Aranmanai 2 Tamil Movie Review

By chance, happen to watch Aranmanai 1 recently when it was aired on television. The second part Aranmanai 2 got released the other day and quite naturally I was curious to know what Sundar C and his team is upto. Though the prequel was not a high standard horror film, it was a watchable horror comedy film.
When it came to Aranmanai 2, the sequel the film just becomes a rehashed version of the first part with new characters added along with numerous similarities. For me three things conntributed in making this film an underwhelming experience.
Firstly, the comedy seemed to be more mediocre. Secondly the horror is just present in the theme for the sake of it and there is nothing scary at all not even a single scene which is a big letdown from a film belonging to this genre. Finally, the graphics looked less unconvincing and tacky. All these factors combined together to make Aranmanai 2 a disappointing film and a below average one.
On the story side, this time too, an evil spirit enter the same big mansion and it is upto the people occupying the mansion to identify the presence of the ghost and do their best in eliminating it. So we have the family of Murali and his fiancee (Siddharth and Trisha), his father played by Radha Ravi, Murali's brother and Sundar C playing the role of Trisha's brother. Strange things happen in the mansion and Murali and his fiancee's brother decide to take on the ghost and eliminate it once and for all.
Formulaic driven for the entire duration, Aranmanai 2 doesn't do anything on its side to deviate from the cliched approach in narrating a horror comedy. Humour seemed less convincing and some untimely songs only added salt to the wound.
By the by what was Khusbhoo upto appearing in that final song and dancing in it. With all due respect to the actress, it looked just funny while the intention and the mood of the scene was something different.
Sidharth was okay as Murali. Trisha didn't have anything to do and whatever she had to perform only came at the tail end of the movie. Hansika Motwani was the better one among the ladies. Sundar continued the same level of performance that we saw in the prequel. Poonam Bajwa and Radha Ravi are also part of the supporting actors.
Suri, Kovai Sarala and Manobala handled the comedy side with little impact as the script didn't offer them a chance to provide some rib tickling comedies and make a larger impact with their humor.
If you are looking for a time pass film with little importance for any freshness in presentation, this would looks okay for a one time watch. I wasn't impressed and didn't find it entertaining enough. Its the same old wine in the same old bottle and the rating is just two out of five.
Rating - 2 / 5

Saala Khadoos Movie Review

Films that have subjects connecting sports related issues and sports personalities instantly click with the audience. Even though majority of them that we have seen have a similar build up and style, the presentation and spirit in them pull the audience to watch such films that serve as a motivator, a tonic for inspiration and for a positive attitude in life.
"Saala Khadoos", is the latest of the flicks to join the bandwagon of sports movies. Sudha Kongara's story and film is a well presented film with boxing as its backdrop. Even with similar style of narrative and having the essence of movies like Chak De India, Bhaag Milka Baag, Mary Kom etc etc, Saala Khadoos in my opinion is a winner.
The character played by Madhavan is named Adi is an acclaimed boxing coach . He is a short tempered guy. Disputes with the boxing federation puts him on a tranfer mode from Haryana (which has promising talents in the sport) to Chennai that has a scarcity of promising puglists. Now it is upto Adi to pick some talented youth from there.
He spots Madhi, a fisherwomen and trains her seeing spark of talent in the girl despite some emotional problems and unbalance in her character. Their journey as a team towards attaining glory is the basic thread of Saala Khadoos.
Despite the predictable nature of the story and cliches creating a bad mood, the film is high on spirits and deliver a good punch. Melodrama in some of the situations plus dialogues and the expected ending do cast a dark spell on the overall impact Saala Khadoos can make. But its the performance and properly written characters that takes the film forward and makes it a pretty decent one for a watch.
When it came to the performance, Madhavan I would say perfectly fitted into the role of Adi Tomar. He was able to bring life into that character and also looked at ease in his effort. Zakkir Hussain as Dev Khatri, the head coach of Women's boxing association was a safe bet and did his act cleanly.
But the best of the performance came from a debutant named Ritika Singh who didn't give a signal at all that she was facing camera for the first time. From real life boxer to the reel life, Ritika was the surprise package of the film and will definitely go places. A promising talent indeed!
The lady who acted as her sister was also a proper casting and made her acting count. Having mentioned the above people, one cannot turn a blind eye towards the performance of Tamil actor Nasser as the junior coach at Chennai.
Songs and background score were good. Decent cinematography and neat work at the editing table from the editing team. Boxing matches have been choreographed pretty well.
Saala Khadoos has a heart in it and as a sports movie it wins over your heart though melodrama and an easy predictable route to the climax play spoilsport as an annoying factor in the final outcome. Despite these odds and not delivering a knockout punch, this film on boxing is a film that you can straightaway head to without any inhibitions. I am going with three out of five as my personal rating.
Rating - 3 / 5

