Monday, 24 October 2011

The Cult Of Santhosh Pandit


I am a big malayalam film buff.Due to time constraints I may not be able to watch latest malayalam movies,but I try to keep track of latest releases and their box office fate.I was surprised when I came across a news that a film called "Krishnanum Radhayum" starring Santosh Pandit has opened to bumper response.Even when the two big M's are struggling to get a big initial,then who is this Santosh Pandit?.I was curious and did what most of the people do these days..google..and I came across the cult classic video song "Raathri Shubharathri".Of course the video was entertaining and it proved that Santosh Pandit has a skin which a rhinoceros will feel envy of.but more than the video what attracted my attention was the comments which followed the video.Malayalees are generally a gentle,peace loving people but it seems everyone here is venting their  fury with the choicest of Malayalam words your grandma wouldn't want to hear.Why this outrage?..Even though no one will admit,but deep inside everyone has a dream,to become a superstar,say those thunderous dialogues,bash up the villains and save the heroine.But truth is most of us do not have the guts to work towards that dream.Santosh Pandit at least try to do this in his own unique style,it is another matter whether his work measures up to the current standards of the society.May be it is ahead of its time,may be not.

Why this sympathy for Santosh when everyone seems to be hell bent on bashing him?The interviews he has given.He seems to genuinely believe that he has created a masterpiece.At least he gives that impression.Nothing wrong in that.Honesty counts.If it is other than that and he is hoodwinking all of us then he is world's best actor.At any day I will take a honest "Krishnanum Radhayum" than pretentious craps like Christian Brothers,20-20 or China Town.As far as the question of talent which is pretty much subjective,I will say that he do have talent as far as music direction is concerned.The song sung by Chithra is a genuinely good one.Even though the tunes of songs are pretty much generic,the orchestration is well worked out with some good flute work.

Santosh Pandit may or may not remain as a superstar,but Santosh Pandit phenomenon is here to stay.As internet enters more households,you expect a barrage of youtube videos of wannabe Santosh Pandits in near future.Hope that some genuine talents come through,some future Bharathans and Padmarajans

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Dante Club Matthew Pearl Novel Review


The Dante Club is an interesting mystery novel where a group of poets try to solve the mystery behind a series of gruesome murders.It is a debut historical mystery novel by Matthew Pearl.Here the background is Boston of 1865.A group of poets which consists of Longfellow,Holmes,Lowell and Greene(called fireside poets) want to bring to the American public,English translation of  Italian poet Dante's divine comedy.But Augustus Manning,treasurer of Harvard fears that the excessive violence in Dante's poetry will bring chaos into the society so try to dissuade the poets from this task.But they are determined to complete this task since they feel that they have an obligation towards American public who should be made aware of the  beauty of Dante's poetry.Then a series of gruesome murders occur where the victims are tortured and to their horror they find parallels to their work about Dante and these murders.The novel takes you through the stages where the poets assume the role of investigators and try to unravel the identity of the sadistic,unhinged serial killer.

The basic premise of making real life literary heavyweights to be the detectives them self is an interesting concept,but which can fall apart if not executed properly.In that sense I will say Pearl has come out with flying colors.One can see that Pearl is in awe of these literary figures and has done his research well to make it seem real and authentic.He has succeeded in recreating the Boston of 1865 and its history convincingly so that even a lay person who is not well versed in the history aspect will find the mystery aspect interesting and would love to know more about the fireside poets,Dante and the civil war which all served as the background of that period. The book is a page turner and keep your attention throughout.At the same time Pearl is able to give a depth to the main characters where one see the poet's burning passion for their work,their dedication to see their work come to fruition,but at the same time their compassion for the victims,their acceptance of coming in terms with the destruction of human life on wake of their work ,all these conflicting emotions captured in excellent writing for most of the part which can be considered to be of high literary quality. 

My Rating: GOOD

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Marykkundoru Kunjadu Malayalam Film Review


Malayalam commercial cinema,just like other language commercial  cinema has a structure,the films should have the necessary masala ingredients to make them a  boxoffice success.Usually these type of films do well at the boxoffice but will be cliche ridden and really a pain to sit through.To give credit to Marykkundoru Kunjadu,it is a film well steeped in the usual malayalam commercial structure with the usual cliches,but fortunately do not stoop too low to be considered as garbage.The film has its moments,works like a sort of fable with an innocent charm to it so that the obvious manipulations which is on your face can to some extend be exempted.

The setting is a remote picturesque village where you meet the hero Solomon who is a simpleton with dreams of becoming a film director.He is lazy and is a burden on his poor family since he is not serious about life and is not interested in helping his family.As such he is on constant lookout by brothers of the girl  he loves,who don't hesitate to take advantage of his meek character to subject him to  physical beatings when opportunity arises.When a stray stranger appears at his house,he takes his help to fight back against his tormentors.The film looks at the mystery behind the sudden appearance of this stranger and his connection to Solomon's family.The film interestingly sets up the mystery where the audience is subjected to probe on the true intention of this guy.

As I mentioned, the film is like a fable or a children's story where there is this setting of this village with God fearing people, a church with its missing golden cross,where hero is expected to bring back the golden cross and everything will turn out fine.As such this story line looks little bit implausible,but then this is a  fable  and at the end when mystery unfolds you feel that this film has touched the right chords  and as much implausible this story is, you feel that the film has succeeded in telling a story with its human touch intact.

For Dileep who has played similar characters before this role is cakewalk and is something tailor made for him.He has done justice to the role.At some point I had a fear that given the superhero image which is expected from our  heroes,he will ultimately fight back against his tormentors and teach them a lesson which our super heroes usually do.Fortunately director do not take that route and so there is no dilution in hero's character.Some minor flaws like excessive stunt scenes to generate sympathy for the hero should  have been avoided.As a director Shafi has been able to bring authenticity to the setting and has handled his job well.Performances are pretty uniform and Biju Menon,Innocent,Vijayaraghavan,Jagathy,Salim Kumar all have contributed to make this film pretty strong as far as acting department is concerned.You can't find fault with any of these performances.For me the standout scene in this film is the introduction of Salim Kumar through the character of government doctor.This is a really well thought out scene and here the intended humor is of high quality.Of course the same quality is not  maintained throughout but as  pure entertainer,the film do not disappoint.

My RATING: ABOVE AVERAGE

Friday, 9 September 2011

Race Malayalam Film Review


You are young,successful and have a bright future ahead,You have a loving family,wife that adores you,a cute daughter and you are going great guns at your career.But then your perfect world starts crumbling around you.Young,successful doctor Aby finds himself in this predicament when he meets a woman at a medical conference who informs him that his daughter is kidnapped and his wife is held hostage.He himself is held at gunpoint and a series of events take place that turn his life upside down.The film looks at the standoff between Aby and his family against a gang of ruthless criminals where by we see the seesaw battle between them with Aby trying to save his family where as the gang tries to achieve its objective.The suspense element lies in the fact that we get the feeling there is much more to the kidnapping with all the stakeholders trying to be mysterious with some secrets to hide.

This is a film which promises so much at the beginning,but really let us down towards the end.The initial portions are really interesting,you expect the film to end up as a taut,psychological thriller.But the film disappoints in the sense that it becomes too conventional just like many other films before when you truly expect it be different and thought provoking.As such it is not difficult to guess that there is a complex reasoning behind the kidnapping and subsequent standoff and when it all unravels there is a tinge of disappointment because filmmaker has really screwed up with a lame reasoning for all the drama.

In spite of the disappointment I felt,the film do have directorial merit.For most of the part it has been able to maintain that tense,suspense element intact and definitely credit has to be given to Kukku Surendran.The performances are noteworthy with all the actors able to put in impressive performances,even though Mamta Mohandas in some scenes were little bit underwhelming.The child artist is excellent.Jagathi displayed what a seasoned performer he is with his scenes with the child particularly worth mentioning.Kunchacko is in his elements here.Indrajith also do justice to the role.Music is not worth mentioning and is not memorable.Some scenes which do not add up to logic is the ones where Aby and his wife try to upstage their tormentors which the predicament in which they are in find hard to believe.Then again there is no need to over analyze and little bit of a leeway can be given as long as film is able to keep the viewer on the edge of the seat.The film accomplishes this to some extent and as I mentioned before unfortunately crumbles towards the end.In spite of the cringe worthy reasoning behind the whole drama,there is no doubt the noble intention of the filmmaker to highlight a serious malaise affecting our society.

