Mohan Kumar Fans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Love Action Drama

What is the movie about? :: Dinesh (Nivin Pauly) doesn’t have much of an education, and spends his time following a sumptuously rich lifestyle as he has inherited a good amount of money from his grandparents – he doesn’t care about what goes around him, and doesn’t even know the full form of MBA even though he pretends to be interested in pursuing the course. His best friend is Sagar (Aju Varghese) who is another jobless person wandering around the city with no aim in his life, and depends on Dinesh for money and enjoyment in life. With his cousin Swathy (Durga Krishna) getting married, and not accepting his proposal citing blood relation, he decides to increase the amount of alcohol and cigarettes in his life, much to the dismay of his mother (Mallika Sukumaran) who hopes that he would be responsible some day – she gets her brothers (Renji Panicker and Biju Sopanam) to advice him, but that brings no positive result.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: During the wedding night, he meets Shobha (Nayanthara), a friend of Swathy, and accidentally ends up ruining her room and landing her in the hospital. But soon, they become good friends, and she invites him to Chennai, an invitation which he is too quick to accept. But things are not that smooth there as he had expected. There is confusion between them as well as revolving around her friends Priya (Dhanya Balakrishna) and others. Along with the same, her father (Sreenivasan) wouldn’t have that much of an opinion about Dinesh either. Whenever things seem to get better and going smooth, they don’t. Now the question remains if Dinesh can finally marry the girl whom he loves, and if Shobha can find something good enough for her to stay in love with the man whom she met at her good friend’s wedding.

The defence of Love Action Drama :: The movie does have enough of whatever is mentioned in its title, love, action and drama, even though not in the favourable and admirable levels of combination. The visuals are really good, and the music is pretty good for most of the time. Even when the movie goes in the wrong direction or when the romance struggles, it is the humour that keeps the movie going, as this one has that quality of those earlier Dileep movies, which is to keep the funny side simple and connected to the audience. It can be said that Love Action Drama is not a movie that seeks clarification to whatever happens within or asks for logic behind all those – it dives deep into those ideas which have worked in the past, and while keeping the humorous side alive, has things going in its favour. Well, when you shorten the name of the movie to LAD, you get the meaning of that word as “a male person of any age between early boyhood and maturity” – it is what the movie itself happens to be.

The claws of flaw :: Love Action Drama does have its prejudices when dealing with love, and it is surely confused about where it is going. There is no real reason shown for the girl to fall in love with the hero except for the fact that he is good-looking and rich, a strange thing considering what we know of the lady’s character. Some of the comic sequences are just dumb, and the love angle goes here and there, through the opposite extremes too often. We do see some repetitions, and the lack of a solid plot can be seen here while the story goes through its ups and downs. Dhyan Sreenivasan could have made this better for sure, as we know how many people are there at his own place to give him advice. It is the reliance on comedy that saves the day every time, but when it doesn’t work with you, there seems to be the struggle that doesn’t end.

The performers of the soul :: The movie clearly depends on Nivin Pauly’s star value as well as his skill in handling this kind of a character to move the story forward. This one comes as nothing difficult for him, as his immature character in Premam was done with ease, and this one requires even less from him except for need for more humour. It is his combination scenes with Aju Varghese that takes the funny side to the next level, as we know how well they are able to handle the comedy when together. Aju Varghese handles the scenes here with ease, reminding one of how things were going in Oru Vadakkan Selfie. Yet it has to be noted that it is not him, but Biju Sopanam who sets the wheels of comedy rolling in the beginning stages, even though he is not there for long. We also see Renji Panicker dropping in to contribute to the same even though it is only for a short amount of time.

Further performers of the soul :: Nayanthara has returned to Malayalam after a very long time, and you remember that she was last there in Puthiya Niyamam, and before that, for a short cameo appearance in Life of Josutty. Even though we are all glad to see her here after a gap of three years, one does have to wonder if this role has much for her, and whether anyone else could have been enough to do this job. Puthiya Niyamam had asked for a fine performance from her, but not this movie, which just needs her to be there with a little bit of effort. Mallika Sukumaran’s role as protagonist’s mother is worth mentioning, Jude Anthany Joseph’s short stay also leaves something to ponder about. At the same time, Dhanya Balakrishna who plays Nayanthara also deserves a mention. Vineeth Sreenivasan’s role does feel a little bit short, but it is fun when he is there. Sreenivasan also has some usual work to do, playing the father figure.

How it finishes :: Love Action Drama can be considered as a movie which is applicable to all kinds of audience, especially the family viewers, because of its qualities seemingly inherited from those earlier Dileep-esque comedy movies which has stayed for long, not considering those later repetitive versions. There is no question about the fact that the movie could have been better rather than going in a predictable path and being repetitive, but this is still a movie which stays close to a mood of celebration, and it is the kind of flick that we need for Onam vacations – we move away from a solid plot and go for the comic feel-good romance, which is forgivable at this stage. We have always had different kinds of movies for Onam, and this leaves us with what seems to be a preference, with Nayanthara making a return to Malayalam movie industry after a long time.

Release date: 5th September 2019
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Dhyan Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Nayanthara, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Durga Krishna, Basil Joseph, Prajin Padmanabhan, Sreenivasan, Jude Anthany Joseph, Mallika Sukumaran, Renji Panicker, Biju Sopanam, Dhanya Balakrishna, Motta Rajendran, Sunder Ramu, Gayathri Shan, Dhyan Sreenivasan (cameo), Bhagath Manuel (cameo), Deepak Parambol (cameo), Hari Krishnan (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Njan Prakashan

What is the movie about? :: Prakashan (Fahadh Faasil) is someone who is looking for easy money instead of going for the profession that he is skilled in – the job of a male nurse in one of the hospitals in the state or even the nation doesn’t seem to appeal to him, as he wastes his days doing nothing useful other than complain. His hope for a better job sees some light when he once again meets his former lover Salomi (Nikhila Vimal) who studied in the same nursing college. He was consistently avoiding her as she wasn’t that rich as he expected her to be. But the information that she is leaving for Germany to work at a salary of above three lakhs, his love for her quickly returns to him. He hopes to marry her and go to Germany, only to divorce her and marry someone from a rich and reputed family later. For achieving the same, he begins showing his love towards her and her family in different ways.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Now known as PR Akash after changing his original name, he is determined to leave for Germany, whatever happens. He seeks the help of his father’s former student Gopalji (Sreenivasan) who is a labout supplier, and even learns German after shifting to the city. For achieving his German dreams, he even pretends to be an orphan and secretly marry Salomi at the register office. He even tries and succeeds in getting the remaining cash which is needed for her to leave for Germany. Everything seems perfect until her father lands in the hospital. Twist of fate lands him at another place, as a male nurse to a rich child Tina (Devika Sanjay) who has been an eternal pain to her nurses until they left, and he also comes across Shruthi (Anju Kurian) who is struggling to keep her life going after the death of her father. For him, Germany no longer is the option or the dream.

The defence of Njan Prakashan :: There are some wonderful performances to power this movie, and along with the same, it also holds a mirror in front of the society – it is more or less a satire, as we see more than one people you know in the form of Prakashan. Our protagonist is someone who is not willing to work hard thus choosing any chance for easy money, complaining about one thing or the other, being sceptical and jealous about others, and more. We do meet people having these qualities often, which is why the movie becomes a reflection of those around us. The movie as a satire is funny, but not throughout, and it leaves us with some questions, along with invoking the emotional side slightly as well as brutally. As the movie reaches the end, it becomes that morality tale which has the lesson being taught as it finishes. The second half of the movie is top quality, racing ahead of the first, towards glory in the end with the climax and beyond.

The claws of flaw :: Njan Prakashan could have been more natural and it would have been as good as Maheshinte Prathikaaram – instead, this one has been polished, and certain cliches have been added, with the progress being more or less in an old format. The repetitive mode of comedy is rather strange considering the fact that these moments have a lot more to contribute to the overal quality of the movie. The first half of the movie is kind of dull in most parts, with jokes being present at times, and it doesn’t work at some points either. If the first half was reduced in length and more was added to the second, that would have helped the movie further. There is also the absence of some good songs, which should be the selling point of such flicks. We also see no attempt to capture the beauty and tranquility of the villages, as the same could also been positive addition to the movie. The talk about migrant labour population also gets nowhere in the end.

The performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil is once again the man to look out for, as there are shades of Maheshinte Prathikaaram in his character, and the same is combined with the other side of his character in Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. Fahadh easily manages this role with every ingredient that the character needed, and it comes as no surprise for us, considering the variety he has been bringing until his last movie, Varathan. We see him excelling in the natural fun moments as well as those strong emotional moments. The change that comes within the character is also nicely displayed by him, and is complete by the end. He also gets to show some shades of his character in Oru Indian Pranayakadha, the earlier combination between him and the same veteran director. The role from Carbon should also be coming to one’s mind as part of those different, yet similar faces of the man who has shown us many faces on the big screen.

Further performers of the soul :: The two heroines of the movie are Nikhila Vimal and Anju Kurian. Nikhila who had her first lead role in Love 24×7 was last seen in another wonderful performance in Aravindante Athidhikal. Anju’s lead role in Kavi Uddheshichathu was a memorable one. The former leads the first half while the latter influences the second. Both are perfectly suited for their roles, and we look forward to seeing them in more movies. Devika Sanjay who plays Tina in this movie with her debut, makes her first one grand, without doubt. She is someone for the future of the industry without doubt. The different shades of a lone school girl is nicely portrayed by her. Sreenivasan remains strong throughout the movie, even though one would feel that his character could have been a lot funnier consider the role and the setting.

How it finishes :: Ente Ummante Peru, Thattumpurath Achuthan, Pretham 2 and Njan Prakashan have been the Christmas moves, and all of them have been doing pretty good, with Odiyan also staying there. Well, the best of the year, Joseph is not finished yet, and we know that there are so many options out there. Among these movies, Njan Prakashan surely has an advantage, because of how it ends, and regarding how it can be connected to the common man’s life. As the year comes to an end, there are things that we need to make sure about, before taking those new year resolutions. Njan Prakashan is that kind of a movie which helps one to do that with ease. The change that needs to happen, is clearly shown in this flick, as we look forward to another year, a better one, with better us.

Release date: 21st December 2018
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Sathyan Anthikad
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Nikhila Vimal, Anju Kurian, Sreenivasan, Aparna Das, Aneesh G Menon, Sabitha Anand, KPAC Lalitha, Veena Nair, Manjula, Manjusha, Jayashankar, Munshi Dileep, Devika Sanjay, MG Sasi, Shania D’Souza

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Aravindante Athidhikal

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set up in the area around the Mookambika Temple in the Udupi district of Karnataka. Abandoned by his mother in the temple premises at an early age, Aravindan (Vineeth Sreenivasan) was adopted by Madhavan (Sreenivasan) who made sure that he grew up to be an energetic and educated young man. Madhavan and Aravindan are running a lodge near the temple, and are trying their best to keep up with the rising competition in the name of religious tourism and spiritual journeys, a case in which religions and regions and competing which each other to bring new holy places into the picture. Meanwhile, Girija (Urvashi) and her daughter Varada (Nikhila Vimal) arrives as his new guests at the lodge. Due to some unexpected circumstances, Varada’s performance at the temple is delayed, and in the mean time, Aravindan and her become very good friends.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: As a few days pass and she has to leave due to the death of her uncle, Varada feels that Aravindan should give up simply waiting for his mother and start searching for her – Varada herself takes it as her duty to find her with the help of some of Aravindan’s friends. While practising at Sreejaya Nair’s (Janaki Subramaniam) dance academy at Kumbakonam, she is still looking for clues to find the one lady who abandoned her child at the sacred place, and never really looking back. But the question remains if it is easy to find such a person with no solid clue except for some drawings which Aravindan has been preparing since childhood. Well, Varada is not someone who could be disheartened that easily, and will come back to Mookambika for their team’s performance, and there will be at least one good news for Aravindan. What could that be, in the sacred lands?

The defence of Aravindante Athidhikal :: The movie is perfectly targeted at the family audience rather than anyone else, and the whole thing seems to be well directed towards the particular direction. The music is very good and suits the mood of the movie, as it supports the emotional side, and brings us to that final feel-good factor. There are some nice shots of Mookambika and its surroundings, and we feel the mood of the sacred town more than once. We have some interesting characters too, some who wishes to fly on the wings of hope, and others just keep the hope at home, for without it, there might be no tomorrow. As President Snow says in The Hunger Games, it is hope that remains the only thing stronger than fear – we need it, and people decide on how much. Well, there is no shortage of hope in a holy town. With some simple funny moments and the strong emotional side, this movie gets home without trouble.

The claws of flaw :: The story might feel a little outdated for some people, as old wine in a new bottle, but if that wine is still not that bad, one has to wonder why the audience wouldn’t like to have some. The movie also ends rather too soon, and we know that it is the finish when the credits start rolling. We could have also had more with its core tale, which can go beyond the usual stuff, but that attempt is not made here. With a holy town in the middle and the same made colourful, maybe we could have had things to go a level further up – but the movie is satisfied with just this much. There is no dramatic twist that awaits you in this movie, as it keeps the journey straight and simple, or rather too direct for some people. If you are looking for that extra dose of melodrama, it is not going to be there because we see the attempt to have things going closer to reality than anything else.

The performers of the soul :: Vineeth Sreenivasan and Sreenivasan plays the family again, and even though adopted this time, they are no less father-son in effect. Both have their roles nicely matching them, and got their characters as no challenges, doing well at all moments, whether it is about adding some extra fun moments or to contribute to that deep emotional side. Well, we always have certain minimum expectations when the two come together, and it is once again proven that the duo has the strength to keep the whole thing close. These are times when the family movies are needed, and there are no people better than these two to do so. The presence of the family audience in the theatres is more due to the two being there rather than anything else. Urvashi is there with some fun moments after some break, and Aju Varghese along with Bijukuttan further contributes to the funny side with ease.

Further performers of the soul :: Nikhila Vimal has come back to Malayalam movie industry after Love 24×7, and it feels great to have her back at a time that we seem to need someone like her – she has the type of skills that are above the usual actresses that we have here, most of them seemingly here due to recommendation or by having someone in the cinema field. Nikhila stands tall with her performance here, and each moment, whatever it deals with, she scores. She is a wonderful talent that all of us need here, rather than in another industry. After her introduction, it is more about her rather than anyone else. Sreejaya Nair is a nice addition to this tale, and in between, we have Vijayaraghavan, Premkumar and Kottayam Nazeer contributing to the fun. Baiju and Sneha Sreekumar are there for initiating the comic side, as we see in the beginning. KPAC Lalitha is again there playing a mother figure.

How it finishes :: Well, Aravindante Athidhikal is that kind of a movie that is determined to touch your heart, and also leave a smile on your face in the end. It is the feel-good movie that can rise above the others due to its ability to keep things direct and enjoyable throughout its run-time of two hours and two seconds, a length that leaves no chances to drag in between. It is rather surprising that this movie had less publicity compared to the other movies released on the same day, Avengers: Infinity War, Uncle and Thobama. Well, Panchavarnathatha and Mohanlal are still running too. You are not going to regret watching Aravindante Athidhikal on the big screen, and watching with family would be a wonderful experience – well, this is the holiday season, and watching this one with family might be the right choice. After all, feel-good never leaves our industry, as there is always more of the kind.

Release date: 27th April 2018
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: M Mohanan
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Nikhila Vimal, Aju Varghese, Sreenivasan, Prem Kumar, Vijayaraghavan, Urvashi, KPAC Lalitha, Baiju, Sneha Sreekumar, Bijukuttan, Sreejaya Nair, Kottayam Nazeer, Shanthi Krishna, Devan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sunday Holiday

What is the movie about? :: Unni Mukundan (Sreenivasan) is a lecturer teaching in the commerce department of a reputed college in Aluva, who is more interested in giving lessons about life to his students on Sundays, and also to convert his script into a movie. He has been wandering around with his movie dreams for quite a long time, but nobody has accepted, or even considered reading his script. Nobody even believes that he has a good enough story, and most of the popular directors refuse to see him, consider him as just one of those people bothering them with something which will waste their time. It is during those times that Unni comes to know that a popular and highly successful director, David Paul (Lal Jose) has been admitted in the nearby hospital. He decides to make use of that opportunity, and visit him to tell the story. Even though David is initially reluctant, he decides that it will not hurt anyone to just listen during free time.

So, what happens in the story within the story? :: It is the tale of Amal (Asif Ali), a youngster who has been in love with Sithara (Shruti Ramachandran) ever since they had known each other during childhood. It is a relationship which their families which are related to each other, approves of, but only until Sithara gets a proposal from a doctor, something which neither her parents or the opportunist lady herself wishes to let go. As she immediately chooses the newly found love who earns in big numbers, the jobless young man leaves his town of Thalassery to the city of Cochin, as there is a small job set for him at the place. He reaches there and finds himself selling CDs and DVDs of devotional songs, and at the same time, meets a girl named Anu (Aparna Balamurali) who is also doing some selling door to door. The incidents which are to follow affects his life, and the heart-broken one gets something to cheer him up for the rest of his life.

