Finals

What is the movie about? :: Alice Varghese (Rajisha Vijayan) is a cyclist from Kattappana who has evolved to become the national champion under the guidance of his father KP Varghese (Suraaj Venjaramoodu) who has worked as a sports coach in more than one school, and also at his own academy. Varghese is someone who hasn’t achieved much from his career as a trainer, and has all his hopes set on his daughter who is supposed to represent India at the 2020 Summer Olympic at Tokyo from 24 July to 9th August 2020. Before appearing at the event, she is also selected by the National Olympic Committee to have her training in Russia. At the first city in Asia to host the Olympic Games twice, she is supposed to be a clear favourite to gain a medal, finishing far ahead of others in all competitions. Before she leaves for Russia, she hopes to visit her friends and relatives at hometown for the last time, and she returns to Kattappana for the same reason.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: There she meets her childhood friend Manuel Thomas (Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju) one more time. Manuel has been in love with her since school days, and wanted a reply from her for a long time, but she has been evading that question with ease. She visits the school where she studied, after a very long time, and motivates the students there, along with traveling through those places which provides her with a nostalgic feeling. Varghese who has supported the Olympic dream with everything that he had in his life, never really had anything more than that small house, because the dream was the only thing that he lived for. As she makes her return, there is one last race which she will be participating in, before leaving for the Russian training – but there are twists of events that await her, and her loved ones. Fate had a backup plan to bring the twist – well, fate always finds a way, as it would follow here.

The defence of Finals :: The best thing about Finals is that it decides to change its pattern from the usual stuff which has been followed in almost every known sports movie – there would be a sportsperson or a sports team which is facing some kind of trouble, and someone would help the person or the team to rise up to the occasion and win the competition, or at least come close to doing that so that we feel that there would be a victory next year. We have the sportsperson at the top in the beginning itself in this case, and we see what happens later. But the movie is not limited to her, and the neither is it limited to her family or the people around – the world goes further, as there are many issues being discussed despite the budget and the number of big names being so less. There is the corruption and nepotism which are part of sports, which lead to the athletes from the lower strata of the society suffering – except for cricket in which everyone gets something.

Positives and negatives :: Well, it is only when the interval hits you so hard that you realize that there is a big change coming up, making this a very different sports drama – we love both sides of the interval, as each shows something of beauty, and also feeds our emotional so well, along with providing motivation. We can feel those emotions even after we are finished with the movie, a short one lasting only a little more than two hours. The beautiful visuals of the high-ranges also contribute to the same, with some nice songs to go with them. The struggle that the movie shows feels so real, as we know how the athletes other than cricketers are sidelined with ease. The absence of necessities for the other sports-persons, is something that needed attention a long time ago, especially with those games which more than nine or ten nations of the world are interested in playing. One might still feel that this is not the kind of movie they expected from the trailer, but that indeed is the beauty of it.

The performers of the soul :: Rajisha Vijayan is fantastic in a movie which brings more than one face of her, and its a step forward from the State Award winning Anuraga Karikkin Vellam, the two lesser known Georgettan’s Pooram and Oru Cinemakkaran as well as the most recent charming bildungsroman adventure, June. There is deep feeling in her performance, whether in happiness or in grief, whether in determination or in the absence of the same – the emotions can be seen going very deep here, and we are happy to see that she is always one step ahead of the character, with her preparations as well as the final work. The character here is so natural and close to life, further ahead of anything she has played in the past. If Rajisha could’nt pull this off, nobody else could have, and we see that she never struggles in doing the same – she is that good as of now. This could be another award winning performance, and we wouldn’t doubt that.

Further performers of the soul :: Suraaj Venjaramoodu in serious roles has been a revelation in the past, whether it was about a small role in Action Hero Biju or a full role in Thondimuthalum Drikshakshiyum. This is another character which carries a certain amount of melancholy, from which there is no escape – we are also part of those emotions which go deep, as the struggling coach tries to successful at at least some point. There are those emotional undercurrents which we can feel in such a way that they return to us when we are sitting idle and thinking about those moments. Meanwhile, Niranj doesn’t just shine, but glitters in this world, coming with a performance close to life, as a commoner from the hilly side of Central Kerala. We have him touching both heart and soul here with the feelings running heavy. There are those dialogues and his combination scenes with both Rajisha and Suraaj that tests our emotional strength. Tini Tom and Sona Nair provide fine support as his parents too.

How it finishes :: Even though it is announced earlier that the movie is a fictional story, the credits in the end dedicate the movie to the cyclist Shiny Siles who died in a road accident while participating in the State Road Cycle race at Manjeri in the year 2002. With or without it, this movie happens to be one of the best sports drama flicks ever produced in the country, and not watching it will be a crime, if not a cardinal sin. You feel the frustration, hopelessness, anger, fear, determination, hope, and everything else just like the characters do, and as we live a life with these characters, our second and the most realistic part of life, Finals easily becomes the best movie among the Onam releases, rising above the fighting thriller Brother’s Day and the not-so-serious comedy flicks following the same pattern – Love Action Drama and Ittymaani. The number of viewers as of now is surely low for the movie, but if we don’t support a movie like this at the theatre, we would be the barbarians, unless we are cacodemons. Here, I leave you with a song from the movie. Why you would stop yourself from falling in love with this movie and feel deep with it, is beyond me, as Finals come up with that kind of a lovely feeling in multiple ways.

Release date: 6th September 2019
Running time: 122 minutes
Directed by: PR Arun
Starring: Rajisha Vijayan, Suraaj Venjaramoodu, Niranj Maniyanpilla Raju, Tini Tom, Sona Nair, Muthumani, Kunchan, Nisthar Sait, Dhruvan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Drama

What is the movie about? :: Rosamma John Chacko (Arundathi Nag) has always had a desire to be buried in Kattappana, next to her husband, at their own parish cemetery where their ancestors were buried. But as she is in London with her youngest daughter Mercy (Kaniha), she is afraid that she can’t go back home if she is dead, as none of her children are in Kerala or even India. Mercy who used to be a nurse, is married to Dr Mukundhanunni (Shyamaprasad) who is a reputed cardiac surgeon in London after falling in love, and they are settled in United Kingdom with their two little children. Her eldest son Philip (Suresh Krishna) is a millionaire settled in the United States of America while her second son Benny (Tini Tom) is now in Australia with his wife who is a nurse. Her another daughter Ammini (Subi Suresh) is a nurse working in Canada, and has been living there with her jobless husband Anto (Johny Antony).

