Kaanekkaane

What is the movie about? :: Deputy Tahsildar Paul Mathai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is still not out of shock after his daughter Sherin Allen Mathai (Shruti Ramachandran) died as part of a hit and run accident. He is running a case against the man who was responsible for the incident, and he reiterates the fact that he will not forgive the driver not because of the accident, but because he didn’t stop to check on her daughter, and didn’t try to take her to the hospital. Paul believes that it was this hesitation that led to the death of his daughter, as he went missing, and was not found for a long time – an earlier treatment could have saved her. Paul hopes that he will get justice for his dead daughter soon enough. His son-in-law Allen Mathai (Tovino Thomas) is now married to a woman whom he had met during one of his business trips, Sneha George (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who is also pregnant for the first time at the moment. They seem to be a happy family, and his grandson Kuttu (Master Alok Krishna) is also a happy child when he is among them.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Sneha’s father George (Prem Prakash) is concerned about Paul’s infatuation with the case, but Paul is determined to keep his eyes on the case all the time. It is then that he feels that there is something strange about Allen and Sneha, as he looks into her past. Even though Allen had introduced Sneha to him much later, and had asked him permission to marry her, he finds out that they were together much earlier, from a photo dated many months earlier. Even when he was supposed to be alone for work, he was with Sneha. He feels that Allen was cheating on Sherin for a very long time, and for both Allen and Sneha, it was a comfortable death – with Sherin out of the way, they could quickly get into a relationship. He also figures out that Allen reached the accident spot from the exact opposite direction of where he was then. He decides to find out if there is something more to the death of Sherin than what meets the eye. But as he gets closer to the same, he is not finding it easy to live with anymore.

The defence of Kaanekkaane :: If you consider the emotional side, this film is one of the strongest in that category, and there is no force that can drive it out of there – this one is an emotional thriller with class. Combining family elements and bringing the thrills is no easy task, and such emotional feeling takes some extra skill. The melancholy mood is always there, and defines the work, even before the revelations are made, and we move to the ideas of remorse and vengeance in multiple dimensions. In the end, all these lead to the message of forgiveness and the relief that lies in the same. It reaches the same by following multiple paths, and we never really feel that there is such a revelation. The emotional strength of the film grows on you, and it is at its top most level by the end. All these emotions are shown as ruling these characters. The emotional undercurrents never seem to disappear, as we keep coming back to it, like the Lake Poets to the beauty of nature and the Gothic Novelists to the dark terrors of any ancient castle.

The claws of flaw :: The emotional side often takes over long above the tale of people which is explored here. The story is basic, and we see that the pace doesn’t really pick up here at any point, and there is no attempt to focus around there. The moments before one main character’s death are not that much explored, as the first wife only gets a little less of screen space for our liking. The chance to throw in some thrills here and there has also been missed, and there too, the focus shifts to the emotional side. There is not much of colour in this film, and that should be because of its melancholy side rather than anything else. The movie could have had more advertisements before its release, even though we are seeing more of it right now. It does have a big heart, but that could be something which the people outside the film might be lacking. But when we are immersed in the emotions of the film, any problem is easily forgotten.

Performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu leads the way here, and he comes up with another emotional performance, the kind in which he has excelled in the last few years, moving out of that comedy genre for long. As far as he is concerned, the list of fantastic performances is just too long, and my favourite has been Finals, in which he played the determined sportsman and father. The same fatherly strength can be seen here too, and the determination that he shows here, and how his character is displayed here are all, a few things to be remembered. There is a lot of melancholy that runs through his face, and we go through his pain as much as he does. His character is also as close to reality as possible, and the emotional depth of the film starts from him, is strengthened by him, and comes to a close with his own actions. Prem Prakash plays the father of the second wife, and the veteran actor has no problems with the work here.

Further performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas also plays a different kind of character, and like he did in Luca, has a heavy emotional performance to come up with. Here, he is okay with playing the second most important character, and he once again excels without doubt. One has to wonder how well he has risen in the last few years, and last year he had Kilometers and Kilometers as well as Forensic, but this year, he has many more films to his credit. Shruti Ramachandran who was last seen in Anveshanam has rather smaller role, but we note that down too. Then we have Aishwarya Lekshmi as the leading lady in the movie, one of the best young actresses of our times, keeping the melancholy mood of the film going forward. Seen with Tovino in one of the best combinations through Maayanadhi after her debut in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, she is indeed the one actress whom everyone needs to watch out for, as she impresses each and every time, leaving nothing to criticize – the same is the case here.

How it finishes :: This is the movie of Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas and Aishwarya Lekshmi, all three coming up with splendid performances, and when we add these three to the melancholic mood which deals with themes that run through here, there is something of fine quality. The human emotions are really well portrayed through these performers, and the strong emotions are always running strong in the background. With such a strong cast, the film has no problems in portraying what it has been trying to do. It is so much multi-layered that we won’t be able to take the side of any character, and therefore we choose to travel through this journey. This is also the first Malayalam film to directly release in this particular OTT platform. Well, for every other good movie in Malayalam, we seem to have the choice of Amazon Prime Video. There is a lot more to release there in October, and that should be enough to keep the movie lovers interested even during the times of Corona virus.