2 Penkuttikal Malayalam Movie Review

A thought provoking subject indeed and the plot has high relevance in the society we live in especially Kerala, the land which is called as God's own country. But when it came to the execution part, the film looked far from convincing.
2 Penkuttikal directed by Jeo Baby is a sincere attempt with a female oriented plot. The problem was with the narration that looked amateurish and outdated as well.
Empowerment and freedom for the women is a much discussed topic. Also violence against girls and women is also something that is happening every minute in our society.
2 Penkuttikal has two girls Aswathy and Anekha who are coming from different backgrounds as the central characters. They are questioned by society as well as their parents when they do certain little things that are otherwise forbidden for girls.They dream of venturing out someday to enjoy life. Enjoyment for them was experiencing the beauty of sea and spending some time in a mall in the city.
How they realise their dream and the consequences they had to face form the backbone of the story. Later rehabilitation of women and girls who are victims of domestic violence also gets a mention.
Jeo Baby has definitely tried to make a film that has to be an eye opener for us but the manner in which it was executed was a letdown. At just over seventy minutes, 2 Penkuttikal is a very short film but looks little more than that with the way it was told.
Poor dialogues created a bad feel. Add to it some unwanted and unrealistic scenes that piled on the misery. Could not digest some scenes like when a senior lawyer in the city and that too a lady and mother of a girl calling the help of police when her daughter's little friend came to their home in spite of warnings. I feel there are better ways for dealing in such situations.
The school scenes where teachers take classes and also when they express their anger towards children in couple of shots was presented with good intentions but on screen they looked odd.
Bad casting from the supporting actors was another factor that let down the film. The two girls who portrayed Aswathy and Anekha did a reasonably good job with one of them winning the state award for the best child artist. Tovino Thomas and Amala Paul makes a brief cameo. Technically, nothing notable. Edits could have been better. BGM was okay overall.
On the whole the attempt deserves praise for the subject it has chosen but the screenplay and execution should have been better for a satisfying filmy experience. The rating for 2 Penkuttikal is two out of five.
Rating - 2 / 5

Rebellious Flower Movie Review

From the limited knowledge I have and from what I have heard from people who know about Osho Rajneesh, the world of Osho is so deep and vast. So to put it across in a two hour movie is a big challenge.
Director Krishan Hooda takes up that challenge through his film "Rebellious Flower", a movie that is released across India as part of PVR's Director's Rare which is a platform for promotion of small but good films that finds it tough to find theatres for their exhibition. Which is indeed a good thing. How they select the film and what are the yardsticks/criteria for selection is a different thing.
Anyways, now coming to Rebellious Flower, the film through light on the early life of Rajneesh. So it doesn't give that satisfaction in terms of knowing more about the real Osho. In other words, Rebellious Flower is the journey of a young boy Raja till his transformation phase.
As a beginning, this film is more than enough in giving an introduction to Osho Rajneesh for his quest towards enlightenment and how he learnt things from different people through his inquisitive attitude to life questioning various aspects of life to learn more about it and in the process coming up with his own interpretations.
If the makers have any plans to bring follow up movies covering a large part of Osho's journey in the latter stages of his life with the Ashram at Pune in the backdrop, it would be more exciting as a film and may appeal to more people unlike Rebellious Flower which might find little takers except the followers of Osho and also some movie buffs interested in the so called art films.
Not much known about the actors or the crew of the film. The child actor who portrayed Raja and the actor who did his adolescent stages were good in their roles. Raja's grandmother who play a pivotal part and who is the first disciple of Rajneesh was also a good casting.
I did like the film but expected it to be a biopic covering Osho's life with more depth and clarity. Expecting that someone would make such a film in the immediate future, I am concluding by review of Rebellious Flower with a personal rating of three out of five.
Rating - 3 / 5

