Naam Shabana & Baby

A group of us ( we are a let’s-go-watch-every-film-kind of people) went to watch Baby, on high recommendation from a common friend. After the initial 15-20 minutes, we saw that those recliner seats behind us were not occupied, so all of us trooped in to a seat each, put our legs up and slept off … I never knew until I watched Baby again for Rana this time that the girl from Pink, Taapsee Pannu and Rana were part of that film then. That was the interest level the film had for me or that I was too tired that the recliner lulled me into sleep. But, the fact is Baby put all of us to sleep during that show. The recommender also had a earful for guiding us to the theatre! 

I am a sucker for these thriller films, but Baby never worked for me. Neither did Naam Shabana. But I loved Special 26. And that’s the exact reason why I looked forward to, went and watched Rustom because after A Wednesday I’ve always looked forward to a Neeraj Pandey film. Rustom turned out to be melodramatic on screen and dramatic during the National Awards! Anyways! 

C/o Saira Banu (2017) Malayalam | Manju Warrier, Amala Akkineni, Shane Nigam

Manju Warrier dons the role of a postwoman, Saira Banu. She lives with her college going son, Joshua Peter played by Shane Nigam. That’s the mystery the trailer leaves you with. Keeping the religious parentage mystery aside, the story moves on to a murder of a Bengali worker in a freak road accident one night. Joe, short for Joshua is implicated on multiple charges, arrested and in prison in remand. Amala plays advocate Annie John Tharavadi who is convinced about Joe’s part in the road accident. The crux of the story is none of above, but about motherhood. Watch the film to know the tale. 

There are major lip sync issues especially with Amala, who also has only one smiling expression all through. It is difficult to believe she is the one who sat in a corner covered in blood in the last scenes of Ulldakkam! Shane is a very cute guy on screen, Manju Warrier still needs to look out for a role that can give her a comeback boost. 

My Great Father (2017)| Mammootty, Arya

The plot is simple – when his daughter is sexually ill treated by a masked man, the father takes off to find him and take revenge. A very natural reaction, most of us would have, if we are in a similar situation.

The larger story of the film is about this pedophile at loose, who has been kidnapping little girls, and staging their deaths. There are motifs which the crew of the film uses to dramatise the plot. A special cell in the police are also on the hunt for this man! but that’s where the treatment of the film gets dodgy! There is something very disturbing in the way the film handles the theme of pedophilia. 

video direcred by director Jude Anthony starring Nivin Pauly on the good touch and bad touch has been released. The video is in Malayalam with subtitles in English. Very similar to the Aamir Khan video from Satyameva Jayathe and many others released there after. Children need to know! Tell them and pass on the message. 

The Universe Conspires…

Many of us have quoted “when you want something ….” in places known and unknown to make points, further arguments, to silence another discussant, to inspire a friend in a dire situation, for self motivation… I’m also guilty of having used it many times, what is there, it is very inspiring quote, it only helps. Kochavva also found Paulo Coelho interesting for some reason, and quoted his “the universe conspires …” theory to everyone and everywhere he went in the remotest parts of his village. But Appu took it to heart. He began to believe that the entire universe would conspire to make his dream of boarding a flight come true. Appu is boy of 8 years old who always wanted to take a flight to somewhere. Kochavva and Appu are characters in Kochavva Palo Ayyappa Coelho a Malayalam film released last year. But that brings me to this.. C9Wh4CMV0AE7K8y.jpg

That said, have you had any intense deep seated desires like this little boy Appu?

I started to write this post while the film was being telecast on tv this morning an hour ago, was waylaid elsewhere and then I found this picture quote that coincided with what I was writing. It said what I said in the exact way I wanted it to be. Is this the universe conspiring?

Cheers…

What’s the first memory of you? | Lion (2016) | Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nichole Kidman

What’s the first memory of you from long long time ago? I remember the night my brother was born, when my mother came out of the bedroom and told my father, that it is time to go to the hospital. A rainy night in August, it was around 11 or 12, a Saturday night therefore I was awake that late.

After effect of watching the film LION. A boy is lost when he was a child. 25 years later he goes in search of his mother and brother. The trailer is pretty intriguing too.

PS. It takes about 53 minutes for the back story of the film to come to the present and begin the search. The narration is linear, no flash backs. The pace keeps the interest going. and the trauma of a boy who remembers his past brings up an emotional connection. it is quite an adventure. the younger Surru is adorable!

