Shikkari Shambhu

What is the movie about? :: Philippose (Kunchacko Boban) is a thief who works close to two other thieves, Achu (Vishnu Unnikrishnan) and Shaji (Hareesh Perumana). The three had made an attempt to steal a golden cross from a church in Kunnamkulam area, only to fail in the attempt and escape to the highranges. They decide to stay hidden in a remote place, and the news that there is a tiger attack in Kuruthimalakkavu, makes them travel all the way there disguised as hunters. They also have their eyes set on the statue in the village temple which is said to date back long, and is valued at crores. They are welcomed by the group of villagers lead by the Panchayat President Sudhakaran (Maniyanpilla Raju) and the local priest Father Luko (Johny Antony), and are offered five lakhs to catch the tiger. The three feels that this is a big opportunity for them to make some quick money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The three lives in the fear of being attacked by the tiger, and along with their adventure, Achu falls in love with the daughter of the Panchayat President, Revathy (Alphy Panjikaran) who is a college student. At the same time, Philippose has his interest set on Anitha (Shivada Nair), who is one of the more active and stronger women in the area. They do end up capturing the tiger, but it turns out that this doesn’t stop the killings. It won’t put an end to their problems either. So, is there one more tiger that they need to handle? Can another Shikkari Shambu incident of pure luck save them? But even luck has its limits, as the three friends attempt to make one last stand to save the village as well as get the money that they wanted. This is the time for them to find all their courage, but are they up to it? How many people will have to die before they can?

The defence of Shikkari Shambhu :: The movie has the formula that works, right out the movies like Ordinary, which was acceptable to so many types of audience. There is a lot of entertainment in store, beginning with the comic side that runs through, and also the mystery to come to light along with the big twist to arrive by the finish. The visuals are stunning, and it is not limited to the beautiful “mazha” song which has already become the best song of the year without doubt. When you look closely, you see that Shikkari Shambhu is surely better than Pulimurugan, even though that much of a box-office collection is not there to be taken – this one is still more fun, has a better story, and there are cent percent better female characters, along with coming up with better songs and visuals. Well, you begin laughing from the very beginning itself, and when you see that happening in a multiplex in a mall with the family audience, the movie has won the hearts.

The claws of flaw :: The tale could have been better in the middle parts, and there was scope for more with this trio trying to make something out of their stay in a village haunted by wild animals. There is the feeling of the movies like Ordinary, and a little bit of Romans in this one, and you will also think that this flick is a little too long. A bit shortened, this one could have done without some moments. The tiger doesn’t come up well enough to create an impression either. The fact that this movie didn’t have its shows in a number of theatres including Carnival Cinemas Angamaly and Carnival Cinemas Muvattupuzha, was surely a terrible thing, as we can be sure that so many people wanted to watch this movie after being addicted to the “mazha” song which is undoubtedly a pleasure to look out for, on the big screen. A little more care, and this one could have done even better – it could have had the special ingredient and could have attempted a deviation from the usual path.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban handle this role with ease, and we remember that he played a thief in his last movie of 2017 too, in Varnyathil Aashanka. This character does work for him very well, and never does he need to try more. The song “mazha” itself seems to be custom made for him, something which makes the viewers immediately interested in the flick itself. Shivada has a fine role here, paired opposite Kunchacko Boban, making this her one more notable role after Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam. Her character is strong, determined, and with those qualities that surely make this one a different role for her – there is more than what meets the eye to the strength of this particular female character. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, after Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan, continues to be the boy next door, carrying most of charm into this one too.

Further performers of the soul :: Alphy brings good work in her first full role, paired opposite Vishnu as the movie progresses. She is sure to stay there in the industry with some good roles to come. Hareesh Perumana scores the best in this movie, and you don’t need to think twice before asserting the same. We know that he has always been good, no matter what people will say about a movie as a whole. He has been having a good time in the Malayalam movie industry, and this one has him controlling the funny side, rising above everyone else. The movie’s advantage is that he is there throughout the flick. Two directors Johny Antony and Aji John plays interesting roles in the movie too, and the former provides some fun moments which scores big. Salim Kumar has only a smaller presence as a police officer, but when he is there, the whole theatre has no problem in getting into a laugh riot.

