Mamangam

What is the movie about? :: Mamangam, a grand fair used to be held on the banks of Bharathappuzha in the north of Kerala has a history that is written in blood. It had great economic, social and political significance, along with being a religious festival associated with the temples. There, the Zamorin ruler of the Kingdom of Calicut challenged other regional kingdoms to oppose his supremacy. There were the suicidal warriors from Valluvanad region who dared to oppose him and make history. But they would mostly die fighting against the powerful army of Zamorin, and only left those messages of bravery and honour for their people to cherish. It becomes their right to die as a soldier in the battlefield, and inspire more to follow their path through martyrdom. The last Mamangam fair was held in 1755, and this movie comes up with a memorable one before that.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Chandroth Panicker (Unni Mukundan) is the latest addition to that list of the suicidal warriors known as Cheverukal, attempting to challenge Calicut’s Zamorin’s authority again. His mother, wife and sister are unhappy about the decision, but they can do nothing, as for him, it is a decision made by the gods. It is then that the son of his sister, the young Chandroth Chanthunni (Master Achuthan) also joins him to join Chaverukal, much to the dismay of the whole family. They have the tale of Chandroth Valiya Panicker (Mammootty) who betrayed their tradition ahead of them, so that they should go on with that they have been training for – to end Zamorin which is the best thing to do. On the way, they have to stop at the abode of Unnimaaya (Prachi Tehlan) and Unni Neeli (Iniya), after being attacked by Zamorin’s men. There is a long way ahead of them, but they will need some help to get anywhere close to success.

The defence of Mamangam :: There are not many movies which we have waited for so long like Mamangam, except for some which are still to be released. Malayalam movie industry always needed good historical movies other than those which keep talking about the British – The Colachel War has been long forgotten, despite it being a landmark. Considering the same, Mamangam has taken the pain to bring something with a difference. The visuals are all grand, even better than some of those overrated movies seemingly belonging to a similar genre. The beauty out there is not limited to the background, but to almost everything in particular. The action sequences are all very good, especially in the final moments, which are breath-taking, leaving one wishing for more. The message goes on against revenge, and that it is not something healthy to pass the same through the generations – forgiving and forgetting do have better meaning.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is a little bit too long, and its extra dose of dialogues make it feel even longer. It does seem to repeat the same thing multiple times, and deviates from the idea of action and adventure associated with the title. Even though the “Mookkuthi” song makes some impact, the rest of the songs are not up to the mark. The presence of a mentor character doesn’t add much to the otherwise direct and straightforward movie, and the feminine version of the character is a bad and unnecessary diversion. The lack of completeness is evident, as the movie struggles to live up to its theme and story on many occasions. The final scene after the mamangam fight also feels unnecessary, as there could be nothing bigger to be added. A movie like this should offer something better, and one is left to wonder why it is becoming more and more difficult to make movies based on Kerala History, even those which are set at a time period not even five hundred years into the past.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty was part of one of the best movies of the year, Unda, and now he is back with the movie with we have all been waiting for. As we all know, he is no stranger to historical movies and epic stories which tell the tales of heroes of the past, and this was time that he had another one to add to that list. Still, one has to wonder why he went for that exaggerated dance and some ridiculous comedy with another side of that character – this kind of ridiculous moments are not suitable for this kind of a movie, not for a historical epic action movie. Unni Mukundan does a fine work here, and his controlled performance is worth the appreciation. Master Achuthan comes up with a wonderful performance at the same time. It is him who catches our attention the most, and he excels in the action sequences even more. The last scenes are nothing less than magnificent, and it belongs to him completely.

Further performers of the soul :: Prachi Tehlan comes up as the leading female presence in this one – the former netball and basketball player has no trouble in the less amount of role given to her. Iniya provides her support, even though not much is needed from her side. At the same time, Anu Sithara and Kaniha has even smaller roles here, most of the time sticking to some dialogue or tears. There are also other actresses here including Maala Parvathi and Kaviyoor Ponnamma, but the female characters here are rather insignificant in the movie plan at work. Siddique has a villainous role here, and even though done quite well, it is not the kind of antagonist that we are going to remember for doing the terrifying job. Sudev Nair, even though nice, is wasted in a role which makes no difference to story at all – the character doesn’t add anything significant to the whole thing, for even otherwise, things could progress in the same manner without any trouble at all.

How it finishes :: Last year, in another December, on almost the same date, we had another Malayalam movie set in the past trying to make history – Odiyan. It was not that much of a successful attempt, but that was certainly a sign. We have more signs here, even though we are still far away from having that right historical movie. There is the need to improve, as Mamangam goes on through its journey. There is a better understanding of history and the reflection of the same required, and one can only hope that things could reach further level with the genre. A fine depiction of Colachel War might be the solution, but we haven’t heard about anyone trying for such a case. Until then, we have these movies which have the potential for greatness, but fall short in the process. But we would need to watch these, with all the splendour which is displayed on the big screen.

Release date: 12th December 2019
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Mammootty, Prachi Tehlan, Unni Mukundan, Master Achuthan, Siddique, Anu Sithara, Kaniha, Mohan Sharma, Tarun Arora, Iniya, Maala Parvathi, Neeraj Madhav, Idavela Babu, Manikuttan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Suresh Krishna, Sunil Sukhada, Meghanathan, Manikandan Achari, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jayan Cherthala, Sudheer Sukumaran, Vishnu Marakkal, Abu Salim, Sudev Nair, Nandan Unni, Valsala Menon, Nilambur Ayisha

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Paippinchuvattile Pranayam

What is the movie about? :: Very close to the city, but still, very far away from the urban setting, there is the small island which is known by the name Pandarathuruthu, and the first half of that name itself is enough to know how that place is considered to be, by not just the people from outside, but also those who live there. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge has said in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the people of the island also faces the same situation – “Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink”, surrounded by salt water, and having only a few boats – as all roads lead to Rome, all of those boats get them to the city, and nowhere else. This is the tale of the simple people in that particular place, where everyone spends more time waiting for water in a long queue in front of the common tap at the centre of the island, rather than doing anything else. The rest of the people do simple jobs, including fishing, painting and also a little bit of farming which doesn’t need much of fresh water.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is around that place of local gathering around the tap meant to collect water, that Govindankutty a.k.a Govutty (Neeraj Madhav) and Teena (Reba Monica John) falls in love. While there is the scarcity of water there, one can see no difficulty in getting some love, as far as these two are concerned. Govindankutty leads a happy life with his good friends Ayyappan (Sudhi Koppa) and Bashi (Rishi S Kumar) earning enough through painting work and a few dance performances when opportunities are available. There is not much of a complaint from them about their lives, despite the unavailiability of water bothering them all the time. They know that people have tried to bring better facilities to the island before, but nothing has happened with those politicians who keep making excuses, and life goes on. Any further attempt would be waste of time, according to them.

And what is to follow in this small adventure at the island? :: Babumon (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is the one to suffer the most, as no girl wishes to get married to someone without access to drinking water. Teena’s parents are also not ready to get her married to Govindankutty, and they are also looking for someone who got access to clean water, from anywhere outside the village. Despite his mother (Sethulakshmi) asking for the bride, Teena’s parents (Jaffer Idukki and Thesni Khan) are not ready to accept the proposal. It is more or less the reflection of their realization that nothing good can happen in Pandarathuruthu and the people of the island will never have access to clean water. But when one tragedy strikes, they have to think differently, and understand that it is the time to act. It is upon the youth to make the difference, but are they up to it? One journalist named Shyam Prakash (Aju Varghese) is ready to help them, but will that be enough?

The defence of Paippinchuvattile Pranayam :: There are moments in Paippinchuvattile Pranayam that keep rising like the certainty of tides – we see them coming and going. The humour is present here and there, and the lead has a good chemistry going on in movie’s favour. Some good visuals of the place will have our attention, and we see the huge buildings of the city on one side and this small world on the other. The music is good, even though they are used without care at some places. There are messages in store, and we have social issues being discussed, after the lack of availability of clean water in many areas. There were those islands around Cochin which had problems in getting drinking water, something we have been reading about since childhood. Even though a lot of problems have been solved now, it remains something that is present at one place or the other. Paippinchuvattile Pranayam adds something there.

