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What is the movie about? :: Oliver Twist (Indrans) is leading a normal life with his two sons, Antony Oliver Twist (Sreenath Bhasi) and Charles Oliver Twist (Nalsen K Gafoor), his wife Kuttiyamma (Manju Pillai) and father (Kainakary Thankaraj) who has memory problems. Oliver and Kuttiyamma are also feeling the problems of their old age. Antony is trying to be successful in the film field, but he is too busy with social media that he doesn’t complete the climax of the script, much to the dismay of the producer, Baby (Maniyanpilla Raju) who keeps asking if something can be done about it. His time is running out, as it has been two years after he started writing – he had directed his first film to a grand success, and this time, nobody is sure that he will finish it in time. At the same time, Charles’ interest in social media only, and nothing else is on his list of interesting things. He keeps putting Instagram stories at all times, and during the rest of the time, he is mostly sleeping.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Finally, Antony decides to return home to finish his script, and for the same, he returns home with a seven day deadline to complete his script. There he finds out that Charles is vlogging at all times, and doing nothing else. His life is highly digitalized, and he is happy to keep himself online instead of talking to anyone in the family. Antony is no different, even though his parents remember that he used to be a different person before leaving them for the city. Antony is in love with Priya (Deepa Thomas), a relationship which has lasted very long, but now he is too bust to return her calls. Her father, Joseph Lopez (Srikanth Murali) is a very rich and influential man, popular at all places. Oliver hopes to be friendly with his sons, but they don’t have that much of an interest in talking to the elders. Often, they even ignore Oliver as if he is not a part of their life. Oliver hopes that things will change, and he goes on with his life, with that wish, but Antony has very low opinion about him, and is often hostile towards him too.

The defence of Home :: There are many things which are reflections of real life incidents in the film, and one often wonders if they have come across such incidents before. Social media addiction has been an effective theme, and these days, anyone is a vlogger on Youtube, and with many followers, they think that this is life. People have been bothered more about what happens online rather than offline, and in the same the real world is forgotten, a reflection of the same is reflected here. The message about mobile phones stealing our valuable time is also provided nicely. It adds a few things about loss of relationships and health due to the use of smartphones and social media among the youth. The film, even though set most in a home and its surroundings, is visually too good, not just inside the house, but also during the outside moments. There is a lot of beauty on the screen that surrounds everything, and occasional humour adds on well. Then, there is the ending that conquers all, emotionally as strong as it could be.

The claws of flaw :: There is a lot of repetition which happens in the film, and it is surely a slow work, as we look at it. Some of the emotions are added here and there as if it was just there for the sake of it, and some incidents just become random part of the same. This comes from the man behind Philips and the Monkeypen and Jo and the Boy, and we can see similar elements being repeated here. It still doesn’t have the charm or quality of the former, which was one of the best movies released in the year, seemingly bringing a certain amount of magic to the screen. It also has its length extended a little too much, and with too many songs being added here and there, it does feel a few minutes too long. There are moments in between when we feel that this was going nowhere nowhere, and it was going to go on with the same kind of thing again and again. There are so many things coming up, and often it does seem to miss the main point, but there is the ending that brings things together.

Performers of the soul :: Indrans was earlier seen in two very serious roles this year with two films, Malik and Yuvam, playing the roles of a police officer and an advocate respectively. This one is a light-hearted, but yet emotional role for him, and having come out of fully comic roles, he has been doing this really well. This is indeed a very heartfelt performance from him, and with him at the centre of a family movie, this will be remembered as he celebrate forty years in Malayalam cinema industry, in his 341st movie in the long career. We are finally able to see him throughout a mainstream film in the lead role, and also with the most emotional touch, as he basically lives through here. Sreenath Bhasi had some very serious roles in Virus and Kumbalangi Nights not too long ago, and he now has a rather lighter version here – he had come out of that earlier “freakan” image a long time ago, and this one has him in a controlled role. Nalsen K Gafoor who was last seen in Kuruthi with all the seriousness, and earlier in Thanneermathan Dinangal with all the humour, can be seen in a realistic role of a youngster in this film, and he once again scores big. The simple comic side that he adds here brings more life to the movie.

Further performers of the soul :: It is also nice to Manju Pillai having a good role to play in a film, as we have been seeing more in the television series and comedy shows of Mazhavil Manorama. She has blended into this role really well, and one would wonder why she was not that much in similar roles before. We have always loved to watch her in Thatteem Mutteem for a long time. There are also some nice dialogues that reflects the mood of the film. Deepa Thomas has her first leading role, and she has comes up with a memorable performance too. She has indeed provided a natural performance, and we look forward to seeing her in more roles, and with more screen space in comparison to what is seen here. Srikant Murali also has a role to remember here. Anoop Menon’s act is also a good one, while Maniyanpilla Raju also drops in here and there. Vijay Babu’s role might seem very small, but is still one role that also makes a difference, with a lovely touch of humour. Johny Antony, as usual adds more humour here, while KPAC Lalitha who comes in the final stages of the movie has something special to add. Priyanka Nair also has a fine role in the flashback.

How it finishes :: Home is a movie for the present families, which are not short of this kind of a situation at different homes, due a new generation of kids who are addicted to gadgets and moving away from parents both physically and mentally. It will be remembered for some moments for the heart. The feel-good elements from the director’s earlier films can be seen reflected here, and the same kind of reflections can be seen visually too. Vijay Babu has provided us with so many of similar movies, and we have always stayed close to most of them. During COVID-19 times, having a feel-good film to watch with family was always going to be good. The messages that the film provides are effective, and leads to that one final message which raises the level of the film. Do look out for the final scenes with credits too, and it is where the movie brings a little more for the soul. So, we have our Onam movie on Amazon Prime Video, and as you watch the same, I wish you a Very Happy Onam in advance!

Release date: 19th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Rojin Thomas
Starring: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Kainakary Thankaraj, Naslen K Gafoor, Manju Pillai, Deepa Thomas, Vijay Babu, Srikant Murali, Johny Antony, Anoop Menon, Maniyanpilla Raju, Aju Varghese

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Panchavarnathatha

What is the movie about? :: A nameless man (Jayaram) is a mystery to many, as he owns pets ranging from cats, dogs and parrots to camels, horses, donkeys and elephants. He speaks and acts in strange ways, leading to most people of his neighbourhood belonging to upper middle class family not liking his presence in a plot right between their homes. Most of his collection of birds and animals are leftovers of a circus which had recently ceased to exist. He takes special care of his animals and birds, and sells them only to those people whom he finds fit to give them the best lives. Along with living with these creatures, he also has small real estate business and other small part-time jobs. Even though he might seem tough for people who never knew him, he is more than that, with no hesitation in helping others in need, having special love for children, as he is an orphan who never knew his father and mother.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Kalesh (Kunchacko Boban) is the MLA of the place, who was elected earlier because his father, the former MLA had died, leaving a wave of sympathy among the common people. Despite his father being a man loved by many people, Kalesh couldn’t do much for those who elected him, and is living in a mansion of his friend, Nazir (Joju George) with his wife Chitra (Anusree) and a complaining mother (Mallika Sukumaran), who blames him being not anywhere close to his father as a politician or a social worker. With his father’s former aid Udayan (Ashokan), Kalesh hopes to claim all the glory in style with a win in the upcoming elections. His opponent for this election is Jimmy (Salim Kumar), who hopes to reclaim the consituency for his party after a long time, in one way or the other.

