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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Lucifer

What is the movie about? :: Kerala is ruled by IUF, and its leader and Chief Minister PK Ramdas (Sachin Khedekar) is a respected figure with a great fan following, not just among the people of his party, but also outside. It is his death which changes things in Kerala’s politics, all of a sudden. Mahesh Varma (Saikumar) who is next in charge finds this to be a golden opportunity to become the leader of the party as well as the Chief Minister of the state. Ramdas’ eldest daughter Priyadarshini (Manju Warrier) along with her daughter Jhanvi (Saniya Iyappan) is the first to come to the scene. Her second and current husband Bimal Nair a.k.a. Bobby (Vivek Oberoi) keeps close watch of the situation at the same time. Even though Priyadarshini and Jhanvi are not after political power, Bobby looks forward to it so that he can use it to spread his narcotics business to Kerala and earn a great amount of money.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, the only son of Ramdas, Jathin (Tovino Thomas) is living abroad. Bobby figures out that he is the one big chance that they have here, and by making him the new leader, could go through the drug business without anyone coming to know. He already has the support of Mahesh Varma and Priyadarshini regarding the same. He uses Jhanvi as a means to go through the family smoother. Govardhan (Indrajith Sukumaran) is one of those people who knows all these, as he had been searching for truth for a very long time – but he finds himself locked inside a mental asylum, thanks to Bobby. But before he is locked up, he finds the one other person who might be part of this power struggle – Stephen Nedumpally (Mohanlal), an orphan who was raised by Ramdas, a people’s favourite leader from the highrange constituency of Central Kerala.

And what else is to follow? :: Stephen Nedumpally is the kind of person none of the power seekers here want to have in the game, and the family also wants no part of him out there. The politicians on both sides, Mahesh Varma on one side and Medayil Rajan (Shivaji Guruvayoor) on the other wants him gone. Bobby is also hoping to make no mistakes, as he is playing a dangerous game involving Abdul (Suresh Chandra Menon) and Fyodor (Frank Free) who are masters of the game in Mumbai. He would have Stephen’s opposition out of the way as the party would be sponsored by the drug mafia. The people in the middle part of all these including Aloshy Joseph (Kalabhavan Shajohn) and Murugan (Baiju Santhosh) will have interesting roles to play as Kerala prepares for the big change. But the question remains about who would gain and loss the most in the battle between evil and evil.

The defence of Lucifer :: Unlike what was expected, Lucifer doesn’t jump into the shoes of a mass movie all of a sudden, and that is the clear advantage that this one has over Pulimurugan. Clearly a better movie having content of quality and rich in ideas, this one rises over the expected mass masala, and becomes more, but at the same time, it never hesitates to provide what the fans want. There is working on two levels, something which Odiyan could have focused on, to become a favourite. There are elements from politics nicely used too, and we get to go through a certain dirty side that attempts to take over politics every time, and may be even succeeds up to an extent. The action scenes are nicely done, and except for a very few, keeps itself in control to make us believe. The control that is maintained in the final scene with the song nicely contributing to it, is also worth mentioning. There is a higher level of making here, and the thrills are of great strength.

The claws of flaw :: The slow motion sequences, even though less in number, could have been avoided. There could have been more of Tovino Thomas on the screen too. Vivek Oberoi’s character could have been bigger terror, something that could pose a challenge that goes a long way ahead. The presence of predictable elements in between, should have been avoided. The references and allusions made in the movie also seems nice, but could have been better connected. There are quotes shown in the end including the one from Lucifer as the tragic figure of John Milton’s Paradise Lost who famously declares “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”; we also have “Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here” from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest being shown on the screen in the end – is there something left for a sequel? One is left to wonder. The use of media could also been better shown. The movie is also too long.

The performers of the soul :: It is late to review a movie which has reached the 100 crore collection mark already, Pulimurugan, Drishyam, Oppam and this one leading the glory with the rest – almost everyone knows what Mohanlal has brought to this movie as the titular character, and needs no more talk about the same, as Stephen Nedumpally is grand. Meanwhile, the one person who steals the show with less amount of screen time is Tovino Thomas whose moments are nothing less than glorious. Manju Warrier has her fine emotional moments in here following Odiyan. Vivek Oberoi’s villain doesn’t maintain that terror that he seemed to possess in the beginning, but he is a fine choice for the role as we can see. Kalabhavan Shajohn, Saikumar, Baiju Santhosh, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Nandhu – all the characters play the roles of politicians with ease. Meanwhile, we see Shaun Romy of Kammatipaadam making an appearance after a long time. There is a long line of extended support here too.

