Waiting More For Movies

As Corona Virus has continued to keep us in the lock-down, there is not much happening around here. I have been coming up with some foreign movie reviews including Korean, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Latin and Chinese, and you can look at them if you want. You can check the review of The Divine Fury with which the process began, going through First Love, and more movies which are to follow. Limiting the reviews to just one or two languages was not going to be the right thing to do, as I wanted to explore the flicks in other languages from other nations further. The result has been the increase in the frequency of film reviews, which was rather expected during the time of lock-down. After all, this is a situation which none of us had expected, and clearly, nobody was prepared for it. We are all locked into ourselves these days.

It is to be noted that in the last year and the year before that, April-May season was a time of foreign trips. We had one to Indonesia‘s Bali last year, and to Thailand’s Pattaya and Bangkok before that. It makes one wonder about how much the world has changed so quickly. Kerala has had its own problems in the last two years with the floods coming through, and the year before that, there was the Cyclone Ockhi. Well, the world doesn’t seem to be anywhere close to being the one we knew before, as we look at what has happened in those nations which reported the most cases, United States of America, Russia, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, Iran and Turkey registering over one lakh cases – are we safe anymore? Will everything return to normal on any day? We ponder over that, and also look at what I look forward to, if the cinema theatres open any time soon.

1. Kunjeldho: Starring Asif Ali after the much appreciated Kettyolaanu Ente Malakha and the cute newcomer Gopika Udayan, this movie seems to have all that is needed for a campus movie. It began with a beautiful song from the plus two days which has us immersed in it, and then it has one of the most beautiful green campuses you might ever know. The movie seems to have been mostly shot in UC College campus, Aluva, the exact place where the middle part of the movie Premam was shot, as Nivin Pauly was the student in the college, finding his love in the inappropriate places. But it has to be noted that the movie had failed to capture the beauty of the college in the best possible manner, as UCC was always more than that. But when it was there, they could manage to do justice to the central area. Uyare also had a little bit of the college when Parvathy was dancing and talking later.

Kunjeldho can do much more, or rather a lot more than what has been done so far in the college campus. Premam could never absorb the spirit of the college, and as we look into the glimpse of Kunjeldho, it might have done that with clarity. This movie is directed by RJ Mathukkutty, different from the director of Helen, even though the names can have you confused. It seems that he has captured the campus life as it is, with its feel-good factor and happiness rather than those negative factors which often get the focus. He is someone who did study BA Malayalam from the same college, and that also adds to the understanding of the spirit and soul of the college. The feeling has to be different when you are shooting a movie at the place where you studied at college level, and it is up to him to bring full justice to the location this time.

It is to be noted that the plus two moments of the movie were also shot in a famous Jayakeralam school, this time near Perumbavoor, another town near the town of Aluva where UC College is located. This proximity makes one have the realistic factor closer than ever, within a distance of twenty something kilometres – this increase in distance is due to the fact that the college is located about three kilometres from Aluva town centre on the road to Paravoor, and the school is located about four kilometres from Perumbavoor town centre, on the road to Muvattupuzha. I had also seen the shooting progressing at Jayakeralam, and when things get close to reality, and what you know, you feel it to be part of your life, lile Kunjeldho can do. But we have to wait and see how much of that is seen on the big screen when it releases.

2. The Priest: The first collaboration of Mammootty and Manju Warrier in their long careers is here in the form of this movie, which reminds one of the 2011 movie with the same name, which had priests as elite warriors against vampires, sent by the church. When we look back, that was quite a strange movie, and here, we have a horror mystery with Mammootty in the lead, and playing a priest. We were eagerly waiting for it, and it became another film which was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. These are not the best times for a movie lover, as he can no longer watch movies in the theatres, and as he keeps reviewing those older movies, not many people want to support him by reading those opinions, as they are not about movies which are at the theatres where people wish to visit with the family.

