Adi Kapyaaray Koottamani Malayalam Movie Review

If one is to look deep down into the depth and content of "Adi Kapyaaray Koottamani", it gives an impression of a threadbare storyline exaggerated into a two hour movie. But what makes it a watchable outing is the combo performance of Aju Varghese and Neeraj Madhav who just rocked giving the film another dimension and much needed facelift.
It all revolves around a girl who lands up in a Boys hostel locked up unable to come out of it without getting caught by anyone. A hilarious plot indeed with ample scope for some witty moments to keep things moving.
But the thing is that the story seemed too stretched for a one hundred and thirty minutes of full length film. Humour plays a huge part and what that saved the film is definitely the performance of Neeraj and Aju whose comic timing was a major highlight boosting the film from sinking.
Adding another angle and twist to the finishing stages was a good thought and it worked out nicely but still I feel it could have been better.
Friday Film House introduces John Varghese as the director, their sixth introduction into that job which is a good thing giving chances to new and talented people. John has not done badly in a weak plot that in my view would have been best as a thirty minute film.
On the performance side, as said its Neeraj Madhav and Aju Varghese who stole the show from the rest. Dhyan Sreenivasan could not make much of an impact while Vineeth Mohan looked okay. Namitha Pramod did her part as the girl locked up inside the hostel. Mukesh and and Biju Kuttan created some good laughs and on the whole their performances were notable.
Good cinematography and clean edits with an okay background score from Shaan Rahman. That song captured in a single shot was definitely a good attempt to break from the conventional way of shooting and thinking out of the box.
Overall, the film does not have a great storyline to boast about. With a wafer thin content, there is a feel of stretching things too far but the humour, witty dialogues and acting of Aju and Neeraj as Bruno and Remo respectively saves the film from a total whitewash. Its a watchable film but all at your own risk. My rating for "Adi Kapyaaray Koottamani" is two and a half out of five.
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Two Countries Malayalam Movie Review

Two Countries can be divided into two portions. One is where the story that happen in Kerala while there is another portion that unfold in Canada. Without doubt Dileep has a major role to play in both these. While Aju Varghese give him company back home, it is Suraj who is there with the actor in the foreign land.
The chemistry between these actors on the comedy side is the major highlight of Two Countries. Of late, the comedies we see from Dileep were getting substandard though for some unknown reasons, they used to work out at the box office. At the same time, critics were panning those films showing no mercy at all.
Here in Two Countries, comedy is the backbone and it has worked out to the advantage of the film without any sort of irritating feel. For a festive season, this is an apt film that you can pick to watch and enjoy with your family.
The story revolves around Ullas and Laya. The former is a petty fraudster dreaming of making it big one day. He is settled in Kerala while the latter is a Malayali girl from Canada. Situation bring them together and the movie show us all the fun that happen during the course of their union.
Though director Shafi is going through a lean patch of late with a series of duds at the box office, his films with Dileep (Kalyanaraman and Marykundoru Kunjadu) were superhits. So naturally there were some expectation and hope that the reunion of this successful team would not be a bad experience.
They haven't disappointed here and have come out with a movie watchable for all class of audience. Comedy is the main ingredient of Two Countries though at a certain point as per the demands of the storyline situation takes a serious tone.
Scripted by Shafi's elder brother Rafi, Two Countries has a screenplay that is trying to exploit the festive mood of the people here and has come out with flying colours in that mission. Though couple of things shown were questionable, it is a basic fact that in movies of this genre there are no questions involved.
For Dileep, performing the role of Ullas is a cakewalk. He has done innumerable roles like this before and this character is just an extension of some of his previous flicks. The thing is there is zero presence of non-veg jokes that will literally push the family audience to theatres to watch him.
Mamta Mohandas did her role as Laya in a neat fashion. We have previously seen her onscreen chemistry with Dileep in My Boss and this is another film showcasing the success of this combination and the form they are in when they unite.
Aju Varghese and Suraj Venjaramudu handled the comedy side with success teaming up with Dileep evoking some hilarious moments. Hareesh of Kunjiramayanam fame is also there in a brief role with his typical Kozhikodan slang.
Mukesh excelled in his role in the latter half of the film in a character that had a humour shade. Asokan, Srinda, Lena, Vinayaprasad, Jagadesh and Vijayaraghavan are also there who supported the main actors well. Rafi also is playing an important role that looked okay. Makarand Deshpandey who made a big presence in Amen could not do much while Isha Talwar had little role to do.
Nice cinematography along with decent music and background score from Gopi Sundar. Edits were also okay.
Overall, Two Countries is an ideal film for a vacation season that you can choose without any inhibition. With right dose of fun, drama and emotion, the film has the thread in it to entertain you.
The rating is three and a half out of five which many of you might question given the genre of the film Two Countries is but the kind of entertainment and enjoyment it gave to me, this score I feel is a fair one.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Jo and The Boy : Malayalam Movie Review

Rojin Thomas who was one among the directors of Philips and The Monkey Pen write and direct Jo and The Boy, a film that has a thought provoking subject and told with lot of importance for music and visuals. There is some element of positive energy in the film as the plot tell us to go for the limits to achieve our childhood dreams.
On the downside, we have a film that preaches too much and also after the second half, the plot runs out of steam to put a full stop to the proceedings.
Each one of us have aspirations, passion and dreams when all of us were young. Some of us think the unthinkable and realise our goals and dreams while some others fade out achieving nothing.
Jo and The Boy belong to one such Joan Mary John played by Manju Warrier who had a dream and to achieve that, she quits her teaching job and become an animator in the field of animation and film making. How this is achieved and with whose help and support she complete the biggest aim of her life is what is shown in the film.
So we have a lively and colorful first half that gets a bit torturous and indigestible towards the final stages. Screenplay should have been reworked to give a normal feel in the final one hour or so.
The transformation of the boy Chriz to an overnight celebrity and his actions thereafter was too much to ask for and looked too melodramatic and artificial. Also, how the change in mood happened to the boy and how his relationship with Jo went to a stage of beyond control was told in an unconvincing fashion.
Manju Warrier who is in her second innings had the bulk of the screen presence as she is there in almost every frame as the title character of Jo. It was a good effort that sometimes looked a bit over too. Sanoop Santhosh did his part but as I said, his swing in the moods was taking a toll on the boy who was till that moment doing a fine job.
Lalu Alex, Kala Renjini, Pearly Maney, Rekha, Kiran and Sunil Sugadha are part of the supporting casts. By the by what was Sudheer Karamana doing as the leader of a "dreaded" quotation gang. Well his transformation was funny in the way it was done.
Rejin and his team has given maximum care in the visual aspects. Rich and colorful frames along with the beauty of the locale where the film was shot gave an eye candy experience for the audience. Also the animation team has done a cool job to give the film a fillip.
Jo and The Boy is projected as a musical film but did too much of songs cast a bad shadow on the overall outcome is the next question. The answer is to an extent yes as each time some sort of positives and success happen to the leading lady and her team we have a lengthy song appearing to boost the success party and to convey the same.
What this did was extending the overall duration and also slowing down the flow of the plot. At one hundred and fifty six minutes, Jo and The Boy is too lengthy. Background score was good while the camera work was excellent.
Overall, there are takeaways for everyone of us from a movie like this. At the same time, the momentum with which the film was progressing could not be sustained till the very end leaving one watching it only partially satisfied. The film is watchable for its technical side and also for the visual richness. My rating is two and a half out of five.
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Charlie Malyalam Movie Review

All the hype surrounding "Charlie" the latest film from Martin Prakkat reached its full crescendo before its release. Actually, the makers had kept a low profile for the film but it is the fans and the audience that created a big noise about the film creating an impression that something big and special is on its way.
If you look from that angle, Charlie would be a disappointment. But without the baggage of expectations, the film is an average one good for a one time watch. Trying to present a film in a different format, Charlie is a mini road movie where one individual is in search of another.
Tessa who loves freedom and does everything in an "abnormal" way end up in a lodge occupying a room previously occupied by a young man. The identity of this man is a mystery to all and the way he moves along in his life in a total unpredictable nature makes Tessa curious about this guy.
She goes in search of Charlie and the movie basically show her journey and also show the life of some people who are influenced by him.
Martin Prakkat along with his screenplay writer Unni.R has tried to narrate a waferthin storyline in a totally different format. I would say they have succeeded in that mission only partially. As the film approached the finishing stages, I was expecting something different and that didn't happen. Though I liked the ending, a feel of an abrupt ending was felt.
The film takes some time to get some life into it. Slowness is there that acts as a major barrier in taking the film forward. The latter half begins well and on a personal note, loved that scene where our hero does something that was a major delight for the fans of Dulquer. What it is, well I don't want to be your party spolier.
One of the major factor that played a part in creating a big buzz before the release was the bearded appearance of Dulquer Salman that brought out some guessings that he is playing a larger than life role.
Nothing of that sort here. Charlie our title protagonist is an ordinary man living life in a casual way spreading happiness in the life of others. He has done the job given to him with sincerity and was able to pull himself up with an effort as per the demands of the character.
Parvathy who is one of the highly successful actress in the recent times enjoying a success wave is back pairing Dulquer. She didn't disappoint either and the first half has her enjoying more screen presence than our hero who takes over from the latter half.
Aparna Gopinath, the other heroine does not have a major role to play. Nedumudi Venu and his flashback story made a good impact. Shoubin Shahir was in a small role but even then he made his presence felt. Supporting roles for Chemban Vinod, KPAC Lalitha, Kalpana and Tovino Thomas.
Jomon.T.John as usual with his camera gave the film a different visual experience. Gobi Sundar's background score was notable and among the songs not all of them could make its say to my favourite list. Loved that title song and would like it to hear it again.
Charlie is not everyone's cup of tea. Leave all your expectations back home and then try watching it. For me it was an average film. The treatment is different but the content is not big with an uneven pace that acts as a roadblock . I am going with two and a half out of five for Charlie.
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Bajirao Mastani Movie Review

