Bell Bottom

What is the movie about? :: The movie is set during a time period when India was having rather peaceful moments with Pakistan, even though there were many internal conflicts due to different separatist or terrorist-oriented groups being formed within the country, threatening its unity and integrity. It was also the time period when too many flights were being hijacked, much to the dismay of the Indian Prime Minister of the time, Indira Gandhi (Lara Dutta). The newest flight to be hijacked is Indian Airlines flight IC 691, which left Delhi Airport on a fateful morning with passengers including the women’s Kabbadi team of India. It was also the seventh hijacking in the last five years, and this time, the flight had deviated a long way from its path, and there was no communication. Different departments and organizations keep blaming each other for matters of national security, but the Prime Minister calls for immediate attention. They call up the man who has all the information about hijacking, an analyst, also a RAW agent, Anshul Malhotra (Akshay Kumar), codenamed Bell Bottom.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Anshul also has some personal interest in the cases of hijacking, after being happily married to Radhika Malhotra (Vaani Kapoor), and always trying to clear UPSC with lots of hard work. His mother, Raavie Malhotra (Dolly Ahluwalia) was traveling to Great Britain in an Air India flight which was hijacked and taken to Lahore, Pakistan. Even though there was a negotiation between the two governments and also with the terrorists which led to release of the hostages, but only Raavie came back home dead, and it was reported in television that she died of natural causes. But Anshul never stopped focusing on the hijackings which had happened, as he was chosen as part of RAW. Back to this particular hijacking which seems to lead to a group known as Azaadi Dal, but Agent Bell Bottom is sure that this is the work of ISI, and Pakistan has always wanted something to do with these incidents.

And what else is to follow here with the hijack and the investigations? :: As Agent Bell Bottom has a long past related to all of these investigations, his superior officers are confident about his skills, but when the flight lands at Amritsar airport for a change. But when the airplane takes off from Amritsar and once again lands at Lahore airport, Agent Bell Bottom is once again called for an opinion, and this time, they will have to choose a different path. This time, there has to be that change to make a heavy impact, and also to assure that there will be no more hijackings and releasing of terrorists along with millions of dollars as ransom. But it seems that if negotiations are not allowed in Lahore, the airplane will land somewhere else, in a nation where India will be forced to negotiate. Agent Bell Bottom is prepared for the same though, and he calls of a team for an operation which only Mossad had tried before with some success. But they only have time till the next sunset.

The defence of Bell Bottom :: The movie does make the best use of the time period during which it is set. It is something which seems to be focused on, really well. The makers seem to have done a lot of research and has also done some good work in the recreation. The patriotism at the tip of everything also works well for most of time, and the emotional side works less in comparison. Bell Bottom keeps itself floating because it quickly goes back to where it needs to focus, whenever a deviation is being made. It also quickly leaves the usual Bollywood model to the background, and the same hesitates to make its return, and we end up appreciating the same. The final moments of action are also of fine quality, and even when there was the chance to overdo the same, they never take it – they don’t go that much realistic as Take Off had done, but we know how the paths are different, and therefore we know the choices that the makers have to make. The focus on entertainment makes the fine delivery here.

The claws of flaw :: There are surely those moments which were not needed, and some of the initial moments with emotional touch could have been avoided in a movie like this. The film could have directly gone into action, and the initial moments only seem to try and slow down the action just because a romantic song and a background with a tragedy can be there for long enough to be the motivation for what is to come later. There is also the feeling of watching what we have seen, a number of times. Movies like this one can have its own repetitions, but that has to be kept at the minimum. Some of the plot turns are also rather predictable, and those are not the elements which needed to be added in a film like this which could have used more suspense and bigger twists. In the end, we also see that things are solved rather too easily, instead of having a group of events coming together due to circumstances – films like this one can have bigger brains working behind.

Performers of the soul :: You see Akshay Kumar doing what he has done really well with a few movies in the past which has dealt with similar topics and situations. He had faced similar moments in films like Baby and Airlift, and had done the job with so much of quality related to his work – it is something which suits him really well, and we can always trust him to do this kind of job. He would make a perfect spy in a film like this at any moment. I would prefer to see him in films like these, rather than those comedy movies where he is often placed among some lower quality jokes. Lara Dutta as Indira Gandhi might be the biggest surprise which is in store here, even though we knew it from the trailer, and she blends in really well. Vaani Kapoor’s role is more or less the usual one in which we see the lady leads of Bollywood in a movie like this, and that is done well too. Huma Qureshi also has something to add for shorter period of time.

How it finishes :: Bell Bottom might remind us of some of similar films, but not related to hijacking, but in relation with the covert operations abroad. Most of us were not able to watch this movie in the theatres due to COVID-19 pandemic making the grand return in the form of second wave. This one had released during the Independence Day weekend, and there was also Shershaah on Amazon Prime, which would have been the first preference at that time, because most of the audience have Amazon Prime Video, and not the other options. But as a movie, we can consider Bell Bottom to be the winner of that week as far as Bollywood is considered, even though in the case of Malayalam films, it was Kuruthi rising above every other film. With a touch of patriotism and thrills being always there, it is good to welcome this film to Amazon Prime too, as we are still awaiting the opening of theatres in Kerala, with COVID-19 numbers coming down.

