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Parunthu – Fails to take off

Posted by harino1 on July 20, 2008

The hype around two superstar movies with similar plots suddenly fell flat with ‘Parunthu’, ending up as one that seldom keeps us engaging. Largely inspired from the likes of ‘Devaasuram’, in drawing the negative caricatures of protagonists, the movie just places another central character, this time a cruel money lender, in the already set frame of transition and turning a new leaf in the life of the lead baddie.

‘Parunthu’ has Mammootty as ‘Parunthu’ Purushothaman, a blade mafia chief having a particular penchant for hot cash, operating in Kozhikode city. He is like the ravenous hawk who pounce upon his preys, who are in demand of money and tearing them apart with his sharp eye with little care for any human emotions. He don’t believe in any form of relationships as  his mother had abandoned him at a young age, leaving him to grow up as the right arm of a money lender, Kunjikka.

Purushu’s  curious forms of  entertainments includes watching football matches on television, and practicing yoga and  exercises other than eating ‘Nadan’ Chicken fry and creating havoc’s in families, trying to milk in his capital and its crude  interests.

Puroshothaman’s few  associates includes  Vinayan (Jayasurya), another youth  trapped in  a planned ‘Hawala’ case, Kunjachan (Cochin Haneefa) a defaulter who now turns out as his cook and Poojapura Mahendran (Sooraj Venjaranmoodu), a small time land  broker. Purushu’s only soft corner is with Seetha (Lakshana), whose property he has taken over after the elopement of   her husband, who defaulted Purushu’s loan. The only opponent of ‘Parunthu’ is Kallayi Aziz, another cunning blade mafia don, who runs the Calicut chits and real estates.

The movie opens with a mass suicide of a family due to Purushu’s harsh dealings. But Purushu never gets moved by these incidents, which he considers as a regular outcome of his business. He goes on to thrash other families who are already in his debit list and to drive them out of their properties, by using his thugs. The latest in his list is Hemanthbhai, a business tycoon who is in the verge of big loss due to pending court cases. Purushu halts the wedding of Rakhi, Bhai’s daughter. And this leads to Bhai losing his mind and gradually succumbing to death.

The later half of the movie presents the expected but unavoidable change of the cruel hero into a hearty person, following a number of reasons of which, very few are convincing. In between all these incidents, Kallayi Aziz creates some situations that demands fights and intense dialogues. ‘Parunthu’, as usual, drags into its much predictable and sentimental climax, leaving the viewers much in despair.

T A Rasaq is easily the topper in the list of the best of the dialogue writers, available in Mollywood. But that does not qualify him as a good scriptwriter, though the veteran had an experience in the field of around two decades. ‘Parunthu’ is one best example of this never gripping screenplay writing. The   pit holes of the narratives, show more than itself in ‘Parunthu’, which even after with this inviting premise fails to take off to better arenas of film realization. Rasaq miserably fails to make the transition of the protagonist smooth enough to suit the demand of commercial format. Like the catchword in the scripts that he talks through the character ‘Nammal randum villanmara, Villain jayikkunna charithrame illa” and ends up taking the old fashioned ways for transformation of the villain into a savior.

Then comes the choreographer Rekha, who has done the most harm to the movie by the two songs that she has done for the movie. The first one, the Kavady song, is embarrassing and awful to watch, disturbing the mood and seriousness of the movie to the levels of amateurism. The repercussions on the viewers, who started booing this song from the shot one, subsided only after ten minutes from the song. The second song in the movie, the Gujarati stuff, also seldom invites much interest with poor shot selections, all through it

And we suspect the director M Padmakumar who has shown much promise with his first three ventures, did his very little share, to rise over an ever faltering script lines. This movie never matches the quality and ingeniousness of his previous ventures. In the acting front, Mammootty in an out and out negative role holds the movie from ending up as bits and pieces. The  highpoint of the film is his attempt to break the mould of the  super hero  to present himself in black and grey , at the same time resisting any attempt to demeanor ‘Maadambi’ – the other movie with same plot ,running in theatres, thus avoiding a star warfare. Jay Kumar, a TV serial actor, as Kallayi Azeez   is a revelation and show promise of being in the industry for some more time.

The songs by Alex Paul are nothing exceptional while Ouseppacahan in rerecording has tried his best to make the movie, more engaging. Sanjeev Shankar behind the camera and Ranjan Abraham in editing just go through their routine jobs cycles.

All in all, ‘Parunthu’, provides a few good moments, but offers little else to distinguish itself from other slashed films, made with similar plots. Like any other humble birds, it is destined to fly low.


