Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Dont you know that Santhosh Sivan who is a big name in the cinematography is also a director. He has given films like ‘Terrorist’, ‘Asoka’ etc which has got critical attention for its technical brilliance.

His new film ‘Tahaan’ deals with the critical issue of terrorism which has conquered on the valleys of Kashmir, the “Heaven on Earth”. He has taken the story of a child, Tahaan and his deep relationship with Birbal, a donkey that lives in the middle of this tension land.

Suffering from the poverty, child’s family decides to sell the donkey along with some of the house hold articles to a merchant as they feel that they are incapable of repaying his debts. The child was deeply attached to the donkey, so he was not ready to leave it. Since the situation demands he has to permit it and in the end whether he is able to get back his companion Birbal is what ‘Tahaan’ deals with.

In the middle, the director has discussed the after effects of terror activities on the locals there. He has conveyed the tensions prevailed in the land through without showing the faces of any terrorist leaders or any military officers. The influence of terror activities on the children living in these parts and how they came to such areas are also shown in some scenes. Anyway it is good to see that even the light hearted innocent child have got the sense to act against the violence.

‘Roja’, directed by Manirtnam which discusses the terror activities in Kashmir Valley has got the camera work by Santhosh Sivan, but that was not shot entirely in Kashmir due to security issues, they had chosen the cool atmosphere of Simla for the story background. On the other side ‘Tahaan’ is shot entirely in Kashmir (as far as my knowledge is concerned). It has got mind blowing visuals from the most beautiful place in India.

In ‘Tahaan’, which is a small budget film with a small star cast, the director has put frames on different reflections from the paradise. It includes the innocent families who are suffering due to the activities of militant organisations, the role of militaries, the negative influence on the children in those areas, the unusual bond between man and the foolish animal, the beauty of nature and its darker side etc.

‘Tahaan’ has got an extra ordinary performance by the child artist Purav Bhandare. He has got innocence in his body language and his bond with the donkey is also admirable. All other artists like Anupan Kher, Sarika, Rahul Bose, Rahul Khanna etc have also done well.

The story line of the film may be an inspiration from the foreign subject 'Children Of Heaven', but the creator here has choosen a different environment for story telling. Santhosh Sivan’s camera work along with direction is remarkable, it is evident from the fact that even the donkey that did the key character has also performed well...

‘Tahan’ is a lovable film with a good theme.

Rating : 4 / 5


Actor Madhupal’s first directorial venture, ‘Thlappavu’ featuring Prithviraj & Lal deals with a political murder which happened in the Emergency period of later 70’s.Though Madhupal is known as an actor, he came to the cine field as an assistant director to Rajiv Anchal in ‘Kashmeeram’, In the absence of an artist he was placed as a substitute and thus began his career. In the middle, it was heard that he has also completed some literary works.

Babu Janardhanan is the script writer of ‘Thalappavu’. You should remember that he wrote political subject ‘Vasthavam’, controversial issue related film ‘Achanurangatha Veedu’, family and romantic hits like ‘Thachiledathu Chundan’ and ‘Chandranudikkunna Dikkil’, action films like ‘Dreams’, ‘Varnapakittu’ etc.

The film goes through the views of a retired police constable who was assigned the task to kill a person who was involved in naxal activities in the 70’s. The story is not new, moreover it is straight, we are aware of such an issue through the newspapers. Few years before the police constable himself has told the media about the memorable thing happened in his life more than 25 years ago.

Her Lal comes in the role of a simple policeman, whose life is going through tensions and abnormalities after particular incident. Thus he is the central character here. Prithviraj is the activist who is working for the noble cause of farmers against the rich men and Jamindars. In the end, as a part of destroying such movements, he is being arrested, brutally tortured and later killed in the custody.

This is a slow movie paced which can’t be categorized in a main stream or parallel type. The fate happened to some of the movies discussing a true life story has happened here also. Since we all know the A to Z things in the story line there is no scope for big expectations.

But the main thing to be noted here is the treatment of such a subject. The new director and the experienced script writer should be appreciated for this. In the first scene itself climax is revealed followed by a flashback of the flashback portion, next scene goes to the current period. The non uniformity in the scene arrangements is good and different.

Prithviraj doesn’t have anything big to do. Lal as a policeman has delivered his best, but such a big thing from him won’t be easily acceptable to an average malayalee viewer. It is not good to waste the time of a serious actor like Atul Kulkarni by casting him in such a small and weaker role. The family issues of the hero sometimes feel too dramatic and boring.

Tamil actor Mohan (‘Mounaragam’, Udayageetham’ fame) who was busy in the 80’s is the producer of ‘Thalappavu’. Azhagappan is the cameraman; Shyam Dharman has given the back ground score. Madhupal as a director will be in the news for taking such a serious subject for his debut film.

