Bhaiyya Bhaiyya

bhaiyya bhaiyya!

Vampire Owl :: Do they give subsidy to movies which doesn’t have a Malayalam title?

Vampire Bat :: I haven’t heard about it after that news about the same.

Vampire Owl :: There is one Sanskrit title and one Hindi title for two out of the four movies released during this Onam.

Vampire Bat :: William Shakespeare has said that we can call a rose by any name, and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Vampire Owl :: But you can’t call Uncle Dracula a mosquito just because they have been doing the same thing for so many centuries, right?

Vampire Bat :: No, the title should still be suitable. But any language would be fine; the Malayalam movies with English titles have done great business, like Memories, Philips and the Monkey Pen, Left Right Left, Celluloid and others. May be such names also bring more luck, and is also easier to release them outside Kerala and catch some attention.

Vampire Owl :: So, what language title would be 1983?

Vampire Bat :: I guess that would be like what the director calls it. That is one safe move there.

Vampire Owl :: So, it deserves subsidy?

Vampire Bat :: How can we be sure? Mumbai Police sounds English, and North 24 Kaatham is partially English – we are not qualified enough to understand that completely, I guess.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of not just one Babu, but two of them, the first one Babumon (Kunchako Boban) from the highranges of Kerala and Baburam (Biju Menon) who was adopted by Babumon’s father during his stay in Bengal. Both grew up together, and as time progresses, Baburam drops out of school and Babumon falls in love with Angel (Nisha Aggarwal), the daughter of a rich businessman and politician, Varkey (Vijayaraghavan). Baburam falls for Shanthi (Vinutha Lal) from Salem, who is working with them. They come in conflict with Monayi (Shammi Thilakan) who is Angel’s brother and also the one whom Varkey is promoting as the next young MLA and minister. Accompanied by Soman (Suraj Venjaramoodu) who wants to see Kolkata, they travel together to Bengal with the corpse of a worker who died in an accident at their site; the rest of the group has Babumon, and Angel who are eloping and Shanthi who wishes to get down at Salem on the way, with Baburam as the driver.

The defence of Bhaiyya Bhaiyya :: The movie targets the family audience during this Onam vacation and celebration. It seems to try to get into that family and kids pleasing area which is always there to be taken. It does achieve some of that with ease, as there are funny moments which keeps coming, and most of the time, it does work – the trailer had already given that idea for the viewers. The visuals are fine, especially that of the hilly areas of Kerala, and that of the Kolkata city. The narrative with the monologue by the hero is quite good. The movie doesn’t ask for big thinking or hope for logic, and yet keeps its events under control without going out of the boundary. This is the same reason why it is very good in parts, and even when it losses its footing, it shows an ability to come back and keep going. Then there is Nisha Aggarwal, and that is one reason which needs no defence as we watch Kunchako Boban – Biju Menon combo attempting to strike again.

The claws of flaw :: Bhaiyya Bhaiyya is more of a standard procedure, as it goes on predictable lines, and even the surprise that is added doesn’t work in favour of the movie. The whole thing is adjusted to suit the story which has no real innovation in it, and the characters are not really used that well either. There was the need for a stronger bonding in romantic love, and more incident to support the brotherhood. This is supposed to a comedy, but that can’t be used as an excuse because this movie is not entirely that. Even the comic side is rather repetitive, and there are numbers that we are quite familiar with. It needed more seriousness or more comedy, but this takes the middle path, and even then the mixing is not correct. The songs are not at all interesting, and this is the area which could have given a movie like this, a much needed boost, but that wasn’t to be. The climax needed more impact, and it can only be said to work in a funny manner, not that much of a brilliance right there.