Release date: 17th September 2021 (Sony LIV)
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Manu Ashokan
Starring: Suraj Venjaramoodu, Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shruti Ramachandran, Prem Prakash, Rony David, Dhanya Mary Varghese, Binu Pappu, Sruthy Jayan, Sreeja Das, Master Alok Krishna

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Evidey

What is the movie about? :: Symphony Zachariah (Manoj K Jayan) is a busy, but not so rich musician who keeps traveling all the time, not caring much for his wife and children. Jessy Zachariah (Asha Sharath) is left to care for the family which consists of her father-in-law, Kuttichan (Prem Prakash) and two children. When one day, Zachariah goes missing, Jessy is determined to find out what happened to him. Police Inspector Simon Tharakan (Baiju Santhosh) is the one in charge of the case, and it seems that the case is solved when a letter from Zachariah reaches them. But there is something strange about the letter – Jessy doesn’t believe that it was written by Zachariah. A man named Kabir (Kunchan) who comes to see them makes things even more complicated. Jessy even begins to doubt that Zachariah has another wife and kids.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Their son Leen (Shebin Benson), a college student is in love with Shahana (Anaswara Rajan), a girl whose life he saved when she was drowning, an incident which fetched him a bravery award. But it seems that he is no longer the person that he used to be. Studying at a college far away from home, he seems to be having more opportunities to go divergent from the studies rather than be the student who used to be the face of the college earlier. He doesn’t come home much, and has been a difficult person to find even for his family. This, along with the missing husband is breaking the family apart, but Jessy is determined to find Zachariah. For that, she would have to take more than one journey, through Mangalore and Goa, as he was supposed to perform at one of the events there.

The defence of Evidey :: The movie belongs to the genre of a family thriller rather than anything else, and the approach also seems to suggest a journey through such a path. The short length makes sure that there is no dull moment in the movie, and there is no drag, even when it seems to be trying to be preachy. The issues that are shown in the movie are genuine, with messages against drug abuse, and the parents’ failure to guide children along with the inability to become good role models. This is the time when students need to be told about the terrible effects of drugs and alcohol more, and with parents having no time to take care of their children, along with everything negative influencing them better, the movie has becoming very relevant. There has been too much of such things in the news, and this is a movie which can be shown in schools and colleges.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s songs are all very much interesting, and such a thing does no good to a family thriller – a good family song or even a song on friendship and love if done well enough can lift a movie of the genre and provide it with a boost, covering its faults up to an extent. Evidey doesn’t have that, and it also doesn’t seem to try too hard with its thriller side which was to serve as its stronger point. The investigative side could have also been done in a more interesting way, and a better backstory was needed with the family members – it would have worked well with a good song, and that much time could have been enough to have the characters settled, especially the two pairs. Even the sequences at Goa could have taken a boost, with some more wandering around the major areas of the state which is not short of providing some good visuals at any point.

The performers of the soul :: The movie remains mostly centered on Asha Sharath, who once again plays the mother of a son gone the wrong way, like in Drishyam. It is once again the duty to save him, but the task remains difficult as it is too late – the tormented mother continues to be on the spotlight. Prem Prakash, at the same time, brings some very emotional and controlled moments to remember, as he has done before on many occasions. Manoj K Jayan is not there for much time, as he is the missing character who can only be there with some small flashbacks. One would feel the need for more of such flashbacks to get a better idea of the character. Baiju plays the police officer who is working on the case, and he makes one believable cop. Kunchan has shorter presence too, and Shivaji Guruvayoor as well as Sunil Sukhada got even lesser time on the big screen.

Further performers of the soul :: Suraj Venjaramoodu makes his appearance in the later stages of the movie, and has some of the best dialogues in the whole film. He becomes an integral part of the movie in the second half, and continues to assert his presence until the end. Even though some part of it seems forced, the character sticks on well. Shebin Benson shows some skills in this role, and the emotional sequences are handled very well. We see how the changes occur with the character, and how the same has been portrayed in a believable manner. Anaswara Rajan of Udaharanam Sujatha fame does a wonderful job here, as her character is a well-written and well-performed one without pretensions. From the early happy mood to those emotional sequences, she shows a controlled, realistic version, and tranquility when needed is a skill that we rarely see on the younger stars these days.

How it finishes :: Evidey easily takes its message against drug abuse to the next level, even though it does take some time to be there. With clubs like SADA (Students Against Drug Abuse) being formed in colleges to provide awareness regarding the same, we are slowly, but steadily realizing the fact that the drug menace can’t be left unchecked. Evidey will surely help to bring the awareness, as did Kerala Excise Department with the Vimukthi Short Film Competition and its winning entry “Midhya” by Mar Baselios Institute of Technology and Science, Kothamangalam. After so many short-films tried to make the point in that certain competition, and a number of them winning runner-up and consolation prizes, we now have a full-length movie which doesn’t glorify the evil at any point, and scores with an emotional climax and message against it.