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: She also has her youngest son whom she loves more than the others, and Jomon (Niranj S) who is living in Dubai has no say in anything. His presence at United Arab Emirates itself is at the mercy of his good friends. So, with her sons and daughters in the United Kingdom, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Australia and Canada, she is found dead on her bed while asleep. So, now the question remains about her funeral. The idea to which almost everyone agrees to, is that she is to have a funeral at London. For the same, the two elder brothers assign Dixon (Dileesh Pothan), a funeral director who runs his own funeral services in partnership with Rajagopalan (Mohanlal). The desire of the sons to have their mother’s funeral programme to be grand gives Dixon the idea that this is his chance to make it big.

And what else is to follow here? :: Everything seems to be going smoothly, but then, Jomon resists this idea, and asks for a funeral in Kattappana, at the cemetery where his mother had always wanted to be buried. Even though Mercy, as well as Mukundhanunni who is afraid of his mother-in-law’s spirit wandering around the house without attaining peace does agree to the same, none of them has the voice against the elder brothers who decide on it. It is then that Rajagopalan decides to have a say in the process. He feels that the old lady should get the funeral that she had always desired. But Dixon who has taken the advance payment for the funeral function won’t agree to it, and neither will the lady’s sons who got all of these planned very well. So can Rajagopalan find a way to make things happen as well as re-unite with his wife Rekha (Asha Sarath) who had thrown him out of the house in the name of a poem from the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda?

The defence of Drama :: The movie does deal with a situation that could happen very often in future – it is more or less something which has been dealt with in a realistic manner. When we consider the number of our relatives outside India, it makes about twenty five percent, and if it is about someone who is outside Kerala, that can make up to seventy five percent of the total number of people. The movie certainly shows a reality that a lot of people are going to face. The older generation will have their houses and funerals in trouble soon enough. There will be those busy times at some point, when their opinions will not ever come to being something that the new generation will listen to. But it is all based on money, isn’t it? The movie is also a morality tale, with money finally becoming the least important thing. The flick also has some comedy in there, and the visuals when showing England, is pretty good.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems stretched, without doubt. It does seem too long, and should have been kept short by removing certain parts. Maybe the introduction of Mohanlal could have happened much earlier, and things could have started happening as early as possible. There is also a certain amount of repetition here, and we can see some struggle with the flow. More focus could have been there with the characters, especially the sons and daughters of the deceased lady, and the problem that a new generation of money and career seeking youth gives to the old generation could have been focused better. Also, considering the fact that this movie comes from the director who gave us the flicks like Pranchiyettan and The Saint, Indian Rupee, Paleri Manikyam: Oru Pathirakolapathakathinte Katha, Spirit and Thirakkatha, this is not really the movie that we expected.

The performers of the soul :: Mohanlal doesn’t have any problems with this character as it seems usual and natural for him – there is special to be done or to be divergent. Asha Sarath doesn’t have that much to do here. We note that there are directors here coming in notable roles – Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Johny Anony, Renji Panicker, all of them having their interesting moments. Suresh Krishna and Tini Tom plays the two siblings based in United States of America and Australia nicely in their own styles. Kaniha had a rather irrelevant role in Abrahaminte Santhathikal, but here she has a nice role, and has the emotions running strong with this one. Baiju has the funny side to handle, even though the department struggles most of the time. Arundathi Nag plays the corpse for most of the time, but has her moments when not inside the box. Jayaraj Warrier, Shaalin Zoya and Jaffer Idukki got some smaller roles here, but they are notable despite the short stay there.

How it finishes :: How many young men and women go in search of jobs elsewhere, and how many of them remain in Kerala? Do they really settle outside because there are zero opportunities here? It is nice that they show those five nations – United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia and United Arab Emirates. These are those places where our people will never cease to try to go and work, along with more nations in the Middle East as well as New Zealand. But is it always worth it? You will have to think over that with the situations created in this flick. It does leave one with a few things to keep thinking, and that seems to have the focus over the entertaining side. With the challenge there with Kayamkulam Kochunni, Drama seems to have just enough to keep going, and it seems to be a choice not to try to have more.

Release date: 1st November 2018
Running time: 146 minutes
Directed by: Ranjith
Starring: Mohanlal, Asha Sarath, Arundathi Nag, Dileesh Pothan, Shyamaprasad, Kaniha, Baiju Santhosh, Johny Antony, Tini Tom, Shaalin Zoya, Subi Suresh, Niranj S, Suresh Krishna, Renji Panicker, Jaffer Idukki, Jayaraj Warrier, Shankar Panicker

<— Click here to go to the previous review, and the review before that.

@ Cemetery Watch
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Johny Johny Yes Appa

What is the movie about? :: The movie tells the story of three brothers, Peter (Tini Tom), Johny (Kunchacko Boban) and Philippose (Sharafudheen). Having a strict award-winning teacher of the nearby school as their father (Vijayaraghavan), there is a struggle in living upto the expectations. Johny ends up being the father’s favourite son by choosing a twisted path to success, and the result is that Peter suffers. In the end, Peter is thrown out of home, and Johny maintains the image of a nice guy even though he is actually a skilled thief. Johny becomes active in social activities and the good image is maintained, especially in the church where he is a very popular person. But during the nights, he continues to steal, and gives no clue to the police regarding his presence in those robbed houses.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: At the same time, Johny is in love with his childhood friend Jaisa (Anu Sithara) who has decided that she would marry him only. Even though her education is only until the ninth standard, her father Chavaranprackal Jose (Kalabhavan Shajon) is so rich that he could buy most of the educated men in the town as possible grooms for his daughter. But she is desperately in love with Johny, much to the dismay of Jose who doesn’t consider the man to be worthy. Everything goes according to the plan until he comes across Adam (Sanoop Santhosh), Nandana (Anikha Surendran), Amala (Mamta Mohandas) and Sujatha (Lena). It is then that things begin to change, and there is the twist of fate that would mean problems for the image he has kept for so long. It would mean that he has to come up with something special, but can he?

The defence of Johny Johny Yes Appa :: The movie has a high amount of dramatic irony in store, as nobody knows about the secrets of this particular person. As a family-friendly movie, it has that kind of jokes, and there is the deviation towards bringing a message or two too. The jokes are working, and we have the same in a regular dose especially in the first half. The emotions also run strong, and the family audience will be able to connect to that too. The songs are pretty much okay with this one. We also see the small twists here and there, and some good visuals support the flick well enough. There is no problem here that would prevent the family audience from taking over this movie, even though Kayamkulam Kochunni is still running extremely strong, all set to go over the big movies like Premam, Oppam and Drishyam, even though Pulimurugan has set that seemingly unattainable score with the box-office collections of Malayalam movies.

