Operation Java

What is the movie about? :: Anthony George (Balu Varghese) and Vinaya Dasan (Lukman) are two unemployed youth who have finished Engineering. Things are not easy for them, as finding a job had become more difficult than ever, and they have been trying for a job for such a long time, with neighbours and relatives ridiculing their situation. They manage to change things around as they provide a new perspective to a film piracy case cyber cell office providing a new perspective to a famous film piracy case related to the film, Premam. The police decides to reopen the case and conduct further investigation with their help. This leads them to Jerry (Mathew Thomas) and Anjali (Anju Mary Thomas) who are studying in the same school, and finally they get to the person behind all the trouble. Still, the credit of solving the case goes to the crime branch. Anthony’s former classmate and lover, Alphonsa (Mamitha Baiju) who is a nurse, also leaves him because she gets an offer from Ireland, with a grand salary package.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: When there is the chance for an internship in a cyber cell, the police officers call the two to join as the officers Prathap Chandran (Irshad) and Joy Pulimoottil (Binu Pappu) recommend them due to their previous service. The two come across different cases, most of which are the result of carelessness. There are the usual cases of cheating through Facebook, OTP etc among others which are of even more serious nature. The only media favourite case was that of Ramanathan (Vinayakan) and Janaki (Dhanya Ananya) who are trying to prove that the latter is not a part of a video. But soon, they come across a case filed by Anthony’s former lover Alphonsa who had lost more than two lakhs of rupees which she had given for a job in Ireland. The newcomers are asked to find the details of the case. But this case won’t be the only thing that they will have to worry about. This journey with the cyber cell would decide their future.

The defence of Operation Java :: There are many things that Operation Java shows without pretensions, as this is indeed a realistic work on the lines of Action Hero Biju, but without the superstar power. Almost everything here feels real, and with the usual cybercrime cases being mentioned, this stays close to what usually happens with people, and is shown in news channels. During these times when cybercrimes continue to be on the rise, the film also serves as a reminder to what all can happen, and the title Java seems to point to the computer language of the same name more than anything else. There is also the situation of the new graduates who don’t have a job shown here through the lives of the two main characters, and that can also be seen in some of the crimes being investigated here. Loss of cash from account through online means, creating fake videos and making them viral, online job scams have made part of news on many occasions.

Positives and negatives :: Operation Java might not be the movie for everyone, as there will also be people looking for the superhero mode when there is a police investigation, even though Anjaam Pathira and Forensic did make certain move against the same, minimizing action, and maximizing the focus on the procedure of finding the culprit. But you will know that this is as much enjoyable as anything else. The final case in the movie is indeed the most interesting of them all, even though there are lots of interesting things related the cyber cell happening in between. The fights which happen in between are also as realistic as it can get. When the film released, people might have been confused about what kind of a movie this was, but that problem is solved for now, and the OTT platforms deserve your presence now. The film has that kind of a cast, the type which seems to be so perfectly done, and we can expect wonders from them too.

The performers of the soul :: Balu Varghese in a serious role here instead of the usual stuff has proven to be a welcome change. He along with Lukman who was part of Unda earlier, makes a fine combination. They go through those realistic moments really well. There is also a certain amount of humour, and they go through the emotional side nicely too. The two are more or less like the usual type of people whom we see around. Shine Tom Chacko makes a nice entry in the final moments of the film, and as usual, he is great to watch – he enters realistic mode with ease. Irshad and Binu Pappu plays two likable police officers of the cyber cell, while Prasanth Alexander plays the role of the not too likable one around, as all these supporting characters leave some good moments for us to remember, with everyone being the common people and not superhuman officers who keep hunting criminals with their special skills.

Further performers of the soul :: The female characters are not given much of importance in this film, even though there is one lady police officer in the cyber cell. Even though Vinitha Koshy of Aanandam and Luca fame is here as the biggest female name on the list, she is seen for only a few minutes as a murder victim as the film nears the end. Dhanya Ananya surely has some of the most emotional moments, even when she is not speaking, but she along with Vinayakan who plays her husband doesn’t get screen time at all. Vinayakan was in most of the posters, maybe to bring more viewers into interest here. Other female cast includes Anju Mary Thomas and Rithu Manthra who don’t have screen space either. Mamitha Baiju is the only one who has something enough to do here, and she does her job quite well. P Balachandran and Johny Antony are also on the screen for very few minutes, while Mathew Thomas of Kumbalangi Nights and Thanneermathan Dinangal fame is there for that much short time period too.

How it finishes :: Operation Java is one of the movies which released directly in the theatre when the COVID-19 lockdown on theatres was lifted. It had received many positive reviews then, and is now available on ZEE 5 along with having the television premiere on ZEE Keralam. The message about the unemployed youth and awareness on cybercrimes adds to the movie’s advantages. At a time when the police investigation films continue to slide towards becoming mass entertainers, Operation Java stands apart, and can inspire some of the other industries with superstars to think beyond. As the film is now in OTT platform, one can choose to watch it from anywhere in the world, and we can expect it to come back to ZEE Keralam on multiple occasions too. Do watch the film, as these are type of movies which can keep our world realistic rather than inside escapism. There was Nayattu which released earlier, and this adds to that realistic world.

Release date: 12th February 2021 (Theatre), 15th May 2021 (ZEE 5 & ZEE Keralam)
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Tharun Moorthy
Starring: Balu Varghese, Lukman, Shine Tom Chacko, Vinayakan, Prasanth Alexander, Binu Pappu, Irshad, Vinitha Koshy, Dhanya Ananya, Dinesh Prabhakar, Mamitha Baiju, Mathew Thomas, Johny Antony, P Balachandran, Anju Mary Thomas, Sanjay K Nair, Rithu Manthra, Deepak Vijayan, Eldho Raju, Ramesh Chandran, Sreeja Ajith, Sunil Meleppuram, Shiny Zara, Anil Kumar, Dilshana Dilshad, Althaf Salim

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vimaanam

What is the movie about? :: Venkateswaran a.k.a. Venkidi (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a man with hearing problems, is the latest recipient of Padma Bhushan for his grand achievements in the field of Aeronautics. But it turns out that he has a past which is deeply set in emotions. As he travels back to his hometown in Kerala from Delhi despite the warnings of his good friend Elias (Major Ravi), his flashback is revealed. It goes back to that time when he was going through his school days. From then, there was only one thing which interested him, and it was all about flying. His desire to fly got him to a bigger need, to build an airplane, inspired by Roger’s (Alencier Ley Lopez) tales about how the first flying airplane was invented. He grew up dreaming about the same, and not being interested in studies much, despite being an excellent student. There is someone who had supported him all the time, and continued to do so; that would be Janaki (Durga Krishna), his childhood friend who plans to join MBBS – they have been in love for longer than they can remember.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As Venkidi is half-Christian and half-Hindu, the possibility of their love story becoming something that would be approved at Janaki’s home, is very less, despite him following the same Hindu traditions. But their love continues to grow, and causing trouble for the romance is Anand (Saiju Kurup) to whom Janaki’s father hopes to marry her off, as his family is rich and settled in Singapore. Meanwhile, with the help of Janaki, Roger and his favourite uncle (Sudheer Karamana), Venkidi keeps trying to fly his new machines, none of which manage to rise from the floor. The whole village makes fun of his attempts, but he is not the kind of person who would back down. During difficult times, Venkidi and Roger, with the help of Janaki, steals an engine, which does help them to fly, but flying won’t be enough to get the lovers together in a society which looks for more than just that.

The defence of Vimaanam :: The movie tries to be another inspirational movie in Malayalam, and adds to that long list of similar movies which have tried to do the same, a few being Mili, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam, Rani Padmini, Udaharanam Sujatha, My God and Aby. Yes, the inspiration to achieve the dreams which have been there for long, is right there. It achieves the same, and makes one feel the power of dreams, not just with the dream of the protagonist, but with that of a shared dream, which gets its significance by the end – as some people would say, that one’s dream is not his or her alone, as it is shared by all those who are beloved. The love story scores more due to the songs, as this flick undoubtedly has some delightful songs, as do its romantic competitor, Mayaanadhi. Well, this one uses subtitles whether it is English or Hindi, and it is something which people related to Mayaanadhi couldn’t do for Tamil. The visuals are also good, and the setting of this movie is something which is capable of achieving a lot more than what we can see on the big screen.

The claws of flaw :: We can see that a simple tale based on real-life people has been exaggerated a lot rather than keeping the simplicity in place. Vineeth Sreenivasan starrer Aby, which released in February this year also dealt with the same thing, about its protagonist trying to make an airplane and fly, fighting against all odds. A number of people might have felt that this is more of a repetition, with bigger budget, and more familiar cast. But the fact remains that Aby was a much simpler story, and it had some light moments of fun to go with it; this one lacks the same. You remember the Jomonte Suvisheshangal becoming the repetition of Jacobinte Swargarajyam, and the same is the case here, causing Vimaanam not to go that high as it could have. The romantic side of this movie, and the incidents surrounding the same, are also the same old wine in that bottle which was available in the market from February itself. There is absolutely no attempt to make this one special, even there were so many chances in there, and the result is a certain predictability with drag in between.

The performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran comes up with more here, as we see him in another avatar, unlike his recent adventures of the year, Ezra, Tiyaan and Adam Joan. Among the young stars, he has been the one with the most variety in his roles, and with Vimaanam, there is nothing there to compared with his previous roles of 2017. Vimaanam‘s role is rather easy for him, compared to the other three characters which he had played in the year, which included a troubled man tackling a Jewish creature of pure darkness, a former gangster turning into a mystic and a father hoping to find his kidnapped daughter who might be in the hands of Satan worshipers – even the movie before that, Oozham had him seeking vengeance; in comparison, this one brings no challenge to him. As he has played character from real life with charm, significant examples being Celluloid and Ennu Ninte Moideen, you know what to expect when he is out there.

Further performers of the soul :: When we look at Aby and this movie, we keep looking for something new, and that new element is Durga Krishna, the debutante actress who brings cuteness and energy to the flick, in a performance which is certain to bring her more roles in the future. The character might feel single-dimensional, and cent percent predictable in a world itself having no surprises, but her work makes the same work for the audience. Alencier Ley Lopez is certainly the man to look out for in the movie, as this character seems to be so well suited for him. Sudheer Karamana is not far behind in that case either, for he was against flight in Aby, but is with all support for his favourite boy’s flight in this one. Eric Zachariah who plays Prithviraj’s childhood has one delightful performance for us, which would prepare us for what is to follow, a wonderful child actor there. Anarkali Marikar has a smaller role, but it is nice to have her there after Aanandam. Lena and Saiju Kurup are good as usual.

How it finishes :: Vimaanam is a movie which was much talked about for a long time. Even as Aby had overtaken the movie with its own protagonist trying to make an airplane and fly like Jacobinte Swargarajyam did before Jomonte Suvisheshangal, this one was something which kept the audience’s interest alive due to the presence of Prithviraj Sukumaran in a different look. But you will find that even with its cliched characters and melodrama, Vimaanam has managed to fly, and battle Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeevi Aanu 2 which has been the youth favourite even before it had released, and even with Mayaanadhi, Masterpiece and Aana Alaralodalaral there with Tiger Zinda Hai, this flight is also catching our attention. It is more or less a reflection of the noble intentions of a movie which is hoping to inspire more and more dreams in a world of chaos. Vimaanam might be the one right family movie for Christmas, catering to the needs of the full family outing, unlike the rest of the movies which are focusing on selections.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Pradeep M Nair
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Durga Krishna, Alencier Ley Lopez, Lena, Sudheer Karamana, Saiju Kurup, P. Balachandran, Anarkali Marikar, Major Ravi, Nandhu, Master Eric Zachariah, Ashokan, Tesni Khan, Liya Anu Varghese, Baby Durga Premjith

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

C/O Saira Banu

What is the movie about? :: Saira Banu (Manju Warrier) is a post woman who lives for her adopted son, Joshua Peter (Shane Nigam). Joshua is the son of a photographer who went missing in the forest and was declared dead long time ago, and this particular award winning photographer, Peter George (Mohanlal – voice only) had adopted Saira a long time ago, after her whole family had committed suicide. Joshua is in love with Arundhati (Niranjana Anoop) who studies in the law college just like him, but it goes on only with interest from his side. His other love is for photography like his father, and he tries hard to make something out of this passion with the support of his young mother. He is finally rewarded one day for his hard work as he wins a contest and is selected to go to Paris. But on the same day, some twist of events happen.

So, what happens next? :: There is a case registered against Joshua, which happens to be not as simple as Saira had thought, as this one is a hit and run case, and the victim had died, with witnesses there to testify. As it threatens to destroy his life and career even though he claims that he is innocent, Saira decides to prove that her adopted son is telling the truth. But fighting the case against Joshua is Annie John Tharavady (Amala Akkineni), one of the most successful lawyers, and is determined to win this case too. Joshua and Saira has no option with all lawyers backing out due to one reason or the other. But she will not surrender – still the question remains if she stands a chance against Annie who is determined to get his side to win every time? Where does Joshua’s future go from this situation from where there seems no chance of redemption?

The defence of C/O Saira Banu :: The movie goes through some interesting incidents in the society, including the case of migrant workers, noodles ban, kiss of love protest, and one other thing which was in the news, but can’t be revealed due to its effect on the suspense factor. There is some comedy that is working in the first half, and there is a second half which has a good amount of thrills to go with that unexpected twist to go with the climax – it succeeds in making people guess and come up with an ending which will be acceptable to most of the viewers along with being a nice surprise for everyone. There is also the message about the reality of this world, on what has been happening with a society which has been divided on the basis of class more than anyone can imagine. Along with the same, C/O Saira Banu is a good-looking movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The first half of the movie will feel a bit longer for one’s liking, as the time taken in establishing the mother-son relationship is a little too much, and some of jokes are not that effective either; same is the case of melodrama too. Better comic stuff in the first half would have helped to keep a momentum in the first half, maybe with some more sequences in the college or the post office – even the neighbourhood was a place which had some good scope. The end credits scene also ends without a warning, when you feel that there was going to be something to be added in the end. You will also feel that there is more than one side to a happy climax and ending; there will be questions if that good feeling is really that good, or is it just an illusion of the same.

Performers of the soul :: This one has Manju Warrier playing the titular character, and the most important role in this movie, and we are glad to see her in another role which provides her the prominence that she deserves and works on really well – Rani Padmini was the last one to get her to that level, even though Karinkunnam 6s and Vettah did show the signs. It is for those emotional moments that we need to look out for the most, and there is that bit of determination in her character against all odds which works so well for her. It is her return that has helped the Malayalam movie industry so much to bring the heroine-oriented roles to the front, something that has been struggling to be there. I don’t see anyone doing such roles like she did for quite some time, something that started so well for her with How Old Are You? and might continue in the same way, as we are seeing now.

Further performers of the soul :: Meanwhile, Amala Akkineni makes her return to Malayalam movies after a very long gap – her last two movies were Ente Sooryaputhrikku and Ulladakkam, with Suresh Gopi and Mohanlal respectively, both releasing in the year 1991 – those were also her only two Malayalam movies before this one. She remains solid in her lawyer character in this one, and the character’s determination has a clear reflection on her. Shane Nigam has his second big role after Kismath despite being there for longer – here he plays a character that has almost no happiness, and there are so many similarities to his role in his previous movie; but he manages the same well. Niranjana Anoop has less to do, which she does fine. It is Biju Sopanam who scores the most outside the main list. There are also those names which are underused, from Joy Mathew to Sujith Shankar.

How it finishes :: Unlike what some people had said, Mohanlal is not making a special cameo appearance in this movie, even though his voice is there. There is enough for everyone with C/O Saira Banu, and the family audience will be the one to benefit the most. Coming from a debutante director, this one is more than one can expect while dealing with a topic like this. It is surely the best movie in Malayalam to have released so far – forget those people who are claiming the same for movies which claim to be realistic when they are not, because C/O Saira Banu is the flick that follows the path of Drishyam, as a family movie as well as a thriller, becoming part of two different genres in two halves. This one is certain to weave its magic among the audience, even if a little bit late – watch it now, and try not to figure out why you didn’t watch this one earlier.

Release date: 17th March 2017
Running time: 156 minutes
Directed by: Antony Sony
Starring: Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni, Shane Nigam, Niranjana Anoop, P. Balachandran, Joy Mathew, Indrans, John Paul, Ganesh Kumar, Jagadeesh, Sunil Sukhada, Biju Sopanam, Sujith Shankar, Mohanlal (voice only)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kammattipaadam

kammattipaadam-2

Vampire Owl :: Did you hear that the kids at Kammattipaadam can stop not just the buses, but also the trains?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I have heard about it. The same is a dialogue spoken by Dulquer Salmaan.

Vampire Owl :: We should hire a few of them then. Our zombie minions don’t even stop the tricycles.

Vampire Bat :: It is certainly not the reason for us to watch this movie.

Vampire Owl :: There is one reason for us not watching this movie. It is that the director’s first movie Annayum Rasoolum had me sleeping for so long.

Vampire Bat :: I remember having many cups of tea in between, and when I returned to the theatre, nothing had happened.

Vampire Owl :: But the zombie minions had liked it; it is as slow as them, and so it is the one movie which they could finally watch.

Vampire Bat :: I did like Njan Steve Lopez better. It was the story of common man, closer to life than ever.

Vampire Owl :: And this is the movie the best appreciated by critics and the audience.

Vampire Bat :: Lets go for it then.

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Krishnan (Dulquer Salmaan), who works as part of a security agency in Mumbai, receives a call from Ganga (Vinayakan) who was his childhood friend and partner in crime. Even though the old friend doesn’t say anything clearly, Krishnan understands that Ganga needs his help because someone is after his blood, and it is only a matter of time until he has to see the corpse of his friend. Krishnan decides that despite the problems that they had in between, he needs to help the one true friend that he had, and travels to Cochin to find Ganga. But things have changed since he was last there in the city, and it is no more that developing town, but a thriving city which is having metro rail under development, and building that go straight up.