Airlift Hindi Movie Review

Who can forget the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990. This unfortunate incident left lakhs of Indians in Kuwait homeless and run for their life. Airlift capture the rescue operation of 170000 Indians who as refugees as a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait had to suffer with no one to help until finally support came to their side.
The trauma and anguish of the people has been portrayed in a beautiful fashion in Raja Krishna Menon's Airlift which is quite gripping and narrated with a realistic touch.
Akshay Kumar is Ranjeet Khatiyal who is a successful and wealthy businessman in Kuwait having strong connection with the Kuwaiti Royal family until one fine morning Saddam Hussain and his army makes an entry to Kuwait with his own agenda.
Ranjeet and wife could leave but his mind didn't allow and he becomes a saviour to one lakh seventy Indians with a much needed and timely support to evict the people who were left stranded with no one to reach out for.
Airlift is taut and gripping. At the same time, the pace through which the incidents unfold is quite slow. On the story part, its just the invasion and the subsequent evacuation of the people that is shown in an interesting manner without a dragging feel.
Its a herculean task to show the invasion and evacuation in two hours time. So covering everything in the process is something difficult. So certain things lacked clarity and might not look fully convincing. Still the screenplay has taken care to present the trauma of the people and the drama leading up to the rescue operation in a convincing manner. Execution by director Raja Krishna Menon deserves a special mention and he is one person to be watched out for as a director for the future.
Akshay Kumar plays a character with utmost sincerity and conviction. He brings life to the character of Ranjeet and this one should be ranked one of his best. Nimrat Kaur of The Lunchbox fame played a perfect foil as Akshay's better half. But she had limited scope to perform. Rest of the supporting actors were also good. Decent camera work and edits. Couple of songs are there which were okay with apt background score.
Termed as the biggest evacuation in history covering 488 flights spanning 58 days, Airlift ends with a patriotic flavour and has its moments and is a film that you can watch without any inhibition. My personal rating is three and a half out of five.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Paavada Malayalam Movie Review

We cannot write off anyone. Thats the first thing thats poping into my mind after watching the film Paavada. G. Marthandan who had to his credit couple of miserable films like Daivathintay Swantham Cleetus and Achadin comes back strong with this Prithviraj flick which in terms of content and presentation is miles ahead of the two movies previously made by the director.
Its not a great film but with a good and strong base in the form of an appealing storyline, the film can appeal to the masses and youth as well as family audience.
The story revolves around an alcoholic named Joy who is nicknamed Pambu Joy. Joy is married to a nurse and the story trace back some past incidents that paved the way for the protagonist leading a wayward life.
Marthandan hasn't done any deviation when it comes to the narrative part. He had a strong story with a free flowing screenplay that helped on its way to making Pavada a good entertainer.
Concentrating more on humour and fun, its the latter half that makes its way to a touching story. On the flip side, there are some cliches and melodrama in the latter stages but the climax and the final court scenes were shot well.
The beginning title credits makes a statement that the story happens way before all the bars were closed down in the state. Yes, major part of the story has an alcoholic backdrop with the two leading men in the story mostly under the influence of drinks.
Who says Prithviraj cannot do humour. Paavada should make an end to such a notion. He has definitely done his homework well and makes an excellent performance as Pambu Joy. Showing no signs of uneasiness with comedy in the first half, the guy just transformed quickly into a serious mode and brought out some fine moments on the emotional side after the interval and in the final stages of the film.
Anoop Menon as Paavada Babu played a perfect foil to Prithviraj and their combination scenes is a major highlight. Nedumudy Venu, Raju, Siddhique, Sudheer Karamana, Sharafudheen and Chemban Vinod are the notable actors who impressed me among the supporting actors. Among the females, Miya was okay in her portrayal of Joy's wife and Asha Sharath came up with a career best role after Dhrishyam.
Cinematography was okay and cuts were also not bad. Background score was not upto the standards set by Gopi Sundar but nevertheless were not irritating stuff. Songs were notable along with their visuals.
Helped by smart and lively screenplay with good humour, drama, emotion and some notable acting from the main as well as supporting actors, Paavada should be a major relief for its director to come out from the failure side and finally see one of his film doing well and making a better impact at the all important box office. I am recommending the film to all with my personal rating pegged at three and a half out of five.
Rating - 3.5 / 5

