Virus

What is the movie about? :: Kozhikode District collector Paul V Abraham (Tovino Thomas) gets an urgent call when he is about to leave home. There are a series of events that lead to the same, and most of it happens in the Kozhikode Medical Centre. A nurse named Akhila (Rima Kallingal), was taking care of a young man named Zachariah (Zakariya Mohammed), who was admitted to her hospital for fever, but is now suffering from the same symptoms. Dr. Abid Rahman (Sreenath Bhasi) is having his normal shift in the hospital as his lover and medical student Sara Yakub (Madonna Sebastian) shows signs of ending their relationship – at the same time, more and more patients are being admitted in the hospital. But the signs that some of these patients show are not natural, as the doctors figure out that something strange and unusual is coming up. It is also not limited to one or two people anymore, and there is panic.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The samples are sent to Manipal to be tested by the experts led by Dr Suresh Rajan (Kunchacko Boban), and it is confirmed that it is Nipah virus which has affected the patients. With no vaccination or specific treatment available for the epidemic, the only hope for the goverment is quarantine, and hope to find the source, as well as make sure that it didn’t spread to many people. The team lead by Health Minister CK Prameela (Revathi) includes the collector Paul V Abraham with Dr Smrithy (Poornima Indrajith) and Dr Annu (Parvathy) in an attempt to stop the infection from spreading. First identified in 1998 in Malaysia, the disease, in most cases has taken the lives of those who were infected. With people not related to the first patient, like Unnikrishnan (Soubin Shahir) getting infected, there are questions raised how the source could be found. Are the authorities good enough to find it?

The defence of Virus :: The movie nicely deals with a situation that Keralites, especially those from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in the north of the state had to go through. With the virus showing its signs of return in the central area now, the case has gained further significance. One won’t fail to notice how the movie has kept itself close to reality, and how each character has been given significance, with each actor having a job to do. The movie is never dependent on one person, as there is no main character – there are only people who tries to help others, and a few others who try to survive in a world which is threatened by something new, and something deadly. The movie was a need, as the world needed to know the story, and making it a memorable one was Aashiq Abu’s duty, which he did with ease, as we have three good memories in a row, with Rani Padmini, Mayaanadhi and this one.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might feel slow at some points, but it quickly goes past the same. We are able to place ourselves in the place of the characters, and we go through their emotions with ease. The emotional strength of the movie is high, and it can even be more with different people, and their perspectives. The thrills are also there, and we keep close to the whole thing, each moment. Parts of the movie might be fictionalized, but our director surely knows where to stop that. The location is as nicely captured as the people themselves. The view from the top more or less makes us feel the city. You know what is going to happen in the end, and you want to know how we reach there, and to go through that journey, we are with the characters like never before – in creating that closeness to the characters, the director has succeeded.

The performers of the soul :: The movie has a fantastic cast, and the talent can be seen in each part of it. Parvathy comes up with another great job after Uyare, and this one has one more natural performance from her. Two of the three best movies of the year belongs to her, with the other one without her presence is Kumbalangi Nights. Tovino who was Parvathy’s co-star in Uyare had only memorable performances, with Lucifer, Ente Ummante Peru, Oru Kuprasidha Payyan, Theevandi and Maradona giving him a continuous impressive run in Malayalam movie industry. Here, once again, he owns his role. Kunchacko Boban didn’t have that much of a great run with his previous movies, but he is right there, solid with this role of a doctor. Asif Ali continues his choice of some good movies with another emotional role. Vijay Superum Pournamiyum had provided a great beginning to the year for him. Joju George, after Joseph, continues to strike our emotions in a beautiful way.

Further performers of the soul :: Indrajith Sukumaran and Rahman has smaller, but memorable roles, especially with the former who manages to come up with some nice moments in between. It is also great to see Poornima Indrajith after such a long time, and this is a role to remember for sure – nice to see Remya Nambeeshan there too. Revathi manages to do the job of Health Minister in a believable manner. The similarity in appearance has also been achieved up to an extent. Madonna Sebastian doesn’t have much to do here, and neither does Sharafudheen. Rima Kallingal is quick to come and go, and stays in memories because of the emotional connect with the real-life character being attained. Meanwhile, Sreenath Bhasi gets a different role this time, and he manages to provide complete justice to the same. He had provided some signs of the same in the last movie, but that was a mute character – this time, he raises the bar. The roles of Jinu Joseph and Dileesh Pothan are small, but to be noted. Unnimaya Prasad and Soubin Shahir also catches our attention.

How it finishes :: Virus is already the biggest movie of the weekend, with so almost all shows being booked early. The success here lies in the fact that it shows everything in a realistic manner, never do we see those unreal heroes – we feel that almost every character in there are people like us, and therefore part of us. We can feel the pain and troubles of the characters, as well as reflect the same. As Nipah virus once again becomes a cause of concern, this becomes a thing of focus yet again. Virus is a movie that needs to be watched for how it shows the people showing their fighting spirit and their concern for others, in a battle for survival. It is also a memory of the people who lost their lives in the process, especially the nurse, Lini Puthussery who died while doing her duty. It is the same reason why this movie needs to be watched more than any other.

Release date: 7th June 2019
Running time: 152 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Kunchacko Boban, Asif Ali, Joju George, Jinu Joseph, Rahman, Soubin Shahir, Indrajith Sukumaran, Parvathy, Poornima Indrajith, Remya Nambeeshan, Revathi, Madonna Sebastian, Sreenath Bhasi, Indrans, Rima Kallingal, Dileesh Pothan, Senthil Krishna, Sharafudheen, Shebin Benson, Zakariya Mohammed, Sudheesh, Savithri Sreedharan, Darshana Rajendran, Basil Joseph, Lukman Lukku, Ann Saleem, Haris Saleem, Sajitha Madathil, Leona Lishoy, Nikhil Raveendran, Sreekanth Murali, Vettukili Prakash, Sreedevi Unni, Ambika Rao, Divya Gopinath, Unnimaya Prasad, Sundara Pandyan, Binu Pappu,Vimal Muraleedharan, Nilambur Ayisha

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Kumbalangi Nights

What is the movie about? :: Four brothers Saji (Soubin Shahir), Bonney (Sreenath Bhasi), Bobby (Shane Nigam) and Franky (Matthew Thomas) live in a small house which on an abandoned side of the fishing village of Kumbalangi. Born and brought up in a remote area on the island which came to be connected to mainland Kochi by a bridge only a few years back, they have been living happily, content with what they have. Their small area itself forms a very small island where people abandon their dogs and cats. Saji and Bobby doesn’t have jobs even though the former manages to get something without working. Bonney works with a music and dance troupe while Franky is a student and a football enthusiast. Things seem to be going smoothly even though none of them has any real purpose in life. They fight with each other and also with others, and have some drinks, wasting their time without regret. There are no thoughts about future either.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Things have a twist when Bobby falls in love with Babymol (Anna Ben) who has been admiring him for a long time. She works in a resort at Kallenchery side of Kumbalangi as a tourist guide and also runs a home-stay near her home. The two wants to get married, but her sister Simi’s (Grace Antony) husband Shammi (Fahadh Faasil) decides things in the house due to her father’s demise, and he wouldn’t have him as a co-brother. Shammi wants someone who is equal to him, and asks Bobby to get a job and renovate their small house. Bobby finds out that Shammi is not someone who can be reasoned with, and gets to work. But can Bobby get to marry considering the fact that Shammi is considering more than what he says? Also, can the brothers settle their differences and stop fighting each other at regular intervals for different reasons?

The defence of Kumbalangi Nights :: The first thing that strikes you here is the presence of those Chinese nets against the beautiful backwaters and greenery, captured so wonderfully. At night, the sight becomes even more beautiful, becoming the enchanting Kumbalangi – the visuals are too good. Supporting the same, are some excellent performances from each person on the screen – being a movie which gives equal importance to its characters, we see nobody backing down here. The emotions and the funny side stand at two sides of the backwaters, sometimes jumping into water together, and at times, one after the other. As a realistic take on the life of struggling people, we listen to the local slang, and we also see common factors of life. If you have been to Kumbalangi, you will see a few things which will remind you of the village – not just the fishing nets, but also the bridge to Kumbalangi, the path to Kallenchery, the Kallenchery Resort and others. There we love the simplicity that the movie displays.

Positives and negatives :: The nights at Kumbalangi is a tale of the abandoned, who seek redemption within the world which has become a part of them. The lives of the subaltern nicely gets the treatment that it deserves. It is not like those movies which choose “jobless youngsters becoming gangsters” to show the same idea, because Kumbalangi Nights nicely manages to think above that idea. It destroys the stereotype that Angamaly Diaries also created earlier in the name of a realistic tale, and goes for real, common people instead of thugs. Kumbalangi Nights is a welcome metamorphosis from the usual to the unusal, an extension of the movies like Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Thondimuthalum Drikshashiyum. As it touches you deep with its realistic depiction of all things with even more realistic dialogues, from the talk about true love to those related to family and relationships, there is no reason for you not to watch it. You can ask for more from the story, but the tale here is of life itself. It still takes some time to get going, and can be considered to be slow in the beginning by a few.

