Brother’s Day

What is the movie about? :: Ronnie (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is your average handsome guy next door, leading a catering service, taxi, hotel and restaurant run at Fort Cochin by Joy (Kottayam Nazir). His sister Ruby (Prayaga Martin) has been paralysed from waist down, and is undergoing treatment at an ayurvedic centre. He is helped by Munna (Dharmajan Bolgatty), a chronic bachelor spending his leisure time looking for a suitable match so that he can get married at least this year. During a wedding reception, he meets Jema (Madonna Sebastian), the daughter of George (Spadikam George) who is getting married at an old age after his wife left him. Even though their initial introduction is rather messed up, they become good friends later. Ronnie and Jema have their own saddening stories to tell, but both find happiness visiting the old age homes and spending a few moments together.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: He is also comes across Chandy (Vijayaraghavan), a businessman whom he meets by accident and lands in the police station as well as the hospital. He become good friends with Ronnie, Jema, Munna and Joy after a series of incidents. Ronnie is also introduced to Santa (Aishwarya Lekshmi), Chandy’s beautiful daughter who seems to be a cheerful and energetic young lady from outside, but seems to be holding a secret or two. They also come across Thaneesha (Miya George), a woman whose wedding ceremony was cancelled, and is searching for the reason behind her father’s suicide. Then there is Shiva (Prasanna), a mastermind behind many events involving the rich families and politicians of the city. The question remains about how these people are linked, but their paths are going to cross at some point.

The defence of Brother’s Day :: The movie which begins in a happy, funny mood, gets to the darker mood in the second half, even though there are traces of the same already seen in the beginning, right after the opening credits, and also in parts during its early run. The early comedy is nice, and unlike some of the other movies which pretend to be entertainers using cheap and vulgar jokes, there is none of such kind here. Then we have the twists happening, the suspense, and we also see how the characters and events come together nicely. The songs are good, and the background music is catchy. There are some fine visuals to go with the same too. Unlike the other movies which deal with the similar themes, there is no over-use of style here, and it also maintains a direct approach rather than trying to keep projecting the protagonist as the great hero all the time. The importance given to the antagonist is nice, and the use of red herring and foreshadowing are worth mentioning.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that some of the characters do disappear in the second half, and at least some them deserved to have a better role in the latter stages. There could have been some investigation going on here too, with the missing parts being found out rather than revealed. The second half of the movie goes in an entirely different path in comparison with the first half – even though movies like Drishyam also did the same, the core had remained the same in that case. The movie could have also been better if the small details were taken care of, and if there was not that much of predictability in the final stages. The movie also reminds one of the flicks like Mikhael and The Great Father with the dark mood and the kind of problems as well as the antagonists that the main characters have to deal with – but this one has the same one step better, and has a comic side which those movies completely lacked. There is also some violence to make some people uncomfortable.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj goes through the movie smoothly with his character – there is a certain special quality in his movies, as 9, Ranam and Koode had something more than what a usual Malayalam movie would have; not just with the settings, but with the feelings that it reflected on the audience. This one is no exception. Dharmajan handles the comedy with ease here. Vijayaraghavan’s character is a mixture of many things, and we see him doing what he has been doing the best once again. Vijayakumar plays another police officer role in his usual style. Kottayam Nazir and Shivaji Guruvayoor have lesser roles to play here. At the same time, Prasanna makes a fine, menacing villain, psychotic in nature and with no remorse even when he sees possible death in front of him. The presence of such a strong, and mysterious antagonist leaves the movie with further effects.

Further performers of the soul :: Madonna Sebastian was so close to becoming the main heroine of the movie, but then comes Aishwarya Lekshmi to take away the honours. This is still Madonna’s best after that fine introduction in Premam. Aishwarya has a similar character as she did in Varathan, as she is stalked by a different figure this time, something which she can’t ask to go away. In the second half, Madonna passes the heroine tag to Aishwarya, and towards the end, the latter handles it very well. Prayaga Martin and Miya George are just sidelined as their characters are rather minor. Both don’t have any sequences together even though each get about fifteen minutes each in different parts of the movie. Even with four heroine-like figures present in the movie, there is no real romantic angle for the protagonist, which is a good thing considering how the overall mood of the movie changes at the interval, and through the second half.