My Rating: AVERAGE 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Makeup Man Malayalam Film Review


When Balu faces financial ruin due to the mismanagement of his company,he seeks help from his close friend,Kichu who is a production controller with movie company.Not only he has trouble in the financial front but also in his love life where he is forced to marry his longtime lover Surya.Kichu helps him by arranging a place to stay since Balu is facing evacuation from his own house due to the loan he has taken from loan shark Vareeth.Misunderstandings galore occur wen Surya is misunderstood as an actress seeking opportunity in the film industry.She gets an opportunity to become the heroine of a movie.Since Balu is clutching at the straws as far as his financial situation is concerned,he readily accepts that and forces the reluctant Surya to accept the offer.The film looks at the aftermath of this when in order to be in proximity of Surya,Balu takes up the job of a make up man.The hilarious sequences that follow constitutes the basic premise of this film.

A positive aspect of this film is that humor do not go overboard most of the times.Director Shafi and writers Sachi-Sethu have been able to give a fairly pacy screenplay to grab the attention of the viewer.The way misunderstandings pile up is handled with an element of humor of fairly good standard.The character of proud,arrogant,hot tempered director has been handled well.The skirmishes between the director and producer has been handled properly and has been able to provide fodder for some natural humor.Even though film was really interesting at the beginning,it starts to move towards boredom from mid portion onwards when the fight between the couple escalate where I feel screenplay loses its grip on the proceedings.Still filmmakers have to be applauded for handling a theme of distrust,inferiority complex,one-upmanship between the couple with sensitivity without too much of damage.Kunchacko's and Pritviraj's guest appearance is also well handled and fortunately do not take away the attention from the core story,rather compliments it well.The way television channels handle stories to increase the TRP ratings by playing on the lives of celebrities is brought forth in an interesting way.The story as such is old wine in new bottle,but since because of earnest performances from lead actors,a fairly good screenplay,a satisfactory conclusion,due to these factors I do not feel that viewer will be disappointed after watching this movie.

Jayaram and Sheela as lead characters have been able to give good performances.In the case of jayaram we have seen him in similar roles before many times,still to give credit to him he has not failed the audience here.But I feel the standout performer is Suraj as the production controller.He brings the house down with his humorous antics,add his own unique style to make this character interesting.Another great performance is by jagathy,as the loan shark who is at the receiving end always.He has been able to imbibe the characteristic slang in the language this character speaks,the slyness required in the character to perfection.Rest of the cast is adequate with special mention to Siddique and Janardhanan.Music is poor and none of the songs register any impact.
 
My Rating: AVERAGE

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Stoneman Murders Hindi film review


Year 1983.A series of killings occur in the mega city of Bombay.The victims happen to be pavement dwellers with their heads smashed with stones and the killings occur at night when the victims are asleep.Police is mystified and in spite of increasing night patrol,there is no stopping of the carnage.Mean while inspector Sanjay is suspended for a custodial death.He wants to get back into the force,so with the help of his superior Satam,he unofficially carries out the investigation to nab the serial killer who is known as the Stoneman killer by now.The film looks at the cat and mouse game between the officer and the psychopath where Sanjay is so overwhelmed in this quest where by cracks begin to appear in his family life.The film is an edge of the seat taut thriller where a surprise conclusion awaits at the end when the serial killer's identity is unmasked.

Director Manish Gupta has to be applauded for telling this story in a realistic manner,rather than taking the approach of the manipulative ways of Hindi commercial cinema.He has been able to extract good performances from lead actors.The investigative aspect is structured in a way with which one can identify and seems authentic and natural.The inner skirmishes among the police department is portrayed without any exaggeration.In fact loved the portrayal of Sanjay who also has some dirty secrets in his cupboard who is not the straightforward one as one assumes. Even though there is no wide pool of suspects,still the way suspicion shifts from person to person hooking the viewer to the proceedings has to be applauded,thereby passing the litmus test of what a good suspense movie requires.

The reasoning behind the serial killer's objective seems plausible,but the film's minor flaw sees to be the fact that the ease in which the killer is able to pursue Sanjay,do raise doubt about killer's identity at early stage.May be the screenplay should have taken care to have a wider pool of suspects so that film would have been more interesting.

Kay Kay Menon has given an excellent performance.He has been able to bring forth the inner turmoils,emotional outbursts of a cop outwitted by a wily,cunning psychopath convincingly.Arbaaz khan unfortunately has not been able to nail the character.He looks wooden in many scenes.The rest of the cast is adequate.Background music is excellent.It has been able to bring alive that eerie and haunting atmosphere of the film.The songs are also well tuned.

My Rating: ABOVE AVERAGE

Gaddama Malayalam Film Review


There are some films that shock you with realism,the films that tug at your heartstrings,Gaddama belongs to that category.An average Malayalee is a migratory bird,he is someone who risks dangers to give life of happiness to his near and dear ones.When Ashwathy a young woman,who fell into financial difficulties due to untimely death of her husband accepts the job of a housemaid in a conservative,male centric but oil rich gulf country with tribal laws, she didn't expect the dangers that awaited her there.The film looks at her journey,her attempt to escape from her life of misery,the people she meets in this journey,most with sinister objectives,but some with hearts of gold.It also looks at the life of an immigrant population,the race to earn money,how it extinguishes humanness,how it forces people to betray their own people.This is a film by a director with a profound sense of knowledge of human conditions,acute observation power of Malayalee way of life,he who observe the various shades of gray even in relatively harmless common man and bring forth it  convincingly to the audience.

Even though on the outset the film looks like telling the simple story of a harassed house maid trying to escape from her employer,there is far more beyond that in this film.There is a level of complexity in this film ,that astute viewers could extrapolate if given sufficient attention,the way various stakeholders try to play their game and utilize the occasion to steer it for their advantage.The journalist who takes advantage of the situation by giving an yellow journalistic aspect to the story to increase circulation of his newspaper,the driver who betrays Ashwathi,these people in fact are far more dangerous and malicious than the tribal laws that punish innocent people like Ashwathy and her protector.You can see the strength of screenplay here where even a minor character like that of injured construction worker,how he takes advantage of the social worker who tries to help him,which proves that even among the so called common man you can find parasites which sucks the blood out of good Samaritans.

Kavya as Ashwathy has given an excellent performance.Her expressive eyes speak volumes,her transformation from innocent, wide eyed woman with hope of a bright future ahead to one who lose all hopes when everything crumbles around her is astonishing.Another noteworthy performance is by Murali Gopy.He is able to inculcate the conflicting emotions that character has to endure where by he has to decide between himself and another fellow being in need.Srinivasan is aptly cast as the social worker with a conscience among the hard hearted,selfish people around him.He has done justice to the role.Suraj also has given a good performance.Another noteworthy performance is by Shine Tom in the role of Basheer.Director Kamal has to be applauded for bringing forth this true story to silver screen and telling this in a simple straightforward manner without the usual trappings of the commercial cinema.The dialogues are also worth mentioning with dialogoe writer complimented for coming up with humane,hard hitting,realistic dialogues.

The songs by Bennet Veetrag is haunting and melodious.Background music  also complements the film and helps in enhancing the appeal of this well made film.

My Rating: GOOD

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Place Of Execution Val McDermid Novel Review


When you are young,you look at life with optimism and if you add ambition to it then that is a potent mix.For young police inspector George Bennet when he was presented with the case of missing teenager Alison Carter from the remote village of Scardale,he was enthusiastic and wanted to prove his worth.But as days rolled by with no trace of Alison,the initial enthusiasm starts to evaporate and the case starts to take a heavy toll on him.His wife is pregnant and his concern for the unborn child and Alison make him a person on the edge until the fierce determination to solve the case is what prompting him to move forward.He feels that the villagers instead of helping him in this quest are trying to shield someone among them.But by some lucky break emanating from the villagers itself,Bennet is able to zoom on the person responsible for the disappearance of Alison.Bennet is relieved,but is it really the end?.As one can read in this excellent novel,there is a deep mystery behind the disappearance of Alison where even the good hearted Bennet it seems have something to hide.A journalist who wants to write a book on this case is the one who untangles this web and brings out the secrets buried years ago at the village of Scardale.