When it comes to the visualisation part, Sanjay Leela Bhansali always go one step further with lavish sets, elegant and colourful frames with lot of songs & dance. All in all it will be a film rich and high in production values. His latest film Bajirao Mastani, a period drama has everything mentioned above in the true Bhansalian style.
Bajirao Mastani is a film with soul backed by powerful performances, excellent background score and couple of well choreographed war sequences. Even though these factors compensate for the lagging post-interval portion, one gets a feel of exhaustion once the final reel runs.
I am not taking any credits away from SLB who has conceptualised a magnum opus that falls short of that but still is a watchable film for its artistic and quality value.
The film which is set in the eighteenth century revolves around Maratha General Bajirao Bhallal Bhat who fought and won many battles making the Maratha empire a strong and powerful one. In one such battle, he helps Bhundelkhand Maharaja whose Kingdom was about to be invaded by another ruler. During this war, Bajirao win over the heart of Mastani who is the daughter of Bhundelkhand.
Against the wishes of his wife Kasibhai, his mother and the Brahmin community, Bajirao marries Mastani. The film basically show the efforts put in by Bajirao in giving a status equal to his first wife for his second wife too.
Bhansali and his scripting team should have taken little more care in avoiding the dullness and overdose of melodrama that creep in after the halfway mark. There are many cliches typical of the director's usual pattern of presentation but those cliches only enlighten the feel of the film.
As mentioned the cliches are mostly in the form of grand sets, beautiful frames, songs and dance which all are most common in an SLB film.
The biggest contributor to this film are the performances. Director has been successful in extracting the best out of all the actors including the supporting casts.
To be honest, I was not expecting something extra from Ranveer Singh. But the actor in him surprised me. As Bajirao Bhallal, the guy has shown lot of maturity and sincerity to come out with flying colours. Watch him out in those final stages that really show his calibre as an actor and how far he has improved.
Deepika as Mastani was upto the task and has taken lot of pain and effort in portraying the role assigned to her. The result is there for all of us to see. Priyanka Chopra was outstanding and the best among the heroines though she has little screen share compared to Deepika. Kasibhai was safe and secured in her hands. Tanvi Azmi as Bajirao's mother Radhabhai was powerful in her portrayal of the character she was enacting.
The actor who portrayed the role of Bajirao's brother was also a notable one who could make a big impact. Small small roles for actors like Milind Soman and Aditya Pancholi but nevertheless they were quite good too.
One cannot forget the contributions from the camera work of Sudeep Chatterjee who has beautifully created a visual treat with his work. Background score is excellent while the art and costumes department have done a remarkable job in giving the film a vibrant feel.
There are hiccups and flaws, there is lagness as the pace is lost towards the end but in spite of these cons, there are some pros too in this Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie. Its a watchable and a good historical film that had ample scope in it to be a far better one. My rating for Bajirao Mastani is three and a half out of five.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Creed Movie Review

It would have been a big miss had I not seen "CREED", the latest from the Rocky Franchise. Released few weeks back here, somehow I was hesitant to make a move to watch Creed. Strangely what kept be unmoved to give it a try is still not known to me.
Anyways coming to the film, in my view Creed is a perfect movie to follow the franchise of Rocky and perfectly fills in the boot of the Stallone starrers that was high in spirits, motivation, inspiration and energy. Creed quite perfectly fill in the gap created by Sylvester Stallone who is by now quite old to do anything as age has caught up with him. Michael.B.Jordan takes the baton from the aged superstar in a remarkable fashion.
The film has Adonis Donnie Johnson as the title protagonist who is actually the son of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. Coincidentally, Junior Creed hires Rocky Balboa as his trainer who was once a rival to his father but later turned out to be friends.
Adonis has the blood of his father and his passion is definitely boxing. He wants to earn a name for himself without using his famed surname and prove to the world that he is not a mistake. To achieve his dream and passion, he convince Rocky Balboa to help him.
I should say the film just like its predecessors offer lot of energy and action both inside and outside the ring. Though physically and health wise Rocky has lost it, in terms of motivation and giving inspiration to fight, he still has it in him to go for the ultimate. It is this spirit that keeps Junior Creed in better shape of mind till the very end.
The choreography of action needs no special words as it is the major highlight of Rocky series. True to its style, Creed retains the same punch and excitement keeping the audience on their toes for the entire duration.
Last of the fight, the twelve round bout between Adonis pitted against an experienced Ricky Conlan was an absolute delight to watch and the fights were looking brutal and had the feel of a real boxing match. The edits were too sharp that made it look so real.
Michael.B.Jordan perfectly fitted into the role of Adonis Creed while Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa just rocked. This time Stallone had more to do on the acting side as the coach with lot of talking to do. Tessa Thomson as Bianca and the love interest of Adonis did her part quite well. Rest of the actors did the supporting part in a neat way.
Nice cinematography and perfect cuts required for this genre of a film. Background music was also giving a pumping feel to lift the overall mood.
We have been seeing Rocky Balboa rocking the boxing arena through the franchise for decades. Creed is the perfect movie to come out following the footsteps and legacy of the Rocky series.
Overall, a well crafted, action packed and emotionally binding film from Ryan Coogler. If you are a keen and an ardent follower of the Rocky series, my advise is you shouldn't miss out Creed. The rating is four out of five.
Rating - 4 / 5

Dilwale Hindi Movie Review

One could easily identify the zone where director Rohit Shetty belongs if we are to take a quick glance through all of his films for which he has wielded the megaphone. Famous for mass masala entertainers, it would be foolish of anyone to expect something classy even if its a love story bringing back one of Bollywood's greatest romantic pair into their safe zone.
His latest film Dilwale is no different either . Following a similar tone of his previous flicks, this SRK starrer apart from the massy substance on offer and also the nostalgic factor suffer from bad writing and poor presentation.
On the nostalgic factor mentioned above, I was referring to the lead pair of Sharukh Khan and Kajol who were last seen together five years back in "My Name is Khan". Their onscreen chemistry doesn't need any endorsement from anyone now since they are a proven pair sharing unbeatable onscreen chemistry. But sad to say that they could not save the film and their chemistry was very limited and the blame baggage should definitely go to the director here.
The story has romance between Raj and Meera that is more than a decade old. We are taken fifteen years back on how they met and fall for each other. The whole plot is built around two underground mafia gang lead by actors Kabir Bedi and Vinod Khanna. Into the present, we also have youngster Varun Dhawan (brother of Raj) with his romantic track that was far from convincing either.
Dilwale begins on a shaky note with the first one hour just wandering about without much excitement introducing the audience to various characters and of course the flash back part of the storyline.
Rohit was able to bring about some element of life into the film after the initial one hour infusing energy through action, comedy and songs shot in a colourful way. Those are all areas in which he is an expert. But the overall packaging and writing cannot save Dilwale from sinking.
Talking about comedy, it did not work out completely well with some of the jokes falling apart without any impact while some could evoke good laughter. The thing is we had comedians Johny Lever, Sanjay Mishra and Boman Irani partly in a negative role to make us laugh. If the writing lets down the film, what can these actors do!!
One could never expect the magic of DDLJ and the magical screen presence of the lead pair to do wonders again. As a romantic entertainer, Dilwale suffer mainly due to a badly written screenplay with a no substance storyline. I am disappointed though I was not expecting a miracle from Rohit Shetty to show something special. The rating is two out of five.
Rating - 2 / 5

