Lord Livingstone

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What is it about? :: A few letters from a survivalist and nature lover Philipose John Varkey (Kunchako Boban) brings a number of people to a forest. The people include Madhumita Krishnan (Reenu Mathews) an expert in guns who is feeling lonely in her life; Beeran (Sunny Wayne), a street magician who is trying to escape his troubled past; CK Menon (Nedumudi Venu), a retired central defence employee who has run away from an old age home; Shanumgan Ilangovan (Bharath), an adventurer who is losing his health and confidence, Professor Neelakandan (Chemban Vinod Jose), a college lecturer who wishes to do something different with his life and Ananthakrishnan Iyer (Jacob Gregory), a science expert who wishes to break away from the chains put on him by his wife.

What is the plan here? :: Most of us know what we are to expect in this movie from the trailer, and it doesn’t try to deviate much from that central idea. These people are those who decided to start the trip and has reached the forest after Philipose had sent one hundred letters to people whom he thought might be interested in joining him or could prove to be of worth. The total head count is six, and with Philipose and his local friend Malavedan (Sudheer Karamana) added makes it eight. There is a mission in front of them though, and it is to save a village in the forest, known only by the name 7000 Kandi. It has this group of people trying to keep the corporate evil away from this village and its people, as modernity threatens to destroy the forest. The battle to save nature begins here.

The defence of Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi :: As the viewers had expected from the trailer, there is a very nice visual experience guaranteed with this movie. The display of such beauty on screen actually begins from the credits itself The message to save forests and to stop deforestation is right there, in a crystal clear manner. The shots are done in such a way that we are sure to fall in love with nature and it will also inspire the audience to go for an awesome journey. It is like we transported to that world and there is the feeling of being there provided for the audience. There are moments which will make us appreciate the effort taken to bring them to the big screen. The cast is very much suitable for this story, even though one more female character would have made things better. Forget everything else, and we will feel that the intention behind this movie is nothing other than goodness.

Claws of flaw :: With the fight for nature and its people, we are provided the memory of Avatar which doesn’t do much good to this movie – our movie here is different, and it is from another man’s vision as he visualizes something to show his love of nature. But the common audience won’t understand it that well. There is also a struggle in characterization, with none of the characters given what they really deserve. The first half is actually superior to the second, and the finish seems rushed – a problem faced my many movies of these times. The comic side is not that well used with so much of scope, and the same can be said about the story. It is not full on seriousness either. The exploration of the life of the people in the village comes as another negative. The final scenes could have been a lot better planned and a few situations could have been avoided. I am of a strong belief that Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi could have achieved something a lot bigger with its premise.

Performers of the soul :: In this movie from Anil Radhakrishnan Menon which can be ranked his third after North 24 Kaatham and Sapthamasree Thaskaraha, the names in the cast are strong. Kunchako Boban arrives late in this movie, and he is the pick of the actors here. Nedumudi Venu who has been in all movies from the director, has once again done his job with ease. Chemban Vinod Jose and Jacob Gregory handles the comic side, but the truth remains that they are very much underutilized, and it is a shame. Reenu Mathews seems like the right choice here, and Sunny Wayne is comfortable. Bharath is good even in a character which doesn’t get enough considering the fact that it was the most adventurous one. There were a number of actors and actresses who played the villagers including Rokiya Adam and Priya Lal, and even though not recognizable due to the high level make-up, come up with some nice work.

Soul exploration :: We know that Earth is not the private property of man, but the greed for money has always kept the mankind ready to exploit nature. No, it is not the poor men and women who struggle in the forests who are to be blamed, but the corporate evil. Well, the laws will always favour the man with lots of money, and so nature will only suffer more and more. We will never have the righteous government unless politicians become less political, but if it was to be so, they might never really win. It is surprising that people who vote in the name of religion, community and caste never really vote for saving nature. But even with the promise to save nature, is it not the poor man who is thrown away from home instead of stopping the rich from taking over large amount of land? May be Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi will go on to become that movie which can add an extra message.