The claws of flaw :: The movie seems to deviate a little too much in the second half, seemingly changing the whole things a little too much than one would expect. There are times when one ends up thinking if this was one complete story or combined from different things, creating a Frankenstein monster with technology added to the whole thing in the end. It is the director of Paavada and the script writer of Vellimoonga who have joined forces here, and the expectations were high with this one too. But we can see that so much is not there, even though the improvement from Kunchacko Boban’s earlier movie of this month, Mangalyam Thanthunanena is clearly visible. We could have used better story with a better protagonist whose actions made better sense. The thief whom we cheer for could have better defined qualities, and we wonder why his world doesn’t fly high as it should have.

The performers of the soul :: This movie depends on Kunchacko Boban to keep things going smoothly, and to provide it with that effect that can bring all those family viewers in. His best of the year was Shikkari Shambhu which was a fun-filled entertainer with all needed elements. But other than that, it was quite a dull year for him even though Panchavarnathatha did come close. Kuttanadan Marpappa struggled to fly high enough, and rest of the movies were not even close to being memorable. It is to the same list that this movie brings some more of light as the attempt is to keep the darkness away. Kunchacko Boban has no problem at all, as far as this particular movie is concerned. He goes through this one with ease, as not much is asked. He also has that kind of a character which gets the right amount of claps in the end, no matter what path he travels earlier.

Further performers of the soul :: The one who scores big in this movie is indeed Tini Tom who has the funny as well as the emotional sides going strong for him. It has to be noted that he was there in three movies with Kunchacko Boban this year itself. He does the work naturally here, and so does Veena Nair who plays his wife. Mamta Mohandas has only very less time to be there. Anu Sithara has the role done really well, and she seems to suit this kind of characters so well. Sharafudheen makes the funny side seem so easy, coming right out of the villain role in Varathan. Kalabhavan Shajon and Abu Salim add even more fun to the whole thing. Anikha is back again after The Great Father, but doesn’t contribute much. Lena is solid again after Aadhi and Ira. Nedumudi Venu seems to be there just for the sake of being present, giving us only a few minutes of him. Sanoop Santhosh of Philips and the Monkey Pen fame does leave a mark again.

How it finishes :: This is the season of the thieves, and Johny Johny Yes Appa joins Kayamkulam Kochunni and Aanakkallan to make more than one theatre full of thieves and nobody else, unless there is Halloween and one serial killer joins the team. There has always been one thing about Kunchacko Boban, and it is certainly what brought us to watch this flick. His movie would be something to watch for the family audience every time, and even this time, the focus is on that group only. The fight is still more this time, and the flick would struggle to keep going. But it is still a safe bet, and the weekend should have more for this movie with the family audience being a stronger presence during this week with the Sunday as a bank holiday. There could have been more with this one, but there is just enough, as you would notice easily.

Release date: 26th October 2018
Running time: 144 minutes
Directed by: G Marthandan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Anu Sithara, Tini Tom, Kalabhavan Shajon, Sharafudheen, Mamta Mohandas, Vijayaraghavan, Veena Nair, Geetha, Sanoop Santhosh, Lena, Abu Salim, Nedumudi Venu, Jaise Jose, Anikha Surendran

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Panchavarnathatha

What is the movie about? :: A nameless man (Jayaram) is a mystery to many, as he owns pets ranging from cats, dogs and parrots to camels, horses, donkeys and elephants. He speaks and acts in strange ways, leading to most people of his neighbourhood belonging to upper middle class family not liking his presence in a plot right between their homes. Most of his collection of birds and animals are leftovers of a circus which had recently ceased to exist. He takes special care of his animals and birds, and sells them only to those people whom he finds fit to give them the best lives. Along with living with these creatures, he also has small real estate business and other small part-time jobs. Even though he might seem tough for people who never knew him, he is more than that, with no hesitation in helping others in need, having special love for children, as he is an orphan who never knew his father and mother.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Kalesh (Kunchacko Boban) is the MLA of the place, who was elected earlier because his father, the former MLA had died, leaving a wave of sympathy among the common people. Despite his father being a man loved by many people, Kalesh couldn’t do much for those who elected him, and is living in a mansion of his friend, Nazir (Joju George) with his wife Chitra (Anusree) and a complaining mother (Mallika Sukumaran), who blames him being not anywhere close to his father as a politician or a social worker. With his father’s former aid Udayan (Ashokan), Kalesh hopes to claim all the glory in style with a win in the upcoming elections. His opponent for this election is Jimmy (Salim Kumar), who hopes to reclaim the consituency for his party after a long time, in one way or the other.

And what is follow with the events? :: The journeys of the two, the unnamed man and Kalesh meets when the people of the neighbourhood tries to have the animal and bird lover evicted. Kalesh is the person whom they see to accomplish that aim. But not everyone thinks about him in the same way, as the the local police officer KO Rangan (Prem Kumar) himself finds the animals and birds interesting. Things get further complicated when Kalesh is forced to give the man some space in his home because of certain twist of events. With all creatures following him, Kalesh and his family might have taken in more than what they could have. Now, questions remain about the future of the animals and birds, as well as the political career of Kalesh. Can things get better in their lives, or is this strange combination going to ruin everything?

The defence of Panchavarnathatha :: There is some good comedy followed by a fine emotional end in this flick, which is never short of being interesting for the family audience. Along with the same, there is a good message being provided here, about doing good for the others, not just to humans, but also to the animals and birds. With its everyman characters, we feel the need to attach ourselves to it, rather than some random fan movie which has fan-centered life which is not applicable to the common man who think about their families and society rather than any random superstar. The songs are just okay. Ramesh Pisharody’s first attempt at direction surely feels better and closer to heart than those movies celebrated in the name of common man like Amar Akbar Anthony and Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan. There is enough in Panchavarnathatha for most people, and the others are having problems which are surely not visible on the big screen. Some incidents in real life are also reflected here.

The claws of flaw :: There is one person whom we miss on the screen, and it is Ramesh Pisharody himself who has directed the movie, but never appears as an actor. Some of the comedy also misses out, and we feel that this kind of an idea could have had even better treatment, maybe closer to daily life’s incidents, or in a way that it goes beyond the self-inflicted restrictions – you feel the strength of the idea within this one, and the need to have more. It could have been a complete social satire, but that choice is not made even though there is politics with the ugly sides, and people within a society that has its own stranger sides. The movie is also a little too long as it deals with its content, which had to be dealt with better to go for such a long run. Also, these many animals were not needed, as it doesn’t help to take things seriously. There could have been a fine background story for the main character too.

