Atlantics

Vampire Owl: Have you tried flying over the Atlantic Ocean?

Vampire Bat: Why would we do that when we have so many portals?

Vampire Owl: Do all these portals serve as gateways now?

Vampire Bat: Not everyone. But the rest are also being repaired by Doctor Frankenstein.

Vampire Owl: I don’t know why you keep calling that inefficient person for repairs.

Vampire Bat: Well, you don’t get many undead doctors with multiple skills.

Vampire Owl: But most of his qualifications are fake, and I am sure about that.

Vampire Bat: I don’t think that all of these will be important related to this movie.

Vampire Owl: There seems to be something strange about this film though.

Vampire Bat: It is not set in France or even Europe, and that does make a difference.

[Gets a strawberry cake and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: In a popular suburb of Dakar, the capital and largest city of the African nation of Senegal, people are forced to work on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without payment even after long hours of continuous toil. The high-rising ultra-modern tower is exactly the opposite of the rest of the city which is seen around there. The tower keep getting taller, but there is no hope for the people working there, as they go on for days without getting paid the proposed wages. As there is no hope for people like them, the only option remains running away from there and finding a job elsewhere, maybe in another nation. Adding to that, the climate change has led to a consistent decline in rainfall and a certain increase in temperature. The climate change and further environmental concerns also greatly impact the very weak economy and the already struggling population. The city no longer remains an option for the young man Souleiman (Ibrahima Traore) who is in love with the charming young lady, Ada (Mame Bineta Sane) who is from the same neighbourhood.

So, what happens with the events here? :: The workers decide to leave the nation by sea, in search of a brighter future in Spain, and Souleiman accompanies them so that he can come back and try to marry his lady love who is to be married to Omar (Babacar Sylla), a rich man who seems to be the better option for Ada in the eyes of everyone. Ada’s family has almost everything set for the big function, which they hope to arrange in a few days. Spain is quite far away, and it is to be a tiring and risky journey, but that doesn’t hold Souleiman back from making the choice. Ada is highly disappointed about the fact that Souleiman decided to leave without giving her an idea. Her friends like Mariama (Mariama Gassama) does try to console her, and even for her friends, Omar is the right person for her, while Souleiman is just a hindrance in front of her objective of marrying the right man. But would he choose to wait for him for years instead of getting into wedlock? Would that be the right decision, or is it something that would go as far as eternity?

The defence of Atlantics :: There are two sides to this movie, one being the social commentary which is not far away from life, and the other one is something which you wouldn’t expect from a movie like this, a supernatural drama which is rather unpredictable. Unlike what the posters seem to suggest, this is a movie which cannot be restricted to such smaller displays. The problems of poverty, unemployment, class divide, forced migration, lack of hope and many others are shown in the movie, even though they are not always staying in the front. The visuals feel different, and beautiful even in the absence of any spectacular scene being made. We do feel the culture of the area, and there is also that feeling of inherent terror of not being among those who are supposed to be born into the advantage. It also reminds one of the 2013 Tamil movie, Maryan, the Dhanush starrer set in Kanyakumari and parts of Sudan, which had the habit of growing on you, after watching the same, a reminder that the tale of the subaltern remains the same at all places.

The claws of flaw :: You do have so much scope as far as this movie with such a setting is concerned, and the movie doesn’t use its core elements well enough. It is also quite slow, especially in the beginning stages. There was enough with this idea to speed up things, but the movie decides not to take it. The handling of pace would have a much bigger role to play inthe middle stages of the flick. The idea itself could have been clearer, and it might have helped to add some extra polishing here, but the movie doesn’t use the same either – you feel that there could be something bigger at moments, but that is not provided here. They could have also made sure that the story-line made more sense for everyone. The strange feeling of this movie might not be interesting for everyone, and it makes very much a subjective experience leading to polarised opinions among common men despite winning it completely with the critics. It is also quite surprising that their possible destination is Spain, as the location makes it a difficult place to reach by the sea.

Performers of the soul :: The cast is an unknown one, even for us who watch a lot of movies, including English, and those multiple foreign languages. But it is to be noted that they are often better than most of those so called superstars who are sons and daughters of those bigger superstars who bring them into the movie industry just because they can do whatever they please – the terrible plight of Bollywood; but here, we have a skilled cast. Mame Bineta Sane who plays Ada leads the way with ease here. Amadou Mbow also follows the procedure well to make his role memorable enough. The characters played by Aminata Kane and Mariama Gassama are also memorable as you look at them. Babacar Sylla as Omar makes a usual character which you see in the romantic movies with separation as a major theme, and he does his job quite well. In this movie, you feel more or less like the setting itself becomes a character, especially the tower and the sea, which reflects the human situation there in an interesting manner, as you look deep.

