Friday, July 30, 2010

Raama Raavanan

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Suresh Gopi, Nedumudi Venu, Biju Menon, Mithra Kurian, Lena
Director : Biju Vattappaara

Music : Kaithapram, Mohan Sitara (bg score)

Biju Vattaappara, who came from mini scree field, had written script for movies like 'Lokanathan IAS', 'Kalabham' also; he has become a director now. The title of his debutant project is an interesting one, 'Raama Raavanan'. He has written the script, based on the story 'Manomi' by Madhavikkutty. Suresh Gopi and Mithra Kurian ('Gulumaal', 'Body Guard' fame) comes in the lead roles. 'Terrorist', 'Kannathil Muthamittaal', 'Rameswaram' etc are some of the tamil movies that has discussed the issues happened in Srilanka in the past; now the theme of 'Raama Raavanan' is also related to that issue.

The story starts as Thiruchelvam (Suresh Gopi), reaches the village on a mission. He is given a safe hide out by his supporters (Baburaj, Lena). Manomi (Mithra Kurian) meets Thiru, being attracted towards his poetic works, she loves him. Though her uncle (Nedumudi Venu) opposed it in the beginning, he decided to give green signal for their marriage. But Tiru was not willing to accept her, saying that he is having his own goals. Manomi left the house later feeling bad of her loneliness. The police officer (Biju Menon),
who is in charge of the investigation, searches for Thiru. Whether he is able to catch the culprit is told in the later portions.

The lack of a good story and the scripting is evident from the beginning scene itself. The un profession
alism in the direction area is evident from the opening bombing scene. To convince that it happened in Srilanka, the director have added the visuals of a bus in Lanka; immediately in the next shot where hero traveling in a bus is shown, it gave us a wrong assumption that both buses and places are the same. The board of the bus is later shown as Palakkad-Madhurai, the director had made fool of himself by showing such such an ordinary private bus shuttling between these two places. The only comedy scene, at the tea stall featuring Kochu Peman and Narayanakutty, is very below standard.

The hero is shown as a rough guy with principles, but his motive, the past or the mission itself i
s left unknown till end. The continuity is affected in many areas. When heroine's uncle character tells the flashback, in the middle the hero is also shown, which led to the confusion whether that is past or the present scenario. The way in which Manomi meets the stranger who has got blood stains in his body and later helps him by giving food, all felt unrealistic. The blind character done by Sudheesh (his expression is good), playing flute on some occasions felt an over doze. Manomi, reaching the house of Thiru's mother and stays with her is a cinematic coincidence. Every time, police coming in four cars one after another, should have been avoided.

A couple of songs were not needed, most of them were not even having the required vi
suals. The female solo song has been made vulgar by unnecessarily putting group dancers (choreography Santhi). Songs by Kaithapram are not the best. The bg score by Mohan Sitara reminds the tunes by Ilayaraja (from 'How To Name It' album), M.Jayachandran (from 'Mahasamudram') and also many portions his own movies. Cinematographer is Jibu Jacob and the editor is Samjith (he should be noted that continuity between scenes has been affected in some areas). The place where story happening is not mentioned clearly and the climax is not a stable one. I wonder how can the creators tell the story of issues based in another country without giving any visuals from that place.

Though 'Raama Raavanan' tried to discuss a big issue, the lack of good ingredients and a neat execution, resulted the mission in a failure.

Rating : 3 / 10

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Revathi, KPAC Lalitha, Swetha Menon, Vishnupriya, Lal, Nedumudi Venu, Kailash
Director : V.M.Vinu

Music : M.G.Sreekumar, Rajamani (bg score)

'We are not getting any heroine oriented movies...' this is the complaint
that we are repeatedly hearing over the years. V.M.Vinu, the director of family movies with script writer T.A.Razaq has come up with a new project. It can be a solution for the above issue, at least in the title. 'Pennpattanam', as the name suggests, it is a female oriented subject discussing the story of 'kudumbasree' workers. The director is notable for giving family oriented subjects like 'Makanta Achan', 'Yes Your Honour', 'Vesham', 'Balettan', 'Bus Conductor' etc. Writer-director Ranjith has got the credit of the story here. T.A.Razaq, who gave award winning subject like 'Kaanakkinavu', has not got a hit in the recent past (his recent works being 'Parunthu' and 'Maya Bazaar' by Mammootty). M.G.Sreekumar is the music director, Varnachithra Subair, who gave movies like 'Paleri Manikyam', 'Thirakkadha', 'Manassinakkare', 'Pattalam' and 'Meesamadhavan', has produced 'Pennpattanam'.