The defence of Sunday Holiday :: You are sure to find happiness in the little things of joy that the movie brings, and even though its humour is not leviathan or anything, it is on those little things that the same also concentrates. We have some nice visuals of the places, and the city from high up, is always a joy to watch. The combination of Asif Ali and Aparna Balamurali also proves to be a very nice one. There are also messages to take home in this movie, as it tells the audience to forgive and move on, and to be concerned and kind to others. A moment featuring Sudheer Karamana and Siddique explains that the best. The movie also asserts goodness in those people who act more angry and frustrated than loving. The final twist is good, but the fact that this had to be a movie within a movie is more tiring than helping the cause. Well, feel-good surely feels better to have rather than mixing meaningless twists to a tale which can’t take it, and therefore Sunday Holiday will stand tall over the director’s earlier flick.

The claws of flaw :: It is certain that you will find not much which will give you the feeling of freshness here – there is the kind of story with feel-good factor that has been flourishing for years, and it is the thing that Malayalam movie industry has found easy to follow. It is up-to us to wonder why there is no experimentation with the kind of genre which has worked so well even without that much of a budget. Is it because the same is considered the safe bet, and therefore doesn’t require any more attention? The movie also has sequences which contribute so less to the movie, and there are also those characters without whom movie could have gone foward, along with those tales of some which don’t get to be close to where we had wanted them to. The songs also seem to be added more than needed, as with a certain drag in the middle, we feel this movie to be longer than it really is.

Performers of the soul :: We were waiting for Thrissivaperoor Kliptham starring both Asif Ali and Aparna Balamurali, and here we have this one starring both of them. The former is coming out of two underrated movies, Adventures of Omanakkuttan and Avarude Raavukal, both being divergent in their own terms, and had potential for even more – both were not short of fun if you look at them.The latter is coming right out feel-good success stories, Maheshinte Prathaikaram and Oru Muthassi Gadha, playing three roles in two flicks, and awaiting the next, Sarvopari Palakkaran. She played a girl from Idukki, from Cochin (Ernakulam), Kannur (Iritty) in this one and is now set to play characters from Kottayam (Palai), and Thrissur – well, all seems to work so well as far as Aparna is concerned. With shades of her character in the realistic Dileesh Pothan movie, she is the pick here. Asif Ali’s character though, is closer to his work in Avarude Raavukal, and he is natural in doing the same.

Further performers of the soul :: As Asif Ali plays the young man in need for confidence and change, Aparna is the muse that he was in need to write the rest of his tale on the book of life. Shruti Ramachandran of the Pretham fame is also here doing not much, restricted to the beginning and the end of the flick – see does give that ghostly look in the end for sure. Sreenivasan, Lal Jose and Asha Sharath’s characters work outside the tale, which means that they have much less to do except for the beginning, before the interval, and just after the tale finishes. The two actors whom we are sure to notice, and will ask for them to be present more are Sudheer Karamana and Siddique – no surprises there when you remember how it has been working with the previous movies. Bhagath Manuel also gets to do a good role, even though it doesn’t become the sidekick role as much as expected. Dharmajan is in hold of the comic side, and the rest only has to follow.

How it finishes :: Sunday Holiday is surely an improvement for the director who had earlier directed the movie Bicycle Thieves which is more or less a shame for the Italian classic with the same name, something to which almost everyone at the theatres agreed, watching that movie with so much high expectations after positive reviews. With no other Malayalam release, this is a weekend which only has Tiyaan and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum from last two weeks giving it some challenge, and therefore, its place should be safe, even without trying that hard. Along with the other two movies having Asif Ali which released last, this becomes another feel-good flick than anything else – I wouldn’t rate this one above those two though, with its problems in the middle part. Still, we all need feel-good movies which leave something for life all the time, and so Sunday Holiday becomes a good movie to watch this weekend, whether it is really Sunday or not.

Release date: 14th July 2017
Running time: 135 minutes
Directed by: Jis Joy
Starring: Asif Ali, Aparna Balamurali, Shruti Ramachandran, Lal Jose, Bhagath Manuel, Sudheer Karamana, KPAC Lalitha, Asha Sharath, Sreenivasan, Siddique, Sunish Kumar, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Vinaya Prasad, Nirmal Palazhi, Sethulakshmi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Sakhavu

What is the movie about? :: Krishna Kumar (Nivin Pauly) is a leftist student leader who wishes to make it big at every level. For the same, he has been studying different courses in the college – his aim is to get to the top of party’s student wing, and from there, get to a big position in party’s trade union, and then become MLA or MP. For the same, he is ready to do anything, including getting rid of his best friends who are threat to him. It is his friend in the party Mahesh (Althaf Salim) who provides him support in all his plans without asking for anything in return. One day, he gets a call from the party office to go to the hospital and donate blood for a party member who is in critical condition. He isn’t really interested in the same, and tries to act rude so that he could get out of there as fast as possible. There, he meets Aishwarya (Gayathri Suresh), his old friend from school, working as a nurse at the same hospital, who talks to him about the person who is in the ICU.

So, what happens next? :: There he meets more people including the man’s friends, and also his wife Janaki (Aishwarya Rajesh) and his daughter Nidhi (Aparna Gopinath), and the tale of a much loved comrade is revealed. There is a long past that goes to those days when this comrade, named Krishnan (again Nivin Pauly) had come to Peermade to strengthen the left trade union activities at the place. There were many things that followed, including those incidents which made the man a favourite among the masses, and nothing less than trouble for the exploiters. Krishna Kumar listens to the tale and also to that incident that landed Krishnan at the hospital – there is more to things here than what meets the eye, as he hears about what the comrade has been working on in the last few days. So, how does this tale influence Krishna Kumar, and how does life change for the man who was always after high positions and fame in the party?

The defence of Sakhavu :: There is the strength of ideology behind this movie, and it goes towards taking a righteous stand, especially when a political leader is concerned – on what the left ideals really mean, if they are implemented in the right way. The message is strong, and there is the presence of feel-good elements. The flashback scenes look really nice, and you need to watch this one on the big screen for the same. There is the presence of a lot of humour in the first forty five minutes of the movie, and then things get serious – the strength of the whole thing is tested, but the movie then stands the test, and comes back victorious. It is also the final sequence after the credits start rolling that score big at a time when we feel that the movie ended too soon. The movie can be considered as a nice mixture of things, and without showing no overdose of action sequences, the intensity of the sequences are very well delivered.

The claws of flaw :: There is a rather predictable story in this flick – even though the hero from the past has his heroics to be talked about by others, there is nothing new or special in that tale which follows a pattern which so many tales from the past has followed, with a big estate and firm, along with the workers who suffer because the rich and the affluent just don’t care. The movie could have also been shorter, or could have added some special ingredients to justify its length – maybe a return to the present in the end, and some more sequences to follow with the protagonist’s life could have made things even better, rather than stretching the flashback a little too much with the predictable things. The scope was so much more for this movie, and the divergence that it has taken here is not much, as the attempt is there to balance the class and the mass, never to overdo any of them. The movie could have also used its heroines more, especially in the present.

Performers of the soul :: When you look at Nivin Pauly’s last few movies, Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Action Hero Biju and Premam, they were not just very good movies, but also did great at the box-office; now he is back for more. This is also the best movie with him as a solo hero, and also the best performance from him till date. Here he comes in two roles, and among the two, it is the new-age role that suits the best for him – the other role also demands him to play the elder version of the character, which also leaves a mark. There is the new generation social worker portrayed nicely with all the shortcuts of life which are taken, and there is the maturity of the old generation comrade, who has struggled so hard with everything in life for the party as well as the society. It works at both sides for Nivin Pauly, and this is the kind of performance which will mean a big change and the right kind of deviation in his career. Here, it is Althaf who provides him great support with a nice funny side, making things so much alive.

Further performers of the soul :: Along with Nivin Pauly continuing his run as the one actor whose movies keep the standard, there is also a supporting cast which has rather less to do in helping. There are three heroines in this movie, but they get to do rather less in this flick which is highly dependent on Nivin Pauly to perform in two separate roles. Aishwarya Rajesh gets the most to do in the flashback, as the comrade’s wife, and a little bit in the present, and she manages the same fine, even though there seemed to a little bit of urgency about everything; rather more than required. It is good to see her again after Jomonte Suvisheshangal. Gayathri Suresh gets rather too little in this one, even less than what he had to do in Oru Mexican Aparatha and Puthiya Mugham, playing a character that the protagonist knows from school. Then there is Aparna Gopinath who plays the strongest of female leads, and also the most charming one – a good continuation after the magic of Charlie and the message supply in School Bus.

