Kho Kho

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanneermathan Dinangal

What is the movie about? :: Jason (Mathew Thomas) is a student in plus one humanities, who manages to get to science stream as one of the students in the class wished to escape from the baffling science, thus exchanging their places. He joins the science batch, but doesn’t really manage to pick up the pace, even though he is able to get into the school cricket team as a medium pace bowler and play frequently in tournaments. Despite being branded as the studious boy in the early stages as he came from a reputed central syllabus school, he soon proved to be below average or sometimes even worse in his studies. He finds some new friends who are like him, and also falls in love with Keerthy (Anaswara Rajan), a girl from the same class, a relationship which stays one-sided, much to his dismay, as he hopes to make some progress in it. There is another girl named Steffy (Gopika Ramesh), but he feels that Keerthy is his true love.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But this is the least of his problems as he has problems with another student from the nearby class room. Still, the biggest of his problems is something else, the new Malayalam teacher who comes in the place of the teacher on leave – Ravi Padmanabhan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) is the new teacher whom everyone loves. He keeps teaching in an interesting manner, with stories and even stops other teachers from punishing students. He gets a heroic image in the eyes of the students, and is appreciated by the Principal who considers Ravi to be of the same wavelength as he is. Jason feels that he is a fraud as Ravi doesn’t teach much in the class, and everything that he does is more or less attention-seeking. Keerthy as well as his best friends admires Ravi too, and he has a cold war against the new teacher who seems to have a prejudice against him too. How will his school life progress now?

The defence of Thannermathan Dinangal :: It can be seen that Thannermathan Dinangal doesn’t deviate from its focus at any moment, and this focus is the main things that leads to its success. The movie feels realistic and funny throughout its run, and it also does come up with some nostalgia. We remember how June did the same effectively some time back, and here we are there again. It feels close to life with ease, and the kids of the school are all too good – we notice most of them and we remember them with ease, as they keep coming up with something to memorize. The music is really good, and the song “Ee Jaathikka Thottam, Ee Jaathi Ninte Nottam” stands out with ease, not just with the lyrics and music, but with what we see on the screen with the two youngsters doing a fantastic job. It is one song which can go on to become the song of the year along with a few others.

The claws of flaw :: Some parts of the movie does go a little too much, especially with Vineeth’s teacher character. There is the feeling that this kind of teacher is rather unrealistic, and we are immediately reaching for our dose of willing suspension of disbelief, but in a realistic movie, it is not that easy to use and work on our imagination. The movie could have also shortened the time spent outside the school, and some of the outside characters make less or no impact at all. There are also those extra moments which could have been added, as we look back to our school days. But considered the movies like Oru Adaar Love dealing with plus two life, we understand how difficult it is to come up with a movie like Thannermathan Dinangal – it is even more difficult to have these work for all kinds of audience, and as it seems to be achieved, there is no more searching through the flaws.

The performers of the soul :: Mathew Thomas of the Kumbalangi Nights fame plays the main character in this movie, and he excels as the protagonist. His expressions and dialogues are all too good, and he keeps on impressing us throughout he movie with realistic performance. There is no moment when you feel that he is not living through that school kid. There is the certainty of a lot more coming up as far as this youngster is concerned. We remember him having played a perfect role in his previous movie, and we are always ready to wait for his next movie. Anaswara Rajan of Udaharanam Sujatha fame plays the female lead, and after the recently released Evidey, she has another role in uniform, this time in plus two. She is also natural with her performance here, and the emotional moments are also handled with a certain amount of maturity.

Further performers of the soul :: Then you see Vineeth Sreenivasan doing the teacher character in style – the character might look a little bit strange, but he gives life and energy to that one in an admirable way. We don’t see him in movies that often these days, and we always need a little bit of him at regular intervals – this movie has him back. We had Aravindante Athidhikal last year with the feel-good, and here he has the humour in his hands. Irshad plays the principal of the school nicely. Nisha Sarangh of Uppum Mulakum fame is left to do nothing much here. All the kids here also come up with impressive performances, especially the one who played the main characters’ best friend and the one who has a problem with our protagonist. The watermelon juice from the shop outside the gates of the school and the nutmeg garden contributes as characters in a special way – we see them, and we remember them later, like William Wordsworth would, with the daffodils.

