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

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✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adam Joan

What is the movie about? :: Adam Joan Pothen (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is a rich planter living in the high-ranges of Kerala. His friends are all married, and the fact that his own brother Alan a.k.a. Unni (Rahul Madhav) fell in love and married Swathi (Bhavana), settling in Europe, got his mother worried about his ways. Adam is still content working with his plantations, which he is hoping to develop further, until he meets Amy Andrews (Mishti Chakraborty), the lead singer in a group performing in churches. They meet each other multiple times, and there is not much trouble in making her alcoholic father Andrews (Maniyan Pillai Raju) agree to their marriage. They travel to Scotland for their honeymoon, and rest of his family has also settled there. There, a tragedy occurs, and Adam has to be separated from his family. It is only years later, that they would meet again, and that would be on the occasion of another tragedy.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: One one of those usual days of Lent, right after the Holy Mass, Unni and Swathi has their child kidnapped by a group of masked men who kills Unni’s mother who resists. Adam who was about to come and visit them, arrives to attend his mother’s funeral, much to his dismay. Learning the news of the child’s abduction, he decides to stay, but his brother and wife wants him to go back home, which surprises him. The two decides to go on with their routine job leaving it to the cops on whom they put trust, but the police are also very less interested in the case – Adam is certainly not satisfied. From his best friend Syriac (Narain), Adam comes to know that the number of kidnapped children has been increasing in the last few years, and the police has had very limited success in tracking down those who were behind the same. While trying to do something about the missing child, he would stumble upon his own past, and there is something about a flashback which has events which have directly or indirectly lead to all these incidents.

The defence of Adam Joan :: You will witness quality on screen, and it doesn’t matter how you look at it. The technical side is indeed splendid, and the visuals of the Scottish countryside, whether it is the farmlands, the hills, the rivers, or the ruins, brings a mystical feeling – there are so many shots taken from a distance, and those taken from higher above will give you a wonderful feeling about the beautiful landscape of Scotland. There is no need for a better advertisement for the area as a tourist destination. The soundtrack is superb, and it nicely adds to the dark side of the movie, which only builds further as the movie progresses. How the makers have used the visuals, the music, as well as the cast to transform an average narrative to an interesting experience on the screen, is an achievement as well as a powerful statement about how much our industry has changed, and shifted the focus towards quality in even simplest aspects. You will see that even with a hero in protagonist, the focus is spread wide. There are also some twists to go with the same.

The claws of flaw :: You are sure to feel a certain lag in between for this movie, and most of it is during the earlier part of the second half, as the first half does end in an interesting manner, setting up things to go further with the latter part. When you see such quality with its shots on the big screen, you also expect the tale to get better and bigger by the end, but that doesn’t happen, with the investigation not getting its due completely. There is also the early destruction of romance, and the only lighter side of this movie is around that one super-hit song – the rest remains dark; you will also notice that even the incidents in the end happen in a darker setting. There are some elements of horror which the movie could have used, and we could have also had more terrifying sequences with the theme that the flick deals with. There was scope to add more thrilling sequences, but the movie chooses to lag on those occasions. This slow pace could have been avoided by decreasing the overall length of the movie.

Performers of the soul :: It is Prithviraj’s mass appeal as well as intensity that drives this movie right from the start – he begins well with emotional and romantic side, and goes on to portray that intensity around the dark side with a performance that will ascertain his place as the master of darker thrillers. You remember Memories and 7th Day which did the same, and this flick also makes it to that list. After two much talked about movies this year, Tiyaan and Ezra, he continues a good run – it is to be noted that there is also a Jewish touch in this movie as it was in the movie featuring the Jewish dybbuk. Even his protagonist never really overdo things as one would have feared – there is only one big action sequence in the end, which is rather stretched, but executed well. It seems that this genre will take him as a permanent player, and you will love some of the dialogue his character gets to deliver – like Liam Neeson of Taken. Still, there might be nothing as good as Memories.

Further performers of the soul :: Mishti Chakraborty is there only for only that super-hit song, and a few more scenes, and we sadly would have to wait more till we get to see more of her in Malayalam movies. She doesn’t get to come up with an impact like Wamiqa Gabbi did with Godha, with not much of a focus on her character other than being the love interest of the protagonist for a short interval of time – still, the song surely did some trick for her. Even though she is paired opposite Prithviraj, we see that the chance for performances go to Bhavana and Lena who get more to do with the twists in the tale. The former was last seen in Adventures of Omanakkuttan, and her character has more than what meets the eye, and so does Lena’s. It is also good to see Rahul Madhav getting more roles, as he supports well in this one. Narain does a good job, but it is rather a single dimensional role with one focus, and you will find just one reason for his character’s existence. He gets to bring the twists to the tale too.