Thamasha Movie Review

What keeps you sit patiently and watch the one hundred and forty minutes of drama is the performance factor of the lead pair and their on screen chemistry that looks stunning. But apart from that, Tamasha from director Imthiaz Ali is enjoyable only in parts that fails to click completely.
Ved who is a fun loving and free-spirited guy and Tara meet for the first time in Corsica, an Island in France. They decide not to reveal their real identity to each other and introduce themselves as Don and Mona darling, the famous filmy characters from Bollywood. The couple spend some valuable time in the company of each other and return back to India parting ways.
But they bump into each other years later, four years to be precise but to Tara's surprise find that Ved has changed from that free-spirited youth to something that she could not imagine.
The fun element is mostly reserved for the first one hour or so. It seems Imthiaz Ali wanted to pass a strong message which he conveyed loud and clear in the post-intermission portion. Tamasha ask us to break out of the shell and live for our dreams revealing our true identity instead of keeping our aspirations close to our heart within ourselves. Something good that we can take back home.
Still the path through which Tamasha travel do turn boring with less excitement and as said, its the performance and Ranbeer-Deepika onscreen presence that helps the film to be a one time watchable one. They duo pump in lot of energy through their efforts and watching them on screen was a treat. The scene were Deepika breaks in front of Ranbeer confessing her mistakes was an absolute delight to watch and at the same time touchy too.
Tamasha has high visual appeal. Supported by excellent behind the camera works, S Ravi Varman has captured the beatiful Island of Corsica giving a rich and beautiful feel and colour tone to the film. One also cannot forget the contributions from music maestro A R Rahman whose tracks and background score had a magical and mystical feel to it.
One can find the director borrowing concepts already shown by himself here. How far you can enjoy the film and how you find the presentation of love and ways of living totally depend on your tastes. There are moments that will stay with you but taking the film completely, I could find it only as an average one. The rating is two and a half out of five for Imthiaz Ali's Tamasha.
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Su Su Sudhi Valmeekam Malayalam Movie Review

A movie that more than justify its tagline, thats Ranjith Shankar's Su.. Su.. Sudhi Valmeekam. The tagline says "Su+Su+Sudhi=Two Hours and Eleven Minutes of Happiness" and the film provide happiness and good positive energy. Its all the more heartwarming to note that the story is based on a true character who is close to the director himself.
Very few films these days can provide motivation and inspiration to the people watching it and Ranjith Shankar's latest flick belong to that genre of a film that oozes out these two factors for the entire running time without any drama or unwanted tensions.
Narrated in a very simple manner, the story is based on a real life character who has stammering disorder. Sudhi, the protagonist always find this a problem wherever he goes. Majority of this problem is created by the society by poking fun and also taking the stammering disorder as something big.
The film portray how he overcome the hurdles and transfer into a successful human being. In the process, certain people comes into picture playing a part in this transformation which is narrated beautifully through a well written screenplay.
Ranjith Shankar and Jayasurya join together after the success of Punyalan Agarbatis which had humour in the backdrop. So there are chances the viewers go with an expectation of such a film with fun element. But humour has very little or no presence here as the story doesn't demand such things though little dose of light hearted moments from Sunil Sugadha is there for some laughs.
The story is told by Sudhi himself to actor Mukesh who play himself and through a journey the plot takes its shape which doesn't lag or make one uncomfortable with a dull feel though the pace at which the events unfold is quite slow.
Jayasurya is in fine form as Sudhi and it was a perfect casting as the actor has brilliantly portrayed the character justifying the faith of the director in casting him. When portraying characters with physical disabilities and disorders, there are chances the acting not synching well with the character. But such a case here is out of question as we have a talented actor portraying that role.
Shivatha Nair made a convincing act as Kalyani. There is another girl also that has a small part to play and she was also a good choice. KPAC Lalitha, TG Ravi, Sunil Sugatha, Muthumani and Irshad are also there to support. Mukesh as himself impressed in an extended cameo. Aju Varghese this time was not in a comic role and his serious act was okay.
Vinod Illampally who earlier impressed me in Padmakumar's Jalam put in another notable work on the cinematography side. Edits were okay. Bijipal was able to come up with couple of good songs to his credit with matching background score.
Overall, Su..Su..Sudhi Valmeekam is a feel good family film that we can watch in a relaxed state of mind and offer lot of good things. It makes us change our attitude in a positive way without the tone of any preachings. I was impressed with the story, direction, treatment and good performance from Jayasurya. The message conveyed through a true story is something which we all can take back home and the rating is three and a half out of five.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Rajamma @ Yahoo Malayalam Movie Review

Rajamma @ Yahoo, the catchy title give an impression of an all out and rollicking fun entertainer but in reality the fun part is there only in limited dose. Whatever humour and entertainment is there work only in parts.
There are moments of light hearted humour that can tickle the funny bone but the change of story from certain stage avoiding humour and replacing it with an out of place serious drama spoil the party for Reghu Rama Varma's debut outing Rajamma @ Yahoo that could not offer a fresh story nor treatment other than an attractive title.
Rajamma and Yahoo (nicknames of characters played by Kunchacko and Asif Ali respectively) are two brothers who lost their parents at a very young age leaving them with no one to look after other than few local people. The boys grew up in a huge house bought by their father which they cannot dispose off due to documentation problems. But the brothers earn their livelihood by renting out rooms of this huge house. One such renting lands them in some sort of trouble and connect them to some serious stuff.
Till the halfway mark, humour and fun in the script kept things moving but the introduction of the film where the brothers give a helping hand to the leading lady supporting her cause turned the tables around. From there the script turned out to be a pretty easy guessing game with too much cliches. There was scope for something good where the laziness and spoilt life style of the two protagonists could have been worked to the film's advantage but here it is a classic case of how such a chance is wasted.
As I said, there was ample scope for an all and out comedy entertainer exploiting the characters of Rajamma and Yahoo. But here what happened was their story was sidelined and the prominence angle shifted to someone and something else. Even the humour part I won't say have worked out completely. Some did evoke laugh while majority of the jokes fell apart.
Kunchacko Boban and Asif Ali made a great combination and sadly the director and the writing team could not take full advantage of their onscreen chemistry. Nikki Galrani didn't look comfortable in a half baked role but Anusree was able to make a mark for herself.
Hareesh in his typical slang and style was a saving grace and made sure his comic act was well accepted by the audience. Renji Panicker was okay while Shajon did a pretty good job but somewhere along the line, he goes missing from the scene.
Camera work was pretty decent. Editing was okay with some cuts not doing any good for the film. Music and background score from Bijipal was disappointing this time, which was quite surprising.
Overall, its a disappointing end result. Comedy and fun is what we expect from such films but sidelining that and bringing a predictable and uninteresting plot midway leaves the film on a sore note. The rating is one and a half out of five for Rajamma @ Yahoo, a film that has nothing to boast about.
Rating - 1.5 / 5

Jalam Malayalam Movie Review

Discussing a very strong subject and passing a very good message to the society, director M. Padmakumar's "JALAM" is a touching movie that makes for a compelling watch.
With a thought provoking subject with very huge relevance in a developing place like Kerala especially Kochi, Jalam is one movie where Padmakumar has gone one step ahead with his presentation compared to all his previous flicks without touching Vasthavam which is still my personal favourite out of all his films.
Before further digging more into Jalam, let me first salute the makers who have come up with a Charity film. If the information I have is correct, then this is the first of a kind for Indian movie industry. The hot topic of discussion in Jalam is landless people and all the revenue that is to be generated through the film will be used for the rehabilitation of landless peope.
What the film portray through an intense and powerful presentation of the story is about two couples who receive a small piece of land near Aluva as part of 'Pattayam' issued by the State Government. They dream of making a small house of their own but to their utter dismay find that the survey number through which the land has been issued belong to someone else. In other words, they have no rights whatsoever to this land and are left helpless.
Now the two of them doesn't give up but situation changes when the husband of the girl travels to his homeland Chengara to sort everything.
In the name of development, people's land is acquired but no one cares for their rehabilitation. Jalam discuss this topic. Same way, common man faces lot of hardship when it comes to approaching Govt offices and agencies for obtaining approvals and licenses. This is another issue shown in an honest manner. Chengara Land struggles that created big media attention and furore few years back is also playing a part here.
S.Suresh Babu is the screenplay writer of Jalam and he has written a convincing screenplay touching many issues that we face and come across in our daily life and that happen on a very frequent basis. Kudos to him and his director to come up with such a powerful film presented in a simple way.
Priyanka portray a character that has a very big screen presence right from the start till the very end. She has come up with a great attitude in presenting that character doing total justice to it and ensuring that the faith shown by the makers in casting her doesn't go wasted.
Jain Syriac as the husband was another actor who made his acting count. One scene that he made a mark and that is also a touching one is when he beg the Thahasildar to help him citing their dreams and the hardships they are facing currently. Sethulakshmi as usual did her part supported by Prakash Bare and P.Balachandran. Haresh Peradi looked less convincing this time in a role unsuited for him.
Neat cinematography by Vinod Illampally and backed by sharp edits from Ranjan Abraham. Ouseppachan did his part on the music and BGM side as per the demands of the theme but more than the music, its the lyrics that stood out with some powerful lines that matched the situation and issues.
I was deeply moved by the film and its content. Though at times it had a preachy tone on a minimal level, cannot ignore the noble intentions behind this venture and its relevant theme. My rating for Jalam is four out of five and a thumbs up to Padmakumar this time.
Rating - 4 / 5

