Drishyam 2

What is the movie about? :: Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and Rani (Meena), along with their daughters Anju (Ansiba Hassan) and Anu (Esther Anil) have become richer after those earlier incidents, as the former has now bought some land, and started a film theatre by the name Rani. Their neighbour Saritha (Anjali Nair) is a victim of domestic violence, and her husband is one of the notorious drunkards of the area, Sabu (Sumesh Chandran) – there are some fights happening in the area due to the same. The people in the town don’t really like them anymore, with the exception of Sulaiman (Kozhikode Narayanan Nair). The local people who are not happy with Georgekutty becoming rich, come up with gossips regarding the earlier incident leading to the death of the boy, and police continues to investigate the Varun missing case as it was something which proved to be humiliating for the entire police department. Georgekutty has the dream of making a movie, which he wishes to be perfect, and has left a certain amount of money for the same.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Jose George (Ajith Koothattukulam) returns home after finishing his time in the prison, and he had seen something during the night when the boy was murdered. Philip Mathew (Ganesh Kumar) is in charge of the police station along with Antony Joseph (Antony Perumbavoor), and the investigation seems to be gaining some ground. Thomas Bastin IPS (Murali Gopy) is in charge of the case, and he won’t stop pursuing Georgekutty without anybody realizing the same. Advocate Janardhanan (Joy Mathew) and Advocate Renuka (Santhi Mayadevi) are fighting the case with the latter appearing for Georgekutty to dismiss the appeals for taking the case again. Geetha Prabhakar (Asha Sarath) and Prabhakar (Siddique) are having their ways for finding the means to get through Georgekutty. But Georgekutty remains strong, even as there are many twisted ways being followed here, yet it remains to be seen about how long he can stand.

The defence of Drishyam 2 :: In Malayalam movie industry, sequels haven’t been of that much strength, especially with superstars in the lead, as the chance to relegate into a mass movie is always there, and this film does threaten to do so, but never really does that, as it goes back to the original movie’s feeling. Just like this predecessor, this movie also starts with the usual family moments, even with the presence of certain danger always lurking the corner. There is the mention of the same, but the procedure is usual until we get into the last one hour or so, as things begin to provide a feeling of real danger for the protagonist and his family, and the same is at the extreme in the last forty five minutes or so. One has to appreciate the fact that the movie also has a twist in store in the end reminding the viewers of the first film, but still manages to maintain its novelty with multiple elements in store here. The new additions to the cast are highly effective, without doubt.

Positives and negatives of the movie :: The fact that it has released in Amazon Prime surely has its own advantages and disadvantages too, but I have been rarely the person who enjoyed watching superstar films in the local theatres because there has always been too much of noise – for such films I would have preferred multiplexes, and so this release wouldn’t bother me much. I would have still liked this movie to get into action earlier, as the real tension begins rather too late – for the first film, it was okay as the beginner of a franchise, but it is not acceptable in a second entry in a franchise. The pressure that the first film maintained in the audience is lesser too, as things get over rather too quickly. Final few minutes should have surely been extended at the cost of cutting a little bit of those family moments in the beginning, as well as those moments involving talks from the local people. A long thriller needs to work on its lesser elements better.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal continues to be the lifeline of the franchise which can have even more movies in the group. The character has undergone some changes from the first movie, but in essence, there is not much of a change, and we understand the same further as the movie nears the finishing point. The veteran actor, the legend as we know him, has no problem with this particular role which seems to work better than any other roles he has done in the last two decades. The next person to stand tall in his performance is Murali Gopy, the police officer who doesn’t make any compromise while trying to bring justice to his co-worker who was forced to retire from the police force. He plays a mastermind here, who seems to be waiting for that one opportunity to make his move, as the case which had a negative impact on his department needs to be brought back to the spotlight and solved, with the best finish being the long presence of the protagonist, his wife and their elder daughter in prison.

Further performers of the soul :: It is still to be said that Kalabhavan Shajohn is being missed – in another adaptation, it would be Kalabhavan Mani who is to be missed, because we know that there will be adaptations in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi, and maybe even in Sinhalese once again. The rest of the characters also do bring some of the red herrings for the audience here and there. Ajith Koothattukulam, the new addition, the surprise character does a fine job along with Sumesh Chandran, while the two children who have changed, played by Ansiba Hassan and Esther Anil are good once again. Meena does almost the same thing as she did in the first movie, and it is to be noted that she, Asha Sharath and Siddique haven’t undergone any changes as far as their characters are concerned. In the franchise, if there is one great righteous character, it is the one played by Siddique. Among all of these characters, Anjali Nair has some of those striking moments too. Santhi Mayadevi, a real life advocate playing a lawyer is also noted for some solid moments.

How it finishes :: Drishyam was once the highest grossing movie of all-time as far as Malayalam film industry is concerned, and it had held that spot valiantly until Pulimurugan and later Lucifer qualified well enough to overtake that status. The one movie which was supposed to be break those box-office records was this one, but we see the release in OTT platform of Amazon Prime getting the release against the wishes of most of the fans and theatre owners. Considering this sequel, it is certainly not that great as the first one, but it is surely better than the two other high grossers of Mohanlal which had overtaken the movie’s predecessor. There was always going to be something about a sequel like this, and that feeling is reflected in the responses to this movie so far. Drishyam 2 is an entertainer of quality, exactly the opposite of what that never ending Annayum Rasoolum-estic borefest which was the first Malayalam movie to be released on Amazon Prime, Sufiyum Sujatayum. Cheers to a sequel done really well, as we await sequels for the other thrillers, Forensic and Anjaam Pathira.

Release date: 19th February 2020
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Esther Anil, Ansiba Hassan, Asha Sarath, Siddique, Murali Gopy, Sai Kumar, Ganesh Kumar, Anjali Nair, Antony Perumbavoor, Kozhikode Narayanan Nair, Sumesh Chandran, Santhi Mayadevi, Ajith Koothattukulam, Dinesh Prabhakar, Joy Mathew, Rajesh Paravoor, Krishna, Murali Kannur, Boban Samuel, Pauly Valsan, Krishna Prabha, Adam Ayub, Shobha Mohan, Aneesh G Menon, Jayashankar, Mela Reghu

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Ittymaani

What is the movie about? :: Ittymaani (Mohanlal) was born in China to Malayali parents who settled down in the Eastern nation because his father was a martial arts expert. After spending a childhood close to the Forbidden City, they return home, his father begins a Chinese restaurant and catering services at Kunnamkulam in Thrissur district of Kerala. Ittymaani himself adds more to this business including creating duplicates of almost everything he wants to, as it was a popular thing happening in the town itself. With Sainuddhin (Dharmajan Bolgatty) and Sugunan (Aju Varghese) for help, Ittymani continues his business as well as some commission programmes which become part of it. He is happy with his life, even though he never even came close to being married, much to the dismay of his mother Theyyamma (KPAC Lalitha). He does agree for marriage, but even after seeing more than thirty girls, there is nothing positive coming out of the procedure.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Ittymaani is also in charge of the church committee, but things are messed up when Joji Pothen (Hareesh Parumanna) takes revenge on him for rejecting his sister Lissie Pothen (Honey Rose). But with the help of his old friend who becomes the new vicar, Fr. John Paul (Siddique), he manages to get back some of his pride. But it is at the same time that the extremely wealthy Plaamoottil Annamma (Raadhika Sarathkumar), their neighbour and good friend has a heart attack. She has been a widow for a long time, and has lived alone for a long time with her sons and daughter having left her in the name of their jobs and childrens’ education. They tell her that they would come and see her soon, but nothing happens – even when Annamma lands in the Intensive Care Unit, they leave everything to Ittymaani and go for a pleasure trip, leading to the worsening of her condition. Ittymaani decides to help her, but how can he?

The defence of Ittymaani: Made in China :: There is a certain amount of humour in this movie which keeps it going, and even though there are actors working for it throughout the film’s run, there is also a certain amount of the same from other more serious characters. There is also the message about how parents are treated by the sons and daughters once they get old, and after the children get well-settled with their own kids in the city. It also becomes a tribute to the old parents abandoned in such a way, as the reference is there even when the movie is not referring to the same; we have to forget those jokes made in bad taste though – in the end, there is also a full strength preaching regarding the care that the elderly people deserves. The movie does stick to the Onam festival mood though, as this is also a kind of movie that the family audience wants to watch during vacations – it could be reflected in the number of people who came to watch the movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have that tendency to reveal the saint out of the protagonist in the end, as it is a heart attack which becomes deus ex machina too – Its a little bit like Madambi where the main character is misunderstood, even though the golden heart is revealed to the audience a little too early this time. A number of characters are also wasted in this movie, and some of them are played by some fine actors, which is disappointing. Some of the jokes are also disappointing, and one could have avoided them to make this one feel more appropriate in relation to the message that it wanted to convey. The movie had to live up to the cause, but it never tries that. The movie is also too long, and with not much of an interesting story in there, it has to depend on comedy all the time. The drag that the movie shows in the middle part makes the whole setting go less interesting. There are also no good songs in between to bring a better mood.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal once again has himself as the centre of everything, and all the other characters make way for him, as he finds something out of this lesser tale. With his character being highly popularized with much hype, the audience was also banking their hopes on him. But this is certainly not a challenging role, and also for KPAC Lalitha, this mother-son combination comes easy. Madhuri Braganza plays her younger version with no trouble, after that touch with Joseph. Raadhika Sarathkumar doesn’t get that much of a lead even though the movie soon gets centred around her. Aju Varghese and Dharmajan Bolgatty get to add some fun as usual, but some jokes seem to be rather cheap and missing the mark. Kailash and Swasika do have some little moments of humour to add here too. Hareesh Perumanna is the other actor to add to the comic side, but his role is also side-lined.