And what is follow with the events? :: The journeys of the two, the unnamed man and Kalesh meets when the people of the neighbourhood tries to have the animal and bird lover evicted. Kalesh is the person whom they see to accomplish that aim. But not everyone thinks about him in the same way, as the the local police officer KO Rangan (Prem Kumar) himself finds the animals and birds interesting. Things get further complicated when Kalesh is forced to give the man some space in his home because of certain twist of events. With all creatures following him, Kalesh and his family might have taken in more than what they could have. Now, questions remain about the future of the animals and birds, as well as the political career of Kalesh. Can things get better in their lives, or is this strange combination going to ruin everything?

The defence of Panchavarnathatha :: There is some good comedy followed by a fine emotional end in this flick, which is never short of being interesting for the family audience. Along with the same, there is a good message being provided here, about doing good for the others, not just to humans, but also to the animals and birds. With its everyman characters, we feel the need to attach ourselves to it, rather than some random fan movie which has fan-centered life which is not applicable to the common man who think about their families and society rather than any random superstar. The songs are just okay. Ramesh Pisharody’s first attempt at direction surely feels better and closer to heart than those movies celebrated in the name of common man like Amar Akbar Anthony and Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There is enough in Panchavarnathatha for most people, and the others are having problems which are surely not visible on the big screen. Some incidents in real life are also reflected here.

The claws of flaw :: There is one person whom we miss on the screen, and it is Ramesh Pisharody himself who has directed the movie, but never appears as an actor. Some of the comedy also misses out, and we feel that this kind of an idea could have had even better treatment, maybe closer to daily life’s incidents, or in a way that it goes beyond the self-inflicted restrictions – you feel the strength of the idea within this one, and the need to have more. It could have been a complete social satire, but that choice is not made even though there is politics with the ugly sides, and people within a society that has its own stranger sides. The movie is also a little too long as it deals with its content, which had to be dealt with better to go for such a long run. Also, these many animals were not needed, as it doesn’t help to take things seriously. There could have been a fine background story for the main character too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram is here with a different avatar, and after this year’s disaster of a movie Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam which competed with Queen to become the worst movie of 2018, he has redeemed up to an extent with this role. There is the absence of those big dialogues with this one, and the character serves with the divergence that was needed. Kunchacko Boban has this character under full control, and Anusree seems to be rightly suited for this role, as she goes natural with the performance. Mallika Sukumaran also contributes well on the usual lines. Dharmajan Bolgatty arrives later, but contributes well to the fun; before that there was Salim Kumar doing the same. Prem Kumar also brings some good contribution for the comic side, and Ashokan is there for the whole length of the movie. Joju George then brings a little more later.

How it finishes :: Panchavarnathatha is the one underrated movie of this Vishu – it seems to have managed less attention than Jayaram’s earlier lesser movies including Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam and Kunchacko Boban’s Kuttanadan Marpappa, which is rather strange. This one is surely better than Mohanlal which released with Panchavarnathatha gaining more attention, as the comedy is cent percent better working, and has characters that will appeal to us rather than some random fan girl who never really deserved to be taken seriously, as she went on to become a curse for everyone around here. We all need everyman characters, and Panchavarnathatha has something that touches the emotions along with the comic side, rather than becoming a pretender like many other movies; any kind of different uprising is always required among similar movies.

Release date: 14th April 2018
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Ramesh Pisharody
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Jayaram, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Anusree, Ashokan, Salim Kumar, Maniyanpilla Raju, Joju George, Prem Kumar, Mallika Sukumaran, Dini Daniel, Tini Tom, Seema G Nair, Kunchan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shikkari Shambhu

What is the movie about? :: Philippose (Kunchacko Boban) is a thief who works close to two other thieves, Achu (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) and Shaji (Hareesh Perumana). The three had made an attempt to steal a golden cross from a church in Kunnamkulam area, only to fail in the attempt and escape to the highranges. They decide to stay hidden in a remote place, and the news that there is a tiger attack in Kuruthimalakkavu, makes them travel all the way there disguised as hunters. They also have their eyes set on the statue in the village temple which is said to date back long, and is valued at crores. They are welcomed by the group of villagers lead by the Panchayat President Sudhakaran (Maniyanpilla Raju) and the local priest Father Luko (Johny Antony), and are offered five lakhs to catch the tiger. The three feels that this is a big opportunity for them to make some quick money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The three lives in the fear of being attacked by the tiger, and along with their adventure, Achu falls in love with the daughter of the Panchayat President, Revathy (Alphy Panjikaran) who is a college student. At the same time, Philippose has his interest set on Anitha (Shivada Nair), who is one of the more active and stronger women in the area. They do end up capturing the tiger, but it turns out that this doesn’t stop the killings. It won’t put an end to their problems either. So, is there one more tiger that they need to handle? Can another Shikkari Shambu incident of pure luck save them? But even luck has its limits, as the three friends attempt to make one last stand to save the village as well as get the money that they wanted. This is the time for them to find all their courage, but are they up to it? How many people will have to die before they can?

The defence of Shikkari Shambhu :: The movie has the formula that works, right out the movies like Ordinary, which was acceptable to so many types of audience. There is a lot of entertainment in store, beginning with the comic side that runs through, and also the mystery to come to light along with the big twist to arrive by the finish. The visuals are stunning, and it is not limited to the beautiful “mazha” song which has already become the best song of the year without doubt. When you look closely, you see that Shikkari Shambhu is surely better than Pulimurugan, even though that much of a box-office collection is not there to be taken – this one is still more fun, has a better story, and there are cent percent better female characters, along with coming up with better songs and visuals. Well, you begin laughing from the very beginning itself, and when you see that happening in a multiplex in a mall with the family audience, the movie has won the hearts.

The claws of flaw :: The tale could have been better in the middle parts, and there was scope for more with this trio trying to make something out of their stay in a village haunted by wild animals. There is the feeling of the movies like Ordinary, and a little bit of Romans in this one, and you will also think that this flick is a little too long. A bit shortened, this one could have done without some moments. The tiger doesn’t come up well enough to create an impression either. The fact that this movie didn’t have its shows in a number of theatres including Carnival Cinemas Angamaly and Carnival Cinemas Muvattupuzha, was surely a terrible thing, as we can be sure that so many people wanted to watch this movie after being addicted to the “mazha” song which is undoubtedly a pleasure to look out for, on the big screen. A little more care, and this one could have done even better – it could have had the special ingredient and could have attempted a deviation from the usual path.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban handle this role with ease, and we remember that he played a thief in his last movie of 2017 too, in Varnyathil Aashanka. This character does work for him very well, and never does he need to try more. The song “mazha” itself seems to be custom made for him, something which makes the viewers immediately interested in the flick itself. Shivada has a fine role here, paired opposite Kunchacko Boban, making this her one more notable role after Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam. Her character is strong, determined, and with those qualities that surely make this one a different role for her – there is more than what meets the eye to the strength of this particular female character. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, continues to be the boy next door, carrying most of charm into this one too.