My Life Partner Malayalam Movie Review

Well the courage and boldness shown in selecting the subject of gay relationship deserves a big round of applause. Apart from that, the film is a worthy watch for the presentation of the content as well as the genuineness in the treatment of the sensitive subject without giving any loose ends for a controversial discussion.
"My Life Partner" directed by M.B.Padmakumar won the second best feature film of Kerala 2014 and also has Sudev Nair sharing the best actor award with another actor.
Richard and Kiran are the two male friends. They come from an altogether different cultural background. When Kiran was going through a turbulent patch of his life, the care and support provided by Richard comes in handy as this love and care brought Kiran back to life.
They soon realize that if both of them care and love each other to this extent, they don't need a woman in their life and decide to start living together. Situations and their life change once they decided to have a baby in their life not by adoption which Indian law doesn't allow for a man to do so. The plan was to get Richard who is a bisexual marry and have a child.
Utmost care needs to be taken in the way subjects of this sensitivity is being handled and I should say the director who is a debutant has shown good level of maturity in dealing with it. More than the sexual relationship, its the emotional attachment and bonding between the two that are given focus.
There are chances the plot and dialogues might look indigestible and unnatural and at the same time giving a feel of embarrassment and awkwardness to the people watching it. That never happens which is a sign of the good work from Padmakumar as a director who is also the script writer of this film.
The film try to show that people who share the same feeling of attraction towards the same gender like the way the two protagonists Richard and Kiran share deserve a space in this society which look upon them as different species.
Contradictory to this approach, when the Phycologist character of Sukanya appear and counsel one of the pair, there is a tendency to show that there is some unnatural element against the nature in the relationships between same gender couples. So I think there is an attempt to support both the sides.
Though Prithviraj has done a gay character in Mumbai Police which they revealed in a single scene towards the end, it will be hard to find mainstream actors to do the roles enacted by Sudev Nair and Ameer Niyaz.
Both of them played it as per the requirements and out of which Sudev going one step further in portraying the character of Kiran look real and more convincing. Anusree, Sukanya, Valsala Menon and Geetha Vijayan are also part of the supporting cast. Bijipal's background score was apt and cuts by Sandeep Nandakumar were not bad either along with decent camera work.
Overall for its bold content and the way the delicate and sensitive subject was handled without creating any controversy of sorts, M.B.Padmakumar's My Life Partner is a good attempt in Mollywood breaking from the orthodox set up in terms of the subject. I am going with three and a half out of five as my personal rating for this film.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Jilebi Malayalam Movie Review

There is nothing much to talk about the storyline of Jilebi, the debut film from Arun Shekar. But a feel good factor work positively for the overall outcome of the movie that lands it in a safe zone. A simple message in the end and some fine performances makes this Jilebi taste sweet.
Shilpa (Remya Nambesan) sent her little kids from Dubai to her home in Kerala where her parents and cousin brother Sreekuttan (Jayasurya) are staying. The purpose of Shilpa was to get the kids admitted to a boarding school in Kodaikanal. The story show how the kids spend few days with their grandparents and their journey with their uncle to the school that is narrated with a fun element in the backdrop.
Basically the film is trying to portray the importance of relationships and orthodox lifestyle which has become alienated in the present day world. Director deserves a pat on his back for conveying a nice message in the end without any preachings or melodrama. Of course the storyline is threadbare but little little moments with fun and familiarity that touch you keeps the movie going in the right direction and ultimately ending on a safe territory.
The character of Kuttan played by Jayasurya is a farmer who is a simple and down to earth man. All credits to actor Jayasurya for portrayal of that character in a convincing manner. Equally good was the two kids Master Gaurav and Baby Sayuri who happens to be director's daughter. The kids along with Jayasurya were the main highlight of the film with their natural rendition of their respective characters.
Remya Nambesan did a decent act as the mother of the kids while Sasi Kallinga and Dharmajan handled the comedy side evoking many laughs. Vijayaraghavan, KPAC Lalitha and Shaari are also part of the cast who all did a fine balancing act among the supporting actors.
Arun Shekar on his debut innings is able to make a mark and credit to him for generating the best in terms of performance from the little kids as well as Jayasurya and other senior actors. Screenplay was a simple one without any complex situations as per the demands of the plot. Cinematography was excellent giving the visual side a good lift. Bijipal played his part on the music side with his simple and soothing songs & BGM.
So here is one movie without any tall claims passes the litmus test and actor Jayasurya is again part of such a good film. Irrespective of what the box office does to the movie, I would recommend this film for a one time watch that will not disappoint you. I am going with three out of five for a sweet Jilebi.
Rating - 3 / 5

Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo Hindi Movie Review

Salman Khan came as Bajrangi Baaijaan a few months back as an ordinary man in a character without any amount of heroism. The actor returns again shedding all his macho image tags and again the role he is fitted into doesn't have any dose of larger than life element in it.
Sooraj Barjatya the man who gave us splendid hits like "Maine Pyar Kiya" and "Hum Apke Hain Kaun" wields the microphone again after a gap of almost nine years through "PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO".
Talking about PRDP, it seems the director is still obsessed with the melodrama of the nineties. The hangover of those period is looming large in PRDP. With an outdated content and a lengthy drama, the film is watchable only for the Salman factor and for the money thrown in on constructing a massive set which looks lavish and colourful giving the backdrop a much needed lift from sinking.
Prem Dilwale is the protagonist here who by coincidence lands up in a palace at Pritampur and had to fill the shoe of Yuvraj Vijay Singh. The interesting part here is that Prem and Vijay are lookalikes. Yes we have Sallu in a double role. Now how Prem manages this and how he handle Pritampur's would be Yuvrani is narrated in an old fashioned way in Sooraj Barjatya's Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo.
All the formulas and mannerisms employed by the director two decades back returns with no major changes. So if you are expecting a content which is fresh and novel, you better stay away from this.
As I said, the larger sets with a colourful background do give a bright appeal for the film. The art department can take credits for it but that alone cannot provide wholesome entertainment. The question is whether the story and presentation can make the audience sit through patiently for two hours and in this case it is two hours and fifty minutes which was too much considering the overdose of melodrama.
Salman makes a big impact in PRDP through his dual role. Its more or less a Salman show and the slightest chance of making this movie a watchable one is the screen presence of the actor. Sonam Kapoor was okay as Mythili. Anupam Kher put up an improved and noticeable effort as the Dhiwaan of the palace. Neil Nithin Mukesh, well nothing much to say about him. Rest of the actors could not make much of an impact except Swara Bhaskar as Vijay's younger sister.
Cinematography is perfectly done. Himesh Reshamiya's music and their choreography was perfectly matching the theme of the film. But in reality, one gets a feel of overdose of songs that only helped in loosing the connection with the plot and its flow.
I would put the film as an ordinary one watchable just for Salman Khan. Too much drama and a treatment that looks too old in the present day put Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo on a sticky wicket to bat on. The rating is two and a half out of five and that extra half goes to Salman's overall contribution.
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Anarkali Malayalam Movie Review

Seems the success wave that Prithviraj is riding on is to continue with a hatrick of victories. Anarkali is another good selection from him that he won't regret as the film is a beautiful and intense love story told in the backdrop of picturesque island of Lakshadweep. With excellent visuals and an engaging screenplay from writer Sachi of Sachi-Sethu duo, the directorial debut from the former is a well executed film that will stay for sometime after leaving cinema halls.
Shantanu who leaves the Indian Navy is a diving instructor at Kavaratty. But he has a haunting past that makes him land in Lakshadweep. Anarkali portray the purpose of his travel to this place and dig deep into the serious and intense love between Shantanu and Nadira.
Sachi is successful in presenting a convincing love story where the biggest factor that worked was the chemistry between the lead pair though the two characters are from different states showing language and religion has no place when it comes to the eternal feel of love.
The first half is excellent and end on a promising note. Though the same momentum could not be sustained in the second half, the story makes us root for Shantanu and Nadira. The second half in a way is too lengthy and it seems Sachy was running out of ideas about how to end the film. But everything gets recouped as the audience do not feel letdown once the film close out things.
On screen, Prithviraj once again deliver with a character that has two shades quite effectively. As the cheerful Naval officer and as the love struck and matured Shantanu, the actor portrayed his portions beautifully. Biju Menon in his trademark style handled the humour part and his combination with Pritvi was successful.
Priyal Gor played Naadira Jamam and fitted into that role perfectly. She play a North Indian and speaks Hindi throughout and hence she was in a safe zone since she hail from Mumbai. Kabeer Bedi as Nadira's father impressed with his voice and stubborn act.
I am yet to see Sudev Nair's My Life Partner that won him the State Award for Best actor that he shared with Nivin Pauly. As Naadira's brother speaking half Malayalam, the guy was quite good. Suresh Krishna as Koya talking in the local dialect of Lakshadweep was in a different role this time and quite convincing too.
Miya George along with a host of directors like Shyamaprasad, Major Ravi and VK Prakash appear in brief roles. Renji Panicker who was once a writer and director is a busy actor these days. He is also part of the drama along with Madhupal.
Anarkali the film would be incomplete without mentioning a word about cinematographer Sujith Vasudev. His visuals, frames and coloring pattern lifted the film a lot. Editing by Renjan Abraham is fine but certainly some trimming was required as the film is a tad too lengthy at 167 minutes.
Music by Vidyasagar is another highlight as the songs were apt and what was needed for a love story and as per the demands of this film.
So its more or less a perfect debut innings by Sachi in his role as a director. The film is a good one watchable for all. Barring that extended second half and little dose of lagness felt towards the latter stages, Anarkali is a movie you can definitely go and see without much thinking. The rating this time is three and a half out of five.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Thoongaavanam Movie Review