How it finishes :: When someone like Prithviraj Sukumaran comes up with his directorial debut, you know that there is something special coming up. His previous movies as the leading actor had the Hollywood touch, whether it was the never before science fiction apocalyptic thriller called 9 or the diasporic crime drama set in a deteriorating, decaying city called Ranam – this one has the elements beyond the usual Malayalam movie, and as a flick written by Murali Gopy, we know that there is more. Lucifer is the kind of movie which combines its elements very well, and thus becomes a rare piece of a flick. It can be liked for more than one reason, and there is much to cherish for almost every kind of viewer. Well, this is Vishu and Easter is also on its way, and we have much to watch. For now, I wish all of you a Very Happy Vishu, and hope you enjoy the holidays well – but at the same time, be careful about the heat which is rising.

Release date: 28th March 2019
Running time: 174 minutes
Directed by: Prithviraj Sukumaran
Starring: Mohanlal, Tovino Thomas, Manju Warrier, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Saniya Iyappan, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Giju John, Saikumar, Baiju Santhosh, Fazil, Sachin Khedekar, Suresh Chandra Menon, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Nandhu, John Vijay, Aneesh G Menon, Kainakary Thankaraj, Bala, Adil Ibrahim, Shaun Romy, Adarsh, Helen, Frank Freem, Waluscha De Sousa, Sijoy Varghese, Thara Kalyan, Parvathi T, Binu Pappu, Parvathy Menon, Sreeya Remesh, Sshivada, Antony Perumbavoor, Shakti Kapoor

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Abrahaminte Santhathikal

What is the movie about? :: Derick Abraham (Mammootty) is that kind of a police officer who projects a heroic image for the public, much to the dismay of other police officers like John Painadan (Suresh Krishna) who finds him as a clear threat. He has been keeping a clear image, and is known not to show mercy to the criminals, no matter who tries to persuade him. He has been putting himself in harm’s way on too many occasions, and has also earned many enemies among criminals as well as policemen. But that doesn’t drag him back, as he solves his cases, including the most recent one, which involves a serial killer who believes that he is working according to the will of God. Philip Abraham (Anson Paul) is Derick’s brother, and the only person whom he has as family. For him, Derick had even rejected the marriage proposal of his lover Diana Joseph (Kanika), who is now married to Joseph Esthappan (Sijoy Varghese), a rich businessman.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Philip is a sharp shooter who is in love with Aleena Maria Jacob (Tarushi Jha). Their love story continued to be something evoking jealousy, until Aleena is murdered one day. Philip is framed for her murder, as the evidence is against him. Derick tries to find any clue of his brother’s innocence, but everything seems to be against him. Even Philip’s friends and Aleena’s family seem to believe that Philip is responsible for her death, and Derick who is in charge of the investigation is left with not option, but to believe that his brother is a murderer. The court comes up with the judgement that he is guilty, and Philip gets life imprisonment along with a fine of one lakh rupees. An angry Philip disowns his brother, and Derick is left with regret over his inability to save his own blood,while his enemies celebrate this defeat of the invincible police officer. But is there more than what meets the eye with this case?

The defence of Abrahaminte Santhathikal :: The movie is certainly stylish from the first moments itself, and there are some of those positive shades of Memories, Villain and Grandmaster in there, which seems to have been used well enough. The serial killer begins the movie really well, and has our attention, as we await that cat and mouse game between the two, but that ends too easily, early and without much of an explanation. Then comes the emotional side, which also begins well enough with a love story, and claims some of the nice moments by the end. The visuals are really good as expected, but the terrible slow motion sequences and heroism do affect the same negatively. We do have the suspense factor and some twists out here, even though they are predictable for most people who have watched any of the similar movies. The cast is well suited for this movie, and even those who don’t have that much of screen time score nicely.