How it finishes :: As a movie which was selected as the Senegalese entry earlier for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, this movie does make a pretty good impact, as it already did in the Cannes Film Festival. It is also said that the former United States President Barack Obama had named this film among his favorite films and television series of 2019 in Twitter. It would be difficult to bring the supernatural even in the normal situations, and this one tries to do the same against all odds in a situation which is based on multiple real life themes, but manages to come through well enough in the end. You are sure to feel that there is more than what meets the eye, as far as this movie is concerned. It is surely not your usual kind of film, and this divergence definitely sets it apart. This is the time when we celebrate the variety, and for the same, the movie becomes the kind of flick that one should watch and take the ideas back home.

Release date: 29th November 2019
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed by: Mati Diop
Starring: Mame Bineta Sane, Amadou Mbow, Nicole Sougou, Aminata Kane, Traore, Coumba Dieng, Ibrahima Mbaye, Diankou Sembene, Abdou Balde, Babacar Sylla, Arame Fall Faye, Ya Arame Mousse Sene, Babacar Samba, Astou N’Diaye, Khouda Fall

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Story of 90 Coins

Vampire Owl: I have to say that this title has immediately caught my attention.

Vampire Bat: It is not natural for such a thing to happen for you considering the fact that this is a short-film.

Vampire Owl: I have loved more short-films these days than any other. So, there is a certain vision coming to me.

Vampire Bat: So, you will be watching more short-films?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why not, as you have been writing about so many. I have to keep up.

Vampire Bat: So, you are coming up against the realization that short-films are more worth the time, right?

Vampire Owl: Yes, I have gotten fine results with the last few which I watched.

Vampire Bat: Also, it is for everyone, and not limited by the boundaries, as it is available online.

Vampire Owl: And available in so many language, with English subtitles.

Vampire Bat: The only thing which stops us from watching a short-film is we ourselves.

[Gets some kuzhalappam and three cups of elaichi tea].

What is the movie about? :: The movie begins with Wang Yuyang (Dongjun Han) telling Chen Wen (Zhuang Zhiqi) to be with him forever. When she doesn’t agree to the same, and shows her doubts about the future of the relationship, he asks her to give him ninety days to prove her love towards her. Every night, when they left each other, he would give her a coin, and if she rejects his proposal after those ninety days, they would take the cash to the stall where they had first met, have some drinks and bid adieu to each other, hoping not to meet again – that would be the end. Otherwise, they are going to use it for the wedding purposes, according to him. Even though she does fall in love with him, her first priority is to have a house in the city. She also has her career in front of her, and marriage doesn’t come at the top of the list at the moment.

So, what happens next? :: Then there is a chance for her to go to Paris, which is quite the perfect place to continue her fashion designing work. The city which has been commonly referred to as the fashion capital of the world just seemed to have endless opportunities for her. Andre (Jose Acosta), her French co-worker is also asking her regularly to join him on the trip to France, and see how far she can go with her skills in the field. They have their own complications in the relation in between, and it remains to be seen, if they can stand the factors of real life when going through their tale of love. It comes to that point when the relationship was going to be no more – but the promise of ninety days remain. Will they be able to go through those days which are reflected in each coin? Is it love or is it the job that gets the upper hand in the end?

The defence of The Story of 90 Coins :: The movie is just so beautiful to watch – there are those wonderful shots, and there are also beautiful people working in it. Along with the same, the performances are also too good that we feel the reflection of the emotions of the two protagonists. The emotional effect that this movie brings is more than what some of those highly appreciated romantic flicks lasting two and half hours has brought us. We can take the example of two Malayalam movies which are considered top love stories – Ennu Ninte Moideen and Annayum Rasoolum. While the former was entertaining, it dragged itself to almost three hours, with moments which didn’t need to be there. The former also had a run-time close to three hours and had more drag than material. These two, the most overrated love stories don’t stand a chance against a nine minute short-film, and there lies the beauty of The Story of 90 Coins.