The last time we saw actor Kamal Hassan in a stylish makeover was in Gautam Menon's "Vettaayadu Vilayaadu". Kamal returns in another stylish get up this time in Thoongaavanam, an action thriller that has the actor occupying bulk of the screen presence in a screenplay written by the man himself.
Thoongaavanam is a speedy thriller that makes a decent watch. Though the plot have many loose ends to fix and also the presence of certain illogical stuffs do make the film on a sticky terrain at times, our leading man takes the film forward till the end. One can say he singlehandedly takes it on his shoulders as he has very little support from the supporting cast though there is an ensemble list of actors to support Kamal.
An adapted version of French film "Sleepless Nights", which I have not seen, the remake from what I have read have not deviated much from the original.
Ninety percent of the movie happen in a night club where Diwakar played by Hassan is in search of his kidnapped son who is in the hands of a drug mafia that is lead by Vittal Rao. Why he landed there and why his son is kidnapped and whether he can rescue his son from the clutches of the gang is what is that is shown in the film.
Director Rajesh M Silva has ensured that the film is engaging throughout the entire duration and he has succeeded in that for the most part except for some minor glitches and slowness in some portions.
There is not much of a suspense involved here as we are literally shown or the revelations are made at an early stage of the film. So in that way the suspense element is almost nullified or killed by halfway. But that doesn't make the Thoongavanam a bad or an underwhelming movie.
On the making side, the film is entirely focused on the character of Diwakar. Rajesh has given a stylish getup for Kamal Hassan with less doses of slow motions. But there are actions that he had to perform and in those sequences, there is no amount of larger than life element in the character of the protagonist.
Talking about action which is one of the major highlight of Thoongaavanam, the action team has done an excellent job to give the film a different dimension. Cinematography is done nicely supported by sharp edits. Background score by Ghibran also lifted the film and the score was perfect for the mood that a thriller film demanded.
If you ask me to list down the major highlights, I would say apart from the presence of Kamal, it would be action choreography, camera work and BGM.
Art department too deserves special mention and have done something good for the film. Sound design is another notable aspect that deserves to be lauded.
Now to the acting, I was impressed with Kamal Hassan as he almost runs the show here with a clean act conveying the emotions of a lost dad and at the same time keeping the look of a cop intact. But sadly he received little support from a big line of actors like Prakash Raj (some funny scenes worked), Sampath and Kishore. Not that they performed badly but didn't reach a level expected from such a line up.
Trisha has done some action sequences here to the best of her abilities but on the emoting side, she was not in a convincing act. The boy who acted as Kamal's son was good in that role. Not sure what was Asha Sharath doing there in a very inconsequential role.
May be it is not upto the expected level but the film is sleak and stylish with a reliastic treatment that lost on pace as the movie progressed. But citing this reason of sluggish pace in the second half; one cannot disregard the film. An intriguing thriller that has its ups and downs, Thoongaavanam is a film worth watching and my rating is three out of five.
Rating - 3 / 5

Ottal Malayalam Movie Review

Jayaraj's 'Ottal' is already in the limelight winning multiple awards at National level. It also happens to be the Best Film at the Kerala State Awards in the year 2014. Now the film has reached theatres and about the movie it won't make you disappointed but rather it will make you root for the character of Kuttapayi and Vallyappachaayi, the two central characters around which the story of Ottal move along.
Adapted from Anton Chekhov's acclaimed short story 'Vanka', this film through a simple narrative will definitely touch you. Jayaraj has added some finely crafted moments without any gimmicks, exaggeration and melodrama that form the very basic ingredients to create the required feel making us instantly connect with the plot.
Vallyappachaayi, also called 'Thaaravu Mappila' and Kuttapayi are the two pivotal characters here and Ottal show us the deep bond, love, friendship and the relationship that the old man share with the boy. As a flashback story, the film show the hardships and cruelty that the boy suffer later on but not on a detailed level and is conveying a strong message against child labor.
Be it extracting excellent performances from the actors, telling the tale through utmost simplicity and directing it to a level that should make a film look remarkable, Jayaraj has succeeded in giving each and every aspect of direction deliver the goods.
After the final moments and one comes out of the cinema halls satisfied, there are finer moments as a takeaway for the audience which will stay with us for sometime. Credit for that goes to the writer and the director for the execution of the screenplay in the best possible manner.
There are only a very few actors in the film as the central theme is knitted around two characters. Kumarakom Madhavan and Master Akshanth are rank new comers but never show that they are facing camera for the first time except very few scenes where they couldn't deliver the expected feel.
Shine Tom Chacko as the 'Mesthiri' has very little role to play but was able to make sure he did his part in a positive way. Few other supporting actors are also part of the film and they didn't create much of an impact.
The visuals of Kuttanad have been brilliantly shot from the camera angle of M J Radhakrishnan. His frames looked too beautiful. Music is composed by Kavalam Narayana Panicker and background score done by Sreevalsan J Menon. Both of them did their part as per the demands of this film.
So here is a film that you shouldn't miss. Ottal is successful in conveying the message it wanted to. Served to the audience in a raw and different format without any commercial flavours, the film has the stuff in it to make the audience appreciate the effort behind it. I will go with three and a half out of five for this work from Jayaraj.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

BEN Malayalam Movie Review

From a relevance perspective, the content discussed in Vipin Atley's "BEN" has very high importance in modern day. The film can definitely act as an eye opener to parents who are almost close to the characters discussed in Ben.
With a neat execution and presentation, the film is a worthy watch and deserves appreciation for Atley who makes a return this time as writer cum director after Homely Meals in which he had a different role to play as an actor apart from writing the screenplay.
The story revolves around a joint family located at Mulavukad, which is twenty five kilometres from Ernakulam boat Jetty. So we have our title protagonist, Ben who is a young boy not much interested in studies. His mother who was not able to study in a good institution wants her boy to go to the best of schools in the City that force the family to relocate to the City.
This doesn't go well with the child as he couldn't come to terms with the city school life that makes him a disturbed character and from here the film takes us to his problems thereafter.
You cannot call "BEN" a children's film. Well it is only partially. Till the halfway mark, there are lighter moments with little humour that suit the young as well as the matured ones. From post-intermission, the film focus on the main content which is somewhat dark.
All the characters have an innocent makeover in them especially since the story unfold in a remote village. Vipin Atley's direction is on the right track that makes the film a watchable one for the most part. He is showing promise here and his future looks good from here on.
One thing that I could not digest is the heavy and matured dialogues coming from the three kids and this happens in the first half which was a bit too much. Also some amount of melodrama towards the end also is a small negativity in an otherwise good film. But these were tolerable and doesn't do any harm for the film's overall likeable aspect.
Gaurav Menon appearing in the title role was a good casting and he puts up a matured performance in the shoe of a child. Apart from Ben, there is another child character named Chaami and he was also impressive and made us laugh as and when he appear.
Suraj Venjaramudu as Ben's father and Anjali Aneesh Upasana as the boy's mother were notable with their acting along with Rajesh Sharma, Anwar Shereef and Kalabhavan Haneef. Good cinematography, edits and BGM from the people who handled these technical sides.
A watchable film with a good message and strong performance, "BEN" directed by Vipin Atley is a sincere attempt with its heart at the right place that will touch you. But with little marketing and promotion happening for the film, it will be difficult to make a strong impact at the all important box office unless word of mouth and promotions in the coming days help out. My rating is three and a half out of five.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Salt Mango Tree Malayalam Movie Review

