Sherlock Toms

What is the movie about? :: P.L. Thomas (Biju Menon) a.k.a Toms is a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, and has spent a lot of time reading the novels, not known to be interested in studies. With a certain amount of skill being displayed by him to solve problems, he had managed to end up exposing Sugunan (Kalabhavan Shajohn) a teacher who was cheating on her wife with another teacher, while solving a mystery of some missing money. He was expelled after that incident and also trying to cheat in examinations. But he makes a grand return, and manages to do well, even qualifying for the Indian Revenue Service though his need was to join Indian Police Service to solve case. After being persuaded by Father Kunnel (Saju Kodiyan), he decides to take IRS and not go for PSC. It doesn’t satisfy him, and is also very disappointed to be married to Rekha (Srinda Ashab) who hates his friends as well as his inability to earn enough money by bribery or in any way.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Toms and Rekha go on with regular fights, and as each day passes, her hatred for him grows, but is not ready to sign the divorce papers, not happy with the possibility of him leading a better life in her absence. She believes that he isn’t worthy of his position, coming from a lower level in the society and mingling with local, illiterate people. Toms is not interested in making money or fame, as he only wants to be a sharp investigator like Sherlock Holmes, his childhood hero. For the same he gets a transfer to a new department, and has himself after a certain financiers. Shiny Mattummel (Miya George) is a reporter who covers almost everything that happens in and around the city, to that extent that people believe that she is at more than one place at the same time. The two find themselves in the opposite sides, as Toms’ attempt at a raid is messed up. Now he has to make things better, and for the same, he wishes to suicide.

The defence of Sherlock Toms :: There are some jokes that work in this movie, but one has to wonder if that, as well as the final twist would be enough to make it compete with Tharangam, Udaharanam Sujatha and Ramaleela, all three having their own fans. It is actually very good to have had that final twist, or all these things would have provided a wasted feeling. The family audience would love this movie in parts, and the assurance can only be partial because the movie changes in mood too often – it is is sometimes comedy, at other times drama, and there is also the presence of the elements of a suspense thriller, even though none of these are used to their full strength. The beginning stages of the movie are actually the ones most close to the title of the movie. Who wouldn’t wish to watch the tale of a boy who grew up reading Sherlock Holmes stories? Well, even I was one. Biju Menon is certainly the savour for this movie, as for many others.

The claws of flaw :: Sherlock Toms just seems to try so less with its material. There is one Indian Revenue Service officer who is as smart as Sherlock Holmes, and there is no attempt to make the best of the same. There is no Biju Menon becoming Sherlock Holmes, and investigating unsolved mysteries with some smart moves which would make everyone jealous. There is also not enough funny moments for a Biju Menon movie. To add to the same, there is one flawed wife character whose existence is only as much justified as an impaled zombie looking to eat anybody’s brains, and a number of cliches. [Spoiler Alert] The one movie that the second half of Sherlock Toms reminds the audience about is Man on a Ledge with Biju Menon being Sam Worthington and Miya George being Elizabeth Banks. It is not a direct copy like Anwar from Traitor or Cocktail from Butterfly on a Wheel as there is the different back story and comic side, but the idea actually deviates too much into what we have already seen. [/Spoiler Alert].

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon who has had simple, family movie success with flicks like Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Swarna Kaduva, Salt Mango Tree and Vellimoonga to go into the list of feel-good solo hits with messages, has no problem in dealing with this role too; the movie is a lot dependent on him, and he delivers, even when the movie is sailing through troublesome waters. Both leading actress of this movie has to go through a deep struggle. Srinda Ashab has her character that badly shown that at some point we feel that all the roles which she has done is going to vanish with a certain dose of irritating moments which stay till the end – its not really funny. She had such good work in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela and Parava. Meanwhile, Miya has another struggle going on, which is to escape from having that less of a presence on screen as in Memories and Anarkali. But she manages to go through her role with ease, with not that much demanded there. When we look closer, both of their characters don’t do much constructive, but they are mandatory.

Further performers of the soul :: Sherlock Toms is another movie in which heroines have so less to make an impact, and it is not just them who are restricted – instead the weight is put on the shoulders of Biju Menon. The next significant character would be Salim Kumar though, along with the team of Noby Marcose, Dinesh Prabhakar, Molly Kannamaly and others by his side. Kalabhavan Shajohn brings fun to what might be one of the most terribly written characters of a school teacher – he rises to make it better. Another person who is full fun in this movie is Suresh Krishna, as he brings something whenever he is present on the screen. Hareesh Perumanna contributes with some nice little funny lines, and so does Kottayam Nazeer who combines forces with him. Saju Kodiyan and Vijayaraghavan are effective with some fun here and there during their smaller presence. There is no shortage of characters introduced in this movie, even when they are of not that much contribution.

How it finishes :: Most of us would have expected Sherlock Toms to provide us with more, which is one of the reasons for some disappointment. This one just manages to do fine, but is never really close to those expectations generated with Shafi returning to the helm after the big laugh riot blockbuster which was Two Countries, joining forces with the evergreen comedy side of Biju Menon. Sherlock Toms is that kind of a movie which can be watched for some time-pass, without expecting too much. If you expect the movie to bring something extra, or out of the box, you will have not much to be satisfied about. The movie is the usual Biju Menon model movie, but with deviations which make the movie lesser of that kind. There is no variety being tried, but there are some changes in the path, and people can feel that they are not the kind of changes that they had wanted.