This is one novel,where I confess that I find it difficult to put down once I started.The suspense is really well built and keeps you on the edge in the anticipation of what is going to happen next.You start sympathizing with the character of Bennet,the pains he go through to solve this tough case and you root for him to win.But then again you realize that life is not fair and what looks obvious need not always be so. Val Mcdermid has been able to paint the remote village of Scardale of 60's and the colorful characters of that village with a type of realism which only novelists with eye for detail and keen observation about human conditions can convincingly pull off.We realise that when we are introduced to the various characters in the village,there is a sense of camaraderie among them and general distrust towards outsiders.You are introduced to grandmother Lomas who turns out to be a mysterious character who holds some aces in this puzzle.As Bennet digs deeper,Ma Lomas's extensive knowledge about the terrain unearth some important clues which help him in getting closer to solving this intriguing puzzle.

This novel is considered one of the best among Val Mcdermid books.It has been nominated for Edgar award and has won several mystery awards.Even though on hindsight you may feel that story is little bit implausible,still what trumps is that this novel has got all ingredients in right mix that makes an excellent suspense/mystery novel.The pace never drops,the writing even though can't be termed as of literary quality,never wavers and maintain a consistent standard enough to maintain the pace,there is depth in characterization,the inner turmoils,emotional outbursts of the characters caught up in a tragedy well brought out by the writer.

My Rating: EXCELLENT

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Game Hindi Film Review



Suspense/mystery is a genre which requires considerable thought and has the chances to bomb if not done right.The most important aspect of  this type of film is a racy screenplay which do not distract the attention of the audience and forces him to invest his attention on the film.'The Game' is a film which breaks this cardinal rule and is an abomination to this intelligent genre.The screenplay is weak,the story is implausible,the performances are irritating,add all these factors and what you get is a mish mash of a suspense movie,devoid of any mystery,which the viewer wants to finish as quickly as possible so that he can get on with his life and forget the fact that he wasted 2 hours of his life on this crap.

Kabir Malhothra is a billionaire with some secrets to hide who resides in an Island at Greece in his palatial home.He keeps track of four people from different parts of the world with whom he has a connection which will be made clear as the movie proceeds.These four people are from different backgrounds ranging from a casino owner in Turkey,a movie star in India,a journalist in England and a prime ministerial candidate in Thailand.He invites these four people to his island.They also have some secrets to hide and is at a stage of life where they are staring at failures,so this invitation from a billionaire rekindles hope in them for a better future.But what awaits them is not what they expect and they could see that their already miserable life crumbling in front of them when they meet Malhothra.The meeting sets off a chain of events that turn their lives upside down.What now follows is a murder and then the investigation with these four being the primary suspects,the secrets are slowly revealed,we are exposed to shocking truths and surprising revelation awaits at the end.

The film struggles to keep the attention of the viewer.The shocking revelations do not have the necessary impact and there are logical flaws through out the movie.The setting in a foreign country completely botches the authenticity aspect,since the intention here seems to shoot only at scenic places around the world rather than concentrate on the mystery aspect and give a satisfactory solution to the puzzle.

The film is technically sound.Stunt scenes are well pictured.But the chase scene involving Neil Menon trying to get rid of surveillance was poorly done and was getting on the nerves due to its length and its drag on the already snail like pace of the movie.Music of the film is also disappointing.None of the songs are memorable.Background music also do not rise up to the occasion.

Anupam Kher  has given a fine performance as Kabir Malhothra,Shahana Goswami as a journalist has also done justice to that role.Abhishek Bachchan is just about passable as Neil Menon.Rest of the actors do not pass muster.Jimmy Shergill is generally a reliable actor but here he seems to be out of sorts.Kangna Raut seems to be trying too hard to make an impact and comes off superficial and fake.The entire concept of Indian police officer working with English police is something difficult to digest.Then again this film is such a poorly thought out one that there is no point in wasting time in analyzing stuff like this.

My Rating: POOR

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sahasram Malayalam Film Review



Sahasram is a suspense thriller with an element of supernatural in the background.If an investigative murder mystery combined with a hint of supernatural in the form of a Yakshi(Ghost),makes an interesting premise,then the result can be termed as the story of Sahasram.

A film crew arrives to  shoot a horror film at a dilapidated old building in a remote village.When art director Vaishakh who is also addicted to drugs first visits this building,he meets some people and then tragedy strikes when a group of people attacks them.Vaishakh escapes from there and he later comes to know that the people whom he met happens to be the ghosts of people who got killed in that building years ago.When he explains this to others,everyone associates this as his hallucinations.While at the shooting site the main villain in the movie,Sudhir gets killed and suspicion falls on Vaishakh who had a previous history of enmity with Sudhir.Police officer Sahasranamam is entrusted with the task of unmasking the murderer.The film looks at how Sahasranamam sets about to achieve his objective and what we get is twists and turns,suspicion shifting from person to person and culminating in a surprising conclusion.

This film cannot be termed as a brilliantly executed murder mystery,but director has been able to maintain the suspense to some extent and thereby keeping the viewer interested enough to see through the unfurling of the mystery.It is also interesting that the supernatural element also fits in with the proceedings and add to the mystery element rather than meandering in a different direction.As such there are instances when you feel like it is an implausibe story,then again film as an art form especially when it comes to mystery movies,little bit of leeway can be given as long as director is able to maintain the suspense element with out taking the audience for too much of a ride.

Suresh Gopi of course has become the stereotyped murder investigator in Malayalam films.But then again nothing wrong with that since he does this job pretty well.Here I won't say he is perfect in that but can only say that he is just about adequate and has done his job.Bala as art director was pretty impressive and his interesting face and expressive eyes gave some depth to that tragic character.Some other good performances of note was that of Jagathi,Sudheesh and Suresh Krishna.Madhu is wasted in a small role.When it comes to music,the songs are really good even though background music which should play an important role in this type of films fail to rise up to expectation.

My Rating: ABOVE AVERAGE

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

August 15 Malayalam Film Review



August 15 is a well made suspense thriller written by SN Swamy and directed by Shaji Kailas.It cannot be termed as an excellent edge of the seat thriller since at many points pace do drop,but for most of the part director has been able to keep the viewer hooked.

An assassination attempt is made on chief minister,and police officer Perumal is assigned the task of foiling any further attempt as well as to find the assassin.But the assassin turns out to be wily,cunning,an expert at disguises who has been able to evade the police with ease. The cat and mouse game between assassin and Perumal begins where both try to upstage each other.The aftermath of this is that assassin becomes determined to carry out his mission since he is someone who cannot tolerate failure,who is a psychopath who destroys anyone in his path to achieve his objective.The film looks at this dangerous battle of control between the police officer and the criminal,with a surprising conclusion which takes you unawares when the dust settles towards the end.

Shaji Kailas films usually include Kerala politics and it is clear in this film that where his political affiliations lean towards to.Any astute viewer could see that on whom the chief minister in the film and party secretary is modelled on.Even though it gets little bit on the nerves,the chief minister here is portrayed as paragon of virtues,a so called perfect person which is hard to believe and I feel director who modelled it on real life personality has gone little bit overboard and seems to have mastered the art of flattery.Then again this is not an important thing since fortunately the focus of the film is not on hardcore politics but on the investigation aspect and here unlike previous Shaji films,tone is somewhat subdued.Fortunately there is no unnecessary fireworks in the form of bombastic dialogues and too much of slow motion walk by the hero.The inner politics among the police department is depicted,but it has not gone overboard.

As a director,Shaji kailas has not let the viewer down.The film is technically sound.The chase scene between Perumal and assassin is well handled.Talking about performances,there is nothing exceptional in the role played by Mammootty.As is usual is the case he has been able to deliver.Siddique as the psychopathic assassin has also done justice to the role.He has been able to bring out the various shades of gray convincingly required of this character.Jagathi unfortunately is little bit off color here.Generally a reliable performer,but here his character sort of didn't gel with the movie.Lalu Alex ,Vijay are quite adequate in their roles. Back ground music by Rajamani suits this genre type film.

My Rating: ABOVE AVERAGE

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Karyasthan Malayalam Film Review



Malayalam film industry always has this fascination for films related to warring families and then their happy reunion at the end.The story line of these type of films will be similar,there will be two powerful families in a village run by patriarchs with a dozen children who initially will be close friends,but due to some misunderstanding perpetuated by a villain,will become bitter enemies and their enmity will span decades until some one preferably from younger generation will set things right,whereby the villain is caught and at the end every one sings a happy song and all ends well.The story line of Karyasthan is also somewhat similar.Not only the story is one regurgitated many times before,I feel there is only one word to describe this film,and that is the word "silly".Yes this film is really silly,with its low standard comedy,manipulative emotional scenes,over acting and to add nail on the coffin,irritating songs.

