Makal

Vampire Owl: I feel that this refers to the daughters of darkness.

Vampire Bat: Uncle Dracula refers to to the children of darkness, but they are different.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that darkness can have many undead children.

Vampire Bat: Yet, most of them are also the children of chaos.

Vampire Owl: You just cannot have such children roaming around.

Vampire Bat: The witches would not mind that.

Vampire Owl: They wouldn’t, while looking for some special ingredients for potions.

Vampire Bat: It has somewhat gone out of fashion, especially after the hunters started targeting the lesser witches of the woods.

Vampire Owl: The witches will still maintain most of their features.

Vampire Bat: The future of witches is yet to be finalized.

[Gets a vancho cake and three cups of ginger tea].

What is the movie about? :: Juliet (Meera Jasmine) lives with her daughter Aparna (Devika Sanjay) who is studying in plus two, and preparing for medical entrance. Aparna’s father Nandakumar (Jayaram) had been working as a mechanic in the Middle East for a long time, and finally returns to Kerala after losing his job. As Nandakumar and Juliet comes from different religious, social and economic backgrounds, there is more complication here. He starts a food processing unit with the name Pravasi Food Products which gains some initial success. But it seems that the products need more publicity, as sales in the supermarkets stay at an all-time low, and he is forced to find some other methods for support. Meanwhile, Rohit (Naslen K Gafoor) keeps trying to get closer to Aparna. He even becomes a part of Nandakumar’s factory in the disguise of a migrant worker from West Bengal. He keeps trying to make an impression upon Nandakumar until finally getting caught. Nandakumar and Aparna go through regular arguments related to her dog being inside the house, the problem reaching its highest point when the dog goes missing.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: When Juliet finally gets a government job in Wayanad, things get more complicated. There is the generation gap which is always present, and misunderstandings also exist. Aparna driving the car without a license becomes another common reason for fights. Even Nandakumar doesn’t have an Indian license, and he doesn’t like the car as it was given by Juliet’s family. He also feels tha Aparna is getting too close to her male friends. Meanwhile, Juliet arranges her stay with her co-worker Fathima (Dayyana Hameed), and is not able to take off on weekends to go home and meet her husband and daughter. Premlal (Kottayam Ramesh), the superior officer at the collectorate where she works is not ready to provide any relief to the employees. It is then that something strange happens in their life, as an unknown person also becomes part of their life – coming from Karnataka, Garuda Naik (Balaji Manohar) is a man of mystery. This would change their perspective about father-daughter relationship. But will that come a little too late for their liking?

The defence of Makal :: This family drama moves forward with a touch of humour, which seems to work very well with the audience for whom it is intended. The messages for the families related to parenting and family attachment are always there, as one would expect from this kind of a movie. Most of the struggles shown here feels very much real, and the problems with a new generation of teenagers are portrayed close to reality. It shows how difficult it is to take care of the new generation of such teenagers who rarely listen to their parents, despite seemingly staying with them and using their money for what seems to be forever. As this kind of movies are not easy to find among the categories these days, it is good to see this one coming back too. The emotional sequences are mostly working, and the credit to the same goes to a certain amount of nostalgia that goes towards the past. These are the kind of movies which takes us into the past, and places that world in the contemporary world, and we remember the values which are rarely present during these days when there is a new generation descending into chaos – it can be lamented, while the feel-good factor of this film is strong.

The claws of flaw :: There are many unnecessary sequences in the movie which makes one feel that they lose the focus on regular intervals. With better focus, some of the dialogues and situations wouldn’t have found light in relation to this particular movie, which had the potential for much more. The feeling of being outdated is also there at times. The major twist which happens in the movie is indeed the strangest addition which feels rather unwanted, and a movie which was going the realistic path seems to struggle in finding some realism from that moment. Before the incident, there were also the repetitions which never hesitate to appear out of nowhere. One would feel that some characters should have had more purpose around here. Some moments just gets added to bring more humour in here. Even the main characters seem to be irritating at times, but considering how the real-life people go about, blaming them for being so feels rather difficult. The small romantic angle added here seems to serve nothing other than some humour and a little bit more of emotions, even though all of these were already there.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram has been having some skill in maintaining this kind of family-oriented films, and that quality is still here, even though the world has changed a little too much from those early times. The fatherly figure has suited him very well for some time now. Meera Jasmine makes her return to Malayalam cinema industry as a grand one, as she is the leading lady again, maybe marking a permanent stay around here. Devika Sanjay who was earlier seen in Njan Prakashan is the one person whom we notice more than anyone else, as she once again scores in playing the teenager with the usual problems which are reflective of the new generation. Naslen K Gafoor of Thanneer Mathan Dinangal and Kuruthi kind of variety and most recently seen in Jo and Jo, has much less to do, but still adds to the humour really well – still, this is a character with minimal impact on the tale. Sreenivasan makes a notable, but less influential appearance here too. Innocent and Siddique remain strong as the veterans. The smaller roles of Nilja K Baby and Dayyana Hameed would also be remembered, and the two are surely going to make it big sooner or later.

How it finishes :: It is clear that the audience intended for this particular movie are the groups which come to the theatre as families. For the other audience, this would seem like something which they have already seen. The movie released on the OTT platform much later than the other, and it comes as a surprise as it could have easily grabbed more viewers with an earlier release. It is late by at least two months, and such a delay would have been heart-breaking for the fans of Meera Jasmine waiting to see her return. We have known what Sathyan Anthikad movies have been capable of, and not much change has come across them. We can still feel the absence of some common names which were part of the cast in his most films, some of them not alive anymore and others not being there for some reason. Well, the 1980s and 1990s were the classic ages of the director, and it is clear that he still have the power of the same family values to be brought to the audience. One can accept them or choose to reject, but these works which has the minimum guarantee are not to be avoided. Most of our parents would always prefer to watch movies like this one.

Release date: 18th August 2022 (Manorama MAX); 29th April 2022 (Theatre)
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Jayaram, Meera Jasmine, Siddique, Sreenivasan, Innocent, Devika Sanjay, Dayyana Hameed, Naslen K Gafoor, Meera Nair, Sreedhanya, Balaji Manohar, Jayashankar Karimuttam, Nilja K Baby, Althaf Salim, Sreelatha Namboothiri, Kottayam Ramesh, Krishna Praba, Mani Shornur, Salim Hasan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

John Luther

Vampire Owl: It has been 826 days. That is a long time.

Vampire Bat: 826 days after watching a movie in the theatre, and now we are back.

Vampire Owl: The OTT life was quite long during that time, right?

Vampire Bat: Yes, mostly of Prime Video and Netflix, and then others.

Vampire Owl: The last one we watched was Forensic.

Vampire Bat: That was a good end to the sequence before corona virus.

Vampire Owl: Well, we remain the same even now.

Vampire Bat: We continue to live in a world without hope.

Vampire Owl: There is no movie that can be close to the reality of hopelessness.

Vampire Bat: Well, we will watch this movie for now, and think about the meaninglessness of a hopeless life later.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of cadamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Circle Inspector John Luther (Jayasurya) of Devikulam police station is someone who is very much committed to his duty. He is fully supported by Sub Inspector Felix Joy (Deepak Parambol) who also spends a lot of time dedicated to duty. The absense of John during the major programmes at his home has his wife Jessy (Athmeeya Rajan) and sister Leena (Drishya Raghunath) in sadness, and his parents (Siddique and Sreelakshmi) in disappointment. On the night before his sister’s engagement, John finds him in trouble due to two cases. The first one is related to a political murder and the second one is a man-missing case following an accident which kills another person. The first case leads to John getting physical with the goons and ends up getting smashed on the head with a tube-light, which leads to him going deaf on one year, and requiring to use hearing aid on the other. But with a boy also found to be missing, he has to get back to the case and solve it within a deadline of two weeks.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: He discovers that the two missing cases have no relation with each other, and there is soon a woman that goes missing. The death in the first accident, and the missing person of the same accident seem to have no common person behind them. Their only clue is a pickup truck which doesn’t have the registration number displayed on one side, which makes it very difficult for them to go forward. All of these incidents have happened in a certain area which doesn’t seem to have many people around. As this takes place in the high-ranges between the tea plantations, there seems to be a shortage of CCTV cameras too. But they hope that there could be that one witness who might have seen one of these victims just before or after being taken away by the criminal. Still, it is to be noted that the man who is behind all of these can’t be a common criminal – there might be a lot more to him. John and Felix have to be very careful in this case. Can they find out the mastermind before there are more victims?

The defence of John Luther :: As far as the thrills are concerned, they are here to stay with this particular movie. There is the grand mystery running through the middle, which never losses strength. The suspense could be maintained, and it keeps us guessing. There are red herrings which almost makes us think the other way. The quality that we see on the big screen is too good – the beauty of visuals is always there, whether it is about the long shots of the enchanting Munnar and Cochin or the classic shots of night with danger lurking in the corners. The final moments have us more in fear than anything else, as the villain is revealed, but not with further twists. The songs are interesting, and they support the happenings of the movie well. The background score is effective, and the use of sound effects to support the proceedings also need to be appreciated. The darkness in a very good ally for this particular movie, as much as the different noises used around here – the scene at the beginning is a nice example of the same.

