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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Robinhood

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Prithviraj, Narein, Jayasurya, Bhavana, Samvritha Sunil

Direction : Joshy

Music : M Jayachandran, Rajamani


In the very late 70's, some new directors came to the malayalam cine field, who later gave many good films in their career. But, now at this point we can't spot out many seniors that belong to those group, who are still giving super hits. Joshy is exceptional case here. Right from his first film ('Tiger Salim', 1978), he had traveled through the action path on the majority of occasions ('Aarathri', 'New Delhi', 'Nairsaab', 'Naduvazhikal', 'Lelam
', 'Pathram', 'Runway', 'Naran' etc). In his first film, he didn't get a chance to cast the superstars; now this 65+ films old director's new film has got the current sensation Prithviraj, supported by promising young stars like Jayasurya and Narein.

The script is written by Sachi-Sethu team ('Choclate' fame). It is produced by Muralidharan. He has given superhits like 'Classmates' and 'Choclate' before. Shaji ('Naran', 'Red chillies' fame) handles the camera.



The name of the film, 'Robinhood' with the biline comment, "prince of thieves" cleaarly indicates the nature of the story. ATM Robbery is the main thing discussed here which is shown in the beginning itself. Hero (Prithviraj) is shown as the culprit here. The bank appoints a private detective (Narein) for finding out the way in which it is done. In the meanwhile, the police officer (Jayasurya) investigates the case. The hero is working as a tutor in a private institution. His student (Samvritha)
, is in love with him. Heroine (Bhavana) is a bank employee. Anyway in the end, the reson for the revenge is revealed (as there is no suspense).


'Robinhood', acted by a group of youthful stars, has been presented by one of the senior director in the industry; this itself is the attraction here. Here you have got songs, action, humor, sentiments, revenge etc which are necessary for a commercial entertainer. Prithviraj is stylish as always. Narein's role is different from his ususal style; here he has got some humor also to do, which he has managed to a certain extend. "Jayasurya in the IPS role", won't be too good to hear, but seeing it I felt that he has not done bad. (He has tried the same kind of role in the film 'Positive' before).


I am not entering into the logic of the robbery discussed in the story. But the script writers should have created a suspense till the end for the story. Since the robbery is shown straight away, only thing to reveal here is the motive; the thrill would have been more on the other way. (this is what top directors like Shankar might have been done in such a postion). But the film is not boring.

M Jayachandran has given some peppy numbers. "Priyanu Maathram..." featuring Prithviraj and Samvritha has been excellently choreographed by Shobi ("karuppana kaiyyale...", "valameenukkum..." fame). Though the tall heroine's body language has every chance to become awkward, it has not been projected due to the different frames used here. While choosing some of the female extra artists for such a good dancing sequence, there should have been extra care given.


Rajamani, "the fastest man in the re-recording field" has given the background sco
re. He has used some English sounds in the bg for the hero's introduction and his proceedings. (I dont think that. it is necessary to create the mood; more over it is noisy also).


Still the malayalam films has not reached an above average level position on the action sequences. The carpets and floor mats for the fighters to jump and dive are clearly vis
ible. Action directors, Aanal Arasu and Palaniraja should have been more vigilant on this by using fast frames. The title credits done in animation is good, but it had got black texts in black bg, which is not readable...(the most experienced man, who is the captain of the ship should be responsible for all such negatives happened also).


'Robinhood' is a watchable movie. It has got a revenge subject done by some youthful stars.


Rating : 7 / 10



Whats Your Rashee

Medium : Hindi
Starring : Harman Baweja, Priyanka Chopra

Direction : Ashuthosh Gowariker

Music : Sohail Sen


The post 2000 period, saw the rise of many new talented directors in the bollywood. One of the promising name in the group is Ashuthosh Gowarikar. He had given big films like 'Lagaan', 'Swadesh' and 'Jodha Akbar'. Now he has come up with his latest film 'Whats Your Rashee', starring Harman Baweja and Priyanka Chopra. Though the hero's first film 'Love Story 2050'
didn't do well with the same heroine, since the new project is focused mainly on the director, the expectation will be more. Before watching the film, I didn't have any idea regrading the project, but I have heard a couple of songs which felt good.


The hero (Harman Baweja) lives in Chicago doing MBA; he has got some part-time job also. He is being called up by the parents who lives h
ere, in order to fix his marriage. As per the astrologer, his financial status will be raised once his marriage is over. At the same time the grandfather decides to give his wealth to his grandson. Thus his family decides to pay their debts with the money they gets on the marriage occasion, since the hero is not willing to accept the dowry.


Thus in short, 'Whats Your Rashee' is hero's search for his bride with in a very short time. Since the list is endless, finally he decided to see one girl from each Rashee (zodiac sign/lagna). With in such a period, he had seen those 12 girls. Among the list, he likes some of them and some of them likes his attitude also. There were positives and negatives as usual in these cases. All girls were having unique characteristics. Anyway in the end, his marriage happened and even though some tensions occurred on the financial side, that is also solved in climax.


Reading so far, you won't feel anything interesting. There lies the brilliance of the director on the casting side. Don't you feel something unusual, if all those 12 characters are done by the same artist. Yes it happened, Priyanka Chopra did all those different ladies that were ready to marry the hero right from the school girl role to the business tycoon. Thus the main attraction of the show is the excellent performan
ce by the former Miss World in a wide variety of roles. For at least three of those characters, her make up and the body language were distinguishing and appreciative. On the other side, three characters are having the same looks, which the director should have been done differently. Harman has also done his part well. Almost all the artists in the film did justice to their roles.


