Mili

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What is it about? :: Mili Nair (Amala Paul) is a girl who has underachieved throughout her life and has developed a certain amount of inferiority complex about not living up-to the expectations. Being a high level introvert and never having even one real friend, Mili is disliked by her room mates in the hostel, the group of three lead by Renuka Menon (Shamna Kasim) who hates her, and the other two Shelly (Swapna Menon) and Raji (Sija Rose) who feel irritated by her behaviour. Her only two means of happiness are the day-care where she works and the sisterly relationship with Nancy (Praveena). But one day, she is forced to leave her job, and the guy whom she has a crush on, seems to be in a relationship with Renuka. She is highly disappointed and thinks about suicide, but Nancy’s brother Naveen (Nivin Pauly) helps her, and after bring introduced to the friends circle of Anupama (Sanusha Santhosh), her life gets a twist or two as she finds the strength within her.

The defence of Mili :: Here is a movie with so much strength to make you feel and directly go through that path of the protagonist who becomes a kind of answer to Bollywood’s Queen, even as this won’t have that much of good reviews, because three out of five is what awesome Malayalam movies can get from the critics here. I would actually consider this movie better than Queen and also Highway with its empowerment of the central female character. It is also better than the last year’s Malayalam flick How Old Are You are which was less realistic and had a protagonist was too talented that what she comes up with is no real surprise. Meanwhile, Mili has the rise of the real subaltern who comes out of her problems which go back to her childhood and rise like the real queen. Mili is a completely realistic movie, and its incidents and emotions connect directly to the audience. Cheers to Gopi Sunder and Shaan Rahman for the highly effective music too.

Positives and Negatives :: The movie is a straight take on its content, even as it is an ordinary story in its base. There are some silly moments in the beginning which might have been meant to bring some fun there. May be Mili should have been shown as “just another introvert” or with a further clear background. Well, the movie touches you and it shakes your heart with its emotional power. “Manpaatha Neettunna Mohangale” is a bloody good song, and when heard in relation to the movie is a wonderful experience, something that makes you feel the power of the journey of the protagonist, as long as you have a heart with enough of empathy. It is a stake through the heart, but is something of exhilaration on one end. The movie ends with a speech which is the soul of the movie, and it is up-to you to decide if you want it in the end. But the power of the final words cannot be questioned as it is incredibly strong and the return of that song in the end is a remarkable addition to the emotional strength of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is impressive in its characterization, and it is reflected in the performances of the actors. Mili’s character goes through a great path, right from the awesome child actor to the amazing performance from Amala Paul who has undoubtedly managed her best in Malayalam with this one protagonist. It is nothing other than inconceivable bliss to watch her as Mili. Here is she acting without make-up and making it work in an amazing way. Nivin Pauly gives a great support, and him doing this role in a heroine-centred role is worth an applause. Sai Kumar is also very good; the same can be said about Praveena. One thing that is to be noticed is the presence and the nice support of the young actresses in this movie, starting with Sanusha Santhosh about whom we are well aware of, and has already left her mark. The others including the better known Shamna Kasim and the rest of the list having Sija Rose, Swapna Menon and Soumya Sadanandan makes us realize that Malayalam movie industry has so much power in its core for years to come.

Soul exploration :: It is clear that some people are not able to be inspired by Mili and can’t like it. I can understand that. It is mainly because of their inability to connect with those who have problems in their life. May be they are hundred percent extroverts or some who were born with silver spoons in their mouth, or those who had a very easy path throughout their lives. They might be big genius people who knows everything. But for us others, who can connect easily with a person having troubles, this movie is a big thing. May be some people don’t need to be motivated because they are so awesome, but I am really motivated with this, as I know my weaknesses. It is okay that some people can’t connect with people having problems, but I can. May be it is because I am not that good, and the positive thing about that is that I can surely feel the power of motivation that is present in this movie. I am an introvert, a proud introvert – and I feel the pain and the abiding inspiration. Let me tell you something about Mili – she remains the introvert even in the end, but a confident one.