Positives and negatives :: One would be right to find some cliches here, but we have always required most of them to keep the cinematic world moving forward with strength. The movie could have given more significant chances to its female main leads to perform, as they are pushed to the background rather too early. There is a little bit of horror touch to the movie at times, and that could have worked even better if the elements were introduced much earlier. The movie is a reminder to us that any person among us could be a psycho killer, and idea that could save lives – well, those who enjoy when we fall are no less of such killers either. After all, all human beings are born evil, and this film once again shows how effective in evil they can be, especially when they feel that they are done with the society. We blame the evil spirits and demons, and maybe even categorize vampires as pure evil, but humans have always been the root of all evil. The dark world of the investigation in this movie also points towards the same, and we can’t agree less.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is someone who performed all alone in Sunny last year, and this time, he gets a fine team, and we have him with a fine performance here. We believed that he was indeed the actor to be trusted while booking a movie ticket after such a long time, and also at Lulu Mall; quite an expensive one in this case. One would think that after watching so many films in the theatre from 2013 to 2020 until corona virus brought the trouble, the celebrities will be supporting this blog, but that is wrong, because only a very few of my reviews like Meppadiyan and Luca have been shared by the leading actors of respective films. Anyway, coming back to Jayasurya, he looks and performs like the dedicated actor that he always has been. From the perfect police officer to the flawed one like we see in Memories, he is to be appreciated for how well he has brought the quality in here. It is to be noted that Deepak Parambol also brings some fine support in here, as the police officer who is not left far behind, but stays beside the main character. Athmiya Rajan and Drishya Raghunath are lovely, but has less screen time. The villain is really good, but can’t reveal more about him due to spoiler possibilities.

How it finishes :: You always have time to support a dark mystery thriller placed on an investigation. We did welcome movies like Anjaam Pathira, Antakshari and Forensic with much appreciation. Like the latter movie, this one also keeps its killer as the psycho and not a revenge seeker, which lets it have the advantage over the rest of the similar movies which attempt to turn themselves into random movies of vengeance. The time it takes to come to the final villain also needs to be appreciated, as the suspense is successfully maintained until then. This is also the first movie I have watched in the theatre after 826 – the last one was Forensic just before corona virus had made that big run. It is always good to watch thrillers as much as horror movies, as we are better prepared to face all the evil in the world after watching these movies, and we know when to be ready, and when to give up and just die. After all, evil is too natural for humans, and there is always someone trying to lie, cheat and steal, as well as murder us, or make our life a living hell; its in human nature.

Release date: 27th May 2021
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Abhijith Joseph
Starring: Jayasurya, Athmeeya Rajan, Drishya Raghunath, Siddique, Deepak Parambol, Sivadas Kannur, Pramod Velliyanad, Sreelakshmi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

12th Man

What is the movie about? :: A few friends from college come together at a resort far away from civilization – Zacharia (Unni Mukundan), Mathew (Saiju Kurup), Nayana (Sshivada) Shiny (Anusree), Merin (Anu Sithara), Sidharth (Anu Mohan), Jithesh (Chandhunath), Sam (Rahul Madhav), Fida (Leona Lishoy), Aarathy (Aditi Ravi) and Annie (Priyanka Nair) come together with their families after a very long time. Zacharia and Annie had just found out that they are going to be parents. Sidharth and Aarathy are going to get married soon, and this particular party is on them. The resort is fully booked only for them, and a lot of facilities are available for them. As they play cricket, Siddharth’s big shot ends up hitting Chandrashekhar (Mohanlal), who is angry that he lost his bottle of liquor when the ball hit him. He asks for a replacement, but there are not bars or beverage shops nearby. To avoid him, the resort arranges some local toddy, but in the final stages, that also becomes becomes unavailable, and the group has to provide him with the alcohol. He accepts it and leaves.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: After Chandrasekhar leaves, the group decides to take it to the next level. There are too many calls attended by the participants of the programme, and they decide to make all calls and messages which reach their mobile phones during the time period public, in a game of trust. But it is not that simple a game as they had thought, despite Nayana and Fida supporting the same very much. In the first phone call itself, the problems between Zacharia’s mother and wife is revealed, as the former talks about latter’s pregnancy and related issues. Now, Zacharia is in support of the game, saying that let everyone go through the same situation. Two phone calls go on without creating much of a problem, but soon, Mathew’s financial problems are revealed to everyone. But that will not be the biggest revelation, and soon, there would be a revelation that would affect their friendship. Then, soon enough, there is a murder in the premises. Now, the question remains about what can happen next in this small world in the middle of nowhere? Who is the trouble maker here?

The defence of 12th Man :: What interests us the most here is the visual setting, and the atmosphere that it provides the catalyst to help the whole story. This is the kind of world where murders could happen without a trace. The beauty of the place is another thing, and that would surely make one want to visit the area, The twists are really well built in the movie after the death happens. There are different viewpoints being nicely explored around here. Most of the film keeps close to the three classical unities, and maintains its effectiveness using the short time period of the tale. The voice cast is also strong around here – Mallika Sukumaran, Kottayam Pradeep, Soubin Shahir, Aju Varghese and Murali Gopy. Mohanlal can be seen as nicely taking over control here from an environment in which there was nothing like that. He has played a different police officer, and excels in the second half. The movie does a fine job in exposing the fake friendships going on with masks always present there. It reflects how friendships over drinks are the quickest to break apart, and that those built on lies have no existence at all.

The claws of flaw :: Playing games in a building was earlier seen in the Bollywood movie Chehre. This movie takes a lot of times to get there. The final conclusion with the killer is not that conclusive. Some of the revelations are rather too predictable, and with a setting like this, they could have tried more to keep things smarter – this is not the same audience that the makers are facing, or OTT has changed their world by a long way, and the expectations won’t be the same. The initial moments with silly jokes based on the protagonist surely feels more dumb than ever; maybe it would have worked in the theatres with the fans sitting all around. The fans are known for making the nonsense a case of brilliance, but when a movie is releasing on OTT, it has to be smart, as the fans can’t create that kind of an influence, and there are people around the world who are judging this. The movie could have also used the environment in an even better way. Each character could have also been explored further, for there was a lot of talent out there. The film is also too long.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal is not present on the screen when a lot of interesting things happen around here. He has a terrible, mostly dumb entry in the beginning, which falls flat on its face, while going on becoming more and more irritating. It seems to be fashion to show drunk people becoming heroes. But later, after a murder happens, things only get better, and the character is finally given a true existence outside alcohol and talking nonsense. Mohanlal is completely in control of things in the later stages, as he leads the journey with efficiency. It is always nice to see the two sides of him – Bro Daddy was there on the other side. The next person to catch our attention is Leona Lishoy, the actress who has been seen as someone with different dimensions, always notable in any role that she plays, whether it is the mother in Annmariya Kalippilaanu, sister in Maradona or the investigator in Anveshanam; often rising above the movie itself. We knew how she fared in Mayaanadhi, and she comes up with the divergence here too. Some people do their roles rather too perfectly and she is one of them.

Further performers of the soul :: The next person who catches our attention is Anu Sithara, and she has played the good girl image really well – she does look different around here, and that also suits her. Anusree does the job of the most irritating female character of last few years after Srindha in Sherlock Toms. It does feel like a little too much at times. Priyanka Nair and Saiju Kurup are here after that interesting thriller called Antakshari, and both of them once again proves to be solid performers, even though not seen as a pair this time. Unni Mukundan does nothing heroic like in Meppadiyan, and has only a role which is at par or at times, a little below most of the others. Sshivada seems to be playing the one respectable character out there, who doesn’t keep secrets to save herself. Anu Mohan and Chandhunath comes into the picture strong enough. Rahul Madhav plays another character with more than what meets eye well, and that actually applies to all of them. Nandhu and Siddique gets rather smaller roles which they go through with ease. Aditi Ravi supports well within the group.

How it finishes :: When the name Jeethu Joseph is associated with any movie, we know that it will have something of relevance as far as the thrills are concerned. Even though Oozham did have a struggle to go through its nonsensical world, Memories and Drishyam were the biggest thrillers of the industry at that time. This movie attempts to get into that particular group of greatness too. Yet, the journey is not of that high quality, and never does it provide the innovation to feel that this is not something we haven’t seen before. The best movies are indeed the ones which have Jeethu Joseph writing and directing all by himself, but this one doesn’t have the script from him. Yet, this one surely goes on an interesting journey, with its own twists and turns in a setting which adds to the overall mood. I am always in support of a murder investigation mystery in which everyone is a suspect – with the perfect surroundings, things have a minimum guarantee.

Release date: 20th May 2022 (Hotstar)
Running time: 163 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Mohanlal, Unni Mukundan, Saiju Kurup, Anu Sithara, Leona Lishoy, Sshivada, Aditi Ravi, Priyanka Nair, Anusree, Anu Mohan, Rahul Madhav, Chaghunath, Nandhu, Pradeep Chandran, Chali Pala, Siddique

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Night Drive

Vampire Owl: Do you remember the last time when the vampire team was on a night drive?

Vampire Bat: We only have night drives around here. We don’t go for morning drives.

Vampire Owl: Yes, but the night drives have been rare too.

Vampire Bat: That is because we don’t drive, but fly.

Vampire Owl: Not all vampires can fly, or even glide.