So how did it reach here? :: The flashback is long and told in parts while Krishnan goes on with his search for Ganga in a city which has become more than he had imagined it long ago. The memories has Krishnan and Ganga as best friends during childhood. As Ganga is a lower caste boy, Krishnan’s parents are against this friendship which also leads to them being involved in illegal activities during early youth. As Ganga’s elder brother Balan (Manikandan R Achari) is a well known thug and earns money by making and smuggling spirit, they have their own trainer in deeds of crime. They are all working for Surendran a.k.a. Ashaan (Anil Nedumangad). It is with the return of Krishnan from prison, after serving the sentence for the attempted murder of a policeman, that things get tougher.

Where are things heading for? :: Krishnan is in love with Anitha (Shaun Romy), Ganga’s relative whom Ganga himself wishes to marry. This creates certain tension, which gets worse with the death of Balan a few months after his marriage with Rosamma (Amalda Liz). Johnny (Shine Tom Chacko) is also their rival in the illegal activies, and fire keeps burning in them as he is suspect of murdering Balan. During these many years at the city of Cochin because it became what is seen now, there are many stories that go forgotten, and Krishnan looks forward to finding some of them which happened during these days of his absence. He managed to relocate to Mumbai to get away from all his troubles while Ganga had married Anitha. He will find some uncomfortable truths in between, and some news which will give him relief, but the question remains if he can find his best friend Ganga alive in between all this chaos?

The defence of Kammattipaadam :: The best strength of this movie are its characters that stay with us for a long time. It is also not a movie of one person, but of many, as the screen space is nicely shared between the main characters. We have Dulquer Salmaan who come up with a wonderful performance as the protagonist rising from the terrible movie which was Kali while Vinayakan and Manikandan R Achari steals the show with their brilliant work. Shine Tom Chacko comes up with one of his best performances, and Shaun Romy is very good in her role of lesser significance, and same is the case of Amalda Liz – the cast is all perfectly done. The visuals are also very nice, and you will love the way things are presented, as the common man and the subaltern struggle in this battle against a rising higher class that uses these people to their advantage, as it is the story everywhere.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s disadvantage is its length, which goes as much as very close to three hours. There remains very less people who have the patience to watch a three hour long movie these days. Yes, it does move slowly towards its destination. The ‘A’ certificate is another thing, and it is disappointing because this one doesn’t deserve the same in its current status after the cuts – one would misinterpret the same, but Kammattipaadam is rather clean in that matter. This one also won’t appeal for everyone, and it also could have done without making its story-teller a hero in the end – if he also had met the end or felt more of the terrible situation which he had a part in creating, things would have finished perfectly, but it is not the case.

How it finishes :: This flick happens to be another one which tells the stories of the subaltern, who are there under a thriving city. The special case of this movie though, is that it remains realistic right from the beginning to the end. It reflects on the life that is difficult and right in between a world full of thorns. It is the same reason why the movie is so touching – the movie tells the tale of a struggle that the subaltern had to suffer; it is a story that the common man can relate with. It is due to corporate, the rich and the influential that the common man suffers, and it is them with the politicians that misguides the poor – Kammattipaadam is a tale that comes up with the same story, but in a realistic way, and here we understands that it is the same story everywhere, and there is no escape from the sad brutality of it. This movie makes sure that we know the truth. Unlike some other movies of these times, Kammattipaadam is not here to pretend or to hide, for it unleashes reality.

Release date: 20th May 2016
Running time: 177 minutes
Directed by: Rajeev Ravi
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Vinayakan, Manikandan R Achari, Vinay Forrt, Shine Tom Chacko, Anil Nedumangad, Amalda Liz, Shaun Romy, P. Balachandran, Suraj Venjarammood, Alencier Ley Lopez, Anjali Aneesh, Muthumani, Sreekanth Chandran, Shane Nigam, Ganapathy, Soubin Shahir

kammattipaadam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kismath

kismat

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the love story of Irfan (Shane Nigam) and Anita (Shruthy Menon) in the coastal town of Ponnani, in the district of Malappuram. Irfan is a twenty three year old Muslim boy from a rich and influential family that has big businesses running in the town, and he doesn’t have a full-time job after dropping out of engineering course; neither does he tries to get one. Anita is a twenty eight year old scheduled caste Hindu girl who is financially not sound, and is a research scholar at the nearby college. They meet after Irfan’s modified motor-bike hits Anita’s mother who was crossing the road. He gets her to the hospital and takes care of her until her relatives arrive. Anita and the other relatives are hostile to her in the beginning, but she understands that there is no mistake on his part. Irfan continues to visit them until her mother discharged from the hospital.

Where are things heading for? :: They see each other on more occasions later, and he also helps her with the project which is related to the mosques of the town. As they realize that love has blossomed and it won’t be supported by anybody in their respective families due to the difference in religions, social status and the negative age difference, they decide to go to the police station for protection. But what they don’t realize is that the police is an integral part of the society, and it doesn’t exist separate from the people of the town which includes their own families. Sub Inspector Ajay C Menon (Vinay Forrt) is not the kind of person who likes to move that much away from the society that he lives in; he refuses to be divergent – he doesn’t approve of this relationship for the same reason. The same is the case of ASI Nair (Sunil Sukhada), as they call for their relatives to arrive at the police station. Now, what happens next means trouble for the young couple.

The defence of Kismath :: The two big movies with similar theme of forbidden love, Thattathin Marayathu and Ennu Ninte Moideen were taken over by the commercial side, and the next talked about flick with inter-caste love story, Annayum Rasoolum was just hours of drag that made us hate the protagonists – it was only when the heroine died in the end that we were relieved, but then too, things were of not much of a purpose. But Kismath has this in control, with fine visuals and depicting usual incidents in a realistic way – there is also a realistic ending. As it is well-executed, we feel the emotional depth, and the two protagonists go straight into our hearts. This one has a five plus years older heroine, and so things were going to be more difficult, as we can see in the proceedings of this movie. We not only get into the lives of the protagonists, but also into the lives of the people of the particular town.

Claws of flaw :: Even though not as slow as the slowest movie in this century’s Malayalam movie list called Annayum Rasoolum, this one is also somewhat slow, which will make it difficult for a good number of entertainment loving fans to stay with this one. There are also the two protagonists who have no job of their own, trying to oppose the families to which they are attached, which was sure to have terrible consequences – a case of bad thinking from their part. It is also strange that even if this movie says that it depicts the life of real life people who faced a situation like this, there is no mention of what happened to them in the end – we never knew such a situation from the news, and so we do wonder how things went with them after watching this movie. The songs are also not that interesting, and a little more of the town outside the police station would have brought more for this movie. There was more scope for this love story, as you will realize when watching it.

Performers of the soul :: Shruthy Menon has the biggest role of her career, and she does her job really well – there is just a controlled performance here, which she does without the emotional overdose which the movies like these tend to have. Shane Nigam, son of Abi, whom we know from earlier movies and has been a popular mimicry artist, is also in control here in his first lead role in a movie – it is interesting to note that he made his acting debut as a grown-up in Annayum Rasoolum which has a similar theme to deal with. The director, Shanavas K Bavakkutty who is also a debutante, has made this one work smoothly, throughout its run. Alencier Ley Lopez continues his form, while Vinay Forrt has the most noticable role, and he does that with ease becoming the Sub Inspector character. Sunil Sukhada is the next one we notice at the police station.

Soul exploration :: This movie is different, that is for sure. It is not an entertainer like the other two movies with similar settings, Thattathin Marayathu and Ennu Ninte Moideen which presented the Hindu-Muslim love stories, and neither is this one like Annayum Rasoolum which was so boring and slow that one would have wanted to jump of a cliff instead of watching that one for three hours – yes, the lesser run-time comes as a boon for this movie, and as it never tries to be funny or stylish, we are without those terrible marketing strategies. What we have here is surely closer to the lives of the common people. We are also able to connect to the protagonists better, and feeling their pain is easier because they are just common people who are confused about what to do when both their families don’t agree to their marriage. So, they go for the option that seems to be safe for them, even though they are not that much informed about how things would go from there.

How it finishes :: Kismath has tried and has become the movie that Annayum Rasoolum should have been. It is solid in what it does, and even when not that fast, manages to be not dragging like Annayum Rasoolum had been. What works for Kismath differently is that it is less of the romantic tale, and it is more of the consequences of love, for what comes after the love story is the trouble, and what they suffer. It is fate or rather the destiny that has awaited the lovers for a long time – it is more of going towards that uncertainty with certainty. This is the kind of movie that you need to watch if you like to go through a simple, yet emotional experience without the melodrama and unnecessary commercial aspects – this is love without those colours, and this the “kismath” that could await more than one person if done without thinking about society, as people will be like that only – there is no change coming.