The claws of flaw :: With a little more than two hours of length, some parts of the movie do make us feel a certain amount of drag. There is also the whole thing not used to its advantage, as this one could have been funnier, as well as having a thrilling end which could be a lot more of a difference maker with its ideas. The final moments could have been polished to bring an effect which would have made this one a social thriller with romance to go with it. The romantic side also makes way for the rest of the things too easily – there is not that much of strength with it if we consider the fact that the title Paippinchuvattile Pranayam as well as the expectations were all related to that only. There is also the need for the ability to relate to the problems of the common man, without which, this movie can go flying far away; this one would be more for the common audience, the everyman who can reflect these elements better as well as the invisible villains.

Performers of the soul :: Neeraj Madhav right out of Lavakusha and Oru Mexican Aparatha this year leads the way, and he is comfortable in being this kind of a hero, as all things are in control here. Reba Monica John seems naturally suited for this role, and is there throughout, winning points with big smiles and enchanting expressions, unlike that small presence which she had in Jacobinte Swargarajyam despite being the leading actress there too. As one might have figured out with the trailer and songs, she fits in, even without that many dialogues. Sudhi Koppa is the one actor who supports so well as he rises to the occasion, and he does a fantastic job with those emotional side, more than that comic side which was there earlier. We already saw him in Alamara, Lakshyam and Udaharanam Sujatha in notable roles this year among the others, and he gets his best here. Dharmajan strengthens the funny side, which would have struggled a lot without him. Aju Varghese has a smaller role which is managed easily. Sarath falls prey to a badly written negative character.

How it finishes :: Among those movies about common people made with what seems to rather lower budget, Paippinchuvattile Pranayam will surely have a good position. It is always nice to see tales being made about common men and not those money laundering bourgeoisie class attached to pubs and parties. It can’t claim to be perfect or close to being perfect in what it deals with, but it is as close to reality that we can get, and it is close to the heart of everyone who feels for those who are in need. But concerning others who have no heart for the sufferings of others, this wouldn’t be the movie. This is the age of superheroes with Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League running in the theatres, and one can go for them without thinking too much, for the big entertainment. But if you care, try giving a chance to the smaller movies about everyman, like Paippinchuvattile Pranayam. In simple words, call it “Love, water & other social issues”.

Release date: 24th November 2017
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Domin D’Silva
Starring: Neeraj Madhav, Reba Monica John, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Sarath Appani, Sudhi Koppa, Sruthy Jayan, Jaffer Idukki, Rishi S Kumar, Tesni Khan, Sethulakshmi, Indrans, Anoop Chandran

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Lavakusha

What is the movie about? :: Two jobless youngsters who would later be addressed as Lavan (Neeraj Madhav) and Kushan (Aju Varghese), meets in Chennai city, and becomes very good friends. The problems that both of them face, are almost the same, and after being kicked out of their place for not paying the rent, the two decide to return to Kerala, hoping to find something better in their home state. As the lazy people that they are, they can’t stop thinking about earning maximum money with the least effort. It is during their journey back to Kerala that they come across a number of strangers on the train. There is a girl named Sheethal (Deepti Sati), and a man who identifies himself as Venkat (Biju Menon). In an attempt to get the attention of the girl, they cross the way of a group of people smuggling gold in the train who threatens to kill them.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: After being captured by the smugglers, the three escapes, and Venkat reveals himself as Joy Kappan, a senior police inspector. A series of confusions follow, and it ends with Joy being able to seize all the gold, and the smugglers escaping. Inspired by the turn of events, Lavan and Kushan decides to become private detectives. But living in a rented house, they are once again very close to being kicked out – it is then that they come across Joy again, who gives them a task to perform. They are to find and take out a huge amount of gold which is stored inside a reputed institution in the middle of the city. As they feel the need for an adventure, the two men agree and goes on the mission. But there are more twists to their mission than they think that there is, and there is more to the truth than what meets the eye.

The defence of Lavakusha :: There are enjoyable moments here and there in this one, and after the comic side gets awakened early, there is also the presence of twists later. It is in the final moments that everything comes together, and we get to see the movie rising above the possibility of just ending up as a foolish thing. The movie is clearly dependent on the trio of Neeraj Madhav, Aju Varghese and Biju Menon, and the three remains the pillars of this flick which leaves less for the rest. The former two get to begin and go on with the humour without restrictions. Even then, it is the second half which manages to use its resources better, improving as it moves towards the finish. You will see the signs of the same by the interval itself. When you are looking for some fun of the simpler kind, Lavakusha might be exactly the movie to turn to.

The claws of flaw :: Lavakusha never really uses its cast to the best possible advantage. When we have a leading cast like this, one has to wonder why there is inability to use it to the full advantage with fun. The jokes often struggle to identify as what they are actually supposed to be – even without logic and with foolishness allowed in there, we see struggle. We see that none of the characters are never really well established for the audience – that applies even to the leading characters. It is for the same reason that there are too many ups and downs in this movie, and the momentum that is often gains is not maintained and carried on to the next moments. The first sequence of the movie itself is rather not needed, and the same thing is repeated again in this movie, without bringing any chance for laughter. The music in this movie is rather forgettable – there is nothing to keep us there with that too. You will also find that the female characters also have less screen presence.

Performers of the soul :: It is Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav whose combination works really well to make things better. Even the comedy which might have gone over our head otherwise, works well, thanks to how well the two manages everything together. Aju Varghese has been present throughout the year’s movies from Aby and Alamara earlier to right now, while Neeraj Madhav comes out of that impressive performance in Oru Mexican Aparatha – we have seen them together at their best in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Kunjiramayanam; this movie is not of such level, but together, they are not behind, at any point. You will notice that the former has a more responsible character in comparison, but then too, you will know that it is only by a small distance. You will feel that this particular combination also meant that the expectations were a little too high with this one – well, it is no surprise, right?

Further performers of the soul :: The movie focuses mostly on the characters played by Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav, but the only one with heroic quality in this movie is played by Biju Menon – he gets to be the hero in the movie lead by the two youngsters. As concerning the titles, Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Lakshyam and Sherlock Toms, he had caught our attention with three different roles in the year, and here he gets another one to perform – there is no difficulty for him here, and he has all under control. Sadly, Aditi Ravi is restricted to a smaller role which could have been developed instead of a few other things in a movie which is rather so long for its content, and even Deepti Sati’s presence seems to be strange when she disappears and appears; there even seems to be a certain lack of efficiency in dubbing for her. Vijay Babu and Major Ravi are good with their work at the same time.

How it finishes :: Lavakusha could have been a nice action comedy in Hollywood style – our heroes could have gone through this in Get Smart model, becoming the unlikely saviours when the others in the investigation turn hopeless. Two police officers in undercover mode, finishing their missions in a funny and interesting way was the need here, but that much work isn’t done, and there seems to be not that much focus on attention either. Even with such a longer run-time, this one couldn’t build up enough. Still, this makes mostly an entertaining watch for the weekend. It could be an interesting time-pass movie without doubt. You can also feel a little bit of Tharangam in this one. As of now, Parava seems to have the lead as the most interesting one in the last thirty days. Just like the other Biju Menon starrer in the theatres, Sherlock Toms, this one attempts to combine comedy with the twists, and by the end, you will feel that it is the latter that has caught your attention, unlike what you were expecting.

