Mohan Kumar Fans

What is the movie about? :: Mohan Kumar (Siddique) used to be a huge superstar until he lost the race to the younger stars. He does believe that it was the result of black magic done by his rival actors. After a long gap, he does get a role to play in a critically acclaimed movie, for which everyone feels that he will get an award. His daughter Sreeranjini Mohankumar (Anarkali Nazar), is an interior designer who wishes to be a singer, for which she tries her luck in different reality shows. Krishnan Unni (Kunchacko Boban), is a youngster who is also trying to make it big as a playback singer. They meet at a reality show, and he is also sent to work for Mohan Kumar as the driver by Prakash (Mukesh), his old friend and a struggling producer who is trying to make a film with Kripesh aka Aghosh Menon (Vinay Forrt), a young superstar who is extremely arrogant, and thinks that he is above everyone. Krishnan Unni and Sreeranjini start competing in the reality show, mostly as a team, and Mohan Kumar also becomes fond of the young man who is there to help him.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Kripesh continues to try to make a name in the industry, as his fame rises, and tells everyone that his living together partner Brighty Menon (Deepa Thomas) is a sisterly figure, and fakes different events in which he is shown as a man with love and respect, raising his popularity even higher with PR work. When Arun Rajeev (Adil Ibrahim) and Prakash approaches him with a new film script, his demands only get higher. Meanwhile it is just another downwards journey for the former star, as the critical acclaimed film is taken out of the theatres much to the dismay of Mohan Kumar, who felt that he was going back to that stardom with all the appreciation he received, even more than Kripesh who was originally supposed to be the hero, but was sidelined in front of his fantastic performance. After a fight with Hamsa Randathani (Nisthar Sait), his name is nicely taken out of the Kerala state awards final list, but there is still hope for National Awards – yet, it is to be seen if they can find a way to take it to Delhi with time running out, and a lot more to be done.

The defence of Mohan Kumar Fans :: The movie’s messages are strong, for it is against the vanity and arrogance which has been going on in the film industry. The lack of quality in the visual media is also shown, and it also displays YouTube, Instagram and other social media as what it is, showing how celebrities use fake videos or good for nothing videos just to gain popularity, while skilled performers and quality actors don’t get the recognition they need. Well, if one actress stand outside her home and take a video, it gains so many viewers and appreciation, and it more or less shows the same. Well, you know that literacy means the ability to read and write, and with so many videos being preferred over written content, one has to wonder if it is because of the lack of literacy among people. Our YouTube-Instagram loving celebrities in the film might be suffering from that illiteracy too. It is shown with very nicely prepared humour with fine satire, and the feel-good factor is also high around here. The songs are just okay, and it is not short of some touching moments.

The claws of flaw :: As this movie makes fun of a certain group of people and says the truth about them, such people won’t like it – especially the blind superstar fans, creators of nonsense in YouTube and Instagram as well as those so called celebrities who try to become popular by fake means. For others, they will surely like the film, but they won’t be able to dismiss the fact that this should have had more depth with its content. Mohan Kumar Fans is that kind of a film which could have taken each of its strong elements into another level, but it is certainly not able to do that because it has chosen to travel through a safe path – the feel-good side can always get you over the line, but if you stick on to that, and play safe, it is like aiming for run-a-ball in an IPL match when there is good chance for stroke-play. Maybe, they did so because there was not much of a competition in the theatres with less number of big Malayalam films being released and less number of people watching in the theatres – but that would just be an excuse if we think so.

The performers of the soul :: This one comes after the director’s films which have maintained the feel-good factor at some point, starting with Bicycle Thieves, my least favourite film in a long time, the definite improvement in Sunday Holiday, the bigger improvement in Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and now this film, which also has Asif Ali in a cameo, making all these films Asif starrers. Well, you know that who else was there in all these movies, and it is Siddique, with his biggest role in this movie, as he is the real protagonist here, with everything centered around him, and all things being about him only. It ultimately becomes all about the positive message that is spread through his life, and in that, this movie races ahead of all among the director Jis Joy’s movies, except Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, which was much more ahead in the race. Siddique, the veteran actor, nicely stays at the core of the film, and manages everything in his usual style. If this much was done in a feel-good film, you can guess how much more could have been done if this was a serious tragedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban outside the thriller mode of Nizhal and Nayattu, does have his moments, as he is indeed the hero here, trying to keep the main character happy and ready to take the risks just for the sake of the man. Anarkali Nazar is a lovely addition here, as we see her for the first time, and despite the introduction not being that great, we see that the emotions work really well for her. Among the rest, it is Vinay Forrt who stays with us the most, with one of the best satires on the superstars who can’t really act, but tries to get mileage through videos posted in YouTube, Instagram or any social media. As video medium attracts the illiterate and those who find it difficult to read English, these celebrities get more attention that they need, and being as fake as the character he displays here, their first option will always be YouTube to fake their life in front of the blind fans, who will share the same in social media, displaying their foolishness as much as they can. After Saroj Kumar, his Aagosh Menon strikes gold with the satire.

How it finishes :: Mohan Kumar Fans does take an approach which the movies like Driving Licence didn’t have the courage to take. Instead of taking the side of the common man, it had stood with the superstar and his fans. This movie is courageous in that case, taking the side of the common people, and it focuses on the gracious actor instead of the dumb superstar, the dumbness of the latter nicely shown throughout the film, and it also shows everything fake that has been running through YouTube. We keep seeing those celebrities doing YouTube videos, and we know that they are all fake, but there will always be those people who watch such nonsense posted by such people who are only looking for fame. Well, if a celebrity post any nonsense on YouTube, everyone wants to watch that, and if something sensible is posted on YouTube by the common man, you know how it is left unnoticed – it is such an age, when quality is not rewarded, a common problem with the visual media in comparison to the written one. This is the same reason why people who are looking for easy paths to success without hard work won’t like this flick. For others, this works in varying levels of interest, mostly on the higher levels.

Release date: 19th March 2021 (Theatre), 21st May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anarkali Nazar, Siddique, Mukesh, Sreenivasan, Saiju Kurup, Vinay Forrt, Ramesh Pisharody, TG Ravi, Alencier Ley Lopez, Major Ravi, Joy Mathew, Krishna Shankar, Adil Ibrahim, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Deepa Thomas, Srikant Murali, Anjali Nair, Prasanth Alexander, Sreelakshmi, Sethu Lakshmi, Nisthar Sait

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Amazon Prime film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Masterpiece

What is the movie about? :: An arrogant Roshan Cherian (John Kaipallil) and an adamant Mahesh Raj (Maqbool Salmaan) leads two rival gangs at the Travancore Maharaja College in the centre of the city. These two gangs, Royal Warriors and Real Fighters fight for domination, with hockey sticks, cricket bats, cycle chains, table legs or whatever they can find, sometimes in the remote corners of the huge college campus, and at other right times, right in front of the students and faculty, much to the dismay of the Roshan’s father, Vice Principal Cherian Philip (Mukesha) and Principal Narayana Kaimal (Sunil Sukhada). There is no shortage of chaos already, but the love story of a Real Fighters member Unnikrishnan (Gokul Suresh) with a girl named Vedhika (Mahima Nambiar) from the nearby college makes things even worse. They soon find the dead body of Vedhika in the college premises, and first suspect for the crime is Unnikrishnan who is arrested.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Soon, Unnikrishnan is found hanging inside his cell in the police station, and things get worse. A.C.P. John Thekkan I.P.S. (Unni Mukundan) who was leading the investigation lands up in the hospital after college students attack the police, and S.I. Ramakrishnan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is suspended after being held responsible for the death of the student. There are wide protests in the city by student organisations which take over the whole thing, and as Vedhika comes from a reputed and rich family, and is the daughter of an influential politician, pressure mounts on the officials, and a new team lead by A.C.P Bhavani Durga I.P.S. is brought to action. With John Thekkan expected to return and join the team soon, the group decides to take quick and firm action against the possible culprits before new orders come from the top again.

And what comes next with this murder mystery? :: After questioning the peon of the college, Sankarankutty (Santhosh Pandit), canteen in charge Maniyan (Saju Navodaya) and helper Reji (Bijukuttan), the police comes to know that Roshan had alcohol mixed in Unnikrishnan’s drink making sure that he wouldn’t get to meet Vedhika who was waiting for them at the beach, where she was last spotted. Roshan becomes the suspect, and the police tries to enter the campus to arrest him, only to be stopped by protesting students, with the exception of Real Fighters who welcome the move to arrest the leader of Royal Warriors. As police and students fight inside the campus, the new English professor arrives to take charge – Edward Livingstone (Mammootty) who has a record of police cases for himself. He decides to change the whole setup in the college, and re-unite its students, as police looks for the murderer.

The defence of Masterpiece :: It is after Mammootty arrives that this movie gets better, as the latter part of the movie is surely better. There will also be a lot for the fans, and that is for sure – as I skipped the early fan shows and watched the movie with normal hardworking people, there was no focus on those mass scenes in the theatre. The suspense is maintained till the end, and the revelation awaits at the final moments. Just like Aadu 2, this one is for more the fans, and the other categories of viewers will find only limited impact. The festival mood of this holiday season is also maintained in this movie. This leaves no surprise about how well the movie began at the theatres, as the first of the many flicks of Christmas including Mayaanadhi, Vimaanam, Aadu 2 and Aana Alaralodalaral. Well, it is always good to go back to the campus isn’t it? And nothing better than a murder mystery in a college campus to provide a grand entry for the hero who is all prepared to go invincible and immortal in a world of cheap mortal humans.