How it finishes :: As Brother’s Day finishes as a fine entertainer touching all aspects, it can be said that Kalabhavan Shajon books his seat as a director for many more to come – an interesting debut can be seen here, and he also makes a cameo appearance as the police officer in the end. Even though there can be opinions that it could have been a better thriller, this one is strong enough as it is, and maintains the comic side so clean and elevated that, it brings the lower level but self-proclaimed big entertainers like Amar Akbar Anthony and Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan to shame with those little moments of fun. Brother’s Day has a full entertainer packed in there, and even though the family audience won’t be that happy with the violence, the rest can easily go through the same and celebrate Onam. As long as you are expect the Malayalam movie industry to have its necessary turns, you will like this one enough. Happy Onam and continue enjoying the vacations! 🙂

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Kalabhavan Shajohn
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Madonna Sebastian, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Prayaga Martin, Miya George, Prasanna, Aima Rosmy Sebastian, Vijayakumar, Vijayaraghavan, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Maala Parvathi, Kottayam Nazir, Spadikam George, Ponnamma Babu, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Kochu Preman, Anil Murali, Jayasankar Karimuttam, Vinod Kedamangalam, Kalabhavan Shajohn (cameo)

Also check the reviews of other Onam releases, Ittymaani and Love Action Drama.

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ira

What is the movie about? :: Dr. Aryan (Gokul Suresh) arrived at Cochin from Kolkata, trying to leave a mark in his own home state, but is accused of murdering the Minister of Forests and Wildlife Protection, KP Chandy (Alencier Ley Lopez) who seemingly dies due to cardiac arrest. The much discussed case becomes a favourite for the media, as the minister was already in the news for corruption allegations, and his son, the next big name in politics, Jacob Chandy (Shanker Ramakrishnan) is looking forward to punish the man who is supposed to have murdered his father. Aryan is accused of being a naxalite and part of a group which is known to target politicians, and police is very much interested in making him confess to this crime. It is during these times that Inspector Rajeev (Unni Mukundan) arrives to take over the investigation from Delhi.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Rajeev doesn’t have a smooth run with the investigation, as the Commissioner of Police, Satheesh Varma (Kailash) is not interested in helping him. Even the people at the hospital seems to be not that much interested in helping him. But beginning with the taxi driver who dropped Aryan at the nearby church, Rameshan (Saju Navodaya), Rajeev begins to solve the mystery. There is more than what meets the eye with this tale, and he soon finds one love story which becomes the core of the whole thing, with Jennifer Jacob (Niranjana Anoop), the neighbour of Aryan, and his own tale of love with a girl whom he met in a forest near Kothamangalam, a long time ago – Karthika (Miya George). Now, the question remains about who is so much interested in framing Aryan as the murderer of a minister, and it is a difficult question to solve.

The defence of Ira :: We can see that the suspense stays strong throughout the movie, and there is the nice use of opportunities for twists towards the end. The first half as well as the second, has its thrilling moments as well as an effective emotional side. The entertainment side is strong throughout its run, and it has the audience interested in the investigation, and the predicament of the main characters. It is something offering a full run of entertaining moments, even adding some jokes here and there, with some of them working well. We can see how much the politicians manipulate people, and how so many incidents are twisted to be of advantage to them – we see where the common man’s place is, and what they are made to believe by putting them into a coma of indirect oppression. The visuals are very good, especially those of the forest, as we see that it is close enough to the locations where Pulimurugan and Shikkari Shambhu were shot – the beautiful world on the other side of Kothamangalam.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be reflection of real life moments in the movie, but they really have no point here, and we see that they are unable to affect the movie well enough to make an impact worth remembering – these are more or less like the ingredients added to catch the attention of the viewers with the manifestation of a strange visage. We can also guess a number of things about this movie, as there is not that much focus on making sure that all minor twists hold ground. The movie could have also focused more on its title, as its oppressed including the tribals and the common people facing powerful politicians, never really get enough of justice, even though the poetic justice is delivered by vengeance. This could have been a better thriller, no doubt about that – it could have had a smarter investigation, and a stronger backstory which would be able to connect better with the right kind of bridges between the past and the present.