It is always the little memories. In case of Suru (Dev Patel) it is the jalebis/immerthis that rekindles his urgency to get set go and search for his mother and elder brother. I remember a birthday of mine when my maternal uncle gifted me ladoos, 9 ladoos, for my 9th birthday because I was crazy about them, but the size of the ladoo was 5 ladoos put together, I could hardly finish one.

Manichitrathazhu & the newgen Malayalee

As recent as last week, I hear somebody say that Manichitrathazhu is a crappy film. Pin drop silence followed. It takes time to digest statements like these among a certain breed of Malayalees who love, adore this film. It is a topic which the new age Malayalee brought up in the 90s and after can talk endlessly on if they are movie buffs. Even if they are not, references from the film in the nature of songs, dialogue and trolls pop up every other day.

Manichitrathazhru is a 1993 Malayalam film directed by Faasil starring Mohanlal, Shobana, (she won her first national award for her role as Ganga), Suresh Gopi (one of the two roles in which I love Suresh Gopi the other being the character he played in Innale), Vinaya Prasad in the lead ( who made her way later into Malayalee daily life with her popularity in the non ending serial Sthree alongside Sidduque aired on Asianet), with Nedumudi Venu, Innocent, KPSC Lalita, Ganesh as the supporting cast. To the non Malayalee/non Madrasi as Shaggy puts it, this film is what inspired Chandrmukhi in Tamil and Bhool Bhulaiya in Hindi in recent years. A film, I’d recommend to anybody who’d ask me about what to watch in Malayalam.

Given this context, when somebody says, everybody in the film over acts, the reaction to such is first silence, then may be a kootathalu (a street rabble) or a long discussion that never seems to end. (snarling!)

What is that makes Manichitrathazhru special? For one, I’m a fan of its narration. Two, how the plot itself begins to deconstruct the myth it creates. For instance in scene one, Innocent is seen inspecting the painting work in an age old palace which is declared haunted. As he climbs up the stairs, he accidentally hits on a rocking chair which continues to rock for a while, so much so that when Innocent walks down and runs out, he feels the ghost is in the chair, rocking. I will never tire of speaking/writing about this film, but as an introduction to it, I guess this little bit should suffice. Until somebody else begins a discussion on how muscular Vidya Balan looked while she lifted that heavy cot in the Hindi adaptation, signing off…

Manichitrathazhru means a lock, one of those traditional locks on ornate wooden doors.

Utharam (1989) (in search of an answer) | MT Vasudevan Nair|Pavithran | Mammooty, Sukumaran, Suparna, Parvathy

Utharam (meaning answer) one of my favourite Malayalam films is a murder mystery. Leena (an upcoming poet and a happy sort of wife) commits suicide without any provocation one morning using her planter husband’s (sukumaran) double barrel gun.

Her husband is heart broken. The servants in the house are distraught. Mammooty, a close friend of the family is unable to console any of them and himself. Everyone is shocked, trying to come to grips with what has happened to their beloved Leena/leenamma as they call her affectionately.

Mammooty with the permission of his friend begins a personal investigation to find out the cause for Leena’a sudden decision. He begins with her published poems, her diary entries, and gradually travels to her past, meets different people associated with her since childhood, and her school days. The plot is very similar to a police procedural, but it moves forward without that quintessential police officer. As it is a journey of a friend into a friend’s past there are moments when the journey turns quite emotional.

Does he find the answer – utharam to her death? Is the million dollar queation.

The film stars Sukumaran (husband – the planter), Mammotty (journalist friend), Suparna (upcoming poet, wife who dies) Parvathy (prof and close friebd of Leena). Written by MT Vasudevan Nair, Directed by Pavithran.

Aanandam (2016)| Ganesh Raj | Habit of Life| Vineet Srinivasan

We have all gone on trips from our schools and colleges. Aanadam is the story of one such four day industrial visit from an engineering college in Kerala to Hampi and Goa. Since a trip is something we have all been part of with our friends and classmates, the film brings back memories of our own trips. Like I went back to the time we had planned a visit to Hyderabad in the month of September from college or that time when my brother came to Hyderabad with his classmates, and my roommates and I took them around HiTech City to make it look like they did go on an IV 😛 Many memories fall in to place with a film like this.

