Theevandi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Shootout at Wadala

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There is always something about John Abraham, whether with his debut movie that is Jism, the special ones which were Kabul Express and No Smoking, my favourite performances of him which are Zinda and Taxi 9211 or even his most stylish performance ever, that is Force – as long as the fans of Dhoom won’t disagree. To add to it, however you look at it and whatever some of the critics say about it with an artificially created anguish which has created a fake reflection of imperfection which is more applicable to Chak De India, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal was also something special. Dostana didn’t fail to impress me and Garam Masala is of lesser importance only because of its Malayalam original eclipsing it. He has always been underrated, as all the fans stood by the actors who have a famous family background, and our man is more of what I would feel to be a self-made man, something which I consider to be of great importance in a world of pride, prejudice and reservations. As the Vampire Bat thinks a lot about where he is from, it is something which always catches the legendary bat attention. Well, once you catch the attention of the Vampire Bat, there is no lack of the paranormal analysis which would be based on a few cups of tea and the absolute truth which can be obtained only by seeking in the sea of lies which is shown to the common movie watchers through some reviews.

Consider Django Unchained for a change – what was in it? Nothing other than racism supported by gore. It leaves the intellectual ones with more wrong questions than anything else. If the performance of those actors alone would make that movie superior, our own shootout would be far ahead with an all-round performance. Well, this movie does take them all aside, and happens to be John Abraham’s best performance ever – from now on. No, it is still not going to mesmerize you, as that step is still far away. The movie is the sequel to the 2007 film Shootout at Lokhandwala, and is based on the book Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai – but as I haven’t ventured into these two initiatives and my knowledge is limited, I shall not comment on them. Its dramatization of the first-ever registered encounter by Mumbai police is also something I know nothing about – by nothing I mean a perfect void which would justify all the absence, and I shall not talk about something which happened before I had fallen into this world of misery in an official way. For now, I would know that there is a location called Wadala and there was an encounter there, and the rest shall be my immediate conception of fiction through a movie which has already been praised enough by the critics – for this praise is the absolute truth and nothing else.

Well, as I don’t fall prey the type of nonsense which says like “Sholay is the greatest Indian cinema” kind of stuff, and the stereotypes like “men with muscles can’t act”. The presence of pride and prejudice is so much, and the absence of sense and sensiblity is evident even in this age; may be Jane Austen knew this when she named her novels. As the second axiom shall be easily proved when one watches the movie, I knew all the time that Sholay was so overrated that even the word would be ashamed of it. Even from a long time ago, I knew that it made no sense. It would always remain an unsuccessful imitation of the West in the most ridiculous manner. It had absolutely nothing to generate any feeling, and none of the events were of significance. The presence of only the DD National channel at home would still force people to watch it more than once, and it is surely this nostalgia that has helped in making it attractive even at this age. But, I will not compare this movie to that pseudo-classic, as this belongs to the new world. They would still make them worse with remakes, as there was Aag, as well as movies like Agneepath which might be the worse of them all. Coming back to this movie, it is beyond all those over-hyped movies. It is also not your typical masala entertainer even if the elements are there.

Well, by the time I finish deconstructing these pseudo-classics, the fake movie lovers will come up with more lies. There is this unreal world created by these people which doesn’t need to be turned upside down, but there is the need for the existence of the real world, the world of truth. But I am not going to publish them in detail as a movement against the majority who are brainwashed to believing that the name of the best movie is “blah blah” and “mr. blah blah” is the best actor. I am beyond these lies though, as now I know that the medium is the message. I would never watch a movie according to what the critics say, and I believe the same would be the case of anyone who has some individuality left within them. The media manufatures consent and makes you believe, and now the critical reviews seem to keep people from watching movies or preventing them from doing the same. In this movie’s case, there are a good number of positive reviews, which is a good thing to see, but for all the negatives, there is something we don’t know. It can still be subjectivity and the powerful assertion of oneself, but then, why would a common man read those reviews looking for objectivity? We can only hope that they are just personal opinions, in that case, I really wish they were all blogs like mine which is not really read by people before going for a movie.

With some apologies for thinking and being different, lets focus on our movie of the moment. John Abraham has done a fantastic job as the protagonist/antagonist, with a powerful transformation from the college student who aims at the ceiling to the merciless gang leader who aims at the clouds. From the man of fear to the man who creates fear, he has done a great job, and the latter works perfectly for him. This is quite different from all the roles he has done so far, as it is the main role and it requires so much effort, and he hasn’t lagged behind. He is the one who carries the movie forward on his shoulders, even as Anil Kapoor as the valiant police officer also comes up with a strong performance and the presence of Jackie Shroff as another police officer never ceases to bring some old memories back; but a cameo it is for Jackie. Kangna Ranaut is good in the limited screen presence required for an action movie. Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai and Sonu Sood actually seem to come up with something better every scene. The first one surely requires a special mention for the moments he creates.

There is clearly the battle between two sides, plus another extra side, if you could find it. Between all these, there are three item songs, by Sunny Leone, Priyanka Chopra and Sophie Choudry, and the first one even if the most revealing is closer to the story than the others. The other two would seem to add more colour to the whole movie which is full of action, blood and gore – not as gory as your favourite Hollywood slasher movie, but by Bollywood standards. The second item song by Priyanka Chopra could actually be avoided as not belonging to its genre, and the third one by Sophie Choudry might be the most surprising and the more appropriate to what has been happening in the action scene. As the second one pales in comparison, and there is one other song, the whole world of Manya Surve gets so much longer than the average viewer would like. There is also a bit of slow-motion action to add to it, but the Keralite viewers has seen the biggest use of it, and it might not be even big enough to not notice. The power of the movie lies in the fact that it was executed so well, even as there is nothing extraordinary in there, neither in the script nor the adventure which moves a little towards predictability in the end.

Another thing is that this movie came so close to ending the legacy of the non-Indian named movies in my movies list, but with the words “shootout at”, the statistics remain that I have never ventured into reviewing a movie with a non-Germanic-Romance language name – it could be said non-English, but one has to think twice about the words like “Amen”. So this is a legacy which this movie too shall not break, and instead would choose to continue, with a place name which is out of it, but in totality an integral part of the legacy. As all those Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi movies which I found interesting to review had those type of names, it is interesting that most of the movies with local names have failed, especially in Malayalam; starting from Annayum Rasoolum, going through Lokpal to Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla. Well, this movie makes sure that the non-native titled movies keep their status above average. The two or three Malayalam movies in the theatres also continues this legacy, and so does a number of upcoming movies; therefore lets see if I can get to bless the reviews list with a movie of native title; Akam had come so close, but just missed out – that should make the masala entertainer/superstar flick fans who try to impose their lies in a violent and baseless manner incredibly happy.

Release date: 3rd May 2013
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Sanjay Gupta
Starring: John Abraham, Kangna Ranaut, Anil Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor, Manoj Bajpai, Sonu Sood, Jackie Shroff (cameo), Sunny Leone (cameo), Priyanka Chopra (cameo), Sophie Choudry (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.