3. Meppadiyan: There has always been something about this movie. It is a crime thriller with Unni Mukundan in the lead, and it was always going to be good, as he has been into crime on the big screen in Mikhael, even though that was just a shadow – we know what he is capable of playing a man into crime. This movie could bring him back to his original form, as he hasn’t had many movies these days, and none to test his caliber at all. Let us hope that this is the one movie which does trick in style. Among those other movies which people keep waiting for, like Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, something which is supposed to be the grand film like Mamangam – you know what expectations can do to you, as proven by that Mammootty movie, and much earlier with the Mohanlal starrer, Odiyan. Let us hope, and not think about this one too much, as the risk factor is certainly there.

***All the images used on this blog post were taken from the official Facebook pages of the movies and the actors or actresses performing in them.

TeNy

UCC: All that is Fantastico

I have watched many movies which are based on campus life, including Classmates, Niram, Doctor Love, Nammal and more, but never did I thought that my post graduation time will be the best years of my life. Yes, there has been problems here are there, but all of them have only contributed to making me a better person, and there was the chance to go through all the literature, which is why I consider the two years as among the best of life, and remain as my strongest memories; UCC is the fantastico of my education.

This memory is all about UC College or Union Christian College. The history of UC College’s history goes back to 1921, when it came to existence as a result of co-operation between four major church denominations in Kerala, the Church of South India, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. Earlier affiliated to The Travancore University and now affiliated to the Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam, UC is a very much reputed college.

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UC College has been one of the few things which continues to represent the town of Aluva, along with the Marthanda Varma Bridge, the Federal Bank HO, the Shivarathri Manappuram, the Advaita Ashram and Mangalapuzha Seminary. Located about four to five kilometres from the main town area, UC College is one the best known education institutions in Kerala, and among the colleges in Ernakulam district close enough to Cochin, it has been traditionally the most popular.

The college was also like three and half kilometres from my home at that time, a distance which I could reduce by a few metres if I had chosen to walk by taking a few shortcuts through a world without traffic. So, UC College was always going to be the right choice for me to go for MA English. So, the fact that I could get admission there on merit itself was more than just another happy moment for me. But I wasn’t sure about my future even then, and I could never be clear about what was to happen there, being the big cynic.

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But the college which you have seen in the movie Premam was not just another educational institution for me. UC College has been the source of nostalgia, something that still stays, unlike the rest of the insitutions – in the case of all the others, the memories have clearly disappeared. From the canteen to the library, and through each building there, stretching around the green campus which has so many trees and old structures, each corner of the college is still alive in my mind. It feels so good to reach the campus early morning, and walk through this green universe. There is the need to arrive early and leave late considering how refreshing the campus is.

The days were fantastic, even though I understood that they were so when it was coming to a finish. I didn’t feel that it was going to be this good when I began, but things only got better. As the second year started, life had become so much closer to literature, and Film Studies was also a paper waiting to come to light. The whole department had become even more friendly, and even getting permission to go to the canteen and have a cup of tea was so easy. I could never study at an institution which had friendly teachers earlier, but UC College was an exception. Most of the school teachers have been demons for me as I remember.

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The advantage of having friendly teachers is that you will have a better interest in the subjects which they are teaching, and you never hesitate to ask the questions. Throughout my studies, until joining UC College, I had only one or two of such friendly teachers, but thankfully that changed with the MA English adventure. I remember the opportunities to attend the seminars at different colleges and the chance to be part of many quiz programmes in Central Kerala along with winning a few! One of those wins are still shown there on the official website of the college, and that still feels happy and extra fantastico! 😀 You can see it here

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me during my MA English course there.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

River Through Camera II

I had posted a few photos of Periyar’s “Aluva puzha” side which you had witnessed in a better way in the blockbuster Premam with all its beauty from the movie makers. Here are a few more photos to go with it. All these were taken by me on my camera and mobile. These will show the beautiful side of the river which blesses the town of Aluva or Alwaye once again. I hope that these will make you fall in love with the beauty of nature again.

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But there were occasions when the river was not that kind; this one happened in the year 2013. The truth is that we are never prepared for situations like floods.