Unni wants to reunite his father with his relatives,who banished him to a remote Tamil Nadu village when he married against their wish.So he sets on a journey along with his best friend Vadivelu to his grandfather's house to meet the objective of reuniting his grandfather's and his best friend's family.The film looks at the hilarious sequences that follow when he lands up at the house and take up the job of a caretaker.The film follows the usual pattern of love affairs,again misunderstanding,and it is of course the duty of the hero the emerge triumphant by demolishing the villain and needless to say everything is rosy at the end with every one singing the traditional family song in their best traditional attire.

Dilip is no doubt a good actor and this type of roles suit him,but if he wants to be taken as a serious actor,he should avoid this type of repetitive roles.Then again one cannot blame him,since he is typecast in this type of roles and if audience want this type of substandard stuff then who can blame him.Suraj as his best friend is able to evoke some laughs and that is only because of his natural talent rather than anything to do with the script.Two talented artists Salim Kumar and Harisree Ashokan are wasted in roles which require them to do overacting with the same set of expressions which they have done in countless movies before.

As such it was really a pain to sit through this boring film with tons of actors floating here and there and mouthing serial standard dialogues,there is no point in wasting time on analyzing the acting department.The direction is really poor,silly coincidences,poor script and thousands of other things I don't have time to point out.One of the worst films I have seen in my life.

My Rating: POOR    

Monday, 29 August 2011

Arjunan Sakshi Malayalam Film Review



There are some films which start of with a bang,gives you high hopes and then fizzles out towards the end.Arjun Sakshi is one such film.It had a promising start,but then ends up like just like another action film with the standard set of villains and the common man ranting against the system,which we have seen in many Malayalam films before. In spite of the flaws,the film do highlight some of the issues a fast growing city like Kochi face like the hardships common man face due to traffic jams and how some selfish people could derail people centric projects for their benefit.

A prominent newspaper receives an anonymous letter in which the writer claims to be the witness to the murder of Rashid Moopan,former collector.The newspaper publishes this,and the journalist who received this letter is threatened by an anonymous caller to disclose the identity of the writer.Roy,an architect is misunderstood as Arjun,the anonymous writer by the people involved in the murder of Moopan.This film looks at how Roy gets caught in this web from which he cannot extricate himself without causing damage,and how he tries to overcome that.

Even though the film is interesting on some levels,the way in which Roy trapped the villains,look too simplistic.Even if there is a witness to a murder,unless there is physical evidence,it is something difficult to prove.So the villans becoming paranoid seems to be created just to give the platform for the hero to win.Also I did not understand the logic behind the killing of Rashid's father.Coming to the execution of the film,director has been able to extract good performances from almost all actors,but falters when it comes to the action scenes.It is true that Malayalam films have budgetary constraints,so it is difficult to pull off heavy duty action scenes.So best option is not to atempt that and fail.The chase scene is not properly executed and looked amateurish.The final stunt scene with the four villains is also not able to make any impact.Even though primarily a comic actor,Jagathi has excelled in playing various type of characters and found success,but here in the role of Rashid's father he is not convincing.There seems to be too much of a conscious effort to get into that character,a neurosurgeon that it sort of looks artificial.Prithviraj even though stiff in some scenes has been able to do justice to the role.As such none of the other characters stand out,they all seems to be like cardboard copies you find in a typical action film,so there is no point in discussing the acting merits or demerits.

The background music is in tone with the film and is well done.The songs are nothing much to write about.They are just about there to fill in the gaps.

My Rating: BELOW AVERAGE

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Best Actor Malayalam Film Review



'Best Actor' is an example of a film,which on script looks promising but when implemented do not look as plausible or interesting as in the script.This is what happens here also.A film with many implausible scenes,weakness in script,attempt to play to the gallery by creating unnecessary melodramatic scenes,irritating background score when combination of all these factors come together,what you get is an interesting concept gone wrong.

Mohan is a school teacher with the ambition to become an actor in a movie.His entire life is dedicated to achieve this objective where by he even ignores his loving wife and son.When a group of assistant directors planning to make an action film make fun of him and insist that he should have real life experience of a thug,he literally believes it due to his innocent nature and starts living with four real life thugs.The film looks at the hilarious sequences that follow when he encounters professional thugs and his real life merges with the reel life he dreams on.

Credit has to be given that good actors like Venu,Lal,Salim Kumar have been able to master the local slang and make these colorful characters interesting,but a 2.5 hour movie just do not depend on just characterization,but should have an adept screenplay to hold the attention of viewer.This fact is sadly missing here.Also Lal's overacting at some scenes is off-putting.As a director Martin shines in parts,but not able to do justice in some scenes.An example which comes to mind is where the assistant directors indoctrinate Mohan with the Vivek Oberoi story.This scene do not come off naturally and seems to be fake and artificial.The actors also seems to be trying too hard to make an impact.Baiju in the role of police inspector is not convincing,and those scenes are also not handled properly.

Mammootty unfortunately is also not in his elements and in many scenes he looks stiff and uninterested.The hindi dialogue scene is really cringe worthy and embarrassing.The songs are not memorable and there is an irritating humming at melodramatic scenes.The objective seems to appeal to the emotional aspect of the viewer,but unfortunately I don't think anyone would be moved.As such I will concede that there are some really good,realistic dialogues which implies some hard work has gone into the dialogues.At least on that aspect the dialogue writer should be given credit.

My Rating: BELOW AVERAGE

Traffic Malayalam Film Review



Traffic is a brilliantly executed edge of the seat thriller.An accident at a traffic junction sets off a chain of events with in a period of 12 hours which culminate in an adrenaline pumping thriller fest.The thriller element is not in chase of a sinister villain or pulping of a dozen villains by a superstar.Rather it is in the race to save a human life by the delivery of a live heart from a town hospital to another and the entire machinery ranging from police force to the dear ones of people involved in this mission,their trials,tribulations,their emotional turmoil is captured here in a realistic manner.This mission is handled by a disgraced policeman,supported by a doctor with some secrets and by a guilt ridden youngster grieving for his best friend.Whether they will achieve success overcoming all odds,that is what this film is all about.

The best part of this film is its racy screenplay.There is not a dull moment.You are always in anticipation of what happens next.All the characters are well flushed out and ably supported by good performances from artists. Rahman as the arrogant superstar incapable of appreciating his love for his daughter gives a great performance.Sai Kumar is turning out to be one of the best character artist since Venu and Thilakan, and he gives a heartfelt performance as the grieving father. Anoop Menon is quite adequate in that role.Kunchacko Boban is a much improved actor these days and the result here also is not different.Rajesh Pillai as a director clearly shines in this film.

Even though this film can be termed as almost perfect,there is some minor flaws I would like to point.The secret behind the character of Abel is little bit unconvincing,also for the reason that he is a doctor,he should be able to control his emotions well.There is no denying that this factor is one of the reasons due to which the film was able to maintain a good level of suspense,but I feel writers should have exploited a more plausible reason.Another factor was the filmstar's fan club members trying to evacuate people in the slums,which looked rather filmy and looks as if inserted since director felt like film lacks some playing to the gallery stuff.

The background music is quite captivating.I loved the music played towards the end of the mission.The songs though not catchy,are quite listenable.

My Rating: GOOD

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Ore Kadal Malayalam Film Review



A dreary,boring wannabe intellectual film by Shyamaprasad.Mammootty in the role of eminent economics professor is a drunkard,horny guy who scoffs at love,bonding,emotional attachments and is in dire need of women when the need arises.He meets a housewife Deepthi who is going through economic hardships whom he helps and as is his want seduces her.The cat and mouse game starts where you find Deepthi and Nathan going through emotional turmoils and the rest of the movie looks at the consequences of this encounter.

The character of Nathan,instead of the complexity the director is trying hard to hoist on him,comes across as a rather simple,normal guy who in the end start appreciating the fact that he is human after all.But the transformation and the events which lead to it all looks superficial by the attempt to give that psuedo intellectual arty treatment.Mammootty is no doubt a fine actor and here also he has tried his best to do justice to the role,but with poor direction and a weak script,he cuts a funny figure rather than the complex,eccentric,tragic figure.

