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

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Tamil film review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Tamil full-length film review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kho Kho

What is the movie about? :: Maria Francis (Rajisha Vijayan) is appointed as a PT teacher in a girls’ school, in the remote area of a village which is surrounded by backwaters. She is forced to take up the job because her husband Ben (Venkitesh VP) was facing failure in business, and was in requirement of the money. Maria used to be a sprinter, and was very close to representing India at an international level when something terrible happened in her life. At the new school, the two people who is in support of her activities are the peon Shivaprasad (Renjit Shekar Nair) and the accountant Vinod (Rahul Riji Nair), the latter being doubtful about the requirement for a PT teacher in the school, yet being interested in Maria. After some days of doing almost nothing in the school which has historically given no importance to arts and sports, she decides to create a kho-kho team for the first time in school history, a move much appreciated by the headmaster.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With a confused but hardworking team led by the stubborn Anju (Mamitha Baiju) who has her own mood swings and not missing her chance to pick up a fight, Maria hopes to make history through her students, and achieve greatness which she couldn’t earlier due to circumstances. The parents of the students are against the students choosing sports instead of using that time for studies, and do not appreciate the fact that the girls are going somewhere far away to compete. But as they qualify for the district level competitions, they do manage to gain a certain amount of support. The girls’ problem related to balancing studies and sports, their problem with wearing shorts within a conservative world and Anju’s attraction towards Shivaprasad might be the least of the problems with Maria will have to face here. Can she and Anju lead the team towards seemingly impossible victories and an even more elusive final triumph?

The defence of Kho-Kho :: Depending more on the emotions than anything else, Kho-Kho also has the usual moments of thrill with the games. It is the common motivational story of the underdogs who had no chance, but with hardwork and inspired performance, comes out victorious against all odds. The characters and the setting become interesting in this case, as this goes through life of common people for most of the time. We also have some nice visuals to go with the same. There are many exciting scenes here to remember too. The struggles of the characters involved here are shown well, especially the two main characters played by Rajisha and Mamitha. The feeling which was provided by Finals is somewhat repeated in this movie, and if you had like that movie, this will be on your favourite sports drama list too. The songs are pretty good, and they go on well with the visuals as well as the mood, and so does the background music. Unlike Chak De! India and Dangal, this is the real woman-centric film with empowerment, and without those unnecessary superstar exaggerations, and that feels true to life in many ways.

The claws of flaw :: Kho-Kho is certainly not that big as Finals, the other film with the same actress in the lead. The background story which keeps on moving silently is not that strong when we look at it. The premise feels similar to other movies, and we can predict a lot of things which are going to happen here. A number of training scenes and events are more repetitive rather than trying to do something different or unpredictable. To add to it, some dialogues actually look more artificial, right out of paper, rather than coming with the emotional weight. Venkitesh is also very much underused in another movie after The Priest limited him, and Thattumpurath Achuthan‘s song presence had made us feel that he would be a regular full presence. More of the girls in the cast should have got more attention though, at least half of them. The release of the movie on Asianet was delayed by a week, and it was Drishyam 2 which had its television release then, a disappointing decision from the channel which might have kept some people away.

The performers of the soul :: We have seen Rajisha Vijayan only in a few movies, and among them, we have seen such great skill. We have seen her in the grand performances from Anuraga Karikkin Vellam which brought her the Kerala State Award for Best Actress, through the nostalgia-inducing coming-of-age story of June, to the earlier sports drama of high acclaim, Finals. It is to be noted that in both sports drama, Rajisha plays a character with a tragedy to go with both life and career. With her role beginning as the trainer, the tragic background was established much earlier here. Rajisha once again has the whole thing in control here, and from the beginning to the end, it is a determined as well as emotional performance. Well, Finals was the best movie of the season when it released, but many people missed the work on the big screen, and the same is the case here too due to COVID-19, and it seems that the early television premieres are changing some of the situation here, with everyone getting the needed access not too late.

