Jai Bhim

What is Jai Bhim about? :: The movie begins with a group of people who are supposed to be from some lower castes or tribes having some police cases forced on them without any particular reason other than their community of birth. In the end, almost all the cases fall on them, as police closes the pending cases by putting them on these people. Raja Kannu (K Manikandan) catches snakes and rats in the village, and lives in a tribal area of a remote village with her wife Senggeni (Lijomol Jose). The tribe is known for their useful job, which helps the rich people of the area who boasts of their higher caste status, and won’t care about these people. But Raja Kannu is also arrested by police in the name of a robbery which happened in the house of the village head, as there is a lot of force on the cops due to the same. The police says that her husband had escaped with three other tribals on a fateful night. They are helped by as Maithra (Rajisha Vijayan) who has been working as a teacher among the tribals, and was trying to provide them with enough education and some identity to go with it.

So, what happens next in this tale? :: Advocate Chandru (Suriya) leads cases for the downtrodden people, and has managed to help many people before. But in this particular case, police has already prepared everything, and with enough proof being ariticially created, this eems to be very difficult for Chandru. SP Ashok Varadhan (Sibi Thomas) wants the case to be solved at any cost, and the local police officers go further to manipulate everything from the first point. Chandru visits the whole area with Maithra, and tries to find some clues. But will he be enough for this particular case, as many more false witnesses are being added, and it becomes a thing of prestige for the government? Can truth go above the false witnesses in an age of hopelessness and lies? The question still remains if the three are even alive and Chandru wants IG Perumalsamy (Prakash Raj) to investigate the office, and Advocate Ram Mohan (Rao Ramesh), the most prominent and respected lawyer will stand against Chandru for the government and the police.

The defence of Jai Bhim :: It is up to Suriya and Lijomol Jose to keep the film strong at the top, and there is no point where you feel that they are not fully immersed in these characters which they portray. Seeing the latter in such a role was a surprise, and one would wish her back in many more Malayalam movies. The film is a valiant take on ferocious discrimination and injustice which has been forced on people just for their birth in a particular community. In doing that, the film remains strong at all times. In staying with the subaltern against the strong and the influential, it makes some very strong points. The same is portrayed without using the useless mass fight scenes, which would have been there if this film was taken a few years ago, but the movie chooses not to satisfy the brainless mass. There are many emotional moments in the film, and the agony that the weak goes through is portrayed realistically rather than with the unnecessary extras. The intensity that the film carries is a lot too, and the strength only increases as the film progresses.

Positives and negatives :: The film does take some time to go through its beginning stages, and it does have the predictable stuff at work too. From the moment it starts, we are somewhat sure about what would happen even without knowing the history of the real-life tale, and we feel that the film could have been a little shorter. Some dialogues could have been avoided, but a few others could have had more detail, like when talking about the Rajan case which happened long ago in Kerala. Rajisha Vijayan could have also had more to be done, even with some good time being spent on the screen. It is always normal to expect more from this kind of a film, because we know the kind of topic it deals with. There is always something to take home in this kind of movies though, and this one, even though dealing with a topic which people might be aware of, leaves us with the reminder that injustice still exists, and there is the need for someone to raise the voice at the right time for the right people, and not for some celebrities who have their own ways of saving themselves, having their own influence and power.

Performers of the soul :: Suriya has one strong performance added here, and it seems that he has become the character like a fine reflection of a determined, enthusiastic, righteous lawyer. The focus that is required in the character is shown without the extreme heroism that would have taken over in some other movie, but not in this case. There is no violence related to the man either, as there is no beating up the bad guys, and there are no stylish dialogues, which makes the character blend in right into the film’s mood. It does feel that he is really into the character so well, and becomes a mirror of the ideology inside him. This is also the first Suriya film that I have reviewed here, and I am glad that this movie could be chosen for the same. Lijomol Jose, whom we know for the lovely supporting role in Maheshinte Prathikaaram and the lead role in Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, has her biggest role here, and she has performed exceptionally, making her the leading actress, the woman who was wronged, and seeking justice. I hope that she would continue in the film industry after marriage too.

Further performers of the soul :: K Manikandan in the husband’s role has death coming to his character after a fine performance. Prakash Raj plays a solid police officer with his own ideology, which we love, and he is the one cop whom you would love to have in your universe of reality. Rajisha Vijayan, who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her debut film, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also has her moments, being a strong part of this. We know what she has done in Kho Kho, June and Finals, and she could suit at any place with grace. She has a superior status among this generation of actresses in Malayalam film industry, and so when she is there, you wish to check out the movie. The villains are all good too – when you look at them, they are not the same kind of antagonists, for the work at different levels. They are all united by a few things, but you see the divergence that runs through them, with them acting different even when doing the same job. There are lots of supporting cast members who also do some jobs worth appreciation, staying strong in the background throughout the film.

How it finishes :: There have been many courtroom dramas, and Pink might be the most famous among them – this one nicely adds to the list of those films. Unlike most of such movies which have dealt with similar topics including bringing justice to the subaltern, this one has its complete focus on such divisions and atrocities committed in the same name. The film is also supposed to be based on a petition which was filed in 1995, and the characters are also known to be based on real-life people with real-life incidents forming the background of the film. There is always the feel for some need for films on discrimination, and this one makes a welcome addition, as it makes some strong points about the same. It is also available with audio in Hindi, and therefore, it should be accessible to a much bigger audience on Amazon Prime Video. Theatres have opened, but you still have moves like this one on OTT, and you know you have to trust the OTT.