Monsoon mangoes Malayalam Movie Review

All aspiring and wannabe film makers, do find some time from your busy schedule to watch Monsoon Mangoes. At the very outset, let me put it straight. Its a movie that runs on a very leisurely pace and also its a product which is not everyone's cup of tea.
Having made a request for people who have cinema in their minds and are dreaming and making efforts to make an entry into the world of cinema to watch Monsoon Mangoes, let me also convey to you that the film doesn't teach you how to make a film. Nor does it show the nuances involved in movie making.
D.P Pallickal, the leading man is highly passionate about cinema and wants to make a film different from the commercial films. His thinking is different and his cinema is also different. The story focus on this individual and show how he goes about in the business. Whether he can be successful and can attain glory, well for knowing that you should watch the film.
Abi Varghese who made a mark through Akkara Kazchakal, a situational comedy series that was broadcasted in Kairali channel deserves appreciation for trying different and be experimental. The way in which the story is executed is a deviation from the usual pattern of Mollywood. How far it can convince and impress the audience is a different proposition but the out of the box thinking definitely deserve a big applause.
Abi uses spoof and sarcasm throughout the film. I would say the slow first half is a disappointment but once Pallikal starts shoot for his new film within the film, MM gained some momentum.
Also as a motivational film, Monsoon Mangoes stress on things like "Cinema is not bigger than life, its the life itself which is much bigger than Cinema". These things though gave a preachy feel, one cannot discard these inspirational lines.
Dialogues were cool with a humerous tone. Cinematography was pretty decent and BGM was apt. Synch sound was used quite effectively.
One cannot ignore the performance of Fahadh Fazil here. Even if the film is not able woo the audience to the theatre, I would say his effort in front of the camera was a treat to watch that should not go unnoticed.
Vijay Raz really did a brilliant act. Alicier Lay, Vinay Fort, Nandu and Thambi Antony played their supporting part quite nicely. A brief role for Tovino Thomas.
For the mass audience, Monsoon Mangoes will be a discomfort with its pacing and way of story telling. I am not sure how this film is going to fare and whether it will be to your liking but personally I really loved Fahadh's performance, part of the initial stages and the complete second half. I will go with three out of five as my personal rating for Abi Varghese's Monsoon Mangoes which has freshness in it.
Rating - 3 / 5

Kathakali Tamil Movie Review

A slow starter with a gradual build up of the story, Pandiraj's Kathakali is a typical Tamil mass film that can be watched without much expectation. Its a typical formulaic film that has romance, songs (all timed waywardly), dance and above all good doses of action, suspense and some expected twists to make up for a festive season of Pongal that can cater to the masses.
Vishal is playing a young man Amudham who has just returned to his hometown Cuddalore from United States for his marriage with his love interest Meenu Kutty. He and his family had a bitter past and altercation with a local goon named Thamba who is also the head of the fisher folks of the area. But this quarrel was sometime back.
Now with the return of Amudham, under suspicious circumstances Thamba gets killed. The past squabble makes Amudhan and his family the prime suspects in the murder. How our hero proves his innocence and gets out of the mess is narrated quite well in the murder mystery.
The screenplay is paced well and have been provided a facelift to suit the demands of a thriller. The problem was in the first half. Kathakali takes time to settle. Initial phase gives more prominence for the romance between the lead pair. Also lot of time is taken for the build up of each character along with couple of songs timed very badly.
Its the second half where the film shift its gears for a much needed relief. At one hundred and twenty five minutes of running time, Kathakali has kept things simple and pretty straightforward. That approach from the director and his special treatment saved the film. Once again the climax part though with suspense and twist engage you, it could not provide a further push to the film making it a great thriller. Instead with an ending that was very much on the cards, Kathakali settle to be an average fare.
Vishal did his part in a normal way, nothing more or nothing less than what we expect. He was in his safe zone on the action front but struggled a bit on the romantic and ligher/ humorous portion. Catherine Tresa with a character with little importance in the overall scheme of things was able to make a mark with her bubbly and pretty looks. Malayalam actor Sreejith Ravi in a cop role excelled. Madhusoodanan as Thamba was a treat to watch and emoted well with brilliant expressions required for a villain. Rest of the supporting actors were fine.
I would say the songs were not upto the mark but it was just the opposite in the case of background score. What a thriller demanded from BGM, it was there aplenty. Action sequences were brilliantly choreographed. Decent camera work and neat cuts on the cinematography and editing table.
Overall, Kathakali had tautness and punch required for a thriller. Though the murder mystery along with the cat and mouse game unfold and happen way too late, its a watchable stuff coming from Pandiraj and Vishal Film Factory. My personal rating is two and a half out of five for Kathakali.
Rating - 2.5 / 5