Release date: 13th October 2017
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Gireesh Mano
Starring: Aju Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Biju Menon, Deepti Sati, Aditi Ravi, Vijay Babu, Major Ravi, Sinoj Varghese, Anjali Aneesh, Ashwin Kumar, Janardhanan, Neena Kurup

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Oru Mexican Aparatha

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What is the movie about? :: Paul (Tovino Thomas) is a happy going first year student in a famous arts college in the city who doesn’t think that much about many things, and is in love with Anu (Gayathri Suresh) who also seems to be in love with him until she reveals one day that she isn’t. Paul is highly disappointed about it, but finds solace in something else, which is mostly about going against the ruling paty of the college which is lead by their super senior and the angry young man, Roopesh (Roopesh Peethambaran). There is no shortage of violence whenever this man is concerned, as he would go to any extent to sieze victory. With the leader of the left party in the campus, Subhash (Neeraj Madhav), Paul decides to contest against the man who had lead his party to victory last year and looks forward to do the same again in one way or the other.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The campus itself has a violent flashback, with a student leader Kochaniyan (also Tovino Thomas) being murdered during the time of emergency. Even though Paul begins the battle for chairman post out of frustration, more comes out of it eventually, including a revolution and the desire to bring a positive change for the next generation. Bringing the revolution seems to be too difficult though, as the opposition party seems to have be ready to even finish off Paul and Subhash. They get beaten regularly, but they don’t back off. With Paul contesting for the post of president and Subhash contesting to become the general secretary, Roopesh decides to contest for the president post himself so that this threat can be dealt with directly. With sparks flying all around, blood is certain to flow.

The defence of Oru Mexican Aparatha :: The debutante director has chosen a subject that would work for a lot of people who have witnessed the politics in the campus in one way or the other – whether it is the good side or the bad side. He has brought the same to the big screen nicely too. There is no more of the usual kind of campus movies, as this one focuses on one side which is not that beautiful, and this is one campus which gets lot of life with this movie. The film also have some elements of comedy, and in the end, you will know that there is only one purpose for student politics, even as it is not so these days – to stand for what is right, and to gain the freedom that has been denied. Well, with so many parties into the fray, one can’t be sure if it can be achieved together by all these parties, but we all understand that there will always be the need. The stylist shots help a lot here, and so does the extremely talented cast.

The claws of flaw :: The movie could have been shorter though, and it could have surely cut those early moments in the hostel, which serve nothing much. The songs are not that interesting except for the “Kalippu” song which serves as the one thing that brings more to the whole setup. It is the first half which could have used some checking, especially with a rather forced romance angle that disappears. The basic idea could have also been shown without the shades of political parties – for all these elements have been there before the campus politics and the college education itself; the parties could have existed but not on the front like they are now. This could have been a perfect political movie if the focus was more on the idea than politics, and the story more than style – it works as of now, but the immense scope is somehow restricted here. The flashback could have also been shown in a better way, even though the looks never cease to amaze us. We can have more comedy and less insignificant moments in a movie like this.

Performers of the soul :: Oru Mexican Aparatha actually continues the rise of the star in Tovino Thomas who had already shown what he is capable of in the main role in Guppy as well as that memorable supporting role in Ennu Ninte Moideen, and add one horror movie, Ezra to to the list of memories. He also does get to do a flashback role, but it is all about the present for most of the movie. There are moments from him that will give keep the audience on the toes – keep looking out for him with the red flag which he will raise with or without the stains of blood. The rise of the new stars like him, who has no family background in cinema, is something that we can all be glad about, for cinema is not the private property of families; it belongs to people, and each person as a separate individual who makes the same better with their ideas and opinions. He owns one moment in the end, that is sure to give you goosebumps, despite which political party you support. We all want him in bigger thrillers and we keep asking for the same, don’t we?

Further performers of the soul :: The one who stands tall against the protagonist, is the man who brings the fire as the antagonist – the man who hails from Perumbavoor, Roopesh Peethambaran. He has the intensity which is matched only by Tovino, and we have him to display the best of campus villainy that has been seen in a long time. Coming back from the 1995 movie Spadikam which had him as a child actor, he burns the coal for further intensifying the energy here, after directing Theevram and You Too Brutus. Neeraj Madhav comes up with a realistic character here, and he is the one with the principles and discipline here – he also gets some of the best dialogues for a college campus – these three are more than just actors, they are right there as the energy sources for this movie. Gayathri Suresh gets the scope limited though, and with the romantic angle sent to the abyss by a radical change of the favourite colour from violet to red, she has nothing left to do with a character which is not fully developed – she looks good in that role for sure though. Well, not all characters are significant in this one.

How it finishes :: Oru Mexican Aparatha is the kind of movie that works on many levels, and will do nicely to bring a better understanding to the people on the bloody side of campus politics, and also the need to bring a revolution when freedom is denied – this brings the two sides which even those who haven’t studied in an arts and science college needs to witness, and know. Even when it has its protagonist on a certain party, it doesn’t support the same cent percent. If you wonder what Mexico is about in this movie, there is one locked up room in which the hero from the flashback was murdered by the police during the emergency. There is evolution and revolution that follows, and change arrives and waits at the door. You see the entertainment and you feel the excitement – a must for all who have studied in an aided arts and science colleges of Kerala, and also appealing to the rest at different levels; it is what Oru Mexican Aparatha is about.

Release date: 3rd March 2017
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: Tom Emmatty
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Roopesh Peethambaran, Neeraj Madhav, Gayathri Suresh, Kalabhavan Shajon, Jino John, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sukhada, Sudhy Koppa, Hareesh Peradi, Jaffer Idukki, Anjali P Nair, Megha Mathew, Vishnu Govindan

orumexicanaparathaa

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Oozham

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What is it about? :: Surya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is an engineer working in the United States. His family includes his father, the health inspector Krishnamurthy (Balachandra Menon), his mother Subhalakshmi (Seetha) and his sister Aiswarya (Rasna Pavithran). He also has an adopted brother Aju (Neeraj Madhav) who has returned home after resigning from a big job in Microsoft. All seems to go well until one incident changes their lives forever. The world knows it as a mysterious illness killing three members of a family – the father, mother and daughter, but Surya and Aju know that it is not so. Bound by the need for revenge, they team up with Gayathri (Divya Pillai) who has also lost her sibling to an incident on the same day. Soon, they realise that both these incidents are connected.

So what happens next? :: As doubts are raised about who would want to kill the members of this family, all fingers finally point to Wilfred Marcus (Jayaprakash) and his sons Andrew Wilfred Marcus (Tony Luke) and Edwin Wilfred Marcus (Anson Paul). As they set on a path of war against the multi-national company run by these three, there is sure to be a tough job ahead – Surya uses his skills as an expert in creating controlled explosions as part of his job in the United States, while Aju and Gayathri supports the cause. So, this huge firm which supplies medicines after spreading diseases, will have no regret in wiping families out – will they stand these three people going on a war against them? How can a multi-billionaire empire be brought down to its knees by people with no influence? It is to be seen.

The defence of Oozham :: The better side of the movie might be the drama, but that also seems to be on the lines of many other movies; a perfect family with things going worse all of a sudden. With the presence of one cute little sister and a rather modern younger brother goes in lines of Jacobinte Swargarajyam. The idea is good, there is no doubt about it, but had to be presented in a better way, as an original work with more thrills. The cast is all good, and the effectiveness depends on them. The visuals are also nicely done. There is also the message which rather goes lost. The hero-heroine romance never really gets going – that is a relief, as the movie would have drifted further otherwise. This one surely has some interesting moments, and it is for the same that we can go for this movie.

The claws of flaw :: The biggest problem of this movie is that things come too easy. The protagonists all of a sudden seems like people who have been doing the same thing for centuries, may be from the time when the first civilisation was born on the banks of a river – only the immortals could do things this easily against what is claimed to be such a giant organisation. Even the idea itself goes back to the time when the first man was born. Oozham remains outdated in its idea, and even in the way of presentation, it just adds a non-linear narrative which is rather too strange, just like that unnecessary magic realism in Life of Josutty. There are no twists around here, and things finish too comfortably as we wait for the big climax to take our breath away – that is never really there. From the realistic, flawed heroes of Memories, Drishyam and Life of Josutty, we are back to those perfect heroes, sadly.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj, as expected remains the central figure, and the biggest selling point of this movie throughout its run. The character, no matter how less developed it is, remains safe in his hands. It is his screen presence that gives something to this protagonist, even when the trouble gets worse with the weak script full of all the cliches you have seen in the movies in so many languages. Neeraj Madhav is provided with another half-baked character who seems to be there in the name of secularism rather than anything else, and he gives some flavour to the one dimensional character that hacks anything because he can – couldn’t this character have a better identity of his own? One has to wonder. These two actors could have brought a huge blockbuster with fine reviews if the script was better.