Revathi, KPA
C Lalitha, Swetha Menon and Vishnupriya does the role of 'kudumbasree' workers. All of them are having their own family problems. The first lady is a widow having two children, the old lady has to face issues made by her unemployed son, Swetha's husband (Sadhiq) is not well and undergoing bed rest since long time, the younger one wants to marry her lover (Kailash), with the blessings of the relatives. One day, while cleaning the garbage, they got a packet containing bulk amount of money. After a round of discussion, they decided to divide it among themselves, which lead to certain incidents that has changed their life, the story of 'Pennpattanam' thus goes on.

The director and the script writer, with the experience in dealing the family subjects, did the movie in the best way they can. What happens when an enormous amount of money is obtained in the hands of a few ladies has been shown here. The functioning of the police, politicians, finance companies and their influence on the society has also been told here. The revenge episode has got resemblance with Kamalhassan movie 'Makaliyar Mattum', where Revathi was also a participant. Revathi, KPAC Lalitha, Swetha Menon and Vishnupriya have done their roles well. The questioning episodes and the frustration of the police has been expressed neatly by Lal. Nedumudi Venu, in the financier role is like a guage between serious and funny type of character.

Kailash doesn't have much to perform, he borrowed Harishanth's voice for his act. He is not confident in the song sequence, choreographer Rekha is also the culprit for this. The scenes involving the identification of dead body, the 'professional' acrobatic type fighting style inside the jail, the advocate leading the rally, the four ladies suspiciously gathered inside the police station compound, a few sequences like putting cotton inside nose by everybody in the song etc should have avoided or done more convincingly. The scenes involving the problems faced by the workers in their day-to-day life on road has not been quoted any where in the movie. M.G.Sreekumar gave a catchy duet 'Nee Entethallee...' and bg score by Rajamani is ok. Sanjeev Shankar is the cinematographer.

In these days, where 'mega' movies are even made to maintain stardom and satisfy the fans, different attempts for small budget projects like 'Pennpattanam' should not be avoided; but don't go for it expecting it to be an ultimate entertainment.

Rating : 6 / 10

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Khatta Meetha

Medium : Hindi
Starring : Akshay Kumar, Trisha, Rajpal Yadav, Kulbushan Kharbhanda, Milind Gunaji, Manoj Joshi

Director : Priyadarshan
Music : Pritam, Ouseppachan (bg score)

Notable director Priyadarshan is still enjoying his reign in bollywood through remake subjects. After the remake of a foreign classic ('Bumm Bumm Bo
le'), he has borrowed a project from malayalam. This time the chance is for his own hit movie, 'Vellanakalude Naadu', written by Srinivasan. The director's favorite star Akshay Kumar, once again tries to make fit in an ordinary role, done brilliantly by Mohanlal, almost 22 years back. South indian actress Trisha make her debut in hindi through 'Khatta Meetha'. It should be noted that she came to the movie field from the modeling area through Priyadarshan's tamil project named 'Leysa Leysa' (remake of malayalam hit 'Summer In Bethlehem'). V.Manikandan, who worked with the director in 'Billu' is the cinematographer. As usual, Arun Kumar is the editor. Director's favourite music director Pritam has composed the songs. Like 'Bumm Bumm Bole', Ouseppachan is in charge of the re-recording section.

Sachin Tichkule (Akshay Kumar) is a struggling pwd contractor. As he is not earning much money, he is taking debts from many peoples and his parents (Kulbushan Kharbhanda and Aruna Irani) are angry and sad about this attitude. His brother-in-laws (Milind Gunaji and Manoj Joshi) are corrupted guys, they have joined hands with the political leader for the illegal activities. They are spending lot of money and even commit a murder to save themselves from a bridge collapse case that killed many innocent villagers. Gehna (Trisha) is joined as the municipal commissioner. Through a flash back, the relationship between Sachin and Gehna is revealed. She is surprised to see the contrasting character of Sachin now. The lack of stability in the relationship between the M.C and the contractor happens in the following days. At this time, Sachin's sister is being married to a political leader. Whether Sachin is able to get success in his current job is shown in the later portions of 'Khatta Meetha'.

To compare the classical satire 'Vellanakalude Naadu' with 'Khatta Meetha', will be a stupidity. Other than copying all the scenes, director has included the lengthy comedy scene inside palace from malayalam movie 'Friends', the scene involving Pappu and James from his own project 'Midhunam' with an addition of three songs (most of them in un wanted situations). The road roller scene, which was the highlight of the original version has not done here in the best way. The visual 'effects' done for the elephant, over acting of Johny Lever, the way in which road roller comes back etc are not realistic and won't be good enough to make us laugh. The continuity is also missing as the particular house is shown without any damage later. The comedy scene with phones involving Asrani, looks like a deliberate one.

We can't expect more from an action hero like Akshay Kumar in this odd role. Trisha doesn't look confident enough to do the matured role of a government servant. Rajpal Yadav, Kulbushan Kharbhanda and Manoj Joshi have done well. The role of Makrand Deshpande (in place of Sreenivasan) is not not neatly portrayed and thus the character has got some negative shades also. Songs by Pritam are not good enough to be remembered. The director has tried to add some dialogues involving the corruption of the system and the necessity of the national integrity. V.Manikandan's camera work is colorful, but how ever the lack of detailing of the road work shots for such a theme, is a draw back. Ouseppachan's bg core is good. The action sequence towards the end is done neatly.

