This is gonna be a short review since I have got to get to work early tomm morning and it is already encroaching into my sleep hours. I think March is probably already the month with the maximum number of releases in Malayalam in 2013 but somehow I have been occupied with work et al and there was no burning desire to go out of the way and watch a movie. My last movie was Celluloid and that was a different genre in itself. Hearing poor reviews about Red Wine, I decided to skip it and opt for Aamen on the off day we got thanks to Good Friday.
I had already read peer reviews (Courtesy: Sarah )and heard about it on FB and was raring to go for it. I knew it was three hours beforehand. I was prepared. From the first minute though, I have to admit, I was proven wrong.
It is a story revolving around a church, the people involved in the church band and how they try to revive the dying band. For once in recent times, I walked off the theatre knowing Fahad was a part of the movie, the script and the way the script Lijo presented to us was the real star. The contemporaries involved in this movie – Indrajith, Fahad, Swathi primarily along with Kalabhavan Mani et al have all proven track records. Fahad seems to be living characters out lately that it is almost questionable whether he is acting. Indrajith’s variegate performance is something that is becoming his identity. Swathi (is this her first movie in Malayalam?) with her insatiable eyes (emphasized by ? eye liners) keeps you strung up on screen.
The satire is what drives this movie. The comedy has class, it is mixed just in the manner one sprinkles salt and pepper – here and there just enough to add that extra spice to your taste. What leaves an indelible mark in my mind is the aerial shots panning in and out giving a finishing touch to each shot.
The music is nourished by laymanistic lyrics apt to the scenarios. This was indeed the perfect movie to befit the festive weekend.
One of the few things that did irk me was the dubbing for Swathi – it stood out as the movie started but otherwise it was indeed a joy ride. Thanks Lijo for this.
My rating: 4.0/5
2011 has been refreshing for the Malayalam Film Industry. Movies like Traffic and Urumi are setting a new trend; a welcome change. This movie also carried the same expectations on it’s shoulders. Financial constraints, delay in release lead to a lack of available slots for the better theatres. My first futile attempt to watch this movie was the day the Endosulfan Hartal was on. Sadly the theatre playing the movie did not even open for first or second show that day. Grand theatre is not one of the preferred destinations to watch a movie in Kollam, considering its age, worn out seats and lack of effective air cooling. Finally yesterday I got myself to go for it, and was not too surprised to see that there were hardly 25 people in total [Don’t worry – not the movie’s fault – the general state of all movies in Kollam :)] which normally makes for a good comfortable viewing.
Lijo Jose Pellissery (@mrinvicible) ‘s second venture after Nayakan also revolves around a powerful character showcasing Indrajith Sukumaran’s [@Indrajith_S] acting prowess. Lijo introduces the protagonists one by one through a road accident scene where incidentally all the characters are involved. The movie then rolls into flashback….
Swarnavel [Indrajith] is a Tamil immigrant who has settled in Kochi, loves his work, enjoys his daily wages and is a happy-go-lucky fellow. His raw love and affection for a fellow worker Marathakam [Parvathy Menon] and his desire to marry her makes him run into a lot of trouble.
Soorya [Rima Kallingal – @rimakallingal] is a film actor who’s trying to make it big in the industry. She is introduced through a dance number being shot for the movie she is acting wherein she is seen adorning an array of beautiful dresses. She has a troubled marriage and has a history of a love relation that had gone sour with a businessman – one Mr. Sony Vadayaattil [Rajeev Pillai] who is madly in love with her. He wants to rekindle the relation he had with Soorya but she doesn’t oblige. He tricks her husband into owing him loads of money so that she would eventually agree to all his needs. In addition to this, she has to deal with the perils of the casting couch.
Jyothilal [Prithviraj] is a good friend of Sony and does all the dirty work for him. When a business deal with Mr. Punnoose goes sour, Sony seeks Jyothilal‘s help to ‘deal’ with Punnoose. Out in the open in the heart of Kochi , Jyothilal jumps the gun and slays him right in front of Mrs. Punnoose [Swetha Menon]. Mrs. Punnoose seeks revenge for the death of her husband and she plays with men of power in the city to ensure her husband is avenged.
The story develops centering around the love story of Swarnavel, Sony’s quest for getting Soorya back into his life and Mrs. Punnoose ‘s revenge. The journey is slow at times, but the action and suspense with an unorthodox way of story telling keeps the audience interested.
- Lijo is renowned for his different story telling and this too is not one of the ‘characteristic’ Malayalam Box Office movie. He has dealt with an above average script by keeping the raw bloody feel of the action intact alongwith the hand held cinematography of Sujith Vasudev. Sujith’s work needs to be lauded as he keeps the movie as realistic to the viewer without letting effects take a toll.
- This is easily another feather to Indrajith‘s already variegate character list. He literally lives the character inside out – be it his joy at his girl’s happiness, the drunk sadness of losing her or the anger against the abuse hurled at her. A complete package, and he gets across with ease to the audience. Just one blot: Indran didn’t seem very comfortable in the love making scene :P.
- Rima Kallingal is an actor in the making. Her role was specific, yet emotionally charged. She does justice to her character. Her despondency is felt by the viewer and our heart goes out to the perils she faces [and she is looking great as usual ;)]
- Prithviraj has a subdued character after a series of flamboyant ones in the lead role in the recent past. He is strongly focused as a goon, and yet drops his guard when he expresses his concern for his friend. Maybe a bit less emotive would have Ironed out the character.
- Parvathy Menon – easily my pick for the best actor in the movie. I have not seen her before and she swept me off with her comfort in her role which had a lot to offer and she justified her selection.
- Prasanth Pillai’s background score never lets the movie lose the rustic feel it holds all throughout.
- Rajeev Pillai looks like he is better off doing what he does best, while Swetha Menon has become adept to dealing with any role thrown at her, though I wonder why there is always a bit of seduction involved hmm.
- Strong supporting role of Rohini needs special mention – evergreen as always.
My Rating 4 out of 5
City of God’s unconventional approach might find divided opinion among the Malayalee audience, though in my opinion, Hollywood fans will appreciate the effort put in to make this movie. (Yup, I would recommend watching it rather than star studded disappointments like Chinatown).