Further performers of the soul :: Coming right out of Ayal Njanalla, Divya Pillai’s character goes on a struggle here; she has kept it going in a straight line, but there is nothing much for her, and she doesn’t come up with anything out of the box. Rasna Pavithran seems to do a simpler version of the cute act which Aima Rosmy Sebastian did in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and that certainly works. The idea of some cute sister moments has been a family favourite these days, and this movie attempts to use that to its advantage. Actually, one has to say that each member of the cast gets drawn into the set of cliches here, and that has limited the performances to an extent. Pasupathy is strong here, but is rather underused as a character that could have been presented better. Jayaprakash remains a nice villain throughout, but is let down by how the character is not strengthened by the necessary dose of corporate evil. Balachandra Menon and Seetha plays a fine couple with ease.

How it finishes :: There are better things which this movie could have done with its idea which has always been there in movies of other languages. Yes, it is more of a revenge drama than the thriller, but even in that genre, this movie has its limitations. When things come too easily, there is less scope for drama; there was the need to make one feel for the protagonist, but there is nothing there. Still, this movie doesn’t go uninteresting; we can watch it just because we have time – it doesn’t go terrible; Oozham has enough in it to make an average watch as long as you are in a good mood. The worst movie of Jeethu Joseph so far is here, but that is just a statement about his skill as a director, and not a judgment about this movie which can be watched without much expectations and some extra time to spare. This is where you find the cliche collection again; so just don’t look for anything new, even in the dialogues.

Release date: 8th September 2016
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Divya Pillai, Rasna Pavithran, Neeraj Madhav, Balachandra Menon, Kishor Satya, Irshad, Jayaprakash, Pasupathy, Seetha, Tony Luke, Anson Paul

oozham

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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.

Charlie

charlie()

What is the movie about? :: The titular person, Charlie (Dulquer Salmaan) is a character who is compared to many things, a djinn and the wind being just a few of them. Some people call him a mad man and someone who is completely out of his mind. He comes to the lives of people and disappears only to make a grand appearance on another day when he is least expected. He is a man known for being himself, and he is someone whom not many people forget once they meet him. He is the force of nature that unleashes himself, and there are not many things normal about him. But he is a skilled artist, and spends a lot of time helping others; but that doesn’t stop him from being a free bird. He likes no chains being attached to him, and he makes his decisions in his own way.

So what is the story about? :: The story goes through the life of Tessa (Parvathy) who is the one who do the revealing job, and it is through her that we come across Charlie. She is someone with a habit of running away from home, and when it seems that her marriage is to be fixed, she goes on a rather longer run. She stays in a room at Fort Cochin, and finds the place strange as it has things which were left behind by the earlier occupant. She notices the artistic work there and also a graphic novel which has been left incomplete. She becomes more and more interested in finding what happens next in that work, and at the same time, she is infatuated with the person who lived there before her; the man often referred to as djinn, Charlie – the person who put himself on the obituary column of the newspaper just because he could and he wanted to.

The defence of Charlie :: There is a grand amount of high quality feel-good provided in this movie, and you will sense it as the movie gets near the first half break. The way in which this story unfolds is the biggest plus point here, as the narrative style successfully brings the curiosity of the audience to the next stage. There are not many things predictable about this movie and its characters, except for the final moments; those actually contribute to making this one delightful. The beautiful visuals just support the same really well – they are not limited as they extend from the seas to the hills. The lovable characters also work their skills to make us feel the attachment to this flick. Jo and the Boy had the tagline “See Happiness”, and Charlie seems to absorb it into itself! The background music really brings the true feeling of the movie to us, and we know that this is there to stay both intellectually and spiritually – look out for the song “Oru Karimukilinu” for the true divergent magical reflection of movie’s dreamy side. Did you want change? Well, you got it right here!

Claws of flaw :: The one thing which could have been better is the story, and its reflection of life; Charlie is more like the fairy-tale, but it is not that throughout its run. Charlie has quite an unrealistic side to it, but it is completely not that. It is a mixture which won’t work for everyone in the same way. The beginning of the movie is also not that interesting; but it picks up and is at its best in the second half. People can also find the same problems related to liquor once again being branded cool and part of a “supposed to be awesome” life which also has nothing for the family. The humour could have also been better used considering the overall mood of this movie. What surprised me a lot is how the flaws were disappearing in the second half of this movie; it was as if there was something other-worldly working around, with the problems of this movie fading and the viewers feeling really good. But I did want a more believable titular character – being real is difficult here.

Performers of the soul :: Charlie has the best performance from Dulquer Salmaan and his best movie since Ustad Hotel and Second Show as far as Malayalam movies are concerned. He is the central character and you are sure to like this performance, but the focus is still on Parvathy’s Tessa as it is into her journey that we are introduced, and it is with her that we go on that adventure. When you look at her, you will surely feel that she has come a long way from Ennu Ninte Moideen, but then you remember that it also released just a few months ago. You will love her more in this movie than any other, because her character remains the seeker who won’t yield, and yet she remains the simple person throughout this flick. I believe that we are not finished with seeing her many visages of the lady who surely will only go higher during the years to come.

Further performers of the soul :: While the leading pair does steal many hearts around there, Aparna Gopinath is also here as the second leading lady, and it is a deep and serene performance here. I didn’t like her in American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), but I am really pleased to see her in this avatar, and she was also special. She makes the appearance on screen much later, but her sequences are also those which stay with us. The funnier moments belong to Soubin Shahir here. The other interesting characters are played by Nedumudi Venu, Chemban Vinod Jose and Neeraj Madhav, while Tovino Thomas, Kalpana, K.P.A.C. Lalitha and Ramesh Pisharody plays even smaller, but memorable characters. They are there to be admired, especially Tovino and Kalpana. There is a fine list of actors here, and most of the characters played by them will stay in our hearts.

How it finishes :: Charlie was one of those most hyped movies of this year along with Ennu Ninte Moideen which should top that list. The social media was full of random information and talks about how great these two movies will be, just before the release. Coming from Martin Prakkat, the director of the hit movies like Best Actor and American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), Charlie was supposed to make the big impact; if you ask me, I can clearly define this one was the best movie from the director so far. The previous two movies were just random comedy while Charlie gets to the next level and touches the soul; it surely has a certain amount of magic. I am really happy that he dared to go through a different route. Charlie becomes another lovely experiment which will be remembered for quite a long time, and should win this Christmas season after a tough battle with the rest of the flicks – the strength here is not in the existence, but in the essence; that explains the special experience. Check out this song from the movie which I had earlier mentioned!

Release date: 24th December 2015
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Martin Prakkat
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Parvathy Kottuvata, Chemban Vinod Jose, Ramesh Pisharody, Aparna Gopinath, Nedumudi Venu, Soubin Shahir, Neeraj Madhav, Tovino Thomas, P. Balachandran, Kalpana, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Seetha, Jayaraj Warrier, Surjith, Renji Panicker, Joy Mathew, Nassar

charlie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kunjiramayanam

Kunjiramayanam (1)

What is it about? :: Kunjiraman (Vineeth Sreenivasan) and Laalu (Dhyan Sreenivasan) are cousin-brothers who have turned out to be enemies, as one incident changes their lives forever. While the former leaves to the Middle East to make money, the latter keep failing the tenth standard and ends up as being the assistant of the village’s tailor, Kuttan (Aju Varghese). Along his friends Sasi (Deepak Parambol) and Kunjoottan (Neeraj Madhav), Kunjiraman has a fun-filled time during his holidays from the Middle East and gets engaged to Sajitha (Srinda Ashab) who makes him promise that he will not drink, ever. Before the marriage date, he would leave for his job only to return and find the situation different. Meanwhile, Mallika (Arya Rohit) and Reshma (Sneha Unnikrishnan) also will have some say in his future, as well as that of Laalu.