Further performers of the soul :: Mamitha Baiju who was also seen in Operation Java plays the captain of the team, and plays her role in a very much believable manner, with all the emotions and determination required for the role. She will surely be a talent to look out for, with more of similar roles. There is the rage and a flurry of emotions that she comes up with, which suits very well for her character with a troubled past. Unlike the character she played in the Balu Varghese starrer, the energy here is intense. Venkitesh VP as the protagonist’s husband has only a limited role, and we are still hoping to see him in bigger roles, like we have wanted all those actors and actresses in the Naayika Naayakan reality show to come out with their performances on the big screen. Renjit Shekar Nair and the director himself – Rahul Riji Nair comes up with good supporting performances. Vettukili Prakash’s role might have felt unnecessary. The cast of girls in the team is also nicely done, and at least quarter of them stay with us by the end, even though not more than one or two gets extra attention.

How it finishes :: Kho-Kho is another sports drama which you don’t need to miss, and it is also a film which goes through the base level of the game, without overdoing the same. Just like Finals, it is nice to see another sport with lesser fans getting all the attention, and not the highly fan favourite Indian sport of cricket or football which comes second. Cricket never really required movies as support, but some sports can have films made on them to bring out interest back to them, and this is the same case happening here. The movie is a reminder of a sport which is often left unnoticed among the bigger names. Kho-Kho is a film that can have even a sequel with this content, and there are times when it also reminds us of Godha, which brought back memories of wrestling as a sport. These are indeed the films which needs our support, and not those overrated stuff which has wandered around with a lot of hype and no substance. Kho-Kho needs to come back to television or release on Amazon Prime at some point to expand its horizons.

Release date: 14th April 2021 (Theatre), 28th May 2021 (Asianet)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Rahul Riji Nair
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Mamitha Baiju, Renjit Shekar Nair, Venkitesh VP, Vettukili Prakash, Arjun Ranjan, Sreejith Babu, Jeo Baby, Geethi Sangeetha, Rahul Riji Nair

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

<— Click here to go to the previous Hollywood review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Finals

What is the movie about? :: Alice Varghese (Rajisha Vijayan) is a cyclist from Kattappana who has evolved to become the national champion under the guidance of his father KP Varghese (Suraaj Venjaramoodu) who has worked as a sports coach in more than one school, and also at his own academy. Varghese is someone who hasn’t achieved much from his career as a trainer, and has all his hopes set on his daughter who is supposed to represent India at the 2020 Summer Olympic at Tokyo from 24 July to 9th August 2020. Before appearing at the event, she is also selected by the National Olympic Committee to have her training in Russia. At the first city in Asia to host the Olympic Games twice, she is supposed to be a clear favourite to gain a medal, finishing far ahead of others in all competitions. Before she leaves for Russia, she hopes to visit her friends and relatives at hometown for the last time, and she returns to Kattappana for the same reason.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There she meets her childhood friend Manuel Thomas (Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju) one more time. Manuel has been in love with her since school days, and wanted a reply from her for a long time, but she has been evading that question with ease. She visits the school where she studied, after a very long time, and motivates the students there, along with traveling through those places which provides her with a nostalgic feeling. Varghese who has supported the Olympic dream with everything that he had in his life, never really had anything more than that small house, because the dream was the only thing that he lived for. As she makes her return, there is one last race which she will be participating in, before leaving for the Russian training – but there are twists of events that await her, and her loved ones. Fate had a backup plan to bring the twist – well, fate always finds a way, as it would follow here.

The defence of Finals :: The best thing about Finals is that it decides to change its pattern from the usual stuff which has been followed in almost every known sports movie – there would be a sportsperson or a sports team which is facing some kind of trouble, and someone would help the person or the team to rise up to the occasion and win the competition, or at least come close to doing that so that we feel that there would be a victory next year. We have the sportsperson at the top in the beginning itself in this case, and we see what happens later. But the movie is not limited to her, and the neither is it limited to her family or the people around – the world goes further, as there are many issues being discussed despite the budget and the number of big names being so less. There is the corruption and nepotism which are part of sports, which lead to the athletes from the lower strata of the society suffering – except for cricket in which everyone gets something.