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Minnaminnikkoottam – Strictly for Kamal fans

Posted by harino1 on July 14, 2008

When one of the most awaited movies of the year, ‘Minnaminnikkoottam’ with a stellar cast hit the theatres, expectations were naturally high. An intented emotional drama from reel one to the last, Kamal’s new flick is a tiresome effort which only succeeds marginally to live up to the expectations.

The movie opens with Charulatha (Meera Jasmine), a software techie in Singapore getting a wedding invitation via email, from Kalyani, one of her long lost friends. The movie, after leisurely unfolding the credits, goes on to a long flashback. Then we see Charulatha and Abhilash (Narain), both software engineers working in the same firm, allegedly in love resolving a recent spat, which is common between them.

Their eight-member techie gang including loudmouthed Manikunju (Jayasurya), the diplomatic Rose Mary (Roma), the pious Kalyani (Radhika), the Tamil-speaking Parthasarathy  (Anoop Chandran,) who all  assemble together in the flat of happily-married couple Siddharth (Indrajith) and Mumtaz (Samvrutha).

Abhi’s dad (P Sreekumar), an I A S officer who holds a big position in the Prime Minister’s office comes down from Delhi to meet Charu and her family and   make mock off her father (Saikumar) Balan, a bank officer. This   ignites more problems with their relationship and finally, results in the death of Charu’s father. The much repressed Charu then move off to Singapore, away from her friends, unable to reconcile with Abhi.

Watching ‘Minnaminnikkoottam’ , the two hour 25 minutes drama, devoid of any strong plot and characterization was pretty demanding than entertaining. The egocentric relationships and strains in the ”the rich boy meet poor girl” story planted in an IT backdrop are not at all convincing.

Moreover, the problem with ‘Minnaminnikkoottam’ is that, it will be accepted only when you have people who can associate with them. So the movie seems to be just aiming at the urban audience, with its plush beautiful apartment sets, brightly colored interiors and dashing work spaces.

Amidst its lavishness and grandeur, Kamal loses the life of the plot about the complexities of relationships, which hardly leaves a couple of scenes to linger with us.

He proves his brilliance only in the remarkably pictured songs, and not many sequences few and far between, which shows some amount of life. The talk of love, commitment and relationships, gets prosaic after a while, as the director and actors goes overboard with some emotional scenes going out of proportion. The biggest flaw that remains is this overblown sentimentality   in lengthy wide shots, which repeatedly fills the movie’s ever-stretching, never-ending story.

This can be a better movie if you are the type who doesn’t demand a movie with the script racing away. And in that case, it’s quite medium paced with some flavor which   conveys the dilemmas of persons in love. I surmise these types and getting rarer, these days.

Although the chemistry between Narain and Meera Jasmine is to become the mainstay of the film, they hardly have any and just not ooze any feeling as if they are in love. Narain has his grace and shows his potential of being at the centre of events. Meera Jasmine as a woman living life her way, trying to come to terms with her own inner conflicts, feels inadequate for the character, with some more added injuries from her carefree dubbing. Jayasuriya and Roma as confident, ambitious, modern youth seems the couple who provide some sort of relief to the proceedings with their share of humor and fun. Indrajith, Anoop, Samvrutha and Radhika does have cardboard roles, with not much meaty built ups.

The technical section of the movie is worth mentioning with Manoj Pillai once again, creating frames that are  bright and glossy. Biji Bal’s songs  and rerecording suit the mood and few like ”We are in love”,”Thara Jaalam” and ”Kadalolam valtsalyam” are definitely hummable. Gokuldas in the art department  does his bit to boost the looks of the techie atmosphere. But that cannot be said about the editing by Rajagopal, who could have trimmed down the sequences to pace it, better.

In conclusion, ‘Minnaminnikkoottam’ ends up as  pedestrian, vacuous, body-beautiful, soul-lacking film, despite holding some amount of promise that signify nothing.

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Kanichukulangarayil C B I – Kanichukulangara is miserably lame

Posted by harino1 on July 14, 2008

As a film critic, we often pass through despairing and regretful times, forced to watch some of the movies that itself cannot be called as feature films. And in Malayalam it is more than regular to see such films that are made just for the sake of being made, with lame to nil story lines and the worst, in the technical sides.

‘Kanichukulangarayil C B I’ is one such movie, that was made just to cash in the importance of its title and the popularity of the murder mystery. And as expected, apart from its intriguing title, there is nothing that you can relish in those 115 minutes of directions from Suresh-Vinu.

