Nizhal

What is the movie about? :: John Baby (Kunchacko Boban), a district court judge gets into a car accident after being in a fight with rash bike rider. After the accident, he begins to see things, and when there is sunshine, he keeps seeing dark clouds and rain. His psychatrist Dr TP Basheer (Rajesh Hebbar) tells him that it is just post-traumatic stress which will be over in a few days. He is also forced to wear a mask to make sure his damaged nose wouldn’t suffer any more damage, and will stay stable. He is not able to continue with his job as he used to, and his senior, Ajith Kumar (Saiju Kurup) is doubtful about his mental status. His best friend Rajan (Rony David) and wife Shalini (Divya Prabha) helps him, as latter is also a psychologist. From Shalini, he gets to know about a boy named Nitin (Izin Hash) who had written a story of murder when teachers had told the students to do some creative writing exercise. The teachers are concerned because as a child, he was supposed to write about things less terrifying by a long way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As this has him interested, he meets Sharmila (Nayanthara) the boy’s mother with the help of Shalini so that he could get rid of the feeling that something is wrong. Even though she doesn’t agree in the beginning, she lets them into their home fearing the police getting into the act. Nitin seems to be a happy little boy who lives with his mother in a luxurious flat in the middle of the city, and his only contact is Megha (Aadya Prasad), a college student who comes regularly to teach him, and is his only real friend. Nitin gets close to John easily, especially due to his mask which reminded him about Batman and Robin. Soon, things take a turn, as they understand that the murder which the boy had talked about, is something which had really happened. The body which was supposed to be hidden in the area which he mentioned actually existed, as they fnd a skeleton which was about thirty years old. Now, the boy has another story, and things begin to get serious with police involved.

The defence of Nizhal :: There is a certain amount of quality that we can witness as far as b is considered as a mystery thriller – this is the style which some of the Prithviraj movies had possessed, those belonging to the same genre. The technical department is quite strong here, and we see some fine visuals and the background score as well as the other sound effects are of top quality. The mystery is well maintained throughout the film, and there is the suspense which is not revealed that easily. The movie, as a thing of mystery has that Hollywood touch in different areas. It never lets the slowing down of the tale to hurt it, because there is the artistic quality which makes everything feel relevant and running. The first half is surely better than the second, and the interval punch is of top quality, as it is where you get your expectations to the highest point. From there, the movie travels through the safer zone in comparison.

The claws of flaw :: The climax could have surely been better, instead of seemingly taking everything towards what seemed to be a rather convenient ending – not really appropriate for a movie which had taken itself out of the comfort zone in the early stages making one feel that this was going to be something divergent beyond expectations. There are also those situations which could have been more twisted than what is seen on the screen, and moments when it could have taken a big leap. We could have also seen better reasons for what has happened on the screen, but that is also not here to be taken. The comic relief, even though is pretty good, disappears too soon, and the seriousness is not transformed into that next level as it was needed, when we see the final moments of the film. One can’t really blame that as the biggest mystery and fear has been about the Corona virus for some time now. The movie also needed better advertising because there are still people who don’t know about this one.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has been winning with his thriller movies, from Anjaam Pathiraa to Nayattu, the first one being an investigation thriller and the second one being a survival thriller against all odds. With all these movies, it is clear that he is getting rid of that romantic hero image once again, as this works really well for him. I would expect to find many more of similar movies with him in the lead, as we see how well this has suited him. After Love Action Drama, Nayanthara makes another return to Malayalam cinema, and this time it is into another genre, even though this time, we don’t have the whole thing centered around her – there is no real romantic side to this tale, and it is indeed a positive thing in a mystery thriller based on murders. Her character is also limited in comparison, and maybe it could have had more dimensions rather than being important as the mother of child causing trouble.

Further performers of the soul :: Izin Hash who plays the kid does the usual job quite well too. Saiju Kurup does things well in a role which suits him. Lal makes an appearance in the end, and it is the kind of role, though significant, stays on for the last fifteen minutes or so. Maybe, he could have had something to do earlier in the film too, and that would have made the whole thing better. Rony David who is best remembered for Aanandam, plays a significant role here too, and Divya Prabha who were among the nurse characters in Take Off has a nice role here, as a child psychologist, which she does to perfection – another case of finding the right support cast. We also see Marimayam‘s Vinod Kovoor and Star Magic‘s Kollam Sudhi in smaller roles, and we can hope for more of them later too. Among others, Aadhya Prasad seemed to be a notable newcomer, and we can find out that the lesser roles are given to those who are suitable for the job.