Release date: 4th July 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: KK Rajeev
Starring: Shebin Benson, Asha Sharath, Anaswara Rajan, Prem Prakash, Manoj K Jayan, Baiju Santhosh, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Kunchan, Sunil Sukhada

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Uyare

What is the movie about? :: Pallavi Raveendran (Parvathy) has had one particular dream since childhood, from the first time she traveled in a plane – to become a pilot. It is the same reason why she decides to stop pursuing her degree at Union Christian College as soon as she gets selected for the course. It doesn’t bring any joy to her lover Govind Balakrishnan (Asif Ali) who is very possessive about her, as she has to go and join the training academy at Mumbai. Her father Raveendran (Siddique) provides full support to her, as she begins her journey towards achieving her greatest wish and the one ambition that never left her. At the academy, she meets Sariya D Costa (Anarkali Marikar) who would go on to become her best friend – she would warn Pallavi about the possessive nature of her relationship with Govind, but nothing comes out of it.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As her course is almost complete, the new graduates go on a party at night and Pallavi joins them, but not before lying to Govind that she is going to sleep. Govind who had reached Mumbai as part of job hunting finds this out, causing a rift between the two. As Pallavi tries to break up with him, the possessive Govind throws acid on her face. With a weakened eye sight, she gets rejected as pilot, and goes back home. It is during one of her journeys from and towards home that she meets an acquaintance, Vishal Rajashekharan (Tovino Thomas), and it would bring a certain change. With the support of Vishal and Sariya, there would be an opportunity for her that she might not have even come close to guessing. But is that chance something that can be taken, and will that be an effective one in her case?

The defence of Uyare :: The struggle in the movie goes deep and there is no exaggeration regarding the same. It feels real with the actors and actresses nicely getting into their characters providing quality work. The characters and their transformation can also be seen, and how the movie begins in the control centre nicely unfolds the narrative. The issues faced by acid attack survivors and those in over-possessive relationships are nicely shown. The last moments of the movie are among the best, with some thrills added to the emotions which go strong throughout the flick. We are able to feel the pain of the protagonist even before the life-changing incident occurs, and after that, the emotions strengthen. At a time when violence against women has failed to come down, this is cent percent relevant. Even though the news about acid attacks have been from the North, we have had strange and terrible actions from scorned lovers here too.

Positives and negatives :: Compared to those facing the same problem from other backgrounds, the comeback might not seem this easy, with some situations seemingly custom made and out of the otherwise realistic spirit here, like the case of the flight. But one inspiring incident can change things, as we look at it. But the same is not really the focus, as we see how the protagonist accepts her as she is, and takes another bold step forward – never does she look for compassion, and she is not the one who is looking for favours, as she moves on through another path. It is when the movie becomes not about the acid attack and the scars, but the later rise, like a phoenix from the ashes. As a phoenix has the rebirth by rising from the ashes of its predecessor, the main character also will have the same transformation, from the ashes of her dreams of flight, to the same flight which had rejected her. As Maya Angelou said, like moons and suns, with the certainty of tides, like hopes springing high – the character rises and it is joy to watch.

The performers of the soul :: Parvathy leads the way here as she did in Take Off – Asif Ali is another common factor here, once again playing a character not bringing her anything for the future despite being in a relationship earlier. This might be her Take Off this year, and even though she was a crowd favourite with Ennu Ninte Moideen and Charlie while Qarib Qarib Singlle had her going further North, this performance surely stretches far ahead. The change in her character, and the courage that she displays against adversity can be clearly seen as a reflection of the positive changes that have come across an already brilliant actress. The moments after the acid attack shows her calibre, and also later with the determination when many lives are at stake. The girl who plays Parvathy as a school student, Evelin also seems similar both in looks as well as the enthusiasm – nobody would say that she is not the same character in childhood.

Further performers of the soul :: Asif Ali plays a possessive lover who has been with the main character since childhood, and there is some villainy written over him from the beginning itself, even though the signs become further clear later. He does the same calmly. His character, for some reason, doesn’t create that much of a scene that we would notice, and keeps away for most of the time. He had started the year with the feel-good of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, and we would have hoped for more of his character here. Well, it is Tovino’s character that we remember though, as the one who tries to help the main character get back to life. Nivin Pauly had done a similar role in Mili, but this one is closer to life. Take a look back to his previous Malayalam movies, and we see Lucifer, Ente Ummante Peru, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona – we wonder if he can go wrong these days. Anarkali Marikar of Aanandam fame does a fantastic supporting job and Siddique as usual does great.

How it finishes :: The performances are indeed the strength of the movie, and with Parvathy leading the way, the movie has all the ingredients to fly high – it is still doing the same as it goes on in the theatres even after a month of its release, as Athiran did, rising with the opinions of critics as well as the common man. As a tribute to the acid attack survivors, one need to watch this one, but one would notice that it is not all. We see the strength of ambitions, powered by courage and determination, as this becomes an inspirational movie, not just for women, but also for each and everyone who is forced to struggle due to the cruelty of fate, or others around them. Lack of freedom, especially in a relationship, is not something to boast about, for control and manipulation are not love – it comes as a strong message with Uyare too. It is still not late to watch this one, and remember that dreams, as it is with hope, are meant to rise, like the sun, not to be buried in the catacombs for the interest of the possessive sentinel.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Manu Ashokan
Starring: Parvathy, Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali, Siddique, Anarkali Marikar, Pratap K Pothen, Prem Prakash, Rajani Murali, Bhagath Manuel, Preetha Pradeep, Sreeram Ramachandran, Mathew Arun, Evelin, VK Baiju, Kay Kay Menon, Ajay Mathew, Irshad, Anil Murali, Latheef, Blessy Kurian, Samyuktha Menon (cameo)