Soul exploration 1: Love and promises made :: We see so many movies with promises of love being made. Lets take the example of another overrated movie, Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi – it only has the glorification of our youth who can’t make a good promise and stick to it, and as people don’t usually stick to promises they liked it. The Story of 90 Coins is for the kind of people who stick to those promises made in love, like the characters in the movie Anarkali. Unlike what a lot of youth from a spoilt generation thinks, love is not love when it finds deviation – falling in love is a commitment, and whether it is before or after marriage, it takes real courage, faithfulness and trust to stand with the person you love. With love, comes a promise, and it is about this promise that The Story of 90 Coins talks about. Good men and women keep it, and won’t let it become a random memory which comes into mind later.

Soul exploration 2: Love and love only :: There will be other things like work and people will keep looking for job satisfaction – unfortunately, in a terrible modern world, it is something that people will use to judge you and society will even judge your partner on the same. There will always be those offers to make you feel successful, but it is not inside that cabin or the cubicle that you find what matters the most – it is in in front of your beloved, in her words, and in her arms. As we look at a world affected terribly by modernity, we feel so much less of love – they turns into robots, and they divide us into factions. But there will be a day when we realize that love matters – it will be not that creepy new generation love made in the name of modern love which has no commitment and just infatuation and lust. Love will be love only when it is worth to be called by arranging those four letters in the right way in heart, and never stepping back from those feelings of oneness.

How it finishes :: There are lots of dialogues in this movie which are certain to stay with you. The process of making you feel the love begins from the first few seconds itself, and there are those amazing words in the end, which are sure to give your emotional side and belief in true love a big push. It is shameful that we have more of “theppu” short-films here rather than true love stories – we are the industry which had so many of real love tales which became big hits in the past, and we struggle to make more of the same kind even as short-films. It is during those times that this Chinese short-film from Michael Wong becomes a very significant lesson. This is a movie which has won more than fifty accolades from different international film festivals, and it is the director’s short-film debut. After watching this The Story of 90 Coins, I hope that he will make a lot more of similar interesting flicks.

Release date: 28th July 2016
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Michael Wong
Starring: Jose Acosta, Dongjun Han, Zhuang Zhiqi

Watch The Story of 90 Coins here:

Other short-films of interest: Mangalyam Thanthunanena, Red Jacket, Grace Villa, Culprit, AUFDRUCK, The Shaman.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Byzantium

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The vampires who keep coming :: Ever since Byzantium released, I have been looking forward to watching the same, and it is only much later that I had a chance. May be Byzantium is not a movie for everyone or most of the normal people, and the multiplex owners seems to have realized it even before the movie had any chance to grace the theatres – I guess they would have done the same with Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles if released in this decade without Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. My desire for a good vampire movies has rarely been given wings and neither did any possible werewolf love, thanks to the pathetic creations like Twilight and Mortal Instruments which have used the supernatural beings in a terrible manner, forcing me to abandon any thoughts of watching movies with vampires in it – saying no to vampire stuff was never that easy before. There was also Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters which seriously contributed to the same (it at least had the stunningly beautiful Zoey Deutch, unlike the Twilight series), only turning itself to a funny movie whenever it was really serious. Then I had to watch Byzantium, and that made me come up with a few points why I loved this wonderful movie.

1. Byzantium is the best vampire movie after Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles of 1994, belonging to the same class as the 2010 movie Let Me In (or Let the Right One In) and slightly better than the less appreciated movie of 1997 – Vampire Journals.

2. Byzantium is a good thing to have if you did accidentally put your head into Twilight or Mortal Instruments, as it has that ability to bring you back to love the supernatural and the vampire yet again; thus the antidote you will need.

3. The movie stands right between Let Me In and Twilight, with a romance that has a teenager falling for the very old teenage vampire girl, but with all the creepiness of the former, and no bloody exaggerated romance like Bella vomits on Edward Cullen.

4. The bloodsucking is given a new dimension with the use of nails, while we have been looking at bites all the time – coming from the same director who gave us Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, I was expecting something new like that.

5. The story has two female protagonists, a mother and daughter who are vampires who are always on the run, and mystery that surrounds them if unfolds in such a beautiful manner that you can’t stop thinking about it.

6. There is a code among these two vampires, as one of them only feeds from the weak and the dying, sending them to eternal joy from the world of pain, and the other one feeds on those who attempts to take advantage of the weak.

7. There is no turning the other into vampire by biting, and the vampirism of this movie is something that is gained by being prepared to sacrifice one’s life – only by being ready for death can one achieve eternal life – now that is no usual evil vampire stuff.

8. The use of flashbacks is beautiful, and they come up with something every now and then as the story of the present moves on. It is never without its captivating ability, and the background story is a big boon for this one.

