Monday, January 26, 2009

Love in Singapore

Rafi-Mecartin who was once associates to Siddique-Lal, Rejasenan etc. has got the color and taste in their films almost similar to their teachers. If Mammootty is acting in their project with the name of the film being ‘Love in Singapore’, then it is different and that can be the talk of the town. These directors-duo has scripted the megastar before in Mayavi’ and has got success. Their previous script work, ‘Romeo’ directed by Rajasenan for Dileep was a flop. Mammootty also faced some criticism through his recent films like ‘Maya Bazar’ and ‘Parunthu’. So both the team in front of and behind camera needs a hit.

The name of the film, hero’s appearance in the promotion stills etc gave me an idea about the film even before I watched it. I was sure that Mammootty wants to continue the comedy journey through which he got success in last year also (‘Annan Thambi’). Even then, without losing the passion. I decided to watch the film.

The story of the film starts in the city of Singapore. The hero narrates the reason for his arrival there, through his life story. After few minutes, the story takes a U-turn and continues in Kerala in the flashback.

The hero, namely Machu is a rich man. He is doing the business of old and second hand things (“aakhri” in malayalam). This might make you rethink the fact regarding the scarcity of character roles for the heroes in malayalam. This is the second time in a gap of 4-5 months that Mammootty is doing “Aakhri” role, previously being in ‘Mayabazar’.

Machu is being cheated by a big business man (Nedumudu Venu), by asking him to invest his money in share market, which is unknown to the former. He tells the reason of global economy crisis for the loss and he flee from the city to abroad. Hero takes the oath to take revenge and to marry villain’s daughter, he thus reached Singapore. For such a thing he changed his identity and take the role of a servant in a malayalee’s house through which he can reach the fraud. For all this, as expected, he got the company of Suraj Venjarammod. Not going into detail, in the end it is hero who caught the real villain and his gang, mostly wanted by Interpol across the world (?), through a simple boxing action scene.

Only notable thing is that the weakness in the script is dominated by the colorful location of Singapore captured by Sanjeev Shankar’s camera. Navneet Kaur, the imported heroine from north India d
oesn’t have the bosy chemistry required for a malayalee lady. Salim kumar, Suraj Venjarammood and Bijukkuttan altogether has not created big boom in the comedy side. Suresh Peters has given many songs, but not even a single one remains in our mind once out of the theatre. Mohan Sitara has given complex and soundly background score.

Mixing Engineer’s (Ajith.M.George) name will be spoiled if the “bad custom” of putting spontaneous jokes for non lip-movement shots is practiced again and again. Previously comedians followed it, but now the hero himself is
ready to do such a thing. For one or two scenes it is ok, but too many can’t be tolerated. But it can all happened in front of an ordinary audience, nobody can question it, they can defend it by telling that it is creator’s freedom.

‘Love In Singapore’ is heroism projected silently in different style. The song featuring Mammootty and many models in the fashion show, the boxing sequences etc. are such examples. Nedumudi Venu’s character in the villain’s role lacks depth; the scenes between hero and the villain resembles the old movies in the later 70’s.

‘Devasuram’ was a trendsetter film for Mohanlal, like the way ‘Raja Manikyam’ was for Mammootty. Those were good films, but I can’t promote proto-type films, which comes one after other as their successors. This film is yet another example for it.

‘Love In Singapore’ is a non-realistic film with a cinematic theme. If you want to see Mammootty doing such a role casually with a pinch of comedy, songs, dance, fights, fashion shows etc. even at this age, then you can watch it, if there is lot of free time…

Rating : 2 / 5 (revised)

Makante Achan

Director V.M.Vinu who gave family films like ‘Balettan’, ‘Vesham’, ‘Yes Your Honour’, 'Bus Conducor', ‘Kanmashi’ etc has got unusual pairs in his latest film, ‘Makante Achan’. Sreenivasan and Suhasini (after a short gap) have done the main roles along with Vineeth Sreenivasan in the son’s character.

As the name indicates this is a clear-cut family film that deals with the day-to-day affairs and activities happening in an average middle class family. The new scriptwriter Samjad Narayanan has created the characters in such a way that most of them are familiar to us and well known in the society.

Father character is a true village officer (Sreenivasan) who is desperately hard working to make his son (Vineeth Sreenivasan) become an engineer. The vigorous training at the institute in which the principal (Thilakan) behaving harsh and rudely to the students and teachers, resembles a real life character in a district in central Kerala. The director has succeeded in revealing his mannerism to the public.

