Movie Review: 7th Day [Malayalam]


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David Abraham [Prithviraj], suspended IPS officer of crime branch, is seen enjoying the mood in a club on a Christmas week.  The movie begins with a party number composed by Deepak Dev with a female vocal crooning tones that account for the “A” part of the U/A rating of this movie. Pretty much as a stamped on marker of ‘new generation’ films, the use of profanity and sexual innuendo seems quintessential to pull the crowd, at least in the beginning of the movie to get things going.

As David meets with a road accident, bumping into Shaan  and Vinu, the story interleave unfolds with David offering to hitch them a ride to the hospital. Vinu runs away from the hospital only to be found dead the following day.

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The movie then builds over the investigation of the death of Vinu, well orchestrated by the background score and the power of Prithviraj’s onscreen presence.

Just like any murder mystery, we start churning out possibilities of suspects one after the other, but for a story at this day and age to pull off a murder mystery has to have a befitting ending. (Yes I am suggesting this movie does have a twist 😀 ).

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With a fairly youthful novel casting, the energy is maintained all throughout the movie with the ending carved out to bring the best out of Prithviraj.

It is definitely worth a one time watch. The movie is devoid of humor, romance or dance numbers to tap your feet to, but it is a crime investigation and it deserves the merit this Vishu kaalam. I haven’t seen Janani Iyer before, but she doesn’t have enough screen time to churn a moment.

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With a story line and a competent actor to orchestrate it, this is one crime thriller that won’t disappoint you.

My rating: 3/5

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Indian Rupee


Another simple Ranjith movie.. typically unconventional and tactfully takes a dig at the current younger generation who like to take the shortest route to quick cash.

The success of this movie rides on Ranjith’s  expected quality alongwith the powerful presence of the legendary Thilakan. Prithviraj has had a series of gung ho movies in the recent past with no real acting excellence to deliver. Through Ranjith, he has returned back with a bang once again and to be honest, one of his standout performance in his short career. The proven excellence of Jagathy Sreekumar, the subtle humor brought in by Tini Tom makes for a convincing 2 and a half hour journey.

The take home message and some of the dialogues hit you right in the face with the harsh reality and this is gonna definitely keep the box office going.

So if you really want to watch a quality Malayalam flick, then head for this one; meanwhile I shall get back to my sleep.. and maybe catch Soundtrack tomorrow 😀 (I love weekends with good movies!)

MOVIE REVIEW: CITY OF GOD [Malayalam]


Prelude

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.

Trailer

Plot

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 SwarnavelSony’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.

Verdict

  • 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).

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/


MOVIE REVIEW: MAKE-UP MAN [Malayalam]


Shafi’s latest venture Makeup Man is the first movie of 2011 which finds home well in the genre of a complete Family Entertainer. From my following of Raju’s fan page in facebook, I was aware of the midweek release and since I had just got done with another exam, felt it would be an appropriate outlet to channel out some 2 hrs of fun. Personally I have had no hard feelings against the actor Jayaram, always enjoyed his contribution to the industry over the years and justifiably welcome his Padmashree status.

Balu [Padmashree Jayaram] is one of those blokes who is broke in life, owing loads of money to multitude of blade companies, one of them run by [Jagathy Sreekumar]. The movie begins with a bit of humor where Balu gets arrested for sneaking to his own rented house in the middle of the night, trying to avoid paying the landlord. He gets taken to the local “Mathrika” station where he gets let off when he narrates his perils. A girl Soorya [Sheela], is in love with him and runs away from home the day before her planned wedding.

Soon they go get help from Balu’s friend [Suraj Venjarumoodu], who is a production controller executive and get married at a temple with the help of some junior artists pretending to be their relatives.

In the meantime, director of the movie ‘Cinderella’, [Siddique] is fed up with the ‘actress’ the producer [Janardhanan] has brought for the movie, the female being some reality show winner. 😉 So he asks her to leave the set and decides he wont move ahead without another worthy actor instead.

Coincidentally, Suraaj arranges accommodation, just for one night for the newly wed Balu and Soorya in the room where the previous actor stayed. A purely accidental incident wherein the producer sees Soorya go into the Actress room, gets mistakenly convinced, she will be the perfect actress for the movie. In dire need of money, Soorya, who has no clue about acting tries to give it a shot, and once again, theatrically timed coincidence, convinces the director that she is the perfect one for the role.

Here on the movie picks up with real good pace, and Jayaram’s inability to stay with his wife, needing an excuse, he adorns the role of the Actress’ Makeup man, and that is how this movie develops.

As the movie grows on, Soorya becomes aware of her innate talent of acting and is unable to resist offer of a second movie. A couple of misunderstandings, strains the relation between the husband and wife so much so that Soorya aka Anamika [Filmstar name] circumstantially denies ever being married to him, so that she can sustain in the industry.

Final Verdict 7.5/10

  • Padmashree Jayaram, might have lost bit of his fluffy hair, added a couple more wrinkles to his face, apart from that, it is a typically comforting genre wherein he easily marks his territory.
  • Sheela is fantabulous as the housewife turned actress, with a well toned figure, she carries the role given to her fairly well, though when the movie started, I felt she could emote more. But overall she does well to keep our eyes glued on her whenever she had the screentime.
  • The strength of the actors in the fringe keeps the movie enticingly rich. Humor has no limits when the maestro Jagathy with his junior Suraaj are involved. Kunchako Boban and Prithviraj appear as themselves [cine actors] and are restricted to guest appearances and do justice to their cameos.
  • Siddhique needs special mention who plays almost second fiddle to Jayaram all throughout, though it was difficult to even fathom him and Sheela as a couple 😉
  • Comedy, Love, Tragedy and a happily ever after; you can definitely take your family out to this one for 2.5 hours of entertainment.

P.S. The music didn’t impress me much, hence no mention.