How it finishes :: Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi is not a movie for everyone, and it is something which needs to be told again and again. But another fact that comes with this realization is that it is a movie which needs to be watched. No, these two sentences don’t contradict each other because you don’t know to which group you belong until you have watched this movie. Still, there is one thing about which you can be sure, and it is that this is not an entertainer. But when we think about the same, Pathemari and Ennu Ninte Moideen were not entertainers either. Still, there is something that I would ask you to bring while going to watch this movie, and it is the love for nature – it is something that you always need, but these days, it is something that you need to be reminded of. Let us hope that even though not close to being the big movie, Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi manages to do that up-to an extent for the attitude of the people. If you support good message and interesting innovation, there is something here!

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Reenu Mathews, Chemban Vinod Jose, Jacob Gregory, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana, Bharath, Sunny Wayne, Rokiya Adam, Priya Lal

lordlivingstone

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Iyobinte Pusthakam

Iyobinte Pustakam ()

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Iyob (Lal) and his three sons, Dimitri (Chemban Vinod Jose), Ivan (Jinu Joseph) and Aloshy (Fahadh Faasil). Iyob was a young local boy who became the right-hand of Harrison (Sal Yusuf), one of the British people who established homes in Munnar, but he managed to rise after his death and had become the most powerful and the influential man in the area. Due to the commanding nature of his father and the atrocities of his brothers which are covered up with money, Aloshy leaves home and joins the Royal Navy from where he is dismissed as a result of a mutiny, which leads him back home. There, his troubles with his brothers begin, and Iyob is infuriated by his lack of obedience and also lack of display of admiration for his father, for which he disinherits him, and his brothers attack him and leaves him for dead. But Iyob doesn’t really know his other sons yet, and an enemy called Angoor Rawther (Jayasurya) shall soon come up.

The defence of Iyobinte Pusthakam :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is brilliant, and amazing beyond words in its visual splendour – it is something that we might have never seen before in Indian cinema, and one can get a peek at the same by just looking at the trailer – the complete stuff is a lot bigger and highly extravagant in its visuals. What you see in the posters are made a lot better in this movie, and not the other way around. The movie’s use of history and the variety in settings are also something to cheer about. We rarely have such good period thrillers in Malayalam, and even in Bollywood. The only things related to history that we have these days are related to killing white people – are we so much out of ideas that we have to talk about one thing again and again? No, not all, says Amal Neerad who has come up with his magnum opus here, which tells the story of the people of the land during the British rule and after, combining history and fiction. You can appreciate this one as long as you have the ability for the same.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might still be slow for a few, but I will say that there is absolutely no drag, and it is achieved by the beauty of the visuals – it is no bloody useless drag like Annayum Rasoolum, I can assure you that; this is more of a Left Right Left of this year. As you enter the world of unparalleled visual beauty, what you want might not be the story. The plot might look ordinary, but it is never about the story. Do watch and get taken into this amazing world, and the first movie from Amal Neerad that I liked – and this is one big like for him! Yes, I have never liked Big B, Sagar Alias Jacky, Anwar and Bachelor’s Party, and you fan-boys and girls can dislike me for the same. Interstellar was just a story that could never happen, but this one is a story of humanity in real, and it is up-to you to choose the one that you wish for this weekend, as both are for entirely different set of minds! Our Malayalam critics will never rate a movie from Kerala high, so just the “very good” rating for this movie would mean “out of this world”.

Performances of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is nothing less than brilliant here, as he has another feather in the cap here. It is amazing how he has managed to thrive under almost every circumstance that has been put before him. How good can he be? We can never know the limits of his abilities as it seems. Lal is also nothing less than the powerful and later the helpless figure that he is supposed to be – there is nobody other who can be this character. Chemban Vinod Jose and Jinu Joseph are also good and the former is extremely efficient at times Isha Sharvani is extremely beautiful and suited for the role with her looks alone, otherwise she has much less to do; but that has still worked well for the character. Jayasurya is one impressive villain too, as he becomes the smiling assassin here. Padmapriya as Rahel also scores, coming out nowhere. Vinayakn is also nice. The characterization is so powerful and they nicely blend into the strength of visual beauty and that nice background score. I shall leave with some more thoughts below.