Vampire Bat: Yes, but we bats and owls do.

Vampire Owl: Yet, we can go for a drive in the vampire-mobile.

Vampire Bat: It is a bat-mobile, and it is my private property.

Vampire Owl: You don’t use it as you can fly.

Vampire Bat: It will not be used for night drives, and that is final.

[Gets a vegetable samosa and three cups of Vagamon tea].

What is the movie about? :: Georgy Jacob (Roshan Mathew) works as an Uber driver and hopes to migrate to the Middle Easy for a better future. He is in love with Riya Roy (Anna Ben), a very popular news reporter, and they used to be childhood friends for a very long time. They do keep a certain amount of distance between them, as Riya’s father, Roy Mathew (Renju Panicker) who has retired from the military forces is not fond of Georgy. For Riya’s birthday which is also the Christmas evening, they decide to go on a night drive without her father knowing anything about it. At the same time, Rajan Kurup (Siddique) is caught in a gold smuggling scandal which was discovered by Riya and her channel, a case which has been transferred to NIA. He expects to be arrested by the squad on the very next day, and asks Chacko Cherian (Kalabhavan Shajohn) to find a way to get rid of the gold in his home before NIA comes for the raid. Rajan’s trusted aid Jaleel (Sudheer Karamana) assigns the minister’s personal assistant Balu (Kaliash) to get the gold to a safe house.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Meanwhile, Riya who was driving the car gets into a fight with Circle Inspector Benny Moopen (Indrajith Sukumaran) who was doing routine vehicle checking. Benny lets them go so that he can avoid any of the people there spreading the news about him bothering a lady in the middle of the night, but is clearly angry about the incident. Riya who keeps arguing with Georgy over the earlier incident suddenly spots someone in front of their car, and the vehicle seems to have hit that person, who is revealed to be Balu with a bag full of gold. The two manages to take him to the hospital, which brings Francis (Prasanth Alexander) who owns the car they were driving and Ammini (Sreevidya Mullachery) handles that particular Uber fleet operations to the hospital too. The police officer in charge of the case is Benny, who is only happy to torment Riya and Georgy over the incident. He decides to keep them in the hospital, but the arrival of Chacko at the hospital with other motives complicates things.

The defence of Night Drive :: The movie seems to move forward naturally in the beginning stages, with likable characters and the incidents which can be related by different people from various stage of their lives. The beginning stages go on with the usual, and feels like the natural order of things. It does have some fine twists, and a few red herrings are also there to make sure that one doesn’t guess it the right way. The different characters in the movie are not really what they seem to be, as the visages tend to show differently on diferent occasions. There are moments which keep you at the edge of the seat, as these are characters whom you like. The cast has been chosen well here, as you feel that there would have been tendency to go for a few others, but here we have characters getting equal importance instead of the focus shifting to one person. The visuals of Cochin are really good around here. This is the kind of movie which should have released directly on OTT, as there is a certain possibility of this going popular among the audience outside Kerala if it was first released online.

The claws of flaw :: Even though the movie had built up so well, the final scenes are not that much up to the mark. There is the plan to bring some mass action in the end, but it doesn’t suit the overall mood of the film – a darker version of the final moments would have done better for this particular movie. Let the outdated superstars do the mass action for their brainless fans, and the new generation of actors should go for class and perfection. These are not the times of such fan nonsense in the theatres, as we have the post-corona virus OTT loving audience as a strong force, and this is the flick which will be watch more on such platforms rather than anywhere else. It had a certain realistic side to the proceedings until the makers decided to go full action in the last few minutes with a specific background story added to the main characters. The first few minutes could have been shortened too, as there seems to be an extension of the less important happenings then. The conclusion could have also been kept at a higher level.

The performers of the soul :: Roshan Mathew has been continuously working hard to come up with some memorable performances, last seen in the Amazon Prime Video release, Kuruthi, a thriller with many messages. Coming out of the first big role in Aanandam and the earlier smaller ones in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Puthiya Niyamam, he has evolved a lot to reach this higher level. His performance in this movie is realistic for most of the time, and something to be appreciated, until the mass moments come in the end. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen has already let Anna Ben set a bar which is difficult for her to overcome – even with a film like Sara’s having her as the life and soul. Indrajith Sukumaran is solid as the police officer who seems strict as well as menacing, and at the same time, likes to have a strong grip on his investigation. Siddique once again plays the corrupt politician with sinister motives well, and reminds one of Jagathy Sreekumar of Passenger. Kaliash once again has a good supporting role and so is Kalabhavan Shajohn, while it is nice to see Sreevidya Mullachery of Star Magic fame playing a memorable role here – she is indeed a lovely talent, and the fair reason for anyone to watch the popular show in Flowers television channel.

How it finishes :: Night Drive becomes a movie of interest without that much of a hype associated with it. It has some fine moments of interest, and successfully deviates from the tendency to go full nonsense like in that Shane Nigam – Shine Tom Chacko film of misery and shame, the pariah of a movie called Ishq. When two lovers are on a night drive, the situation can be tackled well to make a thriller of quality beyond the usual and the expected, as shown around here. This movie seemed to have Roshan instead of Shane, Indrajith instead of Shine and Anna instead of Ann, with the main characters going for a night ride as part of celebrating the lady love’s birthday, and in the process being stopped by the man claiming to be the police officer – seems so familiar for those who have watched that movie, but this one takes a completely different route, and also involves other characters in a journey of twists which are not about just two, three or four people. Night Drive is successful and delivers nicely when we take a fine look.

Release date: 11th March 2022 (Theatre); 10th April 2022 (Netflix/Manorama Max)
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Vysakh
Starring: Roshan Mathew, Anna Ben, Indrajith Sukumaran, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Sreevidya Mullachery, Kailash, Muthumani, Prasanth Alexander, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Siddique

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sara’s

What is the movie about? :: Sara (Anna Ben) needs to get many things right, and making a name in the film field is only one of them. She has her own set of beliefs, and is not ready to step away from them, no matter the cost happens to be. From her school days itself, she was afraid of having a child, and she maintains that aversion throughout her life. She is bothered by her father Vincent’s (Benny P Nayarambalam) constant requests to get a boyfriend, without which they will come up with a match themselves. It is then that she meets Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who had left his job in Bangalore and returned home, presently taking care of his sister’s children. When the two meet later, they are united by their lack of interest in having children, and decide to fall in love. They feel that there is a connection between them, and the two decide to wait for a few years before they marry – she hopes that she can study him well during that time, and also get her new movie going.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Their world consists of only the two of them, and they hope to keep it the same without any unwanted trouble. But when their parents come to know about the relationship, things don’t go that smoothly. They are forced to get married too soon, but the two decide to go with the flow without resisting the same. Sara continues to try and get her script accepted by a producer willing to let her direct the film. At the same time, Jeevan goes back to job again. Sara is disappointed by her inability to convince the producers, but things get only worse for her when she gets pregnant. All the relatives come to know about it, and their happiness is only matched by Sara’s disappointment. She hasn’t changed a bit as far as her ideology about children is concerned, even though Jeevan is now not sure. The equations have changed now, and what they had thought earlier might not work any longer.

The defence of Sara’s :: There can always be something about feel-good movies, and that something is carried over here too, with the feeling being too good. Jude Anthany Joseph’s mastery over the same is something on which everybody would agree. The emotional side is strong, and the light-hearted elements with the usual touch of humour works really well here. The reflections of the usual life and the disagreements between generations can also be seen in the flick. It is to be noted that the light-hearted feeling is maintained throughout the film, and it never slips away from the same during its two hours of seemingly perfect run-time, even though it deviates a little bit. As a female centered film, the protagonist does have more to tell you than what meets the eye. There is the requirement to understand that the purpose of marriage is not to have children as soon as you are married, and that parenthood is a responsibility for which everyone has to be prepared well. When people have children in less than an year after marriage, and when they choose to keep having more and more of kids almost every year, it is strange. There is always an intellectual purpose in life as far as humans are concerned, and it is being left behind by these people, both men and women. This film should be an awakening for them, as well as for those who marry early, without maturity coming to them. In India, as more the youth is more dependent on parents it takes them about twenty eight to thirty three years old to be really mature. It is surprising to see some people getting married at the age of twenty one and eighteen, and the recent cases on suicides in the name of domestic violence and dowry were all from those who married too early, especially without the women not being allowed to complete their studies or work freely.

The claws of flaw :: Sara’s could have been more with its ideas, and there was also a chance to add more of light-hearted comedy with those usual kind of situations. You are never really short of some feel-good ideas in our world, and chances for humour were many, but not many of them are taken. It often struggles to make comedy out of silly stuff. The movie should have actually released one day earlier during the weekend, and it would have had more viewers due to the weekend lock-down being imposed, and this flaw in release date will decrease its viewers by a considerable number. These are the kind of choices which make sure how many people watch the film from an OTT platform. Also expectations after Jude Anthany Joseph’s previous movies were very high, and this one has to match that, but this one is more about the ups and downs. This one is certainly not that much fun in comparison with the earlier films, and we also have a little bit more of an emotional side at work here. The final moments seem to have gone for the quick solution, instead of making things innovative. The film is also too materialistic in its viewpoint with main characters going for the selfish motive, the kind which won’t hesitate to cheat and murder if needed, and its heroine wouldn’t be ideal in a morality tale, but as she is shown as a person interested only in films, maybe she is more of a reflection of people in who are part of movies rather than common people. After all, it is difficult for the protagonist to understand that she is not an island, but it is to be noted that the people around her matches her in being judgmental.