This ‘Thalappavu’ doesn’t suit well for all heads. So please wait till you get a good one to wear.

Rating : 2.5 / 5

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A review on songs...Jan ’08 to Sep ‘08

Here is an attempt to assess some of the best songs from films released till first half of September this year. It is not based on any criteria; some of them are melodies, some are fast numbers, some pathos and mid tempo songs also reached the list, anway all the songs are popular among us...

Here is the list of top 10 songs in the last 9 months.

(It is given in the order of Song...Film...Singers...Music Director)

01)Kannin Vaathil...Mulla...Devanand,Gayathri...Vidyasagar
02)Amma Mazhakkarinu...Madambi...Yesudas...M Jayachandran
03)Engu Ninno...Calcutta News...Madhu Balakrishnan,Chitra...Debjyothi Misra
04)Kanalukal Aadiya...Mulla...V Sreekumar, Sujatha...Vidyasagar
05)Paalappoo Ithalil...Thirakkadha...Nishad,Swetha...Sharath

06) Vazhiyorathoru...Anthiponvettam...Jassie Gift,Sudeep Kumar...M Jayachandran
07)Omkaram Shankil...Veruthe Oru Bharya...Unni Menon...Shyam Dharman
08)Aarumughan...Mulla...Rimi Tomy...M Jayachandran
09)Manjil Kulikkum...Veruthe Oru Bharya...Shyam Dharman...Shyam Dharman

Some other notable songs are

11)Kadappurathoru...SMS...Madhu Balakrishnan,Manjari...Ilayaraja
12)Paathirakkuyil...Dhe Ingottu Nokkiye...Vijay Yesudas,Swetha...M Jayachandran
13)Manassiloru Poomala...Innathe Chintha Vishayam...Madhu Balakrishnan,Swetha...Ilayaraja
14)Kalyanakkacheri...Madambi...Shankar Mahadevan... M Jayachandran
15)Mizhi Thammil...Minnaminnikkoottam...Ranjith,Swetha... Bijibal

16)Raaja Raaja Raajakumari...Of The People...Anil Ram,Sayanora...Vinu Thomas
17)Muttathengum...Veruthe Oru Bharya...Franko,Sowmya... Shyam Dharman
18)Raachaakkanu Pekkali...Annan Thambi...Afsal,Pradeep Palluruthy,Jyotsana...Rahul Raj
19)Akkam Pakkam...Shakesphere MA Malayalam...Vineeth Sreenivasan,Sheelamani...Mohan Sitara
20)Bayye Bayye...Malabar Wedding...Afsal,Franko...Rahul Raj

Among these, some songs needs special mention...

‘Amma Mazhakkarinu...’ from ‘Madambi’ is a good pathos number by M Jayachandran after ‘Innale Ente Nenjile...’ song.

‘Paalappoo Ithalil...’ from ‘Thirakkadha’ is a different composition from Sharath which has got a flavour of the 80’s atmosphere.

‘Aarumughan...’ song from ‘Mulla’ is a fast number which has got a tamil folk and devotional touch. Rimi Tomy’s singing is also different.

‘Chitrathooval...’ from ‘Pachamarathnalil’ is a different type of western composition from Alphonse.

Through ‘Vazhiyorathoru...’ song from ‘Anthipponvettam’, M Jayachandraan has given a fusion of fast and melody with Jassie and Sudeep.

Shankar Mahadevan has got a fast number in the form of ‘Kalyanakkacheri...’ from ‘Madambi’.

Top Albums...Mulla, Veruthe Oru Bharya, Calcutta News, Madambi, Minnaminnikkoottam

Best Album...Mulla


We have got only few examples in malayalam like ‘Lekhayude Maranam Oru Flashback’, ‘Premnazeerine Kaanmaanilla’, ‘Scene No. 7’, ‘Chiriyo Chiri’, ‘No. 20 Madras Mail’, ‘Udayananu Tharam’ etc which has got its theme discussing the issues related to the film field. One who is passionate in watching films will always love to see what is happening behind the cameras, especially the personal life of movie personalities. The latest example among such a series is ‘Thirakkadha’. This is script writer – director Renjith’s latest venture, it mainly revolves around a popular actress from south Indian cine field and her realtionship with another actor. The film has got artists like Prithviraj, Anoop Menon, Priyamani and Samvritha.

This movie starts with the story of a young director (Prithviraj) who is searching a subject for his second film after getting a good success for his very first film. He decides to take the life story of an actress (Priyamani) who was busy in the early 80’s. With such an intention he is collecting the necessary documents from those who were related to her in that period. Hearing the news, a co-star which has got an intimate relationship with her, becomes unhappy. He decides to prevent the task, but the hunt for details was still going on. Thus the (old) actress, who had left the field years before, was found in a pathetic condition and whether the young director succeeded in making such a subject is what ‘Thirakkadha’ deals with.