Till first half, it is the cat and mouse game between the father and son in front of the neutral mother (Suhasini). Later when father’s dreams exceeds the limit, there comes chaos in the house and as a result, the son goes through his own way. What happens to the father’s wish and desire is what we are told through a small family film. Some of the dialogues told by the parent’s character are touching also.

Compared to the first half, the second half is little more tensed and it can make the lady audiences weeping in some of the scenes nearing the climax. The debut scriptwriter (who is a journalist also) has discussed some more issues like the land mafia and their bad outcome, the controversial arrest of a fraud saint that happened few months before. The influence of TV-serials and reality shows etc are also shown.

Sreenivasan and Suhasini (with Bhagyalakshmi’s voice) have done well with their experience. Janardhanan’s character as Sreeni’s father is not impressive, it is repetitive. Also the counter laughing by each and every character for each joke looks real, but when it comes to the onscreen, it is intolerable to a certain extend.

Though this is a second film for Vineeth after ‘Cycle’ (he has showed his face in musical videos also), it is a long and tedious journey for him to “grow” as an actor. He is imitating his father or his father might have passed the
ball most of the time to his son to make him hit at the nets, but it has not really worked well. Infront of senior artists like Sreenivasan and Suhasini, he should have been more careful. His body language is not good most of the time.

Songs by M.Jayachandran is not appealing. Cameraman Manoj Pillai has given usual frames necessary for such a subject. Jagathi and Thilakan have shown justice to their roles. Maybe the producers, Seven Arts Films will be happy to caste both father and son in a single movie, after the super success of their previous project “Kadha Parayumbol’, but they wont accept it, they might be telling that it happened accidentally only, but we are sure that the characterization is done only looking on the commercial and financial outcome of the project.

Anyway ‘Makante Achan’ is a family movie targeting ladies; you can watch it, keeping this in mind.

Rating : 3 / 5

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chandni Chowk to China

Akshay Kumar, who was a degraded actor till the latter half of 90’s, has made those critics’ mouth shut by giving many hits like ‘Garam Masala’, ‘Namsthey London’, Hey Baby’, ‘Singh is King’ etc. in the last few years. His new film ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ has got Deepika Padukone, who got introduced in ‘On Shanti Om’, as the heroine.

Nikhil Advani, who was once associate to Karan Johar has directed this movie. After ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ and ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’, this is Nikhil’s next turn. But the biggies in the creator’s side are the producers. Can you imagine, Warner Brothers, who gave many notable Hollywood projects like ‘Superman’, ‘Batman’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Matrix’ series etc. has produced ‘Chandni Chowk To China’. This substantiates the fact that the distance between the Bollywood and Hollywood is reduced to the minimum these days.

Hero is a helper in the provision store run by Mithun Chakravarthy at Chandni Chowk in Delhi. At the same time, we are shown a village in China, where the villain Don has got the control over them. They are expecting a hero to save them from the baddies. (Such an element we might have heard in a malayalam film before, ‘Yodha’). Two of the members meet our hero in India, they feels that he is the right person to save them. Hero’s companion (Ranvir Sheroy), whom he calls as Guruji, is also supporting them. Thus the hero reaches China without knowing about his mission.

The heroine who is a model for advertisements also reaches China as a part of brand promotion. The hero meets her (Deepika’s second role) at the airport, since some personal issues was going on between them, by mistake he is attacking her and as a result she who belongs to the villain gang, is being chased by the police and their smuggling mission ends in a failure. Thus the hero is being marked by the gang. Hero reaches the village, but he is unable to protect them. His godfather is also murdered in front of him. In the counter attack, he is being brutally beaten by them. There the usual cinematic phenomenon happens, after months he recovers from the injuries, hero gets vigorous training in martial arts from the local hero who served in police before. He happens to be the father of Deepika sisters. He also wants to take revenge, thus in the end the villain is being shattered by the hero.

Other than the thing that the film happens in China, there is nothing important in the storyline. But since the villain and some of the supporting characters are Chinese actors, it will give the feeling of a Hollywood film while watching ‘Chandni Chowk to China’. As it goes on, in the second half I felt some resemblance with the old movies done by Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. The opening shots and the narration for most of the scenes are unusual for an ordinary hindi film.

Action scenes are neatly done. Cinematographer Himman Dhamija has given colorful frames. Bappi Lahiri has recreated the song “Bombai se Aaye Mera Dosth…” in his voice. But I felt sad for the fact that the natural beauty of China (including the great Wall) is not shown at its best. Akshay Kumar’s character includes mixed emotions like craziness in the first half which later becomes serious.

