Minnaram, Midhum and Megham|Mohanlal & Mammootty| Priyadarshan

It will be sacrilegious if I did not talk about Mohanlal when the other Big M is given some blog space in this a-z series 🙂

Mohanlal leads the acting in both the films, Minnaram (1994) and Midhunam (1993), by Pridyadarshan. As is with Priyadarshan, the first halves of his films are filled with humour. It is a laugh riot. But then, cleverly he inserts the twists in the second half, and such twists that remain with us for a while… Even to this day, I think many Malayalees would agree with me, if I say, the resolution in his Vandanam could have been different. If only, at that traffic signal, they would have seen each other… aahh!! In spite of the disagreement, Vandanam remains one of my all time favs. He directed some lovely films in the early 90s until Megham (1999) … even Megham.. but after Megham well, it seems like this director has lost his magic in Malayalam

Minnaram is about relationships.. is a la.. one of those Sare ke sare ga ma ko lekhar gaathe chale… 5 siblings.. but they parents are living, but fighting. Then the story turns a full U turn…

Midhunam is about the two states in the life of a man and a woman when they were lovers and after their wedding.. the changes in the two states, of the reality of the life and a dreaminess of a courtship set in the backdrop of a struggling career of the man… and a bunch of family members who have their own set of lives…

Midhunam, Minnram and Megham the three Ms from director Priyadarshan… with Mohanlal in the lead role in the first two, and Mammooty in the third.

The M for the A-Z Challenge, where I list some of my fav films.. most of them are right now from the Malayalam folder of the hard disk 🙂

Junior Mandrake (1997) | Ali Akbar | Jagdeesh, Jagathy, Janardhanan, Rajan P Dev

Junior Mandrake is a fun ride. some lovely moments… and for laughs.

The plot revolves around two families and a bust of a bald man in bronze I think… When one of the families is undergoing serious problems in business, the astrologer points to this bust as the bad omen. The bust had to be received by somebody with joy as a gift, only then bad eye would go away from a person.

The rest of the story is about how this bust changes hands between these two rival business families, the convoluted and hillarious ways in which it is gifted, accepted, repacked, gifted again, the horror of seeing it back in the same house.. the story goes on until, the real owner of the bust comes in search of it… and there is a resolution.

Junior Mandrake … may be after the popular comic magician Mandrake.. there is always a magic in the tale…

Junior Mandrake is a 1997 film directed by Ali Akbar with Jagadeesh, Jagathy, Rajan P Dev and Janardhanan in the lead roles

Innale | Padmarajan | Shobana, Jayram, Suresh Gopi, Sreevidya

Innale meaning, yesterday in Malayalam…

It is the story of a young woman who lost all her memories from her past life, after a bus accident. A bus accident far away from where she calls home, a bus accident in which she was the only survivor.

The doctors at the hospital tell her to be happy that she is alive. They say that the memory loss is a small prize to pay for her live, the big thing was that she survived.

The film is set in a hilly town somewhere in Kerala/Tamil Nadu border.. the different parts of the town is owned by a single family. They own a hospital, the club, houses.. the school..

Their peaceful life is disturbed one night when a bus met with an accident and fell into the river. Except 3 people, most of the passengers died. Out of the three, the girl survived without any physical injury, she survived with a clean slate for her memory. She could not recollect anything from her past. It seemed another life, a life she had lived but had no memories of…

So, she makes new memories.. but all the while, her search for her past continues. People who had lost a dear one come from far and wide to see her thinking it will be their dear one… she waits, falls in love, her wedding is fixed, when somebody came in search for her, somebody who came specifically looking for her..

One of the few films where I love the subtlety in actor Suresh Gopi. The many instances of situation humour brings alive the film all over again… and brings that smile on our face…

Innale.. when yesterday is no more, there is only the present and the future to look forward to…

GodFather (1991) Siddique Lal | Mukesh, Kanaka

This one is Godfather in Malayalam. I realized I had watched it many times when I saw its Hindi adaptation Hulchul for the first time. Most of the lines from the film were directly translated into Hindi, most of the scenes were the same in similar sequences…

For one I did not know it was an adaptations when a few friends took me to the theatre. I enjoyed the film a lot, the people who sat near me in the theatre were a little irritated, I think, because I would start to emote before a scene appeared, because I knew the joke, or the suspense or the action or the sequence that followed. Repetition is also a form of entertainment. Hulchul was Godfather verbatim except cor the last set of sequences.

