Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham

What is the movie about? :: A former television actress Haripriya (Grace Antony) feels that she is stuck in an unromantic marriage with Pavithran (Nivin Pauly), who is has been a junior artist and acting coach for a long time, without any success. Their marriage was fixed by a mutual acquaintance, Sivakumar (Sudheesh) who works in the cinema field, as both had some film ambitions which didn’t materialize as they had wished for. Pavithran took loan against Haripriya’s grandmother’s golden earrings for helping his friend, and it had become another reason for their marriage landing in trouble, along with his usual unsuccessful pursuits in the film industry, along with that acting coaching going nowhere. The two are now on the verge of their separation, and as his acting coaching classes are also held in the corner of Haripriya’s father’s restaurant, Pavithran gets some gold coated earrings to replace Haripriya’s golden earrings for the time being, and both are finally together, with an added plan to go on a romantic trip.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: As Haripriya’s brother ask for the earrings to be used for loan for her family’s expenses, Pavithran decides to speed up the romantic trip and steal the earrings. They get room at an expensive hotel, thanks to Sivakumar’s contacts in the film field. There, they meet Jobby (Vinay Forrt), the manager, and Shalini (Vincy Aloshious), the receptionist. One of the room boys, Manaf (Rajesh Madhavan) seems to develop a special liking for Haripriya’s earrings. A mostly successful writer, Balachandran (Joy Mathew) is also there, along with a drunkard, Surendran (Jaffar Idukki) whom almost everyone detests. Pavithran successfully steals the earrings, and hides them. But soon, he realizes that it has been stolen from that location, as he cannot find it either. Haripriya will not stop until she makes sure that each and every person in the hotel is innocent. Jobby who has to go and meet his lover’s parents are also stuck there, and Shalini who is forced to work late without salary is more than just angry about the situation. Can anyone find a solution here?

The defence of Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham :: The movie is fun enough, and mostly mindless fun, when we look at it. The whole thing depends on the messed up lives of everyone who is seen on the screen – none of them seems to be happy, and they are all facing troubles due to one thing or the other. It is a true reflection of our world, in which there is no real happiness, and a certain search for the same leads us nowhere. We see that there is nothing that goes right in this particular hotel, which holds a mirror to a Corona virus affected, climate change affected world of chaos. Everyone has their different problems, and each one of them is shown coming together towards this one particular incident. The set design is really good, and it could even suit a horror movie, as there are reminders of The Shining and its sequel, Doctor Sleep. The setting serves the purpose more than any other thing in the film. Some of the humour is quick to rise, and there are the jokes which do no feel that dumb as some others are. There is some satire that works in the background too.

The claws of flaw :: Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham doesn’t have that much of an effectiveness with its jokes as we would expect in the beginning. In the later stages, it only becomes more and more repetitive in nature. The calls for the manager as well as one drunkard who remains irritating for most of the time doesn’t score that much as expected in the later stages of the film. There is a little bit too much of stretching of the whole thing. The same thing goes on moving forward, and the idea to bring a message in here is lost. It is more or less an opportunity lost in that case. Often it goes down to the level of the kind of movies which we have detested for the buffoonery that gets repeated – such films are not there now, but we do remember such a past. Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham did have some good hype related to the cast, and the trailer despite not giving out a clear idea, did make us feel that there is something special in store, but that much is not there to be taken.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly leads the movie well as expected. This is similar to what he had done with Love Action Drama, another comedy film which could only partially work with its humour. But for someone who has done many movies with some effective light humour, this won’t be a step forward. The one whom we remember for Thattathin Marayathu and Om Shanti Oshaana‘s light comedy was quite a different star, and that was the one whom we continued to prefer. It seems that the same has been lost up to an extent. Grace Antony had her best movie in the form of Kumbalangi Nights, and this one has her as the sole lead. She has provided an entertaining performance here too. Vincy Aloshious plays the other female character of importance, and we would be remembering that one well enough too. She should be considered as the pick of that Naayika Naayikan show on Mazhavil Manorama along with Meenakshi, especially with the way they do comedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Sudheesh has another role which runs through the movie with focus on the beginning and end, and it is good to see him in such roles, like the one we saw in Theevandi. He has been the one actor who has been there from our childhood itself. Vinay Forrt can be considered as playing the funniest character around, and we also feel for the character trying so hard. He and his mobile phone do become interesting from the beginning itself. Joy Mathew plays a role suiting him well. Jaffar Idukki plays a drunkard who is often too irritating, but most of the time, he manages the same in an okay manner. Rajesh Madhavan as Manaf comes up with a notable performance here, and he is the one character who scores when least expected. Sudheer Paravoor as Vijesh Nair is another employee character that we will be noting. There are a few other interesting characters, and they all blend into the hotel atmosphere really well.

How it finishes :: Life has been very serious in the last few months as far as OTT films are concerned. Well, we know what has been happening everywhere, and there is no confusion about the films being serious with a world of chaos all around. Starting from Drishyam 2, we have had a series of serious films, like Kaanekkaane, Sunny, Malik, Kuruthi and others, which have held on to the serious characters really well. The number of comedy movies has been comparatively less, as we look at them. So, this one serves something light-hearted in between, even though it is certainly not that effective. As the theatres have opened now, the movie needed to be of better quality to keep the audience in the OTT platform. Now, with the theatres having opened, people will be moving there unless there is enough power in the OTT to keep them online. The challenge of Kurup is there to stay for long, as it seems. Well, we know that more is to come soon.

Release date: 12th November 2021 (Disney Hotstar)
Running time: 169 minutes
Directed by: Ratheesh Balakrishnan Poduval
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Grace Antony, Vinay Forrt, Vincy Aloshious, Joy Mathew, Jaffar Idukki, Sudheesh, Rajesh Madhavan, Sudheer Paravoor, Sivadas Kannur, Neeraja Rajendran, Ratheesh Balakrishna Poduval

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@ 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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Mikhael

What is the movie about? :: George Peter (Siddique) is the rich and notorious don of the area who is known to run the family business as well as criminal activities of the city and its surroundings with such energy and enthusiasm that he doesn’t hesistate to kill even police officers according to his will, the latest of them being N Sreenivasan (Kishore) who dared to arrest him in front of the public. When a new investigating officer Easa (JD Chakravarthi) is appointed in his place with Issac (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to assist him, the hunt for the mafia ruling the city gets stronger. It is then that the headless body of George is found along with his right-hand man, brutally murdered. Then the man who mediates between two rival gangs, Patrick (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is also shot by someone. This brings trouble with gang wars ready to break out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With George’s brother Marco Jr (Unni Mukundan) coming to the scene, and Francis Davi (Sudev Nair) from the opposite gang trying to have his own vengeance, the police department is kept on his toes. All these seem to point to one man, doctor of the nearby Starcare hospital called Mikhael John (Nivin Pauly) who seems to have a long story to tell about his family and how it came across George. He is the man who seems to be responsible for the death of George and Patrick, but the question remains about what Marco Jr will do about that, with going to police and assuring law and justice, not being an option for him. Easa and Issac will be happy to see the rival gangs fighting each other, or someone murdering the gangsters, but how long can the police department keep away from the scene? Will there be vengeance and can there be justice?

The defence of Mikhael :: The movie is high on style and action sequences, but one can note that it never really goes too far, as it keeps away from elements like flying villains, hero who knows everything before it happens, and all. The music is mostly good and at times excellent, with very few exceptions that we can notice. There are those mass elements, but they are kept in control unlike The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal which had the same director’s hands firmly on them in one way or the other, or Masterpiece which had so much of the same – the heroism as well as the whole story itself is far more believable, and has better and smarter twists with this one. The thrills are present all the time, and the emotional side works pretty well. The visual style is very nice, and the same rises above the rest. The dialogues are powerful, and Mikhael is a movie that doesn’t hesitate to come up with some moments which are above a normal movie in the industry.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when style gets over substance in this movie too, as The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal also did. We also see too many similarities with former, with a school being at the centre of attraction, and one girl who is dear to the protagonist – fighting for her becomes the priority for the protagonist. The slow motion could have been reduced, and the interest in sunglasses for some characters continues to be strange. The first half also takes some time to get into the main idea, and we also see the presence of predictability here, with the protagonist and antagonist coming close to facing each other. The ladies don’t have much to do in this movie either, except for the girl who sets everything moving. You can see that some moments were added just for the sake of adding them, and inspirations from foreign movies are certainly there.

