Drishyam 2

What is the movie about? :: Georgekutty (Mohanlal) and Rani (Meena), along with their daughters Anju (Ansiba Hassan) and Anu (Esther Anil) have become richer after those earlier incidents, as the former has now bought some land, and started a film theatre by the name Rani. Their neighbour Saritha (Anjali Nair) is a victim of domestic violence, and her husband is one of the notorious drunkards of the area, Sabu (Sumesh Chandran) – there are some fights happening in the area due to the same. The people in the town don’t really like them anymore, with the exception of Sulaiman (Kozhikode Narayanan Nair). The local people who are not happy with Georgekutty becoming rich, come up with gossips regarding the earlier incident leading to the death of the boy, and police continues to investigate the Varun missing case as it was something which proved to be humiliating for the entire police department. Georgekutty has the dream of making a movie, which he wishes to be perfect, and has left a certain amount of money for the same.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Jose George (Ajith Koothattukulam) returns home after finishing his time in the prison, and he had seen something during the night when the boy was murdered. Philip Mathew (Ganesh Kumar) is in charge of the police station along with Antony Joseph (Antony Perumbavoor), and the investigation seems to be gaining some ground. Thomas Bastin IPS (Murali Gopy) is in charge of the case, and he won’t stop pursuing Georgekutty without anybody realizing the same. Advocate Janardhanan (Joy Mathew) and Advocate Renuka (Santhi Mayadevi) are fighting the case with the latter appearing for Georgekutty to dismiss the appeals for taking the case again. Geetha Prabhakar (Asha Sarath) and Prabhakar (Siddique) are having their ways for finding the means to get through Georgekutty. But Georgekutty remains strong, even as there are many twisted ways being followed here, yet it remains to be seen about how long he can stand.

The defence of Drishyam 2 :: In Malayalam movie industry, sequels haven’t been of that much strength, especially with superstars in the lead, as the chance to relegate into a mass movie is always there, and this film does threaten to do so, but never really does that, as it goes back to the original movie’s feeling. Just like this predecessor, this movie also starts with the usual family moments, even with the presence of certain danger always lurking the corner. There is the mention of the same, but the procedure is usual until we get into the last one hour or so, as things begin to provide a feeling of real danger for the protagonist and his family, and the same is at the extreme in the last forty five minutes or so. One has to appreciate the fact that the movie also has a twist in store in the end reminding the viewers of the first film, but still manages to maintain its novelty with multiple elements in store here. The new additions to the cast are highly effective, without doubt.

Positives and negatives of the movie :: The fact that it has released in Amazon Prime surely has its own advantages and disadvantages too, but I have been rarely the person who enjoyed watching superstar films in the local theatres because there has always been too much of noise – for such films I would have preferred multiplexes, and so this release wouldn’t bother me much. I would have still liked this movie to get into action earlier, as the real tension begins rather too late – for the first film, it was okay as the beginner of a franchise, but it is not acceptable in a second entry in a franchise. The pressure that the first film maintained in the audience is lesser too, as things get over rather too quickly. Final few minutes should have surely been extended at the cost of cutting a little bit of those family moments in the beginning, as well as those moments involving talks from the local people. A long thriller needs to work on its lesser elements better.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal continues to be the lifeline of the franchise which can have even more movies in the group. The character has undergone some changes from the first movie, but in essence, there is not much of a change, and we understand the same further as the movie nears the finishing point. The veteran actor, the legend as we know him, has no problem with this particular role which seems to work better than any other roles he has done in the last two decades. The next person to stand tall in his performance is Murali Gopy, the police officer who doesn’t make any compromise while trying to bring justice to his co-worker who was forced to retire from the police force. He plays a mastermind here, who seems to be waiting for that one opportunity to make his move, as the case which had a negative impact on his department needs to be brought back to the spotlight and solved, with the best finish being the long presence of the protagonist, his wife and their elder daughter in prison.

Further performers of the soul :: It is still to be said that Kalabhavan Shajohn is being missed – in another adaptation, it would be Kalabhavan Mani who is to be missed, because we know that there will be adaptations in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi, and maybe even in Sinhalese once again. The rest of the characters also do bring some of the red herrings for the audience here and there. Ajith Koothattukulam, the new addition, the surprise character does a fine job along with Sumesh Chandran, while the two children who have changed, played by Ansiba Hassan and Esther Anil are good once again. Meena does almost the same thing as she did in the first movie, and it is to be noted that she, Asha Sharath and Siddique haven’t undergone any changes as far as their characters are concerned. In the franchise, if there is one great righteous character, it is the one played by Siddique. Among all of these characters, Anjali Nair has some of those striking moments too. Santhi Mayadevi, a real life advocate playing a lawyer is also noted for some solid moments.

