Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal

mosayilekuthirameenukal (2)

Vampire Owl [Looking at the Son of God poster] : Mosa, horse, fish, sea…is this a Biblical story?

Vampire Bat: It is not Moses’ Malayalam version, it is Mosa…”Sa” as in Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly. The Son of God poster is from last week, it doesn’t show at the theatres any more.

Vampire Owl: So what do you think a title like Horse-fishes of Mosa would mean?

Vampire Bat: Hmmm…may be they use fishes as horses, or horses as sea-food?

Vampire Owl: Or may be a man named Mosa eats both the horse and the fish, or eats fish on a horse?

Vampire Bat: May be the actors are the horses and actresses are fish or fishy.

Vampire Owl: So much for the movie names.

Vampire Bat: And some people said they preferred Malayalam titles for Malayalam movies. This should make them happy.

[Gets the eighty rupee tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of two men, Alex (Asif Ali) and Akbar Ali (Sunny Wayne) who meets under strange circumstances. Alex is the son of a rich land owner and planter at Pambady, Kottayam. He is born as the fourteenth kid in the family as his father Kuriachan (Nedumudi Venu) wanted one more son than his predecessor who had thirteen. Alex lives in a huge house, but is isolated as his brothers and sisters are too much older than him, and soon he is left with his father alone, after his mother dies and the others move away. As his father also dies, he moves to Cochin to do his Master degree, but spends time wasting money. But, thanks to his best friend who cheats him, he ends up in jail from where he keeps making attempts to escape. His last effort is successful, thanks to the help of Akbar who also escapes from the jail. As one of the sons of his brethren is the jail warden, he is convinced to go back to jail with his name is among a number of people to be released on the Independence Day. But he has to bring Akbar back with him, but for that, he will have to follow him all the way to the Lackshadweep Islands. He meets Deena (Janani Iyer) who agrees to help him, but he is now in the centre of a love story featuring Akbar and Isa (Swati Reddy).

The defence of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal :: The best thing about the movie is its wonderful visuals, and its success in capturing the beauty of Lakshadweep Islands, the sea and the underwater world with such skill. This is actually a big advertisement for Lakshadweep if it works well at the box-office. We also have to admire how they turned such a simple story into a nice watch with a philosophy. Unlike pseudo-travel movies like Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi which tries to pretend that it has a philosophy and still provides the audience with a kind of protagonist who never really changes or even becomes more of himself, Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal rejects the opportunity to be a machine spreading more and more lies through a journey. Our movie is more of a travel movie with bildungsroman elements which attempt to look into the human nature through incidents of different worlds joined together. The protagonists are left changed by the end, thanks to what they experience here. This is an adventure with a certain amount of romance and small doses of thrills. The background score is also interesting, but the songs are ordinary. One also has to admire the leading actors for their performances.

The claws of flaw :: Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal is not a movie for everyone, and I can dare to think that it might not interest a good number of common movie watchers, and as you already know, the name itself arouses curiosity, but keeps people think too many times before watching this movie. The movie’s drag comes as another problem, even as compared to a movie like Annayum Rasoolum, this is a Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4, and to Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, this is a McLaren F1. Even as this is many times a better love story than Annayum Rasoolum, but the intensity of the feeling of love remains just the motive when it could have been part of the theme. The love between Alex and Deena is something seemingly possible only in the end and also revealed before the credits roll. Meanwhile, the same between Akbar and Isa is hidden not by the lady’s veil, but by her own selfishness that she admits, and this proof for inherent selfishness that cruise through the human mind at high speeds, weakens the romantic side, and a resurrection of love detained by selfishness raises from the ashes only by the end. There is no denying the fact that a better plot and an energized romantic side could have done this movie a lot of favour.

Performers of the soul :: This is one of the best performances from Asif Ali, and one can easily feel that it is more his movie, as he is the one who narrates, and for the first forty five minutes, none of the four leading actors/actresses are introduced other than him. He single-handedly makes sure that the first half is quite fun, and one also has to love his style of narration. The funny side is also handled well by him. Sunny Wayne makes his entrance after the first forty five minutes, and shares the burden. The story changes to his life and his world, which he handles quite well. But that character that we follows and relates with will still be that of Asif Ali’s Alex who guides us through this adventure. Janani Iyer is cute here, and plays a wonderful character in this movie, but is there for only a short time, a case of sudden disappearance as if her concern ends spontaneously, and her next presence is only in the final scene. But this Deena, is one lovable character that she plays, and even graces us with some words of wisdom along with that charming smile. Swati Reddy looks kind of uncomfortable with this role and also with the looks, but manages to survive as Isa. May be she could have done Deena better than she has performed as Isa, but one can’t be sure.