Release date: 29th July 2016
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Shanavas K Bavakkutty
Starring: Shane Nigam, Shruthy Menon, Vinay Forrt, Alencier Ley Lopez, Sajitha Madathil, Surabhi Lakshmi, P. Balachandran, Sunil Sukhada, Anil Nedumangad, Vijayan Karanthoor, Jayaprakash Kuloor, Binoy Nambala

kismat

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

charlie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Chapter 32 Verse 23

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***Full title in Malayalam: 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam. Translated into English for convenience because of the length.

Vampire Owl :: I thought that you were going to watch something else.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but I decided to promote Malayalam movies which are getting caught in the web of the movies in other languages. It is the responsibility of each and every Keralite to make sure that the Malayalam movies are saved.

Vampire Owl :: That sounds so awesome. What were you going to watch otherwise?

Vampire Bat :: It is what comes after ABCD.

Vampire Owl :: Okay, you mean EFGH.

Vampire Bat :: What? No, not all.

Vampire Owl :: Then is it IJKL or MNOP?

Vampire Bat :: No. What is wrong with you? It was ABCD 2!

Vampire Owl :: Well, in that case, I feel that this is an interesting decision.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, lets see.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Ann (Mia George) is a journalist at Cochin and her husband Freddy (Govind Padmasoorya) who is working at the United States returns home only for a few days with a small break from work and expecting a promotion. They are celebrating their first wedding anniversary and gets a book as a present from a friend. As Freddy is having a lot of free time while Ann is at work, he starts reading that book and instantly begins to have a certain liking towards the work. He begins to imagine the life of the protagonist as his own, and it affects his personal life. Ann and their family friend Ravi (Lal) feels that he is somewhat losing his mind. But as he gets more interested in the incidents of the book and its number twenty three, he finds a few things from his past and will also uncover another mystery which has been unsolved for years.

The defence of 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam :: The visuals are very good with this one. The movie explores the 23 enigma for the first time in Indian movies as far as most of us know, but there is still doubt it. As everything gets connected to the belief, this becomes one of those movies which tries to be different, and also choose to make an attempt on things which are not common in the Malayalam movie industry. The plot is good, and has scope. Still, it is an obvious risk, but a fair step in the right direction, and even if this might not work as much as expected, there is the hope for more of similar attempts. Also, you have to like how everything comes together as the movie gets near the end. The suspense is successfully maintained, and coming from a new team, this needs to be applauded. The songs are also pretty much okay and background score is nice.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t focus that much on the 23 enigma which was supposed to be the main point. Even the title of the movie itself is revealed to be relevant only in the end with the Holy Bible. The sequences which show the fiction from the book are quite bad. It was quite unnecessary, and one can guess what such things can be to audience if there is a chance to check how Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla turned out to be. It was like just adding to the drama in a ridiculous way instead of boosting the thriller side. There are moments when the movie also seems to struggle to make the point. There are no scares using the big number enigma and the first half struggles to get to the point. There could have been some horror elements added related the “number”. I haven’t watched the movie The Number 23, and so I won’t be the one talking to you about similarities and differences between the two flicks.

Performers of the soul :: Govind Padmasoorya manages to do his role well enough, except for those moments inside fiction where the same can’t be said. It was a world of disaster inside that imaginary world anyway. There is the need to expect nothing exceptional though. Mia George is very good here even though the focus was almost completely on the protagonist. The journalist role is something which seems to automatically suit her right from Memories despite the fact that there has been no movie based on media for her yet. Lal has a smaller role which he manages to do well in his usual style. The movie is basically around the leading actors, and so the contributions from the rest was always going to be less. But there is not much lost in the acting department.

Soul exploration :: The movie’s plot can be seen as an attempt for the protagonist to go through a novel and at the same time find his own past, with the support of incidents helped by fate. In the end, not only will the man have known the truth, but also would have become a better person. There is murder, but that which happened very long ago, and this movie would have worked even without that, because what matters more is a secret and also a belief which are searched and brought to light. This not about romance, and neither is it about a murder mystery. The story is about the mind rather than a sequence of thrilling events. It is sad that the same point is not really brought on the screen with its full energy, and it doesn’t make full connection with the audience as it was clear in the theatre. But the idea is the right one.

How it finishes :: 32aam Adhyayam 23aam Vaakyam could have been big if the idea was better transformed on the screen, but it isn’t. Still, the movie has enough to go on till the end as an okay thriller. The Malayalam movie industry has been regularly coming up with average or above average thrillers for quite a good amount of time, and it is time to move back up to the level of Drishyam and Memories. This year is struggling to have better Malayalam movies as a while despite the big success of Premam and the nice little wonder which was Mili. I would like to hear about something the Hollywood movie The Number 23 from anyone who has watched it. May be the makers could have chosen the number thirteen because it was a more accepted one. But for now, lets try and watch the variety with this movie and see what they have tried differently, can’t we?

Release date: 19th June 2015
Running time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Arjun Prabhakar, Gokul Ramakrishnan
Starring: Govind Padmasoorya, Miya George, Lal, Arjun Nandakumar, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, P.Balachandran, Balachandran Chullikkad, Rahul Karthik, Sreejith Pokkan, Gowry, Sasha Gopinath, Sharan

32-23

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angry Babies

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Vampire Bat :: Did you just say Angry Birds at the ticket counter?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but he heard Angry Babies.

Vampire Bat :: How can you be so sure?

Vampire Owl :: Because he gave me tickets. Angry Babies sounds dumb. I am not going to say that with Angry Birds in my mobile.

Vampire Bat :: But what if there are real babies in it and justifies the title?

Vampire Owl :: I have watched the trailer. It didn’t seem like the protagonists were ever going to have a baby.

Vampire Bat :: It should have been Angry Babes then, unless they act like babies.

Vampire Owl :: I am afraid this will remind me of What Happens in Vegas.

Vampire Bat :: I think it will be like Just Married.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: The rich and the poor love story begins in the highranges of Kerala as Sarah Thomas (Bhavana), daughter of a wealthy businessman and Jeevan Paul (Anoop Menon), a still photographer decides to run away on the day of the lady’s betrothal. They arrives in Mumbai and starts a Coffee Shop with name Sarah Jeevan by selling the ornaments she was wearing for her engagement function. As Sarah is more into the shop and Jeevan rarely goes there and attempting to get a job as a photographer, they slowly moves away from each other; his photographing beautiful models acting as a powerful catalyst for the same. They slowly begins to detest the presence of each other, and files a divorce only to be asked to wait for six months which seems longer to them than ever. After failing in an attempt to push the other person out of their flat, they decide to share the place until the legal separation, and their problems are mediated by Madhavan (P. Balachandran). Sarah attempts to take over things by appointing a servant Selvi (Anusree) and being close to Alex (Joju) much to Jeevan’s dismay. But as their friends who helped them elope comes to Mumbai, they decide to act like all is well so that they are not hurt.

The defence of Angry Babies :: The one thing which was guaranteed from the beginning and delivered with ease was the fun. The movie has clean entertainment and comedy, unlike the new generation comedy which laughs at things or use multiple double meaning words in an attempt to evoke laughter. This is where the has been quite an attention, and even if there is some loss of fun, such tidy status is to be managed if families are to watch this one, and the flick manages some security there. This is lots of fun right from the beginning to the end, but as it moved towards the climax, it doesn’t fail to give some message about adjustments in marriage, and the weaknesses that the love marriages will show sooner or later as long as there is no support from the families of the bride and groom. The blessings of one’s parents is always a major factor in marriage. There is difference between love and marriage and it is easier to talk stupid things about love and wander around together doing nothing, but wedding takes it to another level, and this one deals with the problems in Ivar Vivahitharayal in a funny and sometimes stupid manner – the same director handles this one too. There are lots of funny situations, and the beauty of Mumbai is nicely captured too.

The claws of flaw :: Angry Babies doesn’t have that much of an innovation, and the story is mostly predictable except for the smaller details. The story has is own dose of exaggeration, but nothing that thrives on inflammation to the wrong emotions like Bangalore Days had been trying; why do you need to over-think Angry Birds though, for it serves it purpose and do what it is supposed to do, with no unnecessary additions to make it something it is not. The ending is also a bit forced with the love returning to the life like a boomerang quickly remembering that it was actually supposed to come back – well, this was supposed to maintain that comic factor throughout the movie and the ending is no different as it ends up in another funny moment. This is not for the people who are not looking forward to such a movie, and if someone feels the need to inject anything other than just fun into this movie, it is their problem and needs to stop watching movies in the theatre. There is no denying that it could have created a few more funny moments, and the flashback story of love needn’t even exist – it never bores with such stuff, and then why not the creation of a little more funny moments like What Happens in Vegas and Just Married could come up with?

