Uncle

What is the movie about? :: Shruthi (Karthika Muraleedharan) is a young lady on her way back home, to Kozhikode from Ooty, where she has been studying, on a day which has strikes and protests written all over it. The violent protesters are everywhere in Ooty and Coonoor, destroying public property and attacking private vehicles according to their will. After getting into a fight with her best friend Sam (Ganapathi), she is looking for a way to get home, and gets on the path of Krishnakumar (Mammootty), a rich businessman who is an old friend and former classmate of her father, Vijayan (Joy Mathew). He offers her a lift to Kozhikode as he is also going that way, and as she knows him well enough, she accepts, even though not without some initial hesitation. This begins a journey that would last many hours, and they get along quite well throughout the trip.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Vijayan and his wife Lakshmi (Muthumani) are worried about her safety, especially the former who is not a fan of the character of his good old friend known for being with many women and being under the influence of alcohol for most of the time. But they think that their daughter would be back before it is night, but as darkness falls, it turns out that they have only reached some kilometres away from the checkpost will stay closed until next morning. A small accident with a truck and the frequent stops for taking photos only delay things further. Now, the two have to stay somewhere until next morning, and the concerns of Vijayan rises to a new level. Krishnakumar is known to have divorced his wife, and is suspected to have some relationships which wouldn’t be acceptable to the society – the car is also chased by two young men on a motorbike; is there danger awaiting Shruthi?

The defence of Uncle :: The issues that Uncle deals with are more or less relevant, not just in one area of the country, but everywhere, in varying levels. The cases of moral poicing and having never-ending doubts about a man and woman traveling at night or to deserted places – no questions are lost here. There are the reflections of prejudice, strange judgment, unnecessary fear and more, which are more or less present in almost all of us. The movie also has some good visuals and a fine song which is to stay on for long. It is also a movie of infinite opportunities, a case which Thanos himself would take for his infinity gauntlet – you know this idea, which is difficult to work on, but if done correctly, can give the results better than any other. Maybe, at another point of time, another movie will develop this for another age, in a better and smarter way. We can see the signs of such possibilities here itself at some points.

The claws of flaw :: The focus seems to be lacking in the tale which could have been an efficient thriller, but it never even comes close. There seems to be an attempt to make the audience believe that the girl is in distress, but never does the flick attain success with that. Our protagonist could be an enigma, but never a threat to an innocent girl despite us trying to see it from many perspectives. To bring a message, this one seems to have taken the energy out of everything else, which is rather disappointing – if it was all about coming to those last moments, why stretch the whole thing so much? The movie is so long, but there is not that much of content to stay and keep the viewers engaged. The female protagonist never becomes worthy enough to be of someone whom we could feel for, and the male protagonist never even tries for the same – this is something which drives us away from the characters, and at some point, their fate becomes something of no concern for us, especially when the willing suspension of belief losses the suspension too.

The performers of the soul :: When Mammootty makes a wonderful walk through this movie, you are not surprised – there are elements of his characters in his earlier movies from the golden age of Malayalam Cinema right here, but with the difference that has come through the ages. There is no superhero mode here though, and expect for one final punch which might have been necessary for most of the superstars out there, we see him going through a natural path – the Masterpiece model is dead at least for now, with no slow motion and beating up multiple people who fly around. The dark shades which some of the viewers had expected were missing though, as the breeze is rather light. He is a man with some surprises, as mystery is there regarding his world, but it is never in the dark world, as he keeps himself close to light, without allowing the darkness to creep in.

Further performers of the soul :: Joy Mathew is amazingly good as the father figure, and his worries keep us engaged. We see the emotions of a father very well reflected on his face, as he comes to know more. Muthumani keeps scoring with her dialogues, and the strength continues to be there till the end. Karthika Muralidharan has some cute moments here, and we had seen her doing almost nothing in CIA: Comrade in America – this might be an improvement in parts, but there are moments of overacting which can be considered difficult to bear. It is a saga of ups and downs, and in the same, the level is reluctant to go up after a certain point of time. She can do more, but that much is not there to be seen. She doesn’t look like a minor as mentioned in the movie either. KPAC Lalitha and Kailash story would seem a little strange, but brings some humour, and has the extra content to give the audience something else to focus in between, without the same journey in the car being repeated again and again.

How it finishes :: Uncle is good divergence for sure, but losses some of the territory it gained because of how big it happens to be – it is more or less like the Roman Empire which couldn’t control its territorial gains when the weaknesses were revealed with further expansion of the empire; but there is no questioning the idea behind both of them, and the strength when it was present. But we do have some talented cast members and the premise with a difference, bringing a mirror to the society – it is something that we just can’t avoid, and for the same reason, Uncle deserves a watch. We can always have more of the movies which leaves a message for the audience or reflects the society’s troubles in one way or the other. Uncle is a good sign of better movies to come, and we can hope for greatness in them, or rather the infinity of quality with the industry’s further uprising.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Girish Damodar
Starring: Mammootty, Joy Mathew, Karthika Muralidharan, Muthumani, Suresh Krishna, KPAC Lalitha, Kailash, Ganapathi, Meghanadhan

