Pretham 2

What is the movie about? :: Famous mentalist John Don Bosco (Jayasurya) is spending his time in peace at Varikkasseri Mana a.k.a. Varikkumanchery Mana, one of the traditional Brahmin houses located at Manissery, a village in Ottapalam, Palakkad. Situated in an area of natural beauty in a plot of about four acres, John feels that there is something strange and mysterious about the place. With a history of popular movies being shot there including Devasuram, Aaraam Thampuran, Raappakal, Drona, Simhasanam, Sufi Paranja Katha, Thooval Kottaram, Valliettan and Manthrikan, a group of youngsters decide to come there to shoot a short-film. They are from a Facebook group known as “Cinema Pranthanmar”, which is known to be a perfect place for movie lovers from all around Kerala. This particular adventure could feed the movie lover in them more than anything else.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The team is lead by Tapas (Amith Chakkalakal) who comes up with this idea of having a short film. He plans to create this film, and run a premiere after inviting all the members of the group which goes into thousands. Joining him are those members whom he had never met, and used the group with their fake names; the first one to join him is the man known in the group by his fake id Mangalassery Neelakandan, Ramanandan (Sidhartha Siva) who is into hotel business in the Middle East and is a big Mohanlal fan. They are joined by Karuthamma, originally Anu (Durga Krishna) who is a nurse and Shahrukh Khan, originally Niranjana (Saniya Iyappan) who is a professional dancer. The last person to join them in Joffin (Dain Davis) who has run away from home due to personal problems with his father.

So, how does the ghost come into picture this time? :: The problem at the resort of Denny Kokken (Aju Varghese), Priyalal (Sharafudheen), Shibu Majeed (Govind Padmasoorya) and Yeshu (Dharmajan Bolgatty) was one which haunted John for a long time, and here, with the youngsters making the short-film, more trouble arrives, and the supernatural only gets stronger. The youngsters are attacked by some strange forces and nobody seems to know what is happening. Their first guess is that it is the spirit of the person who owned and lived in the mansion, but it turns out that there is more than what meets eye at the first place. There is a connection which is making the spirit act there, and John has to begin with it and reach the end soon, before it is too late and someone gets into serious trouble. But it is not that easy, as the clues are less, and the answer to their questions are somewhere else.

The defence of Pretham 2 :: Pretham 2 is indeed a better movie than its predecessor which had too many terrible jokes, even though the final moments were nice for that one too. Pretham 2 has the advantage in almost every field including its setting and cast. The idea is also smarter here with the social media, internet, fake identity and online frauds at the centre. The messages about the possible dangers of being friends with fake ids and trusting strangers without names are all shown in this particular flick. The mystery is nicely solved here, and there is no exaggeration here with the elements of the other world – the first image of the spirit that we see is in the form of a shadow, and the creature from the other world doesn’t overdo things as the happenings would be in a usual horror movie. The thrills are strong, and there are also some nice jokes – we are left guessing with the suspense factor being very high till the end.

The claws of flaw :: Pretham 2 never really rises above most of the problems of its predecessor, as it follows too similar a path, and the spirit also follows the same pattern, as we see no attempt to deviate much. We would wonder if so many spirits are looking forward to have the mystery behind their deaths investigated. There seems to be no other plan for the people on the other side. Some jokes are just repetitive, especially the talks regarding those old Mohanlal movies. The movie could have also used more scares, as the film itself is marketed as a horror flick, and the name itself suggests the same. The movie could have surely used darkness better, and the ghostly presence itself could have done more, at least when the youngsters were alone. Pretham 2 doesn’t try to frighten people much, and that is not acceptable at a time when Hollywood is running movies like The Conjuring, The Nun, Annabelle, Insidious, Sinister and others.

The performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is back with an avatar to remember, unlike Punyalan Agarbattis 2 and Aadu 2 which struggled to live up to its predecessors with all its characters. His mentalist is a rock solid character, and this time, he is better than last time too. Saniya Iyappan, with her flexible dance moves, is a joy to watch here, and has a clear improvement in acting from her previous movie Queen, which was one of the worst collection of elements deserving not to be called a movie at all. She can certainly bring variety to the Malayalam cinema, as her skills are yet to be used in the best possible ways. Durga Krishna after Vimaanam, gets one nice role to perform, and she does that well. Dain Davis and Sidhartha Siva gets to bring the elements of fun well, even though the latter gets too much of Mohanlal dialogues from those old movies, which become too repetitive. Amith Chakalakkal is very good with his character which is rather solid.

How it finishes :: Pretham 2 holds the advantage over Thattumpurath Achuthan, Ente Ummante Peru and Odiyan for this Christmas, and by being a smart horror-mystery-comedy-thriller, it is many things in one movie. With Jayasurya at the centre as one character who has a certain iconic status, and the new faces like Saniya Iyappan who has become another name for dance, Durga Krishna in her second movie, the crowd favourite Dain Davis and others, Pretham 2 makes the Pretham franchise much better than what it was in the first movie. It also leaves a few messages about the problems due to uncontrolled use of social media by teenagers, the dangers that lie behind the fake ids in Facebook, possibilities of different kinds of frauds by online groups looking for easy money etc among others. Pretham 2 makes Christmas a lot of fun, and I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Enjoy the holidays!

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 133 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Saniya Iyappan, Durga Krishna, Dain Davis, Amith Chakalakkal, Sidhartha Siva, Sreejith Ravi, Jayaraj Warrier, Aju Varghese (cameo), Sharafudheen (cameo), Govind Padmasoorya (cameo)

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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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Punyalan Pvt Ltd

What is the movie about? :: Joy Thakkolkkaran (Jayasurya) was going through a good run with his business of Punyalan Agarbathis, until a series of misfortunes strikes his life, beginning with the death of his wife Anu Joy (Nyla Usha) due to complications related to delivery. It is soon followed by the bank sequestrating his business due to his inability to repay the loan taken. This leaves his best friend and right hand Greenu sharma (Aju Varghese) on a journey to the Middle East in search of a job. Abhayakumar (Sreejith Ravi) is still left there as his driver, and Advocate Peerthanesh (Dharmajan Bolgatty) is his lawyer and the new best friend. They plan to create a new venture, and this would be Punyalan Water, a substitute for the usual mineral water in Kerala, made in an innovative style. But his problems are only beginning, against the system, including the road transport corporation and the city corporation itself.

And what is to follow in this particular adventure? :: As the system seems to stop himself from becoming the businessman that he has always wanted to be, a bankrupt state awaits him. But he decides to fight against it. This would bring him face to face against Shakthan Rajashekharan (Vijayaraghavan), the Chief Minister of the state whose fate is to be decided by the upcoming by-elections, as one seat at Thrissur is all that matters in a close call with the total number of MLAs. With Joy’s challenges going viral in Facebook, and his ideas becoming popular with the common man, the Chief Minister is forced to come live on Facebook, and make a declaration, that would lead to the sequence of events, which have the strength to change the path in the elections. But the question remains if Joy’s new adventure in the business field can be successful in one way or the other!

The defence of Punyalan Private Limited :: There is some motivation to be taken from this movie, regarding the need for the public to be aware of certain things in a democracy, including their own power. At these times when there is so much of debate on so many things both in the state and the centre, this movie becomes very much relevant. There is some humour which has been powered by sarcasm, even though some jokes just go around aimlessly reaching nowhere. At the same time, the movie keeps coming up with more and more ideas, and uses its cast to make things better. You see that the idea here is a much needed one for these times, even though not that strong with how it is executed, with the courtroom scenes also not being strong or funny not going on a path like Jolly LLB. If you liked Punyalan Agarbathis, I don’t see why you shouldn’t watch Punyalan Private Limited here. There is the feel-good factor, and some nice visuals of Thrissur too.

The claws of flaw :: One will notice that there is more dialogues and less action in this movie, and you will also notice that most of the things here might not happen at all, under any circumstance – the common man’s chance is rather too far away. There is also the lack of strength with many arguments around here, and a smart twist doesn’t happen with the protagonist – even when there was the chance to bring the big surprises, they are not there to be seen. The much needed depth is missing here with the tale, something which a political satire could claim to have, in order to reach better heights. The idea was rather limitless, but what comes on the screen is not. We also see the lack of any memorable female character in this movie, as only one who comes close to being the female lead is Arya herself during her short presence as a reporter. Nyla Usha’s character is dead, and Rachana Narayanankutty is replaced by Dharmajan as the lawyer.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is once again the one who leads the way, and he has this character played with ease. No matter how the movie fares at the box-office, this character is certain to remain with that strength which it has always had, for that much is clarified with this performance. Sreejith Ravi and Dharmajan are the ones we are supposed to look out for here, as far as the comedy is concerned, and they do deliver, but the same level is not managed until the end. Aju Varghese is sadly limited to a few video calls here, as he arrives and leaves through video chatting. Meanwhile, Vijayaraghavan shines on the other side, as the politician who is interested in nothing other than playing political games to stay glued to his Chief Minister seat – it is something which he has played before with success as we all know, but it suits him very well this time too. As I have already made it clear, there is no female character worth mentioning other than the one Arya plays.

Soul exploration :: There are so many things that the movie criticises, including the terrible condition of the roads, lack of safety for women, irritating situation brought by demonetisation, troubles in beginning a new business venture, pathetic attitude of politicians and the influential towards the common man, compulsory national anthems in cinemas, dumb social media trending, misuse of public funds, inability to eat or drink what one wishes to, hypocritical approach towards public cleanliness, exploitation in the name of taxes and tolls, laziness of the government authorities in doing their jobs and many more. The idea seems to be to criticise almost all parties, the politicians as villains who don’t care about the public at all, and it doesn’t begin or end with one person or one party, in one state, or at the national level. The movie takes on almost everyone, from one end of politics to the other.

