Ittymaani

What is the movie about? :: Ittymaani (Mohanlal) was born in China to Malayali parents who settled down in the Eastern nation because his father was a martial arts expert. After spending a childhood close to the Forbidden City, they return home, his father begins a Chinese restaurant and catering services at Kunnamkulam in Thrissur district of Kerala. Ittymaani himself adds more to this business including creating duplicates of almost everything he wants to, as it was a popular thing happening in the town itself. With Sainuddhin (Dharmajan Bolgatty) and Sugunan (Aju Varghese) for help, Ittymani continues his business as well as some commission programmes which become part of it. He is happy with his life, even though he never even came close to being married, much to the dismay of his mother Theyyamma (KPAC Lalitha). He does agree for marriage, but even after seeing more than thirty girls, there is nothing positive coming out of the procedure.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Ittymaani is also in charge of the church committee, but things are messed up when Joji Pothen (Hareesh Parumanna) takes revenge on him for rejecting his sister Lissie Pothen (Honey Rose). But with the help of his old friend who becomes the new vicar, Fr. John Paul (Siddique), he manages to get back some of his pride. But it is at the same time that the extremely wealthy Plaamoottil Annamma (Raadhika Sarathkumar), their neighbour and good friend has a heart attack. She has been a widow for a long time, and has lived alone for a long time with her sons and daughter having left her in the name of their jobs and childrens’ education. They tell her that they would come and see her soon, but nothing happens – even when Annamma lands in the Intensive Care Unit, they leave everything to Ittymaani and go for a pleasure trip, leading to the worsening of her condition. Ittymaani decides to help her, but how can he?

The defence of Ittymaani: Made in China :: There is a certain amount of humour in this movie which keeps it going, and even though there are actors working for it throughout the film’s run, there is also a certain amount of the same from other more serious characters. There is also the message about how parents are treated by the sons and daughters once they get old, and after the children get well-settled with their own kids in the city. It also becomes a tribute to the old parents abandoned in such a way, as the reference is there even when the movie is not referring to the same; we have to forget those jokes made in bad taste though – in the end, there is also a full strength preaching regarding the care that the elderly people deserves. The movie does stick to the Onam festival mood though, as this is also a kind of movie that the family audience wants to watch during vacations – it could be reflected in the number of people who came to watch the movie too.

The claws of flaw :: The movie does have that tendency to reveal the saint out of the protagonist in the end, as it is a heart attack which becomes deus ex machina too – Its a little bit like Madambi where the main character is misunderstood, even though the golden heart is revealed to the audience a little too early this time. A number of characters are also wasted in this movie, and some of them are played by some fine actors, which is disappointing. Some of the jokes are also disappointing, and one could have avoided them to make this one feel more appropriate in relation to the message that it wanted to convey. The movie had to live up to the cause, but it never tries that. The movie is also too long, and with not much of an interesting story in there, it has to depend on comedy all the time. The drag that the movie shows in the middle part makes the whole setting go less interesting. There are also no good songs in between to bring a better mood.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal once again has himself as the centre of everything, and all the other characters make way for him, as he finds something out of this lesser tale. With his character being highly popularized with much hype, the audience was also banking their hopes on him. But this is certainly not a challenging role, and also for KPAC Lalitha, this mother-son combination comes easy. Madhuri Braganza plays her younger version with no trouble, after that touch with Joseph. Raadhika Sarathkumar doesn’t get that much of a lead even though the movie soon gets centred around her. Aju Varghese and Dharmajan Bolgatty get to add some fun as usual, but some jokes seem to be rather cheap and missing the mark. Kailash and Swasika do have some little moments of humour to add here too. Hareesh Perumanna is the other actor to add to the comic side, but his role is also side-lined.