How it finishes :: Sidhartha Siva, the director is known for some of those critically appreciated movies including 101 Chodyangal and Ain, both winning him national awards, along with that inspirational flick which was very much feel-good, Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho. Sakhavu undoubtedly keeps that high level, and once again, there is no trouble with the quality. Sakhavu is a movie that has almost everything, and it is the movie that you wouldn’t want to miss – it will win this Easter-Vishu season, considering the fact that most people have already watched The Great Father, 1971: Beyond Borders under-performing, and Puthan Panam ended up as one of the worst movies to have released in some time. This should be the season of Sakhavu which succeeds in rising above the expectations; it not just superior to Oru Mexican Aparatha, it is also more responsible, getting to the point in the right way, and leaving the right messages. This is one of the best movies of the year so far. Well, what seems to be a simple family flick, Rakshadhikari Baiju is the next one up at the theatres.

Release date: 15th April 2017
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Sidhartha Siva
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Gayathri Suresh, Sreenivasan, Aishwarya Rajesh, Aparna Gopinath, Althaf Salim, Tony Luke, Musthafa, Sudheesh, Kalabhavan Rahman, Renji Panicker, Prem Kumar, Manianpillai Raju, Aliyar

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Oru Muthassi Gadha

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Vampire Owl: So, the title is not about the story from grandma.

Vampire Bat: No, it is more about the blunt mace.

Vampire Owl: I guess I misunderstood this one then. I see variety.

Vampire Bat: This one battled with Kochavva Paulo Ayyappa Coelho, Oppam and Oozham which were running at the theatres during that time.

Vampire Owl: And it was there in those multiplexes for quite a long time.

Vampire Bat: Which is why this one deserves more respect.

Vampire Owl: We remember how good Om Shanti Oshana was, from the same director.

Vampire Bat: Yes, just his second movie. Doesn’t that feel like reason enough to watch this one?

Vampire Owl: Yes, a lot more than the other reasons.

Vampire Bat: Lets make it happen then.

[Gets three cups of tea with banana chips].

What is the movie about? :: Siby (Suraj Venjaramoodu) lives in the city with his wife Jean (Lena), daughter Alice (Aparna Balamurali), son Alan (Nohad Shajahan) and his mother, Leelamma (Rajini Chandy). Due to his mothers ill-tempered nature, Siby finds it difficult to find domestic help when he and his wife goes for help, and even his friends are afraid to come to his house. She is always angry towards her daugher-in-law, continuously finding fault with her, and her attitude towards her grandchildren makes sure that Alice wishes to stay in the hostel and Alan wishes to spend more time at the school. Their last hope comes in the form of a Bengali worker who somehow manages to get along with his mother. Even though this is a certain amount of relief, her nature remains the same, and even his boss Anil (Vijayaraghavan) has to face her wrath.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: It is Anil himself who advices Siby to take the whole family to a trip which can make things better. But with his mother not willing to go, they are forced to go on the journey all by themselves. Leelama stays back at home, and she is joined by Soosama (Bhagyalakshmi), Jean’s mother who intends to keep her company. Even though they don’t get along well in the beginning, things change later, and Leelama’s flashbacks are revealed. This leads to her coming with a wishlist, and they going on a trip to find more from Leelama’s flashbacks. After this journey, which will include Alice and her boyfriend Milind (Rajeev Pillai) along with Leelama’s classmate’s grandson Brilly (Jude Anthany Joseph), there are changes coming, not just to her family, but also to those around her.

The defence of Oru Muthassi Gadha :: This movie comes up to provide a message nicely, that too with all its simplicity. It is a similar feeling which was in Om Shanti Oshana, that we have here, and we even see some of the characters from that movie again. That smooth feeling is also maintained in this movie, with no scope for melodrama, and we take this movie in a light-hearted manner too with the needed feel-good. There is energy here, and there are moments which go directly into one’s heart. It is a reminder to us that there are things that can be changed, and we have to try hard enough for the same. It is by looking through another person’s eyes, can we know them better, and it is different for each person from different situations – the movie asks us to try to go through the same instead of judging them all. It also talks about going on with our busy lives along with giving enough care to our parents and grandparents. The movie does look really good with its visuals and there are also some nice songs to go with the same – it also does end well.

Claws of flaw :: This is surely not that good as Om Shanti Oshana, one can be sure about that considering the fun side. Oru Muthassi Gadha does preach, and that might not go well with everyone. There are moments when this movie could have been funnier, and there are points where this one could have been more serious about its message – but this one maintains one path right from the beginning to the end, that is of a light-hearted movie with a message, without moving out of its simplicity to bring something that strikes the heart in a deeper way. There are also jokes that go wrong, and the moments which are overdone, which affects this movie, but only up-to an extent. There could have been more ideas about presenting a grandmother like this, but Oru Muthassi Gadha believes that it had enough of experimentation a little too early, and hesitates to bring more. Well, you do wish for more here considering the main idea.

Performers of the soul :: Rajini Chandy leads the way here as the protagonist, and even as a new face, she has made things work so well, rising above everyone else. Keeping her company is Bhagyalakshmi, without doubt, as she goes on to bring the change here in this movie. There is no real leading actor in this movie, and it is with Rajeev Pillai who is paired with Aparna Balamurali who is back from Maheshinte Prathikaram that some part of it lies, and he also has his funny moments. Aparna is once again good in another role here, or rather two of them. Jude Anthany Joseph also surprises us with some nice funny lines including the “M for Marry” and “Inception” dialogues which are really well-timed – there is something special about those funny dialogues which directors themselves use as actors as long as they do it well enough. To add to that, Suraj Venjaramoodu and Lena along with the whole family really work well together in this flick – its one nice family here.

How it finishes :: Unlike what many people had thought, Sreenivasan and Vineeth Sreenivasan got only smaller roles to do here, but we do remember them. The movie does live up to its trailer, and it is sure to make a very nice choice to watch with family. There are enough messages for the families and the new generation to take home, and Oru Muthassi Gadha is the kind of movie that is sure to be interesting for all types of audience, even without trying to go beyond its limitations – this one has still managed to bring its message in a different way. This movie also makes one wait for more movies from Jude Anthany Joseph, who seems to be the one director whose movies can be watched without second thoughts. Well, this one has a shared universe with Om Shanti Oshana – now that is something which you don’t usually see around here!

Release date: 14th September 2016
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: Jude Anthany Joseph
Starring: Rajini Chandy, Bhagyalakshmi, Aparna Balamurali, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Lena, Jude Anthany Joseph, Sreenivasan, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Vijayaraghavan, Renji Panicker, Rajeev Pillai, Ramesh Pisharody, Sathi Premji, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Musthafa, Nohad Shajahan, Bijukuttan, Baby Meenakshi (cameo), Lal Jose (cameo)

orumuthassigadha

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Guppy

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Vampire Owl :: Oh, you mean the Vampire Guppy.

Vampire Bat :: There is no Vampire Guppy. Fishes don’t become vampires. None of us are interested in water including you.

Vampire Owl :: But all I have been hearing about in the last few days is related to the great bath.

Vampire Bat :: That is just the blood bath. Fishes don’t live in blood.

Vampire Owl :: It is really unfortunate. We could have used some fishy help. There are already too many things fishy with the humans.

Vampire Bat :: Still, we can watch this movie. I have read that this is one of the better human movies.

Vampire Owl :: If it is a better movie, I am sure that most of the fan-boys and fan-girls haven’t watched it yet.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, it is universal law; the quality and the fans won’t go together.

Vampire Owl :: Which is why good movies need us.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, we watch more good movies, and it is our superpower to differentiate between the best and the worst of them.

[Gets three cups of tea with jackfruit chips].

What is the movie about? :: This the tale of a boy named Michael (Chethanlal), who is known to everyone as Guppy, as he has a collection of the small fish called guppy and earns money by selling them to the customers in need. The boy has one dream, that of buying an automatic wheel chair for his mother (Rohini) who can’t walk after the stroke she suffered with the death of his father. The death of his father left his mother on the wheel chair, and she never let him go to the sea which took the man. The seaside village has people who admire his hardwork, and tries to help him in achieving his dream. The two people supporting him the most are Paappan (Alencier Ley Lopez) who runs a shop where Guppy also works, and Lalichan (Sudheer Karamana) who provides him the help needed to grow and sell the fish from the village office where he works.