The claws of flaw :: You will find Masterpiece to be too similar to Mohanlal starrer Velipadinte Pusthakam, but the mass elements are rather too much in this one. A college professor with a complicated past coming into a college where students battle each other as part of two separate gangs with a murder behind – just the same idea that you had seen on the big screen earlier. The shots of hero throwing the goons to the Mahindra Scorpios parked there, destroying the vehicles too easily will have the makers of the vehicles wonder what would happen if a Scooty is to hit them in the middle – will the SUV be split into two then? Then there is a modified vehicle which goes through walls – are they promoting this vehicle against Mahindra? Is that a foreign-made SUV that is declared to be better than Mahindra SUVs? The hero also throws a heavily built villain around with one hand a little too many times, and the movie could have done without these scenes. In this too long a movie, the jokes are less effective and there is confusion about where it is going. Slow motion is used badly as expected.

The performers of the soul :: It takes just above an hour for Mammootty to come in, and it might be because of the presence of too many characters that it takes so long. It is after he arrives that things begin to get interesting, as he immediately makes the impact as the college professor. The two female characters who are there till the end, Poonam Bajwa and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar got not much to contribute, playing stereotypes. Mahima Nambiar gets better but the character goes dead. Unni Mukundan has to go a little too much towards the stylish side, but has our attention. Kalabhavan Shajohn is someone who never struggles in this one, as a cop suits him so well just like in Oppam and Drishyam. Gokul Suresh did believable work here. John Kaipallil and Maqbool Salmaan were good playing what Arun Kurian and Sarath Kumar played in Velipadinte Pusthakam. Saju Navodaya brings some comedy here and here with Bijukuttan, but not that much as we would expect. Captain Raju brings some laughs, even though we see more going over the head.

How it finishes :: The movie is something which seems to be exactly opposite what the title says. Masterpiece is exactly what this movie isn’t, but if we separate the word into two, and say “Master in pieces”, that would be more appropriate. But as Velipadinte Pusthakam itself was, this is not really a terrible movie. There is something here and there for the fans, and we know that the core idea had more potential. The hero worship in this movie is exactly what brings this movie down – it is always the superstar’s fans and their needs that brings a wonderful actor down, as it is proven on so many occasions. We need to forget a few moments defying gravitational force along with slow motion, and some unnecessary dialogues about respecting women without meaning the same when there is no need, and we have one twist awaiting us in the end, and a villain whom we least expected. As a thriller, the idea at the base is surely good, but we have to often wonder at the final product.

Release date: 21st December 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Ajai Vasudev
Starring: Mammootty, Unni Mukundan, Poonam Bajwa, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Mahima Nambiar, Megha Mathew, Lena, John Kaipallil, Mukesh, Gokul Suresh, Maqbool Salmaan, David John, Santhosh Pandit, Kailash, Nandu, Divya Pillai, Sunil Sukhada, Arjun Nandhakumar, Saju Navodaya, Thesni Khan, Divyadarshan, Ameer Niyaz, Bijukuttan, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Udaykrishna, Renji Panicker, Manikkuttan, Anjali Nair, Captain Raju

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Avarude Raavukal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jomonte Suvisheshangal

jomontesuviseshangal

What is the movie about? :: Jomon (Dulquer Salmaan) is the youngest son of a very rich businessman named Vincent (Mukesh) who hails from the city of Thrissur. The big family is Vincent’s other success story along with his huge business empire and assets – it includes Laly (Muthumani), Alphonse (Vinu Mohan) and Jessy (Rasna Pavithran) as well as their spouses who are all successful people in life, along with Jomon who is considered as the son who is born to spoil the name of the family along with all the money that he keeps squandering. He successfully continues the procedure, as he finishes the trouble-making with a sentence that ends with “still I love you” to his father. There is no shortage of people who think that he is good for nothing though, as he even misses his sister Jessy’s wedding function after he meets his old friend Mushtaq (Jacob Gregory) and spends time at a bar with him at Coimbatore, ending up in the police station.

Where are things heading for? :: It is during these times that Jomon falls in love with Catherine (Anupama Parameswaran) which changes the attitude of his family members towards him, as she is from one of the richest families around, and her parents have business established in various parts of the Middle East. They get really close until one day, Vincent miscalculates one of his business deals, and has his biggest failure in life. Everyone blames Vincent for the terrible decision he made, but Jomon doesn’t. He stands with his father, and hopes to reclaim at least most of what was lost. For the same, he relocates with Vincent to Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, and meets Vydehi (Aishwarya Rajesh) who helps him and vice versa. It was easy to go forward in the early stages, and now the question remains about how he can get his father to return to his lost glory, as that world is miles away.

The defence of Jomonte Suvisheshangal :: Without much of a surprise, Dulquer Salmaan leads the way as the protagonist, on whom this movie is based right from the title itself – there are messages about family, and there is some motivation to go through it; even as there is not that much visible. There is also some comedy, and the emotional side remains strong in this one, especially around Dulquer and Mukesh. Even with the smaller roles, Indu Thampi and Rasna Pavithran from Oozham get their moments too, even more than the bigger names in the cast. This will work even better for you if you haven’t watched Jacobinte Swargarajyam which has the same theme. The one bigger positive in this movie’s messages is that this one tells the audience to save more while the movie from last year was asking to earn more – it was more reclaiming the glory that was lost, while this one builds another one, something that is different from what was gone. It is also a long way ahead of the disappointing Kali, but is nowhere near that beautiful divergent dream which was Charlie.

Claws of flaw :: There is absolutely no attempt to bring anything new with Jomonte Suvisheshangal, and there is no trying to make things less predictable throughout its run. They have also wasted Anupama Parameswaran in a role which was rather not needed – well, in another Malayalam movie, she gets less time on the screen after the hero sees her inside a church; Premam and now this. Aishwarya Rajesh, despite suiting the character she played, works less as a pair to Dulquer. Another sad thing is that there isn’t enough of a funny side provided for Jacob Gregory’s character, even when there was so much chance, for he is to Dulquer, what Aju Varghese has been to Nivin Pauly. The songs are not that good, even though “Nokki nokki” is something that will do well without being related to the overall progress of the movie. There is also that level that we expect from Sathyan Anthikad, which is not there – that won’t be considered the right thing.

Soul exploration :: The idea of the prodigal son continues here, as the money laundering son comes back to his father – well, he even saves the day. It is not something that we have missed; this is something that a hero would do in a movie without fail. A rather inexperienced son becoming all responsible to help his father when his business faces a crisis, isn’t really a new thing even for the newer team of movie watchers, as we had witnessed the same in the last year’s Nivin Pauly starrer, Jacobinte Swargagrajyam. With Dulquer Salmaan replacing Nivin Pauly, we have a similar tale here; it is Mukesh who replaces Renji Panicker too. But considering both movies as the same will be doing injustice, and we can only consider them to be similar as we look at how things have been proceeding. This thought is something which is often related to real-life incidents, and so Jomonte Suvisheshangal surely has the right to take it as much as any other flick.

Further soul exploration :: Those who have watched both movies won’t find it easy to stop these comparisons coming into their minds. In a movie in which Dulquer once again leaves his home, but this time with his father, one can safely say that the success of this movie does belong to him, as most of the time, it is him or Mukesh that holds the movie together. This one could have actually worked well with its songs and visuals as Jacobinte Swargarajyam did though. As far as similarities and differences are concerned, we have two businessmen whose sons get responsible all of a sudden, one at Dubai and the other at Thrissur, both families Christian, one Orthodox and the other Catholic, both the families having four children, with a more evenly matched gender count here without a mother, the Mercedes Benz being there in both cases – there is also at least one heroine who has less to do in both movies; well, everything ends well too with the handsome son doing the heroics helped by one stranger who gets impressed, whether it is Vineeth Srinivasan or a European lady.

How it finishes :: Being the first movie to release after the theatre strike, Jomonte Suvisheshangal surely had the advantage, and no wonder there were so many people wishing to watch this one on the big screen. Having one day advantage over Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol, this one certainly managed to begin well, and also continues to attract the crowds. With a simple story that will appeal to the family audience, both these movies have managed to make sure that things are going on well for Malayalam cinema, even as there was a break after Pulimurugan created that record of 150 crores – well, that one is still running, as you will notice. With no element of boredom, Jomonte Suvisheshangal is also certain to bring some fine moments for the audience. As Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is also doing well, we can expect the theatres to be full with Ezra, Georgettan’s Pooram and Fukri getting ready for release.