Many would have expected this to be an investigative thriller, but apart from boredom from a ludicrous plot, there is no investigation or thrill associated with this movie.

Ajith and Suresh (Saikumar and Meghanathan), the proprietors of  Aanamala Chit Funds, catapulted to greater heights of  goodwill and reputation mainly due to the sincerity and hard work of its  Managing Director, Ratheesh. But when he realises about the ugly deals of his bosses, Ratheesh resigns and set up another firm with the support of legal adviser, Advocate Rahim.

Ratheesh become a new success story in financial business within a nick of time, and then Ratheesh and his sister gets killed, hit by a truck, at Kanichukulangara.  Dy.S.P James George, begin investigations but is cornered by another police officer ‘Krishnagopal’ who teams up with the baddies. In this juncture Inspector Arjun from C B I make an entry to crack the case and nab the evading culprits.

The movie suffers, as usual, due to the nonexistence of a script. Harikumaran Thampi, credited for the scripts seems to have more interests in bizarre thinking like the maltreatment of convicts unleashing scorpions and iron rods by the police officers and in organizing abounding running races, in the name of chases. Nothing is exceptional from any of the departments of the movie or from actors like Manoj K. Jayan as Arjun, Saikumar, Meghanathan, Saadique, Rajan P Dev or Kollam Thulasi. Suresh Krishna as James George tries to hold the movie at times, but in vain.

The technical aspects are extremely worse than amateurish theaters. M D Sukumaran’s camera work doesn’t suit the pace of an action flick. And the art director needs to be given an entry in the list of the worst that we have ever witnessed in Mollywood movies. The makes didn’t even refrain from using the musical theme from the original C B I series for this movie, which could be the most regretful kudos that could be given to a music director of the original, Shyam. And the only song in the movie, not to say about the artists on which its is picturised, are too unimpressive that it could have well been avoided. And why should we mention the extensive list of each of the avoidable parts, when such a movie itself could have been averted?

If you still have appetite for thrillers, just rent a DVD of C B I series and watch it at home, than to get in for this poor excuse for an investigative C B I thriller.

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Maadambi – A typical Mohanlal flick

Posted by harino1 on July 10, 2008

The biggest deserving debate of the recent times in Mollywood has been mainly about the non availability of refreshing story lines and imaginative writers. Recycling seems to be word that is awfully repeated in this industry from the word ‘go’.

Adding to the list of these rehashed genres is B Unnikrishnan’s ‘Maadambi’, which doesn’t have anything fresh to offer. Every events and characters that you witness in the movie reminds of many that you had been with, much before. With a basic storyline as old as the hill, and Mohanlal in his every typical mannerism, why do you find ‘Maadambi’, an above average film?

With typical commingled formula stuff sprinkled all through, the movie largely captures our interest mainly due to the slick pace and undeviating narratives which never wander out of the lead lines.

The film is scripted in the lines of plenty of the old hits like Midhya, Vesham, Balettan, Valiettan and Valtsalyam taking bits and pieces from its every predecessor. The plot lines of sacrifices of the elder brother for the younger, seems one beaten up to death, but smart packaging is all that makes a difference to make the movie work.

Mohanlal for the first time in his career is appearing as a cunning money lender and a local banker, Puthen Veetil Gopalakrishna Pillai, from Ilavattom village in Pathanamthitta. And off course this is one of the rare films in which the super star has taken particular care to sound his accent so original to that of this central travancore district.

Set against this feudal Nair backdrop with ancestral mansions to the majestic ‘Gajaveeran’, Goplakrishna Pillai has a horrifying past, where his irresponsible father (Saikumar), a patron of arts and temple festivals has mismanaged their entire fortune to end up pennyless. The cheating of his good friend Parameshwara Kurup, who then built up a decent life for himself with the grabbed accounts, made Pillai’s father vanish from the village leaving his wife and two small children Pillai has given a word to his father -to bring up his younger brother and to look after his mother without peril and for that he has rebuilt all the lost grandeur, working day and night from his younger age  as a shrewd businessman, more a cunning money lender.

So the stage is set, with Kurup and his venomous sons always looking forward to devastate Pillai and the protagonist taking all steps to remain unscathed from the brooding enemies. Into this atmosphere arrives Jayalakshmi with a branch of a new generation bank. Pillai’s younger brother Ramakrishnan is an aspiring movie star who does not like to work on any thing, seriously. The whole twists came up when Ramakrishnan falls for the Kurup’s daughter. Kurup and his sons agrees for the marriage but had already plotted the plans for the ultimate destruction of Pillai. They persuade Ramakrishnan to bring down his brother .How Pillai stands the tycoon unleashed against him follows the rest of the very predictable flick.