So what happens next? :: Everything remains simple in this beautiful, scenic village by the side of the sea. The boys are all after Aamina (Nandana Varma) who is the grand daughter of the man who works at the railway gate (Sreenivasan), but the man makes sure that nobody gets to see her by covering her face with a purdah. The boys are happy spending their days in the usual way though – there is nothing special happening as life goes on as has been for a long time. But things don’t go well for him as an engineer Thejus Varkey (Tovino Thomas) comes to the his village for constructing a railway bridge. From the beginning itself, the boy and the engineer doesn’t like each other, and a certain rivalry begins between the two. Both are determined not to yield to the other. The story goes on to tell us how the differences go and how things get for the two.

The defence of Guppy :: There is a certain amount of artistic feeling that we get with the visuals of this movie, and how the incidents are set in motion. Remember Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and Riders to the Sea? There is something special with the movies with this type of setting as long as they are done well enough; there is the struggle, there is the hope and there is the attempt to survive. The relationships and emotions are just on another level, even when the special situations are not attempted. There is no clear protagonist and antagonist here, and no hero and villain to be exact, as we see the flow of emotions making people do things which they wouldn’t want to do on another occasion. There is something so poetic about the life and situations here, and we move through the same, with some beautiful shots of the sea and the shores, along with some nice music.

Claws of flaw :: The characters might not seem that well developed for everyone throughout the movie. There are some of them who are there just for the same of being there. One might notice that there is a little bit too much time taken to get us into the whole thing. There is also a certain amount of drag in between, and the movie is a little bit too long for this kind of a subject. Going at a better pace would have made this movie feel even better. The number of songs could have been reduced for the same reason. The ending might not satisfy everyone, and there are things that the viewers won’t be clear about – the movie leaves one with enough to guess and more to think about. The key is to get the connection with these characters in the movie, and only after that can one get the full feeling of this movie – therefore, this movie needs its own thinking audience.

Performers of the soul :: All of us will notice how amazing a performer Chethan is with this movie, even though it is not the first time that he has brought the surprise right to us. He excels with those emotional moments, and this is more of a controlled performance which raises no questions. Tovino Thomas is not far behind here, as this character simply adds to his wonderful works, as he scores throughout this movie. There is no shortage of skills here, as we see him in this new avatar. Alencier Ley Lopez and Sudheer Karamana are there to bring some fine support to the cast. Rohini is there to add to the same, and Sreenivasan brings even more here. Sreenivasan’s role is of the most significance after the main characters too, and he remains comfortable throughout the flick. Noby Marcose adds some fun here, and the director of Maheshinte Prathikaram, Dileesh Pothan is also present in a notable role.

How it finishes :: Guppy goes through to tell its viewers the need for forgiveness. As long as that quality can get all the needed attention, life gets better. But the first kind of people whom we need to forgive are those who are yet to watch this movie. It is never too late to watch and support good movies, and with its well-designed world, Guppy provides us with more than just good times. We remember that Annmariya Kalippilaanu was another such movie that too many people missed! Guppy is the kind of movie which has the moments which will stay with us for long. It is close to the heart, and it is more about how life goes on, and how things change for the good and the bad, and Guppy shows us that it is never about being restricted to black and white, good and evil – it is more like being different people and going through our lives to get to the other end. But there is the need to be good to others, to forgive mistakes to make things better for everyone.

Release date: 5th August 2016
Running time: 158 minutes
Directed by: Johnpaul George
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Chethanlal, Sreenivasan, Rohini, Alencier Ley Lopez, Sudheer Karamana, Dileesh Pothan, Sudhi Koppa, Noby Marcose, K. L. Antony Kochi, Poojappura Ravi, Nandana Varma, Chempil Asokan, Bijitha Bhanudas, Vijayan Karanthoor, Antony Kochi, Devi Ajith, Vijilesh

guppy

Btw, do watch Pulimurugan if you haven’t yet!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

My God

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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.

Pathemari

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What is it about? :: Pathemari is a movie of struggle and survival through an unfair world. Pallikkal Narayanan (Mammootty) is a man who left for the Middle East with his friend Moideen (Sreenivasan) and many others on a boat defeating the waves of sea to swim and reach UAE at a time when the border laws were not as strict as it is now. Becoming part of that exodus from Kerala to the Gulf area at that time when unemployment was at its peak, Naranan becomes the symbol of the journey that one has to undertake to make sure that the whole family survives. He is someone who struggles for not just one’s own family, but the extended relatives as he keep working to see life getting better for them while his youth as well as the existence beyond that disappears. But he continues to do the same without complaints.

The defence of Pathemari :: There is a lot of truth and sincerity on display in Pathemari. It is certain that a lot of NRIs, not just of the Middle East, but also belonging to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and may be even other nations can relate to the story here. It doesn’t change according to circumstances, but instead stick to the common man. The movie’s second half and the ending are the more powerful ones; the finish might be the most touching one – simple, but easy to be connected and with significant power to touch one’s emotions. It is sad, and with its sadness, the movie becomes lovable; with the depressing truth which it shows on the screen, it becomes more beautiful – it is a poetry of lost hope and desire which brings tears to the eyes of the audience; this is what the ending of the movie is truly about. There are also some nice visuals for support.

Claws of flaw :: Pathemari doesn’t bring anything new to the most part of its story-line. There is the usual problems of a man who has left home reflected here. It follows the sacrifice model of movies like Vatsalyam and the problems of the man who returns from the Middle East with the relatives as in Varavelpu, even though this one follows a more realistic path and passes through the ages. There is also some drag here and there, even though the emotional side hides it for most of the time. The movie could have shown some more of the life in the Middle East too, how the protagonist had struggled there throughout the ages with how the others have lived and faded around there; it would have been a fine boost; after all the movie is also shot there – but we have to appreciate the fact that they have kept the movie not too long. The songs are not interesting, but other music is catchy.

Performers of the soul :: Even though Mammootty takes some time to appear in this flick, he becomes the heart and soul of Pathemari as soon as that happens. Most of us have been complaining about his choice of movies with Acha Din and Utopiayile Rajavu, but he gives no chance for us to complain this time. As the director had earlier said, what we see is the just the character through ages, and not Mammootty as he lives as this character who becomes not just Pallikkal Narayanan, but many other people who really exist. It is his grand return to the class role that we see here, and it is something worth the applause that even the multiplex never hesitated to provide. What has to be admired more about this movie as the commercial thing is that it didn’t overdo its promotions, and the fans have also been self-controlled in their actions in favour of this movie.

Further Performers of the soul :: This is also the debut movie of Jewel Mary who was first seen in Utopiayile Rajavu which released first because of the delay on Pathemari. She is good on her debut, and her performance is clearly above what was seen in the movie which first released. Sreenivasan has a memorable role in this one, and so does Siddique who has a smaller but interesting character to play. Salim Kumar just has a small presence while Joy Mathew brings another good performance on screen. The actresses Anju Aravind and Anu Joseph gets to play the sisters of Mammootty, and it good to see them back on the big screen out of those serials. Siddique’s son Shaheen Siddique also makes a good debut in this movie. All of them make sure that Pathemari is indeed driven by performances.

Soul exploration :: There is something about the life of the NRIs that people here won’t know about. Even though the people who leave for the foreign nations these days have better status, it was not the case during the early days. As the situation here was so bad, they just wanted to get there so that things could only get better if they survived. But people here would think that they live a happy life there and are sending only a small amount of money after spending like they wish to. It might be so in the case of some people these days, especially the youth, but in most cases, when we consider people who have left to save their families, it has always been about survival and saving the family. There are lots of people who haven’t gained much for themselves or their children, but have managed to make sure that their brothers, sisters and cousins have managed to do better – aren’t they winners too?

How it finishes :: As far as NRIs who have left not for glory, but due to the problems at home are concerned, this one will be a big reflection. It will also be effective for the rest, and it won’t be easy for anyone to leave the theatre without being touched by the emotions, and this abiding sadness is an achievement for the movie. In the end, we know that there are good men and bad men, and with both types among the achievers, we further feel that most of the people who have failed are actually very good men who have sacrificed a lot for others – but it is actually an achievement in itself to have suffered and gained victories for others in a world where only the rich are officially considered the achievers even by the relatives and friends of the poor. It is an achievement often forgotten, as the rich write their own names into the history; but God knows, and so does nature.

Release date: 9th October 2015
Running time: 109 minutes
Directed by: Vinay Govind
Starring: Mammootty, Sreenivasan, Joy Mathew, Jewel Mary, Siddique, Anu Joseph, Anju Aravind, Salim Kumar, Shaheen Siddique, Saju Navodaya, Yavanika Gopalakrishnan, Hashik TK, Kalabhavan Haneef, Viji Chandrasekhar, Santosh Keezhattoor, Safin, Nyla Usha (cameo)

pathemari

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Saaradhi

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Vampire Owl :: Happy Friday the 13th. May the vampire force bring us all the vampiric awesomeness that we can imagine.