‘Chandni Chowk to China’ is a journey. It is not necessary that everyone should accompany, those who are deeply interested in such things only should join.

Rating : 2.5 / 5

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


This is the first tamil film in this newyear as Pongal release. After the hit movie ‘Pokkiri’, Vijay once again acts under director Prabhudeva. This time he has got Nayatara as his pair for the first time. Vadivelu, Prakashraj etc are there to support them. The film is produced by Ayngaran International.

As every Vijay film starts this movie also starts with the big introduction for the hero through the fight sequence (by action director Fefsi Vijayan), followed by a song “Rama Rama...” (music by Devi Sri Prasad and choreographed by Ashok Raja). The hero helps the police in capturing a criminal. It is shown through some of the chasing scenes in racing scooters through the sea. This shows the bravery of the hero and it lefts some questions about his identity. He reaches the village, sees the heroine at a function there, get in love with her. Vadivelu is there for the comic scenes. Though such scenes are deliberately created, it creates some laughter most of the time. The director has also copied the chain kissing comedy sequence from the climax of Priyadarshan’s movie ‘Vettam’ as it is. Nayantara’s glamour has been utilized the most in first half.

In the second half the hero reaches abroad to see the heroine’s father (Prakashraj), who is a big business tycoon. From there, the story is getting some twist and turns. The hero has got a flashback to tell. His father is being killed by his coworkers. So as expected, after many years he is here to take revenge on them. In between, misunderstanding with heroine happens, later it is solved when she knew about his real life story, songs, fights etc…until the villain is being destroyed.

A colleague of mine recently told that she don’t like Vijay films, I crossed it by telling that they are all entertainers, so no need to look for logic here, but the reply I got was different, “the hero is coming in his usual get-up only in all his films”. Yes, here also we can see Vijay in his usual body language, in his usual style. He tried to do something different in his flashback character, but that doesn’t suits him well.

I don’t know why Vijay is going behind remake stories again and again, ‘Ninaithen Vandhaay’, ‘Friends’, ‘Gilli’, ‘Kadhalukku Mariyadhai’, ‘Priyamanavale’, ‘Badri’, ‘Aadhi’, ‘Pokkiri’, ‘Villu’…the list goes on. Some of them are hits and some are not. In ‘Villu’, Vijay took the remake of hindi film ‘Soldier’ by Bobby Deol. The writer-director Prabhudeva has added some unwanted elements also to make the impure environment more polluted. The scene in which the hero imitating MGR's scene as it is, will give the audience a chance to compare the performance of both and come with a result that this junior is no where near his super senior. The comedy scene of Vadivelu in the second half,fighting with the cow (in graphics) is stupid. It shows the weakness in the story side. The climax in which the villain is destroyed in front of the mother resembles some of the old hindi films. Anyway the second half is complicated, not appealing, so it may be difficult to tolerate.

Devi Sree Prasad has given some catching numbers according to the mood. But the biggest upset is that some of the songs are not visualized to the top level as we expected, (it is notable since the film’s director himself is an excellent dancer/choreographer). Camera by Ravivarman (‘Dasavatharam’ fame) is good.

This ‘Villu’ is not a good weapon to use. But if you are an ultimate fan of Vijay, then try it.

Rating : 2.5 / 5

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I started my newyear watching a tamil flick...

Balu Mahendra, Vipin Mohan, Santhosh Sivan, Rajeev Menon, Amal Nirad etc. were great cinematographers who later took the role of directors. To be one among the chart, there is yet another protagonist named Saravanan, who took camera for films like ‘Thiruppachi’, ‘Tiger’, ‘Smart City’, 'Alibhai', ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ etc. has now directed a tamil film with “little super star“ Silambarasan (Simbu) as the hero. It is produced by Lakshmi Movie Makers (their 25th film).

Simbu plays the role of a temple priest; he is simple and has got a long hair tied closely to his head. He is not aggressive. He lives with his grandfather (Nedumudi Venu). The heroine (Sana Khan) tries to win the hero’s heart. In the course, jus t before interval there happens two songs and two fights where he doesn’t shows his identity.

In the second half the story reaches a flashback area when his uncle (Prabhu), who was in jail for years, is released. He came to the temple in search of the hero. Thus the latter is aware of his life story. As every village stories, here also we are having rivalries between two families. It happens 20 years before. There the hero’s father (Simbu’s double role getup) and mother (Sneha) lives. Their love episode is also shown through a song. The younger son in the villain’s family is responsible for destroying all the members in the hero’s family. He is still alive for the young hero to take revenge in the current period.