The performers of the soul :: Unni Mukundan doesn’t have any problem with this police role, the kind which he has already done before. From the nice entry in the beginning, he has things under control, with no real challenge being present in there to play this particular police officer for him. Gokul Suresh seems to be getting better with every movie, and we see how things have managed to rise in quality from Mudhugauv to Masterpiece, and now here. Even though Unni Mukundan’s police officer is established as the hero very early, we come to know in the end that all that Gokul’s character did was of high purpose, from the very first moment itself, with or without him knowing about it. There are also signs of a younger Suresh Gopi with his work, and the viewers are sure to wait for more from him. The significance of him being in an action-thriller is displayed so.

Further performers of the soul :: As you will notice here, the movie does have quite an interesting list of actors. The main female lead would be Miya George, even though she has lesser time on the screen, arriving late, and leaving rather early – she is very good in her work here. It is rather surprising that we don’t see that much of her work these days, Niranjana Anoop has more presence, and has done a pretty good job. There is a long way to go for her, in the industry for sure. Alencier Ley Lopez plays the corrupt politician in a nice way, Shanker Ramakrishnan plays a pretty good negative character for most of the time. Lena plays a strong character, that of a lawyer with ease, and Saju Navodaya only has a few moments to bring the laughter, which he manages; so does Nelson during the flashback moments.

How it finishes :: Ira has enough to make sure that the viewers are engaged at all moments. It might not be the best investigative thriller of our times, but it possesses enough in there to make sure that the audience is entertained. One might think that it could have been made better, as the premise was set very well. But it has been difficult to make good stories of investigation for some time in Malayalam industry, and Ira makes sure that something more is added to that genre. Well, thrillers don’t usually have enough support from the audience, unless it has those family elements like Drishyam, and also has a big superstar at the helm. Let us hope that this one has that support, as experimentation in the genre seems to have stopped rather too early. If the early opinions about the movie is going to continue, Ira might be followed by more of similar flicks.

Release date: 16th March 2018
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Saiju SS
Starring: Unni Mukundan, Gokul Suresh, Miya George, Lena, Alencier Ley Lopez, Niranjana Anoop, Shanker Ramakrishnan, Neeraja, Saju Navodaya, Kailash, Nelson, Mareena Michael Kurisingal

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and the recent Malayalam movies.

@ Cemetery Watch
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Sherlock Toms

What is the movie about? :: P.L. Thomas (Biju Menon) a.k.a Toms is a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and has spent a lot of time reading the novels, not known to be interested in studies. With a certain amount of skill being displayed by him to solve problems, he had managed to end up exposing Sugunan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) a teacher who was cheating on her wife with another teacher, while solving a mystery of some missing money. He was expelled after that incident and also trying to cheat in examinations. But he makes a grand return, and manages to do well, even qualifying for the Indian Revenue Service though his need was to join Indian Police Service to solve case. After being persuaded by Father Kunnel (Saju Kodiyan), he decides to take IRS and not go for PSC. It doesn’t satisfy him, and is also very disappointed to be married to Rekha (Srinda Ashab) who hates his friends as well as his inability to earn enough money by bribery or in any way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Toms and Rekha go on with regular fights, and as each day passes, her hatred for him grows, but is not ready to sign the divorce papers, not happy with the possibility of him leading a better life in her absence. She believes that he isn’t worthy of his position, coming from a lower level in the society and mingling with local, illiterate people. Toms is not interested in making money or fame, as he only wants to be a sharp investigator like Sherlock Holmes, his childhood hero. For the same he gets a transfer to a new department, and has himself after a certain financiers. Shiny Mattummel (Miya George) is a reporter who covers almost everything that happens in and around the city, to that extent that people believe that she is at more than one place at the same time. The two find themselves in the opposite sides, as Toms’ attempt at a raid is messed up. Now he has to make things better, and for the same, he wishes to suicide.