Positives and negatives :: Well, it is only when the interval hits you so hard that you realize that there is a big change coming up, making this a very different sports drama – we love both sides of the interval, as each shows something of beauty, and also feeds our emotional so well, along with providing motivation. We can feel those emotions even after we are finished with the movie, a short one lasting only a little more than two hours. The beautiful visuals of the high-ranges also contribute to the same, with some nice songs to go with them. The struggle that the movie shows feels so real, as we know how the athletes other than cricketers are sidelined with ease. The absence of necessities for the other sports-persons, is something that needed attention a long time ago, especially with those games which more than nine or ten nations of the world are interested in playing. One might still feel that this is not the kind of movie they expected from the trailer, but that indeed is the beauty of it.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan is fantastic in a movie which brings more than one face of her, and its a step forward from the State Award winning Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, the two lesser known Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran as well as the most recent charming bildungsroman adventure, June. There is deep feeling in her performance, whether in happiness or in grief, whether in determination or in the absence of the same – the emotions can be seen going very deep here, and we are happy to see that she is always one step ahead of the character, with her preparations as well as the final work. The character here is so natural and close to life, further ahead of anything she has played in the past. If Rajisha could’nt pull this off, nobody else could have, and we see that she never struggles in doing the same – she is that good as of now. This could be another award winning performance, and we wouldn’t doubt that.

Further performers of the soul :: Suraaj Venjaramoodu in serious roles has been a revelation in the past, whether it was about a small role in Action Hero Biju or a full role in Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum. This is another character which carries a certain amount of melancholy, from which there is no escape – we are also part of those emotions which go deep, as the struggling coach tries to successful at at least some point. There are those emotional undercurrents which we can feel in such a way that they return to us when we are sitting idle and thinking about those moments. Meanwhile, Niranj doesn’t just shine, but glitters in this world, coming with a performance close to life, as a commoner from the hilly side of Central Kerala. We have him touching both heart and soul here with the feelings running heavy. There are those dialogues and his combination scenes with both Rajisha and Suraaj that tests our emotional strength. Tini Tom and Sona Nair provide fine support as his parents too.

How it finishes :: Even though it is announced earlier that the movie is a fictional story, the credits in the end dedicate the movie to the cyclist Shiny Siles who died in a road accident while participating in the State Road Cycle race at Manjeri in the year 2002. With or without it, this movie happens to be one of the best sports drama flicks ever produced in the country, and not watching it will be a crime, if not a cardinal sin. You feel the frustration, hopelessness, anger, fear, determination, hope, and everything else just like the characters do, and as we live a life with these characters, our second and the most realistic part of life, Finals easily becomes the best movie among the Onam releases, rising above the fighting thriller Brother’s Day and the not-so-serious comedy flicks following the same pattern – Love Action Drama and Ittymaani. The number of viewers as of now is surely low for the movie, but if we don’t support a movie like this at the theatre, we would be the barbarians, unless we are cacodemons. Here, I leave you with a song from the movie. Why you would stop yourself from falling in love with this movie and feel deep with it, is beyond me, as Finals come up with that kind of a lovely feeling in multiple ways.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: PR Arun
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Suraaj Venjaramoodu, Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju, Tini Tom, Sona Nair, Muthumani, Kunchan, Nisthar Sait, Dhruvan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

June

What is the movie about? :: June Sarah Joy (Rajisha Vijayan) considers herself to be an ordinary girl with no special talents, which is the reason why she is upset that most of the other students who join her class are able to do so much more. Her parents (Joju George and Aswathi Menon) care very much about her as she is their only child. Noel (Sarjano Khalid) is her newfound best friend who is elevated to the level of her boyfriend. They get to connect well with each other as they are both considered to be lagging with their talents. As time progresses, she is able to make new friends, and her Plus Two batch of 2007 is finally able to become a batch to remember not just for the students, but also to the teachers. But at the same time, when her parents find out about Noel, she decided to end their relationship. She joins a nearby college while he travels to Mumbai to stay with his parents and to continue his studies.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The best friends go in their own ways, and June is left with the memories of Noel. She goes through her college days without much of an enthusiasm as she is still caught in her life in Plus Two. After completing her degree, she decides to go for an interview in Mumbai and meet Noel at the same time. She stays with her Plus Two classmate Abhirami a.k.a. Mottachi (Vaishnavi Venugopal) who is also working there, and finds Noel to begin the next phase of their relationship. But things are not that easy as she thought they would be. She has to deal with his family as well as hers, and at the same time, maintain her own independence. About their life, what Noel thinks might not be the same either. So, the question remains about what awaits her in the rest of her life.

