and the flick is too intellectual. As I was not a part of the Mermaid Welfare Association of India, I wasn’t happy at all with Koothara, but that is one story I am not going to talk about now. For now, what we need to remember is that Angry Babies is the movie which promises and delivers what it is supposed to come up with, as anything else would have been an unnecessary overdose which the superstar movies come up with, and not a movie which has an identity of its own rather than wearing a fake visage intended only for making money. Now, for the question about the title of the movie, the protagonists are indeed like babies in both love and hatred 😀

Release date: 14th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Saji Surendran
Starring: Bhavana Menon, Anoop Menon, Noby Tharian, Joju George, Parvathy Nair, P. Balachandran, Kalabhavan Shaju, Nishanth Sagar, Anusree Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Highway

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The eternal wait :: The one question that I had to ask myself is “On the second day of October, what did the movie Besharam give to me”? It did take away seventy rupees, but I am not talking about that. The answer is a lack of interest in Hindi movies since that Gandhi Jayanthi had come up with terror which had me watch no Hindi movie at all for almost five months (yes, not even on the television). So, it was a necessity that I wait for sometime so that such disaster won’t happen too soon. But there is no denying the fact that I almost watched Jai Ho, but the show was housefull. There are not many movies that have been as hyped as Highway despite having no big male star right in the middle of the story. I always knew that the best thing would be to watch my next Bollywood movie in the form of Highway rather than any other. There have been so much talks about this movie like “what is it going to be?”, “what story will it tell?”, “Alia Bhatt should be so awesome in it, so its a sure watch?”, “isn’t it about Stockholm syndrome?” and so on. The Vampire Bat had heard so much or rather too much about the movie, and he finally decided to fly to the theatre on a motor-bike.

What is it about? :: Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is kidnapped just before her wedding as she goes on a night ride with her fiancee trying to keep away the pressures and tension of the big function. She is kidnapped by a group of criminals as they stop at a petrol pump. But as the gang realizes that she is the daughter of a rich and powerful man with links to the government, police and the army, they decide to cancel their plans. But Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) is not ready to give up as he takes her on a road trip away from the place so that they won’t be tracked. Even as she is initially bound and gagged by them, Veera gets more and more comfortable with her captors, and a bond develops between Mahabir and her. She feels free even as she is a captive, and feels so happy. She even refuses to escape when there is chance and feels that she should be with him for so much longer. She herself says that she doesn’t want the journey to end, as she has no desire to go back or go where the journey ends. But how long till her people finds them and the travel diary is put to a quick end?

The defence of Highway :: Most of the Keralites should remember a pseudo-travel movie with the long name Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and a big drag which begins with about fifteen minutes into it and ends only when the story finishes. Highway is far ahead of that one in almost all aspects, the most important ones being the acting and the visuals. Highway is a visually superior movie with its awesome locations, especially as it has succeeded in capturing the beauty of the paradise which is Kashmir. The beauty of nature becomes more and more joyful to watch as the movie moves on to the latter part of the second half, and it gets stronger and stronger by the time it reaches the end. Its messages of finding oneself and reaching beyond one’s fear are also stronger than ever. It’s use of the two protagonists, a man and woman, both having traumatic childhood works so well to touch our hearts. There is so much honesty in the way these are portrayed too, as there is no addition of stupid masala which makes worthless movies super-hits.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags a lot, and shows potential to keep dragging. From the beginning itself, the movie seems to make the viewers feel that there is not much to come, even as it is wrong. The character of the lady protagonist is rather too far-fetched to make one believe. She seems rather crazy at times (loosely reminding us of the semi-kidnapped lady protagonist of the Malayalam movie Kilukkam), and her attachment towards a criminal who keeps threatening her comes rather too soon. Except for one or two songs which are okay, the music fails to get the attention of the viewers, and there are times when they come when not needed. There is also the use of other languages or may be variations of Hindi which was rather difficult to follow. There was the need for subtitles at least in it comes rather South. The movie takes one away from any kind of usual entertainment which is usually looked for in such a flick. It won’t give anyone the exaggeration that they might look for in a love story as this keeps that side plain and simple.