How it finishes :: Punyalan Private Limited has been the movie that so many people have been waiting for, after the success of Punyalan Agarbathis, and while the sequel to Aadu Oru Bheekara Jeeviyanu has been a much awaited one for the new generation, this movie is something which everyone, especially the family audience have waited for. It is also surely a waiting long above an over-hyped, over-slow-motion, copied flick’s sequel which has all style and zero substance, recently being talked about rather too much that needed, in those troll pages. This has actually been a little too long a wait, and Punyalan Private Limited has surely delivered something even when the void stared at it, but not that much as one would have wanted to, after this long period of waiting. But, when we look at the two movies separately, this one surely is close enough to the first one, and it gets there without that much of a trouble.

Release date: 17th November 2017
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Aju Varghese, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vijayaraghavan, Guinness Pakru, Sreejith Ravi, Prem Prakash, Ponnamma Babu, Sunil Sukhada, Vinod Kovoor, Guinness Pakru, Vishnu Govind, Jayaraj Warrier, Arya Rohit, Sathi Premji

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Thrissivaperoor Kliptham

What is the movie about? :: David Pauly (Chemban Vinod Jose) and Joy Chembadan (Baburaj) have been enemies since childhood. There was a certain incident over a girl in their school which had turned the two against each other on an eventful rainy day. The two have fought each other for so long that the city of Thrissur knows their rivalry very well, and knows what would happen if the two were to come face to face. With Joy being accused of messing up David’s betrothal ceremony, the latter decides that it is time to settle the scores by dealing the final blow which will be fatal for his opponent from school days. For the same, he calls up his friends, but ends up being in a fight with Joy’s hired goons. It is during that time that Girija Vallabhan (Asif Ali) enters the situation. He is a young man who lives in the outskirts of Thrissur city, and is in a struggle with his uncle Chandu Menon (Sunil Sukhada) who doesn’t allow him to take the profit from their family property, or sell it.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Bhageerathy (Aparna Balamurali), a bold and angry young lady and auto rickshaw driver also become part of their lives, as she is seen almost everywhere in the city. Vallabhan who visits the city, also ends up meeting her, as well as David, as part of some not so pleasant events. He decides to join the gang of David, and after being hit by a flying stick during a fight between David and Joy’s team, gets the chance, and he has never been happier. But it is short-lived, as they are caught by OK Sehladhan (Sreejith Ravi), who is a friend of Joy, and had studied in the same school. After getting out of the police station, the gang decides to have revenge on Joy by messing up his jewellery shop inauguration, for which he has invited a famous movie star from North India, Nilina Mehndi (Shilpi Sharma). With no chance to match up with Joy who deals with gold, David’s team tries to use both brain and brawn to mess up the enemy. But are they good enough for that?

The defence of Thrissivaperoor Kliptham :: There is some nice humour in between here, which brought the theatre alive on a number of occasions. We see a lot of interesting moments in the early rivalry between the characters, and the first few minutes are among the best, and this one surely knows how to begin nicely, and catch the interest of the audience early enough. You will find even a few messages in this one, which come at the end. There is the need to forgive, and the realization that what you are luckier than you think you are, in life, and those who are deprived of what you have, are so many – a few things which we wanted were just trivial; the movie asserts. The first half is superior to the second by a long way, and the expectations are high at the interval. An effort at feel-good elements is also there by the end, when you look closer. The visuals of the city are really good, as the essence is nicely captured here. The songs are just okay, and there is not that much to gain there.

The claws of flaw :: There is the curse of the second half which troubles this movie, and the problems begin right when the latter half starts. It seems to be everywhere, not certain about which direction it is heading to. Even in the climax, except for coming up with that message for not just the audience, but also for the characters in the movie which undergo change, there is not that much to talk about. There is also the presence of some irritating sequences, and also those which could have been just avoided – that way, the movie could have gone with a run-time less than two hours, making this a little, funny movie with a message in the end. One also has to wonder where this movie would have reached if it had maintained that funny side it had displayed in the first few minutes – but Thrissivaperoor Kliptham had chosen to be cursed in the second half, and it had to come down; which sorcerer or witch had cursed a movie which had so much potential? Well, it might be a wizard that we don’t know.

Performers of the soul :: Aparna Balamurali is surely having a nice run, with fine performances in Sarvopari Palakkaran and Sunday Holiday already in the theatres with a fine feel-good run, extending from her work in Oru Muthassi Gada and Maheshinte Prathikaaram. Here, once again, she is good, playing a strong character, and she successfully rises above the flaws in making of the character – she also has rather less presence here with the focus being on the gangs. Asif Ali’s adventure goes back to Adventures of Omanakuttan and that smaller role in Take Off, and Avarude Raavukal. Both Asif and Aparna had their combination working in Sunday Holiday. The point to be noted here is that despite him being claimed as the hero, he is not really one, and as the hero who is not really the hero, he has nicely managed his work in the movie. Shilpi Sharma has less presence here, with a few scenes and one song, and looks very good throughout, in her first Malayalam movie.

Further performers of the soul :: Chemban Vinod Jose continues his journey through Thrissur which was going great in the satirical fun movie Varnyathil Aashanka. One can say that he is the one hero that this movie has, more heroic in character than anyone else. It is him who deserves the best applause in this particular flick, whether it is about the serious scenes or those funny moments – these days, whatever be the character, we love to have his presence. Unlike a few years ago, we see very less of Baburaj in movies these days, and it is very good to see him back, and for some reason, he is also given lesser of the funny side. You will also find Vineeth Mohan of Adi Kapyare Kootamani fame here in a good, smaller role. Rony David and Irshad provides some good company to the protagonist, while Vijayakumar and a few others nicely work on the other team. Rachana Narayanankutty and Zarina Wahab are in one scene each, and if you miss those scenes, you miss them.

How it finishes :: Movies based on Thrissur has been many more this year, with Georgettan’s Pooram and Varnyathil Aashanka there with this particular movie, and even Sarvopari Palakkaran was set mostly in Thrissur despite beginning from the Kottayam side; Jomonte Suvisheshangal was also based there. Among all these movies, this is surely the movie which has captured Thrissur in the best way. After drawing some good audience even further away from the city in which it is based, there is something about this movie that has attracted the audience to watch it. Thrissivaperoor Kliptham is surely a movie which could have improved itself in the second half on its journey towards the climax, but beginning so well, and with help of humour, this one manages to keep itself as a movie which provides some entertainment, and the performances from the cast support the whole thing very well.

Release date: 11th August 2017
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Ratheish Kumar
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shilpi Sharma, Vineeth Mohan, Baburaj, Vijayakumar, Rachana Narayanankutty, Rony David, Zarina Wahab, Sunil Sukhada, Jayaraj Warrier, Sreejith Ravi, Sudheesh, Meghanadhan, Nandhu, Irshad, Neeraja Rajendran, TG Ravi, Sneha Sreekumar, Manju Sunichen

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Basheerinte Premalekhanam

What is the movie about? :: Somewhere around the city of Calicut, at some point during the 1980s, there is a village which uses its only radio, that is owned by Hussain Haji (Joy Mathew) who is also the Panchayath President, for entertainment. Everyone from the village , without any discrimination according to their social status, religion or caste, usually goes to his house to listen to the drama performance which is a usual thing in the radio during the later evening. They all sit on the verandah with the radio in the centre, listening to the performances. One day, Usman (Manikandan Achari), Hamid’s sister’s son who is in Dubai, sends them a black and white television. He is also supposed to marry Suhra (Sana Althaf), Hamid’s only daughter who is studying in the second year of BA English Language and Literature at the nearby college. The arrival for the television changes things at their home as well as the whole village which has its first television.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Now, everyone is at Hussain’s house again, but this time to watch television. But nobody knows how to make it work, and for the same, they call for Basheer (Farhaan Faasil) to connect and begin the show for the whole village. There are still people who oppose the same, as it makes everyone sit in front of it for such a long time – but there is a change in the situation of the village, something which nobody can deny. Hussain is proud of being only house in the village to have a radio and a television. Meanwhile, Basheer falls in love with Suhra, but it is clear that Hussain will only marry her off to Usman when he returns from Dubai. Basheer who is from a simple family, seems to have no scope in getting the girl. With only her grandmother (Sheela) in support of the relationship, Suhra will have trouble in making her relationship with Basheer go on. Who will support them and who will support the most influential man in the village? What effect will Basheer’s love letter to Suhra bring?

The defence of Basheerinte Premalekhanam :: There is something about the romantic movies set in the eighties and before – it has a lot of nostalgia with simple humour related to the life style of the people of the time; kids up to those till the nineties would relate the best to it. There would also be those emotional moments concerning people who are more of common men than anything else. It is on the emotions and the humour that this movie seems to rely on, and it keeps working nicely, here and there. There is the simple romance of those times getting the strength here, unlike movies like Ennu Ninte Moideen which made things complicated, Anarkali which made it the visual stunner and Annayum Rasoolum which made it a terrible drag that never ended. The simple people and everything simple about them, remains the strength of this movie. There are also some nice songs to go with it, and the romantic saga is established between the two youngsters – thus, the love letter is ready with some good visuals of the village, but has nothing new.

The claws of flaw :: The strength of the romance depicted in this movie is something which is disputed, because the scope for more is missed out. The secondary tale of romance is actually more striking, and that is a surprise because it is there only in the end for a few minutes only. For a romantic movie which tries to use the name of Vaikom Mohammed Basheer’s Premalekhanam not just in the title but also inside the movie could have done more during this age. It is the title itself which leads to the higher expectations, which would clearly work against this movie in more than one way – not enough for the older generation inside the movie, and not much for the younger audience even in the title itself, except for the Malayalam literature lovers who are a group which are decreasing in number. The theatre didn’t seem to have called that many people either. A better tale of romance, with more depth in the story would have helped this one for sure. Some characters are also less developed.