The major drawback of the plot other than its recycled feel is the unconvincing final twists and flash backs. Even the court scenes appear too stagy and dramatic. Mohanlal as Pillai acts effortless but little can match his earlier similar ”ever sacrificing brother” roles like that of Balettan. Unnikrishanan has taken special care ” even to present the most brilliant actor of Mollywood, just the same way he was presented in ”Vellanakaludenadu”, 18 years  ago. Kavya appear pretty but is in an undemanding role with not even a single romantic scene with Lal. Ajmal Ameer as the self-centered younger brother and Mallika Kapoor as his sympathetic wife looks out sync with the timing of the other seniors in the frames like Pillai’s lawyer Mohankumar ( Jagathy) or  the local ‘Karayogam’ president (Innocent). Infact the Ajmal’s and Mallika’s character sketches are straight lift from the hit movie ‘Vesham’, with events shaping up very much similar to the later. Even the supporting characters and villains are typically regular ones, in their most regular outings and dialogues. Infact, the scriptwritor in Unnikrishnan seems to have never attempted to create anything in original than to recreate. Instead, he sticks to the most conservative image and sequences that hit films of Lal always exhibits.

Despite the shortcomings, ‘Maadambi’ works for a number of solid reasons and that’s what the viewer carries home. Mohanlal has got his share of punch lines like ”athu nee thaangathille’ which goes  very well with the audience , and he maintains a  brilliant restrained  act ,all through .Apart from the lead star’s unfussy performances, the movie hold fast  a strict pace  thanks to  good editing from  Manoj. The music and rerecording of the movie by M. Jayachandran is another highlight of the movie. The songs like ”Ammamazha” are quite hummable. Vijay Ulakanathan’s camerawork also perfectly suits the mood of the movie, though a couple of scenes seem to have been shot at noon with dark shadows all around.

Don’t expect too many fireworks and typical Lal numbers from ‘Maadambi’. It’s an extremely simple, uncomplicated old faschioned tale that never goes over the top. And if you are too addicted with the family movies of the eighties and nineties, this seems to be your best bet that has arrived in the recent times.

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Mizhikal Sakshi – A memorable film

Posted by harino1 on July 10, 2008

In an era when cinema is all about slapsticks, violence and vulgarity, ‘Mizhikal Sakshi’ by Ashok R Nath is a good reminder that cinema can be much more. This feel-good movie while raising several pertinent issues lets you walk out the theatre, with something to think about.

The movie tells a tale of a mute mother, who finds it hard to come into terms with the fact that her only son is convicted as a terrorist and is sent to gallows. She, after a long journey in search of her son, finally lands up in a temple premises where food is offered free, everyday. She becomes popular in the area as Kuniyamma, doing necessary cleaning and allied works in the temple environment. But all havoc break loose when someone finds that she is not a Hindu and is the mother of a revolutionary, who is supposed to have planted a bomb on a moving train, killing hundreds. The story does get interesting till the post-interval portions. But the sequence of events then follows the beaten path, till the climax which has its share of appeal.

The narration is simple, yet captivating. The director has used flashbacks to tell the story, using the discussions of an officer on investigation, Aditya Varma, as the tool to move the story ahead. The highlight of the movie is that it’s extremely realistic for most of the times and looks straight out of life. And that being the USP of this grim tale, it’s also a downer considering that the viewer of today is just not interested in watching a drama that’s too realistic.

But as a movie that appeals more too serious audiences, director Ashok has deftly handled the script. He had maintained throughout, a monotonous pace, despite the somewhat predictable plot. Anil Mukhathala, in the scripts have maintained a distinct style and crisp dialogues with reasonable food for serious thought.

‘Mizhikal Sakshi’, presents Sukumari in the role of a life time. The most experienced actress of our times who had never been exposed to such meaty roles gives in a power house performance through her subtle act, all through the sequences. She emotes through eyes on several occasions- a hallmark of an accomplished actor. It is a difficult to think of any other actress who would’ve essayed this complex role with such sincerity. Mohanlal aptly supports Sukumari with an effective cameo, for which he can be proud of. Hats off to the star for agreeing to be a part of the movie, or else the film may not have seen the light. Another actor who made it his best is Kochupreman who had been first rate as Chollu Swamy.