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TeNy

A River: Through Camera


There has been a good number of songs which have featured Periyar going through the town of Aluva, the most popular ones having the name itself in the songs including “Aluva Puzhayude” in the recent blockbuster Premam and “Aayiram Padasarangal Kilungi” from the 1969 movie Nadhi. Here are a few shots of the very popular river which has flown through inside a good number of Malayalam movies. All these shots were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 Camera.

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***Keep calm and spend some time near the Aluvaite part of Periyar or “Aluva puzha” 😀 Delighted to have lived so long on the banks of this river 🙂

TeNy

Full Defence of Premam

Premam is still running in the theatres now, and it has gone on to become a special movie in Malayalam movie industry; it was the second highest grossing movie in Malayalam, the last time I read about it. Meanwhile, I have been hearing and reading a lot that Premam has been misleading the youth, and that the movie was rather not needed. I will not say that movies don’t have the ability to send the young men and women the wrong way, but this accusation about this particular movie is nothing but a strange thing. There are many reasons why I can say with clarity that the misleading has been minimal or never really happened.

1. The youth has never been perfect: So, this late defence starts with the ultimate realization of truth. The youth has never been perfect, and never came close in the eyes of the older generation. The situation will only get worse as time passes, and a newer generation can come up with things which were not expected by a much older generation. It is usually not a positive thing, but it is how it works. There are things which are waiting to happen, and there is no stopping them as the world gets immersed in more and more modernity and less values of the old times. Premam doesn’t contribute to that directly because it was always going to happen.

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2. Premam brings nothing new at all: As the director Alphonse Puthren himself has suggested, Premam is the second movie from him and the very next movie after his own Neram which brings nothing new at all. Where the film succeeds is in the presentation of something which has been around for a very long time. It is the success of the movie, and not bringing something huge out of nowhere. Premam‘s magic wand comes much later. So, the argument that Premam has made that kind of a change doesn’t stand because it can’t bring something which already existed. Premam is just another stylish take on what you have seen already.

3. Premam is just a reflection of the truth: Premam is a realistic portrayal of the incidents. Most of the things which are shown in the movie have already happened here or there. People who have studied in colleges will know that the new generation is already like this only; not all of them, but a good number of them. The quality of the teachers as well as the students will continue to come down as long as the National Eligibility Test is done on the basis of an objective test with no negative marks. Instead, it should be done to test the quality, goodness and creativity of the teachers; students will be never better than the teachers and the parents.

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4. There is a message right in the soul of this movie: You can say that some other movies have messages and all, but Premam is the one which has left us with a better message. There are movies like Bangalore Days, Neelakasam Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and 1983 which pretends to have messages, but the only thing that they all show is the pathetic state of youth in a fake way – they are all protagonists worthy of detest. Meanwhile, Premam shows how a protagonist finally becomes the good person and then he gets the girl – it has the traits of a morality tale when justice is served for the good guy, not for the person who had no clue of being good earlier. He finds his love when he becomes the better person, after leaving the third-rate life he had during the college life, learning to be a good person; it is the message!

5. The examples used are all wrong: I am really surprised that people have used so many ridiculous examples related to this movie. A lot of movies have shown the incidents in this movie in one way or the other, already. A good number of movies had terrible protagonists, compared to which our hero of Premam is nothing. It is to be noted that a lot of heroes of the past have been just criminals who beat up people. There have been smugglers, underworld dons, murderers, thieves and many others, and our protagonist in Premam is none of them. May be some people prefer Honey Bee and Kili Poyi as the great “righteous” movies. Or are they movies like Praja, Chattambinadu, Ustaad, Pokkiriraja and all with the right examples?

6. Misunderstanding is never the fault of a movie: You can have your own misunderstanding, but you just can’t blame a movie for the same, because you can’t understand what a movie can do in your life – you have to take the good things and leave the bad things behind. If you are not able to understand that, it is a serious mistake on your part. These days, people end up taking what they like and what they are comfortable with; if they had taken the good things instead, world would have been a better place. But if they try to take all the wrong things into their life, the director and the writer are not to responsible for the same. Movies don’t make things terrible unless you choose, but problems are there when some people choose the evil, but that applies in the case of every movie!