Performers of the soul :: With his third venture which seems to resemble the earlier successful works from him, it is Jude Anthany Joseph who has our attention here, more than the main actors and actresses of this film, and it is with high expectations that we are watching this particular flick. The work of Anna Ben remains the same, natural, and perfectly suited for a role like this. Kumbalangi Nights and Helen had her realistic acting skills bringing some surprise to us. This time, we are having exactly what we expected from here, and one more natural performance brings us an lovable film. She is the one actress who makes the perfect new generation star who blends in so well with the roles given to her. Benny P Nayarambalam, Anna’s real-life father plays her father in the film too, and that is indeed a nice addition to the movie. Siddique is also there, and you know what to expect when the veteran actor is once again there, and doing his usual stuff – he has more or less become an integral part of the feel-good Malayalam movies of these times.

Further performers of the soul :: Sunny Wayne is here in a film which is not centered on him, but that comes as no surprise to him, as he was the hero in Annmaria Kalippilaanu, but was not the protagonist there too. He was very good in the earlier supporting roles, and with different roles like the villain in Kayamkulam Kochunni and the surprise entry in June, he is known for these kind of roles more than for being the sole hero in flicks like Alamara and a number of lesser known ones. Before this film, we had him everywhere with that song “Kaamini” in Anugraheethan Antony due to the producers of Chathur Mukham failing to bring it to OTT platforms at a time when films like Cold Case, Drishyam 2, Mohan Kumar Fans, Nizhal, The Priest, Aarkkariyam and Joji scored so high in Amazon Prime Video, Nayattu in Netflix and Kho Kho with Operation Java in ZEE 5. It is also good to see Mallika Sukumaran going through her usual kind of work, and we also see others who have much less to do in here, even though they all form a part.

How it finishes :: This is the third film of Jude Anthany Joseph after Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha, both of those movies being excellent feel-good entertainers, and the former had also won the Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value at the 45th Kerala State Film Awards, as well as making sure that Nazriya Nassim earned a Best Actress Award too. So, this one certainly came with high expectations, especially considering the fact that Anna Ben is a more complete actress in comparison to those who were part of his earlier ventures. The expectations do provide some good results here, as Sara’s is indeed a movie to watch without having too much of the emotional feeling while dealing with similar topics and its light-hearted take on the usual kind of stuff and with a desire for change in the attitudes of the society makes it an interesting watch during these days which still continue have a certain kind of COVID-19 lock-down restrictions going on here and there. Therefore, the audience of all age groups can give it a chance.

Release date: 5th July 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Anna Ben, Sunny Wayne, Dominic Arun, Siddique, Srindaa, Margret Antony, Siju Wilson, Dhanya Varma, Benny P Nayarambalam, Mallika Sukumaran, Prasanth Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mohan Kumar Fans

What is the movie about? :: Mohan Kumar (Siddique) used to be a huge superstar until he lost the race to the younger stars. He does believe that it was the result of black magic done by his rival actors. After a long gap, he does get a role to play in a critically acclaimed movie, for which everyone feels that he will get an award. His daughter Sreeranjini Mohankumar (Anarkali Nazar), is an interior designer who wishes to be a singer, for which she tries her luck in different reality shows. Krishnan Unni (Kunchacko Boban), is a youngster who is also trying to make it big as a playback singer. They meet at a reality show, and he is also sent to work for Mohan Kumar as the driver by Prakash (Mukesh), his old friend and a struggling producer who is trying to make a film with Kripesh aka Aghosh Menon (Vinay Forrt), a young superstar who is extremely arrogant, and thinks that he is above everyone. Krishnan Unni and Sreeranjini start competing in the reality show, mostly as a team, and Mohan Kumar also becomes fond of the young man who is there to help him.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Kripesh continues to try to make a name in the industry, as his fame rises, and tells everyone that his living together partner Brighty Menon (Deepa Thomas) is a sisterly figure, and fakes different events in which he is shown as a man with love and respect, raising his popularity even higher with PR work. When Arun Rajeev (Adil Ibrahim) and Prakash approaches him with a new film script, his demands only get higher. Meanwhile it is just another downwards journey for the former star, as the critical acclaimed film is taken out of the theatres much to the dismay of Mohan Kumar, who felt that he was going back to that stardom with all the appreciation he received, even more than Kripesh who was originally supposed to be the hero, but was sidelined in front of his fantastic performance. After a fight with Hamsa Randathani (Nisthar Sait), his name is nicely taken out of the Kerala state awards final list, but there is still hope for National Awards – yet, it is to be seen if they can find a way to take it to Delhi with time running out, and a lot more to be done.

The defence of Mohan Kumar Fans :: The movie’s messages are strong, for it is against the vanity and arrogance which has been going on in the film industry. The lack of quality in the visual media is also shown, and it also displays YouTube, Instagram and other social media as what it is, showing how celebrities use fake videos or good for nothing videos just to gain popularity, while skilled performers and quality actors don’t get the recognition they need. Well, if one actress stand outside her home and take a video, it gains so many viewers and appreciation, and it more or less shows the same. Well, you know that literacy means the ability to read and write, and with so many videos being preferred over written content, one has to wonder if it is because of the lack of literacy among people. Our YouTube-Instagram loving celebrities in the film might be suffering from that illiteracy too. It is shown with very nicely prepared humour with fine satire, and the feel-good factor is also high around here. The songs are just okay, and it is not short of some touching moments.

The claws of flaw :: As this movie makes fun of a certain group of people and says the truth about them, such people won’t like it – especially the blind superstar fans, creators of nonsense in YouTube and Instagram as well as those so called celebrities who try to become popular by fake means. For others, they will surely like the film, but they won’t be able to dismiss the fact that this should have had more depth with its content. Mohan Kumar Fans is that kind of a film which could have taken each of its strong elements into another level, but it is certainly not able to do that because it has chosen to travel through a safe path – the feel-good side can always get you over the line, but if you stick on to that, and play safe, it is like aiming for run-a-ball in an IPL match when there is good chance for stroke-play. Maybe, they did so because there was not much of a competition in the theatres with less number of big Malayalam films being released and less number of people watching in the theatres – but that would just be an excuse if we think so.

The performers of the soul :: This one comes after the director’s films which have maintained the feel-good factor at some point, starting with Bicycle Thieves, my least favourite film in a long time, the definite improvement in Sunday Holiday, the bigger improvement in Vijay Superum Pournamiyum and now this film, which also has Asif Ali in a cameo, making all these films Asif starrers. Well, you know that who else was there in all these movies, and it is Siddique, with his biggest role in this movie, as he is the real protagonist here, with everything centered around him, and all things being about him only. It ultimately becomes all about the positive message that is spread through his life, and in that, this movie races ahead of all among the director Jis Joy’s movies, except Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, which was much more ahead in the race. Siddique, the veteran actor, nicely stays at the core of the film, and manages everything in his usual style. If this much was done in a feel-good film, you can guess how much more could have been done if this was a serious tragedy.

Further performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban outside the thriller mode of Nizhal and Nayattu, does have his moments, as he is indeed the hero here, trying to keep the main character happy and ready to take the risks just for the sake of the man. Anarkali Nazar is a lovely addition here, as we see her for the first time, and despite the introduction not being that great, we see that the emotions work really well for her. Among the rest, it is Vinay Forrt who stays with us the most, with one of the best satires on the superstars who can’t really act, but tries to get mileage through videos posted in YouTube, Instagram or any social media. As video medium attracts the illiterate and those who find it difficult to read English, these celebrities get more attention that they need, and being as fake as the character he displays here, their first option will always be YouTube to fake their life in front of the blind fans, who will share the same in social media, displaying their foolishness as much as they can. After Saroj Kumar, his Aagosh Menon strikes gold with the satire.

How it finishes :: Mohan Kumar Fans does take an approach which the movies like Driving Licence didn’t have the courage to take. Instead of taking the side of the common man, it had stood with the superstar and his fans. This movie is courageous in that case, taking the side of the common people, and it focuses on the gracious actor instead of the dumb superstar, the dumbness of the latter nicely shown throughout the film, and it also shows everything fake that has been running through YouTube. We keep seeing those celebrities doing YouTube videos, and we know that they are all fake, but there will always be those people who watch such nonsense posted by such people who are only looking for fame. Well, if a celebrity post any nonsense on YouTube, everyone wants to watch that, and if something sensible is posted on YouTube by the common man, you know how it is left unnoticed – it is such an age, when quality is not rewarded, a common problem with the visual media in comparison to the written one. This is the same reason why people who are looking for easy paths to success without hard work won’t like this flick. For others, this works in varying levels of interest, mostly on the higher levels.

Release date: 19th March 2021 (Theatre), 21st May 2021 (Amazon Prime)
Running time: 124 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anarkali Nazar, Siddique, Mukesh, Sreenivasan, Saiju Kurup, Vinay Forrt, Ramesh Pisharody, TG Ravi, Alencier Ley Lopez, Major Ravi, Joy Mathew, Krishna Shankar, Adil Ibrahim, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Deepa Thomas, Srikant Murali, Anjali Nair, Prasanth Alexander, Sreelakshmi, Sethu Lakshmi, Nisthar Sait

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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.