With each and every shots of the original version still in my mind, it is difficult to recommend for 'Khatta Meetha'...

Rating : 5 / 10

Monday, July 26, 2010


Medium : English
Starring : Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Director : Phillip Noyce

Though I have heard the name and saw stills of the hollywood actress Angelina Jolie many times, it is a fact
that I got a chance to watch a movie done by her, only before a couple of months. I couldn't evaluate her performance skills in that project titled 'Gone In 60 Seconds', as it was stealed from her by a well known actor named Nicloas Cage. Now when I got a chance to watch a movie featuring Angelina Jolie in the lead role, in 'Salt' produced by Columbia Pictures, I didn't missed it. It is directed by Phillip Noyce, who took 'The Bone Collector' with the same heroine. Liev Schreiber ('X Men Origins - Wolverine' fame) and Chiwetel Ejiofor ('2012' fame) are there in supporting roles.

Angelina Jolie does the role of a CIA agent (she is shown rescued from a Korean pris
on almost 2 years before in the beginning). While questioning an informer, the agency came to know that Russia had trained many spies to carry out attacks in US and Russian President who visits US in the near future will be a target and Salt is also one among the trainees. Hearing this, Salt escapes from the place and tells her colleague through the phone that he did this to save her husband. The CIA agents searched for her every where, but she is successful with her target even in the middle of a tight security. Later she goes to Russia, meets her husband and she is assigned with the next job, a more complicated one. How she managed to execute her mission is told in the rest of the part.

This is out and out action oriented role for Angelina Jolie, she did excellent in such a role. Salt is shown escaping from the police by jumping through buildings, from the fly over to a tanker traveling below and later to another truck, like that the episode goes. She will be fighting boldly and ran from the custody even after she is being taken with hand cuffs. She is determined to destroy what ever hazards coming on her way, single handedly. All such sequences that resembles James Bond, Bourne series and MI series of movies, has been neatly handled by the director Phillip Noyce, with the extreme support of action director Simon Crane and cinematographer Robert Elswit.

Right from the olde
n days most of the english action movies had got the theme related to the Russian attack on US or vice versa. Here also the director had followed the same, by doing the unusual boldness of placing a lady in the lead role. Her family scenes needs little more clarity. One can raise doubts regarding the integrity in a couple of scenes, where the top officials of Russia and US were targeted, since there are few examples of such real life incidents in front of us where extreme security measures are penetrated, it is not an issue at all.

'Salt' is a time pass action venture. We have seen many hero oriented action movies from hollywood, why don't you welcome the similar role done by a notable heroine like Angelina Jolie.

Rating : 8 / 10

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kutty Sraank

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Mammootty, Sidhiq, Saikumar, Suresh Krishna, Kamalini Mukherjee, Padmapriya, Meena Kumari

Director : Shaji.N.Karun
Music : Issac Thomas Kottukappally

Shaji.N.Karun, cinematographer turned director through movies like 'Piravi', 'Swam', 'Vaanaprastham' and 'AKG', has come up with his new project titled 'Kutty Sraank'. The project was in the news due to a certain factors, not only because of megastar Mammootty who did the title role, this is the first venture in malayalam for the mega banner Reliance Pictures as the producers and distributors, more over it has got a woman as the cinematographer named Anjali Shukla. The director had raised criticism against the state jury for not selecting this movie for any awards or to the panorama section. Telugu actress Kalmalini Mukherjee ('Vettayadu Vilayadu' fame) and Sri Lankan actress Meena Kumari did the female leads along with Padmapriya in 'Kutty Sraank'. Issac Thomas Kottukappally, the music director of movies like 'Thaniye', 'Kadhavaseshan', 'Oridam', 'Swam' etc has been given the charge of the music section.

The story happening in the olden days, by showing the investigation done by the police officer (Sreekumar) regarding the dead body of Kutty Sraank. Revamma (Padmapriya), a buddhist lady reached there and told about her relationship with Kutty Sraank (Mammootty). He was a loyal servant to her rich father in North Malabar. She doesn't liked Kutty Sraank as he supported the cruel behaviors of her father. Then came the next lady Pemanna (Kamalini Mukherjee) to identify the body. She gave the memories of Sraank who played an important role in the musical drama (Chavittu Naadakam) done by her brother (Suresh Krishna). The last one to reach infront of the police was Kaali (Meena Kumari), a dump lady, who claims that Kutty Sraank is the father of her yet-to-be-born baby. Being in a lower caste, she is being cornered by the villagers and how Kutty Sraank saved her from the land lord (Saikumar) and his bad companions.