The defence of Kunjiramayanam :: It is easy to defend this movie as we did for Vellimoonga as the soul of both is in light-hearted, clean comedy. But the similarities end there, in the way of approaching the comic side and making it interesting and appealing for the family audience. The movie creates that kind of situations which has the ability to evoke laughter without second thoughts. The song Salsa is an amazing addition to this movie, and gives us the idea what to expect. It might be one of the funniest and the most catchy songs of recent times, and if you watch the movie, you will understand its relevance better. It is the master idea, and all the characters shown in the song come together here – to be frank, there is no real hero in this movie as all of them contributes in a similar manner with only slight variations in the degree.

Claws of flaw :: It is not in the story that the movie tries to assert its strength, and due to the same, there is nothing much there if you look at it. If you are searching for logic all the time, you shouldn’t be here either; but if you look for smartness in film-making, it is right here; of which reflections are strong. The movie also doesn’t begin that well or ends that nice as one would expect considering the middle part. I would have wished for a more feel-good ending rather than the somewhat funny one. In a movie which has this kind of a setting, the upstanding use of robust feel-good factor could have been not just a gemstone, but the Philosopher’s Stone for the totality which would have in return, made the rating better. The situations created in this movie are not all right there with the requisite strength, but stands the test of time due to the execution and the performances of the actors.

Performers of the soul :: There is no particular hero in this movie, if you look at it. Yes, the central character is played by Vineeth Sreenivasan and his Kunjiraman the is part of the title too. The movie’s ability to create laughter has been shared here, and so is the whole plot. As the titular hero spends a lot of his time not being part of his village, the others are forced to take control, and this radical transposition of control surprisingly brings the equilibrium. This transfered control from Vineeth in full form is taken over by a team of actors who handles the comic side amazingly well. Consider the senior actor himself, Mamukkoya who has some of the most memorable dialogues in this movie, and the biggest of them is related to death, and there is the veteran hitting the Bull’s Eye.

More performers of the soul :: Among the young faces, Aju Varghese is once again the biggest asset; he was restricted to a very small presence in Jamna Pyari, but he is here, making full impact. He is the heart of the comic side, and his best moment is related to the night before the marriage of the character played by Sneha Unnikrishnan – she has also done a small, but impressively funny job in what I believe to be her second movie. You can’t forget his moment with the crow either, as you might have seen in the Salsa song – it is also mostly his song. Neeraj Madhav and Deepak Parambol basically shares their glory; they work together really well – these two with Aju got the comic side to the perfect strength; add Bijukuttan to it and you have no reason not to laugh.

Further performers of the soul :: With all of them doing their jobs so well and Vineeth Sreenivasan reminding us of some of those nice and funny characters played by his father, we have Dhyan Sreenivasan doing a fair job – I am sure that I liked him a lot better in Thira; he is still a lot of fun here, and got some hilarious moments. Biju Menon’s voice introduces the characters and he as well as Rimi Tomy has smaller appearances in this movie. Srinda Ashab has her moments of laughter, but she is only repeating what she has already done. Arya has a smaller role too, but her presence makes three heroines here. Sneha is the more charming one among the three because the comic side takes a little bit too much of the rest. Well, they don’t even show the most significant female character for most of the movie and keeps it as a surprise!

How it finishes :: I am not the one to talk about collections right now, because the certainty is only in the fact that Kunjiramayanam is the movie to win the hearts with its light-hearted comedy for the family audience. It basically has two things which it converts into its comic side, and they are alcohol and marriage – they have also kept these things in control. Well, we can be sure that Basil Joseph is a director with a lot of skill right there, as we notice what he has created through this movie which had to fight bigger flicks during this Onam, starting from the most awaited Loham itself – may this debut be the stepping stone to the heights which are waiting for him. Once again, I wish you Happy Onam as the festival season fades away!

Release date: 28th August 2015
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Arya Rohit, Neeraj Madhav, Bijukuttan, Sneha Unnikrishnan, Srinda Ashab, Mamukkoya, Deepak Parambol, Sudheer Karamana, Indrans, Seema G Nair, Sasi Kalinga, Biju Menon (cameo), Rimi Tomy (cameo)

kunjiramayanam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jamna Pyari

jamnapyari(

What is it about? :: Vasoottan (Kunchako Boban) is an auto-rickshaw driver and the son of a man who died trying to rescue a kid from inside a bus which crashed into river during heavy monsoon. He is a person who follows his father’s footsteps and never tries to back away from helping someone in need – he has been the helping hand of the common man at his town for a long time. One day, he meets a girl Parvathi (Gayathri Suresh) and she asks for his help. What her family needs is a total of one hundred Jamnapari goats for their farm, so that they can meet the deadline for a contract or lose their property. There are big shots who are standing in their way. Vasoottan decides to help them with the support of his friends Prakash (Joy Mathew) and Sabu (Suraj Venjaramoodu) along with Tony (Neeraj Madhav) who later joins them. But there are some problems which they have to overcome on their way to success.

The defence of Jamna Pyari :: For this Onam, what comes to the screen in the form of Jamna Pyari is a simple family movie with drama and comedy factors being there. There are mostly no ups and downs with this movie as the major focus is on the protagonist’s goodness, and also to provide the viewers with a feel-good effect. It is just the life of common man depicted with the help of an incident which centers around the goat. The mixture that forms part of the movie are mostly of a family drama, and also the light-hearted comedy, light romance and the typical feel-good movie. The Vasoottan song is very good and sets the mood for the movie. There are also good visuals of different parts of Kerala along with some areas of Tamil Nadu. The humour comes up interesting here and there. The Thrissur slang is interesting throughout the movie.

Claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t really have a new thing here except for having a goat at the centre of everything. It does remember one of having watched Polytechnic which starred Kunchako Boban and he was there solving his own problems, and here he is like Jayasurya of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla, as an auto-rickshaw driver ready to help others. Most of the characters in this movie are under-used, and so is the goat idea. The hesitation to use more of the goats to create further comedy was surprising – there is a little too less amount of comedy in this one rather than what was expected. The final use of deus ex machina just arrives as if to bring us to an end. There are too many easy paths taken in this movie when things could have been nicely detailed with full humour, also adding further beauty to the romantic side!

Performers of the soul :: With Kunchako Boban who has been the first big romantic hero whom we remember, and also with Gayathri Suresh who was the Miss Kerala in 2014, couldn’t this movie explore the romantic side better? The romantic hero and the beauty are there, and the movie just misses out too much with those opportunities. Kunchako Boban is excellent in this avatar too, even when his character is often let down by the situations. This is a comfortable role for him, and he never falters. Gayathri is here doing a very good debut, and might be the prettiest face for a very long time. Her dialogue delivery was so cute in this one. May be she could have had even more screen presence, because the true setting is around the family of her character, and twist of events begin with her journey in the auto-rickshaw.

More performers of the soul :: So we welcome the new heroine Gayathri Suresh to the Malayalam movie industry during this Onam, and take this opportunity to wish her best of luck as the number of new heroines with charm and high potential increase by one. Along with the same, we see the large number of known faces being there as the supporting cast. But the depressing side is that they are so less used. You see actors like Sudheer Karamana and Pashanam Shaji for just a few minutes, and even though Aju Varghese is there on most of the posters, he has a very small role in this movie as a friend of the protagonist who comes in the beginning and the end. Neeraj Madhav is the one who comes up with the funniest moments, but we ask for even more.

Further performers of the soul :: Joy Mathew remains rock solid here all the way, and Suraj Venjaramoodu has his moments of comedy, even though he too should have been used for a full comedy character. The big surprise here is Renji Panicker’s different avatar – this might be the first time that he comes to the big screen as a villain. He remains a fine negative character throughout the movie, and you can expect more roles with negative shades coming up for him considering the fact that he did so well in this movie which doesn’t focus that much on characterization. I consider this a true pleasant surprise! Meanwhile, it was good to see Muthumani providing nice support to Suraj in the comic side. You will get another surprise in the form of Roja’s cameo, and Anumol is also there in a smaller role

How it finishes :: Sometimes I think that I am lenient with this movie which doesn’t bring anything huge, but thinking deeper about this, this movie leaves us with beautiful messages, to help people in need, and work hard to achieve what we love and need the most. I consider this a fine message for this Onam, and this message raises the level of this movie further, and it is always better to have something wonderful to think about and let it have a positive effect on our lives. I am a pessimistic person, and some of the dialogues and messages in the movie did bring a smile on my face. Therefore, lets continue to enjoy this festival season of Onam and add this movie to the list of flicks to watch! What is an Onam if we don’t watch all the big Malayalam releases for the season? May be you can start with the feel-good factor of this movie.