The performers of the soul :: Jayaram is here with a different avatar, and after this year’s disaster of a movie Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam which competed with Queen to become the worst movie of 2018, he has redeemed up to an extent with this role. There is the absence of those big dialogues with this one, and the character serves with the divergence that was needed. Kunchacko Boban has this character under full control, and Anusree seems to be rightly suited for this role, as she goes natural with the performance. Mallika Sukumaran also contributes well on the usual lines. Dharmajan Bolgatty arrives later, but contributes well to the fun; before that there was Salim Kumar doing the same. Prem Kumar also brings some good contribution for the comic side, and Ashokan is there for the whole length of the movie. Joju George then brings a little more later.

How it finishes :: Panchavarnathatha is the one underrated movie of this Vishu – it seems to have managed less attention than Jayaram’s earlier lesser movies including Daivame Kaithozham K Kumar Akanam and Kunchacko Boban’s Kuttanadan Marpappa, which is rather strange. This one is surely better than Mohanlal which released with Panchavarnathatha gaining more attention, as the comedy is cent percent better working, and has characters that will appeal to us rather than some random fan girl who never really deserved to be taken seriously, as she went on to become a curse for everyone around here. We all need everyman characters, and Panchavarnathatha has something that touches the emotions along with the comic side, rather than becoming a pretender like many other movies; any kind of different uprising is always required among similar movies.

Release date: 14th April 2018
Running time: 147 minutes
Directed by: Ramesh Pisharody
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Jayaram, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Anusree, Ashokan, Salim Kumar, Maniyanpilla Raju, Joju George, Prem Kumar, Mallika Sukumaran, Dini Daniel, Tini Tom, Seema G Nair, Kunchan

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kuttanadan Marpappa

What is the movie about? :: John Paul (Kunchacko Boban) is a photographer, and his studio is the best in the area. Even though he is from the Kuttanadu area of Alappuzha which is surrounded by water, he doesn’t know how to swim, with a certain fear for water. His mother, Mary Paul (Shantikrishna) is in full support for him, and tries to keep a happy face despite the problems of her life, and her husband having committed suicide a few years ago. John has fallen in love with many girls in the past, right from his childhood days – his lover at school had only gotten married a few years ago, but his biggest tale of love was with Jessy Ummen (Aditi Ravi), a dentist for whom he arranged fake degree certificates. He had always thought that what we had with her was true love, the kind of love which would bring a sleeping beauty to life with a true love’s kiss.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: But that idea had to change with the arrival of Peter (Ramesh Pisharody), an NRI who intends to return to London after marrying the girl of his dreams. It turns out that the girl of his dreams is none other than Jessy whom he wishes to marry and take back to England. Jessy’s father and Panchayath President Ummachan (Innocent) has no problem with choosing between John and Peter, as he hopes that by working at London, she would earn enough money to pay him back the cash which he had spent for making her a BDS doctor. Marrying off his daughter to a photographer would make no sense to him. Only Jessy’s love for John stands between Ummachan and his dreams of getting the money back. But can the love of John and Jessy stand the test at a time when the former will be without a place to live in a few days?

The defence of Kuttanadan Marpappa :: There are some funny moments in this movie, and there is that final revelation which will satisfy a good number of people in the audience – Kattappanayile Rithwick Roshan had that kind of a twist, as we remember. Kunchacko Boban has a good combination with Dharmajan with the comic side, and the romantic side with Aditi Ravi is also charming in the setting that we have here. We often feel that this is more or less a classic tale of problems in love, told in a different way, with a different setting. The visuals of the area are nicely captured, and we feel the beauty of the place to be close to being part of a fairy-tale. There is something about this world that will satisfy our needs to watch some of the best of backwaters. You have the chance to see Kuttanadu with all its beauty here, with Venice of the East scoring.

The claws of flaw :: There are occasions when one has to wonder if Kuttanadan Marpappa is a confused movie, in the model of Oru Cinemakkaran and Role Models – it seems to try too many things, and by doing the same, it also has the audience wondering where it is heading. There is so much colour, and the costumes look rather strange for most situations. There is one song which has the leading actor and actress dancing with strange steps and costumes, and the lyrics itself seems weird – the need for such a song was surely not there, especially with the video. This song itself is a reflection of the movie’s confusion, and we also feel a certain amount of drag within its tale. There seems to be an eternal struggle within this one, and a lot of things are more or less not really suited for the mood of this movie. As a whole, it seems to have collected certain items from different places, and scattered them.

The performers of the soul :: Kunchacko Boban being the lifeline of this movie is no surprise, as he plays another romantic character – nothing really changes with that one. He has another familiar role in control and has to do no wonders, coming out of his last flick, Shikkari Shambhu. Aditi Ravi, the star of Alamara had only smaller roles in the later big movies, Adventures of Omanakuttan, Udaharanam Sujatha, Lavakusha and Aadhi, which has been rather surprising. With acting talent, she is surely far ahead of many other actresses who have been performing in leading roles. She undoubtedly leaves her mark in this movie, and this would be compared to a few other roles; the kind of roles which would bring discussions about a certain kind of behaviour in love. The two does make a fine pair, and lets see if we can see more movies with the two together.

Further performers of the soul :: Shanthi Krishna had made a grand return with Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela, and we see her doing amazingly well with the lighter side as well as the emotional moments – she reflects that kind of a mother whom a young son or daughter dreams to have. The girl who played the sister of Aditi’s character also requires special mention, as she handles things so naturally and with a certain charm. Dharmajan has his moments of fun in this one as usual, while Hareesh Perumanna, for some reason, is underused, and so are Innocent and Salim Kumar. Aju Varghese does bring some laughter in the role of a priest. Ramesh Pisharody has some fun to provide, and so does Dinesh Nair, but we see that their characters are overdone, going beyond what was needed on a number of occasions. Soubin Shahir is there for even lesser period of time.