Release date: 19th January 2017
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Anupama Parameswaran, Mukesh, Jacob Gregory, Aishwarya Rajesh, Innocent, Irshad, Muthumani, Manobala, Rasna Pavithran, Vinu Mohan, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Vinod Kedamangalam, Indu Thampi

jomontesuvisheshangal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho

kochavvapauloayyappacoelho

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

Vampire Bat: You know Paulo Coelho for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kochavvapauloayyappacoelhoo

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adi Kapyare Kootamani

adikapyarekoottamani (1)

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of four friends who study in the same college and stay at the very same hostel. Bhanuprasad (Dhyan Sreenivasan), Bruno (Aju Varghese), Remo (Neeraj Madhav) and Koshy (Vineeth Mohan) are those friends who enjoy their lives to the full with drinks and other activities. The warden of the boys’ hostel is Father Alfred Kattuvilayil (Mukesh) who is a very strict person, but the students manage to go on with their activities making sure that he doesn’t notice. Shaanthappan (Bijukuttan) desperately tries to let the priest know that his students are not what he thinks they are, but they youngsters manage to escape each and every time. But they will soon be part of something from which they can’t escape that easily.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: Bhanuprasad meets a girl named Adhishtalekshmi (Namitha Pramod) who offers him twenty thousand rupees just to get her inside the hostel and get her out in a few minutes. As he is desperately in need of money, he agrees to that, and gets her in when the other students are out for a movie. She has a special motive which she accomplishes, but it turns out that it is not that easy to get her out. The students return early and the next morning has a strike in the college which ruins their plans to escape. Their secret passage through the window is also blocked as Shaanthappan gets it repaired after informing the priest. Now, it is up-to Bhanuprasad and his three best friends to find a way to get her out before her father and his goons get to the place.

The defence of Adi Kapyare Kootamani :: This movie goes on the lines of Kunjiramayanam and Vellimoonga with the fun and its simplicity, with everything appealing really well for the family audience just like the youth. From the beginning itself, the movie’s direction is clear, and it is towards a really enjoyable comic side which can only get better as we gets deeper into the story. Even though the director is a debutante, there is not much of a problem there with how well this one has turned out to be. It needs skill to bring something special out of ordinary situations, and a lot of appreciation should be provided for the same. Cheers to Friday Film House in finding another new director and gifting him to the Keralite audience. The traits of Manichithrathazhu, Kaththi and In Ghost House Inn are smartly used too, and there is a strong funny side to the way of dealing with the same.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing much about the story which is happening here, as it just goes on creating the funny situations. A good number of people might find this one too simple, but that is also an advantage of this movie. The rush in the end and a little bit of too much confusion can belittle the final moments. But as a sequel has already been announced, we can be sure that some of them will be solved. In the movie, the whole thing is mostly located at one place, and you are not going to see much variety there except for the comedy which has the special strength. The songs are not really memorable either. We can also note that the smaller number of scenes which happen outside the hostel doesn’t really work that well. Maybe the sequel can work harder to solve the problems left in its predecessor – we can wait for that!

Performers of the soul :: The group of Aju Varghese, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Neeraj Madhav and Bijukuttan are here in this movie too, bringing the same fun to us yet again. Vineeth Mohan nicely joins them in this adventure. Dhyan does a pretty good job here, and Vineeth Mohan supports, but it is Aju Varghese with Neeraj Madhav brings the best fun here with their coming timing; look out for the former fainting and providing signal along with the latter tearing his shirt apart and also looking for the Kaththi blue-print. The ideas to get the lady out of there are rather too funny. Namitha is really good, and it is nice to see her back after that “nothing” role in Amar Akbar Anthony, as she once again gets the chance to be the integral part of a movie rather than walk around. Bijukuttan scores, and he does the best in the Manichithrathazhu scene which is a big bonus; he even has a special Christmas song.

Further performers of the soul :: Mukesh is rock solid fun as the priest who believes that his students are angels and also that everything is under is control all the time; he scores the best with the moments of advice for the students and the situations of fear. The one thing which you can be sure about here is that this one is a real team effort. Most of the characters get similar chances to perform here, and the power of the youth in the Malayalam movie industry is more than just evident here. As everything is simple and possible to be connected for the audience, everything depended on the cast and how well they managed the comic side, and the movie gets all the success there. On one side, there will be movies releasing with huge hype, and on the other side, there are the small movies like this one which brings us so much of fun. Well, we will be looking forward to this director’s next movies, and it is not any easier to wait for the sequel to this movie.

How it finishes :: Coming from Sandra Thomas and Vijay Babu under who produced Philips and the Monkey Pen, Zachariayude Garbhinikal and Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeevi Aanu under Friday Film House, the expectations were to be pretty good on this one. The movie also has three of the big stars of the big comedy entertainer of the year, Kunjiramayanam. With positive opinions already going on, this one will provide the competition to the other competitors like Two Countries, Charlie and Jo and the Boy with the next competitor Style changing the release date. Christmas will surely be interesting season with all these movies which have got pretty good opinions battling each other, and there is also one Star Wars movie which is wandering around the corner along with two Bollywood flicks which can also be found at places!

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: John Varghese
Starring: Dhyan Sreenivasan, Namitha Pramod, Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Vineeth Mohan, Mukesh, Bijukuttan, John Vijay, Devi Ajith, Bhagath Manuel, Pradeep Kottayam, Vijay Babu, Sabu

adikapyarekooottamani

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Two Countries

twocountries (2)

Vampire Owl :: So, which are these two countries? Are they from the time of the World Wars, the Hundred Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War or the Cold War?

Vampire Bat :: The two countries are India and Canada. But this movie has a more funny side to the title. It says “the story of two country fellas”.

Vampire Owl :: So, it redirects towards the characters and their special qualities. There are two ways of saying it then, I see.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and do not think on the lines of 2 States.

Vampire Owl :: Well, Dileep has returned to the kind of roles which work for the real family audience, and so, this should be an interesting watch.

Vampire Bat :: I hope for something on the lines of Marykkundoru Kunjaadu, Thommanum Makkalum, Kalyanaraman, and Pulival Kalyanam which were from the same director.

Vampire Owl :: And Dileep and Mamta Mohandas unites for a movie once again years after My Boss.

Vampire Bat :: And it will be some Christmas fun.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we couldn’t go for a movie yesterday and we will try to make sure that the celebrations get better with this one.

Vampire Bat :: It is all that we will do on this day!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ullas (Dileep) is one of the jobless people who wander around his hometown doing some business or indulging in some other activity. His best friend is Avinash (Aju Varghese) who is part of most his adventures and ends up in trouble because of Ullas. Most of the things which they work on, never really bring anything positive; it is not just about business. As they take huge loans from a man at Fort Cochin (Makarand Deshpande), Ullas decides to marry his daughter Simran (Isha Talwar) who is on a wheel chair; he finds this an easy path to getting rich. For the same, he sends his elder brother Ujvalan (Jagadish) to speak for his marriage against the wishes of his parents. But things change as another marriage proposal arrives on the scene.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: The situation changes with the arrival of the proposal of Laya (Mamta Mohandas) to whom Ullas speaks on phone pretending to be someone else. But as she as well as her parents become very much interested in the man on the other side of the phone and the stories which he tells them, she decides to come to Kerala. It turns out that they knew each other from childhood, and Ullas uses this opportunity to pretend that he has always loved her from the time they were kids so that he can fly to Canada as her husband. So, he chooses Laya over Simran, but after marriage, he understands that things are not like he had thought, and his new wife has a lot of problems, with her family being just one of them.

The defence of Two Countries :: There is no shortage of fun in Two Countries, as it is evident from the scene of introduction itself. The comedy shifts to Canada from India, and it only gets better; the story also reaches a better level then. The strength of the movie remains the humour, as most of us expected. There are also some emotional moments which work pretty well. The cast itself becomes a bonus to this movie as the list which begins with Dileep. The best scenes happen at the party, court and friends’ home. It is a nice flick to watch with family, and the youth will also love the fun provided. The visuals of Canada are good too, even though more could have been utilized. It was clear that people in the theatre enjoyed the comedy and the claps were there. This is also a lot better entertainer than the overrated comedy of the year, Amar Akbar Anthony.

Claws of flaw :: The music never really gets to be that good, and the climax seems to be rushed to an end which comes to a solution which the audience wanted rather than finishing it in the right way. A lot of fun is also directed towards the mindless side, even though it is kept enjoyable. There is not that much of a new story here with predictability running high. Some parts of the movie are also half-baked, and one will wonder if the movie used the whole of its premise to its advantage; for this isn’t that much complete as My Boss with its fun. A lot more of comedy would have been here, and the beginning situation is more like what was there in too many movies. With the names Rafi and Shafi involved with this movie, people would have expected even more; this is surely not as good as Marykkundoru Kunjaadu – but it delivers; no doubt about that.

Performers of the soul :: Dileep is once again at his full form here, as he follows the good run after Chandrettan Evideya, Love 24×7 and Life of Josutty. This is also the complete comedy movie which has full fun without overdoing the comic side, a quality which hasn’t been seen since his My Boss in 2012. This is the kind of role which he can go through with ease, and it is once again proven. His support at home is Aju Varghese and the same is provided by Suraj Venjaramoodu in Canada while Mukesh replaces Jagadish in the second half as the brotherly figure away from home; Aju and Suraj are the big comic support here. We missed Mamta Mohandas for too long with her last big role being in Celluloid. She does her character amazingly well; there are not many actresses who can do this type of comedy so well. Isha Talwar has a small role, and Srinda Ashab just supports in bringing the fun.