Further performers of the soul :: As far as Honey Rose is considered, there is nothing more decorative than she is, contributing nothing to the movie, other than being there for about ten minutes, half of the same being in video chat – even during the rest of her moments in the movie, she has very less to speak. If this is not a cameo, one would wonder what it is – another actress, a model could have done the job, serving the ornate purpose. It wouldn’t have been that difficult with Viviya Santh being there in the cast, with not much to do. We see the need for the actress to be on the screen and act disappearing, and that is disappointing. There are also many other actors and actresses whom we might miss if we miss a few seconds of action on the big screen. The actors like Saju Navodaya and Salim Kumar are restricted in the same fashion, and Sunil Sukhada gets even lesser moments. But thankfully, Siddique gets his due yet again, as he once again shines in the priest role, and has some fine scenes of comedy.

How it finishes :: The movie does struggle hard to get to its message, and goes through the journey with a certain amount of humour, and a part of it going the wrong way. But it is still an entertaining movie considering the fact that it has a good number of moments to cheer for, and a message for the society coming in the end. Even though Love Action Drama also focuses on the funny side, it never felt trying to be serious or logical, but Ittymaani is trying a little bit too much to be dealing with something serious, and it is a serious challenge to its quality of completeness, as the story itself never really becomes a whole. Still, as it is Onam, we get to see movies like this one, and enjoy them to the fullest, leaving with a mood of celebration – after all, the students get only eight or nine days for holidays during this Onam season. I wish you all a Happy Onam, do watch all these Onam releases in the theatres along with those which have carried on from earlier, like Porinju Mariyam Jose and Thanneermathan Days!

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jibi Joju
Starring: Mohanlal, Honey Rose, Madhuri Braganza, Swasika, Raadhika Sarathkumar, Aju Varghese, Johny Antony, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Salim Kumar, Sijoy Varghese, Saju Navodaya, Sunil Sukhada, Siddique, Hareesh Perumanna, Kailash, Vinu Mohan, Aristo Suresh, Sethulekshmi, Saju Kodiyan, Anjana Appukkuttan, Asokan, KPAC Lalitha, Rajesh Paravoor, Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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Lucifer

What is the movie about? :: Kerala is ruled by IUF, and its leader and Chief Minister PK Ramdas (Sachin Khedekar) is a respected figure with a great fan following, not just among the people of his party, but also outside. It is his death which changes things in Kerala’s politics, all of a sudden. Mahesh Varma (Saikumar) who is next in charge finds this to be a golden opportunity to become the leader of the party as well as the Chief Minister of the state. Ramdas’ eldest daughter Priyadarshini (Manju Warrier) along with her daughter Jhanvi (Saniya Iyappan) is the first to come to the scene. Her second and current husband Bimal Nair a.k.a. Bobby (Vivek Oberoi) keeps close watch of the situation at the same time. Even though Priyadarshini and Jhanvi are not after political power, Bobby looks forward to it so that he can use it to spread his narcotics business to Kerala and earn a great amount of money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, the only son of Ramdas, Jathin (Tovino Thomas) is living abroad. Bobby figures out that he is the one big chance that they have here, and by making him the new leader, could go through the drug business without anyone coming to know. He already has the support of Mahesh Varma and Priyadarshini regarding the same. He uses Jhanvi as a means to go through the family smoother. Govardhan (Indrajith Sukumaran) is one of those people who knows all these, as he had been searching for truth for a very long time – but he finds himself locked inside a mental asylum, thanks to Bobby. But before he is locked up, he finds the one other person who might be part of this power struggle – Stephen Nedumpally (Mohanlal), an orphan who was raised by Ramdas, a people’s favourite leader from the highrange constituency of Central Kerala.

And what else is to follow? :: Stephen Nedumpally is the kind of person none of the power seekers here want to have in the game, and the family also wants no part of him out there. The politicians on both sides, Mahesh Varma on one side and Medayil Rajan (Shivaji Guruvayoor) on the other wants him gone. Bobby is also hoping to make no mistakes, as he is playing a dangerous game involving Abdul (Suresh Chandra Menon) and Fyodor (Frank Free) who are masters of the game in Mumbai. He would have Stephen’s opposition out of the way as the party would be sponsored by the drug mafia. The people in the middle part of all these including Aloshy Joseph (Kalabhavan Shajohn) and Murugan (Baiju Santhosh) will have interesting roles to play as Kerala prepares for the big change. But the question remains about who would gain and loss the most in the battle between evil and evil.

The defence of Lucifer :: Unlike what was expected, Lucifer doesn’t jump into the shoes of a mass movie all of a sudden, and that is the clear advantage that this one has over Pulimurugan. Clearly a better movie having content of quality and rich in ideas, this one rises over the expected mass masala, and becomes more, but at the same time, it never hesitates to provide what the fans want. There is working on two levels, something which Odiyan could have focused on, to become a favourite. There are elements from politics nicely used too, and we get to go through a certain dirty side that attempts to take over politics every time, and may be even succeeds up to an extent. The action scenes are nicely done, and except for a very few, keeps itself in control to make us believe. The control that is maintained in the final scene with the song nicely contributing to it, is also worth mentioning. There is a higher level of making here, and the thrills are of great strength.

The claws of flaw :: The slow motion sequences, even though less in number, could have been avoided. There could have been more of Tovino Thomas on the screen too. Vivek Oberoi’s character could have been bigger terror, something that could pose a challenge that goes a long way ahead. The presence of predictable elements in between, should have been avoided. The references and allusions made in the movie also seems nice, but could have been better connected. There are quotes shown in the end including the one from Lucifer as the tragic figure of John Milton’s Paradise Lost who famously declares “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”; we also have “Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here” from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest being shown on the screen in the end – is there something left for a sequel? One is left to wonder. The use of media could also been better shown. The movie is also too long.

The performers of the soul :: It is late to review a movie which has reached the 100 crore collection mark already, Pulimurugan, Drishyam, Oppam and this one leading the glory with the rest – almost everyone knows what Mohanlal has brought to this movie as the titular character, and needs no more talk about the same, as Stephen Nedumpally is grand. Meanwhile, the one person who steals the show with less amount of screen time is Tovino Thomas whose moments are nothing less than glorious. Manju Warrier has her fine emotional moments in here following Odiyan. Vivek Oberoi’s villain doesn’t maintain that terror that he seemed to possess in the beginning, but he is a fine choice for the role as we can see. Kalabhavan Shajohn, Saikumar, Baiju Santhosh, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Nandhu – all the characters play the roles of politicians with ease. Meanwhile, we see Shaun Romy of Kammatipaadam making an appearance after a long time. There is a long line of extended support here too.

How it finishes :: When someone like Prithviraj Sukumaran comes up with his directorial debut, you know that there is something special coming up. His previous movies as the leading actor had the Hollywood touch, whether it was the never before science fiction apocalyptic thriller called 9 or the diasporic crime drama set in a deteriorating, decaying city called Ranam – this one has the elements beyond the usual Malayalam movie, and as a flick written by Murali Gopy, we know that there is more. Lucifer is the kind of movie which combines its elements very well, and thus becomes a rare piece of a flick. It can be liked for more than one reason, and there is much to cherish for almost every kind of viewer. Well, this is Vishu and Easter is also on its way, and we have much to watch. For now, I wish all of you a Very Happy Vishu, and hope you enjoy the holidays well – but at the same time, be careful about the heat which is rising.