Release date: 29th September 2017
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Biju Menon, Miya George, Srinda Ashab, Salim Kumar, Noby Marcose, Vijayaraghavan, Suresh Krishna, Anu Joseph, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Nelson, Hareesh Perumanna, Saju Kodiyan, Dinesh Prabhakar, Vijayakumar, Molly Kannamaly, Kottayam Nazeer, Sohanlal, Rajesh Paravoor

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Parava

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kadam Katha

What is the movie about? :: Giri (Vinay Forrt) is running a textile shop in the city of Cochin without making much of a profit – he has lots of loans to repay, and even his last business venture was a failure, and has been making his life more and more difficult. The worst thing is that he had left a good job to begin a business, a decision which he keeps regretting. With no salary to pay his employees, and not enough cash to take more stock, he decides to close it down. But that was not to solve the problem, as everyone would end up believing that now he has absolutely no way to pay anyone anything. His wife Chandini (Srinda Ashab) is staying at her home, and he is staying in a small house for rent, and he is unable to pay the houseowner too. With the loan shark Sreekanth (Saiju Kurup) after him, he decides to attend an inspirational course which promises to change lives and make it a lot better.

So, what happens next? :: Cleetus (Joju George) is a mechanic who runs a car repair shop with two workers Josemon (Sinoj Varghese) and Thampi (Manikandan Pattambi), the three being more of a family than just friends working together. Cleetus also has to pay back his loans, as his repair shop keeps running into loss; the property is also going to be sold by its owner, ending the rent agreement. Therefore, he also goes to an inspirational course, and after the programme, they meet at a local beer and wine parlour. They become friends, and after Giri is thrown out of his house for not paying rent, Cleetus lets him stay with the three at the repair shop. Meanwhile, Cleetus meets a man named Sreekumar (Renji Panicker), whom he saves after being caught in a car accident. This new friend is among the richest men in the city, who has just returned from the Middle East. Sreekumar decides to give Cleetus an offer that he can’t refuse, and Giri also becomes part of it.

And, what is to follow next in this tale? :: Sreekumar who understands the two men’s need for money, promises them wealth beyond their imagination, and they will just have to do one job, and it is concerning his only daughter who is studying for MBBS as a reputed institution. This girl, Jeena (Veena Nandakumar) is in love with Maneesh (Roshan Mathew), a popular radio jockey at one of those prominent radio stations in the city of Cochin. It is with their relationship that he is most concerned about. Jeena has clearly told him that she is ready to marry nobody else, and they keep wandering all around the city together despite him warning her not to do so. Even Giri and Cleetus keeps seeing the two, or at least Maneesh at times in the city – it is as if they are everywhere and everyone knows about that relationship. Sreekumar is fed up with the same, and asks them to do just one thing. What is that? Can the two do the job?

The defence of Kadam Katha :: With some funny moments here and there, and having a good cast, Kadam Katha manages to go on and on with its two hours and a few seconds on run-time. The movie also depends on simple moments and simple people, and the complication only comes with a new generation and more money as the flick suggests. The message is still about retaining one’s goodness, as long as there has been something at some point – no matter what happens, always get to the bottom of things to know the ultimate truth. The visuals are good without doubt, even though not that much of the city’s beauty is not there on the big screen. The humour is present here and there, but we miss it at a lot of occasions when things seem to drag. Kadam Katha surely has the material inside it, and when we look there, we end up seeing more with a bigger potential – the lesser crowd at the theatre was a sign of movies not meeting up to the standard these days, and movie stars only making reasons the wrong way.

The claws of flaw :: Kadam Katha, for some reason, refuses to use most of its humour, and never extends its funny side to make it memorable. The theme has also been repeated for quite some time, and we keep seeing people who need to do something which their lives, and also those who are in need of money. The movie also doesn’t make best use of the talent, and the big list of characters to whom we are introduced. The songs are just not that interesting – they seem to drag the whole thing rather than do anything else. One has to wonder what has been happening with the Malayalam movie industry for some time, for there has been so many movies, but not many which have left the mark. With so many movies including Oru Cinemakkaran, Role Models, Avarude Raavukal, Sunday Holiday and others note able to go more than just above average, one can see the lack of trying the big variety except for a few like Tiyaan and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.

Performers of the soul :: With Action Hero Biju being his most recognized role among the masses, Joju George remains one actor who never really disappoints us, and it is reflected here too. It is him who makes us feel like the hero in this one. Seen last in Role Models, Oru Cinemakkaran and Godha, Renji Panicker remains the one who keeps us interested, and he does his work in the usual style. Vinay Forrt whose last movies were Role Models, Avarude Raavukal and Georgettan’s Pooram, gets back to doing a fine job here. There is something about his performance every time. Veena Nandakumar who is known for the short-film Moonnamathe Vazhi makes her big screen debut in this one – it is a short movie that provides a beautiful feeling, and you need to watch it if you haven’t yet. She has less to do in this one, and is good with the romantic side; more to be tested in her next works. Malayalam movie industry keeps getting more and more heroines, I guess.

More and the bottomline :: Roshan Mathew is credited in Adi Kapyare Kootamani and was also there in Puthiya Niyamam, but it is with his role in Aanandam which made him a favourite and a popular actor – his next flick Viswasapoorvam Mansoor‘s short stay at the theatres didn’t help, but he has made a strong come back in this one – he plays the new generation lover character with ease. Hareesh Perumanna is wasted in his small role here though, and this might be one rare instance that his character doesn’t bring the laughter. Sinoj Varghese – Manikandan duo is the one that bring some of the fun instead. Srinda Ashab is another one who gets not much to do in this movie except for making phone calls – there is not even a big flashback to support her cause. Kadam Katha is certainly a story which could have done more, with better situations, comedy, and lasting romance as well as emotional side; but this one touches only a few and plays on the safe side. This one is worth the watch, but won’t bring anything huge.