How it finishes :: Jinu V Abraham, on his directorial debut, has brought a marvel on the technical side when you watch it on the big screen, and the same makes one forget its flaws. You might be reminded about some Hollywood movies, but when it is more related to the wonderful technical side than the rest, you will feel good. The competition that this movie has for Onam seems to be a lot, but one can safely say that this flick will be among the winners. There is no reason why you wouldn’t want to go on a virtual trip to Scotland, and at the same time, watch the dark side getting unleashed and being chased by our hopeful protagonist. The exact definition of what you would watch on the screen would be “quality”, and it is this quality that will separate this movie from the rest. I leave you with the beautiful song from the movie which went on to become a big hit. At the same time, I wish all of my readers a Happy Eid, as well as a Happy Onam in advance! 🙂

Release date: 1st September 2017
Running time: 160 minutes
Directed by: Jinu V Abraham
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Mishti Chakraborty, Bhavana, Lena, Narain, Rahul Madhav, Jaya Menon, Madhusudhan Rao, Maniyan Pillai Raju, Sidhartha Siva, Benny Bereal, Mark Strange, Danny Darren

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

London Bridge

londonbrdg

Malayalam movies in 2014 :: This year hasn’t started really well for me, as I don’t think that any movie from Kerala in 2014 has been even average, may be because of that extending the limits by Drishyam, but with London Bridge, there is a some comeback. I do have to warn you in advance that it is a love story, but not your usual romantic love story – the romance factor is not the point here, and what takes over is humanity or rather compassion and goodness in its most innocent form. So, if you are expecting too much of intimate scenes and the dialogues professing eternal love, you are going to be disappointed. But the love in this movie still manages to be more genuine than what was seen in most of the love stories, especially those repetitive romantic love tales of the same kind. This love might look kind of ordinary, but there is so much going through the background, a flurry of emotions which takes one’s heart by storm, and it is clear that even nature comes in just to help and leave after taking a bow. Why wouldn’t gaia wish to contribute when it can see the loss of mankind’s loss of inherent evil? If there is another movie to which this one can be connected, that should be Diamond Necklace – you will know!

What is it about? :: The movie tells the story of Vijay Das (Prithviraj Sukumaran), a promising young businessman in the city of London who after starting off in a student visa has made it big with the help of his mentor Francis (Mukesh). As he runs a number of shops and money lending business, and in his path, Vijay comes face to face with a huge business tycoon CS Nambiar (Prathap Pothen), one of the richest Keralites in the United Kingdom. Even as they start off against each other in the beginning, Nambiar is impressed by the ambitions and hardwork of his fellow Malayali, decides that he will be a nice choice for his daughter Pavithra Nambiar (Andrea Jeremiah) who is determined to be a social worker and is not interested in marriage. As Vijay works on Nambiar’s instructions and attempts to please Pavithra, he comes to know that she is interested only in art, literature and charity works, while he is always after money. He struggles to keep with her, but as Vijay’s car hits Merin Elsa John (Nanditha Raj), he finds a chance. Merin has just come to the country and is just about to start her job as a nurse when this ends up in he hospital – she is regularly visited by Vijay to show his compassion to Pavithra who starts falling for him, but Merin also starts developing feelings for him, which he also develops.

The defence of London Bridge :: I am sure that a lots of people will be asking me to this, after watching this or while reading the other reviews. Yes, I am going to start by admiring this movie for its assertion of compassion and goodness. One can’t avoid the emotional power of the movie either. There are simply good-looking people and breath-taking scenery – I have never seen the beauty of England and Scotland being captured in this manner. There is the countryside at its best and also London, especially the London Bridge, Big Ben, Tower of London and London Eye. There are also the support of some brilliant shots which help the movie. It creates an incredible amount of nostalgia in me, related to my last visit to the United Kingdom. I know my brethren will be having nostalgia about many things, but this is one completely belonging to me, and increasing my desire to visit the place again; may be there was something that I left unfinished. The movie should make the United Kingdom tourism proud, especially the countryside and London in the way in which they are portrayed. This will remain one of the most visually stunning movies as far as capturing nature is concerned. Now you know why William Wordsworth and company had to write poems; how could they not see such beauty while being such visionaries?