It is a known fact that getting admission for today's children to some top English medium schools in Cities is no mean task. But is it a herculean task? Thats what "Salt Mango Tree" try to say in a humorous and fun filled way.
The story focus on Aravind and Priya, a middle class couple. The former runs a medical shop while the latter is an Accountant working in a local firm. Shedding light on the present educational system, "Salt Mango Tree" show the effort the two protagonists put together to get their only son admitted to some reputed English Medium school in the City.
Having enough scope for taking a dig at the educational system, interview boards and the way interviews are conducted for children and parents at the time of admission, the spoofing with the humour in the backdrop do act as the entertaining portion in the film.
But the overdose of melodrama at many places makes the proceedings dull. What saves the film from these negative moments are definitely the comedy part, the simpler narrative and Biju Menon's style of acting we see from him these days.
The amount of effort and training that the parents of the children putting in to get their wards admitted to schools was a bit exaggerated.
Rajesh Nair who couldn't taste any box office success in "Annum Innum Ennum" and "Escape from Uganda" direct "Salt Mango" Tree that unconvincingly try to pass some relevant and valuable messages. But in the process the film becomes too preachy. Though watchable primarily for the one liners and comic timing of Biju Menon, the film follow a steady path right from the start till the end.
Biju Menon is the backbone of the film. Without him it would have been an incomplete product and his performance show us he is a bankable and reliable actor even when the chips are down or falling.
Lakshmi Priyaa Chandra whose voice is dubbed quite well makes a perfect foil to Biju Menon as his better half but she was found wanting at some places. Sudheer Karamana, Suhasini, Saiju Kurup, Paris Laxmi, Indrans and Sunil Sugadha are also part of the cast. A special mention to Haresh for his lively comic act in that typical Kozhikodan style.
Cinematography by Vishnu Sharma created a pleasing feel for the eyes. Edits were also fine. Music is by Hesham Abdul Wahab who has done a decent job with his songs. Same opinion about Bijipal's background score which can be trusted on most times.
So now the question is how the movie can be categorised or graded. Of course it is watchable for the humour content and a sincere act from Biju Menon.
The story and narration is pretty straightforward, simple and relevant but too much preachings and some unwanted melodramas puts this family film to be an average one. My rating is two and a half out of five for Rajesh Nair's "Salt Mango Tree".
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Titli Hindi Movie Review

A movie with a realistic touch, Kanu Behl's "TITLI" is a remarkable and engaging crime drama focusing on a dysfunctional family from Delhi's underbelly. Though not belonging to the mainstream Bollywood cinema, Titli has a clean execution from the team behind it to make it a must watch movie.
So its not a conventional crime film that we are used to. The treatment is realistic giving a dark and violent feel. Emotions and attachment do find very little space in Titli as the film transport us to the Old Delhi where this family is located.
On the story side, we have this three brothers and their father and Titli our hero is the youngest of the lot. Unable to find a decent income to run their daily life, they resort to crime and related acts in a desperate attempt to earn quick bucks.
Titli though reluctantly is part of all the disturbing and shabby things that the brothers become part of, he sometimes wants to come out of that messy life conveyed mostly through silent expressions and not through any dialogues.
Some of the violence will naturally have a bad effect on you but once you come out of the cinema halls, Titli is bound to stay on your minds for some time. All credits for that goes to director Kanu Behl and his screenplay.
On that count one cannot take away the contributions from camera man and editor who have splendidly done their part along with the art department in creating a messy home for the family that more or less convey the life that they lead.
Coming to performances which is another area that the film can showcase, Shashank Arora as Titli and Shivani Reghuvanshi as the strong Neelu and Titli's wife; both rank newcomers deliver a matured performance. Amit Sial as the second brother of Titli was natural in his portrayal of the character he was given. Also,the father character done by Lalit Behl has very little to do but have a was a notable presence that should not go unmentioned.
But if you ask to pick one among the actors who is outstanding in the film, it should be Ranvir Shorey who has come out with a career best performance till date to make the character of the elder brother Vikram look so cruel and at times helpless too in a remarkable way.
On the production side we have Yash Raj Films teaming up with director Dibakar Banerjee and really surprised to see YRF making a presence in the parallel film market.
Overall, Titli is NOT your conventional Bollywood crime drama but belong to a different category altogether. With good direction backed by solid acting performances, the film is highly recommended from my side. I am going with four out of five for Titli.
Rating - 4 / 5

Paranormal Activity : The Ghost Dimension Review

Paranormal Activity :The Ghost Dimension has very little as a horror movie that can scare you. Whatever little is there to horrify is all reserved for the final twenty minutes or so.
Until that time, it is more or less boring and as a horror movie; PA The Ghost Dimension is a failed attempt in catching up to match the excitement and horror of the very first part.
People who have watched all the six parts (correct me if I am wrong) know very well that the franchise was on the downward slide. Its too much now with all the thrills vanishing into thin air with nothing fresh to say. So the bottom line here is that its high time the franchise gets a much needed full stop.
In an all too familiar storyline, a couple Riyan and Emily move to their newly created home along with their little daughter Leila. Another couple join soon them. Strange things start happening and the family realize that their daughter has an invisible friend who has something bad for the family.
Just like all the series, its the camera from a third person's viewpoint through which the activities are captured.
The problem with the movie and for most of the movies from this genre are that they are running out of steam and failing to create something fresh in treatment.
PA The Ghost Dimension is shot partly in 3D but with very little effects to boast about. Just to show the presence of the ghostly figure, they have gone in for the third dimensional view but it has not worked out and at the same time didn't do anything good for the movie.
In a nutshell, its a disappointing film offering no thrills at all. I wouldn't recommend Paranormal Activity : The Ghost Dimension for a watch. The rating is one and a half out of five.
Rating - 1.5 / 5

Main Aur Charles Hindi Movie Review

Leave aside the overall sluggish pace of the movie along with the predictability and familiarity in the story of serial killer Charles Sobhraj. Except these minor things, "Main Aur Charles" is a well made film from Prawaal Raman.
Story of the half Indian half French conman/
murderer Charles Sobhraj based in Thailand is not a new stuff if you have read about him. Still the director is able to present this biopic with a retro feel of the late sixties tracking another twenty years or so in the process of the man who was in the most wanted criminal list during those days.
Prawaal has given a different treatment to the narrative so that the predictable storyline doesn't make the audience bored. Of course the slow nature especially of the first half do reduce the thrill in many ways, it cannot take away the other positive aspects of the drama.
Charles has his own modus operandi wherein he uses his charm and skill in attracting women. Once the girl fall for him, he uses her for his pleasure and then kill her through drug overdose. The movie primarily focus on the attempt by the police in nabbing him for numerous such crimes.
If I am to pinpoint the major highlight of the film apart from direction, I would say its the performances especially from two actors; Randeep Hooda and Adil Hussain.
Hooda resembles the real Charles on the physical apperance side. But that alone cannot ensure that an actor can successfully put a convincing act in front of the camera to make his act looks perfect on screen.
Here Hooda has done one of his best act of his career to make sure we are seeing the real Charles on the screen. The way he talks and walks, his accent while speaking Hindi as well as English and also the various gestures he makes through the eyes; all have been perfect and a balanced acting effort.
Highway, Saheb Biwi aur Gangster are still fresh in our minds and we can definitely add this one to that list.
Adil Hussain as Delhi cop Amod Kanth is another actor to have come out with a top notch performance that matched Hooda's performance. Actually, Amod is the "Main" in the title "Main Aur Charles" and is narrated from his perspective and based on information provided by the real Amod Kanth.
Richa Chadha, Tisca Chopra, Vipin Sharma and a few other actors are also part of the supporting actors who did their brief part in a positive way.
Art department and costume section have done their task well to make sure that the retro feel looks perfect on screen. One cannot ignore the BGM also that played its part towards this goal. Cinematography was nice snd edits were sharp.
Quite suprised to see in the beginning title credits that the film has no resemblance to any person living or dead and still if there is any similarity, its only a coincidence.
Overall, the life of the lady killer/ bikini killer have been depicted in a neat way as a biopic. "Worth Dying For", says the tagline and the movie is worth watching too. I am going with three and a half out of five for "Main Aur Charles.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Rani Padmini Malayalam Movie Review

Aashiq Abu was keeping a low profile and without much hype for Rani Padmini, his latest release after the debacle of his last flick. There is not much to say about the plot that doesn't have much of a depth but the film provide a different visual experience as a road and travel movie.
Narrating the adventurous journey of two young women through the Himalayas with a parallel plot of a Himalayan Car Rally and a group of gangsters chasing one of the lady protagonist, Rani Padmini is devoid of the regular entertainment stuffs but not a movie to be discarded citing this petty reason.
I would say Aashiq Abu makes a good comeback after a disastrous box office result for Gangster. Syam Pushkaran is the script writer here and his screenplay is an exciting one providing a novel experience for our eyes. Of course on the story part, its a pretty wafer thin one but that's not a fault to write off a movie like Rani Padmini.
For the first time, I am seeing a movie in Malayalam with a short running time for the first half. Out of the one hundred and forty two minutes of running time, the pre-interval portion is limited to just fifty minutes or so. Beginning with the story of Padmini and then to Rani the film brings them together to form a strong bond though they are poles apart in terms of personality, behaviour and character.
Without the presence of any major stars, two ladies Manju and Reema carry the film entirely on their shoulder and pull of a winner here. Such a thing is not a new thing for Manju Warrier but for Reema it should be a first of her career and both of them deserves equal credits for their individual performances. The way some humorous situations were handled by the two and the way the dialogues were presented bringing the lighter side of the movie deserves special mention.
Sajitha Madathil as Padmini's mother in law delivered a clean act along with Jinu Jacob in a surprisingly dual avathar (not a double role). His wedding video where we see him in a traditional Kerala attire was a surprise and it was quite a good makeover considering we have been used to seeing him always in a stylish getup.
Soubin Shahin as a cameraman for a local channel had a very limited role to play and was utilised very little here as per the demands of the story but still he was able to make a mark along with the actor appearing as the reporter. There were some laughs created by the gangsters chasing Rani. The gang leader had a notable presence in the movie. Sreenadh Bhasi makes a cameo apperance in the second half in a good way along with Srindha who was also good in a humorous character playing a small part in the movie.
Its the technical aspects that score here. Cinematography is brilliant helped by the picturesque locations as nature plays a big part in the movie. Editing is not bad while Bijipal has done an excellent job on the music side. The title song was a homely and a lovable one. One more song with the same feel is also nice to hear. Sound design is another notable area that has been done in an apt way.
Overall with good visuals narrating an adventurous and bold journey of two women characters, Aashiq Abu's Rani Padmini is a movie providing wholesome entertainment in a different form. I enjoyed it except a brief portion in the latter half and going with three and a half out of five as my personal rating for Rani Padmini. Good movie with no masalas, less in content and high in visual beauty and freshness thats how I would sum up this movie.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Naanum Rowdy Dhaan Tamil Movie Review