Once we are aware of the story and the fact that Priyanka is coming in all the roles, you will lose the thrill in the subject. The film is too lengthy; since we know the difficulty in showing all the female characters before the climax itself, we can't blame the director who has used the 3.25hrs length for telling the story. An average viewer might be confused in the climax regard
ing the bride, since all the roles were done by the same lady and appearance in the particular area is a non distinguishable one. It is a fact that in the second half, the film got lagged here and there. The majority of the characters had got songs, which decided the length factor. The visualization of the songs were not rich, but not bad.


Music director Sohail Sen had given some good numbers
. Piyush Shah's cinematography is colorful. The climax songs featuring the hero with all the opposite characters is visualized well. A different making in the humorous background out of an ordinary subject, the credit should go to Ashuthosh Gowariker. By this film, Priyanka Chopra might over take Kamalhassan's record for doing 10 roles in the film 'Dasavatharam'.


'Whats Your Rashee' has got a simple story; but the main attraction lies in its unique presentation where the lead actress holds the key.


Rating : 8 / 10


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ninaithaale Inikkum


Medium : Tamil
Starring : Prithviraj, Sakthi, Karthik Kumar, Priyamani, Bhagyaraj
Director : Kumaravel
Music : Vijay Antony


'Ninaithaale Inikkum' is the name of a super hit film in the olden days acted by Kamalhassan ans Rajnikanth. Not only this, there are many other factors that has made this project big. 'Ninaithaale Inikkum' is the remake of malayalam super hit film 'Classmates'. The film is produced by Gemini Film Circuit and another biggies in the current industry, Sun Pictures distributes the film after 'Ayan' and
'Maasilamani'. Usually we have seen many examples where heroine doing the same roles in both languages. Shalini ('Niram' and 'Piriyathe Varam Vendum' ), Kavya Madhavan ('Oomappenninu Uriyaadappayyan' and 'En Mana Vaanil'), Trisha ('Nuvvasthonthe Ninnoduthana' and 'Something Something Unakkum Enakkum'), Asin ('Gajini', both versions) etc. But, Prithviraj got a chance to repeat his role in the tamil version of 'Classmates' also.


The story is not changed in the new version also. The friendship is the main thing higlighted here. They had change the situations where the incidents are happening. The flashback is shown during the flight journey. Some son
gs and fight songs has been added. The main story happens 8years before in a college where all the characters are studying. There, you are having friendship, hatred, love, competetion, success, failures etc. Now in the current period, they all assembles in their college again in memory of their beloved friend who left them years ago and the real truth between some contreversial incidents happened in those days were revealed.


'Ninaithaale Inikkum' stands below 'Classmates' in all aspects. The genuineness and the stability in the friendship or the feelings related to each and every characters is not evident here. The hatred and romance between Prithviraj and Priymani's charecters is not shown clearly. The sympathy that is obtained for Narain's role won't be there for Sakthi (son of director P.Vasu). Razia's character is also not pleasing as the original one. There is no difference felt in the appearance of all the charecters (excluding the hero
) even after 8 years, which can be shown as a failure on the make up section. The director had tried to show the scene in which the friends watching the film 'Kushi' to give an idea about the period in which the story happens; but that won't be enough to give a nostalgic feeling about the past days (it was there in the original version). Even the hostel scenes where not shown seriously. Prithviraj has done well, but the national award winning girl, Priyamani didn't have much to perform here.


Half of the songs have got the colorful visuals it demanded. Music director Vijay Antony ("nakku mukku..', "dialamo
dialamo..." fame) had got the songs in his style. Since the distributors had got their own tv channel, they will make them hit by playing repeatedly. Cinematographer Balasubramanyam had given colorful visuals.


'Ninaithaale Inikkum' is an youthful film which has got every ingredients needed. If you have seen its original version, then it is more than enough.


Rating : 6.5 / 10


Duplicate


Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Suraj Venjarammood, Innocent, Salim Kumar
Director : Jagadish Chandran
Music : Alex Paul


Film industry, irrespective of the language, usually does not work strictly based on certain principles and written laws. The best example which can substantiate such a fact is that any supporting actor one can become a hero if he has got a decent popularity.It happens, if his luck/time is good. Maybe he might get small hits, but the fact is that such a ph
enomenon called as "stardom", won't stands for ever. Adoor Bhasi, Jagathi, Babu Antony, Kalabhavan Mani etc have done main roles in many projects. We can't question the talent of any of the artists mentioned above; the only problem is that sometimes an unexplainable restlessness may feel. The logic is simple, Adding pickles to the items in a meals will make it more delicious, but we can't tolerate a meals where pickles is the main item...!!!

The latest one to join the group is Suraj Venjarammood. It took more than 20years for Jagathi and almost 10years for Babu Antony to act in hero oriented subjects, but Suraj's entry to such an area with a un
ique slang happened in a very short span of time. The notable thing is that even in the dull period of the industry, such a film has got a distributor to release it without much delay.

'Duplicate' is the story of an ordinary village guy (Suraj Venjarammood). He has got some financial problems also. Due to the irresponsible attitude, his uncle who is also his lover's father, hates him. One day, he came across an accident that happens near their village river. He has saved a rich man's life. It became the turning point in his life. At one stage, he even loses his identity. In between, a quotation gang is also there behind the hero. How he tries to solve his problems in the middle of such confusions is told in a lighter way through the story of 'Duplicate'.