The claws of flaw :: London Bridge doesn’t try to be different with its script, as it goes on and on with what the audience has known for quite a long time. There are dialogues which doesn’t really like to pick up, and there moments which were to be awesome, but remains ordinary. The movie drags a bit, and it can make the audience looking for entertainment asking for more, especially as this movie lacks exaggeration of any kind with its good length. There is no creation of a romantic world for these three people and the romance might look kind of weak from the outside. There are simple human emotions, fear, compassion, love, pain and frustration; even if it is quite normal to have these in a normal way, most people are not going to like it, that is for sure. This might also be my favourite movie from this director who has touched a new area, but I know there are skeptics who will disagree. They might feel that this is not “cinematic” enough, but I would disagree as usual. I am a person who love to agree to disagree when it comes to movies, so you should know. It needed some polishing that is for sure, still there is a typical flow and the movie can do a Hobbit-dwarves-barrel-escape, as it is pushed into the river of love and emotions powered by humanity. May be they could do better with a few wood-elves with nice archery skills, especially as this is such a competitive world that hitting the bulls-eye is so important (unless you wish to be devoured by impatient entertainment-orcs).

Performers of the soul :: The performance department is led by Prithviraj Sukumaran who fits into his role with ease. The transformation that his character has, and the variation that happens to his attitude as well as his relationship with others are admirable; especially from a heartless businessman to the man with the golden heart. He has once again rightly chosen not to be a superhuman character, but a normal human. Nanditha Raj as Merin is one of the most lovable characters ever, and with a stunning cuteness, she has done her agonized character so much life that, her eyes and expressions tell the story better than the words. I would be surprised if anyone would be cuter in a role such as this. But she is still never a weak character as she holds on to life without giving up or asking for favours, and never does she cease to care or be good. One has to love that change in expression when she comes to know that he is the one who hit her, and that was a nice sweet moment. She’s most impressive in those moments of sadness, and incredibly cute in those moments of happiness. Merin Elsa John is a character in pain from the moment she is introduced to us, but there is always a certain amount of innocence associated with her which touches our heart, and the way she finds cute smiles between tears and agony is wonderful success to Nanditha’s debut in Malayalam. She makes us feel for Merin each and every moment like a needle piercing through out hearts, and you have to say that the teeth adds to that innocence!

Other performers :: I have to say that I was also touched by the performance of Andrea Jeremiah which is second only to Nanditha. There has always been something mysterious about her, and the way she deals with Pavithra is worth mentioning anywhere. Her character as the rich heiress to a huge business should have been the exact opposite of our other lady character, but she develops something more of her own, and actually surprises us in a pleasant manner, right in the beginning and particularly in the end. She comes up with something by the end which gives this movie an extra emotional boost. I didn’t like her in Annayum Rasoolum, but not this time. Prathap K. Pothan has a strong role to play, as his character is special, and different from what you usually see with such a character, a rich businessman looking to marry off his daughter. Sunil Sukhada catches the attention with his character and Lena Abhilash has a very good presence as Gracy which is boosted by her own performance. Mukesh contributes as he always does, and it is nice how he fits into such characters. Yes, they all did well and it made me feel very good in the end, I was happy when it finished, and the performance of each of them made sure that I was with them, that is for sure. The songs are nice performers too, especially “Kannadi Vaathil” and “Venmegham”; while “Ennum Ninne Orkkanayullil” is cute and “Chinni Chinni” is fine. They look the best with the visuals.

How it finishes :: I am recommending London Bridge for anyone who likes to watch a feel-good movie and not some random glorification of anything, whether it is cricket, violence or sex. The credit of the same goes to our three leading actors, the superstar who accepted the role of a normal guy in an ordinary movies, and the two leading actresses, one giving life to an innocent girl from Thiruvalla and the other to a true humanist and charity worker who is more alive than anyone else. The movie is strong at soul, even as it displays its strengths so less due to its execution problems. Its ends up telling us that we will know the importance of someone in our life only when we feel that we are going to loose them. Prithviraj and Nanditha makes us feel it, so much more and more as the movie progresses to the end. But I would like to add that this is not that much for mindless entertainment; this is for serenity, and this is a tribute to that love which is not based on lust and infatuation, as we see in most of the other love stories. Thank you Anil C. Menon, for this perfect cast, and it is the best thing, along with the incredibly beautiful visuals of the United Kingdom and the feeling that it leaves us with. It makes me wish to go to the British Isles again, and re-create my time there. The flaws might be many, but the pain is perfect and it strikes as it touches your good side as long as it exists! I would also ask the viewers to keep away from the usual conventions about a love story, as it is not how this works!

Release date: 1st February 2014
Running time: 150 minutes (estimate)
Directed by: Anil C. Menon
Starring: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Andrea Jeremiah, Nanditha Raj, Prathap K. Pothan, Mukesh, Sunil Sukhada, Lena Abhilash, Amritha Anil

londonbridge copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.