Release date: 28th July 2017
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Senthil Rajan
Starring: Roshan Mathew, Joju George, Vinay Forrt, Veena Nandakumar, Renji Panicker, Sinoj Varghese, Srinda Ashab, Manikandan Pattambi, Hareesh Perumanna, Alexander Prashanth

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Role Models

What is the movie about? :: Gautham Shekhar (Fahadh Faasil) is a man who is always concentrating on his work, and is so busy earning money, that the only person whom he regularly speaks to, is the mobile’s assistant app. He wakes up early in the morning and goes through everything according to the schedule. The boss of his company (Dileesh Pothan) is always calling him names in front of his colleagues despite his hardwork, and he lives his life according to calculations, drinking the maximum amount of water and even making sure that he goes to the urinal frequently according to plan. He has no friends and no love, and he is always busy, and when he is not busy, he is just asleep at night. If he ever gets any time to do anything, he dedicates those moments for studying too, and he has special interest in studies regarding astronomy. He has declared himself cent percent against having fun because it is of absolutely no use.

So, what happens next? :: His father and college professor Shekharan (Renji Panicker) is too worried about the same, and therefore contacts his son’s former best friends from college, Rexy Joseph (Sharafudheen) and Jyothish Narayanan (Vinayakan) whom he had himself evicted from the institution to make sure that Gautham wouldn’t be friends with the boys whom he found worthless and making nuisance. The two old friends are not that fond of their former enemy calling them, but decides to have the free alcohol and chooses to help their old friend with whom they had their best moments in life. They are joined by the third person, Shoubahn Khader (Vinay Forrt) who was the fourth member of their gang which used to be called Role Models during their time at the college. The group, along with the mischief making girl Christy (Srinda Ashab) used to create head ache for everyone in the college especially Gautam’s parents who taught there.

And what is to follow with the adventure? :: The three old friends are shocked to see the attitude of their former best friend towards life, as he had changed so much. He seemed to be exactly the opposite of all that he used to be. They try many things to get him back to be the happy and loving person that he used to be, including alcohol, friendship, and even misunderstanding Christy as his lost love from college. But then, they come to know that the real love of Gautham was Shreya Menon (Namitha Pramod), a girl who was more of an all-rounder, present everywhere, but stayed away from becoming a big name. Their search for her lands them in Goa, where she is a changed person. She is happy to see her old friends, but how will they make sure that Gautham can win his love back? Is there any chance for them to have their old friend back in the way that he used to be?

The defence of Role Models :: There are some nice jokes with which the movie begins – it has that kind of a cast with great comic timing, which improves the level, and keep striving for something better in that department. We have them coming quick and steady in the first half, and the trio handling the same never backs down from doing it. “Thechille Penne” song is nice, but you do feel that should have had more relevance in the movie. The movie also has some messages, even though we are not clear which of them needs to get our attention the most. We would figure out that it is more about parenting than any other. It is good to focus on the significance of parents supporting the children in studying what they really want to – almost every time, the father is the culprit, and due to this attitude of the parents and relatives, the youth are transformed into creatures that should just study for scoring high marks, get a good job with big salary and get married to someone rich and of high family value. Well, the movie does end on a good note despite the confusion. A cameo also arrives in the end nicely, but one has to wonder if it was there because there was no other idea available.

The claws of flaw :: Never does Role Models tries to overcome the limitations which it had put on itself, with not thinking much about the story and how it is told with the entertaining elements. The movie just goes on as if it is walking through sleep, as some characters and some incidents are there just for the sake of being there. Fahad’s action scenes were rather useless, and bringing that certain disorder and making it chaos was certainly a real bad idea. If the same was necessary for the makers to do, they could have at least made things more interesting, and presented in a smart manner. The audience often wonders where the movie is actually heading with so many things added as if they are taken from different movies. You feel that with Fahadh Faasil playing a character reminding you of the same in North 24 Kaatham will make things that good, but this one which has its own confusion running through, never becomes something close to that awesome flick which was critically acclaimed. A divergent movie is fair when it uses the divergence to the best effect, the movie makers should have remembered that.

Performers of the soul :: Once again, Fahadh Faasil makes this seem so easy, as he does his character’s both stages with such an ease that we wonder how he is there to make things better for even the least interesting movie. Keeping on rising with Maheshinte Prathikaaram and Take Off, this one will not be another big movie, but his performance is as usual, to be noted; signs were there in that song which became instantly popular. Sharafudheen-Vinayakan-Vinay Forrt combo is also nothing short of a nice call for laughter, and we have them executing the same really well. The friends just makes things so much better. It is also good to see Namitha Pramod back after Adi Kapyare Kootamani and Amar Akbar Anthony – she gets two times of the character’s life here. Srinda has an interesting and funny role too, after Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Adventures of Omanakuttan this year. Meanwhile, Renji Panicker is left with not much interesting to do and Suraj is rather wasted in this role.

How it finishes :: It is surprising how close to each other are the three Malayalam movie releases for the Eid holidays, starting from Avarude Raavukal, going through Oru Cinemakkaran and now standing at Role Models. All three of them released on consecutive dates, and are in quality, quite close to each other. They do provide a mixture of genres, and has the comic side as the one fueling everything right from the beginning, and there are twists in store in each of them. Is it a co-incidence that we have all these movies so similar to each other, and those watching it can only give them ratings so close to each other? Well, when Godha, Adventures of Omanakuttan and Achayans had released, all three of them were so different from each other, and we couldn’t consider them to be on the same level. Well, we have regular entertainment in store here for the festival season as Role Models becomes the third movie to release on the third day.

Release date: 25th June 2017
Running time: 131 minutes
Directed by: Rafi
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Namitha Pramod, Vinayakan, Srinda Ashab, Sharafudheen, Rohini, Seetha, Vinay Forrt, Renji Panicker, Suraj Venjarammood, Aswathi Menon, Dileesh Pothan, Siddique, Bibin George, Harisree Ashokan (cameo)

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol

munthirivallikalthalirkkumbol

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of Ulahannan (Mohanlal), his wife Anniyamma (Meena), and their two children, Jini (Aima Rosmy Sebastian) and Jerry (Sanoop Santhosh). Ulahannan is the Panchayath Secretary at a nearby village, and is living in a housing colony where his best friends are Venu (Anoop Menon), Jacob (Alencier Ley Lopez) and Monai (Kalabhavan Shajohn). He is extremely bored with his life, and his only relief remains the time he spends with his good friends having some alcohol. Each and every day in his life remains the same, as he just goes to work, returns home, and goes to sleep after having some drinks and food. He keeps minimum relationship with his family, especially his wife who often wonders if he knows that she exists. He still has a respectable position in the society due to his job and the serious character.