The presentation of the movie by Shaji.N.Karun for script by P.F.Mathews is too dull and not straight. The characterization of the title role is not defined neatly and the end happening to him is also not shown. It is evident clearly in the first two stories where Kutty Sraank is shown as a servant and the drama artist. The happenings in those episodes are incomplete. The relationship between the ladies and Kutty Sraank in
those areas are not shown in a believable way. Only thing common in three stories is the attitude in showing loyalty by Kutty Sraank towards his masters. The necessity of 'chavittu naadakam' sequences and the role of three people in white dress traveling by the side when some bad incidents happens, are not known.

Though Mamm
ootty did good, the lead role is not a strong one and it doesn't suits him well. Among the three, Meena Kumari has got more importance here, may be because she is shown deeply attached to the hero role. Sidhiq, Saikumar and Suresh Krishna (in a different appearance) did well. The lady who did the writer's role and her assumptions has got a realistic look. Issac Thomas Kottukappally gave an excellent bg score, the song composed for the drama is also an apt one. Camera woman Anjali Shukla gave colorful visuals.

'Kutty Sraank' has got many loop holes in its execution side, hence it is not a promotable one.

Rating : 4 / 10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sakudumbam Shyamala

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Urvashi, Bhama, Kunjakko Boban, Saikumar, Nedumudi Venu
Director : Radhakrishnan Mangalath

Music : M.G.Sreekumar, Mohan Sitara (bg score)

After Saji Surendran ('Ivar Vivahitharayal', 'Happy Husbands' fame) and Aji John ('Nallavan' fame), next director to start his journey from mini screen towards the big screen is Radhakrishnan Mangalath. He is notable as the director of some hit comedy television serials. Now he has started his movie journey, casting senior actress Urvashi in the title role in a family-comedy subject titled 'Sakudumbam Shyamala'. Urvashi has acted in a lead role in 'Mummy and Me' and it is a hit among the family audiences these days. Krishna Poojappura, who worked with the director for his mini screen projects, has given two successive hit movies for Saji; he has written the script here. Jibu Jacob is the cinematographer and M.G.Sreekumar is the music director.

Shyamala (Urvashi), who lives with his husband (Saikumar) and son Aakash (Kunjakko Boban), is having an ambition to send his son to US, for making money. She is always quarelling with her neighbour (Nedumudi Venu). He happens to be her brother and also the district collector. Vandana (Bhama), daughter of an honest politician (Balachandran Chullikkad), is working in a tv channel where Aakash also works. As per request from a local political leader Pappan (Suraaj venjarammood), Shyamala decided to contest elections, for publicity. She becomes an MLA and revenue minister soon. She acted on the district collector in public and thus taking revenge on him. She seeks alliance from rich families for his son demanding crores as dowry. One day, Aakash told Shyamala about his decision to marry Vandana. His father supported them, but it caused a break in relationship between Shyamala and rest of family members.

The presentation of the movie is very much similar to a television serial, as there are many un realistic situations created one after another to generate comedy. The quarreling between Shyamala and her neighbor near the boundary wall, Shyamala standing in front of the car with the broom, the scene in which the collector make fun of his junior staff, the way in which Shyamala comes in the tv visuals and later becoming the minister, the foolish question raised here questioning the superiority of minister and district collector etc are some among them. Though Krishna Poojappura has tried to raise few comedy sequences, the weakness in the scripting side pulled him back in achieving the target. Music director M.G.Sreekumar has given a different romantic number for Yesudas. Background score by Mohan Sitara is too fast and noisy. The group song featuring two families, done in a studio with chroma shots, is an unwanted one and does not have the professional look. The scenes towards the climax goes too fast, as if to complete the whole proceedings soon.

Urvashi is active in the title role given to her. Nedumudi Venu's character demands no seriousness in the collector's role and he has done accordingly. Saikumar has done well in the ordinary role here. Kunjakko Boban and Bhama doesn't have much to perform. Suraaj Venjarammood, as the political leader, is a relief, but he is not in the best form. Jagadeesh, who comes in the PA role, has given yet another version of his over acting.

Radhakrishnan Mangalath and Krishna Poojappura might have successfully created comedy atmosphere in mini screen, but when they come to the movie arena, they are not supposed to repeat the same treatment for getting success...

'Sakudumbam Shyamala' is a family comedy movie targeting the true lovers of television serials...

Rating : 4.5 / 10

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Medium : English
Starring : Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Director : Christopher Nolan

Days before, when I saw the promotional video of the new hollywood venture, 'Inception'
, it was little bit confusing. There you have got a scene in which the land including many vehicles and huge buildings on it rolled like a carpet. Anyway I have decided to watch it keeping in mind that unbelievable themes are part of the hollywood industry. 'Titanic' and 'The Departed' fame actor Leonardo DiCaprio has joined hands with mega banner Warner Bros and Christopher Nolan, the creator of 'Momento' (Indian movie 'Gajini's original version) and 'Dark Knight', for this new science fiction project.