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Thrissivaperoor Kliptham

What is the movie about? :: David Pauly (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Joy Chembadan (Baburaj) have been enemies since childhood. There was a certain incident over a girl in their school which had turned the two against each other on an eventful rainy day. The two have fought each other for so long that the city of Thrissur knows their rivalry very well, and knows what would happen if the two were to come face to face. With Joy being accused of messing up David’s betrothal ceremony, the latter decides that it is time to settle the scores by dealing the final blow which will be fatal for his opponent from school days. For the same, he calls up his friends, but ends up being in a fight with Joy’s hired goons. It is during that time that Girija Vallabhan (Asif Ali) enters the situation. He is a young man who lives in the outskirts of Thrissur city, and is in a struggle with his uncle Chandu Menon (Sunil Sukhada) who doesn’t allow him to take the profit from their family property, or sell it.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Bhageerathy (Aparna Balamurali), a bold and angry young lady and auto rickshaw driver also become part of their lives, as she is seen almost everywhere in the city. Vallabhan who visits the city, also ends up meeting her, as well as David, as part of some not so pleasant events. He decides to join the gang of David, and after being hit by a flying stick during a fight between David and Joy’s team, gets the chance, and he has never been happier. But it is short-lived, as they are caught by OK Sehladhan (Sreejith Ravi), who is a friend of Joy, and had studied in the same school. After getting out of the police station, the gang decides to have revenge on Joy by messing up his jewellery shop inauguration, for which he has invited a famous movie star from North India, Nilina Mehndi (Shilpi Sharma). With no chance to match up with Joy who deals with gold, David’s team tries to use both brain and brawn to mess up the enemy. But are they good enough for that?

The defence of Thrissivaperoor Kliptham :: There is some nice humour in between here, which brought the theatre alive on a number of occasions. We see a lot of interesting moments in the early rivalry between the characters, and the first few minutes are among the best, and this one surely knows how to begin nicely, and catch the interest of the audience early enough. You will find even a few messages in this one, which come at the end. There is the need to forgive, and the realization that what you are luckier than you think you are, in life, and those who are deprived of what you have, are so many – a few things which we wanted were just trivial; the movie asserts. The first half is superior to the second by a long way, and the expectations are high at the interval. An effort at feel-good elements is also there by the end, when you look closer. The visuals of the city are really good, as the essence is nicely captured here. The songs are just okay, and there is not that much to gain there.

The claws of flaw :: There is the curse of the second half which troubles this movie, and the problems begin right when the latter half starts. It seems to be everywhere, not certain about which direction it is heading to. Even in the climax, except for coming up with that message for not just the audience, but also for the characters in the movie which undergo change, there is not that much to talk about. There is also the presence of some irritating sequences, and also those which could have been just avoided – that way, the movie could have gone with a run-time less than two hours, making this a little, funny movie with a message in the end. One also has to wonder where this movie would have reached if it had maintained that funny side it had displayed in the first few minutes – but Thrissivaperoor Kliptham had chosen to be cursed in the second half, and it had to come down; which sorcerer or witch had cursed a movie which had so much potential? Well, it might be a wizard that we don’t know.

Performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is surely having a nice run, with fine performances in Sarvopari Palakkaran and Sunday Holiday already in the theatres with a fine feel-good run, extending from her work in Oru Muthassi Gada and Maheshinte Prathikaaram. Here, once again, she is good, playing a strong character, and she successfully rises above the flaws in making of the character – she also has rather less presence here with the focus being on the gangs. Asif Ali’s adventure goes back to Adventures of Omanakuttan and that smaller role in Take Off, and Avarude Raavukal. Both Asif and Aparna had their combination working in Sunday Holiday. The point to be noted here is that despite him being claimed as the hero, he is not really one, and as the hero who is not really the hero, he has nicely managed his work in the movie. Shilpi Sharma has less presence here, with a few scenes and one song, and looks very good throughout, in her first Malayalam movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose continues his journey through Thrissur which was going great in the satirical fun movie Varnyathil Aashanka. One can say that he is the one hero that this movie has, more heroic in character than anyone else. It is him who deserves the best applause in this particular flick, whether it is about the serious scenes or those funny moments – these days, whatever be the character, we love to have his presence. Unlike a few years ago, we see very less of Baburaj in movies these days, and it is very good to see him back, and for some reason, he is also given lesser of the funny side. You will also find Vineeth Mohan of Adi Kapyare Kootamani fame here in a good, smaller role. Rony David and Irshad provides some good company to the protagonist, while Vijayakumar and a few others nicely work on the other team. Rachana Narayanankutty and Zarina Wahab are in one scene each, and if you miss those scenes, you miss them.

How it finishes :: Movies based on Thrissur has been many more this year, with Georgettan’s Pooram and Varnyathil Aashanka there with this particular movie, and even Sarvopari Palakkaran was set mostly in Thrissur despite beginning from the Kottayam side; Jomonte Suvisheshangal was also based there. Among all these movies, this is surely the movie which has captured Thrissur in the best way. After drawing some good audience even further away from the city in which it is based, there is something about this movie that has attracted the audience to watch it. Thrissivaperoor Kliptham is surely a movie which could have improved itself in the second half on its journey towards the climax, but beginning so well, and with help of humour, this one manages to keep itself as a movie which provides some entertainment, and the performances from the cast support the whole thing very well.

Release date: 11th August 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Ratheish Kumar
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shilpi Sharma, Vineeth Mohan, Baburaj, Vijayakumar, Rachana Narayanankutty, Rony David, Zarina Wahab, Sunil Sukhada, Jayaraj Warrier, Sreejith Ravi, Sudheesh, Meghanadhan, Nandhu, Irshad, Neeraja Rajendran, TG Ravi, Sneha Sreekumar, Manju Sunichen

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.