Performers of the soul :: It has been a long time since Kunchako Boban and Biju Menon acted together, and even their most dumb and irritating work Romans was a superhit loved by the masses, and therefore a lot was expected from this movie which was supposed to go the way of Ordinary, and also be funny like Mallu Singh, Seniors and 101 Weddings in which they had created some nice fun. There is no doubt here that both of them did give some nice performance in the roles which gave them some lesser challenge as they also had success in such roles without the other. Nisha Aggarwal has a good debut in the Malayalam movie industry, and she has done fine in a role which might have been new to her, but common in the Malayalam movie industry. Vinutha Lal is also fine as the other female lead, even as she has eve lesser to do. Jacob Gregory was nice in his role, but it was short and of lesser significance. Innocent and Salim Kumar are also present to handle the fun, and Suraj Venjaramoodu has more presence with some good numbers. Vijayaraghavan and Shammi Thilakan also play the typical roles.

Soul exploration :: The movie seems to have that message that all Indians are brothers and sisters, even as the relationships are not that effective here. The movie’s main characters are from Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu showing the strength of India’s unity in diversity, even as it is not that visible from their talks and action. May be the movie could have worked it that way, without losing its fun elements, but I guess there was the chance of some mockery in the same, which would work against the flick. The shots are also from the three states, even as Kerala has more, for the obvious reasons. The value of brotherhood is also implied here, and it is not just the usual relationship between two brothers that work here, as there is no blood relationship involved at all. The romantic side also takes the second place as bromance takes over right from the beginning, and that way, this is Bhaiyya Bhaiyya making the title of the movie true.

How it finishes :: There will be the need to watch Kunchako Boban – Biju Menon partnership yet again on the big screen, and the opportunity to see the beautiful Nisha Aggarwal on the screen in her first Malayalam movie, and one has to admit that she looks a lot like her elder sister, the stunning Kajal Aggarwal. The cast might not attract those extremist fans of the big stars who will abuse you if you say that the movie is bad, but only nicer people who are not the fans for popularity, but for only the good reasons – its good to be there without hardcore fan evil. The movie doesn’t disappoint, and neither does it loss out this Onam, but still it might be one of those movies which will somewhat miss out due to the lack of publicity; this one even lacks a Wikipedia page – how often do you see that? It is the first thing that a movie should have, followed by the Facebook page. The feel-good elements and the comedy keeps it going, along with the fact that this is the vacation time; the wonderful season of Onam.

Release date: 5th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Johny Antony
Starring: Kunchako Boban, Nisha Aggarwal, Biju Menon, Vinutha Lal, Jacob Gregory, Shammi Thilakan, Vijayaraghavan, Innocent, Salim Kumar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Thesni Khan

bhaiyya bhaiyyaa

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Naku Penta Naku Taka

nakupentanakutaka

Vampire Bat :: There is a problem with your tongue?

Vampire Owl :: No, its the title of the movie we are going to watch. I couldn’t say it at the ticket counter. So I said this time for Africa.

Vampire Bat :: Isn’t that title in Swahili?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but if it was in Malayalam, it would include the tongue being at Penta Menaka.

Vampire Bat :: I had first thought that it could be any non-English, non-Malayalam, non-Hindi movie.

Vampire Owl :: People do complain that Malayalam movies are using English titles. So, this should satisfy them.

Vampire Bat :: May be Swahili movies can use Malayalam titles.

Vampire Owl :: This was a big risk though, they were going to cancel the show stating there are not enough people.

Vampire Bat :: Happens with me for at least three out of every ten movies I watch.

[Enters the movie hall].

What is it about? :: Shubha (Bhama) is determined that she will marry only a man working in the United States of America. She and her father are so obsessed with the nation that her mother, uncle and the broker decides to present the next guy as an engineer working in America, instead of being the staff of a company in Africa. As Vinay (Indrajith Sukumaran) sends a visa to her right after their marriage, she can’t wait to get to America, but after told that they are going to the United States through Kenya, she arrives there only to be told that he works there and it was a plan spearheaded by her mother who was disgusted with her not getting an allience due to her need for a groom working in America. Even as he despises him in the beginning, she soon beings to get along. She also becomes friends with the Malayali neighbours who stay nearby, and even gets close to some natives. But then, a death will happen which will change their lives, and they will be on a run from police, gangsters and also a group of natives. At the same time, a man named Anton Kulasingam (Murali Gopy) also enters their lives, giving them no clue as to what is happening. They only know that they somehow need to get to India.

