Oru Vadakkan Selfie – The right ingredients for a blockbuster


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It is after all the viewers that make or break movies. In a time frame when movies disappear much faster than the time taken to make them, certain elements come together to ensure few of them survive to top the charts.

The proximal half of the movie is difficult to even be called ‘scripted’ as it literally pops out of real life. The nuances and moments of life of an Engineering student who fails to make the cut (and there are quite a lot of them out there all right), the way the present generation is ‘enlightened’ by their smartphones and ‘phablets’ are brought to us with such amiable humor that it is hard to not enjoy the light mood.

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The amount of pondering the second half of the movie provokes is predictable yet with the right message intended, it makes all the more sense to go out there and spend those little two hours of our life. With the internet bringing people closer through e-social life, the vulnerables’  are yet again caught out in this movie. The emphasis on cyber crimes is well envisaged here as it sheds some light on how organized crime could get.

Apart from the comic elements the movie conjures to keep us entertained, there are plenty of take home messages that needs to be taken pretty damn seriously!

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Movie Review: To Noora with Love [Malayalam]


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I swiped my debit card at the PVR cinemas kiosk at Lulu mall and collected my ticket. There was a huge crowd outside AUDI 5. Turns out ‘Law point’ (starring Kunchako Boban and Namitha Pramod) was playing there… I waded away from the crowd to pick my cheese popcorn tub and moved towards my AUDI 8. It was already 5 min past the start of the show time and I walked in but did not find the ticket checking dude around. I paused as I climbed the stairs to reconfirm if I walked into the wrong AUDI and that’s when the fellow rushed to check my ticket. Turns out I was the only one SO FAR to get in there. This I believe was the second show of the day after the movie released and I was shocked to find just me sitting there in the theatre.

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30min later a bunch of guys turned up and quite clearly seemed like they were here because they probably did not get any other movie tickets.

Another 10 odd people appeared a bit later and THAT was it.

With such a frugal audience and sub 20 degree theatre cooling, I was being chilled to death but wait, I am yet to start on the movie.

True this was comeback movie for Mamta Mohandas (following the relapse of her illness). The posters on social media depicted images of her portraying Noora, a vaguely familiar image to the time when the movie Anwar was released (coincidentally she was ailing too that time). So flashbacks of the Mamta of then kept coming, but this time though she has put onf a few.. as evident on her face. The makeup belied the ailing Mamta. I was empathic right from the beginning.

The story revolves around Noora, a dreamy astronomer, who loves to do a lot of good for the community, how she falls in love with Shajar (Krish Sathar) and the peculiar predicament she finds herself in when confounded with an illness during pregnancy. To Noora with love (53)

So many eminent actors revolve around Noora’s character. Mammookkaa chips in with a few light moments. Kaniha is very comfortable in her role as Shajar’s sister but yet again, maybe this movie might entice the Malabar crowd. Nedumudi Venu portrays the senior doctor treating Noora. Archana Kavi supports Noora as her best friend however for the immense amount of screen time she gets, she fails to leave a lasting effect on the audience.

Krish has a huge role throughout the movie but his acting is labored and he struggles to cope with his better half’s screen comfort.

Mamta-Mohandas-in-Noora-with-Love-(11)3918Sufi music entwined by Mohan Sitara and Vayalar S C Varma is one of the only mood relievers during the period of intervening awkwardness.

Social messages are a plenty with downtrodding of the patriarchal society and spiraling women empowerment issues. But to be honest as I walk out of the theatre, I wonder where I am supposed to find the love that remains painfully only in the title.

My rating: 2/5

MOVIE REVIEW: AMEN [MALAYALAM]


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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.

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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.

3It 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.

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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.

5The 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

 

 

 

 

MOVIE REVIEW: CHAPTERS [MALAYALAM]


I will not go at length to discuss this movie to be honest since I am pretty disappointed walking out of the hall. After having watched Life of Pi in 3D, and following a mini break, this was definitely not the movie to reignite the movie goer. Chapters broadly divides the movie into 4 chapters each interconnected to one another in one way or the other. The Chapter 1 script and the acting was so poor that it kills the movie before it even gets going.

The subsequent chapters with more experienced actors tried to undo the harm done. The message the director attempts to convey is , let’s just put it this way, poorly come across to the audience. Actors like Gauthami who had a fair run in her first two movies is seen handling a role in which she has hardly any substance to deliver. The fact that 2 days after it’s release, half of the Oberon Mall Screen was empty says it all.