How it finishes :: Drishyam was once the highest grossing movie of all-time as far as Malayalam film industry is concerned, and it had held that spot valiantly until Pulimurugan and later Lucifer qualified well enough to overtake that status. The one movie which was supposed to be break those box-office records was this one, but we see the release in OTT platform of Amazon Prime getting the release against the wishes of most of the fans and theatre owners. Considering this sequel, it is certainly not that great as the first one, but it is surely better than the two other high grossers of Mohanlal which had overtaken the movie’s predecessor. There was always going to be something about a sequel like this, and that feeling is reflected in the responses to this movie so far. Drishyam 2 is an entertainer of quality, exactly the opposite of what that never ending Annayum Rasoolum-estic borefest which was the first Malayalam movie to be released on Amazon Prime, Sufiyum Sujatayum. Cheers to a sequel done really well, as we await sequels for the other thrillers, Forensic and Anjaam Pathira.

Release date: 19th February 2020
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Esther Anil, Ansiba Hassan, Asha Sarath, Siddique, Murali Gopy, Sai Kumar, Ganesh Kumar, Anjali Nair, Antony Perumbavoor, Kozhikode Narayanan Nair, Sumesh Chandran, Santhi Mayadevi, Ajith Koothattukulam, Dinesh Prabhakar, Joy Mathew, Rajesh Paravoor, Krishna, Murali Kannur, Boban Samuel, Pauly Valsan, Krishna Prabha, Adam Ayub, Shobha Mohan, Aneesh G Menon, Jayashankar, Mela Reghu

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Villain

What is the movie about? :: Mathew K Manjooran (Mohanlal) is the ADGP in the city who has been out of action for about six months following a road accident which lead to the death of his wife and only child. He is looking forward to take voluntary retirement from service on the day on which the murder of three big names in the city occur in an abandoned mansion. Therefore, it becomes the final case that he has to take care of, even though he is forced to carry it over through for a few days after his retirement, as requested by his colleagues in the department. In this twisted case which includes a police officer Vinod Abraham (Kottayam Nazeer) as one of the dead, he is provided assistance by H Sreenivasan (Renji Panicker) who was first given the investigation charge, along with two subordinate officers Harshitha Chopra (Raashi Khanna) and Iqbal Mohammed (Chemban Vinod Jose) who are now part of the city task force which he had started long ago.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: The one who used to be one of the strongest arms of law, has undergone quite a change in the recent past, as Mathew seems to be more of a tired and philosophical man these days. The one thing that he does hold on to is his love for Shakespeare, with a reflection of the same in his life, as he remembers Lady Macbeth’s words about all the perfumes of Arabia, has his own hesitation related to vengeance like Hamlet, fights a possibility of being drowned in madness like King Lear, and has his own Brutus in the police force, as does Julius Ceasar – he is also the Prospero of his own Tempest. He figures out that there is someone trying to get their attention, and at the same time, another murder of three people takes place. Meanwhile, the clues seem to lead to Shaktivel Palanisamy (Vishal) and Shreya Venkatesh (Hansika Motwani). But they wonder about how the six dead people are related.

The defence of Villain :: There are thrills in store with Villain, and there is some suspense over how things are going to come down. The first half has us guessing about more than one thing not just about the murderers, but also about the protagonist. We feel that there is a link coming up between everything, and things are set very well by the end of the first half. The thrills are there, and the twists are provided a little too early unlike The Great Father. The mass elements also take the backseat for most of the time, which is a great thing here. There is also the case against vengeance here, as we hear about it eating up the one who seeks it as much as those who end up on the receiving end of an act of revenge. You will notice that the emotional side is very strong with this one, as we feel the grief as much as the protagonist does on the big screen. Villain is also a very good-looking movie on the screen, as there is so much of visual beauty, and the locations seem to be nicely chosen. The songs are also sweet.