Performances of the soul :: Most of the screen time is reserved for Anoop Menon and Bhavana, and there is almost no moment which doesn’t include one of them and most of the time, they spend together. Anoop Menon shows his skill for comedy like never before, especially in the first half and in the end works well with the emotional stuff. Bhavana is a beauty; not just with the looks, but with her handling of both comic and emotional scenes. She plays a character which reminds one of Mamtha Mohandas in My Boss, and yet keeps so many good elements with her unlike that “boss”, and this middle path that she has taken for her character is rather a smart idea by the director not making her the more egotic person, and gives enough to Anoop’s character too. None of these characters preach though, and keeps things simple, fighting and getting over with it. Anusree’s character is a little overdose at times, but manages to funny throughout the movie, and she is one actress who can thrive in simplicity. The Vodafone Comedy Stars fame Noby was the funniest one in the second half, and it makes one extremely happy to see him coming up with so much to make us laugh, and Joju comes next in the comic contribution. Noby needs a lot more chances, for he has earned it. Meanwhile, Nishanth Sagar makes a nice come back looking so much younger, and Parvathy Nair looks beautiful in her short stay. Kalabhavan Shaju also contributes to the fun.

Soul exploration :: One thing is very clear about this movie, and it is the lack of pretending to be something. Unlike our most recent pretender to the throne of awesomeness called Bangalore Days, this movie knows where it stands and where the strengths lie. This one also doesn’t depend on a hufe starcast to hide its weaknesses, but it uses very good use of the resources available. The disadvantages of a multi-starrer cast has always been its special ability to hide its weaknesses; just like what was evident from the early opinions about Bangalore Days. The people would be staring at their favourite stars and it will be impossible for them to tell the truth that the movie had problems, and will say that the movie is awesome just because they are typical fanboys and fangirls. The real movies shouldn’t have too many superstars because it spoils its essence even as there will be a good amount of box-office collections, and there will no real review about it as nobody wishes to go against the fans because people only need to read what they want to read, and this case, they are intoxicated just because their favourite actor or actress looks great on the screen. When those involved with the movie other than the cast are also popular, the movie needs zero substance. This movie moves away from such lies, and that is a point for the soul.

How it finishes :: Coming from the director who has handles the funny side nicely, like in Ivar Vivahitharayal, Happy Husbands and Husbands in Goa, this was expected to be interesting stuff which is certain to make the audience laugh as long as it kept close to the genre. This is his sixth movie and the first one without Jayasurya being a part of the cast. This would be his first movie with Anoop Menon and the second with Bhavana as a part of it. In a weekend when movies like Koothara released, it was good to have this movie from Saji Surendran, with a movie that doesn’t think that the audience are stupid and the flick is too intellectual. As I was not a part of the Mermaid Welfare Association of India, I wasn’t happy at all with Koothara, but that is one story I am not going to talk about now. For now, what we need to remember is that Angry Babies is the movie which promises and delivers what it is supposed to come up with, as anything else would have been an unnecessary overdose which the superstar movies come up with, and not a movie which has an identity of its own rather than wearing a fake visage intended only for making money. Now, for the question about the title of the movie, the protagonists are indeed like babies in both love and hatred 😀

Release date: 14th June 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Saji Surendran
Starring: Bhavana Menon, Anoop Menon, Noby Tharian, Joju George, Parvathy Nair, P. Balachandran, Kalabhavan Shaju, Nishanth Sagar, Anusree Nair

angrybabies copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mr. Fraud

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The Heist Stuff :: The heist movies have always managed to keep us interested (the Bollywood ones not included), and among them, I would rate The Italian Job as the best, followed by many others, including Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, along with Tower Heist and The Art of the Steal, even Fast Five turning into a Rio Heist making one believe that heist was a kind of new successful genre to explore. Even Bollywood had The Italian Job remade as Players, and it was only a matter of time until Malayalam movie industry also came up with a heist movie, and it comes from B. Unikrishnan with Mohanlal in the lead, and it was called Mr. Fraud – quite a negative name for a heist movie (may be it is named from the point of view of the victims). There will be the genuine question about why these heist films are so popular. I would say that people are having more tendency to take risks, and it is basic human nature to desire for something that someone else has, and it is the envy that takes over – at that moment combined by the risk plus desire/envy, the robbery becoming the wonderful art of steal and there begins the world of heist movies. These movies usually have many twists, innovations and the robber is usually portrayed as the good or better person.

What is it about? :: The centre of attraction is Bhaiji or Mr. Fraud (Mohanlal), the man with many names and many faces, none of them real or revealed. He is a man who commits heists against impossible odds with the help of his assistants Abbas (Vijay Babu) and Priya (Manjari Phadnis) as well as special electronic gadgets. After stealing from the dowry of a billionaire’s daughter, they are ready for one final mission to end all heists, and it includes stealing the treasure from the basement of one of the old palaces which is kept there due to a dispute between two parties and a petition to make them public. The two rivals, the two sons and their sons and daughters are waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the treasure and claim the whole of it as Bhaiji comes in between disguised as the evaluator of the treasure. Inspector Sajan (Sai Kumar) also comes the scene hoping to make some profit out of it and takes over as the head of security. In the middle of hatred and discomfort that prevails in the palace, can the man of disguises steal what he has come there to steal or will he lose his way?

The defence of Mr. Fraud :: How many real heist movies do we see in Malayalam movie industry? The other one concerning robbery was Robinhood which was really dumb and that movie had absolutely nothing, and we surely can’t bring Lokpal to the equation when talking about movies which are above average, even as there was the movies like Gangster which won’t stand a chance in front of even Lokpal. This need has been answered by Mr. Fraud which has enough heist moments, along with that idea which is in the centre. Even as it is not anywhere near those awesome heist movies that we watch in Hollywood, this one has managed to do the stuff in the same style, but weaker in content and execution. The movie, even as it has limited thrills, is never boring – that is a new considering how difficult it has been not to bore the audience. They have also managed to come up with a superior first half and nice early second half. The cast is also superb and most of them have played their characters with beauty. The movie hasn’t tried anything too much, it seemed to attempt and be a decent one, with mediocre elements and that is what is has managed to achieve.

The claws of flaw :: Mr. Fraud has had mostly negative or average reviews from the audience, and it has created a clear doubt when the memories of Lokpal comes to the mind. The biggest problem of the movie is that it is not sure about its own genre, and it deviates from its purpose more than once, adding too much emotions. The protagonist also doesn’t become the true fraud that he is supposed to be, not justifying the title – he is not even the exact opposite here. Some of the characters are not fully developed with so many of them there just for the sake of existing there under the shadow of doubt, and the ending is forced. The movie might seem to lose its steam during the climax, and all the action scenes which don’t involve the heists are quite bad, with the superhero side and slow motion taking over, but that is only about a few scenes. The superhero should have remained under or may be on par with the actor when we consider this movie. The background score often gets irritating and so do the songs which jump out of nowhere and the audience has to ask who let them out when they were not really needed.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of the triumvirate movies of Mohanlal which are expected to score big and release soon enough – Koothara, Peruchaazhi and this one, all three expected to be special for one reason or the other, and Mr. Fraud is the first one to reach the theatre despite so many delays. If I had to choose one among them earlier, I would have chosen Koothara to be the better one. This had to be his movie as it is, and from the family man role to this one, he runs the show as usual, and the good thing is that this doesn’t go to that level of Sagar Alias Jacky and there is the limit under control. His looks are nice and keeps things cool. Manjari Phadnis is there for the looks, but surely has her short moments, and Mia also got so much less to do even as she does that without any significant problems. Vijay Babu never gets to do a lot, but Siddique and Sai Kumar excel in the supporting roles as both are there in the roles which they have perfected before. Suresh Krishna in a bigger role would have been nice though, as the situation seemed to suit him, but that was not to be. Characterization, come up with more power next time!

Soul exploration :: There is the need for heist, and even Inception was about heist, wasn’t it? They were the ones who stole ideas, and planting an idea is just the same as stealing one, as one idea is lost while another one takes its place. Mission: Impossible also had its heists going through. Fast Five was a better heist movie than many of the full-time heist movies. So when the bogeyman steals our dreams and convert them into nightmares, isn’t he also a man who is part of this art? Can he be considered one of the first and the most efficient heist artists of all time? Even as it is nowhere near any of the mentioned, Mr. Fraud steals, and performs that operation well. For most of the people though, heist is an adventure, and in the case of such a ride, it has to be entertaining and having a better motive than just to steal. Heist is usually considered different from the usual robbery, and that word is often used positively, thanks to the heist films. The ambiguity remains in this movie too, if it is right to steal under any circumstance or not to; who is evil and who has the fountain of goodness flowing through? Well, the characters in movies like Big B was not with any goodness, and considering that people supported the main characters, the ones in heist movies are much better. Only if this wasn’t that mediocre, we could have come to a conclusion.

How it finishes :: Mr. Fraud is not as bad as some people might suggest, and a comparison to Lokpal is kind of ridiculous and the question of it being better than Gangster is answered with only one sentence – Gangster was the worst movie of the year, challenged only by Salaala Mobiles. It is brought down only by the hype it created, and by being mediocre. Well, Mr. Fraud has its advantages in the theatre, the most important one being the postponement of Bangalore Days which has such a multi-starrer cast that can bring every other movie down – How Old are You will hold onto its place for quite a long time as the family audience have taken it into hearts, and this position that Mr. Fraud was about to lose will be there for at least one week as Bangalore Days has been on a postpone-spree which might or might not end on the upcoming Friday. Kochadiiyaan is not creating the impact that it should have, and Heropanti is running low, so the only challenge that Malayalam movies have is from the English movies, but none of them can replace these movies in content, and they are miles apart in what they come up with, all three Hollywood movies in the theatre dealing with superheroes and super-monsters not really attracting the families.