My Rating  1.5 out of 5

 

The First and the Cochification of my Malayalam


Day 8

I love Mondays, probably more so cause I was born on one. Seem to always find myself with bundles of energy. Was posted in the Ultrasound room. As I sat there observing multiple ones being done, out of the blue, my senior offered me to do one. I was like “Me???” Doing an USG was the last thing I expected to get to do as early as the first day of my second week, but I mustered some confidence and got myself to hold the probe in my right hand and scan the abdomen.

I knew I would be confronted with procedures where I’d have no option but to train myself to use my right hand more than the left. Interestingly yet unfortunately my first scan found a mass in the left kidney which needs further evaluation. I hope it turns out to be benign.

Maybe it was the good rapport with the senior and the nursing staff that kept the nerves shackled away, but am glad I have taken the first step, no matter how small 🙂

My South Kerala Malayalam slang is taking some beating all right! As I speak to more and more mid Kerala staff and patients, I find myself unintentionally tuning myself to their slang. I hope I don’t lose my ‘accent’ 🙂

MOVIE REVIEW: CHINATOWN [Malayalam]


Day 3 of my cold. I woke up at 0330 am to see Vishu Kani. Took a shower in the morning and went to the temple. Prayers for a better year ahead and on the way back, I remembered I was to reserve tickets for the family – to watch a Vishu release movie. Choice was limited, only 2 releases this year – Chinatown vs Doubles. Mixed reviews from the previous day, but Chinatown seemed to have edged over Doubles. So I went forth and booked for the second show.

Come evening, getting into the Archana – Aradhana theatre was hectic. The first show was JAM PACKED in both theatres. Feelings of  ‘Oh, this might just be worth it!’. With a sundae in hand, I sat amongst my cousins, surprised at the amount of family crowd that was out there for a 9pm second show.. either the Vishu effect or the 3 names this movie was riding on – Dileep, Mohanlal and Jayaram. [I go for the latter!]

An Aashirvad Cinemas production [Mohanlal’s], directed by the celebrated Rafi-Mecartin duo, the onus was always gonna be on humor and the humor went through a plateau of phases as the movie progressed.

The movie begins in the beautiful coastal state of Goa, where gambling and Casinos are legal. 4 Malayali friends were running a Casino there and minting money. In the quest for money and power, the local Goonda Mr. Gawda [Pradeep Rawat], murders all 3 of the Mallus, whilst the 4th [Mr. GomezCaptain Raju] survives.

After 25 years, Gomez is back in Goa, purchases a casino and plots revenge on Gawda. He recalls Maathukutty [Mohanlal], Zachariah [Jayaram] and Binoy [Dileep] {Children of his 3 friendsto return to Goa and manage the casino. Maathukutty is known for his avid indulgence in fights and has a number of cases registered against him; while Binoy is a guy who keeps falling in love with girls every 6 months and Zachariah has only one thought all throughout the day = MONEY!

The first half of the movie is filled with umpteen moments where one literally bursts out in laughter at the mimicry, the raw as well as the adult jokes delivered in the script. Jayaram and Dileep deliver comedy with ease, while Mohanlal seems to have lost a bit of his touch.

Kavya Madhavan [Rosamma] alongwith Poonam Bajwa [Emily] and Dipasha [Chandni] form the female trio in the movie. Rose was supposed to marry Maathukutty’s brother, but she eventually falls in love with Maathukutty. Emily is Gomez’ daughter and she pairs up with Zachariah; and Binoy has the hots for the home minister’s daughter – Chandni.

While Kavya has some substance to her role, the other two are merely involved in the merriment. Suraaj Venjarumoodu [Chandran]  as a goonda gives us both the extremes of the good and the bad of humor.

The buildup of the movie until the interval is brilliantly interlaced with humor that is so naturally depicted by all the actors and makes us go for the interval snack with the satisfaction that yes, this movie is gonna be a HIT.

Following the break, the movie does a COMPLETE U TURN to our expectations. The likening to the English movie ‘Hangover’ is strongly felt as the 3 heroes go through varying stages of intoxication as they party all night long leaving the 3 friends in a confused state on what did or didn’t happen the previous night. The sudden complicity of events took a heavy toll on the audience who were enjoying light humor until then. The ugly state of events characterized by the obnoxious Sumo wrestler who spends more screen time than any other in the last one hour, combined with the pathetic dialogues delivered by Dileep  in particular left the audience bewildered and surprised to how quickly the standard of the movie spiralled down!