How it finishes :: Sugeeth has had a good run with Kunchacko Boban in the lead, beginning with Ordinary and the last one being Madhura Naranga. With a title that reminds us of the comics character who used to be very special for us, Shikkari Shambhu once again brings us one of the better family entertainers of our times, with the content that is suitable for almost all kinds of audience. After the depressing Daivame Kaithozhaam K Kumaraakanam which claimed to be a family entertainer, but ended up being a miserable copy of ideas from other movies creating a mess, the viewers will find Shikkari Shambhu to be a relief among the flicks which are never really what they claim to be. But Shikkari Shambhu is surely the one movie which you would love to go through more than once for its comedy, which will be a big asset to our comedy channels in the future, unlike Aadu 2 which was surely overrated. I hereby leave you with a lovely song from the movie:

Release date: 20th January 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sugeeth
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Shivada Nair, Alphy Panjikaran, Hareesh Perumana, Johny Antony, Aji John, Salim Kumar, Sphadikam George, Maniyanpilla Raju, Krishna Kumar

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

In Fear

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Vampire Owl :: But I do not know the meaning of Fear.

Vampire Bat :: Then what do you call that expression when you were chased by a dog last month?

Vampire Owl :: I was simply giving the dog a lesson in running.

Vampire Bat :: Then when you jumped over the wall, it was a lesson in high jump?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but it was a poor little creature with such a small brain. It couldn’t jump over the wall.

Vampire Bat :: You didn’t take the flying classes when all the other owls were doing that, and now you want to pretend to teach others running.

Vampire Owl :: It is actually okay because you can’t fly either. You should attend my classes too. It will help you to run away from a bad movie.

Vampire Bat :: But this is still a good movie. This is simple, raw horror.

Vampire Owl :: I have watched this and won’t approve. I am bigger horror than this little movie.

Vampire Bat :: I would have made a bet for three hundred zombies that you can only say that about this movie.

[Goes to watch ISL].

What is it about? :: Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) are on their first trip after falling for each other, and even as they are planning to go to a music festival with friends, Tom suggests that they rest in a hotel on the way, to which Lucy agrees, despite having promised her friends that she would be there early. They follow a vehicle to the hotel where they were planning to stay, and after showing them the directions, that person drives off. They move on and looks for directions, but following them doesn’t lead them anywhere and it seems that they have seen the same place again and again – it is as if they are trapped in a maze. The rain starts pouring and Lucy keeps seeing a masked figure while going through the path and they are attacked once. They end up giving lift to another person called Max (Allen Leech) who claims to have been attacked too, but the tension only gets higher as there seems to be no way out of there.

The defence of In Fear :: Most of the movie is in the middle of nowhere and we have so much action inside the car which turns into a claustrophobic world, especially with the third person around. There is already a spooky atmosphere created as the darkness falls and the rain pouring, with nowhere to go. It is smart in its anxiety and tension, and the feeling of being nowhere in hopelessness is disturbing. Being in small pocket road with no lights and no signs of civilization around, having no idea how to get anywhere? Everyone needs to be scared about this, especially as some masked villain is ready to pounce if you stop the car – he might even find a way to stop the vehicle. You have the right to be scared here. The stuff is believable too, as this goes on without anything out of the world added to it. There is less stupidity from the characters as they seem to act more as anyone would have, if caught in such a situation. It is good to see something different being tried in the horror genre.

Claws of flaw :: The movie is not for everyone, especially as there is almost no jump scare at all. There is no big scary killer who keeps coming at you and creating all those gory scenes out of nowhere. The locations are limited, and there is darkness around. There is not much of a backstory, and things happen straight. There are minimum resources used here, and there is no murder shown happening on the screen – there is not even a cut on the screen even as there is blood after the cut. There are just three people in this movie and for most of the time, we see only two of them. Some horror fans can find this method uninteresting, and a few others might be more disappointed about the same. The power of the villain is not much, and the ending is actually a little too uninteresting, even as it has the mind not to bring something up in hope for a sequel. The inside the car setting might also disturb a few. There are still a few things unanswered, and the moments of stupidity does come into play when the protagonists are out of the car. There is nothing big in the plot either.