Release date: 28th March 2019
Running time: 174 minutes
Directed by: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Starring: Mohanlal, Tovino Thomas, Manju Warrier, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Saniya Iyappan, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Giju John, Saikumar, Baiju Santhosh, Fazil, Sachin Khedekar, Suresh Chandra Menon, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Nandhu, John Vijay, Aneesh G Menon, Kainakary Thankaraj, Bala, Adil Ibrahim, Shaun Romy, Adarsh, Helen, Frank Freem, Waluscha De Sousa, Sijoy Varghese, Thara Kalyan, Parvathi T, Binu Pappu, Parvathy Menon, Sreeya Remesh, Sshivada, Antony Perumbavoor, Shakti Kapoor

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Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Drama

What is the movie about? :: Rosamma John Chacko (Arundathi Nag) has always had a desire to be buried in Kattappana, next to her husband, at their own parish cemetery where their ancestors were buried. But as she is in London with her youngest daughter Mercy (Kaniha), she is afraid that she can’t go back home if she is dead, as none of her children are in Kerala or even India. Mercy who used to be a nurse, is married to Dr Mukundhanunni (Shyamaprasad) who is a reputed cardiac surgeon in London after falling in love, and they are settled in United Kingdom with their two little children. Her eldest son Philip (Suresh Krishna) is a millionaire settled in the United States of America while her second son Benny (Tini Tom) is now in Australia with his wife who is a nurse. Her another daughter Ammini (Subi Suresh) is a nurse working in Canada, and has been living there with her jobless husband Anto (Johny Antony).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: She also has her youngest son whom she loves more than the others, and Jomon (Niranj S) who is living in Dubai has no say in anything. His presence at United Arab Emirates itself is at the mercy of his good friends. So, with her sons and daughters in the United Kingdom, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Canada, she is found dead on her bed while asleep. So, now the question remains about her funeral. The idea to which almost everyone agrees to, is that she is to have a funeral at London. For the same, the two elder brothers assign Dixon (Dileesh Pothan), a funeral director who runs his own funeral services in partnership with Rajagopalan (Mohanlal). The desire of the sons to have their mother’s funeral programme to be grand gives Dixon the idea that this is his chance to make it big.

And what else is to follow here? :: Everything seems to be going smoothly, but then, Jomon resists this idea, and asks for a funeral in Kattappana, at the cemetery where his mother had always wanted to be buried. Even though Mercy, as well as Mukundhanunni who is afraid of his mother-in-law’s spirit wandering around the house without attaining peace does agree to the same, none of them has the voice against the elder brothers who decide on it. It is then that Rajagopalan decides to have a say in the process. He feels that the old lady should get the funeral that she had always desired. But Dixon who has taken the advance payment for the funeral function won’t agree to it, and neither will the lady’s sons who got all of these planned very well. So can Rajagopalan find a way to make things happen as well as re-unite with his wife Rekha (Asha Sarath) who had thrown him out of the house in the name of a poem from the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda?

The defence of Drama :: The movie does deal with a situation that could happen very often in future – it is more or less something which has been dealt with in a realistic manner. When we consider the number of our relatives outside India, it makes about twenty five percent, and if it is about someone who is outside Kerala, that can make up to seventy five percent of the total number of people. The movie certainly shows a reality that a lot of people are going to face. The older generation will have their houses and funerals in trouble soon enough. There will be those busy times at some point, when their opinions will not ever come to being something that the new generation will listen to. But it is all based on money, isn’t it? The movie is also a morality tale, with money finally becoming the least important thing. The flick also has some comedy in there, and the visuals when showing England, is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems stretched, without doubt. It does seem too long, and should have been kept short by removing certain parts. Maybe the introduction of Mohanlal could have happened much earlier, and things could have started happening as early as possible. There is also a certain amount of repetition here, and we can see some struggle with the flow. More focus could have been there with the characters, especially the sons and daughters of the deceased lady, and the problem that a new generation of money and career seeking youth gives to the old generation could have been focused better. Also, considering the fact that this movie comes from the director who gave us the flicks like Pranchiyettan and The Saint, Indian Rupee, Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha, Spirit and Thirakkatha, this is not really the movie that we expected.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal doesn’t have any problems with this character as it seems usual and natural for him – there is special to be done or to be divergent. Asha Sarath doesn’t have that much to do here. We note that there are directors here coming in notable roles – Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Johny Anony, Renji Panicker, all of them having their interesting moments. Suresh Krishna and Tini Tom plays the two siblings based in United States of America and Australia nicely in their own styles. Kaniha had a rather irrelevant role in Abrahaminte Santhathikal, but here she has a nice role, and has the emotions running strong with this one. Baiju has the funny side to handle, even though the department struggles most of the time. Arundathi Nag plays the corpse for most of the time, but has her moments when not inside the box. Jayaraj Warrier, Shaalin Zoya and Jaffer Idukki got some smaller roles here, but they are notable despite the short stay there.

How it finishes :: How many young men and women go in search of jobs elsewhere, and how many of them remain in Kerala? Do they really settle outside because there are zero opportunities here? It is nice that they show those five nations – United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates. These are those places where our people will never cease to try to go and work, along with more nations in the Middle East as well as New Zealand. But is it always worth it? You will have to think over that with the situations created in this flick. It does leave one with a few things to keep thinking, and that seems to have the focus over the entertaining side. With the challenge there with Kayamkulam Kochunni, Drama seems to have just enough to keep going, and it seems to be a choice not to try to have more.

Release date: 1st November 2018
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith
Starring: Mohanlal, Asha Sarath, Arundathi Nag, Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Kaniha, Baiju Santhosh, Johny Antony, Tini Tom, Shaalin Zoya, Subi Suresh, Niranj S, Suresh Krishna, Renji Panicker, Jaffer Idukki, Jayaraj Warrier, Shankar Panicker

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Kayamkulam Kochunni

What is the movie about? :: Born to a thief, Kochunni (Nivin Pauly) is someone who had left his village a long time ago to start a new life, without letting anyone about his past. As he works at a local shop, realizes that a master of martial arts, Thangal (Babu Antony) has arrived in the village. During the time when caste system goes deep into the roots, with the help of a lower caste woman Janaki (Priya Anand) who has fallen in love with him, Kochunni tries to learn martial arts. Thangal wouldn’t accept him as his disciple because he knows that Kochunni’s father is a thief. But Kochunni is able to watch the training from a distance and learn it with the help of Janaki. When Thangal realizes how much he has learned from a distance in such a short period of time, he decides that this particular person could be his successor.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This decision to have the son of a thief who just started training, to be the successor of Thangal enrages the former best student of the academy, Kesavan Pillai (Sunny wayne), who decides to leave with a promise to return for vengeance. In a village which seems to be in full control of the upper castes, Kochunni is asked to find some lost gold from the bottom of a river. When he does the same, the upper caste landlords who wish to keep the gold for themselves instead of giving it to the king, gets their goons to attack Kochunni, declare him as a thief. They also have Janaki judged for being in love with someone outside her caste, and she is stoned as well as banished from the village. Even though his friend Vava (Manikandan R Achari) and the rebel Kochu Pillai (Shine Tom Chacko) supports him, there is no hope as he is left to die. But it is not the end of his story, is it?

The defence of Kayamkulam Kochunni :: The movie has the life of Kayamkulam Kochunni brought to us straight, and without pretentions, and there is focus on the problems faced by the subaltern, those who have no say in how things proceed. The subaltern, the lower caste who suffers due to the laws made by the rich and the powerful, the upper caste supported by the whites get their hero who is more than just a thief who steals from the poor and gives it to the rich. Kochunni gets the strength of a revolutionary hero who strives for equality, and the change that comes on the character is visible as the movie progresses. The visuals are great, and the time period is nicely recreated with all the necessary elements. The viewers are transported to the age, and gets close to the life of the protagonist easily. The final moments provide the heroism with further strength.

The claws of flaw :: The story would seem usual, with a hero of the masses fighting against the men in power – it shows that side of the heroes which is rather too common. The legend of Kayamkulam Kochunni does deserve more than that, to rise above the usual fighter for the downtrodden. He is supposed to become our heroic outlaw, our own Robin Hood, but the same is not there. We can also notice that there is the usual separation of good and evil here, and the predictability with the story’s twists is rather strange. The movie could have also been darker in theme at least in parts, but it seems that there is no attempt made here to go beyond the usual, and this one seems to attempt to provide the natural for the family audience instead of striving further. After all, this is the most expensive Malayalam movie to be made so far, and the expectations were always high.

The performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly manages to do the whole thing really well, especially with the transformation. The first part surely came naturally to him, and there is exaggeration with that side, but when things go further, everything gets serious, and the final moments have him even stronger. The role seems to have deviated well for him, suiting him more and more as it progresses. He has been venturing into the variety with movies like Hey Jude, Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Sakhavu, Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Action Hero Biju, all showing different versions of him. He has been choosing his movies well, and here we see no difference. Among the female characters, Priyanka Thimmesh is the second heroine, and she has not much to do, except for that much needed existence to keep things moving forward.

Further performers of the soul :: Priya Anand who was last seen in her only other Malayalam movie Ezra, was there in the much loved song “Kalariyadavum” – she manages to do justice to a role which also has an existence which is short-lived. Nora Fatehi is there for one dance performance. Mohanlal’s extended cameo makes the big impact, and it is a clear case of stealing the show with ease. The mood itself seems to change at that time, seemingly deviating from how things used to be. Babu Antony gets to be back again, with that martial arts strength that he has always possessed – he is the Dronacharya here that supports his Ekalavya. Sunny Wayne gets a strong role to play here, with no more the signs of being funny, and he displays the feelings of his character really well. Shine Tom Chacko and Manikandan R Achari make their smaller roles relevant and worth the time.