Performers of the soul :: Farhan Faasil and Sana Althaf are two people who haven’t really got enough with the Malayalam movie industry – they never really had enough of those movies to show their calibre. Rajeev Ravi’s Njan Steve Lopez, the debut movie and the only other movie of him had the former as a famous name, and this happens to be only his second film – here he is in a look that resembles Kunchako Boban; got confused myself when I saw him in the first song which was released long ago, he does okay here, and the role is still not that interesting as his earlier movie. Sana Althaf’s Mariyam Mukku was quite the disaster that nobody would want with the first leading role, and she was seen only in a small role in Rani Padmini after that. She is the cute presence here, and manages to do her role with the necessary elements for the character, not more or not less. She is someone capable of repeating the cute Nazriya act of Om Shanthi Oshana and Bangalore Days in her absence. They look good together, no doubt about that.

Further performers of the soul :: The one person who leaves the biggest effect on us, is Manikandan Achari, known for the power-packed performance in Kammattipaadam and the strong comic side displayed in Alamaara. Here, he once again shows how good he is, with the emotional sequences as well as the funny side – when the protagonists’ love story gets less from the emotional side, his tale of love gets all, and elevates this movie. Sheela also comes up with a performance which will remind us of her Kochu Tresia in Manasinakkare, but it is not that much when you look at both movies. Madhu’s presence good, but could have been in some other way as real part of the tale – same is the case of Indrans. Joy Mathew scores big time in the movie too as the father. Hareesh Perumanna and Noby Marcose gets some nice humoruous lines, along with the others including Shivaji Guruvayoor and Sreejith Ravi who make it a combined effort. The other two actresses, Renjini Jose and Asha Aravind also make their presence felt. Aju Varghese also makes a cameo which feels rather unnecessary.

How it finishes :: Basheerinte Premalekhanam is a movie which had a lot more possible with its content, but is a fair thing as it is. It is to be noted that the three other Malayalam movies, Tiyaan, Sunday Holiday and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum haven’t really stopped the hunt, and are still in the game. There are also the other new releases, including Minnaminungu – The Firefly which won Surabhi Lakshmi the National Award for Best Actress, Team 5 starring Sreesanth who gets into another area other than cricket and music, Pulimurugan getting its much awaited 3D release, Theeram which already has its name among the superhit songs and a lesser known horror movie known as Mythily Veendum Varunnu. The point to be noted is that none of these movies got any superstar from the Malayalam movie industry – maybe with the recent incidents related to actors’ real life, they are all waiting. Until then, this one brings the feel-good factor.

Release date: 21st July 2017
Running time: 130 minutes
Directed by: Aneesh Anwar
Starring: Farhaan Faasil, Sana Althaf, Renjini Jose, Sheela, Madhu, Manikandan Achari, Noby Marcose, Joy Mathew, Sooraj Harris, Shanavas, Sunil Sugatha, Sasi Kalinga, Hareesh Perumanna, Sreejith Ravi, Sivaji Guruvayoor, Indrans, Asha Aravind, Ponnamma Babu, Aju Varghese (cameo)

PS: You might also want to check out a cute Chinese romantic short-film, The Story of 90 Coins.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godha

What is the movie about? :: Anjaneyan Das (Tovino Thomas) is an engineering graduate who spends most of his time playing cricket at the local ground as part of a cricket team lead by the local party leader Vijayan (Sreejith Ravi). Supported by the local youth including his own cousin brother Balan (Aju Varghese), they try to play the game on the ground with a lot of cricket craze even though they keep losing the matches. But the same is not possible during presence of the man they call Captain (Renji Panicker), a former wrestler who lives in the memories of those wrestling matches, and doesn’t let anyone play any other game on the ground. He is also the father of Anjaneyan who had dreams of making his son a wrestler too, but that didn’t go on well too. There is a certain fight going on between a new generation of cricket fans and the old generation of wrestling fans who wish to see their favourite sport brought back from the ashes.

So, what happens next? :: Captain who had enough of all this nonsense from his son that he forces Anjaneyan to go and pursue engineering post graduation at Punjab University, something which his reluctant son finally decide to agree to, and travel to the north. He does find things rather strange there, and just survives without getting beaten up due to his desire to have porotta and beef roast. But what catches his attention more than the rest of the things there is Aditi Singh (Wamiqa Gabbi), a girl who beats up almost everyone there. They become good friends until there is an incident involving Aditi and her brother who is a police officer there, and Anjaneyan comes back home much to the dismay of his parents. He gets back to his usual life until he gets a call from Aditi who had reached the railway station near his place.

And what follows the events? :: Aditi is also full of an intense desire to wrestle, for which her family doesn’t allow. Her brother had decided to marry her off to someone so that this craze for wrestling could be taken out of her, which is the reason why she has left Punjab and reached Kerala. Initially, Captain doesn’t want her presence in the place, but things change as he understands her passion for wrestling, and decides to help her to achieve her dream. Aditi starts training under Captain, and despite the initial problems, manages to get to a major tournament and win it, expanding the horizons of the dreams. But it is not just the Captain who is inspired by her dreams, as Anjaneyan also has his own memories of wrestling brought back to him due to the same. But will she finally be able to get the best out of her dreams for herself as well as the people around her?

The defence of Godha :: One quality that Godha has retained from the same director’s Kunjiramayanam is its quality in simplicity; as we look through these two movies, we see simple things made beautiful or memorable. The latter was all about making its comic side more and more effective while the former here works on delivering the inspiration on the big screen. In a world which is being swallowed by those sporting events which has more money and bigger heroes, there are the sports other than cricket which struggles to find a path towards attention, and Godha has certainly caught your eyes and brought it to something which is more than just WWE which at least has fans of entertainment. This movie lasting just two hours is nothing short of a full-length entertainer, as there is something to laugh or something to make you smile throughout its run. The same makes this movie a cent percent steady flick from the first scene itself.

Positives and negatives :: The humour is really good with this one, and those scenes providing goosebumps as well as the emotional side – all remain strong right there. The mixture of things is certain to attract all kinds of audience, as we have something for everyone in this quality mixture. The songs as well as the background music are really good, and the same can be said about the visuals, all keeping the level of this movie high. There might not be anything that huge with the tale here, which once again has its protagonists getting inspired to achieve their dreams, but in the end, it is all about dreams, isn’t it? Maybe people will need more seriousness concerning this kind of a topic, and the predictability is present for this movie too. There were cynics who thought that such a theme couldn’t be developed that well in Malayalam – but this one should make them take back their words. There was also the scope to make this one rather longer, as the audience did seem to want more. In a nation which avoids too many sports in favour of cricket, we just need more of such movies, even if the inspiration might feel repetitive later.

Performers of the soul :: The spirited cast of this movie is lead by Wamiqa Gabbi who, without doubt, brings unparalled charm here. There is something about the way she elevates the movie as the determined heroine – she has certainly made a huge impact with the audience as it was clear in the theatres. The determination in her eyes, and her performance within and outside the sport will be in your minds for long. Those who follow Bollywood will remember her for the work in the movie Sixteen, an underrated movie which deserves to be watched by more. Meanwhile, Tovino Thomas gets even stronger than Oru Mexican Aparatha with a role that brings more than one shade of him, and there is some nice skill in how he plays the second fiddle to Wamiqa when needed, and even to Renji Panicker’s powerful character when there is the need – it is the neat, and the right performance that he brings here, after the smaller role in Ezra and Guppy which deserved more. He also shines in the comic sequences mainly with Aju Varghese, and also with that long line of actors from Hareesh Perumanna and Dharmajan Bolgatty to Bijukuttan and Kottayam Pradeep.

How it finishes :: Godha has been in the news for some time with some wonderful music released, an interesting trailer, and having both Tovino Thomas and Wamiqa Gabbi as guests at Badai Bungalow programme on Asianet in one of its most entertaining episodes of all-time. So, the expectations were there, and the movie delivers. Basil Joseph’s last movie Kunjiramayanam, his debut flick was a huge laugh riot, and this one goes on to become more than one thing. Godha is your inspirational fun-filled entertainer which is also a sports drama. It required some special skill to keep all the elements working for this flick, which is a wonderful mixture – but everything is taken of with precision, and we have the final product as something which seems to have a fine invitation to make us go through and watch again at least once, a quality which was there in very few entertainers of this decade, most notably, Maheshinte Prathikaram.

Release date: 19th May 2017
Running time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Wamiqa Gabbi, Aju Varghese, Renji Panicker, Bijukuttan, Mamukoya, Pradeep Kottayam, Hareesh Peradi, Hareesh Perumanna, Sreejith Ravi, Dharmajan Bolgatty

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

My God

mygod (4)

What is it about? :: Sam Thottumkal (Master Adarsh) is a kid with many problems in his life. When we are introduced to him in detail after a song, we understand that he is taken by the police into the juvenile home for murdering his own father Thomas Thottumkal (Joy Mathew). The parish priest Father Vadakkan (Sreenivasan) desperately tries to get him out of trouble, but his own family members don’t want him as they feel that he stabbed his own father. Meanwhile, Aarathy (Honey Rose), a social worker who spends time with children decides to take the boy’s case seriously. When her husband, a successful businessman from the United States, Aadhi (Suresh Gopi) arrives in Kerala after a long time, it turns out that he knows the boy very well. The husband and wife team decides to influence the boy’s life in a good way.