How it finishes :: With the support going on to Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Asokan and Vinaya Prasad, this one brings Canada into the picture, a change from Life of Josutty which had the heroine based in New Zealand and My Boss which had the heroine as an Australian citizen; it is a welcome variation as there is no journey to United States and United Kingdom here either, which would have been the usual choices. Among the Christmas movies, Two Countries is sure to have a nice status, as it should appeal to different kinds of audience. As it seems, Christmas seems to be a blast with Jo and the Boy, Adi Kapyare Koottamani and Charlie also getting good opinions. Two Countries is surely going to entertain you, and the reviews about this have also been positive! The time period between Christmas and New Year will shine for the Keralite audience; no doubt.

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Isha Talwar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Srinda Ashab, Jagadish, Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Makarand Deshpande, Asokan, Vinaya Prasad, Riyaz Khan, Ajmal Ameer, Rafi, Hareesh, Carrie Marston, Megan Weckwerth, Eldon Hunter

twocountries

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam

SuSuSudhiVathmeekam (4)

What is it about? :: Sudhi (Jayasurya) works as the manager at one of the branches of Karur Vysya Bank at Bangalore. One day, after helping a group of cinema artists to shoot inside his branch, he gets a ride to his hometown with Mukesh (Mukesh), thanks to his old friend Greygon Das (Aju Varghese) who is in the film field. Sudhi talks to him about his life and the interesting incidents related to it. He is a person who has always had a terrible stammering problem. It had alienated him and affected his confidence ever since he was a child. Even when he reaches his youth, he remains a troubled man due to the same. The same disability leads to his engagement being called off, and the people of the village make fun of him even more. But as time progresses, he will manage to rise above his problems and understand that he is better than his troubles.

The defence of Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam :: If you loved Punyalan Agarbathis, you will surely love this one too; I would consider this one above that flick because our movie here finishes very nicely in a much better way. The feel-good factor is much stronger here because this is more of the common man’s movie. There will be moments when you will feel that this is the story of you or someone you know in a different way. The message is also very clear here, and it will connect with the common man. The fact that the movie is short helps the cause; there is no drag here either. The second half is also better than the first, the movie only improving as it progresses. The emotional side is working all the time and gets stronger in the latter parts. The humour is good when it is present. The songs are okay. It is simple, cute and the right choice for the families.

Claws of flaw :: There is no special ingredient in Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam. Well, Kung Fu Panda knew that there was no secret ingredient, and this movie also works without the same. There is nothing special with the story as the flick thrives on simplicity and reflecting the common man’s life. More humour could have also been added here too, and more material in the first half. People can also complain about the troubles of the man and his setting to be better shown in another way, asking for more fun or more emotions, but this one takes the middle path. The Punyalan Agarbathis feeling is also there even as this one overtakes that movie in content and presentation. Like what a few people who said about Mili, if you consider the goodness and inspirational stuff as cliche, this won’t be the movie for you; but I believe that they can be infinitely disparate each and every time.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya brings a stunning performance here proving his versatility once again. This movie is all about his character and he makes it all about him. The success of this movie will undoubtedly be his success as he thrives, and lives as the protagonist. Whichever be the movie, he has always been there with some exceptional performance – you can do a rewind into his previous movies and clarify the same. With three stages of the protagonist’s life being shown on screen, the man comes in three appearances, clean shaved, with a moustache and with the beard. Like in Premam, this also shows the man in different appearances as the character’s attitude towards others as well as life as a whole changes. This will be his second movie to run with positive opinions at the same time, along with Amar Akbar Anthony.

Further performers of the soul :: You can note that the director Ranjith Sankar has a cameo role in this one. The two heroines in this movie are not that familiar for the Malayalam audience even though only one is the new face. Swathi plays the protagonist’s fiancee whom he was supposed to marry, and the one person to whom he feels really close. If you watch Comedy Super Nite on Flowers channel, you might have noticed her as she was there in one of the episodes. She makes a nice debut as she entered the industry, and there is a certain amount of cuteness right there. The other heroine, Shivada has more to do, and she also has the more inspirational stuff as the speech therapist. She also comes up with a fine performance as the difference maker. Aju Varghese contributes well to the comic side, and Mukesh brings more laughs. Mukesh as Mukesh was actually a very nice move!

Soul exploration :: Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam inspires you, but it doesn’t ask you to become someone else. The soul of this movie asks you to listen to your own heart and soul rather than the others and society who bring a label for you. The protagonist himself says that everyone is not supposed to become Sachin Tendulkar or Aamir Khan. It is all about us being ourselves, not doing comparisons with others. The movie tells us to be just us, but always to be the best of us, as not to have tried is a terrible thing. If we are not ready to be us, with all the characteristics that belong to us, then what is our significance as individuals? As separate individuals facing different situations, having varying abilities, it is all about making the best use of the talents. This movie is also supposed to be inspired on the real life story of a person. You were inspired by Rani Padmini a few days earlier, and now here is more.

How it finishes :: Don’t expect something huge with a big dose of tings, but as the simple and powerful movie of the weekend, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam will provide you with the motivation that is not restricted in any way. It is a path for you to travel in discovering your individuality, and at the same time, realize that everyone is awesome, no matter what disability or trouble is present. Coming from the director who started with Passenger and gave us some really inspiring movies, this one also leaves a mark, and Ranjith Sankar has left the audience with some happiness while touching the emotional side. If you leave the theatre with some positive energy inside, it is the success of the team which brought you Punyalan Agarbathis once again. Once again, you are reminded of what you can do, and why you are also someone who can achieve. You look for goodness and inspiration; you find Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam.

Release date: 20th November 2015
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Swathi Narayanan, Shivada Nair, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Sunil Sukhada, TG Ravi, KPAC Lalitha, Ranjith Sankar, Muthumani, Sarath Das, Irshad

SuSuSudhiVathmeekam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla (2)

Vampire Owl :: This sounds like Lal Bhahadur Shatri’s continuation. I am not coming.

Vampire Bat :: There is just Jayasurya playing a very good guy, otherwise this should be different. Anyway, you didn’t watch even that movie yet. There is also a shot of Jayasurya and Bhama having tea together. Remember the word “tea”.

Vampire Owl :: So what? I don’t need to watch feel-good. I can sense them. They are all going to be the same.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you are prejudiced?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, and it has saved me from watching bad movies. But I see that it is not working for you, and the same is spreading for you and affecting me.

Vampire Bat :: Then what are you going to do now as you are free?

Vampire Owl :: I am going to visit the Thommankuthu Waterfalls and think about more ideas on owlifying the world. The tea there is good; it helps one to think.

Vampire Bat :: What about your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: They have been called for some work at the Dracula Castle. We can’t deny the services when Uncle Dracula asks, can we?

Vampire Bat :: He gets all the movies at the castle. He is one lucky guy, isn’t he?

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: The story is that of an auto-driver in Thrissur called Mathai (Jayasurya) who is too good a man at heart and wants to solve all the problems in the world in whichever way possible. He spends his time trying his best and often gets into trouble for the same, never really giving him a positive effect, but he keeps trying again and again as if his life depends on him; he hopes that one day, everything will be awesome. His fiancee Anna (Bhama) is an assistant to a leading advocate in Kottayam, and as he comes to bring her back to Thrissur on a harthal day, it seems that he has lots of time in hand and wanders around in the area. At the same time, Nandakumar (Mukesh) is a heart surgeon who lives with his wife and child and is always having problems in his life due to his mother-in-law creating troubles. When Mathai comes to visit the doctor whom he had once helped when in trouble, the wife and child were no longer with him due to an issue concerning a wedding anniversary, and he decides that he should solve this problem for the doctor. But is a simple man like Mathai good enough to solve the rich woman’s ego?

The defence of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla :: The movie is both a preacher and a family counselor as it keeps trying to bring up all the problems in the family life and solve it from the beginning to the end. This is kind of a pre-marital course, and one has to say that it will be very of nice of the church to cancel the pre-marital course and use this movie instead, or it can directly give approval to anyone who has watched this movie – may be they can show the movie tickets to get approval. Yes, it is that kind of a movie, and not like Lal Bahadur Shastri as one might have expected. There is the good attempt to make things work and make it connected to the family audience. It starts off well, with our protagonist involving in the problems of one of his acquaintances and try to solve things only to make it worse. It is actually more funny in the first half. The cast has managed things well, and there is some humour lurking around all the time. Note that there is no romance in this one despite having the pair of Ivar VivahitharayalJanapriyan and Oru Black and White Kudumbam.