Ashok has also been able to bring out the best from his technical crew, be it in much picturesque and emotive cinematography by Ramachandra Babu or in editing by Beena paul. Another highlight of the movie is the musical scores by veteran Dakshinamoorthy in the lyrics of O N V Kurup. Of all the four good songs set by Swamy for the movie, ‘Chethiyum’ and ‘Thazhampoo’ are real gems, which arose nostalgia of our good old film music. Kaithapram Viswanath also ably supports the director with his skillfully done background scores.

All in all, ‘Mizhikal Sakshi’ is a memorable fare, which doesn’t disguise itself as a high class entertainer. Have a watch, to witness some of the finest performances from one of our best known actress. The movie may well be remembered, more for Sukumari’s bravura performance than for the experience in totality!

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Mayakazhcha – An apology for a film

Posted by harino1 on July 10, 2008

In this day and age of innovative story lines and novel scripts, comes ‘Mayakaazhcha’ a film based on the same old story set around the mysteries behind old palaces, loosely based on many successful films of the past, like ‘Manichithra Thaazhu’. Except for the one line,  any comparison with the previous better ventures is strictly out of point, as the movie directed by Akhilesh Guruvilas(credit reads, it has a director), draws a bizarre picture of a movie that is worser than an onslaught on your senses. An apology of a film, ‘Maayakaazhcha’  proves once again that direction is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s high time mollywood realises that.

‘Mayakaazhcha’ has an extremely loose plot by Sumesh Lal, whose distress is accentuated by a ludicrous screenplay by John Zakhariah(?). As a director, the hallmark of Akhilesh and his film seems to be consistency in boredom and irregularity in narratives.

The movie is set in Umayanoor Kottaram, where the royal family has a curse on the younger daughters of each generation, passed off from ages. Ashwathy Thamburattty (Kiran), the daughter of younger Raja Narendra Varma is now at the receiving end of this damnation, as she  faces some woeful happenings, one after another. The kottaram astrologer advises only one preventive to redeem the ultimate untimely  deaths- some one needs to complete a song set on Simhanandanathaalam which was disrupted, two hundred years ago, as the musician who composed it was murdered in the palace.

And according to this prognostication, the rebirth of Utharayan-the murdered musician, will appear on the third day of the pooja, that is  to be done to diminish the destructive effects of the curse. He will then complete the song, marry aswathy and all will go on well, after that for the further generations of the family.

On the day of pooja, arrives five youngsters in the place of the expected one sreehari, the son of Narendran’s eloped sister, Aravindan-the heir from Killikurishimana and three singers who accidentally happens to be there. The movie goes on to tell how Aswathy and the royal family realize the real rebirth of Utharayanan and all the hideous plot behind all happenings.

The film altogether gives us a feeling that there was none precisely, to call the shots and direct the actors, who appears plastic and cold all through the proceedings. Incompetent direction makes the movie looks absolutely lost and the lead characters, be it the characters played by aravind or nishanth sagar lacks conviction. Only Saikumar and Jayakrishnan seems to appear with their regular ease.

Kiran as Aswathy once again falter in her attempts at histrionics. Even more disheartening is to see experienced and talented actors like captain raju and Cochin haneef getting burdened in unnaturalistic acts. Machan varghese and indrans fails to evoke laughter in sequences which are forced into the narratives.

Every thing in the technical side is worth mentioning for the silliness and amateurisms with which the crew has handled a film. K P Nambiathiry’s cinematography appears flat and disinteresting. The rerecording and background scores are pathetically incongruous. Poor set designs and sloppy editing make this dreadful two hour forty minute movie, a must watch as  the best example for the most inept and embarrassing film making.

Sitting all through the movie was really a test of endurance and character, as the very few members of the audience who watched the film with me would agree. Don’t waste your time or money on this one, which can’t offer a single scene to relish.

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Dasavatharam (Malayalam) – Kamal’s perfect ten

Posted by harino1 on June 18, 2008

One striking feature that hits you in the face once you have watched ‘Dasavatharam’ is Kamal Haasan’s passion for filmmaking. All the ten roles he has essayed have been meticulously planned right from the body language to dialogue delivery. Be it the American president George Bush, the Vaishnavite priest of the 12th century or Fletcher, the American baddie.

The eyes are considered the most effective tools in creating the right kind of attitude for any actor and Kamal Haasan is a master at that. There are many a time in the film when the audience would have to force themselves to believe that it is the same actor who is the good guy as well as the bad guy.