What is it actually about? :: The flashback is about Sam’s troubled childhood. He is a late arrival as the third child of his parents who wanted to have no more than two children, and he grows up listening to the stories that his own mother (Rekha) wanted to murder him before he was born. His father has absolutely no opinion about him as he scores less in examinations and does well in the other activities like painting, elocution, writing and some more creative work. His mother doesn’t really care about him as he is the unwanted child. His brother and sister are engineers working in reputed IT companies outside Kerala and are earning high salary; the former thinks that he is a good for nothing idiot who deserves no love and the latter is only sympathetic to him because he is of no good. His only hope is an aunty Alphonsa (Lena Abhilash) and Father Vadakkan.

The defence of My God :: Here is another movie to make you think, and you can keep the thoughts and the received messages for long. The emotional side of the movie is strong and it will undoubtedly touch your heart. There are dialogues which you can take home from here, and even if you leave them behind, at some point of life they will surely return to you. The movie is going to be effective for all kinds of audience too, not just the family, and not just the children, youth or parents – it has a much wider scope. It is a story of people and their dreams right from their childhood – no, not ambition, but dreams as something with wings and not that random thing which students answer when teachers ask about it. The movie inspires you to be better, for some people to be better humans with respect for the dreams of others and the rest to be better dreamers.

Claws of flaw :: The beginning of the movie seems to be a struggle, as a start like Philips and the Monkey Pen is not achieved here. In comparison, this one might be mostly behind, but with the emotional strength, My God is powerful. Too many brands shown in the movie rather than incorporating it to it, will make the audience feel strange. There are also some weak moments here and there, and the songs also don’t provide the desired effect; the film does overreach and often forgets its limitations and the area of strength – but what you gain in the end is a lot bigger, and the ending with Suresh Gopi and Sreenivasan is something that elevates this movie to a higher level. In the end, the movie’s strength is not its story and it is not the totality of things, but in the idea and how emotionally powerful the core happens to be, and how it is brought to the viewers. It also depends upon how you are able to take the inspirational movies and the flicks with messages because it is what this movie is about.

Performers of the soul :: Master Adarsh who plays the central character, the kid in trouble, does a good job, and the other children also support very well – it is a very nice thing to witness. The movie’s strength undoubtedly improves with the entry of Suresh Gopi, especially after the interval. The first half has only a smaller screen presence for him, but in the second half, he becomes the big man who brings the change. There are some striking dialogues from him which will stay in our minds for a very long time. There is no doubt that he raises the level of this movie after he arrives and makes sure that the second half outshines the first, and also finishes well. I can recommend nobody better for this type of a role, as Suresh Gopi has our attention and captures our emotions with this performance.

Further performers of the soul :: Sreenivasan in the priest role adds some extra feel-good factor to this movie, as he reflects a guardian angel here. We don’t usually see Sreenivasan in this kind of a role, but this one has suited him very well. He isn’t a person who comes to our mind when we think about the priest roles, but from now on, he might be. Joy Mathew is really good as the father character who doesn’t like his son’s choices; he leaves a very tough impression. Honey Rose does her job well. Lena Abhilash plays the one symbol of hope in this movie really well. The roles of the rest of the actors are limited, and only a few leaves any impact on the audience, as the focus is so much on three, Suresh Gopi, Sreenivasan and Master Adarsh, who manages their side really well.

Soul exploration :: There has been a good number of inspirational movies this year with Mili and Rani Padmini gaining positive reviews with the female-centric stories while the story of a man who rises above his disability, Su Su Sudhi Vathmeekam is still running successfully in the theatres. We have always accepted movies with messages and Philips and the Monkey Pen with a child as the central character had gone on to become a big success in the year 2013. My God follows the path of these movies and tries to bring a message and a lesson along with being inspirational in nature. The best thing about this type of movies is that they will make an impact one way or the other, and will bring some change in the minds of some people now or later when the viewers watch it again. So, are you going to watch this movie on the weekend? Do you accept the dreams of your child, and allow them to follow the same?

Release date: 4th December 2015
Running time: 129 minutes
Directed by: M Mohanan
Starring: Suresh Gopi, Honey Rose, Joy Mathew, Sreenivasan, Master Adarsh, Lena Abhilash, Rekha, Sreejith Ravi, Indrans, Devan, Praveen Prem

mygod

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Urumbukal Urangarilla

urumbukalurangarilla.

Vampire Owl :: I see the title about ants not sleeping. I have to say that just like them, neither do we sleep at night.

Vampire Bat :: But I do sleep most of the night.

Vampire Owl :: What? Why do you sleep that much? We, vampires are not supposed to sleep that much at night.

Vampire Bat :: You should actually think about it. Lady Death and her evil twin sister have stopped walking around at night after someone said that it is against our great tradition. After we made a pact with them related to the blood and souls of the dead people, it is useless for us to walk around at night because anything we do could be a violation of that agreement.

Vampire Owl :: Oh! That is very sad. I don’t really read newspapers and listen to news because they are so depressing. I was hoping to go on a blood dinner with Lady Death some time.

Vampire Bat :: You can go for a dinner with her in the morning. Choose to follow the time zone of some other country which has night at that time, and call it a dinner.

Vampire Owl :: This is so complicated! I hope that there are exemptions at the graveyards!

Vampire Bat :: Zombies there got no brains. We should contact a yakshi so that more information can be obtained.

Vampire Owl :: But what bothers me a lot is if the ants really sleep?

Vampire Bat :: We shall send a message to their world to confirm.

[Gets the tickets for the movie].

What is it about? :: A man called Manoj (Vinay Forrt) meets a retired thief and master of the art, Kelu (Sudheer Karamana) who decides to help him in becoming the awesome thief that he could be. As Kelu has retired from the profession, he asks his former disciple and another experienced player in the field, Benny (Chemban Vinod Jose) to guide the new thief on his way to becoming the pride among the thieves. Benny is a man who keeps certain principles related to stealing. On his way to finding the new tricks, Manoj will know more than what he needs to, but it will prove necessary, as there more than one thing to accomplish for him. They will meet other thieves like Rajappan (Sreejith Ravi) specializing in robberies during the rainy season and Karlose (Kalabhavan Shajon) who will do anything for the riches. Sheela (Ananya) will also have an interesting role to play in these situations.

The defence of Urumbukal Urangarilla :: The interest of the audience in this movie should begin with the name of this movie itself, and there is a certain skill in how ants are made related to the main protagonists; I can’t dare to say that the process is complete, but there is a good finish to the “ant world” in the end. The story nicely begins and ends with most of the things that come in between justified. The climax sequence is the strongest point of the movie, and the flick also successfully leaves the audience with some interesting messages about being good as well as how evil gets punished in the end; the cast nicely supports the same with their dialogues. There are moments which give the audience more hope, for sure. The thrills, even though not there through most of its run-time, makes a fine return by the end.

Claws of flaw :: With such a talented cast around, one has to surprised that a lot of comic moments and opportunities to create such situations go missing. The movie is also too long and comes up with many uninteresting sequences which can’t be enjoyed by people who regularly watches movies. There are so many half-baked moments in this movie, which makes it struggle, and even drag. This movie which lasts just a little less than two hours and twenty minutes should have been limited to about one and half hours after removing some of the unnecessary sequences. The songs are not at all interesting, and just elongates this movie further. It is certain that this movie wanted to be Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, but couldn’t be there because of the clueless feeling here and there. The situations to create fun just disappear too quickly!

Performers of the soul :: Even with not that many opportunities to make the audience laugh as in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, Chemban Vinod Jose manages to do so all by himself; he makes the wonderful thief yet again – still one ends up wishing that the character was used a lot better to evoke laughter as the chance was there. Vinay Forrt comes up in a different role here, and manages things with ease. Aju Varghese has a smaller role even though bigger than what he had in Jamna Pyari, and he does that well. Ananya remains strong even though her presence is limited to the beginning and the end. Innocent has a smaller presence and so does Sreejith Ravi. Kalabhavan Shajon makes a late entry into the movie, but leaves a very nice mark. Sudheer Karamana’s character evokes mixed response. Janaki Krishnan has a small role which she manages with a certain amount of inherent cuteness.

Soul exploration :: Even though the revenge factor does have the biggest role to play in the end, what comes here as the message is that poetic justice will be served in the end. There has to be honour in whatever we do, even if it is not the most appreciated job. The crimes of war seems to say the same thing. The truth is that some people who do lesser jobs and earning less usually has more honour than the rest; at least they are not slaves to the vanity which comes with money and fame. We all listen to those vain men and women as well as their parents who provide us classes on how good they are and how pathetic we are. They should also suffer for their sins, may be a little more because they are surely worse than the people who do something wrong because there is no other choice. We hear about corruption in crores, and the question this movie asks is about who the real thieves are.

How it finishes :: Those who steal our lives are the worst criminals, aren’t they? Those who don’t allow us to do anything with our lives and lock us in a cage of meaninglessness – they are a lot like those involved in corruptions; it is just that they corrupt our lives instead. So, it is not really hard to love the characters in this movie. They required a little more polishing and won’t be like those in Sapthamashree Thaskaraha or Meesa Madhavan, but they can have some appreciation for trying things differently. One thing I am very happy about is that this doesn’t go the way of the Malayalam movie of 2013, called Bicycle Thieves. It was one of the most terrible movies as almost all of my friends have confirmed, and Urumbukal Urangarilla rises to the occasion as it decides to win with the climax and make up for its other troubles. There is Kunjiramayanam still running in full power and the new release Ennu Ninte Moideen to bring the tough competition.