Godfather is a Malayalam film released in 1991, written and directed by the duo Siddique and Lal, with a few all time Malayalam’s greats acting in it.

It evokes some lovely memories especially, when there is an elephant to welcome the guests in connection with a wedding or a thought of bringing an elephant to….. or about creating great ideas while  sleeping on the bed at night 😛 😛

Frozen (2013)

Frozen is the story of an entire kingdom, frozen..

It tells the story of two siblings.. a queen and a princess when they grow up, but two sisters who adore and love each other and have a lot of fun. To add to the magic, the elder sister has magic powers of an ‘icey’ kind.. she can make ice, anything with it, and they play snowman.. and skating .. inside their big palace halls… until one day, the younger sister nearly dies. From that day on, the elder sister considers her magic as a curse, she is scared to touch people,  she becomes this recluse locked up in her room until one day she becomes Queen… all havoc breaks loose.. in her short temper she freezes the entire kingdom and runs away into a mountain.

Unlike other princess stories, none of the princesses are evil here.. they are good and what they do they do for the love of each other and their subjects.

Frozen is the story of two princesses.. one who runs away because she loves her sister and the people, and do not want to harm them with her magical power. The younger princess for the love of her sister undertakes a journey towards the same mountain to bring her sister, the Queen back .. she has company, a mountain lad and his reindeer whom she meets on her way.

At its core, the film is about love.. loving somebody very much to die for them .. true selfless love.. which changes like in all fairy tales, the curses cast on the characters and their kingdoms

Frozen is a reminder about the nature of our powers, be it human or magical, powers are double-edged.. it is within us to use it well.. or to create a mayhem…..

One film I love to watch over again, for its magic, for its songs.. and most of all for my dear snowman Olaf. FB has emoticons with him.. adorable that one is, Olaf 😀

This post is part of the April 2014, A-Z Challenge… 26 posts in 26 days in the English alphabetic order, Today is day 6, the day of the letter F. I’m listing some films I watched recently, some of my favourites, some of my not so favourites.. and some that come by accidentally and become part of the film talk and folder.

Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu

the title translates to One Chilly Morning …think dawn is more appropriate.. sometime before the sun is about to rise… that’s that hour….

and it sets us off with goosebumps on a string of murders by a serial killer. The entire film narratives the speculations and the different people interested to commit such murders, when the answer is revealed well… we may stop and think… or we already would have known who it was.. the motive is the surprise… and the method of presenting the dead is different, brings in the part of the serial. Our murderer’s little signature styles 🙂

Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kalathu is a 1990 film directed by Joshy and written by Padmarajan. No wonder, the film is interesting in its twists and turns and its layers.

Mammootty plays the investigating officer, and he plays them really well, such that the actual police chiefs from the state’s headquarters complain that the people believe what is presented on screen as the reality and on their part, trivialize and do not acknowledge the efforts of the police force, whatever they do. The films and books in this genre translates the audience into a mini detective wanna be… and we look out with our training from the art work 😀 😀  

As an audience, Malayalees for the last 3 decades have grown up watching Mammotty in many such excellent police roles, many of us while pursing our mini investigations have him in mind, the background music for his entry into a scene plays .. we are a film loving junta..what to do 🙂 One film I do not mind watching over and over again for many reasons.

This post is part of the April A-Z Challenge, my first time in the challenge and I thought what better that list some of the films I love to watch and randomly select to watch and re watch in an alphabetic way 🙂

D Company (2013) | Malayalam

The title is evocative of crime, therefore as an audience, we set  ourselves into a mode to witness a crime thriller. The films on their part do not disappoint us either as their plots revolve around a whodunit kind of investigation. Nevertheless, in its course they redefine crime, the powerful and the innocent. As an audience we are given a panoptical view of the different aspects of crime, we can take sides, infer or create our own newer meanings…

D Company is a 2013 anthology of 3 short films by directors M Padmakumar, Diphan and Vinod Vijayan. Out of the three, the third story stayed with me for the narration and the plot, the second story stayed for Jaysurya’s acting abilities. The first story can pass.

