Theevandi

What is the movie about? :: Bineesh (Tovino Thomas) started smoking at an early age, and tries to go on with his life without having any responsibility. He has a few friends around whom most of his life happens. The smoking which he started in school followed him to youth, and even though that bothers his lover Devika (Samyuktha Menon), they continue the relationship. Her father Madhu (Suraaj Venjarammood) is not confident about the relationship as he knows that he is a chain smoker due to which the title “Theevandi” was given to him – there is no positive side in the future which he sees about Bineesh, but he reluctantly agrees as Devika is certain about it. He talks to Bineesh’s brother-in-law, Vijith (Saiju Kurup) who works with him in the same political party and gets Devika and Bineesh engaged.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But Devika discovers that the smoking habit of Bineesh is beyond all limits and decides that she can no longer continue to be in love with a man who is obsessed with cigarettes. As she decides to be no longer engaged, another problem arises about who would be the next MLA of the constituency, following a terrible accident involving the MLA who has only a few days left to live. The two possible candidates are Bineesh’s brother-in-law and his possible father-in-law which brings another problem to light. In between all of these, is his smoking problem, and as long as the same exists, he can solve nothing. Can there be a solution to Bineesh’s problems, and how far can he go to make it happen? Or will he take the easy way out?

The defence of Theevandi :: There is the certainty of fun as far as Theevandi is concerned. Some jokes will be remembered for longer than we think, that is for sure. The message also arrives strong, and gets stronger and stronger as the movie progresses. The song “Jeevamshamayi Thaane” might be the best moment of the movie, with some other songs to join in. The music of the flick is very good, and there are some nice visuals of the beautiful village at which the flick is based. There is simplicity all around, and the message which the flick deals with, is serious and beyond the limitations. It is complicated when we see the whole of it, and the message against smoking is something of universal relevance. If the movie can inspire at least one person to give up smoking and lead a better life, there is great success being shown here – that one person will surely not be the end of it.

The claws of flaw :: There is no doubt about the fact that Theevandi could have done even better with its content. Being a movie which was supposed to release in June, this has been delayed for too long. The length of the move is also a negative thing, especially considering the fact that the main purpose here to provide one message, the one thing that it attempts more than the others. Some moments which were supposed to be funny, also falls short. The ending of the movie is certainly interesting and feel-good, and after a good beginning, it is the middle part that has somewhat a struggle. The political side could have also been a better satire. The tools and the premise were present there, but we see a struggle to go too deep in there, and maybe that concerns the possible risks.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas has another role of a flawed hero after Maradona and Mayaanadhi. He has done this job naturally, and there is no moment when he seems to be in trouble. The protagonist’s problems are nicely shown, and the man caught in the terrible situation has our attention. Samyuktha Menon makes a big impact in her first big role. As the industry seems to have less big names among current actresses, her performance here should elevate more of the cinema of these times too. She excels in the romantic and funny sequences, and just holds the ground during emotional scenes. The pair has fine chemistry running through, and the same feeling that was conveyed through the popular romantic song in the movie, goes on even when she seems to show less interest.

Further performers of the soul :: Despite being provided with an exaggerated character, Surabhi Lakshmi manages to bring the most fun of the same. The character seems to be forced into existence without detailed thoughts, but she could manage that, and make things work. Suraj Venjaramood is comfortable in this role which is mostly serious with some chance for comedy. We remember how he nicely kept the balance earlier with Varnyathil Aashanka, Oru Muthassi Gadha, Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum and Aby – here he has no problems in doing the same again. Shammi Thilakan also brings the funny elements, even though for a lesser amount of time. Sudheesh and Vijilesh do leave a few things for the funny side too. Rajesh Sharma is also there leaving a mark.