Hollywood directors are always
fond of going behind super hero subjects, whether it the case of 'Spiderman', 'Batman', 'Terminator', 'X Men' etc or 'Jurassic Park', 'King Kong', Godzilla' etc. Sometimes they will include natural calamities and its effects as the main theme like the case of 'Twister', 'Dantes Peak', 'Water World', '2012' etc. In such a case, 'Inception' is different. If 'Matrix' series deals with a certain mind game, you are having an unusual experience of mind theory is available in 'Inception'. Here the hero is a thief, but not the one as you expect, he is a person who is having the skill to steal other's mind and extract their dreams. To do it correctly, you have to follow certain rules also, if it is broken the experiment can be resulted in danger, the person won't be able to distinguish between the real world and the dream world.

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a sub conscious mind stealing expert, is having the ambition to see
his young children who left them. Cobb is offered a job by Saitto, if he is successful, he can fulfill his wish. The mission is to destroy Saitto's business rival Fischer's empire. Thus Cobb and his friends who are also well versed in the using the dream techniques meets Junior Fischer. They apply the theory on him, through a dream with in a dream with in a dream and how far they are succeeded are shown in the climax portions of 'Inception'.

The director's extreme creativity has been evident here by giving a theme like this. Though it is an unbelievable execution, the unlimited liberty of the creator's mind prompts him to travel through such a path. The visual effects and CG sequences used here is ultimate. The cities where you can see the vehicles and the buildings upside down, the train traveling through the road, the team floating in air in the hotel etc which are attached to the dream world are excellent. Leonardo DiCaprio did well in the lead role, those who came as his companions also did their duties.

It is a fact that the theme discussed here is not simple, it is rather complex and confusing. Sometimes you will be doubtful, whether the scene belongs to the dream world or the real. You won't be able to follow the story, if you failed to understand any dialogues in the middle. This time also I am extremely lucky to watch the movie with subtitles in the theater, other wise it would have become an useless experience.

'Inception' is bearing an unusual and unbelievable theme, but it is presented convincingly in the best way it can. A regular follower of such Hollywood movies should not miss it.

Rating : 7.5 / 10

Monday, July 19, 2010

Maanja Velu

Medium : Tamil
Starring : Arun Vijay, Karthik, Chandrasekhar, Dhanshika, Anu Hassan

Director : A.Venkitesh

Music : Manisharma

Actor Arun Vijay, s/o of senior acting couple Vijaya Kumar and Manjula, came to the field almost 15years before, through movies like 'Priyam', 'Murai Mappilai' etc. Till now, the 15+ films old hero has not got any big hits under his credit. More over he is not a popular name among malayalees also. This highly energetic young man is well versed in doing fight and dance sequences, necessary for the commercial movies. After 'Malai Malai', Arun Vijay once again acts under director A.Venkitesh for a commercial flick titled 'Maanja Velu'.

A.Venkitesh, the director of maximum action movies like 'Dum', 'Bhagavathi', 'Kuthu', 'Aye', 'Chanakya', 'Vathiyaar' etc has become an actor also, through the hit movie of the year, 'Angaadi Theru'. 'Maanja Velu' has got Dhanshika (one of the girls in 'Jayam' Ravi's 'Peraanmai') as the heroine. Yesteryear's romantic hero Karthik is doing a lengthy role after a gap (since 'Raavanan' has released in our state, well in advance before this movie, we have seen him in it). Director's favorite cinematographer, A.Venktesh is there behind the lenses with a good support. During the journey in watching other language movies, I have seen the telugu hit 'Lakshyam' (acted by Gopichand, Jagapathi Babu, Anushka, Kalyani), a couple of years back, only thing I have to analyze here is that how far A.Venkitesh is successful in remaking it as 'Maanja Velu'.

Subash Chandra Bose (Karthik) is an honest police officer in Trichy. His family consists of wife (Anu Hassan), his daughter, his father (Vijaya Kumar), mother and younger brother Velu (Arun Vijay). Velu, who is running a canteen in the college, comes across the student (Dhanshika) and started loving her. Bose wants to arrest Umapathy (Chandrasekhar), who is involved in all kinds of criminal activities. Umapathy kidnaps Velu's lover and the former reaches there and saves her. Bose came to arrest Umapathy, who has been responsible for robbing a bulk amount from a private chit fund. What happens to the villain, whether the police is able to arrest him is told in the nest portions of 'Maanja Velu'.

The director has made the movie incorporating all kins of commercial ingredients. There are high voltage action sequences, songs and dance in foreign locations, comedy scenes which have got no connection with the main story line etc. Action scenes by Kanal Kannan are excellent and fast paced, but the inclusion of same members in every action episodes should be avoided, i have clearly noticed a guy's face in more than 2 such scenes. It also happens in the case of choreographer Dinesh also. Repetetion of group dancers also happens there. Songs by Mani Sharma are not the best, but his heavy bg score is good for the mood. The comedy scenes involving Santhanam, Ganja KAruppu, Shakeela etc. is not extra ordinary.