Malgudy Days Malayalam Movie Review

Kamal, Siddhique and Anwar Rasheed, three directors who have proved their mettle in Mollywood came up ravishing praise on Malgudy Days categorising the movie as a well made film for the family audience.
These captions on the posters of the film had little impact on me before venturing into the cinema halls to watch Malgudy Days. It would be an advertising gimmick, thats what I felt. Also heard some not so good feedback from some trusted sources. So quite naturally the expectations was kept at the bare minimum of zero level.
Though the film could have been lot better and some notable flaws in the screenplay and dialogues was evident, the zero level expectation did turn out to be a blessing in disguise as I didn't find Malgudy days a total washout.
Perhaps for the first time in Malayalam, we have three directors wielding the megaphone. Visakh, Vivek and Vinod who are brothers direct for the first time. An amateurish feel of making was felt at some places and over usage of melodrama in the screenplay pulled down the flow of film at some stages. One thing is too much postmortem for a movie coming from a bunch of newcomers to the industry is not a good trend though I have done that in the past for many of my earlier reviews.
The story is quite simple and its just the treatment that makes it a bit complex adding some revolutionary angle in certain characters. Two school kids gets accidentally locked up inside Malgudy Residential School located in Idukki when the school dispersed for a ten day vacation. How they escape and who becomes their saviour is what the film dwell upon.
There was a real incident in Nagaland some years back where a ten year old girl was locked up inside her classroom when the school closed for a one month vacation. This little girl lost her life since the investigation angle didn't turn up on the school premises.
Makers of Malgudy days have taken inspiration from that story but here unlike the real incident, the cinematic liberty comes to the fore in the form of a rescuer who helps little Adheena and Jewel to get out of the mess they are in.
The character of Anoop Menon amd his flashback story is just added as a catalyst to bring in some connection to the main plot which looks pretty thin. The first half literally show the flash back part while the story start focusing on the integral part of the plot only in the second half.
Even with the flaws and the parallel story not able to make a better impact and connection with the main story, the climax for me was touchy.
Anoop Menon played his part quite well though the film mainly focused on the two kids more. Credits to him for selecting such a script that had a minimal role to play for him. But the selection of the script if we measure the quality, well he has made a weak choice here. Bhama don't have a prominent part to do. Quite surprised that she didn't use her voice on the dubbing side.
The two kids were okay but some of the dialogues were quite heavy for their ages. Noby on the comic department was a let down. Saiju Kurup, T.P Madhavan, Irshad, Priyanka and a few more actors are present to support.
Cinematography reminded me of Life of Josooty. Yes, here in Malgudy days too there are lot of aerial shots captured through helicam. About the camera work, it could have been better. Though the scenic beauty and nature was present to support, camera department could not fully exploit that. Graphics were not done properly.
Overall, Malgudy Days is not a great film and doesn't make a big impression once you leave cinema halls. But that touching climax and helpless expression conveyed through the character's eyes leaves you in a shock.
Hoping that the directorial triumvirate of Visakh, Vivek and Vinod will learn through experience on writing a better screenplay that can make a more lasting impact and executing it with more perfection in their next project. The rating is two out of five.
Rating - 2 / 5