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Punyalan Pvt Ltd

What is the movie about? :: Joy Thakkolkkaran (Jayasurya) was going through a good run with his business of Punyalan Agarbathis, until a series of misfortunes strikes his life, beginning with the death of his wife Anu Joy (Nyla Usha) due to complications related to delivery. It is soon followed by the bank sequestrating his business due to his inability to repay the loan taken. This leaves his best friend and right hand Greenu sharma (Aju Varghese) on a journey to the Middle East in search of a job. Abhayakumar (Sreejith Ravi) is still left there as his driver, and Advocate Peerthanesh (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is his lawyer and the new best friend. They plan to create a new venture, and this would be Punyalan Water, a substitute for the usual mineral water in Kerala, made in an innovative style. But his problems are only beginning, against the system, including the road transport corporation and the city corporation itself.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: As the system seems to stop himself from becoming the businessman that he has always wanted to be, a bankrupt state awaits him. But he decides to fight against it. This would bring him face to face against Shakthan Rajashekharan (Vijayaraghavan), the Chief Minister of the state whose fate is to be decided by the upcoming by-elections, as one seat at Thrissur is all that matters in a close call with the total number of MLAs. With Joy’s challenges going viral in Facebook, and his ideas becoming popular with the common man, the Chief Minister is forced to come live on Facebook, and make a declaration, that would lead to the sequence of events, which have the strength to change the path in the elections. But the question remains if Joy’s new adventure in the business field can be successful in one way or the other!

The defence of Punyalan Private Limited :: There is some motivation to be taken from this movie, regarding the need for the public to be aware of certain things in a democracy, including their own power. At these times when there is so much of debate on so many things both in the state and the centre, this movie becomes very much relevant. There is some humour which has been powered by sarcasm, even though some jokes just go around aimlessly reaching nowhere. At the same time, the movie keeps coming up with more and more ideas, and uses its cast to make things better. You see that the idea here is a much needed one for these times, even though not that strong with how it is executed, with the courtroom scenes also not being strong or funny not going on a path like Jolly LLB. If you liked Punyalan Agarbathis, I don’t see why you shouldn’t watch Punyalan Private Limited here. There is the feel-good factor, and some nice visuals of Thrissur too.

The claws of flaw :: One will notice that there is more dialogues and less action in this movie, and you will also notice that most of the things here might not happen at all, under any circumstance – the common man’s chance is rather too far away. There is also the lack of strength with many arguments around here, and a smart twist doesn’t happen with the protagonist – even when there was the chance to bring the big surprises, they are not there to be seen. The much needed depth is missing here with the tale, something which a political satire could claim to have, in order to reach better heights. The idea was rather limitless, but what comes on the screen is not. We also see the lack of any memorable female character in this movie, as only one who comes close to being the female lead is Arya herself during her short presence as a reporter. Nyla Usha’s character is dead, and Rachana Narayanankutty is replaced by Dharmajan as the lawyer.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is once again the one who leads the way, and he has this character played with ease. No matter how the movie fares at the box-office, this character is certain to remain with that strength which it has always had, for that much is clarified with this performance. Sreejith Ravi and Dharmajan are the ones we are supposed to look out for here, as far as the comedy is concerned, and they do deliver, but the same level is not managed until the end. Aju Varghese is sadly limited to a few video calls here, as he arrives and leaves through video chatting. Meanwhile, Vijayaraghavan shines on the other side, as the politician who is interested in nothing other than playing political games to stay glued to his Chief Minister seat – it is something which he has played before with success as we all know, but it suits him very well this time too. As I have already made it clear, there is no female character worth mentioning other than the one Arya plays.

Soul exploration :: There are so many things that the movie criticises, including the terrible condition of the roads, lack of safety for women, irritating situation brought by demonetisation, troubles in beginning a new business venture, pathetic attitude of politicians and the influential towards the common man, compulsory national anthems in cinemas, dumb social media trending, misuse of public funds, inability to eat or drink what one wishes to, hypocritical approach towards public cleanliness, exploitation in the name of taxes and tolls, laziness of the government authorities in doing their jobs and many more. The idea seems to be to criticise almost all parties, the politicians as villains who don’t care about the public at all, and it doesn’t begin or end with one person or one party, in one state, or at the national level. The movie takes on almost everyone, from one end of politics to the other.

How it finishes :: Punyalan Private Limited has been the movie that so many people have been waiting for, after the success of Punyalan Agarbathis, and while the sequel to Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeeviyanu has been a much awaited one for the new generation, this movie is something which everyone, especially the family audience have waited for. It is also surely a waiting long above an over-hyped, over-slow-motion, copied flick’s sequel which has all style and zero substance, recently being talked about rather too much that needed, in those troll pages. This has actually been a little too long a wait, and Punyalan Private Limited has surely delivered something even when the void stared at it, but not that much as one would have wanted to, after this long period of waiting. But, when we look at the two movies separately, this one surely is close enough to the first one, and it gets there without that much of a trouble.

Release date: 17th November 2017
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vijayaraghavan, Guinness Pakru, Sreejith Ravi, Prem Prakash, Ponnamma Babu, Sunil Sukhada, Vinod Kovoor, Guinness Pakru, Vishnu Govind, Jayaraj Warrier, Arya Rohit, Sathi Premji

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Take Off

What is the movie about? :: Sameera (Parvathy) is a divorced nurse who is trying to work hard in the local hospital and pay the debts of her family, as well as ensure that the studies of her younger sisters are also dealt with. She was formerly married to Faisal (Asif Ali), and has a child, but they were separated due to problems in both families related to her work as well as the differences in way of seeing things. Shaheed (Kunchacko Boban) who works as a male nurse in the same hospital, is in love with her, and is hoping to marry her if she agrees some day. Both of them are expected to go to Iraq for work soon, and in that way, earn a better salary. Sameera finally decides that it is better for her to marry Shaheed and move on, as he is also moving to Iraq, and her relatives would make her get married to someone else anyway; at least she finds Shaheed as a good person and he is in love with her.