Each story however, holds a mystery, a mystery in the character, a mystery in the narration, a mystery in a dead-end for an investigation. The presence of the police force, an investigation team and their ensuing findings are the common feature of the three.

In the first film, Oru Bolivian Diary directed by M Padmakumar, the police set out to capture and kill a north Indian maoist leader who tries to enlighten the residents of a forest in one of the southern states.

In the second film, Gangs of Vadakumnathan, directed by Dipan, a police team led by Anoop Menon and assisted by Unni Mukundan looks into gang wars between two rival groups in a city, here Thrissur. Jayasurya plays the role of one of the gang leaders and is brilliant. Watch this film for him. Anoop Menon who has written the script and who also plays the character of the investigating officer, is his usual too much talk, mysterious character of a game player.

In the third, the police team lead by  Tanushree Roy, investigates a case of death of a doctor’s wife played by Fahad Fazil and Bhama… Mind games rule 🙂 Something to watch out for.

Mystery prevails in all three films. The trick is the endings. I call it a trick because the directors have given us fragmented clues, the stories are not exactly linear in their narration. So the onus and the burden to interpret the story is on us.

It is not a laid back, watch before we-go-to-sleep kind of a film. As an audience the film demands that we sit up, watch, listen and interpret the schematics.

I watched it out of curiosity. And for Jaysurya and Fahad Fazil. I truly believe that future of the Malayalam industry are on the shoulders of these two stars because the choice of their roles and their transformations is ncredible. Jayasurya has evolved from his character of a comedy star to an actor who can play any role to perfection. And if you are a regular reader of this blog you know my affections for Fazil junior 😉

Not in the list of one of my favourite films, but there are many talking points. The tight scripts and the choice of actors make them an intelligent watch.

This review is part of the April A-Z Challenge 2014. I’m trying to list films in an alphabetic order, and review them.m

Chocolat (2000)| Lasse Hallström| Juliette Binoche | Judi Dench| Alfred Molina

It is a fairy tale… and it opens with a “once upon a time…” in a very fairy tale kind of way… and mysteries and magic come our way… 🙂 I love fairy tales 🙂

So,…. once upon a time, in a quite little village in the French country side… where people believed in Tranquility …..

and there we have a story.. of villagers who lived their lives by rules, those rules that were set ages ago, even before their parents were born, could be longer… while they followed them unwillingly, gradually, their happiness also vanished …

The story continues… until one day, the north wind blew one winter day … when two women, one older, one younger (she’s a girl), two mysterious women, with magical powers, with a zest for life, a knack for attracting joy … with a knack for chocolate…  walked up the hill to this village in red riding hoods to open a chocolateria  in market place…. Yes, they intervene..They sold the idea of chocolat and its pleasures to the villagers.. they sold an idea of living …  idea of desire… an idea of indulgence…

And then one fine afternoon, a group of boats arrive, comes out a group of men.. one of them sold the idea of desire to our chocolate lady..the first time she looked into herself and knew what she wanted …

well if I say chocolat, the film is about breaking the shackles of useless traditions to embrace change… it would be correct, but partially. Chocolat is used as a metaphor to embrace life.. to live rather than exist.. one of those mini self help books that tells us how to live a happy peaceful life…

The film presents a resistance to change, a kind of rigid resistance on the one hand and to look at temptation eagerly on the other, and often repeat to oneself, not supposed to… on yet another other side… in the name of decorum, religion and a pious life.

The motto of the film .. “Live a little every minute…” Indulge..

While they Indulge in the chocolates delicacies… they own the power to resist harm, the harm they suffered silently and unconsciously which they tagged and made to tag as sins!

I heart chocolate… and there are a number of shots in the film where I just craved for a chocolate.. went down, bought one.. nibbled on it and continued watching the film 🙂

This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. My first time for the challenge, I thought I will list some films I often watch and some characters I love on screen any time ..

