mom (2017) 

The film goes into the interval saying the oft quoted mother’s day lines, god couldn’t be everywhere, therefore he created mothers. How cliched can a film get! We should have a cliché meter or some such for these kind of films. 

It is a collage of many films, coupled with bad acting, unwanted drama and a pace that made me get up as soon as it said end and run out of the theatre. (If any of you have watched a film with me, you’d know I’m the last one out of the theatre after all the credits have rolled up, applies to films other than Marvel too). Sridevi of English Vinglish is nowhere to be seen, instead we have an actor who is constipated! … Even if one argues, the film is about the sentiments of a mom, even that needs to be presented .. Unfortunately, no. 

As always I love the way justice is meted out to people who slip away from the law as a result of money, influence et al. That was fun to watch otherwise, they try to show a lot, but fail to present it in a manner that is compelling to be anywhere near serious. I didn’t laugh out loud initially because of courtesy, but there were tears rolling down my cheeks because of all that laughter I suppressed even in the most serious of scenes..

Nawazuddin looks different, at times when he did that gimmick with his tongues I thought he resembled a character from xmen! 

Summing up: Clichéd, dramatic and predictable, lousy acting. The plus point, people now will head to Georgia the landscape is outstandingly beautiful! 

Godha (2017)

Watch Godha. Well conceived and executed. Since it is released at the heels of Dangal, there may be similarities.. But godha tells the tale of a village invested in the game of wrestling. To accentuate the importance of the game, they bring in new gen’s fancy for playing & watching cricket.. The tiff they have with the old gen for conducting the tournament on a piece of land which was once the arena (godha) for wrestling.. There is a sacredness associated to wrestling here in this village. Ranji Panicker dons the role of a wrestler, and I’d say, I’m mighty impressed! I like him more as an actor than the scriptwriter he is .. 

There is nothing much to say in terms of story, a girl from Punjab interested in wrestling runs away to her friend’s village in Kerala… where she finds acceptance, and a similar passion she finds in the sport which her brother never had until … 

Godha is directed by Basil Joseph, stars Tovino Thomas, Ranji Panicker, Aju Varghese, Wamiqa Gabbi, Parvathy, Sreejith Ravi, … 

Thondimuthalum Dhriksakshiyum (2017)

This film in a nutshell – when Mahesh meets Annayum Rasoolum, literally. There are scenes of the boat jetty, jangar service, the walking to work, that reminded me of the latter.. Rajiv Ravi has presented a deglamourised life and presented it as an everyday experience.. The result is beautiful, frame by frame.. 

And Dileesh Pothan knows his stuff. If it was Idukki last time, it is parts of Cherthala, and Kasargod this time. And in here, he brings in subtle references to caste politics with word choice, and festivities. 

The beginning, under the banner of Urvasi Theatres, (every film going malayali would know) and the scene from the play, the shot of the audience sitting on the grounds to watch…  sets the mood. The bgm from Bijipal esp during the chases… Watch the film and we can sit and discuss.. 

Caveat: if you liked maheshinte prathikaaram, then you’d also like this film, abd vice versa. There is a drag in the second half at places, but it can be ignored. The actors have done quite a good job, and even Srinda, who dubbed for the female lead. 

Most probably, the Kerala state award for best actor (male) could go to Suraj for his role in this film! Even Fahad, in this film and also Take Off, they could fight it out, or they could both be awarded. As for the best actor in a female lead role, Parvathy, though I didn’t like Take Off like most people did, she is sure to receive a trophy for this one. 

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.