Release date: 2nd November 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 164 minutes
Directed by: TJ Gnanavel
Starring: Suriya, Lijimol Jose, Rajisha Vijayan, Prakash Raj, Rao Ramesh, Guru Somasundaram

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Nayattu

What is the movie about? :: Praveen Michael (Kunchacko Boban) is seen as rejoining the police force after taking a small break from service for a tug of war competition. Even though he made a fake medical claim, he is reinstated into the force as the police department is preparing for bye-elections. He meets his superior officer Maniyan (Joju George) and Sunitha (Nimisha Sajayan) works at the same police station. One day, they have a fight with a local goon, a relative of Sunitha in the police station who has been harassing her, and the situation goes out of hand with Praveen and Maniyan fighting the goons. The issue is finally settled, and no case is charged against the person for assualting the police because of his political influence as part of a Dalit party. Later, their jeep meets an accident, and a person is almost killed. The driver who is a relative of Maniyan runs away, and the person who met the accident happens to be a friend of the person with whom they had a fight.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: They take the person to the nearby hospital, but he is soon, pronounced dead. At the same time, the goons reach the hospital, and the three cops run away towards the police station, almost getting attacked on the way. They get to the station, and tells them the details, but it turns out that the news in channels haven’t come in such a way that it would be helpful to them. It turns out that the police was planning to arrest them, and as they understands the same, makes their move. They leave the police station, and decides to run away, even though there is no clear destination awaiting them. The Chief Minister calls for immediate arrest of the police officers because he needs the support of the Dalit group. At the same time, even though left with minimum help, they manage to go for the highlands. But a group of elite police officers are searching for them, and time is surely running out.

The defence of Nayattu :: Nayattu shows the strength of a certain survival mode at all times. Malayalam movies have had their own dose of survival films, but none of them have come close to being this effective. There is also the case of a corrupt system which is hell bent on punishing the innocents if that means political advantage, and power always shifting to politics and their goons, even if one has law and order in hands. The movie deals with the realistic side of a survival thriller, and it doesn’t pretend in doing the same. There were many paths which Nayattu could have taken, but here it takes the one with the least pretensions, and that can be seen in the final moments of the film too, as there is nothing like an uplifting moment in this movie. The ending is open-ended, and it is up for the viewers to decide how this ends, even though the options seem pretty much straight forward. With some good visuals to add to it in the later stages, the movie reaches there.

Positives and negatives :: Nayattu is a reflection of that world in which putting up a fine show in front of the camera is more important than truth, and it is a mirror that should be held against a good number of cases which the media had taken up in the last few years – truth had often taken the backseat favouring the sensational in almost every case there. It is that world were facts are not important, as the objective viewpoint becomes weaker in comparison to the emotional side. It is like a fixed match of IPL, and people just wish to enjoy the show, and different castes wishes to play their cards, sometimes in an extremely violent manner and at other times that of victim – this situation is reflected rather clearly around here. Still, the ending could have been made crisper, and better meaning could have been given to these happening instead of making all these acts resulting in nothing, a case of absurd. Even when going the realistic path, there are always more things to be done, and something else to be added.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchako Boban plays the main character here, even though the balance does lie among the three police officers. He plays the rookie police officer in a very much believable manner, as this realistic depiction makes another version of dealing with crime unlike what we had seen earlier in Anjaam Pathira. It is indeed nice to see him being part of such serious movies again and again. Joju George’s character here reminds us of his work in Joseph and Action Hero Biju, and he does a very believable job in this film too. He has some of the best dialogues in the movie too. Nimisha Sajayan is realistically good as usual, and we have seen her choosing the realistic path on so many occasions and succeeding in the same. She was on one side of crime before, as we have seen in Oru Kuprasidha Payyan when she played a lawyer.

Further performers of the soul :: Jaffer Idukki was seen playing the Transport Minister in Yuvam, and here he plays the Chief Minister – the role of the politician, especially that of a minister seems to suit him really well again and again. His character here reflects the typical politician who wants to retain power at any cost, and will plan successfully to win elections. Yama Gilgamesh who plays the police officer in charge of the operation has everyone’s attention too. This is also one of the last films of Anil Nedumangad, the actor who have done some memorable supporting roles in the last few years, and had died by drowning at the reservoir of Malankara Dam during break in between shooting. He plays the officer who supports the investigation, and this is once again very much a notable role. The rest of the supporting cast feel very much realistic.

How it finishes :: Nayattu is the one realistic survival thriller which reflects the corrupt system so well, that we feel the strength of that depiction in more than one way. There are castes and communities which try to get their due, and for governments, these divisions matter – now the question remain about the position of justice, and that is left to the crowd and media, The film is a fine reflection of this situation, and as it has reached Netflix, I am sure that more people will be interested in watching the flick. Unlike the forgettable Irul which had released in Netflix, this one has a lot more to offer, even more than what the Amazon Prime releases Drishyam 2 and Joji had to offer. It is time that the films which were taken out of theatres due to lock-down come to some OTT platform or maybe have an early television premiere, because it is the worst stage of COVID-19, and we do not know what the future holds for anyone in India right now.

Release date: 8th April 2021 (Theatre), 9th May 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Martin Prakkat
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Joju George, Nimisha Sajayan, Anil Nedumangad, Jaffer Idukki, Samson Matthew Valiyaparambil, Ajit Koshy, Manohari Joy, Yama Gilgamesh, Jineesh Chandran, Hakkim Shajahan, Vinod Sagar, Dineesh P, Jithu Asharef, Kiran Peethambaran, Sminu Sijo, Arafath