Bharatham (1991) Malayalam | Sibi Malayil|Mohanlal, Urvasi, Nedumudi Venu

The title translates as …

It is difficult to translate the essence of this one, this time.

Nevertheless what I can tell you is, it is a 1991 adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana in Malayalam, from the point of view of Ram’s younger brother Bharath.

Therefore, Bharatham, the title of the film, could translate to the life of Bharat during the absence of Ram.. Here in the film, one of the poignant scenes is when the younger brother nearly breaks down overwhelmed with the burden of the death of his elder brother and the celebration of the wedding of his younger sister, unable to relay the sad news to the family.

And then there is this little silent thumbs up from his fiance as an encouragement to continue being strong.

Watching the film is an exercise in catharsis. The brilliant performances of the actors create fluctuations within us. So I do not enjoy watching this film over and over again. However, I enjoy listening to the songs of the film over and over again in a loop for as long as it runs.

Bharatham is a 1991 film directed by Sibi Malayil with Mohanlal, Nedumudi Venu, Lakshmi and Uravsi in lead roles.

The film depicts the story of two brothers as are part of a family invested in classical carnatic music. The elder brother at the beginning of the film is an established singer. However, during the course of the film he turns into an alcoholic such that in an inebriated state, he enters the stage and cannot sing. When the audience starts to boo, to save the situation and his brother from further humiliation, the younger brother begins to render a classical composition. He becomes an instant hit, however, the elder brother takes this act as a take over. The alcoholism and some friends add fuel to the already hurt ego of the elder brother, such that he is unable to appreciate his younger brother’s music or the talent or the acknowledgement he receives.

Unlike the story of the Indian epic, here in the film, the elder brother Ram dies in an accident when he is on a self-proclaimed pilgrimage to get rid of his habit of alcoholism and his petty jealous feelings towards his younger brother Gopi …

More information at IMDB 

This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. My first time for the challenge, I thought I will list some films I often watch and some characters I love on screen any time ..

Ayalum Njannum Thammil |Prithviraj, Prathap Pothen,

Roughly translated as Between you and I/me..

… a title that sounds evocative of very many things ;)… as a title of a film, it also acts as an invitation for us, as part of an audience, to explore that relationship between you and me, its beginnings, its past, its rough edges, the patchwork.. and the seamlessness, the quarrels, the laughs, the hi5s …the many phases in very many relationships, between two people …

And almost always .. I feel “Between you and me” or the Malayalam title is followed by an ellipsis. It would then read as Between you and me … or Ayalum Njannum Thammil… the ellipsis representing the infinite possibilities :)… and the film fills the gaps 🙂

It was about the film first and then the title… then it was always the title.. I fell in love with.

Set in the theme of a hospital, the frame story is the relationship between two doctors, a senior colleague and a junior one. They meet for the first time when the junior doctor, just out of medical school is sent to work in a hospital in a remote part of the state, up in the hills, among tea estates, winding roads and hairpin curves… the younger doctor is sent there as part of a penalty. As is you can imagine, he loathes the place, the doctors, the patient, the package of penalty as a whole… before stepping into the role of a doctor in the hospital. Gradually he settles into the doctor he is trained to become…

the film is a flash back interspersed with the details in the present, in a thriller mode set into action with a death of a patient in the hospital, the ensuing mob behaviour, the police investigation, the news channel speculations and the missing surgeon…

The story of the film is narrated through different narrators, his friends, colleagues and close members of the family, their associations with him in a non linear pattern. We, as an audience are given the task to piece together the story of Dr. Ravi Tharakan and his transformation into the dedicated and selfless doctor he is today in the present time frame of the film …

Ayalum Njannum Thammil is a Malayalam film released in 2012, directed by Lal Jose starring Prathap Pothen, Prithiviraj Sukumaran in lead roles, supported by Naren, Rima Kallinglingal, Ramya Nambishan, Samratha Sunil.

This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. My first time for the challenge, I thought I will list some films I often watch and some characters I love on screen any time ..