  • Aanandam means joy (that happiness that comes from the heart)
  • I like that name for a production company – habit of life
  • All new faces – waiting to see them in other films. (One among them is a friend’s niece)

That’s about it. Straight forward story, from classroom & hostel to everything that can go right and wrong during a class trip.

 

 

Ore Mukham (2016) & Angels (2014)

Two films in Malayalam I stubbled upon by chance. They turned out to be thrillers of the police prodecural kinds.

Ore Mukham (same face)  released last year with a cast of Dhyan Srinivasan, Aju Varghese and their friends who until now have made out and out comedies when cast together like in kootamani.  That’s the twist of the tale, I began watching the film thinking of it as one such but it began with a murder, to be continued with an investigation and finally there was a killer, (obviously!) I found it very similar to Ee Thanutha Veluppan Kaalathu (1990) or I was reminded of the film, one of the two, I don’t know which. 

Even Angels for that matter is a benign title. Who would have thought it would be the story of three murders? With Indrajit Sukumaran in the lead who sits down to solve a crime with the help of a journalist and a live talk show host Haritha. 

The non linear narration makes the twists and turns interesting! 

Of Grandmothers

oru-muthassi-gadha-posterI enjoyed watching Oru Muthassi Gadha, a Malayalam film released over Onam last year.

When translated the title means A/one Grandmother’s Mace. It is a Jude Antony Joseph film, a director who has made a reputation with his maiden film, Om Shaanti Oshana (check Hotstar to watch the film). I like him for his quirkiness, like the way he came up with the cigarette smoking is injurious to health mandatory ad for his first film casting Nivin Pauly and Aju Varghese. In this film, he has made his characters speak out the names of the behind the scene crew of the film during the title credits, bits of information which many of us usually don’t bother to read as it scrolls in and out. Jaya Bachchan had done something similar for Pa. Farah Khan films usually show all its cast and crew in person.

This film’s title suggests the story is about a Muthassi. Muthassi is one of the words used to refer to a grandmother in Malayalam. (I call my two women Ammachi and Ammamma.) Gadha is a club or a mace, the same weapon seen in pictures of Bhima and Hanuman. And I think that use of the word gada makes this film’s story different from the regular tales around a nuclear family with a grandmother in an urban space. Have you seen a grandmother with a club before? Flintstones did 😛 our Muthassi is a little primitive in her behaviour and crude to say the least.

This Muthassi is what we call in Malayalam a “mooshaatta” grandmother. (In the film she is nicknamed as Rowdy) Now, mooshaatta can mean grumpy, to give you an example, Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant is also a mooshaatta intially before he changes over into happy one. If a little girl was the reason of his transformation, here, it is a woman. This other woman is the mother of our mooshaatta grandmother’s daughter-in-law. They are grandmothers to the same set of kids, Alice and Allen. But in the beginning of the film, the kids love their maternal, more modern grandmother, and hate our paternal mooshatta, for obvious reasons.

The film’s plot goes into certain details and reasons as to our grandmother’s uncouth behaviour in public and at home. It is a kind of Fred Flinstone entering The Jetsons home and feeling unconfrotable. 

The film also tries to talk about how  different generations of parents and children need to bridge the gap between them, put in an effort to understand, make time and not just simply let anyone be. If both sides could meet half way then life becomes less grumpier, and more happier (grammatically incorrect, but that’s the essence)

However, there were a few moments in the film when I did feel the producer had taken money from Whatsapp and Facebook as a means of promoting their services and products to a prospective Malayalee audience 😂😂  Because if you don’t know what whatsapp or Facebook is, you can get a visual guide to how to install, use and create an account through the film 😛 the point is not about being tech savvy or any such, the point the movie makes is make time for each, have a little patience with each other and life becomes… Less grumpier and more happier 😂😂

Predictable ending! By the end of the film our mooshatta muthassi is tech savy, gadget friendly and has got herself sorted.  

You can read about the plot and detailed storyline online. The film has borrowed heavily from the Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholason film The Bucketlist. And it is through the items on the bucketlist that our mooshataa becomes a non mooshatta grandmother towards the end.

ps: I wouldn’t have watched the film this soon if not for a conversation I had with Aneesh at the comment section on films in general.