The defence of Naku Penta Naku Taka :: The name of the movie means “I Love You I Need You”, not the title which suits the movie the best, but still there is a nice song in there with the same lines, and it is beautifully done. The big advantage of this movie is that even when the thrill factor is low, the movie uses its ground advantage to work in its favour; with its power of variety, even when it is a little stupid, this one remains cool. The first half an hour of the movie remains really funny, with our leading characters taking control. Then the world goes the thrilling way, and it manages the transformation quite well and the suspense is maintained quite nicely, especially in the first half. Even as the three major incidents which change their lives are different, they are nicely managed and connected as one couldn’t have occurred without the previous one, and the highest points of tension are reached, but not without some amateurish weakness that can be mostly forgiven. The beauty of Kenya is nicely captured and the cinematography department needs some special applause, as Africa’s landscapes and wildlife becomes known to us through this piece of work. We need such movies which are not shot in the usual places like Europe, North America, Middle East and the South East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) – good to see this one going different.

The claws of flaw :: The name of the movie has undoubtedly kept people away from the theatres – even I was sure that this was no Malayalam movie until I was told. It hasn’t succeeded in making the fans believe that the poster is not of a dubbed movie, and only those who follow the films news regularly can know that this is a Malayalam movie with a Swahili name, even as the English name for the other African movie Escape from Uganda was not interesting either. Most of the theatres don’t have this movie being screened either, and that should mean missing lots of business in the local theatres. The movie doesn’t make full use of its resources, neither of the funny side that it begins to explore nor of the thriller side where it attempts to reach. Both areas could have been a lot stronger, considering how well it started and maintained the variety in its presentation. The villain also doesn’t become evil according to the day’s standard, and shooting people is not that bad these days since Joker made The Dark Knight appearance. The ending has no strength, and it is as if it was getting drainer of its power from a few minutes ago. The second half is also inferior to the first half and a few more minutes after the interval which keep us thriller and hoping for something huge. The thrill factor is often low in the latter parts of the movie.

Performances of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran, that name is oftten enough to watch a movie which promises variety. Amen and Left Right Left were his class acts last year, and when he comes up with the first big variety of this year (Masala Republic not included), we are indeed interested. He excels in the funny scenes and continues his form into the rest of the story in a nice way. His inherent acting skills is only matched by the cuteness of Bhama who gives a peaceful performance with all its beauty and her own. You have to love her a lot in the beginning stages when she comes to Africa and realizes that her husband lied to her about America. A little more of such stuff could have given her more opportunities, that is for sure. Anusree has just some screen time, and would disappear for a long time only to appear later for a few minutes. Murali Gopy looks stunning throughout the movie, and proves that he is the right option for being Hitman Codename 47 if the game is adapted into Malayalam – well, people copy anything and everything these days, so who knows? It would have been better if he had more evil deeds to commit rather than shooting people; he is menacing in his style and way of talking and acting, but that is all the character has.

Soul exploration :: Naku Penta Naku Taka is a story of love and survival, even as it doesn’t go deep into either of them. As Indrajith and Bhama forms a nice on-screen pair, and the latter is incredibly cute in her expressions, especially with anger and blushing, may be it didn’t feel the need to get them through terror which has even half the power of the hell’s abyss. But the main theme of the movie remains the same, something which it decides to keep away from the dark side up-to an extent. It is the struggle of a husband and wife to escape from the problems that they face in Africa, seemingly similar to Escape from Uganda, but still finding an identity of its own, and the character of Murali Gopy plays a major part in helping the movie to do so. The expectation that this will work out in the level of Left Right Left is clearly wrong, and with the same protagonist who impressed us in that movie as well as Amen, this movie is just the entertainer with variety, not something which one can ponder over for long – Amen and Left Right Left still remains in my mind, and the characters stay there and so do the situations. Naku Penta Naku Taka is not without ideas, but doesn’t make an attempt to try hard with it, or add fire to the same.