9. Saoirse Ronan is an awesome young vampire who has complications with her mother who never ages, and makes them go around the world. Her words and the pain that she narrates with it, are striking; and then there are her eyes and the way she stares.

10. Gemma Arterton as Clara Webb is wonderful with her ability to survive, from being the subaltern among all due to one bad decision of her life, she keeps making the right decision, and supported by her beauty and charms, she thrives; looks more beautiful than ever.

11. Jonny Lee Miller’s Captain Ruthven is a as close to a dreadful villain as possible, one who unfortunately for the viewers, is not seen in the present, but with those flashbacks, he is responsible for all that the mother and daughter are now, a man of pure evil.

12. Sam Riley’s Midshipman Darvell also has a certain amount of charm, being the man who could have avoided this plight, but was not given the opportunity by the young lady. This depiction shows him as a man in pain and helplessness which he tries to hide.

13. The movie has a haunting atmosphere right from the beginning to the end, and there is no real happy side to it. There is some brutal telling of the story which is dark and with abiding sadness, but still not that horror or tragedy that one would expect.

14. Byzantium is incredibly powerful in its dealings with the supernatural as well as the human side. It has a huge darkness element in each of its characters, which is surely more than any sign of goodness we see in this movie.

15. There is a river of blood which flows down through a waterfall and meets the sea, while birds make strange sounds a fly away, as dark clouds fill the sky – that moment of transformation which is an awesome moment of visual splendor.

16. The movie has successfully captured the feeling of being alone and different with the daugher, and that of being mistreated and punished for no crime of oneself with the mother, and there is so much beauty in how it is shown.

17. There is a certain amount of contrast being made, with the humans and the vampires, with all the humans in the movie being either good and weak or evil and strong, just the vampires being in the middle of all these with no specific side.

18. The cinematography is too beautiful in this movie, and every time we look at it, we see a beautiful world created with a suiting surrounding, and lovely looking people around, as the two leading ladies steal the show.

19. The past and present comes together, and when it is finished and the mosaic is complete, we have a finished product which is nothing less than a poetry which we were told to complete during our school days.

20. I quote from the movie: “My story can never be told. I write it over and over, wherever we find shelter. I write of what I cannot speak: the truth. I write all I know of it, then I throw the pages to the wind. Maybe the birds can read it“.

The final Vampire Bat touch :: I believe many of us might have thought that there is nothing new to come up with the vampires, unless Anne Rice gets younger and come up with some new book or Suzanne Collins moves into some kind of futuristic vampire science fiction story. But this movie proves otherwise. Even with slight drag and often lacking in big surprises, this exquisite movie successfully battles the popularity of stupid vampire romance for teenagers, and leaves us hoping that it had a better release around the world. Neil Jordan once again scores, this time, without the help of a novel. Well, how can one expect the Vampire Bat not to like a vampire movie which has some intellect and imagination associated with it? *Meanwhile, I have reached twenty posts of the story @ The Divine Epic (http://divineepic.wordpress.com/) and I hope you all can have a look my fiction work 😀 As I have separated the story into four separate timelines, I believe that it will be easy to follow if you click on each timeline and read the story instead of going ahead right from the beginning to last post 😉

Release date: 28th June 2013
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley, Jonny Lee Miller, Daniel Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Warren Brown, Thure Lindhardt

byzantium copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Om Shanti Oshana

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The type of movies: There have been so many “types” of movies in 2014 with just one month of the year over. Even as love has been the repetitive theme in most of them, there have been lot of difference in the type of love which were portrayed in them, and one has to admit that London Bridge had the best love story among them; but the year has only started and the other significant release was just the badly received Salala Mobiles. There was also a movie 1983 which clearly said that no kind of love, including the love towards one’s lover, siblings, parents or wife is important or significant at any moment, as all of them can be abandoned and each can be disrespected just for pure selfishness and enjoyment based on a random sport called cricket. Now, here comes Om Shanti Oshana which actually has another cute and funny love story in store for you. Yes, we watched it First Day First Show, and we were actually planning to do this when we watched 1983 last week – but this time, we could actually watch it and finally be happy about watching a Malayalam movie FDFS after a long time, for the last Malayalam flick I last watched early morning on the first day was Olipporu.