The hero's characterization is made within the limits till interval. It is also good that the director has not given much dialogues for the serious character. Hero has got three songs to perform. Though Suraj is not confident in the dance sequences, he has done well in a different costumes through "kaakka nottam..." song (sung by Jassi Gift for Alexpaul's music). The comedy sequences followed by dialogues sometimes exceeds the limits of slapstick comedy area. Introduction of Salimkumar's character, dog episode with Bheeman Raghu, introduction of the hero, sathyagraha scene etc are examples. Due to the dry presentation, I didn't saw a big laughing atmosphere inside the theater. Anyway in the second half this is yet another example for a film following the 'Seetha Aur Geetha' formula.

The title sequences of the film in computer graphics is colorful. Background score by Alex Paul is ok for the mood. Sadath is the cinematographer. Shani Khader ('Changathippoocha' fame) has written the script.

As I expected, the team behind has not done anything extra ordinary. They had even put the name of the film as 'Duplicate', which may be apt seeing the output. So no need to be desperate.

Rating : 5 / 10

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vairam


Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Pasupathi, Sureshgopi, Mukesh, Jayasurya, Meera Vasudev, Samvritha Sunil
Direction : MA Nishad
Music : M Jayachandran, Rajamani

Though director MA Nishad has given socio-relevant subjects like 'Pakal' (issue of farmers), 'Nagaram' (issue of wastage dumbing) and 'Aayudham' (issue of terrorism), he has not got a big success so far. He came to the field as a producer ('Dreams' and 'Oraal Mathram'). Now his latest film has got a big star cast like Sureshgopi, Pasupathi, Mukesh, Jayasurya, Meera Vasudev, Samvritha Sunil, Rekha etc. Script is by Cherian Kalpakavadi. His previous projects like 'Banaras' and 'Bharya Swantham Suhruthu' didn't do well; but he has got films like 'Lal Salam', 'Ulladakkam' etc in his credits)


To give a promotional campaign for the film is the liberty of the creators. It will be good if we are getting a vague idea regarding the project that we are going to watch. I am telling this since i happened to see the video promo of the particular film in the television. The story was crystal clear from the visuals; what all are happening from the beginning to the end is evident there. Such a practice is not good, the director should have been more careful while cutting the promos. (I dont know whether this thing is unique in my case with the experience!).


The film has got the story of a honest bank manager (Pasupathi, 'Virumandi', 'Veyil' fame), who is transferred to Kerala. Born in tamilnadu, he came here with his malayalee wife (Meera Vasudev) and daughter (Dhanya, 'Thalappavu', 'Red Chillies' fame). He happened to meet the richest family (played by Thilakan, Asokan, Jayasurya etc) in the town. Though dreamed about his daughter's future, he has to undergo certain problems and tragedies in his life. At one stage he is being jailed. An advocate (Sureshgopi), a police officer (Mukesh) and a journalist (Samvritha Sunil) holds the key in the life of the tamilian. As expected, the real culprit is caught in the climax and the manager is freed.


There is nothing new in the story. As I told earlier, it all happened as I expected. Like the trailer, here also you don't have too much surprises or confusions. The villain is in front of us from the beginning and the enquiry moves through the right path till the end, the climax is also an anticipated one. But the director has tried his best to include maximum family scenes, which he thinks as a crowd pulling area. The combination dialogues between Sureshgopi and Samvritha sometimes felt dramatic. Pasupathi did well asusual, but he struggles sometimes due to the difficulty in language. Jayasurya's character reminds us of his role in 'Kangaroo'.


Shankar Mahadevan sings once again for M.Jayachandran after 'Madambi'. In his 70th age, the legendary singer of south india has also given a pathos number. Rajamani's background score is once again noisy. Editor Samjith ('Red Chillies' fame) gave some fast cuts here and there. Sanjeev Shankar is the cameraman who gave colorful visuals.


'Vairam' is not a boring one, but this investigation subject is not a thrilling one also as you expects...

Rating : 6 / 10


Wanted

Medium : Hindi
Starring : Salman Khan, Ayisha Takia, Prakshraj
Direction : Prabhudeva
Music : Sajid Wajid, Salim Sulaiman


Hope you know about the versatility of notable south indian choreographer/actor Prabhudeva. Came to the cinefield as a dance assistant to his father, veteran choreographer Sundaram, in the late 80s (through 'Agninakhsatram', Idayam', 'Vetivizha' etc), he has grown through the ages. Later he became independent like his father and then started acting (through 'Kathalan', 'Indu', 'Mr.Romeo' etc). Some of his films were hits, but the majority didn't do well. Anyway he has not left the choreography job in this time. It was evident in songs like "main aisa kyo hoon...", "baba kichi thaa..." etc.

Almost 3 years before, this man has has tried his luck on the di
rection side. His debute telugu project 'Nuvvasthionthe Ninnoduthana'( by Sidharth & Trisha and the original version of 'Something Something Unakkum Enakkum' by Jayam Ravi & Trisha) was a massive hit. Later came 'Pournami with Prabhas & Trisha, which was a periodical subject that got critical acclamation. Then only he has done a project in his own language. They were 'Pokkiri' (remake of telugu hit with the same name bu Mahesh Babu & Ileana, directed by Puri Jagannath) and 'Villu'(remake of Bobby Deol's 'Soldier'). His first film with Vijay was a success, but the second one bombed.


Now, when notable producer in bollywood, Boney Kapoor (brother of Anil Kapoor & bollywood queen Sridevi's husband) decided to remake 'Pokkiri' with Salman Khan, he decided to put the same Prabhudeva on the direction side. Camera is handled by the same Neerav Shah; S.Sriram ('Thanmathra' fame) is also there in his absence. The main attraction will be stunt master Vijayan, who did excellent action scenes in other versions. Music is by Sajid Wajid, background score is by Salim Sulaiman. Ayisha Takia, comes in place of Asin. The most important man to work in all versions is none other than Prakashraj, who has entered bollywood through this film. Thus we are having two big remakes releasing in the same week; One from hindi to tamil ('Unnaippol Oruvan' and the other one, 'Wanted' happened vice versa.