The performers of the soul :: It is up to Nivin Pauly to rise and stay at the top, and he manages to do that well – still, his best moments were when his character was a family man, with vulnerability, but it was surely nice to see him in a different avatar, extending what he showed in Action Hero Biju. He does show that he is good at them all, and in a movie which has substance rising over style will surely have him shining better. There are the two qualities of Michael shown by Christina Rossetti with her poem on the angels – service & strength, as doctor & martial arts expert here. One the other side is Unni Mukundan who plays the main antagonist towards the end, and we remember him playing just the opposite in the movie Style – with Tovino as his villain; here he has to face the same thing, even though stylish as he is, with less space on the screen, and not getting the best of dialogues when there was scope for a lot of the same. He should have been given the opportunity to be a more menacing villain rather than showing the muscles. The Luciferesque qualities are seen better with Siddique’s character as Satan against Michael, the leader of heavenly angels – the one who chooses to reign in hell & go against all norms, establishing his own pandemonium. He is the Satan that Milton would keep in his Paradise Lost.

Further performers of the soul :: At the same, Siddique becomes that villain who anyone could have wanted to be – evil and sadistic, going on to reach a state which is nothing less than mentally sick. His ways of tormenting or even finishing off his opponents, and even his dialogues are with that kind of terror that an antagonist can always dream about, and a protagonist can have nightmares about. The girl who played the main character’s sister, a name which hasn’t been known through the early cast list on internet or posters, Navani Devanand also needs some applause as she gets everything right in this movie – she could be a talent to look out for, in the future. She nails all emotions perfectly, whether its anger, sadness or joy. Shantikrishna, Babu Antony, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Ashokan, Baiju and KPAC Lalitha are left with not much to do here. Manjima Mohan as the heroine doesn’t really have anything to do either, and even Reba Monica John who is there for a few minutes leave better impact. JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair and Suraj Venjaramoodu get their nice moments though.

How it finishes :: The whole story of Mikhael here has an allusion to the archangel Michael, the leader of the archangels who lead the battle against Satan, a.k.a. Lucifer and his forces who rebeled against God. As a protector and a fighter against evil, this image is reiterated here by giving the same name to the protagonist, and the images of the angel being shown on multiple spaces – the opposite can be seen through the images displayed in the room of the antagonist. The whole movie is about how the brother becomes the guardian angel for his sister, vanquishing the evil forces – with the same, we have the style, all the action, thrills and twists which keep coming at regular intervals; surprisingly, there is also the presence of some funny side. This one might not be the favourite for the family audience, but is surely one nice entertainer which successfully defends its territory within the genre.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Haneef Adeni
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Unni Mukundan, Navani Devanand, Manjima Mohan, JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair, Babu Antony, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Kalabhavan Shajohn, KPAC Lalitha, Amal Shah, V Jayaprakash, Kishore, Reba Monica John, Baiju

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Kayamkulam Kochunni

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Hey Jude

What is the movie about? :: Dominique Rodriguez (Siddique) and Mariya Rodriguez (Neena Kurup), are living a pretty good life with their children Jude Rodriguez (Nivin Pauly) and Andrea Rodriguez (Apoorva Bose) at Fort Cochin. They trace their lineage a long way back, as one of the most respectable Anglo-Indian families at the place. Dominique runs an antique shop nearby, and his skills in doing business depends on his ability to lie so well that he makes a usual thing a symbol of Dravidian world or the last piece of a part of Indian heritage that is not found anywhere else in the country – he sells them at high prices to unsuspecting foreigners who have a strange fascination for the orient, the fine pearls of the East, especially of India. But his son Jude is just the opposite, never able to lie, but more intelligent than anyone else around; at the same time, he completely lacks in any kind of social skill.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Jude has no friends in the city, and his co-workers make sure that he gets fired from his job at a hardware company. He spends his time collecting pictures of different aquatic animals – he has all the information about ocean’s creatures, and loves clown fish, jelly fish and gold fish and his dream is about owning a big aquarium one day. While his parents are worried about his future, his sister finds no hope in him, as he wishes to have food at the exact same time every day, and eats only the same food items all the time. He has a list for almost everything in his life, and talks to his video camera about each day about his thoughts. Twenty eight years old and being different from everyone around him, he has a tough time going through each and every day of his life. But he is not ready to accompany his father with the work.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: When Dominique has to travel to Goa to attend a funeral, things change. He has to take Jude and Mariya with him on the journey, leaving Andrea in charge of the antique shop. There, it turns out that Dominique and Jude have inherited everything which was owned by the dead person who had special love for the distant relatives. Now, the problem that Domique faces in selling the newly acquired property and traveling back to Cochin is Sebastian Chakraparambu (Vijay Menon) who lives with his daughter Crystal Ann Chakraparambu (Trisha Krishnan) in the outhouse which cannot be cleared as the building was rented for a period of five years. Dominique comes up with some plans to get rid of the new neighbours, but nothing works. At the same time, Jude and Crystal become good friends, but both have their own troubles in facing life.

The defence of Hey Jude :: From the first moments itself, you are sure that this is that kind of a light-hearted entertainer with messages for life, which will be developing slowly and steadily as the movie progresses. Hey Jude can be considered as the simplest and the most entertaining movie from the director who has known to provide us with strong philosophical side to ponder about. The humour is a clear winner in this movie, as it keeps dropping in all the time. All the characters in this movie are funny in one way or the other, and things never go out of control to bring a possible dark side. The funny side has us more and more interested in the proceedings, and with the grand visuals of Goa, all becomes good for this movie. The music is pretty good, and as it has been talked about, this is a lovely tale of love, self-discovery, healing and transformation. It gets into the list of inspirational movies which have made the big impact in the industry – we see the support for people to be who they want to be.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is kind of longer than one would have wanted it to be. Then, those who wanted Shyamaprasad to go into those deeper human emotions and situations are going to feel the need for more. One can feel that there has been the effort to make things a little too simple – it was surely not needed considering how far our audience could evolve from the time the first movie of the same director released. The movie could have also ended smarter and without a quick full stop. If you don’t like movies like North 24 Kaatham and Mili, and are unable to connect to the protagonists of those movie, you would have the same trouble here – well, some so called perfect people will always have problems with these kinds of characters, as they jump right out of the firmament with stored thunder in mouth; this one is not for that kind of people born with silver spoons and even golden forks in their mouths.

The performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly surely has the most divergent as well as different character that he has had to play in his whole career, and he could manage the same with great skill. Meanwhile, Trisha makes her Malayalam debut here, and she does that with ease – it is surely surprising that it took her such a long time to be here, but as she is here, it is all good. Well, she has played a Malayali girl in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, making this not the first instance of being part of such a character. Siddique plays the father figure again, as we see him at his best just after watching him in Aadhi in the role of a responsible father – this one is actually more challenging, and his work is light-hearted as well as interesting. Neena Kurup is there throughout as the mother figure, and it is nice to see Apoorva Bose back in action; she was being missed. Vijay Menon plays a funny as well as powerful character present throughout the flick. Aju Varghese has a nice, funny cameo to his credit.

How it finishes :: Shyamaprasad is the one director whom we know the most for adapting the American classic expressionist play, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams for the Malayalam audience, and doing that with such skill, that Mahatma Gandhi University has included it in the paper, Comparative Literature for the final semester BA English students. Arike, which signified the exact opposite meaning to Akale, was another beautiful flick with its quest for love. Ivide with its quest for identity and reflecting rootlessness, was also with philosophical undercurrents. But Hey Jude is rather direct in all that it reflects on the screen, and it can be considered as the most light-hearted as well as the funniest movie from the director with messages to go with it. If you liked movies like North 24 Kaatham and Mili, I don’t see why you won’t watch this one with family.

Release date: 2nd February 2018
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Shyamaprasad
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Trisha Krishnan, Siddique, Neena Kurup, Vijay Menon, Apoorva Bose, Aju Varghese (cameo), Shyamaprasad (cameo)

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela

What is the movie about? :: Chacko (Lal) and Sheela (Shanthi Krishna) are a couple in the city who are going through their usual days. The former was working at Kuwait until a few years ago, and the latter is a Chemistry professor at the nearby college. While their youngest child Sarah (Ahaana Krishna) lives with them, their eldest child Mary (Srinda Arhaan) lives with her husband Tony (Siju Wilson) nearby. Their only son Kurien (Nivin Pauly) is working at London, and it has been some time since he last visited India. It is during one of these days that Sheela develops a doubt if she has breast cancer. The talk about the same frightens Chacko, who consults his good friend and dentist Varkichan (Dileesh Pothan). The man refers Chacko to a reputed doctor of a famous hospital in Cochin, Saiju (Saiju Kurup) who has cured many patients suffering from cancer. After consulting him and undergoing the tests, they confirm the same, that she does have stage two breast cancer.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is at the same time that Kurien returns to Cochin for spending a forced break, as Sheela had called and asked him to come as soon as possible without saying any reason. He gets the feeling that she had called him to get him married, as most of the other relatives of his age have been married already, and his siblings also share the same thoughts. The only other reason could be related to their grandfather, but he has been the same for years, and there is absolutely no change regarding his health. Chacko, who is afraid of the disease, struggles to even talk about it to his children – but one day, he manages to let them know the truth after a series of misunderstandings. Everyone in the family is shocked and sad, and are cent percent confused about what to do next. The family which had things going straight without any intermissions, gets a lot of thinking to do after that revelation.