Priyamani, who got National Award for the best actress through ‘Paruthiveeran’ is doing the main character. She has glamorously done the first half area as an artist and the scenes in the second half showing the worse part of her life, creates sympathy. Both these areas have got an incredible performance. It reminds us the attitude of yesteryear actress Madhavi.

Anoop Menon who acted in many TV serials has got his first full length role here. He has also performed well in the role of a hero who comes to the film field in his younger age and later becoming a superstar in the. He has got the emotions and body language of a real star.

Prithviraj, as the story demands is a second hero here. It is he who creates a path for the subject to reach its peak. He has given simplicity in his acting. His boldness in being a part of such a different project should be appreciated.

But for me the real star is Renjith who is the creator of ‘Thirakkadha’. This film is the inspiration of the life of late actress Sreevidya. Her life and relationship with one of the super actor in the south is discussed here in a simple and straight way, but the way in which the hero character is portrayed, creates confusion on the audience. That difference is the success of a good script and its direction. (It is for you to watch and decide who is targeted as the hero character here...)

Besides discussing the various issues in the film filed, the director has also acted a good character here. He should have taken much more care in giving identity for characters who comes as hero’s companions like Nishanth Sagar, NL Balakrishnan and Samvritha (though she has got a couple of songs).

Music director Sharath (‘Kshanakkathu’, ‘Pavithram’ fame) is back here after a long gap. ‘Paalappo Ithalil...’ is a different tune, his background score is also good in the later portions. Cinematographer, MJ Radhakrishnan whom we can see in parallel films is now teaming with Renjith for the first time.

Thirakkadha (Screenplay) is the main back bone for any film. A dialogue in this movie is very relevant; it says... this is a life is in which there is no scope for a written screenplay.

It is good to praise other language films, but you should accept rare attempts like ‘Thirakkadha’ also.

Rating : 4 / 5

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dhaam Dhoom

Prominent Cinematographer turned Director Jeeva’s new venture ‘Dhaam Dhoom’ has caught attention well before its release. It is not because of the stars who acted in the film or the kind of theme he has selected for the film, but for a different cause. The issue will be remembered forever, it is not a happy situation to be quoted; it was in the middle of the shoot of this particular film at Russia, Jeeva passed away in his 40's after suffering from a heart attack. The film was completed with the effort of his associates lead by Manikandan under the guidance of his tutor PC Sreeram and Jeevas’ wife, Aneez Jeeva who also worked as the costume designer for the movie.

Jeeva has worked as cameraman for big films like ‘Gentleman’, ‘Kadhalan’, ‘Indian’, ‘Run’, ‘Sandaikkozhi’, ‘Laysa Laysa’, ‘Abhimanyu’, ‘Chandralekha’, ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Chup Chupke’, ‘Hulchal’ etc. Though worked as associate for PC Sreeram, it was Priyadarshan who made him independent through ‘Abhimanyu’. Later Jeeva entered the direction area through ‘12B’(Jothika & Shyam), then he gave films like ‘Ullam Ketkume’ (debut film of artists like Asin, Arya and Pooja), ‘Run’ (hindi version with Abhishek Bachan) and ’Unnale Unnale’(Vinay & Sada). None of these were big hits, but all the movies caught attention due to the selection of theme and its presentation.

‘Jayam’ Ravi, Kankana Ravaut (‘Gangster fame), Laxmi Rai, Jayaram etc has acted in the film. Harris Jayaraj has scored some good numbers in his usual style. ‘Pudhu Pudhu’ song is different in its tune and picturisation. The film has got a good representation of Russia with its excellent cinematography.

‘Jayam’ Ravi did the role of an MBBS student. He is engaged, just 10 days before marriage he goes to Russia for attending a conference. There he happens to meet a native lady who was involved in some drug smuggling activities and as a result of keeping in touch with her, he is arrested as a suspect and jailed for committing a murder. In the later stages only he came to know that was a trap. Laxmi Rai, who plays the role of a lawyer, comes for his rescue. In the middle of these hurdles and hazards, his lady love and its emotions is also showed through a parallel track. In the end, how he reaches back is what showed in this film.

‘Dhaam Dhoom’ has got the sad signature of its cinematographer/ director in each and every colourful frame. I don’t have a sadist mind to make my comment on each and every scene of this film. Knowing all the circumstances nobody can do that. But I am sure, you don’t see much negatives here. You can watch it if you have got any sentiments for Jeeva.

‘Dhaam Dhoom’ is a love story filled with some songs, actions, chase sequences etc.