The defence of June :: The strength of June lies not just in the performances lead by the female lead, but also in the memories that it creates. It takes us back to the school days, and even though it is not an exact reflection of the memories as it was recreated in Om Shanti Oshana, this one is surely an effective one, thanks to a better performance from the female lead in comparison to that older version. The movie is also a clean entertainer for the family audience, with nothing that makes them doubt about their plan to watch the movie – keeping it so, and at the same time, funny would have been a difficult job, but is done with skill. The climax and the final scenes are beautifully done too, and it talks not just of love, but of nostalgia and friendship that comes back after a long time. The music is nice, and suits the mood of the movie. The songs come too often, but they are nice to hear.

The claws of flaw :: The movie’s idea to skip the college days completely is one strong negative point on this movie – the second half could have used some of that too, and in that case, being a coming-of-age story in the lines of Premam and Om Shanti Oshana, this one has a little missing part. There is no life that serves as a coming-of-age story without the college days, because it doesn’t matter who denies the same, there is something about those moments all the time. It is where bildungsroman struggles. The movie is also a little bit too long, which is why one can feel certain drag with the romance. There was surely more scope to make this one better. It has to be noted that not everything in the movie brings the memories of school days, and not all jokes serve to be that effective. But as the industry is once again becoming hesitant to experiment, June is surely one another welcome move.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performance in her debut film Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, which was also her first movie, once again makes an impression, as we had expected from the trailer. Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran never really gave her any challenge as movies which kept at a certain level, never trying to rise or give its female protagonists opportunity to do much. She takes over the protagonist, and has the sixteen year old going through to the next ten years of her life, even though three years at college are absent. The moments during the Plus Two time period are done with amazing skill, and the latter moments are not far behind, and they seemed to come naturally to her. With the whole movie completely dependent on her performance, she makes sure that she comes up with only the best.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Rajisha, there are others to add to this one very well. Joju George gets another fine role after Joseph, unlike the insignificant one he had to do in Lonappante Mamodeesa. He nicely gets into the father role here, and has some funny as well as touching moments to go with it. Aswathi Menon who is best known for Sathyam Sivam Sundaram and its highly popular song “Walking in the moonlight” has the mother role here, and she makes it a good one. Sarjano Khalid, the debutante who plays a male lead does well, as if he’s been there before. Arjun Ashokan has also done a good job, especially in the second half. Among the actors and actresses who plays the protagonist’s friends, it is Vaishnavi Venugopal who shines the most. That should be among the most natural performances not by a main or secondary heroine, in a long time. The other newcomers are also good talents, as we can see here.

How it finishes :: Releasing at the same time as Oru Adaar Love released, this one uses less hype and more quality to be assured of a more solid run. After Aadu 2, Vijay Babu becomes the producer again here, and we expected a performance to remember from Rajisha Vijayan – it is the same that we get here. This one stays close to life and memories, along with being another feel-good movie which touches our hearts after Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Njan Prakashan and Ente Ummante Peru. June is also one movie which does so much justice to the trailer, as it is more or less the same thing that we watched earlier and expected. Even though Kumbalangi Nights and 9 are there, this movie should take over some of the presence of the latter, and keep going, because the movie is many different things to different people.