And what else is to follow in the adventure in the land of crabs? :: Kurien’s only relief is his long lost friend Subbu (Krishna Shankar) whom he meets after a long time. Sheela tells her family to support her happily, but everyone remains sad and depressed. They decide to get a home nurse to look after the grandfather as Sheela is not well. Their search for one ends with Yesudas (Sharafudheen) whose conditions are agreed upon. Meanwhile, while taking his mother to one of the chemotherapy sessions, Kurien meets a girl from Bangalore named Raichel (Aishwarya Lekshmi) who had arrived in the hospital with her parents, as her father also had cancer. They become good friends, and Kurien feels very much attracted to her. Meanwhile, Sarah is also in love. Chacko keeps struggling to make himself adjust to the understanding and fear of his wife’s disease. In this newly confused world, the battle between chemo and the crab goes on.

The defence of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela :: There are two sides to Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – a humorous one and the emotional one. The humour is there in the movie all the way – the light-hearted side of this flick will make it a much loved title for this Onam season for the families. The emotional side is there, as the family is shaken by the unexpected trouble, and we see how they overcome the same, but never missing out on bringing a little comedy here and there. The balance which has been maintained here without letting the flick stumble into some kind of melodrama, is a remarkable achievement. The use of the right cast also makes sure that things work better. The movie leaves us with the message that it is the unexpected twist in life that makes us stronger, and it is the difficulties that makes us capable of more – positivity added there when the trap of hopelessness is present. Along with the same, it is once again re-iterated that family is that important, and it would come over almost all the other things in life; something that most of the new generation would need to realize at some point.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does take the safe route rather than trying anything special or unexpected. It might be rather too simple for the liking of some people, unlike Adam Joan, the other good movie of the Onam-Eid season which makes sure that it is more like the exact opposite of this movie – like a mirror image which reverses things. Well, we have interesting movies at both sides of the mirror, and it is a positive sign for the Malayalam movie industry. Yet, one wonders why it was so necessary to add a romantic side to this movie which adds nothing more than a little bit of cuteness along with a song – without the same, this one would have finished in less than two hours, and Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela would have had no moment of deviation from its beautiful family stuff. In a world when youth wishes for quick movies, the movie’s dilatoriness will trouble more than one person, but if you relate to the characters well enough, such a problem can vanish into thin air. There could also be people who want some parts of this movie to be more serious; well could have been even more touching for sure.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly goes through his role comfortably, as the lazy, Lays eating, London-er with more Keralite thoughts than anything else. There is also a little bit of romantic side for him here, but it is once again the family stuff that he gets to handle, and does very well. When the movie is cute, and the hero is Nivin Pauly, I wonder what can stop the family from rushing into the theatres. It has been a long time since we saw Shanthi Krishna, and it is good to see her back, and she remains the strong point of this movie from the beginning to the end. Lal also joins in and makes this role exactly at the right place. Ahaana Krishna’s second role also seems to be a good choice, as she seems to be doing what Aima Rosmy Sebastian has been doing – she has more to do than the heroine, Aishwarya Lekshmi who has a memorable presence, but gets less time on screen. The Aluvaite Premam team has kind of a get together with Siju Wilson, Krishna Shankar and Sharafudheen there, and strengthens the funny side, and so does Srinda.

How it finishes :: You will find Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela from the debutante director Althaf Salim to be a treat for the whole family, even without trying anything huge. It stays close to life and closer to the heart with those simple moments of life, and simpler instances of comedy being nicely woven into the plot. One has to wonder how well Nivin Pauly has been choosing his movies – from those dual releases of Ivide and Premam, it has been such a fantastic journey. The last three movies, Action Hero Biju, Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Sakhavu have been different in core, and all three of them are worth the appreciation. Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela continues that sequences of interesting movies. With the Tamil movie Richie supposed to come up soon, our movie here will raise hope to an even higher level. As of now, there is no void as it has been at certain points of time, and we have enough to enjoy this vacation season. I wish all of my readers a Happy Eid, as well as a Happy Onam in advance! 🙂

PS: Relate the crab to cancer, and there is more than one meaning which you can take from “the land of crabs” in the title.

Release date: 1st September 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Althaf Salim
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Lal, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Ahaana Krishna, Shanthi Krishna, Siju Wilson, Srinda Arhaan, Krishna Shankar, Sharafudheen, Dileesh Pothan, Saiju Kurup, Sidhartha Siva

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sakhavu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aanandam

anandam-2

What is the movie about? :: The leader of the gang Varun (Arun Kurian), lovers Gautham (Roshan Mathew) and Devika (Annu Antony), the seemingly silent but observant Darshana (Anarkali Marikar), Akshay (Thomas Matthew) and Diya (Siddhi Mahajankatti) who has been the girl of his dreams since his first day at the college, and their best friend and photography enthusiast Kuppi (Vishak Nair), makes plans and are part of an industrial visit from a private engineering college which goes through Hampi, Mysore and Goa. As it is a pleasure trip in disguise of the industrial visit, all the students are excited about it, and that has made the teachers extra careful about the same. But the permission is granted, and the trip finally happens.

So, how do things go throughout this trip? :: Akshay really feels the need to talk about his love to Diya, but despite the best efforts of his friends, he is not able to do that, and that keeps bothering him. Varun is a disappointed man as he was rejected by the same girl, and doesn’t want to talk to her anymore. Gautham and Devika finds more of the differences between them as situation changes from the usual stage of their college, its canteen and class rooms. At Hampi itself, there are signs of the same, and by the time they reach Goa, things seem to get out hand with their own personal problems and as they realise that while following the same timetable and doing the same things again and again during the college days, they never knew enough about their best friends at all, a certain distance is felt, but not for long!

The defence of Aanandam :: The movie makes use of the simple incidents that can happen in a trip involving friends, and everything remains light-hearted, without anything huge or threatening in any way happening. It is the cause of success for this movie, as things could be related, even with the very minute exaggerations, which could also be related by some people. There is no doubt about the ability of this movie to connect to the youth, and the funny sequences keep scoring whenever there is a chance. The visuals are really good, and the songs are very much effective. One can be sure that a lot of people have a certain nostalgia about this movie, with where that happens changing for each person. This movie is a safe bet for everyone too, as it begins and ends as a feel-good flick.

Claws of flaw :: There is not much here in the story, as bringing something special was never the idea. The movie has its slow moments here and there, and its love story gets a little bit too much of light over of the friendship factor. The movie could have been better with the romance taking a much lower position in the order of things. This is that kind of a movie that could thrive more on a better focus on college friendship rather than anything else, and even though that is surely touched, this one gets people more focused on the love stories of the protagonists, as one character himself says why he is there – to be there and enjoy with his friends. The movie’s choice of locations also remains a little case of wonder here, but strange decisions happen in life, and so is the case here.

Performers of the soul :: Even though the movie is left without much to bring out anything out of the box, everyone has successfully come up with some natural performances in the roles that seemed to suit them really well. Among the cast, Arun Kurian shows big potential with his serious character while Roshan Mathew has some of the funniest moments with Annu Antony – the tattoo, the metal band, the syringe, the fainting, the thing about knowing each other better; all come together perfectly with them. Siddhi Mahajankatti is the cute side of the movie, and Thomas Matthew also forms the same side. Anarkali Marikar makes the silent assassin, the witness and the narrator of all things, work in the rightful manner. Vishak Nair joins in between with moments of fun too.

Further performers of the soul :: Rony David comes with a memorable performance contributing to the fun – the comedy here works with absolutely no flaw as long as his character is concerned. The moments between the teachers come as the surprise fun in this flick which revolves a lot around six or seven characters, threatening to make everything else non-existent. You can see the presence of Aju Varghese around there too, not as a working character there, but you will see. Renji Panicker is once again there in one of those roles in which you have seen him before multiple times, and that is once again nice, but surely brings no surprise there. Meanwhile, the big surprise comes with Nivin Pauly being there, and he has got some nice moments during his short stay on the screen as the brother of one of the protagonists.