Soul exploration 1 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as King Lear :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is a lot like King Lear or a loose adaptation from the same – it is as much of Shakespeare as Haider is Hamlet, and it has nicely used the setting to support the same. Iyob is King Lear who divides his kingdom among two sons, disinheriting the third, and in the end, it turns out that he was always the righteous and the loving one who comes out to help the father. Goneril, Regan and Cordelia are all here, and there is the Earl of Kent who is joins with the villains this time as Lazar. Rahel does the job of Edmund here, standing between the two sons and making one kill the other. Meanwhile, going outside the play, Martha becomes the lady love that every movie needs, and Angoor Rawther is just the villain that every story should have. There are also those moments when Iyob seems to be descending into madness, and Oswald is also there, as the man who tries to kill our hero and gets himself killed. Also check for the The Brothers Karamazov kind of characters with the same names.

Soul exploration 2 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Parable of the Prodigal Son :: Iyob himself mentions Aloshy as prodigal son when he returns from the navy, and the church priest mentions that he is to be given a warm welcome if it is so, just like in the Holy Bible. But here, Aloshy is not the prodigal son, but rather the lost son, who returns after gaining wisdom rather than losing money, and this illusion of the gone son being the prodigal son is directly reversed in this movie without any complication. But considering a few other cases, he is indeed unemployed and without money compared to what he has at his own home which was left behind. The money that he extravagantly spent are the years of his life, and the time which he should have spent with his family. The father does accept his son, but once again, the elder brothers don’t. The movie’s use of the dialogues about the parable gives us this idea.

Soul exploration 3 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Biblical story of Job :: The main character of the movie is Iyob or Job even as the hero is Aloshy. Even as our character here doesn’t have the qualities of a righteous man, he is also someone who losses almost everything that he holds dear, and it includes his own children, his property, and up-to an extent, his health. But the answer to his problems is achieved sooner here, in the form of his earlier lost son Aloshy. During his last moments, he holds onto the cross and gives it to his son, something which he already had, but rarely mentions as his baptism was nothing that he or his people wanted. It is his faith in God that is replenished in his final moments, and even as there is no redemption like that of the Biblical Job here, he does manage to die a good person rather than the evil feudal lord that he had been.

*This is the finest movie of the year from India, among all those which I have watched. Don’t miss this one! It is out of the usual league. It also leaves us with thoughts about the oppressed becoming the oppressor when opportunity arises, and also with a message on equality among the masses.

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Amal Neerad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Isha Sharvani, Lal, Jayasurya, Padmapriya, Chemban Vinod Jose, Reenu Mathews, Jinu Joseph, Vinayakan, Lena Abhilash, T. G. Ravi, Sreejith Ravi, Shebin Benson, Saritha Kuku, Nebish Benson, Sal Yusuf, Aashiq Abu (cameo), Amala Paul (cameo)

iyobintepustakam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sapthamashree Thaskaraha

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Vampire Owl :: I can’t pronounce the name of this movie. Is it a bad omen? Does that mean that we will suffer brutally?

Vampire Bat :: No, the movie is good as per all reports. There is absolutely no question about it. The inability to pronounce is because you are an owl.

Vampire Owl :: I am the Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, everybody knows that already.

Vampire Owl :: Well, what you don’t know about is the significance of owls in vampire mythology.

Vampire Bat :: It is not about you, but some random old, toothless owl.

Vampire Owl :: You shall not understand because you were brainwashed thrice by Uncle Dracula. Do you think the movie will go wrong?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t think so. Prithviraj hasn’t missed anything since Ayalum Njanum Thammil. There is that perfection even in cameo roles; even in Bollywood. Even his lesser appreciated movie London Bridge was a very good flick which some people failed to follow with its themes because of their lesser intellect.

Vampire Owl :: So, this is the day we really celebrate Onam?