Mamangam

What is the movie about? :: Mamangam, a grand fair used to be held on the banks of Bharathappuzha in the north of Kerala has a history that is written in blood. It had great economic, social and political significance, along with being a religious festival associated with the temples. There, the Zamorin ruler of the Kingdom of Calicut challenged other regional kingdoms to oppose his supremacy. There were the suicidal warriors from Valluvanad region who dared to oppose him and make history. But they would mostly die fighting against the powerful army of Zamorin, and only left those messages of bravery and honour for their people to cherish. It becomes their right to die as a soldier in the battlefield, and inspire more to follow their path through martyrdom. The last Mamangam fair was held in 1755, and this movie comes up with a memorable one before that.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Chandroth Panicker (Unni Mukundan) is the latest addition to that list of the suicidal warriors known as Cheverukal, attempting to challenge Calicut’s Zamorin’s authority again. His mother, wife and sister are unhappy about the decision, but they can do nothing, as for him, it is a decision made by the gods. It is then that the son of his sister, the young Chandroth Chanthunni (Master Achuthan) also joins him to join Chaverukal, much to the dismay of the whole family. They have the tale of Chandroth Valiya Panicker (Mammootty) who betrayed their tradition ahead of them, so that they should go on with that they have been training for – to end Zamorin which is the best thing to do. On the way, they have to stop at the abode of Unnimaaya (Prachi Tehlan) and Unni Neeli (Iniya), after being attacked by Zamorin’s men. There is a long way ahead of them, but they will need some help to get anywhere close to success.

The defence of Mamangam :: There are not many movies which we have waited for so long like Mamangam, except for some which are still to be released. Malayalam movie industry always needed good historical movies other than those which keep talking about the British – The Colachel War has been long forgotten, despite it being a landmark. Considering the same, Mamangam has taken the pain to bring something with a difference. The visuals are all grand, even better than some of those overrated movies seemingly belonging to a similar genre. The beauty out there is not limited to the background, but to almost everything in particular. The action sequences are all very good, especially in the final moments, which are breath-taking, leaving one wishing for more. The message goes on against revenge, and that it is not something healthy to pass the same through the generations – forgiving and forgetting do have better meaning.

The claws of flaw :: The movie is a little bit too long, and its extra dose of dialogues make it feel even longer. It does seem to repeat the same thing multiple times, and deviates from the idea of action and adventure associated with the title. Even though the “Mookkuthi” song makes some impact, the rest of the songs are not up to the mark. The presence of a mentor character doesn’t add much to the otherwise direct and straightforward movie, and the feminine version of the character is a bad and unnecessary diversion. The lack of completeness is evident, as the movie struggles to live up to its theme and story on many occasions. The final scene after the mamangam fight also feels unnecessary, as there could be nothing bigger to be added. A movie like this should offer something better, and one is left to wonder why it is becoming more and more difficult to make movies based on Kerala History, even those which are set at a time period not even five hundred years into the past.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty was part of one of the best movies of the year, Unda, and now he is back with the movie with we have all been waiting for. As we all know, he is no stranger to historical movies and epic stories which tell the tales of heroes of the past, and this was time that he had another one to add to that list. Still, one has to wonder why he went for that exaggerated dance and some ridiculous comedy with another side of that character – this kind of ridiculous moments are not suitable for this kind of a movie, not for a historical epic action movie. Unni Mukundan does a fine work here, and his controlled performance is worth the appreciation. Master Achuthan comes up with a wonderful performance at the same time. It is him who catches our attention the most, and he excels in the action sequences even more. The last scenes are nothing less than magnificent, and it belongs to him completely.

Further performers of the soul :: Prachi Tehlan comes up as the leading female presence in this one – the former netball and basketball player has no trouble in the less amount of role given to her. Iniya provides her support, even though not much is needed from her side. At the same time, Anu Sithara and Kaniha has even smaller roles here, most of the time sticking to some dialogue or tears. There are also other actresses here including Maala Parvathi and Kaviyoor Ponnamma, but the female characters here are rather insignificant in the movie plan at work. Siddique has a villainous role here, and even though done quite well, it is not the kind of antagonist that we are going to remember for doing the terrifying job. Sudev Nair, even though nice, is wasted in a role which makes no difference to story at all – the character doesn’t add anything significant to the whole thing, for even otherwise, things could progress in the same manner without any trouble at all.

How it finishes :: Last year, in another December, on almost the same date, we had another Malayalam movie set in the past trying to make history – Odiyan. It was not that much of a successful attempt, but that was certainly a sign. We have more signs here, even though we are still far away from having that right historical movie. There is the need to improve, as Mamangam goes on through its journey. There is a better understanding of history and the reflection of the same required, and one can only hope that things could reach further level with the genre. A fine depiction of Colachel War might be the solution, but we haven’t heard about anyone trying for such a case. Until then, we have these movies which have the potential for greatness, but fall short in the process. But we would need to watch these, with all the splendour which is displayed on the big screen.

Release date: 12th December 2019
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: M Padmakumar
Starring: Mammootty, Prachi Tehlan, Unni Mukundan, Master Achuthan, Siddique, Anu Sithara, Kaniha, Mohan Sharma, Tarun Arora, Iniya, Maala Parvathi, Neeraj Madhav, Idavela Babu, Manikuttan, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Suresh Krishna, Sunil Sukhada, Meghanathan, Manikandan Achari, Baiju Ezhupunna, Jayan Cherthala, Sudheer Sukumaran, Vishnu Marakkal, Abu Salim, Sudev Nair, Nandan Unni, Valsala Menon, Nilambur Ayisha

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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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Uyare

What is the movie about? :: Pallavi Raveendran (Parvathy) has had one particular dream since childhood, from the first time she traveled in a plane – to become a pilot. It is the same reason why she decides to stop pursuing her degree at Union Christian College as soon as she gets selected for the course. It doesn’t bring any joy to her lover Govind Balakrishnan (Asif Ali) who is very possessive about her, as she has to go and join the training academy at Mumbai. Her father Raveendran (Siddique) provides full support to her, as she begins her journey towards achieving her greatest wish and the one ambition that never left her. At the academy, she meets Sariya D Costa (Anarkali Marikar) who would go on to become her best friend – she would warn Pallavi about the possessive nature of her relationship with Govind, but nothing comes out of it.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As her course is almost complete, the new graduates go on a party at night and Pallavi joins them, but not before lying to Govind that she is going to sleep. Govind who had reached Mumbai as part of job hunting finds this out, causing a rift between the two. As Pallavi tries to break up with him, the possessive Govind throws acid on her face. With a weakened eye sight, she gets rejected as pilot, and goes back home. It is during one of her journeys from and towards home that she meets an acquaintance, Vishal Rajashekharan (Tovino Thomas), and it would bring a certain change. With the support of Vishal and Sariya, there would be an opportunity for her that she might not have even come close to guessing. But is that chance something that can be taken, and will that be an effective one in her case?

The defence of Uyare :: The struggle in the movie goes deep and there is no exaggeration regarding the same. It feels real with the actors and actresses nicely getting into their characters providing quality work. The characters and their transformation can also be seen, and how the movie begins in the control centre nicely unfolds the narrative. The issues faced by acid attack survivors and those in over-possessive relationships are nicely shown. The last moments of the movie are among the best, with some thrills added to the emotions which go strong throughout the flick. We are able to feel the pain of the protagonist even before the life-changing incident occurs, and after that, the emotions strengthen. At a time when violence against women has failed to come down, this is cent percent relevant. Even though the news about acid attacks have been from the North, we have had strange and terrible actions from scorned lovers here too.

Positives and negatives :: Compared to those facing the same problem from other backgrounds, the comeback might not seem this easy, with some situations seemingly custom made and out of the otherwise realistic spirit here, like the case of the flight. But one inspiring incident can change things, as we look at it. But the same is not really the focus, as we see how the protagonist accepts her as she is, and takes another bold step forward – never does she look for compassion, and she is not the one who is looking for favours, as she moves on through another path. It is when the movie becomes not about the acid attack and the scars, but the later rise, like a phoenix from the ashes. As a phoenix has the rebirth by rising from the ashes of its predecessor, the main character also will have the same transformation, from the ashes of her dreams of flight, to the same flight which had rejected her. As Maya Angelou said, like moons and suns, with the certainty of tides, like hopes springing high – the character rises and it is joy to watch.

The performers of the soul :: Parvathy leads the way here as she did in Take Off – Asif Ali is another common factor here, once again playing a character not bringing her anything for the future despite being in a relationship earlier. This might be her Take Off this year, and even though she was a crowd favourite with Ennu Ninte Moideen and Charlie while Qarib Qarib Singlle had her going further North, this performance surely stretches far ahead. The change in her character, and the courage that she displays against adversity can be clearly seen as a reflection of the positive changes that have come across an already brilliant actress. The moments after the acid attack shows her calibre, and also later with the determination when many lives are at stake. The girl who plays Parvathy as a school student, Evelin also seems similar both in looks as well as the enthusiasm – nobody would say that she is not the same character in childhood.