How it finishes :: The debutante director Ganesh Raj has made more than just a fine beginning here, as he had not an easy task with new faces all around, and theatres with superstar movies – but he has succeeded in making this one live up-to its name, and leave us with a happy feeling. Already running with packed crowds, the movie is sure to be the one flick that makes one happy not just with its content, but for the realisation that a movie doesn’t need stars, as what comes a long way above it should be a dedicated team of people working together and working hard to make things happen – the Vampire Bat and the Vampire Owl believe that it is the secret behind the simple, cute, effective as well as charming existence and success of this movie, and with talent and the yearning for the target, that is achieved on this day or the other.

Release date: 21st October 2016
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Ganesh Raj
Starring: Arun Kurian, Thomas Matthew, Roshan Mathew, Vishak Nair, Annu Antony, Siddhi Mahajankatti, Anarkali Marikar, Rony David, Nivin Pauly (Cameo), Aju Varghese (Cameo), Renji Panicker (Cameo)

anandam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jacobinte Swargarajyam

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Vampire Owl :: Quite a lot of things happened this year, you know; with the Malayalam movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only a few months have passed, and so you can’t really say a lot!

Vampire Owl :: Well, Darwin completed his evolution and Mahesh had his vengeance. Now, Jacob wants his kingdom of heaven.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Darwinte Parinamam and Maheshinte Prathikaram; now Jacobinte Swargarajyam – note the “NTE” sound in the middle of the title of every movie.

Vampire Owl :: I am sure that this one has worked so well too. I couldn’t get tickets for the movie at the multiplexes.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is Vishu. Theatres were supposed to be full.

Vampire Owl :: Is that the same reason why we are here so early?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, you see the large number of people in the queue behind us.

Vampire Owl :: And I am glad that we parked our car early.

Vampire Bat :: This one should work for us too.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Jacob (Renji Panicker) is a successful businessman who made Dubai his home after striving hard to reach his current position. With his wife Sherly (Lakshmy Ramakrishnan) and four children, Jerry (Nivin Pauly), Abin (Sreenath Bhasi), Ammu (Aima Sebastian) and Chris (Stacen), they go through some of the happiest times of their life. Jerry is in love with Chippy (Reba Monica John), a medical student, and Ammu leaves to study the same course. Abin spends his time with music. But as Jacob is cheated by one of his trusted people, he is left in a lot of trouble and also in dire need of money, disturbing the momentum of the family. With consistent threats from Murali Menon (Ashwin Kumar) and others who had invested in his venture, he decides to travel to Liberia to find bring a deal and come up with a solution to his present problem.

What is it actually about? :: The absence of his father required the rise of Jerry to the vacant position, and it is what the movie is really about. It is about Jerry trying to bring things back together with the help of his family of his brothers and his mother. With his father stuck in Liberia, he will find new ideas and will bring new plans to minimize and later get rid of the damage completely. With the help of the old friends of his father, Unni (T.G. Ravi) and Philip (Sai Kumar), and also the newly found people in his life, Yousuf (Vineeth Sreenivasan), he will rise to the occasion, and with the help of the situation and fate, shall go on to become the person whom he never thought he would be. But the question remains about the timing – with time running out so fast, will he really be able to do that when needed? Can he be the saviour for his family when it matters the most?

The defence of Jacobinte Swargarajyam :: Clean, and staying close to the realities of life, this movie makes a good use of its cast which has come up with some natural performances. The scenes which depict the relationship between the members of the family gives that special and yet beautiful feeling – it provides anyone who values family with that special reflection to life. The funny scenes are simple and from everyday life, but working very well. The emotional scenes are very much touching, but still kept in control. There is so much positivity in this movie even when facing lots of trouble, and the feel-good factor here is rather tremendous. There are also some very nice visuals; the songs are interesting, and “Ee Shishirakaalam” is the pick of them all. The messages left here are also beautiful, of working hard without any shortcuts, supporting one’s family and being there for the ones you love the most.

Claws of flaw :: Yes, undoubtedly, this movie could have been better; the scope was there, and such a wonderful cast was present. This emotional family story goes through a little bit too much of a predictable path too. We can guess a lot of things around here easily. A story at the Middle East and the tale of a family facing financial crisis – these are two things that can appeal to the Malayali audience so well, which is why a better story with a rather slower transformation of the protagonist would have done better for the movie. The film is also a little bit too much focused on money, and it is the capital, the profit and the money that drives too many things in this movie – well, it is still not the primary focus, but the fingers are often pointed towards that, even though not many people might see that. Well, capitalism was always supposed to be there, considering the setting.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly requirest a lot of appreciation here – for he surely knows how to become the hero, and otherwise stay there waiting for the opportunity; it has been the case with his character here. Renji Panicker takes the glory in the beginning stages, and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan dominates at times, and Nivin is there exactly as his character demands, and I consider that a wonderful thing here. After Action Hero Biju, he once again has a realistic portrayal of his character here, and it only gets better. Meanwhile, Aima Sebastian has a small but amazingly cute presence in this movie, and Reba Monica John leaves a mark even with her shorter presence – that could have been explored further. Renji Panicker does his job with ease, and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan has her character becoming one of the best strong mother/wife characters that we have seen for a long time. The other most notable person here is Sreenath Bhasi who is a lot likable.

How it finishes :: Do note that Vineeth Sreenivasan and Aju Varghese make notable cameos here, the former making a bigger impact in the story. The child artist Stacen also does a good job. This movie could have been stronger with its story, but the feeling that it provides is really good. It is something that is perfect for a family watch for the weekend, as it is a movie with faith, hope and values. It is a movie that reminds the viewers of their family and how much the blood keeps us together, binding us. The significance of the family is something that has been part of our movie industry for a long time, and this one becomes a welcome addition to the same. Vineeth Sreenivasan does four in a row, after Malarvadi Arts Club, Thattathin Marayathu and Thira. The Thira sequel won’t be here soon though, I guess.

Here is a song from the movie; you should love it 🙂

Release date: 8th April 2016
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Reba Monica John, Renji Panicker, Aima Sebastian, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, Sreenath Bhasi, Stacen, Sai Kumar, Ashwin Kumar, T. G. Ravi, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vineeth Sreenivasan (cameo), Aju Varghese (cameo)

jacobinteswargarajyam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Action Hero Biju

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Vampire Owl :: I have read and heard mixed reviews about this one.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and I have even heard that the other flick at the theatres is a better movie than this.

Vampire Owl :: Do you know what that means?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it means that we should watch this movie before going for any other.

Vampire Owl :: If someone says that the other movie is better and keeps telling us that we should watch that particular movie, we should watch this movie only.

Vampire Bat :: Exactly; we know that our tastes are different as individuals, unless we blindly follow a trend.

Vampire Owl :: I remember us liking Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi more than Amar Akbar Anthony.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, they told us that the former was not a movie at all. Strange people.

Vampire Owl :: And they declared a repetitive comedy movie as one of the best entertainers of all-time.

Vampire Bat :: Which is why we should watch them all, and what they don’t like, we should surely try.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Sub Inspector Biju Paulose (Nivin Pauly) is a teacher turned police officer who is determined to serve the people and has dedicated his life to his duty. He intends to keep the law and order in the city of Cochin, and for the same, he intends to keep himself close to work all the time. The movie goes through his daily life as a police officer, and deals with the cases that he comes up against everyday, as he gets ready for his marriage with Benitta Dominic (Anu Emmanuvel). There will be enough trouble to keep him busy. And yes, you get all of these without slow-motion sequences, beating up twenty five people at a time, and not catching dangerous serial killers, international criminals or extreme terrorists. Do you know about realistic movies with messages, but having no real dull moment in between? Yes, this works in that way!

The defence of Action Hero Biju :: The one thing which you can be sure about this movie is that it is realistic to the core. The protagonist doesn’t go on fighting the big villains beating them up on the roads or defeating his minions by fighting them all over the city. There is no villain here, but the crimes. There are no heavy dialogues around there either. You shall find no Bharathchandran, Balram, Mohammed Sarkar, Madhavan, Easo Panicker, Baba Kalyani, Chandrasekharan, Sharafuddin Tharamasi and the rest who are part of that long list of heroes from the past, or even those divergent ones of the later times like Sam Alex, Solomon Joseph, Hameem Hyder and Anthony Moses. The movie has no complications, and things are simple, as one would expect to happen as part of the usual life. The comedy as well as the emotional side are very much working; the visuals are really good and the songs are just okay. This one also works as a tribute to the police force.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s realistic approach won’t appeal to all. It is not that kind of a realistic approach which is forced upon us like in the case of Annayum Rasoolum which declared the same to be just drag and more drag. It was a case of exaggerated realistic world which seemed to work with a section of people, but Action Hero Biju chooses not to use that, but go for what can be believed by the common man. That should still disappoint the fans as they might have been looking for something else, with action, thrills, twists and turns, punch dialogues and everything else; even otherwise, they might look for the exaggerated heroism or a heavy dose of cheap comedy – none of these happens to be here. It is the substantial problem with expectations, as that becomes a flaw in the eyes of the fans. The movie might also be a little bit too long for the kind of subject it deals with and the way of treatment. There could have been a better focused ending too.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly returns with one of his most anticipated titles in a long time as he joins forces with Abrid Shine yet again, after the much appreciated 1983 as the director comes up with his second movie. He has managed the role of the rather human police officer without that much trouble. There are moments which are not that good, but there are some in which he looks very well in form. Anu Emmanuel looks good, but this is the debut in which she has not much to do, and it is only the smile and the name of the character that stays with this one – she needs a movie with more screen presence. The comic side is at its best with Joju George, and Suraj Venjaramoodu comes up with a huge performance in one of the best, emotional moments in the movie – there is another one with Meghanathan and Rohini, and the girl who plays her daughter has some nice moments. Major Ravi and Saiju Kurup plays protagonist’s superior officers well. There are a few lesser known faces who provides some interesting performances too.