Rating : 3 / 5

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I mentioned earlier, the fact that many experiments is being done in tamil movie field these days. They are well placed in the technical as well as the cultural aspect of the movie scenario, when compared with malayalam. In the 80’s, when people like MT, Padmarajan, Bharathan etc were busy with their work, many excellent projects were made here. That time the main base (identity) of a film was its script. But later, when superstars have dominated over the writers, the quality of the films gradually came down and now it is in a ground level.

Even in tamil we can see hero oriented subjects; movies by Rajnikanth & Vijay belong to such category. But the audience there also respect and appreciate films like ‘Pithamahan’, ‘Paruthiveeran’ and ‘Anjathey’. That kind of liberty, we can’t see with the malayalees when they choose a malayalam project. I don’t think there is enough space here for any films in which there is no “stars”. (The biggest wonder is that malayalees are ready to watch such films happening in other languages at any cost!!!)

‘Subramaniapuram’ is one such tamil film in which you dont find any stars. Here the subject and its presentation is the hero. It is directed by new comer Sasikumar who has also done one of the main characters in the film. Jai (‘Bhagavathi’, ‘Chennai 600028’ fame) has done the lead role. New comer Swathi is the heroine. Ganja Karuppu (‘Raam’, ‘Arai En 305il Kadavul’ fame) has also got a lengthy character. Samudrakkani (director of Viajaykanth movie ‘Neranjamanassu’ ) comes in the villain role and many new faces are also there with a stable support.

The main attraction is the background of the story. This is a film which happens in the 1980’s in the rural area Subramaniapuram of Madurai district. So the team behind has done an excellent work to create the old period as such. Art director Rembon and Costumer Nagaraj in their debut project has done a hectic but excellent job here. By using the “Siruponmani...” song by Ilayaraja for expressing the love, the director has recreated the nostalgic effect of the golden 80’s.

The story of unemployed youths and how the local political leaders take advantage over their loyalty is shown here in a realistic way. The film which is slow paced in the beginning goes through the romance and later it enters into the violent phase. Maybe you might have heard the base story of this film before, but what differs is the way in which the whole episode is conceived. Here the values of friendship, loyalty, love, revenge, dishonesty, wickedness etc is portrayed by the director and the cameraman Kathiir through some outstanding shots.

Sasikumar, who was once associate to directors like Bala in ‘Sethu’ and Aamir in ‘Raam’, has done a brilliant job both as an actor and director. It is not easy to handle such a dual role in the movie medium. New music director James Vasanth has given a memorable duet “kankal irundhaal...”, his background score is also good. All the artists in this film have performed exceptionally well.

‘Subramaniapuram’ is a realistic illustration of the life. Some times there is love and peace, but on the other side there is aggressiveness and violence also in its extreme. Those people who can withstand all these should watch it once.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Movie is an entirely different media when it is compared with a literary work or a drama or a play. Only very few movies in Malayalam have been adapted from English plays. The directors here, don’t want to take the extra burden on their head by doing so, thus the number of such films coming here is limited only.

Director KP.Kumaran’s (‘Rukmini’ fame) latest movie ‘Aakasagopuram’ with Mohanlal is an adaption from the English play by Ibsen, “The Master Builder”. The main character done by Mohanlal is an architectural genius. He, who is reaching the old age has got the tension and fear towards the younger generation. In this modern world, he is afraid of his existence in architecture and engineering field with older ideas. So he disagrees with his associate (Manoj K Jayan) in official matters; also doesn’t allow him to be independent.

Generally ‘Aakasagopuram’ relates to the inferiority complex of a man when he becomes old. Thus the crookedness shown by a person for his existence in every aspect is represented through an antiheroic image.

The film is shot entirely in UK. Though the story of the play happens there, the director should have kept in mind that he is doing a malayalam film. In that sense, we can’t say that ‘Aakasagopuram’ is an adaption from the play “The Master Builder”; rather it is a carbon copy. Every dialogue from the play is translated as such to malayalam, thus creating an intolerable non realistic effect. In some scenes, the placement of the characters and their movements even leads us to a second thought, Is this a drama or a movie ?!

Anyway the film is technically sound. The frames captured by cinematographer Santhosh Thundiyil (‘Krish’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ fame) are excellent. Some of the night shots resembles like a Hollywood classic. Mohanlal has acted well. In some scenes his action is too dramatic, maybe his recent theatre experience (“Chaayamukhi” and “Karnabharam”) might have enabled the director to request him to do so. Swetha Menon, Geethu Mohandas and the female debutant Nithya are also good at their roles.

Expecting a global market, the creators have gone for a Hollywood team in the music, mixing and recording section. Paul Altman (‘Titanic’ fame) has given the music for the film; but one should think whether that was essential for such a malayalam project.

‘Aakasagopuram’ is too tall and difficult for a common man to climb, so please don’t let your effort to be unsuccessful in the end.

Rating : 1.5 / 5