So, what happens next? :: With his friend Venu having relationships with many other girls on phone without his wife Latha (Srinda Ashab) knowing about it, Ulahannan also looks forward to such a relationship, with Julie (Neha Saxena). With her husband Augustine (Suresh Krishna) working abroad, she has been looking forward to begin a beauty parlour for women and kids, and she asks for help from Ulahannan as he is the panchayath secretary. Seeing his old romantic interest Indu (Asha Sarath) only makes him wish for more romance and become the one person he used to be. But one day, as he sees Anniyamma at the church, he realises that he has been wrong all the time – it was never about loving someone else to reclaim the romance, but it was better to love one’s own wife better. With one phone call, things begin to change for Ulahannan.

Where are things heading for? :: So, they finally end up finding the lost romance and everyone seems to be happy about that. This leads to the family ties getting a lot better. Ulahannan has problems at the office with the corrupt politicians including the former Panchayat president Chalakan (Sudheer Karamana) and the current president Thilothaman (Suraj Venjaramood), which he deals with easily. His friend Venu, who is less interested in his own wife Latha, also learns things the hard way after meeting with an accident. There is one question that remains – with changes in the parents’ relationship for the better, how will it affect the lives of the children? With Jini seeming to be very much attracted to a boy whom she only knows through Facebook, what message will the father and mother be able to provide her with?

The defence of Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol :: A treat for the families, this flick is a lot believable one as far as the common audience is concerned. The happenings in this movie are simple and enjoyable, and we get to see all things dealt with, in a realistic way. There are also some nice comedy moments in this one, and there is also the feel-good factor with which the movie finishes. The message that this movie leaves on with, is also nothing less than beautiful and applicable to our times. Even as this is a family drama flick, there is nothing like the possible melodrama in this one too. The movie is certainly in control of the emotions and keeps them in control to make sure that we have that nice feeling throughout the run here. The second half is also superior to the first, and there is that fine finish in this flick which will make sure that we leave the theatre with a smile of satisfaction on our faces, and it is a real boost for the families.

Claws of flaw :: There is a certain amount of drag in the first half of the movie, especially in the beginning. It is really tough to go through the first moments when the protagonist tries to find love outside his family – it is rather unnecessary and stretched beyond the needs even for those with very less imagination. The character called Julie is added without any good purpose, for Neha Saxena is to this movie, what Namitha was to Pulimurugan – an extra addition which will make the family audience feel strange, and others understand the meaningless of the same – still, one can safely say that this is a better movie than Oppam and Pulimurugan. There is also too much alcohol in this one, and the little moments of unnecessary heroism – something which doesn’t add that much of humour or style as one would expect. The songs are not that good, except for “Punnamadakayal” which does give the better feeling even with the thought that we have seen and heard this before.

Performers of the soul :: You see Mohanlal, as expected, leading the way here in his usual style, as everything related to the character has us interested. With a heavy chance of bringing a third big success in a row, he brings that side of him, which will appeal to the family audience more than anything else – it raises the bar above Oppam and Pulimurugan with its realistic treatment relating it to the common man’s life. Along with the same, we are always glad to have Meena pair up with Mohanlal, and she brings life to those interesting moments in a family. Another thing that you will love about this movie is the trio of Alencier Ley Lopez, Kalabhavan Shajohn and Anoop Menon who plays the best friends of the protagonist – they surely have the best moments of fun in store here. You will also get to see how good Aima Rosmy Sebastian is, as she gets more to do compared to her previous work in Jacobinte Swargarajyam. Srinda Ashab also moves out of the role which seemed to be becoming a stereotype, and Rahul Madhav’s short stay is memorable. Suresh Krishna also has once nice funny situation.

How it finishes :: It has been a long break from Malayalam movies as far as the fans are concerned. They have been waiting for so long for another movie, but due to the protests, nothing really came up – only those English, Hindi and Tamil movies score in between. Now, with Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol and Jomonte Suvisheshangal having arrived, we are truly back to the movie world. We missed so many of them during the Christmas season, and with Ezra, Fukri and Georgettan’s Pooram also ready to release, we are sure to have some more treat. Among all these movies, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is sure to have a prominent place, as it is certainly something which will be taken over by the family audience, and Mohanlal is certain to make it three out of three with Oppam, Pulimurugan, and this one from the director of the big surprise hit, Vellimoonga. After watching this movie, let us hope that everyone also feels that “my life is my wife”, and also that “family is everything” – a lot of people need inspiration to love their own, don’t they?

Release date: 20th January 2017
Running time: 154 minutes
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Mohanlal, Meena, Aima Rosmy Sebastian, Sanoop Santhosh, Anoop Menon, Srinda Ashab, Alencier Ley Lopez, Kalabhavan Shajohn, Reshmi Boban, Bindu Panicker, Lishoy, Suraj Venjaramood, Sudheer Karamana, Sharafudheen, Neha Saxena, Rajesh Paravoor, Suresh Krishna, Rahul Madhav, Ganapathi, Sohan Seenulal, Meghanathan, Joy Mathew, K. L. Antony Kochi, Leena Antony, Asha Sarath (cameo), Sasi Kalinga (cameo)

munthirivallikalthalirkkumboll

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Two Countries

twocountries (2)

Vampire Owl :: So, which are these two countries? Are they from the time of the World Wars, the Hundred Years’ War, the Thirty Years’ War or the Cold War?