'Wanted' tells the story of underworld gangs. Even the introduction scene of the hero followed by song is shown as it is. It has got short appearances of Anil Kapoor and Govinda along with the director himself. Prakashraj, who plays the don has performed in his style and he even dubbed in his voice. Salman has got a different character when compared to the roles he has done in the recent past. His romance and his combination scenes with the heroine, Ayisha Takia is also notable. Salman has done fast action scenes (credit goes to Vijayan).


The songs are not good. Being a choreographer also, the director should have been more careful while selecting and approving songs (if he got a voice in it !). The new face comedian who comes in place of Vadivelu has not performed well. Thus the friendship scenes and the comedy areas cannot be compared with the original versions. We have to wait and see whether bollywood welcome more subjects from south as it happened for 'Gajini'.


'Wanted' has got a different action role by Salman Khan. This film is not a big thing when bollywood is considered; but if you have not seen the original versions, then you can try this once.

Rating : 7.5 / 10


Friday, September 25, 2009

Loud Speaker

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Mammootty, Gracy Singh, jagathi, Suraj Venjarammood
Direction : Jayaraj
Music : Bijibal


Director Jayaraj and Mamootty teamed up again after 'Johny Walker' which happened 17years before. The film scripted and produced also by Jayaraj had got Gracy Singh ('Lagan' fame) as the heroine and S
asikumar (new face and a journalist, also the founder chairman of Asianet) has got an important role to do. Time Ads distributes the film.


The film tells the story of a person (Mammootty) who speaks loudly heance he is nick named "loud speaker". He reaches the city area from the highrange village side. This man is now the companion of an NRI business man (Sasikumar) and lives with him in an appartment in the heart of the city. The latter one who lives lonely had got some health problem and now he is getting good support from the village man. The hero soon became a good friend for the kids and other residents. Some of the members raised voice against his innocent acts, thus he is a nuisance also. At one stage he is being driven away by the master. But it is a fact that his character is loved by the majority. Thus 'Loud Speaker' delivers the innocent face of the villagers and the contrasting attitude of the city men. The real bondage of the friendship is also highlighted. The dialogues used has got some unders current messages.


Mammootty has done his character with ease. His ordinary costumes in dhotis without cha
ppals with a different rendering of the voice is the main attraction. His down to earth charecterisiation has got the style of films like 'Oru Maravathoor Kanavu', 'Udyanapalakan', 'Valsalyam' etc. Sasikumar, who came in an important character here is a good choice. It is once again proved that placing new faces for prominent roles can give a better output sometimes. Jagathi, Suraj Venarammod, Salim Kumar etc are there for the comedy scenes. Gracy Singh has nothing big to do. (i didn't understood the technicality happened in her voice; she being a hindi girl has used the dubbed voice, but the output felt that it is recorded on spot).


On the souding side,'Loud Speaker' is one such film where spot recording has been used. The speciality here is that we don't have to dub the voice of the artists, thus the original sounds at the time of the shooting is used as it is while th
e mixing is done. This advantage has become the main negative here in the output. In the beginning portions it is evident clearly; it is similar to a drama where we get the lesser sounds of the characters which are far away from the mike. But the hero, who talks loudly does not have that much problem. The director says that he used the spot recording facility to give the identity and uniqueness to the main character clearly. But, in the theater where I watched the film, it was shown a strip in the beginning by the management seeking pardon for the poor audio quality which shows that there is something happened to the sounding side in the first copy.


The script writer should have discussed the sentimental issues more clearly to attract the families; here the end came all on a sudden. Cameraman Gunasekhar has given colorful visuals. Bijibal has given the music. Mammootty gave his voice for two songs. The remix version of the old hit "alliyambal..." is also used here, sung by Vijay Yesudas. The back ground score of the film is also good.


I heard mixed response for this film. Some says it is not good; i can't agree with that. 'Loud Speaker' has got an ordinary character by Mammootty; there human values are represented in a lighter way through him...



Rating : 7.5 / 10 (revised)




Unnaippol Oruvan

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Kamalhassan, Mohanlal, Lakshmi
Direction : Chakri Toleti
Music : Shruthihassan


We have got only few examples where remake subjects came excellent when compared to the original ones. The best example is Kamalhassan's 'Kuruthippunal' directed by PC Sreeram which is inspired from hindi film 'Drohkaal', directed by Govind Nihlani starring Ompuri, Nasrudeen Shah ans Ashish Vidyarthi. Now the uiniversal hero had produced another remake in tamil. This time his latest project 'Unnaippol Oruvan' is a carbon copy of 'A Wednesday' acted by Nasrudeen Shah and Anupam Kher. The most important thing as far as
the new version is considered is that the two legendary actors from south india, Kamalhassan (in place of Nasrudeen Shah) and Mohanlal (in place of Anupam Kher) comes together for the first time here.


Those who have gone through my reviews on 'A Wednesday' clearly knows about the value of the project. The extra ordinary performances of the main charectors there, gave me a doubt feeling when the star cast for the remake film was announced. Among them Mohanlal's role of the police commissioner was a question mark, since Anupan Kher had given his career best performance there. The original version has not been released in our state, hence it gives me pleasure to see that we are getting atleast a chance to watch the remake version. Since the story is extraordinary, when it comes through the hands of two well known performers, it is also an added advantage.


