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?



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.



Maheshinte Prathikaram (2016) | Dileesh Pothen’s directorial debut

Mahesh Bhavana (Fahad Faasil) is a small time still photographer who continues to run his father Vincent Bhavana’s Photo Studio in the town circle for a living… He lives with his widowed father, looking after him and their household, happily leading a social life with a few close friends and their families, with dreams of getting married to his long time girlfriend from school, Soumya, until something unexpected happens… this social scape is captured in the title song within those first few minutes. This is a different way of narration without a closeup or a preface from other characters like they repeat Reuters Venu in Run Baby Run before Mohanlal steps in 🙂

Now the simplicity of the film lies in that song, in Mahesh’s decision… Mahesh decides then that he will walk bare foot until he is able to fulfill his pledge and take revenge. There is a moment later where even Mahesh wonders (I think) whether he will ever be able to walk in a footwear i spite of people egging him with commondra maheshe 😀


As is always, life goes on in the town.. Mahesh walks bare foot wherever he goes, walking, climbing, riding .. He becomes a butt of a few smirks here and there..

Just like Action Hero Biju is a differently narrated police story, Mahesh too is not shown as planning and plotting his revenge like a revenge movie such as Vettah. His is a very personal revenge, even the man whom he wants to fight with has no inkling that Mahesh is gearing up to fight him. Since the revenge involves a physical fight, Mahesh enrolls himself into a kung fu class without much ado. The film is differently narrated because it does not show and tell, but wants the audience to join the lines of the plot. Mahesh joining the Kung fu class is one such.

Another instance is Soumya’s father’s reference to his daughter’s love story with Mahesh. He refers to it as their very personal act of making and eating a certain local sweet which is no big secret in that small town. Thus the significance of Mahesh bringing this sweet to Soumya on the night she arrives home, initially in the film, is sealed in that one statement.

The film is also about Mahesh’s transformation from taking passport size photographs in a studio setting to being able to capture those live and fleeting moments… His father’s advice that a good photographer is always ready at stand by to click the right moment seems also to be about readying Mahesh for everything life has to offer and take away from him


A simple story set in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and their matters is brought to life by Mahesh, Babychettan, Crispy, Soumya & Jinsy

©pins n ashes 2016

Vettah (2016) – Rajesh Pillai’s Swan Song


At the crux of it, Vettah is about an inhuman crime, the seeds of which begin a story of a vengeance.. a vengeance like that which washed over the Count of Monte Cristo.. With such an intense sense of retribution, the crime is also near perfect. Two police officers .. and a murder suspect .. take us through the plot of a kidnapping and murder and a conspiracy!


Manju Warrier has finally risen above her personal life, her bygone fame and comeback to play the part of a police officer

She plays the role of Sreebala IPS, and full marks to her gait when she is in uniform.

2. Two back to back police stories at the box office… This one however falls in line with the older genre of a police officer and her team who set out to investigate a kidnapping and a possible murder..the difference is that the team is led by a female officer. After Vani Vishwanath there has been no female police officers so far until Asha Sharath in Drishyam. I would say Sharath had a meatier role at par with that of Mohanlal in the film. With Vettah, it is more subtle. The personal life of a police officer is intertwined in a vicariousness as the plot is a built up as a mind game!


3. Our once upon a time chocolate boy hero Kunchacko Boban has come this far when his smirk hides the answers to all questions of the police. Rajesh Pillai is one among the many directors who has offered him roles to step out of his boyish romantic charm to portray more nuanced human emotions… He plays the pivotal Melvin Philip who moves the plot forward, one of his best so far in his comeback..


4. Indrajith Sukumaran is turning into the likes of actors such as Siddique and Sai Kumar an actor who takes up any role so much so that the audience is kept guessing as to whether he plays the good cop or the bad, or a mixed shade.. He plays Xylax Abraham.. The name stands out and has a sharpness to it that rings the name villain out loud 😀

I wouldn’t say Vettah is an edge of the seat thriller but it captures our interest to know how deep the still waters run.

If I say anything more, I may have to say spoiler alert 🙂 let me just say this, it begins just like A Wednesday ..

A police officer shares a case file with us, her most challenging case to date.

Though the film begins with a spotlight on Manju Warrier, the film is shouldered equally by Kunchacko Boban and Indrajit Sukumaran.

And with Vettah, a day after its release Rajesh Pillai leaves us to make films elsewhere

©pins n ashes 2016

Nivin Pauly & Abrid Shine’s Action Hero Biju


Action Hero Biju begins a new genre within the police story in Malayalam films. It has the same honest officer in the likes of roles played by Suresh Gopi, Mammootty and Mohanlal. However, the story does not revolve around a single case or “the verbal diahorrea”* scripted by Ranji Pannicker mouthed by our earlier superstars. Abrid Shine brings through Sub Inspector Biju Paulose the day today workings in a police station and their interaction with the common people who come to the station. First off, the police hierarchy is clearly defined. Secondly, the focus of the film is on different kinds of complaints they receive daily, the people who make those complaints and the police procedures of tackling them..

As a result, what is crime gets to be redefined in the context of Police stories in malayalam films .. While crime gets redefined, so does a victim and a villain.

Crime could be an employer not paying salary to an employee, somebody slapping another person on the road, a drunkard creating a traffic block, a theft in a house, over speeding, not wearing a helmet…. These many scenarios also give the director an oppotunity to bring in newer faces, there are about 15 or 18 newcomers who have brought in that kind of real feel to the complaints. This actor in the picture below is Suresh. He has written, composed and sung this song in this film. You need to watch the film to experience why seeing this man makes me lol 🙂

There are some old faces too whom we have loved on screen before.. Devi Ajith, Rohini, Suraj, Jude Anthony, Meghanthan, Prashanth, Vinduja Menon…

Suraj takes the cake… If only this actor can find himself more roles like these so that he can transform from a comedy star into a character actor like Siddique & Sai Kumar.