How it finishes :: Nizhal is the latest in the list of those Malayalam movies which were forced out of the theatres due to the COVID-19 complete lock-down being brought on the state. It is a fine choice, as nothing reaches viewers like Amazon Prime. After Drishyam 2 became a huge success and Joji received some high level critical opinion, it was already too late for a movie like this to have its release in the OTT platform. So, finally it arrived, and one can be sure not to be disappointed with this mystery thriller, as it is more than the usual mysteries which you see everywhere. It was also nice to see parts of UC College, Aluva being included in parts of the movie – the college had its biggest appearance in Premam, but here also, we are happy to see that grand educational institution which only recently completed one hundred years since its beginning. Nizhal, as a mystery thriller wins its battle, and lets hope that we win ours against COVID-19 too. Stay safe, everyone.

Release date: 9th April 2021 (Theatre), 11th May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Appu N Bhattathiri
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Nayanthara, Lal, Rony David, Saiju Kurup, Izin Hash, Divya Prabha, Vinod Kovoor, Aneesh Gopal, Siyad Yadu, Sadiq, Aadhya Prasad, Rajesh Hebbar, Kollam Sudhi, Sreelatha Namboothiri

<— If looking for horror genre in Amazon Prime, read this review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Love Action Drama

What is the movie about? :: Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) doesn’t have much of an education, and spends his time following a sumptuously rich lifestyle as he has inherited a good amount of money from his grandparents – he doesn’t care about what goes around him, and doesn’t even know the full form of MBA even though he pretends to be interested in pursuing the course. His best friend is Sagar (Aju Varghese) who is another jobless person wandering around the city with no aim in his life, and depends on Dinesh for money and enjoyment in life. With his cousin Swathy (Durga Krishna) getting married, and not accepting his proposal citing blood relation, he decides to increase the amount of alcohol and cigarettes in his life, much to the dismay of his mother (Mallika Sukumaran) who hopes that he would be responsible some day – she gets her brothers (Renji Panicker and Biju Sopanam) to advice him, but that brings no positive result.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During the wedding night, he meets Shobha (Nayanthara), a friend of Swathy, and accidentally ends up ruining her room and landing her in the hospital. But soon, they become good friends, and she invites him to Chennai, an invitation which he is too quick to accept. But things are not that smooth there as he had expected. There is confusion between them as well as revolving around her friends Priya (Dhanya Balakrishna) and others. Along with the same, her father (Sreenivasan) wouldn’t have that much of an opinion about Dinesh either. Whenever things seem to get better and going smooth, they don’t. Now the question remains if Dinesh can finally marry the girl whom he loves, and if Shobha can find something good enough for her to stay in love with the man whom she met at her good friend’s wedding.

The defence of Love Action Drama :: The movie does have enough of whatever is mentioned in its title, love, action and drama, even though not in the favourable and admirable levels of combination. The visuals are really good, and the music is pretty good for most of the time. Even when the movie goes in the wrong direction or when the romance struggles, it is the humour that keeps the movie going, as this one has that quality of those earlier Dileep movies, which is to keep the funny side simple and connected to the audience. It can be said that Love Action Drama is not a movie that seeks clarification to whatever happens within or asks for logic behind all those – it dives deep into those ideas which have worked in the past, and while keeping the humorous side alive, has things going in its favour. Well, when you shorten the name of the movie to LAD, you get the meaning of that word as “a male person of any age between early boyhood and maturity” – it is what the movie itself happens to be.

The claws of flaw :: Love Action Drama does have its prejudices when dealing with love, and it is surely confused about where it is going. There is no real reason shown for the girl to fall in love with the hero except for the fact that he is good-looking and rich, a strange thing considering what we know of the lady’s character. Some of the comic sequences are just dumb, and the love angle goes here and there, through the opposite extremes too often. We do see some repetitions, and the lack of a solid plot can be seen here while the story goes through its ups and downs. Dhyan Sreenivasan could have made this better for sure, as we know how many people are there at his own place to give him advice. It is the reliance on comedy that saves the day every time, but when it doesn’t work with you, there seems to be the struggle that doesn’t end.