Release date: 15th February 2019
Running time: 141 minutes
Directed by: Ahammed Kabir
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Joju George, Sarjano Khalid, Aswathi Menon, Vaishnavi Venugopal, Nayana Eliza, Arjun Ashokan, Sanju KS, Akhil Manoj, Harisankar, Sruthy Suresh, Margret Antony, Raveena Nair, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sunny Wayne (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Cinemakkaran

What is the movie about? :: Alby (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the son of a Jacobite Christian priest (Renji Panicker) who had the wish to make him a priest when he grew up, for which he had done so many prayers alone and also with his son. But Alby’s interest is cinema and cinema only, and he has been working as assistant director in a number of movies, but hasn’t been able to go further than that with his life. Things are even more complicated in their family as he is in love with Sarah (Rajisha Vijayan), who is the daughter of a rich fisheries owner and businessman (Lal), despite actually supposed to marry Gonzalez (Jacob Gregory) who has a job offer in Italy. As Alby is a Jacobite and Sarah a Catholic, both families are against the relationship which seems to have been going on for a long time, but they just don’t care and decide to start a life of their own after a quick run-away marriage and getting a flat at a low rent.

So, what happens next? :: Their immediate neighbours are Sudheer (Vijay Babu) and Nayana (Anusree Nair) who make a rather rich couple having some easy time compared to the struggles of the newly-wed protagonists. Alby has no job and no hope in the cinema industry even after years, and the bank manager (Joy Mathew) has already threatened him to renew the loan he had taken, or the gold ornaments he had given would be sold. With the families not close to them, and his friends not able to, or ready to help him, Alby decides to take a risky step here, and that would be to steal from his neighbours. But that doesn’t go that well as he had planned, and it lands the police inspector Manikandan (Prasanth Narayanan) at the apartments. The cop has his own style of investigating, but how does it lead to Alby being in big trouble as his plan never really was to take the money for himself, and with the money still there when the police looks for it?

The defence of Oru Cinemaakkaran :: We have a tale that has its own unexpected twists here, and it goes on with some nice fun elements in the first half, and fine suspense factor in the second. The movie’s attempt seems to be to bring more than one genre into action. Most of the viewers, especially the family audience of the festival season might still love the first half more. The deviation from the movie-making is rather good considering the fact that it would have been a rather predictable tale with one wishing to be someone huge in the film industry. There are some nice songs to go with this movie, and they are all nicely taken visually too. The lead pair is really good together, and there are those sequences involving them which are certainly the highlights of this movie. They have also nicely transformed the simple things into more interesting factors, and it is the way in which most of the things which are presented that needs the applause.

The claws of flaw :: The movie, unlike expected, is not about what happens with a person going through his movie experiences, and that is certain to have a lot of people confused, or even disappointed at some point. If you were expected something like Udayananu Tharam or Padmasree Bharat Dr. Saroj Kumar, that is surely not going to happen. There is also the deviation in the second half leading to those twists, which is rather too much of a divergence, that affects the overall stuff and its quality. With its funny and exciting beginning, we would expect things to go deeper and stronger, at least with its comedy. Also, the movie could have just ended nicely without trying too much of unnecessary things – we find the need to fill in for some missing logic, and those wastage of characters that remain rather underdeveloped. We needed more here too, that is for sure.

Performers of the soul :: After Kunjiramayanam and the smaller roles in Jacobinte Swargarajyam and Oru Muthassi Gada as well as playing the titular character in the underrated feel-good movie, Aby, Vineeth Sreenivasan is back playing the protagonist once again. We see him being comfortable throughout the movie, and he has this character completely in control. We see the humour as well as the emotional side working so well for him here. Rajisha Vijayan who had won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, also had a formidable presence in Georgettan’s Pooram, and this one also has her playing a Catholic girl falling in love with someone outside her caste as Elizabeth, Merlin and Sarah respectively. She remains simple, and strong in her display of character here. There is a certain amount of happiness that she spreads with her incredbly cute performance here.