How it finishes :: When you think about this movie, the wait has been very long. Earlier set to release on 15 August 2018 and being further postponed, this one finally came to be big screen only a few days earlier. The song “Kalariyadavum” had already created the much needed effect for this movie, and with our own local Robin Hood story, this was always going to be something everyone would attempt to watch. It is to be noted that another version of Robin Hood is releasing in one month and a week. Well, the need for the common man’s hero has been more than ever during these days. There is always the presence of the rich and the powerful dictating the terms without any consideration for the people in need – the relevance shall never cease to exist, and Kochunni will remain the prototype from this part of the world. Let us enjoy the efforts taken by the makers here to bring the man alive again.

Release date: 11th October 2018
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Rosshan Andrrews
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Priya Anand, Priyanka Thimmesh, Babu Antony, Shine Tom Chacko, Sunny Wayne, Romanch, Manikandan R. Achari, Sidhartha Siva, Sadiq, Thesni Khan, Sunil Sukhada, Sudheer Karamana, MS Bhaskar, Edavela Babu, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sudev Nair, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Ashwini Chandrashekhar, Mohanlal (cameo), Nora Fatehi (cameo)

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Neerali

What is the movie about? :: Sunny George (Mohanlal) is gemologist who works for a reputed firm. He is an expert in the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials, and is considered to be someone at the top of the company heirarchy with his experience and connections. Working at Bengaluru, he only makes some visists back to Kerala when possible. His wife, Molykutty (Nadhiya Moidu) is pregnant with twins after a long wait, and as the date approaches earlier than expected, it calls for an urgent visit back home. The other two girls in his life, Naina (Parvatii Nair) and Lekshmi (Megha Mathew) are attracted to him, and the former is so attached to him that she is not willing to let him go. But Sunny sneaks out of the office and travels to Kerala in the pickup truck of Veerappa (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who has his own problems. To add to this, they are quietly followed by a team of goons lead by Rajan (Dileesh Pothan).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They are traveling through the highranges, and all of a sudden, they come across someone crossing the road, and while trying to save the man, hits on the side of a truck, leading to Veerappa losing control of the vehicle. They go all the way down, and stops at the edge of the cliff further below the road. The two are stuck inside the vehicle, with just the back tyres stuck on a log. With the front side of the pickup truck suspended in the air, they have no way of getting out. Veerappa is seriously injured and cannot move, while Sunny’s attempts to get back to the cliff bear no fruit. Veerappa’s mobile is stuck in a precarious position while Sunny’s mobile has no outgoing facility because of Lekshmi forgetting to pay the bill despite being assigned the task. The two incoming callers Naina and Molykutty are in no mood to hear what he has to say as the former thinks that his intention was always to cheat her and the latter feels that she is going to die. Is there a chance for escape though?

The defence of Neerali :: A good survival thriller is something that we have all lacked for a long time – Hollywood had so many of them including The GreyThe Shallows, The Martian, Everest, Gravity, 127 Hours, The Revenant, Buried and others, while Bollywood had that less known little flick known as Trapped. There are moments that has us on the edge of the seat, and the question mark about more than one thing is always present. We also have interesting questions being asked here, about relationships and on what it takes to survive, even though they are not taken that much further. There are moments when movie go a little philosophical, and we see a little bit of magic realism with the protagonist’s father making an appearance with a gun pointed at him. There is no heroism from the protagonist this time, and it is a clear bonus, and having a the main character as a helpless and rather realistic one is always better than having those supercops and superfighters. The visuals are nice too.

The claws of flaw :: We can see that Neerali was aiming for more, but it is not that much there as a survival movie – so many things could have added to this tale of survival, and we could have had the protagonist facing more, and getting out of all those troubles in a believable way. We know how well the mobile phone can be used in a survival thriller as proven by the movie Buried. The idea to bring back the Nokketha Doorathu Kannumnattu model with Mohanlal and Nadhiya is still something to be questioned, as all the references fall flat, and fails to make any positive impact – the same only gets irritating. The first half had actually promised more than what the second half could deliver. Adding some better music would have been nice too. There are also a few things that are left untouched in the end, and one is left wondering if it was done intentionally, and if it was done so, one has to wonder about its effect.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal does a great job as the protagonist in peril as expected, and it is on him and his character that the whole thing is centered on. Its own his actions that most of the happenings in the movie proceeds – the decisions that he make would decide not just his life, but also that of others. We see the helplessness as well as the abilities nicely reflected here. We would have still wanted to see him as a more close to life character here though. Suraj Venjaramoodu is the other character whom we see here with Mohanlal for more time that anyone else, as the traveler and partner in distress, hanging above death staring from underneath. His character isn’t given that much of a depth, and we know him mostly from the dialogues made in the vehicle. He looks good here, and the kid who plays his daughter has also done a natural job. But we know that Suraj could have had more with at least some nice dialogues inside the pickup truck hanging from above.

Further performers of the soul :: Nassar has an appearance which last a few minutes while Dileesh Pothan is wasted in a role which doesn’t go anywhere – something that we don’t see with him on the screen often. Nadhiya Moidu is the biggest disappointment in this movie, as the pair never connects to the audience and the same can be said about her character – it is clearly overdone, and we feel that her presence is more as a necessary pregnant character rather than anything else. There is nothing good that she adds to the movie, and Girly Mathew of Nokkatha Doorathu Kannumnattu gets the bad name because of the attempt to drag that feeling into this flick in which the same doesn’t belong at all. Parvatii Nair does her job really well though, and she seemed to blend in so well into this character with certain problems for herself. Megha Mathew who was there for only a few minutes also leaves a mark, as we notice the same early.

How it finishes :: We can see that Neerali ventures deep into that survival thriller territory, which Malayalam cinema industry hasn’t been that interested in exploring. With some more of imagination, the movie could have done very much better – this one is still a thriller with its moments, but more could have been achieved. Yet, we can hope that there will be more of similar movies to come, and that the genre could get a much needed boost. Next time, when someone makes an attempt at this, it could go deeper. Until then, let us be glad that this movie has made an attempt at variety, and could do without much of heroism or style from the protagonist, leaving us with more of a human world rather than that of strange superheroes made from the so called superstars. Neerali brings the divergence, and we appreciate the same.

Release date: 13th July 2018
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Ajoy Varma
Starring: Mohanlal, Nadhiya Moidu, Parvatii Nair, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Dileesh Pothan, Megha Mathew, Saikumar, Nassar, Santhosh T Kuruvilla, Bineesh Kodiyeri

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Aadhi

What is the movie about? :: Aadhitya Mohan a.k.a. Aadhi (Pranav Mohanlal) is the only son of Mohan Varma (Siddique) and Rosakutty Mohan (Lena) who eloped from home, going for that intercaste marriage which nobody supported. As their only son, he manages to gain all the support that he can get from the parents, as he has taken two years break from studies and work to pursue his dream of becoming a music director. A case of infatuation for the girl next door Aneetta (Krittika Pradeep) and trained in the obstacle course training of parkour, there are so many other options for him in life, and yet he wishes for just one thing in life. But it doesn’t go on well, as his efforts in music go unnoticed. Because of the same reason, he decides to go to Bangalore as adviced by his best friend Nadhir (Krishna Shankar). There, he is supposed to perform in Fox Club, where will get the attention of prominent personalities from cinema industry.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Even though almost everything seems to work according to the plans, things get complicated when he meets his old friend from school, Anjana (Aditi Ravi), and ends up having a confrontation with Jayashankar (Siju Wilson) who is the bodyguard of the city’s most respected and feared businessman Narayana Reddy (Jagapati Babu). In between all of this which occurs at the top of the multi-storeyed building, the son of Narayana Reddy ends up being thrown all the way down, thanks to one heated approach by Jayashankar – Anjana is the only witness out there. Now, it turns out that Jayashankar has to hide all of these, and for the same, there is only one option left for him – finish off Aadhi, and for the same, there is full force of an angry Narayana Reddy as well as the police and politicians who are on the corporate payroll.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: With Narayana Reddy stopping at nothing to finish off the young man who killed his only son, and along with Jayakrishnan, Reddy’s right hand Siddharthan (Tony Luke) also joins the party – Aadhi can do nothing, but keep running. The goons sent by Reddy also reaches Aadhi’s home, and every route out of Bangalore is blocked by the police and his teams of goons. With five lakhs on his head, there is the need to run until he meets Sarath (Sharafudheen), Mani (Meghanathan) and Jaya (Anusree). The three also got their own problems with Narayana Reddy and his people, which makes them think about giving him a chance to escape. With the help of the technical expert Ebin (Tony Luke), they think about changing the equation, but is there really a chance to at least get close to escaping? Is there a weakness which they can exploit?