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Yuvam

What is the movie about? :: Aby Mathew (Amith Chakalakkal) is a young lawyer who practices under Advocate Sreekanth Panicker (Indrans) who takes on socially relevant issues, and according to petitions of social interest, trying to win cases in favour of public. Vinu Janardhanan (Nirmal Palazhi) and Paul Varghese (Abhishek Raveendran) also works in the same office, and shares the house rent with Aby. For the last few months, Aby has been a fan of the news reader of a popular channel, Nimisha Madhav (Dayyana Hameed). They end up meeting at a news conclave at which Aby questions the Chief Minister, DK Sreenivasan (Saikumar) about the harthal his party had recently conducted, leading to the loss of crores. Aby and Nimisha meets again after the latter has an accident, and they fall in love. But things get complicated as Aby decides to take the case of a former KSRTC employee who was denied pension for months. After the death of this employee, Aby and his friends decide to take this case very seriously.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But the Transport Minister (Jaffer Idukki) has the plans to privatize KSRTC, and Ragesh Joseph (Kalabhavan Shajohn), the local MLA is playing a major role in the same. The court decides that someone has to take charge of KSRTC and prove that it can be a profitable firm, and it advises the government to let the petitioners take charge of the department for six months to make sure that it achieves the target. The government is not really happy about it, but to the suprise of everyone, Chief Minister approves it, being confident that nobody can save KSRTC, and after things worse get under the new people in control, they can easily sell it to the corporates, along with the acres of land which the transport corporation owns all around the state and neighbouring states. Now, it remains to be seen where the fate of state’s road transport corporation and its employees stand. But the path won’t be that easy even with everyone trying their best.

The defence of Yuvam :: Yuvam‘s strength lies in its message which almost everyone who understands the need for reformation of the system can follow. It calls on the young generation to bring that much needed escape from a world caught it political games meant for power and corruption. The two problems that it displays are the common ones, and it successfully makes one feel the need for a change from the usual political parties’ corrupted move forward. The song “Chemmaname” stands out, and when we consider the films so far, it is indeed the song of the year, with nine more months to go for anyone to replace it. Films with social commitment are rare to see even during these days of COVID-19, reminding us that people still haven’t learned their lessons well enough. You can remember the movie Nirnaayakam which dealt with a similar problem, but that one was further implausible. Yuvam, even with making one feel that things went too easily, does make us believe that things are possible.

The claws of flaw :: The whole idea could have been planned much better. There were so many things that could have been included here as far as dealing with the common problems like KSRTC income loss and harthals are concerned. It could have been further emotional and inspirational to create a feeling that would stand much longer. But if you are slave to a political party, and do not understand that the development of the nation and its people matters more than the party itself, there is no point in watching this movie. There is a certain amount of social consciousness in requirement from the audience here, because otherwise the whole idea would be lost. The romantic side is also left behind too early, and the film could have actually been longer in that case. The comic side is also less effective, and even though this also gives the feeling of that everyman’s fight against system, there is the absence of anything special, and predictability is surely there – it should have added some special ingredient instead of moving along the usual lines.

The performers of the soul :: Amith Chakalakkal leads the way here in grand style, just like he did with the earlier movie with him in the lead, Vaarikuzhiyile Kolapaathakam. Just like that one movie which grabbed one’s attention when least expected, this film also does almost the same thing, that too at a relevant time when election is here, and different political parties are throwing trash at each other, leaving the voters to look forward to options like Twenty 20 and other independents. This movie with Amith in the lead would have attracted more audience than that previous one if it was not for the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting fear of people, especially the family audience. He also has fight scene, and it is done in a more realistic way, even though one would still wonder if it was that easy to fight against the corrupted politicians and their goons, because if that was the case, one can be sure that people would have done that a long time ago. But we have no doubt that Amith will have some even greater movies to follow.

Further performers of the soul :: Dayyana Hameed is an actress whom we have seen before, but never as much as we have seen her in Star Magic, the television show in Flowers channel. Dayyana is surely an actress to look out for, and we have seen some of her performances in that particular programme before, and teasers and songs also provided us an idea. Even though we loved to see her on the screen, she doesn’t have that much of time on the screen, especially as the film is too short to show everything it should have shown. Nirmal Palazhi handles the small amount of working comedy in the film. Saikumar as a villainous figure is strong, but there is not that much of a terrifying impact that this character makes like Jagathy Sreekumar did in Passenger a long time ago in a similar social thriller with messages. Kalabhavan Shajohn and Jaffer Idukki also have the menace limited. Abhishek Raveendran provides some good support. Yet, one person who gets a lot of attention is Indrans with yet another impressive serious role, even though it is not for long.

How it finishes :: Yuvam takes the side of the youth as well as the common man with ease. It shows the fight of everyman against a system which has been corrupted by politics. It reminds us more than once about the fight against the usual politics and its corrupted side, and the battles that non-political organizations have put forward – it is something which will only grow stronger if the politicians don’t mend their ways; AAP did it long ago, and Twenty 20 is doing it now. The movie released in the theatres earlier in February, but I haven’t considered visiting the theatres as an option after Forensic became the last one I watched in the theatres before COVID-19 and following lockdown, but thankfully it did have the television premiere today noon on Mazhavil Manorama. When you get to watch a good movie in just more than a month after its release in theatre on television, it is fair deal as you don’t have sit with stranger for two hours or so. Yuvam is a film worth that time, indeed. After all, every movie cannot release on television like Kilometers and Kilometers.

Release date: 12th February 2021
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Pinku Peter
Starring: Amith Chakalakkal, Dayyana Hameed, Nirmal Palazhi, Indrans, Abhishek Raveendran, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nedumudi Venu, Saikumar, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jaffer Idukki, Chempil Asokan

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Theevandi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Panchavarnathatha

What is the movie about? :: A nameless man (Jayaram) is a mystery to many, as he owns pets ranging from cats, dogs and parrots to camels, horses, donkeys and elephants. He speaks and acts in strange ways, leading to most people of his neighbourhood belonging to upper middle class family not liking his presence in a plot right between their homes. Most of his collection of birds and animals are leftovers of a circus which had recently ceased to exist. He takes special care of his animals and birds, and sells them only to those people whom he finds fit to give them the best lives. Along with living with these creatures, he also has small real estate business and other small part-time jobs. Even though he might seem tough for people who never knew him, he is more than that, with no hesitation in helping others in need, having special love for children, as he is an orphan who never knew his father and mother.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Kalesh (Kunchacko Boban) is the MLA of the place, who was elected earlier because his father, the former MLA had died, leaving a wave of sympathy among the common people. Despite his father being a man loved by many people, Kalesh couldn’t do much for those who elected him, and is living in a mansion of his friend, Nazir (Joju George) with his wife Chitra (Anusree) and a complaining mother (Mallika Sukumaran), who blames him being not anywhere close to his father as a politician or a social worker. With his father’s former aid Udayan (Ashokan), Kalesh hopes to claim all the glory in style with a win in the upcoming elections. His opponent for this election is Jimmy (Salim Kumar), who hopes to reclaim the consituency for his party after a long time, in one way or the other.