Release date: 27th August 2015
Running time: 126 minutes
Directed by: Thomas Sebastian
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Gayathri Suresh, Joy Mathew, Muthumani Somasundaran, Neeraj Madhav, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Aju Varghese, Maniyanpilla Raju, Anju Aravind, Sudheer Karamana, Pashanam Shaji, Anumol, Roja Selvamani

jamnapyari

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madhura Naranga

madhuranarangaa

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that there are three other Malayalam movies to watch as interesting choices are there?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is why we are standing here in the queue from the morning itself.

Vampire Owl :: Tough times, isn’t it? Malayalam movies haven’t been doing well enough since that big Premam and Ivide weekend.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, non-Malayalam movies are taking away all the glory. But this might be the weekend on which we fight back.

Vampire Owl :: But are you sure about this choice?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, even if this movie is not good enough, we will watch another movie after this and make sure that we leave for home as happy vampires.

Vampire Owl :: If the second movie is not goo too, then what will we do?

Vampire Bat :: We will watch another one. Actually there are four shows at the theatres here; 11:30, 2:30, 6:15, 9:15. We can always try four different movies today. If you are ready to go to a mall with multiplex, we can do even better.

Vampire Owl :: You are seriously trying to feed me brain damage in the form of too many movies on a day.

Vampire Bat :: I have come very close so far, haven’t I?

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: After a few early minutes in Sri Lanka, the movie takes a flashback to Sharjah. Jeevan (Kunchako Boban), Salim (Biju Menon) and Kumar (Neeraj Madhav) are just three among the large number of Malayalis working in the UAE and are sharing a house. One day, as Jeevan driving his cab, he finds a girl in trouble and brings her home. The girl is Thamara (Parvathy Ratheesh), a Sri Lankan Tamil who has escaped after being trafficked from her home country. Even though she has almost killed someone while trying to escape, Jeevan is attracted to her, and decides not to let her go in spite of being aware of the consequences. They hope to arrange a fake passport and get her back to Sri Lanka, but things were only going to get further complicated.

The defence of Madhura Naranga :: There is an interesting mix of comedy, romance and drama in this one without having any overdose. The fun mostly rests with the middle part of the movie. The presence of a humane touch in the movie is interesting. The ending scenes are touching and performances are of good quality. The beauty of UAE and also Sri Lanka up-to an extent are nicely captured – I would have wished for more shots in the island country. It is also fair not to have an India-Pakistan love story here because it has been used to death in Bollywood and was also used before in Malayalam movie industry to not that much effect. There were a few claps in the end; it asserts that the ending was effective.

The claws of flaw :: This might not be exactly the kind of movie which most of the audience would be expecting. There is no full comedy movie for which our heroes here are specialized in. There are just too many songs too than needed, and there is no improvement in quality over that quantity. The basic plot could have been better developed if it had gone on among the migrant workers, and if the focus was more on the problems which they faced. Instead, they have taken the easy way out in introducing the girl. There is also no real cinematic beauty in the romance; it progresses okay, but it begins in a weak manner. May be some thrills could have been added here and there too; it is too predictable in the current form. The medium could have been better used to bring a message.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban once again plays a role which is not new to him, and his team with Biju Menon does show signs of former glory even as it is not completely there. It is not fair to expect something like Ordinary which had a full half of comedy or Seniors which was just a complete comedy movie. Biju Menon has some nice comic dialogues, and Neeraj Madhav has a few interesting ones even though not many. Parvathy Ratheesh is a good addition to the Malayalam movie industry. Even as she doesn’t have to speak even one Malayalam word in this movie, she is right there with the emotions and expressions. It will be nice to see her in roles with more variety. Suraj Venjaramoodu has a smaller, but funny character which he manages with ease. There is no struggle there.

How it finishes :: The movie which deviates from a usual Kunchako Boban-Biju Menon comedy entertainer has its biggest enemy as the rain. It has been heavy downpour throughout the day, and the audience presence was quite low. Even though they might feel strange about not getting exactly what they wanted, they can be satisfied with how the movie ends and how it manages to be emotionally strong with some fine performances, even from Parvathy Ratheesh who doesn’t really show the signs of a newcomer. The performance of this movie should depend on how the other flicks work. They could have sacrificed the overall clean stuff and the songs here for some twists and some extra comedy. They have said that this is based on a true story, but little liberties would have only made this one more engaging.

Theatre situation :: There are three other Malayalam movies challenging this one – Dileep’s Love 24X7 seems to have the crowd favourite star in a different role, and Acha Din will have Mammootty trying to work in a movie which has its own difference. KL.10 Pathu has Unni Mukundan in his own new style, and he also has a new face accompanying him as the leading actress just like the other movies. All four of these movies have female faces new to Malayalam movie industry, and even though the promotions have been less, the competition is going to be very high. Baahubali stays and so does Premam. It will be a big task to battle these two movies, and the continuing presence of Minions in the multiplexes will take a portion of the family audience with them and the new Salman Khan starrer also got the high capability to attract.

Release date: 17th July 2015
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Sugeeth
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Parvathy Ratheesh, Biju Menon, Neeraj Madhav, Aparna Nair, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Niyaz Becker, Saddique

madhuranaranga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sapthamashree Thaskaraha

sapthamasreethaskara

Vampire Owl :: I can’t pronounce the name of this movie. Is it a bad omen? Does that mean that we will suffer brutally?

Vampire Bat :: No, the movie is good as per all reports. There is absolutely no question about it. The inability to pronounce is because you are an owl.

Vampire Owl :: I am the Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, everybody knows that already.

Vampire Owl :: Well, what you don’t know about is the significance of owls in vampire mythology.

Vampire Bat :: It is not about you, but some random old, toothless owl.

Vampire Owl :: You shall not understand because you were brainwashed thrice by Uncle Dracula. Do you think the movie will go wrong?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think so. Prithviraj hasn’t missed anything since Ayalum Njanum Thammil. There is that perfection even in cameo roles; even in Bollywood. Even his lesser appreciated movie London Bridge was a very good flick which some people failed to follow with its themes because of their lesser intellect.

Vampire Owl :: So, this is the day we really celebrate Onam?

Vampire Bat :: This should be it. But this is not the end as there are also a few other movies to pick from.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: We see a man coming to confess at a church in the early morning, and he decides to tell the priest about his story of crime. He talks about how his life changed with one big heist that he committed. There are seven people who meet in the prison, and the list includes Krishnanunni (Prithviraj Sukumaran), Shabab (Asif Ali), Noble (Nedumudi Venu), Martin (Chemban Vinod), Narayanankutty (Neeraj Madhav), Vasu (Sudheer Karamana) and Salam (Salam Bukhari). They decide to steal from a business tycoon called Pious Mathew (Joy Mathew) who was the one responsible for the terrible predicament of some of the people in the same cell as well as many other poor people. For the same, they come up with a plan for which they are helped by Noble’s daughter Annamma (Sanusha Santhosh), Salam’s friend Paki (Flower Battsetseg) and a few of the other former acquaintances as they decide to teach the city’s top devil a lesson.

The defence of Sapthamashree Thaskaraha :: Here, the usual heist movie is made interesting due to the skills of the director, as there is some nice narration and progress going on in the movie, and the jokes are nicely added in between the situations. The confession setting is nicely done, and the dialogues there are worth some applause. There were lots of claps all around in the theatre. Anil Radhakrishnan Menon has nicely managed these characters here and has made sure that all the robbers have some individuality of their own to compliment each other. The whole thing remains interesting throughout, and there is no drag, loss of interest or any similar thing. The fact that this turns out to be more of a heist than a social satire might be interesting for a few, but not working for some others – remember that things are rather too easy for the robbers. The movie is a clear winner for the Onam box-office, and nothing can change that, and considering the opinions about the other movies, a defence might not be even needed.