Release date: 19th September 2015
Running time: 139 minutes
Directed by: Jiju Asokan
Starring: Chemban Vinod Jose, Kalabhavan Shajon, Vinay Forrt, Aju Varghese, Innocent, Janaki Krishnan, Ananya, Sudheer Karamana, Sreejith Ravi, Vettukili Prakash, Santhosh Keezhattoor, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Thesni Khan

urumbukalurangarilla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mumbai Taxi

mumbaitaxi (2)

Vampire Owl :: You have brought me to this theatre because you are a bloody regionalist.

Vampire Bat :: What? Not at all. I am a global citizen. My namesakes are there in English novels and Hollywood movies.

Vampire Owl :: I don’t believe that. You have taken me to this theatre at Alwaye because you are an Aluvaite and it says Always Alwaye’s on the poster. I doubt your secret intentions to promote your town.

Vampire Bat :: But I don’t even live at Alwaye anymore.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, but you have lived at Alwaye enough to be psychologically attached to it, and I understood that with your expression while watching Premam.

Vampire Bat :: But that expression was related to the UC College.

Vampire Owl :: I doubt that because UC College is at Alwaye, and you haven’t been to that college for more than a year, but you do visit the town very often.

Vampire Bat :: Well, my favourite restaurants are at Alwaye. There is the Surya, Mahnami, Indian Coffee House, Anna Gowri, Shenoy’s, Anna Lakshmi, Al Falah, Aaryas…

Vampire Owl :: No. I visited Shenoy’s last week and they told me that they haven’t seen you for an year. Why do you come to Alwaye to watch movies when there are theatres closer to your current location? Is it an automatic procedure?

Vampire Bat :: What? Can you just get the ticket please? You can analyze my decision to watch this movie at this theatre later. I am planning a detailed review on Mumbai Taxi!

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: It is just another normal day in the city when a stranger reaches the town with plans to plant bombs at different parts of Mumbai. The Anti Terrorist Squad manages to get information on the same because of an anonymous caller, and even though they are not sure if it is real or hoax, they take no risks and prepare for the day as if the information is quite clear. The anonymous person even sends them a photo of the suspect, and they prepare to catch the person without leaking the information and causing panic among the public. For the same, they make a special plan. Meanwhile, a Malayali taxi driver is going on his daily duty, and hopes to find the perfect trip which can make his day better. But the day is not like any other day with the dark clouds of terror getting even darker, and whatever be the fate of the city, it will be known on that one day.

The defence of Mumbai Taxi :: A very interesting story unfolds well in this movie, and the biggest advantage of the movie is the skill in maintaining the suspense – there are many things here that you know, but there are things that are going to deviate from that knowledge. By the end, there is the enthralling introduction of that unexpected final twist which works very nicely. Well, it is not the only twist there, but when someone can bring the climax to a good effect a time when a number of other bigger movies have been tumbling down from the final stairs, that procurement deserves the most noteworthy applause. There are a number of things in this movie that comes together very nicely by the end, and what you think of as a cliche, might not be that! Well, you can guess about your own twists, but this one might have a different one in most cases. The shots are also very good, and even when there is chance, this movie doesn’t sink into a romantic song – applause for that!

Claws of flaw :: The jokes come as a big disappointment and they could have been avoided to make the movie more interesting, and flow would have also been better. It works as a slough of despond in this journey with all the unnecessary weight. The absence of the same would have made it a very engaging thriller finishing at almost one and half hours. The final slow motion sequences also come against the original flow of the movie which was supposed to be going fine without any of such extra ornaments. I won’t say for the others, but I personally wouldn’t prefer a one-man show for a movie which was more about going through a smart combined operation by a team of policemen, especially when the heroism of the particular person is not established beforehand with a sequence of events or at least stories. An interesting flashback for the villains, organization and their motives would have also been nice – at least for the main antagonist.

Performers of the soul :: Badhshah Mohammed is a new face with fine potential, and the audience will remember the kid in Pappayude Swantham Appoos who has returned right here as the hero. That was a smart move to include the much remembered song “Olathumbathu” in the movie, which he himself sings on more than one occasion – and talking about his return, makes a very nice point. The second attempt at the same didn’t work that well, but the first dialogue about being back was like the punch dialogue, even better than those bigger dialogues at the end of the movie. He has done well here, and he is sure to do better as time passes, with bigger opportunities. I would like to take this occasion to wish him best of luck with his next movies. We will never forget that kid, that movie or that song; I am sure that all Keralites know him from long ago – child actors making a good return is like a double success story, isn’t it?

More performers of the soul :: I also felt that Riyaz Fazzan who played the police officer was solid – you can feel the determination there. The one thing I would like to add more than the others is about how good Mareena Michael Kurisingal performed in this movie. I haven’t known anything about her before I checked the releases for the weekend and saw the main cast. I had my doubts, but she has been a gargantuan surprise here. From the beginning to the end, she has kept things under control; there is the tough look and wicked smile – she makes a fine addition to our list of actresses. There are a few well known actors who have smaller roles mostly related to comedy. I apologize for not knowing more of the performers who have all done very good except for those smaller stumbles here and there. I wish they had listed the names somewhere, but there are only two at BookMyShow and there are the usual names which I know. For the rest, I had to keep searching only to find very little.

How it finishes :: I have often wondered if I should watch the movies from the debutantes because I doubted if I don’t like it, and they won’t be able to take criticism positively. But I am glad that I made the decision to watch this movie because it was one of the best movies ever with lesser known faces. I feel that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks, but it is our duty to watch the movies without the hype and the big superstars and promote them if they are good. Mumbai Taxi is such a movie, and with a group of newer faces, it has done a very good job. We can thank Fazil Basheer for not going after the stereotypes which were surely the safer bets. At a time when the Malayalam movie is moving beyond the star value to bring quality, it is the need of the times to support the good beginnings by youngsters. I have done my job by watching this movie and giving it the positive support which it deserved. So, what will you do? I have watched most of the Malayalam movies which released after Premam, and among them, I rate this the highest. #MumbaiTaxi definitely works!

Release date: 7th August 2015
Running time: 103 minutes
Directed by: Fazil Basheer
Starring: Mareena Michael Kurisingal, Badhshah Mohammed, Riyaz Fazzan, Sreejith Ravi, Shivaji Guruvayoor, Sunil Sukhada, Tini Tom
***I would appreciate an expansion of this list to make this review on Mumbai Taxi better 🙂

mumbaitaxi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla (2)

Vampire Owl :: This sounds like Lal Bhahadur Shatri’s continuation. I am not coming.

Vampire Bat :: There is just Jayasurya playing a very good guy, otherwise this should be different. Anyway, you didn’t watch even that movie yet. There is also a shot of Jayasurya and Bhama having tea together. Remember the word “tea”.

Vampire Owl :: So what? I don’t need to watch feel-good. I can sense them. They are all going to be the same.

Vampire Bat :: Do you know that you are prejudiced?

Vampire Owl :: Yes, and it has saved me from watching bad movies. But I see that it is not working for you, and the same is spreading for you and affecting me.

Vampire Bat :: Then what are you going to do now as you are free?

Vampire Owl :: I am going to visit the Thommankuthu Waterfalls and think about more ideas on owlifying the world. The tea there is good; it helps one to think.

Vampire Bat :: What about your zombie minions?

Vampire Owl :: They have been called for some work at the Dracula Castle. We can’t deny the services when Uncle Dracula asks, can we?

Vampire Bat :: He gets all the movies at the castle. He is one lucky guy, isn’t he?

[Starts the car].

What is it about? :: The story is that of an auto-driver in Thrissur called Mathai (Jayasurya) who is too good a man at heart and wants to solve all the problems in the world in whichever way possible. He spends his time trying his best and often gets into trouble for the same, never really giving him a positive effect, but he keeps trying again and again as if his life depends on him; he hopes that one day, everything will be awesome. His fiancee Anna (Bhama) is an assistant to a leading advocate in Kottayam, and as he comes to bring her back to Thrissur on a harthal day, it seems that he has lots of time in hand and wanders around in the area. At the same time, Nandakumar (Mukesh) is a heart surgeon who lives with his wife and child and is always having problems in his life due to his mother-in-law creating troubles. When Mathai comes to visit the doctor whom he had once helped when in trouble, the wife and child were no longer with him due to an issue concerning a wedding anniversary, and he decides that he should solve this problem for the doctor. But is a simple man like Mathai good enough to solve the rich woman’s ego?

The defence of Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla :: The movie is both a preacher and a family counselor as it keeps trying to bring up all the problems in the family life and solve it from the beginning to the end. This is kind of a pre-marital course, and one has to say that it will be very of nice of the church to cancel the pre-marital course and use this movie instead, or it can directly give approval to anyone who has watched this movie – may be they can show the movie tickets to get approval. Yes, it is that kind of a movie, and not like Lal Bahadur Shastri as one might have expected. There is the good attempt to make things work and make it connected to the family audience. It starts off well, with our protagonist involving in the problems of one of his acquaintances and try to solve things only to make it worse. It is actually more funny in the first half. The cast has managed things well, and there is some humour lurking around all the time. Note that there is no romance in this one despite having the pair of Ivar VivahitharayalJanapriyan and Oru Black and White Kudumbam.

Claws of flaw :: The preachy nature of the movie often works against it, as people can get irritated at times, especially when the emotions fail to work and the humour almost disappears. Then it gets weaker, and makes so much of a lesser impact, and ends the movie in a predictable manner, with not much to cheer about – it is kind of a forced end, as if the classes are dispersed after all those lessons taught, and now it is time to go home and try the same. There is nothing that we haven’t seen before; remember the Mohanlal-Meera Jasmine starrer Innathe Chinthavishayam in which the hero and heroine attempted to save the marriages of three women? Yes, it is the same thing here, as our hero and heroine tries to unite a doctor and his wife. But this is not that good as the Mohanlal starrer, and is also restricted to two houses in action. Yes, there is the Aristotlean Unities at work here, of time, place (somewhat) and action. If you liked Innathe Chinthavishayam, there is a chance that you will like this one, otherwise, it is questionable – with no innovation and no good script.

