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

 

MOVIE REVIEW: GADDAMA خادمة [Malayalam]


Earlier this week after returning from Mangalore, I watched Arjunan Sakshi, but left the theatre disappointed, as the story had so much scope for being moulded into a blockbuster, but somehow the director seems to have missed the plot with the second half losing all the excitement and bite which the movie kicked off with.

To cover up the disappointment of a wasted 40 bucks, I decided to go for Gadamma. A Kamal movie gets its own respect. The movie is expected to carry over nice and easy to the target audience. So I had no second thoughts to catch the movie on the day of its release itself.

In Kamal’s words: “One of the biggest sources of Kerala’s socio-economic boom over the last five decades is the sweat and hardwork of our Marunaadan Malayalees who toil day in and out to earn the daily bread for their family back home. Some get the blame, the abuse if they don’t keep in touch for a bit, but little do Keralites fathom the perils of the NRI! This theme has never been presented in India in any industry, and as a Malayalee, this is the least I can do to convey our gratitude to them”

The movie revolves around a typical Malayalee girl hailing from Palakkad,  Ashwathy [Kavya Madhavan] who due to the financial constraints of her family and the unfortunate death of her husband [Biju Menon] is forced to be the bread earner of the house and opts to go to the gulf [Saudi Arabia]. One of the strictest Arab states in the Middle East, we are very well aware of the difficult living conditions for women, the amount of restrictions they have in life. She is forced to wear a Burkha at all times, and is taken up under a sponsor to work for him as a Maid.

From here on the story pans out into the numerous troubles Ashwathy faces– sexual abuse, battery. Ashwathy is accompanied by Usmaan [Suraaj Venjaarumoodu] who is the car driver at the sponsors. He indulges in a sexual affair with the Indonesian maid there and gets caught and is kicked out of the sponsor’s house. Ashwathy helps the other maid to escape the premises and in turn is battered as punishment.

One fine day, she calls it quits and tries to runaway from the sponsor’s house and in the entire second half of the movie, we see her running into some good and bad people, eventually culminating in a deportation. On a parallel, there is a Malayali social worker [Sreenivasan] who makes an effort to try and identify ‘Unknown Indian’s whose bodies arrive at the mortuary and secure their return back home. In other words, he plays out the role of a helpful social worker, who eventually helps Ashwathy also leave the damned place.

M. Jayachandran does his magic with 2 beautiful songs, though this time I felt maybe a Malayalee singer should have sang the emotional number, ShreyaG’s dictional tone kind of didn’t sync well, but then that is just my opinion 🙂

Final Verdict – 8.0

  • This is not a movie you would list to watch on a weekend after a long tiring week, cause this is no stress buster, and for the fainthearted, well it is a hard pill to swallow.
  • Any household having anything to do with a person in the Gulf, should go watch this. It is so easy to write off saying, ‘Oh, he is in the gulf, look at the wonderful life he is leading’. This movie highlights just one incident as the main, with a few more other small small issues surrounding it, and will help shed a little light on the hardships people face there.
  • No doubt, being born and brought up in the Gulf, I have heard from my mom many times about the hardship my dad faced and I dint have to think twice to go watch this. I am fairly sure everyone also agrees to the different ‘eye’ with which people look at us.
  • Sreenivasan delivers one of the strongest messages in the movie when he states. “If a small shrub is able to grow all alone fighting the scorching heat of the desert, then we as humans can even swallow the bitter pill of a ‘came to the gulf and all went wrong’, to return back home and pretend as if it was all a bad nightmare and start all over again.
  • Kavya Madhavan has carried the character brilliantly. The subtlety with which she expresses the pain and anguish through her eyes alone [in a burkha]; makes your heart go out to her. And to her credit, we can very much say, she is back with a bang.
  • This is surely one movie meant for the middle aged and above and any youngster with something between their ears.

 

MOVIE REVIEW: TRAFFIC [Malayalam]


First movie after a 3 month break and what a WAY to start 2011. Listening to a random Good morning Kerala Interview couple of days back on Indiavision,  wherein one of the casts of the film was being interviewed, just left me a little curious on what this movie is all about.

This movie centres around a sequence of events, occurring at a Traffic Island in the heart of Ernakulam, over a span of 12 hours on a September 16. Raihan [Vineeth Srinivasan] has jus gotten into a new job as a journalist at IndiaVision and is about to do his first interview – of the Movie superstar Siddharth [Rahman].  Dr. Abel [Kunchako Boban] has just purchased a new Swift to surprise his wife Shwetha [Remya Nambeeshan] on their 1st wedding anniversary. Sudevan [Sreenivasan] is a clean police constable who recently got suspended for accepting a bribe and is finding ways to clear his name and reputation.

The chain of events kick off with Raihan’s interview with Siddharth being preponed, so he decides to hitch a ride with his friend Rajeev [Asif Ali] to get to the news station ASAP. All it took is a random speeding vehicle which whizzed past at a red signal to knock them off their bike and leaving Raihan fatally injured. His imminent death is interwoven with the chronic illness [heart disease] of Siddharth’s daughter whose life could be saved if an immediate heart transplant is done.

The movie thrives on the impossible mission of trying to get Raihan’s heart from Lakeshore hospital in Ernakulam to Ahalya hospital in Palakkad, a journey of 150 km, to be completed within 2hours! The background score has a more lasting impression merely due to the wonderful script where we eagerly wait to see the mission completed. The movie bluntly deals with the inadequacies of our roads and the bribery of our Indian system, how politicians and men in power misuse the Govt. services to their use and yet they are not willing to help out the common man.

On a parallel track runs 2 stories – Dr. Abel finding out about his wife cheating with his best friend and the anger and the anguish he feels when he finds out about the infidelity. Medical ethics are also prodded and probed a bit on where exactly do we define – Saving a life or Ending one.

It’s a brilliant work by the writers Bobby and Sanjay. A very realistic approach, makes you feel at home with Rajesh Pillai’s direction, so much so that when you leave the theatre, you will feel a little more responsible next time you hit the road.  Coincidence or not that his movie has released just after we Celebrated Road Safety Week.

The ensemble of cast in this movie is brilliant. Considering almost all spend an equal amount of screen time, its clearly evident how strong some of the actors are.  My most riveting moment was Raihan’s mom reflecting over his interview on her mobile and where she sits beside him in the ICU. So subtle with emotions and yet one could feel a mother’s love.

The future of Malayalam industry is bright, if and only if we grow out of the shadows of the “Superstars” where stories aren’t made to suit them rather actors tune themselves into a good script!

I will not go on and on with spoilers, cause this movie is worth every penny.

FINAL VERDICT – 8.5 *

  • Asif Ali, Sai Kumar, Kunchako Boban and Anoop Menon are the strong performers in addition to Sreenivasan and Rahman.
  • Go and watch this movie. At a time when posters are often misleading [on a first look, it seems like a college goers movie]. It has got it all. A perfect mix of emotions and guaranteed you will find yourself applauding at some of the most electrifying moments in the 2 hours.