Arun Vijay, who even shaved his head for the lead role has done his job well especiall
y in dance and action scenes. It is also good to see Karthik in the police officer's role. The black girl Dhanshika doesn't felt suited for the glamorous role. The most important miscasting happened in the case of Chandrasekhar. The actor who did character and hero oriented roles in the 80's, is a wrong choice for the villain role here. Vijaya Kumar is also not good in modern out fits, for the journalist's role.

There is nothing special to watch in an action masala mix like 'Maanja Velu'.

Rating : 4.5 / 10

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Apoorva Raagam

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Nishan, Asif Ali, Nithya
Director : Sibi Malayil

Music : Vidyasagar, Biji Bal (bg score)

This week witnessed the release of another malayalam movie without many experienced
faces coming in the lead roles. Nishan and Asif Ali once gain joined hands after 'Rithu' and Nithya ('Aakasha Gopuram', 'Happy Journey' in 'Kerala Cafe' fame) are those lucky artists. One of the senior directors in the field, Sibi Malayil has directed the project, titled 'Apoorva Raagam'. It is a fact that the master craftsman who was capable of delivering versatile hits like 'Thaniyaavarthanam', 'August 1', 'His Highness Abdullah' and 'Summer In Bethlehem' once, has not got any big surprises in the last 7-8years other than 'Ente Veedu Apoontem'. Any way Sibi has tried his luck with new script writers G.S.Anand and Najim Koya. It is produced by Siyad Koker and distributed by Gokulam Gopalan. Ajayan Vincent who gave the colorful visuals in movies like 'Bhramaram' and 'Aagathan' is the cinematographer.

Roopesh (Nishan) and Tomy (Asif Ali) are close friends studying in a college. Nancy (Nithya)
who belongs to the rich family, is a student of the same college. Roopesh is fond of Nancy, and soon they loves each other. Thus developed a series of incidents till the climax of 'Apoorva Raagam'. (i can't mention the story in detail, its better you watch...)

The new writers had developed an excellent script here and the director with all his experience did a wonderful job. The humor treatment of the college episode is the best example. Such scenes are arranged in a realistic way, knowing the pulse of the youths. The dialogues used in the movie needs special mention. The transitions happening from one scene to other are also done neatly. The twist and turns happening in every reel is beyond our expectation. The new comers who did the companion roles of the heroes and the old man who came in the heroine's father's role have done their best. The melodrama happening in the second half could have been cut short, but we know that in such a situation it can't be avoided.

The film is colorful and technically perfect in every department. Cinematographer Ajayan
Vincent, who comes from the living legend Vincent master's family, had once again did a promising job through some rich visuals. Editor Bijith Bala had given some neat cuts. Vidyasagar's couple of fast numbers won't be the best, but it goes with the mood. Bg score by Biji Bal is excellent and gave the tempo it required. Fight sequences by Thyagarajan is not an over doze. Dubbing department has done their part well for the majority of characters and Shammi Thilakan, Sharath, Harishanth etc needs claps in such an area along with the girl who gave voice for heroine's friend.

From the output, it is evident that the new script writers G.S.Anand and Najim Koya did a good home work for developing such a theme. The fast paced style in story telling by the director Sibi Malayil has helped the project to lift a lot. Nithya is charming and done well in the heroine's role. Her actions and emotions are attractive. Asif Ali, who did the guest role in 'Kadha Thudarunnu', had got a different range here and has performed well. Though there are ups and down in executing the role, Nishan also suits the character.

It is good to have hero oriented subjects, but at the same time please
don't avoid different attempts like 'Apoorva Raagam' also. Other than simply sitting and raising criticism (by praising other language movies), it is better to watch it and welcome more like this in future.

'Apoorva Raagam' is an youthful romantic thriller which has ever happened in malayalam in the recent past.

Rating : 8 / 10

Friday, July 16, 2010

Malarvaady Arts Club

Medium : Malayalam
Starring : Prakasan, Purushu, Santhosh, Kuttu, Praveen, Revathy, Geethu, Nedumudi Venu, Jagathy, Suraaj Venjarammoodu
Director : Vineeth Sreenivasan
Music : Shaan Rahman

A movie done by many new faces in lead characters, 'Malarvaady Arts Club' has caught attention based on the fact that the singer turned actor Vineeth Sreenivasan has taken the role of the writer-director through the particular project. It is a coincidence that the movie is released at the same time in which his father's movie (as script writer) is also there in theaters. P.Sukumar (director of 'Swa. Le.') is there with a good support as the cinematographer; 'Malarvaady Arts Club' is produced and distributed by actor Dileep. We always raise complaint regarding the accommodation of new comers, the lack of new themes etc and the mollywood industry thinks that this movie can defend such a thing to a certain extend if it can create waves.