As before, i am not going to discuss the story here also.Only thing I can say that the film discusses the issue of terrorism faced by the country these days. There is no big locations covered to te
ll the story, the main one being the top of an under construction building where the hero lies and other one being the police head quarters where the other main character is shown most of the time.


Comparing the two versions will give us an opportunity to find more and more negatives in the remake version. Nasrudeen Shah was old, pleasing and lovable as the character
demanded. Though Kamalhassan has done well, his looks in the black beard has got a pinch of small heroism sometimes, which is not suited for the story. As expected, Mohanlal is not a good choice. He is silent and shy rather than aggressive and commanding. (Prakashraj, Nana Patekar or even Mammootty would have been a better choice here). Like this, all the artists were properly placed and have delivered their best in the old one.


The new director, Chakri Toleti has copied all the scenes as it is and tried hard to make a 120mnts movie out of a 90mnts one, which ended in creating a lagging effect. Manoj Soni, the cinematographer had done his job well. On the music side you have got hero's daughter,Shruthihassan. Her background score also never stands near the original version by Sanjay Chowdhary.


'Unnaippol Oruvan' is an excellent film. It will be a visual treat if you have not seen 'A Wednesday' before.

(...but don't forget get a dvd to check the potential of the original hindi version, later...)


Rating : 8 / 10


Pokkisham

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Cheran, Padmapriya
Direction : Cheran
Music : Sabesh-Murali

We have already discussed the caliber of the director turned actor Cheran through the review of
'Raman Thediya Seethai'. It is a known fact that since the top heroes in the industry were not willing to give a green signal for his 'Autograph', he decided to put the makeup. Though he has not got a cinematic face, the nature of roles taken by him, gave the potential to become the character easily. Now his latest project 'Pokkisham' is a love story happened in 1970. It is scripted and directed by the hero himself.


The film starts in the current period; here the lower guy (new face) got some letters written by his father (Cheran) to his lover (Padmapriya) in the olden days and their replies. His wife has kept all those letters as "Pokkisham" (valuable things). When the young man reads the letter one by one, the story starts. The hero works as a naval officer in Calcutta. When he reached his native, he sees the heroine at the hospital where his father is admitted. Their relationship developed and later they both gets into a love affair. Since both of them belonged to different castes, disagreement arrives. They both get in touch through the latters. Later she is being evacuated, whether they are succeeded in their love and what will be his son does with those letters he got is what discussed later.


The real loveof the hero and heroine is shown by the letters send between them. The behaviour of the members in the heroine's family looks natural. The visuals are colorful and the unique backdrops shown for the heroine needs special mention (Cinematographer by Rajesh Yadhav). Background score by Sabesh-Murali matches the mood, but their songs are average only. The art work for the period shown 30years before in Chennai and Calcutta are excellent. The makeup for Padmapriya in the end portion is also notable. Cheran and Padmapriya along with all the other artists have done their roles well.


The script writer should have concentrated more on the blending of the current and ancient periods and their peculiarities. Reading love letters, through which the relationship is expressed is an overdoze. A different climax and the inclusion of memorable songs should have also given a positive result for the project.


'Pokkisham' is not a bad film. It can haunt sometimes, if you have experienced real love / love failures


Rating : 6.5 / 10


Shudharil Shudhan


Medium : Malayalam

Starring : Indrans, Mukesh, Kalabhavan Mani, Lakshmi Sharma

Direction : Jayaraj


In the last festival season, no big films were released. Maybe this is the first time that we can't spot out a film acted by Mohanlal/Mammootty/Sureshgopi/Dileep/Prithviraj. This gave the strength for small films done by Js (Jayaram, Jagadeesh, Jayasurya) to try their luck. 'Shudharil Shudhan' is also one among them, but you will be surprised to know that the film has got Indrans in the lead role supported by Mukesh, Kalabhavan Mani, Lakshmi Sharma etc.


The film shows the life of a lower middleclass man (Indrans) who is a real left activist also.
He lives with his wife (Lakshmi Sharma, 'Palungu' fame) and children in the highrange village. He spent his life through the days of hunger and thirst. The village has got a trade union leader, a factory owner, a police man who involves in illegal activities.


Anyway without much happenings, by showing the poverty of the hero the film reached
the interval. After that may be somebody reaches there to help the hero, he may be lucky enough to get a good life in the end after few hazards. The reason why I quoted this like a prediction lies in the fact that I have not watched the film completely. 'Shudharil Shudhan' is the first film in my life, where I had left the theater even before the interval happens.


The film doesn't have a good story or a good scenes, intolerable performance from some amateur artists is there, non pleasing location and its visuals...like this negatives are many. This forced me to leave the show. It is not a good custom to review a film without watching it fully. But, I was not wrong, the film had left the theatres even before completion of its first week of its release.



What I have seen so far in 'Shudharil Shudhan' is not appealing, with my experience I feel that the rest of the movie will follow the same pattern.



Rating : 2 / 10


Thursday, September 17, 2009

A review on Kerala State Film Awards – 2008

When the state awards for the year 2008 were announced, a friend of mine requested me to write my comments on it. I told him the fact that the best screenplay and the best director awards were given to the same movie which was not yet released at that time. So without watching all the films, there is a practical difficulty in the proposed task. As every year, this time also, the controversies happened after the announcement. We have seen arguments going on between TV Chandran and Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Since I have seen all the films now, here is an attempt to give my comments on the awards.