The defence of Sherlock Toms :: There are some jokes that work in this movie, but one has to wonder if that, as well as the final twist would be enough to make it compete with Tharangam, Udaharanam Sujatha and Ramaleela, all three having their own fans. It is actually very good to have had that final twist, or all these things would have provided a wasted feeling. The family audience would love this movie in parts, and the assurance can only be partial because the movie changes in mood too often – it is is sometimes comedy, at other times drama, and there is also the presence of the elements of a suspense thriller, even though none of these are used to their full strength. The beginning stages of the movie are actually the ones most close to the title of the movie. Who wouldn’t wish to watch the tale of a boy who grew up reading Sherlock Holmes stories? Well, even I was one. Biju Menon is certainly the savour for this movie, as for many others.

The claws of flaw :: Sherlock Toms just seems to try so less with its material. There is one Indian Revenue Service officer who is as smart as Sherlock Holmes, and there is no attempt to make the best of the same. There is no Biju Menon becoming Sherlock Holmes, and investigating unsolved mysteries with some smart moves which would make everyone jealous. There is also not enough funny moments for a Biju Menon movie. To add to the same, there is one flawed wife character whose existence is only as much justified as an impaled zombie looking to eat anybody’s brains, and a number of cliches. [Spoiler Alert] The one movie that the second half of Sherlock Toms reminds the audience about is Man on a Ledge with Biju Menon being Sam Worthington and Miya George being Elizabeth Banks. It is not a direct copy like Anwar from Traitor or Cocktail from Butterfly on a Wheel as there is the different back story and comic side, but the idea actually deviates too much into what we have already seen. [/Spoiler Alert].

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon who has had simple, family movie success with flicks like Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Swarna Kaduva, Salt Mango Tree and Vellimoonga to go into the list of feel-good solo hits with messages, has no problem in dealing with this role too; the movie is a lot dependent on him, and he delivers, even when the movie is sailing through troublesome waters. Both leading actress of this movie has to go through a deep struggle. Srinda Ashab has her character that badly shown that at some point we feel that all the roles which she has done is going to vanish with a certain dose of irritating moments which stay till the end – its not really funny. She had such good work in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela and Parava. Meanwhile, Miya has another struggle going on, which is to escape from having that less of a presence on screen as in Memories and Anarkali. But she manages to go through her role with ease, with not that much demanded there. When we look closer, both of their characters don’t do much constructive, but they are mandatory.

Further performers of the soul :: Sherlock Toms is another movie in which heroines have so less to make an impact, and it is not just them who are restricted – instead the weight is put on the shoulders of Biju Menon. The next significant character would be Salim Kumar though, along with the team of Noby Marcose, Dinesh Prabhakar, Molly Kannamaly and others by his side. Kalabhavan Shajohn brings fun to what might be one of the most terribly written characters of a school teacher – he rises to make it better. Another person who is full fun in this movie is Suresh Krishna, as he brings something whenever he is present on the screen. Hareesh Perumanna contributes with some nice little funny lines, and so does Kottayam Nazeer who combines forces with him. Saju Kodiyan and Vijayaraghavan are effective with some fun here and there during their smaller presence. There is no shortage of characters introduced in this movie, even when they are of not that much contribution.

How it finishes :: Most of us would have expected Sherlock Toms to provide us with more, which is one of the reasons for some disappointment. This one just manages to do fine, but is never really close to those expectations generated with Shafi returning to the helm after the big laugh riot blockbuster which was Two Countries, joining forces with the evergreen comedy side of Biju Menon. Sherlock Toms is that kind of a movie which can be watched for some time-pass, without expecting too much. If you expect the movie to bring something extra, or out of the box, you will have not much to be satisfied about. The movie is the usual Biju Menon model movie, but with deviations which make the movie lesser of that kind. There is no variety being tried, but there are some changes in the path, and people can feel that they are not the kind of changes that they had wanted.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Biju Menon, Miya George, Srinda Ashab, Salim Kumar, Noby Marcose, Vijayaraghavan, Suresh Krishna, Anu Joseph, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nelson, Hareesh Perumanna, Saju Kodiyan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vijayakumar, Molly Kannamaly, Kottayam Nazeer, Sohanlal, Rajesh Paravoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Great Father