The claws of flaw :: Abrahaminte Santhathikal, just like Mammootty’s earlier movie with the same writer, has a certain problem – it seems to value style over substance, and there are elements which seem to remind us of many other movies. We can also see that the story doesn’t hold together, and it keeps going here and there, as if there is no idea what to do with the core. There is that serial killer idea which seems to bring a fine beginning here, but after that, the movie just struggles to continue as a thriller. There is also the absence of explanations in between, and the investigation thriller struggles to live up to its genre on many occasions. The material is only worth about one and half hours, because of which, the movie goes through a certain amount of drag. There are also too many predictable situations in this movie, reminding people of those flicks which shouldn’t be named, as it would spoil the possible suspense and twists.

The performers of the soul :: As one would expect, this movie has another Mammootty movie which seems to be custom made for him, as this one follows Uncle. Almost everything in this movie is solved by him rather than with the help of others – there seems to be only pretensions around here, as just like The Great Father, his character is just too superior even though he misses out one or two simple clues which could have been easily caught by a usual policeman. Mammootty certainly has no problems with playing this character, as the journey is not troublesome. He gets to solve the cases and also kill people – he doesn’t leave anything to the sidekicks, for this character is such a man, near invincible except when he cries for his brother. There are also some of those mass dialogues for the fans, and some of them in the theatre were actually confused when to clap and howl – this is that kind of a mix, but fans can go blind at it as usual, and they needn’t worry much about it.

Further performers of the soul :: Anson Paul who was one of the antagonists in Aadu 2 and played the protagonist in Kala Viplavam Pranayam, has the big supporting role to play here, and playing the hero’s brother, he stays strong. He seems to be rightly suited for both action as well as romance, as we can find out with this movie. We have to wait to see his upcoming works, as he deserves more. The newcomer in her second movie, Tarushi Jha leaves a mark here too, with a cute presence, and some romantic moments, even though the same is short lived. We do wish to see her in bigger roles, without doubt. Shyamaprasad has a nice role here too, and Siddique has some nice moments of villainy in the flick. Kanika’s role is short, and making not much of an impact towards the progress of the movie, and the flick could have done without this particular character. Kalabhavan Shajon scores in another police role along with Renji Panicker, while Suresh Krishna plays another solid and tough role here.

How it finishes :: There is more than one sides to this movie, and overall, it is an okay effort in making a thriller. But it had the strength to becomes something like Memories or Drishyam, and it just lost the way in between, with too much focus on heroism and favouring style over substance, and dialogues over story. The focus on emotional side let its thrilling side go weak, and let it be predictable with elements from other movies. Abrahaminte Santhathikal can be watched for being a pretty good emotional thriller, but it can’t rise much above. If you liked The Great Father a lot, you will surely like this one better. After all, the strength of a suspense thriller depends on its viewers too. If you need more, there are always Hollywood movies out there, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom still going strong. Otherwise, this movie can take some of your time for the weekend.

Release date: 16th June 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Shaji Padoor
Starring: Mammootty, Anson Paul, Tarushi Jha, Kanika, Siddique, Sijoy Varghese, Renji Panicker, Kalabhavan Shajon, Yog Japee, Suresh Krishna, Mukundhan, Maqbool Salmaan, Master George, Shyamaprasad, Adhil Unais Hussain, Sudev Nair (cameo), Spadikam George (cameo), IM Vijayan (cameo)