Performers of the soul :: Jayasurya is the character we are talking about in the title, and he once again shines as the simple character full of goodness – check Lal Bahadur Shastri and Apothecary models, and he once again uses the Thrissur slang like in Punyalan Agarbathis and it works like a dream for him. Mathai is another character in the comfort zone for him, and it is him who handles things here in the movie with the best quality. The feeling of the common man or the guy next door might be something that comes naturally to him. Bhama doesn’t lag behind in that, and even as she comes into the picture in a big way only in the second half, she joins the preaching and does fine. She also seems comfortable in this simple role. Mukesh is fine and has no challenge here at any moment; this is something that a versatile actor like him could do with ease. Lakshmi Gopalaswami is fine with her predictable character. Sreejith Ravi was very good in another avatar here, and he handles a lot of humour in this one and never falters – his character could have had a better handling though.

Soul exploration :: Mathai Kuzhappakkaranalla has its own value in the contemporary society. People can question the product, but not the intentions, and scope for giving a good lesson, and this is where Akku Akbar gets the applause. The Dolphins did do the same, but it came too late to make that movie better. But our movie here shows how the world is changing in favour of ego and selfishness in a relationship, which in turns destroys it as the unconditional love itself is taken out and the whole thing remains as nothing more than a contract for mutual satisfaction. The movie has a husband who is a very busy surgeon having no time for family and a wife who want her husband to prefer her lavish parties over saving a human life. The advice that the wife gets from her mother contributes in the worst possible manner. There is also the idea of having a high status in a society and developing hatred for the common man. In the name of status and money, people tend to become less human, not just towards the outsiders, but also to one’s own people. Well, what is this “maintaining status” than showing off?

How it finishes :: Akku Akbar has to be appreciated for taking this topic which never losses the charm and the value in a society which keeps going further down with its family values in an age of ego leading to divorce. It is something which should be saved from the attack of the new generation movies which often ends up working in the exact opposite manner. But one can only wish that this was told in a better way rather than being too preachy. Our audience don’t accept such things, because it is like being told what to do. There is too much of it. If it was told in another way, things would have worked so much better, there is no doubt about it. Coming from a director who has been doing movies with family themes so well, let’s hope that he will come up with something a lot better next time. Until then, Angels seems to be the winner, even as there will be the question about how much it can score at the box-office seeing the status at the theatres. Penguins of Madagascar will take some family audience away from this one too, that is for sure.

Release date: 28th November 2014
Running time: 110 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Akku Akbar
Starring: Jayasurya, Bhama, Mukesh, Lakshmi Gopalaswamy, Sreejith Ravi, Thesni Khan, Sasi Kallinga, Jayaraj Warrier

mathaikuzhappakkaranalla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Iyobinte Pusthakam

Iyobinte Pustakam ()

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Iyob (Lal) and his three sons, Dimitri (Chemban Vinod Jose), Ivan (Jinu Joseph) and Aloshy (Fahadh Faasil). Iyob was a young local boy who became the right-hand of Harrison (Sal Yusuf), one of the British people who established homes in Munnar, but he managed to rise after his death and had become the most powerful and the influential man in the area. Due to the commanding nature of his father and the atrocities of his brothers which are covered up with money, Aloshy leaves home and joins the Royal Navy from where he is dismissed as a result of a mutiny, which leads him back home. There, his troubles with his brothers begin, and Iyob is infuriated by his lack of obedience and also lack of display of admiration for his father, for which he disinherits him, and his brothers attack him and leaves him for dead. But Iyob doesn’t really know his other sons yet, and an enemy called Angoor Rawther (Jayasurya) shall soon come up.

The defence of Iyobinte Pusthakam :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is brilliant, and amazing beyond words in its visual splendour – it is something that we might have never seen before in Indian cinema, and one can get a peek at the same by just looking at the trailer – the complete stuff is a lot bigger and highly extravagant in its visuals. What you see in the posters are made a lot better in this movie, and not the other way around. The movie’s use of history and the variety in settings are also something to cheer about. We rarely have such good period thrillers in Malayalam, and even in Bollywood. The only things related to history that we have these days are related to killing white people – are we so much out of ideas that we have to talk about one thing again and again? No, not all, says Amal Neerad who has come up with his magnum opus here, which tells the story of the people of the land during the British rule and after, combining history and fiction. You can appreciate this one as long as you have the ability for the same.

Positives and negatives :: The movie might still be slow for a few, but I will say that there is absolutely no drag, and it is achieved by the beauty of the visuals – it is no bloody useless drag like Annayum Rasoolum, I can assure you that; this is more of a Left Right Left of this year. As you enter the world of unparalleled visual beauty, what you want might not be the story. The plot might look ordinary, but it is never about the story. Do watch and get taken into this amazing world, and the first movie from Amal Neerad that I liked – and this is one big like for him! Yes, I have never liked Big B, Sagar Alias Jacky, Anwar and Bachelor’s Party, and you fan-boys and girls can dislike me for the same. Interstellar was just a story that could never happen, but this one is a story of humanity in real, and it is up-to you to choose the one that you wish for this weekend, as both are for entirely different set of minds! Our Malayalam critics will never rate a movie from Kerala high, so just the “very good” rating for this movie would mean “out of this world”.

Performances of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is nothing less than brilliant here, as he has another feather in the cap here. It is amazing how he has managed to thrive under almost every circumstance that has been put before him. How good can he be? We can never know the limits of his abilities as it seems. Lal is also nothing less than the powerful and later the helpless figure that he is supposed to be – there is nobody other who can be this character. Chemban Vinod Jose and Jinu Joseph are also good and the former is extremely efficient at times Isha Sharvani is extremely beautiful and suited for the role with her looks alone, otherwise she has much less to do; but that has still worked well for the character. Jayasurya is one impressive villain too, as he becomes the smiling assassin here. Padmapriya as Rahel also scores, coming out nowhere. Vinayakn is also nice. The characterization is so powerful and they nicely blend into the strength of visual beauty and that nice background score. I shall leave with some more thoughts below.

Soul exploration 1 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as King Lear :: Iyobinte Pusthakam is a lot like King Lear or a loose adaptation from the same – it is as much of Shakespeare as Haider is Hamlet, and it has nicely used the setting to support the same. Iyob is King Lear who divides his kingdom among two sons, disinheriting the third, and in the end, it turns out that he was always the righteous and the loving one who comes out to help the father. Goneril, Regan and Cordelia are all here, and there is the Earl of Kent who is joins with the villains this time as Lazar. Rahel does the job of Edmund here, standing between the two sons and making one kill the other. Meanwhile, going outside the play, Martha becomes the lady love that every movie needs, and Angoor Rawther is just the villain that every story should have. There are also those moments when Iyob seems to be descending into madness, and Oswald is also there, as the man who tries to kill our hero and gets himself killed. Also check for the The Brothers Karamazov kind of characters with the same names.

Soul exploration 2 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Parable of the Prodigal Son :: Iyob himself mentions Aloshy as prodigal son when he returns from the navy, and the church priest mentions that he is to be given a warm welcome if it is so, just like in the Holy Bible. But here, Aloshy is not the prodigal son, but rather the lost son, who returns after gaining wisdom rather than losing money, and this illusion of the gone son being the prodigal son is directly reversed in this movie without any complication. But considering a few other cases, he is indeed unemployed and without money compared to what he has at his own home which was left behind. The money that he extravagantly spent are the years of his life, and the time which he should have spent with his family. The father does accept his son, but once again, the elder brothers don’t. The movie’s use of the dialogues about the parable gives us this idea.

Soul exploration 3 :: Iyobinte Pusthakam as the Biblical story of Job :: The main character of the movie is Iyob or Job even as the hero is Aloshy. Even as our character here doesn’t have the qualities of a righteous man, he is also someone who losses almost everything that he holds dear, and it includes his own children, his property, and up-to an extent, his health. But the answer to his problems is achieved sooner here, in the form of his earlier lost son Aloshy. During his last moments, he holds onto the cross and gives it to his son, something which he already had, but rarely mentions as his baptism was nothing that he or his people wanted. It is his faith in God that is replenished in his final moments, and even as there is no redemption like that of the Biblical Job here, he does manage to die a good person rather than the evil feudal lord that he had been.

*This is the finest movie of the year from India, among all those which I have watched. Don’t miss this one! It is out of the usual league. It also leaves us with thoughts about the oppressed becoming the oppressor when opportunity arises, and also with a message on equality among the masses.

Release date: 7th November 2014
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Amal Neerad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Isha Sharvani, Lal, Jayasurya, Padmapriya, Chemban Vinod Jose, Reenu Mathews, Jinu Joseph, Vinayakan, Lena Abhilash, T. G. Ravi, Sreejith Ravi, Shebin Benson, Saritha Kuku, Nebish Benson, Sal Yusuf, Aashiq Abu (cameo), Amala Paul (cameo)

iyobintepustakam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezhu Sundara Raathrikal

ezhusundararathrikal (2)

The seven beautiful nights :: The name of the movie means “seven beautiful nights” and I would like wish everyone a very happy seven nights from Christmas to New Year, and then for eternity. You all deserve a great Christmas and an awesome New year, not only this year, but also for the years to come. The movie doesn’t do the same though, as it tells the story of a man’s life seven days away from his marriage and its title more inspired from an older song rather than anything else, and it is undoubtedly nothing like the twelve days of Christmas. It is the sixth movie of Dileep this year, and the fourth one in which he is playing the single leading role. This is also the third one directed by Lal Jose this year, and as both are undisputed super-hit providers, there was going to be no doubt about this one having good initial collections and having an extended run, even with Drishyam getting terrific reports and Oru Indian Pranaya Katha working fine enough. There has also been a certain amount of hype surrounding this movie, and it was always expected to do good.