The performers of the soul :: The four actors who play the four brothers form the core of the movie. Among them, it is Shane Nigam who plays the Romeo character that touches your heart very early. He excels in those romantic sequences too. We remember those early signs in Kismath which were so nicely carried into Parava, and Shane is now here, playing another character so naturally. Soubin Shahir is fantastic with those emotional scenes and the character never fails to bring the funny side alive too, even when things are going very serious. He has those moments that touch hearts so well in the second half. Sreenath Bhasi plays the mute character very well with actions and expressions. Matthew Thomas who plays the school boy is not far behind either. We see how well they combine to make the moments in this flick so much better. In their journey, in their transformation, in their brotherhood, we find our messages of life as they find redemption.

Further performers of the soul :: Two leading ladies add to it in the same way. Grace Antony does her job in a believable manner, becoming the local house wife as one would expect her to be. She also proves that she can handle the funny side really well. At the same time, the debutante who leaves a fantastic mark here is Anna Ben. Among all the dialogues in the movie, it is those that she says that stays with us for long. Those related to “true love” and “knowing Jesus” are among them – we feel those to be so natural that whether they are emotional or funny, they go deep. Then you see Fahadh Faasil who steals the show each and every time he appears on the screen, and by the end, we see him in a performance that we least expect. There is more to his character than what meets the eye, and we have had that feeling before, in Varathan – no we are not going to find such exaggeration here, because this is the life of everyman with struggles rather than someone with the silver-spoon. We have no heroes here – instead, we have people whom we understand, and their myriad of emotions taking roots within us. Heroism is shown to be abnormal, and what the villain wishes to display – others live life.

How it finishes :: This is one movie which surely doesn’t look like the director’s debut film, as one would find it difficult to come up with complaints here. The choice of Kumbalangi is a smart one too, and it makes sure that things get closer to perfection unlike Paippin Chuvattile Pranayam which couldn’t do the same even with backwaters all around. There is poetry in Kumbalangi Nights, with its beautiful backwaters, and the lives of people who face abandonment just like their surroundings, and how they seek redemption. It is a realistic through the common man’s life with all those emotions coming from within, and we see how the setting contributes to making the story even more beautiful. Last year, we had to wait till Joseph to have the best of the year, and this year, this month, with Kumbalangi Nights, the best of the year might have come early. With it lighting up our world, we no longer have the darkness of the nights, as they are replaced with (k)nights in shining armour who reflect the light.

And here is one beautiful song to add to it:

Release date: 7th February 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Madhu C Narayanan
Starring: Shane Nigam, Anna Ben, Grace Antony, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Fahadh Faasil, Ramesh Thilak, Matthew Thomas, Dileesh Pothen

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Mohanlal

What is the movie about? :: Meenakshi (Manju Warrier) a.k.a. Meenukkutty is a die-hard fan of Mohanlal who was born on the same day on which the actor’s first movie, Manjil Virinja Pookkal released. Right from childhood, she used to be that huge a fan of the actor that she couldn’t stand anything said against him – she could only be pleased by things related to Mohanlal. After growing up, nothing changed for her, and she is finally married to Sethumadhavan (Indrajith Sukumaran) who has been in love with her since their childhood times at the same classes in the same school. As Meenakshi just goes on watching Mohanlal movies on the first day first show, and fighting with people who speaks against the actor, the marriage itself seems secondary to her. Sethumadhavan who couldn’t even think about not loving her, decides to keep her happy by allowing this strange addiction which goes over everything else.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But things only get worse, and Sethumadhavan decides to end his life by jumping in front of a train. There he meets a stranger (Soubin Shahir) who is sitting in the railway station with his dog. Sethumadhavan tells his story to the new friend who seems to be a little crazy himself. The story begins from their childhood when he develops certain interest for Meenakshi, and to their marriage and beyond. Meenakshi’s interests only get stranger, and it gets to the worst situation with her getting pregnant after a long wait, and them losing their child because of her need to watch another Mohanlal movie on the first day first show. But that wouldn’t change her, and after moving to a new place, there would me more to affect their family life in a terrible manner. How can they fight through this struggle which keeps repeating itself?

The defence of Mohanlal :: There is nostalgia being awakened in this movie, as Mohanlal movies had been defining our childhood. We see a fine beginning to this movie, with reference to Manjil Virinja Pookkal in which Mohanlal made the entry as a villain. The song in the beginning is the best of them all, and sets a fine mood for everything. The scenes involving the children are too good, as they grow up watching Mohanlal in his movies, and the youth also has a few moments during its short existence. It is the first half maintaining a certain level that makes sure that people are very much interested in knowing what is to follow. The movie is also a clear improvement from the director’s earlier movie, IDI: Inspector Dawood Ibrahim. The comedy is also better than the earlier fan stuff movie, Pokkiri Simon, even though there is no twist or suspense to this one.

The claws of flaw :: There seems to be not much care given for the story here, as it is rather too ordinary, with nothing innovative happening, even though there was surely the chance for something special. The reflection of fan stuff is also done in a strange manner. The fan thing is more or less irritating at times, and the length of the movie is also a little too much for such a story which never tries to raise its level. The justification provided for extreme fan worship is even stranger, and never does it seem to bring things together – its ending is rather forced to become a happy one, and the reality, as one would expect, can only be much worse. There was the chance to lighten up the nostalgia with each moment of life, but such a plan is never there. This never seems to have the plan to show a normal fan who has controlled love for the favourite superstar. The first half is some fun, while the second half drags on.

The performers of the soul :: Even though we can say that Manju Warrier is perfectly suited for this role, there will be opinions that the character has been overdone, and is more or less irritating for anyone’s taste. Some of the actions of the character just can’t be justified, and providing justification here would do more harm than good. Coming out of C/O Saira Banu, Udaharanam Sujatha and Villain last year followed by Aami, this character has no strength, no matter into which genre we put this one. Yes, there are moments which stay, and the comic side is handled better in the early stages, while the latter moments never even come close. Indrajith had two thrilling adventures last year in the form of Tiyaan and Lakshyam, both taking different paths, and here we have a change again. He seems comfortable in this role, and he plays the helpless husband facing fan nonsense with no problems.

Further performers of the soul :: Meenakshi, known the best for Amar Akbar Anthony and Oppam, makes the childhood moments memorable, with Vishal Krishna of Maalgudi Days and Annmaria Kalippilaanu fame. Shebin Benson and Krittika Pradeep also have some shorter moments of glory, with latter earlier being seem in Aadhi as the girl who admires the leading character. Soubin Shahir provides some fun, but the character never really suits this movie. The same can be said about Salim Kumar who has too short a role, which makes no contribution to the overall story. Even Aju Varghese who plays a major character has the role being given less attention, with ineffective jokes – Hareesh Perumanna is also wasted in a small presence. There are many characters, with faces that can be recognized easily, but most of them seem to be present for the sake of being there.

How it finishes :: This is the movie that needs Mohanlal to fuel it, but it doesn’t deserve the star due to the ordinary stuff that it provides in the name of an extraordinary actor. When you name a movie Mohanlal, there is a certain expectation about keeping a level, but we see that it is the only thing this one tries to focus to bring the fans. We do feel those movies with which we grew up with, and at the same time, we keep wondering if this is the best tribute that was there to be watched. After all, this is Vishu, and we Keralites deserve more. This year had many movies, but as of now, it has been struggling to catch up with the flicks which released last year during the same months. Is this the loss of creativity around here, or because the big ones are yet to come? We will see that, and until then, Mohanlal might be the movie that families can enjoy up to an extent along with some Mohanlal fans, depending upon what you are looking for.

Release date: 14th April 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sajid Yahiya
Starring: Manju Warrier, Indrajith Sukumaran, Aju Varghese, Krittika Pradeep, Baby Meenakshi, Shebin Benson, Master Vishal, Unni Krishnan, Salim Kumar, Soubin Shahir, KPAC Lalitha, Hareesh Perumanna, Sreejith Ravi, Anjali Aneesh, Siddique, Balachandran Chullikkadu, Pradeep Kottayam, Riyas Doha, Sudhi Koppa, Sunil Sukhada, Manoj Guinness, Sajan Palluruthy, Kottayam Nazeer, Anjana Appukuttan, Praseetha Menon, Sethu Lakshmi, Asha Aravind, Unni Rajan P Dev, Sreya Remesh, Molly Kannamaly, Prithviraj Sukumaran (voice)

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@ Cemetery Watch
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Kuttanadan Marpappa

What is the movie about? :: John Paul (Kunchacko Boban) is a photographer, and his studio is the best in the area. Even though he is from the Kuttanadu area of Alappuzha which is surrounded by water, he doesn’t know how to swim, with a certain fear for water. His mother, Mary Paul (Shantikrishna) is in full support for him, and tries to keep a happy face despite the problems of her life, and her husband having committed suicide a few years ago. John has fallen in love with many girls in the past, right from his childhood days – his lover at school had only gotten married a few years ago, but his biggest tale of love was with Jessy Ummen (Aditi Ravi), a dentist for whom he arranged fake degree certificates. He had always thought that what we had with her was true love, the kind of love which would bring a sleeping beauty to life with a true love’s kiss.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But that idea had to change with the arrival of Peter (Ramesh Pisharody), an NRI who intends to return to London after marrying the girl of his dreams. It turns out that the girl of his dreams is none other than Jessy whom he wishes to marry and take back to England. Jessy’s father and Panchayath President Ummachan (Innocent) has no problem with choosing between John and Peter, as he hopes that by working at London, she would earn enough money to pay him back the cash which he had spent for making her a BDS doctor. Marrying off his daughter to a photographer would make no sense to him. Only Jessy’s love for John stands between Ummachan and his dreams of getting the money back. But can the love of John and Jessy stand the test at a time when the former will be without a place to live in a few days?