So, what happens next? :: After marriage, Sameera gets pregnant, but they soon have to move to Iraq and join the new job. They have heard that the place is not that safe, but there are other nurses who work there and earn a good salary. It is the year 2014, and ISIS has launched itself into the major cities of the nation. It is at the same time that Sameera’s son Ibrahim a.k.a Ibru (Master Eric) comes to live with her. Their location, Tikrit, as well as Mosul where Shaheed had traveled to with the military, all are under attack despite the repeated assurances that the army of the country will keep them safe. Sameera is shocked when she realises that Mosul is captured by the extremists and has become impossible to reach on phone. She approaches the Indian ambassador to Iraq, Manoj Abraham (Fahad Faasil) who assures her that he will do his best to find her husband.

And what is to follow between the chaos and destruction? :: It doesn’t take the ISIS long to take full control of all significant landmarks in the city of Tikrit with the military falling and later becoming a non-existent force there. The militants also make it inside the hospital and keeps the nurses as hostage. Shaheed is still in Mosul, captured by the militants there. But Manoj is determined to rescue and bring all these people back to India in one way or the other. For the same, he works with Ranjan (Prakash Belawadi), his superior officer as well as Jayamohan (Prem Prakash) who is a rich Malayali businessman with many connections in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. With the External Affairs Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Kerala in contact with him, he will try a plan which is claimed to be risky by more than one person, but is considered to be the best option to bring the nurses home by Manoj himself.

The defence of Take Off :: The movie is based on the captivity of forty six Indian nurses by ISIS, and their evacuation by the Indian government, which was one of those celebrated events and a major achievement for the nation – it takes a lot of effort to recreate and add something extra for the creative and cinematic side, and still keep it simple and real. The director has succeeded in doing the same here. The movie has nicely handled the situations of war, and also related to the hostage crisis – with terrorism to be worked with here, things could have gone different ways, but all goes well in this movie; we see balance and maturity in everything here. The emotional side is also strong, and things are kept realistic as well as interesting at the same time, a quality which has been only fakely attributed to certain movies these days.

Positives and negatives :: The first half of the movie is more about the family drama, with the final few minutes getting the protagonists to reach Iraq, with the terrible disaster of a war waiting to happen. From there, it is a thrilling adventure, and the movie works as two here. This movie is visually geat, and also has some nice music as well as background score to go with the same. The movie, despite not trying to bring anything out of the box, got all of us interested, with how this tale is told, and how the characters feel simple and real as the common man who wishes to make money for their families while protecting the same. Even with its smaller budget compared to the Bollywood movies like Airlift which deals with the evacuation of Indians too, Take Off can easily give a fine competition – in simple words, it is surely better than the Bollywood movie dealing with this. There is a better re-imagination here for you to watch.

Performers of the soul :: There is no shortage of interesting performances here, and Parvathy manages to keep her character at the right place, even living through the war on most of the occasions. The different stages of life of her character are nicely portrayed, and this is sure to bring more and more applause as the movie runs in the theatres and will be watched by more followed the highly positive opinions – following Charlie and Ennu Ninte Moideen. Kunchacko Boban has a controlled performance here as he once again plays a character who will appeal really well for the family audience, after Kochauvva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. Then there is Fahadh Faasil who arrives in the second half, and steals the show – there are so many moments for him as he goes strong after Maheshinte Prathikaaram once again, and the last few moments are undoubtedly his. The child actor Eric is also too good. Prakash Belawadi, Prem Prakash, Asif Ali and Alencier Ley Lopez also catch our attention with their smaller roles.

How it finishes :: We had the Akashay Kumar and Nimrat Kaur starrer Airlift directed by another Malayali, Raja Krishna Menon, which had dealt with a similar crisis and somewhat same kind of situation which released in 2016 and had received many positive opinions. While Airlift was based on the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, this one is based on the 2004 ISIS invasion of Iraq. Both are about evacuating the Indians left in the nation torn by war, and both has the patriotism as well as the final success that goes with the same – both have also received a lot of critical acclaim, and has been in the news even before the release. The comparisons maybe many, and it is certain that what we need are movies like Take Off and Airlift which deals with the situations related to common people who struggle anywhere in the world, and it is also significant how realistically their tales are told. This is the best movie of the year so far, as it joins C/O Saira Banu, Alamara and Honey Bee 2 which are running in the theatres stronger than the rest.

Release date: 24th March 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Mahesh Narayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Parvathy, Fahadh Faasil, Prakash Belawadi, Asif Ali, Prem Prakash, Alencier Ley Lopez, Parvathi T, Anjali Aneesh Upasana, Master Eric, Joju George, Sidhartha Siva, Devi Ajith, Divya Prabha, Prashant Nair, Rukhsar Rehman

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vettah

vettah (1)

What is the movie about? :: The City Police Commissioner, Sreebala IPS (Manju Warrier) is investigating a case about one missing actress and her old friend; the possibility of a kidnap and a murder is there, and all signs lead to one man only, Melvin Philip (Kunchacko Boban) who claims that he killed both of them and has buried the corpses at a certain location which he cannot remember. Further questions don’t reveal much as he keeps repeating one particular part of his tale. ACP Xylex Abraham (Indrajith Sukumaran) helps Sreebala in the case, and is troubled by his own family problems. The story of Melvin goes back to his own life, and his relationship with his wife Sherin (Kaadhal Sandhya) after an inter-faith marriage and the loss of their daughter, finally leading to the death of her too.