Further performers of the soul :: As far as Honey Rose is considered, there is nothing more decorative than she is, contributing nothing to the movie, other than being there for about ten minutes, half of the same being in video chat – even during the rest of her moments in the movie, she has very less to speak. If this is not a cameo, one would wonder what it is – another actress, a model could have done the job, serving the ornate purpose. It wouldn’t have been that difficult with Viviya Santh being there in the cast, with not much to do. We see the need for the actress to be on the screen and act disappearing, and that is disappointing. There are also many other actors and actresses whom we might miss if we miss a few seconds of action on the big screen. The actors like Saju Navodaya and Salim Kumar are restricted in the same fashion, and Sunil Sukhada gets even lesser moments. But thankfully, Siddique gets his due yet again, as he once again shines in the priest role, and has some fine scenes of comedy.

How it finishes :: The movie does struggle hard to get to its message, and goes through the journey with a certain amount of humour, and a part of it going the wrong way. But it is still an entertaining movie considering the fact that it has a good number of moments to cheer for, and a message for the society coming in the end. Even though Love Action Drama also focuses on the funny side, it never felt trying to be serious or logical, but Ittymaani is trying a little bit too much to be dealing with something serious, and it is a serious challenge to its quality of completeness, as the story itself never really becomes a whole. Still, as it is Onam, we get to see movies like this one, and enjoy them to the fullest, leaving with a mood of celebration – after all, the students get only eight or nine days for holidays during this Onam season. I wish you all a Happy Onam, do watch all these Onam releases in the theatres along with those which have carried on from earlier, like Porinju Mariyam Jose and Thanneermathan Days!

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jibi Joju
Starring: Mohanlal, Honey Rose, Madhuri Braganza, Swasika, Raadhika Sarathkumar, Aju Varghese, Johny Antony, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Salim Kumar, Sijoy Varghese, Saju Navodaya, Sunil Sukhada, Siddique, Hareesh Perumanna, Kailash, Vinu Mohan, Aristo Suresh, Sethulekshmi, Saju Kodiyan, Anjana Appukkuttan, Asokan, KPAC Lalitha, Rajesh Paravoor, Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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Sherlock Toms

What is the movie about? :: P.L. Thomas (Biju Menon) a.k.a Toms is a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and has spent a lot of time reading the novels, not known to be interested in studies. With a certain amount of skill being displayed by him to solve problems, he had managed to end up exposing Sugunan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) a teacher who was cheating on her wife with another teacher, while solving a mystery of some missing money. He was expelled after that incident and also trying to cheat in examinations. But he makes a grand return, and manages to do well, even qualifying for the Indian Revenue Service though his need was to join Indian Police Service to solve case. After being persuaded by Father Kunnel (Saju Kodiyan), he decides to take IRS and not go for PSC. It doesn’t satisfy him, and is also very disappointed to be married to Rekha (Srinda Ashab) who hates his friends as well as his inability to earn enough money by bribery or in any way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Toms and Rekha go on with regular fights, and as each day passes, her hatred for him grows, but is not ready to sign the divorce papers, not happy with the possibility of him leading a better life in her absence. She believes that he isn’t worthy of his position, coming from a lower level in the society and mingling with local, illiterate people. Toms is not interested in making money or fame, as he only wants to be a sharp investigator like Sherlock Holmes, his childhood hero. For the same he gets a transfer to a new department, and has himself after a certain financiers. Shiny Mattummel (Miya George) is a reporter who covers almost everything that happens in and around the city, to that extent that people believe that she is at more than one place at the same time. The two find themselves in the opposite sides, as Toms’ attempt at a raid is messed up. Now he has to make things better, and for the same, he wishes to suicide.