Vampire Bat :: This should be it. But this is not the end as there are also a few other movies to pick from.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: We see a man coming to confess at a church in the early morning, and he decides to tell the priest about his story of crime. He talks about how his life changed with one big heist that he committed. There are seven people who meet in the prison, and the list includes Krishnanunni (Prithviraj Sukumaran), Shabab (Asif Ali), Noble (Nedumudi Venu), Martin (Chemban Vinod), Narayanankutty (Neeraj Madhav), Vasu (Sudheer Karamana) and Salam (Salam Bukhari). They decide to steal from a business tycoon called Pious Mathew (Joy Mathew) who was the one responsible for the terrible predicament of some of the people in the same cell as well as many other poor people. For the same, they come up with a plan for which they are helped by Noble’s daughter Annamma (Sanusha Santhosh), Salam’s friend Paki (Flower Battsetseg) and a few of the other former acquaintances as they decide to teach the city’s top devil a lesson.

The defence of Sapthamashree Thaskaraha :: Here, the usual heist movie is made interesting due to the skills of the director, as there is some nice narration and progress going on in the movie, and the jokes are nicely added in between the situations. The confession setting is nicely done, and the dialogues there are worth some applause. There were lots of claps all around in the theatre. Anil Radhakrishnan Menon has nicely managed these characters here and has made sure that all the robbers have some individuality of their own to compliment each other. The whole thing remains interesting throughout, and there is no drag, loss of interest or any similar thing. The fact that this turns out to be more of a heist than a social satire might be interesting for a few, but not working for some others – remember that things are rather too easy for the robbers. The movie is a clear winner for the Onam box-office, and nothing can change that, and considering the opinions about the other movies, a defence might not be even needed.

The claws of flaw :: The addition in the end is pretty immature, as if there is that 7th Day hangover which never leaves, and has come back to haunt for this Onam – the movie should have just finished before it. There is never the need for a climax over another climax just to add another twist. What we needed were simple lovable little robbers working for a cause, and the end ruins it, destroying that feel-good element completely. The movie was going in the same mood until it happened. The whole thing does remind us of many Hollywood heist movies, and as a comparison is rather unnecessary, I shall leave out of it. This doesn’t like up-to our director’s first movie North 24 Kaatham in front of which, this is trailing. The movie takes too much time to get into the action, and almost an hour is over by the time all the flashbacks are dealt with – not really appropriate for a heist movie to have such a long background for each character. None of the songs are interesting except for the title song which is okay.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran continues his winning run in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, as his success story continues from what he had started with the Lal Jose movie and goes on even when put in less familiar territories like Bollywood (Aurangzeb), romance (London Bridge) and even in negative roles most of the actors would hesitate to do. That perfect journey that he started in 2012, as there is no other actor who has achieved such a good winning ratio, as they move around with their ups and downs – this where Prithviraj has risen above them all, the only other person who has achieved a similar record should be Nivin Pauly, but even he hasn’t got such variety opportunities as our man here who has made the impossible look easy through the last few years. Yes, if you choose the right movie to act in, there will always be appreciation or at least there won’t be too many bad things being told in the worst case scenario.

And the same that is continued :: This Onam is not just about this movie’s success for Prithviraj Sukumaran, as he became father to a baby girl a few days ago. Here, he has a role which is not at all a challenge for him, and does that with ease. The rest of the cast is also very good, and it is on the performances that this movie stands. Reenu Mathews and Sanusha do fine with the limited roles that they have, and the pick of the supporting cast should be Chemban Vinod and Neeraj Madhav who give us a lot to laugh. Asif Ali should have had a bigger role here, but he remains just as one of the seven robbers, unlike his nice entrance in the beginning. Joy Mathew is a nice villain, and this might be better than his previous such performances. Sudheer Karamana and Nedumudi Venu also provides nice support here. Indrajith Sukumaran comes in a guest role by the end of the movie. Flower Battsetseg, a Mongolian circus artist also does some nice work in this flick.