So, where does the investigation go from there? :: Here, during the questioning, Melvin talks to the police officers about trust and its role in life. With the case of Melvin, it is not incident of two people missing that comes to the light, but many facts which were rather hidden. There is the case the accident of Sreebala’s father (Vijayaraghavan), the relationship between Xylex and his wife as well as a lesser known past of Melvin, all coming to light, and each of these being connected to the other, the past to the present and the future, all things being revealed as the story progresses towards the end. So, will Sreebala and Xylex find the missing people, and are they really dead as Melvin says? Is Melvin really the culprit, and has he killed these people or is he just some random person who lost his sanity after the death of his wife and daughter?

The defence of Vettah :: The mind game factor remains the core of the movie, as manipulations make the most impact around here; the intelligent entertainer comes to the picture here. There is nothing of masala here though; for there exists no comedy and no action sequences at all as the brain game keeps going here. The final twist is a working one and does justice to the rest of the movie. The suspense is maintained well throughout the movie and we will keep guessing about how it will go towards the end. As this one released without a trailer, and a lot less known about the flick, there was a certain amount of mystery surrounding this one, and that brings the surprise to light. There are also some messages related to how the world works, as the movie takes one through the darker side where justice is rather difficult, and revenge becomes the more realistic option. The visuals are also very good.

Claws of flaw :: I am pretty much sure that a lot of people will have problems in following this movie due to its choice of following a different and more complex path. Some people would surely ask for more explanations, and if you miss some points, you will miss a lot. The movie also leaves a few occasions without making much impact, even though the moments could have been better. There is also a certain amount of slowness that you feel in here, and the pace could have actually increased better in the earlier stages too. A number of scenes could have been avoided or presented in another way, but it still works in the way that we see them. The story of each main character could have been separately developed, and that of Indrajith’s character could have used a lot more of ideas too. There is nothing much in the music.

Performers of the soul :: We haven’t seen Kunchacko Boban as someone with this much negative shades on that many occasions; and he has managed this one really well – he comes up with the biggest score here. There is a certain amount of wicked beauty about his character on a number of occasions, and it works really well for him. His smile is something that gives you the clue about what you are witnessing, which is part of a bigger plan, and it has the nice dark side waiting to unleash itself. It is a lot his movie rather than of any other. The idea that many people might have had earlier with the investigation belonging to the two police officer characters will take a u-turn related to this one. It is Kunchako’s biggest and the most interesting role in a commercial movie for a long time. He makes a lot happen here in style.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier has a good run in the first police role in her career, and the one role which remains serious through the run-time – it also becomes her only full serious role during her return, as Vettah allows no comedy as it goes direct and is strictly a serious flick. Coming right out of Rani Padmini and Jo and the Boy which were heavy in messages as well as Paavada which had her in a special appearance, she leaves a mark with the first flick with her as the leading actress. Beginning her second innings with How Old Are You?, I will say that she has had a very good run which continues – there is too much jealousy on the same as far as the fans of the rest are concerned though, which explains a certain amount of dislike or hate. Well, she is surely a lot better than the other other fake lady superstars who claim such a title!

How it finishes :: The final lead here, Indrajith Sukumaran is solid, but the character is left to less importance, and that is a case of something interesting gone missing. The one sad thing here is that with his demise, Vettah will be Rajesh Pillai’s last movie, and it is a terrible loss to the Malayalam movie industry. His Traffic was undoubtedly one of the best with the narrative, and also brought an amazing change at a time when Malayalam movie industry had more terrible movies than the good ones. His Mili was also one of the best of its kind, the only real movie to bring the introvert opinion to light in the right way – it was so good that it bothered a lot of people who couldn’t stand seeing an introvert as the leading character; which is why I consider it as the one righteous movie which gave voice to the lesser shown “others”. We will miss the visionary director.

Release date: 26th February 2016
Running time: 114 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Sandhya, Deepak Parambol, Rony David Raj, Prem Prakash, Vijayaraghavan, Kottayam Nazir, Baby Akshara Kishore, Baby Nandana Sajan, Akash Keralan, Jith Pirappancode

vettah

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Nirnaayakam

nirnayakam (1)

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that I am still officially missing?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is actually the only thing that everyone clearly knows about you right now. Some people still say that you are dead. But I haven’t really believed it yet.

Vampire Owl :: Forget it; people are just crazy, especially the Vampire Crocodile and his long lost Ramesh-Suresh 5 Star brother, the Vampire Alligator. I have connected to you through telepathy to let you know that I can’t be here for this movie.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, everybody knows that already. When was the last time you were there for a Malayalam movie for first day first show? Seriously, you will only go for Bollywood and Hollywood these days?

Vampire Owl :: But I was planning to be there for this movie called Nirnaayakam which is supposed to be something special with a certain amount of social relevance.

Vampire Bat :: I thought you were looking forward to watch Premam instead.

Vampire Owl :: What did you just say? I don’t like such words. I declare them banned. No love stories for me in this life until further notification.