Further performers of the soul :: Alphy brings good work in her first full role, paired opposite Vishnu as the movie progresses. She is sure to stay there in the industry with some good roles to come. Hareesh Perumana scores the best in this movie, and you don’t need to think twice before asserting the same. We know that he has always been good, no matter what people will say about a movie as a whole. He has been having a good time in the Malayalam movie industry, and this one has him controlling the funny side, rising above everyone else. The movie’s advantage is that he is there throughout the flick. Two directors Johny Antony and Aji John plays interesting roles in the movie too, and the former provides some fun moments which scores big. Salim Kumar has only a smaller presence as a police officer, but when he is there, the whole theatre has no problem in getting into a laugh riot.

How it finishes :: Sugeeth has had a good run with Kunchacko Boban in the lead, beginning with Ordinary and the last one being Madhura Naranga. With a title that reminds us of the comics character who used to be very special for us, Shikkari Shambhu once again brings us one of the better family entertainers of our times, with the content that is suitable for almost all kinds of audience. After the depressing Daivame Kaithozhaam K Kumaraakanam which claimed to be a family entertainer, but ended up being a miserable copy of ideas from other movies creating a mess, the viewers will find Shikkari Shambhu to be a relief among the flicks which are never really what they claim to be. But Shikkari Shambhu is surely the one movie which you would love to go through more than once for its comedy, which will be a big asset to our comedy channels in the future, unlike Aadu 2 which was surely overrated. I hereby leave you with a lovely song from the movie:

Release date: 20th January 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sugeeth
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Shivada Nair, Alphy Panjikaran, Hareesh Perumana, Johny Antony, Aji John, Salim Kumar, Sphadikam George, Maniyanpilla Raju, Krishna Kumar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho

kochavvapauloayyappacoelho

Vampire Owl: This is one long list of people. I know some of them, I think.

Vampire Bat: You know Paulo Coelho for sure.

Vampire Owl: Yes, he is a much talked about figure in the New Vampire World.

Vampire Bat: The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage – you know them.

Vampire Owl: I know more than that, and I shall read more of it.

Vampire Bat: I am sure that your reading habit is coming back.

Vampire Owl: So, how is he related to this movie?

Vampire Bat: It is for us to find out by investigating while watching this movie.

Vampire Owl: It is one title of a movie that is sure to catch your attention too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, even we wonder what it is about, and the curiosity catches the audience.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Ayyappa Das (Rudraksh Sudheesh) is a kid who has always had the dream to travel in an airplane. He has been growing up thinking about nothing other than this one thing, and almost everybody in the village knows that. There is one toy that he always has with him, and that is a tiny model of an airplane. He and his best friend, his cousin sister Ambily (Abeni Aadhi) spends their time hoping to find him a chance, by praying to different dieties. He had two chances to go in the plane though, the first one spoiled by a disease, and the second one when his father died, having taken visa and paid for the airline tickets in both cases. With his father dead, his chances for traveling in an airplane seems to have reached a new low, but he still believes that there is some chance here or there and is not ready to give up.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The other significant character in this movie is Kochavva, whose real name is Ajayakumar (Kunchako Boban). He is a very helpful person, and is loved by almost everyone in the village. A man known for his good heart and the intense desire to help people in need, everyone calls him by the name Kochavva, no matter they are older or younger to him. Having given up his love Anju (Anusree) due to the goodness in his heart, he is the man who is now going to help Ayappa Das in getting closer to his dream. One day, while teaching children swimming, Kochavva tells everyone about how significant swimming is, and how it can help one to achieve more, along with doing it as an exercise. Ayappa Das sees it as an opportunity to travel in an airplane by going for competitions outside Kerala.

So how is the dream to be achieved? :: The problem is that Ayappa Das is afraid of water, and it is not just some fear – it goes deeper. When almost every kid in the village was taught swimming by Kochavva, he had always stayed away – he has often felt water as death. The movie goes on to bring to its viewers on how the boy managed to overcome his fear of water, and how Kochavva uses the quote from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” to make him believe in himself, and also in the rest of the people around him. With his dream of traveling in an airplane on the line, can Ayyappa Das finally become the person that he and Kochavva want him to be? Is it possible for him to finally achieve that one thing which seemed to be not happening as everything in the universe earlier seemed to conspiring against him?

The defence of Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho :: With the whole tale based on and hoping to thrive on Paulo Coelho’s popular and best known quote from The Alchemist, there was something inspirational coming up for sure, and it could be seen from a long distance – it is the same that is delivered here, with the protagonist’s hope to achieve his biggest dream, but at the same time, there is the assertion on goodness which is in keeping one’s dreams as second priority for the sake of others. The village setting nicely supports the whole thing, and with a certain light-hearted momentum, this one manages to move towards becoming that motivational movie which is expected. “Neelakkannulla Maane” is an amazing song, which might be the best of the year so far. Everyone needs an inspirational movie, and when it is based on dreams, the feel-good effect only gets better, and surely there is more approval for such an idea.

Claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t have a full flow if we look at it, and it does drag at parts. There is also that ending which could have been something bigger, but it is not. We could have had the effect of many other motivational movies like Mili, Rani Padmini and Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, but that didn’t happen here. There are points when the pace comes down, which shouldn’t have been the case. There is no shortage of inspirational movies in Malayalam, and so this could have done better to keep itself strong, but it has managed to be surely better than the partially inspirational movies from Bollywood like Dear Zindagi which cares only about the new generation richer class minority who moans for no valid reason. The amount of humour is also a little too less considering the scope which was there – with Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese there, one has to wonder why the funny lines were kind of hard to come by. The final cameos were not needed either.

How it finishes :: As Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho marks the return of Udaya Pictures which was the first ever movie production company in Malayalam cinema, this one is also the seventy fifth movie of Kunchako Boban who has brought his legacy strongly. He is very good here, playing a role in which seems to be very comfortable – it is a simple role, with the protagonist driven by the simple need to help others as Fahadh Faasil’s character was driven by the simple need for revenge in Maheshinte Prathikaram. In the movie, it is the kid, Rudraksh who steals the show though. With some funny moments here and there from Suraj Venjaramood and Aju Varghese not being used to the best effect, this is one movie which thrives on the feel-good factor and positive messages, for which one should feel the need to watch Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. This is where you see intelligence in simplicity.

Release date: 9th September 2016
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Sidhartha Siva
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Anusree, Rudraksh Sudheesh, Suraj Venjaramood, Aju Varghese, Nedumudi Venu, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Abeni Aadhi, Muthumani, Mukesh, Sudheesh, Irshad, Musthafa, Maniyanpilla Raju, Mithun Ramesh, Biju Menon (cameo), Parvathy Ratheesh (cameo)

kochavvapauloayyappacoelhoo

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anuraga Karikkin Vellam

anuragakarikkinvellam (1)

What is it about? :: Raghu (Biju Menon) is a police officer who gets angry easily and takes things into his own hands instead of going on to register a case. Despite a lot of advice from his colleague James (Sudheer Karamana) and repeated warnings from his superior officer Irfaan (Irshad), he doesn’t back off and beats up goons. He has to face disciplinary measures, but he just doesn’t care. He keeps a rough and tough image at home too, with his wife Suma (Asha Sarath) and his children. His son, Abhilash (Asif Ali) isn’t too happy about that either, and spends his time with his friends Kichu (Sreenath Bhasi) and Fakruddin (Soubin Shahir) and even though he is an engineering graduate, is not really interested in going for a job related to what he studied. This is more of a Cold War situation, to be honest.