Performers of the soul :: Well, most of us won’t identify the faces in the movie other than that of Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. The former (he is the reason why I lament missing John Day which had only one late night show here – who cares for good thrillers with non-superstars who can act, right?) comes up with a powerful performance of brilliance, even as there are less dialogues for him; we can strongly believe that this portrayal by him will be appreciated. We can surely expect a lot more from him. Alia Bhatt is there as the centre of everything, right from the beginning to the end. Even as there is some struggle, she seems to be custom made for the role, seeming to be in so much ease with her character. There are occasions when one would wonder if she does rather too much or a lot more than needed, but that should have come with the character. It is hard to believe that this is only her second movie, and I had missed her first one, Student of the Year. She remains incredibly cute throughout the movie and makes it impossible for any other actress to come up with a better performance in such a role soon. She is so dynamic and full of energy that just her presence keeps the whole thing working so well.

Soul exploration :: The movie is the story of two people whose lives get connected by just one act of crime, a kidnap. It comes up with a lot of things to think about, and it remains so close to being a movie of the soul even if not there completely. Even as not all of them remain close to the truths about life, it is evident that there is a clear attempt to bring to the scene as much humanity as possible; not without its troubles, not in the absence of the good side, yet not abandoning the darker side which tries to get closer to the human soul with more power than ever before. Stockholm syndrome is explored from one side while it continues to be a travel diary as a whole. There are realizations being made about life, and it changes both the kidnapper and the kidnapped in a journey which goes on for kilometres. As Saint Augustine of Hippo says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

How it finishes :: As the movie for which we have been long waiting for, Highway mostly delivers, thanks to the performances of the leading actors, the visuals and the message that it delivers. Despite the drag and the occasional inability to connect, the movie thrives in simplicity and that humanity which are its own Kraken and Leviathan in the huge ocean of movies this weekend. It’s emptiness is not of the soul, but of the physical world, and that is one void that everyone can afford to avoid. As Robert Frost says, when two roads diverge, you have to choose the one less traveled, and here it is Highway, and even as it might not go as expected, this one makes the difference, and there is no doubt about. But let me tell you, happiness is highly subjective, just like the opinions on this movie seems to be – ask Alia Bhatt’s character in Highway and she reiterates money can’t buy you happiness, or even anything close to that. So, if you are making a choice, think about all these factors mentioned above.

Release date: 21st February 2014
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Pradeep Nagar, Durgesh Kumar, Arjun Malhotra

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

North 24 Kaatham

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This is one of the gifts from Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) as I am concerned. No, they didn’t produce this ticket, but a powercut had me going to the theatres. If you wonder if it was the first time, the answer should be no.  And yes, I liked the movie, and there was no reason not to. If any of you don’t like it, I have to say that I don’t write for you. Yes, I write what I find and what I feel; now that wasn’t really a surprise. Well, unlike the fanboys’ stuff like Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, North 24 Kaatham has more soul than most of those movies out there, yes this blog itself is about the movies of the soul, and if you do not possess a soul or intellect enough to respect others’ opinions, why bother reading reviews when you know that you shall come up with a different opinion than the reviewer? Except for the fans whose opinions are fixed, I would like to believe that there is hope for Malayalam movies. Well, there is no bigger evil than people who do not respect the opinions of others, and I have to say that some of them don’t even know what an opinion means, and it is disappointing in this world.

You evil ones are lesser in number this time, as the critics as well as each and every one in the theatre liked this movie and clapped. So, I am going to be very clear about this one. I have more reasons to like this one than a leading actor and a leading actress who can act. Before that, let me tell the good people among you and the others motivated by self-interest with willing distrust of human (or bat) sincerity, on what goes on in this movie. It is the story of Hari (Fahadh Faasil), a genius computer programmer who is hated by his colleagues due to his lack of social interaction, over-cleanliness and the seemingly hostile attitude to most of the things. He is that kind of a person who hasn’t even gone outside his city, living with a fear of travel. But he is forced to go on a journey as part of his job, and on a day of harthal, he is caught in the middle of a world which he is not familiar with. He is caught up with two other people (Nedumudi Venu and Swati Reddy) and he joins them on their journey, and on the way, he changes his attitude towards life and by the end of the journey, he is a changed man.