The defence of Kuttanadan Marpappa :: There are some funny moments in this movie, and there is that final revelation which will satisfy a good number of people in the audience – Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan had that kind of a twist, as we remember. Kunchacko Boban has a good combination with Dharmajan with the comic side, and the romantic side with Aditi Ravi is also charming in the setting that we have here. We often feel that this is more or less a classic tale of problems in love, told in a different way, with a different setting. The visuals of the area are nicely captured, and we feel the beauty of the place to be close to being part of a fairy-tale. There is something about this world that will satisfy our needs to watch some of the best of backwaters. You have the chance to see Kuttanadu with all its beauty here, with Venice of the East scoring.

The claws of flaw :: There are occasions when one has to wonder if Kuttanadan Marpappa is a confused movie, in the model of Oru Cinemakkaran and Role Models – it seems to try too many things, and by doing the same, it also has the audience wondering where it is heading. There is so much colour, and the costumes look rather strange for most situations. There is one song which has the leading actor and actress dancing with strange steps and costumes, and the lyrics itself seems weird – the need for such a song was surely not there, especially with the video. This song itself is a reflection of the movie’s confusion, and we also feel a certain amount of drag within its tale. There seems to be an eternal struggle within this one, and a lot of things are more or less not really suited for the mood of this movie. As a whole, it seems to have collected certain items from different places, and scattered them.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban being the lifeline of this movie is no surprise, as he plays another romantic character – nothing really changes with that one. He has another familiar role in control and has to do no wonders, coming out of his last flick, Shikkari Shambhu. Aditi Ravi, the star of Alamara had only smaller roles in the later big movies, Adventures of Omanakuttan, Udaharanam Sujatha, Lavakusha and Aadhi, which has been rather surprising. With acting talent, she is surely far ahead of many other actresses who have been performing in leading roles. She undoubtedly leaves her mark in this movie, and this would be compared to a few other roles; the kind of roles which would bring discussions about a certain kind of behaviour in love. The two does make a fine pair, and lets see if we can see more movies with the two together.

Further performers of the soul :: Shanthi Krishna had made a grand return with Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, and we see her doing amazingly well with the lighter side as well as the emotional moments – she reflects that kind of a mother whom a young son or daughter dreams to have. The girl who played the sister of Aditi’s character also requires special mention, as she handles things so naturally and with a certain charm. Dharmajan has his moments of fun in this one as usual, while Hareesh Perumanna, for some reason, is underused, and so are Innocent and Salim Kumar. Aju Varghese does bring some laughter in the role of a priest. Ramesh Pisharody has some fun to provide, and so does Dinesh Nair, but we see that their characters are overdone, going beyond what was needed on a number of occasions. Soubin Shahir is there for even lesser period of time.

How it finishes :: There is not that much to be loved in Kuttanadan Marpappa, but for the family audience, this would be a good way to spend the weekend, as it would be for the youth. Without much of focus on the story, and leaving romance behind after some time, this seems to be that movie which tries to make the best use of the Maundy Thursday – Good Friday – Easter season with its special and catchy title, as well as by adding the kind of actors and actresses whom families would prefer. With Vikadakumaran being another movie which seems to have a similar plan, it is to be seen how well the plan can work. As of now, all movies seem to have pretty good viewership, and it will be the Easter Sunday which will decide the winner in this battle of movies, as Pacific Rim: Uprising, Poomaram, Hey Jude, Black Panther, Aadhi and Ira still stays at the theatres.

Release date: 29th March 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sreejith Vijayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Aditi Ravi, Shanti Krishna, Innocent, Aju Varghese, Salim Kumar, Ramesh Pisharody, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Noby Marcose, Vinod Kedamangalam, Dinesh Nair, Hareesh Perumanna, Soubin Shahir, Tini Tom, Kochu Preman. Mallika Sukumaran

@ Cemetery Watch
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Street Lights

What is the movie about? :: There is a burglary occuring in the city, and the two thieves are being chased by security guards, only to be saved by a third man who is part of the gang. The three men are revealed to be the confused Sachi (Hareesh Perummana), clueless Raju (Dharmajan Bolgatty) and the angry, violent Murugan (Stunt Silva) who is determined to get what he wants in any way possible. They have stolen a diamond necklace, which might be the key to making their life better, and maybe perfect enough to ensure an eternity of wonderful existence. Simon Mundackal (Joy Mathew) who is the owner of the diamond necklace, is afraid to go to the police as the necklace is made from unaccounted money, which makes him call his nephew who is a police officer, James (Mammootty) – a man known to have his special skills in solving difficult cases.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: James has no problem in taking over this case, as he is known to have a history with Murugan, a criminal from Tamil Nadu’s Theni who has escaped to Kerala. He keeps only his most trusted people from the force with him, keeping the investigation personal and far away from the force’s knowledge. This search for the five crore worth of necklace begins with the one mobile phone which the thieves left at the house, but the journey forward is not that smooth for them, with James’ trusted officer Issac (Rony David) getting injured while fighting Murugan. The three thieves got their own safe houses in and around Cochin, and even when they are not to be found in the city, they have their presence. But they do make one mistake while hiding the diamond necklace, and Raju has the credit for the same.

And what follows next in the adventure? :: Their complicated adventure collides with the normal life of the people of Vypin and other places close to the city, and things begin to undergo changes for all of them. Remya (Lijomol Jose), her cousin and childhood friend (Soubin Shahir) who is in love with her, a child in her neighbourhood, his father who is connected to the thieves, and others are forced into the world of policemen and thieves, which has only one diamond necklace as the means to solve everything. There is also a flashback or many of them related to how everything begins. But the question remains if Murugan and his friends can be caught, and whether the diamond necklace can ever get back to Simon who is waiting for the same – well, you will never know, as there are some twists ready to happen.

The defence of Street Lights :: There is certain suspense about how things are going to come together, and things get nicely uncovered, and we have them joining well enough to make a point as we march towards the end. There is also a balance regarding importance given to the characters, as a number of roles seems to have the same significance in how things keep happening. The characters are more or less like the street lights, making their presence felt by lighting up moments – some are surely brighter than the rest, but all are working unlike in some parts of our world. Even those characters who come only in one scene have enough in them to be memorable. There is the mixture of comedy, thrills and twists that go on well, even though none of them gets to a level which makes the whole thing truly remarkable. The comic side brings the balance, you have almost all genres except horror looking right into this movie which is kept short for our interests.

The claws of flaw :: The final moments of the movie seem to be forced. One has to wonder why there had to be the need to bring the hero and the villain face to face, to get the protagonist to beat up his opponent with ease, when everything has been going in a rather realistic manner. The heroism with sunshades, slow motion and the stylish vehicles just seem to be added for the sake of having them there. A tale of the common man gets lost in this need to go unreal at times. A few predictable moments could have been avoided, and the focus should have been more with the child and the romantic tale, with the police-criminal moments being restricted. The final moments showing the greatness of the protagonist is rather dull, and a near perfect police officer is mis-fit for this kind of a realistic tale of the common people we see around.

The performers of the soul :: Mammootty plays the hero in this tale of other people, and he has no problem in playing this character which brings no challenge – it is just the usual stereotype of a police officer surrounded by characters full of life. Here, he brings the needed the charm, and surely strengthens the movie as the star. Lijomol Jose and Soubin Shahir have their own moments in this one, and there is fun around when they are around, with a certain amount of cuteness to go with the same. Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan Bolgatty are the two to provide the best of comedy though, as they bring something or the other all the time without hesitation. Stunt Silva does make a perfect villain in between, and we can see the evil side coming out of the veil, as we see the villainy which gets darker, revealing the strength of that darkness. Adhish Praveen is wonderful throughout the movie, and Gayathri Krishna’s shorter presence has our attention.

How it finishes :: Street Lights is not what many people might have expected, but its core tale of common people that we have been in need. If the so called action side was removed, it could have been a thriller with Maheshinte Prathikaaram or Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum model comic side. It never really matches them in totality, but Street Lights does manage to bring its own identity around here. Among the movies which go on doing the same thing again and again, this one does try to go a different path, particularly with one side of its story, and we can appreciate the same. It is with the same thing that Street Lights differs from Masterpiece – there is an idea here which is divergent in its core, and there is the attempt to experiment at certain points. Well, we can safely say that the street lights bring enough to get rid of the darkness here.

Release date: 26th January 2018
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Shamdat Sainudeen
Starring: Mammootty, Gayathri Krishna, Lijomol Jose, Soubin Shahir, Joy Mathew, Hareesh Perumanna, Stunt Silva, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Rony David, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sudhi Koppa, Motta Rajendran, Neena Kurup, Adhish Praveen, Sohan Seenulal, Rajasekharan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mayaanadhi

What is the movie about? :: A young man named John Mathews a.k.a. Mathan (Tovino Thomas), hailing from Perumbavoor, is in love with a girl from Kakkanad, Aparna Ravi a.k.a. Appu (Aishwarya Lekshmi) who studied as his junior at the engineering college outside the state, both not gaining much from the professional course. Mathan gets caught in a series of events that lead to the death of a police officer while he was trying to escape. While the Tamil Nadu police is looking for him, he gets back to Cochin in an attempt to find Aparna who is trying to make it big with the help of her friend Sameera (Leona Lishoy) who is a big name in the movie industry. Aparna couldn’t make much of a progress with her life, as she has been doing different jobs following dropping out of her Engineering course. Her relationship with Mathan is strained due to the fact that he didn’t return the money which she had borrowed from her friend, and she feels that he took advantage of her trust.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As policemen from Madurai chases him to Kerala for vengeance for the death of their colleague rather than anything else, Mathan is trying to get a visa to the Middle East, and hopes that he can also take Aparna with him. Irritated by the attitude of her mother towards her, and failing in auditions, Aparna is in no mood to forgive Mathan, and seems to have no time to get back into a relationship. With revenge-seeking policemen on his trail who would be happy with nothing less than his encounter, can Mathan, with his simple ways, escape to the Middle East with the love of his life without whom he doesn’t want to run? Can Aparna make something out of her never-ending adventures related to cinema and modeling? Does fate get to play the final twisted role in this tale as it does in most of the love stories?