The defence of Aadhi :: There is the use of parkour, the activity in which you move around quickly in an area, getting through obstacles by running fast, jumping, climbing, rolling, swinging, sliding, and all ways possible – most of us have seen it in Paul Walker’s penultimate movie, Brick Mansions as well as the 2004 French film District 13 on which it was based. These scenes are very nicely executed by Pranav, and the same is never exaggerated. There is certain smartness related to how the action sequences are executed in this one, a quality which was missing in a good number of superstar movies in the last few months, most notable one being last Decemeber’s Masterpiece. There are many thrilling moments in this one, and the emotional side makes an excellent impact too. We also have some twists to come up in the final few moments, as there is more to Aadhi by the end. There are also some funny moments which come in between, which work, even though lesser in number.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special in the premise and the tale here though, as we can see that there is the protagonist who accidentally kills the son or brother of an influential person who will not stop until he finds the person responsible dead – this would seem familiar, from decades ago. The same actor played the father who had his son killed in Pulimurugan, and here he losses his son yet again. One can be sure that Jeethu Joseph is capable of more, as the director who brought three different thriller experiences in the form of Detective, Memories and Drishyam. The movie also takes some time to get going, and the family sequences are just ordinary. The cameo scenes seemed to be rather unwanted, with purpose only to get those claps from hardcore fans. The length of the movie could have been lessened to make the whole thing closer to the point. Some of those longer action sequences could have been shortened to make way for separate moments.

The performers of the soul :: Pranav Mohanlal, without doubt, steals the show in this movie, from the first moments of appearance itself, beginning with those expressions and a certain simplicity that runs through. In the second half, with those action sequences to go with it, he takes the whole thing to another level, trumpeting his arrival in a grand fashion. The wait hasn’t been for no reason, as we get the culmination wonderfully. Aditi Ravi and Anusree plays the female leads, but the former has lesser time on screen, and latter has more of the comic side which also has nothing that much to do for her. It is actually surprising that we don’t see that much of the Alamara actress in movies as we would want to have. Lena and Siddique makes good parents, and are in full control of their work with strong emotional side. Sharafudheen has a funny side here too, even though things are more serious this time. Siju Wilson, Sijoy Varghese and Jagapati Babu make the villainous side here, and they remain strong throughout. Siju’s divergence is a smart move. Meghanathan and Tony Luke provide good support.

How it finishes :: The one thing about the Jeethu Joseph movies after Memories, is something which has been common in Drishyam, Oozham and Aadhi – the battle of the middle class against the rich and the influential who are after the blood of the common man. Even Life of Josutty had the middle class struggle in the core. The three could show the middle class struggling and winning against all odds in the form of thrillers. Well, everyone knows Drishyam, and Aadhi actually shows what Oozham could have been, with better execution. With no shortage of thrills, and bringing the needed variety in action sequences in Malayalam, the twists also drop-in to make this better. Well, fans have been waiting for a day this day for a long time, and one can say that their beloeved Lalettan’s son has scored high on his debut, and this is certainly another flick from Jeethu Joseph that you can admire without second thoughts.

Release date: 26th January 2018
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Pranav Mohanlal, Lena, Siddique, Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen, Aditi Ravi, Anusree, Tony Luke, Sijoy Varghese, Krittika Pradeep, Meghanathan, Jagapati Babu, Krishna Shankar, Mohanlal (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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Villain

What is the movie about? :: Mathew K Manjooran (Mohanlal) is the ADGP in the city who has been out of action for about six months following a road accident which lead to the death of his wife and only child. He is looking forward to take voluntary retirement from service on the day on which the murder of three big names in the city occur in an abandoned mansion. Therefore, it becomes the final case that he has to take care of, even though he is forced to carry it over through for a few days after his retirement, as requested by his colleagues in the department. In this twisted case which includes a police officer Vinod Abraham (Kottayam Nazeer) as one of the dead, he is provided assistance by H Sreenivasan (Renji Panicker) who was first given the investigation charge, along with two subordinate officers Harshitha Chopra (Raashi Khanna) and Iqbal Mohammed (Chemban Vinod Jose) who are now part of the city task force which he had started long ago.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: The one who used to be one of the strongest arms of law, has undergone quite a change in the recent past, as Mathew seems to be more of a tired and philosophical man these days. The one thing that he does hold on to is his love for Shakespeare, with a reflection of the same in his life, as he remembers Lady Macbeth’s words about all the perfumes of Arabia, has his own hesitation related to vengeance like Hamlet, fights a possibility of being drowned in madness like King Lear, and has his own Brutus in the police force, as does Julius Ceasar – he is also the Prospero of his own Tempest. He figures out that there is someone trying to get their attention, and at the same time, another murder of three people takes place. Meanwhile, the clues seem to lead to Shaktivel Palanisamy (Vishal) and Shreya Venkatesh (Hansika Motwani). But they wonder about how the six dead people are related.

The defence of Villain :: There are thrills in store with Villain, and there is some suspense over how things are going to come down. The first half has us guessing about more than one thing not just about the murderers, but also about the protagonist. We feel that there is a link coming up between everything, and things are set very well by the end of the first half. The thrills are there, and the twists are provided a little too early unlike The Great Father. The mass elements also take the backseat for most of the time, which is a great thing here. There is also the case against vengeance here, as we hear about it eating up the one who seeks it as much as those who end up on the receiving end of an act of revenge. You will notice that the emotional side is very strong with this one, as we feel the grief as much as the protagonist does on the big screen. Villain is also a very good-looking movie on the screen, as there is so much of visual beauty, and the locations seem to be nicely chosen. The songs are also sweet.

The claws of flaw :: If the identity as well as the motive of the murderers was left for a big twist in the end, that would have served this movie a lot better. This is the kind of premise that can support more twists in between, and the movie doesn’t use its resources to the best effect. The movie also needed a flashback from Vishal’s character’s angle, to really explore his perspective instead of taking a few things for granted – it is the same with Hansika’s flashback which relates to him. Also, the movie is a little too long, when you look at it. The scissors could have been put on some of the flashback sequences, and they could have been restricted to the songs and a few dialogues – we see have seen that done very well with the movie Memories. The idea about killing out of love and killing out of hate is very good, but not done in the way it could have brought the best effect. The talk about “the grey” side between black and white is also not used to its best advantage in the final scenes.

Performers of the soul :: The tranquility among the waves inside his mind, which is wonderfully depicted by Mohanlal with this character is the best thing about this movie. The serenity that is reflected on his face which has the feeling of pain visibly hidden, is nothing less than beauty to watch. He has two looks in this one, a side of the confident police officer determined to fight crime, having the look with the mustache, and also the side of the tired former police officer trying to solve one final case with just hope, having the look with the white beard. The latter one goes deep, and the pain that this particular avatar seems to possess, got the ability to break your heart with an abiding sadness if you get too close to the character with a case of empathy. Coming right out of a good run with Udaharanam Sujatha and C/O Saira Banu, Manju Warrier plays the wife of Mohanlal’s character, and she has handled it without trouble, even though the same is not a long one. The girl who plays their daughter was also very good, strong and energetic all the time.

Further performers of the soul :: Vishal and Hansika Motwani make fine debut in the Malayalam movie industry, even though a number of their sequences do give way for style over the rest. The former seems to have perfect hold of his character, while the latter, along with looking good, comes up with good support, despite given not much of a character development. We feel that Vishal could have been here earlier. Srikanth has much less to do than expected, and has a little too stylish a villain as his character. Aju Varghese has a rather small appearance as in Loham, while Renji Panicker and Siddique have no problems in doing their job here. Also, one can’t help not loving Chemban Vinod Jose as a police officer once again. He is at his best when he is playing a thief or a police officer, and he scores high here too. Whether it is about playing the good guy or the bad guy, whether it is about doing a funny role, or a serial villain, he has been so good these days. Coming out of a thief role in Varnyathil Aashanka, here he is doing protagonist’s support with ease. Also, another person to note is Raashi Khanna who began with Madras Cafe getting to play a smart cop here, and that works, a long way ahead of the other supporting female cops in our movies.

How it finishes :: The one movie to which this flick seems to have the most similarity, might be B. Unnikrishnan’s own movie, Grandmaster. But the reflection of sadness in this movie, and the situation of the protagonist is more comparable to that of Sam Alex in Jeethu Joseph’s Prithviraj starrer thriller, Memories. But you can easily notice the difference in treatment here, as things go more philosophical in nature, and the same replaces the powerful suspense and twist that Memories had, and the identity of the killers and the motives are revealed rather too early. But Villain is never short of being entertaining. It is surely better than the two huge Mohanlal blockbusters of last year Oppam and Pulimurugan, but is nowhere near Drishyam with the same. Villain is the kind of movie that would work with almost every kind of audience, and it is one more reason for you and your family to not miss this engaging thriller.

Release date: 27th October 2017
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Raashi Khanna, Vishal, Hansika Motwani, Aju Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Srikanth, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Anand, Idavela Babu, Kottayam Nazeer, Balaji Sarma, Antony Perumbavoor, Sai Kumar, Irshad, Sanju Shivram, Vishnu Govindan

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Velipadinte Pusthakam

What is the movie about? :: Pheonix College of Arts and Science was established ten years ago as a result of the efforts of Vishwanathan (Anoop Menon), a local man who was killed on a terrible night after he made this possible. The location of this college is at a coastal village, where most children stop education at the school level itself, and a few don’t even bother to get to the verandah of nursery. There have been the presence of rich people like Mathan Tharakan (Siddique) and his right hand man, a criminal Kakka Ramesh (Chemban Vinod Jose) who don’t want the local youth to attend college, as it would deprive them of the workers for their fishing business. The college did develop into a popular institution ten years after its inception though, and people from city also joined in to make the campus a mixture of different kings of students, as the number of students from the village doesn’t get any higher, with fishing being a traditional job for the locals.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Into this college where the memories of Vishwanathan is more treasured that anything else, there has been the entry of violence – there is nothing political or religious in nature with the quarrels being rather social. With more students filling in the vacant seats left by the locals, there are two groups which can’t afford to see each other. The first one is led by Franklin (Sarath Kumar), as the son of the best friend of Vishwanathan, coming from the local fishing community – proud and not backing away from a fight. They ridicule those coming from outside as rich beggars who have been trying to take away their opportunities and buy seats with cash. The second one has their leader in Sameer (Arun Kurian) who is an angry young man coming from a rich family in the city, and wastes no time in getting into fights and ridicule his rivals for being poor and doing fishing.