So what happens next? :: Abhilash’s former classmate Elizabeth a.k.a. Eli (Rajisha Vijayan) is madly in love with him, but he is more interested in ending that relationship which he had at college – she doesn’t let go though. As she keeps calling him all the time and even comes to his house, he tells her that he has had enough of her. He decides to get a job at a call centre nearby much to the dismay of his parents who wishes that he made better use of what he had studied. Meanwhile, an old friend and former lover gets into the life of Raghu in the form of Anuradha (Nandhini), and a few phone calls change his life as well as those close to him. There will be a lot of twists in the lives of the main characters, as they will find different meanings of life, and see people more clearly without prejudices.

The defence of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam :: The best thing about Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is that there is almost no dull moment in this movie which doesn’t go on to tell anything out of the ordinary – that is something for which the people behind this movie deserves a lot of applause. The type of simple, happy and funny moments we have here are like those that we had in Maheshinte Prathikaram, even though not that big in fun content. This is another feel-good entertainer of the same kind, dealing with love, family relationships and friendship in such a way that there is not much of sadness, and the assurance is about a smile on your face. There will be characters whom you can relate to, and there will be those whom you are going to meet at some point of your life – they are all simple, and part of this world. There is nothing to pretend here, as people here are just people. And Cochin looks great as usual.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special being tried here, and going through things in a steady manner, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is not for people who are expecting a great story; this is something that moves on to its finish in an entertaining manner instead of making something big with its plot. The one character that wasn’t utilized in the right way was that of Sony, as he plays a genuinely good character in this movie who deserved a better finish. There is a little bit of a struggle in the climax as there is a little too silliness that crawls in there, but things do end in a good way, as you get the message and you have the feel-good factor right where you want it. I was also looking for some better songs in this one considering how things took a turn in the second half.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon and his comic timing keeps this movie at a top level as far as the coming timing is concerned. As the hero’s father, he is more like the one who handles things the best as his character does in the household. Asif Ali is very good in this role of the usual youth that he has to play. As Sreenath Bhasi and Soubin Shahir support him nicely, there is some definite laughter in store there too. Asha Sarath keeps it simple and believable throughout the movie. Meanwhile, the newcomer Rajisha Vijayan surprises us with her work. In the beginning, you feel that she is going to be that usual annoying girlfriend, and then she takes her character to another level – even as the other characters might get all the claps, she will be the one face that is certain to stay in your mind. She doesn’t just begin well as an actress, she scores huge, for her Eli is a delight to watch.

Soul exploration :: There is a lot of optimism in this movie. There are broken relationships, problems in the family, confusion between friends and all, but everything around this one happens for the good, and something positive comes out of all these incidents. Every loss in life is a valuable lesson here, and it depends on how we see them – there might be a better chance waiting for us, or a better person who is going to make our lives more colourful. We are defined by our past, and each incident helps to make us better people – we learn from our mistakes and move on, as we try to make things better again with the experience that we have earned; like in a computer game. There is also no presence of those usual cliches that we expect to see in the end, that is fine relief.

How it finishes :: Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is the kind of movie that one needs to watch with family – even with the possible deviation there, it never really goes the other way which was to be not family-friendly; it keeps itself in control at all times, and at the same time, uses all those possible elements which would make this one a full fun ride. It is the kind of movie that a debutante director can be proud of, and Khalid Rahman has a great beginning here. It is as sweet as the name suggests, and successfully maintains that mood, to get to that end with no problem. Even the little kitten scores with its cute expressions – there is no missing there, as we look less for the perfection in its story, and instead leave satisfied with the cuteness. The movie still bringing a big crowd into the theatres almost a month after its release is not fluke, but the result of the realistic and sweet depiction of life which is reflected here.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Biju Menon, Asif Ali, Asha Sarath, Rajisha Vijayan, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Naaji, Aas Mohammad Abbasi, Chinnu Nair, Nandhini, Sudheer Karamana, Irshad, Maniyanpilla Raju

anuragakarikkinvellam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Karinkunnam 6s

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Vampire Owl :: When was the last time we watched a Malayalam movie in the theatre?

Vampire Bat :: Last month, I guess?

Vampire Owl :: Is it? Still, that feels like an eternity.

Vampire Bat :: It is mostly because we are not used to not watching movies.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, I think someone has worked black magic against us, which is why we are missing so many movies.

Vampire Bat :: I see that hands of pure evil itself. But in this case, it is more because we don’t have time.

Vampire Owl :: Did you see the half-yearly list of the movies we have watched in the theatre? It is quite a small list compared to the last few years.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we definitely need to work on that.

Vampire Owl :: Until then, one Malayalam movie for this weekend?

Vampire Bat :: So be it. A sports drama would be a welcome change!

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Vandana (Manju Warrier) lives with her husband Aby (Anoop Menon) after successfully running away from home in favour of an inter-caste marriage. Both are from sports background, and the latter has one dream only, to make things better for volleyball in a world dominated by cricket. His love for the game is above everything else, and for the same, he supports his own team Karinkunnam 6s. With the same dream in his mind, he contacts Kesavan (Shyamaprasad), a man who is very much interested in the profits to be gained from the venture. Even though he agrees to the idea of having a Volleyball Premier League on the lines of Indian Premier League and Indian Super League, he decides that it has to be entertainment, and that should include fixed matches – it is something to which Aby can’t agree.

So what happens next? :: What follows next are all against Aby, as he is bed-ridden and Vandana has to take over the team to make sure that it plays in the league, and plays fair. For the same, she contacts many players, but the rich and the influential groups in the league works against her making sure that she gets no official players. But Vandana has help from Haritha (Lena Abhilash), the head of the police department, and decides to choose and train a number of inmates in the prison. The team starts from the powerhouse Douglas (Babu Antony), and is joined by many other inmates who look forward to making a mark. But with no professional training, can the prisoners do enough to make it to the next round of the tournament featuring some of the best? Can they leave their own personal rivalries behind and live for the moment?

The defence of Karinkunnam 6s :: One can easily say that this is one of the best sports drama movies made in Malayalam – there are not many interesting movies belonging to that genre around here. When it is not based on an overrated sport like cricket, things only get better. It takes some courage to take a movie based on something which is not cricket or football – and that risk is taken, and they make sure that it appeals to the audience in this part of the world. The movie is also dedicated to Jimmy George, who was considered as one of the greatest volleyball players – the deserving heroes of our land who are less known just because they didn’t play the hyped game of cricket. There are some very nice moments in this movie, which are a lot inspirational; there are more which are emotional, but it never manages to overdo the same. There is power and there is also a lot of energy here!

The claws of flaw :: This is a movie which could have made it to the list of the best among its kind. The tale here is still predictable for most of the time though. There could have been more focus on the sports rather than the drama and the incidents which occurred outside the court. It could have gone deeper with both too, with the sporting side as well as the dramatic events with direct relation to the characters. It also takes some time to get going in the beginning, and it is with the prisoners getting to the act that things get to be interesting. The climax could have also been bigger. People might be able to find problems with this movie related to the sports, but none of the sports movies in Malayalam can be considered close enough to that big reality, and this one can also be forgiven for those flaws that can be taken out of the grave when the DVD comes out.