Soul exploration :: As we go further into this, we feel that what we have seen on the screen has no part in being unrealistic. It is a ride through the life of a police officer as expected under the normal circumstances, and there are multiple incidents and cases which the protagonist has to deal with, among which none of them is related to solving a mystery which only the hero can bring out to light. Instead, the police officer deals with the usual cases that comes up in life – yes, no serial killers, no big gangster lord, no catching international criminals, no standing face to face with powerful politicians, no reaching at scenes of crime at the exact time, no chance of becoming the only man in the whole world who can catch a fiery terrorist, no beating up twenty people just because he can in a movie and surely no unlimited dose of dialogues. Last year, there was the realistic Pathemari, and in Hindi, there was the realistic Airlift; this one also follows the more realistic model, but with fun.

How it finishes :: The one problem which has undoubtedly worked against this movie is its title itself. The movie is not what the title suggests, as it seems to make us feel that this will either be masala action entertainer or a full comedy movie, but as it ended up becoming a realistic movie, it is sure to make one wonder what kind of audience the makers were looking to target. If people feel that the pathetic eternal drag like Annayum Rasoolum was good and Action Hero Biju is not, I will ask for a change of the meaning of the word. Another fact about Action Hero Biju is that it is cent percent better than the overrated flick which was 1983. But these days, people rarely look for a realistic movie which is closer to life, except for those pseudo-realistic movies like Annayum Rasoolum, the bloody movie in which nothing happens and we have more and more tea to the end. And is it just Premam that we always need? It was clear that people in the theatre enjoyed in this case too.

Release date: 4th February 2016
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Abrid Shine
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Anu Emmanuel, Jude Anthany Joseph, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Major Ravi, Rony Davis, Joju George, Prajod Kalabhavan, Saiju Kurup, Kochu Preman, Valsala Menon, Azeez, Rohini, Meghanathan, Sajan Palluruthy, Balachandran Chullikad, Abhija Sivakala, Madhu Mohan, Bobby Mohan, Devi Ajith, Manju Vani

actionherobiju

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Premam

premam (2)

Vampire Bat: My dear vampire brethren, and the zombies who have decided to joined us by free-will. We have fought many battles together. We have fought side by side in the War of the Four Nations, the Tactical Warfare against the Werewolf Intrusion, the Conquest of the New Vampire World, The Battles against the never-ending Zombie Hordes and even the Magical Attacks of the Dark Elves. Zombies, please erase the zombie horde part from your memories instead of beginning to get offended, and do not return to your graves. But this is nothing like that. This will be the biggest battle that we have ever faced, and a task which is near impossible. It is called getting a ticket for the movie Premam.

Vampire Hamster: This is actually very scary. I need to go home and recharge my courage. I have heard that humans provide courage recharge centres at some religious places. Is it true? We could have also reserved the tickets, right? The ticket reservation is quite common these days.

Vampire Alligator: Can you just shut up and listen to the full speech? This is not even being recorded and you might not score well for the vampire apprentice exams if you miss parts of this which can come as annotation.

Vampire Owl: We don’t do reservations because we won’t support them – don’t you know that vampires are against all kinds of reservations? We are suffering because of this thing which gives nothing for the General Category to which the vampires belong. And you will be banned if you speak between grand, emotional speeches. The Vampire Crow and the Vampire Raven were banned once. Just listen to the speech.

Vampire Bat: We face the monsters here, and they are not like the ones we have faced before. We face the legendary warriors of the other world with human masks. We face those furious humans standing in queue for the movie Premam. We might not make it out of this queue in one piece, but lets fight for our righteous chance to watch this movie. We demand the rights to be equal and watch this movie which almost everybody except us has watched. Yes, even Werewolf Anger has watched it – can you believe that? The Lich Queen has watched it twice. It is the right to the movie ticket that we demand here, and it is clearly written in the vampire constitution, Article 007. Without watching this, we can’t even look at the face of Uncle Dracula, as you know what he is going to ask us when we return to the castle. The Vampire Penguin and the Vampire Panda have tried for this alone and failed, but we will win as this time we attack together after issuing the fake notice that we are not going to attack.

Vampire Panda: This is going to be awesome because I know part-time Kung-fu. You should all watch me and learn.

Vampire Penguin: I told you all that he is Kung-fu Panda in disguise.

Vampire Owl: Most probably, we won’t get tickets this time too, but in the name of Uncle Dracula and all the vampire elders, charge!

Vampire Crocodile: On this day, the night will be day and the day will be night. Attack!

Vampire Bat: What? No! I am the only one authorized to say that! So attack!!!

[Runs to the long queue and stands at the back end in silence].

What is it about? :: George David (Nivin Pauly) who lives in the town of Aluva and studies for pre-degree has completely fallen in love with Mary George (Anupama Parameshwaran) whom he usually sees on the way. She is the local beauty whom a lot of people are after. He has no interest in studies as he moves towards a possible failure in the course, and his only aim seems to be this girl’s love. Helped by his best friends Koya (Krishna Shankar) and Shambu (Shabareesh Varma), he attempts to make her fall in love with her, but that doesn’t go as planned. The movie also tells the story of his two other love interests, a Tamil girl called Malar (Sai Pallavi) with whom he falls in love at the first sight itself, and a girl named Celine (Madonna Sebastian) whom he meets much later as time moves forward through his love stories. His life related to these three ladies and his feelings towards them are depicted in the movie.

The defence of Premam :: By claiming to be the second film in the history of world cinema with nothing new in it, the movie seems to make a psychological move, but the truth is that the move is new if we look at how it is presented on the screen. I would give full credits to Alphonse Puthren for this one. He surely knows what the youth wants, and how to make the best use of Aluva as an Aluvaite. It is is his magic that Premam is such a delight on the big screen. I traveled to Aluva to watch this, and it was clear that there was no Aluvaite left without love and appreciation for this movie. Its nostalgia is powerful, and the central theme of love connects the three paramount pages of the protagonist’s tome of life – only three pages which connects directly to the title of the movie is taken and the word itself is used to make the much needed connection, and it is done in a beautiful way. There is infatuation, but there is no lust, and it is a sure positive thing. The second love story is a forbidden one, and clearly wrong for the standards of our civilized society, and we see poetic justice being served there as it ends in a much deserved tragedy – love fails there for the right reasons only. The comedy is working for most of the run.

The claws of flaw :: Yes, there is nothing new in the story – the liberty which was taken before the release of this movie arrives to make the impact here, and also reminds us that this is what they were talking about. There are some sequences which were aviodable, including the problems between the groups of friends at college and the missing dancer. The first of the three parts also has some exaggeration. The movie could have been shorter too – it would have surely helped the theatres to add another show in the morning to control the big crowd, and the very slight drag could have disappeared too. There is a little too much of drinking and smoking too, but I guess that they have only given the new generation’s normal audience what they wanted – crowd should get what the desired, for the good of the industry. The writings on the screen could have also been avoided, and it should have been left to the audience to come up with such ideas.

Performers of the soul :: Alphonse Puthren, with his brilliance, has given us some memorable characters along with those incidents, and he has also chosen the perfect cast as it seems from the look of it. When we look the performers here, this is “the Nivin Pauly movie” from the beginning to the end, and the way in which he goes through the three stages of his life is simply amazing. Here is another Aluvaite giving us the performance that we will always remember, and his transformations through the movie becomes the big boost. Among the heroines, I would choose Madonna Sebastian as the one making the best impact, with what seems to be her inherent cuteness and the way of dialogue delivery, and above all, as being the “right lady”, she steals the final moments. Sai Pallavi has what might be the best moment though, with the dance steps – she surely has an amazing screen presence. Anupama Parameshwaran is the charming simple beauty who disappears too early. Do look out for Vinay Forrt’s best comic moments too. All young actors deserve some applause here! Also look out for two awesome cameos from Renji Panikker and Jude Anthany Joseph.