Deepthi,the housewife who is enamoured by Nathan,who incidently unlike Nathan has strong views on what constitutes sin is tormented by the affair which even unbalances her mind.To tell the truth if this was handled by an able director,audience would have been moved by her plight.Instead there is no such feeling and I wanted the film to get over as quickly as possible.But credit has to be given to Meera Jasmine who plays this role without causing much damage.

Shyamaprasad as a director fails at many scenes which I would like to point out.A hallmark of a good director is how he handles child artists.Here Shyamaprasad fails miserably and it was a pain to sit through the scenes involving the child artists.Another scene which comes to mind is the one where Deepthi's neighbour tries to take advantage of her.Director did not handle that scene properly and a pathetic actor was chosen for that role.

Coming to side characters Narain and Ramyakrishnan have given good performances.Ramya's character also had some tragedy associated with it but like Nathan,it also comes out as artificial and fake.The scene where she gives money to a beggar boy can be termed cringeworthy including her backstory.

Background Music by Ouseppachan is just about listenable,but songs are not all interesting.It also has the same wannabe arty sound.Overall I would say a disappointing film.

My Rating: POOR

Friday, 26 August 2011

Salil Chowdhury Master Melody Maker Malayalam Songs


Salil Chowdhury is one of my favorite music directors.During the 70's and early 80's he has given music to number of Malayalam films. If one has to take account of best Malayalam film songs, I am sure that there will be many Salil Chowdhury songs in that list.Salil Chowdhury's songs are characterized by its catchy melody,meticulous arrangements,abrupt changes in tone which enhances the quality of the songs.He had a unique style due to which the moment you listen to his song,we can determine it  be a Salil Choudhary song.Initially my intention was to list best ten songs from his Malayalam songs,since it is difficult to just list ten songs since even his worst songs in Malayalam had a certain quality which cannot be disregarded.So in various posts I would like present my impressions of some of his songs

Aa Kayyilo Ee Kayyilo(Ragam)-A fun song by Yesudas.The song seems to just like a normal song till it takes a delightful turn at "Pookada Chennu thurannotte" which enhances an otherwise normal song according to Salil standards.

Araro Swapnajalakam(Puthiyavelicham)-A typical Salil Choudhary song.The twists and turns which you can usually expect from songs given by Salil to female singers you can see here.Nothing exceptional, a sort of sing along song and nothing more than that.

Aarattukadavil(Puthiyavelicham)-One of the weak songs among Salil Songs.Pretty simplistic and without the complexity you expect from a Salil song.Even though it is sung well by Jayachandran,unsual to Salil songs,this song sounds dated.

Aathira Poovaniyam(Pratheeksha)-When you hear the heavenly voice of Yesudas,you know that you are in for a treat and what a treat is this song.Melodious, sung to perfection by Yesudas.There is not much in orchestration here and song is completely dependent on Yesudas's singing.A simple song with a catchy melody which will arouse the romantic in you.

Allimaril Kavil(Anthiveyilponnu)- A song with folk touch sung enhanced by the child-woman voice of Janaki which suits this song perfectly.Best part for me is at "kannu Nattu Kathirunnu" when an interesting twist in the  song accompanied by an appropriate chorus.An above average song.

AmbadiPoonkuyile(Ragam)-An average song in the voice of P.Susheela.Even though Susheela is a good singer,her pronunciation leaves much to be desired.Nothing much to write about this other than that singer has struggled little bit in this song and not much damage is done but overall just about a listenable song.

Ayilyam Paadathe(Rasaleela)- An excellent song.Yesudas in high pitch and perfectly sung with perfect twist at the   part "Kiliye Kiliye" which takes abrupt turn from the beginning which is characteristic of good Salil Choudhary songs.Vani Jayaram's rendition is also excellent here and Salil introduces her velvety voice at right times throughout the song.Salil's orchestration is also excellent here which ranges from folk music to western style drums with excellent chorus in the background.

BhoomiNandini(Chuvanna Chirakukal)-An above average song sung well by Janaki with her haunting voice.Loved the guitar part and overall flow of the song which is pretty soothing.

Bhoomithan Sangeetham(Anthiveyilponnu)-An excellent song.A haunting,melodious song.This song can be termed as the song of those times,reflecting the musical style of that period,but to give it credit do not look aged at all.Of course Yesudas's sweet,divine voice  at its best.One thing I love about most of Salil songs is the appropriate placement of chorus which enhances the song and here also it is not different.

I would love to present my impressions about other Salil Songs in future posts.


  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Sculptress Minette Walters Novel Review



You form the image of a person from the account on various media outlets.This may not be always true.Writer Rosalind Leigh is faced with this reality when she is forced by her agent to write about an overweight,ruthless woman named Olive Martin who hacked to death her mother and sister.But after meeting her, Leigh is not convinced whether Olive has done the deed eventhough she has confessed to the crime.Even though Olive has the reputation of being a big liar,Leigh could see that there is certain truth behind her lies and her objective becomes to filter out truth from the maze of lies floating about her.This novel explores this attempt by Leigh to uncover the truth behind the horrific killings and to unmask the murderer.

The novel is well paced and you are in anticipation of what happens next.Walter's writing is of good quality and she has been able to bring depth in characterization of the principal characters of Leigh and Olive Martin.The pace slows a bit when Novel concentrates on Leigh's romantic life as well as on Olive's attorney and his role in this puzzle.But then it picks up pace and comes to a surprising conclusion where Walters also offers an interesting alternative where readers are prompted toward the notion whether the happy ending is in fact a mirage.

This is my first Minette Walters novel and I am quite impressed and will definitely look forward to more of her novels.

My Rating: GOOD

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Chatham School Affair Thomas H Cook Novel Review



An old man Henry looks back at his life,his childhood at the small town of  Chatham.It was year 1926 and a beautiful woman Channing joins his school as art teacher.This novel beautifully captures the life of this small town of Chatham,the teacher,her colleagues,Henry's father who happened to be the headmaster of the school in poetic prose as well as maintaining the suspense quotient intact.

This is not an easy novel to read.It do not have the pulse pounding action associated with the thriller genre nor can claim the edge of the seat suspense factor also.But it is compensated by the measured pace studded with lyrical prose,flushing out the characters,putting the readers in emotional turmoil by the tragic event which unfold and then ending with a surprising conclusion which neatly explains the emotional rollercoaster through which various characters in this novel pass through.

This is my first Thomas H Cook and I have to say that I have become a big fan so much that definitely I will look forward to more Cook novels.The powerful impact this novel still had on me is such that the principal tragic character of Elizabeth Channing is still fresh in my mind and refuses to go away. The way Cook has handled various human relationships,the vagaries of love,the rebelous,stubborn teenage mind,conservative and liberal thinking on the part of characters,all these have to be commended.
 
My Rating: EXCELLENT

I Am Hindi Film Music Review


Some of my favorite songs happen to be from films directed by Onir like My brother Nikhil and Bas Ek Pal. He seems to be  a director who works with multiple music directors and has the ability to extract best from them and package them as a cohesive album. That is why when I came to know that the film 'I am' is directed by Onir,I expected it to have an excellent soundtrack and I was not disappointed.

Baangur-Amit Trivedi-The song starts on a rustic note,has the stamp of Amit Trivedi to it.Interesting part is where guitar part comes in, a fine example of fusion where east and west meets with fine performance by both the singers.

Issi Baat Pe,Issi Baat Pe(Remix)-A fine melodious song by the soulful voice of KK.Interestingly I found remixed version better than original one.The remix part really take off at the part "bhoj banke" where the beats in the background clearly gives a push to increase the loveliness of the song and then the fast paced keyboard playing in the mid part of the song is great.

Ankhen-Vivek Philip-The moment you hear it,you know that it is by Vivek Philip.This is an example of a song if you just listen once,there is a chance that you may not get the subtleties hidden in this song and you may discard it.If that is the case then you are making a mistake.You need to listen to this multiple times and then surely it will grow on you.Interesting part for me in this was the part "kithne afsane" with its background music and a soulful chorus at that point and the change in tune at the "karthi hai tumse" when singer goes in high pitch.

Saye Saye-Amit Trivedi-It is always pleasure to listen to Rekha Bharadwaj.When Rekha's haunting vocals welcome you, you know that you are in for a treat.You are not disappointed and get to listen to a song where right fusion of electronic music,classical music and bit of eastern music.