And what else is to follow with the book of revelation? :: The two gangs find one reason or the other to fight it out at open spaces or inside the college auditorium when there is the need for some privacy. Supporting the city gang against the village team is the vice principal of the college, Prem Raj (Salim Kumar) who has become an irritation to the female students as well as the teachers, earning him the nick name Kamaraj. Franklin and his team gets rid of him with a nicely executed plan which exposes him in front of the principal. He manages to continue as a professor, while the post of vice principal goes to Michael Idicula (Mohanlal), a happy and easy-going professor who teaches Malayalam. With a grand entry, he manages to be a favourite of all students, and even manages to win the trust both Franklin and Sameer at the same time. But there is one more thing that he will need to do, and by doing the same, he will make sure that there will be some revelations, not just about himself, but also about Vishwanathan and his death.

The defence of Velipadinte Pusthakam :: The movie is entertaining for sure, and the first half has a lot of funny moments to add to the cause – whenever there is something related to the college and its people, there is the comic side that comes up; it is Salim Kumar who handles that all the time. The visuals of the coastal village is very good, and there are some dialogues to remembered, some as serious ones, and a few from the comic side – this is never the complete with its funny side though. With its ups and downs, the movie depends on Mohanlal to save it, and it is his presence that makes the audience miss some of the troubles that this movie has. There are some twists in this movie, some are on the funny side, and the rest are on the more serious angle – some of the thrills come not that strong, but they are surely present there. The most interesting song remains the one you have already listened, and had become the big hit.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s trouble is with its second story, which makes one wish to return to the college, and keep things there. The thrilling side is not used as one would have wanted it to be, and the revelation of the suspense could have been done in a much better manner. There is also the lack of focus on a number of characters that could have done wonders. The second half becomes inferior to the first, and the curse of the second half tightens its grip on rather too many occasions. We also think that there would be some relevant social theme being taken about the rich and the poor, which is not there – with those early clashes, that could have been on the list of things to show for sure. Also, Mohanlal as a lecturer could have become the perfect lecturer to transform this college through a series of interesting events, rather than skipping through all that. This one is also too long a movie, which is why there is the feeling of dragging in between.

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in his usual style, manages to cover the limitations of the script here. Due to the same, this movie also becomes a treat for the fans, who will get to clap here and there, especially with his entry and more in the second half. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol from this year, and Oppam and Pulimurugan from last year have all been doing wonders for him. Anoop Menon has much to with flashbacks, and he remains pretty much suitable, but has not many dialogues. You will find out that Sarath Kumar as well Arun Kurian finds themselves limited as their characters’ rivalry is lost rather too easily. The work here is no challenge for them. Even Anna Reshma Rajan fades away in the process, and so does almost every female character including Priyanka Nair and Sneha Sreekumar. Salim Kumar here has one a full swing comedy attack as he launches one funny dialogue after the other, and with ups and downs, some of them misses by a long distance, but there are a few others which are close to target. The two negative characters played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Siddique are solid, without doubt.

How it finishes :: How much Velipadinte Pusthakam would work for you, certainly depends on your expectations. The expectations were also so high for this one – this was also the movie I was looking for, with Lal Jose and Mohanlal coming together, and the cast from Angamaly Diaries, Sarath Kumar and Anna Reshma Rajan doing some memorable roles. Yes, even more expectations than what was there for Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela and Adam Joan. If that much is your expectation, there will be some trouble. The movie is actually quite far away from what you might have expected from the trailer. I was surely surprised by how much the movie has deviated from what I had thought about it, and it is due to the same, that I have crafted the story in such a way that none of the twists, whether serious or funny, are revealed. If you are watching Veilpadinte Pusthakam, be prepared for the deviation. You can’t deny the presence of fun though, especially if you are watching it with family.

Release date: 31st August 2017
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mohanlal, Anoop Menon, Anna Reshma Rajan, Arun Kurian, Sarath Kumar, Chemban Vinod Jose, Alencier Ley Lopez, Priyanka Nair, Siddique, Salim Kumar, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Sreekumar, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Krishna Kumar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

1971: Beyond Borders

Vampire Owl: It has been some time since the last war movie had released.

Vampire Bat: You remember that Kandahar with the same character in the leading role was released in 2010.

Vampire Owl: And the last movie with soldiers at border in Picket 43 of 2015.

Vampire Bat: The director did act in Anarkali and Action Hero Biju after that though.

Vampire Owl: I have been looking forward to our own war here though.

Vampire Bat: You mean to talk about expanding the vampire territory beyond the current borders.

Vampire Owl: Yes, you know that it has always been my patriotic intention. The zombie minions are trained for the same.

Vampire Bat: They are trained, but that doesn’t supply the brains.

Vampire Owl: We are buying them at the Goblin Market at fifty five percent discount.

Vampire Bat: That explains the never-ending preparation for war.

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

What is the movie about? :: Colonel Mahadevan (Mohanlal) is fighting with the United Nations troops in Georgia. There, his team saves the lives of a group of Pakistani soldiers who have also been fighting for the United Nations. After some friendly chat, Mahadevan invites the Pakistani troops to their battle honours day, an invitation which they seem to accept. While the programme is going on, it is revealed that Mahadevan’s father, Major Sahadevan (Mohanlal) had fought a battle against the Pakistani commander’s father, Mohammed Akram Raja (Arunoday Singh), in the 1971 Indo-Pak War for Bangladesh, and it had resulted in the death of the commander on the losing side. There is also more than that happened during those days of war, and we see Sahadevan narrating the same story to his grandchildren accompanied by his wife, Parvathy Sahadevan (Asha Sarath).

So, what happens next? :: Sahadevan is going through a holiday and some fun time with his friends at his hometown, when the news about the war reaches him. He decides to leave early before the telegram arrives, much to the dismay of his wife, son and all others who hoped for his presence there for a longer period of time. The same is the case of many other soldiers, especially Sudharshan (Krishna Kumar) whose father is extremely ill. The path ahead seems to be difficult for his team, as this is not the usual war for territorial gains, and the presence of a strong enemy force at their area makes things tougher – but there are some brave, tough and patriotic soldiers who are there with him for support; Lieutenant Chinmay (Allu Sirish) and Captain Aadhiselvam (Sudheer Karamana) are two of such men whom he meets and has his attention very soon. But Mohammed Akram Raja is determined to win this war and go home – well, so is Sahadevan.

The defence of 1971: Beyond Borders :: The movie’s best action sequences involve one with the battle tanks, and another one which has the two commanders going at each other in the end, even with the extra punch of heroism making both sequences strange at times – heroism without intelligence is not a quality that a hero should go for, and that makes one less a hero and more of a daredevil. The visuals are really good here, and there are some touching moments, which successfully make one feel for the troops as well as bring a certain amount of patriotism to keep the flame strong enough. The scenes of war deserves the appreciation, as it only gets better these days; yet there is the feeling that each of them could have been better. As it is said in Sir Walter Scott’s Lochinvar, “So daring in love, and so dauntless in war” – these are the qualities that determine the two main characters here, and after the deep consideration that war is meaningless, they will fight to death for their respective nations, obeying orders. The intention here seems to be good, as well as true – just not enough of the best application of ideas.

The claws of flaw :: There is that feeling of having seen all these before, especially with three movies already with Mohanlal playing the main character – Keerthi Chakra, Kurukshetra and Kandahar, along with the Prithviraj Starrer Picket 43. Except for having Mohanlal instead of Prithviraj, this one is surely closer to the last one, giving the idea that you can’t blame it on the enemy country, and it is all because of war. So, in one way or the other, it is patriotism which is responsible for the deaths of many people in more than one nation. Even in the opening credits, there is that long narration which won’t seem to make much of a difference as we go through the movie that touches not much of the same. The movie also doesn’t maintain the pace all the time, and there is too much repetition in store. The heroism displayed in this movie is also overdone, especially considering the fact that it tries to prove that this is all for the nation rather than being personal. The stereotypes also keep rushing, and we see an emotional side dependent on the same with less battle plans and too much lost between the meaninglessness of war and patriotism.