The defence of Mayaanadhi :: As this one brings a new love story of this age, the melodrama never finds a seat. There is a realistic approach in this movie, and we never really gets tired of the same, even when the movie seems to get slow in between. We see how much people need each other, when things get better, or when they get terrible. The protagonists are two people who have struggled with their lives, and their world is something which is not difficult to relate as we understand their circumstances. The music is really good, and there is “Uyirin Nadhiye” which will grab your attention and stay in your mind for long. There are some jokes in there too, but there is the overall sadness in this movie, which seems to reflect on the depressing human condition which remains the same, no matter how the world changes. There are also some harsh realities reflected too, with either fate being so cruel, or the society being against the individual. There is very less for one to be happy in the grim world of Mayaanadhi, and even in between the beautiful shots of the city, there is melancholy.

The claws of flaw :: Mayaanadhi might not be the best option for the family audience, considering the intensity of love that is shown in there, even though the movie uses everything in an aesthetic way rather than in a sexual manner. There is a certain slowness with this movie, and you will also feel that there is not much of a story to tell here other than what we have seen and heard on so many occasions. Maybe, two hours could have done just enough for this movie, and the gangster and police angle could have been left out to bring something just random into the scene as the factors causing problems for the protagonists. The Tamil dialogues without subtitles caused problems for the audience who had tough time figuring it out. The fact that this is the least hyped movie among all the releases of Christmas, Aadu oru Bheekara Jeeviyanu 2, Vimaanam, Aana Alaralodalaral, Masterpiece and also Tiger Zinda Hai from Bollywood, we know that this one could use some attention if it is to do any better at the theatres.

The performers of the soul :: You might have felt that Tovino Thomas hasn’t got the best of divergence out of his movies, and this one surely has that element. Tharangam, Godha, Oru Mexican Aparatha, Ezra and Guppy, which were his last movies had good performances from him, but nothing as divergent as this one. His character has no heroism associated, and he lets his pair, the leading actress who is two movies old, handle the job so well. Aishwarya Lekshmi coming right out of Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela is too good in this movie – she was certainly good in that one, but with this adventure, she makes it many levels here; she gets the bigger opportunity to perform here, and never does she fail to deliver. Her best moment might be during her final audition, but her first which has getting down to reality from the plastic side is not far behind, and you will also find her scenes with Tovino charged with fine chemistry.

Further performers of the soul :: We last saw Leona Lishoy in Annmariya Kalippilannu, and even though we have seen her in other flicks including the lead role in Jawan of Vellimala, she gets enough moments in this one to make sure that Mayaanadhi is something to remember her for. This is also my second favourite movie of Aashiq Abu, after Rani Padmini. You will note that the directors Basil Joseph and Lijo Jose Pellissery also make smaller appearances in the flick. Unnimaya Prasad who played Sara in Maheshinte Prathikaram and Maya teacher in Parava also catches our attention. Soubin Shahir and Aparna Balamurali got very small cameos in the film – it is the kind of job that could have been done by anybody. There are some faces which we are not familiar with, but you see that nobody has to be behind in this realistic tale which has good work from the whole cast. Aashiq Abu has no worries with the acting department.

How it finishes :: It has been a difficult job for those who have been looking for sensible love stories on the big screen. What most of the critics seem to have appreciated seems to be the slow motion walk into absurdity called Annayum Rasoolum and an exaggeration of reality called Ennu Ninte Moideen. Thankfully, we have Mayaanadhi here, which is the one river which shows the right kind of divergence, as it chooses to flow like a river of beautiful illusions, as its name suggests, and in the sadness and phantasm, finds a real world which we can relate. There might be many other movies which would get the attention of the youth, as well as that of the family audience – but this is one movie which shows how the movies are to be made in the right manner, without showing the tendency to follow that path which has been traveled so much that there are rather too many pot-holes on the way. Mayaanadhi is different, and enjoyable in the right way for a movie-loving group of people, looking out for better stuff all the time, as well as the variety. If you liked Thondimuthalum Drisksakshiyum, I don’t see why you can’t like this one with its realism.

Release date: 22nd December 2017
Running time: 136 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Leona Lishoy, Basil Joseph, Lijo Jose Pellissery, Darshana, Unnimaya Prasad, Maya Rajesh, Harish Uthaman, Khalid Rahman, Nizhalgal Ravi, Shine Tom Chacko, Aparna Balamurali (cameo), Soubin Shahir (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Parava

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum

What is the movie about? :: Prasad (Suraj Venjaramoodu) and Sreeja (Nimisha Sajayan) are in love after a certain misunderstanding between them. Living near Vaikom at a village where the caste feeling is high, both are at trouble due to Sreeja’s father and relatives being fully against the marriage and threatens them. The result is that both of them runs away from the place after their wedding, and goes to a remote place in Kasargod where they have bought some land and a place to stay, hoping to get into agriculture. But it turns out that there is no water available there, and things once again takes a twist. They decide to get a loan against her gold ornaments, but her necklace ends up being stolen when in the bus, messing up with their plans. This theft was committed by a man known by the same name, Prasad (Fahadh Faasil) whom Sreeja had seen devouring it to escape being caught with it.

So, what happens next? :: So, the KSRTC bus driver, conductor and the travelers join to take the man to the nearby police station. It is more of a remote area, which doesn’t have leaves too many options for the police than to wait, as Sreeja is certain that the man had stolen her necklace and the thief tells the police that he has stolen nothing, and is working at a road-side eatery making porottas. But when the police asks for an id, he has none, and so they decide to keep him at the police station and wait. With no other option left, the couple also has to wait to find a way to find the necklace from him, as nothing could be proven otherwise. The police officer in charge of the case, A.S.I. Chandran (Alencier Ley Lopez) assures them that the thief is a smart one, but he solves such cases all the time, and will get them their necklace. So, who is the smartest of them all – is it the thief, the couple or the police officer?

The defence of Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum :: The question of Dileesh Potham brilliance rises again, and we can see that there is something about it everywhere that fuels this movie. It is a fine narration that takes the story to another level, as we have the perfect example on how to make simplicity so interesting. Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum is once again an everyman movie like Maheshinte Prathikaram, and those elite classes will not get their due here – there is almost no person in this movie who can be put into that “rich” category, which brings us the real movie for the people, which has never been the self-proclaimed “local” movies. The humour is also working, and they are also based on simple things of life – still there are twists. Once again, we see that the visuals are nice, as you know who in charge of them with the camera. The music is good, with “Kannile Poika” nicely visualized. There is the message hope and forgiveness, even though they are not readily visible.

The claws of flaw :: The movie might feel a little bit slow and a little bit dull at moments of the first half, as we expect it to be fun-filled entertainer like Maheshinte Prathikaram which had absolutely no moment which will make us doubtful. The emptiness that you feel in between, and the repetition that might seem to occur are also certain to be seen. You do feel at times, that this has a little too much of a remider of Action Hero Biju – so, if you don’t like that movie, there is a chance that Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum will not be that interesting to you too. The story also doesn’t have that much in it to talk about, as things are rather simple, and the whole thing is focused to particular places. If you are looking for the usual kind of a movie, this will not claim to be one, which might be a good thing for a few, and not an interesting thing for some others. There could have been a bigger punch by the end, which is not there.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil has his second movie running in the theatres at the same time, as Role Models is already there, having released for Eid with Avarude Raavukal and Oru Cinemakkaran – his earlier movies were Take Off and Maheshinte Prathikaaram, and it has been a fine run which continues into this movie too. Fahadh’s work, no matter how good or bad a movie is always something to look forward too – after all, this one is really good. There is a certain balance in his work, and even the simplest emotions from him brings the claps from the audience – the thief’s smiles score big. Suraj Venjaramoodu brings a performance which brings him back to the “fortress of seriousness”, with a full role rather than what he had in Action Hero Biju – he even has the romantic side to explore nicely. The National Award Winner for Best Actor in 2013 is the hero in this one, even though the term has less potential in a realistic story having no heroism.

Further performers of the soul :: Nimisha Sajayan makes a good debut with this movie too, as her work is simple as well as memorable. We see her taking it further with some realistic emotional scenes. It will be nice to see her in a different performance in one of the upcoming movies, and I remember having read that she has signed for another movie already. The next memorable character in the movie is played by Alencier Ley Lopez, who plays the police officer again after Njan Steve Lopez, and combines forces with Fahadh Faasil and Dileesh Pothan once again after Maheshinte Prathikaaram. You remember Vinay Forrt becoming the officer in control of things in Kismath where almost everything happens in the police stations – Alencier gets to do the same, but he has another mode on with Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. There is also the presence of some lesser known faces, who all do a fine job – it seems that the right ones are chosen for sure.