Wundoo Yeredoo-Rajiv Bhalla-An excellent dance track.It has Kannada lyrics and it expertly blend in the song and gives that danceability quotient.This song is quite infectious and melodious.Interesting part for me in the song is the guitar part(or is it some other instrument) around mid part after "Guddiye Guddiye",really melodious.

Bojhal Se,Bojhal Se(Remix)- Clearly a song which can be credited to KK's singing prowess.Loved original as well as Remix.Loved the abrupt change from slow paced to a fast paced one with a with the fierce female vocal in the Remix version.

Overall I will say this is a great collection of songs which can be listened in a loop which are melodious,soul stirring,infectious.

My Rating: EXCELLENT


Monday, 22 August 2011

The Janissary Tree Jason Goodwin Novel Review


A historical mystery with a eunuch as a detective makes an interesting prospect in the usually rule by books mystery genre.Added to that if the background is the historically rich Istanbul,then it is icing on the cake.Jason Goodwin's Janissery Tree is one such novel which on one side is a finely crafted mystery novel but also on the other side gives you glimpses of  Istanbul of 1830s without the usual stale history which you read in professional history books.

When four soldiers of the  army is missing, Vizier is worried and he calls for the help of Eunuch Yashim,who has the uncanny ability to talk to people,make them at ease and thereby drawing their secrets.Mean while there are some jewels also missing from the palace and Yashim is given the assignment of catching the thief also.We are taken along this quest by Yashim where the suspects range from the rebels Janissaries to foreign powers ranging from Russians to British.

More than the mystery aspect,I loved this novel for the atmosphere which Goodwin was able to invoke.The Istanbul of 1836 comes alive before us in Goodwin's beautiful writing.But a minor irritation was Yashim's love life depicted and his encounter which was not convincing. Initially mystery is intriguing,but as it proceeds,I will say it goes little bit off track and pace slows a bit,but nevertheless it ends in a surprising conclusion when Goodwin ties all the ends neatly and do not disappoint.

My Rating: GOOD

Monday, 9 May 2011

Elsamma Enna Aankutty Malayalam film Review


Due to the untimely death of her father,Elsamma, eldest of four daughters is forced to be the breadwinner of the family.She works as a local newspaper reporter and agent to support her family.She is a strong willed woman who stands up against any injustice committed against her fellow villagers.Her fiery nature makes her enemies like the local liquor baron and corrupt Panchayat member.Her best friend is Unni who makes a living by selling milk.Pappan, an old man is a neighbor of Elsamma's family and both their families love each other.The film looks at the change in this equation when Pappan's grandson Aby comes to the village along with his friends and also the relationship between Elsamma and Unni with the arrival of Aby.

Eventhough on the story aspect it is the same old wine in new bottle,Lal Jose has to be applauded for creating some plausible characters and just about enough friction to maintain the interest of the viewers in the proc eedings.As such there are instances where he tries to play to the gallery by trying to milk emotional aspect of the audience.An example of this is the incident regarding Elsamma's mother which was placed for this effect.Lal Jose has succeeded to some extend to portray the village life with its share of bondage and enmity among the villagers in a realistic fashion with right amount of masala with a hold on screenplay which forces the viewer to maintain his interest.

Ann Augustine as Elsamma,I feel has not been able to nail the character to perfection.Rather than a natural actress,she seems to be more of a director's actress.In some of the scenes that is visible,but overall she is quite adequate and has done justice to the role.Surprise package of this film is definitely Kunchacko Boban.He has definitely stole many hearts with his natural portrayal of the character of Unni.Venu and Jagathi are of course actors who can portray any roles with perfection and result here also is nothing different.Vijayaraghavan in the villain role with comic touch really shines.Indrajith as a happy go lucky youngster inspite of not looking that young somehow pulls of that character without causing much damage.Suraj is in his elements and enlivens the film with his act.

My Rating : AVERAGE

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Achuvinte Amma Malayalam Film Review


A film which talks about the life of a single parent,about her daughter,the bondage and differences among them depicted in the typical,simple,realistic format in which Sathyan Anthikad excels.Achu, an young woman has only her mother Vanaja as her parent.They both love each other and since Achu realizes that any question about her father hurts her mother,she do not insist on it.Vanaja through her hardwork does well as an insurance agent and when Achu gets a job in a construction firm,their lives are filled with happiness.In course of her work Achu meets Immanuel,a handsome talkative man and they become friends in due course.The film now looks at how this relationship proceed further and how this causes a friction between mother and daughter.

Sathyan Anthikad usually has this habit of yielding to excessive melodrama and thereby hijacking the movie from its premise.Here most of the time he stays on course,but there are instances where one can see forceful insertion of melodrama to manipulate audience.One such is the hospitalization of Achu and reasons for this.Even though the back story of Immanuel had the potential for similar exploitation,Sathyan didn't go overboard and sort of maintained a balance.The ending part is also well done and it is great to see that a realistic resolution was found for mystery behind Achu's father.

Urvashi as the mother gives a great performance.Meera Jasmin as Achu do justice to the role.Narain's acting initially I find it little annoying but overall he is just about adequate in that role.Sukumari and Oduvil Unnikrishnan prove that when you have natural talent, any role that is little different from the mainstream can be played with ease.KPAC Lalitha is in fine form and my favourite scene is the one where she introduces a rich man with golden teeth as a potential alliance for Vanaja.Her insistence of golden teeth not only evokes humor but also is a dig at the usual appetite of Malayalees towards gold.The actor who played the police constable with the slang,I found initially difficult to digest,but gradually I warmed up to his acting and found it interesting.A film with its heart at its right place,some tender moments,some forgettable melodramatic scenes,but overall a film which do not disappoint.

My Rating : ABOVE AVERAGE

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Yakshi Malayattoor Ramakrishnan Malayalam Novel


Srinivasan is a handsome college lecturer. He gets accolades for his dedication towards his job, has a beautiful girlfriend until his life turns upside down due to an accident at college lab.He is disfigured due to this.He starts losing everything dear in his life due to this.His girlfriend starts ignoring him,he is not able to concentrate on his teaching.Then he meets a beautiful woman who accepts him in spite of his handicap.But soon he becomes doubtful regarding the intention of this woman and he starts doubting whether this woman is in fact human as she proclaims to be or a vampire in human form.

An excellent novel which explores human mind which can take unexpected turns,which has the ability for conflicting emotions,which fails to recognise love and embraces hate.The novel explores the sane and insane world through the mind of Srinivasan who lives in a world where reality is very much distorted according to him.He cries for help and points out the injustice done to him,but the world see it in a different way.As alleged by Srinivasan is the whole world conspiring against him,is he being misjudged or being disfigured in the accident impaired his rational mind,the answers to these questions are explored in this novel in a language which not only keeps the reader in an element of suspense but also forces him to think where exactly the real,sane,rational world ends and unreal,insane,irrational world takes over.

Malayattoor's simple but elegant language keeps the novel to be read at a fair pace and the suspense element in the novel is the icing on the cake.Even though Novel's emphasis is on the character Srinivasan(the story is told through his viewpoint), the other characters stand on their own and play their part and by the end we get to know what transpired in the mind of Srinivasan.

My Rating : Excellent

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Dum Maaro Dum Hindi film Review


ACP Vishnu Kamat is given the assignment of cleaning up the serene Goan beaches from the clutches of drug mafia which involves not only Indian drug lords but also international ones.He forms a task force to take on the dreaded drug mafia.The film starts with a bang with an excellent title track which gives the indication of taut,high octane,high decibel entertainment ahead.But in the initial reels itself fissures are visible when you see not so young teenagers but passing for teenagers indulging in the cute teen talk.But the initial apprehensions aside,the film sorts of pick up steam where you see stereotypical fall of a straightforward middle class lad who for the sake of dollars try to be a mule only to be upstaged by super cop Kamath.The cop and robber drama starts, Kamath in his superman avatar trashes villains to pulp,pound their asses with chilli powder and guns, but still the big bad guy Michael Barbosa is missing.So the big chase starts and you get to meet a musician with a well toned gym body, an air hostess aspired turned drug addict with a fetish for wearing only white shirts and nothing else underneath, a middle class guy who feels that being middle class is a curse so goes in search for dollars and a drug lord who also runs drug rehabilitation center to wash off his sins.