How it finishes :: There is not that much to be loved in Kuttanadan Marpappa, but for the family audience, this would be a good way to spend the weekend, as it would be for the youth. Without much of focus on the story, and leaving romance behind after some time, this seems to be that movie which tries to make the best use of the Maundy Thursday – Good Friday – Easter season with its special and catchy title, as well as by adding the kind of actors and actresses whom families would prefer. With Vikadakumaran being another movie which seems to have a similar plan, it is to be seen how well the plan can work. As of now, all movies seem to have pretty good viewership, and it will be the Easter Sunday which will decide the winner in this battle of movies, as Pacific Rim: Uprising, Poomaram, Hey Jude, Black Panther, Aadhi and Ira still stays at the theatres.

Release date: 29th March 2018
Running time: 140 minutes
Directed by: Sreejith Vijayan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Aditi Ravi, Shanti Krishna, Innocent, Aju Varghese, Salim Kumar, Ramesh Pisharody, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Noby Marcose, Vinod Kedamangalam, Dinesh Nair, Hareesh Perumanna, Soubin Shahir, Tini Tom, Kochu Preman. Mallika Sukumaran

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Varnyathil Aashanka

What is the movie about? :: Pratheesh (Shine Tom Chacko) is a simple guy looking to start a business in or around the city of Thrissur. But usual way of making money doesn’t come naturally to him – he is always looking for the easy path, the shortcuts to his objective. His people doesn’t have a high opinion about him, especially his uncle (Jayaraj Warrier) from whom he takes small amounts of money which he can’t pay back. He also needs money for his new business and has nobody to aid him. At the same time, he has to pay to get back the gold ornaments of his friend Thanima (Gayathri Suresh), which he had used to get money for his needs – she threatens to commit suicide after letting everyone know that he is responsible for her death. Pratheesh even tries pickpocketing, but gets beaten up before escaping. His best friend is Wilson (Chemban Vinod Jose) who also goes through a similar phase, and is looking for some money for family matters.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: Meanwhile, Shivan (Kunchacko Boban) is a rather experienced thief in the locality. He is known to be very good at his work, and whenever he brings something home, everyone thinks that he has stolen it. Pratheesh, Wilson and Shivan meets up over alcohol, and Gilbert (Manikandan R Achari) from the nearby town also joins them. As they all have their own problems, they decide to solve them all by doing a big heist at the nearby Aishwarya Jewellery owned by Ittoop (Sunil Sukhada). It is something that could change their lives forever, and they plan to do it the simple and effective way, on a twenty four hour harthal night which will have almost nobody on the road in front of the shop. With violence having broken out after the death of a party worker, people have been staying indoor throughout the district, and they decide to use it to their advantage. If things work out right, this would be their one big heist and the last one.

And what else is to happen here? :: Dayanandhan (Suraj Venjaramoodu) is just another guy living nearby, and has been sitting idle at home after the bar where he was working had shut down according to the new liquor policy of the government. His wife Keerthana (Rachana Narayanankutty) goes to work at a nearby textile shop, and he isn’t interested in searching for a new job. They have also taken loans, and as they had married after eloping, there is nobody from their place to help them. While returning home after meeting a friend at Aluva on the same harthal day, Dayanandan comes up against the same thieves, and they decide to shut him up in one way or the other. There are also two policemen, Gireesh (Tini Tom) and Murugan (Dinesh Prabhakar) who arrives at the same location at the same time. This leaves everyone confused, on what is to happen next. Everyone has their own problems to deal with, but this one only gets more twisted.

The defence of Varnyathil Aashanka :: The movie goes through a satirical mode with its content, as it takes on what has been happening in the state during some time. There is a lot of humour happening here with simple incidents, as you would notice – the simple things in life gets packed into more and more humour, and there seems to be no difficulty in doing the same at any point. There are also those reflections and messages to take home, as uses its humour to show the people around us as they are – you see that the thieves are the same, and you doubt if this and that are the same. Never does the movie losses its pace, and you will see that it is always interesting. You also see the power of team work in this one, as this is not limited to one person overshadowing the rest – everyone gets to do their part, and contribute to the tale as well as the overall humour. You are going to be interested in being part of the simple man’s heist without complications, in one way or the other.

The claws of flaw :: Despite providing a reflection of the state of our surroundings and leaving the message, the movie’s final funny and interesting speech will feel a little too lengthy, and the final moments will also seem not matching the whole movie, as it goes without the wonder which was rather expected. There also those moments which seem to defy logic, but in the name of bringing the funny side in a neat way, you will find things to be fair – with the same, it eclipses the other two movies which released on the same day. Still, the movie has a few moments in the first half which will hold it down, but it is just by a little bit. There shouldn’t be the expectations about seeing a big heist movie with this one too, as that can ruin things. On the first day of its release, this one seemed to be rather not hyped, and made way for the rest of the releases, but we see this one getting stronger now.

Performers of the soul :: The movie begins with Shine Tom Chacko’s character, and he gets a fine role here following Tiyaan, which he has done without stumbling anywhere. Kunchacko Boban has brought his character to a fine level, and it is very unlike what he has been doing in the recent past. Suraj Venjaramoodu has another interesting role, which immediately catches our attention right from the beginning – he arrives late and he conquers. There is one final speech that he gets to make further difference nicely and effectively. Chemban Vinod Jose is at his usual best, as he has played the thief in so many other movies, having no trouble with this one. Manikandan R Achari extends the fun which is present like he did with Alamara and Basheerinte Premalekhanam, and has his own moments with the flick. Gayathri Suresh makes one nice cameo at the end, which you will remember. Rachana Narayanankutty is a fine addition too, as you would see here.

How it finishes :: Varnyathil Aashanka battles against Sarvopari Palakkaran and Chunkzz for this weeekend, while the others including Sunday Holiday, Kadam Katha and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum are also there from the previous weeks. Its comparisons are going to be to Sapthamashree Thaskaraha and Kohinoor, both having quite a big group of thieves looking forward to the big heist. In comparison, one can place this movie in between the other two movies, as it is better than Sapthamashree Thaskaraha, but not as better as Kohinoor. Certainly a lot better than the other movie of thieves like Bicycle Thieves and Urumbukal Urangaarilla, Varnyathil Aashanka has something that the rest of the flicks of the same kind never had – its ability to use some satire to reflect and make fun of the happenings in the state, and the movie can consider the same as its special quality which makes its stand apart.

Release date: 4th August 2017
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Sidharth Bharathan
Starring: Kunchacko Boban, Chemban Vinod Jose, Shine Tom Chacko, Rachana Narayanankutty, Manikandan R Achari, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Jayaraj Warrier, Sunil Sukhada, Tini Tom, Dinesh Prabhakar, Gayathri Suresh (cameo), KPAC Lalitha (cameo)

<— Click here for the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Mumbai Taxi

mumbaitaxi (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Gets the tickets].