The expressive and determined eyes of the priest, the mushy and yet funny countenance of Balaram Naidu, the hilarious CBI officer and the peaceful martial artist eyes of the Japanese character have all shaped up to fit into any acting text book. Hats off to Kamal Haasan on the acting front!!

Based loosely on Chaos theory, the narration of the film promises a lot of excitement and as the story unfolds, somewhere down the line there are a few missing links that have been forcefully stitched together. Govind, the bio-scientist in the United States of America has been wronged by his boss who has intentions of selling his invention to wrong hands. The determined scientist doesn’t give up. He sneaks it away and after a few accidents the invention lands in India. The hunt and race against time especially with Fletcher, the ex-CIA baddie sniffing at his neck with murderous intent culminates into Govind meeting an irrationally sentimental and at times sweet Andal (Asin). The baddie with sizzling Mallika Sherawat for company proceeds along the vulnerable Indian security system and shows up at the right places at the right time.

The narration then makes sure most of the characters played by Kamal get into close proximity in terms of geography. The stunt sequences are quite professional with its share of thrilling moments, but then there are too many coincidences consistently. The protagonist and his slowly, but surely falling-in-love lady companion seem to be jumping off just about everything. Soft landing seems to be a predictable option at most times.

When it comes to action and stunt scenes, ‘Dasavatharam’ is head and shoulders above most Indian films. The music element in the film is passable with some breathtaking re-recording bits in patches.

Cinematography has been simply awesome. The heavy compositing and trick shots have not dampened Ravi Varman’s innate talent at creating the right kind of mood the film depicts.

‘Dasavatharam’s’ review can never be complete without talking about the makeup part. Apart from the desired result one can guess the kind of effort and hard work Kamal Haasan would have had to go through just to get them on and that too on a daily basis. Makeup has been good overall except for a few shots that show off a kind of plastic look.

Computer Generated Imagery plays a huge role in the film. When the same actor plays seven feet plus youth and an old woman who is barely five feet, one can imagine the kind of intensive scaling and image manipulation by the CG team. Recreation of the 2004 Tsunami is impressive and the action part weaves the intensity of the story.

The direction has been apt sticking to the script in the true sense of the term. K. S. Ravikumar known for his simple style of narration has not been himself with ‘Dasavatharam’, but has shown sparks of ingenuity.

Kamal Haasan has stuck to his favorite subject of the ‘no God’ debate in this film too and has glorified himself probably for the first time on screen with a dialogue directed at him as being the ‘Ulaga Nayagan’.

With Kamal Haasan playing ten roles, all other actors have been completely overshadowed.

This is a movie that has highlighted a highly talented and passionate actor in his entire splendor. At the end of the film one tends to ask….has Kamal Haasan been so spectacular that he has overshadowed the script and story this time?

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Magic Lamp – Offers no magic

Posted by harino1 on June 13, 2008

Jayaram seems to be in a deep turmoil where he just can’t hope for a magical movie to give a fresh life to his career. His latest, to add to the list of non starters will be ‘Magic Lamp’, the movie which was waiting in the cans for the last seven years. And as expected, this identical individuals’ tale definitely give that depressing, silly air of the nineties. This logic-defying, light-hearted comedy (intended) movie seems to be caught in a time warp, which never ever will manage to entertain the viewers of the new millennium.

‘Magic Lamp’ also reminds us that nonsensical film like this, used to be made with unerring frequency in the early nineties, when audiences know exactly what to expect from them. The movie opens with Anupama (Meena), a rich and spoilt girl living in Bangalore, landing up on a photo of a young man, when she happens to drive by. On seeing the photo her two friends identifies the man as two different persons. Anupama who aspires to become an airhostess has just finished her interview and is waiting for her appointment letter. But her rich aristocratic family in Kerala is very much against the decision, as they consider the job below their status.

Having lost her parents at a very early stage, Anupama is take care by an aged grand father (Oduvil Unnikrishanan). Her two uncles always have an eye on her wealth, and they want their respective sons to marry her. The sons Mohana Krishnan (Baiju) a Veterinary doctor and Omana Kuttan (Kottayam Nazeer) an Ayurvedic doctor are also competing with each other for her attention. To escape from marriage she weaves stories, one after another, about her fictitious lover whom she had seen in the photo. Later with the help of Adv Lalan, another lover who is also after her, Anupama keeps unwanted marriage alliances at bay, by another cooked up story about herself as a victim who was molested by the same man at Goa! A search for ‘the man’ by different persons of the family leads to Sunny Kuruvila (Jayaram), a coach in a women’s College  about to be betrothed to Alphonsa (Rasika), to Dr. Nandakumar (Jayaram), married to Viji (Divya Unni) and to Chandrasenan,  a macho guy with the twirled up moustache  from Peruvannapuram. With this alleged relation with Anupama, each of their families faces unexpected problems.Now Chandrasensn who is toughest one among the three decides to unearth the real problem maker and the reality behind the stories which brings him face to face with Anupama.