How it finishes :: I would consider this movie as the journey of a man from love powered by infatuation to love strengthened by admiration, and then to the love based on commitment here, with those three heroines. Premam is undoubtedly the result of the hardwork of Alphonse Puthren who also comes in a role which he manages very well. All credits to him more making such a simple thing work so well. It is already taking the theatres by storm, and I had to go to the theatre and come back only to try again – these repeated for so many times to watch this movie. I was impressed even when this was not my genre at all, and I can guess how much effect this is having on the normal people. For those who are around Cochin, I would suggest watching this at Aluva and having a walk on the sides of the river and on the aqueduct which are shown in the movie. This movie also has another big personal effect on me – and it is to see the Union Christian College Aluva, on the big screen; I miss the place, and the most shown location in this movie, the college canteen 😀

Release date: 29th May 2015
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: Alphonse Puthren
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Madonna Sebastian, Sai Pallavi, Anupama Parameshwaran, Shabareesh Varma, Krishna Shankar, Vinay Forrt, Eva Prakash, Alphonse Puthren, Maniyanpilla Raju, Soubin Shahir, Wilson Joseph, Renji Paniker, Justin John, Hormis Paulachan, Althaf Salim, Anju Kurian, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sharafudeen, Maju Mathew, Rinsa Jacob, Vivek Vinod, Mahadev Ramakrishnan, Faisal, Manek Jose, Sandeep Varma, Viswajith Odukkathil, Vimal Pillai, Aishwarya R. Nair, Zuhair Sait, Deepak Nathan (I have put the whole list from wherever I could dig the names out, because they have all contributed so well)

premam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ivide

ividee (1)

What is it about? :: Varun Blake (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is a police officer in the Atlanta Police Department, with the Indian origins as he was adopted by an American couple from a church-run orphanage at Kottayam. Roshni Mathew (Bhavana) is his ex-wife who had decided to separate from him due to his violent behaviour and never-ending insecurities. Krish Hebbar (Nivin Pauly) is her new boss at the new job, and he is someone who used to be her classmate. He is also her newly found love interest at the time of crisis. At the same time, there are murders happening in the city, and the murdered people are all immigrants of Indian origin. As Varun goes after the case and discovers a link, but he might be presented with a choice in the end, which will define his quality as a person and a police officer.

What is it really about? :: We are introduced into the story and are provided with narration when needed in the voice of Prithvraj who himself talks in Malayalam, a language his character is not able to speak. It makes things clear, that it is his subconscious speaking in the only language which he knew during his childhood, and the movie is all about how he finally manages to let go and becomes a better person. He is a man of bad temper and insecurities, but as the movie reaches the end, he becomes a changed man, and all the other characters and incidents are just reasons to bring him to that end. Yes, it is all about Varun Blake, the Indian child adopted into an American family, as he moves towards that change which is rather too radical for him – everything else including the murders are reasons.

The defence of Ivide :: Ivide has the touch of the highly skilled director, Shyamaprasad who refuses to let this go as an investigative thriller, and rather takes it into the minds of the characters who are just simple human beings caught in the web of life. There are reasons for each and every action which defines the lives of the main characters and everyone around, as things come together and there is one touch of integrity, vanity or brutal ambition which creates that butterfly effect exhibiting a ferocious core. Ivide is not really that thriller that you were looking for, but powerful drama of the modern world which makes one question the past, the present and the future. This is set in a beautiful world which has been well transformed on to the screen by the camera – love those skyline shots and the natural beauty on screen; the songs are pretty good too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is slow; surely a lot faster than movies like Annayum Rasoolum which asks you to go and have Chicken Biriyani and come back only to know that nothing has happened and then you need to go for tea and see if anything good occurs on the screen. In contrast to that, Ivide‘s lack of pace is beautiful, and it adds to the mood of the movie, but still it is drag for the common man. The thriller element is completely lost while the movie deviates to other territories, and thus it does give the fans of the genre certain disappointment if they were just looking for that, and nothing else. Ivide also has other minor struggles here and there with its progress, but if you can get into the rhythm, you might be able to forgive most of them. Even with mixing of genres, the focus on murders is rather lazy. The entertainment factor rather misses out for the regular audience too.

Performers of the soul :: This had to be Prithviraj Sukumaran’s movie, and it surely is. It is all about his character as he moves through that life in which there was always the need to let go, but it is only realized much later. The identity crisis and the confusion about love and care are portrayed very nicely with all the complexities as Prithviraj becomes the true show stealer. He also gets the most memorable lines, and once again establishes himself as the right one to play the cop. Nivin Pauly’s character becomes a major reason for all these to happen, but he is left with less to do, and in a not so challenging role, he does fine. Bhavana is also nice, but once again she and Nivin just do the support in the game lead by Prithviraj. Prakash Bare makes a good appearance too. The foreign actors and actresses also create the needed impact.

Soul exploration :: The movie takes a ride through roots and the absence of knowledge about it, love and the search for it, hope and the desire to believe in it, and love and the search for it in a modernized world in which we can’t go through by looking though just one perspective. There are many things which are dealt with in this movie, and it starts with the racial alienation, and it goes on to explore the insecurities felt by different people because of a wide variety of reasons. There is inability to belong somewhere or with someone, and there is consistent feeling of not being what someone is. There is the corporate evil also in display. Well, even in the end, the fact remains that there is absolutely no reconciliation with his girlfriend and adoptive mother for the main character, and it is a let down for the movie which explores themes like these.

How it finishes :: If you are looking for an investigative thriller in the model of Memories or Mumbai Police, you might need to look for another options, as this is not that kind of Prithviraj movie meant to keep you guessing about the murderer. It is not intense by that order, but surely is intense by the feelings, if and only if you can relate to the character Varun Blake played by Prithviraj. You need to get that emotional connection here, and unless you try early enough and realize the need, you might not get there, and might miss out experiencing the hidden beauty of this movie. It might make you believe that a thriller is in store in the beginning, but do not fall into that trap, and instead fall for the emotions and begin having that emotional connection with the characters right from the start, and then the ride will take that twist of fate and go the right way. Be warned though, about so much of English in this one – still, there are enough subtitles in Malayalam.

Release date: 29th May 2015
Running time: 159 minutes
Directed by: Shyamaprasad
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Bhavana, Alexandra Bartee, Prakash Bare, Jia Patel, Dhanish Karthik, Deepti Nair, Sathi Premji, Haridev, Sunil Veettil, Shaun Xavier, Tim Naddy, Juan Alexander, Kirstein Gilbert, Robin Cole

ivide

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mili

mili (3)

What is it about? :: Mili Nair (Amala Paul) is a girl who has underachieved throughout her life and has developed a certain amount of inferiority complex about not living up-to the expectations. Being a high level introvert and never having even one real friend, Mili is disliked by her room mates in the hostel, the group of three lead by Renuka Menon (Shamna Kasim) who hates her, and the other two Shelly (Swapna Menon) and Raji (Sija Rose) who feel irritated by her behaviour. Her only two means of happiness are the day-care where she works and the sisterly relationship with Nancy (Praveena). But one day, she is forced to leave her job, and the guy whom she has a crush on, seems to be in a relationship with Renuka. She is highly disappointed and thinks about suicide, but Nancy’s brother Naveen (Nivin Pauly) helps her, and after bring introduced to the friends circle of Anupama (Sanusha Santhosh), her life gets a twist or two as she finds the strength within her.

The defence of Mili :: Here is a movie with so much strength to make you feel and directly go through that path of the protagonist who becomes a kind of answer to Bollywood’s Queen, even as this won’t have that much of good reviews, because three out of five is what awesome Malayalam movies can get from the critics here. I would actually consider this movie better than Queen and also Highway with its empowerment of the central female character. It is also better than the last year’s Malayalam flick How Old Are You are which was less realistic and had a protagonist was too talented that what she comes up with is no real surprise. Meanwhile, Mili has the rise of the real subaltern who comes out of her problems which go back to her childhood and rise like the real queen. Mili is a completely realistic movie, and its incidents and emotions connect directly to the audience. Cheers to Gopi Sunder and Shaan Rahman for the highly effective music too.