I know what kind of questions the evil world can come up with. It might be about the change in the protagonist, but I would say it is clearly a believable change, if not incredibly perfect to the core, but even that wouldn’t be acceptable to the new generation fans. Our protagonist was never a bad man, and nothing has changed in his soul if we look at him. He surely might have had his share of psychological problems, but as a good person, through a few incidents, he realizes his mistakes. Remember how one major psychological problem was solved by one major incident in Manichitrathazhu? This is actually not that much of a problem, for Hari had the right to live in his world as much as anybody else, which is why I say that change is a change only on the surface, and therefore it is nothing for which you have to push a huge stone to the top of a mountain and jump into water with the same stone tied around your neck. Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi was based on selfishness, just like Annayum Rasoolum. But this movie has a lot of goodness in it, and therefore try to enjoy the little things which give the good people happiness rather than be evil and go on a meaningless trip leaving your family behind, for life is reclaimed by goodness and the joy of art and literature alone, and not by having fun, sorry hedonists.

Fahadh Faasil gives a brilliant performance yet again, and yes I was so disappointed with his Olipporu that I couldn’t watch his critically well-received movie Artist, and D Company again let me down. But even with so much less dialogues, he scores and raises the level of this movie with his co-star from one of the movies of the year Amen. Yes, I am talking about the wonderfully talented, charming lady lead that we have got here, Swati Reddy. She plays a modern social worker, wearing a hood and shortening her name Narayani as Nani. She continues her good run in the Malayalam movie industry even as this is an entirely different role from her earlier debut in Malayalam this year. Even as Fahadh is the centre of attraction in this movie, she is charm, and the way in which both of them contradict each other brightens each other, as much as the black and white compliments each other, like no grey character could have ever did, and please note that this black and white doesn’t stand for evil and good, for that age has disappeared. Like Solomon and Sosanna, here is Hari and Narayani, but I would wonder myself if such a romantic side was forced, still a better love story than Annayum Rasoolum and a better travel story than Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi.

The performance by our own veteran actor Nedumudi Venu is another highlight, for he plays the third person in their gang of lost people on the day of harthal. How can I praise someone who is beyond the same? That leaves us with the factor that lies under what seems to be an ordinary plot. It is the social message which worked just the opposite in Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi. Here, it is perfectly done. It is a powerful message against harthal and labelling people as not belonging to the group. There is the trouble of harthal and the condition of the roads that are alluded in the movie. Well, the question remains if Hari needed to change, for he was always good, hardworking and doing what he felt was right. Who would know the minds of the others who surrounded them? Well, it shows how important it is to display your inner goodness or pretend to be caring like some of those devils with human masks do, or the society shall keep you at a pterosaur’s wings apart. It shows how society doesn’t like people who are different, but Hari’s difference in the end is the kind of change that society likes – there lies the biggest paradox of man as a social animal.

As Fahadh plays a much misunderstood man with no heroic quality in him other than goodness, there is that deconstruction of the hero image which the fans would love to identify with. Swati’s character take over some traits of that heroism, and I would guess that a few wouldn’t like this reversal of roles. As Swati’s character makes it her responsiblity to get the old man home safe, Fahadh’s character take the smaller role of accompanying them. The heroism is attributed to the lady here, and in that case, Swati Reddy plays another Sosanna of Amen who fights for her aim, instead of Solomon. She helps the old man out of the train and Hari into the bus, a moment of visible shock in the faces of both. She leads the journey even when Hari keeps moving on the front. The people they meet on the way are presented with their own shades of grey, some of them closer to white and the others close enough to black. They are all down to earth just like the plot of the movie. This feel good movie doesn’t have that new generation add-ons and neither does it has any action sequence; therefore it is a good movie which reflects the goodness of Onam and the right movie for the season.

In a life which is consistently plagued by death, our celebration of life should come from doing the right thing from within our limitations, and not by the unruly “Carpe diem” behaviour. We have such a short life, that is for sure; but living that with a selfish motive of maximum pleasure being the only intrinsic good is not something to be recommended. North 24 Kaatham nullifies the “travel for pleasure philosophy” of Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and uses the “goodness of a travel philosophy” which is much needed in our age. Why do I talk like this?  Because I have travelled with someone, a stranger who didn’t know the local language and made sure that he got home, not this much of a long and interesting story, but I have done what I could on multiple occasions even as I am becoming more skeptic every day – this is our own story, with its own add-ons.  Well, the movie is funny, innovative and thought provoking all at the same time. What more do you need? What more should a debutant director provide you with? If it still, doesn’t touch our heart enough, we are not human enough, and we have no soul within us. It is not old, but it still glitters like gold, and entertains us with its righteousness and the realization like in the 2007 Hollywood movie Evan Almighty, that “the way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness”. By the end of the day, we are all heroes, not just someone who is born heroic or rises to heroism due to his nobility; thank you dear director.

Release date: 15th September 2013
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Swati Reddy, Nedumudi Venu, Sreenath Bhasi, Premgi Amaren, Srinda Ashab, Chemban Vinod Jose, Salaam Bukhari

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

5 Sundarikal

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5 Sundarikal which can be translated as 5 Beauties, is that romantic anthology film which might have had its existence to thank the 2009 anthology movie Kerala Cafe. There were ten stories in that one and here it is cut to half with five, and only Anwar Rasheed doing a story in both the anthologies. The Vampire Bat would not agree to the title though, as it would be left to him to say which one is the beauty and which one is the beast. The only suitable title would have been 5 Females, and fighting with three other movies which has interested the crowds, even the name of a movie has to add to the total interest generated. Even in my case, this is the first time I get a Malayalam movie with a Malayalam name to review, and the “5” is to be read as Malayalam “anchu” and not “five” as far as I know. Watching stupidity like Raanjhanaa is clearly out of the equation and this movie having five stories instead of one increases the probability of getting at least two good ones; so there is no doubt which Indian movie one is supposed to go this week. There is the power of five compared to the power of six in ASK a.k.a Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, and the obsession with beauties continue, this time with more success, and one beauty judged less is always the truth gained further. Whether it should be “sundarikal” or “sundarimaar” is a question to be asked to satisfy the quest to find grammatical errors, and I would go with the former.

Sethulakshmi: directed by Shyju Khalid :: [59/100] :: No, there isn’t going to be a total score based on the average of these stories, as that should annihilate the purpose of this movie as an anthology as well as this review as a subjective reality. There would be separate worlds for each story and for the movie, there would be another reality of totality, to which this simple story adds on first coming as an adaptation of M. Mukundan’s short story, Photo. The story of two school kids is shown in its own natural innocence until their world-changing event happens. The simplicity turns itself into the tough theme which the story has to deal with, and that is the place and may be where it scores. There is the depth of evil portrayed in a way that will haunt one with innocence. But the question remains if this belongs to this movie, as the presence of a beauty or even pseudo-beauty here itself negates the need for this story in the movie and all the purpose it would have served, and however one tries to look at this, a more deserving platform for this one would have been Kerala Cafe, and might have been the second best story in that movie after Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey. It is kind of misplaced here, and this might have been added here to arouse the curiosity of the viewers as well as to create that new generation element – otherwise this among the other stories is like Roger Federer guarding the goal post for the Spanish national football team.

Isha: directed by Sameer Thahir :: [79/100] :: Along with the former one, this story also has the scope of becoming a one and half to two hours of good cinema. It stars Nivin Pauly as the thief a.k.a the Santa, and Isha Sharvani who makes her debut as the beauty of this segment, and undoubtedly the smartest and the most charming of them all. They start off as two strangers and with many things in common, and the question would be what they end up to be, and that is the surprise, that twist of plot which raises the story from its existence just inches about the average level. Nivin Pauly has remained similar to what we saw in Thattathin Marayathu, as this time he has another Isha, Isha Sharvani instead of Isha Talwar, another lady from the North, and this female lead does a lot more than the other one did. This story and what is to follow are the only two segments which are actually centered on the beauties, and this is the only segment in which the beauty is in control and remains so throughout most of the story. One has to say that this one has the best of the lighter moments too, and the claps which came after this segment are well deserved. The whole story is centered on the two leading characters, and there we see the most beautiful lady and the one romantic hero; they make this work like nobody else could have.

Gouri: directed by Aashiq Abu :: [10/100] :: This is the weak link in the whole movie, and without this, the movie could have been declared the best anthology in Malayalam movie industry ever. This is Aashiq Abu’s worst so far, and from what we have seen of him already, it might remain his worst. Biju Menon is there as the husband with nothing to do that really matters to the story. Tini Tom and Rimi Tomy makes an unnecessary visit, as Kavya Madhavan who plays the wife expresses her need to have a kid. Kavya is there as if she is to be that strange character who is more unsure about herself and the world around her than Popeye without his spinach. Jayasurya also makes a small appearance thus making this one the most powerful segment in terms of celebrity power, but in performance, it is a dynamite of the next generation which failed to blow. This is a painfuel half an hour of torture, which could have been avoided or may be replaced. It is surprising that it came from the same director who gave us Da Thadiya in the same year. This might even make Estragon and Vladimir say that there is something to be done – sorry, Samuel Beckett. Kammath and Kammath and Lokpaal were not that bad now, as you go through this one. This story in the middle shows us the middle finger, but fortunately it was preceded and followed by brilliant segments.

Kullante Bharya: directed by Amal Neerad :: [84/100] :: This is the moment which strikes you hard. Amal Neerad has come up with a story which is narrated by Dulquer Salmaan who sees everything from the top floor of a group of apartments. The awesome presentation and the story’s ability to relate with the contemporary society of Kerala, and may be even India as a whole, has helped this one to get the most claps in the theatre, and remain the highlight of this five star experiment. Dulquer Salmaan has eased through this segment, and even as a person moving on wheelchair, there is so much of impact with every word he says. Reenu Mathews leaves an imprint without even a word said. The newcomer Jinu Ben brings tears to the audience with no direct revelation. The story also works as a satire on the self-proclaimed righteous, highly moral society which considers itself as the role-model, and has a lot of prejudice against the people whom they are not familiar with, and those who think or act different. If there has been so much interest in this story which has only one actor who has performed in a leading role in more than one movie, it shows how much impact this one has created, and how much it could relate with its audience.

Aami: by Anwar Rasheed :: [61/100] :: This might be the most awaited story of the movie, with a businessman, Ajmal (Fahadh Faasil), who travels from Malappuram to Kochi and vice versa. His too much affectionate wife who is known only by her nickname (Asmitha Sood) keeps asking tricky questions to him and leaves him puzzles to solve – a strange abnormal habit, to which anybody would agree. The night journey then transforms into something that changes his life. The presence of Honey Rose and Vinayakan just adds to powerful cast of this segment which is already the talking point due to Fahadh Faasil’s presence and his new looks. It is him who excells in this story, and everything else is a little let down. With meaningless puzzles and strange happenings, this is not something which the viewers can relate with, but thanks to the leading actor and some interesting dialogues, this one lets the movie with its head held high, not annihilating the world which was created by the second and the fourth segments. As Fahadh Faasil fights extreme anger, greed for money, violence and his own old relationships and gets back to his beloved, the whole thing ends happily. This is surely better than the highly predictable Bridge segment in Kerala Cafe by the same director.

The movie is that roller coaster ride of Final Destination 3, in which death tries to pull the movie down, as some of the stories lose charm, and suddenly a story comes up which changes the things around. It is the advantage of having five different stories directed by five different people, and this is well done, and it would live on as long as this theme doesn’t come up with a overdose, either with the stories or with the concept of pseudo-beauty. To be frank, there is nothing in this which binds this collection together, as same was the case with Kerala Cafe, and it doesn’t give that much of anything that Cloud Atlas gave its viewers. This movie uses the concept of enchanting viewers with its title and the trailer, and tries to undo the failure of Poppins which had its own wrecked set of anthologies in which only the story of Kunchako Boban and Nithya Menon made any impact, with Indrajith-Padmapriya and Jayasurya-Meghna stories staying there not without troubles. Still, the question remains, who is the beauty? If they were all eligible for the same title, won’t they be good enough for that word which comes as just the opposite? Why would we be forced to believe with that willing suspension of disbelief that they are all beautiful? Will Isha Sharvani and Kavya Madhavan look like beauties to two people who have different concepts of beauty? Even myself is clearly sceptical about the latter; but leave that for the intellectuals, and concentrate on the medium for now.

Release date: 20th June 2013
Running time: 145 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Sameer Thahir, Shyju Khaled, Aashiq Abu
Starring: Isha Sharvani, Asmitha Sood, Reenu Mathews, Honey Rose, Kavya Madhavan, Baby Anika, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Master Chethan, Tini Tom, Rimi Tomy, Jinu Ben, Vinayakan

5sundarikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.