How it finishes :: The 2013 movie Escape from Uganda was the first Malayalam movie to be extensively shot in Africa, and may be the only Malayalam movie to be shot in Uganda. If we look at those reviews on the internet, it has received almost the same kind of reception from the internet critics as for this one, or may be worse if we include some specific reviews. If we go outside Malayalam, the one movie we can remember easily should be Maryan, but that is clearly a different story. Naku Penta Naku Taka has to be appreciated for the effort which it has taken, and its bravery to choose to be different. There is one other thing that I like, and that is that this movie is sponsored by tea, as we can see the logo of Gokulam Love Tea on some of the posters of the movie – yes, how can I not watch a movie which has tea advertisements? Tea is such a big part of the life of the Vampire Bat, and this one inspires to drink more; not the best occasion to say this, but what is life without tea? Indrajith fans and future Bhama fans, take this opportunity to check out this movie. This is the movie that you need, to take a break from the inferior work that superstars have been providing us with, and lets take time to appreciate such lesser known works without huge stars; it will only be good for the industry.

Release date: 13th June 2014
Running time: 120 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Vayalar Madhavan Kutty
Starring: Indrajith Sukumaran, Bhama, Murali Gopy, Shankar, Anusree Nair, Sudheer Karamana, Sunil Sugada

nakupentanakutaka copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Highway

highwayy

The eternal wait :: The one question that I had to ask myself is “On the second day of October, what did the movie Besharam give to me”? It did take away seventy rupees, but I am not talking about that. The answer is a lack of interest in Hindi movies since that Gandhi Jayanthi had come up with terror which had me watch no Hindi movie at all for almost five months (yes, not even on the television). So, it was a necessity that I wait for sometime so that such disaster won’t happen too soon. But there is no denying the fact that I almost watched Jai Ho, but the show was housefull. There are not many movies that have been as hyped as Highway despite having no big male star right in the middle of the story. I always knew that the best thing would be to watch my next Bollywood movie in the form of Highway rather than any other. There have been so much talks about this movie like “what is it going to be?”, “what story will it tell?”, “Alia Bhatt should be so awesome in it, so its a sure watch?”, “isn’t it about Stockholm syndrome?” and so on. The Vampire Bat had heard so much or rather too much about the movie, and he finally decided to fly to the theatre on a motor-bike.

What is it about? :: Veera Tripathi (Alia Bhatt) is kidnapped just before her wedding as she goes on a night ride with her fiancee trying to keep away the pressures and tension of the big function. She is kidnapped by a group of criminals as they stop at a petrol pump. But as the gang realizes that she is the daughter of a rich and powerful man with links to the government, police and the army, they decide to cancel their plans. But Mahabir Bhati (Randeep Hooda) is not ready to give up as he takes her on a road trip away from the place so that they won’t be tracked. Even as she is initially bound and gagged by them, Veera gets more and more comfortable with her captors, and a bond develops between Mahabir and her. She feels free even as she is a captive, and feels so happy. She even refuses to escape when there is chance and feels that she should be with him for so much longer. She herself says that she doesn’t want the journey to end, as she has no desire to go back or go where the journey ends. But how long till her people finds them and the travel diary is put to a quick end?