The claws of flaw :: The addition in the end is pretty immature, as if there is that 7th Day hangover which never leaves, and has come back to haunt for this Onam – the movie should have just finished before it. There is never the need for a climax over another climax just to add another twist. What we needed were simple lovable little robbers working for a cause, and the end ruins it, destroying that feel-good element completely. The movie was going in the same mood until it happened. The whole thing does remind us of many Hollywood heist movies, and as a comparison is rather unnecessary, I shall leave out of it. This doesn’t like up-to our director’s first movie North 24 Kaatham in front of which, this is trailing. The movie takes too much time to get into the action, and almost an hour is over by the time all the flashbacks are dealt with – not really appropriate for a heist movie to have such a long background for each character. None of the songs are interesting except for the title song which is okay.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran continues his winning run in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, as his success story continues from what he had started with the Lal Jose movie and goes on even when put in less familiar territories like Bollywood (Aurangzeb), romance (London Bridge) and even in negative roles most of the actors would hesitate to do. That perfect journey that he started in 2012, as there is no other actor who has achieved such a good winning ratio, as they move around with their ups and downs – this where Prithviraj has risen above them all, the only other person who has achieved a similar record should be Nivin Pauly, but even he hasn’t got such variety opportunities as our man here who has made the impossible look easy through the last few years. Yes, if you choose the right movie to act in, there will always be appreciation or at least there won’t be too many bad things being told in the worst case scenario.

And the same that is continued :: This Onam is not just about this movie’s success for Prithviraj Sukumaran, as he became father to a baby girl a few days ago. Here, he has a role which is not at all a challenge for him, and does that with ease. The rest of the cast is also very good, and it is on the performances that this movie stands. Reenu Mathews and Sanusha do fine with the limited roles that they have, and the pick of the supporting cast should be Chemban Vinod and Neeraj Madhav who give us a lot to laugh. Asif Ali should have had a bigger role here, but he remains just as one of the seven robbers, unlike his nice entrance in the beginning. Joy Mathew is a nice villain, and this might be better than his previous such performances. Sudheer Karamana and Nedumudi Venu also provides nice support here. Indrajith Sukumaran comes in a guest role by the end of the movie. Flower Battsetseg, a Mongolian circus artist also does some nice work in this flick.

How it finishes :: This Onam is not that good as the last year, as it is evident from the reception for the released movies, and it goes on with the total lag that this year has experienced with Malayalam movies. The last year’s Onam had North 24 Kaatham, Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus and Ezhamathe Varavu being very good flicks, the first one being simplay awesome. There were also terrible stuff like D Company and Sringaravelan, but this year only has Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and up-to an extent, Bhaiyya Bhaiyya to save the season, as others turn out to be mass masala movies for the fans. If the reports are to be correct, Sapthamashree Thaskaraha should be the movie of Onam, and it is clearly re-iterated by a lot of movie watchers who are regular audience. It is a good sign for this Onam. I shall take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads this a Happy Onam, and hope that this last weekend before the Onam vacation ends, brings some awesome movies which will only extend our celebrations. Enjoy the Onam Holidays and God bless! 🙂

Release date: 6th September 2014
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Reenu Mathews, Sanusha Santhosh, Asif Ali, Joy Mathew, Neeraj Madhav, Nedumudi Venu, Chemban Vinod, Flower Battsetseg, Sudheer Karamana, Salam Bukhari, Lijo Jose Pellissery, Indrajith Sukumaran (cameo)

sapthasreethaskarahaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Apothecary

apothecary (4)

Vampire Owl :: My owlification procedure didn’t work yesterday.

Vampire Bat :: Why? You fell into one of those holes which used to be a part of what used to be our roads?

Vampire Owl :: That was last week. This time, I was trying to pronounce the name of this movie so that I can say that correctly at the ticket counter.

Vampire Bat :: The movie name is one of its kind. I don’t think you will need to pronounce it. They will just give you the tickets.

Vampire Owl :: It is okay then. I can’t pronounce it yet. Still working on it.

Vampire Bat :: Never mind. I call it Eco-Pathiri.

Vampire Owl :: That reminds me, I need pathiri.

Vampire Bat :: You need a blood shake.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, that too. Then I will pronounce it correctly.

Vampire Bat :: May that happen in this century.

[Goes to the ticket counter].

What is it about? :: The movie has the protagonist Dr. Vijay Nambiyar (Suresh Gopi) leading a wonderful life as a neurosurgeon and one of the most respected employees of Apothecary Hospital – a super speciality hospital intended for the high class people which charges an incredibly heavy price for the service that it provides. He is known to be someone who is able to have the grace of God in healing people, and has saved the lives of many people who had lost hope. He is married to Nalini Nambiyar (Abhirami), a gynaecologist working at the same hospital and with two kids. Subi Joseph (Jayasurya) is one of the poor and illiterate patients admitted to the hospital, and along with a few others, he is also a contendor for being a guinea pig for illegal drug tests which are going on in the hospital. Dr. Vijay is also forced to agree to the management’s demands for illegal drug tests on patients, but as he himself is admitted in the same hospital after an accident, things change. There will be a lot happening in one man’s mind – no doubt.

The defence of Apothecary :: Along with the wonderful performances from the cast, this movie can also boast about a straight-forward approach in its path. It doesn’t add any masala in its realistic world and keeps things as it should be. As Kung-fu Panda already found out with the dragon scroll, there is no secret ingrediant in this movie, and it is simple noodles. Every extra masala that you add to the movie noodles won’t always give the result that it is expected to give, and there are times when it has to stay real, and even in the imaginations, the movie achieves the same. Its social relevant theme and the message that it carries with pride are among the things that its makers can be proud about. It leaves the audience with thoughts far above what meets the eye, and this stimulation of the intellect should be made mandatory in the movies which end up crossing the limits of buffoonery and they should be chained to the pillar of sense at some point. The whole thing might have been a risk, but it is good to see that the director has chosen this theme and has given out the right message. It might not have been easy, but it is done. The end dialogues are excellent, even when preachy.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags, and it does so for quite a long time. The movie can be considered too long for its theme and it stretches itself with repetitions which could have been something else. For someone who gave us Melvilasom on his directorial debut, this is a letdown. That movie was something special, one of the best ever made in the history of Malayalam movie industry, and measuring from that perspective, this movie has gone down. Such a comparison was expected as there was the line “from the director of Melvilasom” on the poster, and even as it can be avoided, the hopes remain partially crushed. Then there is that sentimental background music which runs through the movie and keeps coming out of nowhere to make us irritated. It should have been made shorter and to be capable of connecting better with the audience. There had to be a little more clarity on a few things related to the hallucinations and thoughts of our protagonist. There was to be some better editing too. The first part of the second half seems to drag the most, and almost makes this just an art movie.

Performers of the soul :: Suresh Gopi plays the protagonist and easily steals the show in a character that seemed to work for him like a beautiful dream sponsored by a genie. His moments of emotions as well as the preachy side are very much nicely handled. Jayasurya is also there giving life to a character which is simple and at the same time touching for the audience. Subi Joseph is a representative of the common man who comes to the universe of the elite, and it is well done. Asif Ali has a lesser job to do, but he finishes that well. Meera Nandan’s role is also small, but she is very good as Daisy, and the sadness that she displays is so effective for everyone who watches her on the screen. Abhirami has so less to do, as most of the time, she remains crying, but that is still not that much of a lesser job to do. The supporting cast is mostly okay even as there seemed to be some trouble with it as the characters of the doctors were a little too much on the same side which could have been avoided to add some neutrality. In total, it is good to be part of this movie.