Claws of flaw :: The preachy nature of the movie often works against it, as people can get irritated at times, especially when the emotions fail to work and the humour almost disappears. Then it gets weaker, and makes so much of a lesser impact, and ends the movie in a predictable manner, with not much to cheer about – it is kind of a forced end, as if the classes are dispersed after all those lessons taught, and now it is time to go home and try the same. There is nothing that we haven’t seen before; remember the Mohanlal-Meera Jasmine starrer Innathe Chinthavishayam in which the hero and heroine attempted to save the marriages of three women? Yes, it is the same thing here, as our hero and heroine tries to unite a doctor and his wife. But this is not that good as the Mohanlal starrer, and is also restricted to two houses in action. Yes, there is the Aristotlean Unities at work here, of time, place (somewhat) and action. If you liked Innathe Chinthavishayam, there is a chance that you will like this one, otherwise, it is questionable – with no innovation and no good script.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is the character we are talking about in the title, and he once again shines as the simple character full of goodness – check Lal Bahadur Shastri and Apothecary models, and he once again uses the Thrissur slang like in Punyalan Agarbathis and it works like a dream for him. Mathai is another character in the comfort zone for him, and it is him who handles things here in the movie with the best quality. The feeling of the common man or the guy next door might be something that comes naturally to him. Bhama doesn’t lag behind in that, and even as she comes into the picture in a big way only in the second half, she joins the preaching and does fine. She also seems comfortable in this simple role. Mukesh is fine and has no challenge here at any moment; this is something that a versatile actor like him could do with ease. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is fine with her predictable character. Sreejith Ravi was very good in another avatar here, and he handles a lot of humour in this one and never falters – his character could have had a better handling though.

Soul exploration :: Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla has its own value in the contemporary society. People can question the product, but not the intentions, and scope for giving a good lesson, and this is where Akku Akbar gets the applause. The Dolphins did do the same, but it came too late to make that movie better. But our movie here shows how the world is changing in favour of ego and selfishness in a relationship, which in turns destroys it as the unconditional love itself is taken out and the whole thing remains as nothing more than a contract for mutual satisfaction. The movie has a husband who is a very busy surgeon having no time for family and a wife who want her husband to prefer her lavish parties over saving a human life. The advice that the wife gets from her mother contributes in the worst possible manner. There is also the idea of having a high status in a society and developing hatred for the common man. In the name of status and money, people tend to become less human, not just towards the outsiders, but also to one’s own people. Well, what is this “maintaining status” than showing off?

How it finishes :: Akku Akbar has to be appreciated for taking this topic which never losses the charm and the value in a society which keeps going further down with its family values in an age of ego leading to divorce. It is something which should be saved from the attack of the new generation movies which often ends up working in the exact opposite manner. But one can only wish that this was told in a better way rather than being too preachy. Our audience don’t accept such things, because it is like being told what to do. There is too much of it. If it was told in another way, things would have worked so much better, there is no doubt about it. Coming from a director who has been doing movies with family themes so well, let’s hope that he will come up with something a lot better next time. Until then, Angels seems to be the winner, even as there will be the question about how much it can score at the box-office seeing the status at the theatres. Penguins of Madagascar will take some family audience away from this one too, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Akku Akbar
Starring: Jayasurya, Bhama, Mukesh, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Sreejith Ravi, Thesni Khan, Sasi Kallinga, Jayaraj Warrier

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ormayundo Ee Mukham

ormayundoeemukham (1)

Vampire Owl :: Did you say the word soul?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I said that this movie talks about soul-mates.

Vampire Owl :: Dude, that is totally so evil. Like the souls in The Conjuring?

Vampire Bat :: Not that soul, the one that they say related to romance, like in Romeo and Juliet, Uncle Dracula and Mina Harker in the undead form or even like cardamom and tea.

Vampire Owl :: How disappointing. You should go for it alone then. It doesn’t fit my plans at all. I won’t recommend that for you either, as you are a cynic.

Vampire Bat :: But I can take that. I can have even tea, lime juice and milkshake together. I can take them all together.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, you are the one who watched three movies of entirely different genres at two different malls on one day and survived to tell the tale. Yes, I know that.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and I repeated that performance.

Vampire Owl :: You have even transformed me into a movie watcher. You are a bad influence. I should go back to my intelligent evil plans to conquer the world.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, do take the shovel to dig up your buried plans.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Gautham (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is a young businessman with an MBA from the United Kingdom, but is struggling with handling his father’s business at home due to his tension, lack of confidence and inability to memorize significant things related to business. His mother Vasundhara Devi (Rohini) struggles to keep the business going all by himself, and helping them in all that, is Gautham’s best friend Apoorva (Aju Varghese). Nithya (Namitha Pramod) enters their world as Gautham is forced to marry the daughter of a family friend as is attempting to make an escape. She is a sand artist and an orphan, with only the support of her sister Neethu (Soumya Sadanandan) and a family friend Dr. John Kuruvila (Mukesh) who is treating Nithya for her short term memory loss. Even as Nithya and Gautham gets really close, she doesn’t remember who he is, when they meet on the next day. Even as his well-wishers warn him against falling with love with her, he is adamant on making her remember him and stay in her mind forever.

The defence of Ormayundo Ee Mukham :: The move is cute, and there is no need for summoning an oracle from Delphi to tell you that, as it was evident from the trailer itself. The songs are good and nicely complimenting the movie, even if not that much to remember when standing alone. There is the feel-good factor and it also exists with the power to strike the hearts. The funny side is strong, with Aju Varghese handling things so well, and there are some really memorable moments with him and Soumya Sadanandan, and some more when Facebook, Whatsapp and some of the big movies and its dialogues or even songs are made fun of. Coming from the debutante Anvar Sadik, this is a great start for him, especially when experienced ones struggle a lot – no don’t look at Bollywood, that should be a shocking scene. The cinematography is excellent too. There is also the beauty of love, even as it is overdone with some dialogues, work nicely against the world of dumb new generation pseudo-love which we have to suffer from on many occasions. This one is extremely sweet and successfully delivers the feel-good factor.

Claws of flaw :: The movie seems to have been inspired by the 2004 movie 50 First Dates, but the director here has given the fact that he is influenced by Hollywood romantic movies just before the beginning of this flick. There is also the mentioning of a number of movies in the middle of this, and may be that will keep those who are complaining happy. Well, romance and comedy are two things that can be taken and changed to suit a different world and culture, and therefore, that trouble should be forgiven. This is also quite predictable with not much in the story and struggling to make things happen, especially for those who have watched a lot of romantic comedies from English, especially the Adam Sandler starrer. The end is just what we expect, and there is the extended final moment which shouldn’t have been there. They could have tried harder with this one, as there are moments which seems to be at a loss. There is the weakness of the central portion that this movie has, compared to what happens in the beginning and right after the middle. Yes, there is the stupidity in love too, but that is expected.

Performers of the soul :: Vineeth Sreenivasan wins the show, mostly with his funny side rather than anything else, and his presence in this cute movie is rather like the need for fire inside a fire-breathing dragon, and it is by his presence and his usual style that he has controlled things here, without trying anything different or special. But, if the movie is going to work for a certain extended period which becomes an infinite period of a slice of eternity, the credit for the same should go to Namitha Pramod, and the way in which she has handled her character. There is nothing big as if to slay Smaug the stupendous being demanded there, but she has done the job with so much neatness. Supporting her is Soumya Sadanandan who has done an unbelievably good job, making one wonder if she is a veteran. It felt so natural with her performance, and I hope to see her a lot more on the big screen, as she seems to handle every department so well. Aju Varghese handles the entertainment, and once again comes with a big score.

Soul exploration :: Ormayundo Ee Mukham once again get itself into the true love theme, which is surely something that has been exaggerated again and again, and it similarities to 50 First Dates doesn’t help the cause at all. But it has the nice moments which deals with the same in a better manner than most of the other movies. Well, what was Thattathin Marayathu other than a veil-obsessed young man wandering around after falling in love with a random girl for almost no reason at all? Did Om Santhi Oshana have anything other than a strange infatuation? Well, those two movies were undoubtedly better than this, but we can’t let this one go just because it has inspiration from a Hollywood movie. It takes some brains to adapt something from there to here, especially in the case of romantic comedy, as the definition of the same are different here. It is not really easy to group movies like No Strings Attached, Love and Other Drugs, Friends with Benefits and A Lot Like Love into romance, which would be rather absurd looking from here. We always had the worst of such nonsense in the form of things like Banglore Days.

How it finishes :: Ormayundo Ee Mukham needs an applause for the transformation it has done with the material, and all that the cast has put into it. There is no emotional nonsense which gets into this one either, even when the emotions are on the high – and there is no other dumb fake romance related thing added to it. The movie surely works as an entertainer, and its skill in the use of its resources can be clearly seen. But don’t expect a Thattathin Marayathu at all, and if you have watched 50 First Dates and liked it a lot, may be you won’t like this that much. I am not that much of an admirer of Hollywood’s romantic comedies, as I don’t think it has that much of any real romance at all, almost completely dishonoring what defined the same, and keeping it for Disney and the children’s movies. May be if that wasn’t the case, I would have liked this less; but I am sticking to the old generation romance, and I say that this one strikes one good shot towards the boundary and it is up-to the commentators and the crowd to talk about it.