Further performers of the soul :: Asif Ali plays a possessive lover who has been with the main character since childhood, and there is some villainy written over him from the beginning itself, even though the signs become further clear later. He does the same calmly. His character, for some reason, doesn’t create that much of a scene that we would notice, and keeps away for most of the time. He had started the year with the feel-good of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, and we would have hoped for more of his character here. Well, it is Tovino’s character that we remember though, as the one who tries to help the main character get back to life. Nivin Pauly had done a similar role in Mili, but this one is closer to life. Take a look back to his previous Malayalam movies, and we see Lucifer, Ente Ummante Peru, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona – we wonder if he can go wrong these days. Anarkali Marikar of Aanandam fame does a fantastic supporting job and Siddique as usual does great.

How it finishes :: The performances are indeed the strength of the movie, and with Parvathy leading the way, the movie has all the ingredients to fly high – it is still doing the same as it goes on in the theatres even after a month of its release, as Athiran did, rising with the opinions of critics as well as the common man. As a tribute to the acid attack survivors, one need to watch this one, but one would notice that it is not all. We see the strength of ambitions, powered by courage and determination, as this becomes an inspirational movie, not just for women, but also for each and everyone who is forced to struggle due to the cruelty of fate, or others around them. Lack of freedom, especially in a relationship, is not something to boast about, for control and manipulation are not love – it comes as a strong message with Uyare too. It is still not late to watch this one, and remember that dreams, as it is with hope, are meant to rise, like the sun, not to be buried in the catacombs for the interest of the possessive sentinel.

Release date: 26th April 2019
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Manu Ashokan
Starring: Parvathy, Tovino Thomas, Asif Ali, Siddique, Anarkali Marikar, Pratap K Pothen, Prem Prakash, Rajani Murali, Bhagath Manuel, Preetha Pradeep, Sreeram Ramachandran, Mathew Arun, Evelin, VK Baiju, Kay Kay Menon, Ajay Mathew, Irshad, Anil Murali, Latheef, Blessy Kurian, Samyuktha Menon (cameo)

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Balan Vakeel

What is the movie about? :: S Balakrishnan (Dileep) is a lawyer who works under the reputed advocate Pramod Sujanapalan (Arjun Nandakumar). But he hasn’t been able to achieve much in his professional career due to his stammer, even though he was known to be a smart & intelligent person during his college days. His father and mother (Siddique and Bindu Panicker) are concerned about him, but are sure that he can only be a failure in life, with former also being a chain smoker who tries different drugs. His first successful case is that of Ansaar Ali Khan (Aju Varghese), a local goon who is involved in a robbery case. Ansaar doesn’t have the cash to pay as his fees, and therefore provides him with a place to stay at low rent. But this new place has Irumbu Babu’s (Bheeman Raghu) presence, and he considers it to be his own room and wants him to leave. But it will be the smallest of his problems.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: It is then that his brother-in-law P Mohanan Pillai (Suraj Venjaramoodu) comes up with a plan to make some easy money. He asks Balakrishnan to be a part of it, and she accepts the same reluctantly. He sends a notice to a given address asking for compensation in the name of a woman (Priya Anand) who claims to have been abused by the person at the address. But it turns out that it is the address of the DGP of Kerala Police, KE Eapen (Renji Panicker) who is suprised to get the same. The charge of investigation goes to Indhulekha Marar (Lena) who gets only a limited amount of time to solve the case. Meanwhile it turns out that the person whose name is in the letter is Anuradha Sudharshan (Mamta Mohandas), a woman who is completely unaware of this. There seems to be some conspiracy behind all these. But there is no clue regarding where to begin.

The defence of Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel :: There are the twists in store in Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel for sure, and there is mystery awaiting to be revealed, related to a conspiracy. We also have incidents which seems to reflect reality, but there is the certainty of exaggeration regarding the same. The emotional flashback in the movie becomes effective with the last twist, but otherwise it feels strange, and makes you wait the whole time trying to find something out of it. There is also the presence of a fine cast to support everything out there, making sure that they manage all that this movie can provide. There is some good humour out there, even though not throughout the flick. It is seen more in the initial stages, starting from the introduction of the main character itself. The interval punch is strong enough to make one interested in the second half, even though the first half wasn’t that much there.

The claws of flaw :: It can be seen that there is no attempt to make this movie go through a fully entertaining path, and there is no plan to make this a perfect journey as an investigation thriller either, as this is caught somewhere in between. The jokes are also just partially effective, and we see that the funny side in the name of children hitting older men, people falling on electricity lines and surviving, a drug addict father instead of the usual alcoholic one etc – they are just there for the sake of adding some strange funny side. There is also the presence of some unnecessary mass scenes, and the hero sending people flying around comes in, and the struggling protagonist that we wanted to watch from the trailer is lost. Having such a protagonist beating up people all of a sudden works against the overall mood of the movie, and what we know about the protagonist. The songs are not that good either.

The performers of the soul :: This seems to be a movie nicely made for Dileep, as he has this in control, just like many other movies of the same kind. There is no problem here, as he had played advocate trying to serve justice before in Passenger, and there was Mamta Mohandas there too, with the same name for her character, Anuradha. Well, Passenger is a movie long way ahead of this one, without doubt. Mamta Mohandas is here for a full role unlike what she had in 9. There is not much for her to do regarding the investigation here though, as she is the victim and there is the protagonist to save the day. A little romantic side added there seems to be rather forced though, as this movie could have done without it. The focus on its main idea would have been enough, and trying to play cupid between the main character didn’t do both of them any good.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique’s father character is kind of strange, but brings the funniest moments of the movie with ease. There is his comic timing that lightens up the movie really well. Aju Varghese is the next person in the comedy department, and it works well for him most of the time too – he does get some memorable funny ones. Suraj Venjaramoodu also has the comedy working in his favour, even though at parts it seems out of order. Priya Anand gets another smart role after Ezra and Kayamkulam Kochunni, but with lesser time spent on the screen. Veterans like Ganesh Kumar and Renji Panicker right there, doing what they do the best in police roles. Another person who shines so well inside the uniform is Lena, who is also there Varikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, and mystery-solving journey of puzzles which is also running in the theatres.

How it finishes :: For B Unnikrishnan, this movie comes after Villain, which was a smart one for sure. Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel does take the path of Vikadakumaran and Jolly LLB, a trend related to a struggling lawyer whenever the same is the protagonist. This one has its moments of thrills and twists are brought into the scene, but there is not doubt about the fact that this could have done better. There is the fine premise already set, and the idea that has scope for a lot, but it is not utilized in the best way. Maybe we have to wait to get something better out of a story related to courtroom, and we can do that. Until then, lets watch Kodathi Samaksham Balan Vakeel and enjoy the interesting side. For those who wants the more realistic side, there is always Kumbalangi Nights & June running, and seemingly good enough to keep doing the same for a long time.

Release date: 21st February 2019
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: B Unnikrishnan
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Priya Anand, Aju Varghese, Siddique, Ganesh Kumar, Renji Panicker, Bindu Panicker, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Saiju Kurup, Vamsi Krishna, Harish Uthaman, Lena, Arjun Nandakumar, Pramod Sujanapalan, Bheeman Raghu, Veena Nair, Pradeep Kottayam, Thesni Khan, Sajid Yahiya

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Mikhael

What is the movie about? :: George Peter (Siddique) is the rich and notorious don of the area who is known to run the family business as well as criminal activities of the city and its surroundings with such energy and enthusiasm that he doesn’t hesistate to kill even police officers according to his will, the latest of them being N Sreenivasan (Kishore) who dared to arrest him in front of the public. When a new investigating officer Easa (JD Chakravarthi) is appointed in his place with Issac (Suraj Venjaramoodu) to assist him, the hunt for the mafia ruling the city gets stronger. It is then that the headless body of George is found along with his right-hand man, brutally murdered. Then the man who mediates between two rival gangs, Patrick (Kalabhavan Shajohn) is also shot by someone. This brings trouble with gang wars ready to break out.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: With George’s brother Marco Jr (Unni Mukundan) coming to the scene, and Francis Davi (Sudev Nair) from the opposite gang trying to have his own vengeance, the police department is kept on his toes. All these seem to point to one man, doctor of the nearby Starcare hospital called Mikhael John (Nivin Pauly) who seems to have a long story to tell about his family and how it came across George. He is the man who seems to be responsible for the death of George and Patrick, but the question remains about what Marco Jr will do about that, with going to police and assuring law and justice, not being an option for him. Easa and Issac will be happy to see the rival gangs fighting each other, or someone murdering the gangsters, but how long can the police department keep away from the scene? Will there be vengeance and can there be justice?

The defence of Mikhael :: The movie is high on style and action sequences, but one can note that it never really goes too far, as it keeps away from elements like flying villains, hero who knows everything before it happens, and all. The music is mostly good and at times excellent, with very few exceptions that we can notice. There are those mass elements, but they are kept in control unlike The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal which had the same director’s hands firmly on them in one way or the other, or Masterpiece which had so much of the same – the heroism as well as the whole story itself is far more believable, and has better and smarter twists with this one. The thrills are present all the time, and the emotional side works pretty well. The visual style is very nice, and the same rises above the rest. The dialogues are powerful, and Mikhael is a movie that doesn’t hesitate to come up with some moments which are above a normal movie in the industry.