Vampire Bat :: You were waiting for this day to scare some humans, right? But considering the present situation, you should make sure that they don’t scare you with their deeds lacking any humanity.

Vampire Owl :: I shall power myself with a movie today. Choose a movie for me this weekend. I am owlified ready on this special day.

Vampire Bat :: There are no Hollywood movies releasing this weekend here.

Vampire Owl :: What? No! What is horror without Hollywood? After all, it is where all ghosts, vampires, werewolves, demons, zombies and even aliens visit first during their journey from the other world.

Vampire Bat :: I think that Hollywood actually scared the censor board here with their horror for the weekend.

Vampire Owl :: Lets go for some local thriller then. Anything available in that category?

Vampire Bat :: There is the Hindi movie Roy and the Malayalam movie Saaradhi.

Vampire Owl :: No Hindi on a Friday the 13th. They don’t match intellectually. These people release bad movies even for National Holidays and so no Bollywood for now. Lets go for Saaradhi.

Vampire Bat :: Let it be so then. Get the horror popcorn!

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: An ambulance driver named Christy (Sunny Wayne) gets another one of the duties, and he has to deliver a dead body to a place which is not correctly mentioned. Three men and two women accompany the corpse, but strange things happen on the way and things are not as clean as it looks. One man has a gun, and none of them are really as sad as they seemed to be outside the mortuary. Christy had thought that he could visit his lady love on the way back too, but now, the whole thing is so complicated and he has to escape with the dead body. Sathyanathan (Baiju), a corrupt police officer seems to have something planned about this corpse, and a powerful politician known by the nickname JJ (Madhupal) also has some relation to this. There is police chasing him as well as some criminals and it is forest all around him.

The defence of Saaradhi :: Saaradhi comes to the screen working on that genre which has too many risks associated with it considering our audience whose tastes cannot be combined with all kinds of thrillers. But the movie had already managed to catch our attention with the trailer. The script is actually very good in parts as it seems, even if not that much as a whole – there is some intelligence used, but it needed to stay all the way. Coming from a debutante director, this is a fair effort too, and there is sincerity in the way in which the social message is given here, and it is for the common audience that it has been provided – remember Passenger and Arjunan Sakshi with the idea here. The latter part of the second part is actually the best part of the movie, and the thrills reach the right level there. There are some nice shots of the high-ranges to help the viewers too.

The Claws of Flaw :: The first few minutes are nothing less than torture. There is Sreenivasan catching a thief in a sequence which was not needed, and the item song is a mess. The only watchable moments are about the lady wearing the lungi – otherwise the song stays at the deepest area of the abyss. This is also not the final product that this script deserved, as it struggles to thrill all the way, and the interesting moments come too late. It is safe to say that the first half drags, and the characterization also faces a struggle. It is also time people realize that dead people talking in visions or hallucinations is bad, especially when there is some serious stuff going on. The weaker parts of the script needed the polishing, and then one can’t imagine how much better this could have been. This one also needs a Wikipedia page – is it a very difficult thing to attain? See all those movies inferior to this one having that kind of publicity. Ambiguities and slight lack of logic are there too with predictable moments.

Performers of the soul :: I don’t feel anything of high quality here. There are no big stars here either. The best performance was from Sreenivasan and it is something of no doubt. He has done another Passenger kind of character here, but with more power in the role. Sunny Wayne has his highs and lows in this movie – you have to avoid those phone talks and some of the highly emotional scenes, and he has done fine. Nedumudi Venu’s character looked like a ridiculous creation, but even then he seemed to have managed it as much as he could. The female characters make almost no impact in this movie, and those moments which have them at the centre rather makes things dull. Madhupal is very good while Dharmajan has too small a role. The small moments of comedy comes from Sunil Sukhada and up-to an extent from Sreenivasan. Baiju has a role like he played in Angels, just a lot more on the bad guys’ side. Sunil Sukhada surely needed a bigger role.

Soul exploration :: Saaradhi has an ambulance driver who makes its title worthy. He is not just the driver of a random vehicle, but also the one who drives forward a few lives. There is the story of the common man that goes on here. On its background, there is the continuous struggle of the common man to make things happen – it should have been focused more here, but we can think about that as an after-effect. This should have reached that Passenger level with that, but it is not there. But what we can see once again is a decent, average thriller which has managed to rise above its limitations and also score on the social message side. With lesser expectations, this movie can actually manage to be much more. A regular dose of thrillers and those which give the good and interesting message are the ones which we need. Also remember that this also about one man making the difference.

How it finishes :: Saaradhi comes from a debutante director who seems to has dared to come up with some experimentation and due to the same reason, has also taken some risk here. It is the kind of people who tries to think different that we need in our industry, and in that case, this movie needs to be applauded. Another new director would have taken a safer formula, but this one has chosen that difference, a variation which might not work with everyone. This effort in bringing something something that doesn’t follow the usual easy path, even when on his debut is the factor that we need to see here. At the same time, there is also the same at work here. The expectations that I had while watching the trailer had me hoping for a lot more, but I am expecting that the usual movie audience will end up liking this more than I did. I really hope that this movie becomes a success, because only then can more “different” movies can be made in a better way.

Release date: 13th February 2015
Running time: 138 minutes
Directed by: Gopalan Manoj
Starring: Sunny Wayne, Sreenivasan, Nedumudi Venu, Vinutha Lal, Vishnu Raghav, Sruthibala, Baiju, Sunil Sukhada, Madhupal, Thalaivasal Vijay, Dharmajan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Thattathin Marayathu

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The case of love :: The stories of love has been exaggerated for centuries, and we are not strangers to how William Shakespeare described a lot of things in his Sonnets. The better qualities which are needed for this world including brotherly and sisterly love or the love for the down-trodden or the subaltern would always have to make way for a kind of love which is based on the outside beauty and powerfully fixed on infatuation and lust. Then they can ask “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” but does all the immortalizing of such love make any sense? How someone can fall in love for another just by looking at his or her is one of the weirdest things in the world. That is undoubtedly a case of infatuation and lust, however one tries to support the theory of love at first sight. But it is such a story that we are going to talk about, and it is the same thing that this movie is about, and as this turned out to be a good movie even without the “truth of love” in it, this case of love is to be left to the audience who made this one a hit, and as a film, it deserved it.

Love in the South :: Malayalam movies have had that incredible strength to come up with successful love stories which stay on our minds for long. One of the earliest movies of that kind after the early age of the legendary Chemmeen should be Nakhashathangal, but the trend came back stronger than ever with two movies Aniyathipraavu and Niram, both starring Kunchako Boban and Shalini who established themselves as the perfect star pair for love stories. The specialty of these two movies was that there was so much goodness in them, and on both occasions, the pair chooses not to disobey their parents, and such sacrifice should be at the base of love, and not carnal desire. But about the pathetic nonsense which came as pseudo-love stories, like Annayum Rasoolum, one shouldn’t bother – it was a pathetic case of looking at each other in an extended version of love at first sight moments, and that movie will do more bad than good for the romantic movies which are to follow including Oru Indian Pranayakadha. Meanwhile, Dr. Love was a superior story of love with sacrifice involved in it, just like Dhosth.

What is it about? :: This movie written and directed by Vineeth Sreenivasan as his second venture as the captain of the ship, has the story of a ordinary Hindu Nair boy falling in love with a rich Muslim girl. Vinod Nair (Nivin Pauly) has fallen for Aisha Rahman (Isha Talwar) with an incredible moment of falling in love as he hits her while running and she falls down the stairs to land in a hospital. Supported Abdu (Aju Varghese), Hamsa (Bhagath Manuel) and Mustafa (Ahmed Siddhique), he goes on a mission to win her love despite the problems caused due to religion and social status, and that fact that he belongs to the party which is fighting against her family’s business. After doing some strange and stupid things, he finally gets a chance to talk to the girl, and soon he tells her about his love to get a positive response. His supporters grow, as S.I. Prem Kumar (Manoj K. Jayan) helps further in his cause as he leaves his house. So, will this love story succeed, or does it have to become another Romeo and Juliet? Almost everyone in Kerala knows the answer.