Vampire Bat :: The two countries are India and Canada. But this movie has a more funny side to the title. It says “the story of two country fellas”.

Vampire Owl :: So, it redirects towards the characters and their special qualities. There are two ways of saying it then, I see.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, and do not think on the lines of 2 States.

Vampire Owl :: Well, Dileep has returned to the kind of roles which work for the real family audience, and so, this should be an interesting watch.

Vampire Bat :: I hope for something on the lines of Marykkundoru Kunjaadu, Thommanum Makkalum, Kalyanaraman, and Pulival Kalyanam which were from the same director.

Vampire Owl :: And Dileep and Mamta Mohandas unites for a movie once again years after My Boss.

Vampire Bat :: And it will be some Christmas fun.

Vampire Owl :: Yes, we couldn’t go for a movie yesterday and we will try to make sure that the celebrations get better with this one.

Vampire Bat :: It is all that we will do on this day!

[Gets the tickets with some cheese popcorn].

What is the movie about? :: Ullas (Dileep) is one of the jobless people who wander around his hometown doing some business or indulging in some other activity. His best friend is Avinash (Aju Varghese) who is part of most his adventures and ends up in trouble because of Ullas. Most of the things which they work on, never really bring anything positive; it is not just about business. As they take huge loans from a man at Fort Cochin (Makarand Deshpande), Ullas decides to marry his daughter Simran (Isha Talwar) who is on a wheel chair; he finds this an easy path to getting rich. For the same, he sends his elder brother Ujvalan (Jagadish) to speak for his marriage against the wishes of his parents. But things change as another marriage proposal arrives on the scene.

So what is this suddden change of direction in life about? :: The situation changes with the arrival of the proposal of Laya (Mamta Mohandas) to whom Ullas speaks on phone pretending to be someone else. But as she as well as her parents become very much interested in the man on the other side of the phone and the stories which he tells them, she decides to come to Kerala. It turns out that they knew each other from childhood, and Ullas uses this opportunity to pretend that he has always loved her from the time they were kids so that he can fly to Canada as her husband. So, he chooses Laya over Simran, but after marriage, he understands that things are not like he had thought, and his new wife has a lot of problems, with her family being just one of them.

The defence of Two Countries :: There is no shortage of fun in Two Countries, as it is evident from the scene of introduction itself. The comedy shifts to Canada from India, and it only gets better; the story also reaches a better level then. The strength of the movie remains the humour, as most of us expected. There are also some emotional moments which work pretty well. The cast itself becomes a bonus to this movie as the list which begins with Dileep. The best scenes happen at the party, court and friends’ home. It is a nice flick to watch with family, and the youth will also love the fun provided. The visuals of Canada are good too, even though more could have been utilized. It was clear that people in the theatre enjoyed the comedy and the claps were there. This is also a lot better entertainer than the overrated comedy of the year, Amar Akbar Anthony.

Claws of flaw :: The music never really gets to be that good, and the climax seems to be rushed to an end which comes to a solution which the audience wanted rather than finishing it in the right way. A lot of fun is also directed towards the mindless side, even though it is kept enjoyable. There is not that much of a new story here with predictability running high. Some parts of the movie are also half-baked, and one will wonder if the movie used the whole of its premise to its advantage; for this isn’t that much complete as My Boss with its fun. A lot more of comedy would have been here, and the beginning situation is more like what was there in too many movies. With the names Rafi and Shafi involved with this movie, people would have expected even more; this is surely not as good as Marykkundoru Kunjaadu – but it delivers; no doubt about that.

Performers of the soul :: Dileep is once again at his full form here, as he follows the good run after Chandrettan Evideya, Love 24×7 and Life of Josutty. This is also the complete comedy movie which has full fun without overdoing the comic side, a quality which hasn’t been seen since his My Boss in 2012. This is the kind of role which he can go through with ease, and it is once again proven. His support at home is Aju Varghese and the same is provided by Suraj Venjaramoodu in Canada while Mukesh replaces Jagadish in the second half as the brotherly figure away from home; Aju and Suraj are the big comic support here. We missed Mamta Mohandas for too long with her last big role being in Celluloid. She does her character amazingly well; there are not many actresses who can do this type of comedy so well. Isha Talwar has a small role, and Srinda Ashab just supports in bringing the fun.

How it finishes :: With the support going on to Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Asokan and Vinaya Prasad, this one brings Canada into the picture, a change from Life of Josutty which had the heroine based in New Zealand and My Boss which had the heroine as an Australian citizen; it is a welcome variation as there is no journey to United States and United Kingdom here either, which would have been the usual choices. Among the Christmas movies, Two Countries is sure to have a nice status, as it should appeal to different kinds of audience. As it seems, Christmas seems to be a blast with Jo and the Boy, Adi Kapyare Koottamani and Charlie also getting good opinions. Two Countries is surely going to entertain you, and the reviews about this have also been positive! The time period between Christmas and New Year will shine for the Keralite audience; no doubt.

Release date: 25th December 2015
Running time: 155 minutes
Directed by: Shafi
Starring: Dileep, Mamta Mohandas, Aju Varghese, Mukesh, Isha Talwar, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Srinda Ashab, Jagadish, Vijayaraghavan, Lena Abhilash, Makarand Deshpande, Asokan, Vinaya Prasad, Riyaz Khan, Ajmal Ameer, Rafi, Hareesh, Carrie Marston, Megan Weckwerth, Eldon Hunter

twocountries

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Rani Padmini

ranipadmini (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rainpadmini

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Amar Akbar Anthony

amarakbaranthony (2)

Vampire Owl :: Are we using the time machine this time?

Vampire Bat :: I don’t understand what you are talking about.

Vampire Owl :: You wanted to watch a Bollywood movie of 1977 in the theatre. It would require a time machine.