Soul exploration :: Coming back to name of the movie, the word “mosa” means huge sea waves (credit to the newspapers who ended that doubt) and “kuthira meenukal” even as it is literally translated into “horse-fish” means swordfish (again newspapers to the rescue) in local language. It is said that this kind of fish, predatory in nature, happens to be very selfish, and they are equated to the characters of the movie (no, I haven’t met any of these creatures personally to test the selfishness factor; thought selfish went better with shellfish :D). Both of our heroes as well as Isa remains selfish throughout the movie, mostly due to their circumstances, the only exception being Deena whose words reflect on Alex during the climax scene, and he realizes that even as he made a mockery of her earlier, what she said was more closer to the truth than anything that he had ever said. The random act of kindness that brought to Alex the ability to make others happy without him ever knowing, and that too for the first time in life, would change his life forever, along with that of Akbar. After going on a different path, we can see that Alex asks a bribe-demanding police officer who is also his relative, if he has eaten swordfish, a question which he asks not only to the corrupt officials, but also to a generation powered by selfish motives. So, this movie transforms the swordfish that is seen dancing on the waves of life, back to what could be goldfish, something which occurs in the mind.

How it finishes :: Here is somthing to gather more attention – the cinematography of this movie is handled by the same person who did it for Amen which was praised for the same reason (Abinandhan Ramanujam). There are some movies which turns out to be entertainers, and there are others which end up as classics. But Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal doesn’t really belong anywhere, and even with a certain inability to gather attention, this movie has to be applauded for the different approach that it takes. This visual philosophical spectacle needed something more in the script. Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal is a flawed gem, and its flaws often make us less interested, but it is still a refreshing journey, and also that movie which will make you think about going the the Lakshadweep Islands. But do keep this in mind – this is not the movie that everyone deserves, and it is just this movie that deserves its limited audience! You look for change, and you look for some difference instead of entertainment, and here is a movie which is pretty good in doing something like that. The movie seems to be receiving mixed reviews, and a possible failure of Mosayile Kuthira Meenukal will only make sure that the time of mindless entertainers will begin again. And yes, lets not be even half-a-swordfish 😀

Release date: 1st May 2014
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Ajith Pillai
Starring: Asif Ali, Sunny Wayne, Janani Iyer, Swati Reddy, Nedumudi Venu, Nishanth Sagar, Jijoy, Jojo Mala, Chemban Vinod, P. Balachandran

mosa copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Captain Phillips

captainphillips (5)

There are only two a few movies which delivers almost in the same manner as the critics say; and we have had two in the gap on one month, which were Rush and Gravity; to that list, here comes Captain Phillips. It is easy to brand a movie as bad and the flick can easily live up-to that bad reputation; but when the critics say a movie is exceptional, there are only a few movies which actually prove them right for the common audience, and Captain Phillips is such a movie. There are so many movies branded as bad by the critics which were actually either good or bad, and there were others which were somehow branded good; but when we talk about this movie along with the other two I mentioned earlier, there would be a uniformity in this branding, and they are exceptional, no matter how we look at them; and who looks at them from which angle and on which day. Welcome to the thirty days of awesomeness from Hollywood, with the exception of Runner Runner – this was a month which started with the first two movies rating 57/200 together, and the last two rated 177/200; it is a strange month indeed!

Our first idea was to leave this movie behind, but that had to change. It was not just the reviews that did it, as it was more about the brilliance of Rush which we had earlier ignored brought to me. It almost completely took away the need to watch a movie which worked on familiar or more interesting background. So this is more of a biopic of Captain Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage by Somalian pirates in the Indian Ocean in 2009; we used to wonder – how is it going to work out? We had already watched a Tamil movie in the form of Maryan which had a hostage situation involving armed men from Sudan. Even as it turned out to be good, there were lot of things lacking in there as it scored just with the visuals, music and the right cast. It had stuck to the love theme in quite an unrealistic manner, and there it lost the footing a bit. Here we have another situation, and here we have Tom Hanks, along with the most realistic portrayal which is more focused on one thing rather than too many unnecessary exaggerated things which were praised to the heavens in the form of love and a lot like the same.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of MV Maersk Alabama in its journey from Oman to Kenya. There is the high chance of being attacked by pirates of Somalia, and they take enough precautions, even keeping two groups of pirates away as they use deception of an airstrike arriving and also the waves of the ship itself to keep the groups away. The first group gets frightened and the second gets the boat’s engine out of order. One of the two groups of pirates return on the next day led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) in a faster boat, carrying a quickly prepared ladder. In spite of the valiant efforts of the crew with pumps and waves, they get on board with the rusty ladder, after taking advantage of a faulty pump, capturing the captain and two others while the rest of the crew keeps themselves safe in the ship’s engine room. Muse hopes to keep the ship for asking for insurance money from the shipping company, and in case of a failure he has to answer to his bosses. About fourty or fourty five minutes into the movie, the ship has already been captured by the pirates.