The first issue with this film is style is given more importance than substance.There are some nice moments,the formation of task force,the banter of Mercy,the realistic stunt scenes,some nicely done exchanges between Kamath and Biscuit,suspense factor to some extend well maintained.But if you look beyond that it is just another action movie,excessive violence,crude and vulgar interrogation scenes just to show how tough our super cop is.But truth is Abhishek do not look the part of tough,super cop.As such he is a mediocre actor,but to give credit he shines in the parts where he don't have to shout or show any intensity.But once the scenes that require it we can see his limitation as an actor,dead eyes,lips that curl in weird angle when he shouts, not a welcome sight.The back story of the cop to milk emotional aspect of the audience falls flat,inspite of Vidya Balan. Prateik is just about OK and little bit of leeway can be given since he is a newcomer and hope that he improves in his future endeavors. Rana looks more like a Mr. Universe contestant than a musician. He has a good screen presence but unfortunately like most hunks it is indirectly proportional to acting talent. But time is on his side and ample opportunity to improve in future. Bipasha just sleep walks through the role and since she is a drug addict may be that was the intention.The only genuine actors in this film seems to be Govind Namdeo as Rane and Muzammil as Percy.

The film is technically sound.At least on that aspect Sippy should be given credit.Music is irritating and test your patience by jumping you at inappropriate times thereby elongating the boredom further.To add insult to the already fatigued audience, matchstick figure of Deepika gyrating to poorly choreographed Dum Maro Dum song is the last nail in the coffin.The second half keeps on dragging and by the time the big reveal about the master bad guy Barbosa is revealed, most will be in deep slumber.

My Rating : BELOW AVERAGE

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Adikkurippu Malayalam film Review


The films that deal with legal issues are rare in Malayalam cinema.Adikurrippu is one such film which looks at the life of a castaway and the legal problems which arise for his acceptance into his homeland.

A ship with a castaway lands at Kochi Harbor. The captain wants the castaway Basheer to be handed over to his relatives. Basheer is unable to remember his past and no one comes forward to claim him.But an attempt is made on his life by some unknown assailants which proves that someone's feathers are ruffled by his presence. Captain contacts brilliant lawyer Bhaskar Pillai to find a solution to this problem.The film focuses on the efforts of Bhaskar to find relatives of Basheer as well as the mystery behind the attack on Basheer.

Even though there is not much of a mystery aspect to the film,K Madhu has to be applauded for going for a different theme which is not much explored in Malayalam cinema. Mammootty is brilliant as a lawyer and the legal strategies to release Basheer is well thought out.The film's weakness is the stereotypical villains and  standard fight scenes. Even though primarily a comic actor,Jagathy has won laurels in serious roles also but here as the castaway Basheer, he is not impressive.The fake beard and overacting spoils the character which had lot of potential on the emoting front. Lalu Alex,Sreenath,Urvasi do justice to their roles.

My Rating : AVERAGE

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Detective Malayalam Film review


Detective is a well crafted mystery/investigative thriller. Reshmi,wife of an young,upcoming politician is murdered by administration of rat poison.Initial investigation by police  assumed it was a suicide,but political pressure forces investigation to be handed over to Shyamaprasad, a high ranking police official who also happens to be half brother of Mohan,who reaches the conclusion that it was a murder. The film focuses on the investigation by Shyamaprasad and eventual capture of a wily and cunning killer.

Director Jithu Joseph has succeeded in making an edge of the seat thriller.Unlike other films of this genre,there is not a wide pool of suspects and the usual shock value when finally the killer is revealed,still film is entertaining for the fact that how Shyamaprasad tracks down the killer.The investigation seems realistic.The film fortunately concentrates mainly on this aspect rather than the side story of the two brothers which would have been a distraction. Even though this film also has its share of bombastic English dialogues for which Gopi is famous(infamous), fortunately it is toned down and do not get on the nerves unlike his other films  There are minor irritations like showing of heroism of Suresh Gopi in the form of slow motion walk and unnecessary fight scene. On the mystery aspect it is not on par with the iconic CBI series, still Jithu Joseph has to be applauded for keeping a fair pace and able to keep audience hooked to the proceedings.

On the acting front Suresh Gopi is in his elements as the stylish Shyamaprasad and the ideal,honest but hapless half brother.He does justice to both the roles.Jagathy is wasted in a small role, which even though intended for comic relief has failed in its objective. Rest of the actors are all adequate in their roles.Background music is apt and is in tune with this genre type film.

My Rating : GOOD

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The Thriller Malayalam film review


An young,rich businessman Simon is killed in a brutal knife attack.The last moments of Simon before death is witnessed by DCP Niranjan.Niranjan is mystified by the strange uttering by Simon before his death. The film focuses on this murder investigation by Niranjan to unmask the murderer.

It seems that this film is made to project Prithviraj as a some sort of Superhero rather than concentrating on the murder investigation.You get to see Prithvi walking in slow motion beating many villains to pulp and also mouth English dialogues that rival Suresh Gopi. Even though the premise was pretty much explosive and had great potential to be made into an engrossing fare,Unnikrishnan completely botches it with stereotype police characters and a typical villain.It also had the advantage of being inspired by a real event there by raising the curiosity factor to a high level but it seems director wants to only take advantage of this factor rather than come up with a credible,engaging film.I had a doubt whether I was watching a Malayalam movie,since most of the characters were conversing in English and to rub salt to wound,villain character in Tamil .An example of how filmmaker is hell bent on murdering English language is where Lalu Alex blurts out an English expression which I am sure native speakers of English may not be using in their daily life. The only redeemable feature of this completely forgettable film is the interesting twist towards the end, which takes you by surprise.

On the acting front Prithviraj is trying to ape Suresh Gopi and falls flat in this attempt. He is a capable actor,but here he looks completely out of sorts and cuts a pathetic figure.None of the actors impress and everyone seems to outdo one another to bring as much superficiality to their roles as possible.Background  music is irritating and only serves the purpose of shattering hapless viewers eardrums already battered  by  Prithvi's English dialogues. Unnikrishnan has proved in his previous attempts that he is a good director,but unfortunately here he is completely out of form.

My Rating : BELOW AVERAGE 

Monday, 11 April 2011

Mukham Malayalam Film Review


When three women are killed,a  police squad led by Assistant commissioner of police is formed to investigate the murders.He finds that all women die due to a single gunshot fired by an expert sniper.The film looks at the investigation by this police officer and his efforts to catch the cold blooded killer.

This film starts off well with an excellent  film title music by Johnson.The initial scenes and investigation put you in anticipation of a taut,psychological thriller since killer targets only married women.But as film progresses the initial impact wears of .Even though there is a justification on the part of killer for these murders,director fails to keep this interesting enough to keep the viewers on the edge of the seat.There is enough red herrings to throw viewers off the track,but an astute viewer can easily guess the outcome.Even then also it doesn't matter if only the confrontation between pursuer and pursued were more interestingly picturized. In spite of the flaws Mohan has to be applauded for attempting a  different type of film which is quite unusual in Malayalam films.

Among the actors Mohanlal,Nasser,Ranjini give good performances.Mala Aravindan and Innocent with his Thrissur slang leave impact with their impeccable comic acts in their brief roles.

My Rating : AVERAGE

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Akkare Ninnoru Maran Malayalam Film Review


Achuthan is an unemployed youth who is trying to make both ends meet.His uncle Thankappan Nair is a rich man who is cunning,wily and a miser who cheated Achuthan's mother from her share of property and who shows no inclination in helping him in his time of distress.Achuthan's objective is to reclaim the land snatched by his uncle and marry his daughter.He along with his friends decides to hoodwink Thankappan Nair by devising a scheme whereby Nair is given the impression that Achuthan got a job in gulf and he is rich.

A comedy with many laughout moments, this film is a winner all the way.All the actors have given great performances from Mukesh,Jagadish,Innocent, Mala to Srinivasan.Mala steals many scenes with his trademark mannerisms which make him such a lovable comic actor.This film shows the period when the gulf craze was at its peak and the satire here is of high class.A noteworthy scene is the one where Mala gets the job of conductor using MLA's letter.Srinivasan in different get ups especially in the Arab role brings the house down with his impeccable comic acts.Nedumudi Venu has to be applauded for playing the cunning,crafty Thankappan Nair to perfection.There is little bit of slapstick type comedy,but rather than being forced, it actually jells with the wacky nature of the film and is quite enjoyable.