Vampire Bat :: I am talking about the Malayalam movie of 2015 with the same name.

Vampire Owl :: That is actually strange because Amar Akbar Anthony was already remade in Malayalam as John Jaffer Janardhanan starring Ratheesh, Ravindran and Mammootty.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but this is not a remake, but a new story which goes full comedy.

Vampire Owl :: It is a strange title then. With a new story, this name of the movie makes me wonder about the possible reason behind such a choice.

Vampire Bat :: Even the name Jenny makes it to this movie.

Vampire Owl :: I need to consult my zombie minions on this.

Vampire Bat :: Well, this is from Nadirshah, and I am sure that he knows the pulse of the common audience.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of three young men who hope to go to Pattaya and enjoy the pleasures of life. These three men Amarnath (Prithviraj Sukumaran), Akbar (Jayasurya) and Anthony (Indrajith Sukumaran) focus on this one aim while their families hope that they do something for home instead. They keep wandering behind one beautiful lady of the locality, Jenny (Namitha Pramod) without any shame. They have a sister figure in the form of Resmiya (Srinda Ashab). With their parents asking them to become good men like their young neighbour Unni (Ramesh Pisharody), all these three men are looking for is to escape from their current situation. For the same, some time in Thailand seems to be the best option for them. But situations keep delaying their journey all the time.

The defence of Amar Akbar Anthony :: The performances from the three actors remain the big highlight of this movie. Most of the jokes are working, especially when involving these three, and the fans will love them. The best of them includes the dialogues like [indirect translation] “Can we have revenge tomorrow?”, “Its just what people say, I don’t know English at all” [/indirect translation] and the jokes related to their way of life, even though jokes related to drinking and Facebook are repetitive. There is also a message coming in the end, and even though it is not complete, there is something positive about it. The debutante director deserves the applause too, making something out this which could have gone awry without these performances and the way of presentation. Even if it isn’t really Kunjiramayanam with bringing laughter, this is the kind of thing which should attract the mass audience, the fans and the new generation youth. It provides the time-pass.

Claws of flaw :: There is nothing special related to the naming of the characters here. Even if they were with even stranger names, or belonged to a religion which is not known, it wouldn’t have mattered. Those who think that it would have any relation with the 1977 popular Bollywood movie with the same name are going to be disappointed. It was actually a chance to connect that is missed here. A lot of jokes are not really funny, and at times, the quality is significantly reduced. The songs were not really there to make an impact; they will just appeal to the big fans. The movie does deviate from its path in the end too, and this change of direction could have actually arrived a lot earlier, with some unnecessary jokes avoided. The slow motion action sequences in the end also negatively contribute to the movie. The message which comes too late could have also been provided in a better way. The story struggles in totality, and the twists are without effect.

Performers of the soul :: The pick of the movie is indeed Indrajith Sukumaran who brings the funniest scenes to us. There is something about him in this movie, and may be this character suited him very well even before the shooting ever started! Then there is Jayasurya who has handled his comic role with terrific control. Prithviraj has improved a lot from his comedy flicks like Teja Bhai and Family, and at moments he makes the biggest impact. The trio makes sure that this movie and its comedy works very well. Namitha Pramod is the biggest disappointment of this movie, and it is so wrong that she is made to play a character who has almost no memorable dialogue – it is a character which would have worked even if nobody played that role. They could have managed this character without even showing the lady! The twist involving her is also clearly a waste of time. She is the female lead, and she is given nothing – it is disappointing.

Further Performers of the soul :: But the good thing is that Srinda Ashab has a more serious role here, but she also has less screen presence because the whole thing is about the three main characters. Baby Meenakshi does a nice and cute job. Among the other female characters, K. P. A. C. Lalitha plays Prithviraj’s mother making the biggest impact followed by Bindu Panicker. Pashanam Shaji has his moments, but some jokes do fo overboard. Asif Ali’s guest appearance is memorable. Meanwhile, Kalabhavan Shajon’s character also goes nowhere, even though the beginning had him at a better status. Akanksha Puri and Mareena Michael Kurisingal makes small appearances as the former lovers of Prithviraj and Indrajith respectively, and Mareena is actually part of two of the funniest moments of the movie. Siddique also makes his small appearance memorable. Ramesh Pisharody nicely does his job too.

How it finishes :: This movie has surely worked with the common audience because of the humour, and one can thank Nadirshah’s display of skills with his first ever directorial venture and also with the three men whom he selected to play the lead roles. A blockbuster status is there to be taken. There is still some disappointment left with how much better the movie could have handled its message; for the social issue could have been worked with in a better way, and it could have been less mindless. There is a lot more which Amar Akbar Anthony could have achieved with some more care. I have a dream, that one day the makers will realize that slow motion action sequences are not fair to the audience, no matter how much the fans will admire them, and I also wish that when bringing a social issue to light, it comes early and with the strength which makes it stay above the rest of the movie! For those who are looking for seriousness and not entertainment, there is Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi.

Release date: 16th October 2015
Running time: 142 minutes
Directed by: Nadirshah
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Indrajith Sukumaran, Jayasurya, Kalabhavan Shajon, Namitha Pramod, Srinda Ashab, Baby Meenakshi, V. K. Sreeraman, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Bindu Panicker, Ramesh Pisharody, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Pradeep Kottayam, Sasi Kalinga, Abu Salim, Pashanam Shaji, Thesni Khan, Siddique, Asif Ali (cameo), Akanksha Puri (cameo), Mareena Michael Kurisingal (cameo)

amarakbarantony

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kunjiramayanam

Kunjiramayanam (1)

What is it about? :: Kunjiraman (Vineeth Sreenivasan) and Laalu (Dhyan Sreenivasan) are cousin-brothers who have turned out to be enemies, as one incident changes their lives forever. While the former leaves to the Middle East to make money, the latter keep failing the tenth standard and ends up as being the assistant of the village’s tailor, Kuttan (Aju Varghese). Along his friends Sasi (Deepak Parambol) and Kunjoottan (Neeraj Madhav), Kunjiraman has a fun-filled time during his holidays from the Middle East and gets engaged to Sajitha (Srinda Ashab) who makes him promise that he will not drink, ever. Before the marriage date, he would leave for his job only to return and find the situation different. Meanwhile, Mallika (Arya Rohit) and Reshma (Sneha Unnikrishnan) also will have some say in his future, as well as that of Laalu.