Soul exploration :: Here is a special movie for the viewers. Unlike the usual expectation, this is not a medical thriller, but more of a medical drama. It is meant to make people think and there is no doubt about its success in the same. The whole movie is set inside a hospital and a lot of it inside the ICU, like the director’s last movie was completely shot inside a courtroom. It has been all about one building till now. As the earlier movie had talked about the prejudice that was there among the equals, this one talks about the patients’ existence as commodities as hospitals turn into big business ventures looking just for profit. That one had absolutely no drag though. But here, the relevance of the topic is much higher, as it is something of contemporary nature a lot more than anything else. It is just the same as educational institutions becoming places for business – there are always the hospitals. There are basically two types of commodities in our world – the student and the patient, both being good for business, and to be used as a medium to extract money from their loved ones.

How it finishes :: The movie is incapable of surviving in the theatre of much time, and it was evident from the expressions of the common people who were watching it. Surprisingly, they will like fake movies like Bangalore Days, 1983 and Neelakasam Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi is rather a surprise for me though. After the box-office reports come, lets hope that truth won’t have to take that much of a fall, but the sad and depressing fact is that it will. There is no hope for movies like Apothecary in our theatres. It is not because of any other reason – it is because of the attitude of our own audience who are looking for just stupid fun, not even some intelligent entertainment. People ask for entertainment and they are provided the same, most of the time in a very low quality, but surprisingly, people are more than happy with the same. They come and see their favourite stars, sons of the stars or any relative of their favourite superstar on the screen and watch all the nonsense and clap like there is no tomorrow. The hope is just not there for the meaningful movies.

Release date: 7th August 2014
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Madhav Ramadasan
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Jayasurya, Abhirami, Asif Ali, Meera Nandan, Thampy Antony, Indrans, Kavitha Nair, Neeraj Madhav, Seema G. Nair

apothecaryy copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drishyam

drishyam!

The vision right here :: Translated as “The Sight” or may be as “The Visual”, and produced by Antony Perumbavoor under Aashirvad Cinemas, Drishyam is that movie which gave me big trouble in writing the title in English; whether it was Dryshyam, Dhryshyam or Dhrysyam with a lot of variations replacing one “y” or the other with “i” or both with “i”. But about the decision to watch the movie, there was absolutely no doubt. This movie released on a Thursday, a day before the flow of the weekend movies started, and had already come up with good reviews from both the critics and the audience. There was absolutely no reason why I wouldn’t watch this movie, as there were so many people asking about why I haven’t watched this movie, and I decided to book a the tickets, and there was never a better decision in the recent times, as the tickets for the movie was sold out everywhere in a flash, and much faster than Dhoom 3 – its trailer had said that the year would end with a “dhoom”, and now we know that they were talking about Drishyam, and not on some weird movie with strange characters doing stupid things on motor-bikes.

What is it about? :: Georgekutty (Mohanlal) is an orphan who has studied only till standard four, and Rani (Meena) is his wife, a simple woman who failed in standard ten. They have two daughters, Anju (Ansiba) and Anu (Esther Anil) and are leading a happy life in a village background. Georgekutty is a simple farmer who runs the business of a cable television business named after his wife along with being a farmer; he is loved by most of the people of the village has the image of a nice, innocent man. Still, he doesn’t back away from having opinions about most of the things of the world, which makes him the enemy of Sahadevan (Kalabhavan Shajon), a local cop. But as a simple incident changes their life, they are forced to prepare for the worst, and save their family together, as the common man who lags in education decides to take on the law which comes after them. Will they succeed in their mission or will the family break apart due to the power of external force lead by the Inspector General herself? Anything more said about the movie is rather giving away too much, and the rest is to be seen.

The defence of Drishyam :: Here is another thriller on the cards, after having Mumbai Police and Memories this year gaining critical acclaim as well good box-office collections. The thriller genre is indeed gaining the support of the audience, and even Up and Down: Mukalil Oralundu and Silence had enough of the average stuff inside them. Memories might still be the best investigative thriller this year for every one, as long as this one categorizes under a family thriller. The movie’s first half is a full family drama with light shades until the one major incident that happens just before the end of the half, taking the tension into the space after interval. There is the simple life of ordinary people close to nature portrayed throughout, something which is of goodness and dedication. The second half brings the thrilling twist to the world as the darker shade creeps in under the disguise of law. There is so much brilliance and beauty in the way the story is told, especially in the second half. There is the mixing of the right features that make this one a movie for more than one kind of person.

Positives and negatives :: We are indeed caught in that world of uncertainty which no real assurance of what is to happen next, as an illiterate village guy takes on the educated smart people, but still there might be a little dragging in the first half, and it is just after the interval that the movie actually takes off as it is. The songs are just ordinary, but the performances are top class. The first half does have some ineffective jokes, and there is too much coming from a man who learns how to beat the police with the help of movies. You can actually come up with the need for disbelief, but considering the world that we love in, nothing is impossible, and as the demonic Overlord would say, evil always finds a way. Power and influence always got the upper-hand, and when the common man fights for his family and his world, it is always something that inspires millions. As George Orwell will give us through his Animal Farm, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. That should be another reference to the 2009 movie Ividam Swargamanu, which itself is mentioned in this movie as our hero goes to work on his land. Let’s add that this one is more emotionally touching and less complicated than that one.

Performers of the soul :: There are many directors who might have the best records for many, but for Jeethu Joseph, it is a perfect record when I look at it, with the most interesting thriller of a decade Detective, the best family drama of its age Mummy & Me, the funniest movie of last year My Boss and the best investigative thriller of this year, Memories – there is his perfect record, none of the movies deserves below 80/100 in my opinion. Even with the lesser number of movies, he is already among the best, no doubt about that. Mohanlal is back with a role where he perfectly fits in, reminding us of his performance in Ividam Swargamanu, or rather a role which is even more worthy of being loved – once again the farmer who fights for his small world. There is no longer a hero who transforms into a superhero who beats up the opponents, and he excels as the common man. It is good to see Meena back opposite Mohanlal after Chandrolsavam (2007) and the performance of Kalabhavan Shajon in a negative role is worth mentioning. Asha Sharath also remains strong throughout her presence. Meanwhile, the kids are just brilliant, and they are strong pillars of this movie – I hope that they will stay for long.

Soul exploration :: In its soul, Drishyam is more or less Ividam Swargamanu, even if not so in the presentation as well as the genre. The two characters instantly likable, and we are on their side right from the beginning to the end. Here Mohanlal plays Georgekutty who fights the law for his family in the place of Mathews who fights the law for his land. Both are quite innocent characters who are looking to save their respective worlds. Both movies have the protagonists who are not that educated common men who are on the back-foot most of the time. But this movie has the whole thing more under the control of the protagonist, and the external help he receives is much less. There is no law being used in the favour of him, but there is surely the appropriate use of media. Georgekutty is better planned, all by himself throughout the movie, and even as he suffers more, right from the beginning to the end, everything has been under his control. There is no real corruption in this movie, but there is just power and influence which troubles the common man. The end is indeed a very good, and not without the twist that was needed.

How it finishes :: Drishyam is indeed the winner of the weekend and the movie of Christmas. The movie is in many ways the triumph of goodness when placed against all kinds of problems. There is always evil and sin which often takes many forms and can sometimes rise above the law, and all that decisions belong to the fine thread that fate has woven for each man and woman unless Grimm Reaper decides to cut that thread with his scythe. But the movie ends up as the victory of the common man in his ability to do the right thing. The movie also asserts that there is nothing like family. The real immediate world is family, and without love and mutual co-operation, there is no such world in reality. We do not live for the moment or anything, as we live for the world, which is family – and most of us might have troubles with our blood, but none of them can stand the power of time, and problems and our struggles bring us together. It is never too late to find our little world as well as our role in it. Drishyam is the visualization of the struggle of a common man for the family, and there is brilliance in store.

Release date: 19th December 2013
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Kalabhavan Shajon, Siddique, Asha Sharath, Ansiba, Esther Anil, Roshan Basheer, Koottickal Jayachandran, Neeraj Madhav, Irshad, Kunchan, Antony Perumbavoor

drishyam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.