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mumbaitaxi

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ayal Njanalla

ayaalnjanalla (1)

Vampire Owl :: Then who is he?

Vampire Bat :: We have to watch to find out who he is and also about who the others are.

Vampire Owl :: With a title saying “he is not me”, I have to think that he is worried of his own existence. May be he has taken the place of someone else, or another person has taken his place. Otherwise why would he need to say that?

Vampire Bat :: May be he has an evil twin, like Lady Death having an evil twin sister.

Vampire Owl :: Why are we not watching Drishyam this time? We have already watched it in two languages. There is seems to be not much rush for that too.

Vampire Bat :: Well, everyone in the South has watched at least one version of the movie, and most of the Indians have also given one of them a watch. There are not many people left to watch a Drishyam.

Vampire Owl :: Still, we will watch it?

Vampire Bat :: Yes, may be later, depending upon how long that movie stays here.

Vampire Owl :: Well, it has been some time since we saw Fahadh Faasil.

Vampire Bat :: Well, his movies this year have been Mariyam Mukku and Haram. It is not fair for a person of his calibre.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Prakashan (Fahadh Faasil) is a young Malayali who migrated to a village near the Rann of Kutch when he failed in the tenth standard, and is living with his uncle (TG Ravi), as they work with tyre repair in a small shop on the side of the road. After the death of his uncle, he is left with a big amount to pay to a moneylender who lock down the shop and gives him just one week to pay the money before he unleashes hell with the help of the police who are in his pocket. Prakashan decides to pay by selling his ancestral property in Kerala which he hasn’t seen for years, and return to Gujarat to go back to Esha (Mrudula Murali) whom he loves. He goes to Bangalore to find his old friend who has offered to help him, and there he will know that he looks a lot like a Malayalam actor.

Performers of the soul :: Fahadh Faasil’s performance once again become the highlight, and he scores the most in the Kutch sequences. His comic side gets the better score in the middle part of the movie though, as he gets misunderstood as someone else. His performance is actually far above the level of this movie, as you have seen with many other flicks. Yes, he is back after Haram and Mariyam Mukku, the two flicks of the year with him in the lead and had failed to leave a mark. Unlike what people think, there is no two of him on the screen, as him acting as the actor who is himself, never really comes to the picture. There are two phases of his life for sure, and he has done both of them very well with the versatility that he has always displayed. Even when put in the worst movie, he does his part so well – you have seen that in Olipporu.

More performers of the soul :: There seems to be a lot of less seen faces in this movie, but the most significant one is Mrudula Murali who plays the role of the Gujarati damsel and the love interest of the protagonist. She looks stunning in that traditional clothing, and she does seem to be suited for comedy as well as romantic roles, from the time for which she is there – could have been there for more. Actually, none of the actresses have much time on the screen. The next heroine Divya Pillai might have a little more screen time, and just looks very good but with no scope in there to make any impact and she doesn’t. Aileena Catherin Amon, who was crowned Miss South India 2015 also comes in a noticeable role which she manages well. There are a lot of good new faces in this movie as the fans of the actor and friends of the leading lady.

Further performers of the soul :: Tini Tom and Noby Marcose provides some interesting funny moments, and it is good to see that the latter is getting a significant role which he plays throughout the Kerala side of the story in this movie. I have always loved his performances more than the others in Vodafone Comedy Stars. Sreekumar is a big bonus to the comic side here, and he has his moments which gets the cheer. We need to see him on the big screen more often. Akshat Singh who is known with his performance in India’s Got Talent makes his film debut here, and also does a small dance performance in the movie – he will be better known to the Malayali audience now, and they will love him if they watch the movie. Ranji Panicker does the predictable here, with the role like Pratap K. Pothen has done in a number of movies.

The defence of Ayaal Njanalla :: The movie has comedy which works well, and all the actors have contributed directly or indirectly to the same. There are moments which are nicely used to get good effect on the audience, and the repetitive story is made interesting by adding the fun and also with the performances. The shots of Kutch are very beautiful, and there is no shortage of good looking people in this movie. This the debut movie of the actor Vineeth Kumar turning director, and he has a nice beginning here – may be he could have asked for a bigger story to work on; still he manages to make this work with the feel-good factor which has been utilized to give the viewers the needed feeling; still more jokes could have been added and the romantic side should have been gone better.

Claws of flaw :: The movie often struggles to keep its level throughout. The situations are those which we have seen before in some way or the other. There is not much of a story here, as everything seems to be just a small work stretched beyond its capabilities, and still it finishes off too fast in the end, without adding an interesting climax – a happy ending is just brought and forced out of nowhere. They were surely in a hurry to finish this one after making too long for the content – wonder why! The visuals outside Gujarat is ordinary, and so are the songs and the background music. At times, it does make the audience where it is actually heading for. The movie never really had much hype even though it has Fahadh Faasil returning in a different avatar, and that could really affect the collections – even Jilebi had better promotions around.

Release date: 31st July 2015
Running time: 148 minutes
Directed by: Vineeth Kumar
Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Mrudula Murali, Diya Pillai, Aileena Catherin Amon, Tini Tom, Noby Marcose, Sreekumar, Ranji Panicker, Akshat Singh, TG Ravi, Dileesh Nair, Jins Baskar, Sreekanth Menon, JK Nair

ayalnjaanalla

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Vellimoonga

vellimoonga (1)

Vampire Owl :: I condemn the name of this movie. They are not supposed to name a comedy movie as “the silver owl”.

Vampire Bat :: It says silver owl, not vampire owl or not even night owl. There is no way it can affect you.

Vampire Owl :: But I am still deeply offended.

Vampire Bat :: You were just looking to find a reason to be offended.

Vampire Owl :: Everyone is offended by something or anything all the time, and I choose to follow that path which is the new fashion. I shall still forgive them if the movie is a good one, because I am a generous Vampire Owl.

Vampire Bat :: It has good reviews so far. You could actually not blame a few people this time.

Vampire Owl :: Who are they to judge and review an owl? What do they even know about owls? Are they married to owls?

Vampire Bat :: It is not really the story of an owl. It has humans. What is wrong with you these days?

Vampire Owl :: I stare at the mirror and see only the owlish truth. The absolute truth that only the owls can recognize as true.