The defence of Kunjiramayanam :: It is easy to defend this movie as we did for Vellimoonga as the soul of both is in light-hearted, clean comedy. But the similarities end there, in the way of approaching the comic side and making it interesting and appealing for the family audience. The movie creates that kind of situations which has the ability to evoke laughter without second thoughts. The song Salsa is an amazing addition to this movie, and gives us the idea what to expect. It might be one of the funniest and the most catchy songs of recent times, and if you watch the movie, you will understand its relevance better. It is the master idea, and all the characters shown in the song come together here – to be frank, there is no real hero in this movie as all of them contributes in a similar manner with only slight variations in the degree.

Claws of flaw :: It is not in the story that the movie tries to assert its strength, and due to the same, there is nothing much there if you look at it. If you are searching for logic all the time, you shouldn’t be here either; but if you look for smartness in film-making, it is right here; of which reflections are strong. The movie also doesn’t begin that well or ends that nice as one would expect considering the middle part. I would have wished for a more feel-good ending rather than the somewhat funny one. In a movie which has this kind of a setting, the upstanding use of robust feel-good factor could have been not just a gemstone, but the Philosopher’s Stone for the totality which would have in return, made the rating better. The situations created in this movie are not all right there with the requisite strength, but stands the test of time due to the execution and the performances of the actors.

Performers of the soul :: There is no particular hero in this movie, if you look at it. Yes, the central character is played by Vineeth Sreenivasan and his Kunjiraman the is part of the title too. The movie’s ability to create laughter has been shared here, and so is the whole plot. As the titular hero spends a lot of his time not being part of his village, the others are forced to take control, and this radical transposition of control surprisingly brings the equilibrium. This transfered control from Vineeth in full form is taken over by a team of actors who handles the comic side amazingly well. Consider the senior actor himself, Mamukkoya who has some of the most memorable dialogues in this movie, and the biggest of them is related to death, and there is the veteran hitting the Bull’s Eye.

More performers of the soul :: Among the young faces, Aju Varghese is once again the biggest asset; he was restricted to a very small presence in Jamna Pyari, but he is here, making full impact. He is the heart of the comic side, and his best moment is related to the night before the marriage of the character played by Sneha Unnikrishnan – she has also done a small, but impressively funny job in what I believe to be her second movie. You can’t forget his moment with the crow either, as you might have seen in the Salsa song – it is also mostly his song. Neeraj Madhav and Deepak Parambol basically shares their glory; they work together really well – these two with Aju got the comic side to the perfect strength; add Bijukuttan to it and you have no reason not to laugh.

Further performers of the soul :: With all of them doing their jobs so well and Vineeth Sreenivasan reminding us of some of those nice and funny characters played by his father, we have Dhyan Sreenivasan doing a fair job – I am sure that I liked him a lot better in Thira; he is still a lot of fun here, and got some hilarious moments. Biju Menon’s voice introduces the characters and he as well as Rimi Tomy has smaller appearances in this movie. Srinda Ashab has her moments of laughter, but she is only repeating what she has already done. Arya has a smaller role too, but her presence makes three heroines here. Sneha is the more charming one among the three because the comic side takes a little bit too much of the rest. Well, they don’t even show the most significant female character for most of the movie and keeps it as a surprise!

How it finishes :: I am not the one to talk about collections right now, because the certainty is only in the fact that Kunjiramayanam is the movie to win the hearts with its light-hearted comedy for the family audience. It basically has two things which it converts into its comic side, and they are alcohol and marriage – they have also kept these things in control. Well, we can be sure that Basil Joseph is a director with a lot of skill right there, as we notice what he has created through this movie which had to fight bigger flicks during this Onam, starting from the most awaited Loham itself – may this debut be the stepping stone to the heights which are waiting for him. Once again, I wish you Happy Onam as the festival season fades away!

Release date: 28th August 2015
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Basil Joseph
Starring: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Dhyan Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Arya Rohit, Neeraj Madhav, Bijukuttan, Sneha Unnikrishnan, Srinda Ashab, Mamukkoya, Deepak Parambol, Sudheer Karamana, Indrans, Seema G Nair, Sasi Kalinga, Biju Menon (cameo), Rimi Tomy (cameo)

kunjiramayanam

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

North 24 Kaatham

north24kaatham (1)

This is one of the gifts from Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) as I am concerned. No, they didn’t produce this ticket, but a powercut had me going to the theatres. If you wonder if it was the first time, the answer should be no.  And yes, I liked the movie, and there was no reason not to. If any of you don’t like it, I have to say that I don’t write for you. Yes, I write what I find and what I feel; now that wasn’t really a surprise. Well, unlike the fanboys’ stuff like Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, North 24 Kaatham has more soul than most of those movies out there, yes this blog itself is about the movies of the soul, and if you do not possess a soul or intellect enough to respect others’ opinions, why bother reading reviews when you know that you shall come up with a different opinion than the reviewer? Except for the fans whose opinions are fixed, I would like to believe that there is hope for Malayalam movies. Well, there is no bigger evil than people who do not respect the opinions of others, and I have to say that some of them don’t even know what an opinion means, and it is disappointing in this world.