‘Silambattom’ has got all the ingrediants of a Simbu film. It has got 5 songs. Hero’s favorite music director Yuvan Shankar Raja has given some peppy numbers. Ilayaraja’s hit number “Vachikkava Unnai Mattum…” is remixed, “Where’s the party tonight…” song has got a mix of folk and western rock, Ilayaraja himself sang a duet for this film. Simbu has performed well in the dance sequences. Most of the songs have got the outro bg music required for the hero to perform solo for few seconds.

Kanal Kannan gave some fast action scenes. Cinematographer Madhie’s work is also appreciatable. Santhanam is also there in the party to create some laughter, but not upto the mark. Another notable name in the technical area is DonMax, the young malayalee editor introduced for the first time in tamil field. We knows this name through films like ‘Tiger’, ‘Chinthamani Kolacase’, ‘Rashtram,’ ‘Hallo’, Moonnamathoraal’, ‘Paradesi’, ‘Thalappavu’, ‘Alibhai’ etc. Anyway it is proud to see that another Keralite crossed the border to acquire big name in the industry.

‘Silambattom’ belongs to the real genre of usual tamil films only. Those who want such a treat from Simbu can try it.

Rating : 3 / 5

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Flashback 2008 – a review on Malayalam songs

Here is an attempt to review some of the best songs we heard last year. It is graded into two, like melody numbers and the fast songs sections. Though there were many flop films released last year; most of them has got some hit songs to project.

It is given in the order of song, film & singers

Some of the notable melodious / mid tempo hits include -

01) Engu Ninno Vanna – Calcutta News [Madhu Balakrishnan, Chitra]
02) Oru Naal – Gulmohar [Vijay Yesudas, Swetha]
03) Kannin Vaathil – Mulla [Devanand, Gayathri]
04) Paalappo Ithalil – Thirakkadha [Nishad,Swetha]
05) Manjil Kulikkum – Veruthe Oru Bharya [Shyam Dharman]
06) Paathirakkuyil – Dhe Ingottu Nokkiye [Vijay Yesudas, Swetha]
07) Kanalukal Aadiya – Mulla [V.Sreekumar, Sujatha]
08) Ammamazhakkarinu – Madambi [Yesudas]
09) Omakaram - Veruthe Oru Bharya [Unni Menon]
10) Kolussal Konjam – Malabar Wedding [Vidhu Prathap, Manjari]

Music Directors – Debjyothi Misra(01),Johnson(02), Vidyasagar(03,07),
Sharath(04),Shyam Dharman(05,09),M.Jayachandran(06,08), Rahulraj(10)

Some of the notable fast numbers include -

01) Kalyanakkacheri – Madambi [Shankar Mahadevan]
02) Gokulpaalabalaka – Paarthan Kanda Paralokam [Jassie Gift]
03) Manassiloru – Innathe Chinthavishayam [Madhu.B, Swetha]
04) Raachaakkanu – Annan Thambi [Afsal, Pradeep.P, Jyotsana]
05) Muttathengum - Veruthe Oru Bharya [Franko, Sowmya]
06) Kadappurathoru – SMS [Madhu Balakrishnan, Manjari]
07) Mizhiyil Mizhiyil – Mayabazar [Sreenivas, Sujatha, Rahulraj]
08) Raaja Raajakumari – Of The People [Anil Ram, Sayanora]
09) Kannum Chimmi Thaaram – Lollypop [Vidhu Prathap, Rimi Tomy]
10) Tharajalam – Minnaminnikkoottam [Afsal, Sujatha, Ganesh]

Music Directors – M.Jayachandran(01,02), Ilayaraja(03,06), Rahulraj(04,07), ShyamDharman(05), Vinu.V.Thomas(08), AlexPaul(09), Bijibal(10)

Best Albums : Mulla, Veruthe Oru Bharya, Calcutta News
Best Singer, M : Yesudas [Ammamazhakkarinu…Madambi]
Best Singer, F : Swetha [Oru Naal…Gulmohar,Palappoo…Thirakkadha]
Best Music : Vidyasagar/Shyam Dharman [Mulla/Veruthe Oru Bharya]
Best Lyric : ONV [Gulmohar]
Special Mention : Johnson [music for Gulmohar]

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Flashback 2008 – a review on Malayalam films

Here is an attempt to analyze some of the Malayalam films released in 2008. This year was special since it contains both the best and the worst films among the 60 numbers we got.