The claws of flaw :: There are times when style gets over substance in this movie too, as The Great Father and Abrahaminte Santhathikal also did. We also see too many similarities with former, with a school being at the centre of attraction, and one girl who is dear to the protagonist – fighting for her becomes the priority for the protagonist. The slow motion could have been reduced, and the interest in sunglasses for some characters continues to be strange. The first half also takes some time to get into the main idea, and we also see the presence of predictability here, with the protagonist and antagonist coming close to facing each other. The ladies don’t have much to do in this movie either, except for the girl who sets everything moving. You can see that some moments were added just for the sake of adding them, and inspirations from foreign movies are certainly there.

The performers of the soul :: It is up to Nivin Pauly to rise and stay at the top, and he manages to do that well – still, his best moments were when his character was a family man, with vulnerability, but it was surely nice to see him in a different avatar, extending what he showed in Action Hero Biju. He does show that he is good at them all, and in a movie which has substance rising over style will surely have him shining better. There are the two qualities of Michael shown by Christina Rossetti with her poem on the angels – service & strength, as doctor & martial arts expert here. One the other side is Unni Mukundan who plays the main antagonist towards the end, and we remember him playing just the opposite in the movie Style – with Tovino as his villain; here he has to face the same thing, even though stylish as he is, with less space on the screen, and not getting the best of dialogues when there was scope for a lot of the same. He should have been given the opportunity to be a more menacing villain rather than showing the muscles. The Luciferesque qualities are seen better with Siddique’s character as Satan against Michael, the leader of heavenly angels – the one who chooses to reign in hell & go against all norms, establishing his own pandemonium. He is the Satan that Milton would keep in his Paradise Lost.

Further performers of the soul :: At the same, Siddique becomes that villain who anyone could have wanted to be – evil and sadistic, going on to reach a state which is nothing less than mentally sick. His ways of tormenting or even finishing off his opponents, and even his dialogues are with that kind of terror that an antagonist can always dream about, and a protagonist can have nightmares about. The girl who played the main character’s sister, a name which hasn’t been known through the early cast list on internet or posters, Navani Devanand also needs some applause as she gets everything right in this movie – she could be a talent to look out for, in the future. She nails all emotions perfectly, whether its anger, sadness or joy. Shantikrishna, Babu Antony, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Ashokan, Baiju and KPAC Lalitha are left with not much to do here. Manjima Mohan as the heroine doesn’t really have anything to do either, and even Reba Monica John who is there for a few minutes leave better impact. JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair and Suraj Venjaramoodu get their nice moments though.

How it finishes :: The whole story of Mikhael here has an allusion to the archangel Michael, the leader of the archangels who lead the battle against Satan, a.k.a. Lucifer and his forces who rebeled against God. As a protector and a fighter against evil, this image is reiterated here by giving the same name to the protagonist, and the images of the angel being shown on multiple spaces – the opposite can be seen through the images displayed in the room of the antagonist. The whole movie is about how the brother becomes the guardian angel for his sister, vanquishing the evil forces – with the same, we have the style, all the action, thrills and twists which keep coming at regular intervals; surprisingly, there is also the presence of some funny side. This one might not be the favourite for the family audience, but is surely one nice entertainer which successfully defends its territory within the genre.

Release date: 18th January 2019
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Haneef Adeni
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Unni Mukundan, Navani Devanand, Manjima Mohan, JD Chakravarthi, Sudev Nair, Babu Antony, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Siddique, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Kalabhavan Shajohn, KPAC Lalitha, Amal Shah, V Jayaprakash, Kishore, Reba Monica John, Baiju

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Vijay Superum Pournamiyum

What is the movie about? :: Vijay (Asif Ali) represents a generation of young men who were forced to do engineering even as they want to do something else. He struggled hard and finally managed to pass the exams after multiple efforts. But his dream is to become a chef and for the same, he keeps trying. But his father Chandramohan (Siddique) is convinced that he shouldn’t do cooking after studying engineering, and gets him a job in a call centre. He meets Reshma (Viviya Santh) there and falls in love, only to end up realizing that she was cheating on her – his expression of his anger becomes viral on Youtube, and he also losses his job. His parents feel that the only way to make him responsible is to get him married to a rich and educated girl who would also be able to provide him with financial support. Finally, they find such a family and a girl.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This leads them to the house of Venugopal (Renji Panicker) who wishes to see his daughter Pournami a.k.a. Pinky (Aishwarya Lekshmi) married as soon as possible. Being an MBA holder and wishing to become a successful entrepreneur, she has the record of failing in every business she tried to begin, and in the process, losing the money her father invested in her ventures. As the two meet and talk, the door of the room which was being repaired, gets closed and is automatically locked. As the two are locked inside with the carpenter being called for, they are left with a few hours to talk about their past, present, future and ambitions. This talk changes the journey of life for both of them. They don’t find them as good match for each other and are not in a mood to marry soon, but destiny has other plans.

The defence of Vijay Superum Pournamiyum :: Remake of a Telugu movie Pelli Choopulu starring Vijay Devarakonda and Ritu Varma which is also known to have a Hindi remake called Mitron, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum does manage to make it completely Keralite with its moments nicely reflecting life easily. The feel-good elements work nicely, and the movie is light-hearted throughout its run, despite having moments which could have driven it through another path. The first half is full of fun, and the second one comes with an emotional touch as expected. With a simple plot, the characters are of interest right from the beginning itself. There are things that you can relate to, and it is a fine watch for the family audience in more than one way. The messages are good, and these also go for all kinds of audience of the present age.

The claws of flaw :: The second half, except for the final moments, doesn’t have the fun as the first half had. The radio talk sequence also could have something better to replace it, as it made things look too easy in the end. There is too much of a journey on the expected path, and the divergence could have been shown in a better way. There is the confusion, inability to talk about one’s love for each other, business deals relating to wedding and more, all of them going in a predictable manner. After the food truck business started, there was actually scope for more too. The songs are okay, and there is a nice one; the background music is good enough to give the feeling – there are those strange and ridiculous dance sequences in one song though, which don’t even come close to being funny. There are times when the movie seems to get into the melodrama mood, which was kind of out of place. Well, this is the first big Malayalam movie of the year, and you can expect more every time.

The performers of the soul :: Asif Ali plays the immature youth unable to do anything positive in life, and lacking confidence – it is something that he does with ease and in a believable way. We remember how he did the confused young man roles in the movies like Thrissivaperoor Kliptham, Avarude Raavukal and Adventures of Omanakkuttan. The irresponsible youth role was safe with him even in the earlier movies like Kavi Uddheshichathu..? and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Aishwarya Lekshmi coming out of the Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Mayaanadhi, Varathan trio of big hits critically appreciated, does another fantastic job in portraying the lady who is set to leave a mark – she is once again a long way ahead of the rest, getting into her role so well. She has all those moments in control, no matter what is thrown at her.

Further performers of the soul :: Siddique and Renji Panicker handles the father roles here really well, with former going through his familiar territory nicely and latter doing what he has been doing so well since Om Shanti Oshana – the father who is very much caring for his children and supports them in more than one way. Another father figure who is there for a lesser amount of time is Devan who has not a lot to do. Aju Varghese has only a smaller role, but it is significant, and the funny side is strong during his presence. Balu Varghese and Joseph Annamkutty Jose support with enough jokes to add to the fun too. Shantikrishna has another mother role which she continues after the recently released Ente Ummante Peru in which she was there only for a few minutes. Darshana Rajendran also has some friendly, cute support in store for the protagonists. Then there is KPAC Lalitha doing the perfect grandmother yet again.

How it finishes :: As the third movie that united Jis Joy and Asif Ali as director and leading actor, following Bicycle Thieves and Sunday Holiday, this movie was expected to have something special in store. Bicycle Thieves was a dumb movie with foolish twists which were not needed, but Sunday Holiday had nice feel-good factor in store. With Vijay Superum Pournamiyum too, it was the same thing that the audience expected, and it is the same that they received, but in an even better package. Njan Prakashan is still running in the theatres with strong feel-good elements and Ente Ummante Peru had no shortage of the same; Thattumpurath Achuthan despite lagging behind had also tried the same – in this season of feel-good supported by Christmas and New Year, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum has its own high position to be proud of.

Release date: 11th January 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Balu Varghese, Aju Varghese, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Siddique, Darshana Rajendran, Devan, Joseph Annamkutty Jose, KPAC Lalitha, Maya Menon, Renji Panicker, Shantikrishna, Austin Dan, Viviya Santh, Shaheen Siddique, Rajesh Sharma, K. S. Chithra, Harisanth Sharan

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Ente Ummante Peru

What is the movie about? :: Hameed (Tovino Thomas) is left with nobody to call a relative after the death of his father Haider (Renji Panicker). Even though he inherits the big house along with his father’s business as well as a few acres of land, he is lonely – as he has nobody to call his own, he is not able to get married to a respectable family either. He, along with Beeran (Hareesh Perumanna) and Hamsa (Mamukkoya) keeps looking for a suitable alliance for him. He soon falls in love with Sainaba (Saipriya Deva), a girl whose proposal had already come for him, but was rejected by her father because he seemed to be nothing less than an orphan. While he is running his family business and looking for a way to marry Sainaba, he comes across a will left by his father, which points to two women, and one of them could be his mother. He decides that this is his chance to find his family.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: So, the the wives are to be given a share of the property, and there is the need to find both of them to figure out which one his mother is. The two of them are located in Kozhikode and Ponnani in the form of Ramlath (Shanthi Krishna) and Aisha (Urvashi), the former being married with two children and the latter living alone in her house on the side of the lake. But the question remains if this can happen because the truth is still hidden in some of the pages about which there is not much information, even for Haider’s good old friend, Sivankutty (Dileesh Pothan) who seemed to know almost everything about his friend’s past. Can Hameed rise above all these to get what he wants? Will he finally cease being an orphan? Can he finally marry the girl whom he loves? It would take a journey not just through North Kerala, but through North India to make sure about that.