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, used in defence.

TeNy

What Needs to be Remade

How much do we help of a person in need? Ranjith Sankar’s directorial debut talks about the same in the form the 2009 movie Passenger. He has brought the genre of social thrillers to full power into cinema, and he continued the same into the less efficient Arjunan Sakshi starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Ann Augustine. Even though that movie also brought a picture of the society and criticized the system from the government to the police and the other people in charge, and reiterated the common man’s need to take the responsibility for the society, it was nothing like Passenger.

He had also shown the problems faced by someone who wanted to start a new business venture in Kerala with Punyalan Agarbattis and a different perspective in Molly Aunty Rocks!. But each and every time we watch Passenger, we realize that none of them can be a match to this debut movie from the same director. It was there on television on the day before yesterday too, and one has to wonder how it manages to be so fresh even after being watched so many times. I have watched it more than twenty times myself, and it was the big reason why I watched Arjunan Sakshi on the first day itself.

In the life of modernity, what is it that we can do for the society?

In the life of modernity and tall concrete, what is it that we can do for the society?

The story has Sathyanathan (Sreenivasan), a common man who works in a private company as the major protagonist. He is one of those simple people who goes to work in the city and comes back to his place in the regular passenger train. He finds happiness in the simple things like the local temple festivals, talking about news with the friends and having a few cups of tea. There is nothing special going on in his uncomplicated, predictable life which goes on and on, as he follows the machanical procedure. But as he is the last among his friends to get to down, one day, he falls asleep and misses the station near his place.

On the day on which he falls asleep, he wakes up to find that he was sleeping for so long, and asks another person Nandan Menon (Dileep) about the present situation. After a few moments of humorous conversations, they get down at the Guruvayur railway station and separates. But as Nandan is suddenly kidnapped by a group of goons in a car, Sathyanathan wishes to help, but is caught in a situation in which he can do nothing. He decides to travel to the man’s place inform his people about the same. But it is about more than what meets the eye, as he is a lawyer fighting a case against the home minister, and his wife is a leading journalist looking into the same case.

The journey of life continues, but at the end, what do we earn?

The journey of life continues, but as we reach that end, what do we earn?

There are no songs in this movie, and there are no stereotypes either. But life of the common man caught in a strange situation is brought to light here in a realistic manner. There is nothing spectacular done by the protagonist, but simple acts, as he goes on to make a difference without trying to be the superhero. There is a certain amount of simplicity in the portrayal of the character by Sreenivasan as he perfectly fits the role of a common man, something which might not have been the case with a superstar added. It is the kind of role which suits him without anything special added to it.

Dileep also plays a role which has no heroism, despite the character consistently trying to bring a change in the society while fighting the powerful politicians and businessmen in a legal way. Meanwhile, Mamta Mohandas has played the role of a determined journalist hoping to bring change in the society, with a lot of strength. Jagathy Sreekumar plays the man who wants to hold on to the political power in any manner possible, and Nedumudi Venu plays the character who is a reluctant helper and he turns the man who realizes his duty as the story gets tougher and things get to the next level. I would love to have Irrfan Khan or Naseeruddin Shah in the lead.

Passenger is a movie which should have been remade in many other languages, and not something like Bodyguard. With its situations, Passenger asks a question to the common audience about why one should help a fellow human being when there is a chance. It asks the common man to understand that one simple help might mean many things, and may be this helping hand can bring a big change in the society. May be someone will think that he or she is not capable of that change, but it is the sincere attempt that makes all the difference in the end because none of us know what results it can bring despite we being the weaker ones. It needs go further like the original Drishyam to be remade like Drishyam in Bollywood.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me at Aluva (Alwaye) on my Sony Cybershot Camera.

TeNy