Performers of the soul :: There are just three people acting in this movie, even as there are others who we do from a distance; nothing much here is about another person other than what we hear our leading actors talk about them or contact them through the mobile phone – yes there is a scarecrow if you want to add him to the actors. Among the three, Alice Englert is the pick. The last time I had seen her was in Beautiful Creatures, and even as I did think that she was good, I doubted about her being in a horror movie – but then, I was wrong, and this young lady who was just nineteen when this movie premiered, has just nailed the role of the young damsel in distress in a believable manner. I couldn’t feel anything else but be surprised about the fact that she had made her character so much believable rather than becoming another lady in a horror movie. Iain De Caestecker comes only second, and becomes the weaker character leaving him with less scope. Allen Leech is good, but still not up-to the movie’s power.

Soul exploration :: The soul of the movie is in its atmosphere, and the success of the same is in creating that situation which can haunt any other person. It is a case of genuine fear, as it makes way into our known world. Ever got your car’s tyres punctured in the middle of nowhere at night, or have you ever got lost your way somewhere while taking a shortcut and there are no lights anywhere? There is no range in your phone with GPS already stopped working and rain also stops pouring down. So where do you go from there? In Fear has that situation and successfully drops us into the world of fear and nothing else. Fear might want many things, but this movie proves that what it actually needs is a realistic situation and happenings that can be connected by the audience. A better working of the plot and a better development of the situation could have done a even more for this movie, but for now, there is some realistic horror in its core.

How it finishes :: In Fear is a movie so much less known, and its existence might be something that so many people are unaware of, unless Alice Englert’s filmography keeps catching too much attention. It is a movie which has pretty much low rating at IMDb, but is something which has good ratings from critics. That should explain a few things. No, this doesn’t have the entertainment side working much, and its horror is something of the mind. It has less for the majority of the viewers who would hope for something that thrills outside the borders of realism. But this movie doesn’t have that, as the choice to go with realistic things can gain more critics and lose more viewers. But In Fear still maintains enough to gather the usual fans, at least in my opinion. For the same, one has to think more than what is seen on the screen.

Release date: 20th January 2013
Running time: 85 minutes
Directed by: Jeremy Lovering
Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

infear

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Veeram

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Ask the magic mirror :: “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of Them All?” – now here is the answer which naturally comes to any mirror which has been taken into a theatre to watch Veeram; and it is Tamannah Bhatia. Unless that mirror prefers Kristen Stewart more than Charlize Theron, and as long as the question is not about being the “palest”, it is indeed a magic mirror which can be trusted. The first thing one notices in the movie is not our leading lady, that is for sure, but as far as being fair is considered, there is only person on the screen who takes that to another level. Whenever she is around, everyone else looks darker – no that is no measure of beauty even as Tamannah is indeed the more beautiful and the cute one around, and thanks to those beautiful locations during the songs, there is the snow to give that much needed competition; being the ice princess or the snow queen has never been this easy with anybody else.

What is it about? :: This is the story of Vinayakam (Ajith Kumar), the one-man army with a possible extension to five with his four brothers, and even to an army of six if their lawyer is included in the gang. The man has become more of a landlord who takes care of his people and is extremely caring about his brothers. He is a stern businessman and a reputed man of his area. He has weakness for the name Kopperundevi (Tamannaah Bhatia) and as a lady comes up with the same name, thanks to the work of his brothers and the adopted brother lawyer, he falls in love with her, and with the good guy impression created by the brothers, she also falls for him and takes the decision to take him to meet her family. But later she comes to know that he is the rough and tough guy who beats up people whenever he sees something wrong. As she wants a more peace loving person so that he can be approved by her father, he decides to become one. But the need for fight doesn’t leave him, or does it?