The defence of Thattathin Marayathu :: The movie has everything which is needed for a perfect love story of exaggerated character. It is also the best love story in Malayalam since Niram, with all the possible additions of the age, including the witty dialogues, “when she replied, I felt like Sreesanth who got the wicket of Andrew Symonds” or “why should boys of Kerala need six-pack?”, and another one “you can think before making decision about my love and tell me that you do love me”. Despite the popular thoughts about this being a powerful love story, I would say that this movie is never serious – it is incredibly light and always on the humorous side; even when it tries to get serious, there is that feeling of “all’s well that ends well”, and as there is no real dark shade to the movie, this is a perfect love story which is nothing less than a fairy tale, and if we think that way, the movie is the perfection of exaggerated love, rightly presented on screen, and therefore flawless in its core.

Claws of flaw :: Despite having the best songs of the year and the great cinematography and direction, the movie is nowhere near perfection in a natural world. It clearly lacks logic and fails to make sense on multiple occasions, a flaw which can be forgiven just because of the reason for its existence. It follows the old style tradition of a boy from one religion marrying a girl of another faith, and to add to it, here one is poor and the other is rich, another stereotype explored. The boy feels the usual love at first sight for the girl and starts dreaming about her as if his life depended on her. He forgets his duties and even his parents and becomes the stupid guy, while the girl remains just the opposite, not breaking traditions or disrespecting her parents or relatives. The exchange letters through a messenger, sings songs in dreamy sequences, and hopes for being together. In that case, the movie has nothing new or innovative in its base. it is not intense, and it has no real villain except for one man who just objects to the marriage.

Thattathin Marayathu and love :: The world of the movie is strange, as the hero sells helmets after making police catch people for not wearing a helmet, and with the cash he earns, he begins a pardah shop – and that is an act of love. This movie’s definition of love is being infatuated by a random girl at a random place just because she is good-looking. Is this love or some strange feeling which has been created a girl in veil, and without that what would be she to him? Well, who cares about what should have got all the attention, as she might have been a horrible creature in soul, but the only thing that matters in this love is that she is beautiful and has a fair complexion. Thattathin Marayathu is never a story of true love, and most of the people might agree, but it is unrealistic love of exaggerated love, presented in a beautiful manner. Well, the real life can never be this simple as a whole, and it is also not this complicated in many other things that they show. Well, as long as the new bottle where you put the old wine is pretty good, how can one complain? The leaks are there, but there are provisions to make sure that the wine don’t get lost on the ground.

How it finishes :: In this visually awesome movie, another thing that catches our attention is the performance of Aju Varghese as he has done a perfect comic supporting stand there. Manoj K. Jayan and Bhagath Manuel are also nice support. Nivin Pauly comes up with a side which wasn’t there to be expected from him, and establishes himself as the romantic hero of this age. But as far as Isha Talwar is concerned, her character is a real disappointment, not talking much or doing much even as she has the most righteous character in the whole movie. The result is that he has created more of a statue image, which affected her in the movie I Love Me. She will always be remembered as a beautiful sculpture rather than a character, and the fact that she was perfect for the role doesn’t come as a positive. The movie has successfully presented its world with the support of most of its cast, and as the image it shows is of innocence and goodness even as it is covered is stupid love of exaggerated nature. It is a magnet, and it will attract viewers even after being shown on television multiple times unlike dark creatures of pathetic romance like Annayum Rasoolum.

Release date: 6th July 2012
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Sreenivasan
Starring: Nivin Pauly, Isha Talwar, Aju Varghese, Bhagath Manuel, Aparna Nair, Manoj K. Jayan, Sreenivasan, Sunny Wayne, Niveda Thomas, Ahmed Sidhique, Manikuttan, Sreeram Ramachandran

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Diamond Necklace

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As they say in the movie Neram, there are two types of time, the good time and the bad time, and the good time of Fahadh Faasil had started from Chaappa Kurishu, with no disasters at the box office moving on to Immanuel. I didn’t really like what came later though, but as we know already, another thing about our versatile actor is that we can often identify his career with the quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities too; “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” and I would identify the same with his other movies, Annayum Rasoolum and Natholi Oru Cheriya Meenalla. Yes, Diamond Necklace was part of the good time, or the best of times, and it was the best from Lal Jose, no real doubt about that unless you bring Achanurangatha Veedu, Classmates or Arabikkatha into the picture with a handful of logic. Does any of these movies have this simple a plot set in too simple a world, and still come up with such an intriguing situation on screen? No, they were movies of incidents, revolving around one major incident or decision which set the events running while Diamond Necklace belongs to everyday life, and a collection of life; its celebration as the worlds of ups and downs which flows through our life, supported by beautiful songs, “Nilamalare”, “Thottu Thottu” and “Nenjinullil”.

Arun Kumar (Fahadh Faasil) is a docor who lives in Dubai and leads a life of luxury, supported by his wallet full of credit cards. He has no regret about the past or worries about the future, as he lives in the present, spending money lavishly with nobody to stop him from doing the same. His friends belong to higher league, and he shares apartment with his friend in the tallest buildig in the middle east and the world, Burj Khalifa. Savithri (Rohini), his boss in the hospital also seems to spoil him with her sisterly affection, but she is also unaware of how much of a debt Arun is putting himself into. He has acquaintances with labourers from Kerala, especially Venu (Sreenivasan) whom he tries to avoid in his stylish, high quality life which has no place for the lesser people of lower social status, even as he is still friendly with all on the outside. Driving the latest cars and enjoying life to the maximum, he meets Lakshmi(Gauthami Nair), a newly recruited Tamil nurse in his department. She is the first girl to whom he is seriously attracted. She had come to the middle east with a dream of making enough money for building a hospital in their village, so that no more people have to die there for having no facilities or money. Arun is impressed by her wits, attitude and dedication towards work.

Even as their relation blossoms, his chances of going through with it receives a serious blow, as he runs out of money and his car is towed away by the creditors. He is left with no way to go home and see his sick mother as the credits keep him in the country. He is helped by an influential man, Narayana Menon (Maniyanpilla Raju) who makes it possible for him to go back to Kerala, but at the same time, he is tricked into marriage with Narayanan’s niece, Rajasree (Anusree) who is a simple village girl who has absolutely no clue about city life nor life outside Kerala. Even as they are thought to be a rich family, Rajasree’s world is later known to be a small and simple one, not enough to pay back even a percent of Arun’s credits. When he comes back to Dubai, he is left with no place to stay, and as he doesn’t have enough advance to pay for any place, he stays in the labor camp with Venu. Lakshmi who comes to know about his marriage, ends their relationship and refuses to talk to him. Maya (Samvrutha Sunil), a relative of Savithri, is a fashion designer who was diagnosed with cancer, with a wish to start a boutique in Dubai. Her fiancee had left her due to her illness which had left her highly depressed. Arun ends up sharing her apartment and becomes very close to her.

Later, when she sees Rajasree with him, she is shocked as she didn’t know that he was married, and is admitted in the hospital. It leaves Savithri with lesser affection towards him. As he gathers her possessions, he notices a diamond necklace that she keeps with her, something which can save him from his problems. He decides to replace it with a fake one and does the same successfully. This is where the whole situation revolving around a necklace arises, as his wife finds the original necklace and wears it thinking that it is a birthday gift from him. Meanwhile, Maya almost dies due to an overdose of medicine. He is unable to get the necklace back from his wife who has shown the same to almost everyone including her foul-mouthed relatives of vanity. He often feels that he should return it to Maya and he can’t, and neither can he sell it. Caught between the worlds of greed, remorse and helpless, the only people who are with him consists of the simple labourers whom he once avoided. So, the plot still revolves around the ladies in his life, and how Arun comes out of this problem, not with any deus ex machina or a huge twist of fate, but rather with the simple things being the result of everyday happenings and common feelings makes the whole of the story. The artificial stuff has been kept out for good.

So, here is Fahadh Faasil showing his abilities as a versatile actor, moving away from the new generation trends of Chaappa Kurishu and 22 Female Kottayam, but coming up strong as an energetic youth who symbolizes the common young man of the century, with the usual attitude of “I will drink Life to the lees” which was said by the protagonist, the Ithacan king and the Greek hero, in the poem titled with his own name, Ulysses, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. That suspected hedonism in the face of our inescapable mortality found in The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the Edward FitzGerald translation, going back to the eleventh and the twelfth centuries has found ever increasing rhythm in this generation, but without the octopus hand of death and the ultimate end. “Carpe diem” as they can still say, from our own most mentioned ancient poet, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known to most of us as Horace – “Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the next day”, an idea which has developed into a liefstyle with loose morals leading to a life of unimaginable pleasure among the new generation. Epicureanism has made a more powerful entry to the new world, and as a kind of hedonism finding pleasure as the only intrinsic good, there is a new environment which is powerful and fast spreading. These, as I have already mentioned in my review of Spring Breakers, symbolizes the character Fahadh is playing in this movie.