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Aadhi

What is the movie about? :: Aadhitya Mohan a.k.a. Aadhi (Pranav Mohanlal) is the only son of Mohan Varma (Siddique) and Rosakutty Mohan (Lena) who eloped from home, going for that intercaste marriage which nobody supported. As their only son, he manages to gain all the support that he can get from the parents, as he has taken two years break from studies and work to pursue his dream of becoming a music director. A case of infatuation for the girl next door Aneetta (Krittika Pradeep) and trained in the obstacle course training of parkour, there are so many other options for him in life, and yet he wishes for just one thing in life. But it doesn’t go on well, as his efforts in music go unnoticed. Because of the same reason, he decides to go to Bangalore as adviced by his best friend Nadhir (Krishna Shankar). There, he is supposed to perform in Fox Club, where will get the attention of prominent personalities from cinema industry.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Even though almost everything seems to work according to the plans, things get complicated when he meets his old friend from school, Anjana (Aditi Ravi), and ends up having a confrontation with Jayashankar (Siju Wilson) who is the bodyguard of the city’s most respected and feared businessman Narayana Reddy (Jagapati Babu). In between all of this which occurs at the top of the multi-storeyed building, the son of Narayana Reddy ends up being thrown all the way down, thanks to one heated approach by Jayashankar – Anjana is the only witness out there. Now, it turns out that Jayashankar has to hide all of these, and for the same, there is only one option left for him – finish off Aadhi, and for the same, there is full force of an angry Narayana Reddy as well as the police and politicians who are on the corporate payroll.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: With Narayana Reddy stopping at nothing to finish off the young man who killed his only son, and along with Jayakrishnan, Reddy’s right hand Siddharthan (Tony Luke) also joins the party – Aadhi can do nothing, but keep running. The goons sent by Reddy also reaches Aadhi’s home, and every route out of Bangalore is blocked by the police and his teams of goons. With five lakhs on his head, there is the need to run until he meets Sarath (Sharafudheen), Mani (Meghanathan) and Jaya (Anusree). The three also got their own problems with Narayana Reddy and his people, which makes them think about giving him a chance to escape. With the help of the technical expert Ebin (Tony Luke), they think about changing the equation, but is there really a chance to at least get close to escaping? Is there a weakness which they can exploit?

The defence of Aadhi :: There is the use of parkour, the activity in which you move around quickly in an area, getting through obstacles by running fast, jumping, climbing, rolling, swinging, sliding, and all ways possible – most of us have seen it in Paul Walker’s penultimate movie, Brick Mansions as well as the 2004 French film District 13 on which it was based. These scenes are very nicely executed by Pranav, and the same is never exaggerated. There is certain smartness related to how the action sequences are executed in this one, a quality which was missing in a good number of superstar movies in the last few months, most notable one being last Decemeber’s Masterpiece. There are many thrilling moments in this one, and the emotional side makes an excellent impact too. We also have some twists to come up in the final few moments, as there is more to Aadhi by the end. There are also some funny moments which come in between, which work, even though lesser in number.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special in the premise and the tale here though, as we can see that there is the protagonist who accidentally kills the son or brother of an influential person who will not stop until he finds the person responsible dead – this would seem familiar, from decades ago. The same actor played the father who had his son killed in Pulimurugan, and here he losses his son yet again. One can be sure that Jeethu Joseph is capable of more, as the director who brought three different thriller experiences in the form of Detective, Memories and Drishyam. The movie also takes some time to get going, and the family sequences are just ordinary. The cameo scenes seemed to be rather unwanted, with purpose only to get those claps from hardcore fans. The length of the movie could have been lessened to make the whole thing closer to the point. Some of those longer action sequences could have been shortened to make way for separate moments.

The performers of the soul :: Pranav Mohanlal, without doubt, steals the show in this movie, from the first moments of appearance itself, beginning with those expressions and a certain simplicity that runs through. In the second half, with those action sequences to go with it, he takes the whole thing to another level, trumpeting his arrival in a grand fashion. The wait hasn’t been for no reason, as we get the culmination wonderfully. Aditi Ravi and Anusree plays the female leads, but the former has lesser time on screen, and latter has more of the comic side which also has nothing that much to do for her. It is actually surprising that we don’t see that much of the Alamara actress in movies as we would want to have. Lena and Siddique makes good parents, and are in full control of their work with strong emotional side. Sharafudheen has a funny side here too, even though things are more serious this time. Siju Wilson, Sijoy Varghese and Jagapati Babu make the villainous side here, and they remain strong throughout. Siju’s divergence is a smart move. Meghanathan and Tony Luke provide good support.

How it finishes :: The one thing about the Jeethu Joseph movies after Memories, is something which has been common in Drishyam, Oozham and Aadhi – the battle of the middle class against the rich and the influential who are after the blood of the common man. Even Life of Josutty had the middle class struggle in the core. The three could show the middle class struggling and winning against all odds in the form of thrillers. Well, everyone knows Drishyam, and Aadhi actually shows what Oozham could have been, with better execution. With no shortage of thrills, and bringing the needed variety in action sequences in Malayalam, the twists also drop-in to make this better. Well, fans have been waiting for a day this day for a long time, and one can say that their beloeved Lalettan’s son has scored high on his debut, and this is certainly another flick from Jeethu Joseph that you can admire without second thoughts.