How it finishes :: This kind of a feeling was earlier achieved only with something like Philips and the Monkey Pen, but that was with smaller kids – June had gone beyond the school days as it progressed. Thannermathan Dinangal comes up with the journey that everyone can enjoy, which is the reason why it is still running with housefull shows, something which bigger superstar movies struggle to achieve. It has been a difficult job to find tickets for this movie during this weekend too, and we can be certain that the movie is here to stay. If after watching this movie, you feel the need to go back to your school again, there is no real surprise about it. Thannermathan Dinangal is not a movie of one generation, but of more than one, and you avoid the use of mobile phones, and change the drinks – you get back to the eighties or nineties with ease – well, after all, the 1990s kids nostalgia which have been circulating on the internet has been clearly applicable to the 1980s kids! This one is universal too! I leave you with this beautiful song from the movie.

Release date: 26th July 2019
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Girish AD
Starring: Mathew Thomas, Anaswara Rajan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Sajin Cherukayil, Irshad, Nisha Sarangh, Kichu Tellus, Shabareesh Varma, Gopika Ramesh

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June

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Udaharanam Sujatha

What is the movie about? :: Sujatha Krishnan (Manju Warrier), who stopped school at ninth standard, hopes to provide good education to her daughter Athira Krishnan (Anaswara Rajan) who is no mood to study, and despite considered smart, raises questions about how she has reached so far with her studies. The Trivandrum district collector (Mamta Mohandas) is Sujatha’s role model, but Athira has no such plans as to getting close to even trying for civil service examinations – Mathematics of tenth standard is terror enough for her. Athira enjoys her life watching television and playing with her friends, doing not much of reading, even telling her mother that she only wants to be a servant like her, and work at households, giving the excuse that it is the children of engineers who become engineers, and kids of doctors become doctors. This worries Sujatha who has been looking for better education for her daughter, and complains to Paul George (Nedumudi Venu) who owns the house where she mainly works.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Paul asks her to get her daughter to the famous institution which trains the students so well that they can be nothing less than highly successful in their lives. Cherian (Alencier Ley Lopez) who runs the institution tells her to have her daughter score at least fifty percent marks in the examination, and he will be ready to give them a big discount in fees. But Athira’s skill lies in becoming first from behind, as her scores are always in single digits, never really getting past what batsmen get from a lofted shot over the boundary during a game of cricket. So, Sujatha decides to join school too, and with the help of Sreekumar (Joju George), the most feared Mathematics teacher and headmaster of the school who is persuaded by Paul, she gets special permission and joins the tenth standard of the institution, much to the dismay of Athira who feels ashamed by the same. Now, the question remains about what change it can make.

The defence of Udaharanam Sujatha :: We will find the movie’s main character as someone who the common man can relate to, with ease. There is always the presence of those parents who dreams for their children, and there are always those kids who don’t want to do anything with their lives. We have the simple moments that touch us, and then there is the moment of final realization that helps the movie to rise further. There is the reflection of the difficulties that a mother has to undergo for the child, and we see the new generation who has no awareness, or doesn’t want to think more about the same. We also find the focus being made on the importance of education, and on being thankful to our own people, our family, especially our parents. Yes, along with some humour as well as emotional moments, Udaharanam Sujatha is that kind of a movie which would catch the attention of family audience more than any other, no matter what superstar it would have.

The claws of flaw :: Seemingly having two movies as its base for the story, Nil Battey Sannata and Amma Kanakku, in Hindi and Tamil respectively, one would expect more from this particular tale, with Manju Warrier right there in the lead. You will also find that the movie is an overreacher with what its characters achieve. There is no Doctor Faustus, but one has to feel that a simple movie like this would have had simple steps steadily moving towards glory. We feel that it is too quick to get there, using that cliched twist to make the child understand the significance of her mother and the dreams – maybe the other movies which came earlier had similar things, but there has been enough time to re-organize things. Well, we are pretty much confident that not that many people have watched or even heard about those other flicks; that much was certain from the audience watching this movie. There was also chance for more humour, and the emotional side could have been stronger.

Performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier handles another movie with care, and she has this character in full control. She is here after that wonderful movie which was C/O Saira Banu, and the inspirational sports movie, Karinkunnam 6s; the thriller Vettah also showed a certain divergence, and here she is now, being part of another one of those interesting women-centric movies that has more than what you would think from outside. She has the funny side as well as the emotional one working well here. One has to feel that there will be no replacement for her for a long time. Supporting her very well is Anaswara Rajan as the daughter who has her own way of living her life. She rightly joins in to play her role, and only gets better as the movie progresses. Her combination with Manju Warrier had moments that will immediately catch our attention, more on the emotional side rather than with the funny part.

Further performers of the soul :: Regarding the funny side, we leave that to Joju George who excels with the comedy, and it is him whom we can hundred percent depend to make us laugh here. There are so many moments of laughter being generated in the class room, thanks to him who is also one of the producers of this movie. It is that kind of a character who can be used for a full movie based inside a school. Meanwhile, Alencier Ley Lopez only has a small role to play in this one, appearing twice to be noted. Mamta Mohandas also has a little role to play in this one, as we remember seeing her last in Thoppil Joppan and Two Countries. It is always a pleasure to see her, and there are lots of movies in which we had wished for her to be a part of, as we watch them on the big screen, and see someone missing from its soul. Then there is Nedumudi Venu who plays the inspirational role, as he keeps motivating like no other in this movie.

How it finishes :: There is the certainty of existence of two movies which have dealt with the same thing, and Udaharanam Sujatha also comes in there as the third of them. I wouldn’t be able to comment on Nil Battey Sannata or Amma Kanakku, but Udaharanam Sujatha has its heart at the right place. You might need to think not that much about the transformation and those final moments which go a little too ambitious, but Udaharanam Sujatha is a movie that will attract family audience like a strong magnet, as it has that feel-good factor with positive messages in favour of education, and dreaming high. Well, there might be so many other inspirational movies, but Udaharanam Sujatha goes more family-oriented than any other. So, the question remains if you are ready to be inspired by Sujatha’s example? Do you know someone who has gone through a similar example of a path?

Release date: 28th September 2017
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Phantom Praveen
Starring: Manju Warrier, Anaswara Rajan, Nedumudi Venu, Mamta Mohandas, Joju George, V Suresh Thampanoor, Alencier Ley Lopez

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Parava

What is the movie about? :: Irshad a.k.a. Ichappy (Amal Shah) and Haseeb (Govind V Pai) are friends from a neighbourhood in Mattanchery, and also goes to the same class until the former fails in a subject to stay back in the class for an year. Their main time-pass together is breeding pigeons for the big pigeon race which is held every year. With different gangs with older people trying to do better in the competition every year, the two boys find it tough to keep their birds from being stolen or the cages destroyed at night by some other gang. Still, they don’t back down, and also don’t miss some chance to have fun with romancing a new beautiful girl in the school, participating in the usual sporting events, or watching one of those movies which they are not allowed to watch. But in the end, everything comes to the pigeon race, which stands tall over other sports, whether it is cricket or football.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: While the newer generation seems to have some fun out there, we have the youth, who have had a terrible flashback. The same which includes Shane (Shane Nigam), Hakeem (Arjun Ashokan), Mujeeb (Jacob Gregory), Imran (Dulquer Salman) and a few more, has had a brutal and bloody side written all over it with one incident on the beach with a group of drug addicts (Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi and others). Such an incident wasn’t known to happen in the locality for so many years. This has kept Shane silent and uninterested in almost everything which has been going around for a long time, including the fights with the rival team leader in the pigeon race (Shine Tom Chacko). The same had left Irshad as the last hope for parents, and his hope is on his pigeons. What would happen when things get intertwined?

The defence of Parava :: There is the bold choice of subject being taken here, on the lines of Guppy, which is not known for its box-office success. The visuals of the place takes over, and with some nice music, gives us the feel of the neighborhood. Yes, these locations like Mattanchery and Fort Cochin, or even Thoppumpady and Kumbalangy can give that kind of a feeling if captured on the camera well enough. There are some cute moments involving the pigeons as well as those situations in school which evoke laughter. The funny side is strong with the kids, and the emotional side runs parallel, and gets into form when needed. The strength of the cast assures that the same happens well. We see the happenings as simple, and the movie as a feel-good entertainer, knowing its strength in its cast. Even its extended cameo is placed exactly where it could do the best impact; one would have felt the need to add it in the beginning or the end, but this one appears at the right place.