How it finishes :: We have all known what Dileesh Pothan is capable of, with his Maheshinte Prathikaaram, the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and also for Best Screenplay. The same combination of him with Fahadh Faasil returned here, and as expected there is something for us to be impressed, as we were waiting with expectations being a lot high. The movie with a realistic side will always have more for us than what any of those big superstar movies possess. It is the same realization that makes a lot of people to arrive at the theatres on a rainy day, defying all odds to get a ticket for this rather simple a movie – even the advance bookings have been even more. When the first movie was a success, the second movie has become a bigger challenge, as he has to match the glory, and here, with his brilliance continuing, Dileesh Pothan has kept Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum working, even though not as much as Maheshinte Prathikaaram.

Release date: 30th June 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Alencier Ley Lopez, Nimisha Sajayan, Soubin Shahir, Shince Mathew, Jithin KC, Vettukili Prakash, Sreekanth Murali

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

CIA

What is the movie about? :: Aji Mathews (Dulquer Salmaan) spends most of his time working for the leftist party and keeping his communist ideology active to that extent that he keeps seeing his all-time favourite historical figures, Lenin, Karl Marx, Stalin and Che Guevara whenever there is some crisis or when something special needs to be done. He does visit his old college whenever there is time, even though he had passed the degree exams some time ago – he remains a respected figure among the students there. It is there that he meets Sarah Mary Kurian (Karthika Muralidharan), the daughter of a rich businessman settled in the United States, and is living with her maternal uncle Baby’s (Maniyan Pillai Raju) family. She has a completely different ideology, and wishes to return to the United States as soon as her studies are over, but falls in love with Aji who is a popular figure in the local wing of the leftist party and its activities.

So, what happens next? :: But things won’t go that smoothly as planned for the two lovers, as Sarah is called back to the United States as her mother is not well, and it turns out that they are making her marry someone against her will by the end of the month. Now without even having a passport for which there never seemed to be a need, Aji has to get himself to the United States with less than a month left. All travel agencies tell him that it is impossible, and his best friends Hari (Dileesh Pothan) and Jomon (Soubin Shahir) also asks him to drop the idea. It is then that Aji’s cousin brother, Cyril (Jinu Joseph) tells him about an idea which he shouldn’t try – it turns out to be the one that he was going to try, with hopes of being at her lover’s place before her wedding ceremony. His family bids him adieu hoping that he will find a job in the United States and settle there with the help of his cousin brother, but Aji’s plan is rather divergent.

And what is there to follow? :: Aji has the whole plan thought about clearly. The first item on the list is to travel to Nicaragua, after getting the passport on time. With it being the closest nation to the United States which doesn’t require a visa for a holder of Indian passport, that seemed to be the one right option at that time. It is something which he does with ease, and also makes it to the office of the Communist Party there. The next part of the journey remains the more complicated side, with the need to travel to Mexico on road through Honduras and Guatemala, and then crossing over the border to the United States, with his cousin brother waiting for him on the other side. During his journey, he will meet a Sri Lankan Tamil cab driver who has been eternally trying to get to the United States, a Mexican family of four that needs to cross the border for survival, a Pakistani man attempting to get to his wife and daughter who have left him, a Chinese man looking forward to the freedom in the United States and also a Malayali girl, Pallavi (Chandini Sreedharan).

The defence of Comrade in America :: Just like Amal Neerad’s previous effort sometime ago, Iyobinte Pustakam, this one also remains visually excellent, focusing in Kerala through Palai and Ramapuram, going towards the Latin American nations. It is the beauty and the style on the screen that brings the best here, even though we keep asking ourselves at times if this could have been a better experience. The funny side has strength in the first half. There is also a thrilling journey in the second half, even though it isn’t taken control of, completely. Love, politics and journey – these were the factors in focus for Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, and maybe it is from this particular flick that we have Comrade in America, which is certainly a better movie if you look at it without prejudice. There are also emotional moments here and there which work, but the same is not the case for all of them. To add to it, the background music is perfectly suited for this movie, and will have you asking for more situations with it.

The claws of flaw :: The focus on the story seems to be rather so much less, with the movie going on predictable lines in the first half, and there is not much of an effort put in the second half too. Its comrade side is clearly half-baked, and the romance between the lead pair just doesn’t seem to be there – one often feels that there was no love, but the protagonist was just trying to keep his promise. The movie has style and mass more when it is rather not that much required – a protagonist seems to be someone who can even load and use a gun – when it is asked about why he doesn’t need a final anointment, he misses a trick, and doesn’t focus on his need to be with his love; even by the end, there is a struggle with the character which seems to be feeling a need to become “mass” for his fans, and for the same justifies hooliganism. There is no battle between the ideologies of capitalism and communism as the title seemed to suggest.

Performers of the soul :: It is Dulquer Salmaan’s star value and the effort that he seems to have put into this role that will catch your attention right from his stylish introduction to the credit scenes. The first half seems to be not of that much challenge, but the second half is surely something that brings the effort out of him, and he delivers here as expected from him. Still, it has to be noted that this is the nth movie that has him leaving his home, and he does the same thing that he did in Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi in a better way, and unlike Charlie, there is nobody searching for his character instead. The next one to catch our attention is not any of the heroines though, as it is Dileesh Pothan, the director of Maheshinte Prathikaaram in his role of the leader of the local party committee and combines with Soubin Shahir to bring the funniest moments of the movie; you remember the same in Rani Padmini. Then there is Siddique, once again flawless with his comic side.

How it finishes :: The movie, despite having two heroines, doesn’t use them much though, and among the two, it is Chandini Sreedharan who lights up the screen when she is there – as she returns after Darwinte Parinamam. Karthika Muralidharan gets less and does less, as far as this flick is concerned. Well, the focus had to be on Dulquer Salmaan; his fans are certain to find this a very nice treat for these holidays. Red has been a dominant colour and the movies have been going left with the likes of Oru Mexican Aparatha and Sakhavu, starring Tovino Thomas and Nivin Pauly respectively – Comrade in America comes with the addition of some romance and a journey abroad to add to the same, at the cost showing less of the leftist ideas. Instead, the focus is more on the protagonist’s attempt to get to his destination, with the support of some wonderful visuals – with all the crowd support, this movie is certain to give any other superstar’s flick a competition for sure.

Release date: 5th May 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Amal Neerad
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Chandini Sreedharan, Dileesh Pothan, Surabhi Lakshmi, Jinu Joseph, John Vijay, Siddique, Karthika Muralidharan, Priyanka P Nair, Soubin Shahir, Vishnu Gopal Nair, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Sujith Sankar, Maniyan Pillai Raju, Alencier Ley Lopez, Len Prasad, Julio Antonio Alonzo, Murillo Alves, Nathan Amir

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kammattipaadam

kammattipaadam-2

Vampire Owl :: Did you hear that the kids at Kammattipaadam can stop not just the buses, but also the trains?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, I have heard about it. The same is a dialogue spoken by Dulquer Salmaan.

Vampire Owl :: We should hire a few of them then. Our zombie minions don’t even stop the tricycles.

Vampire Bat :: It is certainly not the reason for us to watch this movie.

Vampire Owl :: There is one reason for us not watching this movie. It is that the director’s first movie Annayum Rasoolum had me sleeping for so long.

Vampire Bat :: I remember having many cups of tea in between, and when I returned to the theatre, nothing had happened.

Vampire Owl :: But the zombie minions had liked it; it is as slow as them, and so it is the one movie which they could finally watch.

Vampire Bat :: I did like Njan Steve Lopez better. It was the story of common man, closer to life than ever.

Vampire Owl :: And this is the movie the best appreciated by critics and the audience.

Vampire Bat :: Lets go for it then.

[Gets three cups of tea with tapioca chips].

What is the movie about? :: Krishnan (Dulquer Salmaan), who works as part of a security agency in Mumbai, receives a call from Ganga (Vinayakan) who was his childhood friend and partner in crime. Even though the old friend doesn’t say anything clearly, Krishnan understands that Ganga needs his help because someone is after his blood, and it is only a matter of time until he has to see the corpse of his friend. Krishnan decides that despite the problems that they had in between, he needs to help the one true friend that he had, and travels to Cochin to find Ganga. But things have changed since he was last there in the city, and it is no more that developing town, but a thriving city which is having metro rail under development, and building that go straight up.

So how did it reach here? :: The flashback is long and told in parts while Krishnan goes on with his search for Ganga in a city which has become more than he had imagined it long ago. The memories has Krishnan and Ganga as best friends during childhood. As Ganga is a lower caste boy, Krishnan’s parents are against this friendship which also leads to them being involved in illegal activities during early youth. As Ganga’s elder brother Balan (Manikandan R Achari) is a well known thug and earns money by making and smuggling spirit, they have their own trainer in deeds of crime. They are all working for Surendran a.k.a. Ashaan (Anil Nedumangad). It is with the return of Krishnan from prison, after serving the sentence for the attempted murder of a policeman, that things get tougher.

Where are things heading for? :: Krishnan is in love with Anitha (Shaun Romy), Ganga’s relative whom Ganga himself wishes to marry. This creates certain tension, which gets worse with the death of Balan a few months after his marriage with Rosamma (Amalda Liz). Johnny (Shine Tom Chacko) is also their rival in the illegal activies, and fire keeps burning in them as he is suspect of murdering Balan. During these many years at the city of Cochin because it became what is seen now, there are many stories that go forgotten, and Krishnan looks forward to finding some of them which happened during these days of his absence. He managed to relocate to Mumbai to get away from all his troubles while Ganga had married Anitha. He will find some uncomfortable truths in between, and some news which will give him relief, but the question remains if he can find his best friend Ganga alive in between all this chaos?