Release date: 14th November 2014
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Anvar Sadik
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Namitha Pramod, Aju Varghese, Soumya Sadanandan, Mukesh, Rohini, Lakshmi, Idavela Babu, Bhagath Manuel, Raveendran

ormayundoeemukham

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

London Bridge

londonbrdg

Malayalam movies in 2014 :: This year hasn’t started really well for me, as I don’t think that any movie from Kerala in 2014 has been even average, may be because of that extending the limits by Drishyam, but with London Bridge, there is a some comeback. I do have to warn you in advance that it is a love story, but not your usual romantic love story – the romance factor is not the point here, and what takes over is humanity or rather compassion and goodness in its most innocent form. So, if you are expecting too much of intimate scenes and the dialogues professing eternal love, you are going to be disappointed. But the love in this movie still manages to be more genuine than what was seen in most of the love stories, especially those repetitive romantic love tales of the same kind. This love might look kind of ordinary, but there is so much going through the background, a flurry of emotions which takes one’s heart by storm, and it is clear that even nature comes in just to help and leave after taking a bow. Why wouldn’t gaia wish to contribute when it can see the loss of mankind’s loss of inherent evil? If there is another movie to which this one can be connected, that should be Diamond Necklace – you will know!

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Vijay Das (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a promising young businessman in the city of London who after starting off in a student visa has made it big with the help of his mentor Francis (Mukesh). As he runs a number of shops and money lending business, and in his path, Vijay comes face to face with a huge business tycoon CS Nambiar (Prathap Pothen), one of the richest Keralites in the United Kingdom. Even as they start off against each other in the beginning, Nambiar is impressed by the ambitions and hardwork of his fellow Malayali, decides that he will be a nice choice for his daughter Pavithra Nambiar (Andrea Jeremiah) who is determined to be a social worker and is not interested in marriage. As Vijay works on Nambiar’s instructions and attempts to please Pavithra, he comes to know that she is interested only in art, literature and charity works, while he is always after money. He struggles to keep with her, but as Vijay’s car hits Merin Elsa John (Nanditha Raj), he finds a chance. Merin has just come to the country and is just about to start her job as a nurse when this ends up in he hospital – she is regularly visited by Vijay to show his compassion to Pavithra who starts falling for him, but Merin also starts developing feelings for him, which he also develops.

The defence of London Bridge :: I am sure that a lots of people will be asking me to this, after watching this or while reading the other reviews. Yes, I am going to start by admiring this movie for its assertion of compassion and goodness. One can’t avoid the emotional power of the movie either. There are simply good-looking people and breath-taking scenery – I have never seen the beauty of England and Scotland being captured in this manner. There is the countryside at its best and also London, especially the London Bridge, Big Ben, Tower of London and London Eye. There are also the support of some brilliant shots which help the movie. It creates an incredible amount of nostalgia in me, related to my last visit to the United Kingdom. I know my brethren will be having nostalgia about many things, but this is one completely belonging to me, and increasing my desire to visit the place again; may be there was something that I left unfinished. The movie should make the United Kingdom tourism proud, especially the countryside and London in the way in which they are portrayed. This will remain one of the most visually stunning movies as far as capturing nature is concerned. Now you know why William Wordsworth and company had to write poems; how could they not see such beauty while being such visionaries?

The claws of flaw :: London Bridge doesn’t try to be different with its script, as it goes on and on with what the audience has known for quite a long time. There are dialogues which doesn’t really like to pick up, and there moments which were to be awesome, but remains ordinary. The movie drags a bit, and it can make the audience looking for entertainment asking for more, especially as this movie lacks exaggeration of any kind with its good length. There is no creation of a romantic world for these three people and the romance might look kind of weak from the outside. There are simple human emotions, fear, compassion, love, pain and frustration; even if it is quite normal to have these in a normal way, most people are not going to like it, that is for sure. This might also be my favourite movie from this director who has touched a new area, but I know there are skeptics who will disagree. They might feel that this is not “cinematic” enough, but I would disagree as usual. I am a person who love to agree to disagree when it comes to movies, so you should know. It needed some polishing that is for sure, still there is a typical flow and the movie can do a Hobbit-dwarves-barrel-escape, as it is pushed into the river of love and emotions powered by humanity. May be they could do better with a few wood-elves with nice archery skills, especially as this is such a competitive world that hitting the bulls-eye is so important (unless you wish to be devoured by impatient entertainment-orcs).

Performers of the soul :: The performance department is led by Prithviraj Sukumaran who fits into his role with ease. The transformation that his character has, and the variation that happens to his attitude as well as his relationship with others are admirable; especially from a heartless businessman to the man with the golden heart. He has once again rightly chosen not to be a superhuman character, but a normal human. Nanditha Raj as Merin is one of the most lovable characters ever, and with a stunning cuteness, she has done her agonized character so much life that, her eyes and expressions tell the story better than the words. I would be surprised if anyone would be cuter in a role such as this. But she is still never a weak character as she holds on to life without giving up or asking for favours, and never does she cease to care or be good. One has to love that change in expression when she comes to know that he is the one who hit her, and that was a nice sweet moment. She’s most impressive in those moments of sadness, and incredibly cute in those moments of happiness. Merin Elsa John is a character in pain from the moment she is introduced to us, but there is always a certain amount of innocence associated with her which touches our heart, and the way she finds cute smiles between tears and agony is wonderful success to Nanditha’s debut in Malayalam. She makes us feel for Merin each and every moment like a needle piercing through out hearts, and you have to say that the teeth adds to that innocence!

Other performers :: I have to say that I was also touched by the performance of Andrea Jeremiah which is second only to Nanditha. There has always been something mysterious about her, and the way she deals with Pavithra is worth mentioning anywhere. Her character as the rich heiress to a huge business should have been the exact opposite of our other lady character, but she develops something more of her own, and actually surprises us in a pleasant manner, right in the beginning and particularly in the end. She comes up with something by the end which gives this movie an extra emotional boost. I didn’t like her in Annayum Rasoolum, but not this time. Prathap K. Pothan has a strong role to play, as his character is special, and different from what you usually see with such a character, a rich businessman looking to marry off his daughter. Sunil Sukhada catches the attention with his character and Lena Abhilash has a very good presence as Gracy which is boosted by her own performance. Mukesh contributes as he always does, and it is nice how he fits into such characters. Yes, they all did well and it made me feel very good in the end, I was happy when it finished, and the performance of each of them made sure that I was with them, that is for sure. The songs are nice performers too, especially “Kannadi Vaathil” and “Venmegham”; while “Ennum Ninne Orkkanayullil” is cute and “Chinni Chinni” is fine. They look the best with the visuals.

How it finishes :: I am recommending London Bridge for anyone who likes to watch a feel-good movie and not some random glorification of anything, whether it is cricket, violence or sex. The credit of the same goes to our three leading actors, the superstar who accepted the role of a normal guy in an ordinary movies, and the two leading actresses, one giving life to an innocent girl from Thiruvalla and the other to a true humanist and charity worker who is more alive than anyone else. The movie is strong at soul, even as it displays its strengths so less due to its execution problems. Its ends up telling us that we will know the importance of someone in our life only when we feel that we are going to loose them. Prithviraj and Nanditha makes us feel it, so much more and more as the movie progresses to the end. But I would like to add that this is not that much for mindless entertainment; this is for serenity, and this is a tribute to that love which is not based on lust and infatuation, as we see in most of the other love stories. Thank you Anil C. Menon, for this perfect cast, and it is the best thing, along with the incredibly beautiful visuals of the United Kingdom and the feeling that it leaves us with. It makes me wish to go to the British Isles again, and re-create my time there. The flaws might be many, but the pain is perfect and it strikes as it touches your good side as long as it exists! I would also ask the viewers to keep away from the usual conventions about a love story, as it is not how this works!

Release date: 1st February 2014
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Anil C. Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Andrea Jeremiah, Nanditha Raj, Prathap K. Pothan, Mukesh, Sunil Sukhada, Lena Abhilash, Amritha Anil

londonbridge copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Monkey Pen

monkeypen (2)

I can still remember looking at one of those advertisement boards set up for this movie on the side of the road. It was quite big and it made me wonder what it is actually about and what can it do with such a title which is strange but not weird for the new generation Malayalam movies. It was the time when I had just watched Captain Phillips, and I wondered what this title Philips and the Monkey Pen was about. Yes, it was strange indeed for a Malayalam movie – it did have the picture of a kid and Jayasurya who plays his father. Another poster had Remya Nambeesan and also Vijay Babu, there was one more which had Joy Mathew in it with them. Yet the question would remain what was it all about? There have been many pathetic children’s movies in this part of the world, none of which was close to being interesting, and now they have come up with a strange title too. But how did it turn out? Now thats a surprise, not just the regular one, but a cute, sweet and more interesting than any fake films which are projected as family movies. I now give you with something from the movie – “I thought the truth would pain you”; reply: “The truth isn’t bitter; its just that the lies are excessively sweet”.

So here you welcome the first real family movie of the year, and it is indeed what they have projected; the all generation movie of the age, and it is a shame that it had to be postponed for movies of other languages; Arrambam, and more tragically Krrish 3. If any movie is to be shifted for such a fake hero movie like Krrish 3, it shows how messed up our audience is. Let me tell you that I am glad to see the number of audience even for the morning show during a working day, and I am happy to see the response of the viewers. I would be surprised if it didn’t them in one way or the other, and the claps in the end signified the same. I can only hope that it won’t lose the battle and give up early to the bigger movies which are to come this weekend, Geethanjali, Thira and may be Salaam Kashmir, plus the movies from other languages about which we can’t be sure now. Well, it is the duty of all the good movie watchers to make movies like this success, instead of going for movies like Krrish 3, Besharam and Boss. Please do support this movie! Show it to your kids for sure.