To cap it all off, Jagathy Sreekumar‘s arrival towards the end of the movie as Jaggu Bhai [the biggest criminal in Goa] – oh well, no one was really bothered to figure that out by then!

Jassie Gift‘s music is foot tapping good as usual, but this will be one movie I will list among my ‘not worth watching 2011’

Kavya Madhavan on twitter: “So China Town..out n out entertainer for relax n watching..Leave ur thoughts n worries in schools n offices n come…..Sit..Relax..n Enjoy”

Final Verdict –  **1|2 out of 5. 

MOVIE REVIEW: URUMI [Malayalam]


Santosh Sivan’s 2011 venture with Prithviraj, under the banner of August Cinemas [Raju’s first production release], is the 2nd biggest budget film [Rs. 20 Crores] the Malayalam Film Industry has ever witnessed -following Pazhassi Raja. The movie released on 31st March at around 70 centres all over Kerala.I managed to be a part of this beautiful historic journey yesterday and proudly adds this to my list of must watch movies of 2011.

Director’s Take


Plot

The movie begins in a current day situation where Krishnadas [Prithviraj] is partying with his Tamil friend [Prabhu Deva]. They are broke and badly need some money, when they are approached by foreigners [via Nithya Menon] for the sale of Krishnadas’ ancestral property back in Kerala. They take up the advance to sell the place off, and head homewards to complete the sale of the property. On arriving there, they come across an NGO worker [Vidya Balan] who tries to stir his mind away from selling the property. He then gets exposed to some of the tribal men living there, wherein he is forced to listen to the history of his forefathers.

From here on, Santosh begins to unveils his magic. Shankar Ramakrishnan’s script is easy to comprehend and keeps the interest going. We are eased into the history of Vasco da Gama’s visit to Indian soil, his vested interests in Indian spices and the ugly side of the man. One of his ‘foresaken deeds’ was setting a ship that was heading on a pilgrimage on fire and drowning the natives down. The son [Prithviraj as Chirakkal Kelu Nayanar] of a brave warrior [whose attempt to kill da Gama went in vain], then makes an Urumi from the ornaments and gold of the women who were burnt alive in the ship. The pictorization of the anger and anguish in the eyes of the lad sets up the scene for REVENGE.

The little Kelu finds solace and protection at a Muslim’s house [Vavvaalli – Prabhu Deva]and they grow up together to become lifelong friends. The burning desire of Kelu to seek revenge against the foreigners, for killing his father, makes his path cross a beautiful lady warrior [Arrackkal AyeshaGenelia D’souza]. To be honest, I have never been a big fan of this girl, she is cute and spritey, my memories run back to ‘Boys’, the first film I watched of her. Their quests and goals are common, romance brews, and Ayesha buys a lot of love from the viewers.

But it is Vavvaalli who grabs all the claps in the theatre. Humor has been subtle, yet handled well, without taking away any seriousness away from the history being depicted. Jagathy Sreekumar is no doubt the Complete Actor in this movie. If ever there is an acting manual, he did justice to his role as the ‘Advisor’ to the king emphatically. Words won’t do justice to his performance. Simply brilliant.

Nithya Menon enjoys wonderful screen time as the King’s daughter; though I was not too comfortable with her accent. Vidya Balan – as a mesmerizing deity, with a seductive dance number and some impactful dialogues in Malayalam [does fairly well]. Her acting skills sidelines Nithya Menon’s role. Tabu’s guest appearance in the song.. just left me feeling, a little too old maybe ;).

Trailer

The final frontier

The epic battle, after fighting all odds, Kelu tries to take Vasco da Gama head on, and the visual treat is just brilliant. One has to take an evening off, head to a theatre and sit through 170 min. to really imbibe the Santosh Sivan stamp in Cinematography.

Raju needs to be given some slack. This is another feather to his career. I was really impressed with his work rate in this one. Santosh has tried to get the best out of him.

Genelia no doubt is my standout performer in this one. Beauty weilding a sword, slaying men all around, anger, anguish, revenge, love, fear. She portrays a lot of emotions. And as a warrior, she is simply gorgeous. It may not be the perfect movie, but it is definitely a must watch. Deepak Dev has done brilliantly with the score to keep the aura all throughout.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Links:

Urumi Official Website: http://www.urumithefilm.com/