The claws of flaw :: Parava does stretch itself a little too much than needed, as it should have been shorter with the realistic world which it gets to have – but the positive thing is that it holds ground, and never gets to be the long dragging thing which was Annayum Rasoolum. There is also the absence of notable female characters who are able to make any impact on the flow of the tale, other than being the reason. There is no real heroine in this one, and there is no leading actress to talk about either. Also, when there was the chance for the movie to become another Maheshinte Prathikaram or Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum with its reflection of reality, it just doesn’t take it, and floats away. Even Guppy was simpler, with simple people and their simple dreams. The movie could have also shortened the final fight scene and finished it with a final shot of them playing on the ground; this one extends both scenes.

Performers of the soul :: As it was Chethan Jayalal for the movie which was less watched in the theatres, but appreciated later, Guppy, we have Govind and Amal doing the job. Among the two, one can’t stop noticing the shades of Chethan in the former. You feel the strength of the skills from an upcoming generation right here in this movie, as the two handles not just the funny moments, but also the emotional side without holding back at any moment. Whether it is about those lighter incidents at school or those harder situations in the reality of life, they remain solid, and holds the movie together. They rise above everyone else, as they have more screen presence as well as more situations, none of which goes missing from them. You see scope to make more movies with children at the centre after this one, maybe even come up with many sequels of Philips and the Monkey Pen.

Further performers of the soul :: Among the elder cast, it is Shane Nigam who shines, taking it to the next level from Kismath and C/O Saira Banu, two fine movies which he has been part of, after the smaller role in Kammatipaadam. He has his best moments with one of sadness and final release of anger. Dulquer Salmaan who is restricted to less than half an hour, gets a strong character, but we lose him as we get to know and love him. More of Dulquer’s character would have been good, but we adjust with what we can have with a big cameo. Jacob Gregory also has less of the funny side to explore here unlike expected, and Siddique does the classic father role with ease. Soubin Shahir and Sreenath Bhasi brings the negative shades smartly, while Shine Tom Chacko is there in another noticeable role with his pigeons. Among the female characters, it is Srinda who gets the better.

How it finishes :: Parava is that kind of a movie which attracts us towards it, right from the first sequence involving the kids and the fish, and towards that final fight scene. It has to be noted that how well Soubin Shahir in his first movie as a director takes something which is lesser known in other parts, and elevates it to a higher and more popular level – there is nothing huge being added to the mixture at the same time. As a feel-good entertainer, this one makes us forget its tendency to stretch, and makes us feel as part of the place ourselves, whether we have visited the place or not. We need experimentation like this one to make sure that the wings of our industry stay stronger, as this one releases with Pokkiri Simon. After all, we expect our pigeons to improve and do better every time. Parava is that kind of a movie, which makes on feel that there is surely something to keep close to heart.

Release date: 21st September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Soubin Shahir
Starring: Shane Nigam, Govind V Pai, Amal Shah, Dulquer Salmaan, Jacob Gregory, Shine Tom Chacko, Harisree Ashokan, Jaffer Idukki, Indrans, Srinda Ashab, Soubin Shahir, Sreenath Bhasi, Zinil Zainudeen, Arjun Ashokan, Siddique, Len Prasad

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

School Bus

schoolbus (2)

Vampire Owl :: Do you know that I am completely against the idea of school bus?

Vampire Bat :: Because school bus is more of a capitalist idea meant for the schools of the rich, and the normal way is for the kids to go home by public transport and walk through the rest of the distance?

Vampire Owl :: No, it is because centuries ago, when I was a little toothless kid, buses were not invented.

Vampire Bat :: I thought you were going to refer to the nostalgia of walking through the greenery and throwing stones at the mangoes which are about to fall.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, that is also there, but I am more concerned about what I didn’t have in the past.

Vampire Bat :: Well, this movie has Rosshan Andrrews and Bobby-Sanjay teaming up again after How Old Are You? and Mumbai Police. The latter had their interesting Nirnaayakam getting lost in the Premam effect – it didn’t just hurt Ivide, you know.

Vampire Owl :: That makes this school bus better than the usual ones, I believe.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and a message is certain from this one from the looks of it.

Vampire Owl :: As the humans rarely make use of the messages from movies except for some show-off, lets make better use of them ourselves.

Vampire Bat :: Lets go for the movie then.