Further performers of the soul :: There is not much difference in Renji Panicker’s role here, as he had played the father of a jobless son who doesn’t listen to anyone in Georgettan’s Pooram too – he played a Mar Thoma priest then, and is playing a Jacobite priest this time; it seems that there are not many people who can play the role of a priest or a father than him. Here, we have him doing them both very well as expected, even with lesser screen presence. Lal makes an impact for the short period of time when he is there too. Vijay Babu, despite having a nice character to play, gets to be there for lesser period of time too. Anusree is good in this role, and we have her playing the city girl for a change. Noby Marcose and Hareesh Perumanna share some moments of fun in this one, and Prasanth Narayanan comes rather late, as if he was called as an extra add-on in the form of a rather strange character. We expected Jacob Gregory to stay though.

How it finishes :: When you have someone like Vineeth Sreenivasan in the lead, or even has his name associated with a movie, you can be sure that there will something in there, and it is on him and Rajisha Vijayan that this movie depends the most. For this Eid festival season, we are sure to have an interesting list of movies beginning from Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran to go for even more to come in the weeks to follow. As more movies are to follow like Role Models, we have Oru Cinemakkaran seemingly attracting more audience. As of now, it seems that we will have the holidays extended to Tuesday, and as the vacation is longer, we are certain to have more viewers, and a bigger need for more movies to choose from. There has been a shortage of Malayalam movies, and this one will stay for longer considering the need to have more and more of these.

Release date: 24th June 2017
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Leo Thaddeus
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Rajisha Vijayan, Renji Panicker, Anusree Nair, Lal, Vijay Babu, Kottayam Pradeep, Prasanth Narayanan, Noby Marcose, Hareesh Perumanna, Joy Mathew, Sasi Kalinga, Jaffer Idukki, Jennifer Antony, Jacob Gregory (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Georgettan’s Pooram

Vampire Owl: Why is it that all these people have characters that have something or the other to highlight as a title?

Vampire Bat: You mean, like that first Malayalam movie to release this year – Jomonte Suvisheshangal.

Vampire Owl: And surely Jacobinte Swargarajyam.

Vampire Bat: Along with Darwinte Parinamam.

Vampire Owl: As well as Maheshinte Prathikaram.

Vampire Bat: This is the fifth with this kind of a title, there is no real difference in possessiveness.

Vampire Owl: I think that these people, George, Jomon, Darwin, Jacob and Mahesh are related.

Vampire Bat: There is a great chance that Jacob and Jomon are – they even tell the same story, you know.

Vampire Owl: Maybe they are from different generations, and it is just history repeating itself in a distant family.

Vampire Bat: Georgettan’s Pooram might be more distant with the use of slang in it, though.

[Gets the tickets with some caramel popcorn and vegetable puffs].

What is the movie about? :: A team of four mischievous boys have grown up to be George Vadakkan (Dileep), and his best friends who are known only by their nicknames, Vava (Vinay Forrt), Pallan (Sharfudheen) and Chullan (Thiru Actlab). Living in and around the city of Trichur, the four friends spend most of their time doing nothing, having drinks or simply sleeping, in Mathai Parambu, a piece of land donated to the public by a former Kabbadi player who was part of great achievements from the Indian Kabbadi team – they also have for company and old kabbadi player, Joseph (T.G. Ravi). But George’s father, the parish priest of the local church of the Mar Thoma denomination, Mathew Vadakkan (Renji Panicker), wishes for something or anything better for his son – nobody believes in the same though, even his own friends and relatives.

So, what happens next? :: As the four goes through the path which leads nowhere, George comes across Merlin (Rajisha Vijayan) during a funeral, and immediately falls in love with her. Even though she tells him that he wishes to become a nun and despite the fact that she belongs to another denomination, he shamelessly decides to run after her for love. Without having to do anything else in life, such things have been very easy for him. There is also the entry of Peter Mathai (Chemban Vinod Jose), who claims to be the son of E.V. Mathai and claims the ownership of Mathai Parambu. He seems to be determined to take control of land by one way or the other. But the team of four are not willing to give up their place, and in an effort to save their land as well as to make Merlin fall in love with George, they go on doing some strange things, none of which works well enough.