What is the movie about? :: David Nainan (Mammootty) is a successful builder, going through a happy and peaceful life with his wife Michelle (Sneha) and the only daughter Sarah (Baby Anikha). As David is a busy man with the construction work of his firm which has been growing fast and because Michelle is a reputed doctor in a big hospital, they rarely have enough time to spend with family though. Sarah is so proud of her father that she never misses the opportunity to boast about his status, not only as the successful person that he is, but even as a feared man even in the Mumbai underworld. He has told her some of those stories himself, most of which common people will feel exaggerated at the first time itself. Most of her friends don’t believe her as expected, and she even brings her grandfather’s gun to make them believe, and lands in trouble for the same.

So, what happens next? :: There is also the story of a pedophile serial killer, who ends up killing also the police officer, Samuel (Shaam) who investigates the case, and is believed to have some so close to catching the culprit. It is then that the new officer in charge of the investigation, Andrews Eapen (Arya) gets into the act. He is the new generation police officer who keeps his own style, and tries to get to the bottom of everything in one way or the other. As this series of parallel incidents threaten to destroy the happiness of his family, David tries to restore the same, as well as seek vengeance on the faceless evil which is so much becoming a part of his world. But for the same, he will have to go through Andrews Eapen who has decided to solve this by himself, and will accept no intervention in the case which he is investigating. So, where does that leave these two?

The defence of The Great Father :: The movie definitely looks nice, and there is the stylish treatment to go with. There is the suspense maintained, even though this investigation never really progresses on the clues gathered, as the focus is more on how awesome the superhero dad is so that he will know everything and anything is possible for him. Coulrophobia is something that you can successfully gain with this movie, and if that happens, it is also a case of success for this flick; still, a psychopath clown has never really been part of our culture, which could lead to partial alienation here. With the recent news, the theme that the movie chooses is also something which is relevant. For someone who is coming up with his first movie, the director has managed things well, without letting things go through the path of movies like Gangster. Mammootty fans are surely going to love this, as this one has proven to be a nice entertainer.

The claws of flaw :: This movie needed to get rid of its slow motion – it is not part of the style, not anymore. There is also too much of sunshades being used, and using the same for style is rather shameless when repeated so many times. A character in the movie asks about the need for jacket in this hot climate, and it is the correct question, and it is another shameless addition. There is also too much of superhero stuff here, and everything is just too easy for the hero here, which is often irritating – the movie’s social relevance gets degraded by this, as style, mass and heroism are not those elements which could best support a cause. One often wonders why what should have been the main focus becomes something of secondary interest with the two heroes right there in front? Along with the same, there is the certainty of the lack of ideas with the villain, his name being used and also with his mask and imagery – joker and the clown! From early Batman to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight to Stephen King’s It? Even about the guns being too quick? Seriously? And who would blur the image of a gun?

Performers of the soul :: Most of the movie is more like custom made for Mammootty, and he undoubtedly shines in this avatar – all the style gets brought to him here. It is what makes this a celebration for his fans, and this might be the grand return to form that the great veteran actor wanted for quite some time after that break that succeeded Pathemari and Puthiya Niyamam. Arya gets the secondary chance to shine, and he doesn’t go that far beyond despite being given too strange a police officer role to perform. Anikha is a child actor who could have had better than what she had in this movie considering the potential; sadly, the same is not there, even after she gets to perform more after those first thirty minutes of considerable irritation with boasting and boring talks. The movie, from the beginning itself, doesn’t allow kids to be kids, which is rather strange in what has been called more of a movie that was to appeal to the families.

