Velipadinte Pusthakam

What is the movie about? :: Pheonix College of Arts and Science was established ten years ago as a result of the efforts of Vishwanathan (Anoop Menon), a local man who was killed on a terrible night after he made this possible. The location of this college is at a coastal village, where most children stop education at the school level itself, and a few don’t even bother to get to the verandah of nursery. There have been the presence of rich people like Mathan Tharakan (Siddique) and his right hand man, a criminal Kakka Ramesh (Chemban Vinod Jose) who don’t want the local youth to attend college, as it would deprive them of the workers for their fishing business. The college did develop into a popular institution ten years after its inception though, and people from city also joined in to make the campus a mixture of different kings of students, as the number of students from the village doesn’t get any higher, with fishing being a traditional job for the locals.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Into this college where the memories of Vishwanathan is more treasured that anything else, there has been the entry of violence – there is nothing political or religious in nature with the quarrels being rather social. With more students filling in the vacant seats left by the locals, there are two groups which can’t afford to see each other. The first one is led by Franklin (Sarath Kumar), as the son of the best friend of Vishwanathan, coming from the local fishing community – proud and not backing away from a fight. They ridicule those coming from outside as rich beggars who have been trying to take away their opportunities and buy seats with cash. The second one has their leader in Sameer (Arun Kurian) who is an angry young man coming from a rich family in the city, and wastes no time in getting into fights and ridicule his rivals for being poor and doing fishing.

And what else is to follow with the book of revelation? :: The two gangs find one reason or the other to fight it out at open spaces or inside the college auditorium when there is the need for some privacy. Supporting the city gang against the village team is the vice principal of the college, Prem Raj (Salim Kumar) who has become an irritation to the female students as well as the teachers, earning him the nick name Kamaraj. Franklin and his team gets rid of him with a nicely executed plan which exposes him in front of the principal. He manages to continue as a professor, while the post of vice principal goes to Michael Idicula (Mohanlal), a happy and easy-going professor who teaches Malayalam. With a grand entry, he manages to be a favourite of all students, and even manages to win the trust both Franklin and Sameer at the same time. But there is one more thing that he will need to do, and by doing the same, he will make sure that there will be some revelations, not just about himself, but also about Vishwanathan and his death.

The defence of Velipadinte Pusthakam :: The movie is entertaining for sure, and the first half has a lot of funny moments to add to the cause – whenever there is something related to the college and its people, there is the comic side that comes up; it is Salim Kumar who handles that all the time. The visuals of the coastal village is very good, and there are some dialogues to remembered, some as serious ones, and a few from the comic side – this is never the complete with its funny side though. With its ups and downs, the movie depends on Mohanlal to save it, and it is his presence that makes the audience miss some of the troubles that this movie has. There are some twists in this movie, some are on the funny side, and the rest are on the more serious angle – some of the thrills come not that strong, but they are surely present there. The most interesting song remains the one you have already listened, and had become the big hit.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s trouble is with its second story, which makes one wish to return to the college, and keep things there. The thrilling side is not used as one would have wanted it to be, and the revelation of the suspense could have been done in a much better manner. There is also the lack of focus on a number of characters that could have done wonders. The second half becomes inferior to the first, and the curse of the second half tightens its grip on rather too many occasions. We also think that there would be some relevant social theme being taken about the rich and the poor, which is not there – with those early clashes, that could have been on the list of things to show for sure. Also, Mohanlal as a lecturer could have become the perfect lecturer to transform this college through a series of interesting events, rather than skipping through all that. This one is also too long a movie, which is why there is the feeling of dragging in between.

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in his usual style, manages to cover the limitations of the script here. Due to the same, this movie also becomes a treat for the fans, who will get to clap here and there, especially with his entry and more in the second half. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol from this year, and Oppam and Pulimurugan from last year have all been doing wonders for him. Anoop Menon has much to with flashbacks, and he remains pretty much suitable, but has not many dialogues. You will find out that Sarath Kumar as well Arun Kurian finds themselves limited as their characters’ rivalry is lost rather too easily. The work here is no challenge for them. Even Anna Reshma Rajan fades away in the process, and so does almost every female character including Priyanka Nair and Sneha Sreekumar. Salim Kumar here has one a full swing comedy attack as he launches one funny dialogue after the other, and with ups and downs, some of them misses by a long distance, but there are a few others which are close to target. The two negative characters played by Chemban Vinod Jose and Siddique are solid, without doubt.

How it finishes :: How much Velipadinte Pusthakam would work for you, certainly depends on your expectations. The expectations were also so high for this one – this was also the movie I was looking for, with Lal Jose and Mohanlal coming together, and the cast from Angamaly Diaries, Sarath Kumar and Anna Reshma Rajan doing some memorable roles. Yes, even more expectations than what was there for Njandukalude Nattil Oru Idavela and Adam Joan. If that much is your expectation, there will be some trouble. The movie is actually quite far away from what you might have expected from the trailer. I was surely surprised by how much the movie has deviated from what I had thought about it, and it is due to the same, that I have crafted the story in such a way that none of the twists, whether serious or funny, are revealed. If you are watching Veilpadinte Pusthakam, be prepared for the deviation. You can’t deny the presence of fun though, especially if you are watching it with family.