You evil ones are lesser in number this time, as the critics as well as each and every one in the theatre liked this movie and clapped. So, I am going to be very clear about this one. I have more reasons to like this one than a leading actor and a leading actress who can act. Before that, let me tell the good people among you and the others motivated by self-interest with willing distrust of human (or bat) sincerity, on what goes on in this movie. It is the story of Hari (Fahadh Faasil), a genius computer programmer who is hated by his colleagues due to his lack of social interaction, over-cleanliness and the seemingly hostile attitude to most of the things. He is that kind of a person who hasn’t even gone outside his city, living with a fear of travel. But he is forced to go on a journey as part of his job, and on a day of harthal, he is caught in the middle of a world which he is not familiar with. He is caught up with two other people (Nedumudi Venu and Swati Reddy) and he joins them on their journey, and on the way, he changes his attitude towards life and by the end of the journey, he is a changed man.

I know what kind of questions the evil world can come up with. It might be about the change in the protagonist, but I would say it is clearly a believable change, if not incredibly perfect to the core, but even that wouldn’t be acceptable to the new generation fans. Our protagonist was never a bad man, and nothing has changed in his soul if we look at him. He surely might have had his share of psychological problems, but as a good person, through a few incidents, he realizes his mistakes. Remember how one major psychological problem was solved by one major incident in Manichitrathazhu? This is actually not that much of a problem, for Hari had the right to live in his world as much as anybody else, which is why I say that change is a change only on the surface, and therefore it is nothing for which you have to push a huge stone to the top of a mountain and jump into water with the same stone tied around your neck. Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi was based on selfishness, just like Annayum Rasoolum. But this movie has a lot of goodness in it, and therefore try to enjoy the little things which give the good people happiness rather than be evil and go on a meaningless trip leaving your family behind, for life is reclaimed by goodness and the joy of art and literature alone, and not by having fun, sorry hedonists.

Fahadh Faasil gives a brilliant performance yet again, and yes I was so disappointed with his Olipporu that I couldn’t watch his critically well-received movie Artist, and D Company again let me down. But even with so much less dialogues, he scores and raises the level of this movie with his co-star from one of the movies of the year Amen. Yes, I am talking about the wonderfully talented, charming lady lead that we have got here, Swati Reddy. She plays a modern social worker, wearing a hood and shortening her name Narayani as Nani. She continues her good run in the Malayalam movie industry even as this is an entirely different role from her earlier debut in Malayalam this year. Even as Fahadh is the centre of attraction in this movie, she is charm, and the way in which both of them contradict each other brightens each other, as much as the black and white compliments each other, like no grey character could have ever did, and please note that this black and white doesn’t stand for evil and good, for that age has disappeared. Like Solomon and Sosanna, here is Hari and Narayani, but I would wonder myself if such a romantic side was forced, still a better love story than Annayum Rasoolum and a better travel story than Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi.

The performance by our own veteran actor Nedumudi Venu is another highlight, for he plays the third person in their gang of lost people on the day of harthal. How can I praise someone who is beyond the same? That leaves us with the factor that lies under what seems to be an ordinary plot. It is the social message which worked just the opposite in Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi. Here, it is perfectly done. It is a powerful message against harthal and labelling people as not belonging to the group. There is the trouble of harthal and the condition of the roads that are alluded in the movie. Well, the question remains if Hari needed to change, for he was always good, hardworking and doing what he felt was right. Who would know the minds of the others who surrounded them? Well, it shows how important it is to display your inner goodness or pretend to be caring like some of those devils with human masks do, or the society shall keep you at a pterosaur’s wings apart. It shows how society doesn’t like people who are different, but Hari’s difference in the end is the kind of change that society likes – there lies the biggest paradox of man as a social animal.

As Fahadh plays a much misunderstood man with no heroic quality in him other than goodness, there is that deconstruction of the hero image which the fans would love to identify with. Swati’s character take over some traits of that heroism, and I would guess that a few wouldn’t like this reversal of roles. As Swati’s character makes it her responsiblity to get the old man home safe, Fahadh’s character take the smaller role of accompanying them. The heroism is attributed to the lady here, and in that case, Swati Reddy plays another Sosanna of Amen who fights for her aim, instead of Solomon. She helps the old man out of the train and Hari into the bus, a moment of visible shock in the faces of both. She leads the journey even when Hari keeps moving on the front. The people they meet on the way are presented with their own shades of grey, some of them closer to white and the others close enough to black. They are all down to earth just like the plot of the movie. This feel good movie doesn’t have that new generation add-ons and neither does it has any action sequence; therefore it is a good movie which reflects the goodness of Onam and the right movie for the season.

In a life which is consistently plagued by death, our celebration of life should come from doing the right thing from within our limitations, and not by the unruly “Carpe diem” behaviour. We have such a short life, that is for sure; but living that with a selfish motive of maximum pleasure being the only intrinsic good is not something to be recommended. North 24 Kaatham nullifies the “travel for pleasure philosophy” of Neelakasham Pacha Kadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and uses the “goodness of a travel philosophy” which is much needed in our age. Why do I talk like this?  Because I have travelled with someone, a stranger who didn’t know the local language and made sure that he got home, not this much of a long and interesting story, but I have done what I could on multiple occasions even as I am becoming more skeptic every day – this is our own story, with its own add-ons.  Well, the movie is funny, innovative and thought provoking all at the same time. What more do you need? What more should a debutant director provide you with? If it still, doesn’t touch our heart enough, we are not human enough, and we have no soul within us. It is not old, but it still glitters like gold, and entertains us with its righteousness and the realization like in the 2007 Hollywood movie Evan Almighty, that “the way to change the world is by doing one Act of Random Kindness”. By the end of the day, we are all heroes, not just someone who is born heroic or rises to heroism due to his nobility; thank you dear director.

Release date: 15th September 2013
Running time: 125 minutes
Directed by: Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Swati Reddy, Nedumudi Venu, Sreenath Bhasi, Premgi Amaren, Srinda Ashab, Chemban Vinod Jose, Salaam Bukhari

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