I begin talking about this movie by introducing you to the antagonist, the evil villain who is the manifestation of the wretched demon from hell, Mephisto-maths, or rather Mathematics which lived in the capital of hell, Pandemonium before its arrival to Earth. Pardon my use of language, as I have been as much troubled by this third rate piece of junk known as Mathematics as much as our protagonist Ryan Philip (Master Sanoop). Without that subject, world would have been awesome, I know it and so does Ryan. He has started his battle in the fifth standard as he tries to find a way to find a way past his class teacher Pappan (Vijay Babu) who teaches the most loathed subject of the school. He is not alone in this battle against Satan Maths and his helpers, the Maths teacher and the Maths expert of the class. There are four of them in total, as they are the freaks of the class who come late in dirty clothes and fails to do the home work. They are always thinking about how to send this demon back to hell.

The first idea is to find a girlfriend who can help him in Maths, but as Ryan is not that much of a popular kid in the class and neither is he studious or good at sports, that doesn’t really work out. Ryan is the son of a Christian father Roy Philip (Jayasurya) and a Muslim mother Sameera Roy(Remya Nambeesan), and none of the families are in touch which the couple after they married against the wishes of their parents. The only contact they later come across is Richard Philip (Joy Mathew), Roy’s father and a former captain of a ship. It is from him that Ryan gets a pen called monkeypen which is said to have helped in achieving impossible things. For Ryan, there are not many impossible things which should be possible – as it is just about the bloodsucking monster from the other dimension, which has surrounded his life in a python form – the evil Mathematics. The story deals with how Ryan overcomes all the problems of his life which starts and ends with Anaconda Maths with the help of a pen. Well, there is no real supernatural or magic involved in this one, and don’t let such thoughts stop you. Meanwhile, did I feel shades of existentialism? I doubt that.

There are lots of lessons to be learnt from this movie, and it is more of a morality tale wearing the visage of a children’s story, and with its veneer of simple childhood talks and experiences, the movie explores themes like love, truth, faith and duty. But the movie rarely preaches, as it shows rather than try to teach; it inspires rather than try to put something on the viewers heads. On one side, it tells the story of a kid who is hoping to do well, but is a mannerless boy who doesn’t respect elders, comes late to the class in terrible uniform and obviously doesn’t want to study. With the disrespect to authority and the elders, he is a sample of the bad next generation which is to come with no respect for values and traditions. On the other side, it is the story of the change that faith, love and care from parents can bring upon children. Ryan’s transformation is the major theme of the story, and most of the questions of this age comes up within the same. As a whole, this is not just the story of Ryan, or it shouldn’t be so, as its goodness prevails. The other characters of the movie are not avoided too, and in that case, it is further interesting.

Master Sanoop plays the protagonist of the movie, the man with the monkeypen. His performance is something which has to be judged just by viewing and not by talking about it. The same can be said about the other kids too, from his partners in crime to his arch nemesis in studies as well as the one of unattainable love. Jayasurya makes an awesome father in this movie, and this is another one of different, yet fantastic performances. Almost the same can be said about Remya Nambeesan who plays the mother who herself is immatured to an extent, but stands for his son when in need. Joy Mathew doesn’t lag in his role but rather scores when needed, and Vijay Babu is very good as the teacher, one of the most dynamic characters in a children’s film. Innocent has a small role as the boy’s imaginary friend whom he calls God, and joins him in his pains and agonies, removing his doubts and making him confidence, and the wisdom from this divine one adds, but is underused and pales in comparison to the pen. It might remind us of the character of Saint Francis of Assisi in Pranchiyettan and the Saint, in a lesser manner. Mukesh’s Principal is funny, and well done. To add, there is the beauty of cinematography!

I was highly impressed by how the story-line progresses. I thought this was a children’s story and I might get disappointed, but wow! They even managed to put a background story to the legend of monkeypen with the records of the construction of Willingdon Island, the first man-made island in India. The scenes involving the pen and Sir Robert Bristow is brilliantly taken, with no scope for any questioning. There is some brilliant writing behind this one, there is indeed magic of some sort involved with this one rather than inside it. When nostalgia calls, I have wondered about the Maths side of this story, and thought if I could have loved Maths if I had better teachers? By the time I got to the end of eighth standard, I had almost completely hated the subject even as I scored well enough for the board exams, and finally lost touch with it intentionally due to my lack of interest. Then, how did my love for English Literature come up? That was due to two of the English teachers whom I admired – such is the story of most of us, as good teachers make students love their subjects and score better in most of the cases except for some who are beyond hope. Meanwhile, the name of the grandfather Richard Philip, captain of the ship – ring any bells? 😀

Release date: 7th November 2013
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Rojin Philip, Shanil Muhammed
Starring: Master Sanoop, Jayasurya, Remya Nambeesan, Innocent, Joy Mathew, Mukesh, Vijay Babu

monkeypen copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Immanuel

immanue

There has been a certain absence of goodness in most of the movies of the last few years of new generation stuff; this absence which has been reclaimed more by another experimental movie which was Amen, and it is once again regained by this world full of goodness in the middle of evil in this movie Immanuel. The word “Immanuel” or “Emmanuel” has been a common Biblical name meaning “God is with us”. This presence of God and His Word happens to have an influence on this movie, which is more powerful than what is seen at first sight, as the strength lies in what is less noticed, and this strength powers the natural world that is conveyed to the audience; for even without them knowing, there is the power of divinity behind the seemingly ordinary goodness. The belief in essential goodness of man has been clearly broken with those movies which glorified pure evil. But this is not something which needs a theory to support the fact, as it has been proven by mankind by centuries of wars, brutal murders and destruction. The global presence of this evil is unquestionable. William Golding had made us believe the same with his Lord of the Flies which powers the belief in inherent evil in man. That tendency to sin innate in all human beings, held to be inherited from Adam and Eve.

As the “Fall of Man” has become more of an excuse for sins rather than something which acts as an influence, this movie comes up with one man who keeps his alignment towards the good. The mankind might be still inherently evil and this evil resides within everyone and could be unleashed at any moment as long as the situation is suitable, with no need for a Hannibal Lector. The dark side of human nature could be as vicious and as terrifying as the evil that exist unknown to man, and even the most innocent of mankind are vulnerable to it – but not our hero, as we welcome the man of goodness, Immanuel. He is no fairy king, halfling, hobbit or anything, but as human as one can be, in a world of lost humanity. He is the biggest surprise in the movie named after himself, and he is no lesser wonder in a world of utter chaos & misery, as the humane nature of humanity survives through him and runs his sacred endurance to the limits. Immanuel is not just a character of Lal Jose’s imagination, but a much needed reason for the salvation of human race – for the saved are less and the damned are many; for the greatest of the fallen ones has multiplied, not by breeding, but by intellect of the wrong kind calling it science and technology; profit and success.

The movie starts with the character of Immanuel working in a small book publishing firm. When the small company is forced to shut down due to the owner having heavy debts and going on a vanishing act, Immanuel and his family find it difficult to go through their regular lives. There are the usual requirements of a home as well as the needs of his son which makes life uneasy for the family. The difficulties he faces forces him to get a job which is not really suitable for someone like him. For a honest, good hearted person like Immanuel, the corporate world is nothing less than the inferno of the deepest level. He is forced completely out of his comfort zone, but he is also not able to quit the job as his family desperately needs the money. Thus he decides to go on as long as he can, and one day he might be able to find enough money to buy a home and get himself and the family out of the rented house. Most of his co-workers are of not much help to him, as they are all competitors in the same field and would use treachery if necessary to keep their levels high. His boss, Jeevan proves to be the biggest problem, as the cruel corporate master and oppressor, nothing less than a feudal lord or a colonizer. The boss’s aim is only to gain maximum profit, even as he talks about the customer being the king.

Remembering The Pursuit of Happyness, it was a movie which glorified this type of life, and the ultimate aim was to meet the deadline and get the target, but this one takes it upside down. Maximizing the client contacts and thus the profits doesn’t really get the job done for Immanuel. He is the kind of person who is ready to give up all of them as a sacrifice for leading a life of truth and sincerity. May be “happyness” was not what Immanuel was looking for, as it was “happiness” in its most stable form. Immanuel always had the needs, but he never over-valued money over the human relations, a total opposite to Jeevan, the latter who is more suitable to be included in the pursuit of “happyness” than “happiness”, more of a pseudo-happiness which takes a physical appearance rather than mental – for it is of this world in all its limited environment. Such a position wouldn’t create anything more than a void within a void, a point which is made clear through the lives of the two main characters in this movie. But the question would be about the point where humanity ends and divinity starts for Immanuel; and that other point where humanity ends and damnation starts for Jeevan, even if it is not a complete process. Such a question creates more doubts than solutions.