But what does this hedonism, the power of “Carpe diem” bring to him? Does this help him to seize the day? Yes it does, but those days become long gone. I agree to the fact that we are all kind of hedonists in one way or the other, varying only in the degree. But considering the current world and the environment to which we are exposed, something which stays within the limits can rarely be interpreted as hedonism. But our protagonist belongs to the higher degree of “Carpe diem” as he puts as little trust as possible in the next day, as a man who is exposed to all the luxuries of the magical world of the city of Dubai, powered by oil, and highly influenced by modernity and science rather than antiquity, history or literature. For a man who comes the humble backgrounds of a small village, this might have been a big moment for him, being in Dubai and earning so much. It is evident in his relations with the labourers whom he consider as lesser people. But soon he realizes that they are the ones who are there to help him without asking anything in return, and it is his time to live like a common man rather than a hedonist, and live his life of responsibilities. Such a realization is supported by a beautiful ending which makes sure that his world remains one of beauty and goodness rather than crookedness and money. The movie itself is a message against irresponsible hedonism, and a support for unconditional love, responsibility and equality.

Once again, Fahadh Faasil is the man to watch out for, and I guess there is not much need to talk about the same, as it nothing unexpected. Samvrutha Sunil has a powerful role and she has done it with lots of life. Gauthami Nair makes a strong impact as the determined, powerful character. Anusree’s role is worth a lot of acclaim, and the funny moments come from her character’s stupidity, and still the goodness and love that the character exhibits makes this one quite a beautiful portrayal. Rohini and Sreenivasan have to play the roles of two seniors in the life of the protagonist who lends him advice and helping hand, and they form the world of light and goodness in his life. Diamond Necklace relates to its viewer with its tenderness and its high dose of objective correlative; with a reigning simplicity and reflections of the common incidents and random life events. It is the Malayalam movie of the year 2012, no matter how much anybody tries to prove that it isn’t. Also look out for the cinematography by Sameer Thahir; about our director Lal Jose, there is nothing more to say other than making a call to watch the movie. This was a movie which came into the theatres, disappeared, and came back again; such is awesomeness of this movie, even as only a few people recognized it during its first run, and myself came across the same during its comeback run in the local theatre.

Release date: 4th May 2012
Running time: 157 minutes
Directed by: Lal Jose
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Samvrutha Sunil, Gauthami Nair, Anusree, Rohini, Sreenivasan, Maniyanpilla Raju, Kailash, Sukumari, Thesni Khan

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Celluloid

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The Vampire Bat didn’t really have much of a luck to witness awesomeness for sometime; and he has been so disappointed that he wished to let the Vampire Crocodile do the rest of the movie watching and reviewing. But the twist of fate which followed him for centuries has struck one more time. The movie was Celluloid and the Vampire Bat was more than just impressed. He felt the 2008 movie Thalappavu again; the same feeling of Raama Raavanan and Melvilasom – he was at that moment, not sure whether to be in pain with the protagonist or to feel the strength and power of what was created by the life and fate of the central characters of these movies. Now one more movie joins this group of three – the trilogy of awesomeness got transformed into the fabulous four today; something which should have happened long ago, but was delayed by some horrible intrusion of new generation movies and the prejudice by a few very old generation fans.

Kamal’s Celluloid is not an entertainer for the mindless, but it is not an art cinema either. It has its moments of fun and tears, never dragging too much to bring the element of boredom. The result is a beautiful tribute to J. C. Daniel, now realized as the father of Malayalam cinema and Vigathakumaran a.k.a The Lost Child, the first Malayalam feature film. It is not a lesser tribute to the first Malayalam heroine P. K. Rosie either. It also has the reference to the second feature film in Malayalam, Marthanda Varma – the first Malayalam movie based on a literary work and history. Even as the movie travels through the ages, there is no loss of flow and there is no appearance of flaws. All the ages are represented with their suitable features, not exaggerating at any moment. There is visible presence of truth and sincerity throughout the depiction of pre-independence and post-independence India – these elements have been clearly lacking in most of the self-proclaimed realistic movies.

There is also the mention of the Lumiere Brothers – Auguste and Louis; their L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat or Arrival of a Train at a Station; that short silent film with no intentional camera movement and powered by one continuous real-time shot. It surely made itself realistic, but not the self-glorified new generation movies. Celluloid might be more old generation than the most, but it has enough to make one feel and follow its path. While the hyped new generation movies claim the same, and gives fake emotions powered by stylish camera shots and bad language, the fact is that it is not everyone’s reality. When they do so, it is the complete rejection of the common man. As they might not have done the earliest filmmakers in history proud with the absence of substance and the presence of nonsense, there is another particular addition to it, as the quick impact on their fate is much less an impact compared to the deep impact which is to come. As the world didn’t end in 2012, there might be many generations to follow, and they are going to use “what Prometheus gave them” on many movies, and among the movies which will have honour and glory instead – there will be Celluloid.

Coming back to the movie of the year so far; it is the story of J. C. Daniel, the man who wished to make the first Malayalam cinema. He is seen as a determined young man who has set out with a clear aim in his mind. With the help of his wife Janet and his friends, he sets out on a mission which is made nearly impossible as there are not many heroines available unless they try a man in a female role. Even the available actresses would be from Bombay or other parts of India who would charge so much for him to provide. He does try one of them, but the demands are found to be too much. Finally, they end up casting a lower caste woman – an act which doesn’t interfere with the quality of the movie, but does affect the minds of the upper caste orthodox people who couldn’t digest such a woman doing the role of an upper caste lady. This happens to be a huge turning point – a decision which would affect the progress of the movie in the theatres of 1920s and begin the troubles. The reaction of the influential upper caste would be too hostile for Daniel to handle.

The unavailability of female cast to act in movies and the caste based attitude would continue while Daniel goes off to live in Tamil Nadu after selling off most of his assets including his own house and there is no clue about Rosie whose hut was burned by the hooligans forcing her to run away. The dream had lost its wings. He starts a new life as a dentist, but that too is shattered due to his love for movies which continued to follow him. His practice as a dentist soon ends, making the situation worse. There is the mention of movies which followed during the later periods, like Chemmeen, Achanum Bappayum and Narasimham. As time moves on, it is Daniel’s later struggles and the attempts of Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan to bring the government’s attention to the situation of the pioneer of Malayalam movies which take the centre stage. But the absence of the film reels of the movie and his stay in Tamil Nadu was not to make the situation easier.

Prithviraj has come up with a brilliant performance – his best since Thalappavu. He has fitted so well into the young protagonist, his older self and the son of the protagonist. There is no point where he failed to impress. Chandni, who has debuted as Rosie, Mamta Mohandas as Janet , Sreenivasan as Chelangatt Gopalakrishnan – all of them have fit into the characters so well; even considering the movie in movie which looked like a realistic recreation of what the first Malayalam feature film might have been. The number of real-life movie figures are numerous; Dadasaheb Phalke – the father of Indian cinema, R. Nataraja Mudaliar who made the first silent film in Tamil (Keechaka Vadham) and so on. Another notable person mentioned in the movie is D. W. Griffith, the American film director. Charlie Chaplain is also frequently mentioned, and his movie The Kid is seen to be shown at the theatre which seemed like the most powerful of the inspirations. But Daniel’s work became a social drama which wouldn’t be acceptable to the society which was rooted in orthodoxy.

In simple words, what is Celluloid? It is the history of Malayalam cinema from its humble beginning to what it is now. It is also the story of one person who tried so hard to make this dream happen. Malayalam movie industry which had such humble beginnings has the big responsibility to carry on that legacy. The first Malayalam feature film was a revolution; it was the silent movie which gave life to Malayalam on the screen even with no single word spoken. It was also a voice of the change which was to come in the caste system; that feature film was an indirect voice of the subaltern which was silent; a contradiction for sure. But all these were submerged; like the legendary island of Atlantis. But now we know the person. As Paulo Coelho has let us know through his Alchemist, “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”. He had his dreams and he fought for it. This tribute has been overdue for such a long time, and this movie has finally brought justice. One can’t help not being without pain for J. C. Daniel, but its time to take a bow. Its an honour to have known you – thank You Kamal. The experience is divine for a movie fan, especially if you watch that many Malayalam movies.

Release date: 15th February 2013
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Kamal
Starring: Prithviraj, Mamta Mohandas, Chandni, Sreenivasan, T. G. Ravi, Nedumudi Venu, Siddique, Sreejith Ravi

celluloid copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.