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is it about? :: Joseph (Jayasurya) and Aparna (Aparna Gopinath) lead a normal family life with their children, even both happen to have their own struggles. They are not that much comfortable with the ego that each of them possesses, and there is very less time for them to spend with their children. While Joseph is rather too strict with the children, while Aparna has even lesser time – both has a lot of time for their work though. There is also a legal battle going on between Joseph and his brother over three cents of land, and that takes away the rest of the time. Due to the same reasons, their kids, Ajoy Joseph (Aakash Muraleedheeran) and Angelina Joseph (Angelina Rosshan) gets no attention except for the wrong reasons. Ajoy only gets into more and more trouble at school, and his class teacher as well as the principal are fed up with his tendency to attract all the problems to himself.

So what happens next? :: One day, Ajoy creates that kind of a problem at the school which might not end at the school. This clearly turns the whole department and the parents of other children against him. With everyone screaming for punishment, he bunks classes, and when that is also found out, runs away from all his troubles. It is the soft-spoken and intelligent police officer, the new entrant into the force, Inspector Gopakumar (Kunchako Boban) who is in charge of finding the missing child, with the assistance of Mohan (Nandu). But the investigation only leads them to a forest – how does everything point to that one place where there is no chance of a child in the city reaching? Can the police officers get Ajoy back home? How will things go as the parents seem to have realized that they haven’t been the father and mother whom they should have been?

The defence of School Bus :: The messages are abundant in this movie, for the parents, married couples, children, teachers and that list goes on, as most people are going to take something or the other from here. I would always choose a movie which leaves on with something to think about, over the rest of the flicks. This is actually a shorter movie, extending only for less than two hours, which makes sure that the momentum stays on throughout its run. The visuals are good whether in the forest or the city, and the movie has some funny moments involving the kids to provide the needed light feeling. There is a certain reflection of incidents that might have happened in our lives as well as the lives of people whom we know. It is that reflection that we hope not to happen, and what we wish to deny happening during our busy lifestyles, but there are things which will happen considering how much less time we have for the people we love. Sometimes you think that this is going to go the Malooty way, but it doesn’t.

The claws of flaw :: School Bus is a movie which could have been a lot better, especially with the last few moments; its ending could have left one with a clearer message rather than attempting to go different in a strange way. It has enough moments which could have actually been presented in another way. The predictability also shows its head on too many occasions – it is not really something that we would expect from a thriller that attempts to keep the messages alive at the same time. As the moments featuring the kids stand out, a better option here would have been to keep them there for most of the time, or otherwise give more importance to the older characters – but neither of these happens here. By the time Kunchako Boban enters the story, too much of the interesting moments in the movie has passed. Clearer message, better adult characters, less predictability and a much better ending – these could have improved this flick!

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya and Aparna Gopinath does a fine job, but as things doesn’t go around their characters, there is not that much to be seen except for a few emotional moments in the second half. Kunchako Boban also makes his appearance only in the second half and does his job as expected, in his very first police role of the career – there is not that much here to do big though. In the end, it is the kids who get all the attention, and it is them who has more of the screen presence. Aakash Muraleedharan who plays the main character here has done his job well. The director, Rosshan Andrews’ daughter Angelina has made her debut in Malayalam cinema with this movie, and she has done a good job – there are some funny moments for her with those cute grins and the fake fainting, with special mention for the question about the toys. Sudheer Karamana and Nandu have some interesting moments in the second half, but that’s all they would get from this particular movie.

How it finishes :: The combination of Bobby-Sanjay and Rosshan Andrrews has had quite a good amount of success and appreciation except for the dismal thing which was Casanovva. Despite the less hype surrounding it, School Bus is another interesting flick with a fine message to go with it, even though it could have been a lot better; the scope was so much there. The messages include the requirement of the love and care for the kids, the need to keep one’s ego away in relationships, and the significance of sibling love. How many parents look forward to knowing what the children wish for? When both are working and has not time, what happens to the children? As history repeats itself, they and the relatives just keep pushing for the next generation to do only what they want. The final message is also to return to nature, and the true world remains there – well, that is one special thing for the World Environment Day.

Release date: 27th May 2016
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Rosshan Andrrews
Starring: Jayasurya, Kunchacko Boban, Aparna Gopinath, Aakash Muraleedharan, Angelina Rosshan, Sudheer Karamana, Nandu

schoolbus

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.