Thirdly, the film ticks because of its very tight script that keeps all the episodes together.

Fourthly, the story of the film is free from the inspector’s personal life. But the romance between the inspector and his fiance is captured really well especially through the song composed by Jerry Amaldev, sung by Yesudas and Vani Jayaram through the streets of fort Cochin.

Nivin Pauly in a police uniform is as good as Kuttan and George of his earlier films. Some of his facial gimmicks are too good to miss. But since we have grown up watching suresh gopi and the rest, we may not feel that punch initially..

So if we are carrying that baggage it is better to leave it at the ticket counter when we decide to buy the ticket.

But that is exactly it.. The film is not about an action hero delivering such punches, it is about a sub inspector, his circle inspector and the commissioner who try to do their duty and maintain the peace and order in the city.. The foil and reminder of such earlier films is also done in an interesting way.. !

©pins n ashes 2016

Paavada… (2016) A friendship forged in alcohol

Paavada in Malayalam means Skirt (a part of women’s clothing) It has its metaphors. In the Mollywood Box Office, Paavada is a 2016 Malayalam film directed by G. Marthandan, produced by Maniyanpilla Raju starring Anup Menon and Prithviraj Sukumaran in lead roles of two drunkards who meet at a de-addiction centre.. As the tag lines in the trailer reveals “a friendship is forged in alcohol” in the first half.. to uncover “a truth buried in celluloid” .. in the second half. Although the film foregrounds two male characters, the film like the title suggests is about the life of a woman.. Here’s the trailer.

Although I felt the film is way too melodramatic, dramatic, and over the top in many many ways.. I should say here that Anup Menon and Prithviraj have given excellent performances. Anup Menon plays the role of a man almost double his age and has done it to the T, the disheveled but dignified look in salt and pepper hair and a stubble (He looks a lot better in these aging roles, like that other film Buddy, where he plays a father to a teenage boy)… Prithviraj with the added makeup of red eyeliners and dark circles has carried off the character of that innocent, playful, lovable alcoholic with ease.

But… if I had a voice I would have surely booed (I may have booed like 4 times in my entire life in a cinema hall) at the last scene along with all those people in the theatre during the climax, the very last bit.. (omg, seriously! uffo!). My lips are sealed for anybody who wants to watch this film.

For a film going Malayalee audience, this isn’t the first film on alcoholism in the backdrop of a de-addiction centre. There was Neena last year, there was Renjith-Mohanlal’s Spirit in 2012. This film works with this theme in the first to shift into the second part of the tag line.. a story unfortunately common in the film industry.. Although the film is themed on the life of two alcoholics, the story moves forward to a more serious plot in the second half. Siddique as usual makes a mark. I loved his get up as a Brahmin Iyer advocate, hair, makeup, diction..   🙂

Paavada is a film within a film, the making of a film within a film, the making and failing of aspirations of people associated with a film. Paavada is a film  Prof Babu Joseph (Anup Menon) produced during his younger days, a film that changes the course of his life, a film which gives him his annoying nickname Paavada, the film that becomes that reason that kick starts the de-addiction in Paavada Babu and Paambu Joy to stop drinking for the rest of their lives.. (it is also the source of their alcoholism to begin with)

Prithviraj plays Paambu Joy (Paambu is a general name of any snake in Malayalam. It is also a nickname given to alcoholics who have slithery speech and slithery movements like a snake after rounds of booze). The Joy Song is a peppy number that introduces Joy-Prithviraj and his life to the audience, in the line of how the character of Thilakan introduces the character of Mohanlal in Manichitrazharu ..(he is Raavan in Psychology… )

Kalabhavan Shjohn plays that villain again.. like he masterly did in Drishyam. 

The script is predictable, as an audience, many of us could predict even the dialogues.. the film picks up pace after Paavada and Paambu meet at the centre.. their interactions become the source of the humour.. But I still can’t get over the last part! (shd I boo here! :P)

The film is a treat for a Shakespeare lover.. Prof Babu Joseph is a prof of English Drama who specilizes in Shakespeare.. if you know your Shakespeare well, you’ll know the lines, you’ll know the context.. because Prof Babu colours his conversation with Shakespearean lines..and shakespeare comes in not as an add on but as a part of life.. (I don’t know how to explain it to you.. it is like my oft loved way of sending a message on whatsapp to a friend who isn’t around by saying, “you said you were here, are you under the invisibility cloak?” if you get what I mean)

Like in the film Ennum Eppozhum, the film introduces its two main characters at different times in the order of plot. The narration begins with Anup Menon and his upside down world symbolized in an upside down television set, runs with the story of his life with his caretaker played by Nedumudi Venu and his advocate friend Maniyanpilla Raju for a while.. before introducing Prithviraj and his friend. However, the friend.. our Girirajan Kozhri from Premam fame goes missing completely in the second half.

One time watch, recommended.. Again, one of the films I went to watch without information about the cast/trailer/script..



I deviate from Pavada into that song Mazha Kondu Mathram sung by Vijay Yesudas in the film, Spirit. It fetched him the Kerala State Award for Best Playback Singer (Male).. is one of my favourites.

Gayathri has a cover for the same song for an episode of Music Mojo. This version is also something I listen to often too..

pictures and videos: google