The five friends (Prakasan, Purushu, Santhosh, Kuttu, Praveen) are living in a village in the north malabar. Malarvaady Arts Club is the place where they gathers and have their enjoyment. The club and the nearby tea stall are owned by an old man (Nedumudi Venu). The group treats him as their god father. As per his advice, they started a small band. Their first program was a success and they were able to settle a financial liability with it. The lead singer among them, who belongs to a rich family is suffering from a big financial crisis now. To save the family, as per his friend's request, he participates in the reality show and becomes the winner, their problems are solved and he became a celebrity now. This has affected their friendship and lead to certain incidents, how it is solved is told in the climax of 'Malarvaady Arts Club'.

The opening few scenes of the movie were good, but as it goes on, the immaturity of the new director in the scripting side is neatly evident. Other than relying on realistic episodes in facing problems, the writer had created cinematic situations for telling the story. The group fought bravely to done the 'harthal' in their village, but afraid seeing their photo cannot be accepted. They assembles with the musical instruments to form the band felt like that only. The way in which an agent (Janardhanan) is giving them a chance to do program, the scene in which one of the club members participates in a reality show and wins it in a fraction of second are other examples. At that time itself, it was known that what is going to be the climax. The hospital scenes and the friends crying to their ultimate level once the old man is dead, cannot be justified as the intimacy in relationship between the two parties were not shown convincingly before. One of the friends coming to his lover's house and take her in front of the parents after a gentle speech is treated neatly, but it can't be realistic. Crisp editing is required in many shots here and there which is shown unnecessarily. Jagathy's characterization felt unwanted. The singer's father character has got the shades of his own role in the movie 'Kastoorimaan'. 'Reality Show Syndrome' has affected malayalam movies in the last few years, it started with 'Makante Achan', then 'Bharya Onnu Makkal Moonnu' and travelled through 'Nalla Paattukaare' to reach 'Malarvaady Arts Club'.

The challenge taken by the director in selecting many new faces in his debutant project is good, but two of them that comes in the lead roles are having identical looks, which should have been avoided. The shorter guy is imitating Indrans in the performance and dialogue delivery. The lover character got some claps for the performance he did in the back stage scene. Though they all did well, among the five new faces no one can be rated extra ordinary. The opening scene of the movie, introduction scenes of Salim Kumar and Suraaj Venjarammoodu, the 'harthaal' episode, the party office scenes etc has been neatly handled by the director. Political satirical dialogues has got Sreenivasan's style. The female characters (the newly married girl and the singer's sister), has not got any thing big to perform.

Songs by Shaan Rahman ('Ee Pattanathil Bhootham', 'Coffee @ MG Road' fame) for Vineeth Sreenivasan's lines, are not the best. 'Avan Kashmalan...' song has got a different lyrics and rendering style, but it has not been included in the movie. Bg score, done in the modern style, has Vineeth's humming dominated in many areas. The climax song lacks punch. This is an ordinary work by cinematographer Sukumar.

Since Vineeth Sreenivasan was born in the movie family of an experienced actor, writer and director, he has got the chance to breath and understand movie right from the childhood days, hence such a debut creativity cannot be accepted simply keeping silence...

Tamil industry has got notable movies like 'Subramanyapuram', 'Naadodikal' etc that deals with friendship related themes, it is our fate that we have got an average movie like 'Malarvaady Arts Club' which also comes under the same category, to project in front of them...

Rating : 5.5 / 10

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Milenge Milenge

Medium : Hindi
Starring : Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Satish Shah, Aarti Chabria

Director : Satish Kaushik

Music : Himesh Reshammiya, Sanjay Chowdhary (bg score)

'Jab We Met', acted by Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor is one of the best hindi movies that got released in the last 10 years. The off screen affair and separation between stars has alway
s been a talk of the town, when we take the case of bollywood. Thus 'Milenge Milenge' has also been a matter of such discussion forums, the reason is mentioned above. Shahid and Kareena are the main participants here. They are acting together after a short gap. Such things have never attracted me. Even in the middle of memories of 'Jab We Met', the main factor that pulled me back is the director of this movie. Satish Kaushik, an actor also, had given directed movies like 'Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja', 'Prem', 'Hum Aap Ke Dil Mein Rahte Hai', Tere Naam', 'Karzzz' etc. 'Milenge Milenge', produced by Roop Ki Rani's husband Boney Kapoor is a late release, after being rested for many months.