Performers of the soul :: Having no huge star, this one relies on the long list of actors who play the characters in fine style – nobody lets us down around here. After Vettah, Manju Warrier is excellent here, and there is so much energy that she carries forward here – it is shared by the rest of the cast too, especially the team which is lead by Babu Antony with his usual style. The other person who catches our attention from the team is Sudheer Karamana who has some very nice moments; Baiju also gets some nice dialogues here. Suraj Venjaramoodu impresses us with a different avatar here too, and he deservingly gets some claps. Anoop Menon goes on smoothly with his role. Even those who does some cameo roles here leaves something for the audience.

How it finishes :: Without the big cast that the other movies of this season have come up with, this one has managed to come up with a special identity of its own. There is entertainment guaranteed, and it is worth a fine watch with the family. This is no perfect sports drama, but you find inspiration here and you will also get the thrills. Lets hope that this movie brings back to its viewers the memories of the volleyball legend, and also bring more interest into this game. Unlike the movies which are filled with ridiculous content for the fans, this is the kind of movie that needs to be watched – there are no superstars here, but everyone in this movie ends up being no less than a special star. All of them contribute here, and we are left applauding for those final dialogues and the tribute.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Deepu Karunakaran
Starring: Manju Warrier, Babu Antony, Anoop Menon, Jacob Gregory, Baiju, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Sudev Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Nandhu, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Manikuttan, Vivek Gopan, Kevin, Lena Abhilash (cameo), Shyamaprasad (cameo), Major Ravi (cameo), Hareesh Peradi (cameo), Maniyanpilla Raju (cameo), Jagadish (cameo), Gayathri Suresh (cameo), Samuthirakani (cameo)

karinkunnam6s ()

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jamna Pyari

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What is it about? :: Vasoottan (Kunchako Boban) is an auto-rickshaw driver and the son of a man who died trying to rescue a kid from inside a bus which crashed into river during heavy monsoon. He is a person who follows his father’s footsteps and never tries to back away from helping someone in need – he has been the helping hand of the common man at his town for a long time. One day, he meets a girl Parvathi (Gayathri Suresh) and she asks for his help. What her family needs is a total of one hundred Jamnapari goats for their farm, so that they can meet the deadline for a contract or lose their property. There are big shots who are standing in their way. Vasoottan decides to help them with the support of his friends Prakash (Joy Mathew) and Sabu (Suraj Venjaramoodu) along with Tony (Neeraj Madhav) who later joins them. But there are some problems which they have to overcome on their way to success.

The defence of Jamna Pyari :: For this Onam, what comes to the screen in the form of Jamna Pyari is a simple family movie with drama and comedy factors being there. There are mostly no ups and downs with this movie as the major focus is on the protagonist’s goodness, and also to provide the viewers with a feel-good effect. It is just the life of common man depicted with the help of an incident which centers around the goat. The mixture that forms part of the movie are mostly of a family drama, and also the light-hearted comedy, light romance and the typical feel-good movie. The Vasoottan song is very good and sets the mood for the movie. There are also good visuals of different parts of Kerala along with some areas of Tamil Nadu. The humour comes up interesting here and there. The Thrissur slang is interesting throughout the movie.

Claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have a new thing here except for having a goat at the centre of everything. It does remember one of having watched Polytechnic which starred Kunchako Boban and he was there solving his own problems, and here he is like Jayasurya of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla, as an auto-rickshaw driver ready to help others. Most of the characters in this movie are under-used, and so is the goat idea. The hesitation to use more of the goats to create further comedy was surprising – there is a little too less amount of comedy in this one rather than what was expected. The final use of deus ex machina just arrives as if to bring us to an end. There are too many easy paths taken in this movie when things could have been nicely detailed with full humour, also adding further beauty to the romantic side!

Performers of the soul :: With Kunchako Boban who has been the first big romantic hero whom we remember, and also with Gayathri Suresh who was the Miss Kerala in 2014, couldn’t this movie explore the romantic side better? The romantic hero and the beauty are there, and the movie just misses out too much with those opportunities. Kunchako Boban is excellent in this avatar too, even when his character is often let down by the situations. This is a comfortable role for him, and he never falters. Gayathri is here doing a very good debut, and might be the prettiest face for a very long time. Her dialogue delivery was so cute in this one. May be she could have had even more screen presence, because the true setting is around the family of her character, and twist of events begin with her journey in the auto-rickshaw.

More performers of the soul :: So we welcome the new heroine Gayathri Suresh to the Malayalam movie industry during this Onam, and take this opportunity to wish her best of luck as the number of new heroines with charm and high potential increase by one. Along with the same, we see the large number of known faces being there as the supporting cast. But the depressing side is that they are so less used. You see actors like Sudheer Karamana and Pashanam Shaji for just a few minutes, and even though Aju Varghese is there on most of the posters, he has a very small role in this movie as a friend of the protagonist who comes in the beginning and the end. Neeraj Madhav is the one who comes up with the funniest moments, but we ask for even more.

Further performers of the soul :: Joy Mathew remains rock solid here all the way, and Suraj Venjaramoodu has his moments of comedy, even though he too should have been used for a full comedy character. The big surprise here is Renji Panicker’s different avatar – this might be the first time that he comes to the big screen as a villain. He remains a fine negative character throughout the movie, and you can expect more roles with negative shades coming up for him considering the fact that he did so well in this movie which doesn’t focus that much on characterization. I consider this a true pleasant surprise! Meanwhile, it was good to see Muthumani providing nice support to Suraj in the comic side. You will get another surprise in the form of Roja’s cameo, and Anumol is also there in a smaller role

How it finishes :: Sometimes I think that I am lenient with this movie which doesn’t bring anything huge, but thinking deeper about this, this movie leaves us with beautiful messages, to help people in need, and work hard to achieve what we love and need the most. I consider this a fine message for this Onam, and this message raises the level of this movie further, and it is always better to have something wonderful to think about and let it have a positive effect on our lives. I am a pessimistic person, and some of the dialogues and messages in the movie did bring a smile on my face. Therefore, lets continue to enjoy this festival season of Onam and add this movie to the list of flicks to watch! What is an Onam if we don’t watch all the big Malayalam releases for the season? May be you can start with the feel-good factor of this movie.

Release date: 27th August 2015
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sebastian
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Gayathri Suresh, Joy Mathew, Muthumani Somasundaran, Neeraj Madhav, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Aju Varghese, Maniyanpilla Raju, Anju Aravind, Sudheer Karamana, Pashanam Shaji, Anumol, Roja Selvamani

jamnapyari

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Premam

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Vampire Bat: My dear vampire brethren, and the zombies who have decided to joined us by free-will. We have fought many battles together. We have fought side by side in the War of the Four Nations, the Tactical Warfare against the Werewolf Intrusion, the Conquest of the New Vampire World, The Battles against the never-ending Zombie Hordes and even the Magical Attacks of the Dark Elves. Zombies, please erase the zombie horde part from your memories instead of beginning to get offended, and do not return to your graves. But this is nothing like that. This will be the biggest battle that we have ever faced, and a task which is near impossible. It is called getting a ticket for the movie Premam.