And what is follow with the events? :: The journeys of the two, the unnamed man and Kalesh meets when the people of the neighbourhood tries to have the animal and bird lover evicted. Kalesh is the person whom they see to accomplish that aim. But not everyone thinks about him in the same way, as the the local police officer KO Rangan (Prem Kumar) himself finds the animals and birds interesting. Things get further complicated when Kalesh is forced to give the man some space in his home because of certain twist of events. With all creatures following him, Kalesh and his family might have taken in more than what they could have. Now, questions remain about the future of the animals and birds, as well as the political career of Kalesh. Can things get better in their lives, or is this strange combination going to ruin everything?

The defence of Panchavarnathatha :: There is some good comedy followed by a fine emotional end in this flick, which is never short of being interesting for the family audience. Along with the same, there is a good message being provided here, about doing good for the others, not just to humans, but also to the animals and birds. With its everyman characters, we feel the need to attach ourselves to it, rather than some random fan movie which has fan-centered life which is not applicable to the common man who think about their families and society rather than any random superstar. The songs are just okay. Ramesh Pisharody’s first attempt at direction surely feels better and closer to heart than those movies celebrated in the name of common man like Amar Akbar Anthony and Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There is enough in Panchavarnathatha for most people, and the others are having problems which are surely not visible on the big screen. Some incidents in real life are also reflected here.

The claws of flaw :: There is one person whom we miss on the screen, and it is Ramesh Pisharody himself who has directed the movie, but never appears as an actor. Some of the comedy also misses out, and we feel that this kind of an idea could have had even better treatment, maybe closer to daily life’s incidents, or in a way that it goes beyond the self-inflicted restrictions – you feel the strength of the idea within this one, and the need to have more. It could have been a complete social satire, but that choice is not made even though there is politics with the ugly sides, and people within a society that has its own stranger sides. The movie is also a little too long as it deals with its content, which had to be dealt with better to go for such a long run. Also, these many animals were not needed, as it doesn’t help to take things seriously. There could have been a fine background story for the main character too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram is here with a different avatar, and after this year’s disaster of a movie Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam which competed with Queen to become the worst movie of 2018, he has redeemed up to an extent with this role. There is the absence of those big dialogues with this one, and the character serves with the divergence that was needed. Kunchacko Boban has this character under full control, and Anusree seems to be rightly suited for this role, as she goes natural with the performance. Mallika Sukumaran also contributes well on the usual lines. Dharmajan Bolgatty arrives later, but contributes well to the fun; before that there was Salim Kumar doing the same. Prem Kumar also brings some good contribution for the comic side, and Ashokan is there for the whole length of the movie. Joju George then brings a little more later.

How it finishes :: Panchavarnathatha is the one underrated movie of this Vishu – it seems to have managed less attention than Jayaram’s earlier lesser movies including Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam and Kunchacko Boban’s Kuttanadan Marpappa, which is rather strange. This one is surely better than Mohanlal which released with Panchavarnathatha gaining more attention, as the comedy is cent percent better working, and has characters that will appeal to us rather than some random fan girl who never really deserved to be taken seriously, as she went on to become a curse for everyone around here. We all need everyman characters, and Panchavarnathatha has something that touches the emotions along with the comic side, rather than becoming a pretender like many other movies; any kind of different uprising is always required among similar movies.

Release date: 14th April 2018
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Ramesh Pisharody
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Jayaram, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Anusree, Ashokan, Salim Kumar, Maniyanpilla Raju, Joju George, Prem Kumar, Mallika Sukumaran, Dini Daniel, Tini Tom, Seema G Nair, Kunchan

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Varnyathil Aashanka

What is the movie about? :: Pratheesh (Shine Tom Chacko) is a simple guy looking to start a business in or around the city of Thrissur. But usual way of making money doesn’t come naturally to him – he is always looking for the easy path, the shortcuts to his objective. His people doesn’t have a high opinion about him, especially his uncle (Jayaraj Warrier) from whom he takes small amounts of money which he can’t pay back. He also needs money for his new business and has nobody to aid him. At the same time, he has to pay to get back the gold ornaments of his friend Thanima (Gayathri Suresh), which he had used to get money for his needs – she threatens to commit suicide after letting everyone know that he is responsible for her death. Pratheesh even tries pickpocketing, but gets beaten up before escaping. His best friend is Wilson (Chemban Vinod Jose) who also goes through a similar phase, and is looking for some money for family matters.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Shivan (Kunchacko Boban) is a rather experienced thief in the locality. He is known to be very good at his work, and whenever he brings something home, everyone thinks that he has stolen it. Pratheesh, Wilson and Shivan meets up over alcohol, and Gilbert (Manikandan R Achari) from the nearby town also joins them. As they all have their own problems, they decide to solve them all by doing a big heist at the nearby Aishwarya Jewellery owned by Ittoop (Sunil Sukhada). It is something that could change their lives forever, and they plan to do it the simple and effective way, on a twenty four hour harthal night which will have almost nobody on the road in front of the shop. With violence having broken out after the death of a party worker, people have been staying indoor throughout the district, and they decide to use it to their advantage. If things work out right, this would be their one big heist and the last one.