What is Om Shanti Oshana about? :: Exactly a week after our First Day First Show hopes were derailed by that strange flick which was 1983, we made the attempt again, this time with Om Shanthi Oshana. The movie tells the story Pooja Mathew (from her perspective), as she lives her life riding motorbikes and hating anything about cooking. As her cousin sister Julie Francis gets married to man whom she think is not good-looking enough, she feels that she should find the right man before her parents get her married to a rich man giving a lot of dowry. Even as she feels that she should be interested in a good-looking boy Yardley Avaran whose father and her father belongs to the same profession and are of the same financial status, she falls for another man, Giri Madhavan who is a kung-fu master, a farmer, a social worker and a former communist after seeing him on a few occasions. Even as she is aware of the difference in social status and religion, she decides to go after him. She makes more and more opportunities for them to get closer, but he doesn’t seem to be in a mood. But she doesn’t give up, can she?

The defence of Om Shanti Oshana :: The attempt of this movie to tell the story of love completely from a girl’s perspective is kind of new in Malayalam movie, and the way in which they have done it here has to be applauded (even the cupid in the movie poster is female). The movie has a lot of funny scenes, especially involving Nazriya and her dreams and affection for his dream man. Her love for motorbikes and movies add to it. The movie is more funny throughout, and there is nothing really sad happening – even a heart attack is told in such a way that it ends up funny. The youth should like it, that is for sure. The movie actually moves in its path with relative ease, as it is a road which has been traveled and repaired regularly in a different way. Well, this is actually that simple story which has been powered by some good direction by Jude Anthany Joseph. The movie’s use of old songs, old movies and old incidents is another nice addition. There is absolutely no dull moment in this movie. The song “Kaattu Mooliyo” is sweet or rather cute, and “Mandaarame” is also fine, but might not stand well enough without the funny visuals.

The claws of flaw :: The movie takes the usual path, even as the roles are reversed. You might have heard such a story in reverse so many times. It also comes with nothing like big surprise in the climax, except for, may be small, but beautiful add-ons. This is actually the inverse of Thattathin Marayathu when the boy was looking for a way to gain the girl’s love, but here, it is the girl who is after the boy. If the boy was dreaming about the girl and looking for ways to get to him in that movie, here the girl has a lot of plans going on about gaining the boy’s attention and love. It is a cliche which has been put in reverse gear an allowed to roll down a hill. It is an innovate stereotype in Malayalam movies, but is still the same. For this kind of a story, there is the need for exaggerated events which lack logic, even this necessity is still kept within the limits here. You can also feel that some of the scenes are repetitive, and a few incidents should be dealt with more seriousness. But this is how it should work, because this is how it has turned out to be, if there is any doubt about the same, ask the crowd!

Performers of the soul :: The whole movie is Nazriya-centered, as if she becomes the sun and the rest are planets. Nazriya Nazim has her best ever performance in this movie, even as there is doubt created at times. The whole universe of the movie has her at the centre, right from the moment her character is born. Her Pooja Mathew is not just another girl, as her best friends always tend to be different from her. She rides a motorbike, detests cooking and has her way in doing things which makes her parents feel that she should have been a boy. As she appears almost every minute in the camera due to the narrator being herself, there was a lot dependent on her performance, and she has delivered indeed. Even as her earlier release of the year, Salala Mobiles failed to impress, she has made a fine comeback here. She has come a long way since her debut as the leading actress in Maad Dad. Lets hope that it will only get better for her as the date of her marriage to the most versatile young star in Malayalam movie industry gets near. This is one of those rare movies in which the leading lady gets so much attention, and I am sure everyone loves that it is Nazriya who is the centre of attraction.

Other performers :: Nivin Pauly as Giri Madhavan gives a powerful performance standing on the other side, as he becomes the one to be wooed unlike what usually happens, and what had been shown in Thattathin Marayathu. He is a socialist, master of martial arts and a humble farmer, the three faces of one man which he performs to perfection. He received claps almost throughout the movie for his portrayal. Renji Panicker did a nice job, in a role which would have been usually done by Lalu Alex (remember Chocolate, Niram and many others). Aju Varghese as David Kanjani does his third best funny role after Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu. He has a strong comic existence which keeps coming again and again as he plays a kind of fraud character. You have to love how they used the sequence of war just to show what kind of thing he did to his trusted friend. Vineeth Srinivasan has a minor role as Dr. Prasad Varkey, but still one which received claps and affected the story in a special way – almost the same can be said about the role of Lal Jose up-to an extent.