Best Film : ‘Oru Pennum Randaanum’

I truly agree with TV Chandran’s comment that ‘Oru Pennum Randaanum’ looks like a tele-serial. The big screen medium is not necessary to tell those stories. Thus, my choice is ‘Bhoomi Malayalam’ or ‘Thirakkadha’. In both the case, the treatment is different.


Best Director : Adoor Gopalakrishnan (‘Oru Pennum Randaanum’)

Adoor has followed his usual style in the film. It is not good enough to get an award, but TV Chandran’s approach in ‘Bhoomi Malayalam’ and Madhupal’s attempt in ‘Thalappavu’ will get more marks if compared.

Best Actor : Lal (‘Thalappavu’)

With a different make up, Lal has done well in a character told through the ages. Mohanlal’s performance in ‘Pakal Nakshatrangal’ and ‘Akasha Gopuram’ were also good.


Best Actress : Priyanka (‘Vilapangalkkappuram’)

Priyanka has done well. Priyamani’s performance in the post interval session of ‘Thirakkadha’ was also a challenging one.


Second Best Film : ‘Bhoomi Malayalam

I think, ‘Bhoomi Malalyalam' should be the best film. ‘Pakal Nakshathrangal’ or ‘Thalappavu’ will be the better choice for second best.


Second Best Actor : Anoop Menon (‘Thirakkadha’)


As a new comer, this award might encourage him to give his best in future. There is also no big competition in this case.


Second Best Actress : Praveena (‘Oru Pennum Randaanum’)

She was natural; but Priyamani (‘Thirakkadha’), Sukumari (‘Mizhikal Sakshi’) and Meera Jasmin (‘Calcutta News’) have also done well.



Best script : Adoor Gopalakrishnan (‘Oru Pennum Randaanum’)

It is difficult to agree with this, since TV Chandran (‘Bhoomi Malayalam’), Ranjith (‘Thirakkadha’), Anoop Menon (‘Pakal Nakshathrangal’) and Babu Janardhanan (‘Thalappavu’) is there as front runners. Udaykrishna-Sibi K Thomas (‘Twenty 20’) also needs special mention for such an unusual attempt.


Best popular film : ‘Innathe Chinthavishayam’

We don’t know the criteria for giving award in this category. Though a social issue is discussed in ‘Innathe Chinthavishayam’, the popularity of ‘Twenty 20’ was more when compared with it.


Best Lyrics : ONV (‘Gulmohar’)

Every time when ONV takes the pen, he goes away with that year’s award, it is a phenomenon which can’t be questioned.

Best Music : M Jayachandran (‘Madambi’)

The film that has got good pathos, fast and romantic numbers, gave him the eligibility to bag the award. Johnson also did well in ‘Gulmohar’.

Best Male Singer : Sankar Mahadevan (“kalyanakkacheri…” song)

Maybe his voice is different, but I can’t accept it, since Yesudas gave the sad feel required for “amma mazhakkarinu...” song in his style.


Best Female Singer : Manjari (‘Vilapangalkkappuram’)

It is very difficult to judge this since it is given to a non popular song.


Best Cinematography : MJ Radhakrishnan (‘Thirakkadha’ and ‘Gulmohar’)

MJ Radhakrishnan is notable as the camera man for the majority of parallel films. He deserves it and will be unanimously accepted. S Kumar (‘Calcutta News’) and ‘Santhosh Thundiyil (‘Akasha Gopuram’) also did justice to their works.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick Gun Murugan

Medium : English (partly tamil)
Starring : Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Nasser, Vinay Pathak, Raju Sundaram, Rambha
Director : Shashank Ghosh
Music : Daniel George, Raghu Dixit


In Hollywood, there exists a trend where a film has got a theme and situations similar to a hit film, but the presentation of the particular film won’t be serious, its intention is to make fun of the original one. The creators will manipulate the scenes according to their wish and those serious scenes we have witnessed will be re-created in a funny way to generate laughter. There are many examples for this; ’Space Balls’ is based on the popular film ‘Star Wars’, ‘Super Hero Movie’ has got lighter scenes targeting Batman, Spiderman etc and ‘Epic Movie’ targeted subjects like ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’. The latest film produced in our country, ‘Quick Gun Murugan’ also comes in the same genre. Here the new film targets the action masalas from south india in the olden days. Though the film is in English, it has got Tamil dialogues in many areas with English subtitles. The film is directed by Shashank Ghosh. Rajesh Devraj had written the screenplay. RA Krishna is the cinematographer.


Quick Gun Murugun (Dr.Rajendra Prasad) is a cow boy like character. In the opening scene itself he dies and reaches the yama loga. There Chitragupt (Vinay Pathak) gives him a rebirth and thus he reached Mumbai later. The villain (Nasser) runs the hotel business. He fights with the hero (who is also a preacher of vegetarianism), for the dosa recipe. At the same time, hero’s family is also shown where his elder brother is an expert shooter. Hero has got a locket where his wife’s (Anu Menon) photo is pasted. Hero’s romance with the bar dancer (Rambha) is shown in the second half. The hero uses his weapon (gun) to kill his enemies in the end.


Majority of the scenes felt like we are watching an old film in the 80’s. The action area mainly contains the bullet firing where maximum visual effects and graphics scenes are used. The performance of the hero character is extra ordinary. His costumes are also notable. Dr Rajendra Prasad who is a well known telugu actor has given his best here. The dialogue delivery also felt different. The background music of the film is also suited well. The romantic song and its choreography is good.


Other than using more gun shots, the creators should have concentrated on the fighting areas also which was highlighted more in old films. The scenes where the hell is shown (written ministry of death), felt amateur. Sometimes the reason for the enmity between hero and villain felt stupid. In whole, the attempt should be appreciated but the creators should have covered more areas to make the project excellent, which they have not done here.