Release date: 26th January 2018
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Pranav Mohanlal, Lena, Siddique, Siju Wilson, Sharafudheen, Aditi Ravi, Anusree, Tony Luke, Sijoy Varghese, Krittika Pradeep, Meghanathan, Jagapati Babu, Krishna Shankar, Mohanlal (cameo), Antony Perumbavoor (cameo)

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Tharangam

What is the movie about? :: Padmanabhan Pillai a.k.a. Pappan (Tovino Thomas) used to be the Sub Inspector of Police working in the traffic department until getting suspended on an unfortunate night during a special operation not approved by the department, along with his good friend and subordinate officer Joy C (Balu Varghese). This incident which lead to the death of their senior officer Antony (Manoj K Jayan) has them wandering around the city in need of money, as they need to pay Ittimani (Alencier Ley Lopez) a sum of five lakhs. Their senior officer Sivadasa Menon (Vijayaraghavan) assures them that he will do all that he can to get them back in the uniform. It is him who come up with a special duty for them, which could bring them some money as part of an unofficial investigation. With things not being that great with his girlfriend Malini a.k.a Malu, Pappan decides to take the job, as some easy money with less risk is not that much of a bad idea.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: This unofficial investigation is provided to them by Tharian Mathew (Shammi Thilakan), who offers them a lot of money to find what is going on with his wife, Omana Varghese (Neha Iyer) who owns a restaurant chain in the city and its surroundings. He suspects that she is having an affair, and wishes to divorce her after finding proof of her adultery. As the two friends go on their newly discovered adventure, they only find out that something is strange with the people that she meets, but there is no proof of her having an affair. But when they are watching her, someone else is watching them – Christopher Luke (Sijoy Varghese) is the man after them, and then there is their earlier enemy from the failed operation, Siju (Saiju Kurup) who comes in their way. There is so much going on with their lives that the whole thing seems to be messed up. Can they make the necessary changes to make things better?

The defence of Tharangam :: There is something different in the way this movie begins and ends, and even though the same is not something seen before, it has never been this fresh. It is a fine experiment as far as Malayalam movie industry is concerned – with the hero and a lot of characters surrounding him, and add all the fun, you will find something like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu here, as our heroes as well as more than one teams of villains are looking for one thing that goes missing. The movie also has a strong side of fantasy to go with the real incidents, even though they are only related in a few occasions. There are messages about people being responsible for their own fate, as God provides them with a number of choices in their life, as one little act of kindness or cruelty, can change everything. There is a lot of dark humour present in this one too, as it nicely deviates from the usual foolish comedy which could have been served here with the subject on another day.

The claws of flaw :: Tharangam doesn’t go through the path which the common audience would expect – the trailer had given less idea about what it was going to be in totality, but even then, this seems to have deviated a lot, and will not leave the viewers with the usual and expected kind of experience for them to cherish. Maybe, they could have shortened the fantasy side, and maybe even limited the same to a few dialogues. The romance also disappears earlier than one would expect. There are opportunities of humour being lost, and there are moments when the audience can feel lost. The two cops could have handled the whole thing with lots of funny moments, but such an attempt is not made, as this one tries to bring one thing after the other, creating a mixture which not everyone can take home. The divergence is a fine thing, but the doubt about where to go with the same, is rather strange when we look deep. It is the story that needed to rise more when needed.

Performers of the soul :: It is nice to see Tovino Thomas coming up with different types of roles, as he could do with the two big movies Godha and Oru Mexican Aparatha, as well as that much respected movie on the internet, Guppy. But we know that his best is still to come, and that can even go bilingual. We see him go through the comic side rather easily. Balu Varghese supports him well, even though one wonders why there is no big memorable comedy sequences in this movie even there was more than one chance. The “Luketta” call from the two is just one of them. The one person whom we miss early is Manoj K Jayan, who has only a few minutes of presence there. Dileesh Pothan surprises us in his avatar and is very good with the same, even when the movie could have gone on without extending that sequence a little too much in the beginning.