Release date: 17th May 2014
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Mia George, Manjari Phadnis, Vijay Babu, Pallavi Purohit, Dev Gill, Siddique, Sai Kumar, Vijayakumar, Rahul Madhav, P. Balachandran, Devan, Suresh Krishna, Rajeev Parameshwar, V.K. Sreeraman, Kalasala Babu, Sathaar, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Biju Pappan, Ashvin Matthew, Balaji, Amritha Anil

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal

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Vampire Owl [Looking at the Son of God poster] : Mosa, horse, fish, sea…is this a Biblical story?

Vampire Bat: It is not Moses’ Malayalam version, it is Mosa…”Sa” as in Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly. The Son of God poster is from last week, it doesn’t show at the theatres any more.

Vampire Owl: So what do you think a title like Horse-fishes of Mosa would mean?

Vampire Bat: Hmmm…may be they use fishes as horses, or horses as sea-food?

Vampire Owl: Or may be a man named Mosa eats both the horse and the fish, or eats fish on a horse?

Vampire Bat: May be the actors are the horses and actresses are fish or fishy.

Vampire Owl: So much for the movie names.

Vampire Bat: And some people said they preferred Malayalam titles for Malayalam movies. This should make them happy.

[Gets the eighty rupee tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of two men, Alex (Asif Ali) and Akbar Ali (Sunny Wayne) who meets under strange circumstances. Alex is the son of a rich land owner and planter at Pambady, Kottayam. He is born as the fourteenth kid in the family as his father Kuriachan (Nedumudi Venu) wanted one more son than his predecessor who had thirteen. Alex lives in a huge house, but is isolated as his brothers and sisters are too much older than him, and soon he is left with his father alone, after his mother dies and the others move away. As his father also dies, he moves to Cochin to do his Master degree, but spends time wasting money. But, thanks to his best friend who cheats him, he ends up in jail from where he keeps making attempts to escape. His last effort is successful, thanks to the help of Akbar who also escapes from the jail. As one of the sons of his brethren is the jail warden, he is convinced to go back to jail with his name is among a number of people to be released on the Independence Day. But he has to bring Akbar back with him, but for that, he will have to follow him all the way to the Lackshadweep Islands. He meets Deena (Janani Iyer) who agrees to help him, but he is now in the centre of a love story featuring Akbar and Isa (Swati Reddy).

The defence of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal :: The best thing about the movie is its wonderful visuals, and its success in capturing the beauty of Lakshadweep Islands, the sea and the underwater world with such skill. This is actually a big advertisement for Lakshadweep if it works well at the box-office. We also have to admire how they turned such a simple story into a nice watch with a philosophy. Unlike pseudo-travel movies like Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi which tries to pretend that it has a philosophy and still provides the audience with a kind of protagonist who never really changes or even becomes more of himself, Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal rejects the opportunity to be a machine spreading more and more lies through a journey. Our movie is more of a travel movie with bildungsroman elements which attempt to look into the human nature through incidents of different worlds joined together. The protagonists are left changed by the end, thanks to what they experience here. This is an adventure with a certain amount of romance and small doses of thrills. The background score is also interesting, but the songs are ordinary. One also has to admire the leading actors for their performances.

The claws of flaw :: Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal is not a movie for everyone, and I can dare to think that it might not interest a good number of common movie watchers, and as you already know, the name itself arouses curiosity, but keeps people think too many times before watching this movie. The movie’s drag comes as another problem, even as compared to a movie like Annayum Rasoolum, this is a Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, and to Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, this is a McLaren F1. Even as this is many times a better love story than Annayum Rasoolum, but the intensity of the feeling of love remains just the motive when it could have been part of the theme. The love between Alex and Deena is something seemingly possible only in the end and also revealed before the credits roll. Meanwhile, the same between Akbar and Isa is hidden not by the lady’s veil, but by her own selfishness that she admits, and this proof for inherent selfishness that cruise through the human mind at high speeds, weakens the romantic side, and a resurrection of love detained by selfishness raises from the ashes only by the end. There is no denying the fact that a better plot and an energized romantic side could have done this movie a lot of favour.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of the best performances from Asif Ali, and one can easily feel that it is more his movie, as he is the one who narrates, and for the first forty five minutes, none of the four leading actors/actresses are introduced other than him. He single-handedly makes sure that the first half is quite fun, and one also has to love his style of narration. The funny side is also handled well by him. Sunny Wayne makes his entrance after the first forty five minutes, and shares the burden. The story changes to his life and his world, which he handles quite well. But that character that we follows and relates with will still be that of Asif Ali’s Alex who guides us through this adventure. Janani Iyer is cute here, and plays a wonderful character in this movie, but is there for only a short time, a case of sudden disappearance as if her concern ends spontaneously, and her next presence is only in the final scene. But this Deena, is one lovable character that she plays, and even graces us with some words of wisdom along with that charming smile. Swati Reddy looks kind of uncomfortable with this role and also with the looks, but manages to survive as Isa. May be she could have done Deena better than she has performed as Isa, but one can’t be sure.

Soul exploration :: Coming back to name of the movie, the word “mosa” means huge sea waves (credit to the newspapers who ended that doubt) and “kuthira meenukal” even as it is literally translated into “horse-fish” means swordfish (again newspapers to the rescue) in local language. It is said that this kind of fish, predatory in nature, happens to be very selfish, and they are equated to the characters of the movie (no, I haven’t met any of these creatures personally to test the selfishness factor; thought selfish went better with shellfish :D). Both of our heroes as well as Isa remains selfish throughout the movie, mostly due to their circumstances, the only exception being Deena whose words reflect on Alex during the climax scene, and he realizes that even as he made a mockery of her earlier, what she said was more closer to the truth than anything that he had ever said. The random act of kindness that brought to Alex the ability to make others happy without him ever knowing, and that too for the first time in life, would change his life forever, along with that of Akbar. After going on a different path, we can see that Alex asks a bribe-demanding police officer who is also his relative, if he has eaten swordfish, a question which he asks not only to the corrupt officials, but also to a generation powered by selfish motives. So, this movie transforms the swordfish that is seen dancing on the waves of life, back to what could be goldfish, something which occurs in the mind.

How it finishes :: Here is somthing to gather more attention – the cinematography of this movie is handled by the same person who did it for Amen which was praised for the same reason (Abinandhan Ramanujam). There are some movies which turns out to be entertainers, and there are others which end up as classics. But Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal doesn’t really belong anywhere, and even with a certain inability to gather attention, this movie has to be applauded for the different approach that it takes. This visual philosophical spectacle needed something more in the script. Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal is a flawed gem, and its flaws often make us less interested, but it is still a refreshing journey, and also that movie which will make you think about going the the Lakshadweep Islands. But do keep this in mind – this is not the movie that everyone deserves, and it is just this movie that deserves its limited audience! You look for change, and you look for some difference instead of entertainment, and here is a movie which is pretty good in doing something like that. The movie seems to be receiving mixed reviews, and a possible failure of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal will only make sure that the time of mindless entertainers will begin again. And yes, lets not be even half-a-swordfish 😀

Release date: 1st May 2014
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Ajith Pillai
Starring: Asif Ali, Sunny Wayne, Janani Iyer, Swati Reddy, Nedumudi Venu, Nishanth Sagar, Jijoy, Jojo Mala, Chemban Vinod, P. Balachandran

mosa copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Law Point

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That point to be noted :: There are some movies which come silently and go unnoticed. This was going to be the case of Law Point as it didn’t release in a good number of local theatres where even The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released, and that comes as a big surprise considering the fact that a Kunchako Boban – Namitha Pramod pairing has some good scope to attract audience, not just the fans of Kunchako, since Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum. Now, where is that much needed hype which should have been present here at least a little bit? A movie which released in silence and went on to become a big hit was Memories, but that belonged to another class, and also to a director who had never known to have evaded victory, and the creator of greatest hit of all time in Malayalam (Drishyam), Jeethu Joseph. Meanwhile, this one comes from Lijin Jose who directed the 2012 movie Friday. It was a fine movie, no matter how some of the audience might have rated it, and it surely gave the viewers a lot to think about. Now, thinking isn’t what most of the fan-boys do these days right? If they do that, they would never be the minions of actors, but a lot above that with their own individuality. Friday had given us a director who could innovate well in his directorial debut, and it is on that same director that I trust while watching this movie.