Wazir Hindi movie review

Beautifully narrated and presented till the halfway mark, "Wazir" directed by the talented Bejoy Nambiar looses the grip in the second half to end just as a watchable film. The build up was highly promising and could have gone to be a taut thriller but that commercial angle in the latter stages takes away that shine from the film.
Still I would say, Wazir deserves a chance to be watched especially for its making and directorial approach as well as some notable performances from ever reliable Amitabh Bachchan and an equally competent Farhan Akhtar.
Daneesh played by Farhan Akhtar is an ATS officer (Anti Terrorist Squad) who lost a precious belonging from his life that make him mentally unstable. By chance, he meets Omkar Nath, a retired chess player who is fondly called as Panditji. They became friends but their meeting and subsequent friendship had something more to do with their life. What is that purpose and how that unfolds is what is Wazir all about.
A dark thriller with action and terrorism in the backdrop, Wazir is presented as a game just like chess where each move has a counter attack with lot of surprises to offer.
Bejoy Nambiar, whose earlier works David and Shaitaan had received rave reviews from critics but at the box office they could not make much of an impact. May be on that thought, he has gone in for some commercial makeover to Wazir in the post-interval stage adding twists and making the game a little more spicier bringing in the character of Wazir.
It hasn't worked out well totally but the making and direction definitely stood out with good support from the technical side. Good cinematography and crisp edits and also engaging background score are the major highlights. Songs credited to more than one music director have a melodious tone to it and is definitely worth hearing a second time.
On the performance side, Amitabh Bachchan playing Panditji excelled himself pushing his performance one step further as always. Farhan Akhtar matched his senior counterpart with a controlled acting display. Aditi Rao as his better half was not a bad choice in that role though she didn't have a major part to play in the overall game.
In a nutshell, I would say the film that showed some initial promise could not maintain the same tempo till the end. Still as a thriller and as a Director's film, Wazir is a recommended film from me with a personal rating of three out of five.
Rating - 3 / 5

Style Malayalam Movie Review

From the tagline of the film, it seems the makers of "Style" were taking an anticipatory bail. "The first clichéd film of 2016", thats what some of the posters said. Fully justifying that tagline, Style present itself as a film with lot of predictability and familiarity when it comes to the plot.
"Ithihasa" was a film that came from nowhere and became a surprise hit. S.Binu who directed Ithihasa return with his second film that has more of style in it just like the title but with little substance. Giving prominence for romance, comedy and action, Style has a storyline where a solo hero by chance gets into the way of a gangster and his gang of goons.
From there on, its a cat and mouse game and ultimately a showdown between the hero and the baddies that all culminates in a familiar fashion. Well, how many times we have seen such flicks more so from Tamil and Hindi films. Not a viewer of Telugu films but from the experience of reading stories of Telugu movies, Style is more suited for those audience who don't mind watching mass hero boost up with lot of flying action.
Style has given a mass element for the hero character of Tom played by Unni Mukundan. The second half has the hero flexing his muscles to the maximum giving the actor a chance to get into the heart of the masses. Same way, for the baddie Tovino, as the psychic character of Edgar, he was presented with a stylish introduction and also with some good punch situations even though the character has little screen presence compared to Unni Mukundan.
The film takes time to get into a speedy mode with more importance given for the romantic track of Tom and Dia. As usual, its a first sight romance that gets a spark in Tom for Dia and the rest you can imagine and come to your own conclusions. How the romance unfolded was pretty much cliched.
Even if the story had an outdated feel, the script has infused some new generation stuffs that was entrusted to some chunk boys lead by Balu. The funny side of the film was narrated through this gang.
Unni Mukundan more than expressing himself through his acting had to flex his muscles more. In the role of the romantic one with a boy next door image he was just okay but as the action hero he made a good impression of himself. Tovino was a surprise as the villain Edgar and even with less amount of scenes devoted to his character, he was able to make a big impact.
Priya Kandwal as the female lead playing the role of Dia was passable. Master Iihan with his heavy dialogues was a bit too much to tolerate. Balu, Baiju, Vijayaraghavan and a few more actors are there supporting the main actors.
Decent cinematography and not so bad edits. At 154 minutes the film was a tad too lengthy with an extended first half. Jassi Gift is the music director who songs could not make a lasting presence while Rahul Raj has given a heavy and loud background score suiting the nature, feel and tempo of the film.
I wouldn't say Style is a disappointing movie but with a no substance storyline that has loads of predictable scenes similar to some other language films in the same genre, this is not a must watch one. There are well choreographed action sequences, a little bit to laugh here and there and some entertaining moments but in totality, the film is just average and my personal rating is two and a half out of five.
Rating - 2.5 / 5