How it finishes :: The movie finishes strong enough, but not as powerful as how it began. The first half is surely superior to the second. It never has any troubled waters to travel, as the path is set through a controlled body of water; therefore it goes on and on with no challenges. It’s success is not a mystery though, as we know how much people have been waiting for this one. Even as we had gone for the early show, it was almost full and we just managed to get the tickets. Nivin Pauly’s movies always had something to cheer about and he is becoming more and more the crowd favourite, same being the case of Nazriya. There is going to be the rush of youth in the weekend, and as this is rather a clean movie with no bad language or anything, this should enjoy the same success of Thattathin Marayathu if not better, unless some big movie comes up, gets rave reviews and capture the screens.

Release date: 7th February 2014
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Nazriya Nazim, Aju Varghese, Vineeth Srinivasan, Renji Panicker, Vinaya Prasad, Akshaya Premnath, Oshein Mertil, Harikrishnan, Lal Jose

Om Shanti Oshana copy

@ 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.

Oru Indian Pranaya Katha

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An Indian Love Story :: Now, that is the direct Malayalam to English translation of the title of this movie, but let it not make you think about this as a romantic love story full of melodious songs and a hero and heroine looking at each other, the sky, the beach, or the river. This is partially a political satire and otherwise a drama concerning family relations. Coming from the director who never disappoints us (except for may be No. 1 Snehatheeram Banglore North), as the man with such a fine record, this movie was always going to be watchable whatever be the content, and even as it turned out to be kind of usual, this movie also doesn’t disappoint (yes, I do think well of his last venture Puthiya Theerangal too). His best of this century was Manassinakkare, and before that we know it has always been NadodikkattuOru Indian Pranaya Katha fits among the good movies, not at the higher level though. But be assured that the love between the lead pair happens just because the movie ends, and that is where the romance should begin.

What is it about? :: Ayamanam Sidharthan (Fahad Fazil) is the leader of the local youth wing of a party who hopes to become an M.L.A. soon by being the candidate in the upcoming by-election. He is supported by Uthup Vallikkadan (Innocent) who is the district head of the party always making an attempt to show his face on television. But his hopes are crashed when the national leaders choose another person who has no political background to contest in the elections instead of him, just because she is the daughter of a big shot politician. As Sidharthan is fed up and decides to take a break, he comes across Irene Gardner (Amala Paul) from Canada who is attempting to shoot a documentary and needs someone to help her, for which she can provide rupees two thousand per day. He feels that this could be a nice opportunity for him to keep away from politics as well as gain some much needed money, and he takes that offer. But he realizes that there is something about her that is much more than what meets the eye. So why is Irene in India and what is she looking for, and how can our hero help her? There remain the questions.

The defence of Oru Indian Pranaya Katha :: The movie has a wonderful first half, and it is a gem that shines and takes all the claps with grace. There are lots of moments of fun, and in each of them, Fahadh Faasil scores, and Innocent provides good support. There is the humble and yet beautiful beginning to the story which is carried on towards the interval. The moment when the hero takes up the job for the heroine is hilarious, and most of the moments involving politics are times of laughter. It remains clean throughout the movie, and there are no unnecessary vulgar jokes which has been plaguing Malayalam movie industry and keeping the audience away. There is basically nothing which is bad for kids, and there is no stupid romance getting in the way of the movie flow. There was obviously the chance for bad jokes on many occasions, and at a time when even movies like Sringaravelan become family entertainers, this effort to keep the dirty things away has to be appreciated. To add to it, the goodness and social message that the movie delivers is worth some applause.

Claws of flaw :: The movie fails to keep the momentum going in the second half, and right after the first half, the world starts twisting and breaking apart. Even as the latter half also has some good jokes, it seems to suffer from a big curse which hinders its movement, and it drags and gets converted into a family drama from the political satire which it was in the first half. There is lot of emotional undercurrents going on, and none of them romantic in character. The leading lady’s search for her roots lacks in both strength and innovation and the flashback story is too much off the dusty old books. The songs stay below average, and there is nothing that can pounce in our hearts. There is a void left in our desire to follow the satirical side, and our need for things which are left behind can be felt by the end of the movie. It has a happy and a righteous ending for sure, but surely not an effective one. The people who are looking for the romantic side will be disappointed, as the love between the leading characters blossoms only in the last few moments of the movie, or rather the last few seconds before the movie ends.