The performers of the soul :: The movie clearly depends on Nivin Pauly’s star value as well as his skill in handling this kind of a character to move the story forward. This one comes as nothing difficult for him, as his immature character in Premam was done with ease, and this one requires even less from him except for need for more humour. It is his combination scenes with Aju Varghese that takes the funny side to the next level, as we know how well they are able to handle the comedy when together. Aju Varghese handles the scenes here with ease, reminding one of how things were going in Oru Vadakkan Selfie. Yet it has to be noted that it is not him, but Biju Sopanam who sets the wheels of comedy rolling in the beginning stages, even though he is not there for long. We also see Renji Panicker dropping in to contribute to the same even though it is only for a short amount of time.

Further performers of the soul :: Nayanthara has returned to Malayalam after a very long time, and you remember that she was last there in Puthiya Niyamam, and before that, for a short cameo appearance in Life of Josutty. Even though we are all glad to see her here after a gap of three years, one does have to wonder if this role has much for her, and whether anyone else could have been enough to do this job. Puthiya Niyamam had asked for a fine performance from her, but not this movie, which just needs her to be there with a little bit of effort. Mallika Sukumaran’s role as protagonist’s mother is worth mentioning, Jude Anthany Joseph’s short stay also leaves something to ponder about. At the same time, Dhanya Balakrishna who plays Nayanthara also deserves a mention. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s role does feel a little bit short, but it is fun when he is there. Sreenivasan also has some usual work to do, playing the father figure.

How it finishes :: Love Action Drama can be considered as a movie which is applicable to all kinds of audience, especially the family viewers, because of its qualities seemingly inherited from those earlier Dileep-esque comedy movies which has stayed for long, not considering those later repetitive versions. There is no question about the fact that the movie could have been better rather than going in a predictable path and being repetitive, but this is still a movie which stays close to a mood of celebration, and it is the kind of flick that we need for Onam vacations – we move away from a solid plot and go for the comic feel-good romance, which is forgivable at this stage. We have always had different kinds of movies for Onam, and this leaves us with what seems to be a preference, with Nayanthara making a return to Malayalam movie industry after a long time.

Release date: 5th September 2019
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Dhyan Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Nayanthara, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Durga Krishna, Basil Joseph, Prajin Padmanabhan, Sreenivasan, Jude Anthany Joseph, Mallika Sukumaran, Renji Panicker, Biju Sopanam, Dhanya Balakrishna, Motta Rajendran, Sunder Ramu, Gayathri Shan, Dhyan Sreenivasan (cameo), Bhagath Manuel (cameo), Deepak Parambol (cameo), Hari Krishnan (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Iru Mugan

Vampire Owl: I have heard that two-faced humans are really dangerous.

Vampire Bat: But this movie just has Vikram playing two different characters, and it is about the two faces of the actor as two different people.

Vampire Owl: That wouldn’t justify the title from within the movie.

Vampire Bat: Well, movies have become more about actors these days rather than being about itself.

Vampire Owl: It only gets worse when a movie is so bad and a superstar is acting in it.

Vampire Bat: And in some cases, movies just get the hype and rise above everything else – over-hyped movies are no lesser evil.

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have heard that the fans of such over-hyped movies have been abusing people for not liking the movie, and even for not watching the flick.

Vampire Bat: You see why we can’t take over the human world – they are just too evil; they do this with just some overrated movie. It is so hard to believe as movies are just for entertainment for the viewers and for the makers to make money.

Vampire Owl: According them, one particular flick is the greatest movie of all-time, and there will be another “greatest” later.

Vampire Bat: Yes, and the idiots don’t even know that there is a thing called opinion, and their greatest movie could be just third rate nonsense in someone else’s eyes.

[Gets three cups of cardamom tea with Hide and Seek biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: In a strange turn of events, an unknown old man goes out of control and kills many officers unleashing an attack at the Indian embassy at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A criminal scientist codenamed Love is figured out to be behind the attack, and this psychotic lover of science is known to have created a terrible mess before he was declared dead years ago. Now, as the unpredictable science terrorist threatens to unleash himself out of the dead, it is Akhilan Vinod (Vikram), a former RAW agent who was responsible for messing up the terror plans and killing Love who is entrusted with the task to bring the dead man to justice. But he has been living a life outside the grid after his wife, RAW’s senior computer analysist Meera George (Nayantara) was killed by Love at the time of that operation. The RAW chief Malik (Nassar) has a feeling that something bigger is coming up, and they need this expert officer’s service.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: Malik finds Akhilan and by telling him about the return of his old nemesis and convinces him that he has to be of service again. He is to work with a junior RAW agent Aayushi (Nithya Menen), who is in charge of the case, and the two of them leave for Kuala Lumpur to go further with the strange case at the Indian embassy. There they are helped by a Malaysian police inspector of Tamil origin, Muthaiah (Thambi Ramaiah) who remains rather scared of what is to happen next. More of investigations lead them to Peter (Karunakaran), a scientist who is working under the instructions of the evil mastermind, but decides to help the police. He tells them that the man who was thought to be dead is very much alive, and is responsible for the embassy attack, which was only the beginning. They are actually manufacturing a drug, which has the ability to create chaos and destruction by hiding them inside asthma inhalers.