And what else is to happen here? :: Dayanandhan (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is just another guy living nearby, and has been sitting idle at home after the bar where he was working had shut down according to the new liquor policy of the government. His wife Keerthana (Rachana Narayanankutty) goes to work at a nearby textile shop, and he isn’t interested in searching for a new job. They have also taken loans, and as they had married after eloping, there is nobody from their place to help them. While returning home after meeting a friend at Aluva on the same harthal day, Dayanandan comes up against the same thieves, and they decide to shut him up in one way or the other. There are also two policemen, Gireesh (Tini Tom) and Murugan (Dinesh Prabhakar) who arrives at the same location at the same time. This leaves everyone confused, on what is to happen next. Everyone has their own problems to deal with, but this one only gets more twisted.

The defence of Varnyathil Aashanka :: The movie goes through a satirical mode with its content, as it takes on what has been happening in the state during some time. There is a lot of humour happening here with simple incidents, as you would notice – the simple things in life gets packed into more and more humour, and there seems to be no difficulty in doing the same at any point. There are also those reflections and messages to take home, as uses its humour to show the people around us as they are – you see that the thieves are the same, and you doubt if this and that are the same. Never does the movie losses its pace, and you will see that it is always interesting. You also see the power of team work in this one, as this is not limited to one person overshadowing the rest – everyone gets to do their part, and contribute to the tale as well as the overall humour. You are going to be interested in being part of the simple man’s heist without complications, in one way or the other.

The claws of flaw :: Despite providing a reflection of the state of our surroundings and leaving the message, the movie’s final funny and interesting speech will feel a little too lengthy, and the final moments will also seem not matching the whole movie, as it goes without the wonder which was rather expected. There also those moments which seem to defy logic, but in the name of bringing the funny side in a neat way, you will find things to be fair – with the same, it eclipses the other two movies which released on the same day. Still, the movie has a few moments in the first half which will hold it down, but it is just by a little bit. There shouldn’t be the expectations about seeing a big heist movie with this one too, as that can ruin things. On the first day of its release, this one seemed to be rather not hyped, and made way for the rest of the releases, but we see this one getting stronger now.

Performers of the soul :: The movie begins with Shine Tom Chacko’s character, and he gets a fine role here following Tiyaan, which he has done without stumbling anywhere. Kunchacko Boban has brought his character to a fine level, and it is very unlike what he has been doing in the recent past. Suraj Venjaramoodu has another interesting role, which immediately catches our attention right from the beginning – he arrives late and he conquers. There is one final speech that he gets to make further difference nicely and effectively. Chemban Vinod Jose is at his usual best, as he has played the thief in so many other movies, having no trouble with this one. Manikandan R Achari extends the fun which is present like he did with Alamara and Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and has his own moments with the flick. Gayathri Suresh makes one nice cameo at the end, which you will remember. Rachana Narayanankutty is a fine addition too, as you would see here.

How it finishes :: Varnyathil Aashanka battles against Sarvopari Palakkaran and Chunkzz for this weeekend, while the others including Sunday Holiday, Kadam Katha and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum are also there from the previous weeks. Its comparisons are going to be to Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and Kohinoor, both having quite a big group of thieves looking forward to the big heist. In comparison, one can place this movie in between the other two movies, as it is better than Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, but not as better as Kohinoor. Certainly a lot better than the other movie of thieves like Bicycle Thieves and Urumbukal Urangaarilla, Varnyathil Aashanka has something that the rest of the flicks of the same kind never had – its ability to use some satire to reflect and make fun of the happenings in the state, and the movie can consider the same as its special quality which makes its stand apart.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Sidharth Bharathan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shine Tom Chacko, Rachana Narayanankutty, Manikandan R Achari, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Jayaraj Warrier, Sunil Sukhada, Tini Tom, Dinesh Prabhakar, Gayathri Suresh (cameo), KPAC Lalitha (cameo)

<— Click here for the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sakhavu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Mexican Aparatha

orumexicanaparatha-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

orumexicanaparathaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Saaradhi

saaradhi (2)

Vampire Owl :: Happy Friday the 13th. May the vampire force bring us all the vampiric awesomeness that we can imagine.

Vampire Bat :: You were waiting for this day to scare some humans, right? But considering the present situation, you should make sure that they don’t scare you with their deeds lacking any humanity.

Vampire Owl :: I shall power myself with a movie today. Choose a movie for me this weekend. I am owlified ready on this special day.

Vampire Bat :: There are no Hollywood movies releasing this weekend here.

Vampire Owl :: What? No! What is horror without Hollywood? After all, it is where all ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies and even aliens visit first during their journey from the other world.

Vampire Bat :: I think that Hollywood actually scared the censor board here with their horror for the weekend.

Vampire Owl :: Lets go for some local thriller then. Anything available in that category?

Vampire Bat :: There is the Hindi movie Roy and the Malayalam movie Saaradhi.

Vampire Owl :: No Hindi on a Friday the 13th. They don’t match intellectually. These people release bad movies even for National Holidays and so no Bollywood for now. Lets go for Saaradhi.

Vampire Bat :: Let it be so then. Get the horror popcorn!

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: An ambulance driver named Christy (Sunny Wayne) gets another one of the duties, and he has to deliver a dead body to a place which is not correctly mentioned. Three men and two women accompany the corpse, but strange things happen on the way and things are not as clean as it looks. One man has a gun, and none of them are really as sad as they seemed to be outside the mortuary. Christy had thought that he could visit his lady love on the way back too, but now, the whole thing is so complicated and he has to escape with the dead body. Sathyanathan (Baiju), a corrupt police officer seems to have something planned about this corpse, and a powerful politician known by the nickname JJ (Madhupal) also has some relation to this. There is police chasing him as well as some criminals and it is forest all around him.

