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.

Rocky Handsome

rockyhandsome

What is the movie about? :: Somewhere in the state of Goa, Kabir Ahlawat a.k.a. Rocky (John Abraham) spends his usual boring life running a pawn shop. As nothing much happens in his life, he goes through his routine and has no friends as he is reluctant to talk to people. Despite his lack of interest in being friends with people, a little girl next door, Noami (Diya Chalwad) considers him as a friend and talks to him all the time. Even though he is not that interested in returning that friendship, he remains sympathetic to the girl and helps her or invites her for food at his apartment. Her mother Anna (Nathalia Kaur), is a drug addict and bar dancer and lives alone except for a boyfriend who is not any better. With nothing positive coming from her mother, Naomi looks at Rocky as a friend and guardian and calls him by the name “Handsome”.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: One day, Anna with the help of her boyfriend steals drugs from the drug kingpin, Mantoo (Uday Tikekar). This brings two of his fellow gangsters, the brothers who are into more than just drugs, Kevin and Luke (Nishikant Kamat and Teddy Maurya) to the scene. With a professional assassin Attila (Kazu Patrick Tang), they arrives at Anna’s apartment and tortures her for the drugs. She had hidden the drugs in a camera which she had pawned to Rocky, and both the mother and daughter are kidnapped. This brings Rocky to the scene, and with the desire to take over the whole business from Mantoo, the brothers Kevin and Luke bring a plan which will make sure that both Rocky and Mantoo ends up in the prison or get shot by the police. With an organ harvesting business and also child trafficking in their list, they will stop at nothing to gain more.

So, what is coming up after this situation? :: This does put Dilip Sangodkar (Sharad Kelkar), a cop from Anti-Narcotics Bureau on Rocky’s trail. He will stop at nothing to clean the city from drugs and those who deal with the same. After murdering Mantoo and Anna, and sending Rocky to police custody, Kevin and Luke thinks that everything is done, but that is surely not the case. Kevin might be the new kingpin of all crime in the city with Luke on his side, but that might not be enough to save him from what is coming to him. Rocky has a past that will make him almost impossible to keep down and he will stop at nothing to find the missing girl. He has a depressing past involving Rukshida (Shruti Haasan) and has had that kind of training which will make sure that he is going to have his way, in one way or the other. With his first loss, Kevin will understand he has made the wrong person angry, but the question remains if Rocky can save the girl in time despite all his skills.

The defence of Rocky Handsome :: The best thing about this movie is the action – the action sequences are all neatly done, with no exaggeration, but a lot of fights which even when having the protagonist a lot outnumbered, are believable for a character whom the hero is claimed to be. There is enough style here, and it is not overdone; unlike the usual dumb Bollywood action movie – there are weapons and sequences in the rain, and there is a powerful emotional side that we can feel right into our hearts rather than going the path of a ridiculous melodrama which Bollywood always brings for the viewers, like they did in thousands of movies, even in Dear Zindagi at a time when things were to get better for the movie. There are the thrills, and this an adventure that takes us through without giving chance for second thoughts as long as we get into it. It surely welcomes us into that world of chaos which has more chance for the evil to gain at least one small victory.

Claws of flaw :: For some reason, Rocky Handsome gets too lazy in between. Along with that predictable and boring flashback that comes in between, there are also those moments which won’t go well with the rest of the movie. The connection between the two main stars, even though one of them is only there for a cameo, is missing – she makes us feel that the scenes are outside the movie, and even our hero at those moments is in trouble. The movie will lack in connection with those who were looking for mass masala, as a certain amount of working brain is needed to go with this – it is more of a flaw as most of the people who watch Bollywood need flicks for the brainless, and Rocky Handsome won’t provide them that. We can’t ask for a Masaan everyday, but things can be better for sure. There is also the violence and sometimes the talk about the violent ways, which people can also choose to criticize. As an official adaptation of the 2010 Korean movie, The Man from Nowhere, I won’t be able to judge this one, but the original had 100% fresh rating earlier.

Performers of the soul :: John Abraham continues to impress with those fight sequences in the movie, especially those with the knives and fists. Nishikant Kamat has done nice to bring the looks and style of the evil druglord, but villain is still not that strong except when he is threatening, and the same is the case of most of the people on the dark side, except for Kazu Patrick Tang’s assassin who is not there for the words – still the whole darker setting makes sure that all of them work out better for the viewers; pure evil has to be stronger in any case. Shruti Haasan is there for one full song and also in the memories of John Abraham’s character, and does almost nothing, bringing no positives in a role which could have played by anyone else in a cameo – we come close to feeling that right at the first shot when she is shown. The kid, Diya Chalwad does a nice job for sure. Sharad Kelkar has a smooth run in this movie too.

How it finishes :: John Abraham does provide a similar performance in Force 2, and if you watch two of these movies together, you might end up confused with the action sequences except for those moments when this one chooses to go violent – it is the official remake of a South Korean movie, and so that was always supposed to happen. This one will also remind one as the other side of the highly realistic Madras Cafe starring John Abraham, all of these produced by the same man himself. Even as the remake, Rocky Handsome has been nicely converted from its Korean model and has been worked on well enough to make itself another movie that evokes our interest despite having a story-line that has almost zero difference. This one is a good mix of all things, and never tries to overdo its strengths, which is why Rocky Handsome deserves your attention.

Release date: 25th March 2016
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Nishikant Kamat
Starring: John Abraham, Diya Chalwad, Nishikant Kamat, Nathalia Kaur, Sharad Kelkar, Yash Tonk, Shiv Kumar Subramaniam, Suhasini Mulay, Teddy Maurya, Kazu Patrick Tang, Uday Tikekar, Shruti Haasan (cameo), Nora Fatehi (special appearance)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.