Its been a pretty long time since Tamil film world had a complete entertainer to their credit. Vignesh Shivan after a not so successful 'Poda Podi' comes up with his second. A clean entertainer with a different story line, "Naanum Rowdy Dhaan" has a treatment and presentation that can easily connect with the audience from the very first scene itself where a little boy inside jail getting advice from a rowdy on who is better among a cop and a rowdy.
So we have Pondy Pandi, the young guy who wants to be a hardcore rowdy contrasting to the wishes of his mother who wants her only son to be a cop like her. True to the rom com genre, Pandi falls for Kadambari a hearing impaired girl at the very first sight. But Kadambari whose parents were killed by a goon wants to take revenge through her boyfriend. Then only Pandi will have her as his own. How Pandi and his team execute this is what the movie "Naanum Rowdy Dhaan" is all about.
Through humorous dialogues and comic situations backed by cool performances, Vignesh Shivan is successful in presenting a colourful entertainer. There is no time for boredom nor does the movie has moments testing our patience, thanks to clever writing and good direction understanding the pulse of the audience.
On screen, we have a confident looking Vijay Sethupathy appearing as Pondy Pandi. After watching the movie completely, one would easily say he is the ideal actor suited for this role. Nayanthara continue her success journey yet again. Her portrayal of the innocent but vengeful Kadambari made every sense in casting her. Partheban as the local thug, RJ Balaji as the hero's side kick, Raadhika as Pandi's mother are some of the notable performances from the supporting side.
It would be an incomplete write up if a word of mention is not made about two baddies of yesteryear Mansur Ali Khan and Anandaraj excelling in comic roles.
George C Williams has come up with some fine visuals to enrich the overall feel. Sharp and nice edits and credit to editor Sreekar Prasad. Another backbone of the movie is the musical department coming up with fine work both in the songs and BGM side and full marks to Anirudh.
Vignesh Shivan has presented a neat and nicely packaged entertainer here suitable for all audience. When some of the biggies with big stars from Tamil failed in the recent times, it is heartwarming and refreshing to see smaller films with lesser known stars making a mark. I am going with three and a half out of five for "Naanum Rowdy Dhaan".
Rating - 3.5 / 5

10 Endrathukulla Tamil Movie Review

Vikram with his sheer screen presence entertain you but 10 Endrathukulla the movie disappoints. There is ample car chases and action to bring life and thrills into the film but sadly the execution and screenplay is a big letdown that has more amount of boredom than entertainment.
Loosely inspired and modelled from Jason Statham's Transporter movie Vikram's no name character in the film is one who transports anything without caring for what the purpose and content of his assignment is. He meets Shakeela (Samantha) and from there they are moving to Mussori, a scenic place in Northern part of India. What is the mystery behind this journey from Chennai is what 10 Endrathukulla is all about.
The only plus point in an otherwise lacklustre screenplay and boring movie is the onscreen chemistry between the lead pair. As I said, Vikram with his screen presence try to add and infuse life and energy but all for a loosing cause as 10 Endrathukulla is a movie that makes a tiring watch almost till the final stages. The only major excitement happens in the final forty minutes or so.
In other words, we have a badly presented first half and a somewhat entertaining second half. By the time something do happen, it was too late. There is plenty of action and car chases in the first half but that alone cannot save a film if the screenplay could not bring in some energy. By half way mark, as said the film was heavily gasping for some much needed breath which sadly director Vijay Milton could not pump in.
Vikram tries his best be it action, light humour in the way he approach things in a larger than life character. But inspite of his positive energy, he was not able to save this wafer thin story from sinking. Samantha was good in parts. Her onscreen chemistry with Vikram did work out well but some unexpected twist in her character towards the final stages was a clear case of overacting. Pasupathy acted his part well. Rahul Dev repeated his usual antagonist character while Abhimanyu Singh becomes just an ordinary baddie with nothing to do.
Technically, the visual effects were poor. Though the camera work was good in the second half, the pre interval portion had many shaky scenes which created irritation for the eyes. Editor Sreekar Prasad did a good job overall but an experienced technician like him should have taken care of some flows.
Background score was dull and songs by D Imman could not create any magic. Action and chase sequences were choreographed quite well but the climax sequences could have been better.
Overall, 10 Endrathukulla turns out to be a below average movie with a bad execution from Vijay Milton who couldn't repeat the feat of Goli Soda. A R Murugadoss is one of the producer along with Fox Star Studios. I am not sure how they are going to recoup the money invested and if the budget is a higher amount, well then they are in for a big disappointment here. My rating is two out of five for 10 Endrathukulla.
Rating - 2 / 5

Kanal Malayalam Movie Review

The unpredictable nature of director M.Padmakumar's movies forced me to watch his latest venture Kanal with the least of expectation. That actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the movie was a digestible one from a viewer's point of view. With mystery and suspense retained almost till the closing stages, Kanal is a passable film from the combination of Padmakumar and Mohanlal rejoining after Shikhar.
The film is narrated in the backdrop of American recession that had a big impact in the Gulf especially UAE. Due to the aftershocks of recession, life takes an upside down for Kuruvilla and Reghu two highly successful business magnets of the Gulf.
That part ends there and we are back to Kerala where John David played by Mohanlal meets Anantharaman (Anoop Menon) and rest is all a mystery surrounding the journey of the two revealing more hidden stories connected with them during the course of time.
As a suspense movie, Padmakumar and his script writer Suresh Babu have succeeded in keeping the mystery about the characters and the story behind everything in the dark. Of course at some point of time, the big thing have to be revealed which we could almost guess when sixty percent of the film is complete which itself is a big gain these days.
I would not say, the film is a big lag or there is boredom but the overall slow pace of the film do gets somewhat a bad feel in the movie especially the first half. Also, towards the end, the narrative gets too snail paced to dampen the mood. But having adopted such a narrative right through the entire duration, can't complain much. Its the post interval portions starting with the interval punch that are more thrilling giving the mysterious character of John David a negative shade.
Mohanlal's character John David reminded me of Sivankutty in Bhramaram. The roles are not similar and poles apart but that negative shade in the character do make one compare both the roles. About the performance he was apt in the role that has shades of romance, humour and as said the negative elements too in it.
The next actor who has more screen presence is Anoop Menon appearing as Anantharaman. Their combination scenes blended very well. Atul Kulkarni, Prathap Pothan, Honey Rose and the rest of the actors did their part on the supporting side.
Ouseppachan's songs were strictly okay but his background score was perfect for a thrilling and suspense movie demanded. Cinematography was nice and edits by Ranjan Abraham was choked out neatly.
Overall, Kanal though is slow in nature and has lagness it is passable as a suspense and mystery thriller and settle as an above average movie. My rating is three out of five.
Rating - 3 / 5

Crimson Peak Review

May be the expectation of an ordinary horror flick played its part in arriving at this outcome as Crimson Peak offered me a reasonably good experience of a mix of horror and fantasy movie. It has enough thrills and the story has that extra cut to put the film in a safe zone.
The story revolves around a writer named Edith Cushing who is the daughter of Carter Cushing, a wealthy American Industrialist. Thomas Sharpe on business purpose meets Carter but during the course of their meetings, Edith and Thomas gets romantically attracted towards each other. Rest of the movie basically show Edith's life at the house of Thomas with a haunting and horror feel.
A romantic thriller with the horror element presented quite nicely, Crimson Peak is engaging almost till the very end until they reveal the suspense part a bit earlier to spoil the excitement. But thats acceptable since the film is successful almost till the closing stages and that itself is a big deal especially in fantasy horror thrillers, the early revelations and cliches quite often spoil the overall tempo and mood.
On the acting side, Thomas Hiddlestone was the pick of the lot with his looks. He should also thank his costume team as they have come up with the perfect style and feel for the character with their designs to give his character a big lift. Jessica Chastain played a key role in the film and it was a good casting. Mia Wasikowska had a fairy look in her costumes and her performance was also notable. These three are the main characters around which Crimson Peak moves along. Rest of the actors had little prominence in the overall mix and doesn't get much importance.
Technically, I would say the movie has rich production values. Good camera work supported by excellent work from the art and costume department. BGM was apt for the story.
Overall, director Guillermo Del Toro has been quite successful in creating a fine horror atmosphere throughout with the suspense element retained almost till the end. The thrills and out of the box thinking to present a ghost story has succeeded to make Crimson Peak a watchable and engaging experience. The rating is three out of five.
Rating - 3 / 5