What is it about? :: Sathya (Kunchako Boban) is a brilliant lawyer who has the ability to do wonders at the court, and spends most of his time taking the cases of big-shots and saving them from the crimes which they have committed. He is proud and shows more interest in money than anything else. After saving a rape-accused, Kuriyachan (Suraj Vencharamoodu) from the law, a millionaire named Ramakrishnan (Nedumudi Venu) comes to meet him and asks his help to get his son out of trouble. The son was in a big problem as his girlfriend tried to commit suicide as he refused to marry her and they were going to file a case against him according to the last letter that she had written. Sathya agrees to become a mediator and solve the case for which he is going to get rupees twenty lakhs and the girl’s family is going to get a crore rupees. Even as her father Philippos (Joy Matthew) seems to agree a bit, the girl Maya (Namitha Pramod) is not ready to agree. Therefore, Sathya asks her to come with him for a ride in his Volvo, to which she agrees as she has been spending too much time locked in her house. As the simple ride gets longer than expected, a lot more comes out of it, and sooner or later, it will change the life of Sathya with a twist.

The defence of Law Point :: Whatever is expected from Law Point, it has nothing to do with them, as it is not really a courtroom drama, suspense thriller or action romance or a mixture of any two of these combined in another combination. There is nothing about the court and neither is there much to justify its title. The movie chooses to be different and go in a path which might not be unexplored, but which is not expected to follow with such a cast and settings. The beginning setting is just the base for what is to be revealed in the end, and the whole thing that happens between works just to connect and make things interesting. The visuals are nicely captured, most of the best ones around Vagamon and the surrounding areas. The background music is nice (despite reminding of the Yuvvh music by the end), and the songs as well as their picturization are nice. The movie is very short for a Malayalam flick, lasting just above an hour and forty five minutes, and that makes sure that this becomes more of a fast food for the movie watchers. As the other Malayalam movies except 7th Day which has released since Vishu haven’t managed to work, Law Point might just work well with some audience with its points.

The claws of flaw :: The movie comes up with good drag in between, especially the time close to the interval, sometime before and after that. By the time the interval is reached, people might be left a little confused about where the movie is heading, as it doesn’t reach an interesting position by then. The first aim of the movie should have been to keep the viewers interested, but that is not the first preference here. The end might actually destroy the purpose of a lot of things which happen in the middle, but for others, there is good reason in the end. The end twist should have had a little more punch, and the lack of the dark side makes this one end up with a feel-good effect, but that won’t satisfy those with different expectations. The dark themes remain absent even as they threaten to come up in the beginning. The impact is less, and the movie ends when the viewers expect a little more twist or some addition to the romantic side or even a change of character from the protagonist who seems to remain the same proud young man with that over-confidence still failing to disappear.

Performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban has a nice introduction, and comes up with a nice performance as the young lawyer even as he has just one scene in the court and the rest are all outside. He plays that kind of a proud and confident advocate who thinks that he can even save the devil himself if in trouble and he is that damn smart. His negative shade is nice, but kept under control throughout the movie. Then there is Namitha Pramod with her best performance ever, as she carries that character on her shoulder beautifully. There are times when one wonders if the middle period of the movie is meant to prove that she is pretty, something which doesn’t need any proof as far as any viewer is concerned. She looks better than ever, and her acting graces her beauty so well. They form a nice hit pair, second only to, may be the Nivin Pauly – Nazriya Nazim pair. Suraj Venjaramoodu has only the initial scenes, and there are the funnier scenes around. Meanwhile, Joy Mathew’s role is nice as usual.

Soul exploration :: Law Point plays a twisted game, something which looks rather plain in the first half, but it is not, as proven later. But this game of twists remain faithful to the lighter side. The centre of this movie is a suicide attempt. Yes, suicide is a punishable offence in India, and that is re-asserted in the movie. There have been something about repealing the same, but not active yet. Yes, the one who attempts to commit suicide and fails in the same is not just the victim, but also guilty in the eyes of the law. Here, that is often repeated in talking about the victimization, the culprit and the two sides of the same law, the only law point which keeps moving through the movie. Is it right to have the depressed suffer again just because he or she made the wrong choice at that moment of extreme emotions? As our lady protagonist asks, hasn’t everyone thought about committing suicide at some point of their lives? Still, isn’t each individual life so important that suicide is a sin? But there is that nice game that is being played, and after that twist, we come to know that all’s well that ends well.

How it finishes :: The current situation is favourable to Law Point, considering what else are the Indian movies running in the theatres released in the last few weeks. The movie needed a lot more publicity as well as a few additions here and there which could have made it complete. There is a lot that such popularity can do to this type of movies. I searched for its Facebook page and was disappointed not to find one, but found information about its release and other stuff from the official pages of the leading actors. It is a sure watch for the fans of both Kunchako Boban and Namitha Pramod. Kunchako has been a minimum guarantee star, and with Polytechnic and this one, he is coming back to the form slowly but steadily. Namitha’s success story has continued well so far, and even the lesser appreciated Puthiya Theerangal was a nice one, something which I can certify with ease. There is shortage of action and there are no real thrills, but the movie’s twists can pull it up from any trouble that it causes to the viewers.

Release date: 1st May 2014
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed by: Lijin Jose
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Namitha Pramod, Joy Mathew, Nedumudi Venu, Praveena, Devan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, KPAC Lalitha, Kalabhavan Prajod, Shari, P. Balachandran, S. V. Krishna Shankar

lawpoint copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nadan

nadan (2)

A Flashback :: Nadan comes from Kamal who had a great beginning to 2013 with the movie Celluloid which was the biopic of J.C Daniel, the father of Malayalam Cinema. It received seven Kerala State Film Awards including the award for Best Film and Best Actor (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam. Before that, his works included a very interesting take or rather a satire on the pride of a rich common man (Swapna Sanchari), a critically acclaimed work focusing on the fate of poor Indians in the middle east through the life of an immigrant Indian housemaid in Saudi Arabia (Gaddama) and my personal favourite revenge story plus a success at the box-office (Aagathan). So the expectations were going to be high about this one making this the obvious first choice in the absence of a Hollywood release and a good Bollywood release, especially as the other movie at the box-office, Visudhan has got some mixed to mostly negative reviews (the audience was less in number when I watched though).

What is Nadan? :: We have already had a movie based on theatre this year, in the form of Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus (check my review of God’s Own Cleetus), directed by Marthandan and starring Mammootty – It had achieved mostly mixed reviews, but I liked that one for sure, more than most of those who watched it. Who can forget Yavanika? But nothing matches Bharathan’s Chamayam when it comes to the movies set against the backdrop of theatre. There was pure brilliance from Manoj K. Jayan, Murali and also Sithara. The 1989 movie Ramji Rao Speaking (remade in Hindi as Hera Pheri) and its sequel Mannar Mathai Speaking (partially remade in Hindi as Bhagam Bhag) also had some drama elements added to their popularity in a comical way, but nothing serious. Nadan, translated as “actor” gets into this world of theatre with a seriousness like never before. In the current situation where it not really about actor, but about hero and the fan clubs, this movie tries to make an impact in a way which might not be unfamiliar to you, but still remains fresh.

What is it about? :: After a long list of special thanks in the beginning, the movie comes up with the story of Devadas Sargavedi (Jayaram) after telling the story of his grandfather and father who were big names in the Malayalam drama industry. He tries to follow the foot steps, but in the end, losses out due to bad response for the drama compared to mimicry, serial and cinema. As the big screen and the silver screen takes over, the drama losses out – at the venues of temple festivals and church programs, the place is taken by music troops and other similar programs. We know how much it had lost in front of comedy skits, cinematic dance and music programs from the way each cultural programs has been conducted. He losses his muse Jyothi Krishna (Remya Nambeesan) with the rise of cinema as a powerful medium as well as his wife (Sajitha Madathil) as weaknesses take over the artist in him and he falls for his muse. He is left with only a few old artists, an old tempo and no booking for his shows.

The defence of Nadan :: I can remember that I have watched one drama, and yet I can’t remember anything from it, may be because I was a kid. The movie takes us to three timelines, of the 1930s, 1950s and the 1970s – the last one continuing on. The movie takes a non-linear path to tell the story, as it starts from Devadas’ daughter updating her facebook account with the photos of her family, and it ends in the same period. The rest of the movie mostly goes through Devadas’ bad situations with occasional flashbacks. Kamal has successfully made that work. The story is a good experience as it raises nostalgia, and so does it make one think about the loss of dramatic works to the powerful medium which is cinema and the disgusting bore that is mega serial. There might be a question about why and how we have been missing our culture – the answer is the loss of drama, and instead of works which makes us think, we are after pathetic emotional nonsense and new generation nothingness – there comes the part to think for us.