How it finishes :: These are the days when the Malayalam movies are making a comeback after a short break caused by the Kerala Floods. It is the return of the films as much as the return of the state to the normal world. It is with more interesting releases including Ranam and Theevandi that Malayalam movies are making a return, as movies like Koode and Maradona have been there for quite long. The case of Theevandi is stronger because it deals with a socially relevant movie. Translated better as “the vehicle of fire” rather than as the literal translation “the train”, this movie certainly becomes a better notice against smoking than any of those small advertisements shown in the beginning of the flicks. It marks a fine return of Malayalam movies as it surely seems to serve its purpose. You might also want to watch the video song from the movie which has become so popular.

Release date: 7th September 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Fellini TP
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Samyuktha Menon, Surabhi Lakshmi, Rajesh Sharma, Suraaj Venjarammood, Shammi Thilakan, Sudheesh, Krishna Praba, Neena Kurup, Vijilesh, Musthafa

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sakhavu

What is the movie about? :: Krishna Kumar (Nivin Pauly) is a leftist student leader who wishes to make it big at every level. For the same, he has been studying different courses in the college – his aim is to get to the top of party’s student wing, and from there, get to a big position in party’s trade union, and then become MLA or MP. For the same, he is ready to do anything, including getting rid of his best friends who are threat to him. It is his friend in the party Mahesh (Althaf Salim) who provides him support in all his plans without asking for anything in return. One day, he gets a call from the party office to go to the hospital and donate blood for a party member who is in critical condition. He isn’t really interested in the same, and tries to act rude so that he could get out of there as fast as possible. There, he meets Aishwarya (Gayathri Suresh), his old friend from school, working as a nurse at the same hospital, who talks to him about the person who is in the ICU.

So, what happens next? :: There he meets more people including the man’s friends, and also his wife Janaki (Aishwarya Rajesh) and his daughter Nidhi (Aparna Gopinath), and the tale of a much loved comrade is revealed. There is a long past that goes to those days when this comrade, named Krishnan (again Nivin Pauly) had come to Peermade to strengthen the left trade union activities at the place. There were many things that followed, including those incidents which made the man a favourite among the masses, and nothing less than trouble for the exploiters. Krishna Kumar listens to the tale and also to that incident that landed Krishnan at the hospital – there is more to things here than what meets the eye, as he hears about what the comrade has been working on in the last few days. So, how does this tale influence Krishna Kumar, and how does life change for the man who was always after high positions and fame in the party?

The defence of Sakhavu :: There is the strength of ideology behind this movie, and it goes towards taking a righteous stand, especially when a political leader is concerned – on what the left ideals really mean, if they are implemented in the right way. The message is strong, and there is the presence of feel-good elements. The flashback scenes look really nice, and you need to watch this one on the big screen for the same. There is the presence of a lot of humour in the first forty five minutes of the movie, and then things get serious – the strength of the whole thing is tested, but the movie then stands the test, and comes back victorious. It is also the final sequence after the credits start rolling that score big at a time when we feel that the movie ended too soon. The movie can be considered as a nice mixture of things, and without showing no overdose of action sequences, the intensity of the sequences are very well delivered.

The claws of flaw :: There is a rather predictable story in this flick – even though the hero from the past has his heroics to be talked about by others, there is nothing new or special in that tale which follows a pattern which so many tales from the past has followed, with a big estate and firm, along with the workers who suffer because the rich and the affluent just don’t care. The movie could have also been shorter, or could have added some special ingredients to justify its length – maybe a return to the present in the end, and some more sequences to follow with the protagonist’s life could have made things even better, rather than stretching the flashback a little too much with the predictable things. The scope was so much more for this movie, and the divergence that it has taken here is not much, as the attempt is there to balance the class and the mass, never to overdo any of them. The movie could have also used its heroines more, especially in the present.