How it finishes :: You can read my earlier preview and expectations about this movie here: (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/introvert-queen). But I have a request; it is that if you can’t relate to the feelings of someone who has a behaviour problem and with people having any trouble with being “normal”, don’t watch this movie. If you think that people who are different are idiots and don’t deserve anything, please stay with your higher level of people. If you think that getting high scores in exams and getting a big job with a high salary are the only things that matter in your life, please stick to the great people who have managed to do so. Mili is for people who have empathy, and it is not for those who take pride only in one’s own achievements by degrading others. Mili has a few lessons for the parents, not to scold the children for the problems that they couldn’t solve in Mathematics or for the ten marks that they lost in Physics – love your children and teach them to be good, not scoring machines.

A few more words :: The movie ends with the lines from William Wordsworth’s The Rainbow: “the child is father of the man”, and you ask yourself; how can that not be true? The other name of the poem is My Heart Leaps Up – hope that gives you a clue. Romanticism never seems to leave me. Mili has a lot for women, introverts and all the subaltern, with a mighty message to rise. The modern world asks for winners and in the world of competition as the weaker ones are avoided, a good person is the true winner. Society provides us with labels, but it doesn’t reflect the real us. During the movie, I often wondered if Mili is a manifestation of the kindred of my soul’s unexplored side. There are those moments which tunnel through your brain and heart to send shock-waves right through. You have the right not to agree with me, but my rating stands, because I completely follow my mind and heart on this one. I will leave you with one awesome song from the movie.

Release date: 23rd January 2015
Running time: 113 minutes
Directed by: Rajesh Pillai
Starring: Amala Paul, Nivin Pauly, Shamna Kasim, Sanusha Santhosh, Sija Rose, Riya Saira, Praveena, Sai Kumar, Amol Parashar, Vanitha Krishnachandran, Idavela Babu, Anju Aravind, Ambika, Bindu Panicker, Devi Ajith, Baby Nandana, Master Neil Kaushik, Baby Ammu, Sangeetha Mohan, Soumya Sadanandan, Swapna Menon

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Geethanjali

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What is Geethanjali? :: Even as all of us literature students have to answer this with Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, the collection which made him the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the only Indian to win the same so far. But as the Vampire Bat is not alive enough to talk about such great works of Indian literature, he is talking about a movie of the same name, not about the National Film Award-winning Telugu movie of the same name, but the recently released indirect sequel to the masterpiece which was Manichitrathazhu. It once again has Mohanlal as Dr. Sunny Joseph, one of the most loved characters in the Malayalam movie industry. Its been a long time since there was a Mohanlal movie too. Thanks to the hype and the well-made trailer, this became one of the most anticipated releases of the time, even when colliding with the other movies which released during the same weekend – Thira, Insidious: Chapter 2 and Ram-leela.

What is it about? :: There were two twins, Geetha and Anjali (both Keerthy Suresh) (together making the movie Geethanjali – if one of them was Chitra, the movie would have been Chitranjali, like the name of the studio which was used by the film?) and only Anjali is alive now, as the other is supposed to have committed suicide by jumping into the sea – and body not found. Anjali comes back to her home where she lived till her youth after her mother falls down from the terrace and goes into a comma. Her fiancee is also with him, and at the house, she has visions of her dead sister who also loved the same person. The vision of the ghost who seem to try to end her life to keep the lover away from her, makes life uncomfortable for the young lady. The fiancee Anoop (KP Nishan) calls Nakulan (Suresh Gopi) who recommends Dr. Sunny Joseph (Mohan Lal) for the case, but the question remains if the future bride can remain alive or at least in his senses before the man arrives, and if he can solve this mystery before anything horrible happens.

The defence of Geethanjali :: It is hard to defend a movie which has been so much critically panned in a nation where even Krrish 3 gets positive reviews in another corner. Yes, this corner is famous for movies which usually get two or two point five out of five, and this miserly area doesn’t give away much. But let me tell you that Geethanjali scores with its environment, the almost effective scary scenes and the added twist, with the funny elements supporting it quite well. The cinematography helps the movie a lot, and this should be the first visually superior horror movies in Malayalam movie industry. The last good horror movie was Sahasram, released in 2010, starring Suresh Gopi. This doesn’t live up to that either, but the attempt is there, even if not original or with the right flow. Check out for Keerthy Suresh too, as she scores in her first movie – there is something called legacy, and she might be some of the few who might be proving it. There should be no comparisons to Manichitrathazhu though – who compares Dracula or Interview with the Vampire to Twilight? And as Alexander Pope says in Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot: “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”