Further performers of the soul :: Santhy Balachandran makes a much memorable debut here, and she has some very nice moments as well as dialogues in the movie – one can be sure that there are miles ahead for her in Malayalam movie industry. We keep feeling that she is capable of more if provided the bigger roles. One is going to find it hard to believe that this is her first movie. The other new face, Neha Iyer is also strong with her character into which she seems to have dived deep – there is more than face to this character, which she reflects with skill. Saiju Kurup has another character who catches our attention with ease, as he had in Pokkiri Simon, Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Alamara earlier. Sijoy Varghese is strong with the negative side of the character throughout his existence in this movie. Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan get rather shorter, but important roles in this movie.

How it finishes :: Tharangam is that kind of a movie which you can either love or hate, and there is also the option to stand in between – it is more of a movie of the audience, as each viewer can have a separate opinion regarding the same. The level of enjoyment regarding this movie is different, as you notice those simple things which affect your opinion. We know that crime comedy thrillers are not that easy to bring to the common audience, and this one has surely tried hard to do the same, even with those flaws. Dhanush has also made his Malayalam debut as a producer with Tharangam. It has been on the list of much awaited movies for quite some time, and one song with Tovino Thomas and Santhy Balachandran had brought further need to watch this movie as soon as possible. Now, we have this one for Pooja holidays, and if you like movies like Aadu Oru Bheegara Jeeviyaanu, there is a good chance that you will like this one too, and the overall quality of Tharangam feels more – be ready for some experimentation on screen. I will leave you with the wonderful song from the movie.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 153 minutes
Directed by: Dominic Arun
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Balu Varghese, Santhy Balachandran, Neha Iyer, Dileesh Pothan, Sijoy Varghese, Alencier Ley Lopez, Vijayaraghavan, Manoj K Jayan, Shammi Thilakan, Saiju Kurup, Sanju Shivram, Unni Mukundan (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thira

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What is Thira? :: On a vague translation, it is what the fifth century Greek dramatist heard on the Aegean Sea, and what Matthew Arnold felt on the English coast and wrote down in his Dover Beach. What do we have here though? Thira is the latest addition which joins Vineeth Sreenivasan’s success as a director, as this is another add-on to Malarvadi Arts Club and Thattathin Marayathu, two of his earlier success stories. Lal Jose brings us no bad movies, so there is the guarantee yet again. Instead of the terrible loss of faith in Dover Beach, we have the loss of humanity, its righteousness which has been quickly disappearing with its belief in God. The situation is yet again that of the darkling plain, for the situation of the Victorian Age was more of faith, belief and humanity than it is now. This flick from Vineeth Sreenivasan is not light as his other two crowd-pulling ventures, as this is dark and on the other side of humanity, where there is no happiness of friendship or the beauty of love, rather the bad or the evil side of society which leaves us with nothing but disgust about a lot of things that is happening in this world, but not without a ray of hope – remember the movie Passenger.  When Shobana says “have faith” in the movie, remember…

What is it about? :: Thira tells the story of Dr. Rohini Pranab (Shobana) who is a cardiac surgeon trying to find the mystery behind the death of her husband. But as she tries to unravel one mystery, another one comes forward, as girls from her welfare home are kidnapped, and she herself is brought under suspicion by the media. Meanwhile, Naveen (Dhyan Sreenivasan) comes to meet his younger sister after a long time, as he had run away from his house a few years ago. But just before he get a chance to get to her, she is kidnapped by a group of people in a car, vanishing before he could do anything. As police refuses to help him, he picks up clues and reaches a place where he finds two girls held captive and releases them until he is captured by the goons along with Rohini who comes searching at the same place. They escape and join forces to find the missing girls with the help of an honest cop and Rohini’s co-workers. Naveen is told that he has a maximum of twenty four hours to save his sister, as Rohini finds out that there were some clues left behind by her dead husband who was after the same group of human traffickers.

The success of Thira :: There are not many other actor or actresses that we have noticed before in another movies except for Shobana (releasing at a time when the half-a-sequel to her classic Manichitrathazhu also came to the theatres in the same weekend and struggled). But still, this one has managed to get the best out of the rest, supported by its wonderful narrative and background score, supported by the right use of its partially adapted story-line. Its theme might be too much used, but the treatment here is different, as in the movie Passenger, this one also takes the path of the common man who fights against the system and those people who tries to take advantage of the corrupt system with their illegal works. To add to it, the movie never bores, as it is fast – may be too fast that it often forgets to create suspense and create the thrilling moments; but that still works. It takes on a social message very well, and successfully creates the much needed objective correlative with its connection rightfully established. For that, it is three out of three for Vineeth Sreenivasan, and the ratings from me would be 59 out of 100 for Malarvadi Arts Club, 80 out of 100 for Thattathin Marayathu and 81 out of 100 for this one, that is how I personally see the improvement.