How it finishes :: This Onam is not that good as the last year, as it is evident from the reception for the released movies, and it goes on with the total lag that this year has experienced with Malayalam movies. The last year’s Onam had North 24 Kaatham, Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus and Ezhamathe Varavu being very good flicks, the first one being simplay awesome. There were also terrible stuff like D Company and Sringaravelan, but this year only has Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and up-to an extent, Bhaiyya Bhaiyya to save the season, as others turn out to be mass masala movies for the fans. If the reports are to be correct, Sapthamashree Thaskaraha should be the movie of Onam, and it is clearly re-iterated by a lot of movie watchers who are regular audience. It is a good sign for this Onam. I shall take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads this a Happy Onam, and hope that this last weekend before the Onam vacation ends, brings some awesome movies which will only extend our celebrations. Enjoy the Onam Holidays and God bless! 🙂

Release date: 6th September 2014
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Reenu Mathews, Sanusha Santhosh, Asif Ali, Joy Mathew, Neeraj Madhav, Nedumudi Venu, Chemban Vinod, Flower Battsetseg, Sudheer Karamana, Salam Bukhari, Lijo Jose Pellissery, Indrajith Sukumaran (cameo)

sapthasreethaskarahaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

5 Sundarikal

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5 Sundarikal which can be translated as 5 Beauties, is that romantic anthology film which might have had its existence to thank the 2009 anthology movie Kerala Cafe. There were ten stories in that one and here it is cut to half with five, and only Anwar Rasheed doing a story in both the anthologies. The Vampire Bat would not agree to the title though, as it would be left to him to say which one is the beauty and which one is the beast. The only suitable title would have been 5 Females, and fighting with three other movies which has interested the crowds, even the name of a movie has to add to the total interest generated. Even in my case, this is the first time I get a Malayalam movie with a Malayalam name to review, and the “5” is to be read as Malayalam “anchu” and not “five” as far as I know. Watching stupidity like Raanjhanaa is clearly out of the equation and this movie having five stories instead of one increases the probability of getting at least two good ones; so there is no doubt which Indian movie one is supposed to go this week. There is the power of five compared to the power of six in ASK a.k.a Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, and the obsession with beauties continue, this time with more success, and one beauty judged less is always the truth gained further. Whether it should be “sundarikal” or “sundarimaar” is a question to be asked to satisfy the quest to find grammatical errors, and I would go with the former.

Sethulakshmi: directed by Shyju Khalid :: [59/100] :: No, there isn’t going to be a total score based on the average of these stories, as that should annihilate the purpose of this movie as an anthology as well as this review as a subjective reality. There would be separate worlds for each story and for the movie, there would be another reality of totality, to which this simple story adds on first coming as an adaptation of M. Mukundan’s short story, Photo. The story of two school kids is shown in its own natural innocence until their world-changing event happens. The simplicity turns itself into the tough theme which the story has to deal with, and that is the place and may be where it scores. There is the depth of evil portrayed in a way that will haunt one with innocence. But the question remains if this belongs to this movie, as the presence of a beauty or even pseudo-beauty here itself negates the need for this story in the movie and all the purpose it would have served, and however one tries to look at this, a more deserving platform for this one would have been Kerala Cafe, and might have been the second best story in that movie after Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey. It is kind of misplaced here, and this might have been added here to arouse the curiosity of the viewers as well as to create that new generation element – otherwise this among the other stories is like Roger Federer guarding the goal post for the Spanish national football team.

Isha: directed by Sameer Thahir :: [79/100] :: Along with the former one, this story also has the scope of becoming a one and half to two hours of good cinema. It stars Nivin Pauly as the thief a.k.a the Santa, and Isha Sharvani who makes her debut as the beauty of this segment, and undoubtedly the smartest and the most charming of them all. They start off as two strangers and with many things in common, and the question would be what they end up to be, and that is the surprise, that twist of plot which raises the story from its existence just inches about the average level. Nivin Pauly has remained similar to what we saw in Thattathin Marayathu, as this time he has another Isha, Isha Sharvani instead of Isha Talwar, another lady from the North, and this female lead does a lot more than the other one did. This story and what is to follow are the only two segments which are actually centered on the beauties, and this is the only segment in which the beauty is in control and remains so throughout most of the story. One has to say that this one has the best of the lighter moments too, and the claps which came after this segment are well deserved. The whole story is centered on the two leading characters, and there we see the most beautiful lady and the one romantic hero; they make this work like nobody else could have.