The defence of Sherlock Toms :: There are some jokes that work in this movie, but one has to wonder if that, as well as the final twist would be enough to make it compete with Tharangam, Udaharanam Sujatha and Ramaleela, all three having their own fans. It is actually very good to have had that final twist, or all these things would have provided a wasted feeling. The family audience would love this movie in parts, and the assurance can only be partial because the movie changes in mood too often – it is is sometimes comedy, at other times drama, and there is also the presence of the elements of a suspense thriller, even though none of these are used to their full strength. The beginning stages of the movie are actually the ones most close to the title of the movie. Who wouldn’t wish to watch the tale of a boy who grew up reading Sherlock Holmes stories? Well, even I was one. Biju Menon is certainly the savour for this movie, as for many others.

The claws of flaw :: Sherlock Toms just seems to try so less with its material. There is one Indian Revenue Service officer who is as smart as Sherlock Holmes, and there is no attempt to make the best of the same. There is no Biju Menon becoming Sherlock Holmes, and investigating unsolved mysteries with some smart moves which would make everyone jealous. There is also not enough funny moments for a Biju Menon movie. To add to the same, there is one flawed wife character whose existence is only as much justified as an impaled zombie looking to eat anybody’s brains, and a number of cliches. [Spoiler Alert] The one movie that the second half of Sherlock Toms reminds the audience about is Man on a Ledge with Biju Menon being Sam Worthington and Miya George being Elizabeth Banks. It is not a direct copy like Anwar from Traitor or Cocktail from Butterfly on a Wheel as there is the different back story and comic side, but the idea actually deviates too much into what we have already seen. [/Spoiler Alert].

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon who has had simple, family movie success with flicks like Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Swarna Kaduva, Salt Mango Tree and Vellimoonga to go into the list of feel-good solo hits with messages, has no problem in dealing with this role too; the movie is a lot dependent on him, and he delivers, even when the movie is sailing through troublesome waters. Both leading actress of this movie has to go through a deep struggle. Srinda Ashab has her character that badly shown that at some point we feel that all the roles which she has done is going to vanish with a certain dose of irritating moments which stay till the end – its not really funny. She had such good work in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela and Parava. Meanwhile, Miya has another struggle going on, which is to escape from having that less of a presence on screen as in Memories and Anarkali. But she manages to go through her role with ease, with not that much demanded there. When we look closer, both of their characters don’t do much constructive, but they are mandatory.

Further performers of the soul :: Sherlock Toms is another movie in which heroines have so less to make an impact, and it is not just them who are restricted – instead the weight is put on the shoulders of Biju Menon. The next significant character would be Salim Kumar though, along with the team of Noby Marcose, Dinesh Prabhakar, Molly Kannamaly and others by his side. Kalabhavan Shajohn brings fun to what might be one of the most terribly written characters of a school teacher – he rises to make it better. Another person who is full fun in this movie is Suresh Krishna, as he brings something whenever he is present on the screen. Hareesh Perumanna contributes with some nice little funny lines, and so does Kottayam Nazeer who combines forces with him. Saju Kodiyan and Vijayaraghavan are effective with some fun here and there during their smaller presence. There is no shortage of characters introduced in this movie, even when they are of not that much contribution.

How it finishes :: Most of us would have expected Sherlock Toms to provide us with more, which is one of the reasons for some disappointment. This one just manages to do fine, but is never really close to those expectations generated with Shafi returning to the helm after the big laugh riot blockbuster which was Two Countries, joining forces with the evergreen comedy side of Biju Menon. Sherlock Toms is that kind of a movie which can be watched for some time-pass, without expecting too much. If you expect the movie to bring something extra, or out of the box, you will have not much to be satisfied about. The movie is the usual Biju Menon model movie, but with deviations which make the movie lesser of that kind. There is no variety being tried, but there are some changes in the path, and people can feel that they are not the kind of changes that they had wanted.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Biju Menon, Miya George, Srinda Ashab, Salim Kumar, Noby Marcose, Vijayaraghavan, Suresh Krishna, Anu Joseph, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nelson, Hareesh Perumanna, Saju Kodiyan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vijayakumar, Molly Kannamaly, Kottayam Nazeer, Sohanlal, Rajesh Paravoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.