The defence of Kammattipaadam :: The best strength of this movie are its characters that stay with us for a long time. It is also not a movie of one person, but of many, as the screen space is nicely shared between the main characters. We have Dulquer Salmaan who come up with a wonderful performance as the protagonist rising from the terrible movie which was Kali while Vinayakan and Manikandan R Achari steals the show with their brilliant work. Shine Tom Chacko comes up with one of his best performances, and Shaun Romy is very good in her role of lesser significance, and same is the case of Amalda Liz – the cast is all perfectly done. The visuals are also very nice, and you will love the way things are presented, as the common man and the subaltern struggle in this battle against a rising higher class that uses these people to their advantage, as it is the story everywhere.

Claws of flaw :: The movie’s disadvantage is its length, which goes as much as very close to three hours. There remains very less people who have the patience to watch a three hour long movie these days. Yes, it does move slowly towards its destination. The ‘A’ certificate is another thing, and it is disappointing because this one doesn’t deserve the same in its current status after the cuts – one would misinterpret the same, but Kammattipaadam is rather clean in that matter. This one also won’t appeal for everyone, and it also could have done without making its story-teller a hero in the end – if he also had met the end or felt more of the terrible situation which he had a part in creating, things would have finished perfectly, but it is not the case.

How it finishes :: This flick happens to be another one which tells the stories of the subaltern, who are there under a thriving city. The special case of this movie though, is that it remains realistic right from the beginning to the end. It reflects on the life that is difficult and right in between a world full of thorns. It is the same reason why the movie is so touching – the movie tells the tale of a struggle that the subaltern had to suffer; it is a story that the common man can relate with. It is due to corporate, the rich and the influential that the common man suffers, and it is them with the politicians that misguides the poor – Kammattipaadam is a tale that comes up with the same story, but in a realistic way, and here we understands that it is the same story everywhere, and there is no escape from the sad brutality of it. This movie makes sure that we know the truth. Unlike some other movies of these times, Kammattipaadam is not here to pretend or to hide, for it unleashes reality.

Release date: 20th May 2016
Running time: 177 minutes
Directed by: Rajeev Ravi
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Vinayakan, Manikandan R Achari, Vinay Forrt, Shine Tom Chacko, Anil Nedumangad, Amalda Liz, Shaun Romy, P. Balachandran, Suraj Venjarammood, Alencier Ley Lopez, Anjali Aneesh, Muthumani, Sreekanth Chandran, Shane Nigam, Ganapathy, Soubin Shahir

kammattipaadam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Anuraga Karikkin Vellam

anuragakarikkinvellam (1)

What is it about? :: Raghu (Biju Menon) is a police officer who gets angry easily and takes things into his own hands instead of going on to register a case. Despite a lot of advice from his colleague James (Sudheer Karamana) and repeated warnings from his superior officer Irfaan (Irshad), he doesn’t back off and beats up goons. He has to face disciplinary measures, but he just doesn’t care. He keeps a rough and tough image at home too, with his wife Suma (Asha Sarath) and his children. His son, Abhilash (Asif Ali) isn’t too happy about that either, and spends his time with his friends Kichu (Sreenath Bhasi) and Fakruddin (Soubin Shahir) and even though he is an engineering graduate, is not really interested in going for a job related to what he studied. This is more of a Cold War situation, to be honest.

So what happens next? :: Abhilash’s former classmate Elizabeth a.k.a. Eli (Rajisha Vijayan) is madly in love with him, but he is more interested in ending that relationship which he had at college – she doesn’t let go though. As she keeps calling him all the time and even comes to his house, he tells her that he has had enough of her. He decides to get a job at a call centre nearby much to the dismay of his parents who wishes that he made better use of what he had studied. Meanwhile, an old friend and former lover gets into the life of Raghu in the form of Anuradha (Nandhini), and a few phone calls change his life as well as those close to him. There will be a lot of twists in the lives of the main characters, as they will find different meanings of life, and see people more clearly without prejudices.

The defence of Anuraga Karikkin Vellam :: The best thing about Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is that there is almost no dull moment in this movie which doesn’t go on to tell anything out of the ordinary – that is something for which the people behind this movie deserves a lot of applause. The type of simple, happy and funny moments we have here are like those that we had in Maheshinte Prathikaram, even though not that big in fun content. This is another feel-good entertainer of the same kind, dealing with love, family relationships and friendship in such a way that there is not much of sadness, and the assurance is about a smile on your face. There will be characters whom you can relate to, and there will be those whom you are going to meet at some point of your life – they are all simple, and part of this world. There is nothing to pretend here, as people here are just people. And Cochin looks great as usual.

The claws of flaw :: There is nothing special being tried here, and going through things in a steady manner, Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is not for people who are expecting a great story; this is something that moves on to its finish in an entertaining manner instead of making something big with its plot. The one character that wasn’t utilized in the right way was that of Sony, as he plays a genuinely good character in this movie who deserved a better finish. There is a little bit of a struggle in the climax as there is a little too silliness that crawls in there, but things do end in a good way, as you get the message and you have the feel-good factor right where you want it. I was also looking for some better songs in this one considering how things took a turn in the second half.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon and his comic timing keeps this movie at a top level as far as the coming timing is concerned. As the hero’s father, he is more like the one who handles things the best as his character does in the household. Asif Ali is very good in this role of the usual youth that he has to play. As Sreenath Bhasi and Soubin Shahir support him nicely, there is some definite laughter in store there too. Asha Sarath keeps it simple and believable throughout the movie. Meanwhile, the newcomer Rajisha Vijayan surprises us with her work. In the beginning, you feel that she is going to be that usual annoying girlfriend, and then she takes her character to another level – even as the other characters might get all the claps, she will be the one face that is certain to stay in your mind. She doesn’t just begin well as an actress, she scores huge, for her Eli is a delight to watch.

Soul exploration :: There is a lot of optimism in this movie. There are broken relationships, problems in the family, confusion between friends and all, but everything around this one happens for the good, and something positive comes out of all these incidents. Every loss in life is a valuable lesson here, and it depends on how we see them – there might be a better chance waiting for us, or a better person who is going to make our lives more colourful. We are defined by our past, and each incident helps to make us better people – we learn from our mistakes and move on, as we try to make things better again with the experience that we have earned; like in a computer game. There is also no presence of those usual cliches that we expect to see in the end, that is fine relief.

How it finishes :: Anuraga Karikkin Vellam is the kind of movie that one needs to watch with family – even with the possible deviation there, it never really goes the other way which was to be not family-friendly; it keeps itself in control at all times, and at the same time, uses all those possible elements which would make this one a full fun ride. It is the kind of movie that a debutante director can be proud of, and Khalid Rahman has a great beginning here. It is as sweet as the name suggests, and successfully maintains that mood, to get to that end with no problem. Even the little kitten scores with its cute expressions – there is no missing there, as we look less for the perfection in its story, and instead leave satisfied with the cuteness. The movie still bringing a big crowd into the theatres almost a month after its release is not fluke, but the result of the realistic and sweet depiction of life which is reflected here.

Release date: 7th July 2016
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Khalid Rahman
Starring: Biju Menon, Asif Ali, Asha Sarath, Rajisha Vijayan, Sreenath Bhasi, Soubin Shahir, Naaji, Aas Mohammad Abbasi, Chinnu Nair, Nandhini, Sudheer Karamana, Irshad, Maniyanpilla Raju

anuragakarikkinvellam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Darwinte Parinamam

darwinteparinamam.

Vampire Owl :: Strange name for a movie, this one.

Vampire Bat :: Well, I have heard stranger names of flicks other than something that translates as The Evolution of Darwin.

Vampire Owl :: It is actually surprising that the humans haven’t stopped evolving yet. I don’t even remember the last time our kind evolved.

Vampire Bat :: We don’t evolve. We are dead; the undead can’t evolve!

Vampire Owl :: Oh! I was misguided by Imhotep once saying that death is only the beginning.

Vampire Bat :: I am cent percent sure that he surely never meant to talk about evolution in that case.

Vampire Owl :: When I look at the werewolves, I see what the evolution is really about.

Vampire Bat :: That is actually a case of transformation.

Vampire Owl :: A shameless one, if you ask me.

Vampire Bat :: Which is why you should skip wandering around the werewolf territory.

[Gets the tickets with cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Darwin a.k.a. Gorilla Darwin (Chemban Vinod Jose) is one of the most feared names in the city. He happens to be the one gangster king who makes things happen in the city, and has police as well as the the goons under his control. Except when concerning a young lady whom he is attracted to, Ancy (Hannah Reji Koshy), he knows how to be strong and merciless. One day, Anil Anto (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and his wife Amala Anil (Chandini Sreedharan) moves from Kottarakkara to the city after having some family problems. Both of them find jobs in the city and are expecting a child. But a series of incidents gets ready to happen, as the paths of Darwin and Anil will meet at a certain point, and it will change their lives soon. The process of evolution will follow for both these men as the struggle for being the better person shall begin. What does future bring for the two?