Performers of the soul :: When you look at Nivin Pauly’s last few movies, Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Action Hero Biju and Premam, they were not just very good movies, but also did great at the box-office; now he is back for more. This is also the best movie with him as a solo hero, and also the best performance from him till date. Here he comes in two roles, and among the two, it is the new-age role that suits the best for him – the other role also demands him to play the elder version of the character, which also leaves a mark. There is the new generation social worker portrayed nicely with all the shortcuts of life which are taken, and there is the maturity of the old generation comrade, who has struggled so hard with everything in life for the party as well as the society. It works at both sides for Nivin Pauly, and this is the kind of performance which will mean a big change and the right kind of deviation in his career. Here, it is Althaf who provides him great support with a nice funny side, making things so much alive.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Nivin Pauly continuing his run as the one actor whose movies keep the standard, there is also a supporting cast which has rather less to do in helping. There are three heroines in this movie, but they get to do rather less in this flick which is highly dependent on Nivin Pauly to perform in two separate roles. Aishwarya Rajesh gets the most to do in the flashback, as the comrade’s wife, and a little bit in the present, and she manages the same fine, even though there seemed to a little bit of urgency about everything; rather more than required. It is good to see her again after Jomonte Suvisheshangal. Gayathri Suresh gets rather too little in this one, even less than what he had to do in Oru Mexican Aparatha and Puthiya Mugham, playing a character that the protagonist knows from school. Then there is Aparna Gopinath who plays the strongest of female leads, and also the most charming one – a good continuation after the magic of Charlie and the message supply in School Bus.

How it finishes :: Sidhartha Siva, the director is known for some of those critically appreciated movies including 101 Chodyangal and Ain, both winning him national awards, along with that inspirational flick which was very much feel-good, Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. Sakhavu undoubtedly keeps that high level, and once again, there is no trouble with the quality. Sakhavu is a movie that has almost everything, and it is the movie that you wouldn’t want to miss – it will win this Easter-Vishu season, considering the fact that most people have already watched The Great Father, 1971: Beyond Borders under-performing, and Puthan Panam ended up as one of the worst movies to have released in some time. This should be the season of Sakhavu which succeeds in rising above the expectations; it not just superior to Oru Mexican Aparatha, it is also more responsible, getting to the point in the right way, and leaving the right messages. This is one of the best movies of the year so far. Well, what seems to be a simple family flick, Rakshadhikari Baiju is the next one up at the theatres.

Release date: 15th April 2017
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Sidhartha Siva
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Gayathri Suresh, Sreenivasan, Aishwarya Rajesh, Aparna Gopinath, Althaf Salim, Tony Luke, Musthafa, Sudheesh, Kalabhavan Rahman, Renji Panicker, Prem Kumar, Manianpillai Raju, Aliyar

@ 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.

Oru Muthassi Gadha

orumuthassigadha-2

Vampire Owl: So, the title is not about the story from grandma.

Vampire Bat: No, it is more about the blunt mace.

Vampire Owl: I guess I misunderstood this one then. I see variety.

Vampire Bat: This one battled with Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho, Oppam and Oozham which were running at the theatres during that time.

Vampire Owl: And it was there in those multiplexes for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: Which is why this one deserves more respect.

Vampire Owl: We remember how good Om Shanti Oshana was, from the same director.

Vampire Bat: Yes, just his second movie. Doesn’t that feel like reason enough to watch this one?

Vampire Owl: Yes, a lot more than the other reasons.

Vampire Bat: Lets make it happen then.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Siby (Suraj Venjaramoodu) lives in the city with his wife Jean (Lena), daughter Alice (Aparna Balamurali), son Alan (Nohad Shajahan) and his mother, Leelamma (Rajini Chandy). Due to his mothers ill-tempered nature, Siby finds it difficult to find domestic help when he and his wife goes for help, and even his friends are afraid to come to his house. She is always angry towards her daugher-in-law, continuously finding fault with her, and her attitude towards her grandchildren makes sure that Alice wishes to stay in the hostel and Alan wishes to spend more time at the school. Their last hope comes in the form of a Bengali worker who somehow manages to get along with his mother. Even though this is a certain amount of relief, her nature remains the same, and even his boss Anil (Vijayaraghavan) has to face her wrath.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: It is Anil himself who advices Siby to take the whole family to a trip which can make things better. But with his mother not willing to go, they are forced to go on the journey all by themselves. Leelama stays back at home, and she is joined by Soosama (Bhagyalakshmi), Jean’s mother who intends to keep her company. Even though they don’t get along well in the beginning, things change later, and Leelama’s flashbacks are revealed. This leads to her coming with a wishlist, and they going on a trip to find more from Leelama’s flashbacks. After this journey, which will include Alice and her boyfriend Milind (Rajeev Pillai) along with Leelama’s classmate’s grandson Brilly (Jude Anthany Joseph), there are changes coming, not just to her family, but also to those around her.