The defence of Iru Mugan :: Iru Mugan can be listed among those movies which have tried to be different, and has tried something which can’t be done with ease – you see everything including the settings, they are all so good. If some other movies which are termed as the greatest could be that, just because they have brought something which hasn’t been seen before, this movie here has done the same too, without that much of ridiculous hype; well, it is the lack of confidence on a movie that brings the need for this extra hype, and if one particular movie was that great, it would have come and fought the battle without boasting and abusing. This is where Iru Mugan becomes everyone’s movie as the silent assassin, being a more righteous choice than those which claim to be among the greatest. There is so much of a stylish making here, and we see a lot of beauty of the place right on the screen. This quality is something which we can cherish for long. It even reminded me of the game Half-life, and its levels visually.

Claws of flaw :: There is the lack of attention right here, in how the movie has gone forward as a science fiction tale, with more seemingly spent on style and action than anything else. There was so much else that this movie could have done within one specific genre. There was a grand award to be taken here, as one of the best scienc fiction movies in Indian cinema, but that is not taken at all. There might be the feeling of knowing similar stories otherwise, but these days people just find a movie to claim that it is the greatest movie in the history of Indian cinema; so Iru Mugan, without such overdose of claims and third rate hype, is certainly there as a fine one. Then there is that “mass” effect, which should have been reduced to minimum, even though there is certain control in this movie. Also the name of the movie does little justice to the main character unlike what was expected, as there are just two characters.

Performers of the soul :: Here is another Vikram movie which depends on him more than anything or anybody else to do what he does the best on the big screen, as he once again comes up with the grand performance, and it is once more in more than one role. We had him in three different looks for one character in I, and here we have him in two different looks for two different characters, and once again, he is at the top of the game, and you remember Anniyan too which had him playing the character with three different personalities. It is his movies that I have always trusted to watched without second thoughts, and so despite missing this at the theatres due to the month of September last year being extremely busy, I managed to watch this on Mazhavil Manorama – that was more like a twist, and it is the one that I am glad about. He is there to bring both roles to the maximum effect. Nayanthara shines in her stylish avatar and Nithya Menen’s shortened stay was okay.

How it finishes :: There are only a few movies which you watch with the whole family, and everyone ends up liking it – Iru Mugan is that kind of a movie that has come up at such a safe position; this also reminds me to watch another missed science fiction thriller the Suriya movie, 24. We have a situation when it is impossible not to cheer for Vikram at each and every moment; and there is not just one, but there is two. There is also the great chemistry that work out between Vikram and Nayanthara, whether it is with the action sequences or with those song scenes. This surely wasn’t a movie with that much critical appreciation or hype as expected though. But with the bigger hyped movies, why would the one who know that the movie is so good keep talking about it all around the social media, mostly with fake profiles and abuse everyone? Thankfully, Iru Murugan never seemed to have such pathetic fans, which is why I decided to go for it despite having other things to do. I agree that we need all kinds of movies; but we need movies which doesn’t boast all the time, and those which don’t have their base and pillars built on hype, abuse and hatred – we need those which support free opinion, and unite us in difference rather than divide us. The fans of a movie are also a reflection of what a movie is, as superstar fans also symbolise their heroes. So, definitely choose to watch Iru Murugan, an amazingly stylish thriller with beautiful songs, even though its science fiction side needed some revival and the “mass” needed to go a bit down.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Anand Shankar
Starring: Vikram, Nayanthara, Nithya Menen, Nassar, Thambi Ramaiah, Karunakaran, Riythvika, Jasper, Karthik Nagarajan, Balaji Venugopal

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Puthiya Niyamam

puthiyaniyamam (2)

Vampire Owl :: I have been waiting for this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it should have released last year.

Vampire Owl :: As the trailer has come out, my desire to watch this movie has only increased.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, the trailer has been an interesting one too.

Vampire Owl :: Mammootty’s next movie after Pathemari here, and that too a thriller. I don’t think that things can get any better.