Release date: 19th August 2021 (India), 16th September 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Ranjit M Tewari
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta, Vaani Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Denzil Smith, Adil Hussain, Aniruddh Dave, Thalaivasal Vijay, Dolly Ahluwalia, Mamik Singh, Zain Khan Durrani, Abhijit Lahiri, Sumit Kaul, Sunit Tandon, Jatin Negi, Kavi Raj, Amit Kumar Vashisth, Anjali Dinesh Anand, Ashok Chhabra, Balram Gupta, Girish Sharma, Nitin Khanna, Karim Saidi, Deesh Mariwala, Ahmed Yahya Berrada

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Luca

What is the movie about? :: As part of a case investigation, Police officer Akbar (Nithin George) comes across a diary which goes through the lives of Luca (Tovino Thomas) and Niharika (Ahaana Krishna). Luca is a highly talented artist who makes the best art works out of scrap materials, but is a short-tempered man who lives close to his small circle of friends. He had lost his father at a very young age, and his mother within a few years after that. He has extreme fear of death and dead bodies. Niharika is a research scholar in industrial chemistry who has come to Cochin from Bangalore as part of her research. Half-Malayali and half-Bengali, she has had a troubled childhood, and had lost her father at a very young age. Akbar is very close to divorcing his wife Fathima (Vinitha Koshy), as he is unable to forget his first love Jannet (Neethu Bala) who left him for reasons unknown to him, and is often adviced by his senior officer Jayaraman (Thalaivasal Vijay).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The story goes through the love story of Luca and Niharika as well as the tale of Akbar going through his investigation with the help of his junior officer Aloshy (Anwar Shereef). The friendship and later love of Luca and Niharika develops after latter has a bad opinion about the former’s works, which she changes soon. Later, the two meets again, only to have her move to one of the empty rooms in his house, as she feels safer there. The only two people who are at the home most of the time are those who do the household duties, Martin (Chempil Asokan) and Salomi (Pauly Valsan). Niharika’s uncle Jayaprakash (Srikant Murali) despises her attitude and actions, but as she hates him, things come as no surprise. But there would be a few incidents which would change the lives of Luca and Niharika, but nothing changes regarding love.

The defence of Luca :: There is beauty in every frame of Luca. It is more or less like having a wizard, an overlord of aesthetics at work here, as we see beauty on the big screen, which never gets even close to fading away. We have home which is a work or art by itself, and the presence of rain makes the scenes even more beautiful. At the same time, we see some of those elements which have certain significance in the society, and the role that childhood plays in the lives of people and how it affects them as grown-ups can be seen. The movie is also strong with its emotional moments, especially in the end, as it deals with love in a deeper way rather than what is usually seen on the outside. There are also those moments which are there to stay for now, and we feel that a few things are rather symbolic of something else. The narrative strength of the tale keeps the movie together, and one has to love the way it progresses.

The claws of flaw :: Luca does not become your usual flick about romance. Well, it goes beyond that, and can make Romeo and Juliet feel that they can do better at a few things – it is that kind of love that is deeper that what our common movie watchers can take on. There is also a certain tragedy associated with it, and it stretches a bit with the story. One would also think that the tale could have been better, with a deeper investigation side. The mystery could have unfolded in another way too, and with such visual beauty on the screen, the movie had all it needed to go bigger. There is also that usage of flashback which is a little more than one would want to have. There might have been the feeling that Luca was going to be Charlie, but that didn’t happen, as this one develops its own identity.

The performers of the soul :: Tovino Thomas’ avatar is nothing less than stunning, as we see the character go through the journey of colours. Even though this is not your usual character, he makes his character both lovable and believable, set close to all that defines Kochi Biennale. He is here after three highly appreciated critical and commercial success movies, Virus, Uyare and Lucifer, and this happens to be one fantastic year for him already – we still have half an year to go. Well, the last year was not less grand either, as we had more. Ahaana Krishna hasn’t been there in many movies, and we remember seeing her last in Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela – she has nicely blended in here and has done a fantastic job. She has become the character with ease, and we see her excel in the emotional as well as romantic moments, as she makes a fine combination with Tovino.

Further performers of the soul :: Nithin George who plays the police officer in charge of the investigation comes up with a brilliant performance. He plays the man who lives in his memories, and hopes for answers from the past, and we go on the journey with the character. There is the beauty of serenity in that performance, and the situation that he is in also has us interested. Vinitha Koshy who played the teacher in Aanandam once again has interested in her character. Chempil Asokan and Pauly Valsan makes a perfect pair as the helping hands of the house. Anwar Shereef gives good support as the junior police officer. Jaffer Idukki is there for only a short period of time, and Thalaivasal Vijay only has a little more time with bigger dialogues. Srikant Murali leaves a mark with certain moments. Neethu Bala makes some good impact with one song which she is part of.

How it finishes :: Luca easily gets to the list of the best movies of the year, and it does the same with the love story side rather than getting into some other genre – the investigation and twist are there, but the focus continues to be with the romantic side. With some wonderful music in there, the flick had already caught out attention, and it is one movie which you shouldn’t miss for the beauty on the screen. Along with the same, the socially relevant issues also stays there. As it stands, Luca will continue to stay strong in our theatres. One would wish to watch it again for the emotional content as well as the power of aesthetics, both never backing away from giving the best, just like the actors in there. Have a look at a song from the movie, among the best of the year so far.

Release date: 28th June 2019
Running time: 151 minutes
Directed by: Arun Bose
Starring: Tovino Thomas, Nithin George, Ahaana Krishna, Neethu Bala, Anwar Shereef, Rajesh Sharma, Vinitha Koshy, Sooraj S Kurup, Shalu Rahim, Chempil Asokan, Devi Ajith, Jaffer Idukki, Neena Kurup, Pauly Valsan, Srikant Murali, Thalaivasal Vijay, Raghavan, Hansika Krrishna

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Saaradhi

saaradhi (2)

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

saarathi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.