Vampire Bat :: This is exactly why zombies eat brains.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: Vellimoonga tells the story of a politician Mamachan (Biju Menon) who attempts to reach big heights by being part of political party in the north of India rather than joining a local party and using his local image to become a leader in the locality. He roams around his village, attempting to make a name using his political affliation to the big party of which he is just one of the very few members in the whole state. His best friend and the only other member of the party in that locality is Pachan (Aju Varghese) who helps him in his initiatives, hoping to go to Delhi with him some day. Jose (Tini Tom) is his big political enemy from the left wing. Mamachan who is not married even after his younger brother getting married and having two kids, finally falls of a girl who attends the same church, Lisa (Nikki Galrani), but would face big resistance from her father Vareeth (Siddique) who used to be his rival. How our hero handles the situation becomes the rest of the story.

The defence of Vellimoonga :: The movie’s ability to be a laugh riot cannot be questioned in the most doubtful situations. We come to know that right in the beginning itself. They could ornate this simple plot with nice comic numbers and some interesting twists with serene strength. The script does have enough to extract the performances from the actors and actresses. The visuals are good as the beauty of the rural area is captured nicely and the shots are beautifully adorned. There is no questioning the movie’s propensity for competence even without the presence of any so called superstar or heavy publicity, and for the same, the movie deserves some more applause. The movie could skillfully use its cast to its strength, and could thrive on the abilities of its actors to evoke laughter embedding the right situations here and there and there is also the ultimate realization that it gives to its viewers on how cute and pretty Nikki Galrani actually looks.

The claws of flaw :: Vellimoonga could have surely had a little more logic with some of its proceedings, but that should be a purely subjective opinion as far as a funny movie purely made for fun is concerned, and it does keep some of the same. The songs are just ordinary, nothing really making an impact. There is a little bit of missing in the middle, with the flow getting lost at times, but that can often go unnoticed. A little more care to the plot could have been nice, instead of deviating each situation to bring comedy here and there. A little bit more of the reflections of the major political incidents would have also done this movie more favours. A full swing political satire like Sandhesam could have been here, may be developing what Oru Indian Pranayakadha had also partially shown, sadly that much is not there to be seen. There are also a number of comedy numbers which should have been rather avoided, but may be it caters to a certain group of viewers.

Performers of the soul :: Biju Menon returns to the big screen as the solo leading character of a movie after a very long time, and it is not just the silver in the name of the movie that he strikes, but it is the gold itself. It was splendid to see how well he captures the mannerisms of his character and gets into the role of a political player with such an ease. Yes, it is Aju Varghese who skillfully supports him and does what he has been doing the best, but there is nothing like Biju Menon leading the comedy train, something he has been doing for such a long time along with his other variety roles. He doesn’t combine with or play second fiddle to Kunchako Boban or Dileep this time as takes things forwards with the support of Aju. This also turns out to be Nikki Galrani’s best ever outing in Malayalam as she is stunningly beautiful and cute like no other actress of these days. Tini Tom also essays an impressive role with ease, and Asif Ali’s extended cameo is likable. It is good to see Anu Joseph in the movies too. Sunil Sukhada and Sasi Kalinga scores with their comic numbers too.

Soul exploration :: Vellimoonga does work as a satire, there is no doubt about it. The movie doesn’t hesitate in making fun of the political situation that is prevalent in the country concerned with unholy alliances between the parties and seat sharing, along with the influence of regional parties. The situations related to politics remain funny throughout the movie, and the personal life of the protagonist and his infatuation towards the girl comes only as a part of the same. The significant thing is that the whole thing is concerned with what happens in one village, something which provides a certain feel-good factor to this movie, as the audience also seems to need such locations. The movie doesn’t give the feeling of drinking some bourgeoisie coffee which is provided by some random machinery, but that of a certain kind of tea which has the flavour of the villages and its hardworking common people.

How it finishes :: Vellimoonga is the winner of the weekend before Gandhi Jayanthi and will carry over its success to the Pooja season – who would have thought that this Biju Menon starrer will be the winner facing bigger movies which released at the same time, or were already in the theatres when it came to the audience? Yes, Biju Menon wins this round with ease, and for giving us this one with all its power, we can thank his versatility as a wonderful actor. Let’s hope that this movie is not lost in mindless remakes coming from Bollywood with the dumb stuff like Bang Bang! We are in need of comedy movies which don’t stoop into buffoonery of any kind, and Vellimoonga guarantees that such movies can exist without superstars with its own existence. May be it will inspire more movies which can come up with some more genuine comedy which won’t make the brains of the audience feel like vegetable noodles.

Release date: 26th September 2014
Running time: 130 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Jibu Jacob
Starring: Biju Menon, Aju Varghese, Nikki Galrani, Tini Tom, Lena, Asif Ali, K. P. A. C. Lalitha, Siddique, Sunil Sukhada, Sasi Kalinga, Kalabhavan Shajon, Anu Joseph, Chembil Ashokan, Shivaji Guruvayoor

vellimoonga!

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Ezhu Sundara Raathrikal

ezhusundararathrikal (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ezhusundararathrikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

5 Sundarikal

5 sundarikal1

5 Sundarikal which can be translated as 5 Beauties, is that romantic anthology film which might have had its existence to thank the 2009 anthology movie Kerala Cafe. There were ten stories in that one and here it is cut to half with five, and only Anwar Rasheed doing a story in both the anthologies. The Vampire Bat would not agree to the title though, as it would be left to him to say which one is the beauty and which one is the beast. The only suitable title would have been 5 Females, and fighting with three other movies which has interested the crowds, even the name of a movie has to add to the total interest generated. Even in my case, this is the first time I get a Malayalam movie with a Malayalam name to review, and the “5” is to be read as Malayalam “anchu” and not “five” as far as I know. Watching stupidity like Raanjhanaa is clearly out of the equation and this movie having five stories instead of one increases the probability of getting at least two good ones; so there is no doubt which Indian movie one is supposed to go this week. There is the power of five compared to the power of six in ASK a.k.a Aaru Sundarimaarude Katha, and the obsession with beauties continue, this time with more success, and one beauty judged less is always the truth gained further. Whether it should be “sundarikal” or “sundarimaar” is a question to be asked to satisfy the quest to find grammatical errors, and I would go with the former.