The claws of flaw :: If the identity as well as the motive of the murderers was left for a big twist in the end, that would have served this movie a lot better. This is the kind of premise that can support more twists in between, and the movie doesn’t use its resources to the best effect. The movie also needed a flashback from Vishal’s character’s angle, to really explore his perspective instead of taking a few things for granted – it is the same with Hansika’s flashback which relates to him. Also, the movie is a little too long, when you look at it. The scissors could have been put on some of the flashback sequences, and they could have been restricted to the songs and a few dialogues – we see have seen that done very well with the movie Memories. The idea about killing out of love and killing out of hate is very good, but not done in the way it could have brought the best effect. The talk about “the grey” side between black and white is also not used to its best advantage in the final scenes.

Performers of the soul :: The tranquility among the waves inside his mind, which is wonderfully depicted by Mohanlal with this character is the best thing about this movie. The serenity that is reflected on his face which has the feeling of pain visibly hidden, is nothing less than beauty to watch. He has two looks in this one, a side of the confident police officer determined to fight crime, having the look with the mustache, and also the side of the tired former police officer trying to solve one final case with just hope, having the look with the white beard. The latter one goes deep, and the pain that this particular avatar seems to possess, got the ability to break your heart with an abiding sadness if you get too close to the character with a case of empathy. Coming right out of a good run with Udaharanam Sujatha and C/O Saira Banu, Manju Warrier plays the wife of Mohanlal’s character, and she has handled it without trouble, even though the same is not a long one. The girl who plays their daughter was also very good, strong and energetic all the time.

Further performers of the soul :: Vishal and Hansika Motwani make fine debut in the Malayalam movie industry, even though a number of their sequences do give way for style over the rest. The former seems to have perfect hold of his character, while the latter, along with looking good, comes up with good support, despite given not much of a character development. We feel that Vishal could have been here earlier. Srikanth has much less to do than expected, and has a little too stylish a villain as his character. Aju Varghese has a rather small appearance as in Loham, while Renji Panicker and Siddique have no problems in doing their job here. Also, one can’t help not loving Chemban Vinod Jose as a police officer once again. He is at his best when he is playing a thief or a police officer, and he scores high here too. Whether it is about playing the good guy or the bad guy, whether it is about doing a funny role, or a serial villain, he has been so good these days. Coming out of a thief role in Varnyathil Aashanka, here he is doing protagonist’s support with ease. Also, another person to note is Raashi Khanna who began with Madras Cafe getting to play a smart cop here, and that works, a long way ahead of the other supporting female cops in our movies.

How it finishes :: The one movie to which this flick seems to have the most similarity, might be B. Unnikrishnan’s own movie, Grandmaster. But the reflection of sadness in this movie, and the situation of the protagonist is more comparable to that of Sam Alex in Jeethu Joseph’s Prithviraj starrer thriller, Memories. But you can easily notice the difference in treatment here, as things go more philosophical in nature, and the same replaces the powerful suspense and twist that Memories had, and the identity of the killers and the motives are revealed rather too early. But Villain is never short of being entertaining. It is surely better than the two huge Mohanlal blockbusters of last year Oppam and Pulimurugan, but is nowhere near Drishyam with the same. Villain is the kind of movie that would work with almost every kind of audience, and it is one more reason for you and your family to not miss this engaging thriller.

Release date: 27th October 2017
Running time: 143 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Raashi Khanna, Vishal, Hansika Motwani, Aju Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Srikanth, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Anand, Idavela Babu, Kottayam Nazeer, Balaji Sarma, Antony Perumbavoor, Sai Kumar, Irshad, Sanju Shivram, Vishnu Govindan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Jacobinte Swargarajyam

jacobinteswargarajyam (2)

Vampire Owl :: Quite a lot of things happened this year, you know; with the Malayalam movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only a few months have passed, and so you can’t really say a lot!

Vampire Owl :: Well, Darwin completed his evolution and Mahesh had his vengeance. Now, Jacob wants his kingdom of heaven.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, Darwinte Parinamam and Maheshinte Prathikaram; now Jacobinte Swargarajyam – note the “NTE” sound in the middle of the title of every movie.

Vampire Owl :: I am sure that this one has worked so well too. I couldn’t get tickets for the movie at the multiplexes.

Vampire Bat :: Well, it is Vishu. Theatres were supposed to be full.

Vampire Owl :: Is that the same reason why we are here so early?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, you see the large number of people in the queue behind us.

Vampire Owl :: And I am glad that we parked our car early.