Mammootty’s Immanuel is more of a flawless creature of divinity. Even with contradicting philosophical problems created by the man of goodness, there is so much simplicity in his depiction of the character. There is so much ease around this performance, as the character undergoes heavy transformation from his early troubles to corporate frauds and to the final realization that not all dreams come true and most of them really needn’t. Dreams are also meant to stay as they are, and ambition is just another name for greed triggered by vanity and jealousy. There are two sides to everything, and as long as the black and the white are considered, there are Jeevan and Immanuel respectively, but the white always have the option to walk away from the black, not without loss though. Immanuel still doesn’t loss his qualities that makes him what he is, as he helps two characters played by Sukumari and Mukhta, the first one getting the much needed money for her daughter’s marriage after her husband’s death, and the second one for the treatment of cancer. His help extend beyond the office though, with the poor workers from outside the state, all of these creating more rift with Jeevan and making his staying on the job even more risky. But he continues to stay as himself.

Fahadh Faasil’s Jeevan is never outside the game. He is the boss of the game of sales, as well as the brain in a smaller ship of the corporate world. He is never in good terms with Immanuel, who seems to him as his nemesis from the moment he gets his job under him. Caught between profit-making in his job, loving his family and reading the Holy Bible, he is neither here nor there, but manages to keep his dark side going with his attitude towards those who works under him. It is a fantastic performance, even as the character has less screentime compared to Immanuel. Jeevan is also the exact opposite of those characters we saw in Red Wine and Amen, and a comparison to Solomon takes this further down to the abyss reserved for extreme opposites. Reenu Mathews who plays Immanuel’s wife has come up with another performance which is above the line, and really good for a beginner. Devan plays a role like he played in Gulumaal, and it is easy to connect with the role in this one; Mukesh’s role is also a cameo and the same can be said about that of Balachandran Chullikkadu. It can be said that Muktha Elsa George plays an extended cameo with a few appearances.

Bijukuttan, Salim Kumar and Guinness Pakru provides the lighter moments in the movie, and its comedy is all sensible. There is no stupidity or vulgarity associated with it. All these funny elements are not of lower standards either. Thus it moves on as a movie suitable for all, not just for the fans or the family. But it never runs out of its slowness, and never tries to have a look outside the ordinary. If it had done so, this might have reached a new level. But it may still be more comfortable in its own territory which is in this case, the normal side. There is nothing here like what kept the audience glued to Diamond Necklace – instead, this is just the story of one good human who managed to keep his goodness even as there were so many opportunities for him to lose it along with his soul. This movie is also a story of morality – it preaches and it does so with perfection; not as perfect as one would expect in theory, but as perfect as a human with all its imperfections could manage to do. The goodness needs to be generated in a society which is plagued by lies, and may Immanuel be a good model for the people who fails to deliver truth when it is most needed. The movie’s alignment towards pure goodness is to be appreciated. God is with this movie for sure.

Release date: 5th April 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mammootty, Fahadh Faasil, Reenu Mathews, Sukumari, Salim Kumar, Guinness Pakru, Sunil Sukhada, Ramesh Pisharody, Bijukuttan, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Muktha Elsa George, Mukesh, Devan

immanuel copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Lucky Star

luck

The Vampire Bat had to fight off many bad omens before watching this movie. There were so many souls talking in his dreams that this is going to be a bad movie. To add to it, when the Vampire Bat was travelling on his medieval machine which ran at ten kilometres per hour, the fastest ever invented by a non-human, and there were traffic problems. In the end, the Vampire Bat reached the theatre thirty two seconds late – not too impressive for a creature well known for punctuality. I guess this reveals another thing about the Vampire Bat. He can’t fly – to be frank, it is more like he won’t fly. It is mainly because he is against it, not because he is like that bird in the movie Rio. He has decided not to fly, even if he is pushed off a cliff with non-vampire crocodiles underneath. He is so adamant, but he is no Meursault, for he is as much as a believer as any living soul in Noah’s Arc. Back to the omens, the vampire bat happened to see so much reckless driving and breaking of traffic rules; but if that is to be considered an omen, the Vampire Bat would have seen no other movie.

So the movie has Deepu Anthikkad in his directorial debut, starring Jayaram and Rachana Narayanankutty. It is the story of a small family of Ranjith, Janaki and their daughter Megha. Our hero is a man who always dreams of becoming rich, and the family as a whole has quite huge dreams, and there is a little boasting which results in no big evil. The hero is a tailor who stitches dresses mostly for movies – a random person who got stuck in the city of Chennai after coming there with big movie dreams which he still cherishes. As the couple had love marriage, they live far away from their relatives, both physically and mentally. Ranjith is looking forward to a big enterprise which he plans to start with a bank loan which seems too difficult to get. His desire to send his daughter to one of the best schools in the area, makes the financial situation even worse. He ends up facing an incredible shortage of cash for his liking, which has to be met one way or the other. This has no movement in the Swapna Sanchari direction, that is for sure, but a comparison at certain points might be worthwhile.

Continuing the sotry, the next important character, Doctor John comes up with an offer of ten lakhs for a surrogate mother for the child of an American based Indian couple who wants the mother to be good-looking. But he fails to find a woman of their liking. Janaki herself takes a decision to go for the money despite the initial refusal from her husband. The American couple pays them half the amount as advance and agrees to return to pay the remaining five lakhs after the birth of their child. But after the birth of the child, Ranjith and Janaki find that the parents of the new-born baby will not return as they have already divorced and started to live their own life. They could no longer be expected to have any interest in a child which belongs to both of them. The initial reaction was to abandon the child, but later the kid grows up as their son and their financial situation also improves – meanwhile, an incident causes the original mother of the boy to return and ask for her son – something which changes the situation completely.

The movie might bring back the memories of 1989 Malayalam movie Dasaratham and 2012 Hindi movie Vicky Donor, the former which was a classic and the latter the Vampire Bat knows not too much about other than what he heard from his noturnal allies. But the known facts tell the Vampire Bat to leave the second one further away. Well, this one is less emotional than the 1989 movie for sure, and they are surely not the same. This is more funny and without doubt, quite enjoyable, as they first half is not short of its funny moments. There might have not been many positive reviews about this one, but I would say that this is a highly under-rated movie. It has a debutant director and a debutant leading actress along with the supporting actress, but it never really losses its footing. The two leading actress and Jayaram has had a firm hold in the movie. There are moments where the story might have lost the soil under its feet, but it never really does – from what the Vampire Bat knows of the soil, he never really liked falling head first into the soil, something which happened only three or four times in his life time. In the end, the movie has strong pillars and is a job well done with its limited resources.

A good story presented in a nice package, which should be very attractive to the family audience, but still not so sure about the new generation lovers looking a continuous supply of that word which starts with the first letter of Fan, Freak, Frog prince, Fanny Browne, Faustus the doctor, Frozen dessert and Fool. For your need for everything evil and not-so-nice, find some other movie. There are enough of them with lip-locks, alchohol, drugs, cigarettes and sex; and leave this one alone, for this has goodness and it cherishes on it. The movie goes on and banks on its goodness and cast performances in a balanced manner. There is no overdose of anything, but simple dose of what would make a family-comedy-drama a success. The biggest advantage of this movie might be that it is light hearted and centred on family, the type of role in which we always wished to see Jayaram – like Veendum Chila Veetukaaryangal, Njangal Santhushtaraanu, Bhagyadevatha, Manasinakkare, Georgootty C/O Georgootty, Ayalathe Adheham, Meleparambil Aanveedu, Aadyathe Kanmani, Veruthe Oru Bharya and so many others.

T. G. Ravi and Mamukkoya have smaller, but noticeable roles to play in the movie. Even as there not that much power in any department to strengthen the movie, there is not much flaws around. To be frank, what might have affected the movie more might be the prejudices; the most significant of them might be based on the name – for a name like “Lucky Star” is a little unattractive for movie; a little closer to the first name of the Indian Premier League Cricket team from Cochin, IndiCommandos Kerala, and not that far away from the names like Chennai SuperKings and Sunrisers Hyderabad. Not that these names can be considered horrible, for they are all subjective – a name like “Lucky Star” would create less interest in Kerala than most of the other names. Its like when I say the name of the movie which I am going to watch, and people are like, what in this world is that? That is surely a cause of repulsion. If it also reminds you of the 2011 Malayalam movie, Lucky Jokers, does that help? Not for me to say.

The movie has the right cast and there is nothing wrong in the movie to have this much less reception, and the hope is for it to do better than how it is performing in the theatre right now. Family audience, this is your chance to bring goodness back to Malayalam movies. A must for anyone who wants to see a good world on the screen and the display of the power of family values compared to the world of separation and intolerance. Isn’t this more of humanity than random people wandering around having drugs, sex, alcohol and cigarettes? Isn’t humanity more of being good rather than gaining attention? Even the ambitions and desires which might have existed in the earlier parts of this movie makes way for the big sacrifice in the end. This is how righteousness should be running, not on a cart made of stone wheels created out of a heart of stone, but based on that delicacy which should be worth a whole human life.

Release date: 8th March 2013
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Deepu Anthikkad
Starring: Jayaram, Rachana Narayanankutty, Pooja Ramachandran, Mukesh, T. G. Ravi, Mamukkoya

luckystar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.