The defence of Oru Muthassi Gadha :: This movie comes up to provide a message nicely, that too with all its simplicity. It is a similar feeling which was in Om Shanti Oshana, that we have here, and we even see some of the characters from that movie again. That smooth feeling is also maintained in this movie, with no scope for melodrama, and we take this movie in a light-hearted manner too with the needed feel-good. There is energy here, and there are moments which go directly into one’s heart. It is a reminder to us that there are things that can be changed, and we have to try hard enough for the same. It is by looking through another person’s eyes, can we know them better, and it is different for each person from different situations – the movie asks us to try to go through the same instead of judging them all. It also talks about going on with our busy lives along with giving enough care to our parents and grandparents. The movie does look really good with its visuals and there are also some nice songs to go with the same – it also does end well.

Claws of flaw :: This is surely not that good as Om Shanti Oshana, one can be sure about that considering the fun side. Oru Muthassi Gadha does preach, and that might not go well with everyone. There are moments when this movie could have been funnier, and there are points where this one could have been more serious about its message – but this one maintains one path right from the beginning to the end, that is of a light-hearted movie with a message, without moving out of its simplicity to bring something that strikes the heart in a deeper way. There are also jokes that go wrong, and the moments which are overdone, which affects this movie, but only up-to an extent. There could have been more ideas about presenting a grandmother like this, but Oru Muthassi Gadha believes that it had enough of experimentation a little too early, and hesitates to bring more. Well, you do wish for more here considering the main idea.

Performers of the soul :: Rajini Chandy leads the way here as the protagonist, and even as a new face, she has made things work so well, rising above everyone else. Keeping her company is Bhagyalakshmi, without doubt, as she goes on to bring the change here in this movie. There is no real leading actor in this movie, and it is with Rajeev Pillai who is paired with Aparna Balamurali who is back from Maheshinte Prathikaram that some part of it lies, and he also has his funny moments. Aparna is once again good in another role here, or rather two of them. Jude Anthany Joseph also surprises us with some nice funny lines including the “M for Marry” and “Inception” dialogues which are really well-timed – there is something special about those funny dialogues which directors themselves use as actors as long as they do it well enough. To add to that, Suraj Venjaramoodu and Lena along with the whole family really work well together in this flick – its one nice family here.

How it finishes :: Unlike what many people had thought, Sreenivasan and Vineeth Sreenivasan got only smaller roles to do here, but we do remember them. The movie does live up to its trailer, and it is sure to make a very nice choice to watch with family. There are enough messages for the families and the new generation to take home, and Oru Muthassi Gadha is the kind of movie that is sure to be interesting for all types of audience, even without trying to go beyond its limitations – this one has still managed to bring its message in a different way. This movie also makes one wait for more movies from Jude Anthany Joseph, who seems to be the one director whose movies can be watched without second thoughts. Well, this one has a shared universe with Om Shanti Oshana – now that is something which you don’t usually see around here!

Release date: 14th September 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Rajini Chandy, Bhagyalakshmi, Aparna Balamurali, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Lena, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sreenivasan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Vijayaraghavan, Renji Panicker, Rajeev Pillai, Ramesh Pisharody, Sathi Premji, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Musthafa, Nohad Shajahan, Bijukuttan, Baby Meenakshi (cameo), Lal Jose (cameo)

orumuthassigadha

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.