Vampire Bat :: This one should work for us too.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Jacob (Renji Panicker) is a successful businessman who made Dubai his home after striving hard to reach his current position. With his wife Sherly (Lakshmy Ramakrishnan) and four children, Jerry (Nivin Pauly), Abin (Sreenath Bhasi), Ammu (Aima Sebastian) and Chris (Stacen), they go through some of the happiest times of their life. Jerry is in love with Chippy (Reba Monica John), a medical student, and Ammu leaves to study the same course. Abin spends his time with music. But as Jacob is cheated by one of his trusted people, he is left in a lot of trouble and also in dire need of money, disturbing the momentum of the family. With consistent threats from Murali Menon (Ashwin Kumar) and others who had invested in his venture, he decides to travel to Liberia to find bring a deal and come up with a solution to his present problem.

What is it actually about? :: The absence of his father required the rise of Jerry to the vacant position, and it is what the movie is really about. It is about Jerry trying to bring things back together with the help of his family of his brothers and his mother. With his father stuck in Liberia, he will find new ideas and will bring new plans to minimize and later get rid of the damage completely. With the help of the old friends of his father, Unni (T.G. Ravi) and Philip (Sai Kumar), and also the newly found people in his life, Yousuf (Vineeth Sreenivasan), he will rise to the occasion, and with the help of the situation and fate, shall go on to become the person whom he never thought he would be. But the question remains about the timing – with time running out so fast, will he really be able to do that when needed? Can he be the saviour for his family when it matters the most?

The defence of Jacobinte Swargarajyam :: Clean, and staying close to the realities of life, this movie makes a good use of its cast which has come up with some natural performances. The scenes which depict the relationship between the members of the family gives that special and yet beautiful feeling – it provides anyone who values family with that special reflection to life. The funny scenes are simple and from everyday life, but working very well. The emotional scenes are very much touching, but still kept in control. There is so much positivity in this movie even when facing lots of trouble, and the feel-good factor here is rather tremendous. There are also some very nice visuals; the songs are interesting, and “Ee Shishirakaalam” is the pick of them all. The messages left here are also beautiful, of working hard without any shortcuts, supporting one’s family and being there for the ones you love the most.

Claws of flaw :: Yes, undoubtedly, this movie could have been better; the scope was there, and such a wonderful cast was present. This emotional family story goes through a little bit too much of a predictable path too. We can guess a lot of things around here easily. A story at the Middle East and the tale of a family facing financial crisis – these are two things that can appeal to the Malayali audience so well, which is why a better story with a rather slower transformation of the protagonist would have done better for the movie. The film is also a little bit too much focused on money, and it is the capital, the profit and the money that drives too many things in this movie – well, it is still not the primary focus, but the fingers are often pointed towards that, even though not many people might see that. Well, capitalism was always supposed to be there, considering the setting.

Performers of the soul :: Nivin Pauly requirest a lot of appreciation here – for he surely knows how to become the hero, and otherwise stay there waiting for the opportunity; it has been the case with his character here. Renji Panicker takes the glory in the beginning stages, and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan dominates at times, and Nivin is there exactly as his character demands, and I consider that a wonderful thing here. After Action Hero Biju, he once again has a realistic portrayal of his character here, and it only gets better. Meanwhile, Aima Sebastian has a small but amazingly cute presence in this movie, and Reba Monica John leaves a mark even with her shorter presence – that could have been explored further. Renji Panicker does his job with ease, and Lakshmy Ramakrishnan has her character becoming one of the best strong mother/wife characters that we have seen for a long time. The other most notable person here is Sreenath Bhasi who is a lot likable.

How it finishes :: Do note that Vineeth Sreenivasan and Aju Varghese make notable cameos here, the former making a bigger impact in the story. The child artist Stacen also does a good job. This movie could have been stronger with its story, but the feeling that it provides is really good. It is something that is perfect for a family watch for the weekend, as it is a movie with faith, hope and values. It is a movie that reminds the viewers of their family and how much the blood keeps us together, binding us. The significance of the family is something that has been part of our movie industry for a long time, and this one becomes a welcome addition to the same. Vineeth Sreenivasan does four in a row, after Malarvadi Arts Club, Thattathin Marayathu and Thira. The Thira sequel won’t be here soon though, I guess.