What is it about? :: Aby (Dileep) has been enjoying his bachelor life for a very long time, and had been fighting hard to stay unmarried despite his parents trying their best to make him marry any girl. The situation changes when he decides to marry a model named Ann (Parvathy Nambiar) who was also evading marriage for quite some time. As both of them seemed to be going in a path without marriage, their parents are more than happy that they have chosen each other. But as Aby’s former lover Sini (Rima Kallingal) returns to Cochin and he decides to give her his wedding card along with boasting about his fiancee, the situation changes. As he losses his cigarette packet at her house, he is forced to help her when it is found out. At the same time, they seem to be indirectly related to the attack on a man who threatens them. He has to find the mystery behind that attack which sends the man into a comma, along with making sure that his fiancee as well as her husband Alex (Murali Gopy) doesn’t come to know more about it, and that the police doesn’t find anything about their presence during the attack.

The defence of Ezhu Sundara Rathrikal :: There is lot of fun involved in the first half, and there is good scope for a thriller from the moment a twist is introduced in the movie. Dileep scores with what he does the best and the movie goes on the lines of a thriller with a comic touch and successfully catches the attention of viewers, and stays fine till the interval. Unlike what seemed to be implied by the trailer, there is no adultery involved in it, and there is a clean environment maintained throughout the movie without the vulgar jokes. There is confusion created by certain things, but none of them are intentional, and there is no real villain in the world of this movie – nobody really does anything unforgivable, and by the end of the movie, all of them are able to live happily ever after, understanding all the mistakes counting from zero to infinity. The movie might have been trying to look into the stupidity and meaninglessness of most of the relations of the world, and how the most simple things lead to disasters which is actually the result of some random act of buffoonery. We can hope that this will bring hope that one can keep the vulgar comedy flicks of extreme buffoonery like Sringaravelan away.

Claws of flaw :: The movie keeps losing its power in the second half until it looks like a sad Superman sitting in front of kryptonite and singing the praise of Lex Luthor. It trails Lal Jose’s other 2013 flicks, Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum in humour and Immanuel in goodness, the two factors which should have saved this movie if added in abundance. The movie’s power as a thriller fades as the suspense is revealed, and all the things become just minor factors of no relevance, and the movie itself becomes too insignificant as if it was made to justify Sekhar Menon singing “ezhu sundara raathrikal”. There are also unnecessary characters and strange subplots which feeds on the movie rather than add to it, being parasites in its journey towards being worthy. There are also too many things which could have kept all these troubles away, and one specific thing could have nullified all the confusion. The last few minutes drag and makes the audience feel like there has been a time-shift which has caused a slowing down of their lives. Some people are married, some are not, a few are divorced, some wishes to marry someone, others are going to get married and the rest needn’t marry – marriage all around, that is what the movie is mostly about!

Performers of the soul :: Dileep is the one who is able to hold this movie together and keep the people interested. Unlike his other movies like Sringaravelan which was horribly dependent on bad jokes and vulgar humour, this one is a decent world which keeps Dileep inside the family zone, and he shines like nobody else, as Harishree Ashokan gives him great support. The newcomer Parvathy Nambiar is just somewhat good, as she just survives her stay there on most of the occasions, unlike some other debutante heroines who have been introduced in his earlier movies. May be the character itself wasn’t her kind or vice versa, as there is a constant struggle to keep up with the other performers. Murali Gopy is good with his role even as the character turns strange by the end. Rima Kallingal holds the ground, and keeps the wounds of the movie from getting any deeper. This is not a performance that will get her anything, but she is there to make sure that nothing gets any worse. Tini Tom has done a role which is not that funny, and has made it work. While Vijayaraghavan and Sreejith Ravi have gone towards the comic side in their smaller presence, Suraj Venjaramoodu has an even smaller existence which he makes significant.

Soul exploration :: The movie lacks in soul or appears to be so. Even as it should go in the list of those feel-good movies, one can’t be sure about it yet. If anyone embodies the spirit of the movie, it is Dileep, and if anything is close enough to feeling good, that should be when he is around. The movie’s abundance of good characters or those being just naughty and not that evil seems to direct towards the goodness of the movie and its attempt to take over that feel-good tag. The movie is indeed good in what it depicts, and it distancing itself from using bad words and vulgar jokes is indeed a good sign for the soul. Even our heroine comes up with a cute angelic smile for the soul on regular occasions, and that seems to be her highlight (it reminds me of my favourite Alice in Wonderland character, you know who – and I love it). There is also that song which features her that jumps out of nowhere. That smile is one boost to the soul that the Vampire Bat might want to collect personally. This is my last movie of the year, and therefore there is not much more to explore in the soul, as there is that complete break from movies until the 31st of this year – my total movies list for those watched in theatres is 103 with 52 in the first half and 51 in the second.

How it finishes :: This is a movie which could have worked with a better second half – not by a big margin, but just enough to attract more people. It still has a good amount of viewers there, as long as there is no comparison made against a few others movies in the theatre during this same season. There are not many challenges made by movies this weekend either. Sound Thoma and Sringaravelan might have scored big for Dileep at the box-office, but this one is still the best movie of him this year and the worst for Lal Jose since Mulla five years ago. The best and the worst have been made with this combination and that is indeed strange considering the expectations that shoot up. Ezhu Sundara Raathrikal will surely keep itself running into 2014, and that is something which is ensured more by the vacations causing lot of incoming audience in the form of kids and youth rather than the movie getting better opinions. Well, let this winter season of happiness disappoint no movie maker – let them all run, as even Dhoom 3 is having a magic run of the evil type.

Release date: 19th December 2013
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Dileep, Rima Kallingal, Murali Gopy, Tini Tom, Parvathy Nambiar, Harishree Ashokan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Vijayaraghavan, Sreejith Ravi, Sekhar Menon, Praveena, Suja Menon, Krishna Prabha, Ambika Mohan

ezhusundararathrikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Punyalan Agarbathis

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The time of the saints :: It is the time for the saints, and it was proved by one of the best satirical movies in Malayalam belonging to this century. There was indeed a saint in that movie, and it was Pranchiyettan and the Saint. Now, with the word “punyalan” translated as the saint, this movie also tries to take on the saint + trichur slang which shaped that wonderful satire. The saint is for sale this time, as our hero sells “Saint Incense Sticks” which is how “Punyalan Agarbathis” would get translated, and also if we consider it in another way, it is the sale of a useful saint imagery that happens here, now just as a Christian saint, but rather as the saintly figure in the centre which gets explored so many times, mostly remembered by this year’s movie Immanuel with its title character and Pranchiyettan was himself nothing less than a saint. There is still a lot of interest for the saintly figures among our usual audience, even as the hero who beats up people and says vulgar dialogues might come back any time now – I just hope they stay dead.

What is it about? :: Hailing from Trichur, Joy Thakkolkaran (Jayasurya) is a man who keeps trying his luck in many business ventures, but none of them really working. His latest attempt is on creating incense sticks from elephant dung, and it is named Punyalan Agarbathis hoping that Saint George will help him in his attempt to make it big. He wanders around looking for collecting what he calls “raw materials”. His wife, Anu (Nyla Usha) supports him with a regular job, but it is often insufficient for what he has to spend for his business. He is helped by his long time friend and assistant Greenu Sharma (Aju Varghese) and a driver Abhaya Kumar (Sreejith Ravi) as well as two workers who rarely works. But he has to fight a lot of narrow minded people, politicians and after all, fate which means that his troubles might never end. He is forced to spend most of his time in the court seeking justice, and his ideas keep getting struck down by destiny’s lightning, as he begins to feel that the whole world is against him. The story deals with how he finally survives in his battle.

The defence of Punyalan Agarbathis :: Well, the defence of Punyalan Agarbathis is easy up-to an extent. Other than its social relevance which is mostly about the tragic situation of the common man and the social evil which is harthal, the whole thing is about fun. The simplicity of the movie is worth appreciating. There are lots of funny dialogues stored in between. The beginning credits scene itself is well-crafted with scenes from Trichur. Most of the characters are interesting, and the movie has successfully built up a very good first half after its interesting beginnings. It has moments which makes one wonder how more awesome it can get, and keeps the audience asking for more. The movie’s biggest advantage might be its name, and its trailer which keeps the audience interested, and once the movie starts, there is also the ability to keep close to that standard till the end of first half. The songs are fine and the cinematography is admirable. The saint hasn’t avoided this movie, that is for sure.

Claws of flaw :: The movie seems to create the idea that there is a saint in most of the common man who suffers due to the rich, corrupt hands of the same society, but that kind of fades a few minutes after the first half. By that time, movie had deviated from its wonderful world to an abyss of incapacitated story with the undercurrents of that logic which decided that it is better to leave the flick and go to Mars and stay with Martians. There was always the chance to go astray right from the beginning, but it happened only in the second half, and the way they tried to finish it quickly almost as if a limited offer deus ex machina is used, is a real blemish on the movie. It was more like a cargo ship with great items on board going adrift and losing its good cargo by the time it reaches the destination. Why this sudden disorientation? Even if there was no happy ending to the story, may be if they had just let the leading character miss out and leave his business, it wouldn’t have been a lesser level second half or ending.