Release date: 31st August 2017
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mohanlal, Anoop Menon, Anna Reshma Rajan, Arun Kurian, Sarath Kumar, Chemban Vinod Jose, Alencier Ley Lopez, Priyanka Nair, Siddique, Salim Kumar, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sneha Sreekumar, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Krishna Kumar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maalgudi Days

maalgudidays (1)

What is the movie about? :: A little girl, Athena Adarsh (Baby Janaki) is going through a state of depression after losing her father to the sea right in front of her eyes. As she spends her time at home staring at the possessions of her father and not talking to anyone, her mother Swathy Adarsh (Priyanka Nair) decides to send her away from home to keep the kid away from the memories. For the same reason, she gets admission for Athena in Maalgudi Residential School which is located in the highlands. But Athena doesn’t make many good friends until she comes up against Milan Joseph (Master Vishal) who is the mischief maker without friends, having a history of being brought up by a single parent and being quite unpopular. They form a gang of two, separate from the other kids around.

So, where and how does the twist of events occur? :: One day, while playing on the ground, the ball goes outside the school limits, and the kids come across an injured man called Zephan (Anoop Menon) who is wanted by the police. He has a mysterious past, and there is not much known about him except that he is an artist. The kids help him with water and food and develops a bond with him, as he leaves for another place, which is according to him towards his own child. The twist of fate happens when the kids gets caught in a situation from which there seems to be no escape. With nobody around to help them, how will they get back to their parents? Does anybody including their teachers actually even know that they are in such a situation?

The defence of Maalgudi Days :: One thing that you should have felt right from the trailer is that there is a certain amount of visual beauty to the locations, and if used well, can create a nice experience for the eyes – it happens right here. The surroundings used here happens to be perfect setting for the movie. Then there is the realistic ending to the movie, using the emotions to the right quantity rather than bringing what would go on to become melodrama. This is also a movie that touches the emotions at the base level, not within that elite level of romance to which reality is never that close. If you wish to support only superstar romance, go for it, but I would rather incline myself towards the sad realities and little goodness in life rather than the exaggerated infatuation. The goodness in this movie touches you on one side, and from the other side, the sad realities of life come in. It is from this ability to touch one’s emotion that this movie can be a favourite for the audience.

Claws of flaw :: Well, a near flawless movie was never expected in this case. The movie was never heavily promoted and never did it generate any hype. It just had an interesting song playing on television and came right into the theatres. It is nowhere close to being among the big movies with its content either, and that problem is solved by creating a fog of innocence which works. But the blind fans will neglect the same, because they can only get emotional when their superstar falls in love and losses his romance – the story of struggles of people never appeal to them. This bloody exaggerated romance seen in movies have made people feel only when the hero and heroine separate, and it will be a flaw, not with the movie, but with the brainwashed audience who are blind to the truth. This movie does have its own struggles in the middle, and a lot of scenes do seem half-baked. The material is not that well connected in between, and not made to appeal to people throughout its run. The first song with graphics was a terrible idea too.

Performers of the soul :: As you might have already noticed, Anoop Menon and Bhama forms the star power of this movie, and are the main actor and actress. Bhama does a fine job, but is present only in a few flashback sequences. Anoop Menon has his moments, and the best of them are in the second half. I am sure that a lot of blind fans would have appreciated their favourite actor in this role, and might spend most of their time praising this movie, if that particular person was acting in this, no matter how bad the performance was. But do not underestimate Anoop Menon who has done a commendable job, and at least once in a blue-moon, try to watch and appreciate movies without partiality. I had to add this to the review because of the conversation which I heard from some of the youngsters sitting behind me. Kids in trouble is a joke to some people, but their favourite hero getting beaten up or losing his romantic interesting is so sad – simply pathetic attitude.

Further performers of the soul :: Why don’t you people take some time to appreciate Anoop Menon choosing to act in this movie of debutantes, and coming up with a touching performance? Is it only with those overrated movies that your loyalty lie? Coming back to the movie, the child actors have done some very nice job here; there is a lot of skill in that age group, as the Malayalam movies which have given significant role of children in the last two or three years have revealed to us. This movie provides enough opportunities to the two child actors, and never hesitates to let them free. They have more to perform here than in a regular movie about children, and they come up strong. Priyanka Nair has a good role here; she was among my favourite actresses before she took that break. Saiju Kurup handles an important role, while Noby manages the lighter moments which are rather less and has least significance in this emotional flick.

How it finishes :: The situation looks rather bleak for the movie considering the number of viewers, but as there have been positive opinions, the number of people for the show will be more in the next few days. But the promotions have been rather less related to this one, and if you have noticed, this one is not present at Wikipedia, making this one more of a movie which is not out of the shadows yet. With the challenge posed by Charlie, Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Two Countries still there and with another possible challenge from the Bollywood movie Wazir, one has to be doubtful about how well it will do in the end, but coming from three debutante directors, this surely needs some attention considering how sincerely the attempt has been made. It surely has that single act of kindness which is supposed to shape the mindset of future generations, that too with one great self-sacrifice – are you ready for it?

Release date: 8th January 2016
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Visakh, Vivek, Vinod
Starring: Anoop Menon, Bhama, Priyanka Nair, Noby Markose, Saiju Kurup, T.P. Madhavan, Irshad, Sathyadev, Abhi Madhav, Anand, Binoy, Janaki, Vishal, Alji Francis

maalgudidays

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.