The defence of Saaradhi :: Saaradhi comes to the screen working on that genre which has too many risks associated with it considering our audience whose tastes cannot be combined with all kinds of thrillers. But the movie had already managed to catch our attention with the trailer. The script is actually very good in parts as it seems, even if not that much as a whole – there is some intelligence used, but it needed to stay all the way. Coming from a debutante director, this is a fair effort too, and there is sincerity in the way in which the social message is given here, and it is for the common audience that it has been provided – remember Passenger and Arjunan Sakshi with the idea here. The latter part of the second part is actually the best part of the movie, and the thrills reach the right level there. There are some nice shots of the high-ranges to help the viewers too.

The Claws of Flaw :: The first few minutes are nothing less than torture. There is Sreenivasan catching a thief in a sequence which was not needed, and the item song is a mess. The only watchable moments are about the lady wearing the lungi – otherwise the song stays at the deepest area of the abyss. This is also not the final product that this script deserved, as it struggles to thrill all the way, and the interesting moments come too late. It is safe to say that the first half drags, and the characterization also faces a struggle. It is also time people realize that dead people talking in visions or hallucinations is bad, especially when there is some serious stuff going on. The weaker parts of the script needed the polishing, and then one can’t imagine how much better this could have been. This one also needs a Wikipedia page – is it a very difficult thing to attain? See all those movies inferior to this one having that kind of publicity. Ambiguities and slight lack of logic are there too with predictable moments.

Performers of the soul :: I don’t feel anything of high quality here. There are no big stars here either. The best performance was from Sreenivasan and it is something of no doubt. He has done another Passenger kind of character here, but with more power in the role. Sunny Wayne has his highs and lows in this movie – you have to avoid those phone talks and some of the highly emotional scenes, and he has done fine. Nedumudi Venu’s character looked like a ridiculous creation, but even then he seemed to have managed it as much as he could. The female characters make almost no impact in this movie, and those moments which have them at the centre rather makes things dull. Madhupal is very good while Dharmajan has too small a role. The small moments of comedy comes from Sunil Sukhada and up-to an extent from Sreenivasan. Baiju has a role like he played in Angels, just a lot more on the bad guys’ side. Sunil Sukhada surely needed a bigger role.

Soul exploration :: Saaradhi has an ambulance driver who makes its title worthy. He is not just the driver of a random vehicle, but also the one who drives forward a few lives. There is the story of the common man that goes on here. On its background, there is the continuous struggle of the common man to make things happen – it should have been focused more here, but we can think about that as an after-effect. This should have reached that Passenger level with that, but it is not there. But what we can see once again is a decent, average thriller which has managed to rise above its limitations and also score on the social message side. With lesser expectations, this movie can actually manage to be much more. A regular dose of thrillers and those which give the good and interesting message are the ones which we need. Also remember that this also about one man making the difference.

How it finishes :: Saaradhi comes from a debutante director who seems to has dared to come up with some experimentation and due to the same reason, has also taken some risk here. It is the kind of people who tries to think different that we need in our industry, and in that case, this movie needs to be applauded. Another new director would have taken a safer formula, but this one has chosen that difference, a variation which might not work with everyone. This effort in bringing something something that doesn’t follow the usual easy path, even when on his debut is the factor that we need to see here. At the same time, there is also the same at work here. The expectations that I had while watching the trailer had me hoping for a lot more, but I am expecting that the usual movie audience will end up liking this more than I did. I really hope that this movie becomes a success, because only then can more “different” movies can be made in a better way.

Release date: 13th February 2015
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Gopalan Manoj
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Sreenivasan, Nedumudi Venu, Vinutha Lal, Vishnu Raghav, Sruthibala, Baiju, Sunil Sukhada, Madhupal, Thalaivasal Vijay, Dharmajan

saarathi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vellimoonga

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Vampire Owl :: I condemn the name of this movie. They are not supposed to name a comedy movie as “the silver owl”.

Vampire Bat :: It says silver owl, not vampire owl or not even night owl. There is no way it can affect you.

Vampire Owl :: But I am still deeply offended.

Vampire Bat :: You were just looking to find a reason to be offended.

Vampire Owl :: Everyone is offended by something or anything all the time, and I choose to follow that path which is the new fashion. I shall still forgive them if the movie is a good one, because I am a generous Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: It has good reviews so far. You could actually not blame a few people this time.

Vampire Owl :: Who are they to judge and review an owl? What do they even know about owls? Are they married to owls?

Vampire Bat :: It is not really the story of an owl. It has humans. What is wrong with you these days?

Vampire Owl :: I stare at the mirror and see only the owlish truth. The absolute truth that only the owls can recognize as true.

Vampire Bat :: This is exactly why zombies eat brains.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Vellimoonga tells the story of a politician Mamachan (Biju Menon) who attempts to reach big heights by being part of political party in the north of India rather than joining a local party and using his local image to become a leader in the locality. He roams around his village, attempting to make a name using his political affliation to the big party of which he is just one of the very few members in the whole state. His best friend and the only other member of the party in that locality is Pachan (Aju Varghese) who helps him in his initiatives, hoping to go to Delhi with him some day. Jose (Tini Tom) is his big political enemy from the left wing. Mamachan who is not married even after his younger brother getting married and having two kids, finally falls of a girl who attends the same church, Lisa (Nikki Galrani), but would face big resistance from her father Vareeth (Siddique) who used to be his rival. How our hero handles the situation becomes the rest of the story.