‘Quick Gun Murugan’ is a different approach; you can enjoy it, if you take it in the right spirit only.


Rating : 6.5 / 10


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Decent Parties


Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Jagadeesh, Vijayaraghavan, Jagathi, Salim Kumar, Meera Vasudev
Director : Abraham Linclon
Music : Johnson Mangazha

Majority of the projects happening these days follows certain trends which exist then. For example, if an action film is a hit, then one after other action films will be releasing; likewise we can see bulk releases of family oriented subjects if a family film becomes popular. Also, certain creators may exploit the popularity of a hero in a particular period. Thus the success of ‘Veruthe Oru Bharya’ and ‘To Harihar Nagar’, helped the team to mould a family based subject, ‘Decent Parties’ where Jagadeesh is the hero. It is directed by Abraham Lincoln, who worked as PRO in the industry for years. Super hit script writer in the 80’s and 90’s, Kalloor Dennis has written the script here after a long gap.

Hero (Jagadeesh) is a videographer and a studio owner. As his assistant does some fraud work by morphing the still photo of the heroine (Meera Vasudev), her marriage arrangements collapses. The hero gets pity and marries her. His ambition to work in the cine field is in the brim of success with the help of his friend (Salim Kumar), who is a production controller. His friend borrows some money with such an intention. Later only he came to know that he is cheated and his relatives gets angry. He even finds difficulty to buy medicine for his pregnant wife. In the climax, the friend is caught, the real facts are known and he also gets the advance amount for writing a new script. Meanwhile, his wife gave birth to a baby.


In the current period, we can’t accept Jagadeesh doing hero oriented subjects like he did earlier. In his 50's, the hero dreaming about his marriage arrangements won't be easily accepted. There are also no good comedy situations. The family based scenes are also not shown seriously. The visuals are not rich. The scene in which hero does his job using crane looks amateur, the new face who did hero’s godfather has got many scenes, but he looks un-professional. We are not shown clearly about the assistant who cheated the hero. Shots inside the bus, captured from a certain point are still and it not at all gives the moving feel. The scenes happening inside the studio doesn’t look natural. The negative expressions of many amateur artists are evident here. The costumer should have done his job seriously; it is shame that the villain, hero and the old man character wears the same dhoti with the same designs. Prathapan’s cinematography is ordinary. Jagadeesh, in the hero character seems to be dull always.


‘Decent Parties’ doesn’t give you a pleasurable atmosphere. So, it is better if you stay away from them.

Rating : 3.5 / 10

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oru Black & White Kudumbam


Medium : Malayalam
Staring : Kalabhavan Mani, Jayasurya, Bhama, Vinaya Prasad, Suraj Venjarammood
Director : Shaiju Anthikkad
Music : Alex Paul, Kannan

Shaiju-Shaji, the director-duo had splitted after doing their debutant project 'Shakespeare MA Malayalam'. Now Shaiju Anthikkad had independently given the project 'Oru Black & White Kudumbam'. The star cast including Kalabhavan Mani, Jayasurya, Bhama, Vinaya Prasad or the discussion of a different theme like the ego of a blackish father where his wife and son happened to be whites, didn't attracted me.


It is a fact that even in the festival season, the malayalam cine field is dull; but the experienced producer distributor M.Mani, who happend to be the producer (57th film) of the film is the main reason that gave me interest in watchig the movie. The last film given the same producer with K.Madhu-SN Swamy and Jayaram, 'Rahasya Police' didn't do well.


The promotional stills of the film with Kalabhavan Mani highlighted in black and white tone clearly gives us an idea of the story. As expected the film starts with the uneasiness and restlessness shown by the hero's father even at the younger days of the hero. When the hero grows up, he does his own business even after the father blocks him. As cheated by the villain, they lose their money and reached the city to pay the debts. There the hero got the job as a GM of the private company owned by the heroine, where as his father got the driver's job in the same company without revealing their identity. After few days mother reached the same place and stays as a servant. A love track is also developed and in the end after few confusions, they are all happy.


The director himself had written the story and the debutant Pradeep Kavintara had written the script. it seems like they had watched maximum such films where confusions and comedy situations plays a peek role. As the title suggests, there is no such serious situations created, where the hero gets angry. Only thing is that there are some passing comments here and there on the blackish skin tone. Some of the situations happening in the house reminds us of the films like 'Melepparambil Aanveedu', 'Mattuppetti Machan' etc. The main characters including the villain assembles in the same house in the end cannot be taken as an accidental coincidence. Even if the theme is different, there is nothing new in the film, the creators had copied the situations from many films happened before. The situation where hero buys an elephant, the scene where hero's father explains about his son's attitude etc are not created convincingly. Songs comes in unusual situations.


Jibu Jacob handles the camera. Music director Alex Paul might have created "kuppi..." song expecting it to be the talk of the town. But the singer, choreographer and the artists didn't worked hard for a good result.

There are no big factors that can promote an average film like 'Oru Black & White Kudumbam'

Rating : 5 / 10






Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kaanaa Kanmani

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Jayaram, Padmapriya, Baby Niveditha, Nedumudi Venu, Vijaya Raghavan
Direction : Akku Akbar
Music : Shyam Dharman

Jayaram, Akku Akbar (director) and Gireesh Kumar (script writer), the same team who gave the film ‘Veruthe Oru Bharya’ have come up with their new film ‘Kaanaa Kanmani’. Though I have criticized their previous project through the review, we can’t avoid the fact that the film was a super hit and helped the actor to retain his position after many flops. Now the new film has got Padmapriya as the heroine and Baby Niveditha (‘Bhramaram’, ‘Moz & Cat’ fame) plays a notable role; hence it is evident that this is also a family subject. Vipin Mohan comes in place of Shaji (former assistant to Vipin Mohan) as the cinematographer; Shyam Dharman is retained as the music director. Moserbaer produces the film and it is distributed by our Megastar’s distribution company, Play House (after ‘Rithu’). I read somewhere that ‘Kaanaa Kanmani’ is the remake of directors hindi film, ‘Gauri – the Unborn’.