Further performers of the soul :: Sneha gets limited to being the wife of a superhero, and that is all for her – this never really seems to come close to changing. Malavika Mohanan with all the looks and intensity, also gets side-lined here. With Pattam Pole, the one big bad movie, and Nirnaayakam which became the torrent hit, she surely needs more movies to bring the potential. Miya George is just quick to come, make a visit again, and then just go again not to be seen again – her last big role was in Paavada in 2016 opposite Prithviraj Sukumaran, and wonders why she is not seen on the big screens here that much she should have been. Kalabhavan Shajohn also gets less of a screen presence here. When you look at this as a whole, it is a solar system with Mammootty as the sun, and the rest are planets who just rotate and revolve around him; at least Arya get to be Jupiter; sometimes he even gets to be Saturn – he even gathers his own satellites in the process starting with one lady police officer character.

How it finishes :: The Great Father is known to have broken many collection records already, starting from the first day itself. I couldn’t find a ticket on the first day of its release. This one follows the path set by C/O Saira Banu and Take Off while dealing with incidents having social relevance. The Great Father does stick to what the earlier promotional material was promising to deliver, and the movie is surely better than the teaser. What you will really need to avoid are those terrible dialogues by the kids in the beginning, and those slow motion fight scenes that go towards the end. What you need to look forward to, along with Mammootty, is the looks of the whole thing here, and the theme that it deals with. Well, the thrills and the suspense factor will play along in between, even though this is no Memories with one serial killer ready to bring the big twist, and having no overdose of super-heroism! With Georgettan’s Pooram also there, this one tries and edges ahead in style.

Release date: 30th March 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Haneef Adeni
Starring: Mammootty, Arya, Sneha, Baby Anikha, Malavika Mohanan, Miya George, Shaam, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Santhosh Keezhatoor, IM Vijayan, Balaji Sharma, Sunil Sukhada, Rony Davis, Prajod Kalabhavan, Mukundan, Sohan Seenulal, Shaji Nadesan, Anup Pazhayakada, Deepak Parambol, Aaryan Krishna Menon, Anu Joseph

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paavada

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What is it about? :: Joy a.k.a. Paambu Joy (Prithviraj Sukumaran) spends his day with alcohol, and that leads to his wife Cinimol (Miya George) leaving him to do service in a charitable institution. He spends most of his time with alcohol as if there is no tomorrow. With nobody left to control him, the local priest tries to make him stop drinking, but it is of no use, and the priest finally admits Joy in a de-addiction centre. Babu a.k.a. Paavada Babu (Anoop Menon) used to be a college lecturer teaching English, but now spends his time lost in alcohol as if it is the only thing that he does throughout the day. Except for the dialogues which he takes out of the Shakesperean Drama including Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar, there is nothing much good that comes out of his mouth. His well-wishers forcibly take him to a de-addiction centre.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The well-wishers think that they can only return after changing themselves, but that turns out to be a wrong idea, as the two manage to escape from the place which is heavily guarded. This brings a special bond between the two which is forged in alcohol, even though the caretaker of Babu doesn’t really like the fact that Joy has started living in their house. But they get along as time progresses, and as they are united in alcohol, something else comes up which changes their times of happiness into something depressing. There will be a flashback which works against their happy days, and certain news will add fire to the same. So, with the help of their well-wishers, will they be able to overcome this problem which affects them both?

The defence of Paavada :: The movie begins with the notice that this happened before the bars had closed in Kerala. You will feel that Paavada is a clear entertainer right from the beginning to the end. There are no dull moments here, and this is certainly a quality which the audience will appreciate. The comedy sequences power the first half while the emotional side takes over the second, even though there is some fun in parts concerning the latter part of the movie too; it ends with very much of a happy angle. The story remains strong here, especially with how things take the twists, and this side takes over when the rest goes a little down. There will be dialogues for you to remember, and even as it has too much of alcohol, there is message and something for the family audience along with the youth. There is clearly enjoyment in store here. You can also find a message against alcoholism by the end.