Priya (Kareena Kapoor), is ambitious and she wants her partner to be a gentle man without any bad habits like smoking, drinking etc. When she met an astrologer (Kiron Kher),
the latter tells that Priya is going to meet her partner within a week and that too in Bangkok, at a sea shore. She is being selected along with his friends from the college, to visit Bangkok. Immy (Shahid Kapoor), a rich guy with all the bad habits is enjoying the life and he also reached Bangkok with his friends. One day, he accidentally went through Priya's personal diary and decided to act like a good man. Soon they became closer to each other, without her notice Immy continued the habits of smoking and drinking. Priya found her diary's photo copy from Immy's room and thus became the reason for them to be got separated. He begged for pardon by telling that he will be changing his habit. He assumes that all that happened between them is due to faith and destiny. Priya took a 50 rupee currency and wrote Immy's name and phone number on it. She bought a book from the stall for that money. On the second page of the book, she has written her name and number and sold it at another place. Now, she tells that if destiny wants a re-union between two, then fate will bring those two properties back to them. What happens to their relationship is told in the later areas of 'Milenge Milenge'.

When the heroine wrote something on the currency, suddenly I came to know that it is not a fresh idea. The same situation has happened in the 2003 tamil movie 'J J', directed by Saran starring Madhavan, Pooja and Nisha Kothari. Now it is known that both these were taken from the English movie, 'Serendipity'. Cinematographer S.Sriram, who worked with the same director before in 'Tere Sang' and 'Tere Naam', has not given extraordinary visuals to be mentioned. He has also done a malayalam movie 'Thanmathra'. Songs by Himesh Reshammiya, with the nasal tone, are not the best. The songs are also happening in unwanted situations.

As expected, Satish Kushik has presented the movie is a very ordinary way only. Lengthy shots and non realistic situations had made the movie a boring one. We can't request big from from such a poor story. The way in which the astrologer tells about heroine's partner doesn't look realistic. The hero and his friends doing the female make up is shown 1000 times before. The actors who did the role of hero's companions has not delivered their best. The thief running with the book is a childish thing. The journey done by the hero and heroine to find their lovers is a wastage of time. The relationship between the father and the hero doesn't felt serious. Without a commendable situation in it, it is not easy to analyze the performance of Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor in 'Milenge Milenge'.

No need to waste your precious time watching a boring movie like 'Milenge Milenge'.

Rating : 4 / 10

Monday, July 12, 2010

Knight and Day

Medium : English
Starring : Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz
Director : James Mangold

Though hollywood star Tom Cruise came to the acting arena in the beginning 80's through movies like 'Top Gun', 'A Few Good Men' etc it was the hit movie, 'Mission Impossible' which happ
ened in the mid 90's that made him widely notable. He has done two more sequels for 'MI' and in the epic subject, 'The Last Samurai' he has got a different appearance. Anyway years before, Tom Cruise has become yet another hero in the country where English projects can be marketed under his label. His latest movie 'Knight and Day' has got Cameron Diaz as the heroine. She has done big movies like 'The Mask', 'Charlies Angels', 'My Best Friends Wedding' etc. She gave the voice for the princess role in the 3d animation hit series 'Shrek'. It is directed by James Mangold, the creator of Psycho thriller 'Identity'.

Two strangers, Roy (Tom Cruise) and June (Cameron Diaz) met at the airport, while travelling to Boston. Roy, the secret agent is being followed by certain group, as June is seen talking with him, they assumes th
at both are companions. She was on the way to attend her sister's wedding. Roy saves her from the gang and left her in a safer place. Due to certain circumstances, both of them meet again. Now only she is aware that some gang is following her. June is having a deep affection towards Roy due to his caring attitude. He reveals the secret that he is having a powerful battery and the group want to grab it from him. Now both of them escaped to a safe hide outs in an island. They have to leave that area since as they were located. At this time, the CIA officers contacted her and gave the real truth behind Roy and they wants her to surrender. She agrees and they have surrounded Roy. What happens to the clever hero, how he takes revenge on the real culprits is told in the later portions of 'Knight and Day'.

The story of the movie is not new, we have seen similar situations many times in hollywood before. The 'Bourne Identitly' series and some James Bond movies are few examples. T
he hero belongs to a certain organization, the villains and his colleagues are chasing him for getting some valuable information or to collect certain things. Here it comes in the form of battery. The incidents here are happening in different parts of the globe like Boston, Austria, Germany, Spain, Mexico etc. The hero escapes from different places with the heroine and reaches a far away destination with in a flash, which can be called as 'cinematic'. In such an action subject no use in questioning such things. As every hollywood hero, Roy drives a car, a racing bike and at the most an air craft also. In few areas, the chroma shots are evident.

Tom Cruise and C
ameron Diaz did well in their roles. The combination scenes between them are good as they are having a mix of action and comedy. The chasing scenes are done well, especially the bull chase in Spain. The cinematography and the bg sore are another area that needs special mention.

I am extremely happy to watch an English movie with subtitle in theaters, the first of this kind happened in my life, hope a few others who were in the hall also experienced the same thrill...

'Knight and Day' is an action-comedy thriller by Tom Cruise with a theme discussed several times before. Even then you can watch it as a time pass.

Rating : 7 / 10