Performers of the soul :: As expected, Sathyan Anthikkad’s style rescues another movie yet again. But Fahadh Faasil is the man who leads the show yet again, just like he did in North 24 Kaatham without even speaking much, and in Amen with simplicity. He has portrayed a different character yet again, and his comic side in this movie is something that takes over. He once again transforms to a character who rules the first half of the movie and stays good in the second half. Innocent’s support is as good as usual, and there is no boring moment when he is around. Amala Paul looks even better than ever in this movie, and it is good to see that her presence is there right from the moment she is introduced. Her character seems to have been rightly portrayed, right from the moment she appears with a video camera in an orphanage. Her characteristics of a lady searching roots as well as a fun loving girl are rightly captured and reflected to the audience. Shafna and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy are also there with significant roles which catches attention, but the latter could have had more screen time.

Soul exploration :: The movie does leave us with many messages, one of them being the core of them all, not to take politics as a job, but as a means to serve people along with working. The real ambition is to be serving people rather than to be at the top, but that will rather be a need. Well, ambition is the root of all evil, and as Doctor Faustus did prove long ago as in the lives of Lucifer and Mephistopheles, there is nothing like ambition that makes a man evil. The leading characters do undergo significant changes in their journey, but not something as huge as North 24 Kaatham, as they were both this good right from the beginning to the end. Even as a movie which is considered as a romantic comedy, there is no glorification of romance or similar stuff, and that is another bonus. The useless nature of exaggerated love is made known to us throughout the movie, and the stress is more on family values, along with helping others at the same time. The movie also stresses on the importance of roots and the need to know them thoroughly. Whatever be the situation, or however the world changes, there is nothing like our parents, as the movie shows.

How it finishes :: When the hero says “There is beef in the scene” – that was a hilarious moment, and so was the dialogues in the library – the movie drops such laughter bombs regularly to keep the movie in the hunt in a weekend powered by two other big releases, Jeethu Joseph’s Mohanlal starrer Dryshyam and Lal Jose’s Dileep starrer Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal along with the Bollywood’s own Dhoom 3 and Hollywood’s only release Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. There is also the Tamil movie Biriyani, which means that there is a lot going on in the theatres this weekend – I have already booked tickets for Dryshyam, and I am looking forward to watching Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal on the same day. There is a lot to be done for me this Christmas, that is for sure, and as far as Oru Indian Pranaya Katha is concerned, it is a good choice for a family outing, and there is not much rush for it due to the less hype – you can go for it soon enough. Forgive the movie for its weaknesses in the second half, and do give it a chance to be that love story that scores without that much of romance. This is a small movie of goodness, that can do with a lot of support from the audience.

Release date: 20th December 2013
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Amala Paul, Innocent, Shafna, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Krishna Prabha, Muthumani

oruindianpranayakatha copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thattathin Marayathu

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The case of love :: The stories of love has been exaggerated for centuries, and we are not strangers to how William Shakespeare described a lot of things in his Sonnets. The better qualities which are needed for this world including brotherly and sisterly love or the love for the down-trodden or the subaltern would always have to make way for a kind of love which is based on the outside beauty and powerfully fixed on infatuation and lust. Then they can ask “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” but does all the immortalizing of such love make any sense? How someone can fall in love for another just by looking at his or her is one of the weirdest things in the world. That is undoubtedly a case of infatuation and lust, however one tries to support the theory of love at first sight. But it is such a story that we are going to talk about, and it is the same thing that this movie is about, and as this turned out to be a good movie even without the “truth of love” in it, this case of love is to be left to the audience who made this one a hit, and as a film, it deserved it.

Love in the South :: Malayalam movies have had that incredible strength to come up with successful love stories which stay on our minds for long. One of the earliest movies of that kind after the early age of the legendary Chemmeen should be Nakhashathangal, but the trend came back stronger than ever with two movies Aniyathipraavu and Niram, both starring Kunchako Boban and Shalini who established themselves as the perfect star pair for love stories. The specialty of these two movies was that there was so much goodness in them, and on both occasions, the pair chooses not to disobey their parents, and such sacrifice should be at the base of love, and not carnal desire. But about the pathetic nonsense which came as pseudo-love stories, like Annayum Rasoolum, one shouldn’t bother – it was a pathetic case of looking at each other in an extended version of love at first sight moments, and that movie will do more bad than good for the romantic movies which are to follow including Oru Indian Pranayakadha. Meanwhile, Dr. Love was a superior story of love with sacrifice involved in it, just like Dhosth.