The claws of flaw :: The movie wouldn’t come anywhere near Kamal’s earlier venture which was Celluloid. I would still hope that this one would get some recognition in the next Kerala Film Awards. There is also some fear that most of the new generation won’t accept it with its simple world and the recreation of the life in a way which is not at all an exaggeration. The songs could have been slightly better though, and even visually this can’t compete with Celluloid. There is also a certain amount of drag, especially in the second half. The character of Remya Nambeesan could have some more presence, and there could have been more scenes involving variety drama works and also rehearsals. Still, with whatever it has, the movie manages to connect, even if not in such a way Chamayam could. The beauty of drama is often restricted to the dialogues and the continuous praise that has been bestowed upon it. The climax could have been better. Even as there is a certain amount of sad feeling created in the minds of the viewers, the depth of Celluloid is missing, but it should be mostly due to Prithviraj’s character being a perfect gentleman without ego or flaws.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of those movies which deals with the drama and still the dramatist would seem to get more attention than the work of art – this movie is centered around the life of one dramatist, and yes, Jayaram has done a fantastic job. It would all have depended on how his character is taken, and one has to say that there is nothing lost with Devadas as a dramatist. Still, the movie could have concentrated a little more on drama as a spectacle of the contemporary world (it was good to see that they could touch the nonsense that has been hailed as drama these days, something which we did see a bit in Olipporu). Along with his powerful performance, Sajitha Madathil, Joy Mathew and K. P. A. C. Lalitha strongly contributes. Remya Nambeesan has a smaller role and less screen presence, but when she is there, she scores. One has to appreciate her selection of movies, as she didn’t start off that well, but has come up with her performances in some of the best movies like this one, Philips and the Monkey Pen, Arikil Oraal and Left Right Left, along with some good ones in between. Hareesh Peradi makes another clean strike after Left Right Left. The girl who played the daughter was very good too.

How it finishes :: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hasn’t arrived here yet. Only God knows when Kick-Ass 2, Ender’s Game and Machete Kills releases here. With the much weaker other movies in the other languages around, Nadan should score good, even as its ability to connect with the newer generation and the entertainment lovers might be a little less. We can see that Nadan has impressed a good number of people, from their opinions. Now it is to be seen if it keeps that positive word of mouth which has been slightly going down, alive. The reviews haven’t been much positive. I would say that good nostalgic movies like Nadan has to be made more often. It is neither of the old generation not the new generation, as it creates its own group of viewers, a fine collection of people who loves movies as well as theatre. Despite its limited abilities and scope, Nadan rises, and that itself is a big positive compared to all those movies which destroy all the potential and go down the sewers or play the safe game and come up with quite an ordinary execution. The success of Nadan will only help the Malayalam movie industry to be innovative without going new generation – that should be great!

Release date: 22nd November 2013
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Kamal
Starring: Jayaram, Remya Nambeesan, Sajitha Madathil, Joy Mathew, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, P. Balachandran, Hareesh Peradi, M.Mukundan, Jayaraj Warrier, Shankar Ramakrishnan

nadan copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

God’s Own Cleetus

cleetus (3)

I have taken the liberty to anglicize Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus into God’s Own Cleetus just like how Daivathinte Swantham Naadu becomes God’s Own Country. No, this is not that much of a lovable character to be baptised twice, but it is the effort of the actor behind the character and the way in which he has done justice to that character which makes Cleetus our own. Yes, you might find the world of this movie asking for a better treatment, but for a debutant director and the background which has been used, this is a very good recovery for a movie which didn’t impress the audience by its trailer nor with the brief storyline which was shared. Let me be clear about one thing; this movie could have gone either way, to the depths of abyss or to the heights of the lost paradise regained. If there is a question about where it stands at the moment, it is a long way from that abyss. Yes, Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus has survived, and did use its survival instincts well enough to add on to that survival guide new stories of goodness and faith. If you don’t like this movie, that is still understandable, but it can never stoop low enough to deserve hatred, that is where this movie plays safe, and it is how this movie shall hold on to its audience during this Onam vacation.

It will be facing a tough competition from the most awaited movie of the Onam, Dileep’s Sringaravelan, a possible surprise in the form of Indrajith Sukumaran’s Ezhamathe Varavu, and an interest-seeking Fahadh flick North 24 Kaatham, as we leave D Company out of that list. The Hollywood’s challenge in the form of Grown Ups 2 has self-destructed, and Bollywood’s John Day along with Horror Story are too much limited in shows with an adult-rated Grand Masti not to be an Onam favourite for sure. With pretty much a good competition in store, Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus might not be expected to do that good, but the verdict for the other Malayalam movies are not really out yet. Why would we still need movies like this to survive? Because it has tried its luck in an unfamiliar territory even if the fuel is a familiar one. It has a little bit of Chamayam, Pranchiyettan and The Saint and Amen in it, hidden well, but not from the eyes of experienced movie watchers. But, has the movie relentlessly tried to dig these movies out? The answer is no. There is nothing in common as a whole, and our movie has successfully brought out a legacy of its own, not from the ashes, but out of the most valuable sparks which could give rise to a phoenix.

The story tells the story of Cleetus (Mammootty), a feared criminal who causes problems wherever he goes. He is an alcoholic and always ready to do anything for money. As a parish priest Sunny Vadakkumthala (Siddique) chooses him to act as Jesus Christ in a drama as part of a church programme without knowing his true identity, something he does after rejecting a lot of people, chaos breaks loose among the theatre artists. The priest decides to persist with him and his sidekick (Aju Varghese) despite knowing his true identity, in the belief that the experience of being a character such as Jesus Christ might reform him, thus taking a huge risk considering the massive show which is going to happen and the audience expected. If Cleetus changes or makes the people around him change, whether the drama happens or Cleetus makes a clear mess out of it is left to be seen. Will Jesus Christ’s life change Cleetus or will his life change the fate of the drama in a horrible way? The movie answers the question very late, as every time, he would seem to get a little better, the world around him changes needing him to make those adjustments he is not used to make.

The whole movie undoubtedly rests on Mammootty, and as once again he rises to occasion, it is a treat to all the fans and neutral audience alike. No, Cleetus is not Immanuel, Kunjananthan, Bavutty or Mathukkutty, for he is a gunda, and he is surely nowhere near Pranchiyettan. A long list of characters of goodness is teared apart here, as our protagonist starts as the sinner who is not even set on the path to redemption. Unlike the others, Cleetus is a man who rises and takes the chalice of goodness, finishing it with relative ease. There is no denying that the image gets some self-imposed backlashes, but nothing that will not contribute to Cleetus being more and more human, with the shades of grey rather than pitch black – after all who can deny some mood-swings? Do we love Cleetus? The answer would be no. But he gets as close to being lovable as possible for a man seeking redemption, and he seemed to have attained some of it by the end. He comes that far by keeping himself far away from a superhuman image which could come across this time, even as there is no denying the fact that our protagonist beats up a lot of people, something which was expected right from the beginning.

Even as the movie belongs to Mammootty in an undisputed manner, Aju Varghese, Suraj Venjaramoodu and Thesni Khan handles the humour department quite effectively. Suraj remains the strong link of humour in this flick. Rejith Menon has made his presence felt, as the one and only Romeo character in the movie. Honey Rose is very good in her role, and it a matured character that we see this time. Sanam Shetty has that beautiful presence, something which she carries over from what we saw in Cinema Company, that grace and beauty which was talked about as that of a Greek goddess in that movie; for there is no denying who is the Aphrodite as well as the Juliet in this movie. Vijayaraghavan leaves a mark as one of the villain characters, and so does Kailash. Siddique was at his best, doing a character which he seemed to perfect. It is impossible to keep him out of this world where he once again does a fantastic job. There is a tremendous energy in his character, and also that much needed serenity, the two things which seemed to suit each other very well. One of our favourite comedy stars on television, Ullas Pandalam also makes good mark in the movie.

So, can the worst of people change and go back to God? Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus shows us that all hope is not lost. As the character goes through playing the life of Jesus Christ, his attitude towards life changes too, as a lot of the events in the life of Christ seems to be reflecting in his own world in a small and slightly similar manner. We have a man who has no previous acting experience, like Manoj K. Jayan in Chamayam. No, I am not really comparing, for that one would make it to my all-time favourite list, or may be more than one list. As that monologue in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts” – here Cleetus plays one, and plays it fine and it replaces his real life as his new role, and it didn’t just go away as one of the parts which he played, as it stayed on with him. It is “Quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrionem” (Because almost the whole world are actors) as Petronius is supposed to have given us. Some of us live our part and others play our roles, and in both cases, the path is similar and leading to the same destination.

Well, we know that it is never late to turn to God. It is the faith, belief and hope that is supposed to guide us rather than materialism. Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus comes up with a great spectacle of divinity by the end, something which is comparable to Amen’s final battle of music, even as this one is less about music and more about the scenes. Is there a hidden magic realism in it? Does it have the magic touch of Pranchiyettan and The Saint helping the movie on moving forward? These are questions which can have more than one answers. But for now, this movie has done its part, but not living upto its potential. The life of Cleetus and his transformation could have been a lot more interesting. It was so close to achieving that balance that a little Icarus-sun battle might have brought it closer to its current rating. It is still your choice if you are to choose one man, who is both the saint and the sinner, saviour and the punisher, redeemer and the destroyer, moving from the path of evil to the way of goodness paved by angels and showered by blessings. This is another Pilgrim’s Progress from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. The destiny of Cleetus now stands in the hands of the viewers, and its final fate is yet to be decided.

Release date: 12th September 2013
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Marthandan
Starring: Mammootty, Honey Rose, Aju Varghese, Sanam Shetty, Rejith Menon, Kailash, Siddique, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Thesni Khan, Vinayakan, Vijayaraghavan, Anoop Chandran, P. Balachandran, Ullas Pandalam

cleetu copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.