This is the story of a happy couple (Jayaram and Padmapriya), who belongs to different religion. They have got a smart young daughter (Baby Niveditha). The quarrelling between some relatives from both sides is shown humorously in the beginning portions (those areas reminds us the film ‘Sasnehan’). The family decided to go for a picnic to a far away place. As per their daughter’s wish, they reached the same house where they lived years before. The house situated lonely near the forest has got a caretaker (Suraj Venjarammood) to look after the proceedings. After reaching there, they face some unusual experiences. They were not allowed to leave the place and were forced to stay there guarding their daughter. The cause for the current issues is revealed through a flashback. What happens to all of them in those four days is shown in the film.


One or two areas, where the hero frightens for the first time seeing the image and foot steps, the scene where the daughter is being wrapped by the clothes and the following disorders, the scary situation for the servant etc are done excellently. On the other side there are many amateur scenes also. The scenes in which the daughter felling down on the top of the building, heroine sees her daughter flying very fast and disappears, the appearance of flowers (in computer graphics) etc shows the unprofessionalism of the director. The lengthy speech of the daughter in the end and the climax frame of the film in the bed room are also some areas where the audience loses their self control.


The film has got a good story thread with a message. Inexperience in the direction area and the instability in the scripting side made the project weak. It is a fact that horror subjects have got a minimum guarantee among the viewers and it always demands fantasy type themes. If it is not neatly conceived in a believable way, then the result will ends up in a disaster (Even Ramgopal Varma, the most experienced technician in dealing such subjects had faced failures there). It would have been better if a guest character has been created here with another actor (like Mohanlal did in 'Manichitrathazhu') to solve the problems in the end.

The background score by Shyam Dharman is not prominent (he should watch the hit film ‘Manichitrathazhu’ and analyze what Johnson did there). Songs are not bad; the music director’s voice suits well for the hero, but it is unbearable sometimes. Sound mixing area that plays an important role in these kinds of subjects is also below average only.


No need for a comment on Baby Niveditha’s performance, she is excellent as usual. Vijayaraghavan, who comes in hero’s father’s role, is good. Jayaram is ok. Padmapriya’s lip movement felt artificial in the beginning areas.


If you are frustrated enough to watch a horror movie, then you can watch ‘Kaanaa Kanmani’. Keep in mind that it had got many negatives while conceiving such a good thread with a message.


Rating : 5.5 / 10

Friday, September 4, 2009

Agyaat


Medium : Hindi
Starring : Nithin Reddy, Nisha Kothari, Ravi Kale
Director : Ramgopal Varma
Music : Imran Vikram, Bapi Tutul, Amar Mohile

Notable producer – director in the country, Ramgopal Varma has come up with his new film ‘Agyaat’, co-produced by UTV and Ronnie Schrewvala. The director has launched an unusual promotional campaign in Mumbai for the film’s release. Many dead bodies were hanged in open air here and there which caught attention and created heavy traffic block in the metro. Later only the crowd came to know that they were all “live” dead bodies and they are created as a part of the marketing of the film. This is what Ramgopal Varma, who believes in the theory of “break the rules” does these days.


Like his own film, ‘Jungle’ this time also the director had selected the thick forests as the back drop for telling the story. The film which has got around 10 characters in total is shot in the thick forests of Srilanka and Athirappally (Kerala). The theme is based on the film unit who reached the jungle for the shooting schedule of their new film. The group consists of the producer, director, hero, heroine, camera man, stunt master, asst. director etc. Here telugu actor Nithin plays the role of asst. director and Varma’s favorite star, Nisha Kothari comes in the heroine’s role.


While going through a ride in the dense bushes, they have to face an unknown enemy. One by one, the members of the group were targeted and are killed. At last the hero and the heroine were left only and they escaped from the forest in the climax. The enemy is still not shown and the director has not given an end for the story hoping to reveal it through its second part, ‘Agyaat 2’ which is given “coming soon” in the climax portions.


Generally, I am against the attitude of not giving a full stop for the story in a film. Here I can’t blame the director, since he had got a chance pending to do another project with the same theme. At around half time while watching this film, a friend sitting beside me told that he had seen almost similar situation in a Hollywood film and told that this is the remake of Arnold’s hit film ‘Predator’, which happened 22years before. I have not seen it yet, but my friend told that the new remake is not a bad attempt.


Like the previous films by the director, here also the main attraction is the good visuals with lesser dialogues accompanied by a thrilling background score. Surjodep Ghosh had worked brilliantly behind the lenses. Amamr Mohile gave the re-recording and Mixing Engineer Leslie Fernandes also did his job well. The real beauty of the thick forest at day and night is shown through the frames placed by the director in his style. In the middle you have got a couple of glamour songs by the heroine also. The second half of the film is fast and thrilling. Only negative here is that, one might not be satisfied fully, since the real fear is not guaranteed as expected and the enemy is not revealed even after the climax.


‘Agyaat’ is a different voyage through the thick forest, which won’t be as easy and peaceful as you anticipate.


Rating : 7 / 10