What follows these events? :: The team of four are clueless as usual, as they are used to do nothing good, and seems to come up with nothing constructive. Even their inspiration, Joseph dies by falling from the top of a tower there. One day, Peter seems to be ready to give up the claim to the land, but for the same, George and his friends will have to play kabbadi, and also start winning. The people of the locality also backs them in this to keep the land in the hands of the public. But is it possible for them to win against top level players with some quick training? How far can the public support and prayers boost them? Is Peter really the son of E.V. Mathai, and does he mean what he says? Can George manage to win the love of Merlin and the appreciation of his parents and siblings? Not really the easier things to do for George, but he decides not to give up.

The defence of Georgettan’s Pooram :: Despite not using the state award winning actress, the star of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, Rajisha Vijayan to her best of potential, the movie does manage to use Dileep well enough – we get to be confident that he will be back for more with another light-hearted movie, not just producing one like he did for Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. Vinay Forrt and Sharafudheen also remains interesting, and there is entertainment guaranteed from their side. The level of comedy is fluctuating throughout the movie, but there are some nice ones in this flick. The second half has things getting rather intense, and the plot gets an upgrade there. Chemban Vinod Jose once again impresses the audience with the way that he carries on as the man with a mission, and he remains our hope for future in a lot of different kinds of roles. Renji Panicker continues what he has been doing the best, as the father figure, and this time at more than one level.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is just too long, and it could have easily been made shorter without some bad jokes in the first half and those slow motion sequences of heroism in the second – Karinkunnam 6s had managed to bring volleyball to the centre of everything and managed to be an interesting flick; but this one gets kabbadi too late in the second half only, and things get serious slowly only. Sudheer Karamana gets to play kabbadi here as he had done for volleyball in last year’s Manju Warrier starrer. A certain amount of absence in logic is also there, and the movie also gets confused in working with the Christian denominations. If the priest shown as protagonist’s father is actually a priest of Mar Thoma denomination, as a protestant church, the church building or the house wouldn’t be having saints or statues of anyone. If the person was intended to be a Catholic priest, he wouldn’t have been married – it is a strange world right there. One also wonders why the protagonist has to go after the girl shamelessly after she says no – shouldn’t the “no” always mean a “no”? And still he is a hero?

How it finishes :: Georgettan’s Pooram could have done a lot better not only with its comedy, but also with its sporting side. But as it is now, it is surely a watchable flick, and the best entertainer with Dileep as the main character after Two Countries which had him at what he has been doing the best. The protagonist shouldn’t have turned a super kabbadi player all of a sudden though, battling against the big players. Maybe some restraint could have been brought with the heroism. Maybe, a better flow could have been maintained. But for some time-pass, nobody can deny that this movie has something here and there for most of the people. Surely bigger in fun compared to Dileep’s recent movies, and surely better than any movie in that long list of continuous movies from Kammath and Kammath to Ivan Maryadaraman, Georgettan’s Pooram can ask for some of your time as long as you enough to spare!

Release date: 1st April 2017
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: K. Biju
Starring: Dileep, Rajisha Vijayan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinay Forrt, Sharafudheen, Thiru Actlab, Renji Panicker, T. G. Ravi, Sudheer Karamana, Kalaranjini, Assim Jamal, Jayaraj Warrier, Sunil Sukhada, Sathi Premji, Kulappulli Leela

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anuraga Karikkin Vellam

anuragakarikkinvellam (1)

What is it about? :: Raghu (Biju Menon) is a police officer who gets angry easily and takes things into his own hands instead of going on to register a case. Despite a lot of advice from his colleague James (Sudheer Karamana) and repeated warnings from his superior officer Irfaan (Irshad), he doesn’t back off and beats up goons. He has to face disciplinary measures, but he just doesn’t care. He keeps a rough and tough image at home too, with his wife Suma (Asha Sarath) and his children. His son, Abhilash (Asif Ali) isn’t too happy about that either, and spends his time with his friends Kichu (Sreenath Bhasi) and Fakruddin (Soubin Shahir) and even though he is an engineering graduate, is not really interested in going for a job related to what he studied. This is more of a Cold War situation, to be honest.