Vampire Bat :: Well, I thought so. And we can’ t watch Lukka Chuppi because it has too much of drinks, as it seems in the trailer. No romance, no drinks, no smoke – it is being recommended to be the next vampire policy against watching these sybaritic movies from humans.

Vampire Owl :: Humans will still watch them, but let’s go for those movies with social relevance then. You should go and watch this and movie and let me know more about it when I establish the next telepathic connection.

Vampire Bat :: Or may be you can use a mobile phone.

[Cuts the connection].

What is it about? :: Ajay (Asif Ali) is a young man who always wanted to be a soldier, even though he was never a person known for his courage. In the end, when he is going through the training at National Defence Academy, he decides to quit as he feels that it is not his purpose and can’t do it. As he returns to his home at Mysore, his father who had left the family long ago, calls and asks him to visit him as his health is pretty much bad. So he returns to Kerala for meeting his father, as he also feels that the change will only do him good. There he understands that his father is suffering from cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant from him. Another thing that he understands is that his father who is a lawyer has been working on a case which would do big changes to the life of the common man.

The defence of Nirnaayakam :: There was a definite opportunity to make this one a megalith among the stones even though it is not really taken. The social drama and the commentary do the work of the paladins of this collection of elements. They are the conquistadors of the heart and mind of the audience in the battle meant for vanquishing the rest of the material in the journey. The moments in the court remains the highlight of the movie, and there was the need for more of the same. When we realize where we are heading to, things get more interesting. The climax is nice, and the arguments are well done. May be the focus could have shifted to the social side rather than keeping it personal for too long – the movie’s genre should have been social drama or social thriller, and it was to be the cornerstone all the time instead of its late arrival here.

The claws of flaw :: Nirnaayakam‘s social message comes very late; we keep waiting and waiting, and by the time it arrives, a quarter of the second half of the movie had finished. The family drama is some real pain, and completely fails to connect with the audience. The romance is lost in the eternal abyss of hopelessness. A complete dose of social commentary which can keep running through full movie could have done the flick a lot of good. The socially relevant content should have been right there at the front rather than taking the backseat throughout a first half which fails to impress. It is a tiresome journey, and the end results might not be enough for some people. These are the reasons why the audience can question this movie, but they surely cannot doubt its intentions.

Performers of the soul :: Asif Ali remains strong throughout the movie, and he does make one feel those emotional moments closer and with depth. His direct influence on the strong point of the movie, the court-room drama is rather less though, and that denies him any gargantuan moment in the core of the movie, which is rather unfair. But the paramount skills of the veteran actor Nedumudi Venu comes to rescue there as he steals the climax, and Sudheer Karamana gets his chance with some nicely written lines. I would also like to add that Malavika Mohanan has improved from her disaster which was Pattam Pole; even in a smaller role, she leaves a mark as the heroine even though romance is dead in this movie – the Vampire Bat acknowledges that she is very pretty. Prem Prakash gets a fine role which he manages with efficiency. Rizabawa, Saiju Kurup, Ashokan, Sanusha Santhosh, Lena Abhilash, Hemanth Menon, Shanker Ramakrishnan and a lot of others can be seen in smaller roles.

Soul exploration :: It is the early reluctance in treatment of this subject of relevance that makes the soul go weaker in this movie. Even when this movie gets lost in the meaningless family drama, there is the hope for that social drama which is expected to come at any moment. We are given a chance to look at what happen with our lives due to the politicians getting the special treatment, and the police as well as the administrative service allowing the same. When the rich and those in power gets special treatment, the common man has less value. The story of the movie focuses on the incdient when a girl dies because she couldn’t get medical care when needed, as a political leader’s procession block the city and causes a heavy traffic congestion. The core of the movie which comes around in the second half deals with how the common people get the verdict in their favour.

How it finishes :: Nirnaayakam‘s trailer was interesting, and it gave the feeling of a thriller coming up with something of high social relevance and leaving behind a message, but in a number of sites, it is mentioned as a family drama or even romance which twists its case. There is a lot of court-room drama promised in the trailer, but the action there is also limited, and the romantic side is like now you see it, and then you won’t. Caught between its confusion of the genres, Nirnaayakam does fail to focus on what was its strength of Brobdingnagian proportions, the social commentary – the perfect opportunity to gain the support of the normal audience who were to give this movie all the needed support on the very first day is not really used. But still, if you are judging a movie by its intentions, this one has the heart and soul at the right place.

Release date: 5th June 2015
Running time: 112 minutes
Directed by: VK Prakash
Starring: Asif Ali, Malavika Mohanan, Tisca Chopra, Nedumudi Venu, Adil Ibrahim, Prem Prakash, Sanusha Santhosh, Lena Abhilash, Sudheer Karamana, Hemanth Menon, Saiju Kurup, Ashokan, Anoop Chandran, Krishna Prabha, Shankar Ramakrishnan, Rizabawa

nirnaayakam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Angels

angels (2)

*Avoiding the “Soul Exploration” paragraphs will be a nice idea if you wish to avoid spoilers. Deeper spoiler in the third soul exploration.

Vampire Owl :: No, absolutely no chance.

Vampire Bat :: But you promised to be back for the weekend.

Vampire Owl :: My weekend starts tomorrow. And why would I watch a movie named Angels? It is totally against my evil mastermind, evil plans and evil cupcake. Did I mention the evil icecream? No, because it would sound like “I scream”.

Vampire Bat :: But the movie still seems dark, worthy of evil.

Vampire Owl :: Even funny movies are too dark these days. I am not falling for that.