Sethulakshmi: directed by Shyju Khalid :: [59/100] :: No, there isn’t going to be a total score based on the average of these stories, as that should annihilate the purpose of this movie as an anthology as well as this review as a subjective reality. There would be separate worlds for each story and for the movie, there would be another reality of totality, to which this simple story adds on first coming as an adaptation of M. Mukundan’s short story, Photo. The story of two school kids is shown in its own natural innocence until their world-changing event happens. The simplicity turns itself into the tough theme which the story has to deal with, and that is the place and may be where it scores. There is the depth of evil portrayed in a way that will haunt one with innocence. But the question remains if this belongs to this movie, as the presence of a beauty or even pseudo-beauty here itself negates the need for this story in the movie and all the purpose it would have served, and however one tries to look at this, a more deserving platform for this one would have been Kerala Cafe, and might have been the second best story in that movie after Anjali Menon’s Happy Journey. It is kind of misplaced here, and this might have been added here to arouse the curiosity of the viewers as well as to create that new generation element – otherwise this among the other stories is like Roger Federer guarding the goal post for the Spanish national football team.

Isha: directed by Sameer Thahir :: [79/100] :: Along with the former one, this story also has the scope of becoming a one and half to two hours of good cinema. It stars Nivin Pauly as the thief a.k.a the Santa, and Isha Sharvani who makes her debut as the beauty of this segment, and undoubtedly the smartest and the most charming of them all. They start off as two strangers and with many things in common, and the question would be what they end up to be, and that is the surprise, that twist of plot which raises the story from its existence just inches about the average level. Nivin Pauly has remained similar to what we saw in Thattathin Marayathu, as this time he has another Isha, Isha Sharvani instead of Isha Talwar, another lady from the North, and this female lead does a lot more than the other one did. This story and what is to follow are the only two segments which are actually centered on the beauties, and this is the only segment in which the beauty is in control and remains so throughout most of the story. One has to say that this one has the best of the lighter moments too, and the claps which came after this segment are well deserved. The whole story is centered on the two leading characters, and there we see the most beautiful lady and the one romantic hero; they make this work like nobody else could have.

Gouri: directed by Aashiq Abu :: [10/100] :: This is the weak link in the whole movie, and without this, the movie could have been declared the best anthology in Malayalam movie industry ever. This is Aashiq Abu’s worst so far, and from what we have seen of him already, it might remain his worst. Biju Menon is there as the husband with nothing to do that really matters to the story. Tini Tom and Rimi Tomy makes an unnecessary visit, as Kavya Madhavan who plays the wife expresses her need to have a kid. Kavya is there as if she is to be that strange character who is more unsure about herself and the world around her than Popeye without his spinach. Jayasurya also makes a small appearance thus making this one the most powerful segment in terms of celebrity power, but in performance, it is a dynamite of the next generation which failed to blow. This is a painfuel half an hour of torture, which could have been avoided or may be replaced. It is surprising that it came from the same director who gave us Da Thadiya in the same year. This might even make Estragon and Vladimir say that there is something to be done – sorry, Samuel Beckett. Kammath and Kammath and Lokpaal were not that bad now, as you go through this one. This story in the middle shows us the middle finger, but fortunately it was preceded and followed by brilliant segments.

Kullante Bharya: directed by Amal Neerad :: [84/100] :: This is the moment which strikes you hard. Amal Neerad has come up with a story which is narrated by Dulquer Salmaan who sees everything from the top floor of a group of apartments. The awesome presentation and the story’s ability to relate with the contemporary society of Kerala, and may be even India as a whole, has helped this one to get the most claps in the theatre, and remain the highlight of this five star experiment. Dulquer Salmaan has eased through this segment, and even as a person moving on wheelchair, there is so much of impact with every word he says. Reenu Mathews leaves an imprint without even a word said. The newcomer Jinu Ben brings tears to the audience with no direct revelation. The story also works as a satire on the self-proclaimed righteous, highly moral society which considers itself as the role-model, and has a lot of prejudice against the people whom they are not familiar with, and those who think or act different. If there has been so much interest in this story which has only one actor who has performed in a leading role in more than one movie, it shows how much impact this one has created, and how much it could relate with its audience.

Aami: by Anwar Rasheed :: [61/100] :: This might be the most awaited story of the movie, with a businessman, Ajmal (Fahadh Faasil), who travels from Malappuram to Kochi and vice versa. His too much affectionate wife who is known only by her nickname (Asmitha Sood) keeps asking tricky questions to him and leaves him puzzles to solve – a strange abnormal habit, to which anybody would agree. The night journey then transforms into something that changes his life. The presence of Honey Rose and Vinayakan just adds to powerful cast of this segment which is already the talking point due to Fahadh Faasil’s presence and his new looks. It is him who excells in this story, and everything else is a little let down. With meaningless puzzles and strange happenings, this is not something which the viewers can relate with, but thanks to the leading actor and some interesting dialogues, this one lets the movie with its head held high, not annihilating the world which was created by the second and the fourth segments. As Fahadh Faasil fights extreme anger, greed for money, violence and his own old relationships and gets back to his beloved, the whole thing ends happily. This is surely better than the highly predictable Bridge segment in Kerala Cafe by the same director.

The movie is that roller coaster ride of Final Destination 3, in which death tries to pull the movie down, as some of the stories lose charm, and suddenly a story comes up which changes the things around. It is the advantage of having five different stories directed by five different people, and this is well done, and it would live on as long as this theme doesn’t come up with a overdose, either with the stories or with the concept of pseudo-beauty. To be frank, there is nothing in this which binds this collection together, as same was the case with Kerala Cafe, and it doesn’t give that much of anything that Cloud Atlas gave its viewers. This movie uses the concept of enchanting viewers with its title and the trailer, and tries to undo the failure of Poppins which had its own wrecked set of anthologies in which only the story of Kunchako Boban and Nithya Menon made any impact, with Indrajith-Padmapriya and Jayasurya-Meghna stories staying there not without troubles. Still, the question remains, who is the beauty? If they were all eligible for the same title, won’t they be good enough for that word which comes as just the opposite? Why would we be forced to believe with that willing suspension of disbelief that they are all beautiful? Will Isha Sharvani and Kavya Madhavan look like beauties to two people who have different concepts of beauty? Even myself is clearly sceptical about the latter; but leave that for the intellectuals, and concentrate on the medium for now.

Release date: 20th June 2013
Running time: 145 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Amal Neerad, Anwar Rasheed, Sameer Thahir, Shyju Khaled, Aashiq Abu
Starring: Isha Sharvani, Asmitha Sood, Reenu Mathews, Honey Rose, Kavya Madhavan, Baby Anika, Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan, Biju Menon, Fahadh Faasil, Jayasurya, Master Chethan, Tini Tom, Rimi Tomy, Jinu Ben, Vinayakan

5sundarikal copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.