Flaws of victory :: The camera shakes – that is the first thing I didn’t like. That doesn’t really make the scenes more realistic or interesting, and it is a major flaw whatever the movie is. The beauty on the screen can’t be loved that easily with so much shaking around. Meanwhile, this is going to be trilogy, and with the expectations high, and the second part of movie never really becoming as good as the first, we have to bite our nails a lot. Yes, there are too many movies to which this movie seems related, mostly with the theme and the outline plot. The movie also delivers less as a thriller, as a good number of moments becomes predictable and defy common logic, even as that doesn’t affect the flow or the totality of the story. Fighting against such a huge racket supported by politicians and police seemed to be too easy, and once they get together, almost all their ideas go in the right direction. It makes us sad about the state of the kidnapped, but it doesn’t add enough suspense or enough twists to make this the thriller which rules its genre. But how many people can claim about a flawless victory? Not even Liu Kang or Kitana can achieve the same with ease, in a Mortal Kombat game.

Performers of the soul :: This is Shobana’s movie as one would expect. She plans and takes steps as a lighter female version of Taken‘s Liam Neeson, who doesn’t care who she has to fight to get her girls back (Remember “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you” from Taken). It is a fantastic return to our favourite leading actress of 1980s and 90s. She plays the strong protagonist, while Dhyan Sreenivasan plays the weaker one who still has to take on the goons physically due to the love for his sister – like Suresh Gopi’s character in Rudraksham. One has to say that he is very good as a newcomer too. With Vineeth Sreenivasan directing, I did wonder if this was one of those roles which could have perfectly suited the only leading actor he had in his movies, Nivin Pauly. May be we can have him in the sequel, as Dhyan’s character is done with this one, and that should be great, and very interesting indeed. There are so many other characters, but none of them really getting the needed screen time to be talked about much. The only exception might be the girl who played the sister role, and she’s good indeed. Thira rests on two performers, and as they scores, the movie takes off.

Details with spoilers :: I don’t know about its alleged borrowing from Amazing Grace and The Whistleblower, and it being the unofficial remake of the 2007 film Trade. But it will remind people about the 2012 action thriller Karmayodha which was rather a weak attempt on the same subject of human trafficking, especially of women. This movie is rather a very good reminder about how good Karmayodha could have been and how badly it missed out. Well, there are two other movies which I would like to mention – they are the 1994 Malayalam movie Rudraksham and 2009 English movie Taken. The former deals with a man (Suresh Gopi) looking for his younger sister in a strange city and ends up in the abode of a gangster who runs a brothel. The latter is the story of one man (Liam Neeson) who uses all his skills to save his daughter and her friend. The former could be Dhyan who tries to save his sister as a one-man army and the latter could be Shobana who tries to save more than one girl with her skills. The hopelessness of the former and the determination of the latter combines here. The dark tone of these movies seems to make them blood-brothers.

How it goes :: Vineeth Sreenivasan has surely come a long way from Malarvadi Arts Club, but even as the first thriller from him, this won’t be a Thattathin Marayathu in the box office, despite the comparative richness in content. Geethanjali‘s failure to live up-to the expectations will help this one a lot though. It is a clear winner at the box office, and may even exceed our expectations if the next releases doesn’t work that well. To add to it, we have the ability to accept the different, unless it doesn’t become Olipporu – our audience accepted Traffic, Chaappa Kurishu, Amen and North 24 Kaatham (about Annayum Rasoolum and Kili Poyi, God knows why they were praised). Just like they say in Neram, there is good time and bad time, and this is indeed the good or even the best time for Thira. What it makes out of it is up-to the viewers, but so far it has been good. Now waiting for Salaam Kashmir – if it has stopped its procrastination, a procedure it has followed for such a long time and made the movie lovers wonder if it is a “mission impossible” or going to release on a future possible “6th day”.

Release date: 14th November 2013
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Shobana, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Deepak Parambol, Gaurav Vasudev, Sijoy Varghese, Amritha Anil

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.