The defence of Veeram :: Translated into English as “Valour”, the movie is a action masala movie, and that basically forgives most of the troubles of the movie. Another thing is that this is the movie of Ajith, or rather by Ajith, about which there is lot more to talk about. Meanwhile, the movie has immense style, and it is reflected not only in the display of the same, but also in the narrative. The use of rain, thunder and lightning along with the clouds adds such a strength to the movie that this use is nothing less than deserving applause. The locations are beautiful and those of the songs are breathtaking. The mixing of action, sentiments and humour is intelligent, and it makes up for what is lost in the old plot. Even with so much lacking in innovation as far as the story is concerned, there is a lot working out well in the other departments. There are many mass scenes and even as the action gets repetitive, the sequences are powerful.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is all about Ajith’s character, and the rest are kept in the shadows most of the times, and their existence is more to make our hero better rather than for themselves, as our leading lady exists so that he could fall in love and dance with her, and a villain to be afraid of him and another to be beaten up and killed by him. The purpose of brothers is more to show that he is superior, but that is understandable as this is more of a movie for the fans; and our hero is that awesome indeed, thanks to a powerful portrayal. The romantic side is weak, mostly due to the fact that it is forced and not rightly fit in the movie. The action scenes repeat as if put in a loop, and it could have been better if some shots of beating up villains were cut. The sentiments also go in a strange way, and the lack of logic is right there in the centre. The story should also be older than most of the actors in the movie, and its similarities to many other Tamil and Malayalam movies can be noted down.

Performers of the soul :: Ajith’s movie as one would expect, as he outperforms everyone with such an ease that what exists there is mostly a one-man show. From his entry, he keeps scoring, and his looks are perfect for this role. It does remind one about Mammootty in the 2000 Malayalam movie Valyettan, but to a small extent; with the romantic side of the brothers slightly resembling the 1991 Malayalam film Godfather. Tamannaah is dazzling, and you can often take that literally. This is the first time I am watching a movie starring her, and I am glad I finally did that; had to leave the Kajal Aggarwal starrer behind even as it was running in the same theatre at the same time, but no beauty lost in the end. Its good to see Bala too, as its been a long time since I watched one of his movies, and he plays a character with the same name which made him famous in the 2007 Malayalam movie Big B, which might once again be a luck factor. Santhanam comes up with lots of funny moments to make sure that the comic side doesn’t go weak. Nassar and Atul Kulkarni also comes up with strong performances.

Soul exploration :: The most shocking thing to the soul was the name of the heroine, especially when her nickname was revealed to be Kopu. But what’s interesting to the soul is its assertion of family values and putting one’s people over everything else. It starts off with the brothers and later extends to the family of his lover, our hero becomes a model brother and son in no time. He sacrifices his happiness to see the family happy, and keeps them away from all the problems as well as their knowledge of their troubles. We have known Jeffrey Nero Hardy as the charismatic enigma, but our hero here is nothing less throughout the movie. Another thing is the significance of “tea” as a symbol in the movie; it not only becomes a symbol of his simplicity, but also his hard-work as well as love for his brothers and family. How often do you see a movie poster with the hero happily drinking tea in it? Now that is a plus for the soul and the Vampire Bat loves it.

How it finishes :: There was always going to be a doubt about which movie to watch, with Jilla running on the other screen, and choosing this was a risk, but nothing regrettable happened in the end. It was nothing strange to see that the viewers for both movies were almost equal, and with only a few vehicles in the yard, with not even one mediocre Malayalam movie release in the same week, and both the Hollywood and Bollywood side being weak in comparison as far as normal people are concerned – shortage of big movies (Drishyam and Oru Indian Pranaya Katha are still there along with many English movies from much earlier, still in the multiplexes). The movie is reckless and violent in its action, and the use of sharp weapons cloud the movie like nothing else – if that is a positive or a negative is for the audience to decide, as it doesn’t go beyond a level. The opinion is divided about the movie, but I would say that this one deserves a check as it keeps the interest high even as it might be too long for one’s liking.

Release date: 10th January 2014
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Siva
Starring: Ajith Kumar, Tamannaah Bhatia, Vidharth, Bala, Santhanam, Ramesh Khanna, Atul Kulkarni, Nassar, Abhinaya, Pradeep Rawat, Munish, Manochitra

veeram copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.