As the crew capture the pirate leader, they are able to get the pirates into the ship’s lifeboat, but they manage to take Phillips with them as they go into the water in hope for getting some ransom money for the captain. The second half of the movie is about the life in that one orange boat and the efforts of the navy to get the captain back. The ship keeps following the lifeboat until the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge arrives, followed by two other ships of combat. The pirates also lose contact with their mother boat and decides to go all the way to Somalia which the U.S. Navy ships can’t allow. As the pirates know that they have come too far to quit right now, the navy is ordered not to let them get to the land at any cost. Phillips’ efforts to reason with the pirates is in vain and so is his effort to swim away from them to one of the ships. They ask for money in millions for which the navy asks for time. Meanwhile, the SEAL shooters are trying to get shots to take down the pirates. The hostage situation gets worse as the pirates gets impatient and restless. The question would be about how they take care of the situation keeping the hostage alive and how the captain himself manages to keep him alive and in his senses.

As you might have already guessed, this is the movie of Tom Hanks. He depicts his character with such sincerity which is rarely seen on screen. I have known him for Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Appollo 13, Catch Me If You Can, Saving Private Ryan and The Terminal, but from now on-wards I shall know him first for this movie than any other. Yes, there are many other movies of class, but this is the one for now, to be discussed a lot and to be thought about a lot along with all that admiration which it gained with the claps in the theatre, even as it was not that loud as what Rush has managed even with a lesser audience. Tom Hanks is Richard Phillips, a man in charge of a ship and the captain who is taken as a hostage in a lifeboat, beaten up and almost killed by the pirates. There is no doubt left in the mind of the viewers about that. He lives through that experience rather than act with the tide. The portrayal of the leading character is worth the applause as he is a common man, an average person who does nothing heroic to be exact, just what is necessary and what was indeed the right thing. He doesn’t create a spectacle, but lives through that perfectly.

Even as we would never come to know the exact events of the Maersk Alabama hijacking and the Richard Phillips hostage crisis of 2009, the film’s version shall stand as the version that we know. It might not be perfect or close enough that perfection which one can imagine while watching such a movie inspired by true events. The movie has to be applauded for how much it has kept close to a realistic depiction of a ship hijacking and a hostage crisis though, without any exaggeration or stuff for the fans. In spite of the same, the movie is still thrilling, something I had my doubts about. The movie does have the moments of slowing down and repetitions, which can’t be denied, but those moments are very less. The climax scene is really good, and Tom Hanks as well as the actors who played the pirates go through that tense situation very well. The movie does put a strong value on the lives of one human, and places it as the central point. One would be left to wonder how many governments of the world would value the lives of their citizens this much. By the end, the humanity shall turn out victorious as most us already know from what we read from the internet.

Taking the action back from the thrilling climax, I would say that the moments in the ship was the best. What came between the time from the arrival of the SEALs and the negotiation with the pirate leader was a bit of slow and slightly dragging – still not something worth putting the blame on. Here we also have the realistic depiction of piracy, and it is a good reminder to those pirate loving fans of Pirates of the Carribean fans. There is no Captain Jack Sparrow when talking about it, and its time one stops heavily romanticizing vampires, werewolves and pirates just because some books or movies had such depictions. But the movie doesn’t fail to bring out how much of a situation the pirates are caught within, between their bosses and the risk of being murdered or caught by the armed forces. Piracy might remain a cause of concern for a long time, and this movie takes a realistic look into it, asserting the need to get rid of it. One last word would be about Barkhad Abdi who played the pirate leader Abduwali Muse – a great effort indeed; smart, intense and still funny at times; saying that he loves America and wants to live there for the rest of his life. This one is surely a strong contender for some Academy awards next year – along with Gravity and Rush.

Release date: 11th October 2013
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Yul Vazquez, Max Martini, Omar Berdouni, Mohamed Ali, Issak Farah Samatar

captainphillip copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.