Here is a song from the movie; you should love it 🙂

Release date: 8th April 2016
Running time: 145 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Reba Monica John, Renji Panicker, Aima Sebastian, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan, Sreenath Bhasi, Stacen, Sai Kumar, Ashwin Kumar, T. G. Ravi, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vineeth Sreenivasan (cameo), Aju Varghese (cameo)

jacobinteswargarajyam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Paavada

paavada (2)

What is it about? :: Joy a.k.a. Paambu Joy (Prithviraj Sukumaran) spends his day with alcohol, and that leads to his wife Cinimol (Miya George) leaving him to do service in a charitable institution. He spends most of his time with alcohol as if there is no tomorrow. With nobody left to control him, the local priest tries to make him stop drinking, but it is of no use, and the priest finally admits Joy in a de-addiction centre. Babu a.k.a. Paavada Babu (Anoop Menon) used to be a college lecturer teaching English, but now spends his time lost in alcohol as if it is the only thing that he does throughout the day. Except for the dialogues which he takes out of the Shakesperean Drama including Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar, there is nothing much good that comes out of his mouth. His well-wishers forcibly take him to a de-addiction centre.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: The well-wishers think that they can only return after changing themselves, but that turns out to be a wrong idea, as the two manage to escape from the place which is heavily guarded. This brings a special bond between the two which is forged in alcohol, even though the caretaker of Babu doesn’t really like the fact that Joy has started living in their house. But they get along as time progresses, and as they are united in alcohol, something else comes up which changes their times of happiness into something depressing. There will be a flashback which works against their happy days, and certain news will add fire to the same. So, with the help of their well-wishers, will they be able to overcome this problem which affects them both?

The defence of Paavada :: The movie begins with the notice that this happened before the bars had closed in Kerala. You will feel that Paavada is a clear entertainer right from the beginning to the end. There are no dull moments here, and this is certainly a quality which the audience will appreciate. The comedy sequences power the first half while the emotional side takes over the second, even though there is some fun in parts concerning the latter part of the movie too; it ends with very much of a happy angle. The story remains strong here, especially with how things take the twists, and this side takes over when the rest goes a little down. There will be dialogues for you to remember, and even as it has too much of alcohol, there is message and something for the family audience along with the youth. There is clearly enjoyment in store here. You can also find a message against alcoholism by the end.

Claws of flaw :: Some jokes won’t work that well, and a number of them seems to be more forced to be added with alcohol rather than being better. There are also certain deviations from the trailer, and the story won’t follow that path which you might have predicted earlier. There is also that too much of a focus on alcohol in the first half at a time when other factors could have also been there. Alcohol gets too much of screen space here than one would have wanted. The songs are all forgettable, and if they were avoided, the movie could have gotten rid of a few extra minutes which were there. The movie also has a huge amount of melodrama which comes in during the second half. The final light moments after the climax were also not that effective. Paavada really did have scope to be an even better movie.

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj has been making the right choices with his movies, and this one is no different, as he has become the one actor whose movies can be trusted more than any other. Even earlier, I liked his movies like Ivide and London Bridge which had certain viewers in doubt. In this movie, he handles both the funny as well as the emotional side with no problems at all. We had seen how well he could handle a character suffering from addiction in Memories, and here he comes up very well with two sides of the same coin. Some people might have had doubts from the trailer, but they will be cleared with this movie. Miya plays the role of his wife, and has the usual stuff to do, which she manages fine; they were together in their last movie Anarkali too, even though not paired with each other.

Further performers of the soul :: Anoop Menon continues his good work from the less appreciated, but interesting Maalgudi Days. I have felt that he was nothing less than a perfect choice to play the alcoholic English professor with a philosophical side and love for drama; also having a troubled past. Except for the alcoholism, he carries over the rest from his previous movie, and there are some very nice moments which he shares with Prithviraj. Kalabhavan Shajon once again plays a character with evil shades, reminding one of Drishyam. Siddique has a strong performance by the end of the movie while Chemban Vinod Jose and Sudheer Karamana manage their contrasting priest roles really well. Sharafudeen of Premam fame has some nice moments in the first half. Maniyan Pilla Raju and Nedumudi Venu provides fine support and Asha Sarath is another positive.

How it finishes :: Prithviraj had only finished a hat-trick of blockbusters with Ennu Ninte Moideen, Amar Akbar Anthony and Anarkali, and this would surely add to that list of great success. I watched this movie at a multiplex screen, and even though it was in the morning, the place was almost houseful with seats vacant only here and there. I am expecting this to be the first blockbuster of 2016 as far as Malayalam movies are concerned. So, this year has a very fine beginning for Prithviraj, and his upcoming movies this year which should begin with Darvinte Parinamam, are also the titles which will catch our attention. I am pretty sure that Paavada is the movie which will work for all kinds of audience, and so it should be your movie of the weekend as it seems now; plus you see that the goodness side wins in the end whatever be the circumstances.