So what happens next? :: Abhilash’s former classmate Elizabeth a.k.a. Eli (Rajisha Vijayan) is madly in love with him, but he is more interested in ending that relationship which he had at college – she doesn’t let go though. As she keeps calling him all the time and even comes to his house, he tells her that he has had enough of her. He decides to get a job at a call centre nearby much to the dismay of his parents who wishes that he made better use of what he had studied. Meanwhile, an old friend and former lover gets into the life of Raghu in the form of Anuradha (Nandhini), and a few phone calls change his life as well as those close to him. There will be a lot of twists in the lives of the main characters, as they will find different meanings of life, and see people more clearly without prejudices.

The defence of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam :: The best thing about Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is that there is almost no dull moment in this movie which doesn’t go on to tell anything out of the ordinary – that is something for which the people behind this movie deserves a lot of applause. The type of simple, happy and funny moments we have here are like those that we had in Maheshinte Prathikaram, even though not that big in fun content. This is another feel-good entertainer of the same kind, dealing with love, family relationships and friendship in such a way that there is not much of sadness, and the assurance is about a smile on your face. There will be characters whom you can relate to, and there will be those whom you are going to meet at some point of your life – they are all simple, and part of this world. There is nothing to pretend here, as people here are just people. And Cochin looks great as usual.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special being tried here, and going through things in a steady manner, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is not for people who are expecting a great story; this is something that moves on to its finish in an entertaining manner instead of making something big with its plot. The one character that wasn’t utilized in the right way was that of Sony, as he plays a genuinely good character in this movie who deserved a better finish. There is a little bit of a struggle in the climax as there is a little too silliness that crawls in there, but things do end in a good way, as you get the message and you have the feel-good factor right where you want it. I was also looking for some better songs in this one considering how things took a turn in the second half.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon and his comic timing keeps this movie at a top level as far as the coming timing is concerned. As the hero’s father, he is more like the one who handles things the best as his character does in the household. Asif Ali is very good in this role of the usual youth that he has to play. As Sreenath Bhasi and Soubin Shahir support him nicely, there is some definite laughter in store there too. Asha Sarath keeps it simple and believable throughout the movie. Meanwhile, the newcomer Rajisha Vijayan surprises us with her work. In the beginning, you feel that she is going to be that usual annoying girlfriend, and then she takes her character to another level – even as the other characters might get all the claps, she will be the one face that is certain to stay in your mind. She doesn’t just begin well as an actress, she scores huge, for her Eli is a delight to watch.

Soul exploration :: There is a lot of optimism in this movie. There are broken relationships, problems in the family, confusion between friends and all, but everything around this one happens for the good, and something positive comes out of all these incidents. Every loss in life is a valuable lesson here, and it depends on how we see them – there might be a better chance waiting for us, or a better person who is going to make our lives more colourful. We are defined by our past, and each incident helps to make us better people – we learn from our mistakes and move on, as we try to make things better again with the experience that we have earned; like in a computer game. There is also no presence of those usual cliches that we expect to see in the end, that is fine relief.

How it finishes :: Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is the kind of movie that one needs to watch with family – even with the possible deviation there, it never really goes the other way which was to be not family-friendly; it keeps itself in control at all times, and at the same time, uses all those possible elements which would make this one a full fun ride. It is the kind of movie that a debutante director can be proud of, and Khalid Rahman has a great beginning here. It is as sweet as the name suggests, and successfully maintains that mood, to get to that end with no problem. Even the little kitten scores with its cute expressions – there is no missing there, as we look less for the perfection in its story, and instead leave satisfied with the cuteness. The movie still bringing a big crowd into the theatres almost a month after its release is not fluke, but the result of the realistic and sweet depiction of life which is reflected here.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Biju Menon, Asif Ali, Asha Sarath, Rajisha Vijayan, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Naaji, Aas Mohammad Abbasi, Chinnu Nair, Nandhini, Sudheer Karamana, Irshad, Maniyanpilla Raju

anuragakarikkinvellam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.