Last year has registered some of the biggest flop films, financially and quality wise. If there is some quality in the subject and treatment, then the result will be a financial flop and those projects which are financially sound doesn’t need to be good enough in its artistic value. So in general, a flop film doesn’t mean that it is a bad film like the way a hit film need not necessary to have a quality output.

Films like..........‘Roudram’, ‘Parunthu’, ‘One Way Ticket’[guest role] and ‘Mayabazar’ (all by Mammootty), ............‘College Kumaran’, ‘Mizhikal Sakshi’[guest role], ‘Aakasagopuram’ and ‘Pakal Nakshtrangal’ (all by Mohanlal),............ ‘Calcutta News’ and ‘Mulla’ (all by Dileep),................. ‘Sound of Boot’, ‘Aayudham’, ‘Laptop’, ‘Thavalam’, ‘Pakal Nakshtrangal’[guest role] and ‘Bullet’ (all by Sureshgopi), .................‘Novel’, ‘Magic Lamb’ and ‘Parthan Kanda Paralokam’ (all by Jayaram), ................‘One Way Ticket’, ‘Thalappavu’ and ‘Thirakkadha’ (all by Prithviraj), ..............‘Swarnnam’, ‘Kerala Police’, ‘Aandavan’, ‘Apoorva’[guest role] and ‘Kabadi Kabadi’ (all by Kalabahavan Mani), ...............‘Of The People’, ‘Malabar Wedding’, ‘Positive’, ‘Pachamarathanalil’, ‘Dhe Ingottu Nokkiye’, ‘Sambhu’, ‘SMS’, ‘Pachamarathanalil’, ‘Minnaminnikkoottam’, ‘Gulmohar’, ‘Rathrimazha’, ‘Adayalangal’ etc...... were big flops and such films bought a lose of more than 100 crores to the industry. I had left some of the film names which don’t have the minimum quality to be mentioned here.

Among the list, films like ‘Thirakkadha’ and ‘Pakal Naksharangal’ were extra ordinary in the story side and treatment area and films like ‘Calcutta News’, ‘Sound of Boot’ and ‘Positive’ were fast films and not so bad to be cornered like this. ‘Gulmohar’, ‘Thalappavu’ and ‘Pachamarathanalil’ were also different experiments which were not accepted.

Also films like ‘Parunthu’, ‘College Kumaran’, ‘Kabadi Kabadi’ and ‘Dhe Ingottu Nokkiye’ can be charted as some of the worst films ever made in Malayalam. We will feel pity for the experienced superstars, directors and writers who goes behind such terrible and horrible projects.

Some of the average hits include ‘Kurushetra’, ‘Innathe Chintha Vishayam’, ‘Cycle’, ‘Crazy Gopalan’ and ‘Lollypop’ etc. Here the amount of lose happened to the distributors / producers were reduced to a minimum. Last two films got released in the X’mas season; they were escaped not because of their efficiency, but due to the absence of their opponents.

But the toppers from the list were films like ‘Annan Thambi’, ‘Madambi’, ‘Veruthe Oru Bharya’ and ‘Twenty 20’ which were super hits. Here also they are not the best films, but among the given list in which the majority was bad, they are graded as the best films.

Mammootty’s double role play in ‘Annan Thambi’ was not new, Mohanlal’s silent performance in ‘Madambi’ was another way to project heroism, Jayaram’s come back film ‘Veruthe Oru Bharya’ was accepted when the industry and the audience didn’t want an actor like him to be rest permanently after too many flops, ‘Twenty 20’ produced by Dileep for “AMMA” Association has got almost all the top stars in the industry and the script writers Udaykrishna-Sibi K Thomas has arranged all the artists in such a way as to made a good entertainer directed by Joshie.

Best Film : Thirakkadha / Pakal Nakshatrangal
Best Actor : Mohanlal [Pakal Nakshatrangal, Aakasagopuram, Kurukshetra]
Best Actress : Priyamani [Thirakkadha]
Best Director : Ranjith [Thirakkadha]
Best Script : Ranjith /Anoop Menon [Thirakkadha / Pakal Nakshatrangal]
Best Cinematography : S.Kumar / Vipin Mohan [Calcutta News / Mulla]

Best Entertainer : Twenty 20
Special Mention : Udaykrishna-Sibi K Thomas [Script, Twenty 20]
Special Mention : Madhupal [Director, Thalappavu]