Performers of the soul :: If I have to tell who is the performer of the day, that would be a surprise, as Jayasurya is the man in form yet again. He transforms into another interesting character with ease, and Aju Varghese is a wonderful support to him. Sreejith Ravi also contributes to the fun in an avatar he is not usually seen in. Nyla Usha joins the party with charm, and Rachana Narayanankutty does a great job, both serious and funny sides handled with care. Innocent and Tesni Khan also contributes with their relatively small presence, even as we would have liked to see a lot more from the former. T.G. Ravi was there for the last Trichur based satirical comedy and he is there to impress us yet again. Idavela Babu is here as a villain for a change and doing a wonderful job, even as the evil face doesn’t just belong to him, but to so many forces of the society. You have to like Sunil Sukhada in his job. The acting department is so close to perfection, and the other areas of the movies are well supported, yes Mala Aravindan’s funny KAPA character included.

Social relevance :: We have had many movies of social relevance, with Sandesam, Varavelpu and Vellanakalude Naadu quite a long time ago, and Arabikkatha, Passenger and Pranchiyettan and the Saint not too far away from the present. Punyalan Agarbathis falls behind all these movies, but is the next movie which comes to the list. The movie takes on harthal as a social disturbance right from the beginning stages itself. The assertion on the harthal stands tall among others, and another focus is on the corrupt politics and the plight of the common man, and also about how difficult it is to begin an industry in Kerala. But the use of elephant dung there might be strange, but still okay enough as the movie is not to be taken that seriously, and the use of such an insignificant and free thing means that one can’t even try little things in a world of corruption and among influential people who are there to create trouble. If it was presented a little differently, with a better second half and a much better climax, the movie would have been remembered for a very long time.

How it finishes :: Ranjith Sankar has given us messages through his movies, and his best shall yet remain Passenger, a fine Molly Aunty Rocks and a below average Arjunan Saakshi. All of them had something other than the story to tell us, and this one is not different either. The elephant dung thing gets irritating after some time, and you know at which point the movie losses focus. Otherwise, this is the right Malayalam movie for the weekend, if we consider the reports. As the title Bicycle Thieves hurts my feelings about Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist drama and the name Escape from Uganda makes one feel worse, with the only thing further strange being the name Namboothiri Yuvavu @ 43 – this movie is a winner right from the title. The reports also seem to suggest that there is something in the title that is carried into the movie. Still, if you are not fixed on watching a Malayalam movie, I would suggest Frozen as the movie of the week. Meanwhile, our desire to watch another Pranchiyettan and the Saint remains unfulfilled.

PS: The leading character in Pranchiyettan and the Saint was Francis, and here we have the character as Joy. Something tells me that next satires based on Trichur might having the protagonists, as Jos and Paul, and you can make a guess why I predict so! 😀

Release date: 29h November 2013
Running time: 160 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Ranjith Sankar
Starring: Jayasurya, Nyla Usha, Aju Varghese, Innocent, Rachana Narayanankutty, Sreejith Ravi, T.G. Ravi, Tesni Khan, Mala Aravindan, Idavela Babu, Sunil Sukhada, Shivaji Guruvayur

punyalan copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Memories

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Memories enter this week of Malayalam movie overdose fighting for a place with four movies, all of them creating bigger hype than this one. This movie had more of a release of silence compared to what Kadal Kadannu Oru Mathukutty, Neelaakasam Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum have been coming up with. All three of them were much awaited, but this movie was not that much of a subject during those talks. But it is that type of silence that grows on you, and makes an impact. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tse had said, “Silence is a source of great strength”. Remember the quote by Aldous Huxley, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music” – now there comes the continuity of the movie connecting with the silence, for there is that background score as well as the music with which the movie begins, before going deep into the silence and breaking it again, powering itself from its slowness to the incredible strength and agility that it possesses within. The movie is a little silent dynamite which shows its signs of efficiency in the beginning itself, and explodes to bring out its best in the second half.

Jeethu Joseph had given us Detective – one of the best investigative thrillers in Malayalam, Mummy & Me – the movie which could change lives in a good way, and the big laugh riot which was My Boss. The same director has given us another treat in the form of Memories, and in the process, he might have provided us with the best of Eid. The movie goes through life of a police officer (as they say, an episode in the life of a cop), and brings that world to the audience. Sam Alex (Prithviraj Sukumaran) gets through the credit scenes supported by great background music, and stylish action before we come to the scene three years later when he is addicted to alcohol and walking around aimlessly, stretching from the bars to the beginning of the long beverages queues. He has memories of his wife and daughter who were murdered by a terrorist as a revenge for him killing his gangster brother in an encounter. He keeps himself to perpetual damnation on Earth, feeling that he and his police department are responsible for their death. He resorts to alcohol and moments of lazy depression to keep himself away from the world of the common man, drinking so much that he can hardly walk until he falls. The memories wake him up, and to keep them away, he drinks again, a procedure which would seem to last for eternity.

Meanwhile, his brother leaves the house and his mother is left worried due to his drinking habits. Meanwhile, a senior officer comes home and invites the former efficient cop to investigate the case of a possible serial killer on the loose. Even as Sam disagrees first, his mother convinces him to go through it. In doing so, he is assisted by a journalist Varsha Mathews (Mia George) and Inspector Antony (Sreejith Ravi). He investigates about the two murders, and at the same time, a third murder takes place. He has to deal with his own alcoholism along with the memories of the death of his beloved ones, which keep flashing into his mind. He fails to keep them away, as they continues to haunt them along with his love for alcohol, but the man makes great turning points in the case right from the beginning itself. As the murderer captures his victims who look very much as if they are not connected to each other, and tortures them to death, the time is running out for the police force. There is brilliance on both sides, and there remains the question if the hand of the law or the unknown force of evil wins the clash of the titans. As this is an investigative thriller leaning on the suspense factor, anything more might deal a spoiler blow.  Meanwhile, look out for Christian imagery and symbolism, that’s all I can say for now.

Prithviraj Sukumaran has had a great time since Ayalum Njanum Thammil. This year he came up with a great performance in what was undoubtedly the best movie of the year – Celluloid. While his Mumbai Police had much critical acclaim, his Bollywood movie Aurangzeb was a movie with a difference and reflected that effort which he has been putting into his job. If the questions are asked if this character is like Mumbai Police‘s Antony Moses, the answer would be a clear no. Sam Alex is clearly superior to Antony Moses, who was an empty shell which was filled only to the disappointment of the viewers. But Sam Alex is a near-perfect dynamic character, more like that Solomon whom Prithviraj portrayed in Vargam. There are not many characters who would seem to exhibit such pain as this one, even as there could be doubts if there is so much of it that the dosage could be decreased. Our protagonist never goes the wrong way, even as he doesn’t go the right path. It has been the right path for our leading actor who had not that effective police roles in The Thriller, Police, Sathyam and Khakhee. Aurangzeb, Mumbai Police and now Memories have brought to us the one man who makes an excellent police officer on screen.

Prithviraj is brilliant right from the beginning. He undergoes that transformation in a grand style, and here is that character which sheds all the power and is left with just intelligence and vulnerability. This is that type of role which brings instant likable element to the character. He is not that police officer who comes out and beats fourty or fifty people up in slow motion, and even makes them falls kilometres apart. The age of such a superhero policeman is over for sure, and what we have here is a more genuine version, and hundred percent better than the one we saw in Mumbai Police. Here, we have a protagonist who can’t shoot down one man, nor can he chase him down. In another parallel world created by the much earlier movies, the hero would have been so untouchable that one gets to be sure about how the world inside the movie is supposed to go on. In such a perfect world, there is no real scope for suspense, even as a few drops can be added according to the availability of some rather less important characters to be murdered. This is not your perfect world of superhero, as the perfection here belongs to Prithviraj, and as a whole, it belongs to our director. Nobody defies gravity and takes the form of flying mutant humans or throws the normality away.

There are the others who add to this normality in the right and the most appropriate manner. The villain is the best of the other guys for sure. Even as the shadow of doubt falls on many people from doctors to policemen, the real killer, the psychopath who is placed against the cop in a game of cat and mouse happens to be a man totally unexpected. Revealing the man would be a cruel thing right now, and I shall control myself from doing the same. But this villain is an excellent choice, as he becomes that psychopath murder who makes a striking impact on the viewers. There was the need for such a villain in Malayalam movies, coming out nowhere to strike with the element of fear and uncertainty. Meghana Raj has a striking effect in the memories, even as she doesn’t really exist during the current timeline displayed in the movie. Mia George’s character has an influential existence throughout the movie, but not that much of a presence on the screen. The veterans Vijayaraghavan and Nedumudi Venu adds to the value of the movie with their usual creative performances as the concerned superior police officer and the caring parish priest. Suresh Krishna is also there with his usual best.

The movie’s surely has a slow first half, but it still remains faster than many other appreciated bad movies like Annayum Rasoolum on any day. The ambience it creates, rules this little world of memories. When Prithviraj walks away right here with his head held high, there is a lot of claps from the audience and Memories is a beautiful, successful experience. It is the result of how well this canvas has been set, and how much mastery can be associated with the protagonist’s depiction. We had the cop age in movies during the time of Suresh Gopi, and this might be a resurrection in a different manner. There was the need for the memories to stay strong to make that inception into our minds, and there has been such a thing indeed. There is a certain amount of neatness maintained throughout, even though some computer imagery used was rather unnecessary. It was good to watch a houseful show in the local theatres on a weekday in the morning, something which has rarely happened. The necessity for a very good thrilling atmosphere has been realized, and one has to thank Jeethu Joseph and Prithviraj Sukumaran for this wonderful piece of art which has come this way.

Release date: 9th August 2013
Running time: 140 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jeethu Joseph
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Mia George, Meghana Raj, Vijayaraghavan, Rahul Madhav, Suresh Krishna, Sreejith Ravi, Nedumudi Venu, Praveena, Madhupal, Irshad

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