Claws of flaw :: Some jokes won’t work that well, and a number of them seems to be more forced to be added with alcohol rather than being better. There are also certain deviations from the trailer, and the story won’t follow that path which you might have predicted earlier. There is also that too much of a focus on alcohol in the first half at a time when other factors could have also been there. Alcohol gets too much of screen space here than one would have wanted. The songs are all forgettable, and if they were avoided, the movie could have gotten rid of a few extra minutes which were there. The movie also has a huge amount of melodrama which comes in during the second half. The final light moments after the climax were also not that effective. Paavada really did have scope to be an even better movie.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj has been making the right choices with his movies, and this one is no different, as he has become the one actor whose movies can be trusted more than any other. Even earlier, I liked his movies like Ivide and London Bridge which had certain viewers in doubt. In this movie, he handles both the funny as well as the emotional side with no problems at all. We had seen how well he could handle a character suffering from addiction in Memories, and here he comes up very well with two sides of the same coin. Some people might have had doubts from the trailer, but they will be cleared with this movie. Miya plays the role of his wife, and has the usual stuff to do, which she manages fine; they were together in their last movie Anarkali too, even though not paired with each other.

Further performers of the soul :: Anoop Menon continues his good work from the less appreciated, but interesting Maalgudi Days. I have felt that he was nothing less than a perfect choice to play the alcoholic English professor with a philosophical side and love for drama; also having a troubled past. Except for the alcoholism, he carries over the rest from his previous movie, and there are some very nice moments which he shares with Prithviraj. Kalabhavan Shajon once again plays a character with evil shades, reminding one of Drishyam. Siddique has a strong performance by the end of the movie while Chemban Vinod Jose and Sudheer Karamana manage their contrasting priest roles really well. Sharafudeen of Premam fame has some nice moments in the first half. Maniyan Pilla Raju and Nedumudi Venu provides fine support and Asha Sarath is another positive.

How it finishes :: Prithviraj had only finished a hat-trick of blockbusters with Ennu Ninte Moideen, Amar Akbar Anthony and Anarkali, and this would surely add to that list of great success. I watched this movie at a multiplex screen, and even though it was in the morning, the place was almost houseful with seats vacant only here and there. I am expecting this to be the first blockbuster of 2016 as far as Malayalam movies are concerned. So, this year has a very fine beginning for Prithviraj, and his upcoming movies this year which should begin with Darvinte Parinamam, are also the titles which will catch our attention. I am pretty sure that Paavada is the movie which will work for all kinds of audience, and so it should be your movie of the weekend as it seems now; plus you see that the goodness side wins in the end whatever be the circumstances.

Release date: 15th January 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: G. Marthandan
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Miya George, Anoop Menon, Kalabhavan Shajon, Chemban Vinod Jose, Maniyan Pilla Raju, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana, Siddique, Sharafudeen, Renji Panicher, Kunjan, Asha Sarath, Dinesh Prabhakar, Murali Gopy, Manikuttan, Sai Kumar, Sunil Sukhada, Manju Warrier

paavada

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Anarkali

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What is it about? :: Shanthanu (Prithviraj Sukumaran) who arrives at Lakshadweep Islands as a diving instructor actually has another plan in his mind. His old friend Zachariya (Biju Menon) is already on the island and they are joined by Koya (Suresh Krishna) to whom they tell that love story which goes back by many years. The tale is about a girl named Nadira (Priyal Gor) and her love with Shanthanu before being separated by her father. Far away from her, and with no idea where the girl is, Shanthanu hopes to find her through her brother who is an officer at the Naval base at Kavaratti, the capital of Lakshadweep. With her rich and influential father standing on the way, and very less chances to find his lady love, Shanthanu knows that he will need all the help that he can get.

The defence of Anarkali :: The success of Anarkali lies in being direct and not taking the easy way out like many other movies. It is a believable love story with strong presence of the “true love” elements and along with maintaining that status, goes beyond states and languages. The comic sequences are very nicely done, and Biju Menon with his amazing comic timing, makes sure that the funny side is perfect. The visuals are amazing, and if you look deeper into this movie, there are similarities with Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal and there is an abiding sad mood of “impossible hope” throughout the movie which reminds one of Prithviraj’s another flick, London Bridge. But Anarkali manages to soar ahead of all these movies. The visuals here might be the best you can have from an island location and the songs are good. The emotions are strong throughout this movie.