The defence of Darwinte Parinamam :: There is the fine feel-good effect and some interesting messages in this movie. They are the ones which you can take home without thinking a lot – as the same happens to be right there to be seen. The first half of the movie could make the audience interested in providing a good feeling and make them prepared for a fine flow. There are also some nice comedy sequences which are handled by different actors together – you have to look out for the story-telling and the kidnapping scenes more than the rest. The emotional moments also work, even though they are not used completely for the movie’s advantage. You will be able to connect a certain amount of unpredictability to the proceedings too. The songs are interesting even though not that memorable, and there are some nice emotional moments to go strong with the same. There is also a little big of magic realism in the movie.

Claws of flaw :: There seems to be a certain amount of confusion in experimentation with the path that Darwinte Parinamam follows. There is the hero who tries to get back to the villain, even though the assertion is made that the hero is the villain and vice versa – but that is really a pointless thing. With some slow-motion action sequences added in the second half, one is reminded of Prithviraj’s Puthiya Mukham too. There seems to be the easy way taken for the finish, and throughout the second half, there is rather too much of staying away from the strengths of the movie, as it often depends on sequences without logic. The movie should have stayed close to the path followed in the first half, and the evolution should have been the focus on a personal level rather than anything else. It should have been something which happened over a long time, and not just arriving in the end!

Performers of the soul :: Prithviraj Sukumaran and Chemban Vinod Jose, the hero and the villain go on to bring some big performances in this movie. The former’s nice run continues after Ennu Ninte Moideen, Amar Akbar Anthony, Anarkali and Paavada – even though this one won’t be for every kind of audience with its limitations in catering to the demands of our viewers as a whole. He will be there for James and Alice with Vedhika and also for Jeethu Joseph’s Uzham; so we can safely guess that the successful journey will continue. The latter has an awesome introduction, and here we once again realize how big an asset to the Malayalam movie industry this man has become – whether it was in smaller roles like in Charlie and North 24 Kaatham or lasting the full movie like in Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi, Kohinoor, Iyobinte Pusthakam and Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, he has made that impact; in this case, he is just as big as the hero.

Further performers of the soul :: Chandini Sreedharan also brings something memorable in her second Malayalam movie, as she excels in those emotional moments, and does a fine job in the happy ones too; that smile is rather contagious too. I have felt that she is really suitable for this particular character here. Hannah Reji Koshy plays the gangster’s love interest, and she does a very neat job here – it is her first movie, and she manages really well in this smaller role. I would love to see a lot more of these two actresses in the Malayalam movie industry. You will also find Soubin Shahir bringing the fun as if there is no end to the entertainment which he provides – we just had him at his best in Maheshinte Prathikaram just some weeks ago; Balu Varghese could have had a longer stay in the movie though. Shammi Thilakan’s kidnap sequence will also bring a lot of laughter for sure. A few others like Mamukkoya and Jaffer Idukki have too small roles in this one.

How it finishes :: The movie doesn’t really go on the lines of what was expected with the trailer. As a lot of people had guessed, this is not really a full-entertainer, and depends too much on experimentation using the cliche elements. A lot of expectation will do this movie not much good, but it can still win this weekend considering the fact that it has the feel-good factor and the messages along with the star power of Prithviraj. It is up-to your likes and dislikes to come to a decision about how much you like this movie, but Darwinte Parinamam is surely that flick which could have been a lot better if it had treated its material in a more realistic manner throughout its run rather than becoming a seemingly confused movie on more than one occasions. It could have been a big comedy thriller too, but you won’t see that working here as the movie tries many things!

Release date: 18th March 2016
Running time: 149 minutes
Directed by: Jijo Antony
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Chandini Sreedharan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Balu Varghese, Soubin Shahir, Nandhu, Shammi Thilakan, Mamukkoya, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Jaffer Idukki, Sajid Yahya, Hannah Reji Koshy

darwinteparinamam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Maheshinte Prathikaram

maheshinteprathikaram ()

What is the movie about? :: Mahesh Bhavana (Fahadh Faasil) owns a small studio named Bhavana, living his life in and around Kattappana in Idukki. He is a simple man who finds happiness in the usual happenings of daily life, and is a popular person in the neighbourhood. His best friends include the older man who runs a shop near his studio, Baby (Alancier Lay) and his employee who is a cheerful young man named Crispin (Soubin Shahir). He has been in love with his childhood friend Soumya Kunjumon (Anusree Nair) for a long time, but it turns out that she decides to marry someone who works abroad instead. At the same time, he also gets into a fight with a group of strangers, and he makes a promise not to wear footwears until he has revenge on Jimson Augustine (Sujith Shankar) who beat him up.

So, how and where will the things be going from there? :: Mahesh is determined to have his revenge as he trains in Kung-fu hoping that he can win a fight against his newly found opponent. As Jimson has moved to the Middle East for a job, he keeps waiting for his moment of return. Meanwhile, Mahesh meets Jimsy Augustine (Aparna Balamurali) who needs him to take a photo for the cover page of a magazine. As they fall for each other, he comes to know that she is the sister of the man whom he wants to beat up. But he decides to go on with the relationship, even though he is determined that he will beat up the man when he returns to India. So, will Mahesh have his revenge? Will he manage to do that and finally wear the chappals? Is the decision not to have revenge as Jimsy wouldn’t want? Or will he just fail in the quest?

The defence of Maheshinte Prathikaram :: This one is more than just a movie; as it is more of life – there is nothing exaggerated in this movie as it uses the simple events of life, which could happen anywhere, and brings everything out of them. The movie’s biggest asset is its ability to make one laugh, and that too without using those silly jokes – even above that, it can bring a certain smile on the face of the viewers. There is a lot of skill in how the comedy is handled in this movie; there is nothing dumb, and there is no words used with hidden meanings. The revenge here is not something of hate, but simple, and out of a simple promise which has been made – nobody gets to suffer for the same; and the movie is that light-hearted. The songs are good and the visuals of the high-ranges are very well captured. Life is rarely reflected on screen this simple and lovable; especially look out for the anthem and the theatre scenes – that’s just two of the long list.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing huge in the story of this movie; it is just the simple life of the common man in the high-ranges. Well, as Life of Josutty had said in the posters, this one is also just life without twists and suspense. There will be no big melodrama or romance as those exaggerated movies – dealing with a simple man’s life, this movie won’t satisfy the blind fans looking for all which is not there in life. As the movie brings real and natural humour instead of the silliness which is needed for the fans, there will be the group which won’t like it. But the final fight scene could have been shortened, and Aparna Balamurali could have had her entrance much earlier, especially considering the fact that they don’t see each other during their first meeting. But that is no flaw for you to decide not to watch a feel-good movie which is a lot sensible than the rest.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil returns to be the crowd-favourite after Monsoon Mangoes which never really got close to connecting with the audience. As always, he is too good – he has taken control of this character and has done a really fantastic job. You have to love how well he manages each of his characters, and this one is simply awesome. Here is the man whose movies have viewers and admirers of movies rather than fans – it means that we can watch his movies without being troubled by the blind fans who are howlers, abusers and haters; how many celebrities can manage to offer a movie without trouble from terrible people? I had even read that he said that fans associations are not needed, and people need to watch his movies only if they are good. It is the kind of policy which every sensible actor needs to follow.

Further performers of the soul :: Anusree manages her role here with ease, as she plays Fahadh’s love interest in the first half. The second half has Aparna Balamurali whom we remember from Oru Second Class Yathra in which she played the character Amritha Unnikrishnan; it is related to the song “Ambazham Thanalitta” with Vineeth Sreenivasan rather than the movie. Here, she is the one to look out for, after our protagonist. She has a simple and charming way of playing her character here, and it is a lovable performance in store here. I am sure that she will go a long way after this performance. 2015 had some interesting new female faces in Malayalam movies, and 2016 has one more promising star, even though not that much of a new face – she has her first big role and she has done a really good job; this work feels so real and energetic.

And the rest of the movie :: The combination of Alancier Lay and Soubin Shahir is really good in this movie, and they handle the funny side here amazingly well. In a movie which has a lot of new faces, another newcomer Lijomol also has some nice funny moments here. The debut from the director Dileesh Pothan is a wonderful one, and he has also played one role. The supporting cast is really strong here, even with so many new faces. This different kind of revenge story is the kind of movie which you should really watch. It is something like a simple and humorous page taken right out of the book of life. Maheshinte Prathikaram is the kind of movie which could have been made more, but only people who have the ability to notice the simple things in life with skill, can come up with such a creation, and for the same, this movie needs the appreciation as it becomes the best of the year so far! These are good times for movie-watchers, with options of Action Hero Biju and Puthiya Niyamam also there!

Release date: 5th February 2016
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Aparna Balamurali, Anusree Nair, Soubin Shahir, Alancier Lay, Lijomol, KL Antony, Jaffer Idukki, Dileesh Pothan, Sujith Shankar, Saiju Agustine

maheshinteprathikaram

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Charlie

charlie()

What is the movie about? :: The titular person, Charlie (Dulquer Salmaan) is a character who is compared to many things, a djinn and the wind being just a few of them. Some people call him a mad man and someone who is completely out of his mind. He comes to the lives of people and disappears only to make a grand appearance on another day when he is least expected. He is a man known for being himself, and he is someone whom not many people forget once they meet him. He is the force of nature that unleashes himself, and there are not many things normal about him. But he is a skilled artist, and spends a lot of time helping others; but that doesn’t stop him from being a free bird. He likes no chains being attached to him, and he makes his decisions in his own way.