What is it about? :: This movie written and directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan as his second venture as the captain of the ship, has the story of a ordinary Hindu Nair boy falling in love with a rich Muslim girl. Vinod Nair (Nivin Pauly) has fallen for Aisha Rahman (Isha Talwar) with an incredible moment of falling in love as he hits her while running and she falls down the stairs to land in a hospital. Supported Abdu (Aju Varghese), Hamsa (Bhagath Manuel) and Mustafa (Ahmed Siddhique), he goes on a mission to win her love despite the problems caused due to religion and social status, and that fact that he belongs to the party which is fighting against her family’s business. After doing some strange and stupid things, he finally gets a chance to talk to the girl, and soon he tells her about his love to get a positive response. His supporters grow, as S.I. Prem Kumar (Manoj K. Jayan) helps further in his cause as he leaves his house. So, will this love story succeed, or does it have to become another Romeo and Juliet? Almost everyone in Kerala knows the answer.

The defence of Thattathin Marayathu :: The movie has everything which is needed for a perfect love story of exaggerated character. It is also the best love story in Malayalam since Niram, with all the possible additions of the age, including the witty dialogues, “when she replied, I felt like Sreesanth who got the wicket of Andrew Symonds” or “why should boys of Kerala need six-pack?”, and another one “you can think before making decision about my love and tell me that you do love me”. Despite the popular thoughts about this being a powerful love story, I would say that this movie is never serious – it is incredibly light and always on the humorous side; even when it tries to get serious, there is that feeling of “all’s well that ends well”, and as there is no real dark shade to the movie, this is a perfect love story which is nothing less than a fairy tale, and if we think that way, the movie is the perfection of exaggerated love, rightly presented on screen, and therefore flawless in its core.

Claws of flaw :: Despite having the best songs of the year and the great cinematography and direction, the movie is nowhere near perfection in a natural world. It clearly lacks logic and fails to make sense on multiple occasions, a flaw which can be forgiven just because of the reason for its existence. It follows the old style tradition of a boy from one religion marrying a girl of another faith, and to add to it, here one is poor and the other is rich, another stereotype explored. The boy feels the usual love at first sight for the girl and starts dreaming about her as if his life depended on her. He forgets his duties and even his parents and becomes the stupid guy, while the girl remains just the opposite, not breaking traditions or disrespecting her parents or relatives. The exchange letters through a messenger, sings songs in dreamy sequences, and hopes for being together. In that case, the movie has nothing new or innovative in its base. it is not intense, and it has no real villain except for one man who just objects to the marriage.

Thattathin Marayathu and love :: The world of the movie is strange, as the hero sells helmets after making police catch people for not wearing a helmet, and with the cash he earns, he begins a pardah shop – and that is an act of love. This movie’s definition of love is being infatuated by a random girl at a random place just because she is good-looking. Is this love or some strange feeling which has been created a girl in veil, and without that what would be she to him? Well, who cares about what should have got all the attention, as she might have been a horrible creature in soul, but the only thing that matters in this love is that she is beautiful and has a fair complexion. Thattathin Marayathu is never a story of true love, and most of the people might agree, but it is unrealistic love of exaggerated love, presented in a beautiful manner. Well, the real life can never be this simple as a whole, and it is also not this complicated in many other things that they show. Well, as long as the new bottle where you put the old wine is pretty good, how can one complain? The leaks are there, but there are provisions to make sure that the wine don’t get lost on the ground.

How it finishes :: In this visually awesome movie, another thing that catches our attention is the performance of Aju Varghese as he has done a perfect comic supporting stand there. Manoj K. Jayan and Bhagath Manuel are also nice support. Nivin Pauly comes up with a side which wasn’t there to be expected from him, and establishes himself as the romantic hero of this age. But as far as Isha Talwar is concerned, her character is a real disappointment, not talking much or doing much even as she has the most righteous character in the whole movie. The result is that he has created more of a statue image, which affected her in the movie I Love Me. She will always be remembered as a beautiful sculpture rather than a character, and the fact that she was perfect for the role doesn’t come as a positive. The movie has successfully presented its world with the support of most of its cast, and as the image it shows is of innocence and goodness even as it is covered is stupid love of exaggerated nature. It is a magnet, and it will attract viewers even after being shown on television multiple times unlike dark creatures of pathetic romance like Annayum Rasoolum.

Release date: 6th July 2012
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Isha Talwar, Aju Varghese, Bhagath Manuel, Aparna Nair, Manoj K. Jayan, Sreenivasan, Sunny Wayne, Niveda Thomas, Ahmed Sidhique, Manikuttan, Sreeram Ramachandran

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.