Positives and Negatives :: The movie is a straight take on its content, even as it is an ordinary story in its base. There are some silly moments in the beginning which might have been meant to bring some fun there. May be Mili should have been shown as “just another introvert” or with a further clear background. Well, the movie touches you and it shakes your heart with its emotional power. “Manpaatha Neettunna Mohangale” is a bloody good song, and when heard in relation to the movie is a wonderful experience, something that makes you feel the power of the journey of the protagonist, as long as you have a heart with enough of empathy. It is a stake through the heart, but is something of exhilaration on one end. The movie ends with a speech which is the soul of the movie, and it is up-to you to decide if you want it in the end. But the power of the final words cannot be questioned as it is incredibly strong and the return of that song in the end is a remarkable addition to the emotional strength of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is impressive in its characterization, and it is reflected in the performances of the actors. Mili’s character goes through a great path, right from the awesome child actor to the amazing performance from Amala Paul who has undoubtedly managed her best in Malayalam with this one protagonist. It is nothing other than inconceivable bliss to watch her as Mili. Here is she acting without make-up and making it work in an amazing way. Nivin Pauly gives a great support, and him doing this role in a heroine-centred role is worth an applause. Sai Kumar is also very good; the same can be said about Praveena. One thing that is to be noticed is the presence and the nice support of the young actresses in this movie, starting with Sanusha Santhosh about whom we are well aware of, and has already left her mark. The others including the better known Shamna Kasim and the rest of the list having Sija Rose, Swapna Menon and Soumya Sadanandan makes us realize that Malayalam movie industry has so much power in its core for years to come.

Soul exploration :: It is clear that some people are not able to be inspired by Mili and can’t like it. I can understand that. It is mainly because of their inability to connect with those who have problems in their life. May be they are hundred percent extroverts or some who were born with silver spoons in their mouth, or those who had a very easy path throughout their lives. They might be big genius people who knows everything. But for us others, who can connect easily with a person having troubles, this movie is a big thing. May be some people don’t need to be motivated because they are so awesome, but I am really motivated with this, as I know my weaknesses. It is okay that some people can’t connect with people having problems, but I can. May be it is because I am not that good, and the positive thing about that is that I can surely feel the power of motivation that is present in this movie. I am an introvert, a proud introvert – and I feel the pain and the abiding inspiration. Let me tell you something about Mili – she remains the introvert even in the end, but a confident one.

How it finishes :: You can read my earlier preview and expectations about this movie here: (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/introvert-queen). But I have a request; it is that if you can’t relate to the feelings of someone who has a behaviour problem and with people having any trouble with being “normal”, don’t watch this movie. If you think that people who are different are idiots and don’t deserve anything, please stay with your higher level of people. If you think that getting high scores in exams and getting a big job with a high salary are the only things that matter in your life, please stick to the great people who have managed to do so. Mili is for people who have empathy, and it is not for those who take pride only in one’s own achievements by degrading others. Mili has a few lessons for the parents, not to scold the children for the problems that they couldn’t solve in Mathematics or for the ten marks that they lost in Physics – love your children and teach them to be good, not scoring machines.

A few more words :: The movie ends with the lines from William Wordsworth’s The Rainbow: “the child is father of the man”, and you ask yourself; how can that not be true? The other name of the poem is My Heart Leaps Up – hope that gives you a clue. Romanticism never seems to leave me. Mili has a lot for women, introverts and all the subaltern, with a mighty message to rise. The modern world asks for winners and in the world of competition as the weaker ones are avoided, a good person is the true winner. Society provides us with labels, but it doesn’t reflect the real us. During the movie, I often wondered if Mili is a manifestation of the kindred of my soul’s unexplored side. There are those moments which tunnel through your brain and heart to send shock-waves right through. You have the right not to agree with me, but my rating stands, because I completely follow my mind and heart on this one. I will leave you with one awesome song from the movie.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Amala Paul, Nivin Pauly, Shamna Kasim, Sanusha Santhosh, Sija Rose, Riya Saira, Praveena, Sai Kumar, Amol Parashar, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Idavela Babu, Anju Aravind, Ambika, Bindu Panicker, Devi Ajith, Baby Nandana, Master Neil Kaushik, Baby Ammu, Sangeetha Mohan, Soumya Sadanandan, Swapna Menon

mili

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Bangalore Days

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Vampire Owl :: So we won’t watch Bangalore Days, right?

Vampire Bat :: We will watch it. There will be force from Nivin Pauly fans, Dulquer Salmaan fans, Nazriya fans and Fahad Faasil fans and even Anjali Menon fans who will force us to go for the movie no matter what is shown in the movie.

Vampire Owl :: You mean there is no escape. Won’t the monsoon calm them down?

Vampire Bat :: No, they constitute ninety five percent of the Keralite young population. Unless we hide ourselves in a bunker, there is no escape from the fan bombs.

Vampire Owl :: Let’s not listen to them who rate the movie high just because of the people involved, and hiding that fact, just say that movie is awesome.

Vampire Bat :: Let’s watch this soon enough but not falling to those extremely high fan ratings.

Vampire Owl :: So, can we order an extra plate of fried rice with more gravy?

Vampire Bat :: I guess I will need two cups of tea too.

Vampire Owl :: Why two? One for Count Dracula?

Vampire Bat :: One before finishing the food and the other after the grand finish.

[The food happens again].

What is it about? :: There are three cousins, Krishnan (Nivin Pauly), Arjun (Dulquer Salmaan) and Divya (Nazriya Nazim) who have been great friends since childhood and shared almost everything with each other. Divya is married to the busy executive Das (Fahadh Faasil) and that lands her in Bangalore. Krishnan who gets a new job in the IT sector also gets posted in Bangalore, and that comes as no surprise. Arjun, who has the habit of leaving his home and keeping his relatives worried, also comes to the same city and does a little mechanic job bringing the three cousins together again. Arjun falls in love with a physically disabled Radio Jokey, Sarah (Parvathy). Krishnan meets an airhostess who is half-Malayali, Meenakshi (Isha Talwar) and is instantly attracted to her even as the lady of his dreams is simple and having a Malayali character. Meanwhile, the relationship between Divya and Das becomes strained due to multiple reasons, and Krishnan’s mother comes to Bangalore after his father goes on a spiritual trip. Sarah has to go to Australia while her mother despises Arjun for his background and lifestyle, and Meenakshi is not serious in the relationship with Krishnan, making things further complicated.

The defence of Bangalore Days :: This one is a joy to watch in the beginning stages. There are three cousins, with lot of love for each other and enjoying life. There are many funny moments in the movie, mostly including Nivin Pauly, as he falls for the one true love he meets who is surely not a lady of his dreams. The jokes work throughout the movie, even as the second half takes them down. There is a lot of intelligence in bringing fun in the first half, and they have smartly used the Thattathin Marayathu stuff in this one which is a nice addition. The cast is as close to perfection as it can be, especially with three male leads, Nivin Pauly, Fahadh Faasil, and Dulquer Salmaan. Among the female leads, Parvathi shines the most, and this is a different avatar for her considering the roles we usually see her in. There might still be no better happiness than seeing all these stars together, seven in total, three male and four female, and all of them young and bringing their energy all the way to the screen. This leaves a lot of the young generation fans, and the fanboys as well as fangirls will love this stuff. This is the movie that they can celebrate by bunking classes and wasting time.

The claws of flaw :: The movie has no interesting story to tell the viewers. It has just three people who are the centre of attraction, seemingly made even before the plot ever existed, and into their lives, the whole story is packed and sent. The twist that they bring for Fahadh’s character was possibly the worst thing they could do to the story as an ineffective turn-around. The bike racing stuff was quite unnecessary, as Dulquer was cool without it. But here, he will jump bike just because they can make him. He was nicely turning into a likable character from one of the worst young man in this story. May be because even non-racing fans liked Rush and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikhander had such an awesome climax, they should have thought this was the way to go. The scene after the final marriage is equally worse, and Nivin Pauly character’s “happily ever after” is ended in such a poor manner. There is a lot of drag in this movie which was supposed to be a lot of fun. The major point of this flick was to be entertainment, but this movie forgets that in the second half, making this more of a soap opera, and tries hard to make audience cry, but without substance. The ending leaves us needing more and emptiness in this movie is mostly filled by unnecessary songs. Well, this is a fire-breathing dragon which decided to breath cliches for a change, and each character seems to contribute to it when they go through the story.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim has been the hit pair, but here the latter is paired with her real life future husband, Fahadh Faasil, and Nivin repeats the hit pair of his first big lead movie Thattathin Marayathu with Isha Talwar. Nazriya is fine, but still not that awesome as we saw in Om Shanti Oshaana. Meanwhile, Fahadh Faasil is brilliant in a role which makes him only the fourth significant person in the movie, but an admired one for sure. He remains strong, and it is something we expect from him no matter what happens around him. Nivin Pauly is awesome, and is the best of them all, especially in the funny scenes. He should have had a little more presence in the whole thing rather than being restricted. Dulquer Salmaan hasn’t impressed me since Ustadh Hostel, and everything that came after that had me uninterested, and felt that he was choosing the wrong movies for whatever reason. But he certainly scores in this one, even as his character deserves a lot of hatred for the first half – he comes up with a memorable performance especially in the second half. Nithya Menon and Parvathi haven’t been around for some time, and it was good to see them. While Nithya has only a small role, Parvathi is very nice as the love interest of Dulquer’s character.