Release date: 15th January 2016
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: G. Marthandan
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Miya George, Anoop Menon, Kalabhavan Shajon, Chemban Vinod Jose, Maniyan Pilla Raju, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana, Siddique, Sharafudeen, Renji Panicher, Kunjan, Asha Sarath, Dinesh Prabhakar, Murali Gopy, Manikuttan, Sai Kumar, Sunil Sukhada, Manju Warrier

paavada

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mili

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What is it about? :: Mili Nair (Amala Paul) is a girl who has underachieved throughout her life and has developed a certain amount of inferiority complex about not living up-to the expectations. Being a high level introvert and never having even one real friend, Mili is disliked by her room mates in the hostel, the group of three lead by Renuka Menon (Shamna Kasim) who hates her, and the other two Shelly (Swapna Menon) and Raji (Sija Rose) who feel irritated by her behaviour. Her only two means of happiness are the day-care where she works and the sisterly relationship with Nancy (Praveena). But one day, she is forced to leave her job, and the guy whom she has a crush on, seems to be in a relationship with Renuka. She is highly disappointed and thinks about suicide, but Nancy’s brother Naveen (Nivin Pauly) helps her, and after bring introduced to the friends circle of Anupama (Sanusha Santhosh), her life gets a twist or two as she finds the strength within her.

The defence of Mili :: Here is a movie with so much strength to make you feel and directly go through that path of the protagonist who becomes a kind of answer to Bollywood’s Queen, even as this won’t have that much of good reviews, because three out of five is what awesome Malayalam movies can get from the critics here. I would actually consider this movie better than Queen and also Highway with its empowerment of the central female character. It is also better than the last year’s Malayalam flick How Old Are You are which was less realistic and had a protagonist was too talented that what she comes up with is no real surprise. Meanwhile, Mili has the rise of the real subaltern who comes out of her problems which go back to her childhood and rise like the real queen. Mili is a completely realistic movie, and its incidents and emotions connect directly to the audience. Cheers to Gopi Sunder and Shaan Rahman for the highly effective music too.

Positives and Negatives :: The movie is a straight take on its content, even as it is an ordinary story in its base. There are some silly moments in the beginning which might have been meant to bring some fun there. May be Mili should have been shown as “just another introvert” or with a further clear background. Well, the movie touches you and it shakes your heart with its emotional power. “Manpaatha Neettunna Mohangale” is a bloody good song, and when heard in relation to the movie is a wonderful experience, something that makes you feel the power of the journey of the protagonist, as long as you have a heart with enough of empathy. It is a stake through the heart, but is something of exhilaration on one end. The movie ends with a speech which is the soul of the movie, and it is up-to you to decide if you want it in the end. But the power of the final words cannot be questioned as it is incredibly strong and the return of that song in the end is a remarkable addition to the emotional strength of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is impressive in its characterization, and it is reflected in the performances of the actors. Mili’s character goes through a great path, right from the awesome child actor to the amazing performance from Amala Paul who has undoubtedly managed her best in Malayalam with this one protagonist. It is nothing other than inconceivable bliss to watch her as Mili. Here is she acting without make-up and making it work in an amazing way. Nivin Pauly gives a great support, and him doing this role in a heroine-centred role is worth an applause. Sai Kumar is also very good; the same can be said about Praveena. One thing that is to be noticed is the presence and the nice support of the young actresses in this movie, starting with Sanusha Santhosh about whom we are well aware of, and has already left her mark. The others including the better known Shamna Kasim and the rest of the list having Sija Rose, Swapna Menon and Soumya Sadanandan makes us realize that Malayalam movie industry has so much power in its core for years to come.

Soul exploration :: It is clear that some people are not able to be inspired by Mili and can’t like it. I can understand that. It is mainly because of their inability to connect with those who have problems in their life. May be they are hundred percent extroverts or some who were born with silver spoons in their mouth, or those who had a very easy path throughout their lives. They might be big genius people who knows everything. But for us others, who can connect easily with a person having troubles, this movie is a big thing. May be some people don’t need to be motivated because they are so awesome, but I am really motivated with this, as I know my weaknesses. It is okay that some people can’t connect with people having problems, but I can. May be it is because I am not that good, and the positive thing about that is that I can surely feel the power of motivation that is present in this movie. I am an introvert, a proud introvert – and I feel the pain and the abiding inspiration. Let me tell you something about Mili – she remains the introvert even in the end, but a confident one.