The defence of Ente Ummante Peru :: Unlike the usual stories with the same setting, this one never really does manage to keep selling the same thing again and again. But the tale is kept simple and enjoyable for families. It sticks to the point from the beginning to the end, never really deviating from the path or having moments of dullness – the total movie length makes sure that it stays put. There is nothing exaggerated here with everything going on while staying close to life. The feel-good factor never really falls behind here, and the visuals, wherever it is set, stays good. The emotional side is strong, and by the end, it reaches an even better level. Along with the expected comic side, the use of gallows humour is to be noted – it is the human condition that makes us think on more than one occasion, as the point of life and its meaning is always something to ponder about with death making a grand entry at so many unexpected times.

The claws of flaw :: There is no special ingredient with this one, as we look deep into this tale of search for the main character’s mother. This is the kind of story that we have heard for a long time, with search being for parents or siblings. The children separated from their parents or brothers is an idea which goes older than some of those very old flicks, not just in Malayalam or South India. Even Oru Indian Pranayakatha had a similar search with its main character looking for both parents, after returning from Canada and collecting clues leading to more than one state in India. The songs and music are not really that good. We never really get that much of a romance between the leading characters, and one has to remember that Tovino used to be an expert in that. The journey through Uttar Pradesh could have been more interesting, and the supporting characters could have been closer to our heart that what they seemed to be.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas is the one to keep this movie going with a realistic and lovable performance once again. His last movies Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona – all were among the strongest flicks of the year. Here, we continue to admire his work, as the emotional state of a man looking for his mother is nicely shown – he is someone who is looking for his last hope in changing things. This is not the first time that he has shown this with the same strength though. Urvashi had a fine role in Aravindante Athidhikal, but here she has a lot more to do, and she has done the same well. It is in no way, an easy character to play this time, as her role becomes the most significant thing in the movie ever since she makes her entrance. We hope that we see her in more movies, and without that many breaks in between.

Further performers of the soul :: Meanwhile, there is a new face in Malayalam movie industry in the form of Saipriya Deva who plays the heroine, and she does that with a lot of charm. It can be seen that the movie doesn’t focus on her at all, as far as the complete plot is considered. We can surely keep her close to our hearts though. Malayalam movie industry does need its heroines more than its heroes, and more skilled actresses will elevate the level of the characters that they play. At the same time, Hareesh Perumanna in charge of the comedy, and he does that with amazing skill. Shanthi Krishna has a smaller, but emotionally strong role – since her return in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, we have all wished to see her on the big screen very often. Mamukkoya and Siddique got the kind of roles which they have done before, and brings no challenge to them, while Dileesh Pothan makes a short, but nice appearance of significance.

How it finishes :: There are four Malayalam movies releasing in the beginning of Christmas vacation, and this is just one of them. Unlike the others, this movie seems to have made no big claim, and therefore the expectations have been kept low. We know what expectations could do to a movie like Odiyan, and how the low expectations for DC movies did help Aquaman in the early stages. Ente Ummante Peru brings the surprise not only due to the lower expectations, but also with how it remains so simple and yet so effective at the same time. It is one movie which possesses and displays the true spirit of Christmas season, more than anything else. Therefore, choosing Ente Ummante Peru over most of the other movies won’t be that difficult a job. The idea of feeling happy and leaving the theatre with a smile on one’s face never has a substitute, especially when with family.

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Jose Sebastian
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Saipriya Deva, Urvashi, Shanthi Krishna, Hareesh Perumanna, Dileesh Pothan, Mamukkoya, Siddique

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Odiyan

What is the movie about? :: Manikyan (Mohanlal) is the last among the odiyans, a group known to know sorcery and had shape-shifting abilities. The skill is passed to him by his grandfather after his father and mother were not ready to stand it, and left the village with their daughter, hoping for a better social and economic status elsewhere. Manikyan is one of the most well-known figures in the village of Thankurissi in Palakkad and also beyond the borders in the Tamil-speaking areas near the Western Ghats – some people consider him to be famous, and the others feel that he is a notorious figure. He is known to lurk in the shadows, with darkness as his ally. As it was the time when there was no electricity in the villages, it was easy for him to induce fear into the minds of the victims. He would take different forms, most commonly that of a bull or a buffalo, to torment those who are given as targets by people who pay a fair amount.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Manikyan’s biggest enemy in the village is Ravunni Menon (Prakash Raj) with whom he has had his problems since childhood. Ravunni’s interest and unrequited love for his cousins Prabha (Manju Warrier) and Meenakshi (Sana Althaf) only makes things worse as Manikyan has been working in their family household and taking care of them for generations. Ravunni decides to make things troublesome for his cousins as well as Manikyan, and with the death of Prabha’s husband Prakashan (Narain) and Meenakshi’s husband Ravi (Kailash), he succeeds in putting the blame on Manikyan. With electricity coming to the village, and almost everyone blaming him for the two deaths, Manikyan is forced to leave for Varanasi. As he is wandering around there, something changes, and he feels the need to return. What would that mean for everyone in the small village?

The defence of Odiyan :: The legend of the people from Kerala folklore with shape-shifting abilities deserved a movie, and it is always nice to have such an adaptation which has its roots in our own historical fantasy. The action scenes are nicely done, and the scenes involving the titular character in the darkness will make sure that we are interested in the whole thing. The setting nicely helps the progress of the movie, and all locations provide some nice visuals. Compared to the 150 crore grand movie Pulimurugan with Mohanlal fighting the tiger, Odiyan is surely a better flick which has a nice background as well as setting – there is also no bad jokes, and the acting itself is of a superior level when we compare the two. Odiyan has moments of class, and it is the quality which that highest grossing Malayalam movie missed in more than one way.

The claws of flaw :: The trailer as well as the hype created with the information provided regarding the movie, might be the one thing which works against the movie more than anything else. The expectations had gone so high that greatness was expected without excuses, and that was one thing which caused so many of early negative reviews. There is no denying the fact that this legend could have been used in an even better way, reducing the mass elements, and adding more mystery, sorcery, twists and horror. The movie is also too long, and the first forty-five minutes might be the least interesting part of the flick. A better beginning would have helped to keep the interest going, and the non-linear narrative disrupts the flow. Flashbacks are good, but not when they are used at inappropriate timings. The final fight could have been better edited. The background music might catch our attention, but the songs never really manage to do so.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal, in more than one avatar during two different ages, displays top form as usual. There are not just the action scenes that make an impact, as the emotional side is also strong with him – the strength as well as the helplessness of the main character is shown nicely here. We remember how he could be both in Villain having the same pair in the lead. Maybe, he could have had more with the shape-shifting idea, resembling that of a werewolf, but that much is not there for him to use his full potential. His last movies Drama and Neerali didn’t make that much of an impact, but I would say that they were better than the common opinions; the case here is also not so different, as Odiyan is certainly better than Pulimurugan, and the hard work that Mohanlal has put in to become this character from the folklore is worth the appreciation.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s previous movie Mohanlal was not really something to be appreciated, whether it was about the flick or regarding her own performance. But she is back once again with her work in this movie. The comments which were made about her one dialogue in this movie is rather strange, because it is a perfectly suited one for the moment – it once again shows that a lot of our viewers are struggling with understanding characters. The lack of empathy that our audience shows at times is rather strange and unacceptable. Prakash Raj is a strong villain indeed, but could have had better dubbing. Sana Althaf has a nice role after Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and she also has her moments. Kailash, Sreejaya Nair and Narain are there only for a few minutes, but they do leave us with something to remember. Siddique, Innocent and Nandhu do provide some good support too.

How it finishes :: Odiyan becomes the second high budget and the most awaited movie of the year after Kayamkulam Kochunni which had great success already. Despite negative opinions, Odiyan also had a strong weekend, with the only challenge coming from Hollywood, in the form of Aquaman, which has lesser number of shows. There is the need for movies like Odiyan, because only such flicks can assure that we will have better exploration of the myths and legends of the lands. We also need people who are ready to go through the less traveled path – we know, as Robert Frost has said, that would make all the difference. Your level of enjoyment would be different according to your expectations from cinema, but Odiyan is surely a movie which you can’t ignore, and is definitely a movie which is better than the highest grossing Malayalam movie of all-time, the Mohanlal starrer Pulimurugan.

Release date: 14th December 2018
Running time: minutes
Directed by: VA Shrikumar Menon
Starring: Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Innocent, Prakash Raj, Siddique, Manoj Joshi, Nandhu, Narain, Kailash, Sana Althaf, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Sreejaya Nair

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.