The claws of flaw :: The worst thing that could happen to this movie is that it released with Thira, which is already a hit as it comes from a man who has cent percent success rate. I can remember that Vineeth Sreenivasan’s Thattathin Marayathu was a hit months before it released. I am also sure about watching it myself. The problem is that the more we praise that one, the more we tend to downgrade this movie. To add to it, there are the copied things, along with the ghost who looks like the daughter of the Avatar guy and The Ring girl. The mirror and the ceiling fan leaks instead of the television and there is a lot of hair like The Grudge. More details about similarities can be found in the details with spoilers section. One can say that the movie tried too much to be like Manichitrathazhu, and there is a big problem, for it can’t be the same as the world has changed and so did a lot of things. People are also looking for something of variety just like the original classic, and more flawless stuff including no small mistakes (like Armenian Orthodox Church cross having Latin inscriptions and there might be quite some concerning the twins).

Performers of the soul :: Mohanlal is the star psychatrist yet again, but this time he has less screen presence, and this surely won’t be the Dr Sunny that we remembers. He makes his entrance just before the second half of the movie, and once he enters, there is a lot of hope being built up – even as he lives up to it with his performance, there is not that much in the story. His combination with Innocent is very good and Swapna Menon is a pleasant surprise and a fine addition to the funny side of the movie. Harisree Ashokan also contributes in a lesser manner to the comic side. Nishan has a weak role, but does the romantic part very well, but not that much in he climax scene where the debutant Keerthy Suresh takes over with a wonderful performance to support the beautiful screen presence. She doesn’t go on to become another beautiful young actress who can’t act – she does incredibly well as the two sisters, too good for a debutant. Well, the beauty gets more than just the pass marks. Its her movie, as she is both the protagonist and the antagonist. Siddique and Nassar provides nice support, and Seema’s role is too limited – Madhu’s character was almost not needed.

Details with spoilers :: The story has so much in common with Nadiya kollappetta Rathri and Chaarulatha, the former was one of my favourites, and this impersonation for love was well performed by Kavya Madhavan and rightly investigated by the character of Suresh Gopi. The latter which was a remake of a 2007 movie Alone, had a lot of things which this movie now has in common. The twins who impersonate and kill for love was told as an investigative thriller in the first case, and as a pure ghost story in the second. The good thing is that they are not conjoined twins like the latter. Our movie has a psychological twist to the same, seemingly attempting to make it just like Manichitrathazhu, and also adding some comedy in between. If you haven’t watched the two movies, this shall be a new experience for you, or if you want to repeat the experience in another way, this movie can help. Those who don’t like the two movies much and don’t want any more of it, might want to skip it though. I felt so from some of the reactions from a few.  This is not going to be remembered in the later days like the well-crafted Devadoothan either.

How it could have been :: This could have been a lot better, there is no doubt about that. The ghost and the supernatural would have been better not shown and not observed by the family other than the girl. The blue ghost could have done better if shown just in the shadows without the support of water and the fallen hair. The sea on one side is a clear negative on a house which formerly made us feel that it is at a remote location on some hill or mountain. The darkness itself could have been an ally to a possible psychological thriller in this one. The songs might have done better if not coming up when not needed. The suspense could have been made more shocking even without the support of deaths. Mohanlal could have made an entry earlier. Overall, there should be no following the policy of the early classic, instead having some life of its own, keeping further distance from the movies which were used as inspirations. I would be surprised if even the C.I.D Moosa sequel can be any good considering the limited imagination involved with making sequels. Meanwhile, a horrible drop for this movie might discourage horror movies in Malayalam, and I am not going to stand that!

Release date: 14th November 2013
Running time: 150 minutes
Directed by: Priyadarshan
Starring: Mohanlal, Keerthy Suresh, KP Nishan, Swapna Menon, Siddique, Innocent, Ganesh Kumar, Nassar, Madhu, Seema, Harisree Ashokan, Chris Gayle Kuttappan, Suresh Gopi (cameo)

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.