Gouri: directed by Aashiq Abu :: [10/100] :: This is the weak link in the whole movie, and without this, the movie could have been declared the best anthology in Malayalam movie industry ever. This is Aashiq Abu’s worst so far, and from what we have seen of him already, it might remain his worst. Biju Menon is there as the husband with nothing to do that really matters to the story. Tini Tom and Rimi Tomy makes an unnecessary visit, as Kavya Madhavan who plays the wife expresses her need to have a kid. Kavya is there as if she is to be that strange character who is more unsure about herself and the world around her than Popeye without his spinach. Jayasurya also makes a small appearance thus making this one the most powerful segment in terms of celebrity power, but in performance, it is a dynamite of the next generation which failed to blow. This is a painfuel half an hour of torture, which could have been avoided or may be replaced. It is surprising that it came from the same director who gave us Da Thadiya in the same year. This might even make Estragon and Vladimir say that there is something to be done – sorry, Samuel Beckett. Kammath and Kammath and Lokpaal were not that bad now, as you go through this one. This story in the middle shows us the middle finger, but fortunately it was preceded and followed by brilliant segments.

Kullante Bharya: directed by Amal Neerad :: [84/100] :: This is the moment which strikes you hard. Amal Neerad has come up with a story which is narrated by Dulquer Salmaan who sees everything from the top floor of a group of apartments. The awesome presentation and the story’s ability to relate with the contemporary society of Kerala, and may be even India as a whole, has helped this one to get the most claps in the theatre, and remain the highlight of this five star experiment. Dulquer Salmaan has eased through this segment, and even as a person moving on wheelchair, there is so much of impact with every word he says. Reenu Mathews leaves an imprint without even a word said. The newcomer Jinu Ben brings tears to the audience with no direct revelation. The story also works as a satire on the self-proclaimed righteous, highly moral society which considers itself as the role-model, and has a lot of prejudice against the people whom they are not familiar with, and those who think or act different. If there has been so much interest in this story which has only one actor who has performed in a leading role in more than one movie, it shows how much impact this one has created, and how much it could relate with its audience.

Aami: by Anwar Rasheed :: [61/100] :: This might be the most awaited story of the movie, with a businessman, Ajmal (Fahadh Faasil), who travels from Malappuram to Kochi and vice versa. His too much affectionate wife who is known only by her nickname (Asmitha Sood) keeps asking tricky questions to him and leaves him puzzles to solve – a strange abnormal habit, to which anybody would agree. The night journey then transforms into something that changes his life. The presence of Honey Rose and Vinayakan just adds to powerful cast of this segment which is already the talking point due to Fahadh Faasil’s presence and his new looks. It is him who excells in this story, and everything else is a little let down. With meaningless puzzles and strange happenings, this is not something which the viewers can relate with, but thanks to the leading actor and some interesting dialogues, this one lets the movie with its head held high, not annihilating the world which was created by the second and the fourth segments. As Fahadh Faasil fights extreme anger, greed for money, violence and his own old relationships and gets back to his beloved, the whole thing ends happily. This is surely better than the highly predictable Bridge segment in Kerala Cafe by the same director.

The movie is that roller coaster ride of Final Destination 3, in which death tries to pull the movie down, as some of the stories lose charm, and suddenly a story comes up which changes the things around. It is the advantage of having five different stories directed by five different people, and this is well done, and it would live on as long as this theme doesn’t come up with a overdose, either with the stories or with the concept of pseudo-beauty. To be frank, there is nothing in this which binds this collection together, as same was the case with Kerala Cafe, and it doesn’t give that much of anything that Cloud Atlas gave its viewers. This movie uses the concept of enchanting viewers with its title and the trailer, and tries to undo the failure of Poppins which had its own wrecked set of anthologies in which only the story of Kunchako Boban and Nithya Menon made any impact, with Indrajith-Padmapriya and Jayasurya-Meghna stories staying there not without troubles. Still, the question remains, who is the beauty? If they were all eligible for the same title, won’t they be good enough for that word which comes as just the opposite? Why would we be forced to believe with that willing suspension of disbelief that they are all beautiful? Will Isha Sharvani and Kavya Madhavan look like beauties to two people who have different concepts of beauty? Even myself is clearly sceptical about the latter; but leave that for the intellectuals, and concentrate on the medium for now.