So what is the story about? :: The story goes through the life of Tessa (Parvathy) who is the one who do the revealing job, and it is through her that we come across Charlie. She is someone with a habit of running away from home, and when it seems that her marriage is to be fixed, she goes on a rather longer run. She stays in a room at Fort Cochin, and finds the place strange as it has things which were left behind by the earlier occupant. She notices the artistic work there and also a graphic novel which has been left incomplete. She becomes more and more interested in finding what happens next in that work, and at the same time, she is infatuated with the person who lived there before her; the man often referred to as djinn, Charlie – the person who put himself on the obituary column of the newspaper just because he could and he wanted to.

The defence of Charlie :: There is a grand amount of high quality feel-good provided in this movie, and you will sense it as the movie gets near the first half break. The way in which this story unfolds is the biggest plus point here, as the narrative style successfully brings the curiosity of the audience to the next stage. There are not many things predictable about this movie and its characters, except for the final moments; those actually contribute to making this one delightful. The beautiful visuals just support the same really well – they are not limited as they extend from the seas to the hills. The lovable characters also work their skills to make us feel the attachment to this flick. Jo and the Boy had the tagline “See Happiness”, and Charlie seems to absorb it into itself! The background music really brings the true feeling of the movie to us, and we know that this is there to stay both intellectually and spiritually – look out for the song “Oru Karimukilinu” for the true divergent magical reflection of movie’s dreamy side. Did you want change? Well, you got it right here!

Claws of flaw :: The one thing which could have been better is the story, and its reflection of life; Charlie is more like the fairy-tale, but it is not that throughout its run. Charlie has quite an unrealistic side to it, but it is completely not that. It is a mixture which won’t work for everyone in the same way. The beginning of the movie is also not that interesting; but it picks up and is at its best in the second half. People can also find the same problems related to liquor once again being branded cool and part of a “supposed to be awesome” life which also has nothing for the family. The humour could have also been better used considering the overall mood of this movie. What surprised me a lot is how the flaws were disappearing in the second half of this movie; it was as if there was something other-worldly working around, with the problems of this movie fading and the viewers feeling really good. But I did want a more believable titular character – being real is difficult here.

Performers of the soul :: Charlie has the best performance from Dulquer Salmaan and his best movie since Ustad Hotel and Second Show as far as Malayalam movies are concerned. He is the central character and you are sure to like this performance, but the focus is still on Parvathy’s Tessa as it is into her journey that we are introduced, and it is with her that we go on that adventure. When you look at her, you will surely feel that she has come a long way from Ennu Ninte Moideen, but then you remember that it also released just a few months ago. You will love her more in this movie than any other, because her character remains the seeker who won’t yield, and yet she remains the simple person throughout this flick. I believe that we are not finished with seeing her many visages of the lady who surely will only go higher during the years to come.

Further performers of the soul :: While the leading pair does steal many hearts around there, Aparna Gopinath is also here as the second leading lady, and it is a deep and serene performance here. I didn’t like her in American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), but I am really pleased to see her in this avatar, and she was also special. She makes the appearance on screen much later, but her sequences are also those which stay with us. The funnier moments belong to Soubin Shahir here. The other interesting characters are played by Nedumudi Venu, Chemban Vinod Jose and Neeraj Madhav, while Tovino Thomas, Kalpana, K.P.A.C. Lalitha and Ramesh Pisharody plays even smaller, but memorable characters. They are there to be admired, especially Tovino and Kalpana. There is a fine list of actors here, and most of the characters played by them will stay in our hearts.

How it finishes :: Charlie was one of those most hyped movies of this year along with Ennu Ninte Moideen which should top that list. The social media was full of random information and talks about how great these two movies will be, just before the release. Coming from Martin Prakkat, the director of the hit movies like Best Actor and American Born Confused Desi (ABCD), Charlie was supposed to make the big impact; if you ask me, I can clearly define this one was the best movie from the director so far. The previous two movies were just random comedy while Charlie gets to the next level and touches the soul; it surely has a certain amount of magic. I am really happy that he dared to go through a different route. Charlie becomes another lovely experiment which will be remembered for quite a long time, and should win this Christmas season after a tough battle with the rest of the flicks – the strength here is not in the existence, but in the essence; that explains the special experience. Check out this song from the movie which I had earlier mentioned!

Release date: 24th December 2015
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Martin Prakkat
Starring: Dulquer Salmaan, Parvathy Kottuvata, Chemban Vinod Jose, Ramesh Pisharody, Aparna Gopinath, Nedumudi Venu, Soubin Shahir, Neeraj Madhav, Tovino Thomas, P. Balachandran, Kalpana, K.P.A.C. Lalitha, Seetha, Jayaraj Warrier, Surjith, Renji Panicker, Joy Mathew, Nassar

charlie

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rani Padmini

ranipadmini (1)

What is it about? :: Rani Padmini tells the story of the journey of two women. Padmini (Manju Warrier) is the wife of Giri (Jinu Joseph) who had settled in North India many years ago. Even though her mother-in-law (Sajitha Madathil) is adamant that she shouldn’t work, her husband tells her to follow her heart, just like he races in mountain rallies against the wishes of his mother. She starts working as a physiotherapist much to the dismay of her mother-in-law who brings up a divorce notice to teach her a lesson when Giri goes for racing. Padmini decides to run away from home and find her husband. Meanwhile, Rani (Rima Kalingal) is facing a financial problem and a gang of criminals is also after her after she revealed their hiding location to the police. She runs away from home with enough problems on her trail.

How it goes on :: Soon, Rani and Padmini will get their roads to converge, as they meet up in a bus, and decide to continue their journey together. Even though they have their differences, they manage to get along well. As her mother-in-law arranges for the police to bring her back, Giri gets into tough competition with a veteran racer who is determined to win it this time. The two ladies get through the problems on the road by using the best of their abilities and also by luck; sometimes being helped by people on the road including journalists, trekkers and even local men and women. With this one interesting journey, there will be the realization of some truths, not only for the two protagonists, but also for the people who are connected to them in one way or the other. A lot of things are sure to change in their lives.

The defence of Rani Padmini :: There is a wonderful working combination in Rani Padmini. It is not just related to the two leading ladies who take this experience to another level, but also about how this movie combines its feel-good factor, messages, funny side and beautiful sceneries together to bring some awesomeness on the screen. The advantage here is that it is applicable to not just a category of people, but for everyone. The humour in this movie is really good, and it makes the presence felt regularly. Unlike what the trailer seemed to suggest, the movie is light-hearted, and there is not much of a dark side to it. The visuals are nothing less than amazing, and it provides the viewer with the desire to travel to those locations far away. The background music adds to the positives, and the songs also have something for the heart and the soul. You will also love the way in which the message takes a path which asserts freedom rather than labels.

Claws of flaw :: Rani Padmini doesn’t bring a lot to the story as the focus is on the idea and what is brought to the viewers on the screen. There could have been many other ways through which this movie had the ability to progress better. Some people might feel slight drag, but it is more dependent on how you see and how you think, that much freedom is provided by Rani Padmini to the viewers. It is also not the usual entertainer, even though it entertains with its moments. The idea could have also been better brought to the audience. It seems that due to the negative opinions from critics and the audience alike for his previous movie that Aashiq Abu decided not to publicize this one like Gangster which almost everyone considers as his worst movie ever. The initial rush might be less for this movie due to the same reason, but it will pick up and is here to stay in the theatres.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is completely dependent on the lady characters who lead the way. The two leading ladies have done an amazing job here, absorbing the soul of the characters into themselves. They are very good together, and makes a perfect team. We have seen Rima Kallingal only once since 2013, with the spoof movie, Chirakodinja Kinavukal this year. This flick is a perfect example of why she needs to be there on screen more. She provides a highly memorable performance as the rebellious young lady who wishes to prove herself to her mother. She excels in the comic side like never before, and got some of the funniest moments in the movie. People can talk about having other actresses in the same role, but not like this, and not in the way Rima has done; for this is special.

Further performers of the soul :: Manju Warrier’s second run is only two movies old, with How Old Are You in 2014 and Ennum Eppozhum in 2015. But here, she has her best performance in her second innings, and this is also the best movie in her second entry. The family audience will love her a lot in this avatar, and others will also love this performance as she has a balanced character providing different levels of experience. She handles both the emotional and comic scenes with fine skill. You should look out for the story which she tells her friend and her interest in a flower and a soap. While Rima excels in showing her anger and frustration in a funny way, she scores with the humour in nostalgia, concerns and affection. Jinu Joseph does a good job even with smaller screen presence, and Sajitha Madathil remains solid as usual.

How it finishes :: Here is a movie which keeps saying that Aashiq Abu is back. He has taken the risk once again, and remembering how the audience reacted to Gangster, this one surely needed the confidence – he scores due to the same, big time. Rani Padmini‘s advantage over other movies is that it doesn’t preach, and what the two leading women characters in the movie manage is to finally become the individuals whom they are and those personalities whom they wish to be. It is a case of embracing the truth and one’s abilities, as they make the others around understand the same. You can ask if Rani Padmini is How Old Are You or Queen, and I will reply that it is better than them both. I actually consider this one Aashiq Abu’s best work ever, the first one which goes directly into the soul rather than towards the brain or the heart.

Release date: 23rd October 2015
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Aashiq Abu
Starring: Manju Warrier, Rima Kallingal, Jinu Joseph, Praveen Jain, Sajitha Madathil, Sreenath Bhasi, Sana Althaf, Srinda Ashab, Soubin Shahir, Kunchan, Ambika Mohan, Dileesh Pothan, Binu Pappu, Rajitha Madhu, Hareesh Khanna

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