Soul exploration :: Everyone loves the city of Bangalore, and it is one of the cities of the South which I visited at an early age, and also that city which has most of my relatives and friends. I might just go there and find at least one person I know every day just by walking around, almost all of them engineers. Well, none of my friends who are staying there or have worked there has rated this movie high, and that is a negative for this one. I have actually found that most of the people whose opinions I care about have given this movie around average rating. But does this movie has more of a soul? Yes, it has the cousin friendship love stuff mixed and boiled in a bowl full of water, but how good is it? They are all there, but not presented in such a way that we can feel or connect. Even the most touching moments are rather dull because not enough care has been put in how the story progresses. It might be meant to make the viewers feel good, but that should require staying with the audience, but this one moves on and on, and in the presence degrading itself from being an awesome movie. Sooner or later, the question will be more about us deserving better than just expecting better.

How it finishes :: Bangalore Days has been one of the most anticipated movies by the fans of different actors. There are Nazriya Nazim fans who know that their favourite actress is going to get married and coming back to acting is not a sure thing. There are Nivin Pauly fans who have been standing tall since his two huge hits in the form of Om Shanti Oshaana, and those Dulquer Salmaan fans who are hoping for at least one good movie from him for a very long time. Then there the more intellectual ones, the fans of Fahadh Faasil who will be a calm force here. People also want to watch Nithya Menon and Isha Talwar so much, and Parvathy is also a bonus. Then there are people who keep praising Anjali Menon – all these people are going to force so many Keralites into the theatre that more records are going to be broken – there have been quite a few already. The movie is showing what the advantage of having young and good-looking actors, actresses and director is. There are too many fans who just look for that, and the days are bright for Bangalore Days, no matter how much the monsoon stays strong with the hope for thunderstorms with Koothara.

Release date: 30th May 2014
Running time: 172 minutes
Directed by: Anjali Menon
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Parvathy Kottuvata, Isha Talwar, Fahadh Faasil, Nithya Menon, Dulquer Salmaan, Prathap Pothen, Vijayaraghavan, Maniyanpilla Raju, Kalpana, Praveena, Vinaya Prasad, Rekha

bangaloredays copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Om Shanti Oshana

Om Shanti Oshana (1)

The type of movies: There have been so many “types” of movies in 2014 with just one month of the year over. Even as love has been the repetitive theme in most of them, there have been lot of difference in the type of love which were portrayed in them, and one has to admit that London Bridge had the best love story among them; but the year has only started and the other significant release was just the badly received Salala Mobiles. There was also a movie 1983 which clearly said that no kind of love, including the love towards one’s lover, siblings, parents or wife is important or significant at any moment, as all of them can be abandoned and each can be disrespected just for pure selfishness and enjoyment based on a random sport called cricket. Now, here comes Om Shanti Oshana which actually has another cute and funny love story in store for you. Yes, we watched it First Day First Show, and we were actually planning to do this when we watched 1983 last week – but this time, we could actually watch it and finally be happy about watching a Malayalam movie FDFS after a long time, for the last Malayalam flick I last watched early morning on the first day was Olipporu.

What is Om Shanti Oshana about? :: Exactly a week after our First Day First Show hopes were derailed by that strange flick which was 1983, we made the attempt again, this time with Om Shanthi Oshana. The movie tells the story Pooja Mathew (from her perspective), as she lives her life riding motorbikes and hating anything about cooking. As her cousin sister Julie Francis gets married to man whom she think is not good-looking enough, she feels that she should find the right man before her parents get her married to a rich man giving a lot of dowry. Even as she feels that she should be interested in a good-looking boy Yardley Avaran whose father and her father belongs to the same profession and are of the same financial status, she falls for another man, Giri Madhavan who is a kung-fu master, a farmer, a social worker and a former communist after seeing him on a few occasions. Even as she is aware of the difference in social status and religion, she decides to go after him. She makes more and more opportunities for them to get closer, but he doesn’t seem to be in a mood. But she doesn’t give up, can she?

The defence of Om Shanti Oshana :: The attempt of this movie to tell the story of love completely from a girl’s perspective is kind of new in Malayalam movie, and the way in which they have done it here has to be applauded (even the cupid in the movie poster is female). The movie has a lot of funny scenes, especially involving Nazriya and her dreams and affection for his dream man. Her love for motorbikes and movies add to it. The movie is more funny throughout, and there is nothing really sad happening – even a heart attack is told in such a way that it ends up funny. The youth should like it, that is for sure. The movie actually moves in its path with relative ease, as it is a road which has been traveled and repaired regularly in a different way. Well, this is actually that simple story which has been powered by some good direction by Jude Anthany Joseph. The movie’s use of old songs, old movies and old incidents is another nice addition. There is absolutely no dull moment in this movie. The song “Kaattu Mooliyo” is sweet or rather cute, and “Mandaarame” is also fine, but might not stand well enough without the funny visuals.

The claws of flaw :: The movie takes the usual path, even as the roles are reversed. You might have heard such a story in reverse so many times. It also comes with nothing like big surprise in the climax, except for, may be small, but beautiful add-ons. This is actually the inverse of Thattathin Marayathu when the boy was looking for a way to gain the girl’s love, but here, it is the girl who is after the boy. If the boy was dreaming about the girl and looking for ways to get to him in that movie, here the girl has a lot of plans going on about gaining the boy’s attention and love. It is a cliche which has been put in reverse gear an allowed to roll down a hill. It is an innovate stereotype in Malayalam movies, but is still the same. For this kind of a story, there is the need for exaggerated events which lack logic, even this necessity is still kept within the limits here. You can also feel that some of the scenes are repetitive, and a few incidents should be dealt with more seriousness. But this is how it should work, because this is how it has turned out to be, if there is any doubt about the same, ask the crowd!

Performers of the soul :: The whole movie is Nazriya-centered, as if she becomes the sun and the rest are planets. Nazriya Nazim has her best ever performance in this movie, even as there is doubt created at times. The whole universe of the movie has her at the centre, right from the moment her character is born. Her Pooja Mathew is not just another girl, as her best friends always tend to be different from her. She rides a motorbike, detests cooking and has her way in doing things which makes her parents feel that she should have been a boy. As she appears almost every minute in the camera due to the narrator being herself, there was a lot dependent on her performance, and she has delivered indeed. Even as her earlier release of the year, Salala Mobiles failed to impress, she has made a fine comeback here. She has come a long way since her debut as the leading actress in Maad Dad. Lets hope that it will only get better for her as the date of her marriage to the most versatile young star in Malayalam movie industry gets near. This is one of those rare movies in which the leading lady gets so much attention, and I am sure everyone loves that it is Nazriya who is the centre of attraction.

Other performers :: Nivin Pauly as Giri Madhavan gives a powerful performance standing on the other side, as he becomes the one to be wooed unlike what usually happens, and what had been shown in Thattathin Marayathu. He is a socialist, master of martial arts and a humble farmer, the three faces of one man which he performs to perfection. He received claps almost throughout the movie for his portrayal. Renji Panicker did a nice job, in a role which would have been usually done by Lalu Alex (remember Chocolate, Niram and many others). Aju Varghese as David Kanjani does his third best funny role after Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu. He has a strong comic existence which keeps coming again and again as he plays a kind of fraud character. You have to love how they used the sequence of war just to show what kind of thing he did to his trusted friend. Vineeth Srinivasan has a minor role as Dr. Prasad Varkey, but still one which received claps and affected the story in a special way – almost the same can be said about the role of Lal Jose up-to an extent.

How it finishes :: The movie finishes strong enough, but not as powerful as how it began. The first half is surely superior to the second. It never has any troubled waters to travel, as the path is set through a controlled body of water; therefore it goes on and on with no challenges. It’s success is not a mystery though, as we know how much people have been waiting for this one. Even as we had gone for the early show, it was almost full and we just managed to get the tickets. Nivin Pauly’s movies always had something to cheer about and he is becoming more and more the crowd favourite, same being the case of Nazriya. There is going to be the rush of youth in the weekend, and as this is rather a clean movie with no bad language or anything, this should enjoy the same success of Thattathin Marayathu if not better, unless some big movie comes up, gets rave reviews and capture the screens.

Release date: 7th February 2014
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Aju Varghese, Vineeth Srinivasan, Renji Panicker, Vinaya Prasad, Akshaya Premnath, Oshein Mertil, Harikrishnan, Lal Jose

Om Shanti Oshana copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.