How it finishes :: You can read my earlier preview and expectations about this movie here: (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/introvert-queen). But I have a request; it is that if you can’t relate to the feelings of someone who has a behaviour problem and with people having any trouble with being “normal”, don’t watch this movie. If you think that people who are different are idiots and don’t deserve anything, please stay with your higher level of people. If you think that getting high scores in exams and getting a big job with a high salary are the only things that matter in your life, please stick to the great people who have managed to do so. Mili is for people who have empathy, and it is not for those who take pride only in one’s own achievements by degrading others. Mili has a few lessons for the parents, not to scold the children for the problems that they couldn’t solve in Mathematics or for the ten marks that they lost in Physics – love your children and teach them to be good, not scoring machines.

A few more words :: The movie ends with the lines from William Wordsworth’s The Rainbow: “the child is father of the man”, and you ask yourself; how can that not be true? The other name of the poem is My Heart Leaps Up – hope that gives you a clue. Romanticism never seems to leave me. Mili has a lot for women, introverts and all the subaltern, with a mighty message to rise. The modern world asks for winners and in the world of competition as the weaker ones are avoided, a good person is the true winner. Society provides us with labels, but it doesn’t reflect the real us. During the movie, I often wondered if Mili is a manifestation of the kindred of my soul’s unexplored side. There are those moments which tunnel through your brain and heart to send shock-waves right through. You have the right not to agree with me, but my rating stands, because I completely follow my mind and heart on this one. I will leave you with one awesome song from the movie.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Amala Paul, Nivin Pauly, Shamna Kasim, Sanusha Santhosh, Sija Rose, Riya Saira, Praveena, Sai Kumar, Amol Parashar, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Idavela Babu, Anju Aravind, Ambika, Bindu Panicker, Devi Ajith, Baby Nandana, Master Neil Kaushik, Baby Ammu, Sangeetha Mohan, Soumya Sadanandan, Swapna Menon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mr. Fraud

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The Heist Stuff :: The heist movies have always managed to keep us interested (the Bollywood ones not included), and among them, I would rate The Italian Job as the best, followed by many others, including Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, along with Tower Heist and The Art of the Steal, even Fast Five turning into a Rio Heist making one believe that heist was a kind of new successful genre to explore. Even Bollywood had The Italian Job remade as Players, and it was only a matter of time until Malayalam movie industry also came up with a heist movie, and it comes from B. Unikrishnan with Mohanlal in the lead, and it was called Mr. Fraud – quite a negative name for a heist movie (may be it is named from the point of view of the victims). There will be the genuine question about why these heist films are so popular. I would say that people are having more tendency to take risks, and it is basic human nature to desire for something that someone else has, and it is the envy that takes over – at that moment combined by the risk plus desire/envy, the robbery becoming the wonderful art of steal and there begins the world of heist movies. These movies usually have many twists, innovations and the robber is usually portrayed as the good or better person.

What is it about? :: The centre of attraction is Bhaiji or Mr. Fraud (Mohanlal), the man with many names and many faces, none of them real or revealed. He is a man who commits heists against impossible odds with the help of his assistants Abbas (Vijay Babu) and Priya (Manjari Phadnis) as well as special electronic gadgets. After stealing from the dowry of a billionaire’s daughter, they are ready for one final mission to end all heists, and it includes stealing the treasure from the basement of one of the old palaces which is kept there due to a dispute between two parties and a petition to make them public. The two rivals, the two sons and their sons and daughters are waiting for an opportunity to pounce on the treasure and claim the whole of it as Bhaiji comes in between disguised as the evaluator of the treasure. Inspector Sajan (Sai Kumar) also comes the scene hoping to make some profit out of it and takes over as the head of security. In the middle of hatred and discomfort that prevails in the palace, can the man of disguises steal what he has come there to steal or will he lose his way?

The defence of Mr. Fraud :: How many real heist movies do we see in Malayalam movie industry? The other one concerning robbery was Robinhood which was really dumb and that movie had absolutely nothing, and we surely can’t bring Lokpal to the equation when talking about movies which are above average, even as there was the movies like Gangster which won’t stand a chance in front of even Lokpal. This need has been answered by Mr. Fraud which has enough heist moments, along with that idea which is in the centre. Even as it is not anywhere near those awesome heist movies that we watch in Hollywood, this one has managed to do the stuff in the same style, but weaker in content and execution. The movie, even as it has limited thrills, is never boring – that is a new considering how difficult it has been not to bore the audience. They have also managed to come up with a superior first half and nice early second half. The cast is also superb and most of them have played their characters with beauty. The movie hasn’t tried anything too much, it seemed to attempt and be a decent one, with mediocre elements and that is what is has managed to achieve.