The defence of Vellimoonga :: The movie’s ability to be a laugh riot cannot be questioned in the most doubtful situations. We come to know that right in the beginning itself. They could ornate this simple plot with nice comic numbers and some interesting twists with serene strength. The script does have enough to extract the performances from the actors and actresses. The visuals are good as the beauty of the rural area is captured nicely and the shots are beautifully adorned. There is no questioning the movie’s propensity for competence even without the presence of any so called superstar or heavy publicity, and for the same, the movie deserves some more applause. The movie could skillfully use its cast to its strength, and could thrive on the abilities of its actors to evoke laughter embedding the right situations here and there and there is also the ultimate realization that it gives to its viewers on how cute and pretty Nikki Galrani actually looks.

The claws of flaw :: Vellimoonga could have surely had a little more logic with some of its proceedings, but that should be a purely subjective opinion as far as a funny movie purely made for fun is concerned, and it does keep some of the same. The songs are just ordinary, nothing really making an impact. There is a little bit of missing in the middle, with the flow getting lost at times, but that can often go unnoticed. A little more care to the plot could have been nice, instead of deviating each situation to bring comedy here and there. A little bit more of the reflections of the major political incidents would have also done this movie more favours. A full swing political satire like Sandhesam could have been here, may be developing what Oru Indian Pranayakadha had also partially shown, sadly that much is not there to be seen. There are also a number of comedy numbers which should have been rather avoided, but may be it caters to a certain group of viewers.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon returns to the big screen as the solo leading character of a movie after a very long time, and it is not just the silver in the name of the movie that he strikes, but it is the gold itself. It was splendid to see how well he captures the mannerisms of his character and gets into the role of a political player with such an ease. Yes, it is Aju Varghese who skillfully supports him and does what he has been doing the best, but there is nothing like Biju Menon leading the comedy train, something he has been doing for such a long time along with his other variety roles. He doesn’t combine with or play second fiddle to Kunchako Boban or Dileep this time as takes things forwards with the support of Aju. This also turns out to be Nikki Galrani’s best ever outing in Malayalam as she is stunningly beautiful and cute like no other actress of these days. Tini Tom also essays an impressive role with ease, and Asif Ali’s extended cameo is likable. It is good to see Anu Joseph in the movies too. Sunil Sukhada and Sasi Kalinga scores with their comic numbers too.

Soul exploration :: Vellimoonga does work as a satire, there is no doubt about it. The movie doesn’t hesitate in making fun of the political situation that is prevalent in the country concerned with unholy alliances between the parties and seat sharing, along with the influence of regional parties. The situations related to politics remain funny throughout the movie, and the personal life of the protagonist and his infatuation towards the girl comes only as a part of the same. The significant thing is that the whole thing is concerned with what happens in one village, something which provides a certain feel-good factor to this movie, as the audience also seems to need such locations. The movie doesn’t give the feeling of drinking some bourgeoisie coffee which is provided by some random machinery, but that of a certain kind of tea which has the flavour of the villages and its hardworking common people.

How it finishes :: Vellimoonga is the winner of the weekend before Gandhi Jayanthi and will carry over its success to the Pooja season – who would have thought that this Biju Menon starrer will be the winner facing bigger movies which released at the same time, or were already in the theatres when it came to the audience? Yes, Biju Menon wins this round with ease, and for giving us this one with all its power, we can thank his versatility as a wonderful actor. Let’s hope that this movie is not lost in mindless remakes coming from Bollywood with the dumb stuff like Bang Bang! We are in need of comedy movies which don’t stoop into buffoonery of any kind, and Vellimoonga guarantees that such movies can exist without superstars with its own existence. May be it will inspire more movies which can come up with some more genuine comedy which won’t make the brains of the audience feel like vegetable noodles.

Release date: 26th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Nikki Galrani, Tini Tom, Lena, Asif Ali, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Siddique, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, Kalabhavan Shajon, Anu Joseph, Chembil Ashokan, Shivaji Guruvayoor

vellimoonga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Arrambam

arrambam (2)

✠ Before I go on with this one, I have to tell you that October was the month with the most visits for this blog, for which I wish to thank each one of you. My other two blogs also had a fantastic beginning to the month of November, even as I can’t say the same about this one. I also wish all of my readers a very Happy Deepavali (Diwali) and a belated Kerala Piravi Day and a very belated Happy Halloween. I should have wished with the earlier post, but it was written a lot earlier and I didn’t want to mess up with it. I hope you had three wonderful days, October 31st, November 1st, and yesterday the 2nd. Coming back to this week’s choices of movies, this really is a dull week, with no Hollywood releases coming this way and no Malayalam movie releases at all. With that sadness concerning the beginning of a month which didn’t have a good start as Ender’s Game didn’t come this way as expected, I have to take you back to the legendary vampire after my journey to the local theatre to watch another movie, this time a Tamil action thriller flick.

Count Dracula: So you are back. I had checked and found no good English movies this weekend. Did you watch that guy who flies like Superman and acts like Man of Steel and fights an army of mutants including a Professor X – Magneto hybrid, Mystique, Miss Wolverine, Juggernaut, Toad etc? Did you enjoy that movie which should rather be titled as Superman vs X-Men?

Vampire Bat: No, why would you think so? I had seen the trailer and observed its inability right there. I am not a Hritik Roshan fan, a little kid or someone with no other option. Neither do I get free tickets for any movie. It showed that it had no potential from its poor trailer with some graphics which is inferior to Arrambam, a movie which doesn’t need CGI support at all.

Count Dracula: I heard that Koi Mil Gaya is a shameless copy of E.T. and Krrish is just a pathetic excuse to cash in the power of a man who has given us so many better roles. At a time when actors like Arshad Warsi and John Abraham are choosing the right movies, it is a shame that one of the best looking actors had to go with this one.

Vampire Bat: Yes, after watching Besharam, I had decided that I shall not be part of such shamelessness For the same reason, I didn’t watch Boss which was the remake of one of the most pathetic movies in Malayalam. Some bad movies do teach us lessons. Arrambam is the good result of that lesson which was provided with the pain which was Besharam, and I guess I am looking forward to a few more Tamil movies soon.