Release date: 20th June 2013
Running time: 145 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Sameer Thahir, Shyju Khaled, Aashiq Abu
Starring: Isha Sharvani, Asmitha Sood, Reenu Mathews, Honey Rose, Kavya Madhavan, Baby Anika, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Master Chethan, Tini Tom, Rimi Tomy, Jinu Ben, Vinayakan

5sundarikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Immanuel

immanue

There has been a certain absence of goodness in most of the movies of the last few years of new generation stuff; this absence which has been reclaimed more by another experimental movie which was Amen, and it is once again regained by this world full of goodness in the middle of evil in this movie Immanuel. The word “Immanuel” or “Emmanuel” has been a common Biblical name meaning “God is with us”. This presence of God and His Word happens to have an influence on this movie, which is more powerful than what is seen at first sight, as the strength lies in what is less noticed, and this strength powers the natural world that is conveyed to the audience; for even without them knowing, there is the power of divinity behind the seemingly ordinary goodness. The belief in essential goodness of man has been clearly broken with those movies which glorified pure evil. But this is not something which needs a theory to support the fact, as it has been proven by mankind by centuries of wars, brutal murders and destruction. The global presence of this evil is unquestionable. William Golding had made us believe the same with his Lord of the Flies which powers the belief in inherent evil in man. That tendency to sin innate in all human beings, held to be inherited from Adam and Eve.

As the “Fall of Man” has become more of an excuse for sins rather than something which acts as an influence, this movie comes up with one man who keeps his alignment towards the good. The mankind might be still inherently evil and this evil resides within everyone and could be unleashed at any moment as long as the situation is suitable, with no need for a Hannibal Lector. The dark side of human nature could be as vicious and as terrifying as the evil that exist unknown to man, and even the most innocent of mankind are vulnerable to it – but not our hero, as we welcome the man of goodness, Immanuel. He is no fairy king, halfling, hobbit or anything, but as human as one can be, in a world of lost humanity. He is the biggest surprise in the movie named after himself, and he is no lesser wonder in a world of utter chaos & misery, as the humane nature of humanity survives through him and runs his sacred endurance to the limits. Immanuel is not just a character of Lal Jose’s imagination, but a much needed reason for the salvation of human race – for the saved are less and the damned are many; for the greatest of the fallen ones has multiplied, not by breeding, but by intellect of the wrong kind calling it science and technology; profit and success.

The movie starts with the character of Immanuel working in a small book publishing firm. When the small company is forced to shut down due to the owner having heavy debts and going on a vanishing act, Immanuel and his family find it difficult to go through their regular lives. There are the usual requirements of a home as well as the needs of his son which makes life uneasy for the family. The difficulties he faces forces him to get a job which is not really suitable for someone like him. For a honest, good hearted person like Immanuel, the corporate world is nothing less than the inferno of the deepest level. He is forced completely out of his comfort zone, but he is also not able to quit the job as his family desperately needs the money. Thus he decides to go on as long as he can, and one day he might be able to find enough money to buy a home and get himself and the family out of the rented house. Most of his co-workers are of not much help to him, as they are all competitors in the same field and would use treachery if necessary to keep their levels high. His boss, Jeevan proves to be the biggest problem, as the cruel corporate master and oppressor, nothing less than a feudal lord or a colonizer. The boss’s aim is only to gain maximum profit, even as he talks about the customer being the king.