Ranjith who is credited with the story has a done to death premise of brothers at war for wealth. The screenplay and dialogues also never rise above the ordinary. And as you watch the drama unfold on the screen, there is this feeling of deja vu in almost every scene, making you remember the likes of Rajasenan’s movies of the nineties.

The first half an hour is really a torture where the director has apparently forgot what quality comedy is all about and made a crass concoction abundantly supplied with plenty of uncomplimentary hints, double entendres and songs. Jayaram tries hard to give a different look and pattern of accents to each of the characters, while Jagathy runs all through the movie, enters every scene with his characteristic demeanor, as he used to be in the films of the nineties.Meena as Anupama is in his usual self, while Rasika and Divya Unni make eye candy appearances in a few scenes.

In delivering a below-par product, director Haridas appears confused throughout, dealing with the different characterizations of mismatched identities, all played of Jayaram. He also has also failed to extract the best out of his technicians. Music by Ouseppachan is average while more atrocious is its BG scores by S SP Venkatesh. The camera work by Vipin Mohan never rises above the pedestrian and the costumes and sets are tasteless and outdated. The unrealistic.

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Aandavan – Mani with another usual fare

Posted by harino1 on May 31, 2008

‘Aandavan’ is a regular Kalabhavan Mani affair -yet another take which glorify one-man vigilant justice. And as usual with his films, this too remains unsurprising and predictable to the core. In an obvious attempt at making a formulaic masala movie, the creators come up with another that turns out far from satisfactory.

The movie has Mani as Murugan, who is more popular as ‘Aandavan’, a demi god in his slum, a savior robin hood who steals money from the rich to help the poor. The peculiarity with him is that he is a specialist who repeatedly steals from only one man-Parameshwara Panikkar, his sworn enemy, the local tycoon and moneylender who is there into every unlawful business, from illicit liquor to massage centers.

Panikkar had destroyed Murugan’s family, years ago, getting him and his father arrested and assaulted on false claims.

Panikkar’s own son Sadasivan, who is now the Circle Inspector of Police couldn’t resist the brainy protagonist thief from continuing with his follies in his father’s house.  Murugan, who is also a childhood enemy of Sadasivan, execute the most daring and ingenuous of heists, looting the big share of money that Panikkar earns through his unlawful means. Murugan is even more particular to leave any money left after his charity activities, into the local police station, without revealing himself.

The new female Sub-Inspector, Sreelekha (Sindhu Menon) who is put into the charge of the related investigations takes up residence on the ground floor of house in which Murugan hides on nights. On recognizing Sreerekha’s paralized father, Murugan realizes Sreerekha as one of his childhood playmates.

Unaware of this friend in the attic, Sreerekha hatches plans to grab Murugan.

Meanwhile Sreerekha has to confront with Sadasivan who helps his father in his shady activities, which ultimately results in Sreerekha getting suspended from service. But, by now she has fallen for her childhood friend, realising the facts that made him a thief.   Murugan has now got a lot of things to accomplish. To take on his final revenge against Panikkar and his sons and to reinstate Sreerekha into the service. How he accomplish this forms the rest of the plot.

The biggest drawback of the film is that it is highly predictable. It ends up in a much contrived climax. The last reels of the film looks like a product made in a hurry, with little attention to details, logic or story continuity.

K Gireeshkumar in the scripts has reworked a story that seems to be as old as the Stone Age, failing to give anything unique to the story lines, that the audience can take back.

Kalabhavan Mani as Murugan has nothing more to do than be in his usual self. Sindhu Menon is passable as Sreerekha, while  Jagathy Sreekumar as Parameswara Panicker and  Anand  as Sadasivan are in their regular outings. Bijukuttan as the small-time ganja dealer Bhaskaran and Salim Kumar as the iron-man Mayankutty bring in some chuckles.  Seema G. Nair is remarkable as the local streetwalker Sarasu.

In the technical side, everything is in tune with the theme. M  Bawa in art direction has done an exceptional job in creating the slums, look natural. Vipin Mohan has opted for not much experimentation while Renjan Abraham in editing also is ordinary, employing innumerable white flashes..The action sequences are well-orchestrated and act as a catalyst to hold on the narratives.