Count Dracula: So what has it got? You rarely watch a Tamil movie. Anniyan was your favourite, and you watched ony two this year; David and Maryan – see my memory? I never get to use it these days and its nice you keep it working by coming here and talking about these movies of the soul.

Vampire Bat: Let the brain of blood work, as the story revolves around Ashok Kumar (Ajith), a former member of anti-terrorist squad, who is on a mission to avenge the death of his friend due to faulty bullet proof jackets which are provided to security forces – but he was imprisoned and left for dead along with his friends and family. He is supported by his lover Maya (Nayanthara) and a smart, but reluctant computer hacker Arjun (Arya). When the latter feels that he is doing something very bad, and is left with no choice as they keep his lover Anitha (Taapsee Pannu) at gunpoint, he lets the police know and Ashok is arrested after a bomb blast and a car chase. The remaining story deals with him taking revenge on the corrupt Home Minister (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his supporter and the senior police officer (Atul Kulkarni) who were involved in the scam.

Count Dracula: That should remind you of Kamal Haasan’s best Malayalam movie, Chanakyan. Wasn’t that the day you said Urmila Matondkar is the best looking actress of the time after watching that in a VCR? It dealt with one man taking revenge on the politician who destroyed his family, using electronic gadgets and a reluctant helper.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but this is different in a number of ways. The first thing is that there is that relevant social message at the time of scams and corruption, but not something that would inspire you to the horizon. Then we have Ajith Kumar at his best. This is the first time I watch his movie in the theatre, and I can say the same about Arya. Chanakyan was undoubtedly the intellectually superior movie and it was an extraordinary performance from our legendary actor. This one is more of the entertainer type.

Count Dracula: Well, I love that actor – see how he never seems to get too old; the only other person who doesn’t seem to get old at all is Vijay. How does he manage to stay as a young man wonders me. That reminds me that I have to watch Thuppakki, as some gypsies had told me that it is awesome. Get me a DVD some day.

Vampire Bat: Yes, if I decide to watch that. One has to admire Arya’s performance too, as he provides a lot of fun and lighter moments, even as some of them doesn’t work. But, without him this might not have worked this well. One can’t resist liking Taapsee Pannu, being the cute drama queen of the movie, even as there is the doubt if there was some overdose, and if there was the need to explore that drama in another way. Nayantara is there perfectly suited for the role that she plays. The cast saves the movie, and so does the style.

Count Dracula: So there is style too. I have seen that photo of Ajith riding Ducati, and I have my own reasons to believe that there were cooling glasses, bikes and slow motion. I am pretty good at this stuff, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, there is a treat for Ajith fans, and none of them should miss this movie. There is the abundance of cooling glass, and there is only one bike, plus the slow motion is comparatively less considering what we see these days. The songs are pretty good too. To add it, Arya doesn’t do his BA Romantics like Ranbir Kapoor did in Besharam for horror, as even in the exaggeration, he keeps his cool, and Taapsee Pannu has a good chemistry with him, that is for sure.

Count Dracula: So tell me what works other than the cast and style. Also tell me what doesn’t work other than the overdose of cooling glass and a little exaggeration.

Vampire Bat: Did I forget Kishore who is strong throughout? Did I forget the good performances of the villains? Add them to the list of positives too. The story starts off well with bomb blasts and a flashback which is romantic to the core, and also funny. The movie has a climax which can give positive or negative feedbacks, but for me, it is slightly on the positive. The first half is undoubtedly better than the second. The flashback story of our main hero is less interesting, and one has to wonder why one has to put a festival into every song – is that because the world is running out of ideas? ninety five percent of the time, it is Holi too.

Count Dracula: I see there is too many things mixed about it. But considering the fact that there has been so many bad superstar masala movies in your own language from Lokpaal, Kammath and Kammath and Sound Thoma to the recently depressing Sringaravelan, I guess this can prove as a lesson about how entertainers can be well made.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but there will still be movies like Besharam, and the shame shall continue in this world of humans, but your universe shall live forever as you don’t have to watch such things. Now, it is the time to go home and have that cup of tea, and therefore until we collide on a hunt again, good bye, Count.

Count Dracula: Good bye, best of my winged brethren; for now. May the shadows be with you.

Vampire Bat (to himself): This is not a perfect movie, but there is no reason why one shouldn’t watch this movie this weekend, even while claiming that it is nothing new or innovative. This is a wonderful Deepavali gift for the fans of Ajith, and I welcome everyone to the theatres to choose this one over Krrish 3. Still, one question remains about Bollywood movies. Why is it that movies like Shahid and The Lunchbox doesn’t release in local theatres, but those like Besharam, Krrish 3 and Chennai Express does? We are so profit-oriented and the common man needs better brains; hope some zombie gives one to them instead of eating – a much needed sacrifice.

✠ In this battle of heavyweights, Arrambam clearly outweighs as well as outsmarts Krrish 3 with its theme, and it is evident from the kind of audience who are going to watch both movies. But in the box-office, both will be winners, as this is Deepavali and there are no Hollywood movies gaining entrance, and Malayalam movies have kept away. This is my third Tamil movie of the year in the theatres, after David and Maryan – I have to say that there has not been much disappointment related to them, they were all good enough to be watched with one kind of mood or the other. I shall wait for Thor: The Dark World for now, and until then, if you face two choices at once, you know which movie to go for. No, this doesn’t come from an Ajith fan, and for fans this should be a movie which is not to be missed at any cost; for others, this is an entertainer fulled by performances and style; learn from it dear self-proclaimed mass entertainers and masala action flicks, for this movie can teach you many things.

Release date: 31st October 2013
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Arya, Nayantara, Taapsee Pannu, Kishore, Mahesh Manjrekar, Atul Kulkarni, Suman Ranganathan, Akshara Gowda

arrambam copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.