Claws of flaw :: A disadvantage of the movie is its length, even though there is no feeling of drag anywhere – that is quite an achievement for the people behind the flick. The movie’s love story is still cliched up-to an extent with the hero and heroine waiting for the approval of the girl’s father, and making that one last effort defying all odds. It could have also used Sufism more. There is also a little bit of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal here, but Anarkali does manage to rise above that by being an entertainer and a full love story for all kinds of audience. But aren’t these things which can be forgiven in the case of a true romantic story? There is no romance without cliche, and with a lot of other aspects staying away from the cliches, Anarkali is not going to be just another love story, because it is better! You really don’t need to judge this movie based on the opinions of the others, because this one is for the heart and that changes according to individual.

Performers of the soul :: You see another chance for Prithviraj Sukumaran here, and he has once again provided an amazing performance to make sure that this one will work well along with his other movies in the theatre, Ennu Ninte Moideen and Amar Akbar Anthony. There is a lot of energy from him here, and he has also kept this character close to our hearts. Intensity and tranquility are just two sides of this character, and with Prithviraj’s exceptional skills, reaches the audience really well. Biju Menon is there in the supporting role after playing the lead in Salt Mango Tree, and he has managed to give the right amount of the same; most of the funny side of the movie is handled by him, and you will surely love his character. He brings so many of those memorable comic situations in this one. Meanwhile, Renji Panicker and Major Ravi has notable cameo roles.

Further Performers of the soul :: Coming to the heroines, even though only one fits the exact definition, there are two others who share some nice screen presence. Priyal Gor might be the cutest heroine ever to step into the Malayalam movie industry. Another positive thing is that she could bring the emotions to the scene very well. Meanwhile, Miya George has a strong character to perform here and she manages that very well; she is also the first to arrive on screen. Samskruthy Shenoy who plays the third significant female character brings her best performance here – the abiding sadness of her character is elegantly reflected on her face. The Kerala State Film Award Winner of this year, Sudev Nair does a very nice job. Kabir Bedi is very strong in his role, Suresh Krishna brings a notable performance. As Prithviraj scores his hat-trick success, there nothing negative in the cast.

Soul exploration :: Once again, the symbol of true love is “waiting” – there is something about the romance here. The two lovers are radically determined in this movie, as the sea becomes the metaphor for the distance between them and it is the final obstacle for them just like the girl’s father was the metaphor for the same earlier. As the ocean kept them away, it is the island of loneliness to which the protagonist was restricted to, and it has a form when he reaches Lakshadweep. The sea and the girl’s father are his obstacles among which only one needs to be conquered at a time, and as true love is not without troubles, he goes through them, but not without risking his own life and earning a name on the pages inside the chronicles where the saga of sacrifice is written. True love is near impossible because it demands a lot, and our protagonist runs right through, as the emotional side remains strong.

How it finishes :: Anarkali is above Amar Akbar Anthony and Ennu Ninte Moideen both in content and presentation; the feel-good factor also comes as a nice advantage. Rising above the latter as well as Premam, this is undoubtedly the best romantic story which has released for quite some time. If you don’t blindly adore these three movies, you can easily fall in love with Anarkali, because it is made clear in the beginning itself that nothing other than true love awaits in the flick. There is no need to go for the general opinion in this case because a lot of people are still lost in the other movies from Prithviraj and might find it not that easy to digest a movie which has a better philosophical side. If you place these four movies and think neutrally without consulting anyone else, you will know, and in the end, you will re-assert the fact that true love is beyond all barriers and that there is the need to visit the beautiful Lakshadweep Islands.

Release date: 13th November 2015
Running time: 168 minutes
Directed by: Sachy
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Miya George, Priyal Gor, Biju Menon, Samskruthy Shenoy, Kabir Bedi, Sudev Nair, Suresh Krishna, Rajeev Menon, Major Ravi, Assim Jamal, Renji Panicker, Madhupal, Shyamaprasad.

anarkali

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chapter 32 Verse 23

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

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

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

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

Vampire Bat :: It is what comes after ABCD.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, you mean EFGH.

Vampire Bat :: What? No, not all.

Vampire Owl :: Then is it IJKL or MNOP?

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

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

Vampire Bat :: Yes, lets see.

[Starts the car].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32-23

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.