Remembering The Pursuit of Happyness, it was a movie which glorified this type of life, and the ultimate aim was to meet the deadline and get the target, but this one takes it upside down. Maximizing the client contacts and thus the profits doesn’t really get the job done for Immanuel. He is the kind of person who is ready to give up all of them as a sacrifice for leading a life of truth and sincerity. May be “happyness” was not what Immanuel was looking for, as it was “happiness” in its most stable form. Immanuel always had the needs, but he never over-valued money over the human relations, a total opposite to Jeevan, the latter who is more suitable to be included in the pursuit of “happyness” than “happiness”, more of a pseudo-happiness which takes a physical appearance rather than mental – for it is of this world in all its limited environment. Such a position wouldn’t create anything more than a void within a void, a point which is made clear through the lives of the two main characters in this movie. But the question would be about the point where humanity ends and divinity starts for Immanuel; and that other point where humanity ends and damnation starts for Jeevan, even if it is not a complete process. Such a question creates more doubts than solutions.

Mammootty’s Immanuel is more of a flawless creature of divinity. Even with contradicting philosophical problems created by the man of goodness, there is so much simplicity in his depiction of the character. There is so much ease around this performance, as the character undergoes heavy transformation from his early troubles to corporate frauds and to the final realization that not all dreams come true and most of them really needn’t. Dreams are also meant to stay as they are, and ambition is just another name for greed triggered by vanity and jealousy. There are two sides to everything, and as long as the black and the white are considered, there are Jeevan and Immanuel respectively, but the white always have the option to walk away from the black, not without loss though. Immanuel still doesn’t loss his qualities that makes him what he is, as he helps two characters played by Sukumari and Mukhta, the first one getting the much needed money for her daughter’s marriage after her husband’s death, and the second one for the treatment of cancer. His help extend beyond the office though, with the poor workers from outside the state, all of these creating more rift with Jeevan and making his staying on the job even more risky. But he continues to stay as himself.

Fahadh Faasil’s Jeevan is never outside the game. He is the boss of the game of sales, as well as the brain in a smaller ship of the corporate world. He is never in good terms with Immanuel, who seems to him as his nemesis from the moment he gets his job under him. Caught between profit-making in his job, loving his family and reading the Holy Bible, he is neither here nor there, but manages to keep his dark side going with his attitude towards those who works under him. It is a fantastic performance, even as the character has less screentime compared to Immanuel. Jeevan is also the exact opposite of those characters we saw in Red Wine and Amen, and a comparison to Solomon takes this further down to the abyss reserved for extreme opposites. Reenu Mathews who plays Immanuel’s wife has come up with another performance which is above the line, and really good for a beginner. Devan plays a role like he played in Gulumaal, and it is easy to connect with the role in this one; Mukesh’s role is also a cameo and the same can be said about that of Balachandran Chullikkadu. It can be said that Muktha Elsa George plays an extended cameo with a few appearances.

Bijukuttan, Salim Kumar and Guinness Pakru provides the lighter moments in the movie, and its comedy is all sensible. There is no stupidity or vulgarity associated with it. All these funny elements are not of lower standards either. Thus it moves on as a movie suitable for all, not just for the fans or the family. But it never runs out of its slowness, and never tries to have a look outside the ordinary. If it had done so, this might have reached a new level. But it may still be more comfortable in its own territory which is in this case, the normal side. There is nothing here like what kept the audience glued to Diamond Necklace – instead, this is just the story of one good human who managed to keep his goodness even as there were so many opportunities for him to lose it along with his soul. This movie is also a story of morality – it preaches and it does so with perfection; not as perfect as one would expect in theory, but as perfect as a human with all its imperfections could manage to do. The goodness needs to be generated in a society which is plagued by lies, and may Immanuel be a good model for the people who fails to deliver truth when it is most needed. The movie’s alignment towards pure goodness is to be appreciated. God is with this movie for sure.

Release date: 5th April 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Mammootty, Fahadh Faasil, Reenu Mathews, Sukumari, Salim Kumar, Guinness Pakru, Sunil Sukhada, Ramesh Pisharody, Bijukuttan, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Muktha Elsa George, Mukesh, Devan

immanuel copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.