Bridge of Spies Review

Well well, Oscar nominations are smelling and when it is for a Steven Spielberg movie, I won't say it is guaranteed but Bridge of Spies the new movie directed by the director is almost there. Brilliant execution and direction, topclass screenplay complimented by an intense acting performance from Tom Hanks put this movie as a pure must watch one and one of the best from the director and also from the actor.
Spielberg is a master craftsman as a director and having proved it many times with most of his previous films he need not do that again. But each time he come up with a movie, he almost breaks the standards he has set. Bridge of Spies is ample testimony again displaying the calibre of the veteran director.
Tom Hanks is a lawyer named James Donovan (based on a real life character) based in Brooklyn. The film is set in the cold war era where CIA uses Donavan's negotiating skills to release US Spies caught at many places by Russians. Though Donovan helped US in many negotiations which are shown as end title credits, the film focus primarily on a single negotiating mission of releasing a young US Air Force pilot Gary Powers. But its not a cakewalk task as there is much more drama and Donovan have to bring in all his negotiating skills to the table apart from certain compromising aspects for the US Govt which the film will show.
The film is a gripping thriller and a highly engaging one till the final scene. There are emotional aspects also come into limelight and Spielberg has been highly successful here in connecting each and every aspect with the audience, thanks to his execution skill and to the well sketched out screenplay.
Dialogues, the emotional bonding and relationship developed between the Russian spy and Donovan, relationship between Donovan and his family and finally the realization of the importance of the central protagonist fighting for commutation of death sentence for a spy by the public as well as his family have been portrayed in a manner that conveys it without any sort of complexity.
On the acting side, its brilliant show from the actor par excellence Tom Hanks. As the negotiator, James Donovan, Hanks is at his best and has staked his claims for the Academy Awards. Though Hanks is all over the Bridge of Spies, one cannot forget the part played by the supporting actors like Mark Rylance playing the Russian spy Rudolph Abel. We feel for the character of Abel once the end credits start rolling down. Amy Ryan has a small role to play as Donovan's wife still it was a memorable one. Rest of the casting also were apt ones.
When it comes to war films, Spielberg is at his best and situation here is no different. When one give lot of praise to the director and the main actor, it would be unjust not to mention about the gripping screenplay. Editing is taut while cinematography was good.
Its the master craftsman at his best again and the movie has quality written all over. A pure must watch drama, the movie has the class of one of the best director and one of the topclass actor to pull the audience to theatres. I am very much impressed and go with four and a half out of five for Bridge of Spies.
Rating - 4.5 / 5

Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi Malayalam Movie Review

Anil Radhakrishna Menon is one director whose films have a novelty and curiosity associated with the title. Both North 24 Kadam and Sapthamashree Thaskaraha had catchy and unusual titles with it. But at the same time, they didn't end up merely as a title grabbing movie with no substance in their contents. Both these films had something different and interesting to say.
Now the director is back with his third film that also has an unusual title to it. Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi, thats the name of his new film. The billion dollar question is whether the content of the film also has something in it and whether the director is successful a third time too with his new project matching the success of his previous two flicks.
LL7K is not the regular entertainer we expect nor does it suit every kind of moviegoers. I won't say its an offbeat movie but within a limited framework and budget, they have tried to present it as a travel film. The intentions and the message that have been conveyed are too good and have very high relevance in the present life style of this generation. But LL7K more than a feature film portray itself as a documentary trying to pass the message that we should preserve our forest, wildlife and nature.
Philipose John Varkey is the pivotal character in the film who love nature, forest and its inhabitants. Certain threats from corporate and business houses to the very existence of Lord Livingstone forest and its inhabitants makes him a worried man. He plans and assemble some people who are poles apart in terms of location and personality to be part of the mission to ensure the safety of the forest and its people.
Technically I would say its a brilliant make with excellent visuals especially the aerial shots of the deep forest captured very well and supported by nice sound design perfectly suited for the backdrop. The greenish colouring pattern used throughout the film matches the forest backdrop through which the story runs.
So where does the film falter or in which area is the factor that pull down the film is the next question? Well its the screenplay that doesn't have the fire in it to keep the focus intact till the very end.
As I said, what the director wanted to convey is definitely passed on and to be honest the attempt and the message is to accepted with both hands. The thing is this is a feature film and to convey this sort of subject, though the boldness and sincerity is to be appreciated, its a herculean task to make sure it is accepted by all class of audience. So I am not sure of the box office success of this movie.
On the acting side, none of the actors have got a meaty role. But still from a review perspective, each of the actors be it Kunchacko Boban, Nedumudi Venu, Sudheer Karamana and Sunny Wayne have acted their respective roles doing justice to the faith reposed by their director. Bharath has a very limited role out of the the eight while Reenu Mathews was good but had some issue with the dubbing and if I am correct, she himself has done that part.
Chemban Vinod and Gregory had bulk of the screen presence along with Kunchacko who appear towards the end of the first part. Both Chemban and Gregory had enough dialogues and humour scenes which are their strong zones and did it to create some good laughs.
Whoever has done the camera work has done a brilliant job in capturing the frames giving thr true feel of the forest. Art department has done a commendable work while the music department has also done their part to make LL7K a technically sound film. VFX is done pretty well while the costume department too has put in good effort.
Unlike a N24K and Sapthamashree, in LL7K Anil Radhakrishna Menon takes a totally different approach to films and has explored an unknown area to Mollywood. and trying to pass a good message to the society. He has succeeded in each and every aspect of it. But as a movie, there are drawbacks with the subject chosen this time. Still I am going with three out of five for Lord Livingstone 7000 Kandi, mainly attributing an extra half for the making and also the social relevance of the film.
Rating - 3 / 5

Amar Akbar Anthony Malayalam Movie Review

Just as an entertainer offering rollicking fun and enjoyment, Nadirshah's Amar Akbar Anthony has succeeded in its presentation. So the bottom line here is do not look for the content and just leave your brains at home and go to the cinemas before watching this movie. Now you can guess what is there in store for you.
A film with a wafer thin storyline, the primary intention of the movie is just time pass for the audience without too much digging into the storyline. If you are ready to accept this fact, then you can definitely enjoy the movie as the presence of three major stars of the younger generation with equal prominence makes their presence felt through their own style.
Amar, Akbar and Anthony are thick friends and the film portray minor incidents in their life in a light hearted manner creating laughs at many places.
The fun part overall is good and have worked very well but the unnecessary twist in the plot forcefully bringing some serious stuff into the overall scheme of things somehow didn't go well with me. The unexpected turnaround was not that predictable but in an otherwise nonserious plot, it turned out in creating a thorn in the smooth flow of an entertainer.
Since nothing much was happening for almost the major running time, the final drama that unfolded looked more of a forcefully intervened writing to put a brake to the film and didn't go well. At the same time, there was a preachy feel to some of the dialogues towards the end.
Nadirshah has done a decent job as a director. Though it is his debut venture, one cannot call him a debutant since he has good experience behind him as director of stage shows and comedy programmes. So with that experience I would say, he hasn't reached the expected level but in managing such a threadbare storyline from another set of youngsters, he deserves praise for ensuring the film do not fall off to a low level.
Also credit goes to the director for making sure a balancing act is done as far as roles are concerned for Prithviraj, Indrajith and Jayasurya. All three were equally good and one could easily make out from their expressions that they enjoyed doing this movie. Comedy for Indrajith and Jayasurya is not a new thing as both have in the past come out with successful humorous roles to their credit. For Pritvi, that area is still something that haven't worked well but here without going overboard, the actor has presented it with success.
Among the supporting casts, KPAC Lalitha, Sreeraman, Srindha, Shajon, Sasi Kallinga, Bindu Panicker, Siddhique, Abu Salim, Pradeep Kottayam and Thesni Khan made their respective roles look memorable irrespective of whether it was a major role or not.
Music wasn't that catchy while the background score done by Bijipal was good. Cinematography by Sujith Vaassudev was a bright aspect.
Overall, this is a movie for the masses and those looking for logic and depth in content can better stay away from it. It has nice humour to create some good laughs. Barring an unconvincing turn of events towards the end, Amar Akbar Anthony end up as an above average movie for me and I go with three out of five as my personal rating for Nadirshah's maiden entry as a director into the world of cinema.
Rating - 3 / 5