Vampire Bat :: You are still looking for an opportunity not to watch a Malayalam movie.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, if I come to watch this movie with you, I will have to watch two Hollywood movies with you this weekend along with this. There is no control. You should have some rest. You are watching movies like Uncle Dracula going to the Theatre of Blood.

Vampire Bat :: Why wouldn’t a vampire go to the Theatre of Blood every hour is beyond me. Uncle Dracula is actually setting a fine example.

Vampire Owl :: This is what I am talking about. You are addicted. It is like a deadly virus and you are spreading it to me too.

Vampire Bat :: You should be more bothered about what all diseases your zombie team is spreading.

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: Hameem Haider (Indrajith Sukumaran) is investigating a case called “the cemetery murders” which involves the corpses of the victims being disposed on a random grave of cemeteries. He comes very close to catching the murderer, but is shot on the leg and it takes time for him to recover, only to lose the case to Ashok Kumar (Baiju) who continues the investigation reaching nowhere in the process. Meanwhile, a reporter for the ruling party’s television, Haritha Menon (Asha Sarath) who is looking for some crime scenario for her show in the channel meets Father Varghese Punnyalan (Joy Mathew) who promises her some shocking revelations about the lost murder case as he publishes his book, for which he asks for Haider. But at the show, he says that he himself is the killer, but Haider disagrees and tells him that as the investigating officer, he knows better. From there, the next group of attempts to solve this case begins again.

The defence of Angels :: Angels manages to hold the suspense strong from the beginning to the end. The climax is brilliant, and overtakes the build-up in style. The final moments gives us a lot more to cheer for. It is shot in a stylish manner, and the background score is nice. The investigation progresses nicely, and the characterization of the three main characters is splendid. Among them, Indrajith continues to give power-packed performances. This is what comes for him between Memories and 7th Day – a hybrid for this elder brother this time. Asha Sarath comes with another strong work, but among them all, the pick should be Joy Mathew who has the best lines in the movie, and takes over the whole thing by storm with his portrayal of the priest. Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli who play’s the protagonist’s wife also comes up with a fair job. The message that it leaves us with, also gives us something to think about. This is something that the debutante director Jean Markose can be proud of.

Claws of flaw :: The movie needed a lot more of the right promotion, giving more idea about what it is about. I was actually disappointed about the number of people in the theatre, which was too low for a first day show – hope it changes with the word of mouth. The story does seem to get a little stretched in the middle, but that is solved soon. It follows the style of Memories and 7th Day, and might be repetitive for some, and for those who didn’t like those movies by much can think twice about this one. There might be a few questions unanswered, especially with the connections between the murders and the strength of the motive, but still by not affecting the story by much. The villain also deserved a better scope in the climax instead of just being pointed out. There are a few points in the movie which can be guessed, but I could find out things about 7th Day in a much easier way, and so it is no big deal.

Soul exploration 1: A case against infanticide of all kinds (possible indirect spoilers here) :: The movie comes up with a message against aborting. No, it doesn’t say that it should be avoided at any cost, but it makes the stand that there is no reason why a child with a chance to live should not be given the opportunity to see the world. They have the right not to be killed, more than the right to life. It is also extremely powerful in how it comes up with the same, and one has to admit that it has more than enough to get the attention of people. It has the strength to make people realize how bad that act is, and how worse it can be when someone is forced to do the same. We know how prevalent is female infanticide in the developing countries, and India also needs to deal with that situation in a lot of backward areas. Here, it deals with how profitable an enterprise it could become, and how heartless the common man could be when they think about the unborn babies as “human waste”. It is a shame, and the lack of humanity; this movie takes over the message and brings it to the viewers.

Soul exploration 2: The depiction of “different” angels on Earth (possible indirect spoilers here) :: The idea of angels also go with the aborted babies in this movie. They are considered as the cherubs who go to a special and beautiful condition after death, as they are denied this situation and are given something else. The symbolism of the angels also work nicely here, and so does the comparison. The question about their choice to live in this world or directly become the angels that they deserve to be, which are not directly given to them, but are often decided by some people of this world. The movie’s title is justified only in the second half, and comes strong there. It is that powerful punch that they come up with here, that makes such a great impact. It is actually an innovative step taken considering that this is supposed to be an investigative thriller in full strength. Well, the three main characters are actually angels in another way, aren’t they?

Soul exploration 3: The crucifixion of the self and resurrection (possible direct spoilers here) :: The priest’s conviction of himself is a case of crucifixion, which will bring the truth to the light as he takes the punishment for the sinner, but the interesting part is that he is resurrected to his former self in a few days as the criminal is found. Well, the resurrection was near impossible if the truth was not to come to light, but in this case, it works, and his suffering for the sins of the others is short-lived. Fr Varghese Punnyalan not just becomes a symbol of a medium to find truth, but also the only reason why there is truth and justice. Do notice that there are crucifix and cross symbols at a lot of places in the movie, and the character of the priest itself says that he is different from the others, and hence more prone to the problem of being in trouble due to even simple misunderstandings than the others. Do watch this movie, and there might be something you need to add.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jean Markose
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Joy Mathew, Asha Sharath, Lakshmi Priyaa Chandramouli, Baiju, Dinesh Panicker, Vijayakumar, Tharakalyan, Parvathy Menon, Baby Annie, Prem Prakash, Aneesh G Menon, Jinto K Thomas

angels

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.