The songs by Alex Paul are hummable of which, “Poonnila punchiri thookum…” rendered by Vineeth Sreenivasan has the potential to enter the charts. There is also the mandatory Mani song, which is also crisply visualized with good choreography, thankfully without an item girl.

Altogether the movie may not impress you, even if you are a die hard Mani fan. And for the rest, it is a sinking affair to be with this short flick which completes its run through in around one hour and fifty minutes. In an industry that appears to be in sinking state, there is really no apparent reason behind films like ‘Aandavan’ that have been hitting the screens every now and then, without any thing new  to offer. The industry can very well surely do better, without them.

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Shakesphere M A Malayalam – an unpretentious entertainer

Posted by harino1 on May 24, 2008

We usually go to the movies to laugh, cry and get entertained. Reinforcing this faith in movies, without any pretensions is the new film ‘Shakesphere M A Malayalam’, from the debutante duo Shaiju-Shaji. Count among the high points of the movie – the whole team of comedians  from Malayalam coming together in tandem, a refreshingly engaging plot lines that induce continuous laughs, good technical support, background scores and winsome dialogues. Yes, this is a film with no larger than life heroes, no loud villains or no punchlines…what you can see here is only a feel good comic escapade, presented with the needed spirits.

“The entire world is a stage and all the men and women merely players” -The plotlines of the movie follows Pavithran who follows this Shakespearean quote in its fullest. He is the award winning play wright of Jayabharathi theatres, who writes on people around him and about those he knows personally. This habit of representing real-life characters on stage earned him the nickname ‘Shakespeare Pavithran.’

As Pavithran is combating a creative block, with little time to spare for setting up their drama for the new season, Kottayan Gopalan, the lead actor ,director and owner of Jayabharathi theatres convinces Pavithran go to a remote village of  Kakkathuruthu. He is accompanied by a group of actors like  Sugunan (Salim Kumar), and Sarasan (Anoopchandran), who are dying to take the stage by a storm and to support Pavithran to battle over his temporary slump in writing. While Pavithran waits for days without any promising themes, he comes across Alli, a young country girl, loaded with her share of grave problems. Pavithran impressed by Alli, as a gullible character who can be interestingly transformed to stage, began to scribble on her the new drama – ‘Prakasham Parathunna Penkutty’. He starts to ponder over her woes and difficult situations and guides her as if he write the growing sequences of his characters on stage. But what Pavithran is heading to, is the most unexpected piece of drama that his life has never ever witnessed.

The movie has a refreshingly different plot by Rajesh K Raman, scripted by the director duo Shaiju -Shaji with support from Jiju Ashok. The movie does have clichéd characters and the typical masalas associated with Mollywood packaging. But the intrinsic humour in the writing and the immensely likeable characters wins over us, especially in the first half. The later half is a little drag, but don’t takes off the liveliness of the movie, even though the intended surprise in the climax is not so promising.

With a revolting, sugary sense of comedy, the movie appears disjointed at times, also due to intense pace in the proceedings. Like the rags – turn – riches sequences in the later half, which happens in a matter of few days. But as a comedy film it is above par, with a mixed bag of hilarity, leaving us hooked up almost through the entire proceedings.

Jayasuriya is once again at the familiar territory easing through the light hearted narratives. Roma also dons a different role as Alli  with spontaneity. It is also heartening to see Kalabahavan Mani, back to a humorous role after a couple of years. But ‘Shakesphere M A Malayalam’ really banks on the host of real stars of the movie – the comedy artists with their impeccable timing, be it in  the  incredible Jagathy Sreekumar as Thoothukudy Thulaseedas to the obligatory Suraj venjaramoodu as junior ONV and Salim Kumar in a  hilarious role of an actor longing for animated embraces from his female leads. Anoop Chandran as Sarasan, a School of Drama product excited by the riddles of every encounters in life, is one of the best roles that he has ever essayed.

Jibu Jacob supports the promising debut of the directors with good visuals, while Mohan Sithara’s songs may not be chart toppers, but  effortlessly merge with the situations. A deserving mention must also be made of ‘Kannan, who praiseworthy works on the background scores has supported the director duo immensely, to aim rightly on the funny bone..

In the final analysis, however, with a few wrong turns in an otherwise entertaining film, the movie is sure to bring a positively enjoyable smile to your face. Surely appealing to the regular audiences, this unpretentious movie is an adequate time pass for an unfussy viewer.

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