The claws of flaw :: Mr. Fraud has had mostly negative or average reviews from the audience, and it has created a clear doubt when the memories of Lokpal comes to the mind. The biggest problem of the movie is that it is not sure about its own genre, and it deviates from its purpose more than once, adding too much emotions. The protagonist also doesn’t become the true fraud that he is supposed to be, not justifying the title – he is not even the exact opposite here. Some of the characters are not fully developed with so many of them there just for the sake of existing there under the shadow of doubt, and the ending is forced. The movie might seem to lose its steam during the climax, and all the action scenes which don’t involve the heists are quite bad, with the superhero side and slow motion taking over, but that is only about a few scenes. The superhero should have remained under or may be on par with the actor when we consider this movie. The background score often gets irritating and so do the songs which jump out of nowhere and the audience has to ask who let them out when they were not really needed.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of the triumvirate movies of Mohanlal which are expected to score big and release soon enough – Koothara, Peruchaazhi and this one, all three expected to be special for one reason or the other, and Mr. Fraud is the first one to reach the theatre despite so many delays. If I had to choose one among them earlier, I would have chosen Koothara to be the better one. This had to be his movie as it is, and from the family man role to this one, he runs the show as usual, and the good thing is that this doesn’t go to that level of Sagar Alias Jacky and there is the limit under control. His looks are nice and keeps things cool. Manjari Phadnis is there for the looks, but surely has her short moments, and Mia also got so much less to do even as she does that without any significant problems. Vijay Babu never gets to do a lot, but Siddique and Sai Kumar excel in the supporting roles as both are there in the roles which they have perfected before. Suresh Krishna in a bigger role would have been nice though, as the situation seemed to suit him, but that was not to be. Characterization, come up with more power next time!

Soul exploration :: There is the need for heist, and even Inception was about heist, wasn’t it? They were the ones who stole ideas, and planting an idea is just the same as stealing one, as one idea is lost while another one takes its place. Mission: Impossible also had its heists going through. Fast Five was a better heist movie than many of the full-time heist movies. So when the bogeyman steals our dreams and convert them into nightmares, isn’t he also a man who is part of this art? Can he be considered one of the first and the most efficient heist artists of all time? Even as it is nowhere near any of the mentioned, Mr. Fraud steals, and performs that operation well. For most of the people though, heist is an adventure, and in the case of such a ride, it has to be entertaining and having a better motive than just to steal. Heist is usually considered different from the usual robbery, and that word is often used positively, thanks to the heist films. The ambiguity remains in this movie too, if it is right to steal under any circumstance or not to; who is evil and who has the fountain of goodness flowing through? Well, the characters in movies like Big B was not with any goodness, and considering that people supported the main characters, the ones in heist movies are much better. Only if this wasn’t that mediocre, we could have come to a conclusion.

How it finishes :: Mr. Fraud is not as bad as some people might suggest, and a comparison to Lokpal is kind of ridiculous and the question of it being better than Gangster is answered with only one sentence – Gangster was the worst movie of the year, challenged only by Salaala Mobiles. It is brought down only by the hype it created, and by being mediocre. Well, Mr. Fraud has its advantages in the theatre, the most important one being the postponement of Bangalore Days which has such a multi-starrer cast that can bring every other movie down – How Old are You will hold onto its place for quite a long time as the family audience have taken it into hearts, and this position that Mr. Fraud was about to lose will be there for at least one week as Bangalore Days has been on a postpone-spree which might or might not end on the upcoming Friday. Kochadiiyaan is not creating the impact that it should have, and Heropanti is running low, so the only challenge that Malayalam movies have is from the English movies, but none of them can replace these movies in content, and they are miles apart in what they come up with, all three Hollywood movies in the theatre dealing with superheroes and super-monsters not really attracting the families.

Release date: 17th May 2014
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: B. Unnikrishnan
Starring: Mohanlal, Mia George, Manjari Phadnis, Vijay Babu, Pallavi Purohit, Dev Gill, Siddique, Sai Kumar, Vijayakumar, Rahul Madhav, P. Balachandran, Devan, Suresh Krishna, Rajeev Parameshwar, V.K. Sreeraman, Kalasala Babu, Sathaar, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Biju Pappan, Ashvin Matthew, Balaji, Amritha Anil

mrfraud copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.