Vampire Bat :: And his next movie should be White with Huma Qureshi; that should be something of variety.

Vampire Owl :: It is because you have less time these days that I was afraid that we might miss this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Well, we should never keep away from watching a movie like this.

Vampire Owl :: It is like our duty to Malayalam Cinema, right?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, something like that.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Louis Pothen Narimadan (Mammootty), also known as LP among friends, is a film critic, television presenter and sculptor, and above all that an advocate who deals with cases of divorce, even though he tries his best to make sure that separation of a family is avoided whenever possible – at times, he is also interested in being a social activist. A person who is secular in nature, he is married to Vasuki Iyer (Nayanthara), a Kathakali artist who is a strong believer in God. Their families are not in connection with them after this inter-caste marriage even though Louis and their daughter are often invited to his ancestral place. But Louis’ family does reconcile with the new bride; yet things do take a terrible turn to make a negative impact.

So, where does life go from there? :: Things don’t go that well within the family in the later stages though. Vasuki has her systematized delusions about people, as she doubts the fish-seller, vegetable vendor and others who are part of their daily lives. She is overly concerned about the safety of her daughter and she keeps forcing Louis to keep making sure that they are safe, forcing him to buy a car and drop the child right inside the school compound every day. Louis is worried about the change in character of Vasuki, and even the child notices the same. One day, after a Kathakali performance, Vasuki meets Jeena Bhai (Sheelu Abraham), the city police commissioner who offers her help if there is any need. She decides to talk about her problems to the cop.

The defence of Puthiya Niyamam :: The climax is the highest point of the movie, as the final moments become a lot more interesting. There is one twist in the end for which you can wait, and it is the kind of waiting which you can wait with expectation to find something interesting. The messages are there, and there is also the presence of some moments for family watch. The visuals are pretty much interesting, even though the same could have been used better to display the city. The music is just okay around here. You will find interesting moments for the fans in the end, and there will also be some dialogues which will keep them interested – well, they will clap anyway, but some are worth it. The fact that there is no overdose of emotions here, is also a positive here. The fact that this doesn’t become the usual revenge story is also good.

Claws of flaw :: The first half is pretty much not good. It drags and nothing much really happens; even the comedy itself is forced. More focus could have surely made things better with the things before the interval. The movie takes too much time to get to its main points, and it has to wait till the end to bring that big moment. The movie also takes the chance to deviate from any idea that people had from the trailer; it is not really a positive thing because there was scope for more from that trailer. A lot of extra characters including Aju Varghese is wasted, and the comic side never really gets going, which affects the flow in the first half. More could have been done with the central idea of the movie too. The thrills are also too less even though this one was called a thriller – there is a shift in focus which makes the genre move away. We also needed more of Mammootty.

Performers of the soul :: Most of the screen presence is with Nayanthara who is there for most of the run-time of the movie, and she has given a very interesting performance in her character here. The mystery of the character’s change is well-portrayed here. Mammootty is there from the beginning itself, but takes over the movie’s universe only by the end; at some point you feel that he is there for the sake of being present only, but he will make amends in the end, and you need to wait for that. You still won’t get Mammootty as the protagonist or a full movie presence though, but as I said already, waiting will make things happen in the end – good things happen to people who wait; I have that kind of an experience myself. Bhaskar the Rascal had them working together nicely, and now this one has them doing the same very well. The rest of the cast does not much.

How it finishes :: The fans have been the curse of this movie; a lot of dialogues were not clear because they were making noise inside the theatre. If the focus of the fan clubs is to disrupt the dialogues of their own superstar and throw waste inside the theatre, it is time that they cease calling themselves fans. Yes, this is not the first time, but while watching a thriller, such lack of quality among people who call themselves fans will only cause problems to the flow of the movie. I think that it is time that celebrities have a say about this; do they want fans who keep saying the same thing all the time or people who appreciate their performances? Well, blind support to an actor isn’t going to make his name better – people will say his name and add the word “fans” to the end, and call things pathetic – it is the duty of a responsible fan to make sure that it doesn’t happen!

Release date: 12th February 2016
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: A. K. Sajan
Starring: Mammootty, Nayanthara, Aju Varghese, Baby Ananya, Sheelu Abraham, Rachana Narayanankutty, S. N. Swamy, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Pradeep Kottayam, Ponnamma Babu, Sadiq, Jayaraj Warrier, Sohan Seenulal

puthiyaniyamam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.