The defence of Highway :: Most of the Keralites should remember a pseudo-travel movie with the long name Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and a big drag which begins with about fifteen minutes into it and ends only when the story finishes. Highway is far ahead of that one in almost all aspects, the most important ones being the acting and the visuals. Highway is a visually superior movie with its awesome locations, especially as it has succeeded in capturing the beauty of the paradise which is Kashmir. The beauty of nature becomes more and more joyful to watch as the movie moves on to the latter part of the second half, and it gets stronger and stronger by the time it reaches the end. Its messages of finding oneself and reaching beyond one’s fear are also stronger than ever. It’s use of the two protagonists, a man and woman, both having traumatic childhood works so well to touch our hearts. There is so much honesty in the way these are portrayed too, as there is no addition of stupid masala which makes worthless movies super-hits.

The claws of flaw :: The movie drags a lot, and shows potential to keep dragging. From the beginning itself, the movie seems to make the viewers feel that there is not much to come, even as it is wrong. The character of the lady protagonist is rather too far-fetched to make one believe. She seems rather crazy at times (loosely reminding us of the semi-kidnapped lady protagonist of the Malayalam movie Kilukkam), and her attachment towards a criminal who keeps threatening her comes rather too soon. Except for one or two songs which are okay, the music fails to get the attention of the viewers, and there are times when they come when not needed. There is also the use of other languages or may be variations of Hindi which was rather difficult to follow. There was the need for subtitles at least in it comes rather South. The movie takes one away from any kind of usual entertainment which is usually looked for in such a flick. It won’t give anyone the exaggeration that they might look for in a love story as this keeps that side plain and simple.

Performers of the soul :: Well, most of us won’t identify the faces in the movie other than that of Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt. The former (he is the reason why I lament missing John Day which had only one late night show here – who cares for good thrillers with non-superstars who can act, right?) comes up with a powerful performance of brilliance, even as there are less dialogues for him; we can strongly believe that this portrayal by him will be appreciated. We can surely expect a lot more from him. Alia Bhatt is there as the centre of everything, right from the beginning to the end. Even as there is some struggle, she seems to be custom made for the role, seeming to be in so much ease with her character. There are occasions when one would wonder if she does rather too much or a lot more than needed, but that should have come with the character. It is hard to believe that this is only her second movie, and I had missed her first one, Student of the Year. She remains incredibly cute throughout the movie and makes it impossible for any other actress to come up with a better performance in such a role soon. She is so dynamic and full of energy that just her presence keeps the whole thing working so well.

Soul exploration :: The movie is the story of two people whose lives get connected by just one act of crime, a kidnap. It comes up with a lot of things to think about, and it remains so close to being a movie of the soul even if not there completely. Even as not all of them remain close to the truths about life, it is evident that there is a clear attempt to bring to the scene as much humanity as possible; not without its troubles, not in the absence of the good side, yet not abandoning the darker side which tries to get closer to the human soul with more power than ever before. Stockholm syndrome is explored from one side while it continues to be a travel diary as a whole. There are realizations being made about life, and it changes both the kidnapper and the kidnapped in a journey which goes on for kilometres. As Saint Augustine of Hippo says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

How it finishes :: As the movie for which we have been long waiting for, Highway mostly delivers, thanks to the performances of the leading actors, the visuals and the message that it delivers. Despite the drag and the occasional inability to connect, the movie thrives in simplicity and that humanity which are its own Kraken and Leviathan in the huge ocean of movies this weekend. It’s emptiness is not of the soul, but of the physical world, and that is one void that everyone can afford to avoid. As Robert Frost says, when two roads diverge, you have to choose the one less traveled, and here it is Highway, and even as it might not go as expected, this one makes the difference, and there is no doubt about. But let me tell you, happiness is highly subjective, just like the opinions on this movie seems to be – ask Alia Bhatt’s character in Highway and she reiterates money can’t buy you happiness, or even anything close to that. So, if you are making a choice, think about all these factors mentioned above.

Release date: 21st February 2014
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Alia Bhatt, Saharsh Kumar Shukla, Pradeep Nagar, Durgesh Kumar, Arjun Malhotra

highway copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.