My RATING : GOOD

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Flash Malayalam film Review


Dhwani a college student leads the normal life of an youngster till some incident at her ancestral house makes her mentally unhinged. She is referred to a psychologist Mithun by her relative Priyan who is in love with her.How Mithun finds out the reason behind the abnormal,volatile behaviour of Dhwani forms the basis of the movie.It also looks at how he tries to extricate her out of some murders which she seems to have committed and thereby the prime suspect in the eyes of police.

This is a film in which you need tons of patience to sit through.It has its moments where there is a certain level of anticipation from the audience,but unfortunately towards the end everything evaporates into thin air by the lame story and even lamer execution.The end where the psychologist unravels the troubled mind of Dhwani is not at all convincing and to some extend blame should go to the poor execution so that there is no impact as far as the big reveal is concerned.As a director Sibi Malayil is at complete loss here. The introductory scene of Mohanlal is one example of poor direction, it is painful to watch the antics of Lal in that scene.Audience is told that Mithun is a man of many hats and the scene where he proclaims his genius by flashing cards is an unintentionally comic scene,a really ridiculous one. Parvathy,who played the role of Dhwani seems to equate acting with facial contortions rather than any real acting.Jagathy in a weird get up is relegated to dust bin after a few scenes.In the role of grandfather you have an actor who seems to be schooled in the school of over acting.Sai Kumar,Suresh Krishna being the good actors they are do justice to their roles.

My Rating : POOR

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Utharam Malayalam Film Review


Utharam is one of the finest movies in malayalam in mystery genre.It is not a plain vanilla whodunit mystery with tons of suspects,but a well crafted whydunit which looks at the psychological aspect of the victim in her death.

Selina is a 27 year old talented poetess who is destined for greater glory when she suddenly commits suicide.Her supportive and loving husband is shattered.He is mystified that why she committed suicide since she had a stable life and as far as he can see he loved her and not cheated her on any way.To get at the bottom of this mystery he enlists the help of his best friend Balu who is a journalist.The film focuses on this investigation by Balu where he meets various people associated with past life of Selina which opens a can of worms.Balu came to realize that Selina had a painful past which she concealed from her husband.He had to look into Selina's school life,her childhood friends and acquaintances to unravel the real persona of Selina.These facts lead to a surprising conclusion where Balu eventually gets the answer to his quest .

Mammootty as the journalist,Sukumaran as the husband and Parvathy as childhood friend of Selina give impressive performances.Unlike other films of this genre,there is no overt heroism,rather the investigation is steeped in realism.The way journalist tries to acquire facts is depicted realistically. Pavithran as a director is in fine form and the screenplay is taut and the suspense is well maintained.Johnson's background score suits the tone of the film.

My Rating : GOOD

Again Kasargod Khader Bhai Malayalam Film Review


To celebrate sixtieth birthday of Fr.Tharakkandam,former artist Unni and his friends arrive at kaladarshana.They agree to do a programme at Viyyoor jail for jail inmates where their old enemy Kasim Bhai is lodged.Unfortunately for these artists Kasim Bhai is murdered and they become prime suspects.The film concentrates on this murder investigation with elements of humor.

This film is one example of a film where comedy is created just for the sake of it.Even though this film boasts of a huge cast of talented comic artists like Jagadish,Salim Kumar,Suraj,Innocent,none of them is impressive and film just drags and the murder investigation led by a police officer(a wooden,pathetic actor) seems juvenile and irritating.Even the reliable Suraj falling flat with his imitation of popular actors.Only one scene where he is impressive is the one where he imitates superstars singing film songs with him getting their mannerisms right.The new mimicry artists are also not impressive and not able to generate any impact.To add to the misery of audience,not only one has to endure low standard slapstick comedy,but also there is vulgar comedy for the sake of it.Thulasidas thoroughly disappoints as a director.This film seems to be made just to encash on the original movie which was a moderate success at the time of release.

My Rating : POOR

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Saath Khoon Maaf Hindi Film Review


This movie is about Susanna, a beautiful woman who kills her 6 husbands.Why she kills them is being explored here. Director Vishal Bhardwaj uses Susanna as a medium to look into the dark corners of human mind and about the evil that lurks behind it.This film is not just about a wronged woman's revenge,rather about the evil that lurks behind a human being who takes advantage of person who is dependent on him.The message is that they should be exterminated at any cost,rather forgiving them leads to further exploitation of weak.Susanna is no psychopath who kills for pleasure,rather a strong hearted woman who stands by her faithful associates at the time of need,who has taken the path of violence so eventually the world is more peaceful by getting rid of the evil.But in this zeal to terminate evil,we see gradual destruction of Susanna where there comes a time when her human side with its full frailty is exposed.But this film is not so dark and it is heartening to see that in a surprise twist towards end,Susanna finds happiness and true love in the form which she has been searching all along.

Her first husband, a wounded soldier who has won laurels for his country but insecure due to his handicap and inability to have children,subjects Susanna his object of frustration.Things reach a boiling point when he seriously injures a loyal associate of Susanna by his cruel act,which prompts her to take necessary action .Neil Nithin Mukesh does justice to this selfish,cruel,possessive soldier's role.

Second husband a handsome musician,who wins her heart turns out to be a copycat and a drug addict who in spite of best efforts of Susanna,do not mend his ways and so pays the price.John Abraham is a mediocre actor,but fortunately he is just a blink and miss character here,so his inadequacies are not noticeable.

Third husband a poet,who won the heart of legions of followers with his heartrending poetry,turns out to be an animal with no control on his primitive instincts rather than the soft hearted poet,physically abusing Susanna to the extend that she had no option other than to cut short his life on earth. Irrfan Khan plays the role of chameleon like poet convincingly who hides a cruel streak behind his soft poetry.

Fourth husband a handsome Russian wins her over by his charm and wit ,but in reality was a double crosser who leads another life in Russia,which becomes the reason for his eventual demise.Russian who played this role is a revelation,he is at his charming best when he blurts out Hindi film dialogues to woo Susanna.

Fifth husband a police officer,takes advantage of his ability to pinpoint Susanna's role in previous murders,by embarking on a relationship with Susanna which is purely based on lust on the part of officer.The obsession of this lecherous officer reaches a flash point where taking out his life seems to be the only option before Susanna.Annu Kapoor is perfectly cast in this role which has shades of dark humor.

Sixth husband an Ayurvedic doctor,who tries to poison her and kills her faithful associate instead gets his own medicine when Susanna decides to avenge his death. For an actor of the calibre of Naseeruddin Shah,this role is cake walk and he does justice to it.

These incidents are narrated by Arun,whom Susanna gives shelter,nurtures and helps him to become a doctor who in turn of fate helps in eventual redemption of Susanna.Vivaan Shah impresses.

As a director Vishal Bharadwaj is in fine form.He is able to extract a competent performance from Priyanka who played central character and all other actors.The film's pace is sluggish at some points,but overall the screenplay holds together.Music didn't rise to the expectation we have of a Vishal Bharadwaj soundtrack.

My Rating : ABOVE AVERAGE


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Pranchiyettan and the Saint Malayalam Film Review


Francis is a  businessman who in spite of finding success in business, is not happy with life since he is made fun of by people due to his lack of formal education. He also has a bete noire in the form of Jose who not only snatches his childhood love away from him but also defeats him in club election due to his better educational background.A freak incident at an awards ceremony prompts Francis to acquire status in the society by any crooked means.The film looks at this attempt by Francis and also at Francis's attempt at romance,his interaction with his favorite saint, a child prodigy with attitude problems,all with elements of humor embedded in them.

I would have termed this film a brilliant attempt,if not for some scenes which did not pan out well.The saint angle was really thought out and brilliantly executed,even though the actor who played saint seems lacking on the acting front in some scenes The film's satire works perfectly in Francis's attempt for that coveted honor. Ranjith as a director shines here  and the manipulations that go on behind the so called esteemed awards is brilliantly captured.My favorite scene here is the padding up of  Francis's resume  with secular credentials and the reactions to it from his associates. As long as the film concentrated on that aspect it worked well,but unfortunately the film starts going downhill when the romance angle was introduced.It just didn't fit with the flow of the movie.The child prodigy angle even though done with good intention did not pass muster,because the boy who played that role was annoying and the incidents to prove his genius looked juvenile and childish.There was no need for that child prodigy angle,rather on an emotional level it would have worked if that kid was just a normal one.

On acting front of course Mammootty  runs away with all the honours.He is in his element as the much maligned Pranchi. Innocent,Siddique,Priyamani all do justice to their roles.

My rating : GOOD