Performers of the soul :: Playing two characters, the son and the father, Colonel Mahadevan and Major Sahadevan, this one has been made for Mohanlal yet again. Major Mahadevan is not a character that Keralites as well as other Malayalam movie lovers will forget for a long time, and this one goes back to bring the prequel tale. This is no tough job for Mohanlal who controls this one, even though the father character is certainly inferior to the son – there are too many sequences which just seem to contradict the situations here for him. Allu Arjun’s younger brother, Allu Sirish also makes his Malayalam debut in this flick – there has been no shortage of dubbed movies of his brother getting success here, and lets hope that this will follow up with more from him; here he surely has our attention. But it is Arunoday Singh who leaves the best mark here – he shines as the Pakistani commander, and could use more of such roles with material to perform. All the female characters are left with not much to do in this movie.

How it finishes :: There has been some great success for Malayalam movies recently, most prominent ones among them being Mohanlal starrers themselves, Pulimurugan, Oppam and Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, all three belonging to three different categories of action, thriller and drama respectively. Prithviraj’s Ezra had also went on to become the highest grossing horror movie of all time in the industry. Then, here is the war genre being explored yet again by Mohanlal – Major Ravi combination again. With The Great Father doing great job at the box-office, and the movies like Take Off staying there due to the excellence in making, 1971: Beyond Borders was to face some competition, but during this holiday season, it could stay there for some time easily – it is sure to do that for sure, and has the usual ingredients need for a movie in this genre, but there was always the scope to make this a better movie; this chance has been missed.

Release date: 7th April 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Major Ravi
Starring: Mohanlal, Arunoday Singh, Allu Sirish, Renji Panicker, Sudheer Karamana, Devan Asha Sarath, Priyanka Agrawal, Srushti Dange, Neha Khan, Saiju Kurup as Gunner Nathan, Padmaraj Ratheesh, Zoya Zayed Khan, Pradeep Chandran, Krishna Kumar, Manikuttan, Shafeeq Rahman, Sudhir Sukumaran, Kannan Pattambi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

C/O Saira Banu

What is the movie about? :: Saira Banu (Manju Warrier) is a post woman who lives for her adopted son, Joshua Peter (Shane Nigam). Joshua is the son of a photographer who went missing in the forest and was declared dead long time ago, and this particular award winning photographer, Peter George (Mohanlal – voice only) had adopted Saira a long time ago, after her whole family had committed suicide. Joshua is in love with Arundhati (Niranjana Anoop) who studies in the law college just like him, but it goes on only with interest from his side. His other love is for photography like his father, and he tries hard to make something out of this passion with the support of his young mother. He is finally rewarded one day for his hard work as he wins a contest and is selected to go to Paris. But on the same day, some twist of events happen.

So, what happens next? :: There is a case registered against Joshua, which happens to be not as simple as Saira had thought, as this one is a hit and run case, and the victim had died, with witnesses there to testify. As it threatens to destroy his life and career even though he claims that he is innocent, Saira decides to prove that her adopted son is telling the truth. But fighting the case against Joshua is Annie John Tharavady (Amala Akkineni), one of the most successful lawyers, and is determined to win this case too. Joshua and Saira has no option with all lawyers backing out due to one reason or the other. But she will not surrender – still the question remains if she stands a chance against Annie who is determined to get his side to win every time? Where does Joshua’s future go from this situation from where there seems no chance of redemption?

The defence of C/O Saira Banu :: The movie goes through some interesting incidents in the society, including the case of migrant workers, noodles ban, kiss of love protest, and one other thing which was in the news, but can’t be revealed due to its effect on the suspense factor. There is some comedy that is working in the first half, and there is a second half which has a good amount of thrills to go with that unexpected twist to go with the climax – it succeeds in making people guess and come up with an ending which will be acceptable to most of the viewers along with being a nice surprise for everyone. There is also the message about the reality of this world, on what has been happening with a society which has been divided on the basis of class more than anyone can imagine. Along with the same, C/O Saira Banu is a good-looking movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The first half of the movie will feel a bit longer for one’s liking, as the time taken in establishing the mother-son relationship is a little too much, and some of jokes are not that effective either; same is the case of melodrama too. Better comic stuff in the first half would have helped to keep a momentum in the first half, maybe with some more sequences in the college or the post office – even the neighbourhood was a place which had some good scope. The end credits scene also ends without a warning, when you feel that there was going to be something to be added in the end. You will also feel that there is more than one side to a happy climax and ending; there will be questions if that good feeling is really that good, or is it just an illusion of the same.

Performers of the soul :: This one has Manju Warrier playing the titular character, and the most important role in this movie, and we are glad to see her in another role which provides her the prominence that she deserves and works on really well – Rani Padmini was the last one to get her to that level, even though Karinkunnam 6s and Vettah did show the signs. It is for those emotional moments that we need to look out for the most, and there is that bit of determination in her character against all odds which works so well for her. It is her return that has helped the Malayalam movie industry so much to bring the heroine-oriented roles to the front, something that has been struggling to be there. I don’t see anyone doing such roles like she did for quite some time, something that started so well for her with How Old Are You? and might continue in the same way, as we are seeing now.

Further performers of the soul :: Meanwhile, Amala Akkineni makes her return to Malayalam movies after a very long gap – her last two movies were Ente Sooryaputhrikku and Ulladakkam, with Suresh Gopi and Mohanlal respectively, both releasing in the year 1991 – those were also her only two Malayalam movies before this one. She remains solid in her lawyer character in this one, and the character’s determination has a clear reflection on her. Shane Nigam has his second big role after Kismath despite being there for longer – here he plays a character that has almost no happiness, and there are so many similarities to his role in his previous movie; but he manages the same well. Niranjana Anoop has less to do, which she does fine. It is Biju Sopanam who scores the most outside the main list. There are also those names which are underused, from Joy Mathew to Sujith Shankar.

How it finishes :: Unlike what some people had said, Mohanlal is not making a special cameo appearance in this movie, even though his voice is there. There is enough for everyone with C/O Saira Banu, and the family audience will be the one to benefit the most. Coming from a debutante director, this one is more than one can expect while dealing with a topic like this. It is surely the best movie in Malayalam to have released so far – forget those people who are claiming the same for movies which claim to be realistic when they are not, because C/O Saira Banu is the flick that follows the path of Drishyam, as a family movie as well as a thriller, becoming part of two different genres in two halves. This one is certain to weave its magic among the audience, even if a little bit late – watch it now, and try not to figure out why you didn’t watch this one earlier.

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Antony Sony
Starring: Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni, Shane Nigam, Niranjana Anoop, P. Balachandran, Joy Mathew, Indrans, John Paul, Ganesh Kumar, Jagadeesh, Sunil Sukhada, Biju Sopanam, Sujith Shankar, Mohanlal (voice only)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

munthirivallikalthalirkkumbol

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of Ulahannan (Mohanlal), his wife Anniyamma (Meena), and their two children, Jini (Aima Rosmy Sebastian) and Jerry (Sanoop Santhosh). Ulahannan is the Panchayath Secretary at a nearby village, and is living in a housing colony where his best friends are Venu (Anoop Menon), Jacob (Alencier Ley Lopez) and Monai (Kalabhavan Shajohn). He is extremely bored with his life, and his only relief remains the time he spends with his good friends having some alcohol. Each and every day in his life remains the same, as he just goes to work, returns home, and goes to sleep after having some drinks and food. He keeps minimum relationship with his family, especially his wife who often wonders if he knows that she exists. He still has a respectable position in the society due to his job and the serious character.

So, what happens next? :: With his friend Venu having relationships with many other girls on phone without his wife Latha (Srinda Ashab) knowing about it, Ulahannan also looks forward to such a relationship, with Julie (Neha Saxena). With her husband Augustine (Suresh Krishna) working abroad, she has been looking forward to begin a beauty parlour for women and kids, and she asks for help from Ulahannan as he is the panchayath secretary. Seeing his old romantic interest Indu (Asha Sarath) only makes him wish for more romance and become the one person he used to be. But one day, as he sees Anniyamma at the church, he realises that he has been wrong all the time – it was never about loving someone else to reclaim the romance, but it was better to love one’s own wife better. With one phone call, things begin to change for Ulahannan.

Where are things heading for? :: So, they finally end up finding the lost romance and everyone seems to be happy about that. This leads to the family ties getting a lot better. Ulahannan has problems at the office with the corrupt politicians including the former Panchayat president Chalakan (Sudheer Karamana) and the current president Thilothaman (Suraj Venjaramood), which he deals with easily. His friend Venu, who is less interested in his own wife Latha, also learns things the hard way after meeting with an accident. There is one question that remains – with changes in the parents’ relationship for the better, how will it affect the lives of the children? With Jini seeming to be very much attracted to a boy whom she only knows through Facebook, what message will the father and mother be able to provide her with?

The defence of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol :: A treat for the families, this flick is a lot believable one as far as the common audience is concerned. The happenings in this movie are simple and enjoyable, and we get to see all things dealt with, in a realistic way. There are also some nice comedy moments in this one, and there is also the feel-good factor with which the movie finishes. The message that this movie leaves on with, is also nothing less than beautiful and applicable to our times. Even as this is a family drama flick, there is nothing like the possible melodrama in this one too. The movie is certainly in control of the emotions and keeps them in control to make sure that we have that nice feeling throughout the run here. The second half is also superior to the first, and there is that fine finish in this flick which will make sure that we leave the theatre with a smile of satisfaction on our faces, and it is a real boost for the families.

Claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of drag in the first half of the movie, especially in the beginning. It is really tough to go through the first moments when the protagonist tries to find love outside his family – it is rather unnecessary and stretched beyond the needs even for those with very less imagination. The character called Julie is added without any good purpose, for Neha Saxena is to this movie, what Namitha was to Pulimurugan – an extra addition which will make the family audience feel strange, and others understand the meaningless of the same – still, one can safely say that this is a better movie than Oppam and Pulimurugan. There is also too much alcohol in this one, and the little moments of unnecessary heroism – something which doesn’t add that much of humour or style as one would expect. The songs are not that good, except for “Punnamadakayal” which does give the better feeling even with the thought that we have seen and heard this before.

Performers of the soul :: You see Mohanlal, as expected, leading the way here in his usual style, as everything related to the character has us interested. With a heavy chance of bringing a third big success in a row, he brings that side of him, which will appeal to the family audience more than anything else – it raises the bar above Oppam and Pulimurugan with its realistic treatment relating it to the common man’s life. Along with the same, we are always glad to have Meena pair up with Mohanlal, and she brings life to those interesting moments in a family. Another thing that you will love about this movie is the trio of Alencier Ley Lopez, Kalabhavan Shajohn and Anoop Menon who plays the best friends of the protagonist – they surely have the best moments of fun in store here. You will also get to see how good Aima Rosmy Sebastian is, as she gets more to do compared to her previous work in Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Srinda Ashab also moves out of the role which seemed to be becoming a stereotype, and Rahul Madhav’s short stay is memorable. Suresh Krishna also has once nice funny situation.

How it finishes :: It has been a long break from Malayalam movies as far as the fans are concerned. They have been waiting for so long for another movie, but due to the protests, nothing really came up – only those English, Hindi and Tamil movies score in between. Now, with Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Jomonte Suvisheshangal having arrived, we are truly back to the movie world. We missed so many of them during the Christmas season, and with Ezra, Fukri and Georgettan’s Pooram also ready to release, we are sure to have some more treat. Among all these movies, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is sure to have a prominent place, as it is certainly something which will be taken over by the family audience, and Mohanlal is certain to make it three out of three with Oppam, Pulimurugan, and this one from the director of the big surprise hit, Vellimoonga. After watching this movie, let us hope that everyone also feels that “my life is my wife”, and also that “family is everything” – a lot of people need inspiration to love their own, don’t they?

Release date: 20th January 2017
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Aima Rosmy Sebastian, Sanoop Santhosh, Anoop Menon, Srinda Ashab, Alencier Ley Lopez, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Reshmi Boban, Bindu Panicker, Lishoy, Suraj Venjaramood, Sudheer Karamana, Sharafudheen, Neha Saxena, Rajesh Paravoor, Suresh Krishna, Rahul Madhav, Ganapathi, Sohan Seenulal, Meghanathan, Joy Mathew, K. L. Antony Kochi, Leena Antony, Asha Sarath (cameo), Sasi Kalinga (cameo)

munthirivallikalthalirkkumboll

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Pulimurugan

pulimurugan-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vampire Owl :: Very risky ones though.

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

[Gets the tickets with tea and cheese popcorn].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pulimurugann

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oppam

oppamm

What is it about? :: Jayaraman (Mohanlal) is a blind man who works as a lift operator and attender at an eleven-storeyed apartment right in the middle of the city. He hails from a huge family, but is in debt right now as he has to pay twenty five lakhs for his friend Bappootty (Siddique) who was supposed to provide the amount to the money lender and is currently in the Middle East. He is struggling to make enough money for the wedding ceremony of his sister, which is to happen soon. Even though he is blind, he possesses a better sense of smell, hearing and touch which he uses to his advantage whenever there is the need. His good friends are Veeran (Harish K.R) and Kunju Mohammed (Mammookoya) as well as Devayani (Vimala Raman) who also work there. Whenever there is a need, Jayaraman is there, and he is that readily available helping hand for everyone.

So what happens next? :: A retired chief justice, Krishnamoorthy (Nedumudi Venu), also lives in the same apartment, and Jayaraman is his best friend and aid, as there are secrets concerning his past, and there are problems haunting him. Devayarani is in trouble with her former husband, a police officer named Madhu (Kalabhavan Shajohn) with whom Jayaraman also locks horns. One day, when Krishnamoorthy is killed, things go out of control. Jayaraman becomes the prime suspect, and the police officers in charge, Padmakumar (Renji Panicker) and Anandhan (Chemban Vinod Jose) refuses to believe in his claims of innocence, and Madhu makes things only worse. Only Ganga (Anusree), the police officer who knew him earlier, believes him. With the murderer right behind him like a shadow, will Jayaraman be able to prove his innocence? Can he face the man who seems to be a psychopath, all alone?

The defence of Oppam :: There are many moments of interest, and a lot of thrills in store with this movie which won against its competitor Oozham which released on the same day. The final moments, despite strangely set, are well executed, and the movie finishes with a certain amount cuteness and feel-good factor in store. The beginning was also well done without the unnecessary introductions, and we are taken into the whole thing in a simple and effective manner. The visuals are very good throughout the run, and Mohanlal and Samuthirakani when they are together, make a nice combination against each other. Mamukkoya has some of the nicer moments of fun in this movie which has a certain amount of comic side which is just there for some relief. Chemban Vinod Jose also has some moments of fun, and the emotional side of this movie can also be termed as strong.

The claws of flaw :: One has to say that the movie is too long, and that feeling is due to the present of too many unnecessary songs, and none of them really makes an impact either – the Punjabi wedding song might be the one that works the least. There are also too many missing points here and there in this story, and the opportunity to come up with a better movie goes missing here. There are too many things here that comes as repetitive elements; the twist concerning the child and the killer is too predictable, and the police is also made rather useless – or rather so stubborn that one is made to wonder that these people are the most remorseless and brainless officers ever to be in a Malayalam movie. The final moments are also strange, as they try to be safe where it was never meant to be safe, and with the same, risk more lives. There were surely better ways to handle the whole thing!

Performers of the soul :: As expected, and without doubt, Mohanlal is the one who lifts this movie to the next level, and hides its problems with ease, as he plays the role with no trouble at all. There are those moments involving him and Samuthirakani that stands apart. Along with him being the blind character, it is our villain that also brings things in order. Last seen in Karinkunnam 6s in this part of the world, Samuthirakani brings all the strength that is needed in a villain like this. He is only let down on a number of occasions due to the predictability that creeps in and threatens to make this villain another ordinary creature of random hate, as the opportunity to become one terrifying psycho killer is lost at too many occasions. But he rises above the problems related to his character in this tale, and brings the menace to the big screen, making things more interesting.

Further performers of the soul :: Anusree is very good at this police role. Vimala Raman is kind of misfit as the maid here, even though we are glad that we are seeing her here again after a long time and looking good. Nedumudi Venu’s role is the kind which we see often from him, and he does that with ease. Baby Meenakshi is really good here, and surely better than how it was with Amar Akbar Anthony. Renji Panicker in the police role is surprisingly not that much used here, and Kalabhavan Shajohn just gets another opportunity to beat another character played by Mohanlal after Drishyam. Mamukkoya creates some funny moments with Harish K.R and Chemban Vinod Jose has a few of them too. Aju Varghese has kind of a smaller role of the viewers’ liking though, and Innocent is also there for only a few shots. In the end, we do wish that this movie was just not like too many other movies of the same kind – there are too many characters with less to do, and a little too much of predictability at times too.

How it finishes :: It has been a long time since we saw the best of Priyadarshan, and also the combination of him and Mohanlal, even though I didn’t think that Geethanjali was that bad a movie as it was projected by the critics and the audience. Well, one can safely say that he is back in form with this one. With Pulimurugan already there and running with full strength in the theatres, Mohanlal makes a magnificent push forward, the biggest since the critically acclaimed and heavily remake-spawning flick which was Drishyam. With two of his flicks staying heavy in multiplexes and attracting the audience in the local theatres too, one can be sure that there won’t be many movies coming up with challenge, except for Aanandam, which seems to be the one other movie which is making it big. Even in the Pulimurugan rush, Oppam is another movie that needs your attention; so if you have missed it, get to where it is still playing!

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Priyadarshan
Starring: Mohanlal, Samuthirakani, Anusree, Vimala Raman, Nedumudi Venu, Baby Meenakshi, Renji Panicker, Chemban Vinod Jose, Mamukkoya, Harish K.R, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Kunchan, Idavela Babu, Aju Varghese, Manikuttan, Arjun Nandhakumar, Innocent, Kalasala Babu, Pradeep Chandran, Anjali Aneesh, Bineesh Kodiyeri, Devshi Khanduri, Sona Heiden, Arun Benny, Balaji Sharma, Poojappura Radhakrishnan, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Bindu Murali, Suchitra Pillai-Malik, Siddique (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

oppam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.