Vampire Hamster: This is actually very scary. I need to go home and recharge my courage. I have heard that humans provide courage recharge centres at some religious places. Is it true? We could have also reserved the tickets, right? The ticket reservation is quite common these days.

Vampire Alligator: Can you just shut up and listen to the full speech? This is not even being recorded and you might not score well for the vampire apprentice exams if you miss parts of this which can come as annotation.

Vampire Owl: We don’t do reservations because we won’t support them – don’t you know that vampires are against all kinds of reservations? We are suffering because of this thing which gives nothing for the General Category to which the vampires belong. And you will be banned if you speak between grand, emotional speeches. The Vampire Crow and the Vampire Raven were banned once. Just listen to the speech.

Vampire Bat: We face the monsters here, and they are not like the ones we have faced before. We face the legendary warriors of the other world with human masks. We face those furious humans standing in queue for the movie Premam. We might not make it out of this queue in one piece, but lets fight for our righteous chance to watch this movie. We demand the rights to be equal and watch this movie which almost everybody except us has watched. Yes, even Werewolf Anger has watched it – can you believe that? The Lich Queen has watched it twice. It is the right to the movie ticket that we demand here, and it is clearly written in the vampire constitution, Article 007. Without watching this, we can’t even look at the face of Uncle Dracula, as you know what he is going to ask us when we return to the castle. The Vampire Penguin and the Vampire Panda have tried for this alone and failed, but we will win as this time we attack together after issuing the fake notice that we are not going to attack.

Vampire Panda: This is going to be awesome because I know part-time Kung-fu. You should all watch me and learn.

Vampire Penguin: I told you all that he is Kung-fu Panda in disguise.

Vampire Owl: Most probably, we won’t get tickets this time too, but in the name of Uncle Dracula and all the vampire elders, charge!

Vampire Crocodile: On this day, the night will be day and the day will be night. Attack!

Vampire Bat: What? No! I am the only one authorized to say that! So attack!!!

[Runs to the long queue and stands at the back end in silence].

What is it about? :: George David (Nivin Pauly) who lives in the town of Aluva and studies for pre-degree has completely fallen in love with Mary George (Anupama Parameshwaran) whom he usually sees on the way. She is the local beauty whom a lot of people are after. He has no interest in studies as he moves towards a possible failure in the course, and his only aim seems to be this girl’s love. Helped by his best friends Koya (Krishna Shankar) and Shambu (Shabareesh Varma), he attempts to make her fall in love with her, but that doesn’t go as planned. The movie also tells the story of his two other love interests, a Tamil girl called Malar (Sai Pallavi) with whom he falls in love at the first sight itself, and a girl named Celine (Madonna Sebastian) whom he meets much later as time moves forward through his love stories. His life related to these three ladies and his feelings towards them are depicted in the movie.

The defence of Premam :: By claiming to be the second film in the history of world cinema with nothing new in it, the movie seems to make a psychological move, but the truth is that the move is new if we look at how it is presented on the screen. I would give full credits to Alphonse Puthren for this one. He surely knows what the youth wants, and how to make the best use of Aluva as an Aluvaite. It is is his magic that Premam is such a delight on the big screen. I traveled to Aluva to watch this, and it was clear that there was no Aluvaite left without love and appreciation for this movie. Its nostalgia is powerful, and the central theme of love connects the three paramount pages of the protagonist’s tome of life – only three pages which connects directly to the title of the movie is taken and the word itself is used to make the much needed connection, and it is done in a beautiful way. There is infatuation, but there is no lust, and it is a sure positive thing. The second love story is a forbidden one, and clearly wrong for the standards of our civilized society, and we see poetic justice being served there as it ends in a much deserved tragedy – love fails there for the right reasons only. The comedy is working for most of the run.

The claws of flaw :: Yes, there is nothing new in the story – the liberty which was taken before the release of this movie arrives to make the impact here, and also reminds us that this is what they were talking about. There are some sequences which were aviodable, including the problems between the groups of friends at college and the missing dancer. The first of the three parts also has some exaggeration. The movie could have been shorter too – it would have surely helped the theatres to add another show in the morning to control the big crowd, and the very slight drag could have disappeared too. There is a little too much of drinking and smoking too, but I guess that they have only given the new generation’s normal audience what they wanted – crowd should get what the desired, for the good of the industry. The writings on the screen could have also been avoided, and it should have been left to the audience to come up with such ideas.

Performers of the soul :: Alphonse Puthren, with his brilliance, has given us some memorable characters along with those incidents, and he has also chosen the perfect cast as it seems from the look of it. When we look the performers here, this is “the Nivin Pauly movie” from the beginning to the end, and the way in which he goes through the three stages of his life is simply amazing. Here is another Aluvaite giving us the performance that we will always remember, and his transformations through the movie becomes the big boost. Among the heroines, I would choose Madonna Sebastian as the one making the best impact, with what seems to be her inherent cuteness and the way of dialogue delivery, and above all, as being the “right lady”, she steals the final moments. Sai Pallavi has what might be the best moment though, with the dance steps – she surely has an amazing screen presence. Anupama Parameshwaran is the charming simple beauty who disappears too early. Do look out for Vinay Forrt’s best comic moments too. All young actors deserve some applause here! Also look out for two awesome cameos from Renji Panikker and Jude Anthany Joseph.

How it finishes :: I would consider this movie as the journey of a man from love powered by infatuation to love strengthened by admiration, and then to the love based on commitment here, with those three heroines. Premam is undoubtedly the result of the hardwork of Alphonse Puthren who also comes in a role which he manages very well. All credits to him more making such a simple thing work so well. It is already taking the theatres by storm, and I had to go to the theatre and come back only to try again – these repeated for so many times to watch this movie. I was impressed even when this was not my genre at all, and I can guess how much effect this is having on the normal people. For those who are around Cochin, I would suggest watching this at Aluva and having a walk on the sides of the river and on the aqueduct which are shown in the movie. This movie also has another big personal effect on me – and it is to see the Union Christian College Aluva, on the big screen; I miss the place, and the most shown location in this movie, the college canteen 😀

Release date: 29th May 2015
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Alphonse Puthren
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Madonna Sebastian, Sai Pallavi, Anupama Parameshwaran, Shabareesh Varma, Krishna Shankar, Vinay Forrt, Eva Prakash, Alphonse Puthren, Maniyanpilla Raju, Soubin Shahir, Wilson Joseph, Renji Paniker, Justin John, Hormis Paulachan, Althaf Salim, Anju Kurian, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sharafudeen, Maju Mathew, Rinsa Jacob, Vivek Vinod, Mahadev Ramakrishnan, Faisal, Manek Jose, Sandeep Varma, Viswajith Odukkathil, Vimal Pillai, Aishwarya R. Nair, Zuhair Sait, Deepak Nathan (I have put the whole list from wherever I could dig the names out, because they have all contributed so well)

premam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bangalore Days

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Vampire Owl :: So we won’t watch Bangalore Days, right?

Vampire Bat :: We will watch it. There will be force from Nivin Pauly fans, Dulquer Salmaan fans, Nazriya fans and Fahad Faasil fans and even Anjali Menon fans who will force us to go for the movie no matter what is shown in the movie.

Vampire Owl :: You mean there is no escape. Won’t the monsoon calm them down?

Vampire Bat :: No, they constitute ninety five percent of the Keralite young population. Unless we hide ourselves in a bunker, there is no escape from the fan bombs.

Vampire Owl :: Let’s not listen to them who rate the movie high just because of the people involved, and hiding that fact, just say that movie is awesome.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s watch this soon enough but not falling to those extremely high fan ratings.

Vampire Owl :: So, can we order an extra plate of fried rice with more gravy?

Vampire Bat :: I guess I will need two cups of tea too.

Vampire Owl :: Why two? One for Count Dracula?

Vampire Bat :: One before finishing the food and the other after the grand finish.

[The food happens again].

What is it about? :: There are three cousins, Krishnan (Nivin Pauly), Arjun (Dulquer Salmaan) and Divya (Nazriya Nazim) who have been great friends since childhood and shared almost everything with each other. Divya is married to the busy executive Das (Fahadh Faasil) and that lands her in Bangalore. Krishnan who gets a new job in the IT sector also gets posted in Bangalore, and that comes as no surprise. Arjun, who has the habit of leaving his home and keeping his relatives worried, also comes to the same city and does a little mechanic job bringing the three cousins together again. Arjun falls in love with a physically disabled Radio Jokey, Sarah (Parvathy). Krishnan meets an airhostess who is half-Malayali, Meenakshi (Isha Talwar) and is instantly attracted to her even as the lady of his dreams is simple and having a Malayali character. Meanwhile, the relationship between Divya and Das becomes strained due to multiple reasons, and Krishnan’s mother comes to Bangalore after his father goes on a spiritual trip. Sarah has to go to Australia while her mother despises Arjun for his background and lifestyle, and Meenakshi is not serious in the relationship with Krishnan, making things further complicated.

The defence of Bangalore Days :: This one is a joy to watch in the beginning stages. There are three cousins, with lot of love for each other and enjoying life. There are many funny moments in the movie, mostly including Nivin Pauly, as he falls for the one true love he meets who is surely not a lady of his dreams. The jokes work throughout the movie, even as the second half takes them down. There is a lot of intelligence in bringing fun in the first half, and they have smartly used the Thattathin Marayathu stuff in this one which is a nice addition. The cast is as close to perfection as it can be, especially with three male leads, Nivin Pauly, Fahadh Faasil, and Dulquer Salmaan. Among the female leads, Parvathi shines the most, and this is a different avatar for her considering the roles we usually see her in. There might still be no better happiness than seeing all these stars together, seven in total, three male and four female, and all of them young and bringing their energy all the way to the screen. This leaves a lot of the young generation fans, and the fanboys as well as fangirls will love this stuff. This is the movie that they can celebrate by bunking classes and wasting time.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has no interesting story to tell the viewers. It has just three people who are the centre of attraction, seemingly made even before the plot ever existed, and into their lives, the whole story is packed and sent. The twist that they bring for Fahadh’s character was possibly the worst thing they could do to the story as an ineffective turn-around. The bike racing stuff was quite unnecessary, as Dulquer was cool without it. But here, he will jump bike just because they can make him. He was nicely turning into a likable character from one of the worst young man in this story. May be because even non-racing fans liked Rush and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikhander had such an awesome climax, they should have thought this was the way to go. The scene after the final marriage is equally worse, and Nivin Pauly character’s “happily ever after” is ended in such a poor manner. There is a lot of drag in this movie which was supposed to be a lot of fun. The major point of this flick was to be entertainment, but this movie forgets that in the second half, making this more of a soap opera, and tries hard to make audience cry, but without substance. The ending leaves us needing more and emptiness in this movie is mostly filled by unnecessary songs. Well, this is a fire-breathing dragon which decided to breath cliches for a change, and each character seems to contribute to it when they go through the story.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim has been the hit pair, but here the latter is paired with her real life future husband, Fahadh Faasil, and Nivin repeats the hit pair of his first big lead movie Thattathin Marayathu with Isha Talwar. Nazriya is fine, but still not that awesome as we saw in Om Shanti Oshaana. Meanwhile, Fahadh Faasil is brilliant in a role which makes him only the fourth significant person in the movie, but an admired one for sure. He remains strong, and it is something we expect from him no matter what happens around him. Nivin Pauly is awesome, and is the best of them all, especially in the funny scenes. He should have had a little more presence in the whole thing rather than being restricted. Dulquer Salmaan hasn’t impressed me since Ustadh Hostel, and everything that came after that had me uninterested, and felt that he was choosing the wrong movies for whatever reason. But he certainly scores in this one, even as his character deserves a lot of hatred for the first half – he comes up with a memorable performance especially in the second half. Nithya Menon and Parvathi haven’t been around for some time, and it was good to see them. While Nithya has only a small role, Parvathi is very nice as the love interest of Dulquer’s character.

Soul exploration :: Everyone loves the city of Bangalore, and it is one of the cities of the South which I visited at an early age, and also that city which has most of my relatives and friends. I might just go there and find at least one person I know every day just by walking around, almost all of them engineers. Well, none of my friends who are staying there or have worked there has rated this movie high, and that is a negative for this one. I have actually found that most of the people whose opinions I care about have given this movie around average rating. But does this movie has more of a soul? Yes, it has the cousin friendship love stuff mixed and boiled in a bowl full of water, but how good is it? They are all there, but not presented in such a way that we can feel or connect. Even the most touching moments are rather dull because not enough care has been put in how the story progresses. It might be meant to make the viewers feel good, but that should require staying with the audience, but this one moves on and on, and in the presence degrading itself from being an awesome movie. Sooner or later, the question will be more about us deserving better than just expecting better.

How it finishes :: Bangalore Days has been one of the most anticipated movies by the fans of different actors. There are Nazriya Nazim fans who know that their favourite actress is going to get married and coming back to acting is not a sure thing. There are Nivin Pauly fans who have been standing tall since his two huge hits in the form of Om Shanti Oshaana, and those Dulquer Salmaan fans who are hoping for at least one good movie from him for a very long time. Then there the more intellectual ones, the fans of Fahadh Faasil who will be a calm force here. People also want to watch Nithya Menon and Isha Talwar so much, and Parvathy is also a bonus. Then there are people who keep praising Anjali Menon – all these people are going to force so many Keralites into the theatre that more records are going to be broken – there have been quite a few already. The movie is showing what the advantage of having young and good-looking actors, actresses and director is. There are too many fans who just look for that, and the days are bright for Bangalore Days, no matter how much the monsoon stays strong with the hope for thunderstorms with Koothara.

Release date: 30th May 2014
Running time: 172 minutes
Directed by: Anjali Menon
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Parvathy Kottuvata, Isha Talwar, Fahadh Faasil, Nithya Menon, Dulquer Salmaan, Prathap Pothen, Vijayaraghavan, Maniyanpilla Raju, Kalpana, Praveena, Vinaya Prasad, Rekha

bangaloredays copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Diamond Necklace

diamondnecklace (4)

As they say in the movie Neram, there are two types of time, the good time and the bad time, and the good time of Fahadh Faasil had started from Chaappa Kurishu, with no disasters at the box office moving on to Immanuel. I didn’t really like what came later though, but as we know already, another thing about our versatile actor is that we can often identify his career with the quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities too; “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” and I would identify the same with his other movies, Annayum Rasoolum and Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla. Yes, Diamond Necklace was part of the good time, or the best of times, and it was the best from Lal Jose, no real doubt about that unless you bring Achanurangatha Veedu, Classmates or Arabikkatha into the picture with a handful of logic. Does any of these movies have this simple a plot set in too simple a world, and still come up with such an intriguing situation on screen? No, they were movies of incidents, revolving around one major incident or decision which set the events running while Diamond Necklace belongs to everyday life, and a collection of life; its celebration as the worlds of ups and downs which flows through our life, supported by beautiful songs, “Nilamalare”, “Thottu Thottu” and “Nenjinullil”.

Arun Kumar (Fahadh Faasil) is a docor who lives in Dubai and leads a life of luxury, supported by his wallet full of credit cards. He has no regret about the past or worries about the future, as he lives in the present, spending money lavishly with nobody to stop him from doing the same. His friends belong to higher league, and he shares apartment with his friend in the tallest buildig in the middle east and the world, Burj Khalifa. Savithri (Rohini), his boss in the hospital also seems to spoil him with her sisterly affection, but she is also unaware of how much of a debt Arun is putting himself into. He has acquaintances with labourers from Kerala, especially Venu (Sreenivasan) whom he tries to avoid in his stylish, high quality life which has no place for the lesser people of lower social status, even as he is still friendly with all on the outside. Driving the latest cars and enjoying life to the maximum, he meets Lakshmi(Gauthami Nair), a newly recruited Tamil nurse in his department. She is the first girl to whom he is seriously attracted. She had come to the middle east with a dream of making enough money for building a hospital in their village, so that no more people have to die there for having no facilities or money. Arun is impressed by her wits, attitude and dedication towards work.

Even as their relation blossoms, his chances of going through with it receives a serious blow, as he runs out of money and his car is towed away by the creditors. He is left with no way to go home and see his sick mother as the credits keep him in the country. He is helped by an influential man, Narayana Menon (Maniyanpilla Raju) who makes it possible for him to go back to Kerala, but at the same time, he is tricked into marriage with Narayanan’s niece, Rajasree (Anusree) who is a simple village girl who has absolutely no clue about city life nor life outside Kerala. Even as they are thought to be a rich family, Rajasree’s world is later known to be a small and simple one, not enough to pay back even a percent of Arun’s credits. When he comes back to Dubai, he is left with no place to stay, and as he doesn’t have enough advance to pay for any place, he stays in the labor camp with Venu. Lakshmi who comes to know about his marriage, ends their relationship and refuses to talk to him. Maya (Samvrutha Sunil), a relative of Savithri, is a fashion designer who was diagnosed with cancer, with a wish to start a boutique in Dubai. Her fiancee had left her due to her illness which had left her highly depressed. Arun ends up sharing her apartment and becomes very close to her.

Later, when she sees Rajasree with him, she is shocked as she didn’t know that he was married, and is admitted in the hospital. It leaves Savithri with lesser affection towards him. As he gathers her possessions, he notices a diamond necklace that she keeps with her, something which can save him from his problems. He decides to replace it with a fake one and does the same successfully. This is where the whole situation revolving around a necklace arises, as his wife finds the original necklace and wears it thinking that it is a birthday gift from him. Meanwhile, Maya almost dies due to an overdose of medicine. He is unable to get the necklace back from his wife who has shown the same to almost everyone including her foul-mouthed relatives of vanity. He often feels that he should return it to Maya and he can’t, and neither can he sell it. Caught between the worlds of greed, remorse and helpless, the only people who are with him consists of the simple labourers whom he once avoided. So, the plot still revolves around the ladies in his life, and how Arun comes out of this problem, not with any deus ex machina or a huge twist of fate, but rather with the simple things being the result of everyday happenings and common feelings makes the whole of the story. The artificial stuff has been kept out for good.

So, here is Fahadh Faasil showing his abilities as a versatile actor, moving away from the new generation trends of Chaappa Kurishu and 22 Female Kottayam, but coming up strong as an energetic youth who symbolizes the common young man of the century, with the usual attitude of “I will drink Life to the lees” which was said by the protagonist, the Ithacan king and the Greek hero, in the poem titled with his own name, Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. That suspected hedonism in the face of our inescapable mortality found in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the Edward FitzGerald translation, going back to the eleventh and the twelfth centuries has found ever increasing rhythm in this generation, but without the octopus hand of death and the ultimate end. “Carpe diem” as they can still say, from our own most mentioned ancient poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known to most of us as Horace – “Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the next day”, an idea which has developed into a liefstyle with loose morals leading to a life of unimaginable pleasure among the new generation. Epicureanism has made a more powerful entry to the new world, and as a kind of hedonism finding pleasure as the only intrinsic good, there is a new environment which is powerful and fast spreading. These, as I have already mentioned in my review of Spring Breakers, symbolizes the character Fahadh is playing in this movie.

But what does this hedonism, the power of “Carpe diem” bring to him? Does this help him to seize the day? Yes it does, but those days become long gone. I agree to the fact that we are all kind of hedonists in one way or the other, varying only in the degree. But considering the current world and the environment to which we are exposed, something which stays within the limits can rarely be interpreted as hedonism. But our protagonist belongs to the higher degree of “Carpe diem” as he puts as little trust as possible in the next day, as a man who is exposed to all the luxuries of the magical world of the city of Dubai, powered by oil, and highly influenced by modernity and science rather than antiquity, history or literature. For a man who comes the humble backgrounds of a small village, this might have been a big moment for him, being in Dubai and earning so much. It is evident in his relations with the labourers whom he consider as lesser people. But soon he realizes that they are the ones who are there to help him without asking anything in return, and it is his time to live like a common man rather than a hedonist, and live his life of responsibilities. Such a realization is supported by a beautiful ending which makes sure that his world remains one of beauty and goodness rather than crookedness and money. The movie itself is a message against irresponsible hedonism, and a support for unconditional love, responsibility and equality.

Once again, Fahadh Faasil is the man to watch out for, and I guess there is not much need to talk about the same, as it nothing unexpected. Samvrutha Sunil has a powerful role and she has done it with lots of life. Gauthami Nair makes a strong impact as the determined, powerful character. Anusree’s role is worth a lot of acclaim, and the funny moments come from her character’s stupidity, and still the goodness and love that the character exhibits makes this one quite a beautiful portrayal. Rohini and Sreenivasan have to play the roles of two seniors in the life of the protagonist who lends him advice and helping hand, and they form the world of light and goodness in his life. Diamond Necklace relates to its viewer with its tenderness and its high dose of objective correlative; with a reigning simplicity and reflections of the common incidents and random life events. It is the Malayalam movie of the year 2012, no matter how much anybody tries to prove that it isn’t. Also look out for the cinematography by Sameer Thahir; about our director Lal Jose, there is nothing more to say other than making a call to watch the movie. This was a movie which came into the theatres, disappeared, and came back again; such is awesomeness of this movie, even as only a few people recognized it during its first run, and myself came across the same during its comeback run in the local theatre.

Release date: 4th May 2012
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Samvrutha Sunil, Gauthami Nair, Anusree, Rohini